The Gentleman's Club (musc)

“She’s not responding. She told me she wanted to go out tonight. Why isn’t she responding?”

“Because she doesn’t want to go out with YOU. Stop. Texting. Her.” Dustin snatched Tyler’s phone out of his hand. “You’re coming on too strong. Girls don’t like desperation.”

“They also don’t like quitters, quitter.” Tyler made a grab for his phone and they played keep-away for a few minutes before Dustin gave it back. They walked on, looking a little despondent. Dustin was taller, with features that could’ve been handsome if he’d had the confidence to pull them off. Tyler was shorter but still above six feet, with a roundness that balanced out Dustin’s gangly nature. The roommates were about to enter their twenties and had expected an endless cavalcade of pussy to celebrate that landmark, but were having a very difficult time bringing that dream to light.

“Where should we go first?”

“I wanna get a little buzz first,” Dustin said, still in thought. “Some liquid confidence. So maybe we can just go to some little hole in the wall. Cheap beer-”

“-and then, cheap women,” Tyler laughed.


They meandered through the downtown, mostly unnoticed by those around them. In a college town, Dustin and Tyler were shamefully average. Not hot enough for personality to not matter, but not ugly enough for it to be all that did. Okay-looking, okay-acting, still needing to grow up a lot to figure out who they were.

“How about this place,” Dustin said, walking up to a bar blessedly free of doormen. Tyler looked in and wrinkled his nose. Inside, muscular young men were hitting on genetically-blessed young women. They recognized a few football players and saw a letter jacket or two. “This place is too hot for us,” Tyler assessed.

“Dude, c’mon, this isn’t high school anymore.”

“No, it’s worse.”

“Stop that. People are older and cooler now. Everyone gets a shot.”

“Don’t be naïve,” Tyler responded. “Everyone gets a shot, but within their own, uh…” Tyler made a circular motion with his hands. “Their own sphere. You don’t get a shot WITH everyone.”

“SHOTS,” a tall jock bellowed as he ran between Dustin and Tyler, flexing his impressive arms before disappearing inside.

“See? Shaaa-awwwwts.” Tyler shook his head. “Let’s move on.”

“You suck.”

Tyler was looking in at a bar a few doors down from the jock one. This time, it was Dustin’s turn to say no. “WE’RE too hot for this one.”

“You’re right. They’re all sorta fat,” Tyler agreed. “I think that guy’s wearing a toupee. And he’s in college.”

They shuffled away quickly, embarrassed to be seen even checking such a dump out, fearing that other people had seen them and were already forming judgments. A cute girl in a white tank top and booty shorts stood outside a bar giving out fliers. “Oh, hello there,” she said to Dustin, completely ignoring Tyler. “We’re doing half-price appetizers and dollar wells until 10 PM,” she said, slipping a flier into Dustin’s shirt pocket. “And if you behave yourself, you might get a free shot.”

“Oh, okay,” Dustin said, his cheeks turning red as he moved on. Tyler stood and looked at the blonde girl for a few moments, who only noticed him when Dustin had walked away. “We might be back,” Tyler said quickly, running back up to Dustin. “Dude! She was into you!”

“No she wasn’t. She was doing her job.”

“No, man, seriously, she totally locked in on you, I saw it. Go back there! Get her number!”

Dustin took a long look back and then turned away and continued to walk forward. “Nah. Let’s keep walking.”

“I’m going to go back and get it for you.”

“Tyler, seriously, don’t. Please.” Dustin’s tone was so pathetic that Tyler didn’t even joke about it. “She’s way too hot for me, man.”

“No she’s NOT. Jesus Christ,” Tyler said, getting frustrated. “Fine, let’s go in here and get hammered, then I’m sending you back there to smash.” Tyler grabbed Dustin’s hand and dragged him toward the open door of a sports bar. Out of nowhere, a doorman in a cheap leather jacket stepped into the doorframe and blocked them. “IDs, guys.”

“We’ve already been in,” Tyler lied, faking a wave to a table inside. “Our wallets are inside. The other guy said it was cool if we walked out for a second.”

“The other guy? He was off an hour ago.”

“You callin’ me a liar?!” Tyler’s pugnacious attitude kicked in and Dustin pulled him back. “Dude, c’mon, let’s just go-”

“Just go? Oh, so your wallets are inside and you’re just going to leave them at a bar, huh?” The bouncer chuckled. “Sorry guys.”

They walked another few yards and Tyler exploded. “You piss me the fuck off, man! You totally blew it back there!”

I blew it?! ‘Oh, uh, my wallet is inside,’ fucking dumbass, he didn’t believe you at all.”

“Yes he did!”

“He didn’t, and you’re full of shit. Let’s get drunk. What’s this place? You heard of it?” Dustin looked up at the sign. “’Moriarty’s.’”

Tyler looked at the insignia next to the name. It was a picture of what appeared to be Sherlock Holmes, wearing the deerstalker cap with a curved pipe hanging out of his mouth. Below the logo were two pistols carved into the wood, laying over each other in an X-shape. “Never heard of it. But there’s no doorman.”

“No doorman.”

They looked at each other, nodded, and stepped inside. All the tables at Moriarty’s were unoccupied, but the barstools were full, and both Dustin and Tyler hated clamoring for a bartender’s attention. There was only one guy behind the counter and he looked pretty frazzled.

“I gotta piss. Come with me.”

“What are you, a sorority girl?” Tyler chortled. “I’ll come only cause I gotta pee too.”

“Do you see a bathroom sign anywhere?”

“What? I can’t hear you-”

“DO YOU SEE A BATHROOM SIGN?” Dustin looked around, there was only one hallway and it looked like it lead toward the kitchen. Tyler walked over to a shadowy corner. From far away it appeared to just be a wall, but when he got closer, he noticed there was a small unlit hallway. He motioned for Dustin to follow – there was no room to walk side by side, so Dustin had to tail behind Tyler. He heard a clunk and an “Ow!”

“What is it? I can’t see shit…”

“There’s, like, a doorway here or something, man, I just hit my head. Crawl.”


“Crawl, man!”

So they did. Dustin and Tyler crawled down the hallway, feeling the top of the ceiling brushing against their hunched backs. It was a little tunnel and at this point, they didn’t even know where they were. It was just an expedition. The din of Moriarty’s got softer and softer, and right before it faded away, Tyler and Dustin tumbled into a dimly-lit…something. As they stood up and dusted themselves off, they realized they had somehow crawled into a private lounge area. There was a fully-stocked bar with gleaming leather stools. The mahogany wood of the bar and floor gleamed with polish. The tables, too, were mahogany, and instead of crappy bar benches, there were overstuffed leather chairs with high armrests and nailhead trim. On the small side tables were onyx ashtrays.

The grand centerpiece of the room was a beautiful red brick fireplace. On the logs inside, a small fire smoldered cozily, filling the room with an intoxicating musky pine scent.

“Holy shit.”

“Do people just not pee in this place, or what?” Dustin looked around for a bathroom while Tyler walked around the room and soaked in all the finery. “This must be the part they rent out for events. The private area, y’know?” There was nothing blocking entry behind the bar, so Tyler walked back there, expecting the glass cabinets to be locked. However, they all swung easily open, their delicious contents ready to be consumed. “Think they got Bud?”

“Don’t drink anything, man, we’ll get in trouble. I’m sure there are security cameras. They’re probably already coming to drag us out of here.”

“There was ONE employee out there, he probably owns the place. Even if there are cameras, there’s no one watchin’ ‘em.” Tyler surveyed the beer taps and raised his eyebrows. “Man, I thought I knew beer…I’ve never heard of any of these.”

“No Bud?”

“No nothing. I don’t even know if these are beer at all. Let’s see.” Tyler grabbed a pint glass and filled it with about an inch of amber-colored liquid from the tap. “Smells like beer. If it looks like beer, smells like beer…” Tyler took a sip and looked at Dustin, nodded, and then gulped down the rest of the sample. He quickly put the empty glass under the tap for a second pour, getting the foam almost perfect at the top, and smacked his lips with delight. “’For a quart of ale is a dish for a king,’” Tyler laughed boisterously, taking another hearty swig.

“For a quote, I mean, quart of…huh?” Dustin looked at Tyler curiously. “What did you say?”

“’For a quart of ale is a dish for a king,’” Tyler repeated, mirroring Dustin’s confused look.

“Is that a quote…or something…?”

“For heaven’s sakes, it’s The Winter’s Tale.” Tyler’s words came out deep and dense. He took another drink.

“What’s A Winter Tail? Why are you talking like-”

“It’s Shakespeare!” Tyler set his pint glass down with frustration. “My goodness, young man, do you pay no attention in your classes?”

Dustin looked at Tyler’s cheeks. They were…browning. “D-dude, Tyler, I think maybe you should stop drinking that-”

“Stop drinking the most divine thing I’ve ever tasted?!” Tyler replied, his voice now noticeably deeper, louder. His cheeks were absolutely turning brown, and it took Dustin a moment to realize that it was fuzzy stubble wriggling out of his friend’s face. “Why, I shall do nothing of the sort. Just the opposite, in fact. Cheers!”

“Dude, stop! I think you’re having an allergic reaction!”

“Oh, don’t be absurd. I’ve never felt better in my life.” Tyler set his glass down just in time for Dustin to see his face expand. Two high, round cheeks bloomed out underneath his eyes, and his jawline eased outward with fleshy perseverance. The smile on Tyler’s face never wavered as more space built up around it, his upper lip getting longer underneath a lengthening nose.

“Tyler, seriously, you’re getting all swollen…your voice, your vocal chords…I think you need to see a doctor, your hair-”

It was true, Tyler’s once-straight hairline was receding backward dramatically, a clear “M” shape now on his forehead. His buzzcut was changing, too – as the hair on the front was sloughing off in clumps, the hair on the sides and in the middle on top had grown several inches in length and was combing itself straight back. “And what about my hair?” He responded defensively.

“You’re losing it-“

“I am quite aware, thank you. Good Lord, are you already drunk? It’s not even-” Tyler reached into his pants pocket and produced, to Dustin’s astonishment, a gold pocket watch on a long gold chain. “-why, it’s not even half past eight.” He flipped the cover of the watch shut and put it back in his pocket, patting it contentedly. It was then that Tyler’s waist started looking thicker. He moved his legs further apart as his hips spread out and a large rump started growing in. Dustin heard the ass of Tyler’s jeans split apart, and a button snapped off the front of Tyler’s shirt as his stomach groaned outward.

Tyler was, for the moment, quite pear-shaped. More mass packed itself onto his midsection, and the waist of his jeans started splitting apart as his flesh flowed over it. Belt loops snapped off and his wallet ripped right through his front pocket and fell onto the floor. Tyler mumbled a curse and bent down below the bar to pick it up. When he stood back up, it was like he’d been standing on a footstool and had abruptly stepped off. Once six feet tall and proud of it, Tyler had shrunk to a stouter five-nine.

Dustin stumbled backward and groped around behind himself for something, anything. He looked to where he thought the tunnel had been, but it was just a solid wall. There were no windows, but there had to be a door somewhere. “I’m gonna go get help,” he stammered out, pounding his fist against the wall a few times before continuing the search for a doorknob.

“For yourself, I hope?” Tyler calmly poured himself another beer and took a sip. A mustache was appearing on his upper lip, and a few frothy suds got caught on the whiskers. “Your behavior is quite erratic. Perhaps you should sit down.”

“Stop drinking that shit!”

“I assure you, it is far superior to fecal matter,” Tyler chuckled as he drank. His leather belt ripped in two, like paper, and the two pieces shot upward over his shoulders like twin snakes. The leather thinned into grosgrain and Tyler’s jeans were hiked up to his actual waist as his belt was transformed into a pair of dressy button-on suspenders.

“Dude, c’mon, seriously-”

There was a warning snap of a button and few loud groans from his shirt and pant seams, and then the rest of Tyler dramatically expanded to match his middle. His chest inflated so fast that it looked like airbags had deployed under his shirt, exploding the buttons open and revealing two pecs as big as pillows and as hard as concrete. His shoulders had no choice but to spread out broader by more than a foot, providing a hulking frame for meaty mountains on his chest. They grew out so far that the abdominal “gut” on Tyler now looked minimized, almost like a pedestal to display them on.

“This is truly ambrosia,” Tyler continued, as his mustache thickened up and connected to the two squares of beard on his cheeks. “You simply must try some, my friend.”

“NO!” Dustin threw himself backward and almost fell down completely. He gripped onto a table for support and started groping his way across the room, searching for a means of escape. He even looked up at the ceiling…maybe there was a vent…

“You seem distressed. Are you perhaps ill?”

Why are you talking like that?!” Dustin noticed a doorknob on the other side of the room, but it required walking past Tyler to get to it, which he found himself afraid to do. He could only watch as Tyler’s new beard filled in, connecting to his sideburns, leaving only his chin smooth and shorn – a chin that now broadened into an attractive cleft.

“And just how else would you expect a man of my profession to speak?” Tyler’s entire body seemed to bloom defiantly with this statement. His arms knotted themselves with muscle that ripped his shirt sleeves apart, biceps bulging with masculine power, forearms getting so thick that they blew the buttons off his cuffs at the wrist. His back, in turn, rounded out at the top, almost like a turtle’s shell, and spread so wide that his shirt split apart in both directions. The force of all this growth rocked Tyler back and forth and caused him to spill some of his beer, which visibly annoyed him.

“Of your profession?!” Dustin took a few frightened steps toward the door. “You calling yourself a professional student now? Says the man who copies Wikipedia articles for his term paper-”

“How dare you!” Tyler’s eyes skewed from blue to brown, and another inch of hair flew off his hairline. “Accusing a Pulitzer finalist, an award-winning professor of English and Literary Theory of plagiarism-”

Not quite processing what had just been said, Dustin put his hands up as a gesture of appeasement. “Okay, okay, maybe there was just that one time-”

“I assure you, you have mistaken me for someone else, young man,” Tyler said sternly, as the shreds of fabric began to move around his hulking body, stretching to fit the bigger sizes he now needed. They spun around him like a small tornado; an awe-inspiring sight.

As a new shirt formed over them, Tyler’s pecs drew Dustin’s attention again. He raised a trembling finger as he tried to change the subject. “Your man-boobs are so thick, how is it possible…”

“Man-boobs?” Tyler looked down at the new shirt straining to button itself over his chest. He unhooked a pair of rectangular spectacles from his newly-formed shirt pocket and placed them on his eyes. “No, no, all I see here are pectorals. They’re just so large, you must have gotten them confused,” he smirked. “Don’t startle me like that.” Tyler looked up, eyes twinkling, just missing the view of a repp tie shooting out from his shirt collar. As if it had been there the whole time, Tyler reached up and loosened it slightly, popping open the neck of his shirt. He flexed his bulging neck from side to side and made an “ahhhh” sound. “Still sore.”

The light blue dress shirt that Tyler now wore did nothing to hide the mass underneath. When he raised his hand to take another sip, Tyler’s bicep got so big and round in the sleeve that Dustin wanted to shoot hoops with it. The definition of his deltoids was clear in the fabric, as was the mottled ridges of his back muscles. They flexed when he raised up his glass. “I cannot keep drinking this alone – here, let me pour you glass.”

“NO!” Dustin screamed, throwing himself past Tyler and falling into the wall on the other side of the room.


Dustin heard the thump of the pint glass as it got set back on the bar in frustration. When he turned around, Tyler’s clothing had undergone another incredible change – over his shirt and suspenders had formed a dignified three-piece suit. The transformation flew down his legs, consumed his jeans and spat out a pair of suit pants in their place. His fitted waistcoat and suit jacket were made of the same heavy grey tweed. The herringbone pattern shone in the light. “Goodness me,” Tyler repeated, now visibly agitated. “I will never take another student to such a fine establishment as this, if this is how you behave yourself! Yelling and stumbling around like a lunatic-“

Tyler looked tired, Dustin thought. And then it hit him – no, Tyler looked older.

“-making a scene-”

His eyes were crinkling up, the underbags getting more prominent. His forehead bulged out and his brow knotted up sternly. From under his full Franz-Josef beard, his jaw spread and hardened like a cinderblock.

“-refusing drinks-”

Tyler adjusted his eyeglasses as they got pulled further away from his face, thanks to his nose enlarging. The angry reprimands were coming out partially through his mustache, which had fluffed out enough to cover his upper lip completely.

“-accusing me of plagiarism-”

The years were making a home on him – Tyler whipped through them like pages in a storybook, his 20s settling in, then the 30s, then the 40s and 50s, his facial features changing all the while. A red pocket square bloomed like a rose out of his suit pocket.

“-saying I possess, as you say, ‘manboobs’-”

The 285 pounds of muscle underneath his suit was also changing, shifting to show the thickness and size that can only come with true age. Defiant to gravity, his pecs shifted up higher in his shirt.

“Well I, Dr. Titus Fleming, have had quite enough of this nonsense-”

Dustin threw himself on the doorknob and struggled to turn it, yanking desperately. He looked back and saw Titus advancing on him - a muscular tweed-clad tank - and with one final surge, he was able to throw the door open and tumble through it.

The lock clicked, but Dustin threw himself against the door, as if Titus wouldn’t be able to smash through it if he wanted to. Dustin heard two powerful raps on the door, but Titus made no physical effort to get inside.

“Gotta get outta here,” Dustin squeaked, looking around frantically at the bathroom he’d stumbled into. There was no window, and the vent was in the center of the room, inaccessible. Even if he stood on top of the toilet, he wouldn’t have been able to reach it, and he could see the screws in it anyway. Dustin ran over to the toilet, lifted up the seat and looked into the bowl before he got ahold of himself.

What was he thinking? What was he gonna do – swim through the toilet? He laughed and walked back to the door, pressing his ear against it. Nothing.

Dustin was flush and hot from his panic. He splashed some water from the sink onto his face and reached to grab a towel when he noticed something odd in the mirror – a few stray hairs sprouting under his nose.

Dustin leaned forward and looked at them, and his eyes got wide when he saw more beginning to join the team. He rubbed at the whiskers, then pulled on them, but soon a mustache was spreading over his entire upper lip, its color silver as plated nickel. He yanked on both ends, trying to tear the whole thing off like a cheap piece of dime-store fun, but all he did was refine the tips into points and cause himself actual pain.

He couldn’t deny it: a shiny silver mustache had taken root on his face, with tips that curled slightly upward, almost salaciously. Dustin looked down at the sink and whimpered. “Hey, c-c’mon, I…I didn’t mean to-”

He was interrupted by thousands of pin pricks on his head, like the patient of a sadistic acupuncturist. The hair on the sides of his head shrank down to stubble, but on top it grew long, poofing upward and slicking back all at once, leaving him with one hip-looking quiff. The color drained out of it, going silver with spots of dark gray. A triangular growth of hair popped out under his bottom lip, and Dustin gaped at his look.

“I look like an old greaser pirate!” Suddenly, the room that he had escaped to, he wanted to escape from. He shook the door handle frantically, even as he felt pressure building under the seams of his shirt. “Let me out! Let me uuuuuunnnghhhh-”

His shoulders launched straight out through his shirt, square and strong. The sleeves didn’t stand a chance – with the seams destroyed, the separated sleeves started sliding down Dustin’s arms, but then got blown to bits when his biceps and triceps swelled with thick cords of muscle.

Dustin stumbled back to the mirror, groaning. The pressure swept to his chest and began popping off the buttons of his shirt systematically, hitting the mirror one after another. “Stop!” Two pecs blossomed out of his shirt, shifting his shoulders back and his arms out. Dustin groped them frantically, not wanting to but not able to resist. They were so huge and cut, like marble blocks, and his nipples…god, they were so big pert. The way his arms flexed, the biceps perfectly was a body built for sex. Dustin’s waist was actually shrinking even as his shoulders, back and chest swelled out. Eight abdominals formed on his stomach, sharp as glass, with obliques carved out of stone. They were so amazing for any age, but at Dustin’s age…

Dustin’s head snapped up and looked in the mirror. Looking back at him was his face – but an older version of it, with crow’s feet and rougher, age-hewn skin. The silver hair looked amazing now. “Wh-wh-whuuh…oh my God…”

He remembered Tyler’s nose getting bigger, the way the nostrils flared, but Dustin’s was getting smaller. The bridge sharpened and tip chiseled itself into a square. In fact, his whole face was looking meticulously crafted. High cheekbones that framed burning steel-colored eyes, a jawline sharp as a diamond, perfect nose, pouting lips. With the marks of age, it somehow all looked even better – like it was earned. Dustin moaned as he stared at himself, running his fingers over the angles of his face. His bicep pressed into his cheek and his cock twitched from the stimulation.

His cock…

He looked down at the phallus that had ripped through his pants. It was textbook-perfect, eleven inches, cut, and so thick that he could barely wrap his hand around it.

“Good God,” he grunted, masturbating himself from the sensations of his body. He hadn’t masturbated in so long – he had a new companion in his bed every night, a never-ending supply of nubile lovers who worshipped his handsome face and glorious muscle, but he was desperate for release, and all he had was his hand. “Yeah, this old man’s still got it, yeah…”

Old? He wasn’t old. He was 19.

“I’m 50,” Dustin answered himself, “And I’m fucking proud of it. Fuck, look at this body. Look at this big, perfect body…uuuuuuungh…”

The last throes of growth blasted through his body and through his clothes, too. Even his underwear was ripped to shreds by his bubbled ass. A big, naked, silver-haired bodybuilder stood humping the counter and shrieking with joy. Every hair below his neck fell away to showcase the bulging, tanned muscles. With his eyes shut, Dustin couldn’t see the shreds of his clothing rising up and spinning around him. “I…can’t…breathe…UUUUUUNGH!


Dr. Titus Fleming paced around the lounge, reveling in its masculine aura. He swung his thighs around each other as he walked, the mountainous shape of his crotch bouncing from side to side. He took genteel sips of beer and thought about his students, and the novel that sat half-completed in his den back home. His pint glass kept knocking into his ponderous chest when he took drinks, and he relished in the sound of his sleeves groaning as his arms flexed. He was a learned man, an esteemed educator, but his greatest work was the one he always carried with him: his body, rich with muscle, always showcased by his handsome clothes.

There was a ruckus from the other side of the room, and a torrent of profanity. Disturbed, Titus turned around and saw an annoyed man standing up and brushing himself off, having evidently just fallen over.

“Fuck,” the guy swore, brushing his hands off on his jeans. “Where the fuck is the can around here?”

“Occupied, I’m afraid,” Titus demurred, looking at the new man’s casual style: a henley shirt and blue jeans.

“Shit! Why the fuck was it so goddamn hard to find-”

“Jeremy, your language is most unbecoming.”

“How’d you know my name?”

“How?” Titus chuckled and poured a beer. “Why, you used to be one of my students! Don’t you remember?”

Jeremy laughed. “No, I don’t, man. I think I’d remember you too. Looks like you’re a bodybuilder, how the hell do you even have time to teach between all the workouts?”

Titus handed Jeremy the beer. “Have a drink while you wait.”

“For free?”

“On the house,” Titus smiled.

Jeremy took a drink and made a face. “Blech! Wud is dis swill?”

Titus made no notice of the fact that Jeremy’s speech suddenly came out laced with a thick Bronx accent. Nor did he notice that, as Jeremy strode by, the tall young man got shorter with each step. By the time he had walked behind the bar, Jeremy’s jeans were puddling around his shoes, and he stood a diminutive 5’5”.

“You don’t like it?” Titus ignored the wiry black bouffant that burst through Jeremy’s short crewcut.

“Nah!” The buttons all snapped off Jeremy’s henley at once as his chest shot out, the bottom half pressing into the bar. A collar grew up around his thickening neck. The sleeves got bigger to make room for his beefy arms, with as much muscle as possible packing itself onto the compact limb. Jeremy dumped the pint glass into the bar sink and washed it out. When he turned back around, he had grown a thick black mustache that was divided down the center. The blond stubble on his cheeks receded into his face. “Ah’ll make ya’s a drink that’ll put some hair on ya chest!”

“Oh,” Titus chuckled, “I don’t think I need help on that front.”

“Me neithuh!” Jeremy barked a laugh as the black hair he was talking about curled out of the opening on his new white dress shirt.

“How about a nice Old Fashioned instead?”

“Comin’ riiiight up!” Jeremy’s clothes were remolded around his new, bodybuilder’s form. He tied an apron around his black pants and made sure his black vest was on. His black bowtie lay untied on the bar – neck was too thick nowadays.

The man who started mixing the drink was in his late 20s. By the time he got out the whiskey, he was pushing 40 and looking very Italian, muscles getting ever-thicker, with more wrinkles coming in. His nose lengthened on his face, even hooking out slightly, a perfect Roman. He was approaching 50 when he garnished the drink with orange and lemon, and was past 60 when he finally presented it to his customer.

“Thank you, Joe,” Titus said, putting a $20 bill on the table. “Keep the change.” The bartender grinned like a hawk and picked up the generous tip. “Thanks, Doc,” Joe said, palming the bill. “Where’s that friend’a yours anyways?”

As if on cue, the bathroom door swung open. A huge man strode through it, his silver hair gleaming in the light. His crisp white shirt was open just enough to show off the deep cuts of muscle on his chest, framed by the lapels of his suitcoat. His suit was a jewel-toned blue, almost sapphire, cut narrow at the waist to show the extremity of his taper. On his hands he wore three gold rings, sparkling as brightly as his eyes. He adjusted his open collar and French cuffs as he smiled at his friend.

“Danforth,” Titus said, holding up a drink. “Why must you insist on always making me look shabby?”

“Nonsense.” Danforth pooh-poohed the remark and stood at the end of the bar. The handsome bodybuilder’s 6’3” height gave him a regality that the two shorter men didn’t quite possess. Danforth looked every bit the fashion model-turned-bodybuilding fashion photographer that he was, while Titus was thicker, stouter, more brutish in tweed, and Joe looked simply like Pesci on a terrific steroid cycle.

“You look fantastic,” Danforth said, sizing up Titus’ three-piece suit. “I only wish you would lose the tie,” he teased, and Titus rolled his eyes. “I keep telling you, I don’t have the patience to wax. Do you even own a necktie?”

Danforth looked down at the three open buttons that revealed his muscular pecs. “Of course.” He looked up, eyes twinkling playfully. “Sometimes I have to go to funerals, you know.”

“Oh, not even fo’ weddings!” Joe barked, laughing. “Just fo’ funerals!”

Danforth looked around the empty room. “Might have to hold one for this place if business doesn’t pick up. I hope this is just an off night, Joe.”

“Eh, I’ve seen betta. Listen, if you’s guys wanna invite a few friends, though, be my guest!”

“I have some colleagues that might be interested,” Titus offered. “I’ll invite them out for drinks soon. I do so enjoy Moriarty’s.”

“It’s a good place,” Danforth agreed. “Takes me back to our fraternity days, Ty.”

“You know you’re the only one allowed to call me that now,” Titus smiled. “Can you believe that was almost thirty years ago?”

“It WAS for you, you old codger.” Danforth took a long sip of his drink and smiled from under his mustache.

“Just by two years. Two maddening years. And yet,” Titus shot back with a rakish grin, “which one of us went gray first?”

“It is my crown of splendor,” Danforth smirked. “For the Bible tells me so.”

“Ha! Indeed!”

“I never stood a chance, I think Father was born gray. At least mine retained its color during the modeling days. And I do so enjoy the hue its decided to be. It’s a very nice gray, don’t you think? It seems to change color in the light – it can even look white sometimes.”

“Yes, very pleasant,” Titus agreed.

The three gentlemen heard a commotion over by the doorway and looked over to see a kid, wearing his college sweatshirt, getting up off the floor. “Good God,” Titus said to Joe, “people seem to keep slipping at that spot. You’re going to have a lawsuit on your hands.”

“Maybe you should see if the floorboard is raised over there,” Danforth said to Joe while twirling one of his rings around his finger.

“I’m just lookin’ for the bathroom,” the kid mumbled.

“Over there,” Joe said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder. “Here, I got an extra beer that I poured by mistake. Ain’t allowed to sell it. Have a drink before ya piss.”

“For free?”

“On the house,” Joe smiled.