Since a large filing with numerous exhibits had to be filed in the state superior court by hard copy rather than electronically, since the paralegal who normally did such filings was out sick, and since the firm of Archer, Welland, & Olensky no longer trusted such filings to runners after a few mishaps, it fell to Sam, as a young associate at the firm and thus not in a position to weasel out of the task, to hand-carry it to the courthouse. It was a pleasant spring day and therefore as good a day as any to walk from the office to the courthouse, especially since the billing partner for that client had assured him that he could enter a reasonable amount of time to and from the courthouse as billable.“Just don’t go hog-wild,” she had said, “and spend all day or have an eight-martini lunch or anything.”
He had also recently bought a new suit and wanted to be seen in it. While on one level he found it odd that people treated him differently in accordance with what clothes he wore, he was not about to turn down the respect that a well made suit got him. At 5’6” and with a slim build, he could use all of the commanding physical presence that the suit could offer him. Since starting to work at the firm, he had carefully observed the dress, hair, and mannerisms of the businessmen around him to reinvent himself as one of them.
He made his way from his office to the courthouse complex. Behind the classical-revival historic courthouse lay the two buildings in which the state superior court for the City and County of Georgeport did most of its work: the Civil Courts Building, with its airy and fashion-driven postmodern architecture, in which the court’s civil and chancery departments sat; and the hulking, brutalist Hall of Criminal Justice. In a narrow strip of park in front of the latter building, three police officers, all apparently in their thirties or early forties, were lolling around together. Two of them were average-looking, but the third was noticeably taller and more physically fit than the other two. That one had heavy five-o’clock shadow even at that time of day, a mustache, and dark brown hair in a crew cut. As Sam saw them interact, it seemed to him that the tall one was the alpha male of the group; the other two seemed simply to react to whatever he said. The tall one, in addition to evidently being naturally dominant, was stunningly handsome. To Sam’s embarrassment, he started to become aroused.
The tall one and one of his acolytes looked at Sam for a moment and exchanged words. Sam had no idea of what they were saying but figured that he was probably happier not knowing. Since the client was not paying him check out cops, he entered the Civil Courts Building to do the filing.
Officers Ernest Butler, Michael Rogers, and Robert Franceschini of Georgeport’s finest were taking a break in front of the Hall of Criminal Justice, shooting the shit until they had to go back in and testify some more. Gay police officers, stuck between two mutually hostile worlds, tended to stick together, especially those who were on the same shift, and the three had become inseparable. Ernie loved Michael and Rob like younger brothers—and in no other way, since neither one was his type.
“Hey, Ernie,” Michael said, nudging Ernie, “see that blond twink with the glasses and the expensive-looking suit?”
“What?” Ernie asked. “Oh, him.” A young man carrying a briefcase and wearing a bright red tie, a designer suit that perfectly framed his slight figure, and gold wire-rimmed glasses had paused on his way to the Civil Courts Building. Ernie did see him and liked what he saw, except that he was sure that the boy would look better without the suit and the glasses and with his wavy blond hair not pomaded down like that. “Yeah, what about him?”
“I think he’s checking one of us out.”
“Must be me,” said Ernie. “You know it’s me.”
“What makes you so sure of that?” asked Michael, sounding hurt.
“Well, maybe he’s a chubby chaser,” said Ernie, poking Michael in the gut, “but don’t bet on it.”
Rob said, “You two can fight over him; he’s too much of a pretty boy for me.”
“Rob,” asked Ernie, “is this the part where you bore us to death with your fantasies about topping Sasquatch?”
“Very funny,” said Rob. “Anyway, he’s going into the Civil Courts Building, so get your cruising in while you can.”
As Sam stood in line and then waited for the clerk to verify that everything listed on the filing receipt was there, the memory of that police officer gave Sam something with which to distract himself, although Sam figured that that would most likely be the extent of his involvement with the officer. Not only was the police officer out of Sam’s league, but also, Sam knew that most men were not gay and had learned the hard way that wishful thinking often disguised itself as gaydar. Still, there was no harm in thinking about him.
After the clerk had paged through the filings, date-stamped the receipt, and handed it back to Sam, he decided that there had to be some excuse for him to stop by that park on the way back to the office. He left the Civil Courts Building and walked over the park, where the three police officers were still present. He walked along the edge of the park, pretending that he was simply admiring the flower beds, until he noticed someone standing next to him.
When he looked up, he saw that it was the tall police officer, apparently also pretending to admire the flower beds. The cop was well over six feet tall and was apparently starting to become aroused, although Sam tried not to be too obvious about looking. The officer’s name tag identified him as E. Butler.
“How ya doing?” E. Butler asked in a low-pitched voice.
“Um, fine, thanks, and you?”
“I’m doing good.” The cop extended his hand. “I’m Ernie.”
Sam shook his hand and noticed what a strong grip he had. “Hi, Ernie. I’m Sam.”
“Hey, Ernie,” one of the other police officers called out, “we have to go back in now.”
“It’s been a pleasure meeting you,” said Sam.
“I’m sure we’ll see each other around,” said Ernie.
After the officers were done testifying, they met up again in the park before heading back. “You and blond boy,” said Michael, “were like two ships passing in the night.”
“More like two speedboats,” said Rob.
“Don’t worry,” Ernie said. “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, and this is meant to be.”
“How do you know?” asked Rob.
“Don’t ask silly questions,” Ernie responded. “I just do. I’ll see him again, sooner or later.”
“What about all the other guys you said it was meant to be with?” asked Rob
“This time, it’s different,” said Ernie.
“Yeah, right,” said Rob
“We’ll see who’s right,” said Ernie.
As Ernie had said, he had every confidence that he would see Sam again. He could probably look up Sam from his first name, the monogram on his shirt, and the fact that he was most likely a lawyer, but it was unlikely that he and Sam moved in the same social circles. Ernie could always find an excuse to share social space with Sam, but he had tried that twice when younger, and doing so had blown up in his face both times. Besides, what was meant to be would be, and their paths would eventually cross again. In the meantime, he would not need his twink porn that evening or any time soon.
Sam, for his part, tried to concentrate at work while wondering what Ernie looked like nude. Even if nothing else would ever happen between them, and Sam had no reason to believe that anything else ever would, Sam still felt good about attracting the notice of someone like Ernie, and there would be no harm in fantasizing.