Skulduggery

To exist on this earth is to choose evil. This is the belief that Bennet Austin upheld from an early age. He was born, like so many of us, into poverty and mediocrity. It wasn’t until around the time of his lackluster entrance into what the Jews call manhood that he began to hatch a plan. He would prostitute himself in the most conventional way a man can: for other men. Considering his residence in Hawthorne–yes, where Marilyn Monroe as Norma Jean Baker spent her early childhood–it would be easy to gain access to the type of clientele he needed in nearby mainland Los Angeles.

Because his parents were often too preoccupied arguing over the whereabouts of Bennet’s father when he wasn’t at work, he found it easy to slip out at night and make his way to the seedy Hollywood Boulevard of 1974. It was the time of the mass exodus, both of residents and movie studios, to the then more desirable San Fernando Valley. In their wake, the fleers left an orgy of decadence, a paradise of debauchery. This was the bubble of bombast Bennet entered almost every evening, building his reputation as one of the best rent boys in town. There was nothing he wouldn’t do–rim job, blow job, munging, whatever. Bennet was the guy who said no to nothing, thereby building a reputation as the person to go to for curing any sexual desire.

Late one summer evening toward the end of August, Bennet was seeing one of his more regular clients, Dennis, a thin, scraggly man in his late forties. Dennis was, to Bennet’s annoyance, the type of personality who had to talk copiously before a sex act in order to justify physical intimacy. It was Dennis’ custom to take Bennet to Mel’s Drive-In–in all of its defunct, tacky glory–at the corner of Hollywood and Highland Avenue. Other than Bennet and Dennis sitting in a car, the only other souls around were homeless people and ghoulish hookers lingering in the parking lot. Luckily, Bennet was not sensitive to his surroundings, and these environs never off-put him from giving Dennis what he ultimately wanted: an approximately fifteen-minute long sucking, followed by letting Dennis lick his asshole. It was always the same; Dennis would never go beyond this routine to permit actual penetration to occur. Again, if Bennet was a more sensitive guy, he might have been offended.

The truth was, when Dennis returned home (to the San Fernando Valley, of course) at night after being with Bennet, he was all Dennis thought about. At work the next day, he could hardly focus on selling digital watches at Radio Shack thinking about the distinct freckle on Bennet’s left buttock. It was details like these that made Bennet more special to Dennis than any other man he had ever paid to be with. He wanted to be with Bennet every night, but he knew that Bennet’s schedule would never allow it. As for Bennet, he could barely remember who Dennis was most of the time until he brought him to that goddamn Mel’s, his signature move.

Because Bennet would frequently let his clients pay him in Quaaludes rather than tangible cash, he often had trouble remembering much other than a generally relaxed feeling. It was especially helpful to possess this sort of calm when he would go back home to Hawthorne around two in the morning and deal with the nebulous shrieking rants of his mother, who had now divided her time between yelling at his father and yelling at him. Bennet didn’t hate her though; he pitied her. She was just another housewife who became an anachronism once The Feminine Mystique was released. He let her take out her aggression on him in the hope that it would relieve her of some of the pain she felt as a result of irrelevancy.

When she was done, he would nod and retire to his room, which consisted of minimal decorations, including a poster of Marilyn Monroe from her pin-up era. At this point, he had been hooking for a year, and had more than enough cash to break out on his own. But he had to be careful, plan everything just right so that he never needed to depend on another human being again. He would start his own empire; not one of moviemaking or dream-mining, but of dick.

To be the sultan of the skin trade in Hollywood, Bennet had three key tasks to accomplish: wipe out the current one, get the rent boys on his side by offering them a better percentage and harnessing all the spare Quaaludes he had gotten as a greasing agent for cajoling them at the meeting he would hold up by the decaying Hollywood sign upon killing Rico. Rico wasn’t the sort of man any sane person would try to fuck with. He had the brutishness of Brando with the attitude of Dean and Caulfield combined. In short, he was scary. But Bennet was young enough to possess the sort of unwavering confidence required to kill a man. He set about doing so by getting Dennis to procure him a deluxe Swiss army knife from Radio Shack. Dennis was happy to do so, and didn’t ask questions about why Bennet might need it. He almost hoped it was for some deviant sexual purpose that mixed the best elements of pain with pleasure. He wondered if Bennet might ever use it on him during one of their trysts. When weeks passed and he didn’t, his curiosity got the better of him. He had to know what Bennet was going to do with it. He knew him well enough to realize that he had a premeditated use for it. And so, on a Tuesday after he had finished going through all his usual items on the sex menu with Bennet, he pretended to drive off after dropping him near Hollywood Wax Museum. Once Bennet had gotten far enough ahead, Dennis parked his car and got out, following him discreetly down the boulevard until seeing him take a sharp turn on Gower Street, slinking toward the back of the Pantages Theater like a snake slithering into its hole.

Dennis waited a time, not sure anymore if he really wanted to know what Bennet was doing. Maybe it was better to leave the mystery between them. Just as he was going to turn back for the direction of his car, he heard a muffled scream and couldn’t resist the temptation to see what exactly was going on. His trot morphed into a run when the cries grew louder. As he rounded the side of the building, he caught Bennet giving the final stabs to Rico’s stomach with the knife Dennis had provided him with. Rather than appearing horrified, Dennis was relieved. He would rather Bennet used the weapon for murder as opposed to some sort of sexual encounter with another man. It was then he knew he was in love with Bennet, for he truly would have done anything for him.

Seeing this in Dennis’ eyes, Bennet let Rico slump to the ground and said sternly, “Go get your car and help me put him in your trunk.”

Dennis nodded and did as he was told. Originally, Bennet had no intention of holding on to the body, but now that he knew he had an ally, he figured it would be best to show all the other rent boys what he was capable of in order to get them to adhere to him as the new boss of Hollywood Boulevard. When Dennis returned, he turned his headlights off, got out of the car and mechanically assisted Bennet in stuffing Rico into the trunk.

“Where do you want me to go?” Dennis asked once they were both in the front.

“Gordon and Santa Monica.”

Dennis stepped on the gas, occasionally side glancing at Bennet. Taking notice of his gazes, Bennet finally snapped, “What? You got somethin’ to say?”

“No. I just…who is this guy?”

“That’s Rico. He’s my former employer.”

They pulled up to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, deserted at this time of night.

“What are we doing here?”

“I gotta bury him until you can get me a camera to take pictures of his corpse. I gotta show the other boys on the boulevard this shit.”

“Oh.”

They got out of the car again and removed Rico, ever bloodier, from the trunk. Hauling him to the perimeter grounds, Dennis spotted an errant shovel propped up against a mausoleum. Bennet looked from him to the shovel.

“Listen, you think you could dig him a shallow grave while I borrow your car? It might be better if I bring the boys here, so they can see for themselves in person.”

Dennis was uneasy, but didn’t want to ruin his chance to please Bennet in a way that no one else could. Intuiting his hesitancy, Bennet walked over to him and put his hand on his groin. Wordlessly, he took Dennis’ pants off to reveal an almost instantaneous erection. He began to move his hand up and down Dennis’ shaft until the point of release. When it was over, Dennis was out of breath and out of any will to say no to whatever Bennet demanded of him.

As Bennet peeled away from the cemetery, Dennis set about preparing a makeshift grave. He pierced the ground repeatedly for what felt like hours but was actually only twenty-five minutes. Now before him stood a two-foot deep hole. He shrugged and figured it would have to suffice as a temporary tomb. Just as he picked Rico up from his ragdoll position on the grass, a siren blared and headlights flooded his entire corner of the cemetery.

Bennet had had another change of plan while driving away from the Pantages with Dennis. Why risk getting blamed for the murder when he had the perfect person to pin it on? Moreover, why suffer through the exasperation of ever having to sit at Mel’s Drive-In with Dennis again and suck his more often than not dirty, odorous cock and then swallow for the extra ten bucks Dennis gave him. No, this way, Bennet was getting rid of the two most cumbersome people in his life, freeing himself of the oppression of a master and the responsibility of being someone’s object of affection.

Dennis was arrested and given the death penalty. Bennet never had to tell the other rent boys it was he who killed Rico, as they automatically deferred to him for his matchless supply of Quaaludes and fairer rate as a pimp. You might say Bennet lived happily ever after. And it was all because he chose evil.

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