Habu’s Grab Bag 6, contains standalone short stories habu wrote in the last half of 2014.
Grab Bag 6 is the latest in a series of short story anthologies with eclectic gay male settings and plotlines presented in the order in which they were delivered to habu by his muse, within the period since the previous Grab Bag collection was assembled. In addition to random stories streaming down from habu’s muse, this collection includes stories written for themed contests. Variety and setting are always important in habu’s stories, and, as usual, the settings of these stories span the globe, from the United States, to the Caribbean, Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. And, as always, there are unusual stories that take fresh approaches to men taking their pleasure with other men.
The overarching motivation for a habu story is that it try to be different in some way from ones he has written before, a tall order for a writer who has some 800 short stories published, but a goal we think has been achieved here. As with the previous Grab Bag series, we hope that readers will find stories to entertain, arouse, and evoke thought in this collection.
From “The Oldest Lifeguard”:
Rob stood up in the lifeguard’s chair and stretched his body, flexing his muscles and giving his best deadpan John Wayne expression. Most of the lifeguards wore T-shirts, but Rob was vain that way. He was shirtless, his torso deeply tanned, his muscles glistening in the late afternoon sun, thanks to a film of sweat and a light lathering of suntan lotion. He looked good—even at the age of thirty-two—and he knew he looked good. He worked out an hour or two a day—religiously. It was about as close as he came to a religion—the worship of good body definition—his own body definition. He was pushing 200 pounds, but had a fullback’s body. All hard muscle and cut definition. Still, the body of a Zeus now rather than an Apollo.
The lifeguard chairs extended all the way down the ten-mile stretch of the Ocean City, Maryland, beach from the inlet to the Delaware line, the stands set at intervals of five city blocks. Rob held court at 95th Street, on the beach side of the Pyramid condo. It was a choice spot, as well it should be, because, after sixteen years as a lifeguard on this beach, Rob, by far the oldest lifeguard ever on the Ocean City Beach Patrol—OCPB—had the most seniority. By rights he should be chief of the guards now and work in an office and occasionally drive between the stands on the beach in a dune buggy to check on the guys. But Rob had never wanted to be in an office. He’d always wanted to be out here on the beach.
Of course there was more money to being chief and working in the office, but Rob didn’t do this for the money. This was what Rob wanted to do in life, and he was a little concerned that his application for a seventeenth year hadn’t come back approved yet. It was mid-September, nearly the end of the OCPB coverage season. He didn’t know what else he’d do over the summers if it wasn’t this.
He looked down and saw that one of his regulars, Eric Someoneorother, had a hand on his bare foot and was looking up at where he stood in the chair, his gaze seeming to be more focused up the leg opening of Rob’s shorts than up into his face.
“Hi, there, Rob,” said Eric, a short and thin nineteen-year-old with reddish blond hair and not a bad build. Rob knew the young man was good on a board and that he’d been here off and on all summer—this being his first summer out here. Rob also knew him to be one of his regulars now. Probably not a resident of Ocean City, but living not too far away. And Rob knew the guy had money.
“How’s it goin’, Eric?” Rob called down to him. They seemed to appreciate it if he remembered their names.
“Wondered if maybe . . . whether you . . . ?”
“Will you be at Randy’s later?” Rob asked. “No can do before that. I’ll be spinning them at Randy’s after 8:30, though.”
“See you then,” Eric said, backing away from the stand reluctantly and returning to the group of other young, well-cut guys he was with. All the good-looking young guys on the beach seemed to congregate around Rob’s stand. As long as they did, Rob continued to believe that he had it—had what it took to hold down this lifestyle. . . .
Rob finished his stretches and sat back down on the lifeguard stand seat. Another hour, and it would be 5:30, the lifeguard stand-down for the day. Another week and a half of this, and another summer season would be chalked up. The beach was more and more deserted with each passing day now—except for the hopeful group of young men congregating around his stand and using the presence of a volleyball net to cover their real purpose for gathering here. Attendance would flare up on the weekends through the rest of September, but be pretty dead during the week.
Rob looked down at the group of young men milling around below and around his stand. Best-looking tail on the beach, he decided. He looked them up and down real good, trying to decide if there was one of them above the age of eighteen that he hadn’t already fucked. At first scan he couldn’t identify a single one who hadn’t already writhed under him.