No matter how many ways he tried to look at it it had been an awkward moment.
They hadn’t exchanged phone numbers. The boy had said there was no need, that he was usually at the same club. Most nights he was there.
‘In that room downstairs?’
‘Sometimes in that room.’
‘I don’t even know what the place is called.’
‘It’s called Junk.’
‘It used to be Junked, but two letters fell off the sign.’
He smiled at this. It was hard to tell if the boy was being serious. But Junked or Junk – it really didn’t matter.
And then the awkward moment. ‘About last night,’ he said, searching for the right words, and watching the boy closely.
The boy’s mouth opened slightly.
No more words came to him. He glanced down and noticed the rug for the first time. Faded, but old and expensive-looking. He took out his wallet.
‘Oh,’ said the boy, jumping out of the bed, long-legged and skinny like an adolescent. His pubic hair was dense and dark, but there was little hair on the rest of his body. They stood face to face. ‘No no no. It’s okay. No money.’
‘I wasn’t sure.’ He clutched the wallet. He felt a heat from the boy, and wanted to touch him again – to feel and taste him out of the bed, in daylight, sober. Last night was last night, another time. This was a new day, and they weren’t the same people they’d been a couple of hours ago.
© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2013.