Rent
by Taran Geary

 

Chapter One: Shaun & Mick

The pain in his legs woke him up. He tried to straighten them but they wouldn’t move. Something was stopping them from straightening. And it was cold. It was just so cold.

As consciousness slowly seeped into his brain, he dared to try and open his eyes. He couldn’t make sense of what he saw. He could see the orange light of a streetlamp coming at him from a strange angle. He tried to lift his head, but it seemed to be stuck on something. He felt a rising panic and he painfully lifted his arms and he touched something hard.

Slowly increasing awareness eventually told him where he was: He was in an abandoned car and his head was stuck to the steering wheel; it was where he had fallen asleep last night. He managed to free his head and he could feel the dent in his forehead where the wheel had pressed against it and frozen.

He threw the frost covered, stinking blanket off himself and attempted to open the car door. He struggled against the heavy frost that had permeated the lock mechanism and when the ice in the lock gave way and the door flew open he found himself falling out. He hit the ground hard but he was awake enough to use his hands for protection. His legs were still jammed in the car and the pain made him cry out

He lay whimpering into his hands for a minute before he attempted to extricate his legs. After a short time and a lot of pain he found himself lying on the frost covered tarmac. Now that he had moved them, thankfully the pain in his legs was receding.

But he had to piss. Badly.

He knew he wouldn’t be able to stand yet; so he manoeuvred himself onto his hands and knees, last nights used condoms lay scattered around him but he hardly noticed them as he opened his fly and performed the necessary function doggy fashion. The relief felt good despite the burning pain that told him that on top of everything else he had picked up an infection from someone.

He savoured the brief feeling of well-being that draining his bladder had brought him and then slowly he attempted to stand up. He used the car to haul himself to his feet; he leaned heavily on the still open door and waited for the vertigo to pass and for the circulation to return to his legs.

The cold was biting. He decided to attempt the walk to the city centre; there were places where a homeless boy could get warm. The walk would warm him up a bit and it would get his blood circulating again also the cold would mean that he didn’t smell so bad. But hopefully he could pick up a punter who would take him back to his place and let him shower.

As he started his walk he began to contemplate his life. His name was Shaun – or at least that was what he told people, he had almost forgotten his birth name and it was his 16th birthday tomorrow. Or at least he thought it was. No one would celebrate-least of all his family; and he wouldn’t tell any of the other street boys and he certainly wouldn’t tell a punter; a punter would just think he was trying to con extra treats out of him.

Some of the punters were alright, he mused. Most of them were just lonely people who wanted the company of a boy for an hour or two. Some didn’t even want sex- they just wanted to touch and cuddle him. Some just wanted to talk. Sometimes he actually enjoyed these liaisons.

But there were bastards as well.

They were the ones who liked to inflict pain and humiliate. He tried to steer clear of these men-but you couldn’t always tell. He wanted to get a list of “regulars” like the other, older boys claimed to have. But he didn’t really believe them. If they had a list of regulars, why were they still to be found hanging around by the canal chasing a casual punter?

***

He found his favourite “Hot Spot” a vent around the back of a fast food outlet that never seemed to close. There were two or three other boys there, he couldn’t see their faces but he knew who they were. Some he was on nodding terms with but most he steered clear of; but it was perishing cold. He sat down and snuggled up to the one boy here that he was friendly with; he said his name was Mick but for some reason people called him “Fishy”. Shaun didn’t know why and he didn’t ask. As Shaun snuggled up, Mick’s eyes flicked open; he saw Shaun and he grunted a greeting, he then lifted up the old trench coat that covered him and invited Shaun under. He didn’t hesitate and snuggled up to Mick and pulled the coat over himself. He was shivering but the warmth from the vent and the other boys body soon started to warm him through and he drifted off to sleep.

He was woken by the sound of crying; this was nothing unusual a lot of street boys-even the older, supposedly tougher boys, quite often cried in their sleep. He realised it was Mick crying and he snuggled up closer to him and threw an arm over him. Mick subconsciously put his hand over it. The crying stopped and his friend seemed to relax and fall back to sleep.

It was mid morning before Shaun woke again. It was still bitter cold and rancid clouds of steam poured out of the vent. He looked around and only he and Mick remained there. The other boys must have drifted away earlier. Most of them were addicted to one drug or another and they had to go and “score” in order to stave off the “cluck” which was the street slang for the pain of withdrawal.

There were no punters around in the mornings and the first job of the day was to get some food. The man who ran the fast food outlet was sympathetic to the boys’ plight and some of the older boys claimed he was a punter but Shaun didn’t believe them, the man had never shown any interest in him or Mick. But he would give them food and drink so long as they didn’t “take the piss”. They got up and dusted themselves off as best they could and walked to the front of the shop. Their man wasn’t there so it looked as if begging was to be the only solution.

They walked to the main street and found a place to sit; they huddled together and they placed a cup in front of them. They sat for a long time and most people walked past without a glance in their direction. Some “accidentally” kicked them and some threw a few coins into the cup.

“Look out, here’s Roger.” Mick said darkly as an elderly, much overdressed and obviously wealthy man came into view.

He had a frightened-looking boy of about twelve with him.

“Well, well, hello boys!” he shouted in a sneering voice. “It’s Shauny and the Fish boy! A bit down on our luck are we?” He laughed raucously and humourlessly as he threw a handful of change into the cup.

“Hello Roger, alright mate?” Mick said. The last was directed at the boy.

“Don’t bother, it doesn’t speak English” Roger roared. “I’ve been importing fresh meat from Albania. The local stock is not up to standard.”  He reached down and flicked a lock of Shaun’s curly hair from his face and afterwards made a great display of wiping his hand on a silk handkerchief. He continued the raucous, humourless laugh.

“Does he have a name?” Shaun asked.

“Why, do you fancy a slice when I’ve finished with it?” Roger sneered.

“Its cousin told me it’s called Pavel when I bought it” The boy looked up at the sound of his name.

Shaun put his hand out to shake Pavel’s. Pavel flinched thinking Shaun was going to hit him.

“Shaun”, Shaun said pointing at himself. “Mick” he continued pointing at his companion. Pavel understood and spoke his own name and a ghost of a smile played on his lips as he shook hands with the two older boys.

“Sorry must go. I have an exhausting day ahead – I hope!” Roger shouted. He snapped his fingers in Pavel’s face and beckoned for him to follow. As Roger and Pavel walked away, Pavel looked back pleadingly at the two older boys.

“Poor little bastard,” Said Mick. “His voice hasn’t even changed yet.”

“I wonder what that old bastards got lined up for him.” Shaun said.

“We should go to the police. He makes my flesh crawl” Mick said and he visibly shuddered.

“No way,” Said Shaun.  “Don’t get involved. Or you’ll end up dead. Just thank god that you’re too old for Roger now”

“Yeh maybe your right, but don’t you believe it, though.”

”What?”

“That we’re too old for Roger.”

Shaun snorted his agreement.

“I know I’m right; Now come on let’s count up. How much have we got?”  Mick tipped the cup on to the pavement.

“Bloody hell,” Said Mick, “There’s £20 here! That old bastard Roger must have a heart after all.

“It’s guilt, more like” Said Shaun. “Trying to keep us quiet; c’mon, let’s go and see if Sam’s at work yet”

Sam was the owner of the chip shop where they spent the night. The boys got painfully to their feet and started the short walk. Sam was there and he beckoned them in. A customer was just leaving as they entered.

“Good god! You look awful!” Sam gasped. “Bloody hell, Fishy you look as if you’ve been dead for a week! Come through here”, he indicated a door to the side of the counter that neither boy had been through before

“You two stink to high heaven. I can’t leave you out there; I’ve got health and hygiene to think of.”

They went into a small kitchen-cum-storeroom with a sink, a kettle and a small table with three old chairs.

But it was warm.

“Sit yourselves down and I’ll get you some food. Dom and Sadik will be on shift in a bit and I’ll come and talk to you then.”

Sam disappeared into the shop but was soon back with two portions of chicken and chips, he made two mugs of tea and put them down on the table. He then went back to attend his business.

“I feel really weird.” Mick said as picked at his food.

“You look really ill,” Shaun concurred, “Perhaps you’ll feel better with some hot food inside you.” He smiled and rubbed his friends arm.

There was commotion in the front of the shop and it sounded as if Sam was arguing with someone; Shaun got up to go and see but Mick put his arm out and stopped him.

“Leave it,” he said. “Not our problem; anyway I don’t want you leave me alone.” Shaun looked taken aback. “I feel really weird, Shaun.”

“Ok, mate, I’m here.” Again he patted Mick’s arm.

The commotion ended and Sam reappeared.

“I dunno why I employ those two,” he sighed. “They’re a Lazy pair of devils and late for work again.” He sat down at the table with the two boys.

“Fishy’s ill,” Shaun said. “I’m a bit worried about him.” Mick was sitting with his head resting on his arms on the table, his food was hardly touched. Sam tried to rouse him and Mick looked up he was sweating and his breathing was laboured and rasping.

“Is he clucking?”

“No!” Shaun said indignantly. “Mick’s not a smackhead.”

“Mick? So that’s his name. I often wondered. I see what you mean, he don’t look good do he?”

Sam seemed to be thinking very hard. His face went through many expressions and Shaun watched with almost amusement as Sam continued to appear as if he was wrestling with some mighty psychological demon.

“Ok then, come with me and bring him with you.”

“Where to?”

“Just follow me.” Shaun roused Mick and they followed Sam out of another door and up some stairs. They stopped by a very secure looking door.

“Where are we?” Mick croaked.

“This is where I live.” Sam replied.

“What’s over there”? Shaun indicated a door half glazed in frosted glass.

“That’s a suite of offices.”

“Where you work?”

“No they’re empty. If I had any sense, I let them out, but I like to be private up here.”

Shaun nodded his understanding and as Sam finally got the last of the locks on his door open, they stepped inside and into a long hallway with doors leading off on both sides and a pair of double doors straight ahead.

Sam led them through the double doors and into a lovely big room lit by a big window at one end and French doors leading out onto a terrace at the other. The room was furnished tastefully and the furniture looked solid and well made. A very untidy desk sat under the window and a large section of one wall was covered by bookshelves. A big TV and home theatre system was in the corner beside the French doors.

Shaun looked around and took it all in; even Mick rallied enough to see where he was.

“Sit down, lads” Sam said and they did. Drinks were offered and drunk.

“I can’t do business”, Shaun said. “I’ve got a dose.”

“I don’t want business.” Sam said. Shaun looked puzzled.

“What do you want, then?”

“To help you.”

“Why?”

“Because you two look as if you could with it.”

Shaun looked at Sam suspiciously. This is all wrong, he thought, the best thing I can do is fuck off out of it. He looked at Mick who was now almost comatose and breathing with difficulty. He looked out of the window; the wind had got up and it had started to rain.

He decided the sensible thing to do was to stay here for now.

“Do you want to get cleaned up?” Sam asked. You can borrow some of my clothes-they’ll be a bit big, but they’ll do until yours are washed.”

“Yeh, thanks.” Shaun mumbled still unsure of Sam’s motives, but the thought of a hot shower was too good to resist.

“C’mon, Mick let’s get a shower.” Shaun dragged Mick to his feet and he perked up at the thought of a clean up.

Sam showed them to a palatial bathroom and the boys peeled off their wet clothes and Mick went into the shower first.

“Oh god!” he croaked. “That feels sooooo good! Come in Shaun, I don’t mind.”

Shaun entered the cubicle with his friend. Indeed the hot water pouring over his body felt marvellous and being so close to a naked, luxuriating Mick felt strangely compelling too. He subconsciously started to soap Mick’s back. Mick’s soapy skin felt wonderful to his touch and he realised that he was sporting a full erection. “Lucky he’s got his back to me”, Shaun thought and he did his best to stop his dick touching Mick. Then Mick turned around and Shaun was relieved to see that Mick was very much in the same condition. Mick seemed totally at ease with the situation and proceeded to soap up Shaun’s body and soon they had finished and were towelling each other off vigorously and getting dressed. They hadn’t talked much during the ablutions but when they were dry and dressed Shaun asked Mick “What do you think his game is?”

“Dunno, make the most of it. Do you think he’d let me go to bed? I feel like shit. Will you ask him please, Shaun?”

Shaun did ask and Sam showed them to the spare bedroom which was another large room and it had two double beds in it. Mick undressed and climbed into one of them. He pulled the covers over himself and within seconds he was fast asleep. Shaun sat on the other bed and watched his friend sleep; he felt sleepy himself-sleep on the street is not restful sleep- And the warm glow from the shower had relaxed him so he decided to sleep himself. He undressed and pondered for a few seconds before making a decision, and then he climbed in beside Mick. He snuggled up to his friend who grunted and then spoke:

“No bummin’ and don’t kiss me.”

Shaun couldn’t help but smile. “It’s me, Shaun.” Mick’s eyes flicked open and he smiled as he saw his friend. He snuggled up closer to Shaun and soon both boys were fast asleep.

 

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