Gulliver Takes Manhattan, is the first one I ever wrote. As if! I wish I were so good that my first shot at writing got me a three book deal. In actuality, that is false. I have been writing since I was 12 years old. It began as poems, transitioned to short stories, and by the time I hit freshman year of college, I was churning out plays and novels like a mad man in a machine.
None of them were any good. It's called "Finding Your Voice," which is an excellent way of actually saying "I had to suck for a long time before I learned to write better."
Anyway, before I moved into noveling, I made some spare cash during college writing erotica. That's right. Erotica. I was paid to write about sex. Think of it as doing porn, or dabbling in prostitution, for un-sexy people, such as myself.
I was digging through my email earlier today, and I found this gem. It's called "Arizona Rising." I published it in a gay Arizona PRINT publication. It's not THAT terrible! It's also fun to see how far I've come since those freshman days. Plus, I made $200 off this story, which is a LOT when you're a college freshman in Allentown, PA.
Take a trip into the past with me, will you? I promise gay cowboy sex as your reward.
- Justin Luke
It’s a mirage.
A vision. A dream.
Some thought made physical by the sheer heat.
Dusty Timberlands gave way to pre-ruined Guess jeans give way to half-moon navel to small dirt trail of hair to hardened pectoral muscles through a tight shirt to stubbly neck to square cheeks to dark, hungry eyes.
…Men in the desert are but a play on the senses, the yearning of the traveler. When the need grows too strong, these specters of desire rise from the sand...
Weather Channel: New York – 32 degrees. Phoenix – 93 degrees.
Attention passengers please remember to keep your aroused members in the upright position.
Quick check. It’s bulging a bit.
Lean forward, readjust.
Good, it’s back behind the belt line again.
A glance from the Mirage Man. Another bout of seizing from the affected organ.
Distraction: Someone had told Max that they stopped giving out peanuts on airplanes because of allergies. He looked at the half eaten pack of honey roasted ones on his tray and
A quick look up. Fuck. The guy’s still looking.
For a second, Max looked at the man across the aisle from him. Truly post-modern, he mused, I’m across from a movie cowboy on a flight into Phoenix.
Was Cowboy connecting to another flight like him? Or would this stop be his home on the range?
Where the queers and the antelope play…
Break the glance. Back to the window. A tunnel of clouds. A ground of white instead of the land he had seen earlier in the flight.
Like magnets, he felt his eyes shifting again, back to John Wayne.
What had a cowpoke like him been doing in New York to begin with? A photo shoot for hottest man of the year? Some rodeo in an underground arena that no one knew of?
Someone like him would blatantly stick out of the normal flow of guys. He was too perfect to fit in with the Manhattan masses.
He had to be six foot two.
Hey there, partner, yer a tall drink-a-water, aintcha?
Max thought: Naked Cowboy. He looked back at the dude, who had taken to looking out his window.
In New York, no matter the weather, Max would see the Naked Cowboy. That cowboy wasn’t like this tough-n-tumbler sitting across from him. No, not like him at all. The New York facsimile was some clown who wore a pair of tight white briefs and played a guitar to the tourists in Times Square.
Public embarrassment for a quarter, maam?
This one, on the plane, he’s the real thing. You can only get this type of guy out West, Max thought.
Again, their eyes met. The cowboy seemed to be sizing him up.
Max looked at the other passengers to avert his eyes.
A beefy businessman banged away on his laptop. A twenty-something girl laid back in a deep sleep. Then cowboy.
Still starin’. (Yee-Haw)
Action first, thought later.
Max was on his feet and walking to the bathroom. He didn’t have to piss, but there he was, entering the aisle.
The mirage’s eyes followed like Max had attached the pupils to either side of his ass with string. Max felt his eyebrows rise into an interested? look. The cowboy seemed taken, as he stood up slowly followed Max to the back of the plane.
Don’t look back now. You don’t want this. You want to make your connection and be at LAX before nightfall. That’s what you really desire.
Max slipped into one of the lavatories and closed the door behind him. Since he was there, he gave peeing a try.
A few drips. Nothing to call home about. He washed his hands and opened the door.
Blazing saddles stood in front of him, smiling. The boots, the abdominal musculature, the chest begging for a rub-down.
Ah’m gonna hog tie you, boy. Make you squeal like a piggy.
Poof. Nothing actually there. Glancing down the aisle, Max noticed the back of his very important passenger’s head. He had probably finished in the bathroom quickly and gotten back to his seat lickety split.
Maybe the cowboy didn’t even get up at all.
Back to his seat. Excuse me. Coming through. Sorry.
Bong. The seatbelt light began to glow.
“Attention passengers we are about to make our final descent into Sky Harbor International Airport. Please place your seats in the upright position and secure your trays…”
blah blah blah. Max looked at Cowboy to see Cowboy looking right back at him. What does he want? What does he think I’m going to give him?
“Please remain seated until we have safely landed and thank you for flying with us.”
The plane penetrated the level of clouds and opened up a panorama of the city beneath.
Ears popping. Max chewed to try and ease the pressure in his head. At this point, the cowboy wasn’t bothering to look away.
One look out the window at the buildings coming closer and closer still.
Still staring. With a slight Western smile.
Descending. Descending. Cars on unknown freeways going in either direction. The runway.
Still smiling. Asking a world of questions with his eyes.
THUD. Touch down.
The cowboy seemed to enjoy the bump of the plane on the ground, smiling wide and invitingly.
More planes, spinning around and taking off. A little truck drove up to retrieve the luggage.
“Welcome to Phoenix, everyone. The current temperature is a sizzling 92 degrees. Hope you packed some bathing suits!”
Humor from the captain, light laughter from the passengers.
Max had been told by friends that Tempe was the place to go. Rumors and smiles of flawless guys attending Arizona State University. Kind of like cowboy looked, Max imagined. But with so many extra bodies, they could all have a regular rodeo. Talk about a welcoming committee.
And when it was hot, they walked around in the streets shirtless.
A scene of pure testosterone: Hundreds of these cowboys, walking through the streets, giving each other suggestive eyes, and ducking into the shade to hide out from the heat.
And make a little of their own.
Drool built up in Max’s mouth. He could taste the cowboy; smell the musk.
The plane stopped completely. Get up. Grab luggage. Head for the door.
Quick glance. Gone.
Where had the cowboy gone? The line of people making for the exit was too massive. He was lost. Miss your chance, and it’s gone forever.
Was he upset? Depressed? It had just been a fun eye game to make the flight pass. What could come of it anyway? It wasn’t worth the trouble or hurt feelings.
He probably wasn’t even really interested anyway. Not like Max was, either.
Plus he had a quick layover. 25 minutes. Enough time to grab a nosh and head over to the next gate.
The rippled, brown stomach.
He found a coffee place down past the gate. Caffeine would help, it would be a late night once he got in to LA.
The bulging, hairy chest.
What about the burger place over there? Shouldn’t cost too much money. Not that money was of any concern right now.
Where the fuck had he come from this time? Staying true to his mirage form, Max thought, here comes Cowboy out of empty space again. The man stood against the wall by the coffee place. He had a hat on now. Must have come out of his carry-on. From under the rim, one dark eye stared at Max.
Cowboy had unbuttoned his shirt completely sometime between the landing and his re-materialization.
A nod of recognition. That one eye relentless in its gaze. Max nodded back. A slow turn on the heels, and the cowboy made for a door a few feet from him.
Action again. The blur of airport, the chill of air conditioning, the swinging exit door. Max found himself outside in a secluded area. Far back, he could see desert. Not at home any more. In New York, the distance is just more buildings.
Where’s the tumbleweed, Max thought.
“Hot enough for ya?” Cowboy asked.
Max didn’t answer. The cowboy didn’t want one. They stood 10 feet apart and stared at each other, no sound but the planes overhead.
“Where ya headin’?”
“Los Angeles. I have a connecting flight in 15 minutes.”
Dirk didn’t move an inch. Through squinting eyes, he would look like a statue.
“You want to have some fun?”
Max didn’t know if that needed an answer. But neither man walked closer to the other.
An old western shoot-out. No mayor to oversee them. No pretty lady or player piano in the Saloon.
Ten paces, draw and fire.
Hands in Max’s hair. The gel wore out quick as the rough hands locked behind his ears. The salty flavor of the cowboy’s sweat. The feeling of Max’s own perspiration trickling down his forehead. Each stomach muscle offered resistance to Max’s tongue.
A glance up. The cowboy looked down at Max with his entire face now masked in the shadow of the hat.
Those hands pulled Max further down, to the ripped-up jeans. So hot. So sweaty. The cowboy shoved himself into Max’s mouth. Like a spur kick into the side of a horse.
Another plane flew overhead. Max didn’t dare close his eyes. Neither did the cowboy.
Too hot. Too sweaty. Max stood up and undid his own pants. The cowboy pulled a condom out of the pocket of his jeans before he let them fall around his ankles.
Max sucked in a breath as Cowboy slammed him against the hot wall of the alley. His cheek burned as he pressed his face into the steaming surface. Brand me. Ride me. Tame me.
The strength in the cowboy’s forceful movement was one that Max had never experienced. Southern hospitality. Can’t get this kind of treatment north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Relentlessly, Dirk filled Max with everything there was to offer. With nothing to grab a hold of, Max scratched at the walls, screaming.
Another plane flew overhead. It sliced the sky on its way back East. To the cold and the snow and the place Max was so glad to be miles away from.
The cowboy said nothing, his face stone set on his job. That only made Max hotter. Hotter than the curling waves of heat coming out of the ground. Hotter than the thick air slowly working its way down Max’s throat. Hotter than the burning in his eyes from the dripping sweat.
With a strong grunt, the cowboy released. Max let out one last shout as he lost his stuff on the wall.
He looked at Dirk over his shoulder. Finally, the cowboy smiled. He leaned over and whispered to Max:
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
Eyes re-focus. Action before thought, and Max jumped to the side as a luggage van sped past him in reverse.
“Watch yourself guy!” The driver screamed as he zipped away from the coffee place.
Deep breath. Re-gather. People’s eyes on him – the dreamy eyed Yankee standing next to a giant cardboard cut out of an iced latte.
He looked around for the cowboy. Gone. Plenty of hustling passengers, stewardesses with their wheeled suitcases, janitors cleaning up a nearby bathroom, but no Stetson hat wearing stranger.
He checked his watch.
Fuck. Plane takes off in one minute. Max took off across the terminal, his suitcase flying behind him like toilet paper stuck on a shoe.
What a great excuse: Sorry I didn’t catch my flight, I was too busy fantasizing about a cowboy I saw on the plane.
Enter the cowboy: leaning up against a window, a stalk of grass in his teeth. Real or mirage? No time to guess.
A growing bulge in his pants. Can’t stop. Thirty seconds until takeoff.
Running like a bucking bronco, like an untamed prairie steed. Hopping suitcases, running through passengers like slalom poles.
Keep breathing. Keep your eyes open.
Heigh ho, Silver, away!