Castle Roland

On The Web

by Jack Scribe, of Honored Memory


Chapter 3

Posted: N/A

Digging For Gold

by Jack Scribe

AOI - Alpha One International - was the public face of a highly secret organization called Alpha. Both entities had been formed over 100 years ago as a networking organization that helped closeted gay members of government to safely live and professionally function within an oppressive turn-of-the-20th century atmosphere. Throughout its century-old history, Alpha members were dedicated to defending the U.S. Constitution and advancing equality of America's GLBT population. Its membership was comprised of leading gay executives, politicians and government workers - and its influence grew over the years while AOI slowly evolved to become one of the world's leading international security firms.

They had recruited Oleg Petrov ten years earlier in Washington, D.C., after he had spent a few ass kissing, paper shuffling years with the FBI at their headquarters complex on Pennsylvania Avenue in the Hoover Building. Although his Bachelor degree in criminology, a minor in computer sciences and a law degree provided an excellent foundation for a career with the Bureau, the drudgery of government office grunt work became simply too much of a burden.

The new job with AOI, on the other hand, offered diverse assignments out in 'the field'. Oleg was able to use his intelligence, analytical instinct, physicality and nimble reflexes in solo assignments or as a member of a small, elite team. He quickly became adept at navigating the politically charged underbelly of the Nation's Capital, and his ability to flawlessly communicate in Russian, French and Spanish constantly came in handy. His Sorbonne-educated immigrant parents - a Russian father and French mother - insisted their native languages be spoken at home, in addition to English, as Oleg grew up. As far as Spanish was concerned, studying that language was a 'no-brainer' for anyone growing up in the Golden State - he was raised and educated in Southern California.

His expertise with computers made Oleg invaluable as the Internet became more prominent: few excelled as well as he in the ubiquitous web security issues. He jumped at the opportunity when the fabled security firm offered to transfer him to the large West Coast office in L.A. Between the increased billings in the entertainment industry and the high-tech campuses in Silicon Valley, AOI's business was mushrooming. The move also allowed him to return home and be closer to his family and longtime friends.

Over the years, Oleg had proven himself as a dependable, results-driven associate who efficiently completed difficult assignments and, as a result, brought in a steady stream of repeat business. On several occasions he turned down offers to head the office because he preferred outside work - clandestine assignments in the field. Nevertheless, Oleg was made a limited partner of the firm - a very unusual situation, as those were normally reserved for senior executives - because of his knowledge and linguistic expertise. These talents often allowed him to work in Europe on International assignments...a nice occasional change of pace after cleaning up some celebrity's mess in his backyard or working with the computer gurus up north.

There was no hesitation when Brad Williams asked Oleg to investigate, pro bono, a murder and the setup of Thad Brooks. He valued Brad and Doug's friendship and had handled several assignments for Brad's law firm in the past. To help clear the name of a young man for whom Doug vouched was the least he could do. After listening to Thad Brooks' vague recall of the events of the previous 72-hours, Oleg quietly smiled at the gem that had fallen into his lap. Petrov was already working on a case that involved the Russian mafia and child pornography - Harvey Fine had been very active as the California contact for the kiddie video slime coming out of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. Over the past 10 years an odd alliance of Putin's Russian government cronies, the mafia 'red fellas' and criminal elements in North America had become very creative in forging illegal businesses.

Brad, Oleg and Benny left Thad's hospital room and walked to the garage. Along the way, Oleg listened to Benny's assessment of his roommate.

'This should be fairly straight-forward,' he thought as the three men stopped for a moment, 'if I can peel away a few layers of this Rory guy, get the lowdown from Andy at the Frat Loft office and figure out who the mystery man is.' Oleg turned to Benny and said, "It looks like some person or persons unknown were after Harvey Fine and used your buddy as a patsy. I'll just have to help the police prove that theory."

"He's completely honest and focused on moving his career forward. Working at Frat Loft was just a temporary gig until something came along with a feature film. Getting the job with Doug DiMarco was a dream come true," Benny Siegel said. "He's the type of guy who would walk away from being played like that and not look back."

"And if your friend got fucked over royally like he did from Fine?" Oleg asked. "Or Rory Reed, for that matter."

"Haven't seen that happen. Ever." Benny shook his head and furrowed his brow. "However, if someone did a number on him, Thad would be up front and deal with it to the best of his ability."

"Doug has a good feeling about the guy, too," Brad replied. "He thinks Brooks is talented and certainly doesn't have a hang-up about people working in the adult industry." He paused, winked at Oleg and added, "I've got to get going. Buddy, keep me appraised of your progress."

"Yes, Sir." Although he was on a social, first name basis with Brad and Doug, the investigator was formal during business hours, particularly in front of others. "After I track down the office manager of the porn studio, I'll see if The Abbey has any security video tapes of interest. The guy who escorted Thad out of the bar is the key." He shook hands with Brad and nodded as the handsome lawyer headed down a row of parked automobiles. "Mr. Siegel, I'll meet you at your apartment so we can retrieve that business card. 1417 North Vista Street. Right?"

"Yeah. Just off Sunset near the big guitar store."

"I know the area. See you in a few." Oleg walked over to the emergency staircase and went down to the next level to his Yukon Denali. Because it was Saturday afternoon, the garage was filled with cars belonging to hospital visitors. By habit, he observed all foot traffic to determine if there was any behavior out of the ordinary. He eased the large, bulletproof SUV out of the parking space, drove to the exit and paid the cashier. As he pulled out onto the street and into the brightness of the August summer sun, Oleg thought back to nine years earlier and his first awareness of Brad Williams and Doug DiMarco - before either man had become famous.

It was at the estate of mogul Sam Barron, chairman and founder of CAM - Contemporary Artists Management - the most powerful entertainment agency in Hollywood. His name was frequently in the L.A. Times and trade 'rags' because of his lavish parties that were well attended by celebrities, social leaders, politicians and studio 'suits'. What was not known were the discreet, small gatherings he occasionally hosted - sex romps that featured a select group of young actors, rent boys and appreciative older men...depending on the no particular grouping. With Sam, it was all about business and servicing his clients.

Petrov had only been back in L.A. a year when Sam Barron called AOI with a serious personal problem. Barron's former assistant and live-in lover had made videotapes of various trysts, captured from the estate's security system, and was demanding a large sum of money to make the tapes disappear. Barron paid an initial $50,000 shakedown to make the embarrassment go away, but the blackmailer had other ideas. The 'ex' wanted a half-million dollars in unmarked bills within two weeks, or he would release the celebrity-laden videos to the highest bidder.

Sam Barron reluctantly showed Oleg the one tape he had received after the first payout. Prominently featured were two young, adult males eagerly romping in the individual bedrooms with two older, Arab-appearing men - who Sam identified as Saudi royalty - in a variety of sexual activities. And of the two studs, one could be clearly identified as the now hottest movie star of his generation - Brad Williams. The time stamp on the video verified Barron's claim that the activity occurred a year or so before Williams had made his first film. The only thing unspoken was why the two men were with the princes. Clearly, Oleg thought, these guys were hired for the evening. The other young man was Doug DiMarco. He remembered wishing he could have been on the receiving end of the services that either of the young men were so expertly providing.

Immediately, AOI planned an offensive strategy and Oleg was selected to be the leader of a three-man team from the L.A. office. A man known only as Shamus and another associate were flown in from Washington, D.C., as added anonymous manpower. For the next couple of days, Oleg watched the subject and monitored his routine. The man worked in a stock brokerage firm and left his Brentwood apartment by 6:00 a.m. to be at the office for the opening of the East Coast stock exchanges. Without fail, he returned to the apartment by 3:00 p.m.

On the third day, while the blackmailer was at work, the team - clad in non-descript work clothes - entered his apartment and expertly took it apart to find the tapes. No luck. Only a file of glossy pictures was found. These compromising photos were the sample that had been shown to Barron before the initial payment. However, a bank statement revealed the existence of a safety deposit box at the Wells Fargo branch in Beverly Hills. Finding the deposit box key hidden away in a shoe was the frosting on the cake. Shamus laughed and said, "Why do civilians always think a shoe is a safe place?" as Oleg put together a plan.

By early afternoon, everyone was in position. Oleg sat in a panel truck waiting for the subject to return while Shamus and his colleague were positioned in the apartment. They didn't have to wait long. The subject was spotted driving into the apartment's underground garage at 2:50 p.m. and Oleg alerted Shamus on his cell phone. He knew that Shamus would be sporting facial makeup with appropriate L.A. casual clothing and the other man from D.C. would be wearing a ski mask. From the debriefing later, Oleg learned that the surprised subject was initially unresponsive until a few well-placed punches in the abdomen got his attention. Agreement was finally reached when Shamus made good his threat to break fingers - one at a time. The first digit's rearrangement did the trick.

Fifteen minutes later, Oleg received a call from Shamus to say that the subject and he would be driving to the bank to retrieve the contents of the safety deposit box. As a precaution, another team member would monitor their activity at the bank. However, the minor physical abuse of the middle finger - now in a splint - and a few veiled threats concerning his safety in the near future had convinced the subject not to do anything stupid. Shamus was very intimidating and believable concerning his ability to make good any threats.

Not only did Oleg deliver all the known tapes to Sam Barron, but also a large envelope containing most of the original $50,000. The entertainment mogul was ecstatic and insisted that Oleg split the money with his AOI associates. This, however tempting, was against company policy, but Oleg didn't think his boss would mind if Sam donated the money to GLAAD and amfAR in the name of AOI. Barron agreed but insisted Oleg join a small group of people for a quiet dinner that weekend. To his pleased surprise, Brad and Doug, along with the two princes, were the other appreciative guests. This started a friendship that had remained strong to the present day. And, as time progressed, the close relationships nurtured loyal clients for AOI. It was a win-win situation for everyone. As for the blackmailer, he moved far away from Los Angeles.

When the large Guitar Center sign came into view, Oleg flipped on his turn signal, eased into the right lane and slowed down. 'Best to start looking for a parking space now,' he thought as he turned onto Vista. The street had grown during West Hollywood's 1970's 'boom or bust' construction period, and the bland, square buildings were all very similar with their stucco finishes, small windows and barely-adequate balconies. A half-block down the street, he found a space large enough to handle the SUV. 'There are times when I wish I didn't have to drive this gas-guzzling tank,' he thought, but having the impenetrable vehicle had proven indispensable on several occasions.

Benny buzzed him in and Oleg found the apartment with no problem after walking up to the second floor. He smiled and recalled his first home out of college as he walked into Thad and Benny's eclectic starter apartment.

"Sorry for the mess. I was going to tidy up today but Thad's call took precedence," Benny said with a shrug. "You want coffee or something?"

"Water would be fine." Oleg looked around at the collection of hand-me-down furniture and poster art.

"I'll get a bottle for you. Oh, I put the business card on the coffee table." Benny ducked around the corner to the small kitchen.

Oleg sat down on the couch and picked up the business card. 'Hmmm, Andrew Leeds. But should I call him Andy?' He studied the Frat Loft logo, noting the address and business telephone number. On the back was an '818' number written in pencil. "I assume the hand-written number is Andy's cell?" he asked when Benny returned and set down the bottle of water.

"Probably. It's the only business card I could find from Frat Loft." Benny sat down at the opposite end of the couch and popped open a Diet Coke. "You wanna see Thad's desk or anything?"

"Naw, this is all I need. Let me try the business number, first." Oleg took out his Blackberry, punched in the numbers and hit "send". As he thought, a voice message came on after the second ring stating the weekday office hours. "The office is closed on weekends," he said as he disconnected and dialed the written number.

"They must do their cam business and web stuff from another building," Benny replied. "Thad said he'd been told it is quite busy on weekends."

"If that's so, the cops will get an eye-full." The third ring had just completed when the call was answered.

"Hello?" asked a cautious voice.

"Hi. Is this Andy Leeds?"

"Who wants to know?"

"I'm Oleg Petrov, a private investigator. We need to talk about Harvey." He turned on the warmth in his voice and purposely used Fine's first name only. "Have you been to the office today?"

"I normally don't go in on weekends. A PI? What's this all about?"

"You must not have checked the news this morning." Oleg realized he was about to be the messenger but wasn't concerned about being 'shot'. "Harvey was found dead this morning."

"You...oh,, what a way to screw up a weekend vacation."

"Not in town?" Oleg knew to ask very short, specific questions.

"I came over to Palm Springs last night for a little escape with a...friend. I just got up and turned on my phone. Um, dead as"

"It's pretty complicated. Someone got to Harvey and ended his life. I'm working for someone who is interested in finding out how this happened and who did it." Oleg could hear some rustling on the other end. 'This guy is probably just getting out of bed,' he decided as he looked at his watch. 'Wish I could sleep in this late.' It was just after 1:00 p.m. "We need to talk."

"Man, this is wild. Should I come back to L.A.? This kinda bums me out, but I don't know what I can do that couldn't wait 'til Monday. I only worked for the guy, and honestly didn't like him very much."

"How so?"

"Demanding prick and everything was always about him. But he paid well, so I put up with his crap."

"Someone else liked him even less. Waiting until Monday would work...or I could come out to the desert to meet you somewhere. I've got a second home in Palm Springs and I haven't had a chance to use it recently. It'll give me an excuse to drive over." He didn't add that his house in the Las Palmas district was shared with his 'ex'. Each man, separately, could use it on alternate weekends. "Where are you staying?"

"INNdulge. It's a..."

"Gay hotel in the Warm Sands area. I know it...nice place. Especially around the pool." Oleg let out a soft chuckle to communicate he knew about the clothing-optional resort and had no problem with the concept. Let me wrap up a few things here in L.A. and we could meet for a cocktail around six." He figured it wouldn't be pushing it to get to the desert in two hours.

"I've got 7:00 p.m. dinner reservations at Wang's. Will that give us enough time?"

"Absolutely. Why don't I grab a bottle of wine and meet you by the INNdulge pool? We can talk, take care of a bottle of chardonnay and I'll be outta there so you can get on with your dinner plans." Oleg looked at Benny and shrugged.

"That'll work. Jeez, come to think of is a bummer about Harvey. Although I wasn't very fond of the guy, he was a dependable meal ticket. I wonder what will happen now that..."

"We can talk about that when I get there. Are you registered as Andy Leeds?" Oleg had been out to Palm Springs often enough to know that some 'closet cases' traveled under aliases, but he doubted if this would be the case.

"Yeah. We've got a room near the big palm tree. Why don't we meet near the palm? There's tables where we can sit."

"Good idea. I'd suggest you dress for dinner so you can split as soon as we've finished our talk. Okay?"

"Deal. I might as well make the best of things before I drive back tomorrow night. Wonder if I should call the studio and find out if everything is okay?"

"Might be a good thing to do. Check in, let everyone know you'll be back on Monday and encourage everyone to carry on as usual. But I suggest you just say you're out of town and be as vague as possible. This might be the last weekend you can play for a while."

"Good idea. There's nothing that can't wait until Monday."

"By the way, do you know Rory Reed's real name? I heard that he also goes by 'Henry'. I'm trying to contact those who knew Harvey." Oleg wanted to soft-pedal the question and not come on too strong.

"Rory? Um...yeah, Henry...Henry Wiedermeier. Is he involved?"

"Just covering all the bases, that's all. Does he live in the valley?"

_"As I recall, the stud lives on Larrabee in West Hollywood. At least that's where I send his paycheck. Does that help?" _

"Very much so. One more question: do you know anything about Thad Brooks?"

"A blip on the screen but he seemed like a pretty nice guy. He was in this past week and filled out the W-4 and I-9. Worked a couple of days and managed to piss off Harvey...which is not hard to do. How does he figure in?"

"Probably not at all." Oleg decided not to reveal anything else. "Relax and enjoy the rest of the day. See you at the palm tree around six." He knew there were hundreds of questions going through Andy's mind concerning this business and his job at Frat Loft. 'Wonder who's going to step up and claim ownership of the websites?'

"See ya then. Bu-bye."

"Later." Oleg lowered his phone and considered his next step. 'Need to contact Lamanna and find out where they're going with charging Thad.' He took a sip of water and looked at Benny. 'Wouldn't mind inviting this guy out to the desert...but he's going to be busy helping out his friend. Too young for me, anyway.'

"So you're going out to Palm Springs to meet this Andy?" Benny asked.

"I can help out with the investigation while the LAPD does their thing. Speaking of which, I need to get in touch with the lead detective and find out what's happening." Oleg decided there was nothing confidential he needed to discuss and asked, "Do you mind if I call Detective Lamanna right now?" He looked at his Blackberry's screen and scrolled down his contact files.

"Please. I'm anxious to find out what's happening."

Oleg stopped at Lamanna's highlighted name and hit 'send'. The call was picked up after the first ring. "Hey, Joe. It's Petrov."

"My favorite over-paid snoop. How's it hangin'?"

"Eight by six, but standing at attention and available when I'm around you." Oleg enjoyed 'pulling the chain' of his more liberal hetero lawmen friends. He was open about his orientation in a matter-of-fact way.

"In your dreams, deep throat. At least not until my wife divorces me."

"I can wait. Listen, I wanted to let you know I'm looking into this Harvey Fine murder for young Thad Brooks. You got a few minutes where we could speak?"

"How the hell is Brooks able to afford your fees?"

"I'm doing Doug DiMarco, the director, a favor. He thinks the kid is a square shooter and asked me to a friend. Thad related the details of the story he told you." He decided not to bring up Brad Williams name.

"I'm just finishing up at Fine's home and could meet you somewhere in an hour. To answer your unspoken question; as of now, we're not looking at Brooks as a suspect. I'm not going to charge him with anything because it looks like a this point. The case smells to high heaven but I can't get a handle on it. Someone's trying to be very clever."

"Good news, I'll pass that along."

"You can let DiMarco know his guy will be free to leave the hospital later this afternoon if the Doc says so. However, he's still a person of interest and won't be allowed to leave the L.A. area."

"Any sighting of Rory Reed yet?"

"We stopped by the Frat Loft studio and talked to a few of the guys who were...well, you know...doing their thing," Lamanna replied with a chuckle. "The only name that came up was Henry or Hank."

"Try Henry Wiedermeier. My source tells me he lives on Larrabee in West Hollywood."

_"Thanks, Oleg. I'll confirm the address, send a unit over and have him checked out. I should probably call the sheriff's division over in WeHo so they don't think we're trying step on their dicks. How'd you get that info?" _

"Ha. Because I'm an 'over-paid snoop.' Why don't we meet at Chin Chin on South Beverly for lunch? I haven't eaten yet and I'll spot you to a Chinese chicken salad."

"Having you buy lunch is worth the price of admission. Chin Chin at 1:30." Lamanna disconnected without any further comment.

"The good news is that Thad is not being charged with the crime. I suspect that you'll be able to pick up your roomie at the hospital a little later this afternoon."

"Fantastic. I'll get cleaned up and pull the apartment together until I hear from him. Thanks, Oleg."

"I'll be on my way." Oleg stood up and waited for Benny to do likewise. He took Benny's hand and squeezed firmly. "I gotta scoot. Would you please call Doug and let him know what's happening? Tell him I'll call from Palm Springs around seven."

"Will do." Benny squeezed with a firm handgrip and smiled as Oleg walked out of the apartment.

The drive over to his condo in Century City allowed Oleg a chance to plan his actions for the next 48 hours. First, he contacted AOI and let the dispatch center know about his travel plans. Then he was transferred to his boss's voicemail and left him a 'heads up' message on the Fine murder, the ramifications of what he was doing, and why he was doing it. He also tied in how it concerned his current investigation of the international kiddie porn ring.

Once he got home, Oleg threw a few things together in an overnight bag and changed into more casual cargo shorts, a black tee and sandals. He checked his mail, returned a few telephone messages and headed down to the garage. Rather than drive the company SUV, he opted for his more desert-friendly silver Porsche Boxster. Oleg had every intention of getting laid tonight and he was always successful when he trolled Palm Springs in his roadster.

Meeting Joe Lamanna was cordial and friendly. Although they weren't pals, each respected the other. While eating their chicken salads and sipping iced tea, they traded information. Joe confirmed that Rory-slash-Henry lived at 853 Larrabee but hadn't answered the call button. Neither had Rory responded when the uniformed police unit knocked on his condo door. They were currently staking out the building and watching for Rory to appear so they could question the porn star. As for the identity of the mystery man who left the bar with Thad, the detective said that The Abbey's security videotapes had been reviewed by his team but turned up no clues. The video did confirm that Thad was barely able to walk without the aid of the guy in the cap, shaggy black hair and sunglasses.

Oleg was forthcoming about tracking down the office manager - Andy Leeds - who was in Palm Springs for the weekend. Oleg stretched the truth a little by saying he had already planned to travel out to the desert and would meet Andy later in the day. He promised to call Lamanna if Andy had any further information concerning Rory, Thad or Harvey. Before they left the restaurant, Joe promised to walk through the crime scene with Oleg on Monday.

A workout session, steam and a massage at Crunch had taken the edge off of Saturday morning: the visit to the gym helped ease Rory's residual tension from the previous evening's activities in the Hollywood Hills. However, he felt no regret and was determined to go about his day as if Fine's earthly farewell hadn't happened.

Rory loved to show off a little in the communal shower room and took time drying off. The gym was gay as a goose and he always drew attention. At his locker, he sensed the stares as he put on his tight wife beater and low-rise camo shorts. 'Might as well advertise the wares,' he thought with a snicker.

He decided to drive over to the Beverly Center for some shopping and a late lunch. After wandering through Bloomingdale's, Hollister, and the Apple store, he bought an early Sunday edition of the L.A. Times and went up to the dining terrace. Rory got a shrimp burrito and bottled water at Baja Fresh and sat down at an empty center table. He scanned the front page and found nothing of interest as he took off the bottle cap. 'Wonder where they placed Harvey's death?' he thought as he took a bite of food and washed it down.

There was nothing in the first section. However, on page 5 of the California local section, a younger Harvey Fine stared at him. It was a picture at least 10 years old, Rory judged. The headline read, "Porn Producer Found Dead". He rapidly read the three inch-column story and decided that either the authorities weren't telling the press everything or the car wreck hadn't registered as a related incident. 'Home invasion,' he read again. As he'd planned, the housekeeper had found Harvey when she reported for work at 6:00 a.m. The police spokesman said it appeared nothing had been stolen. 'Well, whatever the case, I've covered my tracks.' He looked through the rest of the section and didn't see any report of Brooks' auto accident. 'Too small of a blip to register.'

As he ate the burrito, guys came by the table in small trickles. He was always polite to 'his public' and even packed a dozen glossy photographs for signing with his ever-present Sharpie. He smiled when he noticed people at several tables looking at him and probably wondering if he was some new film or TV star they should know. 'Yeah,' he thought, as he answered the unasked question, 'if you like to get it off with a gay stud.' Rory shuddered when he thought of Harvey's tattoo plans. 'I'd be sitting here with long pants and a long sleeved shirt if that dead mackerel had had his way.' One hot guy - tall, blond and probably attending UCLA, judging from his tee - came over by himself.

"You're Rory Reed, right?"

"That's me. And you're..."

"Jack Jones."

"Right," Rory drawled out with a smile. "Couldn't you be more original? Let's see, good Nordic features, blue eyes, great biceps and a pretty impressive mound in your crotch. How about Dick Bjorn? Now that sounds sexy." He sat back, placed his hands behind his head and watched his fan's eyes roam from his crotch to his trimmed armpits. "You can sit down if you tell me your real name. My friends call me Hank."

"Okay...busted. My name is George. George Hudson" He pulled out a chair and sat down.

"See, that wasn't so difficult." Rory held out his hand and smiled when George grabbed it with a strong grip. "And I'm right that you're going to UCLA?"

"Junior year...this fall. I still live with my folks, though, and that isn't too great for my love life."

'This guy is pretty smooth,' Rory thought as he studied the confident smile on George's face. "Are you out to your family?"

"You assume I'm gay?"

"Hello? George, you recognize a gay porn star who you've obviously seen in action and come over to flirt. Not that I'm complaining. Would you feel more comfortable if we settled on 'bi' and left it at that?"

"Guess I deserved that. It's just that I...I'm not that experienced in what you do so well." George shyly grinned and raised his eyebrows.

"You want some experience? I think you're quite a stud and wouldn't mind showing you a few moves." Rory didn't often pick up cute college guys. But there was something sweet and wholesome about this preppy stud. "If you've got time...right now."

"Kee-rist, Rory or...Hank. I can't believe you'd want to..."

"Save the modesty. We're both pretty cool dudes and it would be fun to get it off with you. If 'ya want, we could go over to my place in West Hollywood. It's not that far...on Larrabee."

"I know the street. Video West's close by."

"Kee-rect," Rory replied. He figured the guy probably rented his videos and DVDs at that store. "Right down from where I live. There's a bar called East West on the corner at Santa Monica Boulevard. So whatdaya want a little action this afternoon?"

"Man, this is too cool. Yes...absolutely, yes. Should I follow your car?" George's eyes showed a look somewhere between wonderment and sheer lust.

"Let's plan on meeting on the street in front of 853 Larrabee. I drive a Solstice and I'll just double-park until you arrive. I've got a couple spaces under the condo where we can park. Once I see you, we'll go into the garage. What do you drive?" Rory asked as he stood up and collected his newspaper.

"Nothing fancy. A gray Honda." George also stood and adjusted his obvious erection.

"Well...wait for me. Looks like I gotta take care of something for you." Rory licked his lips and looked down at George's crotch.

"If I don't cream in my pants first. See you in a few minutes on Larrabee." George waved and walked away with his hands in front of his fly.

After bussing his refuse to the nearest trash container, Rory went down to the purple zone of the garage and found his car. 'Thank God they color code the underground garage,' he thought as he slipped his ticket into the scanner. The gate raised and he started his short drive home to a hot stud who needed some action.

Ten minutes later, he turned onto Larrabee and saw George's Honda stopped in front of his condo. As he approached, Rory became aware that he probably had other company. An LAPD black and white vehicle was parked in a loading zone. 'Well, Rory, old's show time,' he thought. As much as he wanted to dig into George's bottom, he decided it was best to take a rain check. Rory pulled up next to the Honda and lowered the passenger door window.

"Got here first," George yelled out his window. "Guess I'm kinda excited about..."

"Buddy, I just found out that the guy I work for at Frat Loft was found dead. Those cops in the car are probably going to need to talk with me." Rory did something he didn't do often. He had a card in his hand with his home phone number and leaned over so his hand would clear the door. "Take this card and call me next week. I really would like to get to know you better. This just isn't going to be a good time."

"I understand, I guess." George reached out and took the card. "Guess I'm going to have to jerk to one of your videos and imagine what might have been."

"There'll be another time. Call me." Rory nodded, pulled up to his garage gate and pushed his remote opener. He watched the Honda drive away as the gate parted. 'Damn,' he thought, 'old Georgie boy would have been a nice piece of ass.' At the same time, a uniformed policeman approached his open window.

"Are you Henry Wiedermeier?" the policeman asked as leaned down to eye level.

"That's me, officer. But I'd prefer Rory. Was I speeding, or something?"

"I'm Officer Petrie and this concerns an investigation the department is conducting."

"Would it be correct to assume this has something to do with Harvey Fine's death?" Rory looked at the cop's mirrored sunglasses and quickly added, "I just read about it in the Times. It was a real shocker." He wished he could see an expression of the officer's eyes but the framed reflective surface of the glasses prohibited it.

"We have some questions for you."

"Don't know what I can tell you except I worked for the guy. Let me park my car and I'll let you in. Is that okay?" Rory knew he was about to play the role of his young acting career.

"No problem, Mr. Wiedermeier. I'll ride down with you and we can open the gate for my partner. He's waiting at the main entrance to the building."

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