It was a cold February morning when Ray flew into Newcastle Airport. Â The news report said it had been snowing for days. Â Heâd been surprised that Emirates flew there, but he had avoided London, a bonus. Â He got the train to Middlesbrough, and then Whitby. Â As he headed down the Esk Valley towards Whitby, his mind went back to happier days. Â Sunday picnics at Sheepwash, or lunch in Grosmont. Â The platforms at the small stations were covered in snow. Â Only a few footprints to tell that there had been passengers. Â He guessed February was not a popular time; there were only four other people on the train. Â If you could call it a train. Â A single unit diesel railcar. Â He remembered summer trips when they ran an old steam train. Â That had been fun. Â He wondered what drew them out on a cold Monday. Â As the train approached Whitby, it started to snow. Â Thatâs all he needed, to be snowed in.
He got a taxi to the hotel, and called the executor. Â He was told that he wasnât in the office, but he could pick the key up in the morning.
He needed to eat. Â He asked at reception for a recommendation. Â He was told his only chance was the pub at the end of the road, unless he wanted to get a taxi, but very few places opened in the evening, or at all, off season. Â He decided he could make it as far as the pub and set out. Â Heâd forgotten how real cold felt. Â At least the snow had stopped, but there was a fresh wind off the sea. Â He hoped heâd find a warm coat at the flat, if not shopping was required.
Dinner turned out to be an unsatisfactory meat and potato pie. Â Whitby might be a fishing town, but he must have found the only pub not to serve fish and chips.
He walked back to the hotel and checked on the breakfast times. Â He was told to be in the breakfast room at eight sharp. Â The cook only came in for an hour during the winter, and there were only three guests. Â He went to his room. Â The cold must be getting to him, the room was freezing. Â He checked the radiator; heâd call it lukewarm. Â Back down to reception.
âItâs after nine. Â We turn the heating off at nine in the winter. Â It will come on at seven in the morning for two hours.â
Ray knew arguing was futile, walked up the three flights of stairs, why he was on the second floor if there were only three guests he decided was not worth asking. Â He got to the room and climbed into bed fully clothed.
His alarm woke him at seven thirty, although it was so cold he didnât know how he had slept. Â He felt the radiator and convinced himself it was warmer than the room. Â A shower after breakfast, if there was hot water. Â And a new hotel.
He went down to the breakfast room where his fellow inmates had already arrived. Â On the dot of eight, someone appeared with three trays, one for each of them. Â Ray looked at his breakfast. Â A cup of coffee, two slices of toast, a plastic tub of cornflakes and a plate that looked like it had just been warmed up in a microwave. Â One rasher of bacon, one small sausage and a fried egg. Â He shrugged, decided not to ask for butter, ate it, went to the room, collected his bag and checked out. Â There had to be somewhere better. Â If not, it was a commute from Middlesbrough. Â He called for a taxi. Â The driver was happy to find him a hotel, take him to the solicitor and then the flat. Â Seems no one went out much in snowy Whitby on a bitter Tuesday morning.
The new hotel seemed much better, and only slightly more expensive. Â 24 hour heating, and breakfast available between seven and nine. Â He was told to order the night before if he wanted kippers, otherwise he could order a full English when he got to the dining room. Â He took a quick shower, changed and the taxi took him to the solicitors.
âSomeone died is it?â asked the Taxi driver.
âYes, my father.â
âKnew it must be, itâs all they seem to do, wills and stuff. Â Me mate says they have a deal with most of the retirement homes and sheltered housing places. Â This cold snap will give them a few more customers. Â Youâll have to push them, they work to their own speed. Â Wouldnât use them myself. Â Here you are, going to be long. Â If you are Iâll go get a coffee and come back in half an hour.â
âIâm just picking up the keys for the flat.â
He did and was back in the taxi in five minutes.
The taxi drove to the outskirts of town. Â âUsed to be a caravan site, but the owners obviously knew where to make money. Â Wouldnât want to live up here on the cliff myself, no escaping that North Sea wind. Â Hereâs my number, call me and Iâll come and collect you when you are finished.â
Ray thanked him and walked up the path. Â He thought he had better announce his visit to the warden first.
âThey told me youâd be here. Â Switched the power and heating back on yesterday. Â Waterâs been turned off, do you want that back on?â
Ray went to the door and opened it. Â At least it was warm. Â Where to start. Â The desk he decided. Â Sort through papers, and then look for things to help put the memorial together. Â Someone might turn up at the funeral, although given the weather, the fact his father was ninety-one, and most of his friends were dead, it wouldnât be a large turnout, unlike his mothers. Â Then again, his mother had been popular.
He opened the desk. Â Empty, not a scrap of anything. Â Maybe his father had asked Shirley to take the papers to him, or the solicitors had them, but theyâd have mentioned it. Â His father had always kept everything.
âThe coatâ he thought and went into the bedroom. Â The wardrobe and drawers were all empty. Â The bathroom was similarly bare. Â He checked the kitchen. Â Empty as expected. Â He walked back to the main room. Â It had a large picture window overlooking the North Sea. Â It was double glazed, which was just as well. Â His father's old armchair was carefully placed so he could have watched lie go past, if there was any.
His fatherâs books were still in the bookcases and there was a pile of brown paper packages in the corner. Â He checked those first. Â Old magazines. Â Why keep old Motoring magazines from the sixties, but not his papers. Â He started browsing the books, maybe there would be something for him to read.
Then he spotted some papers, half hidden between the books. Â In fact, if he hadnât taken one of the books down, heâd never have spotted them. Â There were about a dozen Moneygram and Western Union forms for cash transfers to Spain, all just under two thousand pounds. Â He didnât recognise any of the names. Â They were dated just before the Power of Attorney. Â That was unlike his father. Â He decided to search further, and started going through the bookcase carefully. Â He found some letters telling his father heâd won the Spanish lottery, but they needed some money to release the funds, along with notes in his fatherâs handwriting keeping track of payments. Â He matched the receipts heâd found up. Â There was mention of other payments, and a total of around fifty thousand.
Had his father been victim of a scam? Â Why had the papers been hidden? Â Was he keeping it from everyone. Â The documents had obviously been produced on a cheap ink jet printer and yet his father, who could hardly walk, had gone to the Post Office and made these repeated cash payments.
Clash of Wills
by Robert Bell
. $0.99 from Smashwords.com
When informed his father had died, Ray knew he had to do the right thing, even though they'd not spoken in years. Determined to face his demons, he returned to his father's adopted home in England, only to discover the realities weren't as he'd imagined and that a world of new problems had to be faced.
Martin walked off the aging 747, and felt the heat hit him like a blast furnace. Â He guessed that one of the consequences of getting the cheapest flight he could find was that they couldnât afford to park at the terminal in Bangkok. Â The other consequences were no decent in-flight entertainment, food he wouldnât feed his dog, if he had one, and a seven hour stopover in some airport he hoped never to see again. Â At least the flight to Bangkok had been relatively empty and he had grabbed a row of three seats.
Why he had decided to economize he didnât really know. Â He guessed that, in part, he was proving that he could. Â He could have afforded to fly First Class. Â Part of his renewal? Â Maybe he just wanted to show to his parents that he was going to survive on the regular monthly payment from his trust fund. Â He knew that they were expecting regular emergencies. Â James would have flown first class, or chartered a jet.
Heâd been to Thailand a couple of times before, but only when the old airport was operating. Â Before was a former life. Â Now here he was, standing at the top of the aircraft stairs, in the sweltering heat, midday sun beating down on him, waiting for a bus to arrive. Â It wasnât that he couldnât have flown direct, or at least with a recognized airline. Â He had wanted to start from the bottom again. Â He had no specific plans, Thailand had seemed a good choice. Â And he had convinced his parents he wanted to study Buddhism. Â He had considered it, but he wasnât into religions, or studying for that matter. Â At least his old self wasnât.
He made his fortune at the age of twenty eight, when he sold his internet company for twelve million pounds. Â He could have led a life of leisure, but he decided that if he had done it once, he could do it again. Â Hindsight is a great thing, and he should have known that his first mover advantage had gone. Â By the time he launched his second operation everyone was throwing money at the internet. Â He burnt three million in the first year. Â The problem was that he wasnât the only one fighting for his niche, and some of the big, traditional, companies were starting to compete.
As things got worse, he started to drink. Â A few pints of beer, became a couple of bottles of wine. Â As he watched his funds drain away, he turned to vodka and started on drugs. Â Heâd blown another two million in the next six months. Â Even the cocaine didnât kill the pain he felt.
Things had come to a head at his parent's ruby wedding. Â His partner at the time, Rene, had tried to stop him going. Â Rene knew he was in a bad way and, if Martin was honest with himself, he had been on self destruct. Â Rene had eventually given in and they got to the hotel where the party was going to be held. Â Rene had hoped that he could at least control Martinâs intake.
Of course, Rene had no chance. Â The party was the last straw. Â Rene thought he had it covered, but Martin was too cunning. Â Before the party even started he was high on coke, and loaded with whisky. Â He had collapsed before the meal was served. Â Paramedics and a trip to hospital followed.
Rene had told his parents to try and enjoy the party, heâd call them if there was any news. Â Of course, the party was a damp squib. Â Â They had stabilized Martin by the following day. Â Rene decided enough was enough. Â He talked to Martinâs parents, and they agreed to involve the police.
Rene was the one person who had stuck with him. Â Was that why he had decided on Thailand? Â Theyâd spent their âhoneymoonâ there on a secluded beach on Koh Samui.
After the ruby wedding, Martin had spent the next three years in and out various institutions and rehab clinics. Â Rene had walked out of his life, once the doctors had said he had a chance, and was responding. Â But before that the company had been liquidated and all of Martins funds put in a trust fund with his parents as trustees. Â He had to live on an allowance, admittedly a generous one.
He missed Rene. Â Rene had been perhaps the one good thing that had happened to him. Â Even his millions had only enabled him to ruin his life. Â He had tried a few times to find Rene, but no luck. Â Rene probably didnât want to be found. Â So after a year of being sober, following the rules and feeling sorry for himself, he had decided on a new start.
Run Away from The Tiger, Face The Crocodile
byÂ Robert Bell
. $0.99 fromÂ Smashwords.com
Martin headed for Thailand, leaving behind his former, self destructive, alcoholic self, James. The last person he expected to see was Rene, especially not one who had descended into drink and drugs. Together they headed for a temple to be cured of their addictions. The temple wasnât a temple. The big question was whether Isaan Black Magic could cure them. Would the Master succeed?
Graham had managed for the first time in a long time to actually earn some spare money, and not fritter it away.Â He decided after 12 months without a holiday that he deserved a break.Â He flew to Amsterdam.Â He left early Friday and was in Amsterdam by mid afternoon.Â He found the hotel with ease, walking distance from the Central Station.
As he left the hotel for a walk in the evening, intent of finding dinner, he noticed a sign on a bar opposite.Â Boy.Â He crossed the road so he could have a closer look.Â There was what looked like a reasonably normal downstairs bar.Â He walked in and ordered a drink.Â There were about half a dozen other customers, all much older than him.Â The barman was handsome and, when he brought his drink over, told him that there were go-go boys at six.Â He looked at his watch, ten minutes.
âFirst time here?â
Graham wasnât sure if he should declare himself a novice.Â âYes, just got into town, was going out from my hotel for a drink and I saw the sign.â
By this time about six lads had walked in, he guessed between eighteen and his age.
âIâm Seb, by the way.Â Do you want one of the guys to explain things?â
âSure.âÂ Explain things worried him, what had he walked in to?
Seb, as Graham now knew him, signaled for one of the lads to come over.
A six foot two, blond hunk sat down next to Graham.Â âIâm David.Â So you know this place is a brothel.Â The dancers expect tips.Â They wonât refuse a drink as well if they like you.Â There is a live sex show upstairs at nine and four lads strip at eleven in the other bar at the weekend.Â The go-go here is at six and ten.Â If you want a boy for an hour in one of our rooms itâs two hundred guilders.Â Are you here as a customer, or looking for a job?â
âDavid, you are needed upstairs.â Â Seb shouted before Graham had a chance to answer.Â âSorry I didnât get your name.Â One of Davidâs regulars is here.Â Anyway showtime in a few minutes.â
âItâs Graham.âÂ Graham didnât know why he provided that information.Â He was ready to leave; the place was a brothel!Â But he decided to hang round and see the show.Â He still had half his beer, and he didnât see why he should waste it, not at their prices.Â And a couple of the boys were attractive.Â He was pleased David had left, he wasnât in to blonds.Â At least he could watch, but he wasnât going to pay for sex with anyone.Â Maybe if he chatted to one or two of them theyâd tell where to go and find young guys, that wasnât a brothel.
First up was a Spanish boy, obviously well endowed by the bulge in his trunks.Â Dark spiky hair, almost black.Â Nice tanned body.Â Quite attractive Graham thought. Â He was surprised when the boy on stage turned his back to the room, bent over and removed his trunks.Â Nice ass Graham thought to himself, Iâd like to fuck that.
The dancer then turned round and jumped onto the bar and started flirting with the customers.Â Graham soon realised that heâd dance in front of anyone who proffered a tip, paper of course, no coins.Â He reached in his pocket and pulled out a ten.Â The dancer moved along the bar and knelt in front of Graham.Â His cock barely inches away from Grahamâs mouth.Â âHey handsome, Iâm Ricardo.Â Ten gets you a good look, if you want to lick we can go to a room after.âÂ After a couple more minutes the music ended and Ricardo jumped off the bar, grabbed his trunks which he held over his cock and balls, and walked round with a beer mug, collecting tips. Â He didnât bother with those who had already tipped.Â He pulled his trunks on and walked over to Graham.
âSo, how about it?Â I didnât catch your name.â
âI didnât give it.Â But itâs Graham.Â Nice ass, but Iâm on my way to dinner, maybe later.Â Anyway I only popped in for a drink.âÂ Graham was tempted, but there might be better on offer, and payment?Â No way was he going to pay.
âYour choice.Â I finish my shift soon, but Iâm working from seven tomorrow night.Â Or if you are looking for a job, talk to Bryan upstairs.â
Liam sat at a table in the coffee shop waiting.Â Heâd been instructed to arrive by ten, order a latte and sit at a table at the back, one of the ones with a bench seat.Â He was told heâd be contacted by ten forty-five.
It was ten forty and nothing.Â He kept glancing at the clock on the wall.Â Maybe it was wrong.Â Heâd be pissed if this didnât happen.Â Heâd spent weeks setting it up.Â He had the money.Â Hell heâd travelled half way across the world.Â Heâd told everyone heâd be out of contact for three days, maybe five.Â He guessed heâd give it until eleven.Â But then what?Â Heâd made sure to dress as required.Â Jeans and a white t-shirt.Â Everything else heâd left at a hotel in Pattaya.Â They knew he was away.
He watched as the minute hand clicked over onto the nine.Â The barista came over to him.
âMessage for you.Â There is a small restaurant, Pink Orchid.Â Itâs about a ten minute walk down the road.Â Your friend says heâll wait for you there until eleven.â
Liam checked directions and left.
It was hot outside and he was soon sweating as he walked rapidly towards his destination.
The barista called Sam.Â âItâs Apichat, heâs on his way.Â This is going to be fun; heâs hotter than the photos.Â See you tonight, glad I can get away.â
When Liam got to the restaurant it was empty except for a waiter.Â âIf youâre Liam, go though the back and upstairs, second door on the left.â
Liam knocked at the door and was told to enter.Â It wasnât what he expected.Â Not that he was sure what he expected.Â There were two female nurses and what looked like a load of medical equipment.Â A young Thai guy came in.Â âIf you are going to be with us, we need you checking out first.Â Oh and donât worry about the cameras.Â Itâs so the others can watch.Â Make plans.Â And of course the deal is everything is online.Â I need to check the feed is running.â
Sam left and went to the next room where he checked the computer, and that the feed was going out to the net.Â They hoped for at least a hundred viewers for the check up.Â Of course they werenât really nurses, but they knew how to give a guy a checkup.Â In fact, as Liam would find out, they werenât female either.
The plane arrived in Manila at 5am.Â Immigration was painless as there was only one flight arriving around that time.Â Minibus to the hotel and then a few hours sleep was the plan.Â Simon wasnât sure why he had made the trip.Â It had been a year, but for some reason he wanted to see the boys again. Â Probably because he hadnât parted on the best of terms.Â Hated final memories to be an argument.Â It seemed to be par for the course, but these guys were somehow different.Â Heâd thought about it a few times, but this time he had acted.
There had been three of them.Â Two he liked, one was a hanger on.Â Unfortunately the hanger on was Leonardoâs cousin.Â In fact, it was Rey that had caused the problems, at least most of them.Â Add parents who thought any foreigner was a soft touch and it was inevitable.Â Still, maybe Ace had matured. Â Time would tell.
He wanted a day alone and had asked Ace to meet him on Tuesday.Â He told Leonardo heâd call once he had arrived, and theyâd meet on the Wednesday.Â He needed some time with Ace first.Â His return flight was open, and he expected to be flying out in three or four days.Â His expectations were low.Â If either stayed the night, it was a bonus.Â Once he was checked in at his hotel, he called Ace and Leonardo to confirm he had arrived, and that they would.Â There was no answer from Ace.Â Typical he thought.
It was Ace who had kept him coming back to Manila.Â He had met him in a macho dancer bar.Â He was new, young, naive.Â Fresh from the provinces.Â Shy, always kept his underwear on.Â Maybe thatâs what intrigued Simon.Â And with very little English.Â Thatâs where Rey had come in.Â The staff had brought Rey over to help translate.Â Simon had tried to ignore Rey, but he kept butting in, and asking for a drink.Â He was about to tell the staff to remove Rey when this other guy walked over.Â Tall, handsome.Â He introduced himself.Â He was Leonardo, Reyâs cousin.Â If he hadnât found Ace, Simon would have gone for Leonardo.
Simonâs mind went back to the early days.
There had been something about Ace.Â Simon couldnât place it.Â He tried a few times in the early days to get Ace alone, but he seemed too shy.Â Later Ace had confessed that Simon was the only man heâd left the bar with, and then he officially hadnât, theyâd met after his shift.Â He had said that he was a bit afraid of being alone with Simon in the beginning.
On Simonâs fourth, or fifth, visit, Aceâs English had improved enough that they could chat without Rey.Â And a bonus, Rey hadnât come to work.Â So when the bar closed it was Leonardo and Ace who accompanied Simon to his hotel.Â As they sat on the bed, Simon started to put his hand under Aceâs shirt.Â Ace looked at him and removed his shirt.Â âYou want more?â
Leonardo, who was watching TV, turned and said heâd leave, if Ace was alright.
âYes, if Simon can give me money for a taxi to the bus station.â
âOf course. Â See you tomorrow Leonardo.â
âSo Ace, what did you mean?â
Well, youâve never seen me on stage.Â Iâm shy.â
âIâve seen you every night.â
âI mean, I keep my slip on.Â You want?â
âIf you want.â
âYes.Â Iâm not as big as Leonardo.Â I hoped he might stay, and join in.Â I think heâs gay.Â Rey isnât, he has a girlfriend.â
âWhat about you.â
âIâm gay.Â But Iâm shy.Â I want to ask Leonardo, but then I worry heâll tell everyone.Â Nobody else at bar says that they are gay.Â Some say that they are bi.â
âSo what do you want now?â
âI want to have sex with you.Â I want to know what it is like to fuck someone.Â I can stay tonight if you want.Â Iâll call mama in morning; say I stay with friend from work.Â Umm.Â Can we go shopping tomorrow?Â New underwear, shirt.Â I not want anyone know I stay.â
âOf course.Â Now letâs see what you are too shy to display.â
Simon slowly undressed Ace, then removed his own clothes.Â âLetâs shower first.â
In the shower, Simon knelt in front of Ace.Â âI donât know why you are shy.Â Can I suck you?â
âYes.âÂ Ace leant against the wall and let the water cascade down his body.Â Sure, heâd have preferred someone his age, or Leonardo, but this was good.Â Simon wasnât that old, and was handsome in a way.Â He felt Simonâs hand caressing and exploring him.Â He needed this release, this experience.Â Maybe then, with some experience, heâd have more confidence.
Simon stopped and looked up at Ace.Â âI havenât seen Leonardo this close, but you look as big to me.Â Now want to get into bed.Â Thereâs no rush, we have all night.â
Ace was in a rush and took the lube from the bedside table.Â He knelt in front of Simon.Â Simon wanted him, and didnât even mention condom.Â âGo on then.â
Ace didnât need a second chance.Â Once he was inside, he relaxed and checked if Simon was ready.Â âYou are my first.Â Tell me if I hurt you.âÂ Then he started.Â Simon lay there, enjoying the ride and watching Aceâs face.Â He could see the joy.Â There was a shout of yes as Ace unloaded.Â Simon put his legs round Ace.Â âStay there.âÂ Then he pulled him down and kissed him.
Simon woke from his dream at eleven.Â At least he thought it was a dream until he saw a naked Ace sat watching TV.
âGood morning.Â I let you sleep, took an orange juice from the fridge.Â Letâs shower and go eat, then shop.Â The sooner we are back, the sooner I can fuck you again.Â I need to go home tonight after work.Â How long are you staying?â
âTwo more nights.â
âTomorrow you want me to stay again?Â Iâll not go to work, say I sick.Â Does Leonardo know how long you stay?â
âNo, I can tell him tonight is my last night.â
âOnly one thing, can you help me?â
âIf youâre good, of course.Â And you sure you donât want more shopping.Â You can leave it here and pick it up tomorrow.â
âFine, you can have eight thousand.Â Spend two, you get six tip.Â Spend five, you get three tip.Â Understand.âÂ Simon knew he was being over generous, but wanted to leave an impression.
âI think so.Â I find some good clothes.Â And you help me find underwear for the show.Â Suppose it costs three thousand, then after tomorrow you give me five thousand cash.â
âYes!Â And next visit I wonât tell the others I am coming.Â First night you can be sick again.Â And I would like to try and get Leonardo to join us.Â If we can get rid of Rey.â
Ace walked over, kissed his.Â âIâm sure you can find a way.Â Why not just tell him.â
âItâs difficult.Â They are cousins.Â And I donât want to upset Leonardo.Â Any other dancers you fancy?â
They spent five thousand shopping.Â Rey was absent again, and Leonardo was convinced to come to the room.Â He seemed more prepared for things.Â Simon decided to push things a little.Â âHey guys, any chance of a good photo of you, in your underwear?â
He took some photos of them and handed them a fresh beer from the fridge.Â âSo Leonardo.Â Youâve worked there a long time.Â You enjoy it?â
âYeah.Â Itâs fine.Â Mainly women customers, sometimes one of them wants sex, but thatâs okay, if the tip is good.â
âWhat about the men?â
âMost of them are too old.Â But I have fucked a guy before.âÂ He looked at Ace.Â âTook a bit of getting used to and a lot of nerve the first time.Â After the first time, I went to a sauna and found a guy my age.Â I was getting offers at work, but I wanted to try somewhere that no one knew me.Â What about you Ace?â
âHe looked at Simon.Â I havenât.Â Donât know.Â Itâs bad enough being on stage in underwear, let alone being naked with a man.Â I think Iâd make a complete mess of it.â
âThe trick is to think of some hot girl, or something, not the guy under you.Â Simon, get more beer, and you want some photos without underwear?â
âSure, if you want.Â Iâll bring copies for you next time.Â Ace, donât feel under pressure.â
After a few shots, Ace was getting horny, strong and embarrassed.
Leonardo looked at Simon.Â âIf you want to suck my dick you can, as long as you are naked.Â Then if you want, Iâll fuck you and Ace can watch?Â You okay with that Ace?â
âYou mean youâll fuck Simon here.Â Now.Â You arenât embarrassed if Iâm here?â
âNo.Â Iâm horny.â
âWell.Â Only if Simon agrees that I can try after you.â
Simon nodded.Â âOkay, but be gentle, and donât tell anyone.Â Especially Rey.Â I donât know how to tell you Leonardo, but I donât like Rey hanging around.Â If he was here, Iâd have said no.Â I donât think Iâd have suggested photos.â
âDonât worry.Â I donât want Rey, or work, to know.Â Weâll get into trouble as they didnât make any commission.Â Oh and tonight is free.Â Well five hundred for a taxi.â
They went to shower together.Â Leonardo looked at Ace.Â âYou sure youâve never fucked a guy before?â
They dressed and left.
The next night Ace had visited, and the next couple of trips they managed time without Rey.Â Nothing was said but Leonardo must have said something.