The E Train Doesn’t Stop at Kenmore
© by the author
To Lenny’s gratification, someone spotted the resemblance almost immediately. He had entered the hall devoted to British paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston twenty minutes earlier and was wandering slowly around the room, pausing before each work and gazing at it for a few minutes before moving on to the next one. He tried to look like a thoughtful connoisseur of art. He had paid several exploratory visits to museums in New York City and observed how people behaved. There were some who hurried through the rooms, stopping only briefly before one of the more famous paintings or sculptures. Those Lenny had dismissed as boors unworthy of emulation. He had finally settled on one well-dressed, distinguished-looking middle-aged man, who moved slowly about the rooms. The man positioned himself in front of each painting and regarded it attentively if impassively. Occasionally he would raise an eyebrow in amusement. A few paintings merited a quiet smile and nod of approval. When Lenny had returned to his apartment, he had practiced the look of rapt attention and the nod of satisfaction before his mirror.
For the trip to Boston, Lenny had chosen clothes to match the colors of those in the painting. He couldn’t copy the dark fur robes and the white lace collar of the figure in the painting—that would have been ridiculous and in any case beyond his means—but he wore a black crew-neck sweater over a white shirt. After he had bought a ticket and entered the MFA, he had stopped in a bathroom to check his reflection in the mirror. A few quick tugs had brought the edge of the shirt collar neatly above the neck of the sweater. The sweater emphasized his trim build. His trousers draped perfectly over his hips and buttocks and down his legs, and the cuffs broke just slightly over his polished shoes. Lenny knew that he looked good in the outfit. Elegant. That was his goal. Elegance. Not ostentatiously elegant, just nonchalantly and comfortably elegant. A gentleman who had found himself in Boston and had decided to spend a few hours strolling through the Museum, engaged in the leisurely appreciation of art.
It was a long way from Cove Point. But that’s why Lenny had moved to New York City. To get away from Cove Point and into a world where people made time for things like the leisurely appreciation of art. He had taken care to create his new, urban self slowly. He didn’t rush into things, he didn’t risk mistakes. The last thing he wanted was to make a fool of himself. He watched and studied and listened. Once he had selected the type of person he wanted to be, he watched how such people dressed. He studied how they moved. He listened to how they spoke and what they said. Only when he was sure that he understood how people behaved and how things worked for them did he begin to mimic them. And he was always careful to review his behavior and others’ reaction to it later. Had there been a moment’s hesitation in responding to him when he acted in a certain way? Were people laughing with him or at him? Did they and others accept him as one of them?
Lenny spotted the portrait as soon as he entered the hall. It hung about a third of the way down the left-hand wall. He intentionally began his circuit of the room on the right side to delay his arrival before the painting as long as possible. He was examining the third painting to the right of his target when the couple entered the room through the same entrance he had and began walking toward him along the left-hand wall, devoting a minute or two to each painting. Both of them appeared to be vigorous senior citizens—the types who kept active and still played golf or went on long walks along the shore. They were more casually dressed than Lenny. Both wore tennis shoes, and the man had on a pair of Dockers. They did, however, look alert and intelligent. And that was all that Lenny required. He could forgive their sartorial failings as long as they turned out to be appreciative of fine art.
Lenny timed his perusal of the paintings so that he stood before the painting next to his portrait when they moved in front of it. The man bent forward slightly at the waist and read the contents of the card beside the painting. “Charles Leland Roberts, 1794-1859. Portrait of John Lawrence Sommerville, 1801-1852, Fifth Marquis of Creeslough. Oils on canvas. 1826.” The man and woman contemplated the picture briefly and then turned toward Lenny to move on. Lenny stepped back and smiled vaguely in their direction, allowing them to pass in front of him.
The man gasped and then looked back and forth between Roberts’s portrait of Sommerville and Lenny. As Lenny stopped before his portrait, the man whispered into his wife’s ear. She turned casually in Lenny’s direction, letting him drift into her field of vision, and then nodded at her husband. The two of them smiled at each other. As Lenny stood before his portrait, he knew they were comparing him to the image in the painting.
The resemblance was remarkable. Lenny might have sat for the portrait only a short time before. The facial features, the general shape of the body, even the hair color matched. Luckily Sommerville had favored a simple hair style that still more or less acceptable, and Lenny’s barber had been able to come close to it after Lenny had described it to him.
The art student had brought the resemblance to Lenny’s attention. He had told Lenny his name but Lenny hadn’t bothered to remember it. He knew that he would not be seeing the guy again. When they had met in the bar, the student had told Lenny that he looked familiar. “I can’t quite place you, but I know I’ve seen you before.” Lenny tried to remember if he had had sex with the guy before. He didn’t think so. Perhaps, he thought, it was just a come-on—the guy’s way of pretending to a familiarity that didn’t exist. After another drink, they had left the bar together and gone to the other man’s apartment. It was small and crowded with books. The student had hung several of his paintings on the walls. As soon as they walked in the door and switched on the lights, he made sure that Lenny knew that he had painted them. It was practically the first thing he said. “I painted all of these.”
Lenny didn’t think they were any good but shrugged off his lack of interest to his ignorance of painting. To be polite, he made a show of looking at them. “Nice,” he said. “I like that one. It’s very colorful.” He pointed at the brightest of the paintings.
The art student ignored his comments. “I know I know you from somewhere.” He had repeated that thought about a dozen times. Lenny was beginning to get tired of hearing it. The bar had been ill-lit, and the streets had been dark. It was only when the student switched on the overhead light in his living room that he could look closely at Lenny. He stood there examining Lenny, tapping an index finger against his lips. Finally, he said, “Yes, of course” in a satisfied voice. “I know.”
He turned to a book shelf and ran his hand slowly across the spines of the books before stopping at one and pulling it out. It was obvious to Lenny that he had known from the beginning which book he wanted. He was simply making a show of searching for it. Lenny began to wonder how long he had to wait before he could suggest that they undress and get started on the main business. The student flipped slowly through the pages. Finally he stopped and held the book up so that Lenny could see the picture. “I knew I had seen you before. I never forget a face.”
The student kept talking but Lenny didn’t bother to listen. His face stared out at him from the pages of the book. Without consciously thinking about his actions, Lenny reached out and took the book from the other man and sat down, concentrating on the descriptions of the painting and the artist and sitter. The student had had to pull the book out of his hands and begin kissing him before he remembered why they were there. Lenny had bumbled his way through the next hour without interest, his body participating in the sex but not his mind. When they finished, the art student said a few polite things about how great it had been and then rolled over and went to sleep. Lenny waited until the other man was breathing regularly and then eased himself out of the bed. He picked his clothes off the back of the chair where he had hung them and his shoes from the floor. He carried them into the small living room and dressed as quietly as he could. He pulled the door to the bedroom closed and then turned on the small light next to the guy’s computer. Lenny found the book on the shelf and paged through it until he found his picture. He carefully tore the page out and then put the book back on the shelf. When he got back to his apartment, he had turned on his computer and searched the Internet for information about Sommerville. He quickly forgot the student.
He began his preparations for the trip to Boston the next day, looking up plane schedules and investigating possible places to stay. His visits to museums began the following weekend. Barely a month after he had learned of his portrait’s existence, he was standing before it. The similarity really was astounding. Lenny wished that he could touch the painting. He wanted to feel the rough surface of the paint and affirm its reality. He knew from his reading that the painting was seven feet tall. The museum had hung it well above eye level, forcing the viewer to gaze upward at Sommerville. The figure in the painting sat in a chair. His body was shown in three-quarters view, but his head was turned to look directly out from the plane of the picture. His gaze was focused high above the head of any possible spectator. His right hand held a half-opened book. He appeared to have been disturbed in his reading, and his attention drawn to something in the center of the room. Both his indifference and his disdain were palpable.
Lenny regarded the painting with excitement. He would have been dismayed if he had seen his open-mouthed stare. When he had envisioned the confrontation, he had imagined admiring throngs gaping at him as he stood coolly before the portrait for a brief moment before drifting to the next painting. They were nudging one another and whispering among themselves, speculating about the relationship of the handsome young man and the distinguished-looking Fifth Marquis of Creeslough. But when he came face to face with the painting, all thought of the impression he might be making evaporated from his mind. He was lifted up and became the man sitting in the chair and looking out at the world he owned. The world he was seeing as he regarded his marble hall was magnificent, and Lenny was one of the glorious immortals at home in it.
Lenny turned toward the speaker. “What?” A young man stood beside him, beaming at him with evident pleasure and expectation.
“Another match. I’m St. Sebastian. In the Italian Room. You have to come see me. I’m almost a match. But you’re much closer. The best one is the Japanese guy in the Buddhist temple. He looks just like one of the statues there. It’s too bad it’s Thursday. He only comes in on the weekends. Or you could meet him too. And then there’s the guy in the Spanish Room who claims he’s a match for one of the Goya paintings, but he’s not. The guard told me that there was a new match in here, and I had to come see.”
The young man spoke rapidly and his words gushed out in a confused welter of sound. Lenny couldn’t make any sense of them. “I’m sorry. I’m not following you. What are you talking about?” Lenny drew back. In his own mind, he was still Sommerville, and he unconsciously spoke in what he imagined to be Sommerville’s manner. The interruption was cheating him of his glory. He wanted to shove the other man away and return to his painting. The guy was handsome, but he hadn’t come to the Museum to pick someone up.
“We’re matches. Every museum has them. Someone who looks like a person in one of the paintings. Or sometimes a statue. Someone told me there’s a man in Chicago who looks just like one of carvings of a pharaoh there.” The young man put a hand on Lenny’s forearm and then pointed to the painting of Sommerville. “Like you and this guy. It could be you.”
“There are others?” It hadn’t occurred to Lenny that there might be others like him. Living artworks. Somehow better than ordinary people, more refined, chosen and then distilled to an essence and preserved in art, there to be contemplated and appreciated. The thought that there were others, that he wasn’t alone, heartened Lenny. He wasn’t just a fluke, an oddity. If there were others, then the resemblances had to mean something. It wasn’t just an accident. There were others who had had a similar experience and could help him understand what it meant.
“Yes, there are lots of us. Though there are lots of fakes. You have to be careful.”
“Where are you?” Suddenly Lenny had to see evidence that the young man was indeed real.
“In the Italian room. It’s three halls down. Come on. I’ll show you. I’m Antony by the way.”
“Len.” The two shook hands. Antony held onto Lenny’s hand a bit longer than necessary. Before letting it go, he ran his index finger up and down Lenny’s palm.
St. Sebastian’s flesh glowed white. His hands were bound above his head to a post, and his muscular body twisted away from the arrows piercing his flesh. The athletic youth looked upward ecstatically toward an approaching angel carrying a crown of martyrdom to place on his head.
“You do look like him.”
“I used to look more like him, a couple of years ago when I was younger. I’m growing old. In a few years I won’t be able to claim that he looks like me at all.”
“But you look like him now. You are so beautiful.” Lenny wasn’t looking at Antony. He spoke to the body in the painting. He wanted to touch that flesh, to experience its wounds. He half lifted a hand and caressed St. Sebastian’s thigh in his imagination. The air felt solid beneath his fingers. The purity of Sebastian’s suffering was so sensual as he offered his body to the arrows piercing it. His flesh remained bloodless and passionate even as it closed around the wounds. Looking at it, Lenny began to understand why some people were so enthusiastic about art. It made him want to be part of that world. One of the people who felt things like art, to whom such things mattered, who was ardent about it.
“Oh, he’s more muscular than I am. I’ve tried to recreate his muscles, but I can’t train mine into the same shape.”
Lenny looked away from the painting and took a slow inventory of Antony’s body. “You must look almost like him.”
“A lot of people think so. Especially when they see me undressed, like him.” Antony nodded toward St. Sebastian in invitation. “People like to possess him. I don’t have the arrows stuck in me of course. I’m not willing to go that far.”
“Do people want that?”
“Sometimes they want to reproduce the pose. Tie my hands over my head, that sort of thing.”
“Do you let them?” Lenny licked his lips. He could see Antony/Sebastian bound.
“Never have. Too risky. Some ‘art lover’ might decide to stick me full of arrows.”
“There has to be some way of having the arrows without actually sticking them in your flesh.”
Antony shrugged. “I never gone to bed with one of the other matches. It will be a first. We can see if we can figure something out.”
It wasn’t until that point that Lenny knew that he and Antony were going to bed together. “Where do you live? I’m just here for a couple of days. I’m from New York. I’m staying in a motel near the airport tonight.”
“On Beacon Street in Brookline. It’s not far. We can take the subway. We’ll have to take the E line and then transfer to the C line to go out Beacon. Did you buy a day pass? If you did, we can change at Copley. Otherwise we’ll have to go to Arlington.”
A train was approaching the stop near the museum and they had to run to catch it, but they were at Copley within a few minutes. Antony led the way up the inbound steps and then across the street to the stairs leading down to the outbound platform. They moved away from the crowd of people and stood a bit apart. Antony faced down the tunnel staring at an approaching train.
“Is this safe? It looks like it’s falling apart.” Lenny pointed toward the peeling and cracked plaster pillars holding the ceiling of the underground platform up.
Antony shrugged. “The Green lines are the oldest ones. The tunnels must be safe, or they wouldn’t use them, would they? Oh, damn, it’s a B train. There should be a C in a moment.” He stepped away from the approaching train and leaned back against the wall of the platform.
There was a small sign affixed to wall next to Antony. Lenny read it and then pointed to it.
“Why do they tell you that? They made the same announcement on the E train when I took it to the museum.”
Antony turned to the sign and read it as if it were the first time he had seen it. “ ‘For Kenmore, take a B, C, or D train. The E Train does not stop at Kenmore.’ Oh, Copley’s the last stop on this track for the E trains. All the Green lines come through here, but after this the E line branches off. The rest of them go on to Kenmore and then they branch off too.”
“But what’s so special about Kenmore?”
“It’s where Fenway Park is.”
When Lenny looked confused, Antony continued. “It’s where the Red Sox play. I suppose the sign’s for people going to baseball games there so they don’t take the E train. Oh, here’s a C train. It will only be another fifteen minutes or so.”
Beyond Kenmore, the C train climbed a slight grade and the tunnel grew lighter. After a pause, the train emerged into the open and ran down the middle of a broad street lined with brick apartment buildings. Both sides of the road were heavily traveled. Some of the ground floors housed small shops and restaurants. The train climbed another hill and then passed through a larger shopping district. The sidewalks were crowded with people, and most of the riders on the train got off at that stop. A residential section began within a couple of blocks. Large trees arched over the roadway and the tram line.
Antony guided him off the train and to an old apartment building with the word “Empire” chiseled in the stone over the door. Two twisted wires, the metal long since corroded black, protruded from the top of a pillar that had apparently once held a lamp. The floor of the entrance was covered in cracked tiles, and the walls were painted a dark brown. Antony led him down the first floor hallway. It was so dark that he had to feel with his fingers and scrape the key against the lock to find the slot.
The apartment had high ceilings, far higher than any modern apartment would have. Directly in front of the door was the kitchen, with an old stove and a refrigerator that was humming loudly and making ticking noises. A wastebasket overflowed with food cartons and packages. A short hallway led to a large living room, with a bay window looking out over the back yard of the building next door. A fireplace centered between two bookcases occupied the opposite wall. A vase of dried flowers in the grate and the lack of soot betrayed that the fireplace was fake. Over the mantel hung a reproduction of the St. Sebastian painting. Sections of several days’ worth of newspapers littered the floor and the cushions of the sofa. The room may once have been attractive, but the walls were cracked and in need of painting. Another door led to the bedroom. A trail on the carpet marked years of footsteps from the front entrance to the bedroom. The apartment smelled of old dust.
Antony led him through to the bedroom. A double bed, a dresser, and two wooden chairs were the only pieces of furniture in the room. Clothes were draped haphazardly over one of the chairs. The back yard next door was dimly visible through a small, grimy window. Through a second window only the tarred wall of the building behind the apartment could be seen. Only a foot or so separated the two buildings. The room was quite dark even though it was early afternoon. Antony pulled off his clothes and tossed them toward the chair with his other discarded clothes. One of his socks caught on the seat of the chair and then slowly slid to the floor. “If you need to use the toilet before we get started, it’s through there.”
Lenny shook his head. “I’m fine. Thanks. Do you need to pull the shades?”
“What for?” Antony snorted. “No one can see in here. Even if they could, they’d probably enjoy it. I don’t mind if they watch.” He raised his arms over his head, and crossed them at the wrists. He leaned back against the wall and twisted his body in an approximation of St. Sebastian’s pose in the picture. His body was darker than that in the picture, except around his groin. There a white triangle highlighted his cock and balls.
“Just got back from a vacation in Puerto Rico last week.” His cock and balls swayed from side to side as he shifted his weight from one leg to the other. He pivoted his body around an imaginary rope fastening his body to a post. The tan lines on his ass revealed that he had been wearing a thong on his vacation.
His body was a close match for that of St. Sebastian in the painting. Both were lightly muscled and hairless even around the groin. Lenny began stroking Antony’s body. He didn’t know why, but he had expected Sebastian’s flesh to be cool and smooth. Antony’s was hot and slightly moist and oily as if he had been sweating. His fingers tugged at Antony’s body instead of gliding over it.
“I need to get another Brazilian wax. The stubble is beginning to show. That’s where I don’t resemble the painting. I have a lot of body hair. It’s a constant fight to keep it off. But people want me to be like the painting. You won’t have that problem. All you have to do is comb your hair like that guy in the painting and people will think you’re Lord What’s-his-name. No one knows what his body looks like. Speaking of which, Len, why don’t you get undressed and let me see what you look like.”
Lenny turned away and undressed slowly. He took his time. He sat on the chair that wasn’t piled with clothing while he unlaced his shoes. He pulled the sweater over his head and then folded it carefully before placing it on the seat of the chair. He knew that he looked good. Let Antony enjoy the visuals before they moved in closer. He turned his back to Antony and undid his belt and trousers. As he was preparing to drape his trousers over the back of the chair, he felt Antony’s hands on his ass.
Antony pulled him closer and shoved his hands up under Lenny’s shirt and T-shirt and began stroking his nipples. “Nice. I thought you would have a nice body. From the way that you look.”
Lenny unbuttoned his shirt and pulled his arms out of the sleeves. Antony had waited long enough. He impatiently pulled Lenny’s T-shirt over his head and tossed it on the floor. He grabbed Lenny and spun him around so that they were facing. He placed his hands on either side of Lenny’s face and then kissed him, forcing his tongue between Lenny’s lips and into his mouth. His breath was stale, and he tasted of garlic. Lenny tried to pull back, but Antony held him tightly. He aggressively ran his hands up and down Lenny’s body and then grabbed his cock and balls and squeezed them. His hand pumped Lenny’s cock until it grew hard.
He pulled Lenny over to the bed and then lay down, sprawling across the width of the bed and opening his legs. “Suck me until I get hard.” He pointed toward his cock and then laced his hands behind his neck with his arms spread out and resting flat on the bed. Lenny bent over and took Antony’s cock in his mouth. “That’s it. Suck it. Make me hard.” Antony pumped his cock into Lenny’s mouth a couple of times, but it was still flaccid. Lenny sucked on it as hard as he could. It tasted sour to him, and the foreskin was loose and slid up and down. He closed his lips around it and ran his tongue back and forth, trying to make it hard. He suddenly wanted the whole episode to be over as quickly as possible, to make Antony cum and then leave.
Antony grabbed the back of Lenny’s head and began fucking his face. His cock jabbed the back of Lenny’s throat, and Lenny began gagging. He thrashed about trying to get free, but that just excited Antony more. Anthony sat up on his knees and began forcing his cock even further down Lenny’s throat. Lenny felt as if he could hardly breathe. He labored to fill his lungs between Antony’s thrusts.
“Oh, yeah, bitch, suck on it. Harder. Come on. Take it all. You know you want it.” Antony never stopped talking. “Come on, your lordship. You’ve always wanted to suck a saint. Now’s your chance.” He extended an arm down Lenny’s back and pressed a finger into his anus. It was soon joined by a second finger. Antony’s nails tore at his flesh. “Oh, nice and tight. That’s going to feeeeeeeel so gooood when I fuck you.”
Lenny shook his head no and tried to speak, but Antony just shoved his cock in again. It got harder and harder to breathe as Antony got more excited and his cock swelled. Finally he withdrew and hopped off the bed. Lenny bent forward at the waist and lay his face against the cover. It was rough against his skin but he didn’t care. He was just relieved to be able to breathe normally again. His face was hot and flushed, and there were beads of sweat on his forehead. Behind him he heard Antony moving about. He hoped that he was through. He didn’t think Antony had cum but some guys didn’t have much, especially if they had had sex recently.
Antony suddenly grabbed a handful of Lenny’s hair and shoved a lubed finger deep into Lenny’s ass and plunged it in and out rapidly.
“NO, don’t. I don’t want to be fucked.” Lenny tried to pull away.
Antony pushed his face into the bed and then slapped his ass. “You’re going to take it, your lordship. I ain’t no saint.” Then he pulled his finger out and thrust his cock into Lenny.
Lenny screamed in surprise. “Oh that’s what I want to hear, bitch.” Antony started laughing.
Lenny’s hands clawed at the bedcovers and closed into fists. He pounded the bed to keep from shouting out from the pain. He bit down on the covers, taking a wad of cloth into his mouth. His head arched backwards, lifting the sheets off the bed. His eyes were tightly closed, and his face was contorted. Antony rode him for almost fifteen minutes before he came.
Lenny struggled for the first few minutes, and then he just gave up. The pounding continued. There wasn’t any pleasure in it for him. Occasionally Antony would slap Lenny’s ass to make him contract his muscles tighter around his cock. As Antony approached orgasm, his cock grew larger. Finally he came with a great shout and then collapsed on Lenny, still inside him.
Antony wrapped his arms around Lenny and squeezed him tightly. He kissed Lenny on the back of the neck, growling with pleasure. “That was a good fuck, your lordship. With a little training, you would make a first-class cocksucker. You’re already a great fuck.”
Antony pulled out and jumped up. Lenny could hear him pissing into the toilet and then the shower began running. Lenny pushed himself off the bed. He grabbed a handful of Kleenex from the box on the nightstand and began cleaning himself up. His ass felt about three times normal size, and it was slimy with fluids. When Antony finished showering and came out, Lenny rushed into the bathroom and closed the door behind him. He turned on the shower as hot as he could and scrubbed himself. He stood there for ten minutes letting the water wash Antony off. He found a towel on a shelf and used that. It smelled faintly of mildew and left him feeling in need of another shower. He would take another one when he got back to the motel.
Lenny stood behind the bathroom door for a minute and tried to hear if Antony was in the bedroom. He couldn’t tell. He eased the door open and peeked out, relieved to find that Antony was nowhere in sight. He quickly dressed and felt in his pockets to make sure that he still had his wallet and keys. When he was ready, he dashed into the living room, intending to make a quick exit.
Antony was sitting on a chair before the fireplace, with his legs crossed, wearing just a pair of shorts and flip-flops. Above him, the figure of St. Sebastian still looked upward toward the angel. Antony smiled when he saw Lenny. “There’s a Irish bar up the street. It’s pretty good. At least this time of day. Later at night, they have all these Irish bands in singing about the Old Sod. And then all the drunks start crying about how much they miss Ireland. We can go there until dinner time and then go somewhere and have something to eat and then come back here and fuck again.”
“I’m meeting some friends for dinner—in Cambridge.” It was the first lie that Lenny could think of. He didn’t know anyone in Boston, and he wasn’t even quite sure where Cambridge was.
“Oh, that’s too bad. I was hoping … well, never mind. It doesn’t matter. What time will you be at the Museum tomorrow? I’ll meet you there.”
“I’m going back to New York early tomorrow. I won’t have time to go to the Museum again.” Another quickly improvised lie. Lenny had planned to spend most of the day at the Museum. “How do I get to Cambridge? I take the C line out front and then I have to change somewhere, don’t I?”
“Yeah, C line to Downtown Crossing. Go downstairs to the Red Line outbound and take any train. There are several stops in Cambridge. Which one are you supposed to go to? Harvard? Central Square?”
Harvard sounded like the obvious place to go in Cambridge, and so Lenny said that.
“It’s the third or fourth stop after Downtown Crossing. I don’t remember.” Antony waved a vague hand toward his front door. “You know how to find your way out and to the train?”
“Yes, thanks. See you.” Lenny was relieved to get away so easily and so quickly. He sprinted toward the door before Antony could change his mind and decide to accompany him.
“Yeah, see you.”
A taxi was passing as Lenny stepped out the front door, and he flagged it down. He had the driver take him back to his motel. Maybe, he thought, he could get a flight back tonight on one of the shuttles. He didn’t want to stay in Boston any longer.