JKRP Accounting Company
New York City, NY 10001
February 12, 2009
Dear Mr. Paul Rheese,
To follow up on our evaluation meeting on Monday, February 10th, 2009, I must regretfully confirm that your employment with JKRP Accounting Co. shall be terminated, effective immediately.
This is due to your group position, as well as several other departments, having to be downsized. This in no way reflects your amazing performance in your job, which has been entirely satisfactory. We acknowledge that for many years, you have had outstanding attendance and an illustrious track record for efficiency. To further recognize this, we are willing to write a glowing letter of recommendation to any future employer you may have.
We at JKRP Accounting Co. wish you the best on your future endeavors.
“Fired? What the…” Paul stood in the doorway of his apartment, staring at the letter in mild shock as realization finally set in. He was fired. By a letter. A letter that had been given to him, in person, by the very man who’d written that letter, when all he had to do was tell Paul that he was being fired then, instead of smiling at him at the end of the day and handing Paul this bomb to take home and open in private. “Well, this is fucked.” A full ten minutes passed in silence. He simply balled it up and tossed it into the corner of his messy, cramped apartment, on top of the mountain of other crumpled papers burying the trashcan.
Downsizing. “Of course,” he sighed, tossing his sleet and rain soaked coat over the arm of a sofa, making his way past the empty pizza boxes, dirty clothes piles, newspapers, and DVDs strewn across the floor. “I hate life,” he came to the conclusion as he stood in the middle of his messy kitchen, staring at the heap of dirty dishes in the sink, absently wondering how long they’d been there.
Paul had been a basement employee at JKRP Accounting for over ten years now, always getting his work done on time, always smiling at his bitchy and obnoxious supervisor whenever he would swing by to give Paul even more work – on his way to go flirt and hang out with Paul’s hot coworkers – always trying his best to be as cheerful and obedient as his coworkers, the skinny, beautiful, and neat men and women around him, who had always avoided his cluttered, crumb-covered desk, and more importantly, him.
Sure, he wasn’t exactly the son of Aphrodite, but he had… well, a great personality, or so he hoped. And wasn’t being a nice person a surefire compensation for lacking in all other areas? Wasn’t a great smile and cute dimples supposed to draw the eyes towards the face and warm heart, rather than to the excess hundred or so pounds surrounding his midsection?
Well, apparently not to the people he worked – had worked – with. In Paul’s cased, gays guys, especially hot gay guys, did not have time for ‘nice.’ But even his straight coworkers wouldn’t give him the time of day either, so it was all the same. And after all this time, he’d put up with it at work, come home to an empty apartment, and did the whole thing over the next day, and it had still blown up in his face.
He grabbed a beer out of the fridge. I wonder who else got bent over the table today? With my luck, probably only me. ‘Downsizing’ so the company can hire another hottie to work in the basement where no one but the other hottie workers will see them?
He looked out of the large, floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the drenched night lit city. When he approached the glass, his breath fogged the windowpane. The apartment was heated and comfortable, but he could guess that it had to be close to freezing outside. Paul wondered for a depressing moment, as he looked out at the expanse of lit windows and drawn shades, just how many people were as lonely as he was tonight.
He sighed, and looked around the loft again. And you wonder why you can’t get a date ever in this shitpile? Even with the smile thing? Look at this place. The apartment really was a mess and in need of some major cleaning. From the window he could see the kitchen and living room entirely; the loft was spacious and expensive, but from the way it was kept, it appeared to be the complete opposite of ‘upscale.’ The floor was almost covered in junk, books were stacked everywhere, even the wallpaper was starting to peel from neglect in spots up by the ceiling, and when he wiped away the fog on the glass to clear his view the large window was dusty and still slightly blurred. He reached down to pick some of the papers and boxes, and found he had nowhere to put them as all the trashcans were beyond full. He contemplated going outside the apartment to properly empty them all, then remembered the mood he was in – as well as the worsening weather outside – and put it all off for another day he knew would never come.
Paul sighed again and grabbed the phonebook out of the counter drawer to start his nightly routine of fast food ordering and movie renting to pass the time.
He flipped through a couple of pages, about to call the number to the pizza place when something sticky on the back cover caught his attention and he dropped the book on the floor. “Really, God? First I lose my job, now I can’t even balance a phonebook in my hand? Are you planning on starving me now, too,” he whined, and reached down to pick it back up when an ad on the page it’d dropped to caught his attention.
“Daddy’s Boys? What the hell…” He looked closer to read the fine print, “Oh… Oh! Wow, that’s… interesting.” He floundered for a moment as he looked at the scantly clad man posing beside the ad. His hair was frosted and spiked into a Mohawk. His legs were covered in fishnet stockings, along with his skinny arms that were wrapped around a lean chest and small waist. “Wow.” With the pizza forgotten for now, Paul leaned back against the counter, fully intrigued by the ad. “Is this shit even legal?”
The ad itself only specified an escort service for arranging a date, and a phone sex line for those johns too shy to go out in person, but something about the guy posing to the side definitely alluded to more, something not so run-of-the-mill as the usual escort service ads he’d seen.
There was a website listed at the bottom in tiny print for ‘further information,’ if one wanted to schedule a date. “Hm.”
Putting the book down, he hunted through piles of paper to find his laptop and brought it back with him to the kitchen counter.
Driven by his escalating curiosity, he searched for the site, and immediately found a different advertisement as soon as the webpage loaded.
It was just like the phonebook ad, only more suspicious. And although the webpage stated that it was “Unfortunately down and undergoing maintenance,” there was no blank page, or any of the signs of a normal site under construction; the pictures and background where still active, as well as the various escort and online porn ads running on top of and either sides of the screen.
“That’s pretty weird. Oh, who cares; this is a waste of time,” he huffed, wondering what he was doing, and dragged the on-screen arrow towards the close button. However, halfway there, the arrow shifted into a clicking hand over a patch of empty space in the upper left-hand corner. Curiosity now fully back in charge, he clicked the space and found a totally different site when the new page loaded.
“Okay, wow.” It was clear now that the homepage was just a cover-up, and that this must be were the inevitably illegal action went down. There was naked flesh, cum shots and hard cocks everywhere, decent young men in black dog collars all around the page screwing or getting screwed in various positions, ads for videos, ads for pictures, ads for dates, and most obviously, ads for sex.
There was a link where customers could chat with the available escorts and arrange their meetings. Paul stopped himself from clicking further. What the hell am I doing?
Paul looked around the messy loft again, and at the pile of crumpled papers in the corner where, sitting on top, was the letter from his job telling him to fuck off.
He looked back at the screen. It wasn’t an issue of whether or not he could pay; he had the money. What he didn’t have was the courage to actually pay someone for company, let alone sex.
But it had been so long since the last time he’d had a lover, and now, more than ever, he needed someone to be with, because when the movie was over and the pizza boxes emptied and stacked, he’d still be the fired, rejected, fat slob he’d been for the past five years. But could he really bring himself to admit how desperate he was, and actually buy someone’s body for sex tonight, or ever?
Paul scoffed at the thought, but deep down, he was cracking. Five years ago, he wouldn’t even be thinking about paying for sex. It would have been something he’d laughed at, right before going to bed with Mark, the love of his life.
Mark, the neat freak, health nut with bright eyes, a witty sense of humor, and a love that seemed unbreakable and unstoppable.
Mark, the one who simply got up one day and left with half of the furniture, while Paul was at his shitty job, being harassed by his coworkers.
He’d even taken the dog with him when he left. Needless to say, it crushed Paul in ways unimaginable. He stopped caring for himself, stopped laughing, stopped living. Sure, after a while, those surface things gradually came back, but all too late for his love life and his health.
He had fallen apart and now, he didn’t know if it was possible to fix what he’d done to himself. Cleaning an apartment was easy, finding another job was easy, but tearing down the wall of… junk now surrounding him, regaining his confidence? That was hardly possible. Mark had been responsible for taking care of him, for getting him to go to the gym, to exercise and stay healthy and away from the fast food and over-eating, but those things where Paul’s only comfort now.
“I’m thirty, jobless, and alone. And probably will be alone for the rest of my life. Good job, Paul, even if the asshole ripped your heart into shreds and left you, you still could have went to another gym or learned how to cook your own damn food, hire a maid, something, so you wouldn’t have screwed up you sex life even more,” he chastised himself, as the words, ‘These boys will do anything for money!!’ flashed in red bold letters across the screen.
“You know what, Paul, screw it. You haven’t had sex in five years, you lost your job, and you look awful. You can’t live off your hand forever; you need to be with some else every once in a while, someone real. I mean… why not? Just for tonight, let’s get laid, okay? We’ll get laid tonight, and tomorrow, we start off fresh, right? We’ll just do enough to get the edge off and then after… I’m going to make a change… Okay, no I’m probably not, but still, just… It can’t be that bad. I mean, it’s sex, and they’re hot, and you want to have sex with a hot guy, so do it.”
He closed his eyes and clicked on the link, which opened up to a line of more images of sex, but this time, the pictures were set up as profile shots for the escorts. Paul scrolled down the page, hot over some, cringing at others. Most of the pictures were only focused on the escort’s mouth, ass, or cock, and didn’t do a very good job of showing him what the guys actually looked like, as most of their bodies or faces where mostly compromised by the other person in the shot. Beside each picture was obviously a fake name, along with a short bio of the person’s body type, height, ethnicity, kinks, and sex role as top, bottom, or versatile.
He was about to give up when, right under the bondage team, flashed a profile shot of someone with long, black hair being roughly taken over the side of a steel table.
The photo looked like it was taken from a high point in the corner of an industrial, modern-looking office.
The young man’s face was again obscured, by the older man who was pulling his hair back while he took him from behind.
Most of the shot was focused on the older man’s back while the black haired one looked over his shoulder, neck twisted painfully by the death-grip in his beautiful hair.
Paul continued to stare at this picture for a long time, enthralled, looking into the flash of pretty bright-green eyes glancing at him through the screen, his lean back held taunt as his hands gripped the corners of the metal table he was bent over. “Wow.”
But there was something off in this picture that Paul missed, so distracted by his lust, something that didn’t seem right. All the elements of lust and rough passion were there, but the look in the pretty boy’s face seemed a bit… forced.
Paul clicked the picture to see the larger image, which opened up to the young man’s profile page. More pictures presented were of him and the older man from different angles, and while extremely hot, they all showed the same signs: hands gripping the table for either support or a chance to escape; arms, shoulders and back held tight like an arched bow about to snap, teeth slightly gritted against the pain of too rough sex.
He wasn’t enjoying the sex at all, which could explain why his cock was hidden in every shot by a large hand gripping his crotch. His beautiful, long hair hung over his shoulders, covering his face in some shots, but the older man would pull his hair to show his neck before biting into it, letting the boy’s features show a little more each time.
There was a video of the ‘encounter’ available in the corner of the screen, but Paul didn’t need to see it. His heart pounding in his chest didn’t need it, nor did the aching erection in his work pants. “Wow.”
It was a good enough excuse to get away from the laptop, so he headed to his room for a shower and a change into his leisure clothes, but neither of these things helped to calm the thoughts swirling around his head. He was going to proposition this man for sex tonight. It wasn’t even an issue of whether or not he was going to anymore; seeing those bright-green eyes sealed the deal immediately. But he stopped halfway back to the kitchen, looking around at his apartment again and at the mess that had been piling up for the last few years. Just because you’re paying the guy doesn’t mean he has to swim through hell and high water just to find the floor to walk on.
Feeling a new, slightly nervous resolve to impress his soon-to-be lover, he went to the phonebook, ordered his pizza at last and went to work cleaning the neglected loft.
* * *
“Strip, boy… Crawl to me…”
“You getting tired, boy? I’m not done with you yet. Open your mouth and call me daddy, you little slut,” the john growled low as he pried Emery’s mouth open with coarse fingers and shoved his cock into the raven’s mouth for the third time that evening.
Emery could feel his knees aching on the hardwood floor of the john’s home office, his jaw sore and his arm shaking under the abuse of such a long and trying day. The john was an old, regular client with bad habits and too much control. He new Emery’s pimp personally and took advantage of that at least twice a week.
How much more of this before I get to leave, Emery wondered. No, Em. Stop complaining. He’s paying me $800 dollars. Do not bite. Do not bite! He’s paying me $800 dollars… Emery kept his green eyes focused on the older man’s face as much as he could, ignoring the family photos on the wall and desk, repeating the mantra over and over in his head as he tried to not gag on the monster being shoved down his throat. Do not bite! This will be over with in… five, four, three, two—
Fingers gripped his hair to stop him from pulling back as the man started to cum in his mouth, only letting him go halfway through to politely shoot the last of his semen on Emery’s face. Thanks a lot, asshole. “You know it’s extra to come in my mouth, right? I tried to warn you.” He spat the stuff in a nearby cup and grabbed a handkerchief to wipe his face off.
The john rolled his eyes, sitting back in his office chair now fully satisfied. “Oh no, that’s bullshit. I pulled out, so take the money we agreed on and get your ass out of here before I give it a reason to need to charge me extra.”
Emery was about to snap, but instead, continued the mantra in his head while he tied his hair back again. “Whatever. Don’t ‘forget’ to tip me again this time. You should be lucky I keep coming back. You know damn well how much I let you off for breaking the club’s rules.”
“Yeah, yeah, here, take this,” he muttered, handing Emery another fifty dollars. “And don’t think you can talk to me like that, you little bitch. I know the man who feeds you, remember? Oh, and make sure those pretty black waves are loose next time you come here. I don’t want to waste anymore time waiting for you to untie it. You know how much I love running my fingers through it.”
Emery snorted as he headed for the door, trying to ignore the horrible taste in his mouth, wishing he’d remembered to bring a mint or something with him whenever he went out for jobs, “Yeah, you and the rest of New York City. Pretty soon I won’t have any hair left if everyone keeps pulling it out all the damn time,” he muttered, with barely enough restraint left in him to not slam the door on his way out…
Emery spit the toothpaste out again as he stood under the spray of the very warm, very cleansing shower. “Today sucked… just like yesterday. But at least the pay was good.” He stretched out and massaged all the knots and kinks out of his neck and shoulders, looking forward to going to bed extremely early and getting some much needed sleep. As long as I don’t get any more calls tonight, I’ll be fine.
Showering at the end of such a long and tiresome day was always something he looked forward too, and spent every possible moment under the relaxing spray to wash off all the memories, the aches, and shame from is his body and mind; it was a place where he could get rid of all the challenges and disappointments of his life and just be himself, own himself, and not have to be anything more for anyone else. In this small shower stall, he could finally be alone and think; it was the only place and time in his day-to-day routine that he actually had time to himself. It was private and he loved that; just him, the softly scented soap, and the spray of warm water.
He could hear low moaning and giggles coming from the shower stall next to his when he finally turned the water off. Something small clattered to the floor and one of the boys swore under his breathed as the other one continued to giggle. Emery sighed, baffled that some of his housemates were still alive and awake enough to have sex with each other after having so many hands on them during the day. It disappointed him that they did drugs more than anything; it was as if they wanted to stay here forever, watching their hard earned money stay in a continuous loop from their pimp’s hands to their own and then back to their pimp the next second for a score of dope and needles.
Ignoring the loud rumble in his empty stomach and his growing melancholy, he toweled off and headed back to the dorms where the rest of the callboys stayed. Grabbing a clean undershirt and the issued, customary thong, he eased under the covers of his bottom bunk bed, and close his eyes to the music and chatter of his other housemates.
Today had been a very stressful day. Emery had been on call since noon that morning, and hadn’t had a decent break until now. Every client he’d had had been a complete jerk as usual, tipped horribly, and smelt awful. He’d been spat on, choked, gagged, and starved all day by these pricks, who should have been kissing his feet for the shit he put up with to make their lonely asses happy.
Sure, he loved lively sex, could handle it rough on occasion, and most kinks could be enjoyable with the right people… But when the hell did he ever get a client like that anymore? Emery had been in the business for three years, and now, on his twenty-first birthday, all he wanted was to be left alone to massage the bruises and aches the shower regrettably had missed.
Lying on the comfortable but thin cot, he reminisced about the years he’d been here. In spite of all he’d been through in his short, youthful life, Emery was a great person, nice, energetic, up for almost anything, and loved sex. Yet after being here for four months, the nature of his work and his ‘up-for-anything’ mentality had drastically changed. Now three years later, he still had to smile, still had to agree to the terms of the encounter, even if when he got there, the john didn’t want to play nice anymore. And why would they want to? According to the bullshit profile online, Emery’s pimp insisted that he loved rough sex and getting bitten or tossed around a room, impaled on an older man’s cock.
All because of those pictures on the website … and the videos… and the mandatory collar they all had to wear… and the hidden cameras everywhere that recorded and broadcasted everything he and the other boys did every second of every day. Which meant that the shower he’d taken five minutes ago was more than likely being downloaded by hundreds of creepy bastards already. The bed he was sleeping in was more than likely being filmed now, as every time he’d find a camera and rip it out it would always be replaced the next day, which meant…
No. Fuck that, he thought. If some guy wanted to get his rocks off watching him in bed tonight, then he’d have to just jack off to Emery’s pretty sleeping face, because there was no way he was going to masturbate for anyone’s cheap thrill tonight.
But the ringtone on his small cell phone went off about ten minutes later, waking him up from the peaceful sleep he’d finally found.
[Emmy. I know you’re sleeping, but your shift’s not over with and the web clients aren’t paying for you to sleep. Get your skinny butt from under those sheets and get to work. Thanx.]
It was a text message from the resident pimp Ricky, who was directly below the boss—anything he ordered had to be taken care of, any whim, any bizarre and degrading request was answered, or else his “pets” suffered the painful consequences.
“You gotta be kidding me,” Emery sighed. “Fine,” he kicked off the covers as he was told and reached for his box of toys under his bed, picking out his favorite, smallest vibrator he had with a smirk. All I have to do is do something other than sleep; I don’t have to over do it tonight for anybody. He clicked it on and went to work with ease. He put on his iPod to watch some of the saved porn clips to get in the mood, leaving the head phones off so that he could hear the silvery, quiet buzz of the slender vibrator in his ass.
The other callboys in the nearby beds and the top bunk of his own didn’t seem to mind, as they were all preoccupied with work themselves, but the music was turned down nearby so they could hear him and his little toy as it continued to send him into higher pleasure. It was like clockwork for Emery; he loved sex, it couldn’t be helped. His body taunt, damp hair loose and all over the place as his pretty mouth let slip quiet pants and moans, his body moving with the rhythm of the men on the small screen in front of him. He stroked his cock and thrust the vibrator in deeper, faster. He didn’t care if the others were listening or even watching him now, didn’t care who was watching him through cyberspace, he felt good, and in control of his own body’s pleasure for the first time all day.
Coming down from his release, he clicked off the vibrator to be washed later after he caught his breath. Putting the iPod away he lay on the disheveled bed, breathing deep.
I don’t care what anybody says now. I need to sleep. Please, God, let me sleep, Emery prayed, as he made his way back from the communal bathroom with his now clean and shiny metal toy. He dropped it into the little box and pushed it back under the small bed.
As he pulled the covers back over his bare legs, his cell phone rung again with another message from Ricky, right about the time when the little red light flashed in the corner of his bed frame, signaling that someone wanted to talk online.
[Hey Emmy, you got a new john wanting to chat with you. Get up and go to work, kitten. Thanx… And by the way, that last session was totally hot. Nice work.]
Emery sat on the bed, staring at the message as the light continued to flash, in slight disbelief. Thanks, God. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath to calm himself. It didn’t work. “I hate my life.” He grabbed the small laptop he’d been given to stay close to his clients, and saw a message from an unknown member in Manhattan pop up instantly.
[Anonymous: Hi! I’m Paul. I was wondering if you were free to talk tonight?]
I’m never free, sweetheart; my ass is always tethered to somebody’s cock. He sighed, typing a response, “Of course, baby, I’ve been waiting for you to find me all day. What’s on your mind, sugar?”
* * *
[TigerLily: Of course, baby, I’ve been waiting for you to find me all day. What’s on your mind, sugar?]
Paul stared at the screen, surprised to get a response. “Holy shit, what do I say now?” He reread what he’d typed, scolding himself for using his name while trying to stay ‘anonymous’ and for saying something so cheesy.
But then again, what the other guy said sounded even worse. He hasn’t been waiting for you, stupid, he was probably about to screw a totally hot guy and you just butted in. At first, Paul wasn’t sure if this was even the guy he was really talking to, but looking at the picture again, he took a breath and continued. “This is crazy.”
[Anonymous: I’m sorry; I’ve never done this before. I’m not sure how I should go about this… What’s your name? How old are you? What’s your favorite color?]
[TigerLily: You’re cute, sugar. It’s okay if you’re new, I’ll lead you through it, all right? All I need to know for now is how horny you’re feeling and how much you’re willing to pay for what you want from me, and all you need to know is that I’m up for it. Whatever it is, as long as it’s not against the rules.]
[Anonymous: Well, I guess just normal sex. I’m not really into anything with bondage or whatever… I’m ordering pizza as well, so if you want to eat with me, and maybe we could watch a movie too? I’ll pay you $5,000 for the night, if that’s okay with you? I’m not sure what the rates are. Oh, and I’m great with tips so…]
Emery glared at the screen for a few minutes. Is this guy seriously offering me dinner and a movie? This is ridiculous. He’s probably going to be even crazier and more of a jerk than the rest of these pricks! He added up the cost in his head. But for $5,000? Might as well. He’ll only be paying me to be there for four hours…
[TigerLily: Pizza? Great, I’m starving, but I must warn you, I may not be much in the mood for pizza once I’m finished with that cock of yours, and that movie might have to get put on hold too, if you know what I mean… Where’s your place? I can’t wait to get over to you. I’m sooooo horny.]
Paul finished the arrangement with the address to his apartment. He closed the laptop and sat back on the now tidy sofa. “What the hell did I just do? I’m not this desperate. Oh shit, what if he gets here and has like, teeth missing or something! Or what if he’s strung out on drugs and ODs in the middle of sex!? You just had to let shit get to you and now, there’s a huge possibility that you’ll wake up either in jail tomorrow, with a dead body, or with an STI. Good work Paul, you idiot!”
Paul sat on the couch in silence, all sorts of thoughts swirling around in his head over why he’d done this and why it was going to be a huge mistake.
Suddenly the doorbell rang. Paul’s stomach clenched with nervousness, “Who… Who is it?” He got up from his spot on the couch and looked through the peephole.
The pizza guy was swaying in the hallway to the music blaring through his headphones. Paul released the breath he’d been holding as he hurried to get his wallet. “Hello, um… how’d you get up here?”
The guy popped the gum he chewed loudly, “Came in with the lady downstairs. It was easier than waiting for you to come down,” he murmured, counting the money before leaving, humming the music down the hall to the elevator.
Paul set the two large pizza boxes on the counter. Maybe I should just call and cancel. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. But I did promise food, so… I wonder if I should give him money for a taxi back for all the trouble?
He paced around in circles in the center of the living room, thinking up a valid excuse he could use. As he was about to pick up his cell to cancel, the intercom buzzed by the door.
Fuck, I’m screwed. Paul pressed the button nervously, “Hello?”
“Hi. Is this Paul? It’s Tigerlily, may I come up,” a sweet and young voice queried from the speaker. “Pretty, pretty please? It’s so cold and rainy outside,” he whined in a baby doll voice.
“Um… Sure.” Paul cursed to himself and smacked his forehead as he pushed the button to let in his guest. “You big, stupid, fat idiot, Paul!” He walked away from the door and back into the kitchen for a beer to calm himself down.
At the quiet tap on the door, Paul almost pissed himself. “Shit. Um, Hang on!” He stumbled over the corners of the coffee table and sofa as he hurried to the door, only to pause for a moment, bracing himself, before finally opening the door.
Paul was frozen solid, mouth hung open in a daze of lust and horror.
“Hello, I’m Tigerlily, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” the most beautiful creature Paul could ever possibly imagine extended his slender hand towards him.
This whole time, he’d been stressing over what Tigerlily would look like…
The beautiful young man looked only about eighteen, slender yet slightly curvy like a young girl in the legs, his hair was longer and fuller than what the picture had shown as it waved and twisted over his shoulders down to his hips. His clothes were black and tight, clinging to his frame in all the right places as he removed his coat and hung it on the coat rack beside the door, all while Paul still stood there struck with his mouth hanging open. Tigerlily’s face was even more gorgeous than the rest of his body, those full, Cupid’s bow lips, high cheekbones, and captivating green eyes that pieced Paul’s heart and soul and made him feel ugly. They made him feel disgusting and worthless, in his old t-shirt and sweatpants with a beer in his hand, to be under such a sensual gaze as Tigerlily’s.
Paul’s heart skipped a beat as Tigerlily’s pretty – pierced – tongue eased out of his full lips to wet them, as he waited for Paul to say anything.
It was official: Paul had completely screwed himself over big this time.