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Martin: Encyclopedia Erotica Part 5a (MF,MM,MMF,inter,oral,anal,voy)
by The Fan ([email protected])

Martin Payne.

Martin Payne sat down, thinking. He was a black man of average height and
build. A brothaman with a continuously animated, somewhat handsome face.
Martin Payne was a guy who didn't take life, or himself too seriously. He was
a funny man. A comedian. He had a rather interesting job, as host of a radio
program. He was moving on up in the world, with a decent to high-paying job
and had love in his life. He had a beautiful girlfriend named Gina and he had
his boys. Cole, the funny guy with the GED who couldn't hold onto a job if
his life depended on it. Pam, the good-looking yet arrogant and sometimes
bitter sistah. And finally, Pam's boyfriend Tommy. Tommy was a tall brotha.
He was also a mystery man. His job was not something he liked to talk about.
So far, everyone respected that but Martin Payne couldn't help but tease him
sometimes.

Martin had it all, after a fashion. Still, something was troubling Martin. He
had problems deep inside his head. Lots of them. Issues that he tried to deny
were surfacing. Martin Payne didn't know how to deal, so he was stressing.
Martin Payne went to a psychiatrist for his issues.



Dr. John Everett.

"So, why do you think I have these feelings, doc?" Martin asked. He looked up
at Dr. Everett from the couch where he sat.

Like a true shrink, Dr. Everett was vague in his answers.

"I don't friggin' know, alright? If I did, I wouldn't be here! If I could,
I'd get rid of these feelings forever." Martin snapped.

"Why do you think you feel this way?" Dr. Everett asked.

"Fuck if I know, I wasn't raised to be no sissy or punk." Martin said. He
glared at Dr. Everett. Dr. Everett was a tall, middle-aged white man with
silverstreaked black hair and horn-rimmed glasses.

"Why do you insist on calling them sissies or punks? Why not simply say..."
Dr. Everett began.

"Don't go there, man!" Martin warned. "I ain't no fucking faggot, damn it!"

Dr. Everett looked at his patient calmly. "Of course not." he said. "Why is
it so hard for you to say homosexual?"

Martin couldn't believe this. "I ain't no friggin sissy-ass cocksucking
female-wannabe ditchy-ass, stupid faggoty-ass homo!"

Dr. Everett looked at Martin, a bit startled by the anger in his patient. Dr.
Everett asked. "If there was a pill that could make your, um, urges go away,
would you take it?"

Martin stared at him. "Of course, doc. In a heartbeat."

Dr. Everett looked at his client. "There is nothing wrong with being
homosexual or bisexual, Mr. Payne. Nothing at all. I pray that one day, you
will realize that."

Martin stood up and glared at the seated psychiatrist. "I ain't never gonna
turn into a fag, and if you are as good as they say you are, it won't
happen."

Dr. Everett shook his head. "Being homosexual or bisexual depends on genetics
and biology, Mr. Payne. Neither of these variations of human sexuality are
chosen."

Martin Payne felt a brief pang of despair. "It's a curse." he said.

He looked around, feeling truly depressed and desperate. He had begun going
to a shrink about these feelings that he had, hoping that they would go away.
He wanted them to go away so badly. He wanted to be a normal, heterosexual
man. He was Martin Payne, damn it!!! He walked away from Dr. Everett's desk.
The doctor didn't stop him. Martin closed the door behind himself, and let
himself out of the building.

He couldn't believe this shit! This white guy thought he knew everything.
Martin was a brothaman. He didn't want to be a faggot. He grew up in a
normal, black Christian family. He didn't want to be gay. He wanted a normal
life, with a good woman and some children. He did not want to be a homo.
There were times when he felt like ending it.

Martin drove to work. He walked into the Radio Station. He saw his assistant,
Lauren Bridgestone. Lauren was a petite, busty white girl with dark brown
hair and really beautiful, pale brown eyes. "Hey, man. What's up?" she asked,
looking at him.

"Not much," Martin said. He walked back into the radio station. He got on the
air. "Hi, people in the city. Whasssup! Martin Payne here!"

Martin loved being on the air. That's when he got to say what he wanted. He
loved to answer his callers, both male and female, black, white, Asian and
mulatto and answer their questions. He felt like he was helping out those
men and women with their problems. Martin talked and answered questions with
his co-host Richard "Tiny" Lancaster. They answered a particularly odd
caller. It was a man.

"I have something to tell my wife." said the man.

"Just say it, my man." Martin said.

There was a pause.

"I am in love with someone else."

Martin laughed. "Well, she ain't gonna be happy." he said.

The man said, "It's her brother."

Martin's face was drained of color. "You're....you mean you're...gay?"

The man said, "Yes."

Martin didn't know what to say. He froze.

Tiny looked at him. "Martin, say something."

Martin couldn't move.

"Good luck to you." said Tiny.

"Honesty is the best policy sometimes."

Tiny played some music. He played Outkast's Stankonia. One of the most
popular music videos on MTV, VH1 and BET.

Martin stepped out of the booth. He was sweating.

"Man, you okay?" asked Tiny.

Martin glared at him. "Yeah, I'm cool."

Tiny patted him on the shoulder. "Alright, man. Me and Tyrese can handle the
show for the rest of the day if you ain't feeling alright."

Martin shrugged. Tiny hesitated. He had never seen Martin Payne like this. He
walked away. Martin sat there. Oh, shit. Oh shit. Why did that gay caller
have to call his radio show? Why him? He had enough problems of his own. He
didn't want to have to deal with those gay mofos out there. This gay guy was
planning to leave his wife for another man. Martin knew he would never do
that. He loved his girlfriend Gina. She was beautiful, smart and actually
kind. She cared about him and had been there for him. He loved her. They were
close. She had the best qualities he could ever desire in a woman. So, why
would he leave her? He was not doing this "coming out" shit.

Martin sat at a table, sad. He barely noticed when someone stood right in
front of him. He looked up. It was Lauren. There she was.

"Hi," she said.

"Hey, girl. What's up?" he grimaced.

"I've been better." she said. "How are you?"

Martin looked at her. Nineteen year-old white girl.

"Are you okay, Mr. Payne?" she asked. Martin nodded. Liar, she thought.
Lauren was a smart girl. She could tell when something was up with someone.
It was all so interesting. She loved getting to the bottom of things.
Especially the hidden stuff. Martin Payne was a fine-looking man who acted
like he was all that but she could tell that something had been eating away
at him. For awhile now. She could tell it was something big, she just didn't
know what. "How's life?" she asked him.

Martin got to talking about work, then started talking about Gina. Lauren
noticed his face lit up when he was talking about Gina and what a special
lady she was. "I am lucky to have her." he said.

"Good for you." Lauren said, with more cheerfulness than she felt. "Is that
what's been bothering you?" she asked.

"Nah, my girl is cool. It's just this...other stuff..." he said.

Lauren pressed, but he refused to get into what this "other stuff" was. She
and Martin ate lunch and talked about life and stuff. Lauren had recently
broken up with her boyfriend Eric. "I'm taking some time for myself." she
said. "This dude ain't worth my time. If you can't accept me just as I am,
then I ain't gonna be with you."

Martin smiled at her. He liked talking to Lauren. She was confident and cool.
They talked about a lot of things. From the NFL (of which she knew a lot) to
the alarming divorce statistics in America.

"Why do you think there's so many divorces?" Martin asked.

Lauren shrugged. "A lot of women are quick to blame the guys. They assume all
men are dogs and face it, most men don't let them down in that aspect. But
they wouldn't know a nice guy if he fell on them so it's their fault when
they hook up with scumbags. I prefer the nice guys."

Martin grinned. "Good for you."

They continued talking.

Lauren said, "I believe relationships are based in honesty. I personally
ain't sleeping with a guy until I know him and trust him."

Martin nodded in agreement. "I feel ya. It took me a long time to get to know
my Gina but I am glad I did take the time."

Lauren smiled. "You are a good man."

They kept talking. The conversation drifted toward more current subjects,
from George W. Bush's campaign against Jon Kerry to the fight over Gay
Marriage in Massachusetts. Apparently, the Massachusetts governor Mitt
Romney was firmly opposed to gay marriage.

"How do you feel about gay marriage, Martin?" Lauren asked.

"I have traditional values." Martin said.

Lauren shook her head. "No you don't." Martin looked at her, taken aback. "If
you did, you'd tell your girlfriend what's eating away at you."

Martin was surprised at how this girl could see right through him. "I don't
mean to sound chauvinistic but sometimes women overreact." Martin said.

"I don't think she would understand this." Lauren looked at Martin, and
smiled. "I guess you are gonna have to go through the Test." she said.

Martin looked at her. He was curious. "What test?"

Lauren grinned. "The ok-girl-I-love-you-this-is-who-I-am-accept-me-just-as-I-
am-or-I-am-leaving-you-asap-test."

Martin glared at her. "What kind of test is this?"

Lauren smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "Find the right time to tell
her whatever it is that bothers you." She had a thoughtful look on her face.
"If she can't accept it, leave her asap. If she can, you got yourself a good
woman. Give her a rock."

Martin Payne looked at her. "You are amazing, you know that."

She smiled at him. "Most people don't notice," she said. "Live long and
prosper, Mr. Payne." she said. She walked away.

Martin Payne went home, feeling a sense of hope for the first time in months.
He went home. He called his girlfriend Gina and invited her to an afternoon
out. She agreed to come and Martin Payne treated her to dinner and a movie.
Then, they went dancing to a club. Martin got VIP treatment due to his status
as "the man" in the radiowaves. Someone even asked for his autograph. Martin
was pleased.

Finally, they went home.

"Thanks for a wonderful day, Martin." Gina said.

Martin looked at her. That was his Gina. A beautiful african american woman,
light-skinned, with dark hair and eyes. Her hair was long and lustrous. She
was simply gorgeous. "You're welcome, baby."

They hadn't gone out in awhile and Martin Payne liked to keep things spicy in
his relationships. He sat on the couch and turned on the tv. Gina had gone to
the bathroom to freshen up. Martin was watching the Jerry Springer Show. He
loved that show. He looked at today's show. Hmm. An older woman was leaving
her husband and two kids to be with a younger woman. A man was coming out to
his girlfriend and telling her that he had been sleeping with her brother.
Gina finished what she was doing.

"Martin!" she said.

She had changed from conservative wear to sexy lingerie. Martin did not
turn, his eyes were riveted on the television show. She came and sat next
to Martin. Martin did not notice Gina. Why was this happening? Everywhere
he went there was stuff about gays and lesbians. On the radio, in the tv,
everywhere. Why??? He just wanted to be left alone. He didn't want to her
bullshit about gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transexuals. He just wanted
to get back to normal.

Gina knew something was on Martin's mind. "Hey, Martin. What's up?" she
asked.

"Nothing, baby." Martin said, eyes straight forward.

Gina followed his gaze and watched as on the television, a man who confessed
to his wife about having affairs with other men and women was taken aback by
the stinging words she said to him. She called him swine, sissy and a few
other colorful names. "What's the matter?" Gina asked him.

"I'm just tired from work." Martin said. "I need to unwind."

Gina took the remote and turned off the tv set. "I think I can help you
with that." Gina said. She kissed him on the lips and started caressing and
fondling him. Martin always loved it when Gina touched him. She was slowly
unbuttoning his shirt and unzipping his pants and he looked at her, a vision
of beauty as she dropped his pants to his ankles. She took his cock out of
his pants and held it in her hand. Martin gasped. Gina's small hands were so
slender yet firm. She took his cock in her mouth and went up and down on him.
He caressed her head, running his hands through her lustrous hair as she
sucked him. He felt all the tension leave his body and felt relaxed. At the
same time, he felt something rushing in his loins. He came. Gina was
surprised by the cum that blasted in her face, but she licked it off,
cleaning him up. Martin found himself mesmerized by her beautiful face as
she worked on him. Hmm. That was not a first but usually, Gina didn't like
sucking cock. For some reason, she was bold tonight. She practically dragged
him to bed.

She undressed and Martin delighted in the sight of her light-skinned, sexy
body. She had full breasts, a slim waist and a nice, round and tight-looking
booty. She took his cock into her mouth and sucked him off again. Then,
Martin parted her legs and used his mouth to give her pleasure, eating out
her pussy like a champ. Martin was good at eating pussy. He soon had her
screaming his name. Martin continued to suck, lick and probe her pussy. He
was licking and sucking and probing, parting her gentle folds and nibbling
with his tongue. He even bit her clit gently and Gina came, and for the
first time in her life experienced a true orgasm. Her scream of pleasure
filled the apartment. Once she calmed down, she rested in Martin's arms.

"That was amazing, Martin." Gina said breathlessly.

Martin smiled. "It's all love, baby." He held her in his arms, thinking she
wanted to go to sleep. She did not.

"I want to make you happy." she said. She touched his cock and in instant he
was rock hard. She took his cock and began guiding it toward her pussy.

"What about protection?" asked Martin.

Gina smiled at him. "I'm on the pill, Martin. Besides, you're my one and
only." She said.

Martin held her and his cock entered her pussy. Gina began grinding her
pelvis toward him, driving his cock deeper in her. Martin thrust deeply,
moving his cock slowly inside her. He made love to her like this, nice
and slow. He went in and out, driving his dick deep inside her, then
pulling almost all the way out only to drive it back inside again. Gina
moaned in pleasure. Martin could feel the heat from her body. She was
aroused and so was he. He knew he wouldn't be able to hold back much
longer and told her so.

"So cum." she said.

He did. He came in long, hot spurts deep inside her. Gina screamed as hot
cum filled her pussy. Martin pulled out seconds later and lay on the bed,
motionless. Gina moved closer to him and kissed him. "Thank you, Martin.
I love you."

Martin said, "Love you too, girl."

Gina fell asleep in Martin's arms.

Martin did not sleep. He was thinking about the events of the day. The visit
to the doctor's. The incident at work. Talking to Lauren...Hmm. He knew he
couldn't be gay because he just made love to a woman who loved him...and he
loved her back. He had never had sex with a man and he did not plan to. He
did not want to cheat on Gina with anyone, boy or girl. Gina was his special
lady. He loved her. He couldn't be a friggin homo. A bona fide homo wouldn't
be able to get hard over a female.

Martin went to sleep. He looked at Gina's sleeping form. She looked so cute
in her sleep. God, he was lucky to have her. Girls like Gina usually had
their pick of fine men. And she had chosen to be with him! Martin went to
sleep. Usually, he had dreamless sleeps. Not tonight...

In Martin's dream, he found himself walking over the stairs in a building.
A very familiar building. He walked up to an apartment door and was greeted
by a man. A tall, good-looking black man. A real brothaman. The brothaman
looked familiar. It was Tommy! Martin looked at Tommy and Tommy looked at
Martin. Martin came into the apartment and sat down. He found himself
looking at Tommy longingly as Tommy prepared drinks. Tommy had disappeared
into the kitchen and came back wearing only his underwear. Tommy was so
fine-looking.

"Damn, Tommy. You got a hard body." said Martin.

Tommy laughed. "Well, Martin. I'm a hard brotha."

Martin grinned. "I'm a hard brotha too."

One minute they were looking at each other, the next they were in each
other's arms. Tommy was undressing Martin like there was no tomorrow. Then,
Martin kissed Tommy. They were kissing and moving about the room roughly, so
intense was their passion and desire. The two of them fell on Tommy's bed and
Martin climbed on top of Tommy. Tommy pulled down his boxers, revealing his
hard black cock. Martin looked at Tommy's hard cock hungrily.

"Care for a little taste?" Tommy asked, teasing.

"Oh, yeah." said Martin.

He took Tommy's cock in his hand and Tommy held Martin's cock. They were
jacking off like there was no tomorrow. Martin pumped up Tommy's huge dick.
Tommy really did have a huge cock! Martin came first and Tommy leaned over
to suck him off. Tommy was an expert cocksucker. Damn, he was good! Martin
teased him by slapping his cock across his face. Tommy responded by pulling
Martin down on the chair and shoving him on his hands and knees. Tommy's
hands parted Martin's asscheeks and he rubbed the head of his massive cock
on Martin's asshole. Martin grinned, anticipating this hard cock in him.
Tommy's cock entered Martin's asshole and Martin gasped.

Tommy continued to shove more of his cock inside Martin. Once most of it
was in, he grabbed Martin's hips and began thrusting his cock deep inside
Martin's ass. Martin pushed back, driving Tommy's cock deeper inside him.
Tommy was loving the feel of Martin Payne's tight ass around his cock. He
soon came, sending hot cum deep inside Martin's ass. Martin screamed in
pleasure, and Tommy fucked him for a little while longer before pulling
out.

They lay in the bed together, both of them sweaty and breathing hard.

"Was that hard enough for you?" asked Tommy.

"Hard as hell. You know I love hard brothamen." said Martin.

Both he and Tommy started laughing.

Martin Payne bolted awake. He woke up screaming in the early hours of the
morning.

His screaming woke up Gina. She woke up and saw Martin, screaming. "Martin?
What's up with you?" she asked.

Martin looked at her, then around him. His eyes were those of a frightened
animal. "I'm alright." he lied.

Gina put her arms around him. "Did you have a dream?" she asked.

Martin looked at her grimly. "More like a nightmare." he said.

Martin Payne walked to the doctor's office. He sat in, waiting for his turn.
He looked at the other patients. They all looked normal. Men and women.
Normal-seeming people. He wondered how many of them were queer. He wondered
if he would know when he met one. Anyone could spot a masculine woman or an
effeminate man. But the normal-looking homo or dyke ? There had to be lots
of them walking around unnoticed. Closet cases. Finally, Martin's turn came.

In he went. He did not bother to seat down but Dr. Everett asked him to and
after a minute, he complied. He went on and on about what happened to him
lately.

"I'm not gay, doc." Martin said.

"Explain." said Dr. Everett.

"I had sex with my girlfriend Gina." Martin said proudly. "I made love to a
fine black woman and I enjoyed every minute of it."

Dr. Everett grinned. "Well, I am happy for you. So, what is the problem?" he
asked.

Martin hesitated, then talked to him about his dreams. Dreams he had of
having sex with Tommy. He seemed to crave contact with male flesh and it
scared him to death.

"Maybe they are just dreams, that happens sometimes." said Dr. Everett.

"Can I make them go away?" asked Martin.

"Afraid not." said Dr. Everett.

"See ya." said Martin. He left the office.

Martin went to work. He talked to Tyrese and the other people at work. He
talked with Lauren Bridgestone. He was jubilant. Sex with Gina had been
great. He had proved to himself that he wasn't queer. Well, what about the
dreams? Who the hell cared about dreams? Maybe those dreams would go away.
Like evil shadows.

Lauren looked at him, pensive. "Well, someone's in a good mood today." she
said, smiling.

Martin grinned. "Oh, yeah, girl. It's all good."

Lauren looked at Martin. "I"m happy for you, mr. Payne." she said.

"Cool."

They talked about work and stuff. Martin felt so good that he went to eat at
Au Bon Pain with her. They sat down and ate. She was new to the city and had
come there from Massachusetts.

"What part of Massachusetts are you from?" he asked. "Boston?"

Lauren smiled. "Plymouth."

Martin looked at her curiously. "What's a Plymouth girl doing all the way out
here?"

Lauren looked at him. "If I tell you, promise not to laugh?" she asked.
Martin nodded. "Just an ordinary gal looking for love, Mr. Payne." she said
with a smile. She waited for his reaction.

"I hope you find it."

Lauren looked at him. "You don't find it, Martin. It finds you."

Martin smiled. The girl was very interesting. They continued to talk and
eventually parted with a firm handshake. Martin returned to his apartment.

He basically went to sleep minutes after he entered his apartment. He just
dropped on the bed. Today had been a tiring day. Martin could not sleep. So,
he went to his computer and started browsing. He checked out stocks, BET,
MTV and eventually the WB. He went to a couple of porn websites. There was a
hot one that featured some old Captain of a guy on a boat and his friends
having sex with beautiful women. Anal sex. Martin found it interesting and
was reassured that straight porn could still make his dick hard. He continued
looking through the amateur sites. He found one in which some guys lured some
girls into a Bus and paid them to have sex...or promised to pay. Basically,
they tricked the women by luring them with money, fucked them and ditched
them. Hmm. Cold but interesting. There was a site featuring lesbians seducing
straight girls. Hmm. Hot stuff.

He continued browsing and ended up at a bisexual porn site. He went in and
clicked on the images. One played in his windows media player. A tall black
man was making out with a fine-looking black female. They were kissing and
rubbing and stuff. She was fine. Martin envied the brothaman. Damn, what a
hot job that was. Having sex with women for a living. Hmm. Personally,
Martin would do it for free.

Martin watched and his hand went to his sex. He stroked his cock while
watching the scene. He was so hard. He watched as the black couple was joined
by a third party. A white guy. The black woman sucked the black man's cock
and the white man simply stood there, looking. The black woman went on her
hands and knees and the black man positioned himself behind her and began
fucking her in the ass. Martin watched this with the volume on. He watched
the beautiful black female's face contort in pain. Experienced pornstar or
not, having big black dick up your ass was a hard thing to do. The white man
came and the black female sucked his dick. The black man came in the woman's
ass and pulled out. He made her clean his cock. The white man came and did
something that surprised Martin.

He took the black man's cock and sucked it off as well. Both the white man
and the black female were sucking the black man's hard throbbing cock. Martin
could not believe it! The brothaman looked fine and masculine and had a fine
black female sucking him, yet he was still gay! The clip ended and a voice
said: As bisexuals, threesomes is what we do best!

Martin turned it off and went to bed.

He couldn't sleep. He tried too but just couldn't. Why would a fine brother
who liked females also go around fucking guys? And on the Internet no less!
Why would anyone choose to be a cocksucker and put it on display? Why? He
had to get answers.

He returned to the net and went to Google. He typed Homosexuality and
Bisexuality. A lot of hits came by. He checked out some of them. Gay and
bisexual men's alliance. The GLBT. The Straight Spouse Network. The Gay and
Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The Bisexual Resource Center. The Coming
Out As Bisexual Support Group. He checked out several authors. There were
many books by gays. He checked out books like Restoring Sexual Identity. He
learned about gay black authors like E. Lynn Harris, who wrote the Invisible
Life trilogy.

He read about books like Sons Like Me and Rude Boys. He checked out some
lesbian books like Tomorrow Wendy. He typed bi-curious black man and a lot
of hits came by. He typed Gay, lesbians and their straight allies and found
out that there was such a group operating in his very own city. He decided
to check it out. He found out about the GLSA (Gay-Lesbian-Straight-Alliance).
He read about them. They were in his city. Somewhere in downtown. Martin
remembered that. He went to sleep and this time, he did not dream.

Martin Payne went to work the next day. He went on the air, did his jokes,
answered his callers and played some music. Everything went as usual. But he
felt tired and scared. He'd been thinking about the porno clip he had seen
on his computer. Two bi guys and a girl. What was this world coming to? He
didn't know.

At lunch, he saw Lauren Bridgestone. He wanted to talk to her but he couldn't
because she was talking to someone. A thin white guy with a bright flamengo
shirt and tight white pants. It was James, one of the employees of the Radio
Station. James was gay and he didn't pull any punches. He was out and proud
and gadabout. Completely comfortable with himself. Martin had never spoken to
James while he was at work and he didn't want to start now. "Hey, Lauren." he
said as he walked by.

"Hey, Martin. What's up?" she hollered back.

James looked at Martin. He looked him up and down, smiled and said, "Hello
there, brother."

Martin almost gulped. Did he hear right? He ignored the bastard and walked
away.

Martin went home. He remembered the address of the GLSA place and had it
written down. He picked up his cellphone and called.

"Hi," said a male voice.

"Is this the GLSA?" Martin asked.

"Are you, you know... gay?" Martin asked.

The man on the other line laughed. "Of course. I am gay and I've been out for
twenty years."

Martin hung up the phone. He called again and this time a female voice picked
it up. He asked the same question and asked the woman if she was gay. She
didn't sound phased and said that she was a lesbian. That confirmed Martin's
suspicion. There were no straight people in there. Still, he was curious.
What would it be like at a meeting?

He went out and decided to walk the way there. He stood in front of the
building. It was not what he expected. No big "Gay" signs. Nothing like
that. Just an average building. Martin walked in front of it, thinking. He
was building up his courage to walk in. He was scared as hell. The people
in there were gay. What if someone recognized him? How would Gina feel if
someone told her that Martin was at a meeting for gays and lesbians? How
would Tommy and Cole react? Martin knew how homophobic the black community
could be. When he went to church, the preacher condemned such behavior.
"Homosexuality is a sin." he used to say.

Martin wondered how many black men and black women were gay or bisexual.
Probably a lot. Black people in general had tight closets. Martin summoned
his courage, and walked in through the door. He walked for a minute before
seeing a man. The man was tall and big, with a bald head. He looked like a
wrestler or a club bouncer and certainly not like a fag or sissy. "Yes I
am." he said to Martin with a smile. He indicated a door and said, "The
meeting is in there."

Martin hesitated, then went through the second door. He entered what looked
like a gymnasium. There were lots of people there. Lots of guys. Lots of
girls. He looked around. The people sat on the bleachers. They were mostly
white. He saw a couple of Hispanics but no black people. He didn't recognize
any of them. At all. Martin Payne smiled. Maybe he would slip by unnoticed.
Someone was talking. A tall woman with blond hair who looked like she could
be in the WNBA.

"We must reach out to the minority communities." she was saying. "The black
and hispanic communities have been the least to step out."

Someone raised their hand. Martin looked and saw a slim Hispanic guy.

The slim guy said, "The Hispanic community isn't as tolerant of gays as the
white community is, no offense."

There were nods of agreement. The lady nodded. "That is noted, sir. But I
feel like we are making progress. After all, Gay Marriages are happening all
the way in Massachusetts."

There were cheers and applauses. Martin remained silent. He focused on what
was being said. Suddenly, Martin noticed someone looking at him from the
crowd. He looked and saw James. The skinny white guy. James looked at Martin
and waved. He gestured to someone next to him. Martin looked at the person
who sat next to James. Martin saw someone very familiar. It was Lauren.
Lauren, who looked at Martin with wide eyes full of surprise. Martin's eyes
widened. What was she doing here?

James kept smiling at Martin. Then he raised his hand and asked for
permission to speak. It was granted. "I think that there is an issue we have
not spoken of tonight," he said. "Workplace diversity. People who have come
out at work are treated differently than other employees."

There was a lot of agreement coming from the crowd.

"It is painful, so I understand why someone would want to be closeted, even
to the point of having a phony girlfriend and parade around with her just to
cover one's true sexual identity." He was looking at Martin while he said it.
"Closet cases are so sad."

Martin felt angry. Who the hell did this little faggot think he is? No one
messed with Martin Payne.

"People should just come out." said James.

An older Asian man nodded in agreement before saying, "I agree with him. The
truth comes out about one's sexuality sooner or later."

There was a silence.

A big white woman said, "People have their reasons for not coming out. Some
would end up losing their significant others, friends and very families if
they revealed to the world that they were gay or lesbian."

Someone shouted, "It's true, this outing business could get anyone in big
trouble."

James was not fazed. "Better to endure scorn for who I am than to hide behind
the face of false identity. I am gay and proud. Closet cases are pathetic.
Come out, come out, whoever you are." James was looking directly at Martin.
And smiling nastily.

Martin couldn't take it anymore. He bolted. Martin ran as if the devil was
after him.

Lauren saw Martin run, scared out of his wits by James's words. She nudged
James in the ribs and ran after Martin. Martin ran through the hallway.
"Martin!" she cried.

Martin ran. She wasn't fast enough to catch him.

"Damn," she said. She wanted to talk to him so bad. What was he doing there?
He looked so scared. She cursed James for harassing Martin like that. She
went back to the meeting, and sat next to James. She cursed him for the
remainder of the time.

Martin Payne went home. He went in and took a shower. He brushed his teeth
then went to bed. He turned on the tv. Today, Gay Marriages were happening in
Massachusetts. He looked at those people. Men with men and women with women.
They looked...happy.

One man said, "George and I have been together for twenty years. Now we can
finally make it official."

The tv news camera continued to follow them around. Gays and lesbians getting
married. Hmmm. The governor of Massachusetts had staunchly opposed them but
in the end, the politicians had lost and the people had won. Great. Martin
couldn't sleep. He was worried. James had seen him there. Would he tell
people he had seen Martin Payne at a gay meeting ? Martin prayed James would
keep his mouth shut otherwise he was finished. He was very surprised to see
Lauren there. Did that mean that she was a lesbian? He hoped not. He liked
talking to Lauren. He would have to talk to her the next day. He went to
sleep. He had a dream, and Lauren was in it. Somehow, it was a pleasant
dream. One he couldn't remember the next day.

Martin sat on his couch. There were guests in his house. Gina sat close to
him and leaned her head on his shoulder. They were watching tv. The Sci-Fi
Channel. They were giving Earth: Final Conflict. Martin wasn't into sci-fi
but Gina liked it. Martin switched it to the news.

"Good news for gays and lesbians everywhere." said someone Martin recognized
as a prominent advocate for Gay rights. "True equality before the law."

Martin kept silent.

"Can you believe this shit?" Gina said, looking at him. "They're letting fags
and dykes marry."

Tommy stood by Pam's side. "That's just wrong," Pam said.

Tommy nodded. "Pretty soon, all over the US, gays will be marrying and
getting in people's face with their shit. I hate those sick freaks."

Martin didn't say anything.

"What do you think, Martin?" asked Gina.

Martin hesitated. Finally, he said. "If a gay guy wants to marry another gay
guy, then that's fine by me. I don't give a fuck. Just do your thing, homey."

Cole looked at Martin. "You're okay with that gay fruity shit?" he looked at
Martin incredulously. Gina, Pam and Tommy also looked at Martin.

"Homosexuality is wrong," said Gina. "It's in the bible."

Tommy glared at the tv, where a black man walked around with his partner, a
white male. "Now, even brothas are into the fag shit." Tommy looked
disgusted.

"Don't forget the sistahs." said Pam. "It's bad enough there are fruitcakes
all over the place but some of them are fine black men. Why do so many
brothas choose to be sissies and punks?"

Martin felt less than happy. "I don't think it's a choice." he said calmly.

Pam looked angry. "Nobody forces a fag to shove his dick up another man's ass
and no one forces a dyke to eat another woman's pussy. They choose that shit.
Of all people, Martin. I would have thought you hated those freaks."

Martin noticed that all of his friends were looking at him. "I don't hate
them," he said. "I don't care what they do. It ain't none of my business."

Gina looked at Martin like he was on crack. "Martin, they're letting homos
marry. Is that the kind of world you want for our kids to live in?"

That caught Martin by surprise. Awhile ago, he wanted to marry Gina and have
kids with her. That was before he found his desires and dreams about men
intensifying. He was scared and confused. She said that she loved him but how
could he tell her? How could he tell any of them? They would probably eat him
alive. All of a sudden, Martin didn't feel well.

"Martin, what's wrong?" said Gina. Martin looked at her.

"Nothing, Gina." he said.

Gina looked at him with worry on her face. "Are you okay, baby?" she asked.
Her slim hand stroked his face gently. She smiled coyly. "Whatever's on your
mind, I can make you feel better."

Martin looked at her. He loved this girl. Yet he couldn't tell her. That was
hell. This was painful for him. "I'm under a lot of stress at work." he said.
He took her hands in his. "I want to make some money so that I can treat you
right."

Gina smiled and kissed him. "Oh, baby. You already treat me right."

Martin smiled. "I want to treat you better. I am focusing on a plan and when
I come home, all my friends talk about is trash, "he said, indicating the tv
where there was still talk over Gay Marriages.

Gina put her arms around him. "I need to see you soon." she said. " With no
one else around."

Martin felt her hands on his butt. "I am looking forward to it." he said.

They kissed.

Martin Payne went to work. He had a talk with his boss, Mr. Whitaker. A tall,
light-skinned brotha with a mustache. Mr. Whitaker had been pleased with
Martin's work. Martin was getting more on air time, which meant a raise.
Martin walked out of Whitaker's office with a smile. On his way out, he saw
Lauren. She was talking to one of the station's employees, a slim black girl
named Tyesha. Martin walked over to Lauren. He looked at her. She wore a
black shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. "Hi, Lauren." he said.

"Hey, Martin." she said.

"About last night..." Martin began.

Lauren looked at him. She had been real surprised to see Martin at the
meeting.

"I was just curious." he said.

She nodded. "Cool."

He looked at her with fear in his eyes. "You know James, right? Will he tell
people that I was there?"

Lauren could see Martin's fear. "Uh, no. James is ok, most of the time."

Martin breathed deeply. "I just don't want people to think that I am, you
know..." he said.

"GAY?" Lauren finished for him.

"Yeah." Martin said.

They walked to the cafeteria and sat down to eat. Martin learned a lot more
about Lauren. She was friends with James and knew a lot of gays and lesbians.
She was cool with them. It was James who began taking her to the GLSA
meetings. Martin had something to ask her. She smiled, anticipating his
question.

"No, Martin." she said.

Martin looked at her. "No to what?"

Lauren grinned. "I am very open-minded. I like people. I don't care if they
are white, black, Asian, mulatto. I don't care if someone is gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transexual, lesbian or just straight. But I don't sleep with
girls."

Martin grinned. "Good for you."

They both laughed and continued talking. Lauren was into video games. Martin
loved video games, he also loved wrestling.

"Who's cooler, the Rock or Stone Cold?" he asked her.

"Hmm. I prefer Rikishi. He can dance." Lauren said.

They talked about everything from wrestling to football to the war in Iraq.

"I think that's Bush's excuse for sending our boys and girls to get killed
just so he can stay in power." Lauren said flatly.

Martin was no fan of the Republicans. "Amen, girl."

Lunchtime was over. As they were about to part ways, Martin watched as Lauren
slipped him something. She smiled and walked away. Martin looked at the note.
There were the initials L.B. and a phone number. Something was scribbled
down. "Anytime you want to talk." Martin hesitated, then pocketed it.

Lauren walked back to work. She saw James.

"Miss thing, what have you done?" said James.

Lauren smiled. "I just gave Martin Payne my number." she said.

James looked at her, and grimaced. "El senor le gustan los hombres."

Lauren gently pushed James's arm. "He is not gay. Not all the way. The way
his face lights up when he mentions this Gina. He could be bi."

James shook his head. "You really like him, huh?" he asked.

Lauren nodded. She and James had been friends for a long time, ever since she
came from Massachusetts. He was cool, a good friend, great listener and all.
He was also outrageous, hilarious and tough as nails when he wanted to be.
"What if I do?" she said with a smile. "He is so cute."

Lauren sat down and started to stare dreamily straight ahead. James followed
her gaze. She couldn't be staring at the wall. He knew the look. Lauren was
in the M-zone. The Martin Zone. "Girl, snap out of it." said James. "This guy
is probably gay or at least bisexual. He is deep in the closet. He also has a
girlfriend. Why do you even want to know him?"

Lauren continued to stare. James grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her.
"Snap out of it." he said.

"Uh?" Lauren said.

"Geez." James was sick and tired of everyone saying so much stuff about
Martin. At work. Everywhere. Martin so cute. Martin so smart. Martin this and
Martin that.

"I know he's not interested in me." said Lauren. "But maybe I could be his
friend."

James shrugged. "And maybe his closeted black ass will come out and march
with me to a parade," he said disgustedly. "Closet cases can be dangerous.
Watch out." James warned.

Martin went to Gina's place. She wanted to make love but Martin found himself
unable, for some reason. Gina was less than happy. Martin left the place. He
couldn't touch Gina because everytime she touched him, he was imagining a
male model he had seen on tv.

"Martin, what's wrong?" she had asked.

"Stress." said Martin.

"Too stressed out to make love to me?" she asked, incredulous.

"Yeah." he said.

He let himself out. Gina watched him go, her face full of surprise as a
certain feeling of dread came over her. Something was up with Martin. She
could feel it. What was it? Lately, something in him had changed. She just
didn't know what. She prayed that Martin wasn't cheating on her with another
woman. He was a good guy and she loved him but a lot of people cheated...

Martin felt strange. His problems were worsening. Now, he couldn't even get
it up with Gina. That was strange. How could that happen? He and Gina had sex
more times than he could remember. Hot, passionate, steamy sex. Loud enough
to wake up the dead. So, how come he couldn't get it up with Gina? She was a
beautiful, naked woman. She was ready, able and decidedly willing. Every
man's dream. So, why didn't he get hard? He needed to talk to someone about
this. He went to his appointment at Dr. Everett's office. Martin Payne sat on
the couch.

"I can't have sex with Gina. I keep on thinking about a guy. I don't want to.
I'm scared. Make it stop." That's all Martin kept saying.

Dr. Everett kept repeating. "There is nothing wrong with you."

Martin did not want to hear this. "Shut the fuck up, man!" he said.

He stormed out of the psychiatrist's office.

Martin didn't know what to do. He was changing and the change was unwanted
and involuntary. He didn't want to be a fag. "I ain't fuckin' gay, damn!" he
said.

He walked to his car and drove away. He drove fast. He got a speeding ticket
from a policewoman with big tatas. Martin didn't feel like going to work.
He didn't want to see Gina. He no longer desired her. He just wanted to get
away. Who could he talk to ? If he told Cole or Tommy his secret, he would
be finished. Cole and Tommy were homophobic. If he told Gina, she would
overreact as usual and things would be worse than before. He didn't even
consider telling Pam. She would make fun of him and see this as her chance
to get back at him for all those things he used to say or do to her. He could
see Pam laughing and calling him a sissy, a faggot or a queer. He didn't want
to talk to Everett. The bastard was white and couldn't understand what it was
like to be black and gay, bisexual or whatever. White people accepted homos
far more than blacks did. Black people worldwide saw homosexuality as a white
man's disease.

He went home and shut everything down. His tv. His computer. He shut down the
lights and the windows. He disconnected the telephone. He was in the dark. He
just liked to be alone at the moment. All alone. No noise. Just peace and
quiet in the dark. Suddenly, his cellphone beeped. Reluctantly he picked it
up.

"Hey, Martin. What's up?" said Lauren's voice.

Martin was surprised. "How did you get this number?"

Lauren went silent. "I hope you don't think it's too forward but at work we,
um, were worried about you. Had to make sure you were okay."

Martin considered that. "Thanks for calling."

At the other line, Lauren sat in her apartment. James was there. He was
watching Queer As Folk on DVD.

"What's up with Mr. Closet Case?" James asked Lauren.

Lauren asked Martin why he wasn't at work and he said he had stuff to work
out. "Martin, is everything alright?" she asked.

"Peachy keen." Martin said.

James was listening to the conversation. He mouthed off to Lauren, "Ask him
out alreeady."

Lauren's eyes widened. Thank God Martin hadn't heard that. "You sound like
you could use a break." she said.

"I sure could." said Martin.

"Say, I was planning to do something, and company is most welcome."

Martin listened. "Ok." he said.

"Wanna meet me at the Mall in front of the bookstore?" she asked.

Martin hesitated. He wasn't sure about this. Still, hanging out with a
co-worker was better than sitting at home moping about his troubles. He
agreed. "What time?" he asked.

"Around five." she said.

"See you there," Martin said.

Lauren hesitated. "Martin?" she said.

"Yeah?" Martin grunted.

"Are you okay?" Her voice sounded sincere.

"I've been better." he said.

"I'll see you there. Thanks for the call." He said bye and hung up.

After she talked to Martin, Lauren lay flat on her bed. James came and sat
close to her.

"You asked him out?" said James.

Lauren nodded, smiling. "He said 'yes!'."

Lauren got up and started making the happy little victory dance that she
liked to make. James watched her. He liked this girl like he would his little
sister. It pained him to see her fall in love with a black guy who was either
gay or bisexual and not honest with himself or his girlfriend. He wanted to
warn Lauren not to get in too deep with a guy like Martin. Martin had a
girlfriend. He was probably a switch hitter. He most likely kept his shit on
the down low. But he had seen Lauren in the M-Zone, where all she talked
about was Martin this and Martin that. Geez.

"I gotta get ready." Lauren told him.

"Now?" said James. "It's only two o'clock."

Lauren looked at him, her beautiful eyes sparkling. "I know."

Lauren went to the shower. She took a thirty-minute shower, then she brushed
her teeth. She chose her clothes. Black silk shirt, black leather pants and
boots. James looked at the ensemble. "What do you think?" she asked.

"Positively scary." he said.

She had no fashion sense. He helped her pick out her clothes. A taffeta
dress. Lauren did not like to wear dresses. She had always been a tomboy.
James took that into consideration. "I don't know what to wear," she said.

"I do." said James. He showed her some stuff. Red shirt and blue jeans. Black
sneakers. Even though it was a fashion emergency, James let her put it on and
get ready to go.



Meanwhile...

Martin walked into the shower. He stepped under the flow of medium hot water
and let it soak his body. Martin was not a large fellow. He stood five feet
eight inches tall, slim yet wiry and muscular. His skin was dark brown and
he was a ruggedly handsome fella. He let the water rush all over him and
scrubbed his body. He took a bar of Crest soap and applied it. He cleaned
himself up. Once he was done, he stepped out and wrapped a brown towel around
his waist. He went to the sink and took a new toothbrush. He was humming the
theme song of "Charmed" while applying Colgate Total on the bright red
toothbrush. He began brushing his teeth, going up and down. He brushed for
ten minutes, then spat the used colgate and saliva mixture down the drain.
He flossed his teeth. He walked to his bedroom where he dried himself up.

He took Hanes underwear and put it on, followed by a pair of white socks. He
took Right Guard deodorant and put it under his armpits. Vigorously. Then, he
took some Cologne and sprayed it under his arms, wincing as it stung a bit
then he sprayed more cologne on his chest and behind his neck. He walked to
his closet door and, while passing by his radio, he played some music. He
opened it to his favorite radio station where "Toxic" by Britney Spears was
playing. Nah. He changed stations and listened to "Sean Paul". He chose his
clothes. A black silk shirt and matching black pants. He put his clothes on.
He chose a pair of shiny black shoes and put them on. He laced them. Standing
in front of the mirrror, he took time to check his reflection and made sure
everything was alright. "Damn I look good." he told himself.

Martin went to a drawer in his dresser and took some Winterfresh gum. He
put two in his pocket. He took his wallet and checked it. Driver's license:
Check. Workplace ID: check. Insurance card: check. Health club membership
card: check. Minimum of fifty dollars (without which he never left the
house): check.

Martin was a slick guy and he knew that while robbers took your wallet, they
never checked out your socks. He put an extra twenty bucks in his right sock.
He walked through the apartment and made up the bed. He did some light clean
up in the kitchen. He had a phobia about his deodorant running out so he
carried a small deodorant in his left sock. A really small one. He closed the
door of his apartment and walked out into the building parking lot. He walked
to his parked car, a Lexus. Redfire metallic. He got behind the wheel. He had
time to kill. It was only three fifty. He took his cellphone and dialed
Lauren. "Hey, girl. What's up?" he asked.

Lauren laughed nervously. "Oh, nothing. I'll see you there, ok."

Martin nodded to himself. "Ok." he told her.

"Oh, and Martin?" said Lauren a bit hurriedly.

"What?" he said.

"Please be there."

Martin smiled. "Wouldn't miss it."

He said bye and hung up. He drove away. He drove through the streets of the
city. He saw lots of interesting sights. Hot-looking women. Well-built men.
It was hot outside so the hot bodies, both male and female came out to play.
Martin found it all interesting. He hadn't called Gina in a while. He also
hadn't seen his buddies in a while. Cole. Tommy. Even Pam. He found that he
missed talking to them. A lot.

So, out of the blue he called Tommy's cellphone. "Hey, Tommy. Whassup?" said
Martin.

The phone rang a couple of times before Tommy picked it up. "What's up,
nigga?" he said.

"Nothing, man. It's just that I ain't seen y'all in a couple of days and I
was wondering whassup."

Tommy sounded surprised. "What did you do to Gina, Martin? She's a mess. She
calls me and Pam twenty four seven asking for you."

Martin hesitated. "I'm going through something, Tommy." he said. "It's hard
and difficult and I just didn't want Gina hurt."

Tommy grunted. "So, she was cast aside, huh, brotha?"

Martin raised his eyebrows. "Nah, it ain't like that, Tommy. It ain't like
that at all. I miss you guys. I do."

Tommy was still not convinced. "Martin, I've known you for many years. What's
so hard to deal with that you can't tell your boys? What could be so hard to
say?"

Martin hesitated. He wanted to tell Tommy. He also wanted to tell his friends
what he was going through. At times, he felt so lonely and so scared. But he
remembered their reaction when they saw the gays and lesbians fighting for
their rights on tv. They would probably think of Martin as some kind of freak
if he were to tell them. People could be so narrow-minded and stupid. "Can't
tell you, man. I love y'all but I got a feeling you wouldn't understand."

Tommy could not believe this. He and Martin had been best pals for years,
and Martin didn't trust him enough to tell him what was up. "Take care of
yourself, then." said Tommy. "I hope you'll work out whatever it is. Bye."

He hung up. Martin clicked off. He drove around.

When the time came, he parked into the Mall parking lot and began walking
around. He watched the stores. The Mall was vast. There were lots of people
in. Teenage girls walking around, probably discussing clothes and boys. Boys
walking around discussing babes, sports or flicks. Grown men who made the
mistake of shopping with their spouses or girlfriends without bringing
something to kill the boredom because women took a long time to shop at the
Mall or anywhere else. He saw the single men walking around.

All of a sudden, Martin saw a tall, fine-looking honey-dipped-in-chocolote-
colored sistah. She wore a bright red dress and carried a handbag, her hair
was long and lustrous. The girl looked phine!!! Martin saw her bend over to
pick up a fallen set of keys and felt his cock grow harder in his pants.
Damn, she was hot! His eyes followed her as she walked around. He then saw
someone join her. A tall, muscular black man clad in a black T-shirt and
jeans. The fine black woman kissed the man on the lips and they walked into
Macys.

Martin followed them. The woman started talking to the skinny lady at the
cash register and the man stood, looking around. Martin looked at him. He was
so lucky to have such a pretty woman! Then, the man looked at Martin. Their
eyes met. Martin felt his heart skip a beat. He felt heat course through his
entire body. The man looked Martin up and down, and smiled. Martin smiled
back. The man's body looked fine. He looked familiar too.

"Hey, Martin." he said.

Martin gasped. Where did this man know him from? The man walked up to him.

"Hey, don't you remember me? I'm Jonathan Brock, from your old job."

Martin had spent a year as a car salesman. He didn't remember Jonathan but
faked a flash of recognition and they shook hands.

"How are you doing?" said Jonathan. He touched Martin's flat belly. "Working
out, brotha? You feel so hard." He said that last thing with a cocky smile.

Martin's eyes widened. Now, he remembered Jonathan. The handsome brothaman
who co-owned MJ-Riders. The fine sistah who was with Jonathan came. Jonathan
smiled at her and took her hand.

"Oh, honey, meet my old friend Martin."

The fine black woman shook Martin's hand. "Hi, I'm Cynthia Barella." she
said.

"Good to meet you." said Martin.

He looked at her. Up close, she was even more beautiful. Her body was toned
and fit, her butt round and her breasts full. Her waist was slim. Yeah, she
looked good. He also found himself staring and practically drooling over
Jonathan's rock hard muscles. They made small talk for awhile, then Jonathan
slipped Martin his card.

"Call me, we can do something, like catch up." He grinned at Martin.

"Good to have met you." said Cynthia. She and Jonathan went back into Macys.

Martin walked away. The good thing is that he still felt attracted to women.
Looking at Cynthia's hot body got him rock hard. Yes!!! But why did he react
the way he did to Jonathan Brock's equally fine body? Maybe he was just
confused...or maybe he was really bi?

He found the bookstore. He entered and checked out somethings. He saw the
latest bestsellers. The Da Vinci Code. He also saw novels by Thomas E.
Sniegoski, Christopher Golden, Nancy Drew, Jonathan Kellerman, Laurel K.
Hamilton and Nancy Holder. He saw "Sons Like Me." A novel about the lives
of gay and bisexual black men. He continued to search through. Finally, he
saw something. "Half Straight." Hmm. He was about to check it out, that
and "Savage Nights" when he sensed someone behind him. He turned. There she
was. Lauren Bridgestone. He looked at her and smiled.

"Hey, girl. What's up?" he said.

"Hello, Martin." she said.

They shook hands.

"Cute shirt." he told her.

"Thanks."

He looked at her. She wore a black leather jacket unbuttoned over a red
shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. Her usually long dark brown hair was pulled
under a Red Sox baseball cap. He smiled. She looked good. Just as he thought.
Very cute of her to let the tomboy show.

"So, how have you been?" he said.

"Good and hoping things will get better."

They walked around the Mall for a minute then walked out, toward the theater.
It was a short walk away.

They arrived at the theater. There was a big, cross-eyed white guy behind the
counter.

"What shall we see?" Martin said.

Lauren looked around. She looked at the poster of a now-playing movie, "TROY"
starring Eric Bana and Brad Pitt. Martin eyed "MAN ON FIRE" starring Denzel
Washington and Dakota Fanning. Hmm. Tough choice. Well, it was a tough choice
until Martin laid eyes on Kate Beckinsale's picture on the poster of the
movie "Van Helsing." Damn, she was hot.

Lauren recognized the image of Kate Beckinsale's co-star Hugh Jackman from
the X-Men movies. "Wanna go see Van Helsing?" she asked.

"You read my mind, girl." Martin grinned. "Two for Van Helsing."

They took the tickets (five bucks each) and went and bought skittles and some
coke.

"Van Helsing is playing at the other wing." said the clerk.

"OK."

They walked to the theater in the other wing. They checked in.

The theater seemed empty, save for two people. They sat in the middle and
watched the movie. Martin was familiar with the stories of Dracula. He was
a vampire from Transylvania. He had three brides. He lived in a castle. He
liked beautiful women. He had one enemy he feared, Van Helsing, a fierce
hunter who appeared in all tales of Dracula as an older man. He had seen
Dracula before, the version starring Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins and that
other lady. He also saw Dracula 2000. It was alright. He looked at the
screen and sometimes he looked at Lauren. She looked straight ahead in front
of her, watching Hugh Jackman battle a schizophrenic monster. It was all
punching and kicking and slicing and dicing.

Lauren looked at the screen, delighting in the dazzling special effects. From
time to time, she looked at Martin. He seemed riveted, watching the movie. He
got so into it that as a hairy monster reared its ugly head and charged at
the hero on screen, roaring and snarling, Martin actually jumped back. Lauren
smiled. She saw his hand resting on the armrest of the chair. She hesitated,
then placed her hand over his. "Don't worry, he can't get you."

Martin looked at her, staring into her eyes for a moment. Her touch was
electrifying. Lauren felt something pass between them. She leaned a bit
closer...Martin looked at her, hesitated, then leaned closer too...he
half-closed his eyes and she did the same...which was when a kid came
and sat next to him. He startled Martin and dropped his popcorn onto
Martin's lap.

"Oh, hell !" Martin exclaimed.

Lauren winced. Martin began rapidly taking hot popcorn off of his person.
"You okay, Martin?" Lauren asked.

Martin didn't hear her and kept taking popcorn off himself. She wanted to
help him, but felt awkward and just passed him some paper to clean himself
up. "I'll be right back," he said. He got up and left.

"I'll save your seat." she said.

Martin went to the bathroom. He rolled some paper and used it to clean
himself. "Dumb kid." he muttered. He thought back on what had almost happened
back there. Was she about to kiss him? He remembered what he felt when she
touched him. Wow. What's up with that? He went to the sink and let water run
on his hands. He used some soap on his hands and cleaned them up, rinsed then
put his hands under the dryer.

A couple minutes later, he returned into the theater. On his way there, he
bought some coke and candy. Martin went in just as a new scene was beginning.
Winged monsters chasing a chariot on a narrow road. Hmmm. He saw where Lauren
sat and went there. He sat next to her.

"Oh, Martin. You missed a lot." she said.

"Oh, sorry." he said. He passed her the coke and candy. Her beautiful brown
eyes lit up when she saw the M&Ms.

"Thanks, Martin." she said.

They shared the candy and watched the movie. Martin thought they would pick
up where they left off when the stupid kid dropped something on him but
apparently, that wasn't happening. They watched the movie, talking a bit.
There was a spectacular fight of monsters versus monsters and they were
wowed. Lauren looked at Martin. "Dude, who do you think would win in a fight
of vampire versus werewolf?" she asked.

Martin looked at her and cocked his eyebrows. "The vampire, of course. 'Cause
vamps can fly."

Lauren shook her head. "Somehow, I have doubts about that."

Martin wanted to know why she was so sure. Martin had been a Buffy fan for
years and had seen both vamps and werewolves fight. His money was on the
vamps. "Wanna bet?" he asked Lauren.

She looked at him, a mischievous gleam in her eyes. "You'd lose, Mr. Payne."

The movie ended and all of Martin's questions on the subject of vampire and
werewolf were answered. He was glad he hadn't bet against Lauren. They walked
out of the theater. There were lots of people exiting. Guys and girls. Guys
and guys. Girls and girls. Families. Friends.

"Well, that was interesting." Lauren said.

"Uh-huh," Martin said. He looked at her.

"Thanks." Lauren smiled.

"You're welcome."

They walked out of the theater and back toward the Mall. They talked about
the movie and those awesome fighting scenes. One thing kept bothering Martin.
Lauren had seen him at the Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual/Straight Meeting. Why didn't
she mention it? He decided to ask her.

"I go there with James." she said. "It was a surprise to see you there."

Martin gulped. "Yeah, I was just curious."

Lauren shrugged. "Cool."

Martin thanked her for asking him out. "I hadn't had so much fun in awhile."
he said.

Lauren looked at him for a moment. "Don't let your problems bury you, Martin.
There are other ways. People can surprise you or even help you." She squeezed
his hand.

"I know," he said. "Thanks."

They went to his car and he drove her to her apartment. They parted with a
handshake and a promise to do it again.

Martin drove home. He was smiling. All the way. This 'date' with Lauren
Bridgestone had been interesting. She was a very nice girl. Nice-looking,
fun, easy to talk to. Hmm. He wondered if all the women of Plymouth,
Massachusetts were like that. He hoped so. He went to his apartment and
checked in. He went to sleep and for the first time in many nights, he
didn't have a nightmare.

The next day, Martin decided to call his parents. Mr. and mrs. Payne.

"Hi, pops." he said.

His father laughed at the end of the line. "Ma, it's Martin." Pa Payne was
glad to hear his son. "What's going on with you, Martin?" The old man asked.

"Nothing much." said Martin. "How are you and Ma doing?"

Pa Payne laughed and said something about Ma Payne cooking some chicken and
Ma Payne could be heard in the background. She came and picked up the phone.

"Hi, son. how are you doing?" she asked.

"Great, Ma." said Martin. His mother asked about Gina, his girlfriend, whom
he hadn't called or seen in awhile. "Gina is alright," Martin said.

"She's not with you?" asked Ma Payne.

Martin almost cursed. His mother had this almost preternatural ability to
detect trouble. "Are you alright, son?" she asked, worry resonating in her
voice.

For a moment, Martin considered telling her. But he was afraid of how his
parents would react. They were a family of black catholics. They worked a
lot to buy a house and raise Martin Payne. Martin could imagine his father
telling him "We didn't raise you to be no sissy, son." He imagined the shame
they would feel if their pride and joy, their only son turned out to be gay
or bisexual. He could imagine the people in the community or at church
laughing about him. "Life is not perfect, Ma. But I am managing." he said.

"You know that I am your mama and that I love you no matter what?" said Mama
Payne.

"Yeah, ma. I know." said Martin. "Love you, mom. I gotta go. Bye."

He hung up.

Martin thought long and hard about what he did. He went to a bar to satisfy
his "curiosity." The bar was called Nickel's. It was a small establishment in
the upper east side. He went in. Nervously. It did not look like a strange
place to Martin. The bar was full of men and a couple of women. Martin
spotted a nice-looking guy. He approached him and they started talking. The
guy's name was Sean. He was a tall, slim brothaman. Martin talked to him.
Sean was a graphic designer at a firm in the city. He was also married to a
woman named Dashika and they had a son, Trevor. Apparently, Sean's wife had
no idea he was gay and thought he was a stand-up guy. Sean didn't look or act
gay. Martin commented on that. Sean said he considered himself to be bisexual
and said "I love my wife but sometimes I just need a man."

Martin shrugged. He didn't want the guy as a mate anyway. He questioned Sean
about his HIV status.

"I'm clean, man." Sean said calmly.

"Me too." said Martin.

They left the bar and bought some condoms. They went to Martin's apartment.
Martin and Sean spent the night together. Martin had never really been with
a man before and he was very curious about that. He and Sean did the hanky
panky for two hours. They finally stopped, breathless. They went to sleep.
When Martin woke up the next morning, Sean was gone.

Unbeknownst to Martin, his longtime nemesis Pam had been walking by. She
followed Martin home and saw him doing it with Sean. She had a camera on her
and took some pictures. "I'm gonna get you, sucka." she said. "Martin Payne
is a faggot, who would have thought?"

To be continued...

    

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