issue 28: January - February 2002 

 spanish translation | author bio

Water Taxi
Lawrence Schimel

The rough orange fabric of the life jacket was rubbing my nipples raw. At times like this I'm glad I didn't let Jaume talk me into getting my nipple pierced when he had his done. I like the way it looks, the small silver loop, especially since he only had one side pierced; I don't know,when men have both sides done it makes me think of door knockers, and the whole aesthetic changes and loses something. But I thought he must be suffering more from the life preserver than I was right now, since the pierced tit is supposed to be more sensitive than before.
        Jaume, though, didn't seem about to complain. He sat at the prow of the double kayak, his powerful arms dipping to one side and then the other as he paddled. His shoulders were hidden under the life preserver, but I could watch the musculature of his back flex as he twisted left and right with each stroke, and I wondered once again what I'd done to be so lucky to have such a beautiful man as my boyfriend. I felt lucky about everything right then--Jaume, the crystal-clear blue sky, the afternoon sun, the warm surf, the party on the beach, life in general. I forgot about my sore nipples and matched Jaume's strokes, and we just glided across the waves for a while.
      Neither of us had used a kayak before, and thus when the DJ announced free kayaks as part of this year's Gay Pride Festival on the beach, Jaume and I jumped up from our beach towels and trotted over to the launch area. This was the first year that Barcelona held a Gay Pride Festival at the beach, with an afternoon full of activities like volleyball games, while speakers blared dance music. Later in the evening, we'd all move into the Pabellon del Mar behind us for a long night of performances by bands like Baccara and Folkloricas Arrepentidas, and drag shows by Arroba and other queens I'd never heard of. And, of course, normal club dance music in between all that. It was expected that many men would come just for the dance. Half the money from the entrance fee would go to the fight against AIDS, so there was a serious side to the festivities as well.
      I wondered if it would work. The gay political groups of Barcelona were always fighting with each other, and this year they'd split off, with one group having a Gay Pride march on June 28th, commemorating the Stonewall Revolution back in the U.S. that started the modern homosexual rights movement. The other half, including most of the owners of the gay businesses, decided to hold a more festive event on Sunday, July 4th, to try to get a better turnout. It was Independence Day in the States, they joked, and they were breaking free of the U.S. domination of gay culture in other parts of the world. After all, they said, why should we celebrate an American Gay Pride holiday instead of creating one of our own?
      I sometimes feel guilty that I'm not more politically active, but the truth of the matter is, I'm easily bored by such things. I know it's important to vote, and I do, but I just can't stand the endless squabbling at meetings over which subgroup feels they're not getting enough representation and so on. I mean, I'm glad there are dedicated activists out there who understand the legal jargon better than I and know how to play the system --who' ae fighting for my right to kiss my boyfriend on the beach like I did a few minutes ago. Like many of the guys on the beach today, I'm sure, Jaume and I were just here to have fun. We went to the march on Monday to show our support and help boost the numbers--now that the groups were split up we figured it would be especially important to put in an appearance--and we also came to the fun-in-the-sun party.
      My mind was wandering as my body worked through the simple repetitive task of kayaking, but I was awakened from these musings by a call from a pleasure boat that had anchored in front of the beach, neither especially near to nor all that far out from the shore, as if undecided whether they wanted to simply watch the festivities or be included. Apart from the all-male crew on the deck, it was obvious from even a cursory glance at their postures as they stood about drinking afternoon cocktails and watching the shore that they were not here by mistake but had come for the Gay Pride party.
      One of the men, blond and shirtless, was leaning over the side and hailing us. I was sure it was us because when he saw us glance up he waved in our direction, but I looked over my shoulder anyway. I had that feeling like when you're in a crowded bar and a guy you think is cute smiles at you, and you can't believe he's really smiling at you, certain that one of his friends or some hot number must be standing just behind your shoulder and is in fact the intended recipient of the smile.
      "What do you think?" Jaume asked, not breaking his stroke. We were angling parallel to the beach, and if their boat had been in motion our paths would've crossed in a hundred meters or so.
      "Why not see what he wants?" I answered, using my paddle to change our course. "Maybe they want to offer us a drink?" I laughed and our little shared kayak spun around toward the boat, and in a moment I again matched Jaume's even strokes.
      As we drew up to the boat, the shirtless blond moved to stand at the deck's ladder. It turns out he was dressed in a skimpy bright orange Speedo. "Can you take me to shore?" he asked, in Castillian rather than in Catalan as Jaume and I had been speaking. "The water's full of jellyfish."
      I looked him over, and from my angle I got a good look at certain parts. Which, I had to admit, looked quite nice from here.
      Jaume and I have been together nearly two years, during which time we've tried a number of different relationship options, from complete monogamy to a period when we were hardly having sex with each other we were slutting around so much. This led to a trial separation and eventual reunion under our current agreement: whenever we want something outside our relationship, we do it together. Which doesn't mean that we always wind up in threesomes, although that is usually the case. Sometimes we might go to a sauna together, and maybe each of us pick up someone; the cabinas aren't really big enough for all four of us to go into one and have our two separate pairings, but the one time we tried it was pretty exciting watching Jaume get fucked by someone else while he watched me fuck the trick I'd picked up. I still felt some jealousy, but at the same time I felt Jaume was including me in his pleasure and vice versa.
      Most of the time, we were happiest with the more traditional threesome, and our taste was similar enough that we didn't have too many disagreements--at least among ourselves. It was not always the easiest thing convincing our prospective third, but actually many guys have a fantasy about doing threesomes. They're not always so easy to come by in the typical bar or dance club scenario (as opposed to, say, a sauna, where they're easier to arrange), so many men were willing to give it a shot when we asked them. I always think they took one look at Jaume and decided they'd put up with sharing him for a chance at sex with him, half a cake being better than no cake. I'm just glad I'm a deciding voice in who I share him with.
      Since both Jaume and I have active libidos, we're usually up for anything attractive the other proposes. So I boldly asked our blond boatman, "And what's our fee for the taxi service?" in Castillian while rubbing my crotch with one hand in an unmistakable gesture. Jaume, looking over his shoulder at me, glanced down into my lap and smiled, his silent agreement to what I'd proposed, then looked up at the guy on the deck as we waited for an answer. He looked down at the bulge growing in my skimpy blue swimtrunks, glanced out at the shore for a moment, then back at Jaume and me.
      "OK," he nodded, "come on up," and he stepped away from the side of the boat.
      I, too, looked back at the shore, my mind crowding with thoughts: I wondered what people could see from the beach. I wondered if anyone would see us board the boat and especially if the kayak crew would get mad at us for abandoning ship. I wondered if our stuff, still on the beach, was safe. I wondered about the wisdom of climbing onto a boat full of strange men; what if they were the proverbial axe-murderers, who dumped the body bits overboard where the fishes ate up the evidence? I wondered what our prospective passenger looked like without his bathing suit, and I nudged Jaume in the back with my paddle. "Let's go," I said.
      We tied the kayak to the bottom rung of the ladder and then climbed up it, taking the paddles with us. The last thing we needed was for a wave to knock them into the water while we were up on the boat, leaving us all stranded. Besides, I figured if we had them with us, it would be more trouble for one of the guys on the boat to steal the kayak. I was still feeling a little suspicious. But I've always been cautious: Even with tricks on land, I was wary if I brought them home, making sure there were no easily-pocketed valuables lying about and guarding my wallet someplace unexpected. I'd never had any problems, but it didn't hurt to be on the safe side, I thought, even when walking on the wild side.
      I followed Jaume onto the deck. We were surrounded by a group of maybe seven men--some in swimsuits, like we were, others in more ordinary summer clothes. They were all eyeing us, as if they were feeling suspicious, too. And who could blame them? Or was there something more than curiosity in their gaze? How much of our interchange had they overheard?. And what did they think of it, those who'd heard and understood?
      The guy who wanted a ride stood with the rest of them, but he didn't really blend into the crowd. Maybe it was because he was the only one I recognized--he had an identity separate from that of the group because I'd first seen him alone, leaning over the side of the boat as he called out to us. Also, he stood a step apart from them physically, as if to underscore the fact that he was leaving, and they would stay. As I took in the other men--who were as varied a lot of homosexual types as one could imagine, from an overdressed, highly coifed queen to a quiet butch number who looked like an ultra-straight soccer player--I wondered if he'd always been part of this mixed crew or if he'd swum out here. I glanced at his crotch, but his swimsuit was dry. All that meant was that he'd been onboard long enough to dry out. As I watched, I thought his basket gave a small jump, as if in anticipation of what we planned, and I smiled, as much at the thought of our imminent sex as the idea of how I imagined this was making him feel. I glanced at the other men as I idly rubbed my crotch, but got no sexual connection from any of them. Suddenly, I wondered less why he wanted to go ashore.
      Our blond made no move to introduce us or himself, and I wondered if we were planning to do whatever it was we would do there in front of everyone. It would hardly be the first time we had an audience, so it didn't really faze me, and I was sure it wouldn't be much of a problem for Jaume either. I reached over and helped him unbuckle the life jacket, letting it fall to the deck. It made a small clatter as the buckles hit the wood, and the noise seemed startling in the absence of any social chatter. Jaume hadn't moved and was still straddling the strap that had gone between his legs, which now made two separate circles connecting to the life jacket. As I looked at Jaume's muscular thighs I imagined him as the famed Colossos of Rhodes straddling the strait. What a sight it must have been to sail between those massive thighs and gaze upwards!
      I reached down and fondled Jaume's cock through the fabric of his green swimsuit, staring defiantly at the men around us. Like me, Jaume was half-hard already and I could feel his dick respond to my fingers. The men said nothing--content, it seemed, to be voyeurs and nothing more. Even the blond in the orange bathing suit was silent, although he watched my hand as it moved, looking up every now and then to meet my stare and then letting his gaze drop once more. Finally, he moved closer to us and dropped to his knees before Jaume. I pulled the green nylon down over Jaume's hips and his cock sprang free of the confining fabric. The blond reached out to hold it, and I looked up at the crowd around us, expecting them to respond in some way, but they were all as still as statues. It would've been much more normal for them to try and be involved, or to comment in some way, to somehow indicate that they were, if not exactly participating, at least present and aware. Even pointedly ignoring us, carrying on their conversation as if we were not fornicating in their midst, would be a more direct acknowledgment.
      I put them out of mind and looked down at Jaume's ass clenching and unclenching as he thrust his cock into the blond's mouth. My cock grew longer at the sight of my lover's cock being worshipped by this stranger's mouth, and it poked out from the side of my swimsuit. I still had my life jacket on, so I couldn't actually pull the trunks down the way I'd done with Jaume, since the strap that ran between my legs prevented this. But I pulled my cock and balls free through one of the leg holes and started pulling at my dick; I didn't want to bother with the hassle of untangling the jacket, and the tight fabric of the swimsuit's leg hole against the base of my cock was a pleasurable pressure.
      The blond still wore his orange swimtrunks as he sucked off my boyfriend. As if my glancing at his cock awakened some sixth sense in him, he seemed to realize that my cock was also loose and seeking attention, and without either looking up or breaking his rhythmic motions along Jaume's cock, he reached out and grabbed hold of mine with unerring precision, as if he'd all this time been completely aware of where it was in relation to him. This was a skill I often admired in men who had it, like the ability to locate another man's nipples through his shirt without groping around.
      I looked up again at the men around us as the blond jerked on my dick, but it was as if time had stopped as far as they were concerned, for all the life they showed. I glanced at their crotches to see if at least we were providing them with a good spectacle, but it was hard to tell if they were aroused or not. As if he could tell that my attention had wandered away, the blond's tugging at my dick changed, and suddenly he pulled me forward by my cock until I had to shift my stance; I stumbled forward and suddenly I was sliding into the wet of his mouth. I watched his lips work their way up and down my shaft, and looking past his face I could see the outline of his own dick, obviously hard, within his orange swimsuit. But he made no move to take it out or even touch himself through the fabric. I was glad, judging from his arousal, that he was obviously enjoying some aspect of this scene. And then I closed my eyes and stopped worrying and let myself enjoy the slippery magic of his tongue on my cock. With my eyes still closed I reached out and found Jaume's pierced tit, as if I'd suddenly acquired that skill that had always amazed me, although I think it was simply because the piercing made for a much larger area for my fingers to find. I tugged at the silver loop gently and smiled and opened my eyes and found my lover smiling back. I grabbed him by the neck and pulled him toward me for a kiss.
      Below us, the blond had grabbed both of our dicks and was jerking us off as he caught his breath. Or perhaps he was simply considering, weighing our cocks in his fists as he contemplated his next move. He tugged our cocks until we were standing close to one another, then put both of us in his mouth at once. It's a strange feeling, because it's not as wonderful as having a pair of lips clamped tightly around the shaft of your cock, but sharing something so intimate with my lover made the experience even more intense. Jaume's and my own tongues locked as the blond ran his back and forth over the sensitive crowns, pulled free from their foreskin by the state of our arousal. I could feel my breath quicken in those moments leading up to orgasm, and I grabbed my own dick with one hand and began to jerk myself off. Jaume followed suit, and I looked down at the blond to see how he was responding, thinking that he might be touching himself, but he seemed to be just watching us jerk off and enjoying the sight from his crotch-level view. But then he leaned forward and began to suck on my balls, and after a few more moments I was sending short white arcs of cum onto the wooden deck. I made a sort of grunt into Jaume's throat with each spasm that went through my cock, and even with my eyes closed in ecstasy I could tell that Jaume had quickened the pace of his hand's motion. Soon his tongue was pressing deeply into my mouth as he, too, came.
      The blond was still kneeling before us, smiling widely. And suddenly, now that the sex was over, the other passengers suddenly came to life. I didn't quite understand the noise at first, lost in the afterglow of orgasm, but I soon made out words and realized they were talking to each other again, going about things as usual, although still keeping an eye turned toward us every now and then. Maybe it was because Jaume's and my cock were still bare for all to see, mine already shrinking now that I'd cum but Jaume's still a rigid pole; he always took a while for it to go down. "Well, that was certainly worth a first-class trip to the shore," I announced. The blond smiled again and climbed to his feet. I wondered for a moment if he were planning to kiss us, and half-hoped he would, since it would make the encounter feel suddenly more...personable. But the moment passed and he turned toward the others.
      Jaume bent forward and pulled his swimsuit up. He stepped into the loops of the life jacket and I helped him into it, as the blond said goodbye to his friends. I watched him kiss them farewell, some on either cheek and some directly on the lips, and wondered what each man must feel, knowing where his mouth had been just moments before. Were they disgusted? Jealous? Indifferent, as they'd been while watching us? I wasn't sure. And it didn't really matter.
      Jaume and I descended first to resume our places with the paddles. I wondered for a moment what would happen if we simply took off before the blond descended. It was not as if there were anything truly binding us to wait for him, other than our word. What could he do, complain to the police that he had given us each blow jobs and we wouldn't take him to shore in return? It wasn't as if he'd dive in after us, since he was afraid of the jellyfish. And with reason, I noticed, watching a ghostly white shadow bloom in the water next to our kayak.
      We waited for him, an honorable exchange as we'd agreed, and once he'd settled himself on the little ridge between the seats we began paddling and pulled away from the boat. His friends called out after him, and there were other shouts and noises and sounds of frivolity from the men we couldn't see from our lower vantage. Suddenly the boat seemed like a lively and fun place, quite the opposite of how it had been when we were aboard. Had we been the inhibiting force? Maybe it was our passenger. It didn't really matter. My lover and I had enjoyed our private encounter there amidst the crowd, and I at least had no regrets.
      Our strokes had pulled us nearly to the shore. "Thanks," our passenger said as he leaped off the kayak into the shallow water and waded the last few feet onto the sandy beach. He turned around and waved at us, and back at the pleasure boat, and then walked up the sand. I wondered briefly what plans he had here, if maybe we'd see him again later at the dance. Or any of those men from the boat....
      One of the kayak crewmen came jogging over and yelled at us for coming this close to the beach. He told us we had to head out to deeper waters or bring the kayak back to the launch. We pushed off, Jaume and I, paddling back out among the higher waves and the ghostly jellyfish. The sky was crystal blue, the sea was warm, my boyfriend was with me, and we'd just had a threesome with a sexy blond. On the beach behind us was a party celebrating being gay: it was one of those perfect moments.
      We weren't paddling in any direction, just sort of enjoying being out on the surf. After a while, Jaume looked over his shoulder at me and asked in Catalan, "Think we should go back to the boat and see if anyone else needs a lift?"
      I smiled at Jaume, and without a word I stuck my paddle into the water like a rudder again, turning our course back toward that boat at my lover's request.

© Lawrence Schimel

This electronic version of  "Water Taxi" appears in The Barcelona Review with kind permission of the author. It appears in the author´s collection His Tongue, Frog, Ltd, Berkeley, California, 2001. Book ordering available through amazon.comamazon.co.uk or North Atlantic Books
See TBR review of His Tongue

This story may not be archived, reproduced or distributed further without the author's express permission. Please see our conditions of use.

author bio L. Schimel 

Lawrence Schimel is the Lambda Literary Award-winning author and anthologist of The Mammoth Book of Gay Erotica, Boy Meets Boy, The Drag Queen of Elfland, and Kosher Meat, among other titles. His most recent collection (with translations into Spanish, Portuguese and German)  is His Tongue, in which "Water Taxi" appears.  He lives in New York City and Madrid, Spain.

photo by Julio Rosales


tbr 28              january - february  2002


Steven Rinehart - Burning Luv
Lawrence Schimel - Water Taxi
Brian McCabe - Relief
Marshall Moore - Sunset Over Brittany

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