I was there the night before the fire. On Sunday morning (five days ago) a fire broke out at the sauna near Liverpool Street Station. I’d been there until late Saturday night and left the place about six hours before the blaze. I’d been working nearby that afternoon and strangely enough, we’d been talking about a fire in the area 300 years ago that had destroyed some of the buildings on Artillery Lane. After work, I’d gone for dinner in Spitalfields with a friend, then stopped off at the sauna on my way home. It had been a while since I’d had sex. I’d been in New York the week before, hanging out with my brother, so I didn’t have a chance to get laid, and besides, the bath-houses of New York are a thing of the past. I’d been to the East Side Club on a previous visit, but there was no way I was going back. I like seedy, but the East Side Club, was in a league of its own. Anyway… I was ready for action.
As often happens in my case, pleasure comes in threes. This time it was a German-Turkish guy (Selim), a Welsh guy (Conner), and a black guy whose name I never found out. Things that come in threes, according to The Rule of Threes, are inherently more satisfying. There’s room for tension to build, for progression to happen. Three is good for emphasis. Some jokes start with three: A Turk, a Welshman and a black guy walk into a bar… And then there are the three witches, the three bears, the three wishes. That night, the order in which things unfolded was: 1) The divorced German-Turkish guy in the dry sauna, 2) The young oiled black guy in the steam room, and 3) The Welsh ex-rugby-player guy in the upstairs bit with the cubicles.
I’d met the Turkish guy here before – maybe six months ago – and I remembered some of the things he’d told me back: he’d grown up in Germany (Frankfurt), had two teenage kids, and was studying tourism in London. At Westminster University, or some such place. He was sweet, and, as I often find amongst married men, was passionate about cock. he didn’t care who was watching and how long he was on his knees for. He went for it. I like that in a man. The hard wood benches of the dray sauna and, later, the terra-cotta tiles of the steam room didn’t seem to bother him. We eventually went upstairs and got a cubicle. His English wasn’t great, so I tried to keep conversation to a minimum. What I wanted more than anything was touch, so I managed to manoeuvre him very gently into massaging me. He was good at it and he seemed happy to oblige. The Welsh guy later on was even better… all 6’3″ of him, and his 48″ chest and his big arms.
“If you keep doing that,” I said to him, “I won’t be able to be a top.”
His touch was so deep and so good and my face was up against his huge chest and I was – I hate the cliché, but it’s true – melting. The Turkish-German guy had nothing on the Welsh guy, but they were both eager and hungry for cock. Though when it comes to cock, the black guy in the steam room was head and shoulders above them. His mouth was a chasm, and his hunger, too, and at one point he was crouched over on the ledge, more or less on all fours, with my cock in his mouth and his arse open and his hand took my hand and guided to his arse as if to say: Finger me. Not one finger, not two, but three fingers in his oiled arse. His skin was the slickest I’ve ever touched, the sleekest. Smooth and oiled and elastic. His whole body was open and available. I remember when I was like that, when I didn’t care what people did to me, when my pleasure was so uncontained and unashamed and boundless. You had the feeling with him that if it was possible to unzip a body, to open an arsehole so that it stretched from nape to navel, he would be a gaping hole. That might sound crass, but there was nothing crass about him; his insatiable desire was beautiful. We kissed long deep kisses, his mouth as generous with my tongue as it was with my cock. He was a delight to kiss, a surprise, the way his soft lips opened so wide, as if he could swallow my mouth. He came while sucking my cock and jerking himself off. The audience was appreciative, though they didn’t really show it.
“Are you okay?” I said.
He smiled. “I’m great,” he said, and sat there for a while until he caught his breath.
“Thanks,” he said, and headed for the showers.
The Turkish guy was there, too, while the black guy was sucking my cock. He watched us kiss, and when we weren’t kissing, when the black guy and I weren’t kissing, the Turkish guy stepped in. I could tell that he liked watching the black guy, who couldn’t have been more than twenty-five, suck my cock. Though once the black guy had gone, Selim whispered to me:
“You must be careful,” he said.
“Careful of what?” I said.
“Of kissing,” he said.
“Why?” I said.
“Because,” he said. “You must be careful.”
Which was, of course, the end of my association with Selim, even though he was eager that we meet up outside the sauna. He implored. I refused. He went to shower, and I went up to the cabins, where I cruised around a bit, until at some point I saw him come upstairs, fully clothed and with his bag, looking for me. I hid in the darkroom, hoping that he wouldn’t recognise my silhouette, feeling like I was being stalked, worried about the consequences of saying “no” to someone who is desperately lonely and isolated and, in my head, had nothing to lose. Whether he saw me or not, I don’t know, but he must have left eventually, because by the time I came out of the darkroom, he was gone.
Soon after that I met the Welsh guy, but that’s a whole other story.