Victim (Extract)

Claire Hooper

April 1950

It starts with the prison guard out by the boundary wall. He looks up and sees a hand emerging from one of the barred windows. It is swinging a sprig of cherry blossom on a filthy bit of string from side to side like a pendulum. From the window next to it another arm is reaching out trying to grasp at the bunch but each time it misses, the fingers closing a moment too late. Strong fingers. Inside a young man in a grubby vest and army trousers is dancing softly, hardly moving, to a quick little rhythm in his head, staring out into space. He is very well built, as they used to say; broad shoulders, deep chest, thick neck, but his face is still boyish, his eyes dark but relatively innocent. He starts to turn around the room, a waltz, a samba, a salsa, cha cha cha. There are crude drawings on the wall in chalk behind him. Next door a swarthy man, as they used to say, is staring at the wall. He approaches and listens, softly he starts to knock. He knocks and listens. The boy next door doesn’t hear to begin with and when he does he pauses only momentarily; he looks at the wall, then, with a defiant flick of the head, he resumes his dance. He seems to re-discover a tattoo on his shoulder , a malicious looking Betty Boop character with a roulette wheel. He caresses her and kisses the top of her head. She becomes his dancing partner. The swarthy man grows impatient, he doesn’t like to be ignored. He bangs on the wall and listens, - he gives up, punching his palm in exasperation but he goes back immediately to try again. He is a big, powerful man, with black stubble on his prominent jaw. He wears a heavy woollen pull-over wide open at the chest with nothing underneath but black curly hair. The swarthy man finds a straw and inserts it into a tiny hole in the wall above the grubby cot in the corner of his cell. He is smoking a rolly and having inhaled, he carefully, very delicately, puts his lips to the end of the straw that protrudes on his side. A fine jet of smoke squirts into the room of the boy next door. The boy sees it but continues his dance passionately clutching at his shoulder moving faster around the room. The swarthy man withdraws from the wall, slowly extracting his straw. He goes back to his table and stubs out the cigarette. He picks at a lump of bread and starts the chew on a bit of it. He returns to the cot with his mouth only inches from the hole continues to masticate the dough in his mouth turning it over on his tongue. He eventually spits out a lump onto his grimy, long nailed fingers, and using his greasy thumb as a filling knife, squeezes the pulp into the hole, smearing it closed. The boy next door has taken his partner to bed, he is kissing and caressing his hands and arms. The swarthy man is seized by uncontrollable passion. His dark brow is clouded and his black eyes start to flood. He gnashes his teeth and stares out desperately. His hand finds his stiff cock through the folds of his black corduroy slacks, his fingers defining the shape of it. His other hand reaches into the neck of his sweater and draws rough circles across his chest in the hair and the sweat. His jaw works and his eyelids flutter. The prison guard sneaks down the hall, a uniformed Peeping Tom. His fingers part the shutters, his eye finds the hole and he leans in bodily to the door to look. Firstly he sees a man in crisply ironed prison kit from behind, and it could be that he is peeing but as he ever so slightly turns we see for sure that he is not. The next cell contains a prone youth romantically strewn across his bed. He is bare chested and fop haired, his head lolling over the edge and his feet banging out the last spasms of joy as he clutches a lumpy rag to his crotch. The guard moves stiffly along the corridor clutching his own. He is smiling. He opens a hatch and is confronted with a swollen muscular ass supported by huge thighs in a half squat, dripping and glistening with soapy water. The prize bullock slowly turns to reveal a Moroccan boy with his Navy issue Breton shirt pulled up over his nipples. He is grinning from ear to ear as he performs his party trick of wanking his appropriately sized member with one hand as he washes his hair with the other. The guard moves off. The next cell barely holds a dancer, a beautiful Senegalese boy with elegant shoulders and fine hips like a teenage girl. His performance of love is a very cultured and sophisticated collection of rhythms that shake him from head to toe. He winds his cock with one hand and holds the other up, undulating in the air, at shoulder height. Afrique Noir for your pleasure. Suddenly he takes off and spins blindingly till he collapses face down on his cot in the corner, his tight rear still thrusting in time. Finally the guard comes to the door of the young buck narcissus. He spits out his cigarette and looks left and right down the hall, he does not want to be disturbed at his pleasure. The boy is picking his grimy toes through a huge hole in his sock. The toes are black with filth and when he excavates a large enough chunk from under the nail with both hands he examines it fondly. Then he pulls off the sock, slowly and lovingly. He lies back. The guard appreciates the boy’s sweating armpit, the pulsing bicep beside it, he enjoys the boy licking his own lips and savours the moment when he touches and tugs at the cloth of his trousers strung between his thighs. The boy strokes his own chest and kisses his own hand and arm , he passionately clings to his own knee stroking, kissing, loving himself. Then he gets distracted. He bangs on the wall. The swarthy man is already there, kissing around the clammy, plugged up hole. The wall is a thigh, a chest, an armpit, a bicep.The boy plucks a straw from his mattress, extra long and clean, unlike any of the others, and he slips it in the hole. The swarthy man is happy. He takes his sweet time, smiling, rolling the cigarette, moving between the table and the bed where eventually he reclines with the lit cigarette between his lips. He draws on it and, having got himself comfortably into position, he gently places his lips around the stiff straw and blows. On the other end the boy waits on the bed, on his knees, his head back and mouth open. The first shot of smoke fills his mouth and rolls off his chin and cheeks, he makes an almost imperceptible movement backwards, then cautiously, as though expecting another blast, he puts his mouth around the straw and begins to suck. åWhen he has had enough he slowly draws the straw out of the hole. The swarthy man can’t help himself but chase after it blowing it with smoke til it disappears completely. The boy leans back with the straw in one hand like an ivory cigarette holder taking a casual last drag on it, and allowing the smoke to roll out of his mouth only to be sucked back in through his nostrils. He gazes at the ceiling of his cell for all the world as though the first stars of a balmy night were up there. The swarthy man moves away from the wall with resignation. He feels a pang which compels him to grab at his groin. He stubs out the cigarette and begins to move around the room in agitation. He bites his knuckle and moves towards the door where the guard peeps in. The guard backs off. Now he observes the young soldier closely, he notices his delicately flaring nostrils and the way that he caresses his own throat longingly. Next door the swarthy man is distraught, he bangs on the wall despite himself. The young soldier ignores him at first then he leaps up from the bed, and yells something at the wall. His face moves, his shoulders hunch but not a peep comes out. He makes some strange gesture with his hand at cock height which might be ‘cut it out’ but he stops half way, his soft leather belt flops over and out of the belt loop in his trousers, his hand pushes down into his pocket and he looks towards the door coyly. In his minds eye the guard sees the arms hanging out of the prison windows , the cherry blossom, the hand grabbing at it. Something snaps. White silouettes against a black vaccuum. Two men in profile, bare chested face each other one has a sprig od blossom in his mouth and the other bites it passionately they hold each other and chew the thing away. Next there is a muscular ass in loose cotton pyjamas tied with string. A hand appears from nowhere and plunges between the skin and the cotton.

The guard is not pleased. He scowls out into the corridor and his chin sets in anger. Slowly he pulls his gun from his jacket and turns towards the door oof the swarthy man. He takes out the key and enters. He stands beefore the prisoner with a peculiar expression, anger, shame, resignation, and a shade of something else strugging through. He has come to assert his will, and he does it with the gun trained on the swarthy man. He slowly unbuttons his jacket all the way to the top, the shiny buttons one by one popping into the holes, then he reaches for his belt, tugging it free, all the while staring at his captive audience. He wraps the belt around his fist and closes in, his face twitches as he lashes out again and again. The prisoner flinches and puts up his arms to protect himself. The guard continues. The boy next door is smirking, looking at the wall over his shoulder as he casually puts on his jacket. The swarthy man drops to his knees but he smiles broadly and looks him straight in the eye.The guard is out of breath and jittery. The swarthy man and his love are outside, dappled sunlight through the budgioning foliage. The boy goes ahead untill they come to a tall tree. He goes up to it and looks at the swarthy man coquettishly. He smiles in appreciation and looks at the boy who is holding the cherry blossom in front of his fly and gently caressing the petals with his thumb. He lies down at the foot of the tall tree and gazes up at it. The swarthy man lies down with him, his head on the boy’s chest. Then the boy gets up and hides behind the tree like a dippy girl of seven, poking his head out from one side and then the other and effectively seducing this grown man to chase him. He runs off into a clearing but pauses to look back at his hunter, his tighs braced to spring off at the given moment. The swarthy man, smiling bashfully accepts and gives chase and off they go throught the forest. The boy arrives in a clearing, the man arrives out of breath and peeved and grabs the sprig of blossom, now a little worn, that is thrust at him. He raises it to his face. Finally the guard lets up and the prisoner falls back on his cot. The guard sees the blossom swinging against the void, he sees two heads with smoke in between. The smoke clears and the man with the cigarette between his teeth turns it around in his mouth so that it burning end is inwards. The other lunges forward smokes the blowback, there mouths locked. A beautiful torso and a well filled pair of mens briefs. A hand appears from the left diving in through the leg hole to massage the contents. A nude man with his head flung right back and his arms apparently bound behind him tightly, exposing a vulnerable chest and throat. The guard stands behind and his hands move over the bound mans skin while he stares out coldly. He might fuck him, he might strangle him. The guard’s guard is down, his face has softened with forbiden lust. The prisoner crawls onto the bed and lies on his back and the guard watches him as he reaches for his crotch. The guard backs off, his gun is still in front of him. In the forest the man is chasing the boy until the boy is exhausted. The man gets on his knees before the boy but the boy grabs the blossom and shoves it into the mans chest, close to his heart.The man picks him up despite his own tiredness and slings him over his shoulder. The boy is a deer that has given up his life to the hunter and the swarthy man carries his load with grace. Then he is lost in the forrest, the running has taken them out of the way and the hunter is concerned, he holds his charge’s hand that hangs by his own. Eventually he finds a shady spot with soft undergrowth to lay his burden down. The sleeping lad’s eyelashes flutter and his mouth makes soft kisses in his dreams. The lusty hunter hangs over the boy and watches as his throat moves when he swallows and breathes. The boy looks at the mans swelling chest the hair glittering with sweat and solitary blossom peeps out, - the moon from behind a cloud over the big man’s heart. He lowers himself down beside the boy and tenderly lifts his vest and unbuckles his belt. The boy gazes at the clouds and strokes his lovers hair and brow. The guard makes his way out of the cell and stands alone in the coridor once more. He sees two naked wrestlers once has the other in a head lock on his hip. He sees a man in profile from waist to knee, his stomach rippling and pulsing as he breathes, another man has his face hidden in his goin. Hot male bodies writhe across each other from top to bottom, from side to side, slithering in sweat and light in the void, thighs, buttocks, chests, shoulders. More and more bodies dive into and out of the action. The swarthy man is unbuttoning the soldier’s trousers and reaching into his shorts. The swarthy man’s head is silouetted against the void with his eyes closed. From the left the guard’s gun appears and it moves towards the prisoners mouth, which opens to receive it. The gun pushes all the way into his mouth as far as it can and the prisoner accomodates. The guards head is flung back in extacy, his eyes are closed and his lips flicker. The guard is out by the boundary wall looking up at the windows. He sees the swinging blossom and the strong hairy arms. Inside the swarthy man is banging on the wall. He bangs and listens he bangs again, harder this time and he walks away punching his palm in frustration. The guard turns and walks away. The blossom is finally caught and slowly, so slowly, it is drawn up, carefully pulled in between the bars.