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The Tim’s was full when I got there. I mean full. This particular Tim’s is usually busy, but this morning .. not a seat to be had, let alone a seat at a table. Well, no, there is one seat. Guy I recognize from the gym. Sitting alone, but obviously waiting on somebody. He nods and I nod back.
I’m in line, waiting on a server. ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ I am saying to myself, over and over. There is a lump in my throat, all the time I am talking to myself. ‘You’re gonna do this?’ ‘Yes, I am going to do this.’
“Old man for old man,” the ad read. “Life is short. Need for a horny old man to hold me tight, mutual release of our pent up urges. Be open and honest .. “
‘Fuck, that’s me,’ I said to myself when I first read it. ‘Old man for old man.’ Not exactly me. Or, at 78, maybe it is. I don’t regard myself as old. ‘Horny’? When am I not? Need for a horny old man to hold me tight? Yes. Oh, yes. That I would like. ‘Mutual release of our pent up urges.’ Yes, that too. ‘Life is short.’ Yes, and no matter what I say about not feeling old, I am feeling just how short life is.
“Medium dark roast regular,” I tell the server when I get to her cash point.
So, yeah, I answered the ad. And he answered back. Followed by e-mails – no face pics, just talk – checking out similarities, differences ..
.. Straight? Bi? Bi. No, well, not truly bi, maybe. Discussion, reluctant conclusion and admission of definite attraction, with decided preference for the male of the species. Mutual.
.. Needs? Wants? To hold, and to be held. Open and honest .. to suck and be sucked. Ditto. To fuck and be fucked? If and when. Snuggling, definitely. Naked preferably, skin to skin.
.. Experienced? “Me, yeah, some teen-age stuff. ‘You show me yours, I’ll show you mine.’ Sleepovers. Two in a bed. Then, maybe twenty years ago, cutting myself some slack, on-line hook-ups. A couple of mutual j-o’s, a couple of blow-jobs, reciprocated.”
“Ever take it up the ass?” “Me? No. On the sleepovers, some dry-humping, him blowing his wad, and me vice versa, closest we ever got. You?”
“Had a fuck-buddy once. We used to rent a motel room. Couple of times a month, especially when the wife was ‘indisposed.’ That and weekends when we could get away. Eight years.”
“What happened?” “He was a cop. ‘Killed in the line of duty.’ My best buddy, really.”
“Truly sorry to hear.”
“Long time ago.” “But that was then, and this is now.”
“Nothing since?” I ask.
“Blue-balls and hand-jobs.”
“Your wife?” I ask.
“My wife! Yes. Let me tell you about my wife. Turns out long before me and my buddy were hooking up, she was doing it to her girlfriend. Which explains why she never made a big deal of our buddy weekends. The sheets were never cold. Soon as the kids were out of school and off on their own, the two of them set up housekeeping. They’re married now. Your wife?
“My wife .. uh, .. later maybe, okay? Still too raw. Except that one time there were words said that got us off the track and in all the years we were together, we never did get it together again, if you know what I mean. A shame, really. So, yeah, the same – blue-balls and hand-jobs, except for that bit when I went for the walk on the wild side. Now into a new chapter.”
.. So. Likes, dislikes .. what amsterdam shemale am I into? Muscle, bodybuilding. Aesthetics. Bulls? Ok. Bears or chubbies? No, no offense to anybody, not my thing. Physically fit, or reasonably so. Tats? Again not my thing, but there are exceptions. Manscaping? Yes. All the way. Him always. Me, off and on.
.. My tastes in clothes? .. Me, well I like to think I have good taste and some fashion sense. Used to be business suit, shirt and tie, now only when the occasion demands. Otherwise its jeans and a T. Him, ditto. And commando. Ditto again. Naked Mondays? And Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and .. when and wherever possible. Neat freaks, and clean freaks, both of us. I shower in the morning. He showers before bed. I sleep left. Naked. Naturally. He sleeps right. Naked. Of course.
.. Living alone? Neither of us. Well, sort of. Obligations. Can’t host anyway. Something that can be worked out.
.. Retired? Early retirements, both of us. Buy-outs. Twenty years now, both of us. Him, fill-in and special occasion work for previous employers, on-going free-lance work for me. Otherwise pensions, savings, some investment income. Being careful.
.. But the necessity for discretion. Absolute. He had had, and still has a fairly high public profile. And that is me likewise. Not to be compromised.
Finally setting up a coffee date. Just a getting-to-know-you face-to-face, NSA, each of us agreeing we could leave it on the table then and there if that was how the conversation might go. Or we might take it a step further.
I am a bit early, anxiety on high alert, sure I would recognize him from what we had told each other we would be wearing. Him, a Jays cap, and me, being Friday, a red T. I am still asking myself, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ Over and over. But I am not backing out.
Now, coffee in hand, I am hoping to spot an empty table for two. No such luck. The morning crowd is well settled in.
The guy from the gym is still sitting alone, and recognizes my predicament. He motions I could come sit in with him if I want. I go over to his table. “Guy I am expecting hasn’t shown yet,” he says. “Likewise,” I say, adding, “When your boy shows, I can vacate. Or mine. Gotta be something opening up soon.” He nods at me to sit.
When I say I recognize him from the gym, that is true. But that is all. We say ‘Good Morning,’ or whatever, exchange a few comments, but we we’ve never really gotten into any kind of conversation. He was a cop, I know, at least a retired cop. Sixty-something, maybe. Seventy? Hard to tell. All muscle and sinew. A head turner. In the shower, naked, pleasing to the eye. Very pleasing to the eye, if you get what I mean. Bodybuilder, clean-shaven head to toe, leathery, great veins – and hung. Well hung. And uncut.
“Busy here this morning,” he says, opening up conversation.
“Yeah, busiest I have seen it,” I reply, “Not that I am in here that often.” “You been to the gym already?” I ask.
He is wearing a muscle shirt. He flexes, every muscle popping. “Can’t let them get cold,” he says.
He is checking his watch. “You ever compete?” I ask.
“When I was younger,” he says, “Provincials. Nationals, once. Trying for my card. Didn’t get it. Thinking I might try it again. Masters. Maybe rotterdam shemale next year.”
My turn to check my watch. Ten minutes after he said he would be here.
“You?” he asks.
“Me!” I snort, “You gotta be kidding. I work out, but I’m nowhere near that league.”
“Just saying,” he says, “You’re not that bad. A bit of work and you could make a respectable showing.”
“Wow,” I say, pleased, “I’ll take that as a compliment. From you. A real compliment.”
“Just saying,” he repeats, “You could do it if you wanted to.” “Start local. Masters. You could do alright.”
“Something to think about,” I reply, not letting on that in fact it was something I had thought about, and thought about a lot, for a long time, competing. “Maybe first, I should take in a competition.”
“What?” he retorts, “You’ve never been to a competition?
I confirm that, true, I had not.
“Okay, the October regionals, this year. I’ll remember and come after you.”
We both check our watches. My guy is now twenty minutes late. And it is going through my mind quite probably he is churning through the same thoughts I’m dealing with. And he is going to bail.
I check my watch again. Another two minutes. ‘Okay,’ I say to myself, ‘So he bails. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.’
“Your guy not showing either,” I say to him.
“Beginning to wonder,” he replies. ‘I’ll text him, and see what’s up.”
He taps a message into his phone, and sends it.
Just then, I get the chimes on my phone. Incoming message from my guy. I scroll to it. “At Tim’s. King and Ottawa. Everything OK?”
“Whoa,” I think. Quickly I look around hoping to spot a dude in a Jay’s cap, wondering how I could have missed him. A couple of empty tables now, a bunch of women in a coffee-klatch, and otherwise looks like dudes well into conversations. No Jays cap.
I text in “I’m at Tim’s, K and O. Table by the door. Where are you?” and send it.
A second later his phone chimes, and he scrolls down to the message.
‘Fuck,’ I say to myself, realization hitting me, just as he looks up.
“You,” I say.
“You,” he responds, with a wry chuckle, “Shit.”
Outed. Both of us. Each of us. Me. Him. I’m realizing it, but I can’t quite believe it. And then something like an electric current is sweeping through me, charging my whole being. ‘This is him,’ I am thinking, ‘this is the dude who wants to be held by me, to hold me, tight, this muscle man, all hard and sinewy, man of my dreams in my old age.’
Then, just as suddenly, the euphoria evaporates, and a wave of nausea sweeps through me, tightening my guts, clamping down on my throat. Outed. And busted. ‘This guy’s a cop, ..
“Wait a minute,” I blurt out, “You’re a cop. This a set-up? You’re wanting to take me down?” I am struggling to keep from letting it escalate into a full-blown scene. “Shit. The whole god-damned thing. The ad. All those emails. Busted. Fuck. What the fuck for? Because I answer an on-line personals ad!”
He’s just been sitting there. His face white, then beginning to purple.
“You done?” he asks.
I’m fuming. “Yeah, I’m done,” I shoot back.
Why I don’t get up and go, I don’t know. But I don’t.
“First,” he says, “I am a cop. A retired cop. I’ve got the badge, blog shemale and I carry it. Souvenir of my years on the force. I’m off the force. I’m not busting anyone. I posted the ad, yeah. And you answered it.”
I am chagrined.
“Yeah,” I say, “I answered it.”
We sit there, neither of us saying anything.
Then, to break the silence, I apologize, “Sorry. Just adding up two and two and getting five.”
I see his jaw relax, just slightly.
Then he says, “Shoe could be on the other foot, you know. You’re a reporter, right. Or were a reporter.”
“Was. Am. Free-lance,” I confirm.
“Would make a great story. ‘Retired cop busted. News at eleven.'”
“Point taken,” I say.
Then, I ask, “Okay, so where are we now?”
“Cop outed to a reporter. Reporter outed to a cop,” he says.
“Ex-cop. Some time reporter,” I interject.
“Ex cop, some time reporter,” he affirms.
I am mulling it through.
Then, stick-handling, looking at me straight on, he says, “I think we need another coffee.”
“Coffee. Yeah,” I’m in agreement. ‘Yeah. Coffee.’ Fuck, I’m relieved. Relieved that the situation had come to nothing. Relieved that it has taken this turn.
“We’re not getting any younger,” he continues, “We came here to get acquainted, didn’t we?”
“We did so,” I respond, the cloud lifting. “Ok, I’m buying.”
“Nope,” he says, “I’m retired, but I still get looked after. What’s yours?”
“Medium dark roast, regular,” I say.
“Medium dark roast regular, it is,” he replies.
“Yours,” he says, putting it down in front of me when he returns.
“Thank you,” I say.
Just as he is sitting down, he reaches over on the seat, retrieves a Jays cap, and settles it on his head, one hand tugging it down at the back, the other pulling the brim into place over his forehead.
I shake my head, ruefully. I don’t fucking believe this.
“A helluva way to get acquainted,” he acknowledges. There is a bit of a smirky shrug by way of apology.
‘A helluva way to get acquainted,’ I concur.
Then I ask, ‘D’junno it was me when I walked in?”
“Yes, and no,” he says. “The red T, I thought it probably might be. Tell you the truth, when I saw you, I was kinda hoping it might be.”
“Hey, I’ve seen you around the gym. Not to blow smoke up your ass, but you are not exactly an unpersonable dude.”
“Ooh,” I say. “I take that as a compliment. My second today.”
“But,” I continue, “you were supposed to be wearing the Jay’s cap.”
“Just the extra precaution. Till I knew for sure,” he replies, again almost but not quite apologetic. “Once a cop always a cop.”
“Once a cop, always a cop,” I flip it back, “O-kay.”
“Just my nature,” he says.
‘Ok, whatever,’ I am thinking. Then I decide, ‘Ok, I can go with this.’
I feel a pressure on my knee. His knee against mine.
I don’t move.
His eyes meet mine. A strong personality, as muscular as he is. But with a powerful ache. An emptiness needing fulfilment. An emptiness that can only be fulfilled being held tightly in the strength of another, grappling with another, equal to him, embracing the other. And not just any other, but one other, and only one other. Was I the one? He was waiting, wanting to know.
I reach under the table groping for his knee.
I detect the flicker of a smile at the corners of his eyes.
‘This just may turn out alright,’ I am thinking, ‘Yeah, this just may turn out all right.’
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