And once again he's said yes, because, you know, after all he's only human and he needs to eat and the rent won't pay itself. And taking pictures is all he's ever been good for anyway. That and screwing up his own shitty existence. Two gifts to live on, shouldn't he be grateful?
The street is damp and dark, shivery orange lights and the nightclub neons, plus the swaying glow of the occasional police car; the same old stink of poverty and air heavy with pollution, the same old whores, dicks and cunts waiting on the sidewalks, leaning against dirty walls and passing each other cigarettes – he needs a cigarette now – with herpes on the filter.
Screw herpes. He'd smoke a cigarette now if it was smeared in fucking poison.
Not much to live for anyway.
The guy is still in sight. Impossible to miss, with his tailored suit and his measured walk. Everything about him screams 'john'. Adam vaguely wonders what sort of twisted pervy things will appear on his pictures tomorrow. The people he follows are all the same to him, and yet they seem to surprise him every time. It's like it never gets too disgusting for them. Or maybe the world is getting a bit worse every day. Doesn't matter. The only thing that worries him is to, one day, stop caring. Take pictures of a man fucking a little kid and not care. Take shots of a human being killing another and not care.
They're like an anchor tied to his ankle, weighing him down, down to the bottom – their emptiness stains him, they bring him down with them. Or so it seems.
Is it really possible? That bit of soul taken in with the picture you take? Maybe the savages are right.
The guy checks out his watch, keeps walking. A little faster. Meeting someone? Adam remembers his wife, blonde – of course. Elegant even as she picked up the mail in her silken bathrobe in the morning sun, her hair undone. She looked sparkly clean, perfect. Who knows what sort of curious disease her husband is going to bring her tonight, kissing her, fucking her maybe – Adam shrugs. None of his business.
His business is to take photographs of whatever's happening. Follow, hide, flash, develop, sell, done. Why does he need to think? Why won't his stupid brain just shut up for five seconds and let him… let him…
Not loathe his life quite so much.
Just five seconds.
The guy hesitates and goes left. Into a dark alley. Now fuck. Adam hates dark alleys – they may be romantic, you know, the thrill of clandestinity, the risk of being caught making you all tingly, yeah, he's read about that somewhere, but in dark alleys it's difficult to hide and the flash is necessary, which means that taking more than one picture every minute or so is out of the question. And less pictures means less money. At least, with the nightclubs's mess of tangled rhythms everywhere, he won't have to worry about the noise of his shutter. That's already something.
Now Adam is becoming more cautious. He moves catlike between the old trashcans and empty bottles, without a sound. Finds a spot behind the broken remnants of an emergency staircase. He can see two silhouettes if he squints, in the blue glow of – can it be the moon? But when he looks through the eye of his camera and adjusts the focus, everything becomes clear.
The guy's pale hair is almost white in the moonlight. His face, handsome and serious – sad, almost. Yeah. He's the one that oughts to be sad, no doubt, not Mrs. Perfect Wife back home with her perfect little girl in her perfect house, waiting for her perfect husband to come home stinking of ghetto whores to bring her a perfect STD… Adam sniggers silently. He hates angsty liars. The ones that revel in their own guilt one last time before they go at it. Damnit – it's like it turns them on. Probably like to imagine their wives spanking them or something.
Moving on to the silhouette. Poor girl, he has to take her picture too – that's what the other man wants, to see who the guy hangs out with…
Hell, what do you know. The whore is a boy.
And he's not old, either. Tall and gangly, but somewhat graceful. Seventeen? Black hair, pierced lip, looks strangely healthy for a male prostitute – usually all drug addicts desperate enough to –
Talking about addiction. He needs a cigarette. Right. Now.
No. Business first. Pleasure next.
The guy looks shy. Never done it with a whore before? Or with a boy…? Adam wouldn't know, it's his first night out with that one. Who cares anyway. Focus in place, come on everybody, let the show begin.
But it doesn't. The guy is inspecting the boy's arms. Great. An expert. A… and Adam refrains from slapping his forehead. Of course. He's a doctor. He'd forgotten that – stupid; he's supposed to follow him to work tomorrow morning, the man with the scar has given him all the addresses, Dr. Lawrence Gordon, M.D. and all, and anyway, he's a doctor, so of course he'll be careful. How adorable. Mrs. Perfect can sleep soundly, she won't wake up with syphilis.
So, no holes in the veins, no bruises, nada? Great. Now gentlemen, if you'd mind, let us start, it's getting cold here…
Yes. It worked. The boy, impatient – other clients waiting, probably – has pulled the doctor into a violent kiss, tongues swirling and everything, they both have their eyes closed, perfect moment for a first picture.
The doctor grabs the boy's collar and slams him back against the damp wall, deepening the kiss as far as he can go, hungry and frantic. Adam mentally classifies : Dr Gordon, oral obsession. Expect some cocksucking.
He wouldn't have guessed. He would have imagined the doctor calm, cold, passive, forcing the boy's head down on his prick and keeping his breathing as even as possible and coming silently, perhaps with a slight twitch of his hips, his face almost inexpressive. He wouldn't have imagined the doctor lost in that fierce kiss, or the doctor's hips already bucking and rubbing against the boy's and the doctor's hands everywhere at once, hesitating between stroking and grabbing. How they all keep surprising him, these people…
Adam remembers the camera. Flash.
Had he really forgotten it?
Voyeur… well, they all have their own little perversion. Why couldn't he have his?
He watches as the doctor sinks to his knees, not bothering with more… foreplay, or whatever he would have called it. Flash. The doctor's fingers fumble at the front of the whore's pants, his face blocks the moonlight, and his eyes are open so another flash so soon is too risky. Adam squints. Can't see. Fuck. How many pictures has he taken? He can't remember. The doctor's face dives forward all of a sudden and the boy's body shakes with a gasp Adam can almost hear. Flash. Oh. He's seen the doctor's lips stretched over a mouthful of dick; clearly, that was what he wanted all along. The light falls on them once again – it's not the moon, not the same color, but Adam doesn't care, probably a light from the street, he's hidden anyway, safe and busy right now, no-one can see him, it's him that sees, and the doctor sucks long and hard and now his lips and tongue are working on the tip of the whore's cock, and his hands still everywhere thighs and hips and balls and he takes it all in once more and.
And Adam feels something.
It's not the mechanical arousal that comes when he watches porn because he's got nothing better to do. It's not the morning hard-on he gets rid of in the shower with an orgasm barely strong enough to make him cringe. It's the warm, terrible thing he's known only once or twice, the thing he can't do anything against – the thing he can't control or dismiss with a bad joke. His eyes are riveted to the doctor's mouth sucking and swallowing the boy's hard cock and there is nothing he can do, his body's mesmerized. The doctor's right hand has moved down to his own prick and Adam can't see, but the movement of his arm is clear enough and the doctor is unbalanced, hips bucking wildly like he's younger, smaller, discovering it too, moaning – surely – around the boy's dick and Adam imagines the vibration – he's heard the doctor's voice somehow, can't remember when, but he knows it's deep and calm and now he's so hard his pants feel like a palm crushing him, and he realizes that his breathing has become erratic too.
Adam wants to think about something funny. Or about his desire for a cigarette. He wants to concentrate on the shame of being there, aroused into madness by the sight of a fucking upper-crust perv sucking a whore's dick in the corner of a dark alley. He wants to concentrate on the work he has to do, on the life he hates, on all those things that don't turn him on, that don't feel real, that don't make him all… alive.
But all that exists now is his fingers slippery with sweat on his camera, his heavy breathing he can't stop or control, his dick throbbing and painful and fuck he needs to come, he needs to come…
No. No. Oh, but they are both so close, the doctor is frowning, eyes tight shut, face already contracted, almost there. Flash. Flash. Adam doesn't care anymore. If he doesn't take pictures now, he'll have to jerk off, have to rip his stupid pants open and grab his dick and rub it and come and come and oh…
Adam puts the camera down. Carefully. There's still a bit of himself somewhere, a hint of thought behind the demand for release that paralyses his mind. So he doesn't just throw the camera on the floor.
He crouches down on the ground, perfectly hidden in the shadows. His fingers tremble, hesitate, pull – stupid stupid fucking stupid fabric – and finally there, yes, his hand wraps around his cock and it's slick and throbbing and he's already so close it will only take a second – and as tight as he can he strokes and he moans, loud, maybe, screw it, who cares, he's past the shame now, so what if someone sees him, being discovered doesn't matter, it's enough that he himself is aware of what he is now, a voyeur caught up in his own kink, overwhelmed, hidden in a dirty corner like a rat, frantically rubbing himself to climax as fast as possible in a dirty street because watching a man and a kid fucking has made him too hard to wait until he's gotten home, oh, oh, another moan, what a piece of shit he is, what scum, what nothing, oh, he is nothing – Adam's eyes close just for a second, but he keeps them open as he comes, left palm pressed against his mouth, stiffening his cries. The pleasure is blinding.
The doctor walks past him as he recovers, shaking, hand sticky – he wipes it on the floor, tries to breathe, watches the doctor disappear. The boy is still there, leaning against the wall. Smoking a cigarette.
Adam stands, picks up his camera. His knees feel weak. Never had one like that in years. He almost forgot who he was. He smiles.
What a pathetic fuck he is.
But hey. Not like it is a big revelation anyway.
Just walk home now. Develop the pictures. That other guy will be happy. They're dirty as fuck, just the way the clients like it.
Adam casts a last look to the whore in the alley. His mouth is rounded on a puff of blue smoke, his eyes are closed. He's not smiling. He is thinking that a boy's gotta eat, Adam tells himself. And he's only human. And the rent won't pay itself.
So what does it feel like to be a whore? I'll tell you. What a wonderful opening for the story of his life.
Adam walks away, and the man watching him takes one step out of the dark.
How could he begin the story of his life? Hi, my name is John, my body is filled to the brim with the metastasis of several malignant tumors. I am alive, but they are eating me. It won't last.
The man's eyes remain fixed on Adam as he walks away. He has been listening to him as he wanked in the dark, but it hasn't made him hard. His mind is focused on only one thing now. It involves chains and forced intimacy with this doctor Adam spies on.
How delightful it is going to be.
Especially this one sentence swirling through his mind like music. This one sentence just for Adam.
What do voyeurs see when they look into the mirror?