Gay Times September 08 - Issue 360
Time and Motion
GT’s exclusive one-handed story by Britain’s top gay erotic writer, James Lear:
Martin Wearing was a management consultant – hard-nosed… and hard everything else. When he visits an ailing company to make cutbacks, he discovers that some decisions aren’t his alone to make
I was not sorry to leave the house this morning. I wish I could say “for once”, but the truth is that the rows with my wife are becoming so frequent that going to work is infinitely preferable to the atmosphere at home. Ever since she caught me “fooling around” in a swingers’ chatroom, she’s been picking fights. If she knew that I’d been fooling around with men, rather than women, she’d have done a lot more. But I’m cautious. I only switch on the webcam when Maggie is out of the house, and even then I’m careful not to show my face. Sometimes I slip up, in the heat of the moment, and reveal more than I mean to, but not often.
More from Gay Times September 08 - Issue 360
A job was waiting for me when I got to the office – the usual sort of hatchet job in my line of work, going into an ailing business as a ‘management consultant’, to ‘rationalise’ the operation – which basically means making people redundant. Employees regard people like me, quite rightly, as assassins in a suit and tie.
Today’s victim was a property maintenance company, a rag-tag collection of cleaners, decorators and odd-job men who serviced various dreary commercial properties around the industrial estate on which they were based. And, of course, they were going broke. Cuts had to be made, and it was up to me to say where.
It didn’t take long to identify the problem. The cleaners were all hard-working and low-paid – they were keeping the business afloat – but it was in the decorating and repairs department that things seemed to go awry. Estimates went missing, jobs ran late or were missed altogether, and there were sheaves of complaints. I told the boss that I wanted to do a time-and-motion study of the employees in question, with a view to making 50% cuts.
The department consisted of three men, who eyeballed me the minute I walked into their ‘office’ (a grubby room full of exposed pipework, collapsing filing cabinets, empty drinks tins and crumpled tabloids) without bothering to conceal their hostility. One of them – Daddy Bear, I dubbed him – was in his late 40s, a heavy-set, dark-haired, balding man with a thick growth of stubble, almost a beard and moustache. He wore blue overalls covering a worn checked shirt. Ten years younger, and a couple of stone lighter, was Mummy Bear, who was about 35, I guessed, the same age as me, with cropped blond hair, a thick, tanned neck, blue eyes and cheekbones that you could swing off. He looked Eastern European. Finally, there was Baby Bear, a short, slender lad of about 20, in the uniform of baggy tracksuit bottoms, trainers, baseball cap and hoodie. He had a swirly tattoo on the side of his neck, nicks shaved into his eyebrows and nails bitten to the quick.
“Well, well, well,” said Daddy Bear, looking me up and down with a mixture of lust and contempt, “look what the cat dragged in.” I met his eyes – dark brown, surrounded by laugh lines, the laughter possibly not always kind – and recognised him. My stomach turned over, and I had a strong desire to be sick. We knew each other – we had “met” on-line. Daddy Bear wasn’t as shy as I was, and was quite happy to be viewed from head to toe. As I recall, he put on a hell of a show, and had been extremely eager to meet, before dismissing me as a time-waster who was only interested in cybersex.
Had he seen my face? I couldn’t remember. Was that a look of recognition? My voice shook. “Good morning, gentlemen.”
“We ain’t gentlemen,” said Mummy Bear, in a thick accent. I was right: he was Eastern European. And he wasn’t a gentleman, either, judging by the way his fists were bunching.
“I’m here to have a chat about your working patterns, and look at ways in which we might streamline the operation to deliver a year-on-year upturn in revenue and…”
“You’re here to sack us,” said Daddy Bear. “Isn’t that right, mister?”
I held out my hand, shooting out a couple of inches of cuff, the gleam of a gold cufflink. “Martin Wearing,” I said. “Pleased to meet you.” He took it in his huge paw, squeezed painfully tight and held on for too long.
“Martin Wearing. Right. I see.” His eyebrows went up, then contracted, furrowing his brow. How much did his workmates know about his on-line activities? “So, which of us is going to get the chop, Martin Wearing? Me? Or Radek? Or Lee?”
“It’s not a question of…”
“Let’s not beat about the bush, mate. I think we understand each other, don’t we?”
“Well…” What was he asking me?
“You’re here to make cuts. We’re here to defend our jobs. It’s not your fault. You’re just the messenger.”
“If we could start by looking at your diary for an average week… ”
Daddy Bear, whose name badge read ‘Joe Stafford’, sat on the edge of a table, his feet a yard apart, his thighs stretching the rough, blue material of his workwear. “Thing is, Martin, we all have our good points and we all have our bad points. How are you going to make a decision unless you have a clear grasp of the facts?”
I put down my briefcase, folded my arms, felt awkward, unfolded them again, stuck one hand in my pocket, trying to look casual. My mouth was dry, but I needed to swallow. I wished I could loosen my tie.
“Take Radek here. He’s a genius plumber, you see. Best in the business. You should see the way he handles a pipe.”
Radek was leaning against a pillar, his arms crossed, one dirty workboot crossed over the other. “I can show you if you want,” he said, his sleepy eyes glinting.
“That might be the best idea, don’t you think, Martin? We could show you, rather than tell you, how we work. Go on, Radek. Show him.”
The tall blond unzipped his overalls from neck to waist, freed his arms and left the dirty garment hanging off him like a discarded skin. He was wearing a thin, worn, white T-shirt, which he peeled over his head. His torso was lightly hairy, the skin pale over lean muscles.
“What do you think, Martin?” I thought plenty, but didn’t know what to say. I licked my lips. I think that said enough.
Radek pulled his overalls down around his boots. He was wearing a pair of novelty boxer shorts, unseasonably covered in reindeers and holly – inside which he was as stiff as a pole. A Pole. That seemed funny all of a sudden. I let out a high bark of laughter.
“What’s so funny, Martin?”
“Nothing… er… Joe.”
“Now, let’s see what you make of this.” He took my hand and brought it to his chest, guiding it into the warm interior of his overalls, his unbuttoned shirt. An electric thrill passed through my fingers as they encountered first fur, and then firm flesh. Joe’s hands cupped my head, pushed me to my knees. The floor was filthy with oil and paint and spilled drinks and God knows what else. My suit would be ruined.
Joe unzipped all the way and hoisted out a huge, half-hard cock – a cock that I’d already seen in extreme close-up on a grainy webcam, shooting its load in the lens – in my face, I’d imagined.
“Think you can work with that, Martin?”
I still couldn’t speak, but the fact that I remained kneeling, uncomplaining, my mouth half-open like an idiot, gave the answer. Radek had his hand inside his boxers, obviously masturbating. Lee was visibly hard inside his trackies, and jogging around on the balls of his feet.
“Now, little Lee here,” said Joe, casually stroking his cock to its full length, “he might be the obvious one to get rid of. Last in, first out, you know what they say. And to be honest, he’s a lazy little fucker. Aren’t you, Lee? Stoned half the time. Late all the time. Shoddy work as well, however much I try to teach him. You’re pretty fucking useless, aren’t you, son?”
“Fuck off, Joe.” Lee was grinning, dancing like a boxer.
“But the thing about our Lee, Martin, is that he has other skills that make him indispensable. Doesn’t he, Radek?” Radek smiled and nodded.
“Let’s show the man, Rad. Lee? Come here.”
Joe grabbed Lee by the wrist, pulled him over and turned him round. The lad leaned forward, pressing his palms against the filing cabinet, sticking his arse towards me, looking over his shoulder. Joe took one side of his waistband, Radek the other, and they yanked his trackies down – he wasn’t wearing underwear – to expose the most perfect, smooth, round arse I had ever seen.
“See what I mean, Martin? How could you say no to that.”
They took a buttock in each hand and pulled Lee’s arse open, showing me his rose-pink, puckered hole. It was at eye level. More temptingly, it was at mouth level.
“So, Martin, who’s it to be? Me?”
He grabbed his huge, thick cock around the base, squeezing it so the veins stood out all the way up to the hooded head.
“Radek?” The Pole freed his cock from his boxers; it arched up against his taut stomach, rising from a small fuzz of blond hair, his balls hanging low.
“Or Lee here?” He spat on to his fingers and worked them around Lee’s hole, pressing into it.
“I… I can’t say, just yet,” I said, my voice high and croaky.
“There’s no hurry,” said Joe. “This is one decision that you really can’t rush.” He went over to the door, bolted it.
“And you’ve got all morning to reach it.”
Words by James Lear
Illustration by Mike Bell
James Lear is the author of The Back Passage, Hot Valley and The Palace of Varieties, all from Cleis Press, and has been shortlisted for Writer of the Year at the Erotic Awards. www.myspace.com/jameslearfiction