tagGay MaleFailing Upward Ch. 17

Failing Upward Ch. 17


There was Sid holding the bucket out with one finger.

I didn't understand why until the next moment when my stomach turned inside out, and I thrust my face inside that bucket. I threw up twice. Once after I looked out over the stage and wiped the sweat off my forehead with the back of my hand. The second time after I registered the thousands and the media. Men behind camera cranes spidered overhead.

"Thought you'd be needing it..." Sid pulled a Kleenex from his jacket pocket and handed it to me. Wasn't sure if he meant the puke pail or the hanky-- I wiped my mouth off with shaking hands, giving Sid a pathetic smile. After, I wobbled off and stood on the edge of the stage. He shadowed behind.

"Here, you might need this again," Sid said, setting the bucket off to the side. Les handed me my guitar, and I struggled to tune it, whispering to myself, 'Don't look up, don't look up.'

What a jinx. Of course I was going to fucking look.

I did. I lifted my eyes. All those people. The Silverdome spread out into an ocean of bodies. Sweat trickled down the small of my back. My vision clouded. My guts wrenched, and I turned tail, handing my guitar into Jimbo's waiting outstretched arms, and tried to puke into the bucket again.

Nothing left.

The world slowly focused. It was like that world was a video with someone else controlling the remote. It wasn't the first time I felt my life was some bizarre video-- I watched helplessly as it played, paused, then fast forwarded.

I picked my guitar up again, threading my head and arm through the strap, chanting: "I'm Wesley Grant. I am Wesley Grant. I am Wesley Grant." I was beginning to buy into Sid's theory that we became our predecessors. I... I didn't feel like me at all.

I rested my back against one of the amps and watched. The people around me I thought I knew even smelled wrong. It was like we were taping some over-rehearsed comedy routine. When Les bounced up and handed me a warm coke, I tipped it up to my lips like that was part of the routine too. One, two, three sips, most dripping on my shirt. Smith broke wind. Jimbo jumped back. John held his nose while Sid shook his head in disgust. All steps carefully choreographed to calm my nerves. Then I starting choking. So much for calming me... I bent over gasping and hacking, grasping my knees so they wouldn't buckle and leaving me to fall, splat, on the stage in front of thousands.

"What are you trying to do Smith," Les asked, slapping me on the back, "asphyxiate him?"

I opened my eyes to see Sid's polished loafers staring up at me.

"Not Smith..." I gasped, "Nerves." Les stepped away, giving me room. Sid leaned down, meeting my eyes.

"Breathe, Wes," Sid said, placing his hand on my back, fingers pressing lightly against my spine. "Breathe, like I taught you."

I nodded.

"Slow and easy," he reminded me... in through my nose, out through my mouth. Over and over. "That's it," he coaxed.

Not sure if this part of the routine was what worked or if I just didn't have anything left to barf, but I straightened up and bit my lip. I did feel better...

"You're sure I know all the songs?" I asked.

"For the hundredth time, yes!"

I nodded again. As I looked out into the sea of people, I slowly pulled charged air in through my nose and out through my mouth again. It worked. First I mentally made my way to center stage-- then I took the eighteen hollow steps to the middle of the platform. I still didn't feel myself; I was the invisible man... the yellow stage lights were barely enough to see my own hands and feet. The whole arena was black; the audience hidden. I could still hear them, feel them. The air dripped; the auditorium swelled and writhed. I felt like I'd been swallowed up by some monster-- Not to compare myself with Jonah, but for a moment there I think I knew what he felt like inside a whale.

Yeah, I was inside this monster-- not a whale, more like a dragon. The roaring, the flickering lights like fiery breath, the careening masses like open jaws-- all just on a sliver of my physical senses-- I felt a chemical charge. No more queasy stomach, no more panic. Just uncoiled energy and want. I fell in love with the moment. On stage, pumped, I felt pitted against this deep desire a musician has to be heard, to be known, to be famous. How could I stay me? Fuck, that wasn't new. I didn't want to fight this dragon. I heard the story about how fame destroys people. I stood euphoric. Maybe this was what Sid warned about.

I looked to him off on the right hand side of the stage. Standing arms crossed, legs apart, feet planted between snaking wires, observing me behind the roadies-- he looked anything but lost. He belonged. He was Mr. Manager.

I wondered who I was.

Jimbo started. I heard him counting. I heard Smith's guitar and Les sing. Their attention rested on at me. I closed my eyes, played and forgot all but the sound. Only the music. The music took me. I let it.

This was different. New. I opened my eyes and looked around at the rest of the band. To them this was just another gig. To me, it was deifying. On an alter, god-like. Or maybe I was just some supreme sacrifice. Either way at that moment, I didn't care.

It was the best time of my life.

When we took a break to change sets and take a breather, I found I didn't want to let go. I went to speak, but I couldn't, my voice cracking uselessly instead. I approached Sid, and he seemed to avoid me. He looked nervous. Maybe I was spoiled from all his attention before. He kept busy attending others the way he had me-- I felt slighted. I knew he was stepping back. Not getting too close. For those moments I grew afraid-- I became less sure that this was part of the act, and fearful that this might be what he wanted.

I needed to stop thinking, put these doubts out of my mind. I became impatient to get back on stage, to feel the way I did before-- where I was wanted.

When Sid ordered us, "On! Now!" I bolted out, not looking behind. This last set, the applause, the stomping vibrated through me. As I played, I felt a shift, a transformation. Making music had always been intimate for me-- like making love-- a minogue et toi between myself, the band and the audience. The experience was never crude or rough. This was different. It was more like being fucked hard, so hard that I hurt-- so hard I couldn't think.

Tonight, that was good.

It ended too soon.

It didn't occur to me until off stage and running back to the bus, how I still felt high. No withdrawal. As I climbed up the steep bus steps, I wondered how long before I bottomed out.

Most of the band and roadies were already aboard. I took a seat in the back and watched for Sid as I listened to the bus idle.

I sprawled out, legs in front on the seat. I closed my eyes for a while, now and then glancing out the window and waiting. Jimbo came up the isle and sat down in back of me and patted my back. I heard Smith laugh. Les looked nervous. That got me nervous.

"He played better than average today, wouldn't you say?" Smith commented. I turned my head and looked back. Les stared at me, looking more like some analyst than my brother.

"Do you feel it too?" I asked him.

"What?" asked Les.

"This high... this bubble that wants to explode but keeps expanding instead," I explained. "Don't you feel it?"

"That? Yeah, but not like I used to," he said. "For you-- it never goes away. You'd think each time was your first."

I watched him carefully. Something was up.

"Yeah," said Smith, "must be nice to be a virgin every night."

That got my attention.

"Funny you should put it like that..." I admitted, "...still, deflowering isn't the metaphor I'd use for that experience."

"A forceful divestment of your innocence?" Les suggested, sitting up in the seat.

"Closer..." I said.

"Maybe you're a used up whore who wants more..." John said, slapping me hard across the shoulders. "I hear that's what happens to musicians who only get their action on stage."

"Are you suggesting I'm not getting any?" I asked.

"Last I knew you weren't," John laughed. "Maybe if you weren't so particular... But there was some talk that you didn't sleep in your room last night. Is this something you can share with the guys? I mean. If you are getting some action, you might want to elaborate on the details. Was she taller than you? Prettier? Bigger knockers? Come on, tell us..."

"Fuck. Like I'd tell you..." I watched the front steps of the bus.

"So you did get lucky finally," he said, poking me in the arm. "Shit. I don't believe it..."

"What's not to believe?" I mumbled.

Sid stepped on to the bus, and as the doors to the bus shut, I flashed a stupid big gapped tooth grin.

"Christ. It can't be..." John said, "I read this all wrong."

"What the hell does that mean?" I laughed.

"Forget it," said John. " I don't want to know. No details for me..."

"I want details!" Smith said, springing forward.

"Shut up," Les said, pushing Smith back down in his seat.

Sid knelt down next to the bus driver, head close to his-- speaking to him low, his face tight. Then he stood up. He didn't look at me once. Not good. I stopped laughing. Sid stopped and bent over, speaking to two of the roadies. They both got up, mumbling and left the bus. I turned back to John and the others. Then I noticed Les watching out the window. My eyes followed where Les was looking at. It was Trent and Lancaster-- talking to a few of the roadies. What were they doing here?

What the fuck was wrong?

The bus jerked forward.

"What the hell is going on?" yelled Smith.

"Change of plans," Sid announced, scanning the faces of roadies and band members. He eyes met mine last of all. "We're heading out now. Bill and Carl will get everything out of the hotel. Sorry."

"Is something wrong?" Smith asked.

"Just an over enthusiastic fan, is all," he answered. "We didn't want to take any chances. There's nothing to be concerned about-- we're being cautious."

The door opened again, and Trent got on. I watched as Trent took a seat behind the driver.

The bus started to move. Sid grabbed the seats on either side of him, steadying himself as the bus made a sharp turn then walked down the aisle and sat next to me.

He didn't say a word.

I kicked the back of the seat in front of us. I itched the inside of my wrist, scooting down in the seat trying to get a good look at Sid's face.

"What's wrong?" I whispered.

His hand gripped the edge of the seat, and I rested mine over his.

He was lying.


The only reason why came down to one word: Shackleton.

I squeezed his hand.

"Let's move up a few seats where we can talk," he said under his breath. I nodded then followed him. I shot a quick look back at Les. His lips were pressed tight together and his jaw clenched, staring at Trent. He knew it was something bad, too.

The others looked on with interest-- except John who mumbled something like, "I was fucking right about who he got lucky with..." and Smith shot back: "Will you shut up!" I wished it was something as simple as a lover's quarrel.

We found a seat toward the front the bus opposite from Trent and away from the roadies and the band.

"Is it Shackleton?" I blurted out.

"No," he answered. "But you're close. Lancaster told me it's some men from the community wondering what happened to Shackleton. They know Shackleton had you. They claimed they just want to talk with you privately. They even suggested you come with them."

Panic attack. Shit. My heart thumped hard. My face grew hot. I was suffocating.

"No fucking way-- I'm not going back there," I squeaked, jumping up in my seat.

Sid pulled me back down. "Don't worry. Your uncle told them there was no way they're taking you there. But he's worried-- they're not above taking you by force."

"It's happening again. I don't believe this."

I took deep breaths and closed my eyes.

"They don't want Shackleton," I said. "They could give a shit about him. They want what he had-- what he knew."

Me. That's what they wanted. Me.


"We have to put them off somehow," Sid said. "Confront them. If they think there's nothing to get from you, then Trent thinks maybe they'll leave us alone."

""How will we make them think that? I don't like this idea at all..."

"Your uncle agrees. But he made it clear; we should chose the time and the place carefully."

"This is never going to end, is it?"

"Relax, it's not like you're any guy; they can't just nab you off the streets. You're a celebrity; you'd be missed. We were thinking someplace public for the meeting."

"Somehow that doesn't sound too comforting."

I looked out the window. Dark. We were on I-94 now. The city lights no longer blotted. The stars twinkled overhead like any other night, with no regard to the troubles of our puny little lives.


Long ride and stiff legs.

The house was open.

We were home-- at least home as in the Lancaster estate. Same winding stairs. Mica's essence filtered through every minute corner.

I knew we should talk about what we needed to do. I knew that I should talk to Trent and my uncle. But I pulled Sid up the stairs.

I locked the door.

Sid in my room.

The windows were open. The room smelled like the garden, the roses.

I pulled his jeans down over his hips, feigning that I had little regard for his raging hard on. Sid threw himself down on the bed while I stood at the foot, pretending his writhing body with the jutting 90 degree cock wasn't there right in front of my cool blue eyes. Sid knew better, however. He took his cock in hand and fisted it, jerking it and staring into my soul with eyes that would make a frigid-housewife cream her pants.

Fuck that. I ripped off all my clothes without regard to buttons, sending one popping across the room. I guess acting ambivalent didn't last. I crawled on my hands and knees facing him, stopping just below his knees, and I watched.

I reached out for him.

He slapped my hand away-- then gripped himself tighter, trusting his cock up into his hand. A perfect bead of precome formed on the tip. It was like an invitation. I bent my head down and with the very tip of my tongue I slowly rolled it around the head of his cock. He didn't slap me away this time. Instead his right hand massaged the back of neck. I savored the salty taste, felt his thick vein pulse beneath as I careful swirled my tongue around and around, evading that perfect, painful pearl at the head of his prick. He slowed his desperate pumping-- his fingers brushed my bottom lip with each stroke.

I closed my eyes then slid my tongue up his slit to my prize. I heard voices in the hall. All that mattered was inside this room. After, I filled my mouth up to his fist with his length, rubbing the ridged roof of my mouth hard with each stoke. He loved it. His thighs strained, his back arched with his on my gulps. My jaw popped. He hiccupped and held on to the base of his cock for dear life, his thumb pushing against his balls, his fingers white. I opened my to see my cock pink and rock hard, bobbing helplessly between my legs. There was time for that after I finished with what was in my mouth.

Seeing inside him at this moment was the biggest turn on. When he was right on the edge, I had it in me to give him release or keep it from him and make him quiver and moan. Sid kept me at that point. He read me so well for so many years, it didn't surprise me he could pull the same magic in bed. He knew me better than myself.

I'd hidden far too many years from myself. Sadly, I knew others better than myself-- held their needs first. But when it came to this, to making love, the feel of him trembling and holding the moment, I was greedy, selfish. I wanted to make it last as much for me as for him...

As he rocked and jerked his cock inside my mouth, begging to come, I stopped for a moment. He didn't say a word. Nothing. He wanted it to last too. Wanted to come harder, feel the spasms rack through every muscle in his body. I shoved my index my finger up his ass and he came. His ass pulsed around my finger as I buried his cock in the back of my throat and swallowed.

He sat up and his lips crushed my mouth, whiskers scratching my face.

"You taste so good," he said.

"That's because I taste like you."

Then I remembered what was waiting for us downstairs.

His hand met my hard, desperate cock.

"Let's stay here a while..." I said, "in bed... together..."

He stroked me slowly. "Sure, what ever you want." But we knew it was lie, letting it live in our heads just for a few moments more.

I closed my eyes and felt his hands moving. God, so good. I came fast. Too fast.

Then we had to go downstairs.


I woke hearing a loud bang downstairs. Lancaster was shouting. Glass was breaking. We both bolted out of bed, grabbing our clothes off the floor and throwing them on. I ran out the bedroom door with my shirt half on and Sid right behind me. I stumbled down the steps, grabbing the railing.

At the bottom of the stairs, I heard too late Trent yelling for us to get out. Sid called out behind me as I felt a pinch in my chest. I looked down; the red end of the hypodermic stuck there. Pulling it out was the last I remembered until I woke staring at the white ceilings of the Community.


The room was bare. All stark white walls, ceiling, door. The floor tiles were cold. I had my clothes on at least. Sid was there in the room with me, still unconscious sprawled in the other corner. I crawled across the room to him. I watched as a white video camera mounted in another corner of the room slowly followed my movement. Before I could reach Sid, the door opened. Three figures came in. My head pounded, but my vision was hypersensitive. I knew what they were thinking without a touch. I saw greed. I saw need. I saw that they didn't care how they got it.

I saw how they intended to get it. I looked at Sid. Fuck.

It took me two tries to get to my feet. But when I did, I looked the tallest one in chest and said, "Just leave him alone-- I'll go with you."

He nodded. The other two got on either side of me, grabbing me by the arms and lead me out the door.


At least they let me sit in a chair, even though it was hard and rigid. They wanted to talk. Well, ok, I thought, I'll talk. The trick was to tell them enough to make them happy but not enough to do any damage. I decided the best way was to give them some hocus-pocus.

First they asked me stupid simple questions. I went along-- at first. What's my favorite color? What I did I do on my eighteenth birthday? What's my favorite cereal? It occurred to me that these simple questions weren't so simple. The tall guy had a hand held computer, reading and entering data of some type. Asking me when I lost my virginity was going too far.

"Is this some hidden camera game show?" I asked.

"No, the camera isn't so hidden," the tallest guy answered, pointing to the corner of the room. How had I missed that? I thought. Too many distractions, I guessed. They must know something, comparing answers.

I had to do something before I gave away that I wasn't the other Wes. On to the magic show.

I started by making the chair the big dumb looking one was in collapse. Just so they wouldn't think it was a coincidence, I made the ones the two other jerks were sitting on do the same. That seemed to impress them.

But not enough.


"You can't keep me here," I said, reaching. "You know it's likely I'll be missed... I have a concert in Chicago in two days."

"Mr. Rockstar thinks his fans will save him," the tall one said. "You don't matter here. The Community can make anyone disappear. Remember Jimmy Hoffa? Amelia Earhart?"

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