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He smiled and tried to look casual. Alert, making brief eye contact.
After three months nothing was happening for him. He had six months. If nothing happened when that was up he had two options, join all the other starving wanna-be actors working as waiters, or go home. Back to Georgia. A few days before he had heard that song, “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and now it kept coming into his head whenever he started to think about time running out. About failure.
He moved into the line of sight of the guy arranging the audition slots. Smiled, noticed that the guy gave him a quick look over ending back up at his face. The expression seeming to ask him a question. He had seen that look before when he went to auditions, but he hadn’t understood it, until now. He’d finally been awakened to reality. He’d discovered that being a great actor and having done all the classes was one thing, but to get a real job in the business, it would probably be necessary to go one level higher. Still acting, but not in the public audition. In the private one, if he was lucky enough to get to that.
Three days before he had gone for a coffee with a couple of guys from his new choir class. He had heard they were working and by the second class had seen both their faces in a popular daytime series. They were regulars on it. They had made it.
The three of them had ended up moving from coffee to a bar and to stronger drinks and he had found out how things really work. How they had gotten ahead, and maybe how he could.
Dale Border was the guy in front managing the audition slots, and Carey was sure he now knew something about him—what he was looking for. What might get a guy a top audition spot and maybe even get Dale to give the director a nudge if he was undecided. He could probably even cut the audition time short and send the last few away if he chose to. If there was something he really wanted to do.
Carey smiled, while inside he was trembling. Sex and flirting were things he mainly knew about from acting class and movies. He was from a small town in Georgia, where there was plenty of sex, but his grandfather had warned him that, if he really wanted to leave there, it was best to avoid entanglements.
He was good looking and from the richest family in town. All the girls were after him, like they had been after his older brother, Andy. Carey had seen his brother thinking he had it made. That he could play the field, fuck who, when, and where he chose, but quickly getting caught. She was from maybe the next richest family, big landowners, and she got pregnant. Their parents were probably pleased by the match. And while his brother was still eyeing other girls, thinking his life had not changed, the families were old-fashioned enough, and had an eye on the empire building potential of the match enough, that he had to get married.
Carey knew his brother still played up whenever he thought he could get away with it, but he was tied to the family business and the town now. A young husband with responsibilities and a family to keep.
Carey had watched it all unfold, with his grandfather’s warnings being whispered in his ear. When he hit his last years in high school, he kept to himself. He had plans. He would lie on his bed and read the great American playwrights. Read film scripts even. See himself in all the great roles.
In his family everyone was expected to work hard. It was drummed into them that success only came from hard work and having goals. At twenty-one, just out of theatre arts at community college, and, with his grandfather guaranteeing to bankroll him for six months, he had left the small town in Georgia and moved to Hollywood determined to succeed.
In the waiting area Dale jerked his head a fraction, signaling Carey over. Carey kept his smile fixed and looked into Dale’s eyes and stood close to him. He saw the look on Dale’s face change. Felt it inside himself. He was afraid, though. Nervous. “Midnight Train to Georgia” started playing in his head. He slapped it down.
“Haven’t I seen you here before?” Dale asked.
“Yes. The audition for Billy, in Years with Agnes.”
“Yeah. You were good, very good, shame someone was … better than you,” Dale said, his eyes challenging Carey.
“Well, maybe I can be the best this time. Maybe you can give me some hints,” Carey said softly.
“Yeah, maybe,” Dale replied, quietly shuffling some pages. “Catch me in the lunch break.”
“Sure. Look forward to it,” Carey said, shaking inside, hoping it didn’t show outside.
He moved off, unable to believe he had done it. Let himself be set up, warning himself that whatever he did it was no 100 percent guarantee of getting the part. Someone else might already have impressed the directors, or even Dale.
* * * *
Dale had given him the nod when he announced the audition crew were breaking for lunch and Carey had followed him down a passage, around a corner, and into a small office. Dale had plonked himself in the swivel chair behind bolu escort bayan the desk. He turned it sideways, unzipped himself, pulled out his cock, and spread his legs. “Suck this,” he growled with a lopsided grin on his face, holding the meat in his hand and circling it around.
Carey had done his best to seem hugely aroused by the sight before him. He had fallen to his knees and done his best. He lacked experience but made up for it by “feeling the part,” and slathering love and adoration on the cock. He thought of finally getting a part in a real show. He thought of how good Dale could be to him. He liked the feel of a hard cock in his hands and even in his mouth. He was getting lost to it in a short time, almost enjoying it.
He had kept himself so aloof from teenage lust that Carey had arrived in Hollywood not quiet a virgin, but close. He had certainly been a virgin as far as men went—if you didn’t count a mutual feel-up that happened on the banks of the river one hot summer day when he was in his early teens. The exposed roots of the trees overhanging the river, and the sand between them providing cool and privacy.
It had seemed more dangerous than enjoyable, more daring than needed, though part of him had felt it as good. It had been the other boy who had started it. Carey had understood instinctively that such things would not help him live an easy life in their small town and had not been surprised when the other boy left the area not long after.
Only days before the audition, coffee with Ronny and Craig from the choir class had led to his first real taste of a man.
When he had asked them how they had got their breaks, Ronny had replied, “Only reason we have got anywhere here is that we give it out in the right places.”
“It’s gotta be in the right places,” Craig added, with a smile. “But everyone knows that. You’re a good-looking kid, so if its not working for you, you are not giving it out in the right places.”
“Like getting it off with my agent?” Carey asked. Trying to think if who he knew who could help him if he had sex with them.
“Who’s your agent?”
Craig and Ronny both laughed. “Rose. Well she’s a good agent, but she likes her men a bit older, taller, and muscled up. You’re not her type. You should be thinking about men. They are the ones who will go for that fresh young farm boy look you have.”
“Men?” Carey said, frowning. He didn’t know any men—men who could give him a part, that is.
“Yeah. Men.” Ronnie and Craig looked at each other. “You ever done it with a man?”
“Um, no,” Carey said, not sure how far he wanted this conversation going but also understanding that they were saying what he should have been thinking himself. He’d soaked up Hollywood lore like a sponge, since he was a kid. He’d read the tell-all books and seen the documentaries. He knew on an intellectual level that sex was a currency in Hollywood. But he had talent and had not associated the need to use that currency with himself. Up to now.
They had moved on to a bar where there were more men than women and most of the men were in pairs or groups as were most of the women. It was a new experience for Carey. He had a few drinks, too many to drive. Craig offered to drive Carey home, in Carey’s car. Ronny would follow and take Craig back. It sounded like a good plan. And he had been getting on well with Craig.
They arrived at Carey’s apartment block and Craig insisted on helping him up to his door, not that he needed help, but he was feeling warm and fuzzy and Craig was touching him a lot in places that made him shiver. It was a new experience, and he found he liked touching Craig too. Liked the closeness and the heat coming off his body. The smell. At the door he asked Craig in for a coffee. Craig said sure, that Ronny wasn’t there yet and had probably bumped into some friends at the bar as they went there a lot, and would be a while.
They landed on the sofa. Craig looking at Carey, smiling with bedroom eyes and wrapping an arm around his shoulders, bringing his face in for a kiss. Carey felt himself breathing quick and shallow. Felt his body responding to something. Felt Craig’s lips on his; warm, soft, firm, gentle. Moved an arm up and around Craig’s neck. Leaning into him, body to body. Wanting him closer. Harder. Firmer. Sucking the tongue probing his mouth. His other hand running up Craig’s body, feeling the hardness of it. Feeling Craig’s hand rub his package. Carey felt himself growing, getting uncomfortable. Wanting his cock set free. Wanting Craig to touch it.
He was barely conscious of anything but how much he wanted Craig’s body against his, skin on skin. How much he liked Craig’s hand being wrapped about his throbbing cock. Hard, hot, throbbing. How much he wanted to feel Craig’s cock, digging it out of his pants.
“Oh, baby. Yeah. You’re a natural. Suck it, baby,” Craig murmured.
Carey looked down and knew he wanted to know what it was like escort bolu to have it in his mouth. He scooted back, bent his head, and opened his lips over it, a hot, hard pole. Feeling his own cock lurch. Thinking he could deep throat Craig and finding it wasn’t as easy as he had imagined. Gagging instead, and coughing, and having to settle for mouthing the mushroom cap and tonguing in the slit, running his tongue up and down the veins that twirled around the pole. Craig pulled him off and pushed him back and spouted cum onto Carey’s naked belly. Then he moved his mouth to Carey’s cock. Carey gasped and pushed his hips up and down in rhythm with the sucking, overwhelmed, lost, moaning, shooting off quickly, blown away by the new experience. They lay entwined on the sofa and kissed for a short while. Carey wanted to stay that way forever.
“I’d better go,” Craig said, and tidied his clothes and left, planting a kiss on Craig’s lips at the door. “Nice,” he said, “Lets do this again.”
Carey looked out of the bedroom window, which overlooked the street, and saw Craig get into a car that was parked by the curb. Its lights went on, and it slowly moved off into the thin, late-night traffic. It was only later that he wondered how long the car had been there and was embarrassed, wondering what Ronny had known or thought about what Craig was up to while he waited outside.
As he went to sleep, Carey relived the evening. He woke up thinking of it and knew that he preferred the previous night’s encounter to the few he had had with women. He felt warmed by the knowledge and wondered briefly what that would mean for him.
* * * *
Carey sat in a cubicle in the men’s room at the studio, his head resting in his hands. “Midnight Train to Georgia” was playing in his mind again. Cynically, he thought that at least he didn’t have to sell a beat-up old car, as the lyrics of the song said to pay the fare home. He could drive home in comfort in the car he had been given for his eighteenth birthday, and he could afford to stay in good motels along the road. And, like the song said, home was sure a simpler place to be.
He dried the few tears he hadn’t been able to keep in off his face. He’d wait till he was back in full control and could keep smiling, before he left.
Almost as soon as he had come down Carey’s throat, Dale sat back and said, “They are canceling the afternoon’s tests, Carey. Sorry, but you’re not getting a chance today. Nothing I can do about it.” Dale shrugged and looked as if he was sorry he was giving bad news, but not very. “But I will put in a good word for you, next time, don’t worry. You got a phone number?”
“Canceled? But … “
“Yeah, tough, I know.” Dale looked less sympathetic and Carey tried to recover some confidence and leave without feeling like a fool.
“Sure, OK. See you around. Next time,” Carey said, a forced smile on his face, trying to look as if he sucked guys off all the time. He walked out of the office and back toward the waiting room in a daze and knew he’d make a fool of himself any minute. Seeing the men’s room he went in and hid in a cubicle.
Carey had no idea what was going on. But whatever it was Dale had taken advantage of him. The asshole. And he had walked right into it.
He sat there in the cubicle, torn, depressed, feeling dumb. The men’s room door opened and closed as men came and went, and he was finally dry eyed and waiting for a time when the room was empty to leave.
“How many have we still got to see?” a voice asked.
“Three left. You know Ronny is interested in the part. So how about we come over to your place tonight, have a party.” Carey recognized this second voice as Dale’s.
“No. I’ve told you it’s over. Send the guy from Rose Hathaway in next.”
“He didn’t show,” Dale replied sharply.
“What? Seriously? So much for Rose telling me he was a reliable Georgia farm boy.”
“Well he didn’t show, so how about Ronny… “
“I’m here,” Carey almost shouted as he stepped out of the cubicle. The adrenalin was pumping. He was sure they were talking about him. And if not? Well he had already made a fool of himself.
Hank Partridge, the director, turned toward him from the urinal. Carey knew the face. He studied all the news about the business, about who was doing what. Knew all the faces worth knowing. Hank, with a very surprised expression on his face, was in the middle of tucking his thick dick back in and zipping himself up.
Dale looked even more surprised, but it quickly turned to a scowl, and he moved toward him. “So, if you’re here at last, then how come you haven’t checked in? Get out of here and I’ll … “
“I think I’ve checked in with you a few times,” Carey said calmly, standing his ground.
Hank’s eyes flickered from one to the other, his facial muscles working, his expression moving from confusion to controlled anger as he assembled the pieces.
“Come with me,” Hank said, and held the door open for Carey bolu escort to leave first. “And you I’ll talk to later,” he shot back at Dale.
“I liked you for the part in Life with Agnes, but … ” Hank was saying, his hand now pressed to Carey’s lower back and guiding him forward, while purring positive, reassuring words in his ear.
Carey went in and did the audition take, Hank directing. A young woman who was a regular on the show played opposite Carey. She was polite but didn’t show much interest as they started, but by the time the take was over, she was playing to him, with him. Playing like she meant every word.
On the way home Carey brooded on how close he had come to not getting the part. How he might not have had another chance and be on his way back to Georgia in a few months. If he had not sat in the men’s room so long, and if, and if. Fucking Dale. Last time he was going to think sex could open doors for him. But then again, if he hadn’t sucked him off, Dale would probably have told him to go home in the lunch break and he’d have left and not been in the men’s room and … Hank’s hand had been places low on his back several times and there had been a look on Hank’s face when he spoke to him after the audition, told him he should be hearing from Rose in a day or two. Hank had laid a hand low on Carey’s back, teh fingers touching his butt, as he said it.
* * * *
“Hi, Pop. How are you? How’s the family?”
“Fine, Carey. So how’s Hollywood treating you?”
“OK. I’ve been told I’ve got a part.”
“Hey,” his grandfather shouted. “That was quick. So tell me, what part? How long?”
“One of those daytime soaps. My character is written in for about four episodes. Then, who knows.”
“You don’t sound really excited. Is everything OK? The part, no problem with it like … like nudity or … “
“No, Pop, no nudity.” Carey almost laughed at what was the worst problem his grandfather could think up. “But I just discovered how underhand this business is. And I don’t like it.”
“I think I warned you it would be a cutthroat place, Carey,” his grandfather said, now all serious. “When there is a lot of money involved, every business is cutthroat. Movies, farm machinery, trucking.”
“Yeah. But I thought talent would count for more. And this isn’t cutthroat like farm machinery, Pop. It’s … dirty, personal, cheating and lying, and using people and … ” he said, stopping as his voice started to shake.
“I don’t know what to say, son. You know what is right, Carey. And I think you’ve got sense. You have to make your own decisions now, but you know there is always a job back here for you. And maybe you just need to get a bit more life under your belt so you can handle the assholes of this world better. You’re young enough to take a year or so out to grow up more, and try again.”
“Thanks, Pop. Thanks for reminding me I don’t have to climb Everest in a day. And I’ve got to work this out for myself, I know. This is what I’ve always wanted but… Just tell everyone that I will be in the next season of Days of Daring, OK?”
He hung up the phone. He’d been told he’d get the part, his first, his big break, but in the process he’d been disillusioned and used and abused.
And he wondered if he was up to the backstabbing and double standards in Hollywood. He thought of home and wondered about the simpler life back in Georgia, but the song didn’t come into his mind. If he went back it would be his choice, not failure that took him home.
* * * *
Craig turned up the next evening, but Carey was on his way to the dress rehearsal for a local amateur theater production he was starring in, so he apologized and got Craig’s phone number. “I’ll call you tomorrow,” he said, wishing he didn’t have to leave, his body telling him what he wanted to be doing instead.
“Great,” Craig replied and they kissed, Carey going weak kneed. But later that night he was out with a few of the cast and saw Dale and Craig and Ronny walking by with their arms around each other’s shoulders, laughing and obviously a bit drunk.
He realized that the show Craig and Ronny were in was made by the same studio as “Days of Daring,” which he had just got a part in. And he knew he’d never call Craig.
The next day he did hear from his agent, Rose. He had a contract on the way. He was on the road, and he nearly yelled out loud at the news.
* * * *
The phone rang and he picked it up.
“Hi, is that Carey?”
“Yes it is. Who’s this?”
“It’s Hank, Hank Partridge, wondered what you were up to. If you’d like to come by for a drink.”
Carey thought of the meeting in the men’s room of Hank looking like he knew what had gone on. The feel of hanks hand on his back as he led him to the audition. The feel of Hanks hand moving lower as he said he’d call Carey’s agent; that he wanted him for the part. Of the contract he had signed. Of the four episodes it promised, and of all the other episodes it didn’t.
And he knew he had choices.
“Hi Hank, good to hear from you. It’s pretty late you know,” he said looking out at the darkness and streetlights.
Hank chuckled. “Don’t sound like an old man, the night is still young, Carey. And I want you to come by for a drink. So you gonna come by or not?”
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