Hopeless Fountain Kingdom


Two households, both alike in dignity
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene



A Creature of Capitalism.

            That’s how Oliver would describe himself on Census forms. Not Black, not Hispanic, though technically both were honest answers. No, he’d scribble down his sentence-long identity with confidence, honesty, and most of all, pride.

            His latest garments, iconography that gave praise to the House of Tom Ford and the Altar of Givenchy, were painted on his body. It was his unofficial ticket into the soiree on the corner of 56th and North Dorchester. The type of party where coming early was an unofficial way of saying you knew you didn’t belong, and coming too late was your official way of saying you were well past your prime. That the best booze and the most illicit of cocaine, so graciously brought by the Master of Ceremonies, were no longer yours to indulge.

            As he rose to the top apartment in the rickety elevator, the type where you had to slide two panels of rusted metal to one side in order for it lock in place and grant accession, he shuddered.

            What a fate worse than death, being forgotten.

            Oliver used the reflection on his IPhone to check his gelled black hair. Most of the strands were out of place, in a wild, almost fluid way. Which was to say every strand was in fact, in place. He gave his hair one final run through before pocketing his phone, a half a second before the elevator wheezed to a halt.

            He didn’t open the double sliding iron heavy doors. Well, technically he did. Physically, at least, Oliver Santos’ fingerprints could be found on the elevator handle. But the moment Oliver stepped into the elevator—hell, the moment he donned his leather jacket, just twenty-six minutes ago, and snorted the line of cocaine on his bathroom sink--he became someone else. Someone he wasn’t sure he recognized.

            And he liked it that way.  

            Ignoring the flutter in his chest, he stepped into the open concept loft. Where glass bars, worth more than his mother’s rent, were adorned with oddly shaped bottles with strange colored liquids from far off countries. Music, that wasn’t American, with enticing beats that made him want to submit, throbbed to his very bones. It was a hypnotic atmosphere, a fishbowl of ambiguity and hedonism, where it was okay to forget oneself, and no dared to ask another what happened last night?

            It was why when his phone vibrated, he pulled it out. Oliver hesitated, for a brief moment, enough time to read the ten-character long message. Perhaps, in another life, in another time he would have answered. No, not perhaps. For certain. The Oliver he killed twenty-seven minutes ago, would have stopped everything to answer that text.

            This Oliver, was more interested in the arms that snuck up behind him, the sharp chin that rest against his shoulder, and the hot lips that pressed against his neck.

            “You came,” a slurred voice said.

            “I said I would,” Oliver responded, patting Beckett’s arm with ink serpent itched into it.

            “People say a lot of things. I could have met you somewhere, you know.”

            “And miss the chance to show off this jacket?”

            The three-inch taller man laughed, spinning Oliver around fluidly. Light colored, sun-kissed hair and skin to contrast Oliver’s darker features, faced him, along with the other kept the lazy smile plastered on Beckett’s lips.

            “You’re turning messy,” Oliver scolded, using his thumb to wipe the white specs from under Beckett’s nose and lick it off his fingers.

            “You like me messy,” Beckett retorted. “Come on, I’ve been waiting all day.”

            “And impatient, too,” Oliver muttered as he was tugged along to the hallway. His phone vibrated, and once again, Oliver considered responding to the text, now two minutes old.  

            But Beckett pulling him close, crashing their lips together, and transferring the taste of Jack and Coke between the two of them, distracted him.

            “Do a line with me. Please?”

            Oliver studied the Englishman’s features, as if that would help pull him from the undertow of Beckett Winter’s he was already being swallowed by.

            “Please?” Becket repeated. “I’m not here for long.”

            “Fine,” he sighed.

            His sister’s ‘I’m sorry.’ text would have to wait.