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Jon/"Stephen" Drabbles & Ficlets (II)

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There are, broadly speaking, three kinds of ways people look at Jon when he's on stage. The open, enthusiastic cheer of someone who's here to enjoy themselves and comfortable with that. The furtive, desperate hunger of someone who doesn't think they're supposed to be here, but couldn't keep denying themselves everything. And the amusement, from good-natured to jeering, of people who think it's hilarious when he trips over his own heels.

The man in the robe with the shaved head isn't doing any of the above. His eyes are dark and intense and don't seem to blink enough behind those rimless glasses, and Jon isn't scared, exactly, but he's definitely sifting through words like skinhead and serial killer and aren't the bouncers supposed to flag guys who stare like that?

Jon toes off his heels (slowly, sexily, flexing his ankles, for the customers who are into that sort of thing) and struts to the edge of the stage. May as well confront this now — with lots of witnesses around, not to mention security people. Make the guy feel that he's not going to get away with anything.

The man does a deer-in-headlights freeze as Jon sashays in his direction. The other customers laugh, cheer; there are a couple of wolf-whistles. Jon bats his eyelashes winningly and sits himself right in the guy's lap — or tries to — he gets the angle wrong and almost falls, and the customer unfreezes enough to grab him around the waist, keeping him balanced.

"Uh, thanks," says Jon. Not his sexiest line, but hey, Mom raised a boy with good manners. "And hello, um..." Up close like this, he finally notices the crucifix hanging around the guy's neck. "...Brother?"

"Hi," pants Brother Creepy.

Jon runs a couple fingers up the back of his neck and the curve of his head. "Kinda far from the cloister, aren't you? How'd that happen?"

Whatever daze Brother Creepy has been in all this time, he snaps out of it. "Well, it's a long story," he says, pleasant as anything, "but I think it all started on the morning of none of your business."

Jon's taken aback for a second, then shrugs. "Fair enough."

"And I gotta say, so far, worldly pleasures? Not all they're cracked up to be. Are all tempters of the flesh as clumsy as you, or is it just a, you know..." His hands are still on Jon's hips, so he settles for nodding in the general direction of Jon's bone structure. "...Semitic thing?"

Jon rolls his eyes. "Hey, I will have you know that I am plenty suave when I'm wearing normal clothes. If the ridiculous outfit wasn't part of the job, I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole." And then, because he's starting to get some murmurs of dissatisfaction from the audience, he does a sultry writhe in Brother Racist's arms and nibbles on the man's ear. "Gotta pay off those student loans somehow."

"Mguh," says the ex-monk. "Other ear. Other one. That one's deaf."

No problem. Jon arches his back and switches sides. "You didn't miss anything. A line about student loans, that's all."

Brother Half-Deaf is breathing hard again, though he's managing to be articulate this time around. "You're...a man of learning?"

"Third semester in a local psych grad program," croons Jon. "You'd love it. School's named after a saint and everything."

"Hngh."

"You got a name, by the way?"

"S-Stephen."

Speaking of named after saints. Jon runs his hands one last time over the guy's chest; the fine gold chain of the crucifix catches on his fingers. "Well, Stephen...the lab's empty this time of night," he murmurs. "And I've got a key. You want an introduction to a couple other worldly pleasures...by which I mean, science...stick around until after my shift, and I'll take you out for a private show."

 

Postscript.

"Okay, seriously," said Jon, "the next time you say something offensive about non-WASPs -- or WASCs, I guess -- I'm smacking you."

Brother Stephen's breath caught in his throat. He searched Jon's eyes for a second, then said, very deliberately, "If the people who control the media are all like you, no wonder we weren't allowed to have a TV in the monastery."

Jon facepalmed. "You know, you could have just asked."