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Daybreak by Jack


Bryan Hollingsworth woke with a killer hangover feeling even more disoriented than normal. The bed felt strange, bigger, harder, not quite right. Before opening his eyes, he tried to remember the night before, the sequence of drinks, who he’d been with, when he got in, where he’d been. Nothing. One big blank. He rolled over, relieved that at least there didn’t appear to be another body next to him, and finally let one eye squint open ever so slightly. The bright light flooding the room only amplified his already pounding headache. His chest stung like it was actually on fire. Both eyes opened wide. Right. Vacation. Puerto Vallarta. Some Hyatt, or Westin, or Sheraton. Doesn’t matter. Slowly it all started to come back to him, especially when he propped himself up and faced the mirror across the room. While rubbing his head, he snarled back at his reflection, slid back under the covers, and attempted to go back to sleep.

A little over a half day prior, almost before the bellboy had even closed the door behind him, Bryan pealed off his jeans and leather jacket, and slid into his favorite black swim trunks. He made a semi-conscious decision to leave the sunscreen behind and chased out to the ocean. The hot sun beat down on his bare chest and shoulders as he sprinted into the surf. Nirvana! No screaming clients for a whole two weeks. He felt totally rejuvenated, as the beautifully toned body he took such pride in, emerged from the waves and he took a moment to look back at the shore and study the long row of palm trees lining the pristine beach. No sub-zero wind chill for twelve whole days. Pretty much his biggest challenge now was securing an empty lounge chair. The pickings were slim; there was one next to a young woman and her screaming toddler and another, a little further down, next to, what appeared from a distance, to be a really good-looking guy, probably just the other side of thirty. Hard decision. Completely unencumbered, he meandered over and laid claim to the latter. The guy looked up from his book and stared directly into Bryan’s dripping, trunks. “Um, okay if I take this one?” Bryan got a nod and a welcoming smile as he plopped down and straddled his long legs around the chair.

“Just get in?”

“Yep. Checked in maybe twenty minutes ago.” Bryan looked at the guy’s glowing tan then down at his own pasty, grey skin.

“Una margarita mas, Senor?” The man nodded his head again, then glanced over at Bryan. As the waiter’s thick, dark forearm cleared the empty glass and soggy cocktail napkin away, he watched his best tipping customer arch his eyebrows and hold up two fingers. The young waiter said something in Spanish and the two of them started laughing. The banter continued for a few more minutes then he turned around and began to saunter away. He looked back over his shoulder, cocked his head and winked before disappearing completely.

“Been here almost a week now. Me and Enrique are getting to be fast friends.”

“Seems like a friendship worth cultivating.” Bryan smirked and got up to adjust the back of his chair.

“Matthew, Matt.” He reached over and extended his hand. “The sun feels great, huh? It was brutal in the midwest when I left, but that’s just a distant memory now.”

“Bitter in Chicago this morning. Minus two, or something. Um, sorry,” as he leaned into the chair the back collapsed. He grimaced and lurched forward, “um, Bryan.”

One Margarita turned into two, two into three, as they lounged around, baking in the sun, until quite coincidentally, they got exactly the same idea, at exactly the same moment, and hurled their hot, sweaty bodies into the perfectly blue water. Almost before they were even completely wet, Bryan felt Matt’s hand tug on his trunks. He blushed the tiniest, little bit, then yanked on string of his new friend’s board shorts. They goofed around in the waves for a while longer before heading back to their chairs and another round of drinks.

“You’re starting to look a little pink there, Bud.” He got up and tossed a number fifteen into Bryan’s lap.

“Didn’t think I’d be out here so long, but then, whose fault is that, anyway?”

Matt ran his hand through Bryan’s sweaty hair and moved it off his forehead, “no one’s forcing you to hang around, Man.” He grabbed a fistful of curls and yanked on them.

“Hey!” Bryan patted his hair down and rubbed his head like he had been gravely injured.

“Ahh, did I hurt you?”

“Didn’t realize you were such a masochist.”

Matt reached for Bryan’s hair again, “so, a little hair pulling really turns you on, huh?” Bryan ducked his head, “or, are you just sore because I messed up your precious, pretty curls?”

Bryan shook his head and shot his fingers back and forth across his scalp, “meant to get the ‘pretty curls’ chopped off before I left. Usually don’t go quite so long between haircuts, but then, I worked late every night last week dealing with this bitch client trying to get stuff done.”

“Let’s toast to the bitch client.”

“Not worth the booze.” Bryan smeared the lotion over his face, “and then, it was so f***ing frigid last weekend--s**t, this place is sooo great!” Very haphazardly more lotion got spread over his chest, “anyway, I never did make it t’the barbershop.”

Matt drained his almost empty glass, “if it’s really bugging you, you know, you can get a haircut down here. It’s not like we’re rafting down the Amazon or something. Got mine cut this morning at a ‘barberia’ just a couple blocks away. Eighty pesos. Good guy. Enrique sent me there.”

“Oh, yeah, Enri--que!” Almost on cue, Enrique skirted by. This time, Bryan held up two fingers, and in a few seconds, two more Margaritas magically appeared. He almost downed this one in a single gulp. “Gotta give it to your amigo, Enrique, though, he sure serves up a great Margarita. Here’s to Enrique!”

“They go down pret-ty smoothly, especially after the, umm, fifth-sixth?” His dark eyes darted up toward the bright sun, “I guess we’ll figure out how many we’ve had when we get la cuenta.”

“I figure ‘la cuenta’ may be more than I’m shelling out for the room, but then, your’re picking up this one, right?”

“That’s gonna entail some pretty wild hair pulling, okay?”

The beach had pretty much cleared out except for some older couple, walking hand in hand in the surf, and Enrique, who was busy clearing away deserted lounge chairs and abandoned glasses. Bryan slowly eased his body back in the chair and cradled his head in his hands. “So, does your barber friend habla ingles?”

“Not sure. Doubt it though.” He massaged Bryan’s knee, “I do pretty good with my Spanish though, among other things.”

“Um, yeah.” Brian slid Matt’s hand a little further up his leg, “me, I know a little French, but Spanish, not much beyond, hola, my name is Bryan,” he batted his eyelashes while moving his chin toward his shoulder, “you wanna come back to mio cuarto, stud?”

“I can see where that must trap ‘em everytime.” Matt got up and stood over Bryan’s milky, chiseled chest, “but, before I go up to see your, um,” he cleared his throat, “room, and you think I’m just some cheap trick, how’s about I take you over for that haircut?” His thumb slid back and forth along Bryan’s breastbone while his fingers massaged the firm, left pec, “and act as your official interpreter.” He didn’t have a gym body, more, kind of a naturally toned, handsomely filled out man’s body, and the mannerisms that one would expect to go with it. When his oversized hand moved north and twisted Bryan’s cheek, it was with a father’s rough, playful energy. When he poured the remnants of their most recent Margaritas over Bryan’s tangled hair and chased back into the water, it was with total, boyish mischievousness. And when Bryan dashed after him, and hurled his hard body against Matt’s, and shoved him into the first big wave it was obvious where this was headed. Their suits came off without much of a struggle.

“God, what time ish-it, anyway?” Matt fumbled through his knapsack and finally dug out his i-phone. “After four-thirty. You sh-erious about that haircut? That place prob’ly shuts down at five. Clo-sh’d manana!”

“How’sh-about one last, quick cock-tail?” They took turns holding the other’s “officially last drink of the afternoon” while they each washed the salt water and sand off their bodies in the communal shower above the beach. Swaying back and forth even more than the glorious palm trees, they cut through the grand hotel lobby. Bryan veered toward the elevators, “I’ll just, um, rum up to my woom and get sch-ome cash, and shrow on a shirt and sch-ome shoo-es, okay?”

Matt pointed at the clock lurking above the concierge’s head as the two of them stood dripping on the sleek, travertine floor, “no sh-ime, Man. I’ll sh-pring for the eighty pesh-os. We’ll work out sha-de-tails later.” As they stumbled back out into the bright, late afternoon sun, he grabbed Bryan’s butt and gave it a hard squeeze.

Bryan glanced down at the front of his wet suit, “maybe we should hold off on sha-dee-tails until we find a sh-lightly more private, um, hiccup, venue.” He took a cursory look around to make sure they were alone before strategically moving Matt’s hand to his crotch.

As they stood blankly staring into the door at La Barberia watching a hand flip the CERRADO sign over and pull the blind down, Bryan let his fingers roam up the back of Matt’s head through his thick, dark, hair. Matt gently wrapped on the glass and the door inched open. He was greeted with an enormous smile and a friendly slap on the back. Something was said in Spanish and then, almost immediately, Bryan was ushered to the chair and the barber was running a comb through his straggly, brown hair. It was a very small, unassuming place, one chair, one mirror, no frills, not even air-conditioning, just an overworked ceiling fan methodically clanking overhead. There was more chatter in Spanish, and a lot of laughing and joking around and then, pretty soon, all three of them were knocking back Coronas, and Bryan was laughing with them, even though he had no idea what they were talking about. After the second or third cerveza, sweat was rolling down his back as he sat there trying to force himself not to pass out in the chair. The room spinning around him didn’t help. While the plastic cape was being draped over his bare shoulders, he made an offhanded remark about the barber’s shaved high & tight flattop, something about how shiny it was, and how he didn’t get how that teeny, tiny millimeter of hair in the very, very front stood up so nice and tall all by itself. Matt’s eyes got this funny glow, and then he pulled on Bryan’s hair, “that’d look hot on yooo-u.”

Bryan sort of smirked. While he continued to fidget with the cape, sweating more and more, he listened to Matt jabbering away in Spanish again. Lots of pointing was going on, and more jabbering, and both the barber and Matt were simultaneously nodding their heads up and down like a couple of novelty store dolls with those heads that bob every time you touch them. At Bryan’s insistence, the cape was removed and then he was spun away from the mirror to face Matt, who was perched on a folding chair just short of arm’s length away. El barbero seized his clippers, discarded the attachment, adjusted Brian’s head and glided the clippers from the nape of his neck all the way up to the crown and over the top. Bryan’s slurred pronouncement in English about not going too, crazy short was pretty much ignored as more, stark, white scalp shone through. He blankly stared into Matt’s glazed over face grinning, while the clippers proceeded to efficiently clear both sides of his head. Comb and scissors, clippers and comb, and clippers all alone methodically eased over his scalp as he slumped deeper down into the big chair still grinning ear to ear. Vigilantly, the barber continued to prop Bryan’s head up as he tried to finish the haircut. Across the room, Matt was fast asleep.

The phone rang three times and then it was silent. Once again the phone rang three times. Without mercy, the receiver was left to dangle precariously from its spiraling cord off the front of the nightstand. There was a loud pounding sound. As it continued to get louder and louder, Bryan realized that it wasn’t totally inside his head and forced himself to sit up. Still pretty disoriented, he shuffled toward the door and flung it open, his waking erection flagrantly welcoming the intruder. Matt grabbed hold of it, backed him onto the king sized bed, and popped the cork on the champagne bottle he had tucked under his arm. They took a couple of swigs, then poured the rest of it over each other’s identical high & tight flattops, laughing as they watched the champagne bead up on their glistening sidewalls. After wrestling around for a couple of minutes, rubbing each other’s shiny heads, they pulled the champagne soaked sheet up, happily wrapped their bodies around each other, shut their eyes and went back to sleep.

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