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The knocking begins around two. Julian rolls over and tries to ignore it, but Ricky starts calling him through the door in a stage whisper. "Julian! Open up, c'mon."

He'll get louder and louder, Julian knows, until somebody calls Lahey on them. He pulls on his robe and yanks open the door, surprising Ricky who almost falls inside.

"What," he says.

"I knew you were awake. Thanks, man." Ricky pushes past him into the trailer and starts poking around the ashtray for a butt he can smoke.

"It's two in the morning," Julian says, unnecessarily.

"Lucy threw me out again." He's found a stub just barely long enough to light. "It's not a big deal. I've just got to start growing dope again, get my life back together."

If Julian had a nickel for every time he'd heard that’—well, he'd have a trunk full of change. Like Ricky had, until he'd spent his share on presents for Trinity and Lucy, and booze, and food.

"So go sleep in your car."

"I can't sleep. You had some great hash the other night ’—"

"There isn't any hash, Rick." Julian tries to sound serious; he wants Ricky to go the hell away so he can go back to sleep.

Ricky stubs out the cigarette, now truly dead, and looks down for a second. "I thought maybe we could..." When he looks back up, there is a bashful hunger in his eyes.

Despite himself, Julian remembers. They hadn't known it was their last night in prison. Biting the pillow so he wouldn't moan out loud.

Not wanting his hands to shake, he moves to the kitchen and pours himself another rum-and-coke. "You're a married man now."

Ricky smiles, a broad and happy smile that makes his eyes crinkle. He can tell Julian's tempted. "Lucy doesn't mind, you know that. We've known each other forever, fuck's sakes. She knows you and I’—" His voice falters for an instant, and then he picks up the thread again. "It's like, I don't care when she does Sarah. It's actually pretty hot."

Lucy and Sarah going at it is the last mental image Julian needs, but the talk of girls gives him pause. "What if I had a girl back there?" Sure, his girl is doing time, but he might have brought somebody else home.

"Sweet!" Ricky's eyes light up. "You think she'd go for a ’—"

"Fuck's sake, Rick, there isn't a girl. I was just saying."

Ricky reaches for Julian's drink and takes a long swig before handing it back. "Look," he says, quietly. "You don't want to, that's cool. I'll go back to my car."

Julian's heart clenches. He doesn't want to lie in his empty bed knowing Ricky is alone and awake in his burned-out car. "Wait," he says, just before Ricky opens the door of the trailer to leave. "You can stay here."

Ricky looks like he just won the lottery. "You want to."

It isn't a question. "Yeah," Julian admits. "C'mon."

The fire was starting to die down, but Julian didn't care. He was riding high on the buzz from some good dope, plus a drink or three, and right now life was good.

Grade six was over, and they didn't have fuck-all to do besides collect beat-up grocery carts so they could get money for smokes. Tonight him and Ricky were "camping," which meant spending a night in the woods drinking too much and talking about what it was going to be like when they could finally bang chicks.

Julian figured the reason chicks didn't dig them yet is that they didn't have facial hair. Ricky thought it had more to do with needing a real leather jacket, instead of a lame one made out of leatherette. It was an argument they'd had a million times before, but Julian still knew he was right.

They passed out sometime after they ran out of both dope and booze, wrapped up in old army blankets beside the embers.

When Julian woke up, it was the middle of the night, and it had gotten cold. Ricky was pressed against him, snoring a little. There was a stick poking him in the hip, which he reached back to push out of the way, except when he grabbed it Ricky gasped. And before he could freak out or apologize or pretend it hadn't just happened, Ricky's hand moved to cover his.

The angle was wrong, and the silence felt awkward until Ricky started cursing. "Fuck," he said, real quiet. "oh, fuck." And that made everything normal again. If "normal" meant Ricky pressing up into his hand, and his little moans making Julian uncomfortably hard, and eventually the shock of Ricky's bare and slightly sticky hand unzipping his jeans and reaching in.

After the bright light of the trailer's living room, Julian has to squint in the dimness of his bedroom. He hears Ricky's houndstooth shirt and running pants whisper into a pile on the floor, and the creak of bedsprings. He pauses to finish his drink, to hang up his bathrobe on the edge of the door.

When he gets to bed, Ricky pushes him down on his back and moves between his knees. Julian has barely taken a deep breath when Ricky's mouth closes over his dick.

"Fuck," Julian mutters, appreciatively.

Ricky swirls his tongue around and sucks hard for a second, then pulls back. The shift makes Julian dizzy.

"Man, I'd missed this," Ricky says, and Julian can hear the contentment in his voice.

He's going to answer’—can he admit how much he'd missed it too, and still sound suave?’—but Ricky returns to driving him crazy, and there isn't anything he can say.

Mouth and hands, now: one hand wrapped around the base of his dick, the other braced on his thigh as Ricky goes at it. God. Yeah.

Julian closes his eyes and wonders for a split second which of his recurring fantasies to play in his mind, but all he can really imagine is Ricky's hot and talented mouth making him come his brains out.

Even if he was pissed when the cops picked them up, Ricky was always in a good mood by the time they got to prison. They knew a lot of guys in there, and it was easy to get dope, and all your meals were provided. (Sometimes there were even chicken fingers.)

But this time Julian felt surly about being in jail. He was tired of the same cement-block walls, the chlorinated showers, the uniforms. They were cellmates again, but he didn't even want to talk to Ricky; he wanted to lift weights and think about what he was going to do when they got out.

Ricky just shrugged and high-fived all his old buddies, and that made Julian even more annoyed. For the first few days, they hardly said anything to each other. He knew the whole prison was whispering about that, wondering what the fuck was going on, but he was too proud to apologize.

Until he wasn't too proud anymore. On the fourth night, after lights-out, he folded. "Rick," he whispered.

"Hey." Ricky's whisper floated up from the bottom bunk.

Julian took a deep breath. "Sorry I've been such a dick."

"That's okay. You didn't want to be in here. I get it."

"So we're cool," Julian said, relieved.


In the silence, Julian thought about how much less tomorrow was going to suck now that him and Ricky were speaking again.

When he felt the bunk bed shift in the way that meant Ricky was whacking off, he reached down to grab his own dick. They jerked off in tandem, silently, and the rest of the prison’—all the other guys in their own bunks doing the same thing, probably’—faded away like it wasn't really there.

Julian sucks in a big lungfull of air, still tingling all over from coming so hard.

When Ricky climbs over him to flop on the bed, Julian can almost hear him grinning. He's always been like that: sucking dick makes him slaphappy. Or maybe it's just sucking Julian's dick. He's never asked.

Without speaking, Julian rolls over and settles on his stomach, pillowing his head on his folded arms. He swallows his butterflies as Ricky moves, yanking the drawer open on the cheap bedside table and then kneeling between his legs, nudging them farther apart.

The last time they did this wasn't easy. It hurt, at first’—though by the end the hard part was keeping himself from begging out loud, letting everyone in the prison know just how bad he wanted it.

Ricky's blunt thumb presses into him and he tries not to gasp or tense up. Ricky is patient, though. Slow and steady, working him open like he's enjoying it himself.

God, it feels good. Wrong and good at the same time. Ricky twists his thumb around and Julian groans, unable to hold back.

"So hot," Ricky mutters, and Julian thinks he means the inside of his body until he adds, "Hearing you like that ’—"

He sounds as desperate as Julian feels, which sends a rush of power through him. "You like that," he wonders aloud.

"Fuck, yes," Ricky says, fervently. When he pulls back and then slides his thumb back, finger stroking the base of Julian's balls, Julian can't help gasping.

"C'mon," he manages, roughly. "Stop dicking around."

Ricky's laugh is a little bit strained’—he has to be hard as fuck’—and he hisses in a breath as he slicks himself with lube. Julian clenches tight, feeling empty and for an instant afraid.

And then he is filled again, with Ricky's thick and sturdy cock, and he bites back his discomfort and makes himself relax.

"Oh, fuck," Ricky breathes, withdrawing and sliding home again. "God. Fuck."

"Yeah," Julian agrees, and the word turns into a moan when Ricky hits the spot that sets him on fire.

And then they stop talking in anything like words at all.

In Julian's dream he is sixty. He walks through his new trailer, admiring the sofa he finally paid off and the big heavy glass ashtray on his coffee table.

He's drinking coffee black out of a highball glass’—he doesn't even bother with mugs anymore; who gives a shit? This way his first rum-and-coke of the day will have a hint of coffee in it.

He knows, without looking out the window, that Bubbles is walking the road with two new kitties, one in his arms and one walking beside him as fast as its little paws can go. That Lucy's trailer has new flowers growing in front of it, alongside Trinity's big shiny car’—she's home for the weekend.

That Lahey, now stooped and entirely bald and lost in a perennial fog of rye, is sitting in front of his own trailer while that fuckhead Randy drives slowly around the park without a shirt on, making note of everything he doesn't like, as usual.

He hears the flick of a zippo, the inhalation of breath behind him, and he knows Ricky's up. "I want to harvest today," Rick says, his voice gravelly with sleep.

"I'd give 'em another two or three days," Julian says. Some of the plants are a little spindly still.

"Fuck that shit." Ricky comes around and sits on the couch, putting his feet on the table as usual. "We've got buyers." He looks good, for an old guy. His beard is going white and his hair is morning-wild, but his gut is still smaller than Randy's.

"You just want to take Trinity out to dinner."

Ricky shrugs. "And Lucy, maybe."

"Still chasing pussy," Julian says. "Pathetic."

Ricky's laugh turns to a cough. A long drag on his cigarette, and then he stubs it out, finished already. "You're welcome to join us." He doesn't just mean for dinner.

Julian shakes his head. "I might hit the club." Sonny sold the gentleman's club years ago, before Ricky moved in; J-Roc is a much friendlier owner.

Julian's dream shifts, then, and he's hovering above the park, watching Ricky, dressed in his best’—one of Julian's shirts, actually’—walk over to Lucy's house. It's twilight and Trinity runs out to hug him. She's taller than he is, and beautiful. She has a little boy of her own, who's back in Montreal with his dad.

Nobody's ever hassled them, in all the years they've shared the trailer. They spend nights apart sometimes’—Ricky courts Lucy every few months, because he doesn't know how not to, and Julian still likes the girls at the club, especially because as he gets older they stay the age he used to be.

But him and Rick will always be what they are. Tomorrow, maybe, he'll reach around Rick in their bed and tug at his dick until it's hard, until Rick is squirming in his arms, breathing hard. He'll slow it down until Rick tells him to fucking get on with it, until Rick curses at him and thrusts into his hands. They'll come all over the sheets and then sleep some more.

And this is how the rest of their lives will be, until they die of old age smoking hash in this very trailer. Everyone in the park will come to their funeral, and Lucy will wear black lace over her still-unnaturally-perfect tits.

That is how the last episode in their story will go. After that’—even in his dream, where Julian has the feeling he can almost know anything’—Julian can't see.