Hey, this is an idea I had a long time ago and just have been too lazy to do until now. I am going to start posting chapters from my books here. I blogged all of Jason Of The Valley on MySpace back in the day and it got a considerable reaction. I think it’s time to try again with a larger audience. Also, I’d like to let you know that I began Free Book Friday (#freebookfriday) and every Friday I’ll be offering one of my novels for free. Which one this week? Who knows? Oh. Yeah. I do. But you’re going to have to wait. I’ll post here to let you know which one has been chosen. I figure it’s a great way to get a free book you can read if you have any down time over the coming weekend.
Anyway, let’s get the show on the road. This is the first chapter o f Jason Of The Valley. If you like and want to see more, let me know, otherwise I’ll post a different chapter from a different book next time. And if you like, be sure to share with others. Spread the joy! (btw the formatting of the novel doesn’t translate here, so apologies on that one.)
Vodka & Nachos
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2003
VAN NUYS, CA 9:13 P.M.
Jason Preston pushed through the security door leading to the courtyard of Terrace Lane Apartments in Van Nuys a little after nine in the evening. He walked past the planters in the courtyard that housed some overgrown plants that had oddly twisted trunks that seemed limp and weary, as though they were about to snap under their own weight. He looked at them and thought they were looking as tired as he felt.
As he approached his door with the little ‘9’ on it, he looked up and saw Cynthia Davis on her balcony above him putting up some bright, white lights.
“Hey! Cynth! What’s with the illumination?” Jason asked. Cynthia Davis, a pretty young girl with her strawberry blonde hair pulled tight in a long ponytail, looked down and smiled almost as brightly as the lights she was stringing up.
“I just thought I’d add a little something. Things just started looking a little drab lately. What do you think? Kind of like stars?” Jason looked up and examined them. They were plain white icicle lights. The kind that could be found strung along the ceilings of Italian restaurants.
“It’s nice. Kind of makes a dreamy effect.” He said as he looked up at the fine, white points of light above.
“Yeah, don’t they, though? They even make this place look magical. What are you doing home so late? Or is it early?” Jason laughed a bit at the notion of coming home early on a Friday night.
“Actually, it’s late. Just a lot of paperwork at the office. Cleaning up messes, late ads and what not.” Cynthia shrugged and let out a breathy sigh and went back to arranging her lights.
“You and your nine to five.”
“Sorry, we all can’t have the flexible hours of a massage therapist. It’s fine. Made a few hours of overtime. Desperately needed overtime.”
“Well, are you going out then?”
“Probably not. I’m too tired. I’m just gonna crash tonight.” Cynthia looked down at Jason in a disappointed frown.
“Sorry. I’m just too tired. You can still go out. We’re not joined at the hip.”
“No, that’s okay. I didn’t want to go out especially anyway.”
“Fine, then.” Jason then turned to his door with his keys at the ready.
“Want to come up for a drink?” Cynthia asked. Jason stopped in his tracks. He craned his head back up to Cynthia.
“Did I not just say I’m tired?”
“Oh, come on! At least come up here for one drink. I just got a new bottle of vanilla vodka! Have to break it in,” Jason slumped his shoulders down. “You don’t have to get dressed up or anything. Just shower, throw on some sweats and get your ass up here!”
“Fine, fine. Give me a few minutes okay?” Cynthia grinned and danced back inside through her sliding glass door.
Jason knocked on Cynthia’s door exactly eight minutes later. She answered wearing a pastel colored jogging suit. He stood before her in a purple t-shirt, Novelty ‘Tootsie Roll’ lounge pants he had gotten at Target and socks.
“Come in, come in! I’ve been dying for a drink all day!”
“So, why didn’t you just have a drink?”
“Drink alone? Please. Then I’d have a problem.” Jason walked in. Her apartment was a chaotic tribute to new age and old Hollywood. Posters of old movies and dead stars littered her walls, with dream catchers in the window and sticks of incense and candles all over the place. She had a Sandalwood candle burning on her kitchen table where she led Jason and forced him down onto a seat.
“Just relax. I’m going to make you one of my specials.”
“Please, not too much okay? I’m not really in the mood to get drunk.”
“Did you have dinner?”
“No.” Cynthia walked over to her little white fridge and pulled it open. She instantly pulled out a large plastic bag and set it down in front of Jason.
“Some leftover nachos from the other night. I barely touched them. Feel free.”
“I told them I didn’t want any meat on them, but when I got home, it was like they just shredded a two pound steak right on top.”
Jason was barely listening as he dug into the heap of chips and guacamole and well-cooked steak. Cynthia was a devout Vegetarian, but she seemed to tolerate Jason’s never ending lust for meat. Cynthia looked at Jason with perverse curiosity as he devoured the nachos. He was like a lion on a freshly killed zebra.
“Easy! They’re not going anywhere.” Jason stopped for a moment.
“Sorry. I’m just really hungry. I barely had lunch and that was so long ago. I’ve been up and running around ever since. And today was a gym day too,” Cynthia sat down with Jason, with the Vodka bottle in hand and two glasses. She poured. “Straight up?”
“For now. Just to warm up. Looks like you could use a little jolt about now.” Jason took his glass. He swirled it watching the clear liquid inside very carefully. With a deep breath, he swallowed down the fluid. He shuddered violently almost instantly, coughing and choking.
“G-g-good. Real smooth.” He stuttered between heaving fits. Cynthia looked at him with sympathetic eyes.
“You are such a light weight. You need to drink more. Then you’d be able to handle it,” She said just as she gulped hers down as if it were air. “Not bad.”
“Just get me some soda for it. Please.”
“Sure thing, kiddo.” Cynthia got up and got a six-pack of cola out and put the cans on the table within reach. She poured more Vodka into the two glasses and passed one to Jason. He busied himself trying to drown the Vodka in soda.
“Okay,” He said, “What’s wrong?”
“What makes you think anything’s wrong?”
“Because you only have me up here for cocktails if there’s something wrong. So what is it?”
“My parents are coming in for a visit.”
“So? I thought you got along with your mom and dad.”
“I do. I do. It’s just they’re coming on a mission.”
“What?” Jason asked, raising an eyebrow because he knew that always made Cynthia laugh a little. This time was no exception.
“The never-ending crusade to make sure I won’t die alone. It’s a fix up visit.”
“Mom thinks since I’m about to enter the big 3-0, it’s time I started thinking about marriage. She’s not satisfied with my dating style as it is now, so she went about finding a man for me. His name is Douglas Smythe. He’s the son of one of my dad’s friends.”
“So, they’re importing men for you now?”
“No, Douglas lives here in LA, but mom wouldn’t give me his number or address or anything. She insists on being the one to introduce us. It’s all about the credit for the match up for her. It’s her fondest dream to be there on my wedding day, telling everyone in the family how she brought me and my husband together. How she single handedly saved my life from the obscurity of old maid-hood.”
“God bless her.”
“Yes. So, we’re all going to meet and greet over lunch tomorrow. Which should be in twelve hours or so.”
“Well, at least you’ve some prospects.”
“What’s the matter? No one responding to your online ad?”
“No! It’s been two weeks. I put on the best picture I could find. I tried to be as clever and funny in my little write up as I could. There was one guy. We were emailing back and forth for a couple days, then I just gave him my number but he never called and I haven’t heard from him at all since. Other than that, it’s been zero. Every now and then I’ll get a wink or a nod from someone, but usually there’s something wrong with them. Too old, too scary. Too non-human. Am I a magnet for these freaks or what?” Cynthia put her hand on Jason’s head and stroked his soft hair gently.
“It’s not you, honey. It’s the world. You are a cute, sweet, adorable guy. Anyone would give anything in the world to be your boyfriend. You are a catch, plain and simple. Fuck ’em if they don’t see that. Right?”
“Yeah. It just seems everyone wants a thick muscled, model perfect stud. Anything less is rejected.”
“You are fine. Okay, you’re not cut like Abercrombie and Fitch models, but you’re not obese! You have a nice solid build, looks like. Perfect for cuddling. You always smell nice. If you weren’t gay, I’d jump you right now.”
“Oh, your mother would love that.”
“I’m sure she would. It would save her the trip of coming out here.” Jason laughed. He had met Cynthia’s mother once. She seemed to like him. She had no idea Jason was gay though, and Cynthia had no intention of telling her, as Cynthia’s mother was a very naive and sheltered person with simple, old fashioned values. The very idea of her daughter socializing with one of the homosexuals in the city of sin would just send her head first into the grave.
Jason noticed the clock on the wall. It read Eleven forty five.
“Okay, if that’s the big emergency, I think it’s safe to say it isn’t that harsh. I think I’m going to go to bed now.” As Jason got up, Cynthia grabbed him by the shoulder in protest.
“Just one more.” She pleaded. Jason looked into her eyes and lost all sense of better judgment.
“Fine. One more.”
Jason stumbled out of Cynthia’s apartment a few minutes shy of three. ‘One more’ had turned into six or seven more very potent cocktails. Cynthia had offered to let him sleep on the couch, but Jason preferred to sleep in his own bed.
She helped him down to his door where he struggled with the lock but made it in. It was dark and quiet as Jason walked in. Jason’s roommate, Ben Kollins, wasn’t home. One of the benefits of living with a porn star Jason thought.
Ben Kollins was something of a legend in the gay porn industry. He’d been in the biz for nearly ten years and seemed to only grow more popular as the years went by. He wasn’t getting as much work in the movies as he used to, but that was partly his choice. He made up for it with a blossoming go-go dancing career and he did a little escorting on the side as well. Jason wasn’t sure about living with someone like Ben, but after a week of living together, he realized he was just a regular person. In fact, he found many fringe benefits to having a roommate in the porn world. He was hardly ever home since he was so busy with his parties and dancing jobs. It was almost like living alone.
Jason stumbled through the dark living room towards his room. He managed to navigate through the darkness without knocking over anything. He made it into his room and clumsily walked over some dirty clothes he had laying on the floor. Jason fell face down upon his twin bed. A sad little conviction that he would never share his bed with anyone ever. He turned over onto his back and looked up at the ceiling. He saw the light from the lamp outside his window shining in, creating shadows along his walls. His head began to spin and his stomach lurched but nothing came out. He relaxed a bit. He began to struggle to kick off his shoes. He felt the right one slip off at last and the left one came off a bit easier. He was about to sit up to take off his pants but decided anything beyond the shoes would be too advanced. He simply laid flat on his back, trying to focus on the ceiling but his head was spinning like a top.
His eyes began to focus and he looked over and saw his laptop laying on the floor. He sat up and reached for it, grabbing it by the little plastic handle in the back. He put it on his lap and flipped it open. The screen glowed with a white brilliance, lighting the entire room. The internet browser was already launched and ready to go. He just clicked and off he was. In the back of his mind he felt surfing the net in his condition would be a bad idea, but he was also too drunk to care.
He watched as the screens changed as it logged on. First the advertisements. Then the welcome page. Then more advertisements. He clicked through all those and clicked on the mail button, since the charming voice had alerted him that he did have mail. He could barely read the words, but he could tell the majority of his notes were just junk mail. A few forwarded jokes from his friends. He decided to read those in the morning. Then he saw something interesting. A response to his online ad. He opened it and read with amusement.
‘Hello’ it read. ‘I saw your profile online and I wanted to say hi. You’re really cute. I’m always looking to meet new people and you seem like the kind of person I’d like to know better. Here’s a link to my profile, read it and if you like what you see, email me back. Sorry but I don’t have a picture up yet, but I’ll send one soon. Hope to hear from you. Ian.’
Jason clicked on the link and tried to read what he could. He was twenty nine; his measurements didn’t appear to be abnormal. Not too skinny, not too heavy, he liked cats and seemed to be a real laid back guy. Jason wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol, but it would seem Ian was worthy of a reply at least. Jason clicked the reply button on his email and wrote as best he could that he liked Ian’s profile and would like to talk. By the time Jason had finished the sentence; he had totally lost consciousness and fell off the bed. He managed to drag himself back up. The computer had slid off his lap and had followed Jason to the floor. He picked it up and examined it. The message was still up and ready to be sent. He climbed back up onto the bed and after focusing his eyes on the screen, he clicked the send button. His message was sent successfully. With that, he shut down his computer, set it back down on the floor and stretched out onto his bed again. He soon fell asleep.
The next morning, Jason woke up tasting only his raw tongue in his mouth. He looked up and saw the morning sun was streaming into his bedroom. He then noticed the clock on the nightstand and noticed it was nearly noon. He saw his computer lying on the floor upside down. He couldn’t remember what had happened and just made a silent vow never to drink with Cynthia again. He grabbed his computer to see if he had been online. He saw that he had been. He logged on to see the damage he had done, or to see if he had wrangled any new nude pictures.
He checked the mail, but he saw no new pics sent to him, he did however notice a message with a subject line that read ‘RE: No Subject’. He clicked on it assuming to find a link to the latest, greatest website to see young, barely legal teens play with vegetables and vacuum cleaners. Instead he saw a real, honest to God message. A guy named Ian, who was talking to him as if they had spoken before. Jason checked his sent mail and was surprised to see an outgoing message to Ian that was sent the previous evening before he passed out. Jason was a bit amazed a reply had come as his note back to Ian could barely be defined as English. He was relieved that he hadn’t given out his phone number. Jason got up and felt a rush of blood race to his head. He stumbled back slightly and felt the world tilt. He suddenly felt a rumble shoot through his body and his mouth felt like it was filling with saliva. He bolted to the bathroom and dove for the toilet. It wasn’t long before he began realizing that Vodka and nachos did not mix.