Gift Horse
Chapter 1

Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Drunk/Drugged, Lesbian, Heterosexual, CrossDressing, Humor, Interracial, Voyeurism, Slow, Caution, Violent,

Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A demented thriller about a guy a gal and a bar. Don't look a gift in the mouth, it might just bite.

I never had been all that good at anything except searching out distractions to the dull pain of my relentlessly and unpleasantly bland life. Which was nothing since distractions were plentiful and were essentially within arms reach. All it took was a flick of the switch and sound and image of the TV flamed on. Not much of a flame, though. Not like staring into the camp fire, the flames an intricate constant flow of interesting shapes and smells and light and dark spears into the night. These were residual particulate that consumed nothing but time. Dull pain is prescribed dull distractions. The phone jangled a nerve somewhere sciatic and spastic jolts got my leg muscles contracting and lifting me to the cradle where the noisy phone lay.

"Hello?" I said dully.

Silence and a click and a voice. Soliciting. It should be a crime. But it's a job instead. On the phone they don't solicit sex. It's the TV that solicits phone sex. On the phone its some money scam or other, pure and simple. You give us your name and address and access code and we'll take your money. I wish I could dam up the whole thing, but me alone was no match for the ocean of it. Just make a quick splash. I wish I could vanquish it at its source, but I was powerless alone to storm those enormous vault doors. Only create a dent maybe but more likely smash myself creating a mess of my face. There was no revenge I could be at peace with what with the poor clown at the other end stuck jostling people for their money so's to get a little more of an income. Commissions were not a way I could stand to make dough, what with it taking a little bit of a knack for it and, of course, practice. So I guess I felt sorry for the poor guy making a buck cause his employer sent him briefly as my distraction. Hung up on him. "Hi, have you trie..."

No, not likely.

So when the phone rang immediately after I cradled it, I don't think I was ready. But I swept it up against my ear and mouth.

"Hello?" I said tentatively.

"Jack!" Uncle Charlie calling. He was the only one I knew in the city. He was well to do, stocks or commodities or some such. The kind of go-getter you gotta take a step or two back or you feel an intrusion on your space. It was probably a good thing on the job. I don't know, not having traded in intangibles for loads of money. Occasionally I made my bucks, my short term bucks, exchanging tangible goods for small money: books, records, food.

"Uncle Charlie? How are you?" I said into the phone extra quietly, trying to make his side of the exchange a degree or two lower in volume and muscle. It wasn't completely effective. I could put the speaker a little closer to my ear but not quite on it.

"Fine. Fine Jack my boy. But most importantly, how are you?"

"The same." Meaning the same crappy job that kept me safely under a rented roof and filled up enough. Putting screws on some little motor for some contraption or other was something I was getting good at but didn't count for much.

"Cheer up, son!" I thought about correcting him, being his nephew, not his son, being related one step away on my dad's side, only similarity is to an eighth the genetics that made up the puzzle that was me, but thought not. I expected something more interesting from him than from me. "You doing okay? I mean with the job? Everything okay?"

"Pays okay," I said, and thought, tainting the reply: "and everything else sucks."

"I gotta proposition for you Jack. No favors here. Favors both ways so they make up for each other. I gotta deal set up."

"I don't mean to interrupt you here Uncle, but I don't see me selling those whatever it is you sell," I said, instilling even less confidence in him towards me.

"So don't interrupt. What I got is a proposition. It's a sweet proposition, I promise you. I have this place through... Well, that's a bit complicated. I'm going to give you a place for a bar. West Thirties. Got a pen?"

"Hold on," I said, "I'll look." I set the phone down without too much jarring to my uncle's ear, though as loud as he talked he probably could barely tell if I slammed it down. Not that I would ever slam a phone down on my uncle or anyone else for that matter. At least not at that point in my life. As I searched I thought things were going to change. Little did I know. I would soon learn more.

"10th Avenue just north of 39th. 3925 to be precise. It's over by the West Side Highway. How soon can you get there?"

"A couple hours?"

"You don't need to dress up. You don't need to clean up."

"An hour."

"Good. See you there."

Not much more. Hint with no key to the solution. In an hour. In an hour I would know more.

After brief ablution, water out, solid waste out, water on, water in, as clean as could be hoped, I threw on my traveling duffs and took off to the nearest station to take the cross town train as far west as I could then legging it the remaining 15 blocks. I never did learn how my uncle came to own this particular bar. I figured it was a trade deal gone sour, and this was his punishment. It seemed to sag despite being within a hard greenish yellow stone building. It was probably the slight tilt of the sign. Bradley's. I never learned who Bradley was. Mr. Bradley or Bradley whoever. Probably got no pride from having this sign hanging. The place clearly was well distanced from the territory of success.

I thought about knocking but saw there was no lock on the door. Eternally open. I stepped in. I still wasn't sure if the bar was open. It was empty.

"Uncle Charlie?"

Out stepped a man that resembled Charlie as much as a ferret resembles a sloth. "You must be Jack," he said in a sprite manner matching the sprite of his persona: a quick darting mythic forest creature with an urban cast. A tough little old guy with a gleam in his eye. "Have a seat, Jack. Drink?"

"Jack and water. Don't worry about the ice." What I really wanted was a coffee maybe sweetened by some whiskey. I figured the coffee could be a toxic mud. So I risked the water. He poured a hefty shot and poured in water and placed it before me. A skinny man with a late middle aged paunch, he had a rodent's attentiveness. You thought the guy might bolt at any crazy opportunity. He slipped the cardboard coaster advertising some other pub under my glass swiftly, well timed.

I hadn't sat yet but was lured to the stool placed in front of the drink. Partly it was the drink. It was a momentum builder for my parched, well traveled palate. But the final push was provided by the little skinny middle aged man. "Sit." So I sat. I drank.

"Where's my uncle?" I asked.

"No your uncle's not here. Uncle Charlie's not here. Charlie your uncle is not here Jack."

"Okay," I said without comfort. The jitters are contagious. The old guy was infectious.

"Okay Jack. You must be wondering what the fuck's up. First let me tell you about the bar. You got time don't you? Course you do Jack."

"What do you know about me?" I asked this perfect stranger.

"Not a lot Jack. I know you are stepping into a whole new life and you don't know it yet. And when you do I'll know more about you. All I know from your uncle is you're ready for an opportunity like this."

"Sure. I got time."

"Good." He said with a surprising, delighted chuckle. "Let me pour me some of that Jack too. Is it some kind of joke you preferring your name-sake? I guess I wouldn't offer it to a girl would I? Might think it was a bit rude. But maybe as a come on. Huh Jack?"

"I never have offered it to a lady. I guess I let the lady choose. Except maybe when we're at home and that's all that's left to offer."

"Well then I guess you're alright to offer it to her," he said with another light chuckle.

The silence that followed had him glancing at me and glancing off me at the room. I let my eyes wander behind him to the racks of liquor and the large mirror which paralleled the full fifty feet of the bar. It was placed along the right wall as you enter.

It was a setup for a club and yes across the space was a raised floor for just such a purpose. But there was nothing on it or around it. It stood out straight and pale, a brackish white paint on it. I figured whatever had been attached to it, lights, sound system, whatever, had been stolen. It was a neighborhood filled with those looking for a quick fix. Hell, it was Manhattan where every neighborhood had its share of junkies looking for a quick fix. The junkies of this neighborhood would have an attraction for any material with mobility and a price tag capability.

The space in front of the stage was cluttered with metal tables, squares and rectangles in a general north south direction but otherwise lacking any consistency, creating no sense of rows. The club was enclosed by bare walls and no windows except the one facing 10th Avenue, and that was painted an opaque white. The lights over the tables were six feet pairs of fluorescent tubes at front middle and back.

The long counter of the bar had its own lights attached to it. The ad signs glowed a hazy red, but mostly it was the bar itself which illuminated its space. Right of three tap locations with three taps each were sinks, gleaming unexpectedly clean via the embedded halogen lamps above them. While dinginess overcame all that I surveyed out on the floor, the bar was sparkling new, everything was pristine. Which brought my attention back to the innately nervous middle aged gentleman who was about to tell me something. Finally.

"So what do you think?" he said. I was blank. He hadn't filled it in yet. He did a taut hard gesture at the bar and the surroundings. "What do you think?" No further along in being capable of answering, I continued blankly staring. He asked again, "What do you think of this place?"



"Not much."

"You been a bartender?"


"Good," he said with a smile.

"My uncle..."

"Forget about your uncle Charlie."

"If he advised you I'd be a bartender, I haven't had much experience."

"Forget about your uncle. Forget about experience. You'll have plenty of time to learn," he said with his chuckle. "Business couldn't be described as brisk. You're a smart boy. I'll give you six months. What do you make right now?"

"I get by."

"How much? I mean exactly?" He eyed me carefully, slowly raising a hand that had been hiding in his jacket pocket. In his hand he held a shiny silver pistol. He cocked it and laid it down in front of me at the bar.

"Three hundred a week clear."

"So I'll give you six months. Six months here and a thousand a month and then you're on your own. We'll bankroll expenses. Any club expenses. You list them. Then you call your uncle Charlie and give him the list. Specific list. Specific expenses. Whatever it takes. He'll take care of it. But you got to get to a point to make this place viable after six months or you're out on your own. I mean, no more salary. Only what you get from the place. You get 50% of the take and any tips and that stays after the six months of salary. After six months that's all you get. Personnel is your problem. If you need bartenders, waitresses, talent, whatever, that's out of your pocket."

"What is this?" I asked. He had the gun resting on the bar. The gun wasn't a threat to me. It was a shove. I hadn't had a lot of shoves. Just moving along at the pace life seemed to contain within itself. I got to school on time. I did my school work with enough attention to it. I got to work on time and did the work expected of me. Whatever direction I stepped, it was one in which I could get by. Coercion hadn't been an issue. It was confusing. So my question wasn't defensive or the least bit frightened, just confused. Truth be told I liked the bit of a shove this little man was providing.

"The gun?" he said. "Don't worry about it. If you heed my instructions. If you do as I say."

"Which is?" I was truly curious.

"You run the place. Indefinitely. You keep it open all day and all night except when it's illegal to be open. Though who would notice?"

"What'd I do?"

"Nothing kid. Tell you what. You, I'll give you a short Sunday. Noon to midnight. Give you couple extra hours in the morning. Stretch your legs. Shopping. And a couple two hours at night for a bit of a rest.

The old rat face man watched as I moved in. I installed my things in the apartment entered through the door at the far end of the bar, just after it curved to the wall. He left Sunday night. Caged me in, having acquired a couple locks and a noisy metal gate. I watched his last moves carefully. Maybe I would catch him. And I did. The concerned smile turned, when he turned away, to the smile of satisfaction as he checked off his agenda in his little wire rimmed note book. And a loud guffaw rang down 10th Avenue.

I looked into my hand, a thousand dollars in cash to last the month. Then I realized: Bills! No more bills. Expenses paid! A thousand a month clear was a substantial amount to my diminished expectations.

That morning I began to examine my situation. Sitting at the new desk near the new bed, a furnished apartment with linen and everything, I pulled out my notebook/journal which I had thought I'd write in daily, but the last entry was the first and it had been written sometime mid-winter, and this being early fall, I would have to admit failure. Perhaps the first change in me was my success in using the journal. If I hadn't, it would have been much harder to write this. I began writing, exploring needs in my new predicament. What needed to be changed. It was potentially a lengthy list.

I didn't get far in my explorations. Just after I jotted down the date, October 2nd I was disturbed by the buzzer noise emanating from the box attached to the left of the entrance door to the apartment. Someone was entering Bradley's.

The 8 a.m. to noon crowd was the largest. By noon I learned the first real job involved in the place: Bouncer. The devout alcoholics would reach their formidable limit of intoxication. They would either stagger around bumping fellow customers for a fight or pass out on the bar.

Once I had extracted the last bar fly from the place, I returned to my apartment. Hunger held me back momentarily from giving deep thought to my situation. I found a yellow pages. I wondered who might be near enough to deliver, both restaurant and grocery. That's when the first idea for Bradley's registered. After calling a few places and discovering a couple who delivered, I went out into the club and searched for a portion of it that could be used for a kitchen. The thought of having to call out for food every day became the mother of invention.

I discovered several doors at the back of the club. Two doors were behind the stage. They led to a wide hallway with a bench along the back wall and a cage whose door hung open impotently, the lock hanging broken from the metal door handle. The hallway led to another door which opened to the space that bifurcated the back wall with its passage to the back door. Along that passage were the two doors for the men's and women's rooms and then the big metal door which, with a push on the push bar led out to the alleyway.

I was most interested at the moment with the door across from the men's toilet which led into a large storage space. This in my mind became a kitchen. While exploring its possibilities I heard the front door open. It was food. I paid gratefully, a memorable gratuity, so they would not mind returning with goodies in the future. I brought the food into my apartment, unloading the groceries in my kitchen and then eating the deli sandwich. It was then I made my list.

1. kitchen, simple fryer and burners and oven and griddle and fridge and freezer and dishwasher and such.

2. cleaning to make the place shine: a little incongruity on these dusty streets.

3. keep the drinks cheap

4. think about the stage

5. don't drink the profits

6. some day make sense of this

7. make the best of it

8. what the fuck

And on and on. I learned the importance of paper. It kept my memory fresh. It kept me on track.

Waiting on the supplies for the kitchen and their installation over the next month or so, I found the trends of the off the beaten track bar. Aside from the occasional alcoholic in the afternoon, after the barflies left to alight at some other tavern, the only other type of customer was the street transvestite. These women with cocks would arrive at nearly closing time already buzzed by some sort of intoxicant. They liked to perch themselves as close to the ex-stage as possible, which put them at the opposite side from my place at the bar. I served as waiter and bartender.

This marginal clientele was not the big tip clientele one might hope for in a service job. I did appreciate the occasional large tip, but as my expectations were low, I never felt slighted. There was one gentleman, Don, who would sit with the "girls." He was a slim, sharp dressed and groomed handsome man with a bit of the cherub to his face set between the cascades of his long dark brown curly hair. Whenever he was there, he seemed to attract young beautiful women and leather jacketed fellows who would sit through a drink and take off. He was good for business. He also gave me humungus tips. A twenty on a five dollar tab. A fifty on a twenty.

By the time the kitchen had been completed I was getting familiar with the regulars, both the morning alcoholics who I would still cart off by noon, and the late night transvestites. I asked them about sandwiches and perhaps fries, hamburgers, fried chicken, gauging their response. I ordered accordingly and found I needed more. The occasional working alcoholic, racing over during break to partake, spread the news and the menus to his fellows. The food was proving a good choice and kept me fed as well.

Some nights I was busy. Providing food and drink with speed and efficiency would have me walking a thousand quick paths from bar to kitchen to table and back.

Sometimes I was actually happy when these goons started coming. A nasty word is goons, but they fit it. Tough guys would bring in some harried fellow. The tough guys totaled three, only just two at a time. One day it was Big Louie with Anders the Hulk. Then Louie with Fast Freddy Junior. No shit, that's what they called him. He looked enough like the rat face guy to make me figure the name of the old gentleman who I guess was my boss. Then Freddy with Anders, and so forth. They were basically toting the poor harried fellow. And never the same one. They'd sit with the one that week and get the guy even more harried. Then off into the toilet and at some point which I never saw but figured out, out the back door. But they tended to their business at the slowest time, when no one was in the bar except them. If things had gotten messy, one of the goons would come back a few minutes later and clean. I'd offer a drink to these guys but they always respectfully declined. So if I was getting pretty harried myself trying to please a thirsty and numerous clientele, these men were a bit of respite.

The busiest nights at Bradley's were those nights when the drags and the slick guy's entourage would be there. Nearing closing one of those nights, a Saturday night, the biggest night until then, a very pleasant young woman sat at the bar. She was unusual. She was not a reject, a shadow figure of the great society, like the rest of the customers. She looked college age. She had that clever distance I had noticed was common to the NYU student. What was she doing this far west?

"My brother Josy is one of those people over there," she explained.

"Oh sure. Joe. We've chatted. Interesting guy. Lots of stories."

"You call him Joe, and he doesn't mind?"

"I guess I like to needle a little. But they don't mind, because I'm consistent. I wouldn't want to insult one by calling another by their stage name. They're good. They all look as female as hell to me. They don't mind. I think they like it. Sometimes calling them by their Christian name it makes them relax a little. Get out of the show biz mode of the fakery. Their voices lower, and... I'm sorry. I'm babbling."

"Not at all. So what are you doing with this place? I saw you tonight run ragged by Josy and her friends and Don and his girlfriends. No help? Someone call in sick?"

"Tell you the truth, I'm the only one here."

"No shit," she said with comfortable vulgarity. "I'm looking for work."

"I hadn't really thought about it," I said, though I had off and on, deciding between greed and need. Maybe I was reluctant to get into that bit of business.

"I wouldn't ask for much. Food, tips, a little salary to make it worth my while."

"It's late," I said, looking circumspect, trying to decide on the wages and lingering over her pretty round face, the lovely pale skin and long ethnic nose and dark eyes and slightly frizzed brunette hair. I was contemplating her charm and enthusiasm. "Come by anytime Monday, and we'll discuss it," I said.

"Great. I'll be here. Anytime? How about six?"

"Okay." I handed her some money. "Buy us some dinner when you come by. Chinese or something oriental."


The pretty NYU student, Hazel was her name, proved a godsend. She helped with the serving so I could throw together sandwiches or tap out beer or pour the drinks. It was mostly on weekends and a couple nights. She had school to attend and studying. I wished she could be around at noon, too. I found out I could put together a fresh enough deli sandwich to be the best quick meal in the area. Though there weren't a lot of workers around that side of town, there were enough to keep me running for their lunches.

One day a kid, would have been nearly graduating high school if he hadn't run away, stood at the bar. The boy was too young to drink. The boy was an amateur transvestite. He was awfully skinny. Even in his make-up, which did little to enhance his beauty but could not harm it, it being so radiant, I wasn't distracted from his fragility. I told him he was too young to drink even at this obscure establishment. I asked him if he wanted a job. He accepted. Connie was his name.

It turned out to be a good decision. He picked up on my sandwich making right off, and even added a couple extra items to the menu. The kid was sharp. He could be sharp as nails sometimes, which was a good thing for the scene. He was at once hard beyond his years and soft with flashes of childish glee.

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