Arresting Gay Erotica
By James Buchanan
Short Story Collection
Pure human chaos ebbed and flowed around me. There’s no other way to describe the pre-LA County fair set up. Hundreds of people; moving booths in, setting up, getting trash out. Air hammers popped across the clatter of carts and the rumble of trucks. So many voices clamored for attention that none of them came across distinct. I dodged more crap on the walk from the fair substation to this call than the last time I’d run the obstacle course for a fitness qualifier.
I followed a large, dark man in a faded and sweat stained maintenance uniform. He barreled through the chaos of trucks, carneys and vendors like they’d just get out of his way. And he was right. Dude cut a swath in the set-up crowd faster than a drunk on a bulldozer. “Hey, Marzi!” My guide boomed as he headed through the open doors into one of the exhibit halls. Ahead of us, one man, tools spread around his feet knelt next to an open access panel. Another man, half-in and half-out of the opening, futzed with wires springing out like confetti streamers stopped in mid flight. “The cops are here.”
The first call of the fair and the Pomona Fair substation wasn’t even fully up and running yet, but there I was taking an assignment. It promised to be an interesting month. As I walked, I keyed the mike on my shoulder and cleared dispatch with the Orange designation – Pomona PD used that one to identify which units worked the grounds.
The man named Marzi, the guy I was supposed to see, twisted in place to look back at me. Broad back, muscled in a lean, hard kinda way, loose jeans slung on his hips, with a lot of gray braking up the mass of black hair. Little fine lines – the good type you get from smiling and laughing – wove character into Marzi’s face. Whoa, that picture went right through me to touch every button I had. Definitely promised to be an interesting month…especially if I got to look at eye candy like that now and again.
“What’s the problem, Mr….” Shit, I didn’t know whether the name I’d heard was the guy’s first or last. Or, really, whether he or the dude up to his butt crack in wires was Marzi. I assumed the one who looked up was responding to his name.
Marzi stood and pulled an orange rag from his pocket. Full bore, those huge brown eyes smoldered…at about my chin level. Hot damn, a guy shorter than me; it’s one of my things, what can I say? At five-seven, I’m not short, but I ain’t tall.
Before offering me a shake, he wiped his hands on the cloth. “Marzi, Vito Marzi.” He offered up one of those twisted smiles that’s not quite a smirk but still full of welcome. His face folded into a map of mirth years and years into the making. Vito’s grip was strong, layered with the calluses of a man who worked with his hands. Kinda nice feeling. His brown eyes locked on me like no one else in the world existed. “Officer?” Vito’s touch tickled every nerve in my palm. So far I liked what I saw.
Not that I’d admit it to anyone.
Wasn’t a problem with me being gay, liking guys. Shit, the scuttlebutt alone would clue anyone in within days: cops gossip worse than old ladies. And everyone at Pomona PD had the lowdown on me from day one…’cause I don’t hide it. If that didn’t give people a heads up, the pride watch I always wore might.
Let’s face it, I can walk into Chinatown and everyone knows by looking at me I’m Chinese…fourth generation American, raised on sitcoms and Fruity Pebbles, but I’m identifiable. The visual cues of my queerdom are not out and being broadcast when I’m in uniform though. And it’s important that those we serve see people who they identify with on the force. So, I wear a watch with a rainbow band since that’s about all the force will let me personalize my uniform.
However, I was on duty and Vito Marzi was a theft victim. There are things you shouldn’t mix and that’s one of the biggies. I smiled, couldn’t help but do otherwise, public servant and all that. “Lo, Sergeant Lo.” I corrected. “So what’s up, Mr. Marzi?”
“Okay,” his voice dropped down a bit in pitch, “Sergeant Lo,” There was something a little scruffy and a lot sexy about Vito. Fuck if I knew what it was. Thick hair curled kinda wavy, brushing the collar of his uniform shirt. I guessed he hadn’t shaved in a couple of days and the not quite beard almost covered a cleft in Vito’s chin. Those brooding eyes set deep in a sharp, heart shaped face crawled over me and landed on my watch. The flash of recognition hit enough I could see it, recognize it.
That’s why I wore the watch.