Monday, August 23, 2010

SirTom Enterprises, Part XI

The next morning I didn’t wake up until Ed began to unlock, unlace, and unzip the hood I’d worn all night. Somewhere in the middle of the night he’d been kind enough to undo the sock bondage on my wrists. He was such a pup in the bed as he finally pulled the hood off me. “C’mon! Get up! We’re in San Francisco for godsake! Time’s wasting!”

“I assume you have coffee for me,” I muttered as I stumbled to the bathroom.

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK,” I screamed from behind the bathroom door.

Ed rushed in, expecting to find me dead on the floor. Instead he found me peering into the mirror. “Look at my face! I have hood face! Holy shit! I can’t go out like this!” The seams in the leather hood had made a deep tattoo all across my face and the rest of my shaved hood. A full 8 hours in it had left deep marks.

Ed slapped my butt. “Take a long shower, put a cold washcloth on your face, and I’ll be a good pup and go get you a very large coffee. You’re going out with me today if I have to drag you in collar and leash.”

An hour later I was looking only slightly strange and, like Ed, quite ready to hit the streets. The air was crisp and we’d worn our leather jackets. It was one of the many things I loved about San Francisco, leather jackets were possible almost 12 months a year. I chuckled as we walked. I was in the mood to stroll, Ed kept racing ahead then racing back to urge me to walk faster. In yet another way I was reminded of his pup energy.

As we walked I kept thinking of the man who’d given me his card at dinner the previous night. And I kept thinking of Ed’s intelligent outlook about men who overlooked him. And I kept thinking of the incredible night I’d spent with SirTom. And inside my pocket was the card that had been handed to me last evening. It simply said “Frank Guthrie” followed by a phone number. We’d reached a CD store and Ed was dying to go inside. I sent him in alone and found a low curb where I could stretch out.

Not sure what was drawing me, I took out my cell phone and dialed the number on the engraved card. The phone rang 4 times and I was about to hang up when the voice I’d only heard for a few words last night answered.

“Alan! I’m so glad you called!”

I was a bit speechless. “I’m sorry, but how do you know my name?”

“Caller ID. Your name came up when you called and I figured with the 770 area code you must be from Atlanta. The number you called is one I rarely give out. Very rarely. It pleases me to no end that you made the call though, boy.”

“Look. I don’t really appreciate being called boy. Especially not by someone I’ve not ever even met.”

“I’m so very sorry you feel that way, Alan. And I apologize. It was silly of me to assume that you always went by that role. And you have to understand, having watched you on the screen in your many magnificent scenes, and having rewatched all of those scenes, well, of course I do know a great deal more about you than you do about me.”

“I’m not even sure why I called. As a courtesy to a client of SirTom Enterprises, I guess. I have to tell you I was a little creeped out when you recognized me last night as that was one of my original fears when I signed on with them.”

“But you know that I have a great deal more to lose than you if any one were to recognize me as a client of that site. So trust me, your secret is quite safe. I assume that you will also respect my privacy relative to this.”

“That goes without saying. I wouldn’t dream of letting anyone know about any client of SirTom’s. But you gave me a card with your name on it. That doesn’t scare you?”

Frank Guthrie chortled. “Frank Guthrie is not my real name. I don’t have a recognizable face as the work I do keeps me out of public view, but my real name I can promise you has appeared in many newspapers day after day. I keep a very low profile, but most of the world would recognize me by name.”

“I see. Well, I want to let you know that I appreciate what you said about being a ‘fan’ of mine. It’s very flattering and I hope that you’ll enjoy the good many scenes coming up, both of me and the rest of the men I work with.” It sounded so “canned” but I was hoping to put up a wall between us, one that was professional, and hopefully leading to closure.

“Alan, I’d like to meet you. Do you think that might be possible this evening?”

So much for those hopes. “I’m not sure I feel comfortable with that, Mr. Guthrie.” I paused. “Is that what I should call you, Sir?”

He chuckled. “Well, Sir, has a nice ring to it. But for now, yes, Mr. Guthrie will be fine. The restaurant we ate dinner at last night has a private room upstairs. They save it exclusively for me when I’m in town. You would do me a great honor to join me. Just to talk, to savor a nice meal together. Say yes, Alan, it would be a little dream come true for me.”

My brain was spinning. But nothing was coming out of my mouth.

“I’d be happy to make a little contribution to SirTom Enterprises if that’s what you’re thinking about. Or I can make that contribution directly to you, if you’d prefer.”

I sputtered, “Oh, no! That’s not it at all! In fact I’d rather you not! I’m fairly new to this as you know. I’m just not sure if it’s ‘protocol’ for us actors to meet with the clients of SirTom.”

“Alan, I admire your integrity. Just another reason I want to meet you. Let’s do this: I’ll have a car call for you at 8:00 tonight. Leave this number with your friend for your own safety. I’ll meet you at the restaurant, we’ll dine, we’ll chat, and I’ll have you back to your hotel no later than 11:00. I would think SirTom would be quite happy to know that you were solidifying a union with one of his original investors and happy clients!”

I gave in. Why not. This man had caught my attention last night. I can’t lie about that. And I really could justify that by having dinner I’d be helping SirTom and the company. I gave “Mr. Guthrie” the address of the B&B and we hung up, him obviously much happier than I about the arrangements.

Ed came out of the CD store, a pretty good sized bag hanging from his hand. “C’mon, old man. I think I better get some food in you and get you home for a nap.”

We ate, we cabbed it back to the B&B, Ed modeled all his new clothing for me, and I let Ed know about Frank Guthrie and the dinner meeting. A crease in his eyebrows appeared as I finished describing the phone call. “Are you sure this is the right thing to do?”

“No, I’m not, quite honestly.” Something was “off” about all of this, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. “I know it’s harmless, a dinner in public, and it’s a little ego trip for me to have a “fan” want so much to spend time with me. But I’m a little like you…just not sure it’s the right thing to do.”

Ed proved the smarter of us. “Let’s call SirTom. He’ll want to know about this and he’ll have good advice.”

“Once more that good breeding comes through. If I could only learn to think with my brain, rather than my dick.”

I tried calling ST Enterprises, got through to Davey, but he let me know SirTom had left for the day. He’d forward me to voicemail, but also do his best to get hold of SirTom. “How’s it going out there? You guys are having a lot of fun, yes? Oh! And I’m glad you called. The appointment with the metal craftsman has been changed to 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. You have the address. And don’t be on gay-time tomorrow. This guy is VERY hard to get with, but is absolutely the very best at what he does.”

Davey transferred me to SirTom’s voice mail and I left a fairly detailed story of what had occurred with “Frank Guthrie.” I shared with Ed the change in appointments for tomorrow.

“From the sounds of it SirTom wasn’t there.”

“Nope. So I guess I have to make this decision myself. I’m going to call Mr. Guthrie and postpone our meeting until I’ve had a chance to talk with SirTom. I don’t want to offend the client but it’s clear we both have something bothering us about all of this. I believe in red flags and paying heed to them.”

Ed was thrilled with my decision and complimented me on my own clear thinking. “Guess you got some good breeding too! I would love to see what our love-children would turn out to look like.”

I called the number from the card I’d been given so I could break off the dinner date. All I could do was a leave a message as Mr. Guthrie didn’t answer. I took a deep breath to put it all behind me and looked at Ed perched on his chair across the room. Those puppy dog eyes had a glint in them. “Get over here,” I said.

He pounced from the chair over to the bed where I was laying while making the phone call. From under the pillow I pulled the demonic hood I’d bought yesterday. “I think you need to help me break this in. Now turn around. Trust me, you’ll sleep better for our nap, and if you’re really good to me I’ll promise to take it off before we go out tonight!”

I tried calling twice more before 8:00 to let Mr. Guthrie know of the cancellation but each time I got voice mail. I left him my number so that I could apologize and explain person to person, but I never heard back from him. I also checked voice mail several times hoping there’d be a call from SirTom, but no luck. Finally I dozed for a bit cuddled up with the hooded Ed.

At a little after 9:00 that night I woke with a start. There was a pounding at the door and simultaneously my cell phone was ringing. “I’ll be right there!” I hollered at the closed door. Ed was still sound asleep, oblivious to the outside world, safely locked in the thick hood. I grabbed the phone and answered.

“Alan! This is SirTom. I just received your message…..”

“SirTom! I am so glad you called back. Listen someone’s knocking at the door, can you hold on a minute?”

“Alan, NO!” But I’d already laid the phone on the bed and gone to the door to open it.

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