Right Hand Man

Right Hand Man

Not again.

I love Ted, but this is too much. I'm starting to cramp up and I can feel another blister bubbling just beneath the surface of my palm. I need a rest. Twenty minutes, that's all I ask. But no, there he goes, getting Lefty to press the "play" button on the remote and thrusting me up against Little Teddy for one more session. Poor Little Teddy has turned red and raw from all the rubbing. I feel sorry every time Ted pulls me up his length—and I can tell that Little Teddy is finding it more and more difficult to stand at attention. But he's a trooper. He'll do anything for Ted.

There was a time when I, myself, would have gladly done anything for Ted. I mean, we have been together all his life. Ever since he was a baby, he's favored me over Lefty and that special attention has always made me eager to help him; eager to, as they say, "lend a hand".

And we've certainly had some wonderful and exciting times together. Eating out at the diner with the rest of the boys and handling one of Debbie's excellent tuna sandwiches on white bread; zipping through a mound of tax returns on the ten-key, enjoying that heady rush that comes when Ted tells a client he'll be getting an even bigger return this year; spending a quiet moment feeding the pigeons at the park and enjoying an ice-cold beer at Woody's.

I especially love our nights out at the opera. Ted always looks so smart in his tux. I smooth out his hair until he is satisfied that it's perfect, though it really doesn't matter how his hair looks because he never has a date to notice it. But on Opera night, I'm never bothered by that fact. Just being with Ted is enough for me. We sit comfortably in his usual seat under the balcony. I hold his opera glasses up to his eyes just the way he likes—helping him look smart and sophisticated through every aria.

But now, I can't remember the last time we visited the Opera or the diner or even the last time we went to the gym for a long, hard workout with Emmett. All I know now is an endless stack of porn videos from "Elmo's Erotic Entertainment and Tanning Salon" on Liberty Avenue. It's a far cry from the Opera, to be sure.

I think we've seen this particular porn about 50 times. "Indiana Jones and the Dick of Doom". I know every grunt, moan, and thrust by heart. I don't understand how Ted can get so charged up over it. Though, all right, I'll admit when that giant testicle comes barreling down on Indy, I still get a little tingly. But, these days, that tingle is just not enough. There's something lacking in porn. And that something is another person.

Unfortunately, I can't count on having another person in our bed any time soon. Ted has no problem wooing his Boston fern with a number by Puccini. And he can produce a pretty convincing smoldering stare when he practices kissing himself in the bathroom mirror. But when it comes to hitting on real flesh-and-blood guys, Ted is . . . well, let's just say, he's no Brian Kinney.

Some people, like Brian, are born with sexy genes. Brian could walk down the street bald-headed, unshaven and dressed in rags and he'd still turn every guy's head. The vibe oozes out of him. He could make somebody come just by ordering a bowl of oatmeal. He doesn't have to work at being sexy because he is sex, itself. And everybody knows it.

Ted could study the art of sexual attraction for years and never come close to Brian's level of proficiency. I've tried to help Teddy out, especially at Babylon, where he needs help the most. I'd hold his drink loosely, stroking the sweating glass with my forefinger in a way that says to the passing hunk, 'if you play your cards right, you can find out all that this finger is capable of'.

My little tease has lured more than one eligible trick to Ted. Unfortunately, once a man is in his sights, that's about the time Ted starts to fall apart. And no matter how hard I try, there's very little I can do to stop his self respect from crumbling to bits once he's got the ball rolling.

Case in point: last Saturday night at Babylon. The place was filled to capacity with hot, sweaty men just looking for a good time. The law of averages was playing in Ted's favor. In other words, there were an ample number of guys to give Ted a chance to score. Ted ordered a drink and I put my finger to work gliding along the glass. Within minutes, a good looking, decently built redhead walked up to us.

"Hey," the redhead said. He smiled down at my finger and then slid his gaze up to Ted's face. "You're hot."

"Me?" Ted sputtered. "Are . . . are you talking to me?"

The trick blinked and squinted at Ted as if he hadn't heard him right.

"Does it look like I'm talking to anyone else?"

Ted had me place the glass down on the bar and immediately I felt a rush of adrenalin course through me, which is exactly what I didn't need. Adrenalin always causes me to sweat. And a sweaty palm is not exactly sexy.

Ted looked around and chuckled awkwardly. "No, no. Uh, it looks like you're talking to me, all right." He held me out toward the trick and, though I tried to be firm, I couldn't help but go limp because I knew this wasn't going to work. In a place like Babylon, a hand isn't meant to shake another hand. As I clumsily met the trick's hand, I noticed that he had an impressively big basket. I felt a twinge of regret as I realized it was a basket I'd never have the opportunity to unpack.

Ted started to introduce himself, but by that time, the trick realized he'd made a mistake and before Ted could finish, he turned away and started hitting on another guy as if Ted didn't exist.

That's how it went all night. I'd attract a trick, Ted would open his mouth and the tragedy would begin again. His heart beat so fast every time a guy came up to him that I couldn't control the cold, clammy sensation in my palm. I must have shaken dozens of hands and witnessed countless looks of revulsion as trick after trick wiped his hand on his pants and turned away as Ted applied his one worn-out come on line, "Hi, I'm Ted. Ted Schmidt."

After four hours, and at least twice that many drinks, Ted decided to give up. We entered the empty condo and he slumped onto the couch. He glanced over at the long rack of CDs next to his stereo system, deciding on which melancholy opera would best match his mood. Then, he sighed and turned to the stack of porn sitting by the T.V. I flexed my fingers a few times, preparing myself for what I knew was coming next.

As usual, Emmett tried to come to the rescue. The first day of Ted's porn fest, Emmett called several times and left more than one worried message. Ted never picked up or called him back. Today, Emmett's persistence finally paid off. He banged on the door until Ted had no choice but to let him in. You can't imagine my delight when I discovered he'd come over to give Lefty and me a much-needed manicure. Thankfully, after only ten minutes of coaxing, Ted agreed to turn off 'Zach O'Toole's Toole Time Trilogy' and give us all a break. It didn't take long under Emmett's skilled ministrations before I started to really feel loose and comfortable—like my old self again. Lefty enjoyed the treatment, too. But then, in the middle of our moisturizing session, our good times came to an end.

"Teddy, you really need to get out of this house and have some fun. Show off your absolutely fabulous new manicure," Emmett said, tugging impatiently on my fingers. "Let's go to Babylon tonight. It's been a while. It's time you got back in the saddle again."

"I don't want to hear about it, Emmett," Ted responded, his gaze crawling away to his trusty stack of porn.

"Teddy, the 'Dick Studly Hard-Ass-Rock' collection is not going to get you laid. And it's not going to get you out of this rut. So you were turned down by a few guys at Babylon. So what? It happens to everyone."

"A few guys, Emmett? You call thirty a few?" Ted said.

"Sure. You just have to put it all into perspective. Thirty is just a drop in the bucket when you consider the hundreds of guys that troll through Liberty Avenue on a daily basis. And when you consider the population of the world, why. . ."

Ted ripped me away from Emmett's grasp. "But I'm not trying to get laid by the entire population of the world—most of whom are too old, too young, or too straight to even be eligible. And as far as the hundreds of guys on Liberty Avenue are concerned, take away the ones in relationships, the totally unattainable studs, the drag queens, the crystal freaks and the guys who've already turned me down, that leaves, hmm . . . nobody. Zero. Nada. Not one fucking person!"

"Teddy," Emmett took my hand, "that's not true and you know it. Lots of people love you. Michael and Deb and Justin and even Brian, in his way, all care about you. And I love you. You're my best friend in the world, Teddy, and I don't want to see you hurting like this."

"I'm not looking for love, Emmett. I'm looking for sex. And if you want to help me, find me a trick so I can get laid!"

Emmett gripped me hard. He took a deep breath that made the rhinestones on his shirt glitter. He looked down at my fingers, tracing each of my cuticles with great concentration. I could feel his frustration pulsing at his fingertips.

It's at times like this when I pity Emmett. He has to be one of the most self-effacing men in the world. Whenever one of his friends is in need, he's the first one to show up. And he's always there for Ted even when he's acting his most selfish and doesn't deserve an ounce of sympathy.

"Emmett," Ted whined, "don't you care about anything I'm saying?"

Emmett looked up. His jaw was set and his brown eyes were cold. "Ted, I wish I could help you, but you obviously get some kind of perverse pleasure out of feeling sorry for yourself." He stood up and shoved his hand cream and a fistful of emery boards into the pink Mary Kay bag he'd brought with him. "When you're ready to come out of your cave—which, by the way, smells like a pit of filthy jock straps—and live like a normal human being again, let me know. Until then, honey, you are on your own."

"Go ahead, then!" Ted yelled as the front door shut. "I can make it very well on my own, thank you!" It was then that we started our current screening of 'The Dick of Doom'.

So, here we are. And though my palm feels as if it's about to split open and I fear my fingers will be permanently curled into a fist, I will stand by Ted. For all his faults, he is a part of me and I am a part of him. That is a bond that's hard to break. He'll pull through this in a couple of days. And who knows? There may actually come a day when I'll be able to embrace someone else's cock for a change. Until then, I just hope that Ted remembers to stock up on Lubriderm. Little Teddy and I are going to need it.

The End