Chapter 28 London.
Back home from his two weeks in America, Ben found his life somewhat hectic. He almost didn’t know what to do first. Not only did he have to start working full time again in the studio, but he found that, while he was away, the orders generated from the Snow galleries and the requests from the card company had been piling up. It appeared Ben’s photo pictures were the in thing to collect.
To crown it all, when he told his partner Danny about the job offer Eddy had made, he had gone ballistic. Especially when he learnt it meant losing Ben for large chunks of time in the year.
He, did however, calm down when Ben suggested he was now willing to share through their partnership everything to do with his photo pictures.
Thankfully Danny agreed to help sort out Ben’s current distributions problems. He also had been thinking of Ben and his pictures. For some time and, had several ideas, one of which was a really simple in concept. This was to off load everything to the card company to produce, sell and distribute, as they already had contacts with the gay shops through their greeting cards sales.
With that in mind, he asked Ben to set up a meeting with the card man, Mike Grayson.
Unfortunately, when Ben contacted Mike, he apparently was too busy to drop everything and fly over to meet them. To Ben’s surprise he wouldn’t commit himself to when he could. He also didn’t appear to be worried about not receiving the large amount of photo pictures his company had ordered.
It was only much later, when Ben visited his local gay bookshop, did he discover why.
Jimmy, the owner, said, “Hi,” when Ben entered the shop.
“Hi,” Ben acknowledged and after looking around asked, “Where’s Adam?”
“Oh, so you haven’t heard he’s in the hospital down the road?”
“What’s wrong with him?” Ben asked, worried it was something to do with him having aids.
“He was mugged. The bastard broke his jaw and some ribs. I hope they catch the bugger.” Jimmy said with feeling.
“Okay. I’ll go and visit him, in the meantime would you like me to help restock your card display unit as it looks a bit bare?”
“Thank you, but there’s no more cards to put out, the card company’s gone bust.”
On hearing this, Ben immediately got out his phone and contacted Danny to tell him the news. This explained why Mike had been so offhand about meeting them. Thankfully Danny hadn’t sent off the card company’s order yet.
Poor Adam looked terrible when Ben visited him in hospital. His jaw was all wired up, so he could only communicate by typing on his iPad.
“What happened?” Ben asked.
“I was Stupid.” Adam typed.
“I met this Cute looking guy in the club.”
“Which club was that,” Ben asked.
“The Blue Angel, the one in the east end.” Adam typed.
“Yes I Know the one.” Ben replied
“Well the guy said he was also Tested positive and he knew of a place where we could be alone.”
Ben just said “Oh,”
“Yes your right like an, idiot, I followed him, not knowing where we were going. Well we ended up in this sort of ‘No man’s land. The area was of mainly closed down shops.”
“So what happened then Ben asked.
“That’s when the guy hit on me, the sex was really rough and it hurt like hell.”
“So what did you do?” Ben asked.
“I shouted for him to stop but he wouldn’t, not until he’d finished.” After typing this Adam started to cry.
“So what happened next, how did you get injured.” Ben asked softly.
“Well afterwards when he tried to kiss me I was so angry I use my teeth and bit him.”
“Good for you.” was Ben’s first reaction.
“He pushed me onto the ground and he kicked me several times. Then, without a word he left me.” Adam typed.
“So you told the police it was a mugging instead of a rape.” Ben said.
“Yes.” Adam typed, “And revenge will be sweet.”
“So you know who the guy is then?” Ben asked.
“Yes his name is Safi.”
“Okay you get better and leave the revenge thing to me.” Ben said getting up to leave.
Over the next few days Ben’s phone didn’t stop ringing.
First it was the twins they were planning to come to London and wanted to meet.
Then Patricia wanted him to meet her in America.
Next Peter Snow called wanting a meeting. Apparently the gallery was receiving requests from all over wanting Ben’s photo pictures, now the supply of the greeting cards had stopped.
Eventually Mike phoned, apologising for not being able to give him a warning about the company going bust. He also wanted to meet.
Lastly Eddy phoned, confirming the dates he wanted Ben to come to America for the new season’s catalogue shoot.
The only phone call Ben really wanted, but couldn’t have, was Matt’s.’
Josh was one of the two men standing at the club entrance controlling who could or couldn’t go in to the Blue Angel. When he saw Ben, he said aloud, to his fellow bouncer, “I don’t think we should let this one in without him being frisked.” He then pushed Ben to one side, hands up against the door, legs spread out and butt exposed, then in front of everyone in the queue he used his hands to good effect in searching Ben’s body. When he had finished he announced to the crowd, “I’ve only found one weapon on him and that’s not fully loaded yet.” This statement got the crowd laughing.
He then nodded to his partner and pushing Ben in front of him into the club he declared aloud, “I think this one need a strip search.” This sent the young men in the queue into hysterics, one even shouted out, “Do you need any help?”
Once inside Josh laughingly told Ben “Well that little charade is your fault. Since my photo on the greeting cards came out, I’ve become a celebrity. Now every time I have to take a leak, I have to go through that little play acting.”
“What about the strip search?” Ben asked.
“Yes, occasionally that happens, but only to willing participants.”
“I’m looking for a guy named Safi.”
“He’s not in today and I haven’t seen him for a while. Why are you looking for him? I don’t think he’s your type. Unless you’re now into wanting a rough time, I understand he’s into slapping his tricks about a bit.”
“You heard about Adam then?”
“Yes I hope they catch the son of a bitch who mugged him,” Then the penny dropped. “Good God man, you’re not suggesting it was Safi who did it?”
“Yes. But there’s a problem, he’s tested positive.”
“That’s no problem, I know several who are. And in any case one can use surgical gloves.”
Once Ben had passed on the message he left.
Two day later Ben revisited Adam and showed him a text message he had received from Josh.
Tell our friend, next time he passes the new block of flats going up near where he lives, he should think of his problem having gone away for good.
We are sorry for what happened to him and hope to see him again soon when he’s feeling much better.