Finding the Pearl

I thought I was going to die! Wait! No, That's no way to start a story.

Some people go through life searching for the one thing, the one person, the one goal that will make them happy. Others see the search for their prize as the thing that makes them happy and the prize is just icing on the cake. Problem with that search mentality is that you could miss the very thing, the very person that you were looking for, if they don't look exactly like what you were looking for in the first place. We often miss the Pearl when it's wrapped in the Oyster.

But not me. I was blessed with a personality that is easy to please and the ability to see some of the things that get hidden from the public view. Oh, I'm not talking about anything supernatural or psychic. At least not yet. No, I am often able to see "the Diamond in the Rough", when it comes to people. Someone may be dressed wrong for their position, yet I see their real abilities and talents. Yeah, I've seen the pearls hidden in their shells for two decades, now.

As I've said, it's not an esoteric power or an ability to read minds. I'm just a good listener. I listen to every little thing that people are saying. That really means body language. Or if you prefer Body Linguistics. There are many levels of communication that are Non-Verbal. And for 99.99% of the population, the people don't even realize that they are saying things to the observant listener. Often, things that they would rather keep to themselves. Many times those non-verbal parts of their conversation are at odds with what their mouths are saying. Yet since most people aren't consciously aware of what they are communicating, their voice tells you what they want you to believe, while their body is giving away secrets.

Sometimes that ability can get me in trouble. At least two Company Christmas Parties had me laugh in the face of a "So Called" superior, when they tried to claim credit for work done by some of my colleagues. This was not the automatic Pink slip event that most would assume. The "Superior"s Superior (the Big Boss) in both cases was a part of the Party talk and was also able to read the body linguistics of the Weasel, uh, I mean "Superior" and could see that I had the same opinion of the "man" as the Big Boss. But unfortunately for me, the Big Boss was smart enough to realize that, without hard proof, right there, right then, showing the Weasel's taking credit for another man's work; Big Boss had to give me a reprimand for disrespecting a company Superior. And Big Boss was smart enough to give the "Weasels" at work, enough rope to hang themselves.

By now you must be thinking this story is about SCUBA diving or Jewel robbery or Cyber crime and the Villain's online nickname is Pearl. No, No and Hell No. This story is about how I was so keenly observant, that when I met the love of my life and soul mate at the Company Picnic, I was able to recognize the man he really was and act on it. My friends at work were all shocked and amused by my behavior. They thought I was drunk or high on drugs, because I did not stop heavily flirting with the 'New Hire Game Tester', until he agreed to go out with me on a date. Some chalked it up to his massive muscles and Handsome face. I gave them that, as well as my being an openly gay man for all the years I worked for Albedo Games, Inc.

Oh, Yeah. Where are my manners? My name tag says Russell Parks, but not even my parents call me that. I am known as Rusty Parks to the general public, and just Rusty or Rus to my friends and family. And that "Diamond in the Rough"? That Pearl of great worth? Well my partner of three years is called Mark Rudnik when he's first introduced to people, then it becomes Mark to associates, friends and family. And guess who he reminds people of? Markus Rhul!! No lie, that man of mine is way beyond solid. Oh, for those of you who don't know bodybuilders, just web search Markus Ruhl IFBB Pro Bodybuilder and you'll get an idea of what my Mark looks like. Then add light brown hair and hazel eyes and you've got Mark.

I'll tell him he's Rhul on steroids just to get Mark going. He'll say, "I don't do steroids."

I get him laughing after that when I just agree and tell him "Well that has to be right, cause everyone knows that steroids shrink up a guys nuts. And these are So big....." By that time I have one of them in my mouth and he giggles before he asks me "How big are they Johnny?" in a perfect announcer voice . It's about that time his hand gently caresses my head and hair. I think he likes my Auburn hair... and the way I'm sucking on his goose egg of a testicle.

OK, so you can see that I've found my Pearl, and I hope I fill the bill for my big man. He tells me that in so many ways. Not just the verbal and Non. And now you're wondering just what I would want to talk about with you guys. Well if you've been watching the news for the past month or two, you would have been surprised to learn that there are real creatures that were once thought of as Mythical. That's is right. The Capitol Letter is there in the word mythical, to give you some idea of the magnitude of creature that I encountered one night about four months ago.

I just want to say, if you're one of those people who think the Dragons you saw on TV were a hoax, then just give it up and find another story to read. Cause if you couldn't believe the amount of footage used by all the news media to record that news conference, then you surely won't believe a word I'm going to say.

Let me start the story about an hour before I thought I was going to die. I was singing at Jerry Wu's Year of the Ox Club. Just a good mix of some Pop, Rock, Jazz, and just a touch of country. Now add the feeling of a great gay bar with a lean towards the Fancy Chinese Restaurant (first floor), a Dance floor with a DJ (second floor), and the medium sized Bar that serves both floors and has a small stage where I sing my heart out (a Mezzanine floor between one and two).

Now normally Mark would be helping with the Sound equipment, as that is one of his professional skills and a real talent. While Albedo Games employs my big man as a Game Tester and upon occasion, as a Motion Capture Model for some of the games; Mark has a degree in Acoustical Engineering. Yeah, I know. I'm a luck SOB. I get the meaty Hunk that just happens to have a brain and a heart. And that heart makes him way bigger than his six foot five inch, three hundred and twenty five pound, Hung Stud, that everybody else sees.

However, on that fateful night, my Mark was doing a little overtime with the guys that were getting to play director for a new game, Albedo Games was trying to get finished before the Christmas Season. Year Of The Ox was just ten blocks from the building that Albedo Games uses as their Motion Capture Studio, so Mark was supposed to walk on over after they finished recording his big beefy body. We had a Midnight Supper planned for the restaurant at Year of the Ox, but things did not gel.

The newbie director and his assistants ended up screwing up three hours of vital recordings, when their invited guest spilled hot coffee onto the rack with the Hard drives that were recording that evenings work. They were forced to schedule two more days, but they convinced Mark to stay till midnight. The guys knew me from the division I worked at Albedo Games and they had Mark call me to let me know the change of plans. That did not go over well with me. After I agreed to them, as they were talking to me through Marks Cell Phone set on Speaker; I had a plan of my own. After telling my man how much I loved him; I hung up and convinced Jerry Wu to let me go forty five minuets before midnight.

And that was the time I left Jerry's club in Chinatown, Los Angeles, California and headed for the Recording Studio. I did not get very far. I was just walking by a building that said "Benevolent Society Meeting Hall", when the front door and both walls around it, just blew out. It wasn't an explosion. It was a Shove! The edge of one door clipped my shoulder and I was heading for the ground (safer there anyway) when the monster, that had done the shoving, leaped out of the building and onto my good shoulder. I should say that it was just one massive, clawed, five fingered hand that was holding me down. By the time I pushed the hand off of me with all my might, the huge jaws were clamping onto my shoulder. I cried out from all the pain and fear. For just a second the thing jerked me back and forth. But it shook me just once and then the pressure eased up. It's teeth had cut through my jacket and shirt, but only the canine teeth stabbed into my body. While it didn't look like it was going to eat me, it still hadn't let me go.

Now the real brave thing was that with the let up on my shoulder, my eyes looked into.. Hers ! I was looking into the huge eyes of a Female Dragon! I saw this huge fifteen foot tall Dragon hold me in her mouth and in the back of my mind I saw a short brunette human female. And the expression on the creature was.. well, sorry. Like she was sorry for landing on me and biting me. She slowly let go of me as she looked at me like I was looking at her. There was a look of recognition in her eyes, like one person to another. And that Dragon Face had all the muscles and bone structure that a human had, only bigger. I couldn't think of anything to say or do, but I suddenly wasn't afraid of her anymore. Her mouth had remained near my shoulder, and just before she fled the scene of the explosive remodel; she sort of shrugged those huge shoulders of hers, then flicked her tongue out to lick my wounds. After taking one last glance at the building, she reared up and ran down the street, then into an alley. That's when I looked down to find that my shoulder had stopped bleeding. The wound was still there, but the blood clotted at the puncture sites and closed up. I still lost a bit of blood, so I didn't try to stand up.

I guess the shock finally hit my brain right about then, because I hardly noticed the sirens or the flashing red lights. And when the blue ones started flashing with them I thought it was cool. I was on automatic pilot when the EMT's got my name. They finished cutting out the shoulder of my jacket and shirt, to get a better look at my injuries. Since my wound had stopped bleeding, they gave me a once over and decided I only needed one EMT to bandage me up. The other one said he would search the building for any more victims of the ...

'Bombing??!" I yelled. The First Cop had been copying down my information from the EMT's clip board and looked up at me after my outburst. "Are you crazy? That wasn't a bomb! You're not going to find any evidence of explosives. That wall and door got shoved out at me and the door clipped my shoulder before she landed on my other shoulder then the bitch bit me on the shoulder she landed on. God Damn she was Big. And she could move fast. I didn't think anything that big could move that fast. Hell you can see the claw marks in the pavement as she ran down the road. They must grow fast too, the way she was just digging up the asphalt."

It was right around that part of my monolog that I lost some steam and the EMT guy frowned as he asked "Big?" He had just cleaned the blood off of my shoulder, revealing the huge wide bite marks. I'd say the sharp canines were a good fourteen, maybe fifteen inches apart. And they were a good ten inches down from the top of my shoulder. I nodded, then he looked at my chest and back, to compare puncture marks. While he was doing that the First Cop asked "Fast?" in just the same tone. But before I could answer him, he walked over to the puncture marks in the street and started seeing how far apart they were spaced. He counted off the yards between, scratched his head and did it again up to the next holes..

The EMT cut the rest of my jacket and shirt off of my body, before he looked me in the eyes "Really Big?"

I nodded and looked at where the marks of her teeth were on my body. I put my hand above the wound to measure it, as I told him "Yep, really Big". Then I did the estimate and memory thing. I came up with a twenty inch wide, thirty inch long, fifteen inch tall Dragon's head. I guess I had been muttering my mental calculations, cause when I summed up my guess of her head size, the EMT muttered back "Really Big!"

The First Cop called back from fifty feet away "Really Fast?" That was when he started to look a little worried. He must have just estimated the length of the dragon from the spacing of the claw holes. The condition I was in kept me from sugar coating it at all. I nodded my head at him. "Yep. Really fast."

I hadn't paid any attention to the Second Cop. He had been on the radio to his sergeant and then he proceeded to wrap yellow "Police Line--- DO NOT CROSS" tape along the perimeter of the area that held the shattered brick wall and the two doors, still lying in the street, five feet from the curb. I finally noticed him when something yellow fluttered in my peripheral vision. I could have sworn I heard a chuckle out of him as he wrapped the tape around one of the doors doorknob. His laughter dried up when he saw the shape of the huge dent in the other door. It was like a clawed hand that was three times the size of a normal human hand, had put a ten inch deep dent into steel case doors. Those claws were strong! The Second Cop must have missed what we three had been talking about, since he then looked up at us and visibly swallowed. "What the Hell did this?"

The EMT guy looked at me, then the First Cop, before he turned to the Second Cop. His face held no expression as he said, "Really big." Then he turned back to the First Cop.

The First Cop blinked, looked at me, looked back at the EMT guy then turned to the Second Cop. There was no expression on his face either as he said "Really fast." Then he turned back to the EMT guy and they both shrugged.

The poor Second Cop frowned like he was the new guy and he had to take what ever frightening thing came his way, like some initiation. His eyes looked from his partner to the EMT guy and back again three or four times before he shook his head and continued wrapping the tape around the crime scene. They both avoided looking at him to keep from showing how afraid they really were. My mind registered that but I must not have been all there right then.

My sense of time got messed with due to shock from my injuries. I could not tell you how long they had me there, but suddenly I was more aware of my surroundings. I was on a gurney, I had an IV in my arm, and a blanket was wrapped around my legs, while another one was draped over my shoulders. I knew I was forgetting something really important, but my brain just couldn't get to the exact something. Then I thought my cell phone might help. But when I reached for the cell phone holder clipped to my belt, I found them both missing. I mumbled "Shit !" as I tried to recall which event today caused me to lose it and where.

The Second EMT guy saw me search my pants and smiled before he told me "Mr. Parks. If you're wondering where your cell phone is, you can stop worrying. My partner that cleaned and dressed your wounds, found it dangling from your belt and discovered you had an ICE number. He reached a Mr. Mark Rudnik and told him you were in an accident in China Town. He assured your...partner that you are stable, relatively pain free, but that we still needed to take you to the local ER for a few tests, just to make sure there are no hidden injuries. He asked the nature of the accident and he was told that we weren't allowed to give out that kind of information. Then after we gave him the phone number and address of the Hospital we're taking you to, he said "I'm less than eight blocks away. I will be there before you close the doors on your ambulance."

He paused when he saw the big smile on my face. He frowned a little before continuing. "My partner tried to tell him that we were about eleven minutes away from completing final clean up and ready to transfer you to the ER; but he had already hung up. We can wait another three minutes, but after that we should get you to the ER, and we'll try to get one of the Cops to stay long enough for Mark to show up and have them drive Mr. Rudnik and himself to the ER."

At that moment I couldn't speak. I had remembered where I was supposed to be going before I had been injured. The most important person in my life was only eight blocks away and I needed to be with him. He was rushing my way and I couldn't wade through all of the emotions fast enough to find a way to convince these EMT guys to just wait for my man to get here. My huge imagination finally kicked in and I figured, if I pitched a fit cause they wouldn't wait for Mark; it would take an extra five minutes to strap the rest of me down before they could actually start driving to the ER and the Hospital. Fortunately for all concerned I never had to try that little bit of patient manipulation of their EMT guy. Just as they started to wheel me to the Ambulance, we all heard a deep bellow "Rusty! Rusty!" Everyone there stopped what they were doing to watch this massive meaty Hunk of a stud (Markus Rhul should look so good!) literally sprint a block and a half in half a minute.

When Mark got up to us, he stopped next to the first EMT guy and put a big hand on his shoulder as he bent over to catch his breath. He hadn't even taken the time to get fully dressed. He was wearing sweatpants with a thin zip up sweat jacket, but the jacket wasn't zipped up. His huge pecs were rising and falling, following his thick meaty belly with every breath he took. His head tipped sideways and he looked like the world was dying when he saw the bandages on my shoulder. His other hand gently rested on my knee as he controlled his breathing long enough to whisper "Rusty.." He couldn't get any other words out.

My guy needed help right then and I was right there for him. I reached up and cupped the side of his face as I told him "I think I'm gonna be OK, Babe. Don't you dare have a heart attack on me, sprinting eight blocks in four minutes. I don't think My heart could take it if you.." Now I was the one who couldn't find the words. But as I had been talking, the fear left his face and his own big mitt of a hand covered mine on his face.

The First EMT had a grin on his face as he told Mark "Hey big guy, you made it here with a minute to spare. We are going to get your Mr Parks in the ambulance and as soon as we secure the gurney, we'll tell you to hop right in. Sound OK?"

Mark stood up by then and he nodded. "Thank you so much for taking care of my guy."

The other EMT guy snaughed. "That's one of the better "OK's" I've heard, in recent times." Then they got me into the ambulance and secured. Mark didn't need a go ahead. When he heard the snap of the latch he was stepping into the vehicle and making the suspension groan. The first EMT was the guy in the back and as he pointed to the seat belt for Mark to put on he closed the back doors. He sat himself down and buckled up before looking at Mark and all his muscles.

"I could have used you when we were identifying muscle groups during training. I was right to call you a big guy."

The ambulance started for the Hospital at the start of his words. Mark had grabbed my hand after he buckled up and now he was smiling at the compliment.

I had closed my eyes after Mark took my hand, but my eyes slid open to look at my big bear of a man. I softly said "Mark is up to three hundred and twenty five pounds." That set Mark off bouncing his pecs for the guy. I noticed that the EMT guys pants were starting to bulge with Marks flexing and rolling of his thick muscles. Then Mark slid the sleeve of his sweat jacket up over his delts and pumped his biceps till his cantaloupe sized muscles split to show there really were two muscles there and not one huge one. That had me swelling up, but then Mark always got that reaction out of me when he flexed. Or when he walked through a room. Aw hell, even when he just breathed full and fast. All that mass of meat on his chest just getting thrown up and down with every breath. And he loves me. I am one lucky SOB..

Well, as long as I don't run into anymore Dragons.

Read next part