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Watching him Drift Away

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Everything was going great until that twink came along. Days with Eric Raymond were a blur of balls and cocaine, bottoms and bears, and I was his number one. Yacht Bear 1. That's what he called me behind closed doors. Those were the good times. Just me, Eric, and Yacht Bear 2 out on the open sea, wind at our backs and martinis in hand.

"Nothing like an ocean sunset, is there, Yacht Bear 1?" Eric asked, fresh on his high from the cocaine he snorted off my rock-hard abs. As fun as our tumbles below deck were, the sunsets were always my favorite. I saw a side of Eric no one else did. He softened up then, happy to just look out into the horizon and enjoy the scenery while he wound down from his high.

"Ain't nothin' like it, Boss," but I wasn't looking at the sunset. I was looking at him.

We were happy. I thought what we had would last forever, but after a three-way with Yacht Bear 2, Eric said something I never woulda expected.

"I was thinking of bringing a new friend on board tomorrow," he said while buttoning his blue striped suit.

"What kinda friend ya thinkin', Boss?" Yacht Bear 2 asked.

He smirked. "A more...delicate touch to our little rendezvous."

Ah, so a twink. I thought, what the hell? I was always up for new friends. More the merrier on the yacht!

But I had no idea that nothing would be the same.

Me and Yacht Bear 2 waited on the yacht in Eric's favorite outfits: high-waisted pants for Yacht Bear 2 and leather for me. Eric always did like me in the open vest.

"So what ya think this bottom'll be like?" Yacht Bear 2 said.

"Eh, what's it matter? As long as the boss gives us our usual, I'm game."

And that's when Eric boarded the yacht. He had on the captain suit reserved for special occasions and some pretty boy on his arm with a half-shaved head. The styles these kids were into nowadays…

"Eric! You didn't tell me we were going outside!" He hissed as he held up his knobby little hands at the sun.

"Baby." Eric's voice is as smooth as butter. "It's all right. I got it covered."

Eric never called me baby…

He snapped his fingers. "Yacht Bear 2, get Techrat an umbrella. He has sensitive skin."

Techrat? That was the shittiest street name I ever heard.

Yacht Bear 2 held up the umbrella for Techrat, but it wasn't enough. "It's so hot!" Techrat attempted to fan himself. "I'm going to die like this!"

This time Eric clapped: my signal.

"Yacht Bear 1. Get Techrat a martini to cool down."

"Right away, Boss." I did as I was told and tapped Techrat's shoulder. "Here's your martini."

He recoiled, slapping my hand. "Don't touch me!"

The martini fell and shattered on the deck.

"Make it again." Eric snapped. "And make sure it's cold."

"Yes, Boss…"

"And clean up this mess when you're done. This yacht is a pigsty."

"Yes, Boss…" I swallowed my sadness as I went below deck to remake the martini, adding in some ice cubes for Techrat. I made one for Eric too: lukewarm with two olives, just the way he liked it. He didn't even notice.

But Techrat...he got anything he wanted. The biggest lounge chair when his feet hurt, Yacht Bear 2 holding his umbrella, and me in charge of fanning. Eric even personally saw to massaging his shoulders when he hunched over on his Gameboy.

"Are you enjoying yourself, Techrat?" Eric said.

"Could be worse."

"Excellent." Eric held out his hand. "Come with me, Techrat. I want to show you something."

He didn't even look up from his game. "Why?"

"Just trust me."

And he took Eric's hand. Just like that. Me and Yacht Bear 2 followed with our fan and umbrella to the top deck. We had the best view of the sunset from there. Took my breath away every time when it hit that ocean-blue.

"What do you think?" Eric slipped his arm around Techrat's waist. "Beautiful, isn't it?"

Techrat squinted when looked up from the screen. "My eyes burn."

"Poor baby. C'mon. Let's get you below deck."

Me and Yacht Bear 2 started to follow, but Eric stopped us. "Gentlemen, this is a trip I'd like to make unaccompanied."

"Yes, Boss."

And he went below deck without looking back. Me and Yacht Bear 2 watched the sunset on our own, sober and unpaid.

Eric was never the same after that. Sure, we still had our fun on the weekends, but he wouldn't look us in the eye anymore. Just told us to bend over and did his business. He used to give us bonuses to last a lifetime, but now he just drops counterfeit bills and sobers up in the lounge chair, staring out like he has something on his mind. I asked him once if anything was the matter, but it was like he didn't even hear me. Said something about having a bit too much coke in one sitting, but I knew he was lying. No cocaine was ever too much for Eric Raymond.

"You're worrying for nothin'," Yacht Bear 2 told me.

"Then why won't he look me in the eyes anymore? Why's he only doin' the coke off my ass now?! Why!?" I punched a hole in the wall that I knew would be coming out of my pay. I didn't care anymore.

"Easy there, Yacht Bear 1." He patted my shoulder. "Take a deep breath. It's all gonna be okay."

Breathing helped, but I couldn't shake the worry. "You saw the way he looked at that Twinkrat…"

"Yeah, but you and the boss have history. No twink can take that away."

He was right. What me and Eric had was special. I knew it would be from the moment I saw him in the Storehouse. The Misfits' latest hit was blaring and the floors shook from the dancing and pounding.

Eric sat at the bar, dressed to the nines, and unaccompanied. I'd never seen such a sharp guy at the Storehouse and after three drinks, I was ready to talk to him.

"Can I buy you the next round?"

My heart pounded when he grinned. "I appreciate the offer, but I'm looking for something a little stronger than beer tonight."

"Oh? Anythin' I can help you with?"

"Actually, there is." He pulled out the biggest designer wallet I'd ever seen. "You see, there's a dealer around here, best in the business. She's usually out back and has the pure stuff, but you see...we're not exactly on the friendliest terms." He held out a stack of twenties. "Maybe you can help me out."

"What's in it for me?"

He cracked a smile. "I'll make it worth your while. How's a little under the table tip sound?"

Who was I to refuse? A bear's gotta eat. I took Eric's order and slipped into the back alley. I knew just the dealer he was talking about. A little redhead with a knit sweater. I got some good LSD off her just last week. She smiled when she saw me and I slipped the cash in her hands. "Three grams of your best stuff."

"Sure thing!" She counted out the cash and pumped her fist in the air when she finished. "Outrageous!"

"So we got a deal?"

"We sure do! Here you go!" She gave me the bag and waved. "See ya around!"

I headed back into the club and gave Eric the bag. "I got the stuff."

"Thanks. You're a lifesaver." He dug into his wallet for a bonus worth five jobs. I reached for the cash and our hands touched. My face burned up. Eric must have felt something too because he paused. "Say...you seem like a swell guy, and I'm looking for a little something to relieve my tension if you know what I mean."

Oh, I knew.

"I'm listening."

"I'm planning an afternoon trip on my luxury yacht this Saturday." He slipped his card into my hand. "Consider this your personal invitation."

"I'll be there."

And there I was, dressed head to toe in leather, as Eric requested, on the biggest, shiniest yacht I'd ever seen.

"So what do you think?" he asked when he saw me admiring the pool.

"It's really something."

"You're really something." He dangled the bag of cocaine in front of me. "But this is only the half of it. How about I show you all the below deck features?"

"Sounds swell, Eric."

"No! You never call me Eric. It's boss while you're on my payroll."

"Whatever ya say, Boss."

And from that day forth, I became Yacht Bear 1. He never asked for my real name, but it never mattered. We were happy and Eric paid a fortune. I even got the couples bonus when he brought Yacht Bear 2 aboard. I thought nothing would come between us.

But now, Eric's inviting Techrat on the yacht again. Me and Yacht Bear 2 were serving iced martinis, lugging around umbrellas, and we haven't been paid in a month.

"I'm sure he just forgot," Yacht Bear 2 said. "Y'know how the boss gets on his trips. Sometimes he's just gotta sober up, but he always comes through."

But a bear can only handle so much. "Hold my beer." I shoved the can into his fist and stormed towards Eric and his precious twink, lying on their lounge chairs.

"Boss, we need to talk."

He winced. "What is it, Yacht Bear 1?"

I stepped forward. "It's been a month. Where's my damn money?"

He chuckled. "Next week."

"No."

He lowered his shades, gaze piercing through me. "What did you say to me?"

"I said no." I knew I was tearing everything apart, but I didn't care. I wouldn't just be another yacht bear to him. "You're gonna pay me and you're gonna pay me now."

He forced a smile for Techrat. "Excuse me, babe. This will only take a moment."

"Whatever." Techrat pulled out his Gameboy as Eric stepped aside.

"What has gotten into you?" he snapped. "You're behaving very rudely for our guest."

"What's gotten into you?!" I shoved Eric. "It's been a damn month and you haven't paid me or Yacht Bear 2! What gives?!"

"We will discuss this afterwards," Eric started, but I wouldn't let him finish.

"Cut the bullshit!" I held him by the collar, and for a moment I swear I saw fear in his eyes.

"I think that's a fine idea." He dug into his pocket, playing it cool as always. He shoved a stack of crumpled, sweaty bills into my hand and I let go. Nothing like the crisp bills he reserved for his favorite guys. "Take your money and go."

Only then did I realize the mistake I made. Where would I ever find a wallet like Eric's again? "Wait, Eric—"

"Let me make myself perfectly clear." He straightened his collar. "Your services are no longer necessary."

It was like a kick to the gut. You never realize what you miss ‘til it's gone. I don't think I'd have been able to handle it if Yacht Bear 2 weren't there.

"C'mon. Let's go."

I couldn't even say goodbye as we left the yacht. I'm sure Yacht Bear 2 was saying something real sweet, but I couldn't hear. I just watched Eric's back as he walked over to Techrat. The fresh bag of cocaine peeked out of his pocket and Techrat looked up from his Gameboy.

I clenched my final payment. I knew I'd never get bonuses like this again. It was over. Eric had moved on, but I wouldn't. I would always be Yacht Bear 1, and all I could do was watch the yacht drift away for the last time.