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background on the excerpt

One of the ideas deliberately left almost fully submerged in Father Figure is that Sam is the source of all legends about evil, and here we see just the tip of that cold mass in his insistence to Daryl that Daryl state he is entering Sam's car of his own free will.

The dinner Sam treats Daryl to at a local restaurant is the reader's first chance to sit down with Sam at any length and listen to him. There's no question Sam gets the best lines in the novel.

The halibut Sam eats during his meal is the same I ate in Seward, Alaska a few years earlier.

The bugs on the windshield which open and close the scene are not the least exaggerated in their number. Driving on the Al-Can through Canada on our way to Alaska, Mary and I had to stop our car off and on through each day's journey to pour more windshield wiper fluid in the reservoir. We went through one squat jug after another. Between the bugs and the mud of the mostly unpaved roads of northern British Columbia, by the time we got to the Yukon our Mustang had a two-tone look: brown from the headlights down, speckled white above.

Sam's arguement that homosexual sex is superior to heterosexual sex has been reprinted on a number of gay-oriented websites over the years.

i don't want to squeeze the white part
excerpt from the novel Father Figure

Monday morning Daryl was back at his desk at work, reading a lab report remembering Sally's palms pushing against his crotch, when the phone rang.

It was her. She sounded dispirited.

"Mr. Bayer wants Sue and me to do inventory tonight. We're probably not gonna get out until ten."



"No, I understand." He looked around his desk, his day deflating.

Around ten the phone rang again. He picked it up on the first ring, heart pounding, it suddenly occurring to him that while he had been moping the past hour over blood counts she may have been arguing with Bayer that she couldn't stay after work tonight.


"Is this Daryl Putnam?"

It was a man's voice. Disappointed, Daryl answered, "Yes."

"Are you the gentleman who sometimes eats in the hospital coffee shop?"

"Yes. Who is this?"

"This is Sam Rudolph, Daryl." The voice sounded businesslike. "We ran into each other a couple of times during lunch. Do you remember?"

I remember what an asshole you were, Daryl thought. "Yeah."

"The reason for my call is that I was wondering if perhaps I could take you out to dinner tonight. Are you free?"

Daryl pulled the receiver away from his ear, scowling at it.

"Are you there?"

"Yes, I'm here. Why would you want to take me out to dinner?"

The voice went on in reasonable, well-modulated tones. "The truth is, Lodgepole is a small town and I don't know very many people here. I'm living by myself and--" there was a deep chuckle--"I guess I'm getting tired of eating in silence each evening. I know we got off on the wrong foot, you and I, for which I blame myself. I was hoping we could get together and put all that to rest. I've heard Pete's serves the best seafood in town. Have you eaten there?"

"No." What should he do? Go home to his gloomy apartment and watch the one channel on TV? Or go out with an asshole?

"Daryl, I know we've had a couple of run-ins with each other. I guess I rub people the wrong way sometimes. But if you'd be willing to have dinner with me tonight, I promise you I'll stay on my best behavior. I'm a little older than you are, and as you get older you get more lonely. It bothers me to just sit in my home each night after dinner, trying to think of what to do next, feeling cut-off from all the people outside having a good time together. Will you do this for me?"

Daryl sat back in his swivel chair, phone still to his ear. Of course, even an asshole's company. He raised his eyebrows to himself. "Okay. Fine."

"You'll do it?"


"I'll swing round your place at seven, and by seven-thirty we'll have a feast spread in front of us. See you then."

Daryl said goodbye, as it turned out, to the ether, the other phone having already hung up.

On the fourth of seven tolls reverberating through town a big, black Cadillac pulled up to Daryl's apartment building, its horn honking.

Three stories up Daryl let the drapes fall back in place, double-locking his door on the way out.

The horn was still sounding as he walked across the lawn to the Cadillac.

He passed the front of the car on the way to the passenger door. The big chrome grill was thickly encrusted with blood, feathers and fur.

Inside, Sam leaned across the seat Daryl would be occupying, touching the side control to slide the dark-tinted window halfway down.

Sam's jutting face stared up at Daryl from within the front seat. "Do you want to get in my car?"

Daryl lifted up on the latch. Locked. "Yes."

"You're getting in of your own free will?"

"Right. You asked me out to dinner. I accepted."

Sam nodded, sat back behind the wheel, touched another control on the arm of his door.

There was a deep click inside the passenger door. Daryl tried the latch again. This time it lifted up, the door swinging out effortlessly.

Daryl folded himself into the Cadillac, pulling the door shut but leaving it unlocked. A sharp scent of cologne hung over the leather smell of the Cadillac's interior.

His side window went up, the tint making the day outside seem like night. The sense of separation from the outside world made it feel like he was sitting in a richly-padded submarine.

Sam peeled the Cadillac around, churning up dust, and headed down Mountainview to Alaska Street.

He kept his cigarette clenched between his lips while he spoke. "Glad you could make it."

Daryl adjusted himself in his molded leather seat, pulling the back of his suede jacket out from under his buttocks. "To tell you the truth, I never thought I'd be having dinner with you."

Sam grunted, eyes on the road. He was dressed in three shades of grey, jacket, turtleneck, slacks, which brought out the grey in his black, combed-back hair. Daryl felt unsophisticated sitting next to him in his brown clothes. The visor over his side of the front window was down: its inset mirror reflected his nose and eyes. He glanced at Sam's profile. Sam looked handsomer, even with his age and bony face.

As they reached the bottom of Mountainview the sun fell on the windshield, illuminating hundreds of flattened insects matted across the curved glass, so many that Daryl had trouble seeing past them to the road.

Sam chuckled at Daryl's surprise, ash falling on his sweater. "They're always bouncing off my windshield, all the little bitty bugs with the great big insides."

"Don't you have any wiper fluid?"

"Nah. I think it's beautiful. Look at all the bright colors their little bodies were carrying inside."

Daryl looked away from the curved glass, throat closing.

Sam swung the car left onto Alaska Street, tires riding smoothly now, on pavement. A few hundred feet down he pulled into Pete's parking lot, rumbling over the dirt and gravel to the back of the building, its rear extended over the lake.

He parked by the weathered grey pilings.

Both men got out of the car, Daryl standing by his closed door, readjusting how his shirt went into his waistband.

Sam gestured at the big, sleek lines of the Cadillac. "Like it?"

"Yeah, it's nice." He ran his hands through his hair, pushing it back.

Sam lead him around to the rear. "Let me show you something." He opened the trunk, standing back so Daryl could see the wide, carpeted interior. "Pretty big, huh? If I tuck in the knees and elbows, it seats four."

Daryl made a small smile.

A portico at the front of the restaurant led to two tall, carved doors. Each man opened one, passing side by side from the bright daylight into the dimly lit lobby. As Daryl's eyes adjusted to the cool darkness, to the red and blue neon beer lights, he made out a cash register area to the left with a young blonde with straight hair posed behind it in a sleeveless dress, rest rooms to the right, people standing around the middle of the lobby in private conversations, and in front, beyond a high, wide archway strung with nautical artifacts, a large, sunken floor area which stretched out of sight on either side, from which different voices and aromas rose, hanging in the air above bobbing heads.

He felt instantly uncomfortable.

Sam touched his upper arm to Daryl's chest. Out of the corner of his mouth he confided, "I picked Monday because you usually get a good crowd. Half business, half college."

The young blonde stepped out from behind the cash register. Holding a clipboard she headed across the lobby towards them, long skirt straining against the strides of her concealed legs. She stopped under the ceiling light where Daryl and Sam stood, top of her head haloed, flashing a perfect smile. Daryl looked shyly at her, seeing lots of eye makeup and rouge, as though this restaurant were in a large city instead of a small town. Half-lowering her lids for a moment under Daryl's inspection, cozy smile on her lips, she turned her face towards Sam, cocking her head. "How many in your party, sir?"

Sam held the back of his fist up towards her, lifting two fingers.

"We have a few people ahead of you tonight. If you like, you can wait in the bar until your name is called. Would you like to do that?" She gracefully brought the clipboard up in one arm, holding it out sideways at a slant as though it were a lyre, pen poised politely, waiting for their response.

"Put it under Putnam," Sam told her. As she nodded and wrote 'Putnam' down at the end of two and a half columns of names still not scratched out, Daryl glanced at Sam's face. The older man's eyes were darting up and down the girl's soft bare arms.

As she finished writing she looked back up at Sam again, smiling. "There." She brought one hand up to touch the back of her neck, overhead light shining down on her crooked arm, displaying its slim roundness. "You shouldn't have to wait longer than half an hour, sir. The bar's over there, if you're interested. Are you interested?"

The bar was even darker and more crowded than the lobby. Girls with circular trays squeezed between chairs, rumps rubbing over seated shoulders, joking with customers five tables away.

I feel completely out-of-place. He thought back to the Open 'Til Eight Pizza Shoppe, Sally sitting across from him, both of them square and nervous, her beautiful, dark-haired, girl-next-door face. I didn't want that blonde to flirt with me, but I certainly didn't want her to choose Sam to flirt with instead of me, either.

Sam scanned the hazy room, bottom row of teeth pushed out aggressively, then idly slapped Daryl's rib cage. "Follow me."

They made their way through the noisy crowd, only half of whom were sitting, towards the windows at the rear which looked out over Little Muncho Lake's intense greenness.

Daryl followed in Sam's wake, excusing himself as he squeezed sideways past people, but he couldn't see any vacant tables up ahead.

Sam stopped with a one-two stomp of his shoes at a table already occupied by a young man and woman. Both were sitting on one side of the table, arguing quietly over their umbrella'd drinks.

Sam pulled out a chair and sat down heavily.

The couple looked across the circular tabletop, first surprised, then annoyed.

The young man narrowed his eyes. "Excuse me, but this table's taken." He gestured sideways at himself and his girlfriend, indicating the obvious.

Sam pushed a fresh cigarette between his wide lips, coldly regarding the pair. "Sit down, Daryl."

The girl went 'hey!' in a surprised voice, turning to her boyfriend to see how he was going to handle it.

Daryl backed away a little from the chair Sam had casually kicked out.

The boyfriend raised his head. "I said. The table's taken."

Sam sat back, stroking his jaw, grinning aggressively. He shook his head side to side so slowly it couldn't be taken as anything but a challenge. "That side of the table's taken. A table's got four chairs, son. You and your sweetie get two, me and him get the other two. You don't like it, grope her in your car."

The boyfriend raised himself half out of his captain's chair, leaning across the table top, a blond lock flopping onto his forehead. "Mister, the table's taken." When Sam didn't respond, the boyfriend twisted his lips back into a tough look, eyes blinking as the adrenaline started pumping. He stayed hunched awkwardly over the table. "Listen. You get up, you go somewhere else. Now." He jabbed his right forefinger forward, punctuating the command.

Sam ignored the threat, turning to the indignant girlfriend, blue eyes roaming over the bare flesh of her shoulders and breast tops. "This little boy you brought here can't protect you. Tell him to take a hike and you, me and my friend'll get chummy over a coupla drinks, then the three of us'll head back to my place, and between me and him we'll fuck every hole you got in your body." Sam lowered his head, giving her a dark look. "Then we'll take a knife and make some new holes and fuck them."

The boyfriend snapped his elbow back, knuckles whitening into a fist he hovered but didn't throw.

Sam raised his jaw up to the cocked fist, swinging it left and right. "Come on, junior," he goaded. "First shot is yours. But then there's gonna be chairs flying everywhere, and in the confusion you'll be down on the floor with me on top of you. I'll pull your intestines out your asshole while you scream at shoes."

The girlfriend tugged at her date's plaid shirt until she had his attention. "Let's go, Mike. I don't want a fight."

Mike turned towards her, still angry but visibly relieved. "He insulted you."

"Sticks and stones." She put her cigarettes back in her purse. "Let's wait by the bar. He's not worth it."

Mike wavered, then pulled his body back until he was standing in front of his vacated chair. He ground his fist into his palm, trying to catch his breath. "Somebody oughta teach you a lesson."

Sam exhaled lengthily, the stream of smoke rushing up towards Mike's face. "Won't be you, sonny. Not with your hairless baby balls."

The girl stood up also, smoothing her vinyl skirt over her hips. She pulled on her boyfriend's tensed upper arm. "Let's go, Mike. It's not worth it."

The two of them filed around the table, squeezing past the backs of occupied chairs, the male glaring, the female following, putting her purse strap back up on her shoulder.

As the boyfriend passed Sam he sneered down at him. "Asshole." He waited for a response. When he didn't get one he sniffed, moving off towards the bar with a swagger.

As the girlfriend passed by, Sam reached a hand up, cupping the back of her shiny skirt, giving the cheek of her ass a strong enough squeeze to make her jump in her high heels.

Daryl, still standing, expected her to haul off and slap Sam, but instead she lowered her head, breasts swelling against her blouse, and raised her rump so Sam's hand could slip between her legs from behind.

Her lips jerked apart again and again as Sam kneaded his big hand between her thighs, her dark, made-up eyes following her boyfriend's back. Just as Mike started turning around she dismounted her legs from Sam's hand, long-nailed hand trailing a caress across his chest, and hurried forward through the crowd.

Mike had turned completely around, puzzled, by the time she caught up to him. Touching his shoulder she pointed him forward again.

She flipped her head back, brown hair swinging, to see if Sam were still watching her.

Seated on a stool beside her boyfriend, his reddened face ducking down as he fed oyster crackers into his mouth, she swiveled around, spine erect, tossing her hair, letting a high-heeled foot drop so her skirt split open, showing her leg all the way up to her hip.

Her boyfriend said something to her from his hunched-over position. She tossed him a distracted answer.

Sam gestured at the chair he had kicked out earlier. Daryl sat down. "He just asked her what the fuck she was doing, and she said, looking at the lake." He lay his long hand on Daryl's suede forearm. "What she was really doing was counting how many holes she had in her body, and deciding where she'd like the new ones. Girls love getting fucked. If you treat them like dirt before you fuck them, chances are they'll come."

A college-aged girl in a Pete's t-shirt and red micro-skirt sauntered over, smoky eyes switching from one seated man to the other. "Whaddaya want tonight, gents?"

Sam sat sprawled back, puffing on his cigarette, right hand rubbing the inside of his thigh, openly admiring her black-stockinged legs. "Bring me six White Label Dewars on the rocks, all of them doubles. Daryl?"

Daryl looked down at his hands, not wanting to be here. "I'll have a glass of the house white, please."

Sam grabbed the high red hem of the waitress's skirt as she turned to go. "Bring him a bottle of Moet instead. And listen, my friend here wanted to know if the reason why you're wearing black stockings is because you've got hickeys up the insides of those shapely thighs."

She glanced at Daryl but addressed Sam. "Wouldn't you like to know."

Sam held onto her hem, crinkling his bony nose at her. He slid a folded fifty across the wet-ringed table. "That's just for telling us what the insides of your thighs do look like. Any discolorations?"

She glanced around at the crowd partying in the darkness of the bar, then slipped the green and grey bill up under her order pad. She leaned over, lower lip hanging out with sultry cooperativeness. "I got a bruise way up my left thigh."

"How'd you get it?"

"Walked into a doorknob."

"Were you drunk or were you high?"

"Both. Turn you on?"

Sam brought his gleeful face closer to hers, hand curled over his left ear to drown out the background noise. "Yeah. Ever look at it and wish a guy gave it to you? Or maybe a girl?"

Her brown eyes faltered, then her throaty voice spun it out with a honeyed casualness. "Yeah, sure. Maybe a girl, huh? Kneeling between my legs, putting my feet up on her shoulders, pinching my 'shapely thighs'? Is that your turn on?" She glanced pointedly at the side pocket of Sam's grey jacket, out of which Sam had pulled the first fifty.

Sam caressed the inside of her black stockinged knee, sliding closer still in his chair. "Right now, you got any pimples on your body?"

"Pimples?" She hesitated, pencilled eyebrows steady. "Yeah", she confided. "I got a pimple on my ass. Had it 'bout a week now."

Sam moved his hand up the inside of her thigh. When he reached the hem of her red micro-skirt she placed both long-nailed hands down on the table top, one with the order pad still in it, going "Oof!" as Sam's hand disappeared above the hem, forearm twisting left and right. "How big is it?"

She hung her head, riding his hand. "It's a real fucker", she murmured. She raised her face to look around again in the darkness at the oblivious crowd, quickly bowing her head once more as Sam's elbow pumped rapidly up and down, his lips curling back in disdain.

"Have a head on it?"

She nodded her long-haired head, panting, straddling her legs to better accommodate his hand, flirt's eyes hardening into whore's eyes.

"Big white head. I was gonna try to pop it tonight after work."

"Hurt when you shit?"

"God, yeah. I know what you want now, right? I took a shit between the lunch and dinner crowd, right over there in the rest rooms, and the fuckin' thing brushed over the toilet seat. Really fuckin' hurt."

Sam cackled quietly, hand still vibrating under her micro-skirt. "Did it hurt when you squeezed out your turd?"

She nodded, sucking air in through her nostrils. "Sure did. Had to lift my left cheek. Get the turd out. Put pressure on my right cheek. Right where the pimple was. Stupid me, huh? Hurt like a bitch." She looked up hopefully at him, little beads of sweat forming between her eyebrows.

His hand yanked under her skirt, pulling down her panties, tops of her hose. "Where is it?"

His wrist switched around under her hem, then stopped. A wide grin broke across his face. "This is it, isn't it. What a smooth ass you have. But this is the pimple between my thumb and forefinger, right?"

She sucked in breath. "Yeah. Careful."

"I don't want to pop it. I just want to squeeze the red bottom of it. The part that really hurts."

She shook her bowed head. "This is--"

With his free hand he slapped two more fifties down. "Just until you cry. Just until then."

She shot him a dark up-from-under look. "Wanna masturbate me instead?"

"No. I don't want to do that. I want to squeeze this big pimple on your beautiful, smooth ass until you start crying. Just until the tears come. All right?"

"Yeah, but--" Her eyes clamped shut as he started.

He watched her face start to shake as he pinched, watched the suffering open her mouth, a thread of saliva looping from upper to lower teeth. "Hang on. Just until the tears start."

She braced her smooth young hands on the table top, nodding.

"You're a real sport." He pinched harder, making her shoulders jump. "Real good girl. Maybe later--" he tilted his head towards Daryl, who was staring open-mouthed at the both of them--"maybe later my friend and I can go over your place, sit on the floor in front of your toilet and watch you shit. Maybe my friend here will even lift your warm cheek for you, watch you push out your turd."

Her face reddened, crumpled; she started crying.

Sam pulled his hand out. With his left he tossed the two fifties closer to her. "What color's your toilet paper at home?"

She put the fifties away, touching her fingers to her eyes. "White."

"Maybe my friend will want to wipe your ass for you afterwards. Maybe he'll want to be the one to tuck the white toilet squares up your soft, sweaty crack and swab your hole clean. Interested, Daryl?"

Daryl closed his eyes. "Fuck you."

Sam smiled.

Daryl stared out gloomily over the lake. From their table in the main dining room he could see the leafing white birches bordering the eastern shore of Little Muncho, beyond which Sally lived.

Sam held his smoking cigarette away from his lips, looking more foreign than ever in the dim light reflected off the lake. "That turned you on, didn't it?"

Daryl let the last drops of his drink roll down the inner curve of the glass into his mouth. "Hardly."

Sam snickered. "Daryl, I know you got a hard-on watching me feel her up."

Daryl turned back towards the lake. "How would you know that?"

"The smell, you dope. An erect cock smells different from a relaxed one. It smells..." Sam reflected for a moment. "Cleaner." He gave a disinterested shrug. "But what's important is learning why it did arouse you."

Daryl accepted another of Sam's doubles. "It certainly didn't arouse me hearing all that talk about her bowel movements."

"Didn't it? A little? All those intimate little details lovers never ask about? Which cheek she raises?"

"Come on, we're going to eat soon."

"Didn't it?"

Daryl looked down at his hands holding his drink. "Maybe lifting her cheek did, a little. Because it made me picture her ass."

"And it aroused you to watch me masturbate her."

Daryl said nothing.

"Of course it would. Any two people fondling each other, that's very arousing." Sam leaned forward. "When I first put my hand up her skirt, when she could have slapped me or moved her legs away but she didn't, that turned you on, didn't it? That made you think, he's got her now. She's going to stand there as long as he wants her to now. You watched her face. I saw you. You watched the pleasure start to build up in her face, saw her move her legs even farther apart, even though I hadn't asked her to." Sam sniffed the air again, then broke into a smug smile. "Real clean, Daryl."

Daryl looked away guiltily. "You make women act like whores."

Sam shrugged. "Life is pornography. When we can't sustain that level we sink into the mud of symphonies, gardens and love." He made a point of ignoring Daryl, looking around the room.

A young couple sat on one side of them, talking quietly. The boy was in an over-sized blue blazer, the girl in a flowery country dress with too many ruffles and flounces, like something sewn in a farmhouse from a catalog pattern.

On the other side, a long table held ten well-dressed black men and women celebrating something.

Sam turned his chair away from the table, trying to catch the farm girl's eye. Both her and her date's cheeks reddened and their voices became more self-conscious.

"Look, why not be nice for a change and leave everyone else alone?"

Sam spread his hands apart. "What would I do all day then?"

The waitress went up to the young couple's table. Both declined dessert. The boy flipped his blazer back, revealing suspenders, and reached into his hip pocket for his wallet. After he paid, the girl patted the top of his hand. They pushed their chairs back, the boy hurrying around to help the girl out of hers. They walked past Sam with their eyes down, cheeks still red.

Sam leaned farther back. "Pretty dress. What are your panties made out of? Kitchen curtains?"

The couple ignored him, walking hand in hand to the front.

Sam made an angry face to himself.

A redheaded waitress stepped over to their table.

Sam threw an arm sloppily over the back of his captain's chair. He gave her a bored once over. "We'll eat here, in the bar. I'll order first, because he hasn't even glanced at the menu yet. This is a hundred dollar bill. It's yours. Take it. Do everything exactly as I want you to, and you get two more. Fuck up once and I'm going to stand on top of this table and scream at you in front of all these people until I've reduced you to a blubbering mass of twitches and spasms. Are you willing to do it my way, or should I ask for another waitress?"

The redhead looked at the hundred in her hand, one eyebrow up in shock, then nodded timidly.

"Good. This applies only to my meal, incidentally, not to my guest's. If you have to screw his up to get mine out in time, so be it." He turned with old world politeness towards Daryl. "Or would you like to give her a three hundred dollar tip out of your own pocket, to make things even?"

"I'll take my chances," Daryl answered testily.

"Fine." Sam drew in his breath. "I want you to bring me three dozen oysters on the half shell. I want them freshly shucked, and I want them served on the smaller shell half, so I'll know they've been opened just for me. If there is a speck of grit in them they're going back. I don't want anything served with them. No cute little lemon wedges, no cocktail sauce, no artfully arranged parsley sprigs. Just oysters and ice.

"When I am down to the last half dozen I want you to bring three bowls. In the first I want one pound of melted butter, and it better not be clarified. In the second bowl I want not less than fifty and not more than seventy steamed clams. Any sand in them, back they go, and I'll squeeze your wrists until you give me my hundred back. Serve the broth in the third bowl, and I want it to be pure broth, not watered down with wine or cognac, or dirtied up with seasonings. When I pick up the bowl of butter to drink what's left of it, that's your next cue.

"At that point I want two pounds of chilled jumbo shrimp. Make sure the sand and blood veins are immaculate, and don't overcook them. With this course you can serve me lemon wedges. Don't let me get through my last shrimp without seeing you carrying over my next course.

"For my first entree I want beer-battered halibut, give me a couple dozen thick strips, with at least eight different dipping sauces, big bowls of them, and more lemons.

"Five minutes after you bring that I want a good-sized seviche of scallops and a broiled, whole rock fish, but not halibut. Snapper would be nice. Then I'll have some coffee, a generous slab of cheesecake, and after that a hot fudge sundae with vanilla ice cream and banana slices and brownies pushed down the sides, but skip the nuts. They get between my teeth. Instead, layer some marshmallow sauce between the ice cream scoops, and top it with whipped cream and a dozen maraschino cherries.

"Along with this, and start your service with this, I want a fifth of Dewar's and a fifth of Jim Beam bourbon, a low, wide, heavy glass, and two ice buckets crammed with cubes. Make sure one bucket is piled high with cubes at all times.

"And whatever you do, don't hover. It irritates me."

The waitress flipped to the fifth page of her pad, completing his order. She went back over the previous pages, counting with her fingertips. "You get eight salad orders with your dinner, sir. What dressings would you like with them?"

Sam shook his head. "Salads are for sissies."

The waitress turned to Daryl. "Sir?"

Daryl cleared his throat. "I'll have the flounder dinner, please, with blue cheese dressing on my salad."

She nodded, hurrying off.

Sam wiped the butter from his lips, ignoring the waitress' hands as full plates were substituted for dirty ones. "Trouble with you is, you're too hung up on girls."

Daryl lifted one of the four pepper mills on their table, studying it again, still waiting for his salad. "What does that mean?"

"It means girls do windows but they don't do cocks."


"You get a guy and girl together and right away there's trouble. Girls want to waste time on romance instead of moving the skin around your cock up and down a few thousand times. Because romance means attention, and attention means they're still Daddy's little girl, under his protective armpit. Sex doesn't interest them. They learn how to suck cock for the same reason they learn baseball or football terminology, because they know it's something guys like. But they don't really enjoy sucking cock, not like a queer does. Have you ever heard a girl referred to as a cocksucker? Of course not. Every time a woman sucks your cock, it's as a favor. It's never because she truly, really, hungrily wants to slide her wet lips up and down your long, strong, beautiful cock all night long."

Daryl snorted.

"I'll let you in on a little secret, Daryl. I've sucked cocks and I've sucked breasts, and cocks beat breasts. Why? It's the perfect shape to slip into your mouth. Look at a cock, look at a mouth. They're made for each other. A breast, it's wide, it's fat, you can't breath around it. A cock, you only have to open your mouth a couple of inches to let it in, to feel that round length of it, that sexy heaviness."

Sam pointed a shrimp at him. "Guys are dumb. Know why? Because sex is so important to them, but most men are too afraid to try the most pleasurable sex a man can experience." He leaned forward. "Getting fucked up the ass. Look as skeptical as you want, you haven't experienced it so you don't know what I'm talking about. The girls don't want the guys to know how good it feels to get fucked. That's where the true sex organ in men is. The prostate. Think of it as a man's cunt.

"I'll prove what I'm saying to you, and you don't even have to pull your pants down.

"Every time you take a shit, there's that moment when the turd expands your sphincter to just the right width, and it feels great, it feels incredibly pleasurable. Am I right?"

Daryl, who was putting off eating his salad until this subject was over, shrugged.

Sam laughed. "It's all right to admit it feels physically good, Daryl. Anyway, a man's cock is just exactly the right thickness to keep that sphincter open to that crucial width. And not just for a fleeting moment, but for hours. And the longer your lover keeps your sphincter open with his cock, the more intense the pleasure becomes. Especially when he teases you, sliding his cock back and forth very slowly, rubbing inside that ring of muscle, narrowing the sphincter to where the pleasure almost goes away, then widening the round muscle again. You let a boy fuck you real slow like that for twenty minutes and he owns your asshole. You'll be flat on your back, resting your legs against his chest like a woman does, giving him soft little girl-kisses under his jaw, feeling his biceps.

"And that's just your sphincter. Good as it feels to have your cock touched, it feels even better having the backs of your balls touched, right? Know why? Your balls are closer to your prostate.

"Now suppose you had a way of caressing your prostate directly. Can you imagine how intense that pleasure would be? Well, this thick cock inside you, the width of which has your sphincter in seventh heaven, also has a head to it, right? And a cock is just the right length that the boy on top of you fucking your ass can push that head all the way up inside your anus until the big head of his cock rubs repeatedly around your prostate. The organ of urination, bumping around inside against the organ of defecation. It doesn't get dirtier than that. And believe me, as far as sex goes? Dirty equals better." Sam sat back, holding up both his palms. "Ooh, la-la, la-la."

The waitress slid Sam's halibut chunks in front of him, removing the empty plate that held the shrimp.

Daryl moved the cartoonish-looking lemon wedges off his flounder, deciding to walk home.

Over at the other table, the blacks broke out in a round of subdued applause, one of the black women thanking everyone with raised glass.

Sam tucked the rest of a halibut chunk into his wide mouth, watching. When he swallowed he called out cheerfully, "What's the occasion?"

The group glanced over, one or two smiling and looking away, then they fell into a quieter conversation among themselves.

Sam picked up his glass, turning in his chair to face the long table. "I hope you don't mind me being nosy," he apologized, "but I was curious what you good folks were celebrating."

The seated group glanced around among themselves for a spokesperson. Finally the one being feted spoke up. "My husband and our friends are celebrating my promotion." She tilted her goblet towards the spectacled man sitting next to her. In a slightly lower voice she added, "I just made office manager."

The husband kept a smile on his face, looking at Daryl.

"Office manager!" Sam raised his glass in salute, beckoning for the waitress. "What are you folks drinking?"

The husband looked around the group. "You don't have to. We're having our own little party."

"What are they drinking?" Sam asked the waitress.

"They're drinking wine, sir. Blue Nun."

"Well, I think we can do a little bit better than that! I want you to go back there and get the best, the most expensive champagne you have, and I want you to deliver two bottles of it to that table." Sam lifted his glass of bourbon-flavored ice again. "My best to you, your husband, and your friends." He turned back to his fish.

Daryl poured some cream into his coffee, blowing on the slightly oily surface to blend the two colors.

Sam finished his sundae. "So what do you want to do now?"

Daryl tasted a hot sip. "This is a work night. I should get home."

"You're too young to worry about boss' breath on the back of your shoulders." Sam stirred his coffee with a spoon. "I've got an idea," he said casually. "Why don't we go back to my place, it's very secluded, we can share a couple of joints and go swimming in my pool."

And fuck me up my ass, Daryl thought. "Thanks, but it's too late. Besides, I want to call my girlfriend before she goes to bed."

"Make sure she's alone? You can't really tell over the phone, though. She could still have a guy in bed with her, rubbing his cock against her ass while she's talking to you."

"Fuck you."

"Best way to find out is let her hang up first. If she hangs the phone straight down, she probably is alone. But if it takes her a couple of times to get the phone back on the hook, that cock's up inside her again. Worse still, that cock could feel so good back up inside her she only thinks she hung up. Then you get to hear how the new boy breaks a bitch." Sam turned around to the blacks again. "How was that champagne?"

The husband answered. "Very good. Thank you again." All eight members of the party kept their eyes down.

"Have you ordered dessert yet?"

"I don't think we'll have any. Thank you again for the champagne."

Sam sat up in his chair, speaking loud enough for everyone at the nearby tables to hear. "Waitress? These good folks have finished their meal. I want you to bring them dessert."

"We don't want any."

"Nonsense." Sam looked up at the waitress. "Put their entire bill on my tab. Now, I'd like you to go back there and I'd like you to bring out the biggest, ripest watermelon you have, and I'd like you to give a thick red slab of it to each of them." He swiveled back to the party-goers. "Am I psychic, or what? Myself, I prefer cheesecake, but I figure there's nothing like a big ol' watermelon to keep a bunch of niggers happy."

One of the black men tilted his long head at an angle. "Maybe you've had too much to drink. The lady's had something good happen to her. You understand that?"

Sam spread his hands out, laughing. "I'm happy for her."

The husband glanced at his wife, looked at the friend who had spoken. "We'll pay our own tab."

"No need to do that. You people don't make white wages. Tell you what, if it makes you feel any better," he said, spreading his shoes apart on the floor, "your wife can shuffle over here on her knees and suck my cock for me. You wouldn't mind that, would you, darlin'? To be made office manager, you must have had a lot of big white cock between those fat nigger lips of yours already anyway. Anything's better than your husband's shriveled-up dick, right?"

The husband stood up, but the man who had spoken first was faster, stalking over, jabbing his finger forward. "I asked you if you understood this was a special night for the lady, fool!"

Sam merrily glanced over at Daryl, who was sinking in his chair. Sam wrinkled his nose at the angry man in front of him. "How come you came over first? You're the one who defended her first, too." He glanced at the husband, the wife, the man in front of him. "She sucking your cock too?" The black woman bowed her head, starting to weep.

The man in front of Sam clenched his fists.

Sam, still seated, looked him up and down. "What's the matter, boy? Feets fail once you get this close to a white man?"

The black blinked himself back to dignity, still leaning forward. He took a deep breath, turning his head sideways to let it out. "I'm not going to spoil this lady's night with a fight. You get your head on straight. You should show more respect for other people."

"I show plenty of respect for other people. I just don't show respect for farm animals."

Daryl stood. He turned to the black man, who had braced himself when Daryl rose. He gestured at Sam. "I'm sorry. I didn't know he was going to do this." He looked at the black man, whose eyes stayed hurt and angry.

Sam, still seated, said, "You knew I was going to do it, Daryl. You saw it coming."

Daryl looked at the black again. "I'm sorry." He turned and walked past the people watching at the other tables, through the lobby, into the men's room.

He banged the stall door shut behind him, not bothering to lock it, fell on his knees in front of the toilet, opened his mouth and felt his jaws lock as the contents of his stomach came spewing up.

Once it was over he got to his feet again and washed his mouth in one of the sinks.

Sam wasn't in the dim lobby.

Daryl went through the tall double doors, out into the sunlight.

Squinting, he made his way around to the rear of the restaurant, knowing it was a stupid thing to do, but planning to let the air out of all four tires of Sam's car.

Sam was perched on his hands and knees on the hood of the black Cadillac like a mountain cat, tongue lapping wetly along the bug-encrusted windshield.

He turned his head sideways to Daryl, spitting little wings and legs out of the corners of his satisfied smile. "No matter how much I eat, I'm always hungry for more."

Daryl stumbled back the way he had come.