Harry and Will managed a fair amount of sex over the next fortnight and, for Will at least, it got better and better.Not only did his bum never hurt again, but on one astonishing occasion he ejaculated with just anal and prostate massage.As his tormented body began to fuck the air, he was amazed to watch cum simply pulse out of his dick on to his bed.Time seemed to stand still when the orgasm happened.
Harry was smug and pleased at his own anal artistry.Not that Will ever got a chance to reciprocate.Although Harry never said it outright, his attitude made it clear that his arse was out of bounds.Will was philosophical about it, considering how much he enjoyed being fucked by his lover.It struck him as a bit unfair, but he was charitable, supposing the incident off Mykonos might have made Harry cautious about trusting partners.
The Saturday before school ended, Harry arrived at Will’s flat loaded with papers and books.‘Okay, lover, this is where we’re going.Oh, but first, you have a passport?’
‘Up to date?’
‘Good.Okay.This is the plan. On Monday we take Lufthansa from Heathrow to Munich and from there to Prague, where we pick up a car.You’ll love Prague. It’s got the lot: culture, clubbing and history.We spend two nights there before driving down into Rothenia.We stay in Strelzen for a few days, then fly home via Frankfurt.We’ll be back after the weekend.
‘I’ve done the Czech Republic, but everyone’s talking about Rothenia nowadays.I’ve heard there’s quite a scene going on there.Gays keep well undercover in Prague, but Strelzen’s a lot more upfront.It has a district called the Wejg where gay businesses have taken over.’
‘Wow.I’m all for that.What you got there?’
‘A few guidebooks I picked up.You might see if there are any special places you want to check out, you being a historian and all.Do you know anything about Czech and Rothenian history?’
‘The high and low points at least.The problems after Versailles; the betrayal by the Allies in 1938 and the Nazi occupation of the Sudetenland; the invasion of Rothenia in 1939; the liberation by the Soviets, the second betrayal by the Allies and the consolidation of the Communist regime in 1948. Then the new democracy – the Velvet Revolution and the May Rising in 1989, sort of a happy ending.That’s it.’
‘You’re good with dates, lover.’
‘You have to be if you’re a history teacher. In uni I couldn’t remember a single one , but when the GCSE devil drives, you have no choice or the kids think you’re useless.’
‘Prague is gorgeous,’ Harry reflected. ‘While I’ve never been to Strelzen, it’s supposed to be even prettier, if smaller.They speak English a lot in both countries, although I think German is the second language of choice in the Czech Republic.You get a mix of German and Rothenian in Strelzen.’
‘Oh yeah, Rothenia’s an odd sort of hybrid nation`, isn’t it?’Something was jogging Will’s memory from his second-year university course on nineteenth-century Europe.‘It’s got a Slav majority and a German minority, who somehow have stuck together as a nation.Sorry, Harry, remember I’m a teacher.’
Harry smiled.‘I really wouldn’t know.I didn’t go near a history or geography class after I was sixteen.’
‘Wasn’t it once called Ruritania by its German rulers?’
‘Something like that.People say things are “Ruritanian” when they mean quaint, over-dressed or socially archaic.’
Will’s memory was on a roll.‘Yes.The royal family was the Elphbergs – German, of course.The last of them was shown the door in 1920, after the Great War.’
‘Impressive, Will.You do know your stuff.’
Will saw Harry was stifling a yawn, so he took the hint.The trouble with teaching as a career was that sometimes you could not shut down the mission to explain.It sometimes made people avoid you in parties.
Once Harry had left, Will began ransacking his bookshelf.As a student he had invested more than was usual in books, and blessed his own extravagance every day after becoming a teacher.The internet could only take you so far when it came to research.He was especially proud of his historical reference collection.He soon had books stacked on his worktable and his laptop booted up on the Web.He had a talent for intense and organised research that at least one of his lecturers had recognised by urging him to go for a postgraduate degree.But, inspired by the memory of a charismatic teacher he had benefitted from in his private-school days in Plymouth, he had wanted a career in teaching more than anything.
He was soon immersed in online searches and cross-checking facts in his reference books.He noticed that the European Union had just sponsored a big academic programme on what they called the ‘Rothenian Achievement’, by which was meant the fact that the nation's Germans and Slavs seemed historically reluctant to commit pogroms on each other.On the other hand, there was a long history of bickering with the Czechs, since Rothenians had been prominent in resisting the Hussite reformation in the fifteenth century as well as the Lutherans and Calvinists of the seventeenth.
He took up the Fodor’s Rothenia which Harry had brought.Looking at the back, he found some Rothenian vocabulary.It was a weird one.Something of a linguist, Will could detect lots of Germanic and Latin words amongst the list, as well as what he imagined was Slavic.
The guidebook informed him that Rothenia was a member of both the EU and NATO.The national flag was a black, red and white tricolour; the national flower was the red rose.The currency was the Rothenian krone (fifty to the pound sterling, thirty to the dollar), although the euro was now accepted in the main shops of the big cities.He would not need a visa, and could stay for up to six months if he wanted before he would be required to apply for a residence permit.
Thumbing through the pictures of Strelzen, he decided that, even if they were only telling half the truth, the city was amazing.The hilltop cathedral of St Andrew and St Vitalis was a vast Gothic pile whose three black spires towered over the city.The people loved it.As a ‘gift’ to the Rothenian people, a monolithic workers’ palace had been ordered built by Stalin deliberately to obscure the view of the cathedral from the city centre.The new democracy’s first act in 1990 had been to order the Soviet monstrosity demolished to restore the cathedral’s dominant position in the city.Rothenians, ever devout Catholics, could look up to a cardinal who continued to sit on the archiepiscopal throne of Strelzen, as one had done since the seventeenth century.
The royal – now presidential – palace on the Rodolferplaz had been a renaissance Hofburg but was rebuilt by the young King Henry the Lion (1707-1739) on the model of the Tuileries.King Henry’s giant equestrian monument, set in front of its gates, loomed over the northern end of the square.It was, said the book, a favourite place for young people to meet on warm evenings.
* * *
It was a warm July evening in Strelzen when Oskar Prinz leaned up against the lower plinth of King Henry’s statue.Behind him was the bulk of the palace. Ahead of him opened the vast square, hundreds of windows staring down on it from ranks of massive buildings.
Oskar was indeed there to meet a young – or rather a youngish – person.A group of male conscripts in green uniforms and knee-boots chatting further along were also hoping to meet someone.They had their top buttons undone, their peaked caps set far back on their heads, and were smoking.If you knew Strelzen, you would understand that they were advertising themselves as open for sexual relations.
Oskar had been there and done that when he too had been a teenage conscript, but in the past year or two the practice had got more commercial, as Western gay tourists had cottoned on to the old custom.The gay guides on the Internet were happy to advise their readers that these young boy-soldiers were for rent, although that had not been the case until recently.In Oskar’s day, they would have been happy to do it bareback for a few drinks and a smile if the trick was nice.But the city was getting to be a harder place as the tourists poured in to spread their money around.
Oskar watched a couple of moustachioed men – Americans, perhaps? – in shorts and tight sleeveless vests furtively approach the soldiers and began chatting.Eventually a pair of boys detached themselves and wandered off with the men, one putting his peaked military cap on an American’s head while blowing kisses to his friends as he went.Oskar hoped he knew about condoms.HIV was increasing in Rothenia, in large part due to archaic prejudices about preventives.
It was probably the Italian leather jacket and designer jeans Oskar was wearing that attracted looks from the conscripts..They were obviously wondering if he was a foreigner.Eventually quite a pretty one wandered up.‘Americanij?’
‘Sorry, kid, no,’ Oskar replied in Rothenian.
The boy smiled nicely. ‘One of us, then. Sorry to bother you.’
‘It’s no bother.’He offered a cigarette from the packet he kept for social purposes – he did not himself smoke – which was gratefully accepted.‘Do you score a lot here?’
‘I’ve done okay for the past three weekends.’The conscript lit up. ‘A British man gave me two thousand krone just for a blowjob last week.You interested?No charge.It’d be a change to have some conversation with the guy who’s fucking me.You’re nice-looking, too.’
‘Thanks for the offer, friend, but I’m supposed to be meeting someone.’
‘Odd place to choose.’
‘He’s an odd man.’
They laughed and the boy wandered back to his comrades.
Looking after him a little regretfully, Oskar jumped when someone said in his ear, ‘Evening, Oskar.’
‘Don’t creep up on people like that, Hendrik!Why on earth did you want to meet here?’
‘It’s close to the office.You’re not very romantic, are you?Isn’t this where we started?’
‘Hendrik, ours is and always has been a business arrangement.Have you forgotten why you were here, looking for people like me?’
‘Don’t undersell yourself, Oskar.You’re the only boy I ever took from King Henry.From the very first, there was no mistaking your talent.I was just passing, but I caught that body and those blue eyes of yours and had to try and sign you up.I could hardly believe it when you were interested.’
‘Let’s go get a drink.’
‘Do you still go to Liberation?’
‘Not anymore.You’ve spoiled it for me.Now that the foreign gays have taken it over, I get fed up of requests for autographs and blowjobs.An unwanted fan tailed after me down Domstrasse last week shouting, “Oh, Marc!”It was very embarrassing.The streets of Strelzen are becoming a personal nightmare.I’m thinking of moving to my sister’s.’
‘The Köningen Flavia then?’
‘Fine by me, and you’re paying.’
They settled into a concealed booth in the picturesque and ancient inn across the Rodolferplaz where Modenheimstrasse entered the imposing square.The main room, beautifully panelled in walnut, was dominated by a large blue-and-white Delft pottery stove which occupied one corner.A portrait of the great Elphberg queen Flavia smiled enigmatically down on them from the far wall.The waiters were efficient, the food good.
‘So,’ smiled Oskar, ‘is it Rothenian Boys 11?’
Hendrik laughed.‘No.Though that’s on the stocks when the team recruits a few more new lads.This one will be special, a one-off.I’m thinking in terms of An American in Strelzen.Straight American tourist arrives, meets wholesome Rothenian gay boy, eyes lock, world shifts, next minute fucking like bunnies in various interesting locations and positions …’
‘… and I’m the wholesome Rothenian boy.’
‘Oh yes.A role you were born to play.’
‘They won’t like it.It looks like favouritism, Hendrik.Felip will feel snubbed; you know he envies me.’
‘Felip’s pretty and very sexy, but he can’t act even up to our low standards at Falkefilm – and, unlike you, he can’t improvise.Besides, whatever you think, you’re the only boy he won’t feel jealous of.He has real feelings for you, you know that.It’s why Rothenian Boys 7 was such a big seller in the West.It was obvious, even on DVD, that he was heart and soul into you.He didn’t have to act that.But don’t worry, I look after my boys.I can distract him with a different project.
‘The other thing is, you’re getting a lot of attention out there.I’m thinking of sending you to San Francisco to represent the firm in the Pride Festival.You should get around more.You’re a star, Oskar.’
‘So who’s to be the American?Do any of the boys speak good enough English?’