City of Bears: The Skin Between (Part 6)

“What’d ya do that for?” The Ruff said, and pulled the overalls back up, “I can’t work without my overalls up.”

“But…but where’s your cock? What the fuck is this?”

The Ruff just looked at him, confused. “Cock?”

“Yeah, cock! A dick, a penis–what you fuck with. You fuck, right? Getting all hot and sweaty on the job site with those other big men, you get all horny, and you fuck. I know all about those construction zones, and what you all really do all day.”

The Ruff scratched his head, carefully to avoid displacing his hat, like he was trying to think. “Is…is that what they’re all doing? I don’t know, I just keep working, until my shift is over, then I take the hat off, and I’m done.”

Darren just stared at him, and then put his head in his hands.

“I’m starting to think you don’t actually have any work for me to do, so I’m gonna…go, I think,” the Ruff said, took off the hat, and after a moment, Trey was standing there like before.

He took one look at Darren’s shocked face, and started laughing. “There, see? I told you you’d be disappointed.”

“Are you telling me, that all this time, there hasn’t ever been a Ruff with a–with–” he paused, running his tongue around his mouth, “Why the hell can’t I say it?”

Trey shook his head, “Part of the deal. No one can talk about it.”

“But…but everyone always thought…”

“I think Abrahams started the tales as a bit of a joke, especially since no one can say anything about it. It’s weird. But no–Ruffs are all work and no play, literally. It makes for a pretty boring workday, believe me, especially when everyone around you is enjoying themselves.”

Darren just stared at him for a moment, and then sat down in a chair, head in his hands. “This…I can’t fucking believe it. All this time, all of the times I jacked off thinking about fucking Ruffs, and…”

Trey set the RuffHat back down on the table, “Don’t feel bad man, it’s not like you could have known.”

“You don’t fucking get it, I’ve been looking for one of these for…for fucking ever, and I thought I’d finally…” he looked over at Trey, “He did smell…so fucking good though…”

Trey nodded. “So, you still wanna go out? Cubsters, or maybe Sid’s Shack? I’ve had some good times there, if you don’t mind things getting rough.” Darren didn’t say anything in reply, and Trey walked over and set a hand on his shoulder, “Hey, come on, you aren’t the first guy to get duped by the thing. Don’t let it get to you. It’s just a damn practical joke.”

He sighed, “Yeah, Sid’s sounds good, I guess…still, it was a dream, you know?”

“Yeah, I do know. Truth hurts. But come on, let’s deal with it later, yeah? We can go be a couple fucks who don’t give a shit–and I could use some not giving a shit at the moment.”

A few hours later, the two of them burst back through the door of Trey’s apartment, looking rather different. Darren had opted for the biker brews–sampling a bit more than he’d been planning on, bulking up, clothes turned to leather, pushing Trey against the wall, wearing a ratty undershirt and smelling of ash and grease, trucker hat on his head, rubbing their guts together. It was good for a while, but when dawn came it faded, leaving Trey feeling…worse than before, somehow, and not just from swinging between bodies and minds. Darren was still sleeping beside him, and Trey couldn’t help but wonder if he would have ever come back to see him if he hadn’t had that RuffHat. Probably not. Why would he have wanted to? What could Trey have possibly offered him? What could he offer anyone? Willis had seen the truth, he supposed, that Trey was no one at all, just a lead weight holding him back with nothing to offer. It was like he’d been able to see Trey changing before he’d even noticed a thing about it himself. Maybe he wasn’t even really changing at all.

Even last night, as much fun as it had been…had it even been real? Had he and Darren really gotten to know each other any better? Within minutes of stepping into the bar, neither of them had been themselves anymore, after all. He felt closer to that biker, who was now gone with the dawn, than he did with the bear still sleeping in his bed, who’d replaced him. Could you ever really know anyone in the city? It felt like, more and more, like there was something surrounding Trey, separating him from everyone else–a force, or a screen, or clothes, and even when you got down to their skin, that wasn’t close enough. There was always something between him and everyone else, something impassable. All you got was what was on the surface, but what if you wanted more than that? He had to believe there was more than that…or else what was he? Just a doll for Darren to dress up at night, and ignore during the day?

The thought depressed him, and he rolled Darren out of bed and told him he needed to go. Darren seemed a bit lost himself, and Trey noticed him casting a few longing glances at the RuffHat still sitting on the table as he put his clothes back on and left. Trey found himself alone, and staring at the hat too. He should go to work. He should keep trying…but it all felt so hopeless now, like everything had been laid out in front of him, neatly, in the light of day. He’d been a fool to even imagine, for a moment, that anyone would want to be with him. Better to not inflict himself on anyone–better to stay here, eat, jack off, and stop pretending he was fit for anything more than that.

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