Jump to content
  • Join Gay Authors

    Join us for free and follow your favorite authors and stories.

    Parker Owens
  • Author
  • 3,797 Words
  • 4,580 Views
  • 27 Comments
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Double Concerto - 5. Capriccio

No warnings needed for this chapter. At least, I don't think so.

Milwaukee. That's where I need to go.

 

Rick said this to himself over and over as he made his way through the day. He said it often enough that he soon convinced himself of its overwhelming necessity.

 

I can just get out of town, I can get away from everything, get away from Cedarcrest. Nothing good ever happens at that place.

Maybe he could exorcise the demons of the past, the memories of hurt and unhappy yearning; of infatuation, of shy approach and rebuff; of furtive, anonymous fumbling in the dark. Maybe he could forget the shame again.

He wanted Marshall to tell him he was okay once more, make him believe it, if only for an hour. But Marshall was gone.

There had to be someone else. Milwaukee was a big city.

Rick invented an excuse to get out of town soon after lunch.

 

He shivered, even though there was no breeze, and the sun shone warm on the back of his neck. Rick stood at the gas pump at Jerry's place, filling the tank in his battered old Chevrolet pickup. No way was he going to take the work van down to Milwaukee; it was a bigger gas hog than his own truck.

He held the phone to his ear as the gas flowed. "Irene, I've done all I can do at the Henderson place until the concrete sets around that intake. I'll finish that up tomorrow."

Rick neglected to mention that the concrete would set in an hour or so. Irene never seemed to learn that much about the business, content to make appointments, keep an eye on the books and inventory, and gossip full-time.

"So what about that cottage opening at West Bay you're supposed to do this afternoon?"

"I'll do it tomorrow morning when I get back." If I have my way, I'll be doing it sore and on no sleep, but right now, I don't care.

"Well, all right. What's the big hurry, anyhow?" Irene was feeling grumpy. She sensed she was being left out of something.

"That furnace at the Kohler place. It's forty or fifty years old, it's in bad shape, and it’s going to break down in a month. I want to be ready," he sounded a little far-fetched and stubborn even to his own ears.

"Oh, I get it. Ha. You want to be ready for that McKee woman." The leer in Irene's voice was as plain as day. "See you in the morning."

She had a nose for drama. But Irene Inksater had no clue that a pair of deep brown eyes and a warm smile had sent Rick's heart going a mile a minute. And she couldn't possibly know about the rip in his heart or the torrent of despair pouring through it. The beautiful caramel skinned man was completely out of his league.

If, in fact, the pianist was interested in men at all.

Rick had made that kind of mistake before. He didn't dare make it again: it hurt far too much in embarrassment and ridicule. Besides, he was damaged goods. He'd glued himself back together after the summer of Willy Kohler and his mother's death, only to come apart from time to time over the next decade. That was enough.

Marshall had been good – wonderful, in fact. But it was strictly business – Rick knew that the time and the chance for love had left him in the dust a long, long time ago. Now he needed to find his way to Milwaukee to do a little more business, and forget about exotic, handsome men with subtle smiles.

"Hiya, Mr. Ernst. How's it going?" A lanky red-haired kid waved from the doorway to the garage.

Rick hauled his consciousness back to the moment. He nodded and waved back. "Okay, Jared. All done with school?"

"Almost. Another week to go."

"Jerry got you busy today?"

The boy shrugged. "Not too bad. Got a lube and oil change left to do." He gestured with his head at a Buick on the lift.

The pump clunked and stopped. It was time to get out of Eagle Lake. He closed up the gas cap, and winced at the rust around it.

Rick was glad he’d prepaid inside beforehand. "Well, that sounds easy enough. Gotta get going. Say hi to your stepdad for me." He waved a hand. He suddenly felt the need to be on his way.

He climbed into the truck and fired up the engine. Seconds later, Rick was headed south, navigating his way out of town.

As the houses thinned out and the forest hemmed in the road, Rick felt he could relax a little. Nobody was going to guess who he was or what he had to do that evening. No one would know he was trying to forget.

But were insensibility and anonymity the only reasons driving him toward Brew City? That couldn’t be right. The facelessness of the internet was at his fingertips. He could find oblivion at the bottom of a bottle – or at least a bunch of them, anyway. It was true both were to be found in Milwaukee, but something else compelled his flight down the long, lonely stretches of highway through the north woods.

Marshall had shown him a gateway into himself. He’d been allowed to visit regions he barely knew existed, yet he understood these were only places for him to visit. He could never stay. In his momentary enchantment experienced in the sunlit living room at Cedarcrest, sweet breezes from that land scented his mind once more.

Just one more time. Please, let there be someone, this once.

 

Rick remembered the scene: the warm light of sun on wood, copper gold skin on white cloth and vivid blue cast, and a face full of welcome.

He wanted to throw open the doors, fling wide the gates to himself, and let these in. And he remembered in the same instant, the self-loathing and fear that kept them shut.

A pair of haunting eyes and a captivating smile had bewitched him again. How long had their encounter lasted? Thirty seconds? Ten? And yet, in those fleeting moments at Cedarcrest, Rick had understood. This was dangerous man, one who could enchant and infatuate and one who could ultimately hurt him and confirm for him what he already knew.

Rick was made for work, or for pain, but not for love.

He put on more speed. The road was straight, the nose of the old truck pointed due south. Mixed growth woods rose on either side for miles and miles. He knew the location of every speed trap for the next four hours. If he could coax a little more out of the old Chevy, it would be less.

Rick cruised a while, willing the miles to pass faster and faster. The truck crested a low, rolling rise.

Right in front of him, a deer ambled out onto the highway. Rick slammed on the brakes, hit the horn and swerved to avoid a collision. The truck skidded to a halt on the left side shoulder of the highway. Eerie quiet surrounded the truck as it idled on the wrong side of the road. Dust slowly ebbed and eddied around the window. The startled deer turned and leapt back into the trees.

Shit. Focus. I should know better than to speed here.

Rick's heartbeat slowly returned to normal as he put the truck back in gear and pulled back on onto the highway. He resumed his journey southward at something closer to the speed limit. The trees still zipped by, but at a slightly slower velocity. On the other hand, it might not have been that much slower.

He went over the plan in his mind again, such as it was.

He intended to arrive at Midwest Quality Construction Supply in Milwaukee just before they closed. Rick glanced at his watch. He guessed he'd make it with about a half hour to spare. He'd pick up the furnace parts he very easily could have had delivered from his usual supplier in Green Bay. The Cedarcrest furnace wasn't so unusual that replacement valves and coils weren't available. But they were his excuse.

Next, he'd get a cheap motel room. The free wi-fi would let him check out sources on the net for masseurs and escorts. Milwaukee usually had a half dozen advertising. And if none were available, there were other ways to look for what he wanted. He'd find someone; a man willing to remind him that it could be good, even if it couldn't be love.

Afterward, he could catch an hour or two of sleep, maybe. Then it would be time to check out and hit the road by four in the morning. He'd be back in Eagle Lake by eight o'clock, and slog through whatever was on the work list.

Rick realized he was leaving a lot to chance. Never before had he made such a spontaneous trek to down to Milwaukee. Usually, he worked out visits a week or two ahead of time. Rick sighed.

Maybe this is just stupid.

 

Everything seemed to go wrong after he'd picked up the furnace parts, covering his reason for making this trip, anyway. They were easy enough to find.

The motel he'd remembered was closed. It had been years since he'd last seen Marshall.

He finally checked into another, at a price that made him wince. It wasn't that much nicer than the dive he'd used previously.

Once connected to the motel wi-fi, Rick found five listings on the web that sounded even remotely promising. None of them were Marshall. Still, his fingers and thumbs sped over the tiny phone screen, making replies and inquiries. Then he sat back and waited. By seven thirty, he'd still heard nothing back.

His stomach reminded him of the need for food. Rick chose to kill time by looking for some dinner. There was a restaurant and bar across the street from the motel. He could go there.

Tony Mahoney's Tavern served a pretty standard menu, displayed Brewers Baseball on a number of very large screens, and offered cheap beer. Rick demolished a Reuben, and sipped his lager, alone in a corner. Without paying much attention, he watched the Brewers give up four runs in the first two innings to the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. He sighed. Very little seemed to change in his life.

His phone vibrated. Rick's pulse quickened. He checked out the message. <Sorry, dude. Totally busy tonight. Maybe contact me another time. >

 

Disappointment washed over him. Oh, well. There are still four others to hear from.

Rick opened up a cruising app on his phone. He never used it up in Eagle Lake – gay men willing to put themselves out there were pretty thin on the ground. Besides, in an area where he knew just about everyone, he didn’t want to risk getting entangled with a customer, especially one who would talk with Heinrich Sr. Or Irene.

Down in Milwaukee, there were a hundred complete strangers, all looking for sex. Taking a deep breath, Rick started going through the profiles, one by one. He messaged a few that looked likely.

By the seventh inning stretch, Rick had gotten two more negative replies from masseurs and a bunch of thanks-but-no-thanks messages from cruisers in and around the city. He’d gotten a note asking if he was into watersports – he wasn’t. Rick downed another beer, and watched the Brew Crew hit into not one, but two rally-killing double plays. He decided to reply to the remaining possibilities one more time and cursed again that Craigslist no longer offered personal ads.

While the game hurried through its final batters, Rick made the choice to find a different bar in which to hang out; one where there could be other men hoping for a hookup. Maybe his luck would turn. Rick had no idea where to go, but his trusty data connection found him several choices. He picked one that looked close on the map. He didn't wait to see the final out.

Of course, the directions on the phone weren't precisely correct. The directions were supposed to take him to a place called MKE. They actually guided him to an almost empty parking lot for a Walgreen's, instead. Rick sat in his truck, window open, engine idling, cursing the GPS, his phone, his luck, and Milwaukee in general.

But then he heard a faint sound. The air thrummed with the distant, heavy thud of music. MKE must be nearby. Rick decided to park the Chevy, walk toward the sound of the beat. He walked down the street, passing the now-darkened drugstore and a couple of storefronts to arrive in front of a square, windowless building. The sidewalk seemed to vibrate.

Rick hesitated. No, this is what I came for, isn't it? I want at least the chance of it, right?

 

Shrugging off his doubts, Rick pushed open one of the heavy double doors.

He was met by a blast of sound and a wave of multicolored light. It took him a moment or two to orient himself. To his right, a bar, tended by a tall, well-built guy, probably fifteen or twenty years his junior. That didn't stop Rick from appreciating the broad shoulders, or the glimpse of defined chest and abs that showed where the denim shirt was artfully unbuttoned.

But he could do no more than gaze – a guy like that was even farther out of his orbit than the man he was here trying to forget.

To his left, he saw tables. Nearly every one of them seemed filled with customers or their belongings. In the center, a dance floor dominated the room, where many of MKE's patrons were dancing and gyrating to the deafening uptempo beat of the music.

Rick moved over to the bar.

He signaled to the gorgeous bartender, who appeared deeply engaged with another customer. Rick captured the man's attention on the fourth try.

"What can I get you?" The younger man smiled professionally but did not flirt with Rick.

"Rum and Coke," he answered. Why did I order that? I hate rum and Coke.

The grimace passing over the bartender's chiseled features showed the man agreed. Disapproval radiated in his wake as he turned to get his order. Rum and Coke had been a staple of the parties he'd gone to in college, and this was certainly a younger crowd. Rick figured on managing to nurse it along for a while, the way he used to. He turned and perused the dancers. Most appeared to be young – twentysomethings, maybe college students.

Rick hoped to see some older men, closer to his own age. None of these kids would be interested in him. He watched a couple on the dance floor. Two young guys bounced energetically beside one another, just enjoying the physical experience, eyes locked together. Another pair danced together, so close, yet barely touching, hands ghosting over one another in time to the music. It was sensual and hot – and they still had clothes on. Against the back wall, Rick made out several other guys kissing in the shadows.

How the heck do I get started with this? It's been too long.

He shuddered. His college adventures had actually taken place in the restrooms, not the bars and dance floors.

Rick sipped his drink, and watched the dancers, mesmerized. He felt a longing, and a bitterness deep within his soul. Dancing? He'd never had that kind of chutzpah. And now, he'd give his right arm just to be able to be out there with those kids.

Kids? Hell, they're older than I was in college. Jesus, what the hell am I doing here? You know damn well why you came, a voice at the back of his brain sneered at him. Trouble is, you're such a fucking loser, you can't even find anyone who'd take your money.

 

He took another long pull at the glass. Maybe he'd just have to pull together his courage and walk over to a table and ask some loner to dance. And then maybe they'd hit it off, and he'd ask the guy to his motel room.

Maybe I'll plant a crop of bananas on College Hill this summer, too. I'd have better luck checking out the restrooms. He eyed the last inch of his drink with distaste.

Rick lingered at the bar, still unwilling to move. Was this what he really wanted? No: what I want, I'll never come close to having. It's just like plumbing in an old house - you make do, and live with it.

 

A fit looking individual with a stylish growth of stubble and dark hair stepped up beside him. Older than most of the crowd, definitely. The bartender came over promptly, and while the order was shouted out, Rick cast a sidelong glance at the new arrival, trying to check him out subtly.

Solidly built. Long sleeves, artfully rolled up. Strong jaw; some kind of long-healed facial scars. He looked away.

A moment later, Rick felt a tap on the shoulder. "Hey. I'm Hank, I don't know you." The man greeted him boldly and stuck out a hand to shake.

"Rick. I'm Rick," he returned, raising his voice and feeling lame.

He met the bright, forthright, considering blue eyes for a moment. "Good to meet you." This was delivered at a near shout. MKE wasn't meant for conversation.

Then Hank smiled and turned his head to the dance floor.

Rick's breath seemed to be coming more quickly. For fuck's sake, just ask the guy to dance, idiot. He watched the dancers moving in the music. Who cares if you can't dance? His eyes darted over to his new friend.

Hank's eyes were trained on a pair of younger guys – college students, very likely – one shaggy haired, dressed in a graphic tee that flapped and flashed glimpses of skin as he twisted and bopped; the other more carefully styled, a tight button down defining muscles in biceps and chest.

"You come here a lot?" Rick inquired. Oh, God, you're so stupid.

 

"Only in the back room." Hank smirked, as if to laugh at his own joke.

Rick made a face and snickered nervously.

"Seriously, I'm here maybe once or twice in a couple of months." Hank never took his eyes off the younger men on the floor.

Rick also watched, trying to think of something to say.

"So, which one is yours?" Hank was speaking again.

Rick turned a quizzical face to the man. "Which one is mine?"

"Yeah. Who's your boy out there?"

"Um. I – "

At that moment, the dance music paused, and movement ceased. Desultory cheering and whooping broke out around the club. Rick could almost hear for a moment. But the respite was temporary, as a new song broke out, and the dancing began again, more frenetic than before.

"That one, Eddie, he's mine." Hank gestured at the couple he'd zeroed in on earlier.

"Your boyfriend?"

"My boy,” Hank clarified. "The one in the blue shirt. He likes to dance."

"You don't?"

"Hell, no. But if Eddie's good, I let him come here once in a while."

"Oh. But if…you don't dance, then why are you here?"

"Because he likes it, and I want to give him something good. I'm here just to let him know I'm watching. He knows my rules."

Rick blinked.

"Eddie's kind of into shaggy over there," Hank went on, nodding at the pair, "but it's not happening. Not tonight."

"Right." Rick felt clueless.

If he was honest with himself, he felt jealous, too – the one called Eddie had someone who desired him, maybe even loved him. He wasn't going to ask Hank about how things worked between them.

The music finished. Flushed and happy, Eddie and the shaggy boy exchanged smiles and high fives. Then Eddie caught Hank staring in his direction, and the grin was transformed into something deeper, more beautiful. What did that new smile mean? Devotion? Seduction? Without another word, the younger man left his dance partner and walked towards the spot where Rick and Hank were standing.

"Who's yours?" Hank asked, breaking in on Rick's thoughts.

"My what?"

"Is your boy here?"

Rick flushed. "I'm not…I mean, I don't…"

Hank frowned. His eyes gave Rick a thorough up-and-down stare of open appraisal. Then a lopsided half smile appeared on his face. "Oh. I see."

Eddie arrived, and wrapped an arm around Hank. They looked like a well-matched pair. Rick felt a surge of envy.

"Hey, baby boy. Having fun?" Hank inquired.

"Definitely. You have to come out and dance with me." As he spoke, Eddie looked curiously over at Rick.

"You know I don't dance. You can ask my friend here, though."

Eddie barked a short, derisive laugh. "Oh, no; no way." He glanced at Rick and recoiled. "Sorry, but you're in the wrong place, bud. There's no way you're gonna have any luck here. Maybe you want to try one of the old guy bars downtown."

Rick shrank in his own skin.

Hank's features creased into a deep scowl. All the energy and life in Eddie's face seemed to drain away. The younger man lowered his head.

"I have to apologize for my boy here. That was rude. He's still in training," Hank said.

"Oh, um, that's okay…I didn't mean to be a problem."

Rick felt lost. Despite Hank’s reproof, the younger man was right. Humiliation’s bile rose. While he didn’t understand the dynamics between Hank and Eddie, or how their relationship worked, he knew he'd made a fool of himself again. He turned away and staggered out of MKE as if he'd been on the losing end of a bar fight.

The next battle was the struggle to fish his keys out of his pocket. This was a stupid idea. This whole trip was stupid. My whole fucking life is stupid. I should have stayed home with a case of Miller. Or maybe I could have tied cinder blocks to my ankles and capsized the canoe.

 

Rick hardly knew what to do. It was a little after midnight, and he had less than four hours to sleep. But when he tried to reclaim those few hours, his conscious mind refused to rest.

There's no use to it, is there? You can't go back again, you can't start over. You're pathetic. The words continued beating at the walls of his sanity until he relented, and much to the irritation of the motel's night clerk, he got up, checked out, and fled the motel.


My abiding thanks to @AC Benus and @Carlos Hazday for their help in reading and improving this story. If you feel moved to comment, I would be glad of your thoughts.
Copyright © 2020 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 32
  • Love 2
  • Sad 37
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments



Confidence is attractive. Rick is clearly lacking confidence. But I am wondering what more he is missing. It can't be just age, can it? He is not that old anyway. The way he can't get anybody even slightly interested in him makes me wonder.

Edited by Freerider
  • Like 4
  • Love 1
Link to comment

That type of negative self image is so hard to change.  Rick has learned to loathe himself and interprets every situation as a confirmation of his low self-worth.  Nice setup though for an upward curve for his life.  Great chapter!.

  • Like 3
  • Love 2
Link to comment
  • Site Administrator

Rick is in desperate need of self-confidence.  Going to places like that will most definitely not help.  Hopefully things will be on an upswing now.  No doubt he'll be spending more time at Cedarcrest and get to meet the pianist again. Hopefully he can erase the hurt of the past and make more pleasant memories there.  

  • Like 3
  • Love 1
Link to comment
3 hours ago, Freerider said:

Confidence is attractive. Rick is clearly lacking confidence. But I am wondering what more he is missing. It can't be just age, can it? He is not that old anyway. The way he can't get anybody even slightly interested in him makes me wonder.

I think you have hit it directly - confidence is attractive. He has been missing that for some time. It's also true that vulnerability can be attractive, yet Rick may have his guard up too much for that to work in his favor. Then, too, he's had a long day, and may not look his best. Or, he may not appear to fit, or feel as if he fits - which goes back to your original point. Thank you very much for reading this, and for your insights.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
3 hours ago, pvtguy said:

That type of negative self image is so hard to change.  Rick has learned to loathe himself and interprets every situation as a confirmation of his low self-worth.  Nice setup though for an upward curve for his life.  Great chapter!.

As you say, there are lessons we think we learn from life, and they can be very hard to unlearn. There was no Marshall at the bar to break the harsh cycle of self-battering this time. Thank you so much for reading this chapter, and for your comments.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
1 hour ago, Valkyrie said:

Rick is in desperate need of self-confidence.  Going to places like that will most definitely not help.  Hopefully things will be on an upswing now.  No doubt he'll be spending more time at Cedarcrest and get to meet the pianist again. Hopefully he can erase the hurt of the past and make more pleasant memories there.  

Rick was looking in all the wrong places, as the old song went. Eagle Lake is where he is known and has a place - it's where he can be confident. However, there isn't anyone there for him. You sum things up very well. Thank  you for reading further into this story!

  • Like 4
  • Love 1
Link to comment

Although this chapter left me with an aching sadness for Rick, (...very well written, by the way), I also noticed signs of change that give me hope.  Rick headed to Milwaukee mid work week without his usual preplanning ahead.  Then, he didn’t give up when he almost hit a deer, his motel from years back was closed, the escorts and ‘dating’ sites were a bust, and MKE’s wasn’t located where he thought it would be.  He pushed through the bar’s noise, less than welcoming bartender and overall vibe.  Yes, his lack of confidence and insecurities ultimately won, but he tried.  I also love that the memories of Marshall still give him comfort.  

 

  • Like 3
  • Love 1
Link to comment

Rick is an island. A self-hating one. What he needs is a gay friend/friends. He's looking for the wrong thing... he won't find self confidence or acceptance of himself through something furtive... nor will he find any kind of real peace. He needs to see there is nothing wrong with who he is, and he needs someone to help him with that. Being gay is not an affliction, and it can't be buried without huge consequence. He needs to connect in the light of day... and I hope that is what is coming. The scene at the bar was incredibly harsh... Eddie was downright vicious and cruel, representing the worst of callous youth, one who has nothing going for him but a bit of pretty. Hard hitting, powerful chapter, Parker. Well done! 

Edited by Headstall
  • Like 2
  • Love 2
Link to comment
1 hour ago, 84Mags said:

Although this chapter left me with an aching sadness for Rick, (...very well written, by the way), I also noticed signs of change that give me hope.  Rick headed to Milwaukee mid work week without his usual preplanning ahead.  Then, he didn’t give up when he almost hit a deer, his motel from years back was closed, the escorts and ‘dating’ sites were a bust, and MKE’s wasn’t located where he thought it would be.  He pushed through the bar’s noise, less than welcoming bartender and overall vibe.  Yes, his lack of confidence and insecurities ultimately won, but he tried.  I also love that the memories of Marshall still give him comfort.  

 

You identified some flickers of hope on Rick’s horizon, and I’m glad you saw them. His own dogged persistence in life seems to have come to the fore here. Perhaps his insecurities upended his plan for this trip, but perhaps he may try again. Thank you very much for reading and for your comments. 

  • Like 4
  • Love 1
Link to comment
21 minutes ago, Headstall said:

Rick is an island. A self-hating one. What he needs is a gay friend/friends. He's looking for the wrong thing... he won't find self confidence or acceptance of himself through something furtive... nor will he find any kind of real peace. He needs to see there is nothing wrong with who he is, and he needs someone to help him with that. Being gay is not an affliction, and it can't be buried without huge consequence. He needs to connect in the light of day... and I hope that is what is coming. The scene at the bar was incredibly harsh... Eddie was downright vicious and cruel, representing the worst of callous youth, one that has nothing going for him but a bit of pretty. Hard hitting, powerful chapter, Parker. Well done! 

He definitely needs friends and allies who understand. And you’re also right that Rick is seeking in spots not likely to give him what he needs. I loved what you said: 

23 minutes ago, Headstall said:

Being gay is not an affliction

yet Rick’s relationship with himself has been working on that premise, in some way or another for years, taking furtive doses of Marshall or other encounters to ameliorate it.  Thanks for your thoughts and for reading this chapter. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment

Rick needs to work on his self-esteem, but I think the journey will be long before it gets better. I hope someone will be there to help him--a mysterious caramel skin adonis, preferably. I'm glad he decided to do something unplanned for once even though it didn't end up as planned. Great chapter as always ^^ thank you!

Edited by HanselMuffin
  • Like 3
  • Love 1
Link to comment

Confession time I had a similar experience to Rick years back.I wasn't as old as Rick when I did this but it was a long dry spell.My goal wasn't to necessarily hook up it was just to see what kind of people I would meet and talk to and access the situation.My results were just like Rick's and I left knowing I was out of my element.Rick is smart and I think he knows this also.You captured his thoughts very well for I had similar thoughts.

The pianist is being mentioned a lot here for that to happen I'm thinking there would have to be a huge repair job at Marta's place where Rick is there most of the day and during that time he and the Pianist interact.Even then the Pianist would have to be the extroverted personality for anything to happen.

BTW if any of your readers are Brewers fans you might have ticked them off.Hey they made the playoffs three years in a row give them a brake.LOL

  • Like 1
  • Love 2
Link to comment
2 hours ago, HanselMuffin said:

Rick needs to work on his self-esteem, but I think the journey will be long before it gets better. I hope someone will be there to help him--a mysterious caramel skin adonis, preferably. I'm glad he decided to do something unplanned for once even though it didn't end up as planned. Great chapter as always ^^ thank you!

You may indeed be right. Rick does not feel confident or much appreciated. His journey has been decades long already, and may be longer still. Things did not not go as planned. He went to Milwaukee with the preconceived notion that he would find another Marshall. That certainly didn't happen. How often do we embark on ventures which turn out quite different to what we originally thought? I'm very glad you read this chapter, and I thank you for your thoughts.

  • Like 3
  • Love 1
Link to comment
1 hour ago, weinerdog said:

Confession time I had a similar experience to Rick years back.I wasn't as old as Rick when I did this but it was a long dry spell.My goal wasn't to necessarily hook up it was just to see what kind of people I would meet and talk to and access the situation.My results were just like Rick's and I left knowing I was out of my element.Rick is smart and I think he knows this also.You captured his thoughts very well for I had similar thoughts.

The pianist is being mentioned a lot here for that to happen I'm thinking there would have to be a huge repair job at Marta's place where Rick is there most of the day and during that time he and the Pianist interact.Even then the Pianist would have to be the extroverted personality for anything to happen.

BTW if any of your readers are Brewers fans you might have ticked them off.Hey they made the playoffs three years in a row give them a brake.LOL

You're very kind to share your experience. I wonder how many other readers have felt something like this. Even though he fits into his hometown, he hasn't felt as if he actually fits there. Yet at the same time, it is his element. Milwaukee did not turn out to be his element, at least, not this time. For now, Rick has to get back to Eagle Lake and catch up on work he postponed in order to make his trip to the Brew City.  I deeply apologize to any Brewer's fans reading this story; I only know the devotion of a fan whose team goes through longish dry spells. Their season described during this story may not be one of their stellar ones  - but there's plenty of time left for a playoff run. It's not even Independence Day yet.  Many thanks for your comments, and for reading this chapter.

  • Like 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment

Poor Rick’s pretty much non-existent confidence can’t exactly be raised by all the negative responses and the insult he just received at the bar. While Hank seems nice enough even he was sorta categorizing Rick to be a “dad” like him and not remotely imagining he’d be there trying to find a guy to hookup with likely due to Rick’s age. I want to blame most of it all on his lack of confidence but...we don’t know what he said in those emails, texts, messages, etc. as it’s hard to imagine that without even meeting him they could see his lack of confidence as a turnoff. It’s not impossible depending on what he said and how he presented himself yet I dunno. Overall the community can sadly be very toxic and judgmental when it comes to looks & age so sadly that may have been the biggest reasons he’s received so much negativity. Hopefully this piano teacher is a possibility as Rick is someone who likely needs to find an emotional connection rather than just a physical one in order to heal...though part of me wishes his healing process could involve running into his rapist and punching him in the face at the very least.

  • Like 1
  • Love 2
Link to comment
58 minutes ago, NimirRaj said:

Poor Rick’s pretty much non-existent confidence can’t exactly be raised by all the negative responses and the insult he just received at the bar. While Hank seems nice enough even he was sorta categorizing Rick to be a “dad” like him and not remotely imagining he’d be there trying to find a guy to hookup with likely due to Rick’s age. I want to blame most of it all on his lack of confidence but...we don’t know what he said in those emails, texts, messages, etc. as it’s hard to imagine that without even meeting him they could see his lack of confidence as a turnoff. It’s not impossible depending on what he said and how he presented himself yet I dunno. Overall the community can sadly be very toxic and judgmental when it comes to looks & age so sadly that may have been the biggest reasons he’s received so much negativity. Hopefully this piano teacher is a possibility as Rick is someone who likely needs to find an emotional connection rather than just a physical one in order to heal...though part of me wishes his healing process could involve running into his rapist and punching him in the face at the very least.

How Rick sees himself and how he thinks others perceive him feed his negativity demon. We don’t see Rick’s texts or online communication, but I can’t help thinking it would reflect his self image. He really wanted someone like Marshall; there aren’t many like him, it appears. I’d love to have seen the reception Willy would have gotten at MKE. Now there’s fun spinoff... Thanks so much for reading, and for your comments. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Yes a very sad sad chapter indeed! (And I concur, very well written for all us readers to actually feel Ricks pain.)  Good self esteem is easily talked about but it can be very illusive.  Hopefully Rick will find someone soon - maybe take up piano lessons??

  • Love 1
Link to comment

Oh my god, never ever use a cell phone when filling a vehicle with fuel, it’s extremely hazardous and dangerous, it could result in a fire if a spark ignites the fuel 

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
On 10/12/2020 at 12:15 PM, KayDeeMac said:

Yes a very sad sad chapter indeed! (And I concur, very well written for all us readers to actually feel Ricks pain.)  Good self esteem is easily talked about but it can be very illusive.  Hopefully Rick will find someone soon - maybe take up piano lessons??

Rick might have liked that idea of piano lessons, if only he could get up the courage to speak to the piano teacher with the lovely smile. I’m thankful you continue to read, and I beg you to accept my apology for missing this comment so long ago. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
6 minutes ago, Bft said:

Oh my god, never ever use a cell phone when filling a vehicle with fuel, it’s extremely hazardous and dangerous, it could result in a fire if a spark ignites the fuel 

You’re quite right. Rick is not thinking clearly, or he would have followed that very important safety rule you mention. But then, his brain is not working in an ordered way, not at the moment. Thanks again for reading! 

  • Like 2
Link to comment

Ah, did this being back memories!  Before I was fully comfortable being gay, I went through a promiscuous phase, which ended, fortunately, just as AIDS reached New York.

Before the disease and the Internet killed them off, the City was full of X-rated bookstores and movie theaters, all of which had back rooms for anonymous sex.  I had quite a few really good experiences and met several men whom I dated for a time.  One of them even became my lover for ten years.

But, like Rick, I was never any good at meeting people in a more social situation, such as at bars or clubs.  I suspect that people like Rick and me must send out vibrations that tell people to keep away.  Even to this day, I often find myself on the fringes of social gatherings.  Perhaps it's the desire to connect that frightens people off.

I notice that the name of Cedarcrest is always italicized in Rick's thoughts.  The reason is not clear to me, but I'm beginning to believe it's intended to indicate that he thinks of the name as a swear word.  Am I correct?

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
On 5/24/2021 at 11:33 AM, BigBen said:

Ah, did this being back memories!  Before I was fully comfortable being gay, I went through a promiscuous phase, which ended, fortunately, just as AIDS reached New York.

Before the disease and the Internet killed them off, the City was full of X-rated bookstores and movie theaters, all of which had back rooms for anonymous sex.  I had quite a few really good experiences and met several men whom I dated for a time.  One of them even became my lover for ten years.

But, like Rick, I was never any good at meeting people in a more social situation, such as at bars or clubs.  I suspect that people like Rick and me must send out vibrations that tell people to keep away.  Even to this day, I often find myself on the fringes of social gatherings.  Perhaps it's the desire to connect that frightens people off.

I notice that the name of Cedarcrest is always italicized in Rick's thoughts.  The reason is not clear to me, but I'm beginning to believe it's intended to indicate that he thinks of the name as a swear word.  Am I correct?

Cedarcrest is italicized mostly to emphasize that it’s the grandiose name of a very imposing structure built by people with far too much money. For Rick, it’s a place with bad memories attached. I read your thoughts about social situations and smiled. Rick is very good with one or two people at a time. Make the group much larger, and he becomes far more apprehensive. A big noisy bar full of strangers? He didn’t feel community there, he felt humiliated. Thanks again for reading, and for sharing your thoughts. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
23 minutes ago, dughlas said:

Oh, this hurts deep in my soul because I know exactly how Rick feels ...

Thank you for saying so. I have felt that sting, too. Rick has had a lifetime of missteps and humiliations. I’m grateful for your comments and for reading. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment

I had begun reading this a while ago but laid it aside as it hit far too close to my heart. I've returned with every intention of finishing this time. 

  • Love 2
Link to comment

View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    Sign Up and get an occasional Newsletter.  Fill out your profile with favorite genres and say yes to genre news to get the monthly update for your favorite genres.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..