14 Ack! TONGUE! Baby!

JP- Thanks so much to my loyal reader Aikoiya for her help with writing parts of this (check out her stuff on my wall …both accompanying pieces to Turnabout Everlasting she’s awesomesauce!) as well as her suggestions on this chapter!

Blindknyttstories- So um yes JP got some help from the lovely Aikoiya big shoutout to her…Um well, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to speak my mind since I escaped from JP…Is that a dog I hear?”

Local Movie Theatre – January 28, 2025


“Thanks again for rescuing me from Lana, Larry,” Phoenix said as the men walked through the entrance doors of the movie theater.

“No problem,” Larry shrugged. “It’s still only early afternoon, and too early to go to a bar or anything, so the only place I could think of to take us to was the cinema.”

“I can’t member the last time I’d been to the movie theater, but it will be a great temporary escape from grim reality, surely.”  Phoenix stared up at all the listed shows and times of at least two dozen different films, none of which he was familiar with. “It’s a dark comedy with no romance and everything goes wrong for the main character.”

Huh?” Larry cast a quick glance at the movie posters, and then at the listed films, before turning back to regard his friend quizzically. “Did I miss something? What film is that?”

FilmWhat film?” Phoenix deadpanned. “I’m describing my life!”

Seeing the stunned expression on the speechless Larry’s face was priceless, and he let out a rueful chuckle.

I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. I’m attracted to everyone when I first meet them. And then it wears off. It always wears off. I suppose I should be grateful that any of these women want to have anything to do with me at all, given that I’m just a disgraced hobo bum now. What makes me worth dating? What makes me worth fucking anything?

“I don’t mean to go all dark on you there,” he said aloud. “I shouldn’t be surprised that another one bites the dust. I’m just thinking my bad luck with women has to end  at some point, right?”

A saddened look crossed his visage, and he quickly forced himself to smile as he turned back towards the movie listings.

“Anyway… I feel kind of lost here! I haven’t really been following the upcoming movie trailers or celebrity gossip, so I wouldn’t even know what’s out or good anymore.”

All I care about is the fact I am out of the house and away from that drunken, backassed twaddle fuck, who may or may not still be there when I get back!

“Cheer up, Nick!” Larry chirped cheerily. “Perhaps I  may be able to bequeath you some womanly  wisdom?”

Phoenix skeptically regarded his self-proclaimed,  newly queer companion, who even before switching from digging for clams to a life of inhaling the oysterliterally and figuratively, been naught more than a big, weeping dick in all his relationships!

“You want me to take your advice on women?”

“Sure thing!” Larry flashed his trademark goofy grin. “The quarry  may change but never the hunt!”

Phoenix barely resisted the urge to start rubbing his temples.

“I think you need to turn around  your way of thinking when it comes to your love life, Nick.” Larry placed a consoling hand on his friend’s shoulder, ignoring the scowl this comment earned him. “Try considering it all from a different perspective – look at this like you’re in a long-distance relationship! Your Miss Right  … is  merely  in the future!

Upon hearing this, the ex-attorney literally groaned, rolled his eyes, and turned his head away from the mind-numbing ridiculousness that was Larry Butz.

“Hey, I’m sorry if I pissed you off, Nick,” Larry mumbled awkwardly, noticing his friend’s adverse reaction. “I’ve always been more blasé about the opposite sex than you though…so maybe I don’t know anything about women. Hell, it’s probably why I’m gay now! My constant mentality was pretty much: ‘You should be able to go about your business, piss me off, and not give a fuck. After all, it’s what men do!’ Of course, that also explained why I kept getting dumped and was perpetually single.”

This atypical form of Butz self-realization was rarer than a unicorn. Phoenix found himself turning around again to face the other man and arching an eyebrow.

“Jacob’s always saying he hates my analogies and wishes I would communicate like a normal person.” Larry grinned sheepishly. “But that’s like telling a samurai not to use his sword…”

Good grief! Don’t say samurai! My poor, battered mind automatically winds up going to the bad, dark, place that I’ve been trying to suppress with alcohol for the past six years…

“But I digress.” Larry regarded him earnestly. “I don’t envy you, Nick, really I don’t. The dating game is tough. I lucked out with Jacob. Men are just so much easier than women, less complex, you know what I mean? There are no mood swings or being dragged around the mall on endless shopping excursions to deal with! Men tend to shop the same way they have sex; they figure out what they want: a quick in and out, then get home in time to watch the game.”

Phoenix couldn’t help but crack a slight smile at that one.

“I had no idea that playing for the other team now meant that you were such an avid sports enthusiast!”

“Oh, I most certainly am not!” Larry guffawed. “And neither is Jacob! While his dad has been very accepting of his son’s lifestyle, he still refuses to acknowledge that Jacob will never be athletic and has zero desire to have any type of balls flying at his nose, except in the metaphorical sense! His old man recently gave him a set of golf clubs for his birthday. My boyfriend’s exact words to me afterward were: “Here’s hoping someone tries to break into our house pretty soon so I can finally try them out!”

This time Phoenix laughed out loud. Larry Butz had his moments sometimes, he really and truly did!

“Now what were we talking about again?” Larry scratched his head with a puzzled expression. “A GPS, but for where I was going with this…”

He blinked then and scrutinized the film options once more.

“Right! We still need to pick a movie! Hmmm…there’s a dark comedy/slasher flick about a bunch of promiscuous teens who keep being murdered…I Know Who You Did Last Summer?” 

“I’m not picky! After all,  you’re  treating!” Phoenix smirked. “Therefore, feel free to choose whatever is clever. It’s got to be better than the alternative fate I’d have faced had I stayed at home – I still don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t answered your phone!”

The pianist shuddered as he recalled the harrowing scene back in his apartment with the former Chief Prosecutor.

“That woman is totally away with the fairies, you know what I mean?”

“Hey!” Larry yelped indignantly, shooting his friend a wounded look. “Derogatory nicknames for me and my people are so unnecessarily cruel, Nick! We prefer the term gay, I’ll have you know!”

“What?! No, Larry…”

“You can be such a meanie at times!” Larry cried, his eyes already, on command, swimming with tears, as was tradition. “I refuse to accept your labels of any sort! Like “immature” and “irresponsible” and “don’t drink while taking this medication!”

Phoenix stared at the recently came flying from the closet Larry Butz blankly for a moment, and then closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.

Jesus H. Christ! Larry, you giant, flapping anus! I was not trying to make a euphemism nor insinuate that She- Who-Face-Fucked-Me was off fluttering with a bunch of flamboyant screaming queens!

“You vibrate on a very strange frequency, you know that, Larry?” He let out a long-suffering sigh. “When I said fairies, I was not commenting on the type of men that are angling for I’ve got dangling! I meant her rocket isn’t working on all thrusters!”

ThrustersOh myyy! That sounds so deliciously naughty!”

Abruptly, Larry stopped crying and leered lasciviously.

“It reminds me of when Sugar Tush and I were first courting. This one time, when he and I were about to go out on a date, he asked me if I had a “keg in my pants.” And, when I asked him “why?” in return, he told me that he totally wanted to “tap my ass!”

Phoenix just stared at him, wondering how the hell they had gone from talking about Lana’s slippery grip on reality, to hearing about the life and times of Larry now getting it in the Butz!

I can’t imagine what qualities you may have that would compensate for your behavior in public. I really can’t…

His expression was impossible to ignore, and even the normally clueless artist picked up on it and was immediately contrite.

“Sorry to have gone off on a tangent like that about my Schmoopsie-Poo! Although, I’d like to think being an artist does give me a free pass to be a bit eccentric!” Larry shrugged with deliberate insouciance. “I’m a difficult person. Everyone’s a difficult person. But Jacob was accepting of my brand of different. He was down with it.”

“That’s kind of sweet, I guess…”

The sentimentNot the nickname! Ugh, I think that would affect my stomach more than my heart!

“Jacob accepts me as I am, and I, in turn, let him call most of the shots when it comes to major decisions,” Larry elucidated. “Even when I was lost and hadn’t found myself yet, I never liked telling other women what to do or how to do it or when to do it, and I’m still that way now with men. Ergo, I allow my Mooky-Pooky to take my paycheck and then give me an allowance!”

He cracked up upon seeing Phoenix’s incredulous expression.

“I’ve been trying to tell him he should run for public office!”

“That’s just…super, Larry!” At this point, Phoenix had heard enough about Mr.  Schmoopsie-Poo/ Mooky-Pooky   (he couldn’t decide which one was worse!)  to last him several lifetimes! “Let’s just pick a movie already, shall we?”

Ultimately, Phoenix ended up being dragged to the originally suggested horror movie, I Know Who You Did Last Summer, and was already reveling in the concept of not having to hear another peep from Larry, about Jacob, relationships, or anything for the next two blissful hours!

As the lights dimmed and the movie trailers began to roll, Larry turned towards Phoenix and made a point of informing him, after each and every preview, “The actual film will be much longer than that.”

Phoenix merely grunted in response and wished he was wearing his beanie to yank down over his eyes. Instead, he leaned back against the plush headrest and closed his eyes, willing slumber to overcome him and put him out of his misery.

Sometimes, I do this cute thing where I somehow let my so-called best friend take me to a movie I don’t want to watch and then fall asleep halfway through… This time I’m just starting extra early…

Zippers Bar – January 28, 2025


By the time the men had left the movie theater, and Larry had generously offered to buy Phoenix a bite to eat afterward, it was early evening.

He’d already texted his daughter, who had to work that night at The Wonder Bar, anyway, to let her know that he was out with Uncle Larry and would see her later that night when she returned home. He’d surmised that since Trucy hadn’t mentioned anything about harboring an insane in the membrane,  intoxicated female, cooing “Hey, pretty birdie,” at their residence, it meant Lana had, at last, left the premises; ergo, the coast was clear for his eventual return!

There were now headed to a bar that Larry claimed to be his all-time favorite taproom, and had insisted Phoenix would love. He’d reluctantly agreed to this, even though it meant spending more time in the aggravating man’s company, simply because his affable nature wouldn’t allow him to have the heart to negate the offer! What else was he supposed to say?

When you said we should go for drinks, I didn’t know you meant together…?!”

A purple, neon light flickering above the bar showed that the name of the watering hole was Zippers, which he thought was kind of odd, but didn’t think twice about it, figuring that he’d suffered enough that day that he deserved to have a good, stiff drink. It had been nearly 5 months since he had kicked the wine habit, so he was probably a lightweight at this point, and it wouldn’t take too many to numb him into oblivion!

“Oh damn, my art agent is calling me,” Larry frowned at his phone as it went off just as they were about to enter the place. “I’ve got to take this call, Nick. You go on ahead and order whatever you want. Tell the bartender that you’re a friend of mine and to put it on my tab. I’ll see you in a few minutes.”

Phoenix nodded and walked through the door. He pushed his way through the crowd of people, eyes focused directly on the bar. When he sat down on the stool, he simply ignored the stream of whispers around him and lifted a finger to signal to the bartender that he wanted to order.

A pretty blonde barmaid popped up, her eyes scanning him appreciatively as she asked him the traditional question.

“Hello, Stud! What can I get for you tonight?”

“I’ve had a rough day, and all I need is a stiff one, please.” Phoenix sighed, laying his head down on the bar top, eyes closed.

“Your wish is my command!” She let out a rich, throaty chuckle.

Her voice, while light and soft, was also low, but not so much that it sounded strange coming from her. However, something about it was…unnerving… He didn’t know why, though, so he just shoved the uneasy feeling into the back of his head.

However, the discomfiting sensation refused to be squelched.

Something about the flaxen-haired female behind the bar had triggered something in the repressed recesses of his brain, only to resurface full throttle, as against his will, his memories took them back to that fateful day in September last fall when things had come to an ugly head…

Wright Talent Agency – September 5, 2024


Phoenix felt like shit run over twice that morning. His alarm clock had gone off loudly next to his head, reminding him that he was supposed to get himself up and make his daughter breakfast before she went off to school, but apparently, it had stopped its incessant blaring when he had hauled it across the room, as proven by the mark on the wall, and the broken remains on the floor.

Therefore, he was only waking up now, and realizing, to his alarm, that it was no longer morning at all! A quick glance at his wristwatch on his night table told him that it was 1:45 PM.

Holy crapola! Trucy would already have gone to school by now! He hadn’t even seen her off because he was so damn drunk the night before! Disgusted with himself, he jerked up into a seating position and tried to ignore the spinning sensation in his head that the abrupt movement had caused. Somehow, he managed to stumble to the kitchen and consumed three glasses of water before he saw the note on the table.

How the smell of the wine last night was intoxicating, yet this morning it adds to my nausea. The thirst stays after each slow drink of water and my head feels fit to crack open…

The short note was written in his 13-year-old daughter’s childlike, barely legible scrawl, but he was able to make out the message:

Good Morning Daddy!  

I’m off to school, and I had some oatmeal for breakfast before I left, so don’t worry about me, I’m fine! I made enough porridge for us both, and your share is sitting on the stovetop in the small pot. I didn’t want to wake you up, because you seemed so tired.  You were sleeping so heavily, and you didn’t even notice when I came by your room and kissed you goodbye and let you know that I was leaving. But that’s OK. Just please remember that today is my school talent show, and it’s going to be right after school at 3 o’clock sharp! I’ll see you there!


Phoenix was filled with unmitigated self-loathing as he read the note. He didn’t deserve such a compassionate and understanding gem for a daughter, he truly didn’t. He couldn’t believe he had forgotten Trucy’s annual talent show was that day! She’d even written it and circled it in red on the calendar!

Nevertheless, it had slipped his mind because as soon as midnight had hit the night before at The Borscht Bowl Club, he had done what he had been doing every September 5 for the last five years since he’d lost his badge, and hit that bottle hard, trying to mentally obliterate that it was the eight-year anniversary of the death of his beloved mentor, Mia Fey, and the same day he had met his former office assistant, Maya.

September 5, 2016, marked the anniversary of the worst day of the year for him, even worse than the anniversary of April 19, the date when his life as he’d known it had been destroyed forever. The day he had been disbarred. At one point it had been bittersweet, as the day he had lost the woman who had meant everything to him had also been the day he had met the other woman, then just a mere slip of a girl, who later had come to mean…

No! I’m not going down this path again! I can’t! It – it hurts too damn much!

He felt himself panicking as he looked up at the kitchen clock and saw that was now nearly 2:00. Dammit! He had just under an hour to shower, clean himself up, and haul his ass over to the school!

He dragged himself to the bathroom and stared at his haggard face and disheveled-haired reflection in the mirror. The hangover felt like a balloon under his cranium, slowly being inflated, pressure mounting. He splashed cold water on his face just to feel something refreshing and instantly wished he could wash his brain free of the toxins, as well. The mirror showed his bloodshot eyes, a lattice of pink over the white.

If I leave in the next five minutes, I can do this and make it on time. I just need a little hair of the dog to take the edge off, and then I’ll be fine!  

Of course, a little winded up being a lot, and by the time Phoenix made it to the bus stop to take him to Trucy’s school, he had ingested about a bottle and a half of his preferred poison. The hangover itself was no longer as fierce, but the consequential state of tipsiness he was now in most certainly was!

Even though he had been at the junior high on several occasions before, he couldn’t seem to find his way to the auditorium, and made about half a dozen wrong turns, before he finally staggered into the right place and found a seat amongst the throng of other parents and students who were watching the current performer onstage. Darting a quick glimpse at his watch, he saw that it was 3:15 now.

Phoenix turned to the dorky man in glasses and thinning red hair seated next to him, who he dimly recognized as the father of one of Trucy’s friends, and whispered in his ear, “has my little girl been on yet?”

“Not yet,” the portly man, whose name the pianist recalled was Hammond, but went by the more fitting name Ham, whispered back. “But you did miss Jinxie’s talent performance, which was juggling a whole bunch of weird, voodoo-ritual-looking items while riding a unicycle! She was really good! Trucy may have some serious competition this year! My daughter’s up next!”

Your daughter?” Phoenix echoed blankly. “I thought Jinxie was your daughter?”

“Are you drunk or something?” Ham eyed him dubiously. “Do I look Asian to you? Jinxie is Mayor Tenma’s daughter, Mr. Wright! Gouda is mine.”

“Of course I’m not drunk!” Phoenix flushed and awkwardly scratched the back of his head. “Gouda… right… yeah … The two girls are really good friends with my baby girl. Little Jinxie Tenma and little Gouda…” His mind searched desperately in vain for the ginger adolescent girl’s surname.

Berger!” Ham exclaimed with exasperation. “Gouda Berger! Your daughter was just at her birthday party last weekend?”

“Right!” Phoenix felt the guilty blush coloring his cheeks. “I knew that! Heh, heh…”

“Yeah, right,” Ham muttered disgustedly, crossing his doughy arms across his man boobs.

Luckily, Phoenix was spared further embarrassment as Gouda appeared next onstage, wearing a sparkly leotard and holding two batons in her hands, which she then proceeded to twirl about in a near-professional fashion to One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.”

“Way to go, Gouda!” Ham called proudly, his loud voice booming in the large room. “Show them all that Berger magic! Wipe the floor with them!”

“Hey now!” Phoenix couldn’t help but frown at the older man. “First of all, this is supposed to be a  friendly competition, there is no need for you to be all crazy hockey dad here! And secondly, there is nobody  more magical  than my little girl!”

My little girl is going to be on the national team for baton twirling!” Ham countered, curling his lip at Phoenix. “Your  little girl is small potatoes in comparison!”

Shut the hell up, Ham Berger! Or should I call your lumpy self… Ham and potatoes?! How dare you trash talk my daughter!

Phoenix glared at him. What was this guy’s problem? Also, his Trucy was small potatoes compared to no one, least of all to the offspring of a man bearing the same unfortunate first and last name of his former assistant’s favorite food dish!

Boo!” He found himself drunkenly yelling at the stage, not caring how childish he sounded. Several people in the audience turned around to stare at him, but he didn’t care.  “You suck! And that song is lame! One Direction? The only direction they’re going is where this act is going – SOUTH!”

Shut up!” Ham snapped at Phoenix, his ruddy complexion turning even redder with anger. “Now who’s being all crazy hockey dad?!”

In the middle of this all, neither man had noticed that the red-faced Gouda had finished her set and that Trucy was now onstage.

However, the magician still hadn’t begun her act, as she was gawking at her father and Ham, who’d both risen from their seats, with an expression of complete horror on her face.

“Don’t you dare tell me to shut up!” Phoenix pointed his finger, courtroom style, at the other man until his index was barely inches from Ham’s nose. “You’re the one who got all out of line and tried playing the doting dad card and guilt-shaming me just because I mixed up your kid’s identity with Jinxie’s! Well fine! So be it! Thus, I’m going to be both hockey dad and soccer mom from hell, all rolled into one!”

At this point, the now pink-cheeked Trucy was steadily trying to ignore the major commotion in the audience and had proceeded to do her famous Asrah levitation trick.

The act consisted of the young magician going through the process of hypnotizing her assistant and had commanded them to recline on the foldout table Trucy had brought on stage. The assistant was then fully covered with a cloth and now appeared to be levitating underneath it, all the while, with her levitating, draped form still visible!

Abracadabra!” Trucy shouted, waving her magic wand.

In the next moment, the assistant slowly floated back down. Trucy quickly yanked off the sheet covering her, and right before the audience’s mesmerized eyes, the assistant completely appeared to have vanished!

Completely dumbfounded, the crowd burst into enthusiastic applause, which only grew even louder as the assistant, now identified as Jinxie Tenma, appeared from her seated position in the front row of the audience, standing up from her seat and taking a grand bow.

Phoenix yelled and cheered louder than anyone else.

“You see thatCheese Berger?” He shouted at him, standing up in his seat and letting out an ear-piercing whistle. “That’s the winner of this year’s talent show right there!”

“Stop it! Can you not  see that you’re embarrassing her?!” Ham hissed at Phoenix, who seemed oblivious to the mortified expression on his daughter’s face, even as she attempted to go into her next act, the famous sawing the assistant in half trick. “You’ve made your point! Now can it!”

“Why should she be embarrassed by her old man, who loves her?” Phoenix demanded, pointing his finger away from his rival and towards the stage as he continued to holler. “Trucy Wright! That’s my baby girl! You’re the best Truce! Daddy loves you!”

There were murmurs of sympathy from the audience, which were then drowned out by applause as Trucy continued her set, and ultimately did wind up winning the talent show, as she did every year.

However, Phoenix was treated to a very different type of performance later that night at the apartment when the curtain came down …

Later that evening…

Wright Talent Agency – September 5, 2024


“How was work?” Phoenix asked his daughter when she arrived home that night after her shift at The Wonder Bar. “Congratulations again on mopping the floor with the competition! You should’ve seen the look on Gouda’s father’s face!”

“Thanks, Daddy,” Trucy mumbled, avoiding his eyes as she hung up her magician’s cape and hat by the front door. “I’m going to go to my room now. I have a lot of homework.”

“You’re not going to have dinner?” Phoenix was bewildered by his normally sunny daughter’s uncustomary gloomy disposition. “But I splurged and got us burgers to celebrate your big win! I even made the guy put Gouda cheese on them because this we can say you ate your competition!”

He grinned impishly, his smile fading when he saw her downcast face.

“OK, the burger is still better than my humor! Chow down!”

“I’m not hungry.”  Trucy headed towards the stairs leading up to the apartment.

Phoenix blinked.  Not hungry?! His daughter normally ate like a trucker!

“Truce, what’s going on here?” He asked abruptly. “Did something happen at work? Or at school?”

“At school?” She exclaimed suddenly, spinning around and facing him then, so he could see the angry tears forming in her blue eyes. “You mean other than being utterly humiliated by my father?!  In front of the  entire  staff and student body?!”

“What?!” Phoenix gaped at her, completely aghast. “Humiliate you?! Truce, how can that be?! I was so proud of you! I told  everyone  around me that would listen that the star of the show was my little girl…”

“First, you slept through the alarm clock this morning, when you know  I normally do a quick, last-minute, run-through with you whenever I have a talent show, so I was unable to do that beforehand! Then you showed up late like you show up late for everything, including all of my shows at work, and parent-teacher conferences, and picking me up from birthday parties! And then you proceeded to  embarrass the heck out of me  by putting down my friends, and just making a complete jerk of yourself!”

Tears of anger, resentment, and mortification rolled down her cheeks.

“How could you do that to me, Daddy? What on earth got into you to make you act like that?! For the first time, I almost felt  embarrassed  to be your daughter!”

Phoenix recoiled at the vehemence of the attack and stared at her with growing dismay.

“Truce, I’m sorry if I embarrassed you! That was never my intention! You must know that!”

“You’re always sorry, Daddy!” She stormed, hands clenched into fists by her sides. “But sometimes sorry just isn’t enough! I know that’s not grape juice in those bottles that you keep drinking, OK? I’m not stupid and I’m not a little girl anymore! All this time, I’ve tried to look the other way, and not judge you, and tried to be understanding because I know how sad you’ve been because you lost your badge! But I’m at a point now where I think … I think that you love that wine  more than you ever  loved me!”

Phoenix felt as though he’d been slapped in the face. Dear God, Trucy knew. She knew his most shameful secret – his drinking, which he had so desperately trying to hide from her. Nevertheless, that realization was still only half as devastating as the rest of what she’d said. There was nothing on God’s green earth that he loved more than his little girl! She was his light! He had to let her know that!

“Trucy,” he whispered hoarsely, walking up to the weeping teenager. “Please don’t say such things! There’s absolutely nothing or nobody in this world that means more to me than you! You have  to believe me!”

He tried to put a hand on her shoulder, but she shrugged it off and shook her head violently.

“Leave me alone!” She angrily wiped the tears from her eyes with her hands, then looked at him with dull eyes. “I just need some time to myself right now. I’m going to my room.”

With that, she trudged up the stairs then, not looking back once, leaving her devastated father staring after her.

That night, Phoenix couldn’t sleep. Despite the two bottles of wine he had downed trying to numb the agony of the heated argument he’d had with Trucy, he hadn’t been able to dull the searing heartache whatsoever, and couldn’t remember the last time he had felt so wretched and empty.

He tossed and turned the entire night, hearing the harsh words his daughter had said to him over and over again, reliving her pained expression every single time he closed his eyes.

Wright Talent Agency – September 6, 2024


At some point, he probably did fall asleep, although he hadn’t realized it because when he opened his eyes again the next morning, it was 10:15 AM.

Once again, his daughter had seen herself off to school, and he had missed bidding her goodbye.

There was another note on the kitchen table for him that morning, simply stating that straight after work, where she’d be going right after school (obviously in an attempt to avoid him), Trucy would be going to Jinxie’s house, for a back-to-school sleepover event, which she had highlighted on the calendar, and would be back the next morning. The note was simply signed “Trucy” not “Love, Trucy,” which gutted him more than any fillet knife ever could have.

Phoenix crumpled the note against his chest and felt his eyes begin to sting.

His daughter didn’t love him anymore. He had screwed up too many times and too badly for her to ever forgive him this time.

There was truly nothing left for him.

Big Wangs – September 6, 2024

Phoenix had been beyond depressed and had finally torn through his remaining stash of wine bottles at the apartment, in which he had been attempting to drown his sorrows. Finally, the minute mid-day had come, he had gone straight to the nearest junction of taverns within walking distance, finally settling on his current one simply because the name had made him laugh out loud, despite his miserable state.

Big Wangs! Surprisingly, not a male strip club! And come on, how do you not laugh at a name like that? This sports bar keeps the mood “light” with some appropriately inappropriately-named menu items (“The Threesome” beer and wings special comes to mind). And of course, there’s the slogan that says it all: Size matters.

Ignoring all the various flat-screen TVs showing various sports, he held up two fingers to the bartender, signaling he wanted yet another drink.

“A little early, isn’t it buddy?” The barkeep raised an eyebrow as he obligingly poured the requested beer for the dejected-looking pianist. “You want me to order you some fries with that at least?”

“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” Phoenix responded flatly. “And no thank you, just the beer please.”

Suddenly, he heard a loud cheer coming from a stunning blonde woman sitting a few stools down and looked up sharply to see what the hullabaloo was all about. Catching his surprised expression at her enthusiasm, she laughed ruefully and carelessly tossed her satiny locks back over her shoulder.

“What can I say? The German football team is playing for the win and I’m loving it!” She said with a friendly smile.

Phoenix smiled back hesitantly, and despite knowing it was rude to be doing so, could not keep from staring at the vision in before him! Even though he had been slightly turned off women since the jellyfish incident with Iris, even in his blitzed-out state, he still had to acknowledge that this woman was absolutely stunning!

Her complexion seemed tan against the pale, platinum blonde of her hair – remarkably flawless, long, glimmering, and styled to the side in an elegant braid. She had enchanting, long-lashed, cerulean eyes, and a blinding smile that put the sun to shame. Her long legs were encased in a fitted pair of black leather pants, and she wore a snug dress shirt underneath a satin blazer. Her casual but professional attire made him think that she was perhaps on a break from her regular workday, possibly on her lunch hour.

Ergo, he would have to be quick to make his move. He normally ended up being the pursued rather than the one in hot pursuit, but he was intoxicated, lonely, desolate, and this lady was looking sexier with every sip!

“I don’t know much about soccer,” Phoenix ventured in his friendliest tone. “Although I do think it’s a game that shows great endurance on behalf of the athletes, seeing as how there are no breaks.”

“I do like men with stamina …” The blonde purred, batting her lashes while slowly rubbing the tip of one well-manicured finger around the rim of her glass. “Both on  and off  the playing field…”

The look of invitation in her eyes was unmistakable, and the next thing he knew she had sidled over to him and placed a hand on his arm.

“What do you say to getting out of here and talking some more about scoring goals?” She breathed in his ear, in what was unmistakably a European accent, one that he couldn’t quite place at the moment. “And while we’re are at it, perhaps I can also educate you about what you Americans call soccer, too…”

She didn’t need to ask Phoenix twice! He didn’t even make an objection when she insisted on paying for his tab. This woman was take-charge and ballsy as hell, and he loved it. It was just what he needed.

“I’m here on my lunch break from work,” she explained as they headed out the door. “But it’s no big deal if I’m a little bit late going back! We’re not too far from The Gatewater Hotel… If that’s all right with you.”

Phoenix normally did not make a habit of bringing his dates home, and even though Trucy was at school, he didn’t feel comfortable sullying his residence with a random hookup, even though the hotel was right across the street from his place.

“Most definitely. Lead the way!”

Gatewater Hotel – September 6, 2024


He hung back in the lobby while the woman requested a room, and followed her silently into the elevator, his heart pounding and pulse racing as she led the way into the suite.

Phoenix was pushed down until his back laid on the bed, while the sexy stranger sat on his left, facing him. She caressed his stubbly cheek and then stole closer, her lips barely touching his mouth. Their breaths mingled as the pianist reached up to run his fingers through that thick, flaxen mane.

“You’re so damn sexy,” she murmured in his ear as she grazed her knuckles along his cheek.

Phoenix lay stock-still, his mouth parted, his breathing rapid as his lover’s azure eyes darkened with desire. She kissed the side of his mouth teasingly, until finally, unable to take it anymore, he reached up and captured her lips, opening up for her, eager to finally get a tang of those lush lips that were positively begging to be kissed. Her sweet taste hit the back of his throat and flooded his senses, lighting a bonfire in his groin. It had been too long, and he was too greedy for slow and easy.

He thrust in his tongue, deep and thorough, against hers. Breathing heavily against his mouth, she leaned down and took full control of the kiss, her lips forceful against his own. Had he cared to listen, he’d have been able to feel that niggling warning in his head, but it’d been dulled by the tremendous influx of alcohol in his system.

He was in a daze as the blonde removed his hoodie with painstaking slowness, and then leisurely ran her hand down the worn cotton of his t-shirt, pushing it up, revealing the lean, supple body beneath it.  Her smoldering, appreciative, gaze raked him up and down, unable to tear her eyes away. Her beautiful, thick hair was now mussed around her smooth oval face as she then stroked one finger down his neck, and Phoenix groaned without meaning to. This wasn’t real. It was just a dream—so why not enjoy it?

She grazed her nails over his sensitive, exposed nipples, then with expert fingers, tweaked and rolled the hardened beads of flesh, making the ex-attorney arch up into the tantalizing hands, breaking the kiss with a mix between a gasp and a low groan.

“My, my, my, Herr Hobo, aren’t you the responsive one? Almost like a woman, in fact. I wonder what would happen if I…” She gave a firm pinch to the hardened nubs, causing Phoenix to moan longingly and jerk his hips upward, throwing his head back against the bed, the act causing the beanie to slide back off his skull, freeing his trademark spikes, exposing them to view at last.

A look of astonishment and recognition flickered over the blonde’s tanned face, replaced by an unexpected, knowing smirk, which Phoenix, having had his head thrown back in ecstasy at the time, had missed entirely.

“Looks like I found Herr Hobo’s on switch, ja?”

A brief spark of terrible familiarity flashed through him then disappeared as quickly as it came.

She lowered herself until she was crouched down by his legs, and yanked down his joggers and boxers with one swift motion, unleashing his aching length from its cage.

She was just about to lower her head to take him in her mouth, but Phoenix couldn’t stand the thought of being fully naked, while he had yet to set his eyes on that delectabletoned body,  which had been pressed so heatedly against his, and sat up quickly, deftly unzipping her pants and sliding them down to knee level.

He was pleasantly surprised that she was wearing no underwear, when suddenly something sprang up at him, nearly smacking him right between the eyes,  as though he’d done something to upset it!

Achtung, baby!”

“Gah! What the shit?!”

Phoenix recoiled sharply, as though he had just unleashed some sort of grotesque mutation… rather than merely a long, rock-hard cock where they should have been … Feminine paradise!

Christ in a miniskirt!” Phoenix shrieked, falling back onto the bed, and scooting back as far away as he could from what was obviously not a woman, and shrinking back against the headboard. “Why, in the name of all that is holy, does each one of us have an erection?!”

He glanced down at his now wilted manhood and hastily grabbed a pillow to cover his nudity from the amused blue gaze.

“Wait, never mind! Mine just died!”

“Well, well, well… this is something that’s never happened before…”

The dude who looked like a lady let out another rich chuckle and shook his head at Phoenix’s panicked expression.

“While I admit we had the whole intimate strangers act down pat, which was  genuine on both our halves, when it came to not knowing the other’s identity  until now, I  assure you that I never  tried to hide my gender from you in the least!”

Phoenix continued to gape at him as he attempted to drag together the rags of his shattered composure and form a proper sentence.

“You’re a dude!”

In an effort to cleanse his mouth from the taint of the non-woman,  Phoenix frantically and vigorously scrubbed at his lips and tongue against his retrieved hooded sweatshirt so hard, they felt practically raw!

“How astute of you to finally  notice!”

The other man gave a shout of laughter, making Phoenix’s face turn as red as a beetroot and radiate heat like a hot pan, partly from angry humiliation, and partly from confusion.

“Since I didn’t taste any alcohol of your breath….” He shuddered at the memory of his unfortunate first-hand knowledge of this information. “I am deducing that the orange juice you had at the bar had no alcohol in it! Therefore, you  aren’t drunk!”

“That’s two for two now!”

His observation merely earned him another smirk from the braided stranger.

“But you knew I was a  dude,  right?!”

“Yesss….”  The blond drawled, an amused smile still tugging at the corner of his lips. “Annd?”

“Y –You knew I was a man…” Phoenix spluttered in disbelief. “And yet you still … what the hell?!”

“Just how betrunken are you, Herr Wright?” The man mocked. “Are you seriously  telling me that you did not make this realization until this very moment?”

This guy knew him?!

Phoenix’s bulging, horrified orbs stared uncomprehendingly at the not stranger as he held the pillow in place in front of his lap to maintain his modesty and quickly snatching his discarded underwear and pants from the floor, yanking both on in record time. Who the hell was this man-pretty … man?! He could now place that European accent as distinctly, unmistakably  German…

And as his shocked eyes studied the angular lines of that face, a distant memory of it triggered in his mind, only this time the flaxen braid was replaced by shaggy blond locks cut just above chin level, with the purple blazer not being present, and instead just worn with a black button-down shirt and heavy silver chain with a large, shiny G on it…

He was mortified, frozen to the spot. He felt traumatized. He couldn’t believe this had happened and in front of this man, of all people! He remained rooted there, soaking in the improbability of the ludicrous scenario, and his head began to spin.

Herr Wright, the man had said?! And then … Achtung, baby!? Right before his stiffy, with which he had nearly poked out Phoenix’s eyeball?!

The blood drained from Phoenix’s face. While no longer the punk 17-year-old teenage prosecutor who had been a huge part of getting him disbarred, Phoenix cursed himself for letting himself get so inebriated that he hadn’t recognized that same nerve grating, cocksure voice, smarmy air, and smug countenance, even five years later!

I want the earth to open up and swallow me whole. I wish I could drop through a Scooby-Doo-style trap door in the floor to escape this mortification. But there shan’t be any rescue from this degrading level of embarrassment. It is absolute. Torture. Utter humiliation. The memory will be seared into my brain forever, ready to pop up and torment me again when I’m ever in a quiet moment.

Klavier Gavin?!” He croaked disbelievingly. “Of course I was too drunk to recognize you! Otherwise, you would’ve gotten a right hook to the kisser rather than a kiss!  Did you not recognize me?”

“Not until that precise moment when your beanie came off, revealing that spiky hair, which is forever your legacy,” Klavier confirmed, his eyes still twinkling with mirth.

Phoenix averted his gaze as he saw the German’s bratwurst was still hanging out on visible display!

“For the love of God, will you please pretend you have some shame and stash away your goddamn junk?!”

“You Americans are so prudish,” Klavier remarked casually, as though he’d been wholly unaware his frankfurter and beans had been nearly blinding the disbarred attorney, then shrugged casually as he obliged and pulled his pants back up. “It’s been a long time Herr Wright… But to what do I owe such overt hostility?”

To what to do you owe…?” Phoenix was nearly speechless with fury. “Well, for one thing, I’m not gay! I honestly thought your man-pretty ass was a female’s!”

“For the record, I’m not gay either,” Klavier shrugged once more. “I consider myself more try-sexual… As in, I’ll try anything once! Well perhaps twice… alright, fine… in this particular case, it would’ve been thrice… just to be sure…”

“I refuse to be your third time’s the charm deciding factor for your sexual experimentation you fake gaypseudo-she-thing!” Phoenix hollered. It wasn’t merely a raised voice, there was a seething behind it.

Grabbing his beanie off the bed and pulling it back onto his head as he glared at the prosecutor.

“I cannot believe you’re being so nonchalant about this whole thing! Have you conveniently forgotten  that you cost me my badge!”

Phoenix could tell by the look of mild shock on the prosecutor’s face and by his cheeks that flushed pink that the reminder had made its mark.

“Alas, I did , unfortunately, play a hand in that,” Klavier acknowledged, with a brief flicker of regret in his eyes, which instantly disappeared as he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at the outraged former attorney. “Soooo…. allow me to make it up to you, then, Herr Wright….”

“Drop dead, you deviant, perverted… Arschloch! I’m out of here!” He shoved past Klavier and stormed towards the hotel room door. “I’m going to go drink some toilet bowl cleaner now so I can annihilate both the  taste and  memory  of you from both my mouth and mind!”

Phoenix had to force himself to pretend to be deaf to the final laughing words of the German prosecutor calling after him.

“Are you sure I cannot find some way to temporarily ease the pain I have caused you? You seemed to enjoy the talent of these lips of mine on your own succulent ones… Just imagine them in other places…”

Phoenix was praying silently as he opted to forsake waiting for the elevator and instead galloped down the ten flights of stairs from the room in record time, and out the doors, as though the hounds of hell were on his tail.

If there’s a God up there, he fervently prayed. Hear my plea! Please, please, I beg of thee, do not ever let anyone find out about this traumatizing incident, from which I  don’t know if I will ever recover from… never mind my poor, sweet, innocent daughter who has already endured enough! I’d never live this down as long as I lived if word of this got out. People would be reminding me of this as I eat my mush in the nursing home! There would never be any recovery from it! I’d have to leave town, cast off my identity, and start somewhere new… And where the hell else would I ever going to find another bar that’s going to hire a phony pianist… who has spent the last five years completely faking like he knows how to play the damn piano?!








Filling The Void Copyright © by JordanPhoenix. All Rights Reserved.

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