Grab Bag 20 is an eighteen-story collection in habu’s eclectic anthology series of active gay male life and tribulations short stories. These stories, presented in the order in which they were written, were composed during the fall of 2019 into the spring of 2020. Half of these stories—nine of them—are “now” timeframe stories set in the United States. Habu is a student of history, who writes historical stories as well under the pen name of Dirk Hessian, and six of the stories in this collection are historical, using settings ranging from ancient Rome, to late nineteenth-century United States, to the 1920s in China. Habu is also well traveled, and seven of the stories are set outside of the United States, from Bermuda to the UK, Italy, and Cyprus, and on to Bangkok and China.
Most of the stories are set in the United States, though, and most are set on the East Coast, from Boston down to Jacksonville, Florida. One is set in New Orleans and one in Los Angeles. Several of the stories were written for writing contests conducted during the collection period. These include “Forever Young” (Halloween)l “Smokescreen,” “The Hazing,” and “Chinese Takeout” (all for a short short contest); “Blind Date Foolery” and “Played for a Fool in Kibris” (April Fools’ Day); “4-Way Nude Capitulation” (National Nude Day); and “Summer Course Correction” (Summer Lovin’).
All of the stories are set in a hedonist world where being actively gay and on the make is the norm and rough sex is sometimes the goal and the fulfillment, and we hope readers enjoy them with this in mind.
“It went quite well, I think. All of the shrapnel is out, I’m quite sure. The pressure on the brain is off. You should start regaining memories, slowly at first. At least we hope you will. We might know who you are. The Army is working on that. It will help if you are able to tell us what you remember soon. In the meantime, some time outside—in the garden, will do you wonders.”
“Thank you, Doctor . . . doctor.” He had such a fine head of wavy chestnut-brown hair, graying at the temples. I thought I knew his name. But I couldn’t come up with it.
“Baker. Ian Baker,” the man hovering over me said, patting me on the arm as I lay in the bed, in the last bed down the long wardroom, formerly the ballroom at the stately old Caversham Park in Berkshire, near Reading—or so I’d been told. Did I denote a slight dimming in his eyes? A twitch at the side of his mouth as he looked up to the nurse standing behind him? Was I supposed to know who he was? Of course I was if he’d been the surgeon who had just taken shrapnel out of my skull at . . . at . . . wherever this was.
The nurse was a woman. I expected to see a man—a burly young redheaded man standing behind the doctor, a male orderly rather than a female nurse. I don’t know why I expected that, though. It was just a passing snatch of memory that there had been a redheaded man there the last time that Doctor . . . that the doctor had visited my bedside.
The nurse disappeared from behind the doctor and he turned his head as if watching her move further down the line of beds in the ward. When he turned back and smiled down at me, I felt his hand go under the hem of my hospital gown to rest on my inner thigh, high up.
“I’m glad the surgery went so well,” he said. “You are a beautiful, yielding young man. Thank you. You are a gift. I thank you for that. You must get your strength. I suggest walks, a bit longer each time,” he continued. “We can set my house on the edge of Caversham, on Kidmore End Road, near the Reading Golf Club, as a goal, if you’d like—if you’d like to visit me where we can chat . . . and be alone. Here, I’ve written out the address and given walking directions.” He smiled at me and slipped the paper into the top drawer of the nightstand beside my bed.
Long after he was gone I wondered what the hell he meant by that—the part about me being beautiful and yielding—a gift. But I also remembered that, when he placed his well-manicured hand on my thigh, I had no desire that he take it away.
The flash of an image surged across my mind: An examination room, a padded table. Stirrups. My feet in the stirrups, legs raised and spread. Arousing pleasure, my hands cupping a head lodged between my thighs, my fingers running through wavy chestnut-brown hair, the fingers pressing through the gray at the temples. Wetness. His tongue inside me. The pleasure lifting me up into the clouds, using the leverage of my feet in the stirrups to raise and push my pelvis into the licking tongue and the nipping teeth.
Moaning. “Yes, yes, yes. Do it. Put it in.” Hands running up my inner thighs. The white medical coat pressing into my chest. The pleasure-pain of the penetration, and the stroking inside me of the hard cock. Panting, spreading open. All sensation centering on the throbbing, searching, sinking shaft. Remembering not required, the muscles of my passage grabbing and rippling over the cock, pulling it deeper. “Yes, yes, like that. Deeper, harder. Stroke me.” Down, down into the soft, spongy, shimmering, hungry core. Explosion.