Change Begets Change (Unexpected Occurrences 5/12)
I didn�t know where I was when I woke up. Not a good
sign, that. I opened my eyes and looked around. A
bad move. The room was spinning. I closed my eyes
again to make it stop and just lay there, trying to
figure out my whereabouts. This wasn�t home, that
much I was sure of.
Of course, home is a fuzzy concept when you�ve moved
around as much as I have. I�ve lived in five
countries in the past ten years, and never spent that
much time in whatever was the current home, anyway.
Not until I left journalism for the mutant equivalent
of living in a Green Acres rerun, that is. There were
years where I was traveling upwards of 100 nights a
year, and that takes its toll.
I haven�t lived like that for a while, but still I
often wake up a little bit disoriented, taking a few
seconds to remember where I live now and if I�m not
wherever that might be, what city I�m in this time.
This morning it was taking too long, though.
Something was wrong; I�m never this confused. The
bedroom at the Outpost that I share with Jean-Paul and
Ezra was coming back to me as the current referent for
�home,� but the room I woke in sure wasn�t it. No
crib, no bookshelves, no movie posters on the wall.
So, where was I, I wondered, and why did I hurt so
much? Headache, muscle aches, assorted other pains
that weren�t so easy to identify. I tried to focus my
mind but it remained a blur. The dizziness was
getting in the way. I couldn�t see clearly, either.
Well, that at least was easy to fix. Put on your
glasses, Adam. Only where were they? I felt around.
There was a nightstand within reach of the bed, and I
found my glasses there and put them on. Vision
clearing even if my brain was still full of cotton,
the room began to look familiar. Hotel room. San
Francisco. The conference. It was coming back now.
I sat up, and immediately regretted it. My head felt
like some guy with a hammer was inside there, trying
to knock a hole in my skull so he could get out.
Leaning back against the headboard, I took a couple of
deep breaths and tried to will the headache away. The
clock by the bed said 9:30. I realized I was missing
the first conference session of the day. I tried and
failed to care about that; there was no way I could
pull myself together enough to get dressed and head
down to the conference level. I couldn�t pull myself
together enough to even remember what the session was
Okay, I�ve got to do something about this, I told
myself. Get back on my feet, take something for the
pain, figure out what happened to me. Gingerly, I
swung my feet to the floor. I stood up ever so
slowly, taking a couple of steps towards the bathroom.
The dizziness and headache got worse, and I leaned
against the hotel room wall to steady myself, but
didn�t go back to bed. Slowly and carefully, feeling
like some octogenarian who�d misplaced his walker, I
inched along, one hand on the wall the whole time. I
had to stop to lean against it a few times just to go
the few yards to the bathroom door. After emptying my
bladder, I managed to splash water on my face and to
swallow a couple of pills. �You look like shit,
Greenfield,� I said aloud to the face in the mirror.
�What were you up to last night?�
Drinking. That much I knew, although for the life of
me I couldn�t remember a thing. I�ve been playing
novelist and Mr. Mom in Saskatchewan and it�s a long
time since I�ve gotten drunk, but you can�t be a
reporter without knowing what a hangover feels like.
And this one was the mother of all hangovers. The
throbbing in my head and the memory lapse were
evidence that I had been drinking a whole hell of a
lot last night. I hadn�t had a blackout like this for
A lot of years. This was feeling uncomfortably
reminiscent of times when I was young and dumb and in
the throes of coming out. Times I drank too much to
build up the courage to suck some guy�s cock and then
drank more to forget that I�d done it, to forget how
much I liked that. How much I needed it.
Okay, forget that. This is no time to relive my
confused adolescence, I admonished myself. Get with
the program. I concentrated, trying to remember what
had happened the day before. Start at the beginning,
Adam. What happened yesterday morning? I can do
that. I woke up here, in the same exact bed,
yesterday, having arrived the night before. I could
remember that part. Then what? The conference, yes.
And after? Dinner with a bunch of guys I�d met at the
panel discussion I�d been on, the one on ethics of
undercover journalism. Okay, I remember that, too.
The panel felt good � people wanted to hear what I had
to say. It felt good to have something to say, too,
something that wasn�t about diapers or bottles or
Dinner had been fun, as well. Good food, lots of
wine, good conversation. Very California. The
restaurant was crowded; lots of places around here
were crowded, I�d been happy to see. The unknown
illness that precipitated the war had stayed on the
East Coast. People here weren�t afraid to go out in
public, weren�t afraid they�d succumb to some
mysterious mutant-borne malady.
I�d been feeling great, glad to be there, enjoying the
pleasant buzz of reporters swapping stories. I was in
a country at war, but I could almost forget that for a
while. Well, not forget it � it was the subject of
much of the discussion. But I was sitting among
people against the war, against the government secrecy
associated with it, and against discrimination against
mutants. The conversation was stimulating and
relaxing at the same time. And reassuring � making me
feel like the whole country hadn�t gone mad, like some
people could still tell that it�s the government that
had, that this War on Mutants was madness. Some of
the people I met seemed like good contacts for the
resistance. All were interesting and fun to hang out
We sat there a long time, drinking wine and comparing
notes. That much I remembered. And then � nothing.
My head hurt when I even tried to recall what happened
after dinner. And it wasn�t just my head. There were
a lot of other kinds of pain that told me I hadn�t
just been drinking. The kind of pain that made me not
so sure I *wanted* to remember the rest.
Carefully heading back for the bed, I pulled the
covers back and sat down. I looked at the sheets for
the first time, now that my vision was clear. Dark
spots on the sheet. Blood stains? Yeah, definitely
blood. I looked at my hands. Could I have cut
myself? Maybe broken a glass or something? In the
restaurant or back at the hotel? I couldn�t remember.
There weren�t any cuts that I could see, but there
were weird marks on my wrists. Red lines. Ligature?
No, couldn�t be.
I looked at the bed sheets again. Not just blood
stains, but marks elsewhere on the sheet. Streaks of
something else. Something kind of greasy. Lube?
Yeah, lube � open tube on the floor next to the bed.
Okay, big night. Just my luck. First big night in a
long time and I can�t even remember it. Oh, well.
All is clear, at least. The non-headache soreness
explained, now. Yeah, that familiar ache after a
particular kind of really good time. And okay, so
maybe they are ligature marks on my wrists. What the
hell, life�s different with a baby. No crime if we go
a bit wild the first night away from Ezra. I hope I
had fun, I thought, now wishing even more that I could
remember. I found myself wondering where we went
after dinner, whether I said or did anything stupid in
front of my new acquaintances. Oh, well. No point
worrying about it; I�ll know soon enough. Jean-Paul
never gets drunk. He�ll tell me what we did, how much
of a fool I made of myself. Maybe he�ll tell me how
good a time I had when we got back here, too.
Only where was Jean-Paul? I looked around stupidly,
as if I�d somehow missed seeing him in the bed or in
the bathroom. Oh no. He didn�t come with me, I
remembered suddenly. He�d changed his mind at the
last minute. We�d had that fight. Jean-Paul had
stayed at the Outpost. Oh, this was not looking good.
The phone rang. I didn�t want to talk to anyone, but
my head couldn�t take hearing that ringing sound
again, so I answered.
No greeting. �Are you okay?� the voice said.
�Who is this?� I answered. �And don�t talk so loud,
whoever you are.�
�It�s Jake. I just called to say that I�m sorry
things got kind of out of hand last night. I�m not
usually so... insistent. I think I�d better lay off
�Okay, you do that,� I said, without a clue as to who
he was or what he was talking about. I hung up.
A few minutes later I wished I hadn�t cut him off so
abruptly. I wasn�t getting any further with
remembering. Maybe that voice on the phone could help
me figure out what happened last night. He seemed to
know something. Why had I hung up on him? That had
been incredibly stupid of me. I had been feeling like
I couldn�t stand to hear anyone talking, not before
these pills kicked in, anyway. But now I thought I
should have just held on until *something* made sense.
Jake, he�d said. Jake. Jake who? And then I
remembered � Jake from the conference. Jake at
dinner. Jake in the bar...
Jake in my hotel room? Oh shit. No. I didn�t. I
looked again at the stained sheets, the marks on my
wrists, the open tube of lube on the floor. Yes, I
And now that I knew what must have happened, some of
it was starting to come back. Not all of it, not in
order, but yes I�d had sex with that man. No point
denying it to myself any more. Remembrance of things
past was rushing in without being summoned. Jake had
been the admiring junior colleague through the
evening, but something else entirely when we got into
the hotel room. I�d been all set to tell him about
Jean-Paul and Ezra, ready to have a nice congenial
chat, far away from the hubbub of the bar. Jake had
had other ideas. Pushing me to my knees as soon as he
closed the door, telling me to suck him.
I closed my eyes and I found I not only remembered � I
could feel it all over again. The novel feeling of
having a cock in my mouth that wasn�t Jean-Paul�s.
Longer, not as thick. Cut. That hard shaft moving in
my mouth as I sucked, Jake�s hands on the back of my
head, his hips pushing rhythmically, fucking my face.
I�d felt guilty, but excited, too. And somehow glad
Jake was taking control, making this sort of not my
fault, not my doing. Just something that was done to
And oh what he�d done to me. I lay face down, put my
hands over my head, trying to remember. It helped
focus my physical memory, brought a moment back from
last night � feelings, sights and sounds. My wrists
bound together, over my head like this. Jake�s body
on top of mine, Jake�s hand on my head, pulling my
hair. Jake�s voice. �You need a good fuck,
Greenfield. I could tell the first time I saw you.
And I figured I�d be the guy to give it to you. I
wanted you just like this, right from the start.� I
remembered Jake behind me, on top of me, pushing his
cock in hard. Fast and rough. Part of my brain
thinking �too rough, this isn�t good for me, I
shouldn�t be doing this� but it sure felt good. No
How come? I could remember it well now, feel him
pounding into me all over again. Biting me on the
shoulder and back. Oh, and slapping my ass on the out
strokes, too. Yet none of it hurting. Why?
What had he said on the phone? �I think I�d better
lay off that stuff.� What stuff? Oh God. Jake�s
hand in my mouth, feeding me something before he
fucked me. His body on top of me, my hands bound, and
me just doing what he said, swallowing what he gave
me. �You have some, too,� he was saying. �It�ll make
it feel better. I can fuck you harder. It�s good.
I�m no virgin. I�ve been out for more than ten years.
I know all about drugs and sex. But I've always made
sure the knowledge was purely theoretical.
I�m not a guy who likes to take risks. I know what
people do when they take that stuff. Nothing hurts and
you want it all. You don�t worry about what you�re up
to. Safer sex requires a good healthy dose of
inhibition. I�ve always had plenty of inhibition, and
I�ve always avoided mixing drugs and sex for just that
Fucking crystal. The blood on the bed was scaring me
something awful now. Did he use a condom? Oh let me
remember we used condoms! At least when he was
fucking me so hard. Not bareback. Don�t let him have
done it to me bareback, please God.
I didn�t know, couldn�t remember. If I�d put one on
him, I thought I�d remember that. But maybe he�d
taken care of it himself. I looked around for a
discarded one, or even the wrapper � in the bed, in
the garbage, on the floor.
As I cast around in vain for evidence that we�d at
least played safe, I noticed for the first time that
the voicemail light on the phone was blinking. Two
messages. The first was Jean-Paul, his voice full of
love, filling me with guilt and remorse.
�Not there, mon amour? I hope the first day was good
and that you�re out somewhere having fun. It�s a
great city, San Francisco, n�est-ce pas? I�m sorry
I�m not with you, Adam, and sorrier we parted badly.
Maybe I made a mistake. I don�t know. I do know I�d
rather be with you than anywhere. It�s been like that
for me from the start. And I also know I hate being
on bad terms with you, mon coeur. Call me later
tonight. I�ll tell you what I�d be doing with you if
I were there, hein?�
I wanted to call him back right away, tell him I�m
sorry we fought, tell him I love him more than life.
Only I didn�t know what to say about last night.
While trying to figure that one out, I listened to the
second message. It made the what-to-say part
irrelevant. Jean-Paul again. �Adam? I have to
leave. Mac called. I can�t give details here, of
course, but it�s important I go. I might not be able
to call for a few days. Wendy and Arthur will take
care of Ezra until you get home. I�ll be back with
you as soon as I can. Je t�aime.�
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