This is my entry in the 2015 Valentine’s Day contest. It’s much shorter and very different from last year’s entry. I hope my message about love will resonate with you. All characters are over eighteen. Please vote (once) and comment if you like.
Thad crouched in the bushes, waiting for his opportunity to jump the delivery guy. Jimmy, the cool guy, called to have the roses delivered.
It was Thad’s job to wait and watch. And then to attack. He didn’t have to hurt the delivery guy too badly, just enough to get the roses and get him the hell outta there. That’s what Jimmy said, “Get him the hell outta there, Thad.”
Thad’s knees were getting sore from kneeling for so long, and the wet ground had soaked through his sweatpants, leaving dark spots on the cloth. He rocked back and forth, trying to warm himself, wishing he hadn’t seen Jimmy this morning. Jimmy was always picking on Thad, but today he made a deal with him. If he just went into the house and fucked up the creepy old queers, Jimmy and his friends would leave him alone forever. It seemed like a good deal to him.
Jimmy’s car went down the street again, slower this time. He pointed at his eyes and then pointed at Thad in his spot in the ro-duh-den-drin. Thad got the message. He knew there was no turning back. The old queers were a menace to the neighborhood. Jimmy said it was Thad’s job to do something about it. Thad didn’t know what was wrong with them, but Jimmy was a smart guy. Thad was just a big, stupid dummy. Everybody said so.
A white van crept down the street, and Thad’s body tensed, ready to spring. The van passed his rhododendron hiding spot and then stopped and backed up, beeping its arrival in front of the house. Figaro’s Flowers. That must be the one. The driver’s door opened, and Thad froze. It was a woman. His mom always told him not to hit girls. He didn’t know what to do.
He thought about what Jimmy would do if he chickened out. When he approached the delivery woman, he noticed her long, red, curly hair and her voluptuous figure. He didn’t know the word voluptuous, but he knew that he wouldn’t mind seeing her naked. He reached the porch, just as the woman came from the back of the van, holding a big bouquet of red flowers. When she turned around, she said, “Oh! You startled me! I didn’t see you there.”
Thad stammered like he usually did with strangers until he finally managed to blurt, “Y-Y-You’re real pretty.”
She hesitated. Maybe she sensed the danger. Thad didn’t know. She held out the flowers to him and said, “Mister Stempien? Here you go.”
Thad didn’t know who Mister Stempien was, but he took the flowers from her. She was standing close enough that he could look down on the top of her head. She looked up at him. “You’re a big guy, aren’t ya?” As soon as he had the bundle, she backed away, afraid to take her eyes off Thad.
“D-d-d-do I hafta s-s-sign?”
“Nope,” she said, picking up her pace. “All set.” She reached the driver’s door, got in the van, and sped away before Thad could follow.
With the flowers in hand, Thad knew what he had to do next. Ring the doorbell and get into the queers’ house. He pushed the buzzer and waited. He heard nothing. No footsteps. No voices.
He heard a car, and when he looked over his shoulder, he saw Jimmy again. Thad waved and nodded and then held up the flowers to make sure Jimmy saw them. Jimmy pointed to him and waved him toward the side of the porch. Thad followed his direction and went to sit on the porch swing to wait.
* * * *
When he woke up, he didn’t remember where he was. He heard music, but couldn’t tell where it came from. He looked left and right down the tree-lined street and saw the duplex he lived in with Mom. He remembered his mission. Fuck up the queers so Jimmy’d like him.
The flowers had fallen from his lap into a heap on the gray-painted wood of the porch floor. He heard voices coming from inside the house. He wondered how they’d walked right past him, never considering that they’d parked in the alley behind the house and came in the back door, just like they did at Thad’s house.
He focused on the voices he heard over the music. Two grown men, living in the same house. Queers. It just wasn’t right. Mom said so. Jimmy said so. Jimmy’s friend said so too. Thad had lived down the street from these weird guys his whole life. “Walk on the other side of the street, Thad.” That’s what Mom always told him. “You don’t wanna run into those queers.”
He put his hand in his pocket and felt the box cutter Jimmy gave him. He hoped he remembered how to open the blade. He was slow. Most people figured he didn’t know he was slow, but he knew it better than everyone else. He knew he didn’t understand life like regular people, but he didn’t know how to fix it. He used to think he’d get smarter when he got older, but he was twenty. If he wasn’t smart by now, it probably wasn’t gonna happen.
Jimmy’s car passed the house again. This time Jimmy was impatient. He pointed frantically at the door, his wild eyes making his demand. Thad looked down at the pile of roses on the porch, and tried to salvage what he could. If the deliveryman routine didn’t work, he was going to have to depend on his size and strength to do this. Even a dummy like Thad could figure that out.
He went to the door and tried the knob. It was locked. He listened again, hoping that he could tell where the queers were. He didn’t hear much, but he decided to check to see if there was another door to try.
He made his way around the side yard to the back stoop. The queers’ cars were parked there. He realized that they’d come in the back door, and that’s why they didn’t see him sleeping on the porch. He climbed the three concrete steps, and twisted the flimsy brass doorknob. To his surprise, it turned freely, and he stepped into the mudroom.
The first thing he saw when he stepped into the kitchen was Valentine’s Day. “It looks l-l-like that b-b-aby with the arrows p-p-pu-pu-threw up in here.” Red roses, pink roses, white roses. It smelled like his grandpa’s funeral in that kitchen. He followed the music to the living room. It came from a big, old-fashioned stereo near the stairs. He didn’t recognize it, but it sounded like some sappy love song. Valentine’s Day. I forgot.
The stairs were in the far corner. He could hear male voices coming from upstairs, so he wrapped his hand around the box cutter in his pocket and tiptoed across the wall-to-wall carpet toward the staircase. A noise behind him made him jump, but when he turned to look, he found only a large orange cat perched on the arm of the couch. He decided not to take a chance, and took the box cutter out of his pocket.
He stepped onto the landing, still tightly clutching what was left of the roses, and thought about his mission. He felt like a secret agent, ridding the world of the queers that were a menace to everyone on the block. Mom would be proud. Jimmy would be his friend for real. He could do this. He knew he could.
Thad climbed the first three stairs, and then he heard a low, guttural sound. He thought it sounded like a cow or something, but even he knew that was ridiculous. It had to be one of the queers making that noise. His stomach flip-flopped, and for the first time, he wondered if he was doing the right thing. Fucking people up was bad, but he didn’t know if queers counted as people. He cursed his slow brain, wishing that for once, he could think like a smart guy. Like Jimmy.
“Oh, baby. I love you,” he heard from upstairs. It confused him. Who is he talking to? he thought. Is there a girl up there? He climbed two more steps, and could see red and pink balloons bobbing against the ceiling. Two more steps, and he saw a huge, heart-shaped balloon with silly arms and legs sprouting from its sides, tethered to the ground, and seeming to shuffle slowly toward the top of the stairs. The walking balloon scared Thad a little, as if it were some kind of queer monster, coming to eat his brain or his heart or something.
He caught his bearings and continued up the steps. He heard a different male voice. “I love you so much.”
Two men? Two different men? Who are they talking to? Thad was confused. He reached the top of the stairs and heard what sounded like kisses, like the ones Mom put on his forehead when she tucked him in at night. Smooch, smooch, smooch. He tiptoed down the green carpet toward the end of the hall, and stood with his back to the narrow stretch of wall between a tightly closed door and one that was open about six inches. He glanced into the open door and saw that it was a corner closet with another door open to the bedroom. That’s where the noises came from.
He ducked below the top shelf of the closet and peered into the room. His jaw dropped when he saw the two men on the bed. They’re naked! Thad had never seen another naked man in real life, and he didn’t know why they’d be lying together in bed like Mom and her boyfriends.
He knew about sex. He heard mom and a guy she met at the diner talking one night about doing sex, so he asked Jimmy. Jimmy’d laughed at him and called him a mental retard, but he found a magazine in his glove compartment to show Thad. That magazine was full of naked ladies with shiny skin and guys with their peckers all hard trying to stuff them into those ladies. The pictures made Thad’s pecker hard too, and when Jimmy laughed and pointed at his privates, he ran home.
A few months later, he tried again, only this time, he asked Mom’s boyfriend. They were at the breakfast table and Mom was still sleeping. “D-D-D-Did you do s-s-s-sex with my mom?”
The boyfriend almost spit out his Cheerios. He chuckled and nodded. “Yeah, kid. I did.”
Thad blushed as red as a bottle of ketchup, but he pressed on. “W-What is s-s-sex?” He stared at his bowl.
The boyfriend turned pretty red himself and looked over his shoulder to make sure Mom wasn’t coming. “Well, son. Sex is when a man puts his erect penis into the vagina of a woman for the purpose of making a baby.” As soon as he finished speaking, he got up from the table, put his bowl in the sink, and walked to the bathroom, leaving Thad to wonder where Mom had left all those babies.
From his spot in the queers’ hallway, Thad thought that what he saw in front of him didn’t look anything like a man putting his erect penis into the vagina of a woman for the purpose of making a baby. He didn’t know what this was.
The man with the white hair was lying on his back with his head hanging slightly over the foot of the bed. The man with the darker hair, like black and gray mixed, was propped over White Hair’s body, and their mouths were pressed together. Thad could see their lips touching and their tongues flicking against each other’s. “Happy Valentine’s Day, baby,” Gray Hair said. His hand ran down White Hair’s torso, down to his privates, and he put his hand on White Hair’s wiener. White moaned at his touch and wrapped his arms around Gray’s shoulders.
Thad sank to the floor and laid the flowers next to him. He could still see the men on the bed, and he decided he would watch for a while before taking care of them. He watched Gray push himself up to move down White’s body. Both men had nice muscles. Mom liked men with nice muscles. When Gray knelt on the bed, Thad could see his six-pack, his well-defined chest, and his huge, hard cock sticking out from his hairy crotch. White moaned even louder than before, as Gray took his cock into his mouth.
Thad’s eyes were as big as saucers. Why is his wiener in his mouth? That’s disgusting! As repulsive as this act was, he couldn’t look away. He wondered what having one of those in his mouth would taste like. Probably like pee.
Gray’s head bobbed up and down over White’s middle, sometimes halfway down his cock, sometimes until his nose was nestled into White’s pubic hair. White was moaning louder and louder and bucking his hips up toward Gray’s face. He put his hands on Gray’s head and babbled, “Fuck. Fuck. Oh, baby. Your tongue feels so good.”
Thad looked down at his lap and wondered why his own pecker was getting hard, like it did when he heard Mom and her boyfriends in the room next to his. On those nights, he’d put his hand down his pants and rub his hard dick until it felt like his body would explode, and it would spurt all over. He let the box cutter fall to the carpet and burrowed his hand under the waistband of his sweatpants. He found his erection and stroked up and down. When the slippery pre-cum leaked onto his fingers, curiosity overcame him, and he put his fingers in his mouth to taste it. Salty. Not gross at all.
He looked down at his lap and examined his penis, comparing it to the ones in the bedroom. His was a little longer and thicker than Gray’s and not quite as thick as White’s. He traced his fingers along the veins on his shaft and wondered why the end of his looked different. Both of the queers had a pointy tip on theirs, while skin covered the end of Thad’s. The nudie magazine guys were like the queers too. Maybe it was some kind of effect of his slowness, like his eye that the kids had always made fun of in school. Mom always told him that his eye drooped because he was slow. Maybe that’s how he got extra skin on his pecker.
As he stroked his cock with one hand, he played with his foreskin and rubbed his balls with the other, learning what the different touches felt like. He wondered what it would feel like to have a warm, wet mouth on his boner too. He put his finger in his mouth again and felt the heat against his skin. It made him shiver, especially when he imagined that heat on his dick. He didn’t know if girls put dicks in their mouths too. He hadn’t seen that in Jimmy’s nudie magazine, but he’d only looked at a couple of pages. I need to do this. I need to put it in somebody’s mouth, he thought.
White interrupted Thad’s thoughts with his orgasm. “Oh, god. I’m coming. Suck it out, baby. Suck out that cum.”
Thad didn’t understand what was happening, but his dick did. He felt a surge of pleasure stab him in the crotch, and he slowed the motion of his hand to prolong the feeling. He looked back at the men on the bed and saw White getting to his knees, leaning over Gray’s body. White’s buttocks were covered with wiry white hair, and when he leaned to take Gray’s cock in his mouth, they separated, exposing his asshole to Thad. His hips bucked into his fist, prompting him to start jacking his hand again. It was gonna spit soon, and then he could do what he’d come to the queers’ house to do.
White didn’t suck Gray’s cock for long, which was okay with Thad because he couldn’t see the action that way. After a moment, White pulled his head up and looked at Gray. “I want you inside me, baby.” White stood and turned around, giving Thad a good look at his naked body. His chest was covered in white hair. Thad found himself wanting to touch it, to entangle his fingers in the thick fur. White’s cock wasn’t as long as Gray’s, but was nice and fat. His pubic hair was almost as white as the hair on his head.
Thad jacked harder and faster. He was getting close to blowing his load watching these two men doing sex right in front of him. He knew it was wrong to watch, but he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop because it felt so fucking good. White turned and climbed over Gray’s body, straddling his hips. He reached behind and took Gray’s cock in his hand. Thad didn’t know what was happening or where he was putting Gray’s cock, but he knew it excited him. Thad’s hips bucked and he fought to keep from coming, but it felt too good, and he couldn’t hang on for long.
He watched with horror and excitement as Gray’s cock disappeared into White’s bottom. It could only be going into his butthole. He tried to close his eyes, but he couldn’t take them off the man sitting on the other man, knowing that White had a giant cock shoved up inside him. Thad thought it had to hurt. Things were only supposed to go OUT of there. The hole was too small. His butt had to be ripping open, like when Mom tried to fit too much stuff into his paper lunch bag. He couldn’t see any way possible that White wasn’t screaming in agony, but White’s reaction was just the opposite.
“Oh, baby. Fuck it. Fuck my ass. Harder.” White bounced up and down, meeting Gray’s thrusts.
No. That can’t feel good. Thad thought just before he felt the spasm from the base of his cock. His cum spurted all over the front of his sweatpants, dribbling to the green carpet. He sat still for a moment until he caught his breath. He relaxed and wiped his hand on his pants. He spotted the box cutter next to him, and he remembered his mission. Take care of the queers. He got quietly to his feet, grabbed the useless roses, and went to the bedroom door. He tried the doorknob, never thinking it might be locked. Why would it be? The queers lived alone.
The door creaked as it opened, and both men looked up with alarm. “What the fuck?” Gray said. White was frozen with fear, his cock deflating despite the other cock up his ass.
Thad panicked, almost dropping the box cutter. “A-Are you the queers?” he asked, holding it up and exposing the blade. White put his hands up in the air, which made Thad feel powerful for a moment. Gray was squirming like he was trying to get away, but he couldn’t because White was still impaled on his cock. “A-A-Answer me. Are you the queers?”
White nodded, his hands still raised and shaking. “Yes. I guess we are.”
“W-Why?” Thad asked. “Why are y-you queers?”
“I don’t know,” White said. “What do you want?”
Thad heard a noise downstairs and remembered the cat. He hoped he wouldn’t have to hurt the cat. He looked into the hallway, and White took the opportunity to stand and remove Gray’s cock from his ass. Thad turned back and said, “S-Sit down. W-Why are you queers?” He held the box cutter out in front of him and took a step closer.
Gray started to sit up, startling Thad. He stabbed at the air, and Gray put his hands up too. “You’re the boy from down the block, right?” Gray asked.
“Yes, s-s-sir,” Thad said. He hadn’t expected the queers to talk.
“Why are you doing this? Why are you in our house?” Gray asked in a soft voice.
Thad looked around, confused. “J-J-Jimmy s-said I had to f-f-fuck up the queers. S-So I could be his f-friend.” The music had stopped, and he heard footsteps on the stairs. He wondered if a cat could make so much noise.
White finally spoke. “Do you know what queer means, son?” Thad looked over his shoulder, distracted by the footsteps. “Do you?”
“N-n-no,” he said. “W-What does it mean?”
“It means that we love each other, like husbands and wives love each other. We want to be with men, not women. Do you understand?” White said.
“Bu-But why does e-e-everybody hate you s-so much?” Thad was confused. Why would everybody hate them because they loved each other? It didn’t make sense. He thought they were scary, dangerous, hateful people. He heard them tell each other that they loved each other. Their love was real, and it was exciting. Remembering their kiss aroused him.
Gray said, “They think we’re different is all. People don’t like things they don’t understand. They’re afraid because they don’t know us, but we’re just like everybody else. We just prefer to be with a man. Can you put down the knife?”
Thad motioned with the blade again, but with less conviction than before. He heard a floorboard squeak in the hallway.
“B-B-But why? I don’t g-get it.”
White said, “We don’t know why. That’s just the way it is. Why do you like girls?”
That question threw Thad for a loop. “I-I-I don’t l-l-like g-g-g-girls.” He was confused and pissed off. He liked the girls in Jimmy’s magazine, but he didn’t like any real girls. Am I supposed to like girls? He thrust the box cutter toward White.
“Hey,” said White. “Don’t get defensive. I just assumed…”
“If y-y-you’re j-j-just like everybody else, w-w-why does everyone h-hate you so m-m-m-much?” Thad asked again.
“I don’t know,” said White. He buried his face in his hands.
Gray reached for White and put his hand on his shoulder to calm him. White let out a little sob. The gesture touched Thad, and he felt the first pang of remorse for what he was doing. “H-How long have you loved each other?”
The men sensed Thad’s hesitation and moved closer to each other. “Going on thirty years,” White said. “How long have your parents been married?”
Thad frowned. He didn’t have parents. Just Mom.
Gray looked down at the mess on Thad’s sweatpants. Thad was still semi-erect. “What’s your name, buddy?”
Gray’s eyes went to the open closet door. “Were you watching us, Thad?” Thad hung his head instead of answering. “You were, weren’t you?” Thad nodded, but couldn’t meet his eyes. “Then you know that we love each other. You don’t need to hurt us because we don’t hurt anyone else. We just love each other.”
Thad nodded again. A smarter man may have thought that Gray was just trying to buy time, to weaken his defenses, but Thad thought only of love and what he’d seen them do. Thinking about it made his dick harder, and he tried to shake it off.
White looked at Gray as if to gauge whether this was the moment to make a move for the weapon, but before he could, Jimmy burst through the bedroom door. “Well, well, well, Thad. I was right. You’re too fucking stupid to pull this off on your own, ya retard. And now, it looks like you’re one of them. See? That’s the problem with queers in the neighborhood. You spend half an hour with them, and they convert ya. Cover up, you assholes. I don’t want to see your cocks.” Gray reached for pillows and handed one to White.
“And look at you there, Thad, with your big ole boner. This queer shit is turnin’ you on, Thad. What will your mama think when she finds out you went queer?”
“Y-You l-leave my m-m-mom out of this,” Thad said, still looking at the men on the bed.
“She probably wouldn’t care anyway,” said Jimmy. “She’s too busy fucking every guy she—”
Thad felt something in him snap, and he turned to Jimmy. He didn’t hesitate, think it over, or give Jimmy a warning. He rushed his hulking frame toward him and dropped the broken roses on the floor. He grabbed Jimmy’s shoulder with his left hand and plunged the box cutter into his stomach.
“What the fu—” Jimmy tried to back away, but he was no match for Thad’s size and power.
Thad pulled the blade out, and plunged the blade into his midsection again and again until the box cutter broke, lodging itself in Jimmy’s flesh. Jimmy fell over backwards on top of the mangled flower petals before the two naked men could jump off the bed to stop Thad.
Gray grabbed Thad and sat him on the bed while White dialed the phone.
“We need an ambulance.”
* * * *
Twenty minutes later, Thad sat in the back of a patrol car, waiting. For what, he didn’t know. He supposed he was going to jail for threatening the old guys and stabbing Jimmy. He guessed that Jimmy was dead, but nobody told him anything.
He was tired enough to doze off, and he dreamt of the two men he saw fucking. In his dream they welcomed him into their home and treated him like a friend. It felt safe and comfortable, and it wasn’t until a big black cloud encircled him that he realized that he was an intruder in this cozy scene. He fought to clear the fog and scrambled to get back to the feeling of comfort and acceptance he felt with White and Gray.
He snapped awake when someone knocked on the window. He opened his eyes and saw Gray leaning down, looking into the window. A police officer stood behind him. The officer opened the door to allow Gray to speak.
“Hey, Thad. We weren’t properly introduced back there. I’m Mike Stempien. My partner’s name is Darren Fisher. I’m a lawyer, and I’m going to help you, okay, buddy?”
“W-W-Where’s my mom?”
“The police officer will have her meet you at the station. I’ll be there too, as soon as I get some respectable clothes on.” He looked down at his ripped sweatshirt and old jeans and smiled at Thad.
“I-I-Is Jimmy d-d-dead?”
“No. He’s hurt, but he’ll be okay.”
Thad hung his head, ashamed that he wished Jimmy had died. He was only gonna make Thad’s life worse now.
“Don’t worry, buddy,” Gray said. “It’s gonna be okay. We’re gonna help you. I’ll see you at the station.”
“W-W-Why?” Thad asked. “Why are you h-h-elping me? After everything I d-did.”
“Thad, you have it rough. You’re easily manipulated. You need some guidance. Darren and I can give you that.”
Thad was quiet for a moment. “I’m sorry I was gonna fuck you up ’cause you’re queer.”
Mike chuckled and patted Thad’s knee. “I hate to break it to you, buddy, but I think you might be too.” He closed the car door and walked away.
The police officer got into the driver’s seat and eased the car into the street. The lights from the Jimmy’s ambulance flashed against the white houses, like strange Valentine’s decorations coming from his new friends’ house.
As the police car passed his house at the end of the block, the cop in the passenger seat turned and said, “Is he a friend of yours?”
“N-no. He j-just p-pretended to be my friend. He’s a j-j-jer…He’s an asshole.”
The cop smiled. “Not him. The gay guy. You know, the lawyer.”
Thad nodded and looked out the window. “How can everybody hate Mike and the other guy and still like Jimmy?”
Thad recognized the look on his face. It was the are-you-fucking-stupid look her saw at least twenty times a day. “You know,” the cop said. He looked to the driver to back him up, but the driver kept his eyes on the road. “They’re fags.”
The driver met Thad’s eyes in the rearview mirror and sighed. “It sucks, but it’s the sad truth.”
“You know, I think I understand love,” Thad said, as he watched his neighborhood fade into the distance, “but I guess I’m too slow to understand hate.”
Thanks for reading and voting. Happy Valentine’s Day!