Thursday, 3 June 2010

Excerpt Day – Beyond Machu © William Maltese

Excerpt

DAN GREEN DIDN'T KNOW the man who sat down to join him at the restaurant table. If his expression didn't sufficiently denote that fact, he quickly reinforced it verbally. "I beg your pardon?" His forkful of cebiche de corvina was interrupted halfway to his attractively pouted mouth.

"I'm sorry I'm late." As if this guy, with an accent Dan couldn't place, had known Dan for all of Dan's twenty-five years.

Dan felt suddenly as if he were a character in a low-budget film. The locale was certainly exotic enough.

"I see you've gone ahead and ordered the fish." The stranger flashed a wide smile. His lips were sensuously full and revealed a wide expanse of large white teeth. Not only did the locale suggest some B-grade movie, but the man seemed to fit the bill, too. He had the rugged good looks that one would attribute to an actor still quite handsome but past the allure of youth.

Dan looked curiously around the room, wondering if he was unknowingly appearing on that popular old television rerun Candid Camera but doubting that its crew would be sent all the way to Lima, Peru.

"I think maybe I'll have the conchitas made with tiny scallops and anticuchos of chicken livers, shish-kebab style," the stranger decided. "What do you think?"

"Is this some kind of a joke?" That's what Dan thought!

"Lovely place, isn't it?" At the same time, the stranger smoothly got the waiter's attention. "Tambo de Oro, from Spanish and Quechua, the native language of Peru. A Rest House of Gold."

"You've seen the brochures, too, I see." Dan hoped his intended sarcasm showed. It had been the pamphlet in the lobby of his hotel, complete with its enticing phrases, which brought him there in the first place. He had immediately been entranced by those mental images conjured by "twenty-foot-high double doors beyond which many claim to have seen the ghost of Belén." Nowhere, however, had anything prepared him for the handsome man who had unexpectedly joined him.

It wasn't being joined that so much disturbed him. Everyone, after all, made mistakes. What disturbed him was that the guy showed no indication of moving on after it was obvious the mistake had been made.

Dan was on the point of muttering something catty, possibly regarding the violation of "his space" but, with the arrival of the waiter, decided there was little sense in causing a scene over something cleared up very shortly.

The man ordered just what he had said he would and flashed another of his wide smiles in Dan's direction.

He had two dimples, one in each cheek. He had dark, brooding eyes'gleaming black pupils surrounded by brown starbursts within otherwise ebony irises'thick eyebrows and long sooty lashes. He had a cleft in his chin. His tousled jet-black hair added to those dangerously dark well-tanned masculine looks and physique that, despite all of his small talk and expert commandeering of the waiter, seemed more appropriate for some outdoor setting.

He seemed too physical for this elegantly restored house built, according to the tourist leaflet, by the Pazos Verela family and once owned by Gustavo Berckemeyer, father of Fernando Berckemeyer, Peru's one-time ambassador to the United States. His rugged presence made a sharp and somehow challenging contrast to the refined atmosphere, the quiet hum of the diners enjoying their meals.

Under other circumstances, say in an obviously gay bar, Dan might find him attractive, even give him bonus points for assertiveness. However, this wasn't a gay bar. Nor was this stud one of the underfed, underage local hustlers trying to single Dan out for seduction. Frankly, Dan didn't know who or what he was. As able as the next guy to enjoy a good joke, Dan did expect even this joke to have its punch line'

"Excuse me for just a moment, won't you?" he interrupted Dan's thoughts, scooting back his chair and standing. He looked far larger on his feet than when sitting, his bulk appearing to be all solid muscle.

His sudden disappearance down a back hallway left Dan chagrined. Had the guy finally realized his mistake? Was that why he left? He must have been pretty confused if it took him as long as it had to find that he didn't know Dan. Funny'he hadn't looked rattled, but you could never tell by looks alone.

Clarence Johns, a fraternity brother of Dan's at the University of Washington, had seemed perfectly normal but had talked to the statues along the mall. What's more, Clarence had confessed to an A in physics only because of his discussions with the bronze bust of Albert Einstein in the courtyard of the science building!

Dan picked up his fork, his piece of fish'direct from the waters of Lake Titicaca, or so said the menu'finally making it to his mouth. He chewed slowly, only absently aware of moist flakiness permeated with the tang of lemons, the bite of onions and red peppers.

"Strange," he said aloud, hearing his own voice and glancing self-consciously at the surrounding tables, feeling very much like Clarence Johns. He took another mechanical bite of his fish, washing it down with a swallow of the house white wine, having actually reached the point of wondering if some mystery man actually had sat down at his table only to wander off. Wishful thinking, or harmless little daydream?

He decided to chalk it up as one of those intriguing little anecdotes that would make conversation interesting once he got back to the States: "And in Lima, at the Tambo de Oro'that's Spanish and ancient Incan for Rest House of Gold'this ruggedly attractive stud sat down at my table and'" The only problem was that no one would believe it; Dan wasn't even sure he did.

His mind wandered but was brought quickly back to reality by the waiter.

"'Qué es?" Dan asked.

"Conchitas," the waiter described the food placed ceremoniously on the table across from Dan.

Dan glanced around the room. This was carrying the joke a bit too far. The stranger who had ordered this meal had to be waiting in the wings now, ready to jump out and yell, "Surprise!"

He wasn't, and the piquant scallops, followed immediately by a generous serving of chicken-liver shish kebab, got cold while Dan sat there watching (and waiting).

Dan imagined people staring at him from all sides and wondering, Where is this guy's companion who ordered this additional meal? Why hasn't the man come back? Have the lovers quarreled? A perfectly good meal was spoiled by the man's joke.

The waiter returned to ask if Dan's friend had been called away.

"I've never seen that man before in my life!" Dan was more than a little disgruntled. People at the adjoining tables looked his way, smiling. Mockingly? Sympathetically?

"He will be coming back, though?" the waiter asked hopefully.

"I should hope not!" Dan replied tartly, causing a few more curious glances in his direction.

When the waiter began clearing away the untouched food, Dan ordered a pisco sour, thinking he could use the extra lift the famous Peruvian drink of potent local grape brandy would give him. With luck, it would lift him right out of the chair and float him invisibly across the room and out the front door.

The brandy did help. When he got the bill for two meals, he even managed to keep his indignation down to a hardly audible grunt. To add insult to injury, the mystery man had stuck Dan with his bill! Dan simply couldn't believe it, especially since there wasn't much to be done about it. He gave the waiter his American Express card, not having brought enough local soles with him.

He left the place with as much dignity as he could muster under the circumstances, telling himself he was only imagining himself the center of attention.

Every time he thought of all that wasted food, and all the starving people in the world, he got more perturbed. He was forced to think about it, again, when his cab arrived at the Gran Hotel Bolívar, where even at that hour there were kids hanging around begging for coins, or offering themselves for the same. What Dan had been forced to put out for the extra meal would have fed all of them for a week, or maybe even bought all of them for sex.

Feeling guilty, he was more generous with his centavos than he probably should have been, and a frowning desk clerk met Dan who entered through the revolving doors. The children were already somewhat of an embarrassment to the management; giving them doles only encouraged them to stick around. Dan's attempt to melt with a smile the disapproving grimace of the admittedly cute clerk was met with abysmal failure and the seemingly reluctant handover of Dan's key.

A posted Circle-SA tour bulletin listed Dan's schedule for the next day. Wake-up call (optional). Breakfast from 5:00 to 6:00. Lunch from 11:30 to 12:30. Baggage out at 1:00. Bus for airport at 2:00. Flight to Cuzco at 3:00.

Mark Wiley wasn't back yet when Dan let himself into their room. For once, Dan was glad. Sharing a bathroom, even with someone he had come to like, was an inconvenience if he wanted a long relaxing bath'not to mention needed a quick jack-off.

His teaming up with Mark resulted from one of those mix-ups that occasionally finds a tour group with one too many people for the available rooms. Such glitches were never discovered until too late, this one popping up when everyone was seated in the lobby of the Hotel Crillón in Caracas.

Dan and Mark graciously volunteered to share, since the only other single on the tour was George Culhaney who was in his seventies. Dan and Mark successfully figured each other compatibly gay (albeit in a non-sexual way), from the get-go.

On his yearly gem-buying trip for a custom-jewelry house in Portland, Oregon, Mark spent most of that morning with Dan, going through the seemingly inexhaustible selection of gemstones at the branch of I. Bern located in their hotel. In Caracas, Mark had taken Dan to the I. Bern at the Tamanaco and the Hilton hotels. In Rio, they had disappeared into I. Bern, Amsterdam-Sauer, Maximino, O. Lange's; Dan had gems coming out of his ears. In Buenos Aires, it was the I. Bern shops in the Hotel Plaza and the Hotel Sheraton.

"I. Bern," Mark had said knowledgeably, "gives you the largest choice for the most reasonable prices. In more than thirty years, they've built up an international network and reputation."

Mark bought enough to make an impression. Wherever he went, there was some I. Bern representative (usually young and attractively male), waiting to take him out to supper. It was usually someone quite willing to let Dan tag along as part of the bargain.

"Don't be silly!" Mark insisted on the one occasion Dan voiced doubts about the ethics of so often taking advantage of the largesse of a company that got nothing from Dan but seventy-five dollars for one small'very small'topaz tie tack. "These people have bigger expense accounts than you and I put together. How much does that newspaper of yours budget for your meals, anyway?"

At present, though, Dan had no interest in seeing one more diamond, tourmaline, amethyst, cat's-eye, opal, morganite, or garnet that he didn't have the money to buy. Free meal or no free meal, he was not so much masochist that he enjoyed the temptations those gemstones, in whatever their various guises of male fashion, offered.

He could actually get butterflies thinking how he almost succumbed and went into hock to his eyeballs for a pair of emerald cufflinks.

Always extremely partial to emeralds, probably because they were his birthstones, he remembered being particularly captivated as a child when hearing emeralds, like people, were seldom perfect; "emerald without flaw" passed into proverb as signifying unattainable perfection. He had also heard that the verdant color of the stone suggested, to many, a new spring or eternal hope.

Of course, there were those five emeralds Cortes had been bringing to his bride when his ship wrecked in the sixteenth century: a bell with pearl clapper; a rose; a horn; a fish with gold eyes; rumored to have been the most exquisite of the quintet was a cup with a base of gold.

The cufflinks Dan wanted weren't anything as exotic, merely platinum with a small stone each, but still worth a king's ransom as far as Dan's budget was concerned.

Mark had a special appointment that evening at the Lima-Sheraton branch of I. Bern, followed by supper with an attractive young male representative of the store.

Dan drew water for a bath, testing it with his elbow. He gratefully peeled off his clothes, feeling sticky, the restaurant having seemed exceptionally hot to begin with and more so after his mysterious supper guest made an entrance and exit. Dan procrastinated momentarily to check his reflection in the full-length mirror on the bathroom door, neither overly pleased nor overly disappointed with what he saw.

His hair was a corn-silk blond that he wished a lighter shade. His eyes were okay large and green. His nose was too snub, his mouth not ripe enough. His pectorals weren't too bad, but the "cut" Dan wanted required far more time in the gym than he was willing to spend. Considering, though, his narrow waist, good legs, firm double-handful ass, and large but not overly large cock and balls, he wasn't in too bad shape, even if he wasn't going to set the world on fire.

Dan settled into'and luxuriously stretched out in'the tub of hot and sudsy water. There weren't so many bubbles that he couldn't spot the ropy float of his cock, like some exotic strand of kelp anchored within the ocean depths but extending all of the way to a foam-flecked watery surface.

He palmed his buoyant cock's still-soft shaft but didn't stroke it. He let it extend and harden on its own, merely obliging, near the end of its stiffening, with a few simple hip movements that fucked his dick through his fingers. Each fuck movement shifted his hard inner cockcore within a sensuous loose-skin overcoat that, at times provided an almost pre-circumcision hood for his cockhead.

Nervously, he glanced toward the door inconveniently without a lock. It was likely that Mark would take the hint of a closed door, but what if he had to take a leak upon returning from evening festivities? Would Mark be piss-shy, once knocking to find Dan was in the tub? Or, would he feel it perfectly all right to come on in: guys, even gays, performed natural body functions in locker rooms the world over. Masturbation as much a natural body function as pissing? Mark possibly unfazed by Dan's wanking off in the bathtub?

No lock, no keyhole, or Dan might actually fantasize Mark already in the other room, on his knees before the door, playing Peeping Tom. Then again, maybe not. The stud in the restaurant was definitely more Dan's type. Dan was disgruntled by the way his hard cock responded with a pleasurable pulse in direct response to the shitty stranger once again flitting through his thoughts.

His hips provided more fuck my hand movements. Up and back'up and back. Each time, loose outer skin snouted the tip of his dick, as if he'd suddenly sprouted an elephant trunk of a foreskin. Each time his dick withdrew, it was only so far as to let the same loose skin turtleneck just beneath the flare of his penis's impressive corona.

Masturbation intensified his recurring thoughts of the guy in the restaurant and expanded them into purely fantasy. "Come on, handsome, and wrap one of your large hands around my hard dick. Or, would you prefer to join me in a round of mutual cock-beating? How about I put my hand around your dick and pump away? Is your cock, by the way, as big as I suspect it is? Does it taste like a big one, too, all funky and salty from sweating in the cupping snugness of your up tight and personal underwear crotch? Would I want to put your cock in my mouth to see? How about you down around my big meat? You want to feel my prick against the back of your mouth? I'd let it explore your throat nice and easy, even if you were such a jerk at the restaurant. I'd be forgiving enough to even shove my stiff and big monster-meat deep'deep'deep'up your hair-fuzzed butt."

He increased the momentum of his hand-pulls and hip-fucks. All of which caused more fist against cockshaft friction, not to mention complementary watery waves in the bathtub.

He shut his eyes and allowed his conjured let's-pretend stranger to fumble with Dan's nonexistent pants fly. The guy's fingers in through the breach, calloused fist took hold to stroke slowly and easily.

Dan wanted to ask if the stud enjoyed Dan's cock in his hand. Did he want to beat Dan's meat, or would he like just to watch Dan go at it solo?

His hand-job continued at an even pace. His days of roughly mauling his penis from the get-go, two-hundred-plus strokes a minute, were long-gone. His prick responded best to initial gentle and sensitive petting.

His thumb rode the back of his erection. His cockbelly got one finger, then two, then three along for the ride; pressure was exerted primarily to the sensitive spot where his cockhead flared from his cockbelly.

"All of these inches could have been yours, studly, if you'd just stayed around just'a'little'longer."

His left hand languidly combed the bath-soaked hair clustering the root of his thick dick. Blond pubic strands tickled his fingertips and his palm. Then, his hand slid his virtually hairless belly, over the hollow of his navel, up onto his chest.

His nipples, brown and taut, went harder when touched.

"Feels good. Feels really good!"

He coaxed his nipples to the sharpness of thumbtacks and, simultaneously, coaxed his dick to even more impressive stiffness.

"I've big nuts to go with my big dick, buddy." He fondled his testicle-filled sex-bag. He separated his gonads and caressed them individually. He rolled them together like marbles. They were cum-packed and getting more so. "You want jism, wait until my balls let go."

His masturbating fist tented its fingers to lift skin up and over his cockhead and pinch off the resulting hood. He rolled the snout between his fingertips.

His hips bucked to fuck cock within its own sealed tube; his cockhead butted the skin closed off by his squeezing fingers. Water slopped closer to the rim of the tub.

"Oh, stud, you should have been here to see the show. You would have had a ring-side seat and an eyeful to boot."

He released his cowling cockskin and let his cockhead again poke through to freedom.

His eyes opened, and he looked down his hairless chest, across his intended navel, to his cock-fisted right hand. He watched his vise-like grip rise and fall'hoist and drop'go up, go down.

He pressed his head back into the hardness of the tub porcelain.

He breathed harder'faster.

His head rolled this way and that.

He licked his lips.

He squeezed a firmer grip of his dick and moved into a harder and more forceful pumping rhythm.

He was determined to stretch the moment but was quickly losing control.

He bent his knees and dropped his legs open to mold the inside curve of the tub. His hand dipped down and under his compacting balls, into the crack of his please finger-fuck me ass, all of the way to his come and get me water-tight pucker.

He massaged his anal eye which protested lack of lubricant by concaving but not opening 'he should have first hoisted his butt free of the water and soaped his finger. Still, more insistent and forceful pressure actually put his fuck-finger to its first knuckle up his tacky anal tunnel. To jab any farther, though, would threaten to turn his asshole inside-out whenever his finger eventually came out. For the moment, what he'd already accomplished would have to provide pleasure enough.

His thumb more tightly curled the back of his dick, and his four remaining fingers securely locked his cockbelly. It was hard and fast beating, slow and easy completely forgotten.

He gasped for air suddenly in short supply.

His hips bounced out of control. His penis, like the blowhole of a sperm whale, erupted great gushes that rose before gravity stopped them and brought them crashing down. Dan's cock moved all the faster within suddenly cum-slippery fingers. Water quickly floated stringy cum and, churned by the gyrations of Dan's body in orgasm, slopped up and over to splash the floor.

Dan's anus-inserted finger, despite the risk, pushed deeper and caused a couple more hearty blasts of cum to discharge and become airborne. After which, there was more gooey evidence of climax, but it merely drooled cockshaft like white sugar frosting.

He'd had good tub sex before, but this'which left him panting and virtually exhausted'took the cake!

He was in bed and trying to read a book by the time Mark was back. His attention, despite all efforts to keep focused on the printed page, kept detouring to additional thoughts of that shit in the restaurant whom so swiftly arrived, went, and left Dan with very little except the memory, the bill for two meals'and, of course, the mess Dan subsequently made in the tub.

"I think there's still a little hot water," Dan greeted his roommate.

"You're a lifesaver!" Mark dropped gracefully onto the adjoining twin bed. "Now, how could you guess that I would, at this moment, give anything for a tub of hot water?"

"I know the feeling."

"And, how was your evening?" On the edge of the bed, Mark kicked off his shoes. He ran a hand through his short-cropped brown hair, squinted hazel eyes, and pursed his Cupid's-bow mouth. An expert gemologist and skilled lapidary, Mark had a reputation, at thirty-two, as a knowledgeable buyer who knew a good bargain when he saw one. You didn't easily put one over on him where gemstones were concerned, as any of his business peers would tell you.

"I met a real stud," Dan said. "He was tall and muscular. He was tanned and handsome." He was determined to milk his story for all it was worth'considering what he'd been forced to pay for it!

"Well?" Mark's curiosity was obviously piqued; there wasn't a man in their group, besides them, under fifty.

"He asked if he could join me for dinner."

"Cheeky hustler!"

"Not a hustler."

Mark's laugh was spontaneous. "Oh, Dan! You know, I actually believed you for a moment? Must be the altitude. Either that or'"

There was an interrupting knock on the door.

Dan checked his travel clock, by the bed; it was ten o'clock. "Who do you suppose it is at this hour?"

"Maybe your mystery man?" Mark said with a shrug. "More likely, Al dropping by to make sure we've not gotten into mischief." Al Scalipas was their guide, assigned the group by Circle-SA Tours. He became particularly nervous whenever he suspected Mark, Dan, or both, paid too much attention to any local out to barter ripe young ass, cock, hand, or mouth, in exchange for spare change.

Mark went to the door, leaning his ear against it. "Al?"

"Señor Green, por favor."

Mark glanced curiously toward Dan on the bed. "You didn't really meet anyone tonight, did you, Dan, old boy?"

"Police, Mr. Green," the voice said in heavily accented English. "Could we possibly have a moment of your time, please?"

"What do you think?" Mark frowned. "Do you think it's really the police, or some Peruvian hotel mugger?"

"Who'd want to mug a Peruvian hotel?" Dan was too curious about what the police wanted to smile at his own attempt at humor. He got out of bed, reached for his robe and nodded for Mark to open the door.

Two men on the other side didn't wait for more than a crack before placing their weight against the door and shoving.

"My God!" was all Mark managed before caught by suddenly in-swinging wood and thrown back into the room. If it hadn't been for his bed, he would have landed on the floor.

Dan watched in shocked surprise as a third man entered, gun drawn. Dan dropped reflexively to the floor, scooted quickly behind a chair, and waited for bullets.

Wouldn't his mother be surprised to find he'd been shot in South America! Would she appreciate the irony? It was, after all, because of even the possibility of guns being aimed in Dan's direction that she'd arranged for her son to be sent on this little junket.

After the plaster-splattering crash of the door against the wall, all three men moved quickly, one continuing to fan the room with his weapon while another went to Mark's bed, aiming his gun at him and commanding him not to move. The third man moved to a position over Dan.

"What is this?" Dan realized he wasn't immediately going to be killed. His voice wasn't any too stable, his heart beating five times its normal speed.

"Up!" the man ordered.

The guy in the middle of the floor moved to the bathroom. Once assured the room empty, he came back and shut the door to the hallway, replacing his automatic in the shoulder holster beneath his suit coat. His companions didn't follow suit.

"What do you want?" Now on his feet, Dan's initial fear was fast changing to indignation. "Just what do you think you're doing here?"

"Mr. Green?" The man with the now concealed gun shifted his gaze between Dan and Mark.

"I'm Mr. Green." Dan was boiling mad. He would have sat but doubted his rubbery legs would stand him up again.

"So sorry, gentlemen, to disturb you at this hour of the night. I'm Captain Sipas, Lima Police." He was tall with thin brown hair, long angular face looking as if it had been chiseled from cold stone, eyes sickeningly pale gray. "We would just like a few words with you, Mr. Green, about your friend from the restaurant."

Mark cast a nervous glance in Dan's direction. Obviously, Mark hadn't recovered from the last few minutes, his body up tightly against the headboard of his bed. He clutched a pillow defensively in front of him, as if it could somehow deflect any bullets fired from the gun still aimed in his direction.

"If you mean who I think you mean, he's no friend of mine," Dan said.

"You deny knowing Mr. Hendriks?"

"That's his name? Hendriks?"

"Sloane Hendriks," Sipas obliged. "We've found people at the Tambo de Oro restaurant who swear that you were quite chummy with Mr. Hendriks, earlier this evening."

"I'd get new snitches if I were you," Dan said.

"Your waiter said Hendriks joined you, ordered his meal, and then you quarreled." Sipas pulled out a small notebook but recited from memory as he thumbed through it. "Mr. Hendriks left, you remained. You had one after-dinner drink'a pisco sour'then paid the bill and left the premises."

"This all has something to do with him, does it?" Yes, Dan had been uneasy about his encounter with that handsome stud from the very start.

Sipas marked a spot in his notebook with his thumb, concentrating for a moment on the maze of small scribbles that was his own special shorthand.

"That man was a complete stranger!" Dan got angrier by the minute at the strong-arm tactics used by the Lima Police. He was angrier at Hendriks who was responsible. "That complete stranger came into that restaurant and sat down at my table completely unwanted, uninvited, and unappreciated, obviously having made a mistake."

"He ordered a meal of'of conchitas made with scallops, and beef'"

"Chicken," Dan corrected absently.

"Chicken?" Sipas echoed. He seemed confused.

"He ordered conchitas made with scallops and anticuchos of chicken livers," Dan said, surprisingly able to remember every little detail, down to the dark black hair growing on the backs of Hendriks's large and powerful hands.

"The waiter said beef." Captain Sipas took a pen from his pocket and added something to his hen tracks.

Dan wondered why the captain even brought it up. It could hardly make a difference, since Hendriks hadn't eaten any of it anyway.

"Look, are these guns really necessary?" Dan didn't like their threatening presence.

Mark was more and more unnerved by Sipas's continued unorthodox intrusion.

"You're right, of course." Although even after Sipas gave the order for the guns to be put away, his men continued to look menacing. "Better?" His voice held a trace of amusement. "If so, maybe you might now explain why, if you don't know Hendriks, you paid for his meal with your American Express card. I have the restaurant copy of the signed credit charges, if you'd care to see it."

"That won't be necessary," Dan responded. "I have my own copy."

Mark's wide-eyed gaze kept going from Dan to Sipas and then back again.

"And are you accustomed to paying for any meal ordered by any complete stranger who tells the maître d' he's your very good friend?" Sipas's momentary veneer of politeness had slipped slightly, definite sarcasm creeping in along the edges.

"I didn't want to cause a scene," Dan explained.

"Of course," Sipas said. "Being in a foreign country, you were naturally afraid you might be penalized for the truth. You have heard how we are'shall we say'unsympathetic to tourists' complaints. 'Sí?"

"It had nothing to do with that." It probably did, since it was easier to get into trouble in countries with unfamiliar customs, languages, rules and regulations. "I would probably have done the same thing if it had happened in Seattle." True.

"But, then, I forgot Americans are so rich they think nothing of throwing away their money," Sipas commented. "You are rich?"

"I am not. I work hard for a living."

"Work?" His eyes widened in exaggerated amazement. His tone oozed sarcasm.

"Yes."

"Ah!" Sipas exclaimed. "You're but a member of the proletariat on vacation. Now, you will rush home and tell everyone you were cheated by a Lima restaurant, not bothering to mention that you never tried explaining how you happened to be charged for a meal you never ordered."

"I have found nothing bad to report about your country'until now," Dan said, firmly. The man was impossible! "I can assure you, it would scare off many tourists to hear of armed police breaking into Lima hotel rooms with so little provocation."

Sipas shrugged. "Be sure to mention that not every tourist is seen dining with a wanted man."

"Just what exactly has Hendriks done?" Dan had forgotten to ask in all of the excitement.

"I suggest that if you really don't know anything about Hendriks, you would be far better off maintaining blissful ignorance."

"I do not know Hendriks!" Maybe it would sink in this second time around.

"Then, as soon as we complete our search of your room, we'll leave you to rest for your departure. I believe you're scheduled out for Cuzco, tomorrow, are you not?"

"Search our room?" Dan was genuinely indignant.

"Only to assure us that Hendriks didn't drop off certain items."

"I think, before you begin any search, I better call our embassy." Dan wanted to kick himself for not thinking of that before.

Mark blanched, probably because Peru had a history as a military state, political tensions always bubbling beneath the surface calm. This wasn't the United States, and it would be very easy for two American gay men to just up an disappear, especially if their disappearances were engineered by the powers that be.

"By all means, call your embassy." Sipas nodded indulgently toward the phone on the night table between the twin beds; Dan moved in the indicated direction. "However, I had high hopes we could get this taken care of without your embassy's involvement."

"Yes, I can very well see how you might have had such hopes," Dan said. "On the other hand, you certainly must understand my position."

"It will undoubtedly mean staying in Lima far longer than you anticipated." Sipas insinuated far more warning than his actual words. "You certainly won't be making any flight to Cuzco tomorrow."

"Dan, forget the embassy," Mark broke in.

"I think you would be wise to listen to your friend's excellent advice," Sipas said. "Of course, if you have plenty of time'and money'to spare, there will be questions, reports, and red tape. There will be language problems, communication difficulties. There will be letters written and answered, phone calls made and returned or not. In the end, your own people will not thank you for having caused so much trouble for them and for my people over so small an incident."

"So small an incident?" Dan disagreed. "Small? You push your way into our hotel room. You point guns at us. You make completely unfounded accusations. You want to search our room. I do not call any part, or total, of that a small incident."

"Possibly because you aren't as innocent as you pretend. 'Sí?" Sipas raised a hand to keep Dan from interrupting. "You're not hiding anything, are you?"

"Dan, let them make their search," Mark said. "We've nothing to hide, and I just want them out of here!"

Dan knew he should stick to his guns, pick up the phone and make his call to the embassy. He should raise all holy hell, prepared to spend the extra days, weeks, months, whatever time it would take, to show these toughs that an American gay male couldn't be harassed. That's what he should have done. "So, search to your hearts' content!" He simply wasn't prepared to risk being made to disappear, or'at the very least'go through the inconvenience of a major schedule interruption, just to prove some point, when'as Sipas had so smugly indicated'none of the embassy people would likely thank Dan for the bother. Dan had been looking forward too much to Cuzco and Machu Picchu to miss his flight the next day, especially with so little compensation offered by the alternative.

In the final analysis, Sipas was probably just a policeman doing his job in a country that didn't have as many laws to protect its citizens as did the US. Sipas was just a dedicated officer of the law, albeit not a very personable one, who wanted Hendriks off the streets and thought Dan might be out somehow to thwart that honest objective. If by searching Dan and Mark's room, Sipas could be convinced that the two Americans were merely innocent bystanders, then, let him get on with it and get out.

Dan was compromising certain of his principles, but compromise wasn't new to him. It was just that, after all, that put him on this trip to write fluff travel pieces when he should have been off doing in-depth investigative reporting!

However, Sloane Hendriks responsible for all of this hassle didn't make this compromise any easier. Dan correctly intuited, from the get-go, that Hendriks was going to upset Dan's life far more than any brief stopover at Dan's table in that restaurant.

All rights reserved © William Maltese

Beyond Machu

Author: William Maltese

Publisher: MLR Press

Genre: GLBT

Buylink

Enter a jungle of passion, greed, and danger. Take a wild trip Beyond Machu and discover high adventure, hot sex, and true love! Two gay men must gather their strength and courage to travel to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, dodging bullets, unsavory villains, and even jaguars--in search of lost ruins and hidden treasure. This thrilling romance gallops from the hotels of Lima, Peru to the exotic once-lost city, and then beyond into the impenetrable South American jungle rife with perils. Will our heroes get out alive? Will they ever find true love together?

2 Speak To Me:

Lily on 3 June 2010 at 06:51 said...

I read this a while ago. It was alright, not too bad but not great either.

Erotic Horizon on 3 June 2010 at 09:59 said...

@lily

Thanks hon...

I am going to try it after I finish the Banis series..

E.H>