Saturday, June 11, 2005

Small Town Boys - Chapter 8

Mike - 1992

The house was dark when Donny got home from Mike’s. Eric said the party would go past dinner, and Rob was still working. He flipped on the light in the kitchen and found a Swanson’s potpie in the freezer. He fired up the oven and went to change out of his beach clothes.

He emptied his pockets and put Mike’s card on the dresser. He looked at it for a moment. On the front it read simply “Lance Michaels” with his agent’s phone number and address. Mike had written his private phone number on the back.

He put the potpie in the oven and went to take a shower. The water made his skin tingle, and he noticed that in spite of the sunscreen, he’d gotten red on his shoulders and legs. He toweled off, applied some Vaseline Intensive Care lotion, and pulled on some sweats. He sat on the couch, watched TV until the oven timer went off, and ate off a TV tray in the living room.

He was almost done when he heard a phone ringing. With three different phone lines, Eric had set it up so that each phone had a different ring pattern. Donny’s was “ring-ring-pause-ring-ring.” He went to his room and picked up the Trimline.


“Hi. It’s Mike.”


“Got home safe, eh?”

“Yeah. Just finishing dinner.”

“Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“Oh, that’s okay. It’s just a TV dinner.”

Mike chuckled. “Yeah? Me too. Fresh outta the microwave.” He paused for a moment. “Hey, I really had a good time today.”

“Me too.”

“You’re a great guy.”

“You too.”

“I…uh…I just want you to know… I don’t hang out at Venice Beach every weekend picking up guys.”

“I know. You told me that. I believe you.”

“Yeah, I guess I did tell you that. Hey look, I have a short shoot tomorrow. I should be home by three. You want to get together? Maybe have dinner or something?”

Donny could feel his cock getting warm. “Sure, that’d be great.”

“Cool. Come over like around five or so?”


“See you then. Looking forward to it.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“Okay. G’night.”


Donny put the phone on the dresser and sat on his bed, remembering the afternoon.

They’d sat on the couch in the sunroom, sipped their beers, and chatted quietly. Mike took off his cap and sunglasses, and Donny now recognized him from TV. Mike said he’d played a defendant on Matlock, a bad guy on a recent episode of In the Heat of the Night, and was working on a movie of the week all under the screen name of Lance Michaels.

“Oh, yeah,” said Donny, nodding. “So that’s not your real name?’

Mike shook his head. “Michael Eugene Lankowski. When I got out here and started auditioning, the first thing everyone told me was to change it to something more pronounceable, and so—ta-da! Lance Michaels.” He made a face. “It’s a kinda cornball name… I mean, why not Rock Salt or Bolt Upright, but…I guess I’m stuck with it.”

Donny shrugged. “How about I just call you Mike?”

“Works for me.”

Donny looked around the sunroom. “Nice place.”



“Yeah. Sublet, actually. A woman I know with is on the crew of a movie shooting in England for a year, so I’m basically house-sitting, except I’m paying her for the privilege. I might end up buying it, though. She’s engaged to this guy who lives in New York and when they get married she’s moving there, so what it really boils down to is that if I like the place and can afford it, I might actually go ahead and buy it. C’mon, let me give you the tour.”

The rest of the house carried on the Southwest theme. Mike explained that the owner had been on the crew of The Milagro Beanfield War and had fallen in love with the Santa Fe look and decided to do the whole house that way – carpets, wall hangings, paintings, even the tile in the kitchen. They went through the living room and into the bedroom wing, past two or three smaller rooms and then into the master bedroom. It had a large sliding door that opened out onto the pool and the patio. Mike slid open the door and stepped out onto the patio. It was shaded by tall trees and native plants, hiding the privacy fence. The only sign of the neighboring houses were the peaks of their roofs, visible through the branches. It was getting to be late in the afternoon and long shadows fell over the patio.

“This is a great place,” Donny said. “You should buy it.”

Mike chuckled. “I might. Comes furnished, so I don’t have to worry about that, and it even has a maid. Now all I need is a hunky pool boy in a Speedo to come over twice a week. Then it would be perfect.”

Donny glanced at Mike, and saw that he was looking at him with an inquiring look. Donny gave him a small smile, and that seemed to send the right message. Mike laughed softly. “Look, I hope you don’t think that I prowl around Venice Beach trying to pick up guys every weekend. In fact, today’s the first time I’ve been there in, like, months. Since last summer, and that was with some friends. So…” Mike came over to Donny and close to him. Donny could feel his warmth, and he caught a whiff of sunscreen. “Yeah,” Donny replied, “this was my first time ever at Venice Beach.”

“Matter of fact,” Mike said, “I am really careful about meeting people, period. You never know.”


“Well, there’s a lot of whackos out there…not to mention guys who would love to get you and your picture on the cover of the Enquirer.”

“Never read it.”

“Yeah, you don’t look like the type. ‘Sides,” he added, looking down at the front of Donny’s cutoffs, “not too many freelance reporters trying to get some dirt on me would be standing here with a king-size hard-on, would they?”

“Guess not.”

Mike grinned a little. “Just so you know, my agent requires that I get tested regularly. For AIDS. I’m negative.”

Donny nodded. “Okay.” It looked like Mike was waiting for him to say something, so he grinned a little too. “I’ve....I’ve never done anything that could be... y’know....”

“We’ll be safe,” Mike said.

They kissed gently touching at first, then powerfully, wrapping their arms around each other, pressing together. They took a breath, then Mike led Donny back into the master bedroom, closed the door, and pulled the curtains, making the room dim. Mike pulled off his shirt and kicked his sandals away. Donny did the same. Mike gently tugged on Donny’s belt buckle, and it made a soft clunk on the area rug next to the bed. Donny buried his hands in the front of Mike’s shorts, loosening the string and pulling them off, taking the blue Speedo with them. They both looked down at the same time. “Wow,” whispered Mike, and that was the last coherent sound they made for a while.

Afterward, as Donny sat on the edge of the rumpled bed and pulled on his shirt, Mike handed him the card. “That’s this number here at the house on the back,” he said.

“Okay.” Donny stood up and stuffed it in his pocket.

“Let’s keep in touch.”


“I’m not just saying that,” said Mike. He went to the closet and pulled on a pair of sweatpants.

“No, I know,” said Donny. “This was fun.”

Mike went into the bathroom and rinsed out the washcloth. “Can I call you sometime?”

“Sure. Whenever you like.”

“You live alone?”

“Nope. Share a house with two other guys. One’s my boss…or sorta. He’s an owner of the company I work for.”

Mike flicked off the light and came out of the bathroom. “Is he cool?”

“Oh, yeah. Well, I don’t think he knows I’m gay, but I don’t think it would bother him. He’s not too much older than me.”

“Is he hot?”

Donny thought for a second, trying to think of Eric in that way. “Yeah, I guess you could say so. He’s got a good build, and he’s funny and smart.”

“Sounds like a nice guy to work for.”

“Yeah, he is. He and his twin brother run the place.”



“That must be weird, working for twins.”

Donny chuckled. “I have a twin brother myself.”

“You’re kidding.”


“Is he gay?”

Donny stood up. “I hope not. He’s at the Air Force Academy. They kick you out for that.”

Donny wrote his phone number on the pad in the kitchen, and then Mike let him out the front door, giving him a squeeze on the arm. “See you soon.”

Donny squeezed back and went down the sidewalk to his truck.

He went back to the kitchen, cleaned up the remains of his dinner and put away the breakfast dishes. Eric still wasn’t home by the time he went to bed.

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