Tumbling Down

“You. Me. Us. Go. Let’s.”

I can’t help laughing at the mad bastard. He’s had me on edge all day. I still cannot believe he got us in here at all, and by loudly announcing he wished to join the Hitler Appreciation Society at that. I’m going mad, and then HRH lends a ludicrous air to the proceedings with his statements that sound like a disordered telegram. Dear Guy. I don’t know how he manages it.

All I can do is follow him up to his room, and sit, breathless from taking the stairs two at a time, as we drink and he raves. Which is fine by me. I always feel less clever when Guy is around. I always have done. I’m not a wit by nature. It’s something I’ve learned, but Guy was born with it. Only a man born with wit can out-Wilde Wilde. (And I daresay Wilde would have been very taken with our Guy, even if Guy wouldn’t have given a toss for Wilde.)

He’s on about leather and jackboots and homosexuals again. “It’s really about the possibilities for sex, isn’t it? I mean, the appeal of rugby must be that one can have one’s hands anywhere, and someone could have his hands anywhere on you. The uniforms are what really say ‘Come fuck me’.”

“I thought your notes in the lavatory were what really say ‘Come fuck me’.”

“But one has ever so much more luck with a rugby side. Locker rooms, towels, sweaty men all undressing together. The army must be much the same thing. Only better, what with the jackboots and leather belts. It’s no wonder half the fascists are homosexuals and all the army officers.”

“Why am I having this conversation?”

“I’m having this conversation. You’re just humouring me. As always.”

“When have I ever humoured you?”

“All right, fair enough. Donald humours me. You come along for the ride.”

“Always.” I pour us each another drink - Guy would simply swig from the bottle if I were not here to stop him. “Cheers.”

He shakes his head. “Wrong toast. We’re surrounded by German fanciers. One ought to say ‘Heil’, nein?”

I just laugh. So much for taking anything seriously behind closed doors.

“Heil to the monkey!”

“Could you keep your voice down? As if ‘The Jew’ weren’t bad enough, now you’re openly mocking them? You’ll get us both thrown out.”

“Do calm down. You know you want to laugh.”

I do want to laugh. I always want to laugh with Guy. Or weep for him. But for the moment, I laugh. I slide closer to him on the bed, so we are no longer facing each other but sitting side by side, nearly touching. “Why are we here?”

“Not laughing at the Prince of Wales to his face seemed a better plan than telling him straight out he’s a fool.”

“You know what I mean. Why you and me? Why not Donald or Anthony?”

“This is my game. Half those men downstairs are homosexuals. We go to Germany together and fuck pretty blond Nazis.”

“You don’t fuck pretty blond Nazis. You’ve got Jack at home.”

“What has Jack to do with anything?”

How could I not have noticed? Well, I was a bit busy with Litzi when Jack was sprung on me. He must be more servant, less boy these days. “In any case, you don’t like blonds. Or Nazis. Or rugby, for that matter.”

“I’m not fond of having the shit kicked out of me.”

“Not much of a sportsman?”

“I look. I touch. I fuck. I sound like HRH. But I don’t give a toss who wins or loses. Games are horrid things. The Empire is all games, and look where that’s got us.”

“Games played by dollops.”

“Exactly.” He leans against my shoulder. I so often forget how small he is. Litzi was bigger, though she had less force of personality. I put my arm around him. He fits so easily, so much more easily than most women. “But we won’t be dollops, will we, Kim? No one wants us to be actual dollops.”

“Shouldn’t I ask you want anyone wants of us?”

“Bugger what anyone wants of us. It’s us, not them.” He looks up, and before I know it, he’s kissed me. It’s rather odd to be kissed by a man. And yet it’s Guy. He must be rather far gone, more so than usual. I should have known this day would come. Donald thought, when we first noticed Guy, that Guy was flirting rather than observing. I was certainly discomfited by the notion. But it’s Guy. It only took two days for me to like him. It’s impossible not to like him if he likes you. And so it only seems fair and right to let him have his kiss and do it properly. One has to expect inappropriate displays of affection from Guy. It’s just how he is.

So I let him kiss me, and I don’t just sit there as Anthony would do. It is a very odd sensation - Guy has a bit of fat in his cheeks, and the stubble has become apparent this late in the day, so it isn’t like kissing a girl at all. And yet it is exactly like kissing a girl. Lips and tongues are exactly the same, so all that matters is what one does with them. And Guy has a great deal of experience. I can’t watch. I have my eyes closed, and I open them only when he pulls away. How thoroughly wrong this whole weekend has turned out to be, and there is still more of it to follow. “What are we doing here, Guy?” I ask, certain I must look as wretched and confused as I feel.

“Cover,” he replies bitterly. He looks as wretched as I feel. He’d rather be kissing Julian, spending a weekend with Julian at some informal conference of young people agitating for the fight against Franco. But here we are, among men twice our age, pretending to admire Hitler, getting drunk and aroused in a bedroom that reeks of privilege.

I kiss him again. I feel mildly aroused. Perhaps it is the danger, knowing that we are here to spy on these imbeciles. Perhaps it is the novelty of kissing a man. Perhaps it is simply that I know it comforts Guy, and I know I would do anything for Guy. Guy even above the others.

He grabs me by the shoulders and rolls me over onto my back, so he is perched above me, sitting back on his heels, half between my legs. He unbuttons my trousers, puts his hand through the opening of my drawers, and starts to rub my cock. I am not certain I can tell him to stop, but I wish he would.

I must look as panicked as I feel, for he stops on his own. “Damn. Sorry. Thinking. Didn’t.”

“Oh, do shut up.” I pull back from him, into a sitting position, and attempt to dress myself. “I’d rather you pull on my cock than the Prince of Wales. And to be perfectly frank, I’d rather no one pull on it at all.”

“Sorry.” He won’t look at me. We’re already such a mess - how is it we think we can get through this weekend?

I take him by the chin and kiss him again. My trousers still are not actually buttoned. “I’m not going to let you bugger me. Just lie here with me. Pretend I’m Jack.”

“I bugger Jack.”

“Then pretend I’m Julian.”

He settles again in my arms. The pressure of cover is already taking a toll on him. He’s got nicotine stains in his eyes. Lord, I’m drunk. He’s got nicotine stains on his fingers worse than any of us. His eyes have gone yellow from the drink. He’s getting soft, possibly even fat. Everything started going the moment we had to go fascist. “It’ll be over soon. Smooth sailing.”

“Utter shit.”

Jack or Anthony would know precisely how to minister to him. Anthony should be here. “Why is Anthony not with us?”

“Anthony is not meant for politics. Anthony is meant to stay at Cambridge, in his little quadrangle and his careful little room with his ugly paintings, finding others who might work for Moscow. I made sure of that. Anthony is not for politics,” Guy insists. He’s more in love with Anthony than with Julian. Better them than me. Perhaps Anthony has already let Guy bugger him.

“And Donald?”

“Has to be careful. But we get to fuck fascists - I thought you’d have fun.”

“You don’t fuck fascists.”

“I’ve fucked plenty.”

“Have you really been to Germany?”

“I told you. Wylie, Macnamara, Sharp, and me, we go fuck pretty blond Nazis.”

“You don’t like blonds.”

“Point. I’ll never fuck Anthony. But if I must be a part of this wretched club, at least I can find some pleasure. Not all Nazis are blond. Like the monkey, for example.”

“I don’t think you can fuck Hitler literally.”

“I don’t want to fuck Hitler. Or Givens. But I will say the boots are very nice.”

“You are thoroughly ridiculous.”

“I’m not, and that’s the tragedy.”

“You are, and we are not the tragedy.” I kiss him again. “You’re my brilliant mad bastard, and that’s that.” He seems pleased - he has that smug little smile he gets when Julian speaks to him or when he’s bursting to brag about something. Funny how it is. I said it only to please him, and it turns out I mean it.


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