[This story includes some depictions of an unsafe sexual practice, which would be reckless in real life. The author cautions strongly against it.]
Patrick was in an excellent mood as he drove homeward. He had managed to solve a problem that was delaying his project, and now even with no additional direction from him his team would be able to finish on time. He could relax, maybe even take a few days off, spend some extra time at the gym, read a good book. He loosened his tie and opened the top button of his shirt. He would have taken off his suit jacket if there had been enough time at traffic lights.
His mood was shattered when he rounded a corner and saw a young man curled up on the sidewalk with his arms covering his face, attempting to shield himself from the storm of blows and kicks being visited upon him by a much larger man. The larger man was now starting to kick him in the head.
Patrick immediately pulled over and jumped out of the car, shouting “HEY!” as he shut off the engine and grabbed the keys before running to the scene.
The larger man turned and yelled “Get outta here, this is none of your business!”
Patrick slowed to a walk. “That’s enough, he’s not fighting back, leave him alone.”
The man took a step toward him. “I said get outta here! Or do you want me to rearrange that pretty face of yours?”
Patrick stopped, but stood his ground.
The man scrutinized Patrick. What he saw was a six-foot blond in a suit, with a sturdy build but several inches shorter than he was and about 30 pounds lighter. Deciding that this intruder would be easily dispatched, he slowly moved forward with clenched fists, half expecting the blond to retreat under the approaching threat. But Patrick just stood there as the distance between them closed. When only a few feet separated them, the man strode forward and raised his fist.
Before he could bring the fist down, the breath was knocked out of him by the lightning-fast punch Patrick delivered to his midsection. He doubled over, desperately trying to take in air, and a well-placed karate chop dropped him to the ground.
Patrick now went to the target of the attack, who lay moaning on the sidewalk. He knelt down and said softly: “It’s ok, he won’t hurt you anymore, I promise. My name is Patrick. Let me get a look at you.”
Hesitantly, the young man allowed Patrick to unfold his arms.
With occasional glances over his shoulder to verify that the attacker had not gotten up, Patrick turned the unresisting victim onto his back and did a cursory inspection. Deciding that the injuries were not immediately life-threatening, he returned his attention to the larger man, who was now struggling to his feet and was glaring at him, evidently trying to decide on a second round.
Patrick got up and beckoned tauntingly.
The man’s glare intensified. He quickly walked up to Patrick and struck.
Except that his fist met nothing but the receding palm of Patrick’s hand: Like a skilled bullfighter Patrick had swiveled aside, grasping the fist as it was going by and riding its motion. A quick yank on the traveling fist pulled the man off balance and caused him to pitch forward. Patrick took the opportunity to knee him in the crotch, and then a sharp twist of the attacking hand made him yelp and drop to the ground again, where he lay writhing and groaning in pain. He cowered when Patrick walked up and stood over him.
“Now you’re going to tell me why you were hitting him” Patrick said, pointing to the young man.
“He’s a fag!” the larger man snarled between groans. “He came on to me.”
“How did he do that?”
“He asked if I knew the time'”
“That was it? And you decided that he’s homosexual?”
“I could tell just by looking at him.”
“All he did was ask you the time.”
“That’s what these fags do. They ask you for a light or they want to know the time.”
“You seem to have an intimate knowledge of gay culture.”
The man apparently missed the implication of Patrick’s remark, because his only response was to complain “You broke my hand.”
“All I did was sprain your wrist. Well maybe I did break it a little. You’re lucky I didn’t break your neck.” Then pointing again to the young man: “Did he say anything else?”
“I didn’t give him a chance.”
“So he asked you the time and you hit him, like this?” He hit the man below the left eye, duplicating an injury he had seen on the victim. “And this?” connecting with the man’s nose, duplicating another injury. “And after you knocked him to the ground I saw you kick him in the head, like this,” drawing back his foot.
The man put up a defensive arm.
Patrick waited until the man decided that Patrick had changed his mind and lowered the arm before delivering the kick.
“Please” the man begged, “No more.”
“Sit up” Patrick ordered.
When the man didn’t comply fast enough, Patrick repeated the command at a shout.
With difficulty the man sat up, running the back of his uninjured hand under his Bakırköy Escort bloody nose.
“Give me your wallet.”
The man handed it over and said submissively: “Take the money but please, leave my ID and my credit cards.”
“I’m not going to take anything” Patrick told him, searching through the contents. “All I want is to find out who you are and where you live.” He used his smartphone to snap a picture of the man’s photo ID, which included a home address. Then he threw the wallet into the gutter, deliberately aiming at a muddy puddle. “If you ever even threaten him” he warned, “I’ll find out about it. And what I did to you today will be mild compared to what I’ll do to you then. After that, I’ll tell all your friends I did it because you propositioned me. You’d like to proposition men, wouldn’t you? You’re attracted, and because you’re an ignorant bigot you think it’s wrong and you hate it. That’s why you attack gay men, you think that by beating them up you’ll beat the feelings out of yourself. Well it won’t work. Now get out of here.”
He didn’t have to repeat that command; the man hurriedly got up, retrieved his muddy wallet, and limped away.
Patrick went back to the young man, who had been watching wide-eyed. Squatting, Patrick looked at him more closely and realized that although his fully-developed body suggested that he was in his early twenties his small stature, soft features, and smooth skin were more like those of someone in his mid-teens. The impression of youth was enhanced by big brown eyes that would not be out of place on a young doe.
Patrick decided that in front of him was not a young man, but rather a teenage boy. A very cute teenage boy, he noticed, whose auburn hair matched the color of those eyes.
“What’s your name?”
The boy seemed dazed, and it took a few moments before he roused himself and answered: “Colton.”
The delay was not a good sign. “Are you dizzy, or nauseous, is there a ringing in your ears?”
Colton slowly shook his head no.
Patrick looked at the boy’s pupils to see if they were the same size, and then began moving his finger, saying “Keep your head still and follow my finger with your eyes.” After that, he asked a series of questions that would test memory and cognition. The results gave him confidence that most likely there was no brain concussion.
Handing Colton a handkerchief, he said “Hold this under your nose to catch the blood.” Then he helped him to stand. The top of Colton’s head came barely past his chin.
“Can you walk?”
Colton took a few steps and said “Yeah. Wow, if you hadn’t come along … just saying thanks seems … not enough.”
“Saying thanks is plenty. Come on, I’ll take you home. Where do you live?”
“That’s ok, I’m all right now.”
“No you’re not, you’re a mess. How old are you?”
A pause. “Twenty one.”
“Very funny. What are you, sixteen?”
With lowered head: “Eighteen.”
Patrick tilted the boy’s head up so they were looking directly at each other. “Eighteen, or sixteen going on eighteen?”
“I’m really eighteen. A month ago. I know I look younger.”
“Do you live with your parents?”
“Do they know you’re gay?”
Colton looked surprised. “Why do you think…”
Patrick cut him off: “Are you gay?”
A long pause. “Well…”
“I take that as a yes. Do they know?”
Realizing that there was no use trying to hedge any longer, Colton told him “They’ve never asked, but I think they suspect. How did you…”
“And you don’t want them to see you like this because you’re afraid to tell them why.”
Another pause, but not as long. “Yeah.”
“Well I can’t leave you here. Do you have a friend who lives nearby who can get you cleaned up so you’ll look a little better when you get home? And who can maybe check you over?”
“Then I’m taking you to my place. You can call home from there.”
“I don’t want to put you to any more trouble. You must have other things to do.”
“They can wait. Stop arguing.” Patrick gripped Colton’s upper arm and urged him toward the car. He went along meekly.
As they drove, Colton asked: “What should I tell my parents?”
Patrick was pleased that the boy was seeking his counsel. He wanted to help. “Do you think your parents love you?”
“I never thought about it. I believe that they do, but I don’t know if…”
“Then I think you should trust them and tell the truth. But if you’re afraid to do that, you can say you were mugged and you stopped at a friend’s place to get cleaned up.”
Colton gave it some thought and decided: “I’ll say I was mugged.”
As soon as they got into the house, Patrick rolled two tissues into tight cylinders and pushed them high into Colton’s nostrils.
“Ow! Ow!” Colton yelled, and brought his hands up to pull them out.
Patrick grabbed the hands. “Leave them there. They’ll stop the bleeding.”
Next, he got two ice packs from Bakırköy Escort Bayan the freezer, handed one to Colton, and directed him to put it over the developing black eye. Then he carefully ran examining fingers through the boy’s silken hair. “Put the other one here” he said, lightly pressing a spot that made Colton wince. “This is the biggest lump. The ice will minimize the swelling.”
He now examined Colton’s face more closely. “Except for your black eye and some bruises, your face isn’t in bad shape” he said. “I’m going to take your shirt off so I can check for upper body damage.” He began unbuttoning the shirt. Where does it hurt?”
Colton snorted through the tissues, causing some blood to trickle out. “Everywhere.”
Once Colton’s shirt was off, Patrick raised his T-shirt and examined his torso. “You’re black and blue in a bunch of places, but I don’t see any bleeding. I’m going to check for rib fractures and internal damage. This might hurt.” He pressed a number of spots on Colton’s chest, abdomen, and back. Colton grimaced once or twice.
“I don’t feel anything out of kilter” Patrick announced, “so I don’t think there are any broken bones, and you’re not behaving as if an internal organ is damaged. But if you develop a persistent pain, or your pee is an unusual color, have your parents get you to an emergency room right away. Now stand up, I’m going to take your pants off.”
Colton blushed but made no objection.
There were more bruises on the boy’s thighs and legs, but no bleeding and no evidence of broken bones there either.
“Did he hit you in the crotch?”
“Only once, I think. He was hitting me in so many places I’m not sure.”
Patrick began to pull down Colton’s briefs. At the sound of a gasp from Colton and a deepening blush, Patrick smiled and said “Hey, relax, my intentions are honorable.” Then he drew the briefs down to the middle of Colton’s thighs.
After a quick visual examination, he said: “Your testicles will ache for a few days, but they should be fine after that. If they continue to hurt or either one swells up, see a doctor.” He then turned Colton around and examined the boy’s buttocks. They seemed to be the one area that was undamaged. And very attractive. Patrick was strongly tempted to caress that shapely rear end, but he managed to resist. “Ok” he said, pulling up the briefs, “You fared better than I thought at first. I’ll help you get dressed and then you need to call home and tell them you’re ok, before they get worried.”
When Colton was fully dressed, Patrick showed him to a phone and walked away to give him some privacy.
Bits and pieces of the conversation drifted to Patrick as he waited in the next room: “… should have seen the way Patrick … warned him never to … a friend … happened to be passing …”
A few minutes into the conversation, Colton called to Patrick and handed him the phone. “They want to talk to you.”
Patrick identified himself and assured Colton’s parents that their son didn’t seem to be severely injured. After telling them that he would bring Colton home shortly, he took him into the bathroom, cleaned his face of the dirt and dried blood, and combed his hair. When they were finished, Colton asked: “Can I take you to dinner tomorrow, or whenever you’re free?”
“That isn’t necessary.”
“It is necessary. I owe you big time. You probably saved my life. Taking you to dinner is nothing much, but it’s all I can think of right now.”
“You don’t owe me anything. When I was in high school I used to get beat up regularly by the class bully. He made my life miserable until I learned some martial arts and spent a lot of evenings and weekends at the gym. The next time he tried to mess with me was the last time; after that he gave me a wide berth. Today when I came around the corner and saw what was going on, I waded in to stop a brutal beating, but when I learned what a vicious son of a bitch I was dealing with, I took satisfaction in giving him some of what he deserves. He’ll be limping around with aching balls for a week, and he won’t be doing much with his wrist for quite a while. That’s ample reward for me, and I hope it gives you some satisfaction too.”
Notwithstanding what Patrick had just said, Colton insisted: “It does, and that’s all the more reason I have to do something to show my appreciation. Please.”
Patrick threw his hands up, but he was smiling. “Have it your way.”
“So can I take you to dinner?”
Patrick’s smile turned mischievous. “Are you asking me out?”
“Yes” Colton answered, and then his face turned red. “Wait, no! I mean, not on a date.”
“Oh. Too bad.”
Seeing Colton’s jaw drop, he explained: “If you were asking me for a date, the answer would be yes. But if dinner is all you have in mind, that’s ok. It won’t hurt my feelings.”
“Uh … wait a minute. You’re gay?”
“Yup. And you’re very cute, even with the messed-up face. Besides, I like you.”
“You are? I am? You do? Then yeah! I am asking you for a Escort Bakırköy date!”
“Good. If your parents give their permission, I’ll let you take me out.”
“Why do you need my parents’ permission?”
“I’m older than you, and technically you’re not yet an adult. So I have to ask.”
On the drive to Colton’s house, Patrick learned that he was in his sophomore year at a local college, studying toward a degree in physics with a minor in mathematics, and Colton learned that Patrick was a computer-programming team leader.
Suddenly Colton asked: “How did that guy know I’m gay?”
“He didn’t. He’s attracted to men and it terrifies him. He expresses the fear as anger. He may very well attack anyone he finds reason to suspect is gay. Provided that he’s sure he’ll win; he’s a coward. In your case he made an assumption based simply on being asked the time. If it’s any consolation, the effort to hide his desires from everyone including himself makes his life an unrelenting misery.”
“How did you know I was gay?”
“I didn’t know for certain, and ordinarily I would have considered it none of my business. I asked in this case because I like you and I think you’re cute. I wanted to know whether you were datable. When you told me you are gay, I tried to decide how long I should wait before asking you out. Then you solved the problem for me.”
Just then, they pulled up at Colton’s house. He turned to Patrick and said “Please come in. My parents want to meet you.”
They had not yet reached the door when it was flung open and Colton’s mother rushed out to hug her son. She kissed him on the cheek and asked “Are you alright, sweetheart? Oh your poor eye.”
“I’m fine, mom” Colton replied, although her hug had caused him to wince in pain. He pointed at Patrick. “Thanks to him.”
She ran over to Patrick and planted a big wet kiss on his cheek. “We’re very grateful to you” she said.
Colton’s father was standing in the doorway. He walked out and hugged Colton too, then stood back and looked him up and down. “Yes, I think you’ll survive” he said, smiling.
“Oh my goodness!” Colton’s mother shouted. “How rude of us to have you standing out here! Please come inside.”
Colton’s father put his arm around his son, waved the others into the house, and walked in after them, speaking softly to the boy. When they were all inside, he went to Patrick and shook his hand. “My name is Harry. We’re forever indebted to you for rescuing Colton. I’m honored to be shaking the hand of a hero.”
“Thank you, but I’m no hero” Patrick replied.
“What you did was very courageous.”
“Not at all. I knew I could take down that gorilla with one hand.”
“He could have had a weapon.”
“I didn’t think about that.”
“Exactly. That’s what separates a hero from everyone else: When a hero sees someone in trouble, he takes action without considering his own risk.” He put his arm around Patrick’s shoulder. “Let’s go into the Den, I want to show you something.”
After shutting the door, Harry said “I brought you in here because I wanted to talk to you in private. Colton’s injuries are not consistent with a mugging.”
Patrick stood silent, trying to think of an acceptable reply to the implied question. He didn’t want to cause trouble for Colton or heartache for his parents.
Hearing no answer, Harry asked: “Was my son attacked because he’s gay?”
Patrick couldn’t immediately think of a reply.
“Yes, we know” Harry told him. We haven’t said anything to him because he’s not ready to talk about it yet. At least not to us. Do you know whether he initiated the contact?”
“If you mean did he approach the man for sex, he didn’t. The attacker was a homophobic lunatic. He said that Colton asked if he knew the time, and he took it as a come-on.”
“I’m relieved to hear that it wasn’t Colton’s doing” Harry said. “I was worried that he might be soliciting men.”
“Even from my brief contact with him today, I’m certain he doesn’t do that” Patrick assured him.
“Brief contact. Today. So you just met him.”
Patrick was horrified that he had unwittingly revealed Colton’s lie. He began to try explaining.
Harry interrupted: “Don’t worry, you haven’t ratted him out. It was too much of a coincidence that a friend he had never told us about just happened along.”
He paused, but Patrick could tell that there was more.
After a pause, Harry continued: “Do you know what microexpressions are?”
“They’re fleeting movements of the facial muscles in response to emotion. I’m a student of the field, it’s useful in my work. When I let on that I knew my son is gay, I saw a whole parade of microexpressions: surprise, uncertainty, and something I didn’t expect: embarrassment. So I have another question, and I apologize in advance if you consider it impertinent … considering …” He paused, apparently trying to choose the right words.
Patrick didn’t let him struggle any longer: “It’s not impertinent; you want to know what sort of man your son might be taking up with. The answer is yes I’m gay. As to your next question, yes I’m attracted to Colton. And as to your probable third question, he has invited me to dinner and I told him that if his parents give their permission I’ll accept.”