Tenth in the series of eclectic gay male short story collections by habu, the fifteen stories of Grab Bag 10 offer a variety of gay male stories in terms of theme, sexual interest and fetish, setting, and time period. Laid out in the order in which they were written, these are stories composed during the late fall and winter of 2015–16.
As usual, several of them reflect the current world swirling around habu at the time they were conceived, so they include stories related to his travels during this period, such as “Men of Mykonos,” “Becoming Key West,” and “Director’s Choice” They also include seasonal holidays, such as “Swinger Christmas,” and sports events he attended, such as the male figure skating story, “Beware the Coach.” This was a period in which habu was writing to little-served sexual fetishes, which helped surface stories of particular exotic fetishes his mind was toying with, such as “Searching for the Exotic,” “Becoming Key West,” “I, Mannequin,” “Tea with the Prince,” “Fist of Gold,” and “Misdelivered Mail Male Sex Training.”
Two stories evoke famous men of the past, the political novelist Gore Vidal in “Need to Be Needed,” and the movie star Rock Hudson in “The Lighthouse Keeper.” One, “Slave to Two Hung Masters,” dredges up habu’s own memories of his Bangkok “beginnings.” The stories cover the world in setting—from California to New York to Virginia and Florida, in the United States, and, internationally, to London, the Mediterranean, Thailand, East Asia, and Africa.
Habu likes to write of the pre-AIDS days of freer, more intimate sex, and thus several of the stories are set in the past. These include “24 Exeter Place,” set in a late nineteenth-century London male brothel; “Tea with the Prince” set in early World War II Japan and China in the 1930s; “Fist of Gold,” and “The Lighthouse Keeper” set in the 1950s; and “Becoming Key West” and “Slave to Two Hung Masters” set in the 1970s.
As with previous Grab Bag collections, habu has striven to make his stories fresh and complex and the homosexual couplings graphic, inventive, and hot. As usual, there should be something here for every taste and something new to explore for everyone seeking stimulation.
From “Need to be Needed”:
“I demand absolute quiet between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.,” he said as I watched him eat the omelet. If he wondered what or when I’d eat breakfast, it didn’t occur to him to ask. He lived up to the legend of his self-centeredness. “That’s when I’ll be in my study writing. Phones turned off; no answering the door. Tiptoe around beyond my hearing.”
“Yes, sir,” I said, confused on why he was telling me this. What did I care what his daily routine was? His legend held that, although he took a young man home every night, it was a different young man every night. I’d had my Temple fuck—and a fuck to remember it was.
“I’m lunching at the Plaza today. Expecting a plumber, though. The household money is in the kitchen drawer by the stove. Don’t tip him lavishly. Don’t tip him at all if he leaves grease on the floor.”
“Yes sir.” So I was expected to stay until the plumber had come and gone.
“You can use the bedroom behind the kitchen,” he said, “although I want you waiting in my bed every night unless I tell you otherwise.”
So, he expected me to be here beyond the plumber. He wanted me in his bed again. I suppressed a moan as I went hard again.
I probably should have asked him what the hell was going on here. But he’d pushed my buttons. I was a total submissive. As long as he told me what I was to do and didn’t ask my opinion, that’s what I’d happily do. It aroused me. It made me go hard. There was no hiding from him that it did.
“Do you give a good blow job?” he asked, brushing his robe more open as he sat on the stool at the kitchen counter. He was in magnificent erection.