Jason found an empty table and sat down. He’d placed his order with the cute attendant, who was now busy at the monster coffee machine. Every so often the young man would look over at Jason and give him a dazzling smile. The café at the Sauna was small, only providing for about 8, 4-seater tables. Unfortunately, they’d painted the walls a ghastly lime green; luckily, scattered pot plants softened the impact .
Nonetheless, Jason was happy. His world was almost perfect.
Ever since he began to parade himself through the dark corridors of the Sauna, he’d received multiple invitations from all sorts of men. Some were stunning, some were pleasant with great bodies, some were too old, some were too young and some were perfect. He gathered his thoughts.
Wow! I didn’t know I’d have so many offers that I’d be able to pick and choose. Apparently, my body is a definite asset. I’ve been exposed to nipple teasing, licking, smelling, and drooling, so much so I got carried to heights of ecstasy and almost passed out. And fucking; being a top I had multiple choices of who to stick my dick into. And everyone had such a beautiful arse; I could cum just looking at those sculptured mounds of flesh. My big dick wasn’t a problem . . .
The young attendant interrupted his thoughts by bringing his coffee and croissant, and placing them down in front of Jason.
‘There you are sir; I hope you enjoy. (Hesitating) Maybe (smiling) you’ll get horny again after you’ve had a rest and a cuppa. I noticed you seem popular with the clients, and I must say I’m envious. (self-consciously) My names Eric. Please check under the croissant before you leave.’
And then returned to the counter.
Mmmm, he’s gorgeous and I think he just offered himself to me? I gotta be careful and save enough spunk for Kathy, although being prego, she’s not really interested in sex. What the fuck am I gonna do? Can I keep up this double existence? Well, so far so good. Will I get tired of endless, random fucks . . .? enjoying just physical relief without any emotional attraction. With Kathy I feel an emotional involvement but very little physical attraction.
What would I like? Easy. Find someone who satisfies my emotional needs as well as physical cravings. What about Karl? Yes, what about Karl? From that day in church when he winked at me, he’s been on my radar. But he’s got issues too. I can’t see his affair with young Billy Jenkins going too far because the lad’s too young . . . and Karl’s still in the closet. That’s bound to be messy. Gawd, here I am talking about Karl’s problems when I’ve got a shit-pile meself.
For some time, he sat sipping on his drink and nibbling on his food. Even out here in the café he could hear sex sounds filtering from within. Looking around he realised he was still alone in the café.
I guess my most dreaded thought would be my father finding out that I’m gay. He’d go berserk. It would be ugly. Oh man, I don’t really want to go there. Think of the consequences. My parents, my sister, my wife, and my coming baby. It would be heavy and dire. Shit! I mustn’t ever, ever let them find out about my sexuality. It would cause too much pain.
Looking up he idly watched Eric cleaning behind the counter.
They . . . hey, wait there. What about my pain trying to live a lie? I’m not bad, I’m not evil, I’m not a criminal, I’m not immoral and I’m certainly not a sinner. No, I’m just me . . . Jason Anderson. If the time comes . . .’
‘(Tentatively) Mind if I join you? It’s boring not having anyone to serve. (Cautiously) I hope I’m not interrupting some important thoughts?’
Eric the attendant tentatively sat down opposite Jason, smiling uncertainly.
‘(Smiling) No, no of course not. Who would object to a beautiful young man sitting at his table? And as to thoughts; it’s just some shit I’ll have to overcome in the future.’
‘Sooooo, you’re not out yet, eh? You should take your wedding ring off when you visit this place. Gives you away.’
‘WHAT! Oh shit, I hadn’t thought. It’s a wonder someone didn’t say something back there.’
‘I’d say they were too busy enjoying that fantastic body of yours to mention a small thing like a wedding ring. Anyway, many of our clients are married and are just as forgetful. Is it a big problem. . .? I mean being married and being gay?’
‘Sorta. But it’s a problem I created for myself, not having the guts to admit my sexuality. I simply got married to hide the truth. Also, my dad’s homophobic.’
‘Strange that you should say that about yer dad. Has he been shooting off about gay people?’
‘Indeed, he has. He’s a preacher and is violently homophobic. I’m sure when he finds out about me sucking cock, he’ll buy a one-way ticket to hell.’
‘(Cautiously) A preacher you say. I did hear that a preacher at the local Baptist church was nasty to gay people and prone to particularly homophobic statements. Is he your Dad?’
“Yep, that’s him. Oh shit, now I’ve gone and given you my personal details, haven’t I? Can I ask you to say nothing, please? I’m struggling with what to do with my future life, and . . . hey, I’ve just met you Eric and now I’m spilling out private stuff. Can I ask you to respect my privacy as I’m just not ready to come out? Too many people involved.’
‘Don’t worry, ummm . . . hey, you haven’t told me your name. If you feel unsure just make up any name but it would be nice . . .’
‘Jason. My name’s Jason and it’s for real.’
‘Thanks, ummm Jason. Our gay community is like a brotherhood where we all stick together . . .’
Whilst Eric rambled on, Jason took some time to evaluate the young man sitting opposite,
I wish he wouldn’t sit there with his arms crossed. He looks to be on the defensive. He’s certainly good looking with light brown hair and tanned features. His baby-face features, cupid bow lips and a small, pert, little nose are attractive. Whilst not particularly muscular his body could be regarded as voluptuous. Oh yes, I’d like to fuck him. Just looking at his face I’d say he’s about 18, but looks can always be deceiving . . .
‘How old are you, Eric? And please, don’t hug your arms to your chest. I’m not gonna bite you.’
‘(Self-consciously letting his arms fall to the table) Ummm, why? Do you think I’m under age? Well, let me assure you, I’m not 18 but just turned 22. I’m told I have a young-looking face and that’s always been a problem for me. And I’d say your around 25, eh?’
‘Close; I’m 26. While you have some free time tell me a little about yourself.’
‘(Sub-consciously picking up a pepper shaker and playing with it) There’s not a lot to tell. My parents are well-off so they sent me to Peninsular Grammar, one of the local private schools. After graduation I travelled around . . . well, bummed around, for two years before going on to Uni to study Engineering. I do the night shift here Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and this gives me a little independent cash apart from a small allowance I get from my folks.’
‘Do your folks . . .?’
‘Oh yes, I told them I was gay back when I turned 15. A bit cool at first but soon they came to accept who I was. Since then it hasn’t been an issue.’
‘(Looking Eric in the eye) What about boyfriend? A good-looking young’un like you would surely have the pick of the field?’
At Jason’s question, Eric visibly became defensive and looked downcast. He seemed to shrink within himself. An uncomfortable silence followed.
‘(Hesitant) I’m just coming to terms with a nasty breakup. I had a partner for 4 years. (Pause) He was older than me; I think he was 36 when we first got together and for a while it was great. Then he started to make weird sexual demands on me and I began to feel uncomfortable. When I protested, he became abusive, physically abusive, and . . . and, well he hurt me. Being in love, I put up with it until one night I ended up in the Emergency ward. My friends let me stay with them and refused to let my partner near me. (Softly) It’s taken about 6 months but I’ve finally rid myself of him. (Looking up) That’s the first time I’ve told my story to a relative stranger. Thank you for listening.’
‘(Earnestly) Hey I feel privileged to hear you tell about your ordeal. It just goes to say that gays can also foster mongrels just the same as hetros. Are you OK now?’
‘(Confident) Yes, I am. Although I hate walking down darkened streets at night time. I keep looking over my shoulder imagining . . . but look how about yourself? Care to share something that maybe on yer mind?’
“(Sadly) Oh it’s an old familiar story. Religious, homophobic parents. My dad, the Pastor is the worst; If he found out I’m gay . . . it, well it would freak him out.
When I was young about 6 or 7, I felt different but couldn’t put a name to it. It’s a familiar story with gay people isn’t it? (Eric nodded) Then, a year or so after, I found out this strange feeling had a name . . . in my case a dreaded name – Gay, and I became afraid . . . no, terrified. If my parents found out I know they’d cast me out; forgive the biblical term. I resolved to bury my true self; portraying, living, talking, and depicting myself as straight. However, in my defence, I never bad-mouthed gay people. It wasn’t anything to do with Christianity.
I avoided any situation that might involve sex with females, and masturbated to relieve my sexual tension. At first, I thought I had it under control but slowly, insidiously my sexual cravings became unbearable. Knowing I couldn’t pursue a normal gay life, in my stupidity I resolved to get married and have a family. I know, I know . . . you don’t have to say anything, I know doing that only makes a bad situation worse and can only end in misery.’
‘(Sympathetically) Oh dear, sorry to hear that. You must be under extreme pressure what with your father being homophobic and a wife in tow. Do you have anyone to talk to? What about siblings, do you have any brothers or sisters?’
‘(Hesitant) Yeah, no brothers but a younger sister. Rhonda is pretty cool and I can’t remember how many times I’ve longed to tell her about me. Got close a coupla times but always chickened out. The way things are going I’m gonna haveta say something to her because the emotional mess is starting to pile up on me. Sometimes I think . . .’
‘Look, I’d like to be a friend that you can talk to. But I guess you’ve got plenty of friends to share yer burden. The thing is you need to talk to someone close like in yer family because your problem is with your family . . . including your wife. Man, I sure don’t envy you; I’d hate to be in your shoes. Look, anytime you want to visit, make it on the nights I’m on duty and I’ll give you a freebee.
Just then a group of 4 went to the counter looking for service and Eric stood up.
‘(Sheepishly) Ummm sorry Jason but looks like I’ve got customers. Better take care of ‘em or I’ll lose my job. (Concerned) I hope you’ll take up my offer to talk or visit. My numbers under your plate so, if you get a chance, please call me.’
Jason watched Eric sway back to the counter and decided he’d like a piece of that arse. Even so, he enjoyed Eric’s company and even if lust was a factor, he’d also enjoy just yapping with him. Extracting Eric’s phone number, he added it to his phone contacts.
Wow look at the time? 10 pm and I bet Kathy’s wondering where I am. Gawd I’m horny again, compliments to Eric, I guess. I’d love to spend another half-hour but best I get home before it’s too late.
With that he stood up, gave a friendly wave in Eric’s direction, and went into the change room to dress for home.
9.2 Outside the Sauna.
The outside air was refreshing after being in the steamy Sauna premises. Jason stopped and breathed in deeply several times before walking back to where he’d parked his car. Leaving the pool of light around the Sauna’s entrance he proceeded into the deepening gloom smiling as he reflected on the night’s activities.
‘(Softly) Say mate, you wouldn’t have a light, would you?’
The person behind the voice materialized out of the gloom and stepped in front of him. A youngish man, lightly built, about 180 cm tall, dressed in old jeans and red tee shirt, he waved an unlit cigarette in front of Jason. And he stank.
‘(Warily) Sorry my friend, I don’t smoke. Gave it up about 10 years back and glad I did.’
Without warning, three other young males appeared out of the darkness. They formed a loose ring around Jason and the other man. His heart began to beat fast, and he felt adrenalin, the bodies response to danger, start to flood through him.
‘Well now mate, what’ve ya been doin’ that’s brought you here. It’s not like it’s a popular place to be at this time of night, isn’t it?’
‘No, and if yer don’t mind, it’s none of yer business, . . . is it?’
‘(Menacingly) Arrhh, now don’t be like that. There’s no need to be snappy, it was just a friendly question, it were.’
‘(Evenly) And I gave you a friendly answer, I did. Now if you don’t mind, I’ll be on my way.’
Just then one of the others spoke up,
‘Y’know Rocky, I reckon he’s been to that poofter place just back there. Only reason for a bloke to be out and about this time o’ night. Eh?’
‘Y’know, Jimmy, you jest might be right. Whatya say chum, you just come from that disgusting place. Been indulging in a little buggery and such. Pretty boy like you would have them queers drooling at the thought of suckin’ yer cock, Eh’
‘(Angry) Ain’t none of yer business where I’ve been, so piss off!’
‘(Ignoring) And I bet you like suck’n cock as well. Maybe enjoy someone stick’n their cock up yer arse too?’
General laughter. They moved closer.
‘(Continuing) Well, let me tell you boyo, me and me mates are disgusted with you faggots, disgusted with what ya does and disgusted that ya can hide amongst decent blokes like us. ‘Bout time ya gets taught a lesson . . .’
THUMP! Jason didn’t see but really felt a hard punch to his kidneys. Arrows of pain shot through his body so intensely all he could do was gasp. The punch came from behind and as he turned to meet the threat, a savage punch in the guts doubled him over. Blindly he struck out and rewarded when his fist connected with soft flesh.
Someone groaned and immediately he launched a punch in the same direction. Again, there was connection and something that sounded like ‘Arrrgggh!’ told him he’s struck home. But then the ring closed and the assault continued with punches landing on his body from all directions. Falling to the ground he contorted into a foetal position to protect his body. Now they used feet to pummel him maliciously.
His body shuddered as each blow rained on his exposed flesh. Vainly he tried calling for help, but he couldn’t be heard over the vicious language coming from his tormentors. A blow to the side and he felt a rib break; the pain made him gasp. Luckily his arms absorbed kicks to his stomach and chest but by now they were painfully bruised. His forehead received several kicks resulting in a burst blood vessel. Now blood cascaded over his eyes and reduced his vision.
All the while he’s been yelling, ‘HELP’, ‘HELP’ but it seems he was alone in his torment.
After what seems like hours, but really 5 minutes, the punishment stopped and his attackers escaped into the night. Still he feebly called for help but no-one answered. Then a sauna client, departing the venue, heard Jason’s cries and went to investigate. He took one look at the scene and fled back inside to get help.
Eric, after being told what happened, immediately called the Police and an ambulance. Even though dreading what he’d find, he was still shocked when he came upon Jason’s mangled body. At first, he thought he was dead but Jason, still calling weakly for help, assured Eric that life still pulsed within. Even though not wanting to touch anything, he tried to comfort Jason by lifting his head and cradling it in his arms. Jason’s cries had reduced to whimpers and this alarmed him.
Is he dying? Oh, this beautiful man, who could have done this? If there’s a gay god please don’t let this wonderful person die. Ambulance, please come quickly.
As if to answer, he heard the distant wails of, hopefully an ambulance, approaching. When the paramedics pulled up, they gently disengaged Eric’s hands and proceeded to check vital signs. First, they stabilized him and then checked his wounds. Apart from a head cut and broken ribs he was severely bruised and in extreme pain.
By now many of the Sauna’s clientele gathered around Jason’s inert body and were shocked at the savagery inflicted on the man. His appearance was all the nastier due to the blood escaping from his forehead. The extent of bruising would only be apparent when they got him to hospital.
Eric, still covered in Jason’s blood, watched impassively as the medics stabilised Jason’s vitals, and prepared him for transfer to emergency. Then a constable drew him aside and asked if he had any more information.
‘(Eric answered) I was talking to him before he left. All I know is that he’s married, and his parents are religious and homophobic. He’s also gay. As you can imagine he’s suddenly got more serious problems than just physical wounds. He made it quite clear he doesn’t want his parents to find out about . . . about, well, you know. (the copper nodded) Then there’s a sister called . . . called . . . Ummm, Rhoda . . . no ummm, Rhonda. I reckon her numbers in his mobile. Do you want me to . . .?’
‘No, that’s OK. We’ll find her number and call her officially. After that, well it’s up to her.’
The paramedics closed the ambulance doors and soon moved off with an absence of sirens. This to Eric was a good sign.
As Jason was the only witness to his own beating the cops couldn’t get much information out of the bystanders. They agreed to let Eric make a statement next morning.
9.3 Jason in hospital
After a thorough examination they admitted Jason to the Emergency ward . He didn’t get any painkillers as the staff wanted him awake to answer questions. This was standard hospital procedure. Stripping him expertly, he underwent an examination from head to foot. This showed up the extent of bruising and broken rib. They treated the head cut and cleaned up any excess blood, before attaching him to monitors and inserting a saline drip into his arm.
Rhonda took the call whilst sitting in bed editing a word manuscript that was due as homework the next day. Phone calls this late weren’t unusual as she spent time before going to sleep talking with her friends. She accepted the call and,
‘Hey, it’s Rhonda; Whatya want because it’s late and I need my beauty sleep. So, go . . .’
She sat bolt upright when the caller announced himself as Constable Blackwater and asked if she was Rhonda Anderson the sister of Jason Anderson.
‘(Heart thumping) Yes, yes I am. Why d’yer ask?’
‘I’m afraid your brother has been in an accident and is now being ambulanced to Frankston Hospital. According to the medics, I can tell you his injuries aren’t immediately life threatening but . . . (Rhonda interrupted) . . . no, I don’t have more information than that; you’ll have to ask the medical staff for such details.’
‘(Near hysterical) Well, can you tell me where the accident happened? Was he hit by a car? Was he driving? Was he mugged? Please, I must call our parents and need to give them some information. Please?’
‘OK, try and keep calm. I know this comes as a shock but try and keep calm. He suffered an attack by persons unknown in Stanford Circle just off Hartnet Drive, Seaford. That’s all I can tell you. Frankly, that’s all I know myself.’
‘(Loud) HARTNET DRIVE! What’s he doing in Hartnet drive? There’s nothing there but an Industrial Estate. Are you sure?’
‘Absolutely. Right now, it’s early days and we’ve yet to talk to your brother. From my experience an interview tonight is impossible because he’ll be in an induced coma. But, if he’s better tomorrow, we’ll talk with him then. For now, let him know you care; that’s all you can do . I’m sure the medical people will let the family in for support. I’m sorry Ms Anderson for having to bring you such sad news. Be comforted that it could’ve been worse.’
After the call ended Rhonda sat almost in a stupor.
Jason . . . in hospital. Mugged? In Hartnet Drive? What on earth was he doing there? Huh. Mum’s gonna go bonkers. Oh god, I hope it’s not drugs. No, no Jason wouldn’t do drugs . . . would he? I thought I knew my own brother but no one gets mugged for no reason. Shit! Shit! Shit! C’mon girl get yer shit together and call home. Best if I tell dad first. Maybe he’ll say a prayer . . .
She dialled her father’s number and broke the news. As expected, they pummelled her with questions that she couldn’t answer. Hanging up, she hastily readied herself to go to the hospital
Frankston Hospital, unlike most regional hospitals, did not have good parking facilities and, at this time on a Friday night the Anderson family wasted time finding vacant spots. Rhonda arrived first and approached the reception desk. The waiting room was almost full, which was normal for a Friday evening.
The nurse on duty did not see Rhonda until she prompted,
‘Oh sorry, can I help you?’
‘Yes, my brother Jason Anderson has just been admitted to Emergency and I’d like to see him if possible.’
There followed a lengthy examination of a computer monitor until,
‘Yes. He’s just been registered, and . . . (lengthy pause) . . . ahh, I see, he’s been sent down for a Cat Scan. You can wait over there (indicating a row of chairs, separate but not part of the Outpatient area) . . . I’ll call you as soon as he’s back and you can see him. Sorry, but at least he’s being attended.
‘Thank you’; and sat where indicated.
Then her parents arrived; predictably Gloria Anderson was distraught. On the other hand, the Pastor appeared reserved and angry.
‘(Anxious) Have you seen him? How bad . . .’
‘Mum, slow down. No, I haven’t because they’re doing a cat scan and this may take some time. It’s best we . . .’
‘(Alarmed) A Cat Scan! That means somethings wrong; there’s been damage to his head. Oh my . . .. (weeping) he’ll come home a vegetable; he’ll be a baby for the rest of his life. Oh, poor Kathy and the baby . . .’
‘(Harshly) Stop that woman! You’re getting hysterical for no reason. We don’t know either what’s happened or the extent of his injuries. Why do you have to assume the worst? Trust in the Lord woman. I know they keep a small chapel here so it might be best if you were . . .’
‘(Panicked) Kathy! Has anyone notified Kathy? It’s after 11 pm and she’ll be worried sick. (Rhonda turned to her father) Did you call Kathy, because I didn’t, I forgot.’
‘(Embarrassed) NO, I haven’t. Dear me how could I forget. Look I’ll call now.’
A short pause whilst the Pastor dialled his daughter-in-Law. Predictably, Jason’s wife began crying and kept wailing;
‘How, how? What’s happened? Why is he in hospital . . .’
‘(Sternly) Kathy, Kathy, I know it’s a shock; it’s a shock to all of us. The fact is we don’t know very much, so we’re just sitting here waiting for further information. We do know they sent him to have a Cat Scan and . . . Stop it! You’re not doing yourself and the baby any good. . .. (listening) No, No! Don’t come here because there’s nothing you can do - or we can do for that matter. Best you stay at home – perhaps pray to the Lord – and we’ll keep you informed about his condition. I meant what I said, say a prayer, that’s the most positive thing you can do now. Be a good girl and let me handle the situation. I’ll call you as soon as we know something more.’
And hung up.
All they could do now was wait, and hope that Jason’s condition wasn’t too serious. The question about why was Jason attacked in Seaford needed resolving. To Kathy, the answer was not likely to be pleasant.
About 20 minutes after talking to Kathy, a doctor emerged and, after asking the receptionist a question, walked over to where the family waited.
‘I’m doctor Geoff Samuels and I’ve been looking after your son. Now, (Pause) he’s going to be OK. He’s been the object of a very vicious attack. We were a bit worried about his head wound, but the Cat Scan didn’t show up any problems. So that’s good news. The rest of his body is severally bruised and a rib broken. We’ll strap him up so that the rib has a chance to heal. As to the other bruising, he’s a healthy lad and the damage will disappear over time. I’d like to keep him in for another day just to be safe. I’d say Sunday morning, all being well, he can be discharged. In the meantime, we’re moving him to the general hospital population. Now, any questions?’
‘Do you know what happened, doctor? The only information we have is he was assaulted somewhere in Seaford and that doesn’t make any sense . . . no sense at all?’
‘No, sorry Mr . . .?
‘Anderson; Peeter Anderson.’
‘. . . Anderson, but I can’t help you with that. I suppose the police will have more information for you. I’m sure they’ll be here early tomorrow morning to get a statement from him; well, that’s the usual procedure.’
‘Can we see him?’
‘Yes Mrs Anderson, you can but he’s sleeping right now and I wouldn’t disturb him. However, a quick visit might be good for all of you.’
So very quietly and with some apprehension, they were escorted to Jason’s emergency cubicle. There was an audible gasp when they saw Jason’s inert form. Bandages enveloped his head leaving his mouth and nose uncovered. His naked torso was also bandaged, obviously to stabilize his broken rib, and he was asleep.
Gloria approached her son and gave his hand a squeeze. No response, so she just sat on the bed and gazed worryingly at her motionless son. Rhonda let her mother hold Jason’s hand, and all she could do was stand and stare at her wounded brother. The Pastor stayed silent but after a few minutes he whispered to Rhonda to come outside, leaving Gloria alone with Jason.
‘Now I want to know everything the police told you, particularly where he’d been found. Some things not right; in fact, I’d say somethings very wrong.’
‘Dad all I can do is tell you what the copper told me over the phone; he was found in a street near Hartnett Road in Seaford. That’s all . . .’
‘I know that location, it’s all industrial and at that time of night everything would be closed. It doesn’t make any sense. I need answers, and I want answers now!’
‘(Severe) We all do, and there’s no point being angry until we know the facts. I’m trying to remember what the constable told me. I’m sure he mentioned a certain street. (Thinking) Now, what was it . . . ummm, I think . . . yes, yes it was . . . Stanford Circle. Yes, Stanford circle.’
‘Use your mobile, look it up on Google maps.’
When she did the mystery deepened. Stanford Circle was a no thoroughfare butting onto the Frankston railway. It was a short dead-end street. Both Rhonda and her father were more mystified and frustrated.
‘(Musing out loud) What could be in that street that would bring Jason there at this time of night? It doesn’t make sense and because it’s a mystery I’m now getting very concerned. What do you think, Rhonda?’
‘I haven’t the faintest idea. Just as much in the dark as you are.’
‘Yes, yes, and I hate mysteries (long pause) Look it’s late and we’re not going to solve anything tonight. We’ll just have to wait until tomorrow, talk to the police and of course Jason. C’mon, I’ll get your mother and we’ll go home.’
But Rhonda had no intention of going home. After her parents left, she drove to Stanford Circle which wasn’t that far from the hospital.
9.5 Rhonda explores
As she turned into Stanford Circle from Hartnett Drive, Rhonda could see how short it was. Driving slowly down the left side she saw storage sheds, a Sauna, more sheds, and a large grassy area at the bottom. Continuing around to the other side were several properties with barred gates and then a tyre factory. Turning back onto Hartnett Drive she stopped and considered what she’d found. There wasn’t any indication on the street marking where they found Jason. Frustrating. Her mind worked overtime.
OK they found him on somewhere on Stanford Circle. On the road . . . no, I don’t think so. Anyway, that’s not important. The only places that looked possible was the tyre place and that Sauna. Seems a strange place for a Sauna but – who knows. I’ll take another look at the tyre place.
Turning around she drove back to the tyre place and stopped outside. Just to be sure she exited the vehicle and walked to the padlocked gates.
Nah, the place looks deserted and it’s padlocked. From the debris inside doesn’t look like its continually used. It doesn’t make sense that Jason would come here. Then again, perhaps it’s a secret gambling venue and kept untidy to fool anyone inquisitive. That’s a stretch. From the look of the padlock the gates haven’t been open for some time. There again didn’t James Bond movies have decrepit sites to hide spying activities? I’m reaching again. I’ll try the sauna again to see if it’s more credible.
Once again, she got in, started the car, and drove the short distance to the Sauna place. She pulled up just near the entrance. The place looked shut, although a light showed through a window on the ground floor.
What the hell is this place? I can barely make out the sign that says ‘Seaford Sauna’ I can’t see any signs of activity except for the light. What an out-of-the-way place for a sauna? The whole streets a bit seedy, in fact the whole area’s a bit seedy. Almost as if the Sauna management wanted to hide their presence. I’ll wait for 15 minutes and if nothing happened in that time I’ll go home. I hope tomorrow the cops can throw some light on this mystery, it’s bugging . . .
And just then the Sauna door opened and two youngish males exited. They walked down several steps and turned to each other and . . . kissed, not a friendly kiss but a full passionate kiss. On the lips, hugging, hips against hips, ardently for what seemed a long time. Rhonda just stared in shock.
Huh? Those two boys just kissed each other; kissed like lovers do. What sort . . .? (the penny dropped) They’re gay . . . this is a gay sauna. An obviously active gay sauna. Now that makes sense. That’s why it’s stuck away in a dilapidated neighbourhood – to hide. The cops; I wonder if the cops know about the sauna being here? Of course, they do. They’d have to because they must know what’s happening intheir area. So . . . so, what is Jason doing near a gay sauna? He’s a member at the local swimming centre where he’s got access to pools, exercise gear, spa baths and steam rooms. He doesn’t need . . . FUCK! . . . No, no, no! . . . it’s impossible. Jason . . . Jason, can’t be gay . . . he . . . he mustof arranged to meet someone secretly in the Sauna. That makes sense doesn’t it? No, that’s stupid. Oh Jason, Jason . . . my lovely brother, my lovely married brother, my soon to be a father married brother . . . Oh shit, this is awful, just awful. Jason’s gay and he visited a gay sauna and got mugged by straight thugs outside the place. Oh shit! . . . it does make sense, doesn’t it? If it’s true, there are some bad days ahead. Bad, bad I . . . I . . .
Rhonda burst into tears and a sensation of dread engulfed her. As the reality sank in, as she re-examined what she’d found out, it all made horrible sense. She sat in the car for another 15 minutes. As if to reinforce her findings, several other young males left the sauna premises, holding hands and kissing each other.
9.6 The hospital – Saturday morning.
During the night Jason woke up and pressed the nurse call button. He had a vague memory of treatment in Emergency last night but the details were unclear. However, the details of the attack were very clear, and he shuddered at the memory. When the nurse came, she explained about the head bandages, the bruising, and the broken rib.
‘So, when do you think I’ll go home?’
‘Well the doctor will be around mid-morning and will a then assess your condition. I’d say he’ll want to discharge you as soon as possible because your injuries will take time to heal and you can do that at home rather than in hospital. We’re also short of beds. I should warn you the cops will want to get a statement from you so, if you’ve been up to any mischief, you’d better get your story straight.’
‘(Ignoring her comment) Have my family, my wife been to visit?’
‘Sorry, I can’t tell you anything because you were in Emergency a long time before coming to this ward. No one’s been to see you since they transferred you here. Would you like a cuppa tea or coffee and a snack?’
‘Oh yes please, a black coffee and whatever, thanks.’
After the nurse brought his refreshments, he immersed himself in some serious thinking.
I’m fucked. How can I explain about being mugged just outside a gay sauna? Well I can’t lie to the cops because they’ll know about the sauna. If I lie that’ll just make matters worse. But then again if I tell the truth, won’t my parents find out about me? As will Kathy and Rhonda. SHIT! . . . I really am fucked. What’s my greatest fear, my worst nightmare? My father and Kathy. They just can’t know anything. It would be a disaster. Also, Bob, my boss, knowing how he treats Billy, would be less than happy having a gay man working for him. Somehow, he’d find an excuse to fire me. No! No! No! I gotta make up a story, without admitting I’m gay. But I need to talk to someone, not Billy, not Karl because they’ve got their own problems. (Thinking) Rhonda . . . I can talk to Rhonda. I’ll call her early and ask her to come to the hospital by herself.
A nurse interrupted his musing to take his temperature and blood pressure. Charts no longer sat at the end of each bed as the results immediately posted into a portable work station.
‘How are you feeling Mr Anderson? Any pain?’
‘Ummm yes, I’m a bit uncomfortable in the chest. Can you . . .’
‘Sure, I’ll get some Panadol right away. Just hold tight.’
Panadol! Christ Panadol’s useless for serious pain. Kathy’s got some Tramadol at home and I wish I could get some right now.
The nurse returned and Jason obliged by taking two tablets and swallowing them down with water. Satisfied, the nurse departed to attend to other patients. Jason continued his contemplation.
Right now, my life’s perfect. No one knows my secret. I’ve just gotta write this off as an unfortunate incident and not let it interfere with what I’ve decided. I’ll just bluff my way through. And Eric. Now there’s a possibility, he turns me on; I’d love to sink my cock deep inside him and tease his special spot until he spews cum all over. Just to watch his eyes and listen to him orgasm . . . whew, that’s getting me hard.How embarrassing if I soiled the bed sheets. Where was I? Oh yeah, I just gotta see this through without giving myself away. Rhonda? NO, best not say anything. I mean people can have their suspicions but that’s all they’ll have . . . suspicions. I just gotta tough it out. Wonder when’s breakfast.
9.7 Rhonda and Mother
Rhonda woke up about 8 am after a tormented sleep. She’d finally dropped off about 5 ish. She got up and went into the kitchen where her mother had started the coffee machine. Gloria also showed signs of a brutal night.
‘Morning Rhonda, I guess you couldn’t sleep either? I keep thinking of Jason lying in that hospital bed all bandaged up and in pain. I hope he had a restful night. I kept going over what information we have and nothing makes sense. (Heaving a sigh) Has your brother ever told you about being accosted before? What was he doing in that street? Your Dad told me it’s an out of the way location and Jason had no business being there. What do you think?’
‘I haven’t the faintest. Like you I’m at a loss why he ended up in that street. Look, I’ve got nothing planned today so I think I’ll head to the hospital as soon as I’ve had breakfast. I think you should call Kathy; by now I reckon she’ll be beside herself with worry. Why don’t you call now, mum, while I get some toast, jam, and coffee? Go on, I can look after myself.
Finishing breakfast Rhonda dressed and got ready to drive to the hospital.
9.8 Jason leaves Hospital
Jason had a reasonably good breakfast. The quality of the food surprised him because normally hospital food was not very good. He checked the time, 8:45 so he could expect a visit from the cops soon. He’d decided on his story.
If necessary, I’ll make a verbal statement, telling the cops the truth but if asked to sign a written statement I’ll simply say I had no idea how I ended up in Stanford Circle. That should satisfy the authorities. Well they would just have to be satisfied with it, because I’m not going to sign anything official that outted me. No Way!Just thinking about what would happen if I outted myself makes me ill. My parents, sister, wife, boss and presumably friends, would abandon me all because I was born gay. The church people would try and get me to go to some sort of aversion clinic. In short, my life would be over. All my dreams shattered. I doubt if I could survive . . .
His litany of fear ceased when Rhonda walked into the room.
‘Good morning brother, how’re you feeling?’
Rhonda wore a severe black dress and white tunic top. To Jason she radiated determination and had a no-nonsense look about her.
‘Morning Rhonda, thanks but I feel much better now. I’m still in some pain but they tell me that will diminish over the next few days. I can’t wait to get out of here, though.’
‘(Abrupt) I’m sure.’
Silence for several minutes. Jason began to feel uncomfortable.
‘(Curious) What’s the matter? You got something on your mind? If so, spit it out.’
‘(Brittle) Brother dear, we really need to talk. I need to talk to you before the ‘rents come to visit. You might say this is the most important conversation we’ve ever had.’
‘OK, OK, then let’s talk. What do you want to talk about?’
‘C’mon Jason you were found bashed up in a dead-end street off Hartnett Street in Seaford. At first it was a big mystery, a very big mystery, so I decided to investigate. Late last night I drove to Stanford Circle and found just what I expected – a rundown decrepit area of storage sheds including a tyre storage shed and . . . and, a Sauna. I pondered for some time, dismissed the tyre factory as an answer and decided the only place that could provide some answers was the Sauna. I parked near the entrance and was about to leave when two young men came out and . . . well, it was then I realised it was a gay sauna.’
An eery silence descended.
‘I reckon you’ve got something to tell me big brother, haven’t you?’
‘(Croaky) What do you think I’ve got to tell you, little sister?’
‘Look, we don’t have time to dance around Jason, and this is too important to be evasive. I came here to support you; I came here to find some way of protecting you and I came here to ask if you are gay.’
Now the silence descended into a room sucked dry of oxygen. Jason stared at his sister and so much in shock he couldn’t answer straight away. Blood drained from his face. Rhonda suddenly became alarmed because Jason went as white as a sheet and seemed to be struggling to speak.
‘(Gently) Oh shit, I’m sorry Jason, I didn’t mean to abuse you. It’s just I had such a bad night I’m somewhat frazzled and probably sounding nasty. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’ll never hurt you; you’re my big brother and I love you to death, mate. I love you Jason and that’s why I want to help.’
Again silence. Jason simply stared at Rhonda.
(Tenderly) C’mon mate, please you’ve got to tell someone in confidence and that’s me.’
‘Oh shit’ . . . and burst into tears.
All of Jason’s carefully crafted defences crashed down and left him with deep wrenching sobs. To Rhonda he seemed to implode. She climbed onto the bed and held her brother in a loving hug.
‘Mate, I know what this means. I thought about it a lot last night. God, I’m so, so sorry. I know the shit that being gay means to you. But I’m here to help. We can find a way, we can find a solution . . . together, mate . . . together.’
This invoked another spasm of sobbing, so much so that a nurse came hurrying in to see what was the problem. Rhonda told her that her brother had just received some bad news and he’d be alright eventually.
Rhonda looked at her watch which read 9:30. It wouldn’t be long before their parents would be coming – not to mention Kathy.
‘(Encouraging) C’mon mate. Dry yer tears so we can talk. I gather you’ve known for some time eh?’
‘(Weakly) Yes. Yes, I’ve had to keep my secret since I was about 12. (long pause) I married Kathy because I thought this would cure me, but of course . . .’
‘Yeah, I get it. I get it. What a bummer. Have you thought about what you want to do? I don’t recommend you coming out right now; well that’s my thinking on the matter. Look at what you’d have to contend with; a hostile father, a divorce from Kathy, restrictive visiting rights, ostracized from friends, a hostile boss and most certainly pressure from the church to undertake aversion therapy. I understand what’s ahead of you mate, and that’s why I’m here. We’ve got to think this through properly.’
‘(Surly) You mentioned the Church, the bloody church. Y’know, I’ve been thinking about the church and . . . and, God. Him! Or to be politically correct ‘Hirm’ or ‘Herm’ whatever satisfies the feminists. If He’s in charge why did He do this to me? Why did he make me Gay? We pray to Him, we sing songs of praise to Him, we follow His teachings in His book, some of us dedicate our entire lives to Him, we’re told to love and to fear Him, . . . all of that, . . . and there’s a lot more we do for Him. But what does He give back? I’ll tell you . . . NOTHING! Nothing. And He stays silent when something like the Holocaust occurs. He sits back and watches it happen. No amount of praying stopped the brutality. So, I’ll tell you what I think, sister, HE DOESN’T EXIST! If someone could prove to me that HE exists then I’ll believe. So right now, as far as I’m concerned, the burden of proof is with god. Give me proof and I’ll believe. So yes, I’m an Atheist.’
Rhonda found Jason’s outburst shocking. Growing up in a family that valued religion above other things, she found it hard to accept. And yet . . . and yet . . . what Jason said had an element of truth. This god, this Jesus they revered, asked to be given all but offered nothing in return. Except a vague promise to be in heaven – whatever that was.
‘(Concerned) Bloody hell, brother you’d better not say anything to Dad. If you come out as Gay, and an Atheist, he’ll blame being gay on your rejection of his God. It’s OK to talk to me and some of your friends, umm I mean, close friends but no-one else. Y’hear?’
‘(Continuing) How have you been handling your gayness?I mean, is there a special someone that you’ve been seeing?’
‘(Exhaling) Well, I thought Karl and I might be an item, but seems he’s into that young kid Billy. OOOP’s Sorry! I forgot you’ve been seeing Karl, with the expectation you’d have an affair, and there I go outing him. God, I’m so sorry . . .’
‘Don’t fret it. I just recently worked out that Karl’s gay and fronted him about it. Seems he is, damn it! (Groaning) Is every guy gay? Seems that way. Anyway, yes, he’s hooked up with Billy Jenkins and, to me, it’s a mismatch. Billy’s technically under-age and it may cause some trouble if . . .’
‘Yep, I know. If Billy’s dad finds out, they’ll be big trouble. Karl should be very careful. In fact, Billy and I met just recently and we talked about his relationship with Karl. He made it quite clear that Karl was exclusively his and I should butt out. I told him if Karl offered to have sex, I’d jump at it. We didn’t part real friendly.’
‘(Laughing) I can imagine. Now, let’s get back to you and your dilemma. You’ve got much more to lose than Karl. What’s your thinking? How do you want your personal life handled?’
They stayed together whilst Jason outlined how he wanted to his situation treated. Time crept by and yet no visit from the police. Finally, Rhonda promised,
“I’m here for you big brother. What you propose can only be temporary . . . you know that, don’t you? (Jason nodded) I love you mate and if anyone tries to hurt you, either emotionally or physically they’ll have to go through me first.
Just then their parents and Jason’s wife Kathy entered the room.
9.9 Kathy worries
Kathy Anderson had spent an anxious night, during which the baby added to the drama by deciding to kick hard. Several times she called the hospital only to be told he was sleeping and seemed OK. She longed to see him because she happened to be deeply in love with Jason. His masculine good looks were the envy of her friends and their love-making was passionate and full-filling. His overt masculinity caused her heart to beat loudly and when he undressed his naked form aroused such a level of lust, she felt ashamed. The thought he might be scarred in some way, or even dead, filled her with dread. Also, she became angry at his parents for not contacting her after they’d seen Jason. It seemed unconceivable they would not call her.
By early morning her hostility to the Anderson’s for keeping her in the dark increased. She talked to her mother and she also reckoned her in-laws were being unfair. Was something wrong with Jason that required them to keep her in the dark?
So, when Gloria called around 8 ish she let it be known she wasn’t happy. But now she put her hostile feelings aside and dressed ready to drive to the hospital. As luck would have it, she arrived at the same time as the Andersons. Following directions, they found their way to Jason’s room.
As soon as she saw Jason, head bandaged and chest wrapped tightly, she assumed the worst. He looked terrible; puffy eyes, drawn facial features, unshaven and whitish skin colour. When he moved, she watched as he grimaced with pain.
‘Oh, Jason honey, you don’t look well. What’s the doctor got to say? Have you seen him this morning?’
Then she recognised Rhonda sitting close by her husband and felt a surge of anger. It seemed her sister-in-law was monopolising time with Jason that’s rightfully hers.
Mother and wife battled to fuss over Jason for a short time until a truce silently agreed upon. In the background, the Pastor stood immobile with a distasteful look on his face. Then Kathy broached the subject that had been on their minds since the start.
‘How did this happen Jason? All I know is you were assaulted and left in some strange dark street. Do you know who assaulted you? What are the cops doing?’
‘No, I haven’t seen the cops yet; I thought they’d be here early but as yet a no-show. As to my assailants, I haven’t a clue. All I know is they jumped me. First a bloke asked me for a light and when I refused, they got nasty. Someone punched me in the kidneys, then my guts and when I went down, they used their feet to finish me off. I don’t remember much, until I woke up in hospital during the night. According to the night nurse I’ll probably be discharged tomorrow morning assuming all my tests are OK. That’s all.’
Silence, as they digested Jason’s explanation. But Kathy needed to pursue the matter.
‘But why were you left in that particular area? It doesn’t make sense. I asked my dad and he said that particular area, that particular street, was a backwater industrial location seldom used, even in the daytime. So why?’
Silence, no response. That’s when the Pastor chimed in.
‘Yes, I’d like to know why. There’s something missing and I don’t think you’re telling us everything are you?’
‘What do you mean, father? What makes you say I’m not telling you everything.?’
An awkward silence followed.
‘(Abrasive) I’ve got senior contacts in the police force and I simply asked if Stanford Circle had any significance. All he could tell me was that a Sauna, a (distastefully) gay sauna, was the only business operating in the street. At least it was the only business operating at that time of night.’
An audible gasp followed the elder Anderson’s statement. A perplexed wife and mother turned to Jason with confusion writ all over. They both jumped when the Pastor continued.
‘(Harshly) I WANT THE TRUTH BOY! No more lies, we all know somethings not right, so the truth, NOW.!’
Jason and Rhonda shared a glance.
‘(Angry) Oh, so you want the truth, do you? There are some truths, Pastor, that are too painful to contemplate. The truth is not always good medicine . . . Pastor.’
‘(Loudly)Don’t you dare use that tone with me young man. Remember who you’re talking to. I’m not only your father but I’m also your Pastor!’
‘(Bitter)Of course you are . . . both, how could I forget that . . . Pastor.’
‘(Strident) What are you hiding, Jason? It’s not too difficult is it to simply tell the truth? We’re all waiting boy, for you to tell the truth; as the law puts simply, ‘The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. Before God and our belief in His Book, you must tell the truth.’
‘(Losing it) GOD! You bring that. . .’
‘(Frantically) Jason, Jason, cool it! Remember what we talked about!’
‘(Acknowledging his sister) Sorry, sorry, I’m very angry and not feeling my best. You ask for the truth father. I’m not sure you want the truth or can even handle the truth.’
‘What are you talking about boy? Of course, I can handle the truth. What I can’t handle is lies.’
Silence, as Jason looked angrily at his father.
‘Well here’s the truth. I wasn’t mugged in that street; it was in a park near where I parked my car. They took me to where they knew a gay sauna operated and dumped me there as punishment to you . . . to you, father for your anti-gay sermons and strident homophobia. Their point was – and they told me – to embarrass you with a supposedly gay son. It wasn’t about me, father, it was about you! There, that’s the truth! Satisfied?’
No one spoke, and all eyes shifted between Jason and his father. Kathy lost it!
‘You bastard, you bastard! Your bigotry has got my husband, your son, punished for your homophobic ranting. We all accept what these gay people do is disgusting and vile and they’ll all go to hell, but why should your son become a victim of your public diatribes? Why? Why? Why can’t you just leave it alone. God will exact his own punishment in time; he doesn’t need you!’
‘(Softly) What if God created homosexuals and had a good reason to do so?’
Peeter Anderson looked aghast at his daughter. He couldn’t believe what she’d just said.
‘(Preaching) The Bible . . .’
‘(Exasperated) Oh fuck the bible! Can’t you think for yourself; do you have to go reaching for that stupid book every time you have a conversation. Think! Think! If indeed God gave us a brain then use it, father, use it to reason, not to preach. Both Kathy and I have friends who are gay and they’re nothing like that stupid book tells. Normally they’re law abiding folks who are gentle and friendly . . .’
‘(Rhonda chimed in) . . . and they form relationships that last longer that so-called straight people do. The only thing wrong, father, is your preaching. That’s wrong, because you know nothing about what being gay means. All you know is what’s in that stupid book . . . the old testament, not the new. Tell me where, in the New Testament, does Christ preach against homosexuals. Where father, where? And let’s get really nasty. What if Jason was indeed gay? What would you do? Throw stones at him, cast him out, never talk to him, have him arrested? ARRHH! You make me sick!’
Throughout all this Kathy and Gloria just stood mute, but the pastor had gone an ugly shade of blue.
‘(Enraged)How dare you! How dare you talk to your father like that? What’s wrong with you both. All my life I’ve followed God’s commands and brought you both up in a good Christian home. And now . . . and now you insult me, ridicule all that I stand for and make out that I’m the bad guy. Well, nothing, and I repeat nothing, will ever change the way I feel about these revolting vermin. Nothing, I repeat nothing!’
Rhonda left Jason’s side and stood close in front of her father,
‘And you call yourself a Christian? Look it’s old, it’s hackneyed, it’s been said too many times, but I thought Christianity is about love. Why do you have conditions on who can love who? You either love or you don’t. You can’t unmake love father; you can’t make love unlawful unless there be victims; as the romantics would say that no one knows where cupid’s arrow may fall. Many, many other parsons accept homosexual people into their congregations; why are you so bilious when it comes to gay people? That’s really the question here!’
‘(Curious) Yes, thank you daughter, I’ve often wondered why you . . . you Peeter of all people, should be so hard against gay people. Whilst, as Kathy said, I believe what they do is wrong, that’s just my opinion. I don’t need any book to tell me how to think. So, if only for my benefit, why do you feel so strongly about gays?’
‘(Furious, and ignoring his wife’s question) I’m not on trial here. This has gotten out of hand. I asked a simpler question and suddenly I’m the bad guy. I stand by God and his Good Book. I will not be subjected to scrutiny and scorn. (Addressing Jason) You all say that these vile creatures are passive and wouldn’t hurt a fly, eh? Then tell me why did these cretins savagely attack you Jason. Why? The police described the attack as vicious and life threatening. They’re savage criminals and you all are protecting them. Why, answer me, why?’
Rhonda threw a quick glance at Jason, before responding,
‘Really father, are you that obtuse? They apparently were so disgusted with your homophobic rants they sought payback in means that would make you take notice. And they succeeded, didn’t they? We’ve finally talking about your continuous diatribe against gay people. I wish they hadn’t picked on my brother but targeted you instead. I don’t condone what or how they did what they did, but I do understand why!’
A pall of silence descended around the room. Both Rhonda and her mother stared at the Pastor whilst Kathy played with Jason’s hand. Into this scenario the doctor came.