“I’ve never looked out on the Adriatic Sea before. All in all the beaches of the Lido surpass those we have visited in Naples. Perhaps we should just stay here longer.”
“I couldn’t help but overhear you, sir,” a well-dressed young gentleman, complete with white suit, vest, and white bowler hat and shoes called over from under a nearby beach umbrella. “You said Adriatic Sea. That, I am afraid, is a common misconception of the tourist to the Lido. You are just turned around. That’s actually the Venetian Lagoon out there. But it’s just a natural mistake. I would agree that the beaches of Venice are better than those in Naples, though.”
Manfred von Schlimeyer had been talking to a boy of fourteen sitting with him under a beach umbrella. The boy stood as Schlimeyer’s attention went to the nattily dressed--and quite incongruently attired for the beach, he thought--young man who had just corrected him on the body of water they were facing. The boy stretched and sauntered down to the water.
The boy was dressed for the seaside as any well-formed boy of the 1920s would be. If he were a year or two older, he would be required, by social custom, to wear a one-piece, form-fitting, short-legged woolen costume topped by an athletic shirt adhering to the man’s chest and with deep arm slits and neckline. Such bathing suits apparently had been meant for modesty but had neglected to provide anything that hid the obvious line of a young man’s left-dressed cock and the curve of his balls. But, being fourteen, although his chest was already beginning to muscle up, the boy wore just tight swimming trunks--which also showed his left-dressed cock and the curve of his balls. To most young women and a certain kind of man, the boy was breathtaking in his innocent beauty yet budding masculinity.
Both Schlimeyer and the formally attired young man watched the boy walk down to the surf--the view from behind of the pert, but bulbous buttocks being as interesting as the frontal view--and start stretching his body. Within minutes he walked into the surf up to his knees, executed a beautifully arced surface dive, and started swimming out to into the lagoon in strong, sure strokes.
“You have a handsome son, sir. You should be proud of him.”
“I am quite proud of Stephan, yes.”
“He’s a strong, elegant swimmer.”
The boy had swum out some distance from the beach and was swimming laps parallel to the beach between the wave-breaking rock walls at either end of the stretch of sand. He kept his curly mop of platinum blond hair above the water as he did the pert bulbs of his buttocks, and his arm strokes were regular and pulled him a long distance with each stroke. In the water, he looked much taller than he did on land.
On the beach, Schlimeyer and the young man he was talking with weren’t the only ones watching Stephan swim. On the other side of Schlimeyer, a canvas chair under an umbrella was just now being occupied by a German doctor, Reinhard Gleason, from Stuttgart, who was large-boned, a bit on the heavy side, and had a florid, redheaded complexion. He was perhaps in his forties. He, and the man sitting on the other side of him, an older French Catholic priest, fully clothed in black clerical garb and a high, white collar, Father Franz, had met the Schlimeyers here on the beach the previous day.
“Not the Von Schlimeyers of Berlin?” Gleason had asked when they were introduced, and when they allowed as how they were, indeed, those Von Schlimeyers, Gleason had attached himself to them like glue.
To that point he had been staying close to the fifth man in the little bunch in canvas chairs under five beach umbrellas. The Englishman, Sir Clarence Hailley, a man appearing to be in his fifties, was tall and rugged looking, almost cadaverous in appearance, but with piercing black eyes. There had been a hint at the introductions that he was in Venice convalescing from some wasting disease, but the discussion had not yet delved deeper into that topic. Nor had it explored the depths of what the French priest, a professor at the Faculté Notre-Dame Catholic seminary, in Paris, was doing on the eastern coast of Italy in March of 1924 beyond that his order had determined he needed to take a sabbatical.
All four men sitting with Schlimeyer, even Dr. Gleason, as he arrived on the beach, being the only one of the group who said he came to the beaches on the Lido di Venezia every autumn, were scrutinizing the boy swimming in the sea. Only Schlimeyer was looking at the men he was talking to during their disjointed chatting.
The only one of the group who wasn’t watching the swimmer, and the only woman present, was Hilda, who sat immediately to Manfred von Schlimeyer’s left, but set back behind him under a separate umbrella. Like the young gentleman in the white suit, she was fully dressed in a somber, long-sleeved dress that ran up to a choke collar, pinned with a large cameo broach, and down to the ground, with the points of black leather boots peeking out from under her multiple petticoats. She paid little attention to the men, keeping her nose in a series of Victorian Romance novels. The impression given was that vacationing at a Mediterranean beach hadn’t been her idea, and that she didn’t wish for Manfred to forget that.
“We’ve been in Venice for three days now, and the architecture hasn’t ceased to amaze me,” Manfred said to the young man sitting to his right. “I was led to believe it was an ancient town, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a larger collection of Art Noveau-style buildings.”
“Ah, the buildings here are glorious, yes, even the ones along Lido beach. Have you, by any chance seen the nearby Hotel Petit Palais? Exquisite.”
“We are staying there.”
“A good choice.” The young man raised his eyebrows. Only the very rich stayed there. “I have one of the Art Noveau buildings on the Adriatic side of the beach myself.”
“You? You live here? I took you for a fellow tourist,” Manfred said. “Your accent. I thought--”
“That I was an American, right?”
“Yes, I confess I did think that.”
“I am, as a matter of fact. But a displaced one. I am Jeremy Biddle, and I have an antique store here on the Piazza Puccini, not far from the Grand Hotel.” He briefly looked away from Stephan swimming in the sea to shake Manfred’s hand and then looked back. “My family is in banking, and I handle their affairs in Italy. But they thought it safer for their reputation for me to live abroad,” he added.
Manfred didn’t pursue this point, but he did register it in his mind. He turned his head and took another look at the young man. He was quite handsome. Trim, but with good musculature. And obviously sophisticated and refined--and well to do, as he was expensively dressed, if overdressed for the seaside. And perhaps knowing now that he lived in the Lido di Venezia explained why he was fully dressed. It was unusually warm for the end of September in Venice, but that was all relative. It was warm enough for bathing wear for the likes of Manfred and Dr. Gleason and the English nobleman at this time of year--and even for the sixty-year-old, gaunt French priest, who was, to use a pun, sticking to his habit--but it likely would still be too cold for the beach for a local inhabitant.
Stephan came out of the water but remained on the hard sand at the water’s edge. He was, indeed, a beautiful boy. Short, but trim with a boyish body that, nonetheless, had good torso definition, his chest muscles beginning to form, and strong looking arms and legs, as he would have to have to have been swimming as strongly and expertly as he had been. He was Germanic, light blond, with striking blue eyes, and a dazzling smile when he wasn’t looking shy and withdrawn into himself--or aloof to the scrutiny he obviously knew he was being given from the line of umbrellas.
A sigh went up from the cluster of men sitting around the Schlimeyers as Stephan loosened his muscles by doing stretches on the sand just above the tide line, seemingly entirely blind to the multiple sets of eyes capturing and mentally caressing his form from the line of umbrellas.
“Did I overhear right, that this is your first visit to the Lido di Venezia?” Biddle asked Manfred--although his eyes were glued to Stephan.
“Yes, we are doing the rounds of beach resorts this year. February was the Turkish beaches, the island of Cyprus in April. Summer was for swimming competitions in Germany for Stephan. Italy was reserved for early autumn. We will go to Naples, where we have gone before, after our visit here. And later in the fall we’ll take in the French Riviera. Stephan wants to swim in the sea, and I love to spoil Stephan.”
“I can well see why,” Biddle murmured. In fact he could only wonder at the effort Schlimeyer must have to make to keep men’s hands off the boy. His own hands were twitching at the prospect, which he hoped to be able to pursue. At the base of being sent abroad by his family was his taste for fourteen-year-old boys. The boy must, Biddle thought, know the effect he was having here on the beach. In a louder voice, though, he said, “But how can your young son be out of school for such a long time?”
“He is not receiving a conventional education. I am teaching him in the ways of life,” Manfred said, with a small laugh. “He finished his primary schooling last year. He wanted to take this year off to perfect his swimming skills. Further formal education can come later. I am teaching him of life now.”
There is an aspect of life, I would ache to teach him, Biddle was thinking. But, again, he didn’t give voice to that thought.
“Eventually he will the Universitat at Heidelberg, where all men in our family study,” Schlimeyer continued. “He wants to swim competitively for the Universitat, but he believes, because of his size, that he will have to convince the coaches of his skill. They invariably will say he is too small just from looking at him.”
“Ah, I see,” Biddle said, giving a little smile and slitting his eyes as he peered at the boy. “He does swim like a fish, and so elegantly.”
Stephan returned to the chairs, with the eyes of at least four men following him, but only long enough to gather a towel, which he took out to the sand between the watchers and the sea, and then reclined, his torso raised a bit by the set of his elbows in the sand--his beautiful small body pointed at the line of umbrellas--and flopped his curly haired blond head back so that his face and torso and legs were exposed to the best advantage to the rays of the sun.
“Do you and your family plan to join with the Carnival di Poseidon festivities tomorrow, Herr Schlimeyer?” Biddle asked in a low, gravelly voice.
“The carnival? They have a carnival here?”
“Yes, of course. We have many festivals and carnivals here. The Carnival di Poseidon had been celebrated for nearly fifty years here every year and rivals the ones in Rome and Naples in enthusiasm if not in expense. It’s a time for our people to let loose and show their true selves. There’s a parade and dancing in the streets and partying in the wine shops. Partying in the streets too, for that matter, before the celebration is finished. If it’s life you are educating your lad in, the carnival would be a large slice of life at one ingestion.”
“Show their true selves?” Manfred asked. “That’s an interesting way to put it. And ingesting life in one gulp. Another graphic illustration.”
“Yes, it’s a time that they can wear real masks but act as themselves, rather than showing their faces and masking their needs, desires, and deepest sins. You can say that it’s a good way for people to learn of the deeper pleasures of life.”
Manfred looked at Biddle with interest, but Biddle was looking at Stephan.
“I hadn’t known about the carnival. And we have no costumes or masks.”
“I could quickly fix that,” Biddle said, turning a dazzling smile on Manfred. “There are many carnival costumes in my antique store. And masks aplenty. I would be happy to let you and your wife and son borrow what you need. Your family really must not lose out on our carnival.”
Manfred laughed. “I’m afraid that Hilda would rather walk on burning coals than go out into the street in a mask and a gaudy costume.”
“Then you and your son. You must visit my shop this afternoon and pick something out. Here, here’s my card. I won’t take no for an answer. Loaning the costumes will be my gift of welcome to you and ... his name is Stephan, isn’t it?”
“Beautiful,” Biddle murmured. And it was more than the son’s name he was thinking of.
Manfred explored Biddle’s antique store with fascination after Biddle had picked out costumes and masks for them. Manfred would go as a Roman senator.
“I think perhaps a young sailor--or cabin boy--for young Stephan here,” Biddle had said, carefully helping the boy try out several costumes. He certainly did look arresting in the sailor suit, with a white tunic that came down only to his midriff, leaving his flat belly exposed, and tight, white trousers with a square buttoned codpiece. A blue and white scarf tied around his neck and a sailor’s hat set at a jaunty angle on his blond curls completed a look that, yes, was arresting, although sensual might have been a better term for it.
The choices completed and Stephan changed back into his clothes, the boy joined Manfred at a case that had drawn Schlimeyer’s admiring attention. The showcase gleamed with gold and contained an array of expensive-looking gold chains and watch fobs. Schlimeyer pointed to a fob with three deep-red rubies inlaid in it that he particularly admired.
“Let me show you something over here,” Jeremy Biddle said, as he put an arm around Stephan’s shoulders and guided him to another part of the shop. They had their heads together in conversation as they leaned over another case. Manfred was aware of them but devoted most of his attention to admiring the gold chains and watch fobs in the case in front of him.
All three men were smiling when Stephan and Manfred left the shop.
The parade and the raucous Carnival di Venezia celebration in the streets lived up to their billing. The Torre di Via Regia seaside promenade and Lido Avenue and the blocks off this parade-route were teeming with boisterous, mostly drunken revelers in every conceivable kind of costume and, as the festivities chugged on, lack of costume that one could imagine.
Manfred and Stephan were parted by a stream of revelers meeting a counterstream of revelers, all shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, moving in no discernible direction in the streets as the last of the parade floated by. The serious partying was starting now and wine was flowing on the promenade.
Stephan could hear the noise of the celebration from only a short distance away from where he was suspended off the ground and pressed up against the wall of a shop in an alley off Lido Avenue behind a stack of wine casks. The sounds closer to hand were the grunts and heavy breathing of the devil pressing him to the wall and then laying the boy on the top of a wine barrel on the small of his back.
The sounds then were of the boy’s moans and groans as the buried cock of the man in the devil suit slid Stephan’s shoulder blades back and forth on the rough wood of the barrel top with the strength of the cruel upward thrusts in Stephan’s channel. The front flap of Stephan’s sailor suit trousers was open and slapping back against the side of the wine barrel between his raised and parted legs. His knees were hooked on the devil’s hips, and his hands tightly grasped and then released their grip on the devil’s biceps through the red velvet of the devil’s suit, matching the rhythm of thrusts of the devil’s cock up into his channel.
His head was thrown back against the rough bricks of the wall, and his mouth was open as he gulped for breath and moaned deeply.
The devil’s hands were under the half tunic of the white sailor shirt and gripping the sides of Stephan’s torso as he lifted the small body and slammed it down on the up-thrusting cock. Lifted and slammed down. Lifted and slammed down.
The devil was muttering what a nice little piece Stephan was, how tight his passage was, while Stephan whimpered, “Yes, deeper, harder. Fuck me hard. Take it from me!”
The noise of the crowd beyond the alley ebbed and flowed, but the pace of the cock thrusts steadily increased as did the intensity of the two coupling bodies in a mutual effort to explode, which Stephan did first, with a little scream in unintelligible German, whereupon he collapsed in sighs and groans as the devil fucked on for several more minutes before realizing his own shuddered release.