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by E.P. Lee
May 04, 2021
AND the DOG BARKS... CHAPTERS # 37 - 42
“AND THE DOG BARKS..."
CHAPTERS #31 - 36
Major “drama” those three days spent with Brad, major.
And I wasn’t prepared for what had gone down. Those events hadn’t meshed with my expectations at all. So I was pretty fucked up, pretty devastated by it all. And I was horny.
So I called Mitch.
Just like that, out of the blue, I called Mitch. The Tuesday after the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, I called Mitch early in the day. And Mitch answered the phone on the second ring. Now Mitch was still working for me, so the call wasn’t that unusual as Mitch had a weekly maintenance gig here. But this call was for extra service (work related, but extra…).
And I didn’t “hit” on Mitch then.
I just sort of pitched.
And Mitch stepped right up to the plate to bat. Now the metaphor gets twisted here. As the “pitcher” I should say I pitched a “no hitter”, but I actually “hit” a home run when I made that phone call to Mitch. And in any case I won the game. Mitch came over the next day, and…
But things started off differently, we sort of bonded this time around, it was no longer just about sex, or work, or sex and work.
It was no longer simply about either.
Things were different this time around.
A lot of work would still get done. Work was still the daily focus. I needed, WANTED, all of that work done.
And Mitch needed the income that work generated.
But now we would spend seven, or eight hours, a full day together, three, or four, days a week for work, but we would see each other five days a week total. Those three days that were “work” days (and on those days we might, or might not, have sex before Mitch went home). Those other two days sometimes involved work, like the completion of missed finishing details from the day before (work not completed so that we could have sex before Mitch went home), but on those two days we were mostly kind of dating; we went to lunch, or we went to the movies, or we went to shoot pool, we entertained ourselves together.
And everything we did on any day had to be done by 6 p.m. as Mitch had to be home for dinner with Alcee by 7 p.m. Mitch home for dinner by 7 p.m., with money in his pocket from working all day, as Alcee tallied his daily earnings against the hours Mitch was away from her sight. That controlling little Bitch checked Mitch’s earnings every day she wasn’t with him. And if those earnings didn’t match up with the time away, Mitch had to explain.
And here I am a middle-aged adult, completely free of all responsibilities, and I don’t have a problem with any of this. I truthfully didn’t give a shit about it.
I was loving it, and a lot.
Now I was seeing Mitch five days a week, for eight, seven, six, five, or three hours each day, depending. And work was getting done, lots and lots of work. Mitch was both good at what he did, and devoted to getting it done. The earlier the work got done the more time we had to play.
And that “play” worked for me, that “play” worked for me and well.
But it was Mitch who really wanted to “play”.
Mitch wanted to play every day, and sometimes twice, usually once in the morning upon arrival, and then again before going home. And sometimes Mitch wanted to play in the middle of the day, and then go out for some lunch, or a movie, or to shoot pool, and then perhaps, when we returned, some more “play”.
And I had no trouble with any of this, none of it. Not all of the play, not Mitch having to leave every day by 6 p.m., and not paying Mitch in proportion to his hours away from Alcee, to protect him with Alcee.
All of my work was getting done, and well. It was all being done exactly the way I wanted it done, and exactly to my designs. And the work was mega affordable, no, it was cheaper than it would have been otherwise. Mitch and I were going to the Nurseries and buying the plants and trees directly. And with it all, with paying the nurseries for delivery, and Mitch being paid for installation, and those averaged out, needed “Alcee hours”, it was cheaper, way cheaper, than using a commercial landscaper.
And I was getting laid.
And I was having fun.
And I had no responsibility to anyone.
All of that “play” was starting to make me feel warm and fuzzy, and with that “warm and fuzzy” stuff I started to feel intimate, and with that “intimacy” started to come vulnerability, and with that “vulnerability” started to come “want”.
And then all Hell broke loose.
Damn these fucking memories.
Mitch and I had been “playing” with each other steadily for over three months by now, from the week after Memorial Day, to just after the Labor Day weekend.
The summer was over, life was returning to business normal, and as Labor Day week went on I realized that I had to go to NYC on business, to see a doctor, and to catch up with a couple of friends. And all of this had to be done before it got cold. When I expressed these needs to Mitch he asked:
“How long will you be gone?”
I paused and replied:
“I don’t know…
... a week, ten days, two weeks at most…”
And Mitch said:
“What am I going to do while you’re away?”
I hadn’t thought about any of that previously so I chirped up:
“Why don’t you come with me?”
And Mitch said:
I bet nobody can show me New York like you can…
And we spent the rest of the afternoon checking schedules, picking dates, checking airline fares and ticket availabilities, and deciding on how long I would be away, and how long Mitch would be with me. We decided that I was going to be there for two weeks, and that Mitch would stay with me for seven days.
Before Mitch left that day I’d made the airline reservations, and bought the tickets.
I was going to pick a hotel later that night, or the next day, but “we’re” booked” for the trip itself. Complications set in instantly. When Mitch got home that night and told Alcee of the trip away, Alcee had asked Mitch what “work” I had for Mitch in New York City?
“Houston, we have a problem.”
As Mitch related the new dilemma to me the next morning, I quickly concocted a story about some friends of mine in East Hampton needing help with some outdoor projects they wanted to complete before fall set in and winter took hold. They were stymied because no one local had the time available in their work schedules to accommodate their newly espoused needs. And to cope, to get it done before winter, they had asked me if Mitch was available to do the work for them because I had raved about his work so much.
It was a plausible scenario.
It was “plausible”...
Except Alcee wouldn’t let it go, and more, and more, and more questions ensued:
“Where will you sleep…
Whose house will you be working at?
How much are they paying you?”
And Mitch got more, and more, and more tense about it all. How could he relax and have any fun with all of this to deal with? And finally on the Thursday before the Wednesday we were supposed to leave, Mitch was at the house working in the garden by the pool as I walked by. Just as I passed him, Mitch, hedge trimmer in hand, said in a low voice:
“You love me…
I know it.”
I said nothing.
Mitch spoke again, only louder now:
“YOU LOVE ME…
I KNOW IT!”
And I said softly:
And with that Mitch dropped the hedge trimmer instantly, ran from the garden, jumped into his car parked in the driveway, and drove off fast. I didn’t know what to do, so I picked up the trimmer, straightened up the garden as much as I could, took Ziggy on a walk, and once returned, took a very hot shower.
About an hour later I tried to call Mitch.
I tried again, and again, and again that night, and then again that next morning, and that next afternoon, and there was never an answer. So I quickly expedited my departure on that trip to NYC to as immediate as I could.
I made “our” plans, “my” plans, I simply took “booked” me away as fast as I could. And there wasn’t an answer on Mitch’s phone ever before I had to leave for the airport.
So I went on that trip to NYC alone just as I had originally planned.
I was pretty out there then, my world had been rocked; I was just devastated.
Here I had been getting laid for over three months, four, five, six, and seven times a week, with my fantasy partner, and we’re going out together, and we’re shopping, dining, shooting pool, going to movies, doing fun things, and intimacy has been building, and I’m starting to “want”, and I’m starting to feel vulnerable, and…
I’m in love with the man now, stupidly and totally in love with him, and he won’t speak to me.
And why should he?
Mitch wasn’t gay, Mitch had a girlfriend, Mitch lived full time with a woman, so how could Mitch be gay? And if Mitch wasn’t gay how could he travel with another man for a week?
Alcee had called him a “faggot” during a fight, in anger, before. But this time she shouted it out and kept on shouting, and Mitch wanted quiet in his life. It was one thing to have gay sex, to get fucked, it was another thing to be“gay”. So confronted with the reality of his life through another person’s eyes, his girlfriend’s, Mitch denied his gay desires, and slammed a door on me, and our relationship.
And on all contact between us.
Not a phone call did Mitch answer. Not a phone call did Mitch make. Mitch was missing in action where I was concerned.
Mitch was mute.
And the silence was killing me, just killing me, it was fucking painful daily.
But I carried on with my life as always, and on my second night in New York City, I went to the theater with a best friend, Wendi. It was a really bad Broadway Musical. At the end, Wendi and I were rushing to get out of the theater before the main crowd, and as we crested the theater’s front lobby doors, there was Brad hawking rides on his Pedicab.
I hadn’t spoken to Brad since the Memorial Day weekend fiasco some five months before.
Brad had sent me an email, a long, three-page letter of apology the Tuesday after Memorial Day, and I had responded to his email affectionately, kindly even. But I never called him again after that.
And Brad never called me either.
Indeed, I no longer had Brad’s phone number as I had deleted it from my phones contact directory in a fit of pique somewhere early on.
And there now, on this second night in New York City, there Brad was, hot-looking as usual, a little worn, a little tired-looking at the end of his workday, a little trashy looking in his sweaty, disheveled, almost dirty, work clothes, masculine as always, and all gushy over seeing me.
And it felt good.
I didn’t hurt so much right then with Brad grabbing me all over, and hugging away.
And later that night back at my hotel I didn’t hurt at all. And I didn’t hurt at all on the seven, or eight, other nights that I saw Brad on that trip.
I didn’t hurt at all then.
But there was no intimacy, no sharing, no vulnerability with Brad at any time. I had already tried that with Brad, and I had been hurt, and badly. I wasn’t doing that again, certainly not right away. I could laugh, I could smile, I could have sex, but I couldn’t feel just yet.
And so my time in NYC passed and quickly, and after two weeks spent with good friends, old clients, and a doctor visit or two, I went to the airport and got on a Jet Blue Shuttle to Fort Lauderdale where I picked up my immaculate, just fully detailed, BMW X5 at the Jet Blue long-term parking lot, and drove home.
And once home I unpacked, and showered, and pondered the silent and empty house. Gal hadn’t brought Ziggy back from Key West yet. That wouldn’t happen for a day or two. And so the house was silent, oh so silent; the quiet was overpowering.
With that oppressive silence about me I put the stereo on, and then I opened the doors to the terrace. Next I walked out onto the terrace to hear the sounds of the birds, the sounds of the waterfall splashing into the pool, the sounds of the water from the canal lapping at the seawall, the rustling of the wind through the palm tree leaves.
And as I looked down at the garden, I saw that it was badly overgrown, and not controlled, neat, and detailed at all. And by sheer instinct, with no prior thought at all, I whipped out my cell phone from my pocket and I speed dialed Mitch.
And Mitch answered the phone.
That phone call was completely instinctual, there was no thought prior to the speed dial button being pushed, and as Mitch said:
… I didn’t know what to say.
I was mute this time.
I was “mute”, tongue-tied even. Fortunately Mitch kept talking after he said “hello”, and I could catch my breath, and gather my wits.
And Mitch said:
“How was the trip?
You have a good time?
Get everything done?
You see all of your friends?
… … …”
And by the time the last question was phrased, and there was that pause at the end, I could speak normally, and so I responded:
I had a great time…
I saw everyone and I got everything done.
I went to the doctors, I saw my clients, I saw some plays…
It was great!
I was wondering though…
While I was away the gardens really went to shit…
You got any time to attend to them?
I really hate it when they look this way.”
And Mitch said:
“I can’t tomorrow, but I think I can the next day…
Can it wait until then?”
And with my heart pounding, but with a controlled voice, I said, and normally too:
And so started round three.
Two days later Mitch used his key to let himself in to the house at about 8:30 a.m., he found me still in bed. So Mitch undressed completely, and got into bed next to me. I always liked it when Mitch did that.
That always made my day start better than any hot cup of coffee ever did.
And now we’re off to the races, we’re not at the same racetrack as before, maybe we’re at the Belmont Stakes and not at the Derby, but the horses were running, the horses were definitely running around the track, and fast.
Mitch had missed me while I was away, or maybe Mitch was just horny. Or perhaps there was an itch that Alcee couldn’t scratch. There was always an itch that Alcee couldn’t scratch, and not just that deep sexual itch either.
There were all of these areas that Alcee couldn’t scratch, and only one of them was sexual. But later for all of that, later, much later, if at all. It’s enough to say that Mitch had missed me, and that Mitch had needs he wanted taken care of, and I liked being missed, and I had no problem taking care of those needs. But I didn’t want to go through, I couldn’t go through, what had just gone down again, so…
And so what are we doing here with each other?
None of these thoughts could be verbalized, said out loud, or at least I didn’t think they could be verbalized. If Mitch could run away from me right after admitting that he knew I was in love with him, what would he do if I confronted him with his own need for that love?
Verbalization wasn’t going to happen right then, or any time soon.
No Siree Bob…
And we couldn’t go back to every day involvement anyway. Alcee would’ve gone crazy, simply ape shit. And Mitch had other commitments now, he’d gone back to college part time, found another client, and started training on the saxophone. There were other interests in play now, and Alcee was asserting her Rights de Couple-Dom. Mitch now had constraints on his time that didn’t exist before.
So we decided that we could only work together two days a week, and mid-week at that, either Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or Tuesdays and Thursdays, or Wednesdays and Thursdays, but only twice a week and on a schedule that had to be determined as things went down with the other things Mitch had on his plate.
And I was OK with that, I wasn’t happy, but OK, I was OK. We’d just gone from nothing at all, to twice a week, and twice a week was way better than nothing.
“I got plenty of nothing
And nothing's plenty for me…”
So I was OK with it all.
I think I was joyful with it all.
And as round three swung up to speed, that’s just as it played out, in the first week. By week two there were those two scheduled work days, and an extra early morning before 8:30 a.m. drive by visit. And then there was one extracurricular on the way home visit at about four p.m. on another day. And all of that is great for me, just great.
And more time passed and things continued on, and on, and on through to the start of Holidays and by the week after Thanksgiving we’re scheduling three definite days together a week, and usually a fourth. But the Holidays put stress on both of us, and soon, Christmas to New Year’s, we were down to that twice a week schedule again.
And that was all OK as the second year began.
Except it wasn’t.
And in March Mitch did it again.
Mitch ran away.
Only this time I was ready for it, as this time I knew, I knew, that it was only a temporary hiatus.
I was sure of it.
I knew Mitch would be back, I just knew it. There’s a relationship between us now. We’ve forged a foundation, that foundation might not be the strongest, but there’s a foundation, and we’ve been building on it.
Mitch now came to me for advice, weekly usually, although sometimes multiple times per week. And Mitch was acting on that advice, and often.
The changes he had made in his behavior, in his life, had been major, major, major.
I’d previously weaned Mitch from drugs, at least the heavy psychotropics: the stimulants, mushrooms, coke, LSD, Ecstasy, and barbiturates, those over-powering drugs that had so ruled his existence when we’d first met a year and a quarter ago. Life then had been a perpetual party of drugs, alcohol, and fast food.
Work, and responsibility, they didn’t exist, not as concepts, and not as what was done. It was work to get money for rent, for food, for alcohol, for drugs. It was work to party, and for nothing else.
Except for Grass, Grass wasn’t a “party”. Grass was a necessity for Mitch, like the air he breathed in. There was no weaning Mitch from Grass. Mitch was a pot chain smoker about now, “now” and until he died, a pot chain smoker.
But all those other drugs were no more. Mitch had previously lived to party, and to “party” with friends. And Mitch was the “go to” guy to get the stuff, the “man” with all the connections.
And one day I said:
Neat, you all party and have a great time, but since you copped it, and you know the supplier, you go to jail if you guys get busted…
… and they pretty much walk free.
Great for them, not so great for you.
Makes no sense to me…
You can do better than that.”
So Mitch did. Mitch stopped copping the heavy psychotropics for the friends, and then for himself. Except for Grass, Mitch always copped Grass, lots and lots of Grass.
And then in one of those many after-sex conversations where Mitch was lamenting the direction of his life, I suggested a business he could set up, and run, and develop for himself, a business that I could/would partner with him.
And Mitch said:
And so I opened an LLC with each of us as a 50% owner. And a week later Mitch withdrew. He said he couldn’t be a partner with anyone.
… (Let alone with his gay lover, but Mitch never said that.
Mitch never said that, but as Mitch wasn’t gay how could he“partner” with a gay guy in business anyway?) …
And a week later I transferred the company into his name only.
Mitch didn’t get very far along with the business by himself. He had no business knowledge, no training, and no financial resources, so what could he really do by himself? He floundered about for a good three or four weeks. And a short time thereafter Mitch asked me to cosign a car loan to get his Company started.
Mitch needed a loan for a van, a big white van that the new company, a maintenance, cleaning, and landscaping company, needed to haul chemicals, tools, and supplies from job site to job site. That big white van that Mitch had found, and needed to procure, was going to have my name on the loan as guarantor for the next 48 months.
And then there was the additional three grand that I had to lay out for the down payment and insurance.
So there was a financial foundation, and an intellectual foundation present now that wasn’t part of the deal the first time Mitch ran away. And even though Mitch knew that I was “in love” with him, and Mitch wasn’t “gay”, I knew that Mitch would be back.