I have had stories published in the anthologies, The Monster in My Closet (Sullivan Publishing House), Image Out Write 2012, Eros at Large (Paradise Press), Boys in Bed and Finished by Hand (Both Xcite Books). My essay, More Then Just Making Beds and Emptying Bedpans, was published in the 2010 anthology Nurses on the Run. I have had short stories published in the magazines Chroma, ScotsGay, Creative Week, ‘Indie Scene’ and Gazebo Magazine; and on the websites Gay Flash Fiction, Velvet Mafia, Thick Jam, 1000 Words and The New Flash. I am also a regular contributor to FS Magazine, a National Men’s Health magazine, NRC, Nursing Times and Nursing Standard, Britain’s leading nursing publications, and for the Nursing Standard I have three times been a guest editor. Sketches I’ve written have been performed in the Treason Show, the Brighton based satirical review show, and the London based Newsrevue, the world’s longest running live comedy show.
My website, contains examples of my writing and links to the places where my writing is published.
The following stories appeared on the old Gay Flash Fiction Website.
The Devil to Blame
by Drew Payne
(c) 2009 Drew Payne
“The devil made me do it.” The words simply leapt out of Anthony’s mouth. He didn’t know where they came from, he just opened his mouth and the answer came out.
There he was, in Pastor George’s office, Saturday lunchtime. Anthony thought his life was over. Well, he would certainly be up to his neck in hot trouble. He still had two more years before he could leave home, two more years before he turned eighteen, two more years of tip-toeing around his mother and her Christianity. Now his cover had been blown and here he sat in front of Pastor George, who was also his mother’s brother.
Two hours before he and Dan had been weeding Pastor George’s garden. His mother had arranged this. She felt it was her duty, as his sister, to make sure Pastor George was looked after, because he was a single, middle aged man. Anthony had been given the job of maintaining his garden. That Saturday he had brought Dan along with him; Dan from the music group at church.
They’d had no intention of doing any weeding. Pastor George’s garden had a summer house at the end of it, which had a large and comfortable day-bed. Anthony and Dan, as soon as Pastor George had left for the church, retired to the summer house. There, on the day-bed, they had begun to make love, the way teenager boys with their first lover make love.
They were resting, post-coital, covered only by a cotton sheet, Anthony on the verge of falling asleep, when the voice rang out:
“What on earth!”
Pastor George stood on the summer house’s deck staring straight at them.
Dan screamed and leapt up from the day-bed. In mere seconds he grabbed his clothes, fled past Pastor George, and ran across the garden, naked.
Anthony snatched the cotton sheet to cover himself.
“I think…,” stammered Pastor George, “I think you had better get dressed.” Pastor George turned his back while Anthony hurriedly pulled his clothes on.
Barely speaking, Pastor George took Anthony to his car, drove him back to church and, once there, hurried him into his office. Pastor George sat down, next to Anthony, on one of the two old armchairs in the room.
“Now, what was happening back there?” he asked Anthony.
That’s when the answer sprang to Anthony’s lips.
“The devil made me do it.”
To Anthony’s surprise Pastor George lent forward, his face wearing a pained and concerned expression.
“The devil tempts me in exactly the same way,” he said, to Anthony’s growing surprise. “The important thing is not to give in to the devil’s temptation. It’s not easy but the rewards are great.” Pastor George then told him a long and winding story about his own “struggles” with “temptation”. Anthony quickly realised Pastor George was queer too, but that he hated his queer side, unlike Anthony, who couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
As he listened he realised how screwed-up his uncle was. But because of that he could also see a way out of this mess. It was so simple. All he had to do was appeal to Pastor George’s guilt, to act as guilty as him, even if Anthony didn’t feel it.
“I’m so sorry, I just gave in to temptation,” Anthony gabbled. “Please forgive me.”
“Naturally,” Pastor George replied as he patted Anthony’s thigh in a parental manner. “The devil and his ways can be so seductive.”
“You won’t tell anyone about me or Dan? You won’t tell mum?” He asked, trying to keep the pleading tone in his voice just right.
“I won’t tell anyone about you two boys, I won’t want your whole lives stained by this one, youthful lapse.”
“Thanks,” Anthony replied.
Pastor George started to tell him about his “youthful temptation”, with someone called Charles, when he was eighteen. Anthony just wanted to zone out from this self-loathing story, but he told himself to listen because in this story there was bound to be things he could use later. God! It had been so easy. If Pastor George caught him at it, again, all he had to was blame it on the devil’s temptation.
“You and I will need to meet for regular counselling sessions, at least several times a week. With my help, I’m sure we can overcome these evil temptations of the devil and you’ll be able to lead a normal life.”
“Yes, I’ll do that,” he told Pastor George, but all he could really think about was going to find Dan to carry on their love-making.
Boxing Day 1975
by Drew Payne
© Drew Payne 2009
We were all gathered around the TV that evening, as we always did on Boxing Day, to watch the holiday film. Mum sat with her knitting in her armchair, Dad with his unread newspaper across his lap in his armchair, my older brother Gary slouched at one end of the sofa and me at the other end. That year the film was One Million Years B.C., the nineteen-sixties dinosaur fantasy with Raquel Welch in a fur bikini. Even to my seven-year-old eyes the film was rubbish, the story thinner then Raquel’s costume. Gary, at fifteen, was loving every minute of it and Dad was also watching it intently.
“Look at the knockers on that,” Gary said, his eyes on Raquel.
“Don’t be crude,” Mum replied not even looking up from her knitting.
“But that Raquel Welch has a great set of melons.”
“And that’s all this film has got. It’s complete rubbish,” Mum said.
“They’ve got it quite realistic,” Dad said, shifting in his chair.
“For God’s sake! Dinosaurs and people never lived at the same time. I’ve helped our sons with their homework enough times to know that,” Mum said, putting her knitting down.
“It’s a harmless bit of fun.”
“No, it’s rubbish. There’s no story to it. You lot only want to watch it for that Raquel Welch.”
“Yeah, and she’s a bit of all right,” Gary said.
“You shouldn’t be thinking like that at fifteen.”
“I’m sixteen next month,” Gary protested.
“And don’t I know it.”
“The lad’s only showing a natural interest,” Dad added.
“You three are all the same.” Mum cast one of her looks over all of us.
But we weren’t the same; I didn’t see the point of Raquel Welch either. She may have been pretty, but she didn’t interest me. John Richardson, the actor playing her caveman boyfriend, was of far more interest.
He was ruggedly handsome, even under the thick beard and animal skin he wore, and his costume showed off only slightly less flesh then Raquel Welch’s bikini. He radiated a strong masculinity, strutting around the screen with his spear and fighting the dinosaurs. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I rapidly lost interest in the film when ever he wasn’t on the screen. When he did appear I wanted to be the one he had to rescue from those dinosaurs, the one that he held in his arms.
It was the first time I had noticed how attractive a man could be and how uninterested in women I was physically. At the same moment I also knew that this realisation wouldn’t be welcomed by those around me. I couldn’t see Gary or Dad or even Mum being happy to hear this news. Boys were supposed to be interested in Raquel Welch and not John Richardson; it was there all around me. I knew to keep quiet.
“I should change the channel from this nonsense,” Mum said to the whole room.
“No Mum,” Gary protested. “It’s a really good film… Isn’t it?” He directed his last comment to me.
“It’s boring,” I replied. John Richardson hadn’t been on screen for nearly five minutes and my attention was rapidly slipping.
“What do you know, sissy!” Gary snapped and punched me on the arm.
“Hey,” I shouted back, and looked at Mum for support, but she’d returned to her knitting.
The Pizza Boy Cometh
by Drew Payne
© Drew Payne 2009
Callum had taken the job because of its evening hours, allowing him to study during the day. But the money helped. He had never imaged himself as a pizza delivery man, but compared to the other jobs on offer at the employment agency it was a pearl. It was easy enough work, his employer provided him a scooter, he raced around the neighbourhood delivering pizzas within thirty minutes or the customer got their money back.
He couldn’t deny there was also the erotic potential of the job. So much of the porn he had read or seen involved delivery men, especially pizza delivery men. He knew porn wasn’t real, but it was nice to hope that one day he’d deliver a pizza to a hunky man who’d want to make love to him. Since he’d started university his sex life had not been the sex marathon he’d hoped for. He was so busy with his studies and so short of cash that it had dried up. Delivering pizzas hadn’t improved it. But he still hoped.
That Friday had been mild for February, and for once the work was quiet. It was ten-thirty when he was sent to that mansion block with a double chicken-supreme. He’d been told to wait outside until someone came to collect the pizza. When he arrived it started to rain and the building’s doorway offered little shelter. He’d barely been there a few minutes before the rain soaked right through his jeans. Sod the instructions, he thought, and he pressed the buzzer for flat twelve .A moment later the intercom crackled into life.
“Who is it?” The voice demanded.
“Pizza delivery!” Callum barked back.
In reply the front door opened on an automatic release. Callum pushed his shoulder to it and entered the building. He quickly ran up the two flights of stairs and was soon outside flat twelve. Strangely, there wasn’t anyone standing at the door, waiting for him. Callum knocked.
The door was yanked open and Callum found himself face-to-face with a near naked man. The man was only wearing a pair of underpants, but Callum didn’t find him attractive. He was the wrong side of forty with a fat belly hanging over those grubby underpants. His chest, belly and legs were covered in thick black hairs, though the man’s head barely had any. He reminded Callum of his own father – a guaranteed turn off.
“You’re rather scrawny,” the man said. Callum was about to complain when the man grabbed hold of him and pulled him into the flat.
“Hey, aren’t you going to pay me?” Callum exclaimed.
“Only after you’ve serviced me, pizza boy.” The man pushed down the front of his underpants. Callum actually saw grey pubic hair before his eyes shot back to the man’s face.
“Wait.” Callum backed away, but he only managed two steps before his back hit the closed front door.
“Shut up and suck my cock! Then I’m going to fuck you stupid. You pizza delivery boys are all the same, you’re all fucking whores!” The man snapped at him.
Callum now felt really afraid. This was no longer strange – it was getting dangerous, and he had his back pressed against a closed front door, his only escape.
“I’m not into this!” He screamed.
“You fucking are! I fucking brought you here!” the man shouted back, pushing his face into Callum’s.
Callum panicked and lashed out. Dropping the pizza, he hit the man hard in the chest with both fists. With the full force of his strength, Callum sent the man falling backwards. His arms flailed out and his head struck the low cupboard behind him with a loud crack. Then all was quiet.
Callum stood there for a long moment, catching his breath, before he moved. He bent forward to look at the man. He was lying on his back with his eyes wide open. The man’s chest didn’t move; neither did his eyes or lips. Callum didn’t look any closer, he didn’t check for a pulse; he couldn’t touch a dead body. He just grabbed the pizza and fled out of the flat.
He ran down the stairs, not daring to look back. The man was dead, the thought screamed in Callum’s mind. And he’d killed him, and they would blame him, and…
As he rushed into the entrance hall a voice, shouting at him, stopped him in his tracks.
“Where the fuck have you been?”
The voice belonged to another young man, about the same age as Callum, dressed in a running top and very tight jeans, his hair obviously bleached blond.
“What?” Callum mumbled.
“You were supposed to wait for me outside. I was only two minutes late. I’ve got a client in this place and he wants the pizza delivery boy fantasy. What kind of pizza delivery boy would I be without a pizza? – though fuck knows it won’t get eaten. Who’d be an escort with all these shits and their brain-dead fuck-fantasies. Now hand it over.” The young man almost blasted his words at Callum.
He snatched the pizza off Callum and shoved twenty pounds into his hands.
“Flat 12’s on the second floor?”
Callum simply nodded as he watched the young man run up the stairs. Then he just stood there, alone, in the entrance hall, his body frozen to the spot, and waited.
Praying in The Stock Cupboard
by Drew Payne
If he’d smoked he’d have called them his cigarette breaks, but he didn’t smoke so he called them his “sanity breaks”. He’d slip out of office for five minutes of “fresh air” on the fire escape when things in there were getting too heavy, like they were now. Ruth and Hermione were having another turf war in the middle of their open plan office. This time they were arguing over who had the more important projects, the project managers’ equivalent of “mine’s bigger then yours.” Joe had to escape that.
He always took a roundabout route to get to the fire escape, going past the minor stock cupboard in a hope no one would notice him, which they never seemed to. As he passed the cupboard, its door ajar, he thought he heard someone crying. He stopped in his tracks and listened. He’d been right; there was the sound of someone crying inside. Quietly he pushed the door open and glanced into it.
There, crouching in the middle of the tiny floor was Francine. She was actually kneeling there, her hands clasped together, muttering to herself. The sight was so strange and unexpected that he just stood there and stared at her. What the hell was going on?
After a moment Francine looked up at him, her lank hair parting little a curtain to reveal her round and freckled face.
“Are you all right?” Joe asked. It seemed the right thing to say.
“I’m praying,” she flatly replied.
She was the office Christian, the same way he was one of the office gays, Candice (who he shared a workstation with) one of the office blacks or Traci-Anne was the office Essex Girl. They seemed to like to pigeonhole people with a simple label, usually as part of a minor or small group, but Joe didn’t care. He could hide so much behind his label.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt,” he muttered, starting to take a step back.
“Don’t go,” Francine replied as she jumped to her feet, surprisingly quickly in her long woollen dress. “What are you doing on Saturday?”
Was she asking him for a date? This was Francine and he was one of the office gays.
“The usual, going out with my mates.”
“My church is having a Victory in Jesus rally. It’s an evangelical rally to draw in new members. You’d be very welcome and we’d love you to come along,” she said, her words rushing out of her mouth.
He’d seen the pamphlets and tracts that talked of sin and damnation and “sexual perversion” she kept leaving around the office, and they had left him feeling cold with distaste. He knew this kind of hard and judgemental religion and he wanted nothing to do with it. Those pamphlets had told him how they felt about his sexuality, so he knew it was a mutual distaste.
“No thanks, it’s not me,” he told her.
“Joe, you have to,” Francine said, taking a step towards him, her hand reaching out for his arm. “Pastor Isaac had a prophecy that I would be the lynch-pin of this office. That through me this whole office would be led to the Lord, to repentance and turning to Jesus. But that was six months ago and I can’t get one person to come to church with me. People at church are saying that I’m disobeying God, but I’m not. But everyone keeps turning their backs on the Lord. I just need one person to come to church with me so that I can show how faithful I’m being.”
The desperation on her face was naked and deeply unattractive, her pleading that of someone drowning who he couldn’t rescue. Joe actually took a step backwards, away from her.
“No, it’s really not my thing,” he said, trying to sound more resolute.
“But you really need the Lord; you live such an immortal life. God can redeem you and make you normal. I know He can and you’ll be such a better person.” Her voice was pleading, but with an excited tone.
“I’ve really got to go,” Joe replied, and positively leapt back from the cupboard.
He ran down the corridor and almost jumped through the fire escape door. He didn’t stop until his back was pressed into the corner of the fire escape and he was staring at the closed door. He waited for her to follow him, his body tense and his mind racing – for Francine to come onto the fire escape and carry on begging him to come to her stupid church. But she didn’t.
Minutes later, when it was obvious that she wasn’t following, he was finally able to relax. “God that was fucking weird,” he muttered to himself, “and so sad…”
© Drew Payne 2008
My Boyfriend’s Due Back
by Drew Payne
“Look, my boyfriend’s due back at the end of the week,” Sean said.
Tommy had been lying there, admiring Sean’s naked body. God, he loved sex with Sean! Sean was passionate, yet he took his time. They’d spent most of that evening in bed. They were lying together, naked.
“What?” Tommy’s mind leapt forward. Boyfriend? Coming back? Sean already had a boyfriend?
“Bruno, my proper boyfriend, is due home on Friday so I won’t be seeing you again after tonight.”
“What, you have a boyfriend?” Tommy asked.
“Yes. Bruno’s a doctor on a North Sea oil rig. He works six weeks on and six off. When he’s away I have my little affair-lets, like you and me, but when he’s back I’m faithful. There’s no need for Bruno to know about them, so I can’t see you again.”
“Your boyfriend’s away for six weeks at a time. So you picked me up the week your boyfriend left.”
“Yes. Well, he’s back on Friday so I need you out now.”
“We had sex and now you dump me,” Tommy snapped.
“Now I need you gone. Please get dressed and let yourself out.” Sean rolled away from him and got out of bed. A moment later and Sean had walked out of the room.
Feeling let down and angry, Tommy sat on the side of the bed. He’d been seeing Sean for just over five weeks and though everything seemed to revolve around sex Tommy had hopes their relationship would grow into more. Now those hopes were smashed. He’d been no more than “a bit of fun” for a guy who already had a lover.
The worst part was that Sean had lied to him, led him to believe that he was single. This realisation fuelled his anger and pushed it up until it was all he felt. “Fucking Sean!” he hissed to himself.
Then the idea came to him. He would leave Sean’s boyfriend a present. Instead of pulling on his briefs, he bundled them up and put them in the bottom drawer of the bedside cabinet that obviously belonged to Sean’s boyfriend. He quickly pulled on the rest of his clothes and left the flat. In those few moments he didn’t see any sign of Sean.
Over the following days Tommy found he just couldn’t stop thinking about Sean, how he’d treated him, used him, and each time he felt that hot stab of anger. He really hoped Sean’s boyfriend had found those briefs and made Sean unhappy, as unhappy as Sean had made him.
Ten days after Sean dumped him, a Saturday night, Tommy found his libido had become stronger than his self-pity. He wanted company, and he was feeling horny.
He decided to take himself off to Soho for the night. He intended to end his evening in one of his favourite clubs, but began by bar-hopping the pubs on Old Compton Street. He had only reached his second bar, The Admiral Duncan, when a sharp voice shouted his name: “Tommy! It’s fucking Tommy!”
With a jolt of surprise he looked around. Out of the crowd, his face twisted up in anger, Sean came storming towards him.
“I want a fucking word with you!” Sean screamed.
“Yeah? Well, I don’t want to see you again.”
“You bastard!” Sean spat in his face. “You destroyed my relationship. Bruno found your shitty knickers. He went off the fucking deep-end. He’s gone and thrown me out. You’ve fucked up my whole life, you stupid, jealous little queen!”
“You lied to me. You told me you’re single when you had a boyfriend tucked away on an oil rig!”
“You were just a bit of fun, nothing more, but a stupid little queer like you can’t see that. Your fucking selfishness has cost me my relationship of five years. I should break your fucking neck!”
“Look girls, turn it down or take it outside. This ain’t Footballers’ Wives,” the muscular barman said, leaning over the bar and interrupting them.
“Well, this little fucker isn’t worth it,” Sean snarled, and stomped away into the crowd.
“God, what did you do to her?” The barman asked.
“Found out he wasn’t single.”
He’d only intended to make Sean’s life difficult, no more. He’d wanted Sean’s boyfriend to find his briefs and give Sean hell over them. He hadn’t wanted to break up their relationship.
God, this was all such a mess. He felt awful about it. His little act of revenge hadn’t made him feel better, hadn’t eased his hurt; only left ashes in his mouth. The results of his actions had been so different to what he’d imagined, and it was rapidly dragging him down.
“You all right, love?” the barman asked.
“Yeah, something like that,” Tommy replied, and pushed himself away from the bar and walked out, down Old Compton Street towards Leicester Square station, his emotions weighing heavy on him. There was no point continuing his evening, no point looking for company. No point.
Once More With Feeling
by Drew Payne
I dropped the clothes in front of our washing machine, and then crouched down to sort through them. Too often, important pieces of paper or even money had gone through the machine, hidden in Dan’s pockets, and been ruined.
They were Dan’s favourite jeans, tatty, old and faded. He would preen when he wore them because of the flattering way they hugged his groin and buttocks. They were filthy, as if he’d been rolling around the garden. In the front pocket I found a neatly folded piece of paper. Against my better judgement, I quickly unfolded it and read the handwritten, sprawling words.
I can’t wait until next Tuesday. Last night was fucking amazing, my arse is still on fire from the banging you gave me. I’ll come around to your place at half-six, next Tuesday. We can’t meet at my place because my flatmate’s being an arsehole again.
I can’t wait.
Tuesday nights I always worked late, running my Men’s Health Clinic. I don’t get home until late, often so late that Dan has already gone to bed and fallen asleep.
Kris was the thin, very blonde party boy in Dan’s office. He seemed permanently hung-over or spaced-out, as if always coming down from the previous night’s clubbing and partying. He certainly didn’t like me; the few times I had met him he’d snarled distaste towards me and oozed indifference towards Dan.
I held the note, crouched there on our kitchen floor, and just stared at it. I had no desire to destroy it, only to hold it and look at it. It meant only one thing. After all the tears, arguments, emotional fallout and promises, Dan was back to screwing around. Each time, he promised me it would be the last, and his most recent promise had seemed to be his final one. It was nearly a year since he had been unfaithful, a fling at a work conference that carried on after he returned home. Since then he had seemed to keep his promise.
I didn’t feel anger or hurt, just a creeping curiosity. Kris, nearly twenty years my junior, could barely string two sentences together, so what was the attraction? Was it only sex? Was there more?
I brought the note up to my face and smelt the paper. There was the smell of Dan’s crotch, that distinct and sharp odour, mixed in with the vague odour of stale ink and dull paper. No smell of sex or aftershave.
Tuesday was only two days away; could I get someone to cover my clinic, slip home unnoticed and spy on Dan and Kris? What would I see? Could I do it? Could I…?
Again I brought the note up to my face and inhaled deeply. I felt a warm, erotic thrill creeping over me, certainly not what I would have thought my reaction would be.