Chapter 2: Baby, It’s 3am I must be lonely
I started my shift with a cup of coffee and an introduction to my task schedule. As someone with a medical degree, I knew I would have more duties than the average prison volunteer (especially since I had a twelve-hour night shift) but part of me was looking forward to it. I had wasted too much time trying to be a New Jersey mafia bad-ass, maybe South Dakota was where I truly belonged.
The hospice clinic had two floors of patient rooms, with sixty patients in total. From eight to midnight I would be on the second floor learning the medication schedule, listening for emergency calls, etc. Basically, I would be trying to remain conscious until my lunchbreak.
But at 11:50, I was told to go to the first floor to clean up a turned over trash can. Nightshift supervisor told me to clean it and then go to lunch; the longer I took, the less of a lunch break I would be able to enjoy. I assume this was so he could continue his card game with my co-workers.
“Whatever,” I said with a sigh. I picked up a broom and dustpan, making my way down the stairs. Outside the first-floor doorway I immediately saw the mess. A trashcan had been turned over, with the contents scattered down the hall leading towards an exit. It was the garden, I could tell by the light of the moon piercing through the single window. And there was someone waiting for me. The space between the door and the window was obscured by shadows, but by the light of the window, I could make out his face. “Hi, Noah.”
Noah stepped into the light. With the coy smirk on his face, he looked even younger than his twenty-two years. “Hi, Marc.” Noah ran his fingers through his long black hair. For a prisoner dying of cancer, he had the shiny hair of a fashion model. That only added more fuel to the mystery: just how long had he been off treatment?
“I’m glad you got my message. Join me for a smoke?” Noah pulled out a joint as he opened the door.
“Your message?” I was annoyed, but the mess wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Noah shrugged. “I’ll tell you more when I see you outside.”
I made quick work of cleaning up the trashcan and followed. Opening the door, I easily found Noah resting on the dead grass, looking up at the moon as he blew smoke rings. “So, you’re allowed to have pot?” I made sure to stay a good distance away, since I sure as hell was not allowed the illegal substance.
“It’s my pain medicine,” Noah said with a giggle. He tilted his head back until he was looking at me with an upside-down smile. “Come on, you won’t get in trouble.”
“I’ll take your word for it.” I sat down by Noah’s side, close enough to touch his empty hand. I stroked his fingers, one by one. (But there was no way I was touching his ‘pain medicine.’)
Looking up at the starry night sky, I could feel Noah’s fingers caressing mine. He rolled on to his side, resting his head on my shoulder. “I’m glad you’re here, I figured I owe you an explanation.”
“Sure,” I said calmly. The late-night air was nice and cool. I couldn’t help but feel relaxed.
“Sure?” Noah asked. He seemed disappointed.
“I’m a volunteer and you’re a patient so legally I’m not allowed to ask questions about who you are or why you’re here.” But it wasn’t that I didn’t care, I was supposed to treat all patients with the same level of compassion.
Noah put the joint down, letting it blow away with the soft wind. “I killed a man.”
“Really?” I asked with a chuckle.
“What would you have guessed?”
“I don’t know, something involving drugs.”
“Because I’m Lakota?” Noah turned to me with an innocent grin, as the wind blew his long hair over his face. “All of us drunk-ass Indians…”
“No,” I said with a laugh. I knew I was blushing. “It’s because you look too…”
“I don’t know.” Too young, too beautiful, too innocent to be in a place like this.
Noah moved closer, stroking his hand under my work shirt. “You’re not wrong. The guy was a drug dealer, a total plague on society. I caught him robbing my mother while she was too high to notice. And I did what I had to do.”
I felt my abs tighten. “I believe you.”
Noah stroked the hair from my navel down my hips. “Now it’s your turn.” He moved closer until his body was entirely over mine.
Looking into Noah’s eyes I was fully prepared to bare my soul. “I-”
Suddenly, Noah went limp, collapsing into my arms. “Ow…”
“I-I’m fine.” He was trembling, shivering, his chest going into visible spasms.
From a lying position, it was difficult to make it to my feet with a limp body in my arms, but somehow, I managed it. I had been trained on what to do in an emergency situation: press the call light in any of the rooms. Of course, there was no easily locatable call light in the garden.
“It’s under the bench,” said a deep voice from the doorway. Two large arms picked up Noah from my grasp carrying him like a bride. It was Juan-Palo, Noah’s roommate and lover. For a terminally ill man in his fifties, he was surprisingly strong. “I imagine you will be here long after Noah and I are gone, you will probably need that information.”
“Should we push it now?” I asked since Noah seemed to be having trouble breathing.
“No, he’ll be fine once he’s back on his bi-pap.”
“Um, ok.” I followed as he carried Noah back to their room. Technically I was on my lunchbreak so I had time.
Juan-Palo laid Noah on their bed and attached the oxygen mask. Within moments Noah was breathing comfortably.
Noah blinked tears from his eyes, while silently mouthing the words, ‘I’m sorry.’
“Nothing to be sorry about, ” the older man said with a comforting tone. “I’m the one who let you go through with your silly plan.”
He rolled Noah on to his side and started to undress him, revealing his disfigured shoulders and back. Noah’s body was a roadmap, of scars. Clearly, he had at one point, been forced into the fetal position to protect his face and chest.
“Wow.” I sat on the bed, and touched Noah’s hand.
Juan-Palo looked at me with his dark eyes. “Just because someone is broken, doesn’t make them any less human.”
“I, um…” The words choked in my throat. In my few years as a mob doctor I had forced myself to never see my patients as people. To me they were all projects; remove the bullet, administer the adrenaline, dismember the body. I never had a reason to get to know anyone.
“Noah taught me that.”
“Before I met him, I was the kind of person who never saw the true value of life.” He stroked his hand down Noah’s hip, revealing more scarred skin. “But Noah, he inspired me: he taught me to recognize the truth of my soul.” When he had his young lover completely naked, he gave Noah’s thigh a tender kiss. “We are more than our bodies.”
Noah sat up, removing his bi-pap. He cupped Juan-Palo’s face, pausing to look into his eyes. “We are living creatures. From the moment we’re born, human touch is what we all crave.”
Juan-Palo quickly removed his shirt as they started to passionately kiss.
Noah kept one hand on his lover’s neck, holding him in a passionate embrace, while at the same time, reaching towards me. He wanted both of us. “Come on, Marc. You’re still on your lunchbreak.”
Part of me wished he’d not reminded me of the fact that I was on a time crunch. I wanted to stay, but I also didn’t want to get a write up on my first shift. “I should go.”
“Lay back, relax,” Juan-Palo said, reaching for my arm.
He was bigger and stronger than me. But it was his next words that convinced me to stay of my own volition. “I know who you are.”
“You know who I am?”
“You’re a low-ranking hitman who turned state’s evidence against your employer for the chance at a new start.” Juan-Palo followed this with a sweet, genuine, smile. The deep lines and wrinkles surrounding his eyes lifted, enhancing his innocent beauty. “You came here to save your soul.”
I lay back, allowing him to straddle me. “I-I was a doctor.”
Juan-Palo leaned in and kissed my forehead the way I imagine a father would. But just as quickly he started to moan. He lowered himself on to his hands and knees as I heard a wet slurp; the pump of a bottle. Noah was pumping some kind of lotion or lube. Before I knew it Juan-Palo’s pants were forced to his knees as Noah penetrated him.
Noah licked his lips, moaning seductively, as he fucked his lover with slow, rhythmic thrusts. “Now, Marc, I want you to fuck this puta’s face.”
It took me a moment to fully comprehend what was happening. “Excuse me?”
“Take your dick out and let him suck you off,” Noah said cheerfully, as if we were playing truth or dare.
I really did not want to ram my dick down Juan-Palo’s throat, but the way he was staring me down, opening his lips for breath, all while Noah pounded his ass- it was too much to resist.
I was already hard, so when the older man mouthed the word ‘please,’ my cock seemed to develop a mind of its own.
Noah was, of course, all smiles. “Feel’s good, right?”
I had to admit, it did. Balls deep in Juan-Palo’s mouth, I ran my fingers over his chemo-ravaged hair. I could imagine how it felt in his prime, before going grey and thinning. He probably looked like a young Benjamin Bratt. That’s who I imagined was sucking my cock; the strong, masculine man who ran one of the largest cartels in all of South America; a prince among thieves, a king among kings. “Yeah, man, this feels really good.”
Noah chuckled. “Juan-Palo likes being my personal fuckboy-slut. Right, Puta?” Noah slapped his lover hard on the thigh. “It just took losing everything for him to realize.” With the same hand he lovingly caressed Juan-Palo’s ass. “The fucker put his son to death for being a faggot.” Noah’s voice sounded crueler than I had anticipated. “But look at you now. You love cock.”
“I love your cock,” Juan-Palo replied in a barely audible breath.
“Puta?” I knew that meant whore or bitch, and not even the masculine term. Juan-Palo was Noah’s submissive? I felt like I was in an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone.’
“Without his prostate, his army, his empire, that’s all he is; my bitch, my whore.” Noah continued, his pace becoming faster, stronger. “I held his hand during chemo, after cancer took away everything. His cock doesn’t work anymore, but everything else does. Yeah, isn’t that right?” Noah leaned forward, gripping the older man’s neck. “We all bleed red.”
Juan-Palo’s body was gasping for air, but Noah held him in place. “We all need food, water and a good hard fuck.”
I couldn’t help but snicker as my legs were starting to go numb. “I’m close.”
So was Noah.
Juan-Palo’s mouth paused, his eyes closing with a look of pure ecstasy.
I appropriately blew my load in his mouth, as Noah pulled out of the man’s ass. Noah moaned seductively before glancing at the room clock. “Oh crap! Marc, you might need to grab a Powerbar before you go.”
It was 1:58, I had less than two minutes to show my face upstairs to the night shift supervisor or else God only knows what would happen. I went to the bathroom and wiped myself off with paper towels. But when I came back, I was in no hurry to leave. “What’s going to happen now?”
“That’s up to you,” Noah started to walk around the room naked while Juan-Palo rested on the bed. “I assume you heard the rumors about how I fuck anything with a pulse. It’s all true.”
“The cancer in your brain turned you into a sex addict?” I asked. My question caused both Noah and Juan-Palo to double over with laughter.
Noah ran his fingers through his hair as he took a breath. “Who said that? Let me guess, Adam Reyes?”
“Yeah, I’m rooming with him in the night-shift dorm.”
“Adam Reyes,” Noah sighed as he took a seat next to Juan-Palo, “is telling everyone I’m a mentally ill sex addict with a brain like Swiss cheese…”
“Kind of.” I knew I had to pick my next words carefully. “What’s the real story? What’s the truth?”
Noah pursed his lips, looking at me with disbelief. “You really want to know?”
Juan-Palo sat up, wrapping a blanket over Noah’s shoulders. “I think we can trust this one. If nothing else, he at least deserves the chance to make his choice.”
I looked at the clock, it was now 2:03.
Noah was looking at the same thing. “You need to get going. Meet me in the garden tomorrow at noon.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” I took a step closer, caressing Noah’s cheek. “I want to know the real truth.”
Noah looked so innocently beautiful as he blinked tears from his eyes. “I’ve been sick ever since I was fourteen. I chose to stop treatment when I was eighteen which is why I’m here.” He leaned on Juan-Palo’s shoulder as if looking for strength. “I’ve been in relationships with over a hundred people; nurses, patients, a few at the same time. But after the first few incidents of prison volunteer nurses getting transferred out of here, that’s when the rumors started.” Noah swallowed hard, his face filled with a look of shame. “People knew they needed to cover their own ass or risk being sent back to gen-pop with added time. So, I became the mentally ill sex addict who just can’t help himself. Some people have even accused me of giving out drugs. I’ve even gotten accused of assault. I mean fuck, man.”
Juan-Palo put his arms around Noah, holding him close. “Not a word of it is true. Noah is a kind soul, someone who truly wants to make a difference with what time he has left.” The older man sighed and looked at the clock, then at me. “It’s 2:11 right now, by the time you check back in it will be close to 2:15 you should really get going.”
I straddled Noah’s lap, essentially sitting between both Noah and Juan-Palo. I kissed Noah’s cheek coaxing out a smile. He turned his face to kiss my lips. And then I felt Juan-Palo’s hand on my back; two o’clock became three, three became four.
I awoke the next morning to the daytime supervisor standing over my half-naked body. “Dr. Miller!”
The blonde woman was staring me down. “Sleep well, I assume?”
“Get your clothes on and come with me.”
“Yes, Dr. Miller.” I quickly slipped off the bed without waking Noah or Juan-Palo, put my shirt back on, just as Dr. Miller headed to the door. I followed her down the hall, around a corner, to what I assumed was her office.
“Take a seat,” she said calmly.
“I’m really sorry,” I said in a timid voice usually reserved for dealing with my strict Italian mother.
“I know you are,” Dr. Miller sighed. “They always are.” She pulled out a large folder and started to flip through the pages.
“What’s going to happen to me?”
“If you were Adam Reyes, Kyle Morgan,” she flipped faster, looking for a very specific document, “Or any of the other good-old-boys brought here for assaulting their girlfriends or selling meth. You would be headed back to gen-pop to serve out the rest of your sentence in the rotting hole from which you came.” She found the paper she was looking for and slid it towards me. “But you’re not. You’re special; graduated high school with a pre-med degree, went to med-school for two years before you had to drop out.”
“I couldn’t afford it.”
“You were brilliant, you could have gotten a free ride to any school in the country.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Your mother was sick; she needed the money, that’s why you landed where you did.”
“Just please tell me what’s going to happen. Am I going back to New Jersey or-?”
“I want you to stay. In fact, I’m the reason you were even offered this placement. I want you to stay on as my research assistant. You’ll be assisting in the dissection and preservation of organs and tissue.”
I looked down at the paper. Dr. Shannon Miller had a research grant towards the study of cancer and other biological ailments. “So, you want me to help you with cutting up bodies?”
“At least the bodies you cut up here will have died of natural causes.”
My stomach was churning. I couldn’t tell if it was the lack of food or the idea of cutting up human remains. “Can I go?”
“Sure. You’re going to want to move your things out of the nightshift dorm.”
“To move into the day shift dorm?” I asked.
“I actually have a pull-out cot in this office, along with a restroom and fridge. As for the shower, I’m sure you can find your way back to a certain patient’s room.”
“You’re encouraging me to continue a relationship with Noah Redflower?”
“I think we can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement.” Dr. Miller handed me a pen. “What do you say, sign on the line to be my research assistant?”
Maybe it was Dr. Miller’s kindness; her stern yet sweet demeanor that reminded me of my mother, but for the first time I felt a genuine sense of happiness.
“Sure. Thank you so much for the opportunity.”