- Would you like to introduce yourself as a writer?
My mother says I was telling stories in the womb. Actually she tells me I took forever to come out (of her womb)—and she says it still hurts! As kids my sister, neighborhood friends, and I created full theatrical, costumed and choreographed musical productions in the garage for our unsuspecting yet very patient family and friends. After majoring in theatre in college I became a professional actor, working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). Moving on to playwriting and ultimately writing novels came next. Along the way I received two master’s degrees and became a happily married college professor/department head (like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mystery series). In addition to Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), I have written An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). My upcoming novels are Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press). The Nicky and Noah mysteries are the kind of books I like reading: farcical, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center—and a surprise ending! Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, a captivating whodunit, and the funniest book of the year! Who am I to argue? I love to hear from readers. They can contact me via my web site at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
- Summarise your latest book from Lethe in five words!
Fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, gay who-dun-it.
- What’s the secret to your writing? Locking yourself away and writing a disciplined word count, or waiting for inspiration to strike? (Or something else entirely, of course…)
I go to sleep at night with a pad and pencil on my night table. When I wake up in the morning, my head is full of ideas. Since I was an actor, playwright, and director, it’s not a surprise that many of my ideas are theatrical in nature. As a college professor, it also isn’t surprising that many of my plots have to do with the wacky world of academia.As an avid cozy mystery reader, I love writing books with plot twists and turns, fun clues, red herrings, and a shocking (yet justified) ending. Since I come from a funny Italian American family, humor has always come naturally to me. Just ask my mother who said to me, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write books? Do people really read them?” I have a cozy (no pun intended) home study with a window seat, fireplace with a cherry wood mantel (like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mysteries), a huge cherry wood desk, and cherry wood bookshelves. I approach my writing in the same way as acting. I start with character biographies and ask questions about each character. Who do they love, hate, fear? What do they want? What is standing in the way of them getting what they want? What was their history? Then I get them talking to one another and the magic happens. I write an outline, but I deviate from it constantly. My spouse reads my second draft then I write my third draft, which goes to the publisher.
- If your house is on fire, what book do you rescue? (Forget about your loved ones, they can save themselves…)
My Agatha Christie and Armistead Maupin novels.
- Finally, let’s pay it forward. Recommend one gay-lit writer we should be reading right now.
Scott Hess, and he’s a great guy too.
This week we put our five questions to Drama Muscle author Joe Cosentino.
This month at Lethe sees the release of Drama Muscle, by Joe Cosentino, the second Nicky and Noah mystery following the successful and award-winning Drama Queen. Read the first chapter of Drama Muscle here:
As the ethereal sound of horns parted the heavenly clouds, the young gods and goddesses appeared in a ray of white light. Standing as strong as the stone columns behind them, the deities displayed stunning muscles, colossal beauty, and mammoth ambition housed in the smallest and most seductive of white garments. Lightning flashed as they formed a resilient line and each struck their first flawless pose. Zeus was dark-skinned and as powerful as thunder. Ganymede at his side had skin of white porcelain and a clever stare. Hercules and Adonis were the perfect blend of masculine vigor and physical splendor. Athena was a gorgeous, olive-skinned warrior, and Aphrodite a lovely, fair-skinned temptress. Achilles watched them all, vowing to be victorious in the end.
“Good work, everyone!”
That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, a white-stone Edwardian-style private college in the quaint and picturesque village of Treemeadow in the equally quaint and picturesque state of Vermont. As inscribed on the two bronze statues at the college’s entrance, the college’s name comes from its founders, Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow. Tree and Meadow were madly wealthy, madly generous, and madly in love. The old gents would no doubt be proud to know that Noah Oliver (Professor of Acting) and I have become a current generation couple at Treemeadow College. That’s not to say Noah and I look anything like our college’s founders. We aren’t made of bronze for one. We wear dress shirts, slacks, and blazers in the fall season rather than heavy dark suits. Also, the Treemeadows were small, thin, scholarly types. Noah and I are both tall. I am of the dark hair, long sideburns, Roman nose, pumped body (thanks to the gym on campus) variety. Oh, there’s one other small thing. Well, it’s not really small. To the delight or horror of my past boyfriends, I have a nine-and-a-quarter-inch penis—flaccid. Luckily, Noah is delighted and totally open (pardon the pun) to new adventures. Noah has luxurious curly-blond hair, batting blue eyes, and the warmest heart in New England. His body is firm and smooth, but not toned as he never goes near the gym—until now!
Each year the top students in the Bodybuilding Department compete in a contest to be named the Top Toned Tan Trojan at Treemeadow (Try saying that three times fast). Actually, the real name is Treemeadow’s Annual Bodybuilding Competition. The winner receives an enormous gold cup, and more importantly, the year’s college tuition free. Given the rising cost of tuition at Treemeadow, this is no lightweight matter (pardon the pun again).
Bodybuilding Department Head Professor Brick Strong asked my Theatre Department Head, Martin Anderson, if Noah and I could use our theatrical expertise to add a dramatic flair to this year’s bodybuilding competition. Since I was not directing a play that semester, Martin agreed to give Noah and me release time, thereby changing our mantra from “Let’s put on a show” to “I’m gonna pump you up.” That led to Noah and me hauling lighting, smoke, sound, and set equipment, along with a number of skimpy Greek period costumes, from the Theatre Department building to the Physical Education building. The plan was that I, as a directing professor, would direct the production, and Noah, as an acting professor, would work with the student-athletes on stage presence for their individual poses.
“Okay everyone, Professor Oliver will take it from here.” I stepped aside and leaned against the gym wall.
Noah flicked back his gorgeous blond locks and took my place in front of the students like a new king taking the throne after a revolution. Sounding delectably butch, he said, “Let’s take a little time to discuss each of your characters. The Greek period was a—”
“That’s the period we’ve selected for the competition in terms of characters, set, and costumes,” I said.
Noah smiled in my direction.
I think Noah and I are the perfect couple. “Rodney, we know that your character, Zeus, was the father of gods and men—” Rodney Towers was tall, dark, and massive with muscle. “—which is why your toga has a thunderbolt on it,” I said.
“I’m always happy to help,” I said.
“So I see.”
“But Professor Oliver is totally in charge now. So everyone, please listen to Professor Oliver,” I said.
“Thank you.” Focusing back on Zeus, rather Rodney, Noah said, “The Greek gods in mythology were part god and part human—”
“Which is why I selected this motif for the competition. You all have human emotion, but your strength and powers are supernatural.”
“Right,” said Noah with a tight jaw.
I folded my arms across my chest. “Professor Oliver is really good at working on character development, so pay close attention to him.”
Noah took in a deep breath. “And the Greek gods were quite amorous—”
“With both sexes,” I said. “Zeus and Ganymede were just one pair of famous lovers who influenced the arts.”
“Excuse me, everyone.” Noah put a hand on my shoulder and ushered me to a corner of the gym. “Nicky, I appreciate your help, but—”
I put my arm around Noah. “You don’t need to thank me. I love you, and I am always here to help you.”
“Well can you please…stop?”
“Did I say something wrong?” I asked dumbfounded.
“I would like to be able to finish a sentence! Will you let me do that?”
“I won’t say another word,” I said as we walked back to the students.
“Promise?” Noah whispered in my ear.
“Of course.” I looked at my watch. “You should move the rehearsal along, since there’s lots more to do.”
Noah opened his mouth to say something, but Rodney Towers interrupted. “Professor, I was thinking about what Professor Abbondanza mentioned.”
Noah sighed. “Which of the numerous things said by Professor Abbondanza are you referring to, Rodney?”
“The thing about Zeus and Ganymede getting it on.” Rodney looked as if someone had held his nose and poured vinegar into his mouth.
Noah tried to speak again, and Maria Ruiz (our Athena) interrupted. “Homophobe anyone?” Maria stood nose to nose with Rodney. “What’s wrong with you, Rodney?” She pointed to the twins at the other end of the line. “Tim and Kim are playing Hercules and Adonis. Everyone knows they were a couple. You don’t hear them complaining.”
“Um now that you like mention it, Kim would rather, you know, play another part,” said Tim.
“Um so would Tim,” added Kim.
Posed with their hands on their hips, the twins looked like an advertisement for The King and I in double vision.
Let me explain. Kim and Tim Sim (Try saying that three times fast), as identical twins, can read each other’s minds. I could never read my brother’s mind when we were kids. That’s why I had to read his diary, listen in on his phone conversations, and bug his book bag.
The muscles on Rodney’s massive back curled as if snarling. “Let me make myself clear, Maria. I’m not happy playing Zeus, because I don’t want any part of an unnatural lifestyle.”
Maria shot him dagger eyes. “And pumping iron three hours a day and spray-painting our bodies is natural?”
“Maria knows all about being natural. Don’t you, Maria?” said compact Jonathan Toner (Achilles) with a smirk on his pimply face.
“Shut up, Jonathan,” replied Maria as if swatting a pesky fly.
Rodney said to his workout partner, “Maria, don’t rag on me because I believe in the Bible.”
“Then you better get to work in the fields, ’cause you’re a slave, honey,” Maria answered with a wave of her muscular arm and snap of her strong fingers.
“Kiss my muscular black ass.”
“Kiss my muscular Latina ass.”
Noah said, like a referee at an A.D.D. Little League game, “Okay, let’s talk about your character, Maria. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, courage, and justice. As you think about your poses—”
“Try to incorporate those feelings into your performance,” I said.
“Right,” Noah added with narrowed eyes in my direction.
I mimed buttoning my lips and rested my back against the wall.
Noah continued, “And Jonathan, Achilles was shot in the heel, the only weak part of his body.”
“Hence the term ‘Achilles heel,’” I added, then placed my hand over my big mouth.
Jonathan flexed his small, high-peaked biceps. “There’s no part of me that’s weak.”
“Except your brain,” said Maria.
Waving his stubby finger under her square jaw, Jonathan said, “Careful, Maria. You don’t want to piss me off.”
Like a substitute teacher on the last day of school, Noah tried to keep control. Noticing Mack Heath (Ganymede) standing quietly, Noah said, “Let’s talk about Mack’s character.”
Middle weight, fair, perfectly proportioned, and amazingly cut, Mack said, “Didn’t Ganymede represent youth and beauty?”
“Correct!” I said then covered my mouth with both hands.
Jillian Flowers (our Aphrodite), a raving blonde beauty, gazed at Mack with lust in her violet eyes. “You um totally are like Ganymede, Mack.”
Mack’s cheeks grew flushed. “Thanks.”
“For what?” Jillian asked.
“You just said I’m like Ganymede.”
Jillian said, “Um isn’t that like who you are, you know, playing?”
Poor Jillian. Last year, while working out, a barbell accidentally fell on Jillian’s head, leaving her with poor short-term memory.
“Let’s talk about your character, Jillian,” said Noah, clearly hoping to get things back on track. “Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty—”
“And love,” I added, then hid my face underneath my blazer.
Jillian batted her long lashes at Mack, then rested her strong hand on his mountainous shoulder. “Did um Aphrodite and Ganymede ever like, you know, hook up?”
“No, they didn’t, Jillian.” Mack slid his shoulder out of her clutches.
“Who didn’t what?” asked Jillian in confusion.
“Aphrodite and Ganymede were never a couple,” Mack explained, then walked away.
Jillian responded, “Who said they were?”
“Tim is like getting, you know, bored,” said Kim.
“Kim um wants to like get back to, you know, rehearsing,” added Tim.
Having lost his patience, Jonathan walked past each of his classmates with a smirk on his pockmarked face, like a carnival sharpshooter wiping out a row of rubber duckies. “Jillian, Mack isn’t into you. Mack isn’t into anybody, except Mack. Tim and Kim, you don’t need this competition. Stay home and wait for Daddy Big Bucks Sim to kick the chop suey. Maria, you don’t want to tick me off, and you know why. Rodney, join the twentieth century.”
Before World War Muscle broke out, Noah said, “All right, everyone. Let’s make a circle on the gym floor to do a theatre exercise called Tug of War.”
After the mime exercise, Noah decided to work on individual posing routines. He asked Rodney and Maria to come on stage, and the rest of the students to take a twenty minute break.
I said to Noah, “Great idea to work with them two at a time. I’ll help you—”
Noah walked me into a corridor off the gym. “Nicky?”
He looked at me with soft blue eyes, and rested his arms around my shoulders. “Do you love me?”
“I love you more than life itself.”
His soft, warm lips met mine. “If you want to keep your life and love, go get a snack and come back in twenty minutes.” Noah kissed me. “Make that thirty.”
I entered the snack bar in the Student Union building and found Jonathan and the unhappy Sim twins changed into their street clothes and sitting at a booth near the door. I joined the three young men as Helga served them their usual two pounds of (thankfully cooked) hamburger—each. Helga’s real name is Sarah Peterson, but since she is a full-figured German woman with blonde hair worn in side braids, the students all call her Helga.
After Helga banged down the plates, then left for “a cigarette break,” I said, “I’m looking forward to the competition, guys.”
“Um so are we,” Tim and Kim said, then downed their hamburger meat like cavemen.
Jonathan picked at his meat, then picked at a pimple. “Tim, are you meeting with your…advisor after rehearsal?”
“Why would Tim be like meeting with, you know, Professor Granite so like late?” asked Kim.
“Maybe to talk about Professor Granite’s vote in the competition.” Jonathan poured the salt from the salt shaker into the pepper shaker then added with a sneer, “Will you be meeting with Professor Stryker after the rehearsal, Kim, to talk about her vote?”
“Kim doesn’t like meet with his, you know, advisor at like night either,” said Tim.
I laughed. “Only theatre faculty are crazy enough to be on campus this late at night.”
Pushing away his half-eaten plate, Jonathan said, “Since you two guys are free after rehearsal, let’s hang.”
“We don’t think so,” said Tim.
Jonathan sneered. “You may want to rethink that, guys.”
Putting my size-ten foot in my mouth, I said, “Jonathan, it sounds like you are threatening them.”
As if reincarnating Eddie Haskell, Jonathan said with a sweet smile, “I would never threaten one of my classmates, Professor.” He turned to the twins. “Right, guys?”
The twins nodded and continued ravaging their meat.
Tired of the smell of red meat and testosterone, I excused myself and walked over to the counter to purchase a cup of tea from a student aide. After checking my watch and realizing I still had some time to kill (or Noah would kill me), I sat down at a booth to drink my tea. I heard familiar voices behind me and realized they belonged to Mack and Jillian, who were, by the smell of it, devouring enormous turkey breasts.
Jillian asked between bites, “Um do you like mind, you know, sitting with me, Mack?”
Just as I was about to find another booth, Jillian asked, “How do you like think um rehearsals are, you know, going?”
I listened like a priest in a confessional with a gay porn star.
Ever the diplomat, Mack answered while chewing, “Professor Oliver has a lot of patience.”
Jillian giggled. “Especially with Professor Abbondanza.”
I realized that if I moved slightly—balancing on one hip and contorting my body in a right angle—I could see their reflection in the mirror, but they couldn’t see me.
“Mack, you like looked really um good up there. You are like incredibly toned.”
“Mack, you like looked really um good up there. You are like incredibly toned,” Jillian repeated.
Mack responded gently, “You already said that, Jillian.”
She smacked her pale forehead. “Um sorry.”
“No problem,” said Mack.
They say love is better the second time around.
Jillian continued in adoration. “You um look even better than Tony Piccolo’s silly old pictures of his son. You’re, you know, a sure like bet to win the, you know, competition, Mack.”
He rested his perfect arms on the table. “According to Jonathan Toner, Professor Strong favors you to win.”
Jillian rolled her eyes as if high tide. “Don’t like listen to anything Jonathan says. I, you know, think Professor Strong will vote for you to win.”
“I hope this doesn’t upset you, Jillian,” said Mack. “Jonathan is telling everyone that you and Professor Strong are…hooking up.”
Laughing, Jillian fidgeted with the flower design on her T-shirt. “That’s like crazy. Professor Strong is, you know, an old man. He was like once married to Professor Stryker. He um must be like over thirty-five.”
“If I was like going to make a play for like a professor, it, you know, would be like that hot theatre professor.”
I always liked Jillian.
“Um Professor Oliver. But he’s like obviously, you know, partnered with um Professor Abbondanza. They must like have an um father/son kind of, you know, relationship.”
I’m only five years older than Noah! Well, seven. But who’s counting?
Having finished her meal, Jillian pressed her firm breasts against Mack’s pectoral muscles. “I have my um eyes, you know, on a younger man.”
Mack asked, “Who?”
“Who like what?” asked Jillian.
“You just said you have your eyes on a young man.”
“Oh.” Jillian pressed her sculpted thighs (housed in pink short-shorts) against his. “I um think you like know who it is.”
Blushing, Mack took her hand in his. “I’m flattered, really.” After a long swallow of his saliva, he said, “I don’t feel that way about you. I’m sorry, but I never will.”
Jillian looked like a beagle left out in the snow. “Is it um because of the like memory thing?”
“No.” Mack pushed away his empty plate.
“No like what?”
“You asked me if I’m not interested in you because of your short-term memory lapses from the barbell accident. I said that isn’t it.”
“So if it’s…um not that…what’s like wrong with me, Mack?” she asked with tears brimming in her almond-shaped eyes.
“You’re terrific. It’s me.”
“Are you like gay?” she asked, disappointed.
That woke me up!
After a long exhale, Mack said, “The truth is I’m not attracted to anybody. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.”
Poor kid. He just hasn’t met the right man yet.
Mack shrugged his massive shoulders. “Maybe I’m asexual.” His perfectly sculpted body tensed like an accordion. “Jonathan is the only one I’ve told…besides you.”
“Told what?” Jillian asked in oblivion.
Mack repeated, “I’ve only told Jonathan that I think I’m asexual.”
Her button nose crinkled. “You um think you’re like asexual, and you told that creep?”
He nodded. “Jonathan wanted to fix me up with some girl in his acting class.” Mack laughed pathetically. “He was going to charge her money to date me. Crazy, huh?”
From the look on Jillian’s face, I could tell she wasn’t thinking the idea was all that far- fetched. She took his hand and placed it on her lap. “Mack, um if there is like ever anything that I can, you know, do to like help you sort this out, I am like totally available.”
By the time I got back to the gym, Rodney and Maria were taking their break, and Noah was working with the Sim twins and Jonathan Toner. I started over to help Noah.
“Hey, Professor!” A man of about sixty years old, wearing sweat clothes laden with the college logo, motioned me over to an alcove at a corner of the gym. I walked over to the short, emaciated man. He sat at a desk surrounded by washing machines, dryers, and athletic equipment. As I stood next to him and looked up at the bulletin board above his desk, I was mesmerized by pictures of a stunning young bodybuilder in briefs executing various competitive poses. In the last picture, the young man, rightfully so, held a huge winning cup.
“That’s my son, Robbie,” the man said. “He won Treemeadow’s Bodybuilding Competition eighteen years ago.”
“I can see why.” I couldn’t stop looking at the photographs of the young bodybuilder with his perfectly proportioned body, rippling muscles, handsome face, and warm smile. “Where is he now?” Don’t worry, Noah, I’m just looking.
“Robbie lives in Florida with his wife and two kids. He’s a lawyer.”
I smiled at the man who seemed to have as many memories as gray hairs on his head. “I’m Nicky Abbondanza from the Theatre Department.”
“I know.” He shook my hand firmly. “Tony Piccolo. I heard you was coming to help us out with the competition.”
I sat on the edge of his desk, and Tony and I were eye to eye. “What do you do here?”
He chuckled. “Everything, launder the kids’ clothes so they stay fresh, clean off the weight equipment so the kids don’t get sick, restock the supplies so they have all they need, and bring them snacks when they get hungry.”
I took in Tony’s tired, warm eyes. “That’s a lot to do.”
He nodded like his head was loose. “I like the kids, Professor. They remind me of Robbie when he was their age. They keep me feeling young.”
I was again unable to stop looking at Robbie’s pictures on the bulletin board. “I’m not surprised your son did well.”
“He was the best bodybuilder ever at Treemeadow College.”
No argument here.
“And that’s saying something.” Tony stood next to me and put his wrinkled hand on my shoulder. “They’re all terrific kids, Professor. While other students are drinking, drugging, and having orgies, these kids are exercising to stay healthy and fit. I love each one of them as if they was my own.” The dark circles under Tony’s hazel eyes deepened. “That’s why I called you over here.” He said as if a secret, “Listen, don’t pay no mind to their bickering and complaining. It’s all a part of growing up. Even my Robbie complained here and there when he was their age. But deep down, these kids are the best, and they’ll come through in the competition.”
Shaking his veined hand again, I said, “I wish we had someone like you in the Theatre Department.”
“I’m fine right where I am, Professor. My wife died many years ago. Robbie moved away. These kids are my family.”
I took a last gaze at the mesmerizing Robbie. “Seems Treemeadow was lucky to have Robbie.”
I heard Noah and Jonathan Toner arguing. My sweet Noah who never loses his temper?
Tony pointed to Jonathan. “Even that one. He a little instigator and out for himself, but he don’t mean no harm to nobody.”
I walked over as Jonathan asked Noah, “Professor, is my posing routine last because the bodybuilding professors told you to feature Tim, Kim, and Jillian before me?” He added like a child whose brother received a larger lollipop, “Or am I last in the lineup due to your obvious bias against me?”
Noah replied as if counting to ten, “Jonathan, your posing routine is last because Achilles is the heel in Greek mythology.”
Having none of it, Jonathan rose on his tippy-toes to make eye contact with Noah’s chin. “Is that the same reason why I’m last in the opening lineup?”
Noah took a deep breath in an unsuccessful effort to calm down. “Actually, Jonathan, it is the reason you are last. And for the record, I have no bias against you.”
Flailing his arms in Noah’s face like a crossing guard at a highway intersection, Jonathan shouted, “If you have no bias against me, Professor Oliver, how do you explain the D grade I got for my monologue presentation in Acting class?”
Noah clasped his hands behind his back, no doubt to keep himself from strangling the young bodybuilder. “I explain that by reminding you that during your class monologue performance you forgot your lines, broke character, swore, and spoke so softly you could not be heard past the first row in the lab theatre.”
Jonathan responded like a preschool teacher explaining snack time to her charges, “I want to be an action-film star, not a theatre actor. In movies they have microphones for volume, and they do retakes when actors forget lines. Don’t you know that, Professor?”
“I know a great deal about movies, Jonathan, including that you lack the discipline to be cast in one,” replied Noah, obviously at the end of his long rope.
Jonathan looked like a bull in a closet full of red capes. “You’ll regret that, Professor.”
Hearing all the shouting, Rodney, Maria, Mack, and Jillian came back from their breaks. Rodney said, towering over Jonathan, “Cool down, dude.”
Jonathan turned on Rodney. “Or what, Rodney? The Lord will turn me into stone, and I’ll resemble you?”
Maria stood between Jonathan and Rodney. “Enough, you guys!”
With his green eyes shooting venom like gamma rays, Jonathan said, “Right, Maria, we’re guys. You were a guy too—when you were Mario and had a dick instead of a slit.”
Maria lunged for Jonathan. Rodney held Maria’s arms behind her back as Mack pinned Jonathan’s hands behind his back.
“I’ll take care of you later, Toner,” said Maria as she shrugged away Rodney’s hold and walked off her anger.
Jonathan screamed, “Let me go, Mack!”
Mack whispered in Jonathan’s ear, “You need to calm down for your own good, Jonathan. You don’t want to get thrown out of the competition.”
Jonathan wiggled in Mack’s hold like a wild horse at a rodeo. “I don’t buy your good-guy act, Mack.”
“Leave Mack like alone!” Jillian said with a no-nonsense look.
“You can defend him from here to Barbell-Brain Land and Mack still won’t get it up for you, Jillian,” replied Jonathan with his saliva and venom spraying onto Jillian’s confused face.
“Um defend like who?” asked Jillian.
Having had enough of the drama (pardon the pun), I said, “All right, everybody. Rehearsal is over for today. Let’s work out and regroup with calmer heads tomorrow night.”
I grabbed Noah by the arm and led him to the door.
“Why didn’t you defend me to Jonathan, Nicky?”
“You told me not to say anything at rehearsal.”
“I didn’t mean if I’m being attacked!”
“Noah, you better go home and cool down.”
His beautiful shoulders softened. “Sorry, Nicky. I shouldn’t have let Jonathan get to me.”
I looked into his baby-blue eyes. “Noah, that kid is toxic. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
Noah replied with an adorable smile, “When I’m hard, I’m not by myself.”
“Even though my mouth was fatter than a televangelist’s wallet tonight?”
“Your fat mouth is perfect for me, Nicky.”
We shared a quick but tender kiss.
Noah patted my ample crotch. “And it seems I won’t be by myself tonight.”
After another kiss, I opened the door for Noah, and he asked, “Aren’t you coming with me?”
“Definitely,” I replied grinning from ear to ear, “but I want to do my workout first.”
“That’s my cue to exit,” Noah responded with a wave of his hand.
“You should try working out sometime, Noah. It’s good for you. Not that I’m complaining. I love your body.” I squeezed his bulbous butt.
He kissed the cleft in my chin. “I get enough work out at home.”
I ran my fingers through his blond, curly locks. “You can do squats tonight.”
We shared a knowing laugh. Noah left and I popped some vitamins into my mouth (for extra energy), chased them down with water from the cooler, then made my way to the men’s locker room, where I was greeted by the familiar smell of sweat, cologne, and sperm. I changed into my sweat clothes, stretched my thirty-five-year-old muscles then headed for the weight room.
At the universal gym, I began pushing and pulling on a torture device for the back and shoulders. Though they were facing away from me, I could overhear Rodney Towers (on a pecs machine) and Maria Ruiz (on a thigh machine) as they worked out.
“Is what that fool Jonathan said about you true?” Rodney asked as he adjusted the pin on his machine upward to Never Never Land.
Defensive, Maria said, “What if it is?”
“If it’s true, it’s against God.”
Maria snapped her legs together on the machine and adjusted her sweatpants. “Who made you God’s spokesman?”
“It’s right there in the Bible.”
What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?
Her dark eyes ripped into his. “Rodney, do me a favor and stuff your two thousand-year-old book of fairy tales where the sun don’t shine.” She rose and began to leave. “I have better things to do than argue with a fool.”
Following her, Rodney called out, “You’ll burn in Hell for that, Maria.”
Having worked my back and shoulders to rebellion, I guzzled some water from the water cooler (and threw in some more vitamins for good measure). Next I moved over to the free-weights area, where I worked the same two body parts with free weights until I collapsed from exhaustion after the third rep.
My shoulders screamed in agony and warned my giggling pectoral muscles that they would be on the hot seat at my next workout session. On my way to the cardio room for the last phase of my workout, my bladder summoned the alarm, so I decided on a quick pit stop.
As I entered the locker room I heard giggling and moaning coming from the adjoining shower area. Feeling like a voyeur, I ducked behind a locker and snuck a peek. Where’s a bag of popcorn when you need it?
Kneeling on a bench between the shower stalls, Jonathan Toner was on all fours with Tim Sim standing in front of him and Tim’s twin brother, Kim Sim, planted behind him. Tim massaged and squeezed Jonathan’s small but potent back muscles while Jonathan stroked Tim’s bulbous pectoral muscles and rippling six-pack abs. The stereotype was certainly not true in this case as Jonathan took Tim’s substantial tool in his mouth and hungrily licked, slurped, sucked, and joyously gagged on it. At the same time, Kim rubbed Jonathan’s small, tight bottom and shapely, rock-hard thighs while Kim’s identical tool plunged inside Jonathan again and again, gaining traction and intensity with each thrust. Looking like a pig on a spit, Jonathan squirmed and squealed in delight, begging for more. Finally the threesome exploded like Hiroshima. Then Tim wiped himself with a towel, Jonathan rinsed his mouth at the sink, and Kim threw his condom into the garbage.
The three young bodybuilders moved to the locker area to get dressed. I darted over to the other side of the locker, but they still spotted me.
“Hello, boys,” I said as I leaned into the locker and banged my elbow against it.
“Hi, Professor,” the three boys said in unison as they walked by me.
“I just had a great workout, but I really need to use the urinal. That happens when you drink a lot of water, and you should drink a lot of water. Water is very good for you.” I’m babbling like a brook.
I relieved myself at the urinal in the shower room then left through the locker-room door. The minute I hit the hallway, I realized I had dropped my college ID card. Not wanting to be stopped by Security, I backtracked into the locker room unseen by the three bodybuilding students. Luckily I spotted my card next to a locker. As I bent down and reached for it, from my vantage point the three boys couldn’t see me, but I could see them.
Putting on red briefs, Jonathan said, “That was just what I needed to calm me down. Let’s plan a return engagement.”
I’ll skip the second showing.
Tim and Kim Sim opened their lockers and slipped into identical blue boxers and button-down blue shirts and slacks. “Um, we don’t think so, Jonathan.”
Jonathan put on a green and blue polo shirt and jeans, then slammed his locker shut. “What’s up, guys?”
Not much anymore.
When the twins didn’t respond, Jonathan said in a huff, “You can go back to kissing Professor Stryker’s ass, Tim. And you can suck Professor Granite’s dick, Kim. I’ll still beat both of you in the competition.”
Kim joined his brother in putting on black loafers, then said like an accountant at an audit, “Jonathan, our father is like very um old world. If he like found out…about us, he would, you know, cut us off.”
After slipping on his sneakers, Jonathan put his arms around the twins. “Be that as it may, you boys both did what we just…did. And since you will be coming into a lot of money soon, I think it’s only right that you two share the wealth with your favorite classmate.”
Kim’s eyes bulged out of his head like torpedoes as he said to his brother, “I like know Jonathan is trying to, you know, blackmail us, Tim!”
Jonathan squeezed their powerful shoulders. “Let’s just say I’m asking you to spread the wealth a little by donating to my charity.”
Seems like they already donated.
“The Get Me to Hollywood to Audition for Action Movies Charity,” Jonathan added.
“And if we don’t like donate to your charity?” asked the twins with four piercing eyes aimed at Jonathan.
Jonathan responded with a sagacious wink, “Then I’ll just have to pay sick Poppy a little visit, and tell him all about the titillating time I just had with his twinky twins.”
Try saying that three times fast.
Pulling out of Jonathan’s grasp, Tim said in shock, “Jonathan, even you um wouldn’t like do something like that!” Tim added to his brother, “Kim, didn’t I like just say that?”
Jonathan scratched his small washboard abs. “Oh, you’d be surprised the things that I would do, Sim. I’ll see you tomorrow, guys…to collect the first donation.”
Jonathan walked out of the locker room. The Sim twins seethed in anger, engaged in a silent argument.
Realizing that Noah would be worried if I didn’t get home soon, I started my delayed cardio exercises on a stationary bicycle in the spinning room. After fifteen minutes, my legs went on strike. So I limped to the next room, deciding to finish my workout with ten minutes on the elliptical machine. As I mounted the last torture device of the evening, I noticed a green and blue polo shirt hanging over the side of a running machine at the other end of the room. Upon investigating, I found it was Jonathan Toner—and he had no pulse.
All Lethe Press books, including Drama Muscle, are available through the major online retailers and booksellers. You can also support the press and authors by buying directly from our website.
Every Monday we put a selection of our titles on discount at our website. To celebrate the release of Drama Muscle, the second Nicky & Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino, we're offering Drama Queen, the first in the series and winner of multiple awards including four 2015 awards from Divine Magazine, at half price for just $9 in paperback! Buy here.
Meanwhile, if Sherlock and Moriarty comparing each other's guns in the New Year Sherlock special wasn't gay enough for you, why not try A Study in Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes edited by Joseph R.G. DeMarco which is also half price at $10 in paperback. Buy here.
What's new with Lethe Press...