He’d pulled freight up and down the whole continent, been in every prefecture a couple dozen times, roamed in the hills, the cities, but somehow it was always the little bumfuck nowhere towns that stuck in his mind the most. There was something soothing about the rice paddies—or in the case for most of his usual route through Shizuoka, the tea fields—that spoke to him on a spiritual level. Must’ve been a farmer in a past life. Or a really goddamn boring person. But even the most obscene field porn blended together after a few years on the road, a pastiche of green in the side of his windscreen as he drove back and forth over the New Tomei Expressway when he was headed south, the Tohoku when he was headed north. There were other, more sporadic routes, but the Tohoku and the two Tomeis made the bulk of his traffic and it was on the New Tomei he found himself today, edging through Shizuoka for his first stop.
The cowboy killers on the dash slid precariously near the edge and he stuffed them in his beverage holder so they’d stay put, not wanting to waste his precious HOS rooting through his cab in search of loose ciggies if they were to fall—which, with his luck, they would’ve at some point. He’d bought them before he went on duty and had opened the pack, but not yet lit any, figuring he could kill himself one puff at a time on his break. It was a sad thing, that being the highlight of his day.
He rewound his audiobook back a minute and a half, increasingly regretting his choice of listening for this trip. Twenty seconds of inattention and he was completely lost. Didn’t help that it wasn’t in his mother tongue to start with and that the reader had a tinge of an accent. Listen to something more challenging, he’d thought as he downloaded it. Practice your English skills, you might need them some day. And you’re going to bore yourself to sleep and die in a horrible, fiery fifty car pileup if you listen to any more of the local classics. He wasn’t about to doze off anytime soon, but he surely wasn’t doing his abused brain any favours either. The sensible thing would be to give up, find something less taxing, but conventional sense fit him about as well as a tube top—which is to say, not at all.
The truckstop loomed in his view and he gladly relieved himself from the burden of trying to unpack this particular patois. He topped up the diesel, stretched his legs, refilled his coffee, and picked at a salad to pretend he cared about his diet. Forgot to light up, but no worries. Next one, he’d do it at the next one. By the time he had started to unwind, the rolling sunlight demanded he go onward, west to the horizon. Had he been using a paper log as the fleet employed when he first started, he could’ve lingered a while longer and sped to compensate, but the damn e-log wouldn’t allow for it without getting an earful from his boss about not being a fucking GT driver as he so kindly put it the first and only time he’d tried pulling that with the new system. Lamenting the end to his brief respite from the road, he climbed into his tractor and got in gear.
At the outlet of the lot was something not entirely peculiar to him, but uncommon nonetheless: a redhead in a leather jacket standing beside a hiking pack almost as tall as he was, thumb outstretched. Using his spare hand, the stranger pocketed his sunglasses and met Sousuke’s gaze dead on, hoisting his thumb a little higher.
He had shit to do. Places to go. The company had a strict policy against giving people rides. But there was something about the man that drew him in, made him curious. Once he was certain no one was behind him, he braked and rolled down his window.
“Mind if I hitch a ride?” called the stranger, shielding his eyes against the glare of the sun.
“Where you headed?”
“Tottori. You going through?”
“No, but I can getcha close.”
“Then count me in, chief.”
The hitchhiker turned and bent to grab his pack, showcasing the way he filled out his jeans in all the right places and Sousuke fought to urge of his inner wolf to howl at that moon. He didn’t think he’d ever seen perfection, but he’d be damned if this wasn’t close.
“One second.” Sousuke stretched down to the footwell, capped off his piss jug, and chucked it out the window. Non-truckers wouldn’t understand. Sometimes you had to go but the schedule said no. He flicked the air freshener tree that hung on his shifter, hoping to give it a burst of life. “Hop on in.”
The stranger eyed the burst bottle as it spilled its golden goodness across the lot. “Sure you’re not going to need that?”
“I don’t want my trash stinking up the cab if I’m having a guest.”
“Suppose if you need one, you could always use me.”
“You’ve got a fucked up sense of humor, bud.”
The stranger gave him a vicious grin as he stepped into the cab, brows playfully tilted. “Oh, you’re gonna love me by the time we’re in Kyoto.”
That top-notch ass had a face to match and the keenest pair of bedroom eyes he’d seen this side of Kabukicho. It was as if a bored god had plucked a model from one of his fantasies and dropped him on the side of the road. He straightened up, squared his chin. “Got a name?”
“Rin. Thanks for the lift.”
He offered nothing else. First name basis it was. “Name’s Sousuke. Nice meeting you.”
As they returned to the expressway, Rin’s attention was drawn to the audiobook and his mischievous mien transformed into boyish delight.“You speak English?”
“My listening skills aren’t so bad but I can’t hardly speak a lick of it outside the basics. I guess you could say I’m learning for fun. You?”
“Polyglot.” He elaborated, “Languages are one of my hobbies. Aside from English and Japanese, I do Mandarin, Spanish, French, and Italian. Working on German, considering Arabic, but I might do Russian instead. What’re you listenin to?”
“A book. Gravity’s Rainbow.“
“What’s it about?”
“Alternate reality World War II, more or less. I can put on music if you’d prefer that.”
“Your truck, your rules.”
He switched to his playlist, hoping that his taste in music was enough to fill in the gaps when he couldn’t. He could tell that this Rin was a talker, had it painted over him in bright reds and yellows, daring him to ask something, anything, to give him the excuse to go off. “So ... You got a lot of hobbies then?”
“Languages, like I had said. Travel, as you can probably tell. Swimmin—fitness in general, really, but swimmin in particular. Those are the main ones. Runnin’s fun but it sucks ass sometimes when you’re doing long distances. But I guess you’d know all about the effect long-distance travel has on a body, eh?”
“Running and sitting on your ass ten plus hours a day are two entirely different things, but sure, let’s say I do.”
Rin laughed, like he thought it was funny. Personally he didn’t see the humor in pointing out something obvious, but his sense of humor had been out of whack for a long time, so what did he know about what was funny nowadays, especially to some hitchhiking weirdo? What little social skill he’d had prior to trucking had decayed on account of him being his only company most of the time. The last real conversation he’d had with someone? Couldn’t say for sure. Being single, he was prone to receiving offers for the routes family men didn’t want to drive, which meant going out at odd hours, sometimes for weeks at a time. Whenever he came home after a long stretch on the road, he usually got caught up on the mail, ate supper, and tucked himself in with an action flick and his old friend Jack D so he could get up bright and early and do it again. It was easy to go days without talking to another human being, months without having chats longer than two lines.
“How’s it going?” “Fine.” or “Here’s your destination and trailer for the day.” “Okay.”
The movie producers would be banging down his door any day now, begging for the rights to his life story.
It wasn’t as if he didn’t like being around other folks, he just rarely had anything to say. Enjoying their company had always been enough. But for the sake of his passenger, he supposed it wouldn’t hurt to try being sociable for once.
“You a fan of the sand dunes or is there another reason you’re headed that way? I was under the impression the only things down there were ‘jack’ and ‘shit.’”
He was almost embarrassed to hear himself speak—to attempt wit, at that—but Rin responded as amicably as before, “It’s where I grew up.”
“Visiting family then.”
“Naw. Just have some business to take care of. Momma passed a long time ago, back when I was a little boy. Murdered. Daddy drank hisself to death cause he couldn’t cope. Granny raised me and my sister but she died of old age couple years back. Sister’s still alive, just not sure where.”
Cringing inwardly, Sousuke remembered one of the biggest downsides of talking to people: the bad things were as liable to come out as the good. “Sorry to hear that. Did they ... catch the guy who killed your mom?”
Rin’s scowl could’ve curdled milk. “The sonuvabitch got away with it. Fuckin podunk cops couldn’t tell the difference between their elbow and their asshole. Case went nowhere, even when they called in other departments to help. They can’t help being stupid so I came to terms with that, but I’ll hate that murderin fuckstain til the day I die and every day after. I’ll never forgive him or any of his ilk.”
He wished he’d let his music do the talking for him.”Sorry to bring up such a rough memory.”
“No fault of your own.” Rin waved it off, his moment of ancient pain done and dusted. “How bout you, Studly? Got a nice family to go home to? Wife? Kids? Illegitimate bastards you’re dodgin child support on?”
Sousuke bit the inside of his cheek. “No. Nothing like that.”
“You’re shittin me. That, my friend, is a crime against womankind. Man like you shouldn’t be keepin hisself locked away. I’m no better though.” Rin writhed against the seatbelt, teasing up the hem of his shirt, splaying his fingers across his belly. “Look at this. Look. At. This. It’s a felony, I tell ya. But you can’t tie me down, nosiree.”
He looked. He looked real hard. Yes, that was a six pack. Perfectly sculpted. He didn’t know if having it was enough to count as a crime, but the things he was thinking of doing to it sure did. He caught himself veering off into the opposite lane and swiftly corrected course, gills flushed with heat.
“We belong in a museum somewhere.” Or at least Rin did, staged among the aged marble of Strazza and Canovo, immortalized for the public’s pleasure.
“You, you get it. I knew I had a good feelin about you.” Rin jostled his arm, leaning way further into his breathing space than strictly necessary. “What’s your type?”
Blowjob-obsessed redhead with a body like an Adonis and an ass like a horse. Blonds are also fine.
“Never put much thought into it. Someone who’s there for me after a long day, I suppose. Easy on the eyes. Good cook. Simple stuff.”
“I want someone I can really sweep off their feet. Do crazy shit like spontaneous trips overseas. Ever been to Rome? I love Rome. Brazil’s fun too, if you don’t mind trying to not get robbed. Oh, and Australia! Sydney’s my home away from home.”
“Never left the country.”
“Really? You should. It’s nice. I could be your tour guide. I travel a lot for work, so I know all the best places. And a few of the worst.”
Sousuke turned a suspicious eye his way. “Sounds like you got money.”
“I do alright for myself.” Rin remained unperturbed, tapping the air freshener. “Think your tree’s dead.”
“Why are you hitching?”
Rin shook his head as if he was entertaining one of vapid, ponderous cows on the ranch streaking by his window. “Just cause planes and trains’ll get you there faster doesn’t mean they’re the best way. Everybody’s always runnin around like chickens with their heads cut off tryin to optimize this, that, and the other, thinkin it’ll make them happy. It doesn’t. It never will. People need to settle down, enjoy the moment. Live a little for once. Sides, if I didn’t hitch, we wouldn’t having this conversation right now. You’d go on your merry way same as usual and this’d be a normal-ass day you’d forget about by the time you wake up tomorrow.”
“Who’s to say I won’t forget this by tomorrow? Memory’s not my strong suit.”
Rin thumbed at the corner of his mouth, chuckle melting into a self-indulgent smile. “Oh, I assure you, you’re never gonna forget me as long as you live.”
Those were mighty big expectations to fill, but within half an hour, his guest had proved himself a man of his word. Rin was a master storyteller, regaling him with the kind of adventures he’d only seen in movies, full of heartbreaking beauties and fleeting romances, maniac bar nights, fist fights, desperation and terror and wonder, each new tale spurring the rusted old gears that drove his childhood sense of awe into grinding function. Occasionally he was goaded into telling one of his own stories and they seemed so dull in comparison that he hated himself for it. He and his idiot friends got into a knife-throwing fight in high school, so what? Rin ran with the bulls in Spain. He’d gone scuba diving with sharks and been extorted by Brazilian cops, had gotten a Queen’s Guard to laugh and hiked on active volcanos. He spent his days slumming in hostels and cheap hotels with nothing but his cameras—photojournalist by passion, owner of a drop shipping company in SEA to keep the bills paid—his pack and a ravenous instinct for where there were stories to be found. Never in his life had he met someone who embodied the phrase, women want him, men want to be him as wholly as Rin did and he wasn’t sure whose camp he fell into better, because he wanted him for sure, but at the same time he had never felt so inadequate. Rin had everything a man could ever want and he, despite being the same age, had nothing to show for it but a steady job and a respectable apartment. That used to be enough to satisfy him, but now he hungered for more, to see the world that Rin saw, to live in his shoes if only for a day.
Before he knew it, they had blown past Tottori and were in Hiroshima at the distribution center. Rin didn’t seem to care and he was glad for it. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet.
Still, he had obligations to fulfill as a driver and he wasn’t about to make Rin sit with him for a three hour unload when he would be better off hunting his next adventure. “It’s gonna be a while before they finish unloading. I can walk you out and get you pointed to where you need to go.”
“I don’t mind waitin. I don’t actually need to go to Tottori.”
“Thought you said you had stuff to do.”
“It’s the journey that matters, not the destination. I don’t want my journey with you to end yet.”
His heart thrilled but he reminded himself he wasn’t getting anything out of this but a few hours of companionship and some primo sauce for the wank bank tonight. Expectations set low, where they belonged. No, not low enough. Bury them six feet deeper. Perfect. “Can’t exactly entertain you. Gotta plan my route back.”
“Drive the exact same way, but backwards. Problem solved.” Rin kicked back and threw his heels into Sousuke’s lap. At some point he’d abandoned his shoes, leaving Sousuke with a crotchful of warm, sweaty feet clad in hiking socks. Their smell was fearsome, though not entirely unpleasant, and reminded him that he had yet to cross get a footjob off his bucket list. One more for the bank.
“Not that simple. I have to calculate my refuels, among other things you wouldn’t care about.” Sousuke hoisted Rin’s legs into his half of the crowded cabin. “And put your shoes on, you filthy animal. I didn’t pick you up so you could hotbox my cab with your stench.”
“Stench? Your nose must be busted.” Arching his leg, he pressed a damp socktip to Sousuke’s cheek. “This here’s the scent of heaven.”
“Stick your foot on me again and I’ll be sticking mine up your ass.” He swatted the offending appendage away and there was momentary peace, then a creeping wriggle against his hip, crawling to his sensitive sides. Suppressing an involuntary laugh, he grabbed the tickling toes and squeezed hard, warning. “I’m serious. Cut it out. I got work to do.”
“Alright, alright. I’ll catch me a catnap then.” Rin made a pillow of his arm and cozied up to the door. He hadn’t put his shoes on, but Sousuke wasn’t about to argue.
He worked out his return route in a matter of minutes and switched back to his book, staring into the bright blue sky riding the chainlink fence that surrounded the property, serenaded by his temperamental A/C and pallet jacks rattling in and out of his trailer. By the time he estimated the trailer half-unloaded, his bladder gave him a painful reminder of its existence, throbbing up against his other innards, sloshing heavy whenever he shifted on his driving pillow. He should drink less coffee, he knew, he always ended up this way, but caffeine addiction was a tricky bitch. There was a bathroom on the premises, but he couldn’t exactly leave his truck unattended with a stranger in it and the depot wouldn’t appreciate a stranger pissing on their property like a stray dog, even if their own employees had emptied thousands of litres of piss on their grounds over the years.
Bulging sore against his belly and suddenly too-tight jeans, he snaked his belt open and unbuttoned. His bladder lunged in anticipation like an overexcited dog and he cupped his cock the way he always had when he was a kid, driving his parents into conniptions when he asked to use the toilet halfway into the five hour trip to his grandparents’ house because there’s no exits for a while honey, you should’ve gone before we left and so on and so forth. For some reason, his brain never registered that he needed to go until the very last minute and then it was klaxons away, Level-11 RED ALERT GO RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!!! It was a wonder he hadn’t pissed himself since his “Golden Graduation” in junior high. He tore his zipper down and squeezed his dick again. Almost home free, ol’ boy, but not quite yet. God, he was so swole it hurt. Angling his arm beneath his seat, he unearthed an old Coke bottle he kept in case of dire emergencies and with a low sigh, tugged down his waistband and began bleeding the lizard.
“Is it that much of an inconvenience to get up and walk or do you just like pissin in bottles?”
Startled, he forced himself harder against the rim lest he drench the cab. There was no way in hell he was going to explain the cleaning bill that would come out of that. “I thought you were asleep.”
“Halfway there.” Rin readjusted his arm, side-eyeing the limp cock before huddling into the crook of his elbow and shutting eye for the second—hopefully last—time. “Nice.”
Nice. What the hell did ‘nice’ mean? I, as a heterosexual man, can appreciate a nice piece of meat when I see one and am willing to compliment you on your blessing or Damn, nice dick, I want a piece of that? It wasn’t as if he could wake him up and ask. Despite the reputation, most truckers were decent men and he counted himself among their ranks rather than the permadrunk scumbags who constantly fudged logs, failed inspections, and solicited hookers. (More specifically, got themselves caught soliciting hookers. Nothing wrong with using a valuable service.) Plus his company logo was plastered all over the cab, it’d be easy for Rin to ring up homebase and scream the receptionist deaf: This reprehensible excuse of a human being you call Sousuke was propositionin me, askin did I want to see his dick! His dick, for god’s sake, like I want to see that shrivelled little sausage again—yes again, we were just sittin there and he whipped it out and started pissin right in front of me. The man’s got enough piss bottles in here to fill a swimming pool. I never seen such a shameful thing in my life, never.
He looked down at his nice dick and sighed. At the tip of his cockhead was a small red ring from the bottle’s mouth. He wished it’d been put there by Rin’s instead. He wished he wasn’t this desperate for a fuck. Hadn’t been but a week or someaught since he’d last wrangled a lot lizard. He’d had longer droughts, but somehow this one seemed near cataclysmic, as if the sun had saddled up on his back for the sole purpose of burning him alive in its glorious UV rays. Relieving himself wasn’t an option, no matter how bad he needed it. Not that he was a consummate professional who believed in maintaining the sacred space of his cab—he’d yanked his pud during plenty of live unloads before—the problem was he couldn’t trust his passenger was as asleep and he wasn’t ready to gamble on Rin seeming cool enough to let him slake his thirst the only way he could.
Though he wouldn’t mind if Rin was cool with it. Or if he thought of a creative way to thank him for the ride. Shifting in his seat, he spread his legs a little wider to accommodate the oncoming fantasy. Yeah, that’d be nice. Rin crawling into his lap and sucking him down, hair pushed back in that weirdly sexy way he’d seen in porn comics. It’d be a tight squeeze, would probably hurt to be twisted up that way for too long—sometimes he wished he had the cab space of a conventional. Sure he wouldn’t be able to haul trailers as big, but he’d always wanted to take one for a— Shut up logic, the king and I are having a moment.
Back to Rin. Gorgeous, mysterious Rin, who knew a thousand bedroom tricks, who had probably sucked a few dicks in his time for the sake of having the experience, who had the ass that launched a thousand ships, who would demand that his eyes never leave him because he loved the attention, who’d tease down Sousuke’s zipper and say, I done seen all seven wonders of the world, but I think I just discovered the eighth. (Because he liked shitty porn lines, so sue him.) That Rin, sitting blissfully unaware of his chauffeur’s fucktastic fantasy.
Despite the blast of the A/C, the cab was smotheringly hot, humid as the Venezuelan jungles Rin had gone goldhunting in, and only getting hotter as Rin climbed into his lap, seizing his hands and clapping them down on his glorious, juicy ass—he was proud of it, damn proud—and began to dance. Shirt off, tits out, guns on full display, abs rippling with every move he made, all trim and sculpted and firm the way a man should be. He hadn’t needed seducing, but it was appreciated anyway. Rin’s jeans were even tighter in person, stretched taut over his bodacious backside, thighs too beefy to clasp fully even with two hands, swollen package testing his zipper’s load capacity. He could hear seams screaming, stuffed to bursting, unable to contain this much delicious fuckable meat at once. Figuring he’d do the both of them a favor, Sousuke painstakingly peeled those jeans off, praising hallelujah, amen as Rin’s massive asscheeks collapsed into his waiting hands with a satisfying SMACK. They thanked him for their rescue and he promised to never let them go again, squeezing their pillowy thickness, snapping the elastic of the jockstrap trying to keep everything under control. Rin worked him up to full length, fisting his prick just the way he liked, sweet talking, kissing him with his perpetually grinning mouth until he sank down on his cock, inviting him raw into that intoxicating heat.
They started slow, filling the cab with the stench of sweat and sex, engine rumbling below, Rin riding above, and him wedged between in sweet, sweet bliss. It was more performance art than down and dirty fuck, the kind of thing extolled in romantic poetry, bodies blending seamless into one another, rolling like the waves along the coast, encapsulated in a moment divorced from time and reality in this fog-windowed cab. But he, not being the romantic type, soon felt the cum rising in his balls and forsook glamour for grit, grabbing Rin’s hips hard enough to bruise, working his cock fast and frantic, and Rin fucked down damn near hard enough to break his back, trying to wring out a nice, thick creampie to take home. Sousuke clawed for purchase on his slick skin, hastily shoving his own jeans down to his knees so he could put everything in it as he brought the both of them through the home stretch. Rin’s legs quaked on either side of him, forcing his failing strength to its limits, moans climbing in pitch as he lost all sense of self, craving only to cum and be cummed in, praying Sousuke, Sousuke —
Snap back to reality, not where he was playing cabin cowboy with an incomprehensibly hot, eccentric—he had too much money to be insane, even if he might be—hitchhiker, but where he was a few rubs shy of forsaking reason and fistfucking himself onto every corporate blacklist in the country and there was a piss bottle sitting warm in his hand.
Damn, double damn, fuck me sideways.
The last of the day’s light glimmered a razor-thin sliver on the horizon and was snuffed out when they grumbled to a halt in the truckstop lot. Tints of violetgrey and blueblack crept into the corners of the cab, playing wonders on Rin’s body, his softness and hardness meshing in angles as fine and seamless as a master sculptor’s dream. Sousuke punched Off Duty on his e-log and let his hands slide from 10 and 2. Rin turned, the blued shadow of his lower lip enticing kisses and other exquisite obscenities.
“Callin it quits? We ain’t that far from Tokyo. Few hours at most.”
“Time’s up. We have limits on how many hours we can be on the road so no one dozes off and blasts through a school.” Sousuke worked his knuckles down his aching back, digging out what knots he could. “Is this where we part ways?”
“Gettin late.” Rin observed, nodding towards the deepening skies, the emerging pinprick stars. “And travelin at night’s dangerous. I’ll split the room bill if you can stand puttin up with me a while longer.”
“And here I was, hoping to get you off my back. All that talk, talk, talk. My ear needs a rest.” Rin feigned offense, then, unable to keep up the charade, broke down into bubbly, infectious laughter. Sousuke basked in it, drinking in the warmth he didn’t know he’d been missing. “You’re more than welcome to stay the night. I’ll even take you back to Tokyo if you feel like heading that way. Plenty of stuff to see there, no matter how many times you’ve visited. You’re gonna have to jump out at a traffic light so my boss doesn’t get on my ass asking why I made an unscheduled stop, but I figure you’re a big enough man to handle that.”
“That I am. Thanks for the good time.” Rin reached into his wallet and forked over a crisp ¥10 000 bill.
“This is way more than half. Rooms here are cheap as hell. Two grand would be enough.”
“Keep it. Consider it payment for the entertainment.” Leaving no room for argument, Rin retrieved a hat from his pack and put it on, pulling the brim as low as it would go. He tied back his hair. It was a sharp look for him, business and play in one, and showed off his delectable nape. “Man, my tail’s killin me. How can you stand sittin on an engine that long?
Sousuke hopped out of the cab and slapped his backside. “Buns of steel.”
Rin leaned after him, wolf-whistling. “Put that away before someone gets hurt, handsome.”
“Spare the concern, I know you’re jealous. This here was sculpted by four years of professional driving. Can’t get this in a gym.”
“Jealous of what?” Rin hung from the cab roof, hip cocked. “I think you and I both know it’s me who puts the ‘ass’ in ‘first class.’”
It couldn’t really be called bait when it was this obvious, but Sousuke was happy to gobble it up hook, line, and sinker, striking a bullseye on Rin’s right cheek. To his surprise, the jeans didn’t explode on impact, though the flesh beneath jiggled mightily, the preliminary trembles of a magnitude-7 quake, suppressed only by seams and rivets fortified by the dreams of pervs.
Rin tumbled into his arms, laughing like a fool. “You an ass man?”
“Hell yeah. Tits are for kids.”
“You’re a man of impeccable taste.”
“Sometimes I even go all the way up to the middle shelf at the liquor store.”
His cheeks hurt from smiling. He’d never thought it possible for him to do it this much at once, but here Rin was, steady bringing out sides of him he’d only dreamed of having. Traveling alone was nowhere near as appealing as it’d been before, he wanted to go around the world with him, to all the places he’d told him about and more. Fine dining in Spain, beer festivals in Germany, sex on the beaches of Barbados; every country an opportunity, every passport stamp a trophy. He didn’t care how many deals he had to sign with the devil to make it a reality. For Rin, he’d hand his soul out like Halloween candy.
Drumming his fingertips along the arches of Sousuke’s shoulders, Rin tilted his head, bemused.
Fuck, he forgot he was supposed to be acting straight. He set Rin down and cleared his throat. “Speaking of, there’s a decent bar not too far from here. I’ve been there a few times.”
“I figured you’d wanna max out your sleepin time while you had the chance.”
“I can live on a restless night now and then. Come on, I’ll buy the first round of shots. It’ll help take away that pain.” Sousuke hoisted their bags out of the tractor. “It’s the trip, not the destination, right?”
The bar was the kind of dive frequented by working men and the women who loved them, enshrouded in a fine mist of cigarette smoke and classic ballads. They took a vacancy at the end of the counter, where a long, blackened gougemark divided the bartop between them, doubtless engraved by a drunken schlub exacting his vengeance on whatever plagued him the only way he could. Whiskey was first on the bill, as close to top-shelf as one could reasonably expect to find out in the middle of nowhere. Rin slammed back his shot without letting his lips touch the glass, adam’s apple plunging towards his collarbones, then snapping back like a bungee jumper snatched from the abyssal maw which hungrily lurked below the steep v-neck of his tee. Sousuke longed to make the treacherous climb to his jawline and peer out over the edge of his chin, then step off, no safety rope, no parachute, and tumble down, down into the void below his collar and beyond, crashlanding where he may.
He called for another round and watched Rin’s second shot meet the same fate. He downed two more himself, engrossed in a fresh tale about Rin and a group of cohorts getting kicked out of a town for being too drunk and rowdy and subsequently being chased through the whole night by local police, and added beer at the behest of the bartender, as strong and hoppy as he could get it, because if he needed anything, it was a little hop in his step. It was a disaster that refused to let up no matter how much he drank, same flavor, same length, but there was something comfortable in its single-notedness and the more he drank, the more resolved he became that he would get Rin in his bed before the night was over. Sure, his stories had revealed an overwhelming preference for shagging Latina bombshells and a whopping 0% interest in slightly overweight Asian men, but no worries. What was life without challenges?
Two, three, maybe four shitty beers and he was tipsy, not drunk—maybe a little drunk but not full blast, he knew better than that—and beginning to become one with the bartop when Rin suddenly asked:
“You’re not really a smoker, are ya?”
He’d forgotten about the crumpled pack of cigarettes he’d shoved in his back pocket, meaning to have a smoke now that he was off the clock. “What makes you say that?”
“You haven’t lit up once this whole trip. Any sensible addict would’ve finished at least half that pack by now.”
“Could just be considerate, on account of you being an athlete and all.”
Contemplating, Rin traced the rim of his half-empty first beer, domestic pisswater that made up for its lack of punch with its cheapness. “Naw, you ain’t gone bitchy-twitchy yet. That’s how smokers get when they go too long without one.”
“You’re awfully invested in whether or not I smoke.”
“You never wonder what you take for granted about people? That guy four seats over, he looks like he’s a bodybuilder, but that’s pure synthol. That chick looks like god loved her, but those tits are about as real as Santa Claus. And you? You look like a smoker, but you’re not. You didn’t look like the kinda guy who’d give me a lift, but you did.” Beer-masked mint wafted sweet, enticing from his mouth, and he leaned in close, brought his voice to a conspiratorial low. “You look straight, but you’re a cocklover through and through.”
Worms came alive in his stomach, gutwriggling guilt vibrant and sickening. He didn’t think he’d been so obvious. That he’d gotten good at hiding it. So long as the windows were clean and the curtains were in order, most folks didn’t care to look into the residence itself.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You truckin, do you like it or are you runnin away from yourself? Gotta assure yourself you’re still a man despite your predilections?”
“Honey, I got a weapons-grade gaydar. You can’t fool me. I seen the way you look at me. Like a starvin dog tied up in front of a steak he can’t eat.”
No sense in fighting it. “And so what?”
“And so maybe if you’re nice, I’ll let you have a taste.” Rin’s hand spidered unseen across his thigh, searching for the outline of his cock. It wasn’t exactly hard to find—a point of personal pride—and he traced it back to the source, squeezing appreciatively. “Or perhaps the whole meal.”
Glancing furtively around the bar, Sousuke hoped no one had noticed their sudden closeness, but everyone else was tangled up in their own miniature worlds, gravitybound by liquor and smoke. Far as they were concerned, the two of them were nothing but a couple of guys sharing confidential information over drinks. Emboldened, he reached for Rin’s knee.
Rin ejected himself from the barstool and stretched catlike, exposing a stripe of taut belly above his beltline. “Gotta piss like a racehorse. Try not to miss me too much.”
Sousuke stared dumbstruck at the space he left behind. He looked around, searching for a hidden cameraman, a celebrity host all white-toothed and dazzling to announce that he hadn’t just hit the jackpot, that this was an elaborate prank meant to suss out the hidden side of truckers, but there was nothing of the sort. Against his better judgment, he headed for the bathroom. By the time he arrived, Rin was washing up, scouring under his nails and scrubbing to his elbows like he was prepping for surgery. He followed Sousuke in the mirror, eyes never breaking from him.
It took a while to find his voice. “Were you serious?”
“I’m a lot of things, but a liar ain’t one of them.”
They collided in the middle, tangling tongues in front of the amply splattered urinals. The taste of booze was caked thick through Rin’s mouth and he desperately wished it was his cum instead.
“Glad you don’t smoke. Ain’t a fan of kissing ashtrays,” Rin murmured, fingers playing over the back of Sousuke’s neck, thumbing the indent where skull and spine met. “Why don’t we get somewhere cozier?”
“I paid for the motel already. Only thing left to do is change my status for the night, and then...” He left the rest unsaid, figured Rin got the idea.
“You know just the right words to turn a guy on.”
Waves of flesh-Braille ran up his arms, enough to constitute a book he had tentatively titled Things I Want to Do to This Man Vol .1 (of 10 000), and Rin swiped a warm hand in their wake, speedreading his intent before heading for the door.
“One more before we go.” Rin bounded to the bar and returned with a final round of shots. “To us.”
Took but a good six steps when the booze hit him hard all of a sudden, rings screaming in his ears, deafening, drowning out everything else when he closed his eyes, until he commanded Rin to keep talking to him so he could maintain some semblance of balance or sense of reality as they stepped out of the bar. The breeze was a delight on his heated skin, a satisfying chill that grounded him. He was cool, chill, the ice man, he knew where it was at, he knew how to take care of a spitfire like Rin.
“Was that too much? You want some sleep?”
“No. I want you,” he retorted, stubborn, leaning harder into his shoulder. He was tough enough to not have to pretend he was strong. A real man. He’d be wearing pink if he could. That’s how tough he was.
Every few steps, Rin asked if he was okay, if he wanted to call it a night, until they had reached the truck and he was sick of it. He grabbed him by his ponytail and kissed him sloppy, forcing his hand to his burgeoning erection.
“Do I look like I’m ready to call it a night?”
Sure, he couldn’t see straight, his stomach felt like the scene of a massacre, and he was certain about half that kiss had ended up on Rin’s chin, but he’d managed to perform in more dire conditions. He clambered into his cab and laid on his driving pillow, waiting for the worst of ringing to pass, then slapped his e-log until the status changed to Sleeper Berth. He wriggled back the way he came, one foot stumbling on the step, the other missing entirely and out he flopped on a one-way express to the pavement. The trip was cut short. He opened his eyes and stared up into Rin’s face, framed in stars.
“We can stop by the station if you want to grab another beer. I feel foolish being the only tipsy one,” he said, blood and booze pooled dizzyingly in the top of his brain.
Rin hauled him upright and pinned him against the trailer. “You prefer your guys liquored up, huh.”