My Way 42

My Way




53 Mac







‘Psycho Killer…’


F’chrissakes…the miscreant was too wily by half. Even when Joe appeared to stay on script, he was plotting its subversion. His, was a magician’s gift for misdirection. Sleight of hand in which my terms, my way…promptly became Mac’s terms, Joe’s way. The latter was such distant kin, it scarce seemed related, let alone traceable to source. 

The swiftness with which he’d conjured a way to amuse himself while still seeming amenable was…staggering. All things considered. The plotting potential of a firing on all cylinders Joe didnae bear thinking about. Heaven help anyone who stood in the path of Trouble in full possession of his faculties…which went a long way to explaining how present matters might have come to pass. Or, put more prosaically: why they hadnae been addressed before the shit hit the fan so spectacularly that some bright spark finally saw the light. Mac sure as hell couldnae rustle up another reason why they’d seen fit to hire half-baked babysitters to mind the man some fuckwit had blithely dubbed Heroin Houdini

‘He chews ’em up and spits ’em out like cherry pips’.

‘Psycho Killer’ was the impertinent tongue Mac had threatened to bite off. Served up inserted into Joe’s cheek, instead? It might almost be considered acquiescence. Joe’s way, of course. 

It could even be argued that said ringtone had its wool-pulling merits. No one with a scintilla of sense would expect Joe to go down without a fight or, at the very least, some form of protest. A fact Mac was counting on. It would make the win all the sweeter…and its outcome more effective.

He knew damn well that Joe was enjoying this new game more than he’d be prepared to admit. Even to Mac. Especially to Mac. Joe might want him physicallyfor nowand delight in trying to wriggle his way out of the restraints Mac placed on him…but the moment that began to pall? Or, something shiny proved too tempting to resist? Joe would slip free faster than ferret up a trouser leg. Mac would need eyes up his arse…in every way. Not least, when that was the only card he could count on; to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, if all else failed. If Mac was prepared to bring it into play.

Nevertheless, for today, Joe seemed content to comply with Mac’s terms. First impressions counted for much. They would suffice, for now. They had to. He couldnae rely on anything else. The only other certainty looked about to make a break from its bath-towel confines.

“I’ve rung down for a car. It’ll be here in half an hour…so, unless you plan on making an admittedly fetchingfashion statement? You might want to get dressed, before that thought goes any further.” Mac informed him, with a ‘deadpan’ expression that possibly nailed ‘constipated’ instead.

“It’s too late. The thought has polished off its main course and is about to tuck into its pudding,” Joe grinned.

“It should be well-fed then, and will even have time for a post-meal smoke before you get dressed. Sorted.”

“Ah!” It was a toss up whether his lips or eyelids were wider apart. Or, which of those had a greater impact on Mac’s comfort levels.

“I need a wash and shave, so please button your lip, before you trip over it.” As good a reason as…the real one. “You have less than thirty minutes. Be ready.”

Yessir, Mr McBadass, sir.” A response which, of course, came complete with a heel snap and salute. “Strewth, y’might want to work on issuing some orders sans glinty special and stiffy. Just sayin.”

“I don’t have a bloody boner.” Mac snorted.

“I didn’t say you did.” Joe pointed out.

“Fitzgerald. Get dressed. Twenty-five minutes.”

“If you keep this up, I’ll have to cram it in my pants with a crowbar,” the miscreant chuntered. “You’re ev-il.”

“Evil? I’ve barely begun.”

“Ooh…I was counting on it,” Joe purred. About a glacial glare before flashing his palms in a ‘don’t shoot’ parody. “Okay okay…get dressed. Twenty minutes…I knooww.

“Twenty-three.” Mac corrected.


Twenty-three minutes later, or thereabouts, found them in the lift heading down to the foyer. Joe was even wearing clothes. The latter possibly being the most astounding part of all. Not only was Joe dressed, he looked…well, suffice to say, Mac found himself wishing that Joe was not. This wasnae the most helpful, or comfortable, of thoughts. Particularly in a lift, en route to the studio Mac didnae have a choice but insist on. 

“Mac? T’is very swish in here n’all, but….” Joe shot him a grin, nodding toward the gaping doorway while peeling himself off the wall.

“Hm? Fuck, sorry.” Mac blinked. Tearing his gaze from the too-tight T-shirt shrink-wrapped to Joe’s nipples. “Are you cold?”

“Cold? I’m sweating up a storm, it’s suffocating in here.”

“C’mon…sorry.” F’chrissakes. Focus. Two days sequestered with Joe had—in no way, shape or form—done bugger all to prepare Mac for the reality of Joe-in-the-outside-world. He not only knew this; he should be forewarned, and thus forearmed. Being the latter was impossible when said intelligence classed Joe a hazard waiting to happen—an utterly unpredictable one—t’boot. If Mac didnae get his head in the game pronto, it wasnae going to be pretty.

“S’okay, you were miles away…or wishing you were, anyhoo.” Joe sighed, gazing around at the vast marble foyer as he weaved his way to the plate-glass doors. A waist-swivelling arm-swinging ‘walk’ that seemed likely to lure low flying aircraft into land.

“I’m not wishing myself further away than the few miles to the studio,” Mac assured him, before adding, “What’s wrong?” Joe’s sigh had sounded too heartfelt for the quip it was tacked onto.

“Nuffin’. I’m just…edgy. I want to go, I just…it’s like walking into a wall of why/what/where/the fuck have you…? That’s before Adam clobbers me with whatever’s been cooked up in the cauldron of doom. ”

“Forget that crap…I’ll sort it. Did you part on good terms with the rest of the band?” Mac asked, inclining his head to acknowledge the doorman who did the honours, then thanking the driver waiting beside the open rear door of their car. 

“I think so…unless I’ve upset someone in the meantime,” Joe grimaced, folding himself into the back seat. “I just want to jam, tinker around with some stuff my head’s fit t’bursting with. We’ve only got two days to rehearse for the gigs, but I need to work on the new songs. That’ll go down like a cup of cold sick.”

“D’you need the rehearsal time?” Mac found himself grinning. Fucknows why.

“It makes no nevermind to me, I’ll remember the words…or I won’t. Playing the setlist through for a fortnight won’t change that. I do want to see the lads, I just wish…” Joe tailed off, unwilling, or unable, to put those wishes into words. His chin was propped on his fist as he stared from the window with a glassy gaze that suggested he saw nothing through either. 

Mac’s phone abruptly shattered the silence, trilling Garson’s jazz intro to ‘Time’. A ditty that made Joe’s head snap around, wonder writ…what else? In those eyes.

Upon extracting it from his jacket pocket, a cursory glance at the screen revealed the name Mac had been expecting to see for several hours. “Adam…”

“Mac, thank fuck for that. Joe’s not answering his phone, is he still asleep?”

“No…he’s wide awake. Seated beside me—”

“Why isn’t he answering his bloody phone then?” Adam interrupted.

“It might be in Marlborough…I havenae clapped eyes on it since I arrived.”

“Oh, for Godsakes, I left it on charge. So, I knew that couldn’t be the—hang on…in Marlborough? You’re actually on your way?” Adam sounded nonplussed, Mac noted with satisfaction. 

“We’re about ten minutes away…” Mac shrugged. A deadpan demeanour away from a most indecorous snigger. 

“From Marlborough?” Adam…guessed? Assumed?

“At fourteen-fifty? We’d be a bit bloody late if we were.” Mac pointed out. For all the world as if that was a preposterous notion.

“Ten minutes away…from the studio?” The voice on the other end of the line squawked. 

“Yeees.” Mac drew the vowel out, as if he were speaking to someone rather slow. In all fairness,  he’d yet to be convinced otherwise. 

“Oh, I-um, is he…okay?”

“Joe? Are you okay…?” Mac enquired.

“Me?” The twinkle in Joe’s grin didnae bode well. For Adam. Mac should probably feel sorry for him, but he didnae do ‘pity’. “I’m crippled, but other than that—”

“Crippled!?” Adam spluttered.

“Don’t fret yerself, he hasnae been kneecapped to get him in the car.”

Adam was gonnae get very wearing.

“Don’t tell me he’s too stoned to walk…” Very fast.

“Okay, I won’t. I could kill for a coffee though, if you can rustle one up. Black, three sugars…and some rum for Trouble. With pineapple juice.”

“Pineapple juice…” Adam repeated.

“An excellent source of Vitamin C, I believe. We’ll be with you presently,” Mac ended the call with a rueful eye-roll that made Joe snicker in glee. Probably punch-drunk on the unexpected prospect of rum. “Christ, Adam had better hope that coffee is strong…” Mac blew out a long breath as he pocketed his phone. 

It wasnae one iota as long as the day promised to be…




My Way 41

My Way

52 Joe





“Aah!” Joe’s eyes snapped open when a lightning bolt blitzed his body. His spine damn near jackknifed in shock, jolting him from a sleep so deep he might’ve thought he was dead, had he been in any fit state to ponder it. “Mac!” he gasped. No one else on Earth could’ve pulled off such a serendipitous awakening…particularly when Joe got around to peeling his eyelids apart.

“G’morning…” dripped from the lips hovering above his ear, about a waft of breath before the bad-ass tugged on its lobe with tantalizing teeth. The fingers torturing that heaven-sent knot of nerves swivelled oh, so slowly, scissoring as they swept back and forth. As an alarm call, it sure beat having a bucket o’water emptied over Joe’s head. 

Hmm...if I wake up, will you stop?”

“I sure as hell don’t intend taking you unconscious,” Mac rasped.

“Top o’the mornin to ye, then…jusdonstop…” Never, ever, stop…oooh.

“I don’t intend to…” Miraculous words, smudged across his jaw as Mac continued his merry ministrations. Joe had no idea how much of that he’d managed to utter aloud…but oh, how he wished it was all of it.

All of it was precisely what he promptly got, barely a sharp intake of breath later, when Mac whipped his fingers free and promptly obliterated the ache of emptiness with one smooth, sure surge. The guttural groan that grazed Joe’s ear was one helluva wakey, wakey rise ’n’ sublime soundtrack. Cocooned in sinewy strength, cradled by—impaled with—hard heat. There could be no finer way to wake up, even if Joe felt about as fit as fiddle after a fight with a ten-tonne truck. Said sumptuous spooning might not’ve been quite so breath-snatching, but still oozed its very own charm. The bad-ass must’ve decided that the peerless swish of his serpentine spine would have to suffice when sheer pounding pizzazz wasnae possible. As its customary endeavours were practically a superpower, this was a thing t’be Marvelled at indeed. Joe didn’t seem to be doing a very lot else, it must be admitted, other than squirming a lot and grappling Mac’s thigh in an effort to tug him closer still.

“More…” Joe pleaded, arching his back and dragging on the leg he’d clutched, strung too tight to stay still. The need was too intense, not just for friction, for him—more of him—all of him. A potential too unsurpassable to pass up, or settle for less. “Mac…harder..”

“S’impossible…” he groaned, slamming into Joe p’raps as hard as lying on his side would allow. “Cannae…” Mac gasped. “Like this…” As luscious as it was, Joe would have to wait (for what’d feel like) forever for the Full McMonty he craved, which wouldnae do, at all.

“Hold on t’me then…” The arm around his tum tightened as Joe patted about, searching for the edge of the mattress to clutch in order to haul himself onto his front. “‘Kay…” After straightening his legs a smidge, Joe tugged hard. Mac caught on fast and threw his weight forwards, which resulted in a supremely prostrate Joe with a bad-ass on board.

The next wee while, after a swift hitch of his hips, was a paradise of pounding. More than a mite akin to being plugged into a power source so potent it could raze the world to the ground. Scorching bone deep, boiling his blood, blistering through his veins. Nothing—no one—had ever compared to this. To Mac.

Joe’s head and heart may have always known what they coveted, but his body had settled for craving someone who might…salve a hollowness so profound, he’d forever felt full of it. His failure just fuelled his attempts to find a feeling that might fill it, instead. He never had. The ever-dwindling hope was so deadening that everything—everyone—he’d done had been but a desperate desire to feel alive. Efforts so futile he’d redoubled them, over and over again, ad infinitum, in an ever-spiralling dance with death. Here, was Joe’s more; personified in this man. Here, was paradise found when it had been worse than lostunfindablean opium pipe dream only realizable in rhyme. Here, in the tattoo intensity of sledge hammer hips, pounding away with inimitable aplomb. Here, when Joe had abandoned all hope that the real world could ever compare to the inner one he’d spent forever curating. Before doing his damnedest to obliterate it, when the comparison became too cruel to bear.

“More…own me, Mac.” Oops, that had leaked through his lips. Joe heard the bad-ass’ breath hitch, sensed something teeter in the silence…wondered which way it would fall.

Time itself was suspended in the trembling stillness while Mac weighed Joe’s runaway words. Would he find them wanting? Wackadoodle p’raps? They might’ve gone AWOL, but Joe had meant them. That’s what he wanted, had forever wanted, and he didn’t give a flying fuck if that wasn’t PC. Plod approved. He ached for Mac to claim him, imprint himself on Joe’s flesh. Drill that truth home. Be Mac’s home. Be the everything Joe could never be, to a man like Mac. A lone panther on the prowl, in pursuit of a very different prey. Intent on proving himselfp’raps to himself, first and foremostthe most formidable, infallible, foe on Earth. Or thereabouts. An enemy every bit as relentless as those hips.

In those shimmering seconds, stretching foreveras far back as Joe could remember, into the future he might never meethe waited for Mac’s verdict. Breath abated, suspended on a knife edge of need. To know.

Mac withdrew, almost all the way, and paused. Sadist. Then. Unleashed that steel-sprung spine like an opening salvo in the siege on Joe’s senses that ensued. A bliss blitzing battle to le petit mort. Paradise. 

“Yesss….” he heard himself hiss,  but after that there was nothing but Joe’s heartbeat hammering in his ears, the slap of skin on skin, curses, sighs ‘n’ soft cries. Joe could scarce keep still; he was a mess, a squirming, quaking, hot mess of moremoremore. White heat flaring through his veins like wildfire, consuming everything in its path. So exhilarating that his entire self felt like a scream of freedom—p’raps a wee bit weird—when consumed by all he’d ever craved, and the sure fingers that enclosed Joe’s cock. “Aahh…”

Mac shifted a smidge before unleashing a flurry of short sharp thrusts. The world, both inside and outside his head—Joe could no longer tell where one ended and the other began—shattered in a cascade of ecstasy as light-shot scarlet exploded behind his eyelids. 

“Joorrr…” Resounded round his head like a rumble of thunder when Mac shuddered to a trembling halt, filling Joe with the very essence of all he was. The living, breathing, bad-ass embodiment of more.

The more he’d waited forever for. Mac was the most deadly of all addictions. A troika of cravings too insistent to resist: a mind, body, soul, assault on Joe’s system, which was too accustomed to its customary fix to function without it. Even Mac couldnae sate its clamour for that unless he could cook up smack in his nutsack.


Joe was splayed on his front, suffused in bliss, sublimely smeared in bad-ass, when a rather rude rat-a-tat-tat shattered his reverie.


“Bacon.” Mac sounded far too satisfied about this happenstance for actorly chaps to have come calling at the crack o’dawn. So chances were, said rudery heralded the breakfast Joe dimly recalled being threatened with last night. Rather than a footloose-and-fancy-free so-I’ve-popped-round-for-a-visit thespian.

It was tricky to say which of those Joe fancied less, in truth (still a scoundrelly stipulation, no doubt). The scoffing-sort of bacon not being the least bit appetizing to his bottom of the budgie cage palette, and the Kev-sort not being tempting in the slightest, when Joe had rump steak ensuite, as ’twere.

Mac hefted himself up and bounded off the bed with startling alacrity for someone who’d snatched about forty-winks in the last forty-eight hours, so the bad-ass was either more than a mite peckish, or he had a freaky bacon butty fetish.

Wrapping himself in rashers à la Gaga sounded a helluva lot more fun than than a smacked arse, Joe had to admit. ‘Bacon butty’ soon proved a mite optimistic, cos the tray that was shortly plonked on the bed niffed to high heaven of far too many foodstuffs. All served up on silver salvers (or something such) with domes atop them, hiding the horrors lurking beneath. The sheer stench o’which suggested eggs…and some gloopsome gunk or other that made Joe’s guts chunter in protest. 

Mac’s flinty glint would’ve been infinitely more gratifying aimed Joe’s way, but tragically, it was not. It was flambéing whatever was under the hat he tilted to have a wee peep beneath, before replacing it to reach for the cigs on the bedside table.

“I’m starving, but I need a smoke first…” Mac sighed, tugging a couple out and passing one to Joe before lighting his own.

“I hope you don’t expect me to scoff one of those…unless you fancy seeing it again in a slightly more mix ‘n’ match fashion,” Joe informed him, once he’d lit up and inhaled that first glorious lungful of the morn.

“It would’ve been rather ungallant to just order one for myself,” his ever confounding killer noted, adding; “I could eat a bloody bison, so a few strips of bacon won’t be a hardship. Surely you’re sick of the sight of crunchy-nutters?”

“Not happening, but I’m still full up ‘nuff, thank you kindly. I’m off to cook up my own brekkie while you’re scoffing yours. My insides are screaming from the top o’the morning to my toes. I’ll never be fed up of them though, so it’s pointless to keep asking. I’ll make do with an all-you-can-eat buffet if I can’t have my favourite, but if I can, then that’s all I want. See? Easy peasy to please, me.” Joe shrugged.

“You’ve missed out a significant part of that equation, one that makes you impossible to please—or, to be more specific—stay pleased for more than five minutes,” Mac chuckled. Chuckled? The scent of bacon must have sent him squiffy.

Please sir, can I have some more is only a problem if I can’t. Things p’raps get a mite messy then…but that’s cos I get fed up having my wrists slapped. I’m not flippin’ five,” Joe fuffed.

“Chances are, that’s because those eyes are bigger than your belly,” Mac snorted, “Or at least, they’re bigger than your body’s capacity to survive their appetite.”

“That’s a McFancy way of calling me a greedy pig, isn’t it?”

“If the cap fits,” the scoundrel grinned.

“Humph, well I hope it’s a baker boy one, cos it’ll be a cold day in hell before I sport a baseball cap backwards.” Joe sniffed.


Joe hadn’t fibbed to Mac, even his teeth were screaming. His bones hurt and his guts were gnawing on themselves, griping in gnarly knots. His first fix o’the day didn’t do a lot but alleviate that and quell the craving for a wee while, so Joe figured that he’d soon be good t’go…if he was a smidge more moderate than was his wont of a morn.

The crater on his wrist looked a bit icky in an oozing green gunk sort o’way when Joe pulled its bad-ass bandage off. It didn’t niff none too pleasant either, so he cleaned it up a bit and plonked a nipple sized plaster atop it. His arms didn’t actually look too bad, he decided, having hosted scant rations of late. Less scab-than-skin, which must count as a plus, surely?

Joe was trying not to tick too many boxes in the bad-ass’ books. An admission that made him feel suddenly very small and very…scared. A surge of panic that left him so light-headed Joe sank to his haunches, to be closer to the floor in case he keeled over. It was a long way to fall and he didn’t fancy the headlines if he cracked his own open on the loo. Junkie Joe Bogs His Clogs.  A life in loos. They’d prob’ly never forgive him for the fact they couldn’t claim: From a Waterloo portaloo to the Wellington Suite. At least he’d come up in the world before bogging his clogs? That was sure to make the Major proud…

Upon finding himself struck by a spot of vanity that hadn’t visited his shores a very lot of late, Joe decided to bodge away at his leg, instead. Mac must’ve been half-starved, cos he contented himself asking Joe to leave the bathroom door open as he slinked over to the swish dining table. Nary a bad-ass darkened the doorway, either; he just called out ‘y’okay?’ every wee while, so Joe was left to his own devices for the duration. A fact that somehow didn’t cause when-the-cat’s-away repercussions. This is getting riccidoodalus. Particularly when he had to potter off to studio and would soon find himself coshed with whatever-the-fuck Adam had stashed up his sleeves. 

When he felt relatively more human, Joe’s newfound particularity about his person sent him scuttling showerwards. Crikey, it was quite a morning of firsts. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had managed to rouse him in any fit state to function, let alone attend to his toilette. But then, no one else had ever been worth waking up to, nor had they happened upon the perfect button to press for an alarm-call par excellence. Mac was more than a mite scary on the cunning plot front.

A fact said bad-ass proved beyond any shadow of doubt when Joe emerged from the shower, sporting a few towels here ’n’ there.

“Answer this when it rings. No matter what,” Mac instructed, passing him what appeared to be a batphone. ’Twas screeching scarlet and looked as if it might self-destruct if Joe did not do just that afore 10-9-8-7-6…seconds had elapsed.

“Why would I do this?” Joe asked, eyeing it a tad warily.

“Because I said so…but if you’d prefer a less Stalinesque explanation: I promised to get them off your back. In order to persuade Adam et al that I can deliver on my word? Proof that it can be trusted wouldn’t go amiss. Other than my rep and what it’s costing them, they have no hard evidence that I will deliver the goods—you. I suspect they reckon you’ll prove my fatal flaw…when in fact, that’s an insult to your ingenuity. How very predictable that would be…”

Mac let that linger in the air…like a particularly tempting carrot. Blighter. “You can do far better than that. We can…if you’ll be my secret weapon.”

“I didn’t expect you to cotton onto that last bit, let alone trust me ’nuff to count on it. So, that’s all I have t’do? Answer the McBat phone?”

McBat phone, f’chrissakes,” the rascal spluttered. “Is there any all about it? How often do you answer your own?” Mac shot him a knowing side-eye, garnished with a glinty special.

“Well…it gets lost.”

“Odd that…does it tend to get lost when it’s ringing in your back pocket too?” Oooh…evil.

“Um…sometimes?” Joe pinned on a ‘picture of innocence’ expression (p’raps aided and abetted by his fluffy white towel turban). It had got him out of a fair few scrapes, it must be admitted.

“Pick a ringtone…” Mac instructed with a smirky twerk of lips. Scoundrel. In Joe’s defence? It was the smug’s fault…

‘Psycho Killer‘ had tripped off the tip of his tongue to flaunt itself with nary a care for consequence before Joe could rustle up a request for a less suicidal ditty. 

As death wishes went, it was quite a corker…







My Way 40

My Way

51 Mac





Mac slumped, spent, onto the smooth expanse of Joe’s chest, slick with sweat. Smack slick; its sheen as thick as mist on glass. “I’m knackered,” he admitted, too sex-soused to force himself to his feet, as he ought…having cut himself so much slack of late, his skin should be bagging round his bloody ankles. Fitting—when it sure as hell felt as if it no longer should—fit, that is. The more time Mac spent with Joe, the less he resembled himself. The self he’d spent twenty years whittling down to sinew and bone; eradicating all that was soft, fleshy, yielding. Weak. Superfluous responses stripped back to the holy trinity of traits he’d deemed…definitive. Instinct, strength, tenacity. Honed to formidable foes; all else sacrificed to their service.

Or, so he’d believed. Never having had cause to question its credence. It was an unequivocal fact. Until Joe. Who was, apparently, the perfect combination of elements to combust that belief. 

The unequivocal answer to…who the fuck is Joe Fitzgerald? The precise application of force necessary to expose the chink in Mac’s armour, it transpired. 

He’d killed for lesser crimes. Against himself, indisputably.

“I’m sorry…” Tentative fingers smoothed a few stray strands of fringe away from Mac’s face, rather as if Joe suspected they might be snapped off. Sorry…?

“F’what?” he mumbled, into Joe’s neck.

“I made you drive in the dead o’night to not go shopping in Harrods after scarcely any sleep, then—”

“Stop there,” Mac cut in. “Don’t thank me for that, as if I’d bloody serviced you.”

“I wasn’t-well, I didn’t mean it that way…”

“Maybe not…but it would’ve felt that way.” F’fucksakes. Felt. Feel. Like a sodding stuck record.

Mac did not feel; he’d built an entire life on that fundamental tenet. “I need a smoke…” he sighed, planting his palms on the rug to peel himself off Joe’s skin.

After (finally) hefting himself to his feet, Mac went to scrounge up some cigarettes. An ominous rumble in his guts prompted him phoneward to order some room service and book a full English breakfast. As partial as he was to a banana, if Mac was forced to leave their suite without ingesting some bacon? Chances were, he might tear someone to shreds with his teeth. For the simple satisfaction of sinking them into flesh. Two days with Joe and he’d wound up with Lecterlike lusts.

Breakfast ordered and a supper tray on its way, Mac had a swift wash and donned a complimentary robe before sweeping the balcony doors open and unearthing the smoking accoutrements.

“Breakfast is being delivered at midday, so we’ll be able to head off whenever you want, after that,” he told Joe, letting the second robe puddle onto his prone body.

“Thank you. Midday? Ugh…what time is it now?”

“Getting on for five a.m. So, we’d better get some kip or be the walking dead tomorrow—oh hang on, I’ll go and get that.”

“Who is it?” Joe frowned.

“Your supper.”

“Supper…?” Followed in Mac’s wake as he went to retrieve their room-service.

It was waiting outside the door as he’d requested, so he brought it inside, filled the empty bowl with crunchy-nutters and doused it in milk from the jug he’d ordered. After locating his switchblade, he pulled three more bananas off the much depleted bunch and sliced one up to strew atop Joe’s staple diet.

“Here y’go. Eat.” Mac ordered, dumping the tray on the coffee table.

“Strewth, it’s like living with Stalin,” Joe grumbled.

“Ah yes, the infamous crunchy-nut force-feeder of Soviet peoples. Shurrup and get it down your neck.”

“Can I have some gin in this?” Joe pouted, peering into the glass of orange juice as if a piranha might leap out and bite his nose off.

“Drink it.”

Phhh. Bossybugger chuntermutter…keep your wig on…

Mac just raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips. This was ridiculous. He was…rather enjoying himself. He’d be carted off in a strait-jacket before the week was out. Thank fuck his records had been redacted.  

Okay...fuff. So-rry. Thank you.”

“Y’welcome. Crunchy-nutters. Eat.”

“Yes, Comrade…” the miscreant smirked, but did pluck a sliver of banana from the bowl to pop in his mouth before picking up the spoon, so Mac refrained from comment. Swiping his own off the tray, he sank onto the sofa to polish them off with a packet of peanuts, then extracted the cigs from the pocket of his Berkeley bathrobe. The smoke that soon filled his lungs and the sound of contented crunching made Mac feel strangely…serene. Was he just too dog-tired to be arsed to gnaw all possibilities back to bone? If not, he should swallow his gun. Before his buckled coat arrived. All threats to Joe must be eliminated. No exceptions.

“Mac…” Joe implored, after slurping the remains of the milk and dropping the spoon in the dish with a pointed clatter.

“Go on, but bear in mind we’re getting up at midday, whether you’re willing, or not.”

“That’s not going to be as much fun as it sounds, is it?” Joe grinned, with an impish twinkle. And milky moustache. He looked about six.

“Correct…and I will be an utter bastard in the morning, if I don’t get some sleep. So, you’d best bestir yourself sharpish.”


When Joe pottered off to butcher another vein, Mac shrugged the robe off with a heart-heavy sigh and climbed into bed. He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, for fear of falling asleep. ‘Waiting’ would be worsepatheticwhich left him suspended in pessimistic purgatory. What the hell else could he do? Mac couldnae stand over him, clucking away like a bloody mother hen. F’fucksakes, Joe was a fully-grown adult. Sort of. He was a liability on ludicrous legs. How long had he been gone? It felt like three hours. Three minutes was ample time to die in. 

Mac threw back the duvet and leapt out of bed. Seconds later, he stood, looming in the bathroom doorway, staring down into infinite brown with pinprick pupils.

Mmmaac...M’gerrup in meeny mo…” A smear of a smile was aimed Mac’s way.

“C’mon.” After tugging the tourniquet loose, Mac gave the seeping wound a swift swab, then clasped limp wrists to haul Joe to his feet. He swayed, like a dandelion stalk in the wind, before toppling forwards to slump against Mac. “Can you walk?”

“Was workin’…on it.” 

“I’m sure you were. I’ve got you…c’mon, let’s go.” After draping the unbutchered arm around his neck, Mac clasped Joe tight to his side and staggered over to the door he’d left gaping wide. “I’d sling you over my shoulder but I’d rather pass on being pebble-dashed in crunchy-nutters. Weirdly enough.”

“You should go, y’know…m’a shitshow…left…right…off we go…righty oh…s’bedtime now?”

“It’s way past your bedtime. C’mon, in y’get,” Mac grunted, extracting himself from Joe’s armpit. Just as the miscreant lifted a leg...and down they went in a tangle of limbs. Of course.


“F’chrissakes. No. Sleep.”


“You’ll get a fat lip in a minute.” Mac informed him mid-attempt to struggle free from far too many Joe-parts. “Shift yourself a bit, my leg’s stuck…”

“So ’tis…hard…but not as—”

“Don’t you Dare. Shurrup and shove over,” Mac snorted. Christ, even his cock had lost the plot. Or hitched itself to Joe’s. Same difference. They had to be at the studio in ten hours and he still hadnae slept a wink. Heading to London early had seemed such a splendid plan. Yup. Leaving plenty of time to ensure they made it to the studio. Excellent.

Once he’d managed to disentangle himself, Mac wrangled Joe around and rearranged the duvet to cover him. Then, finally, crawled into bed and flopped down with a sigh of relief that left ‘sheer’ lagging a long time ago, on a planet far, far away…

“Y’okay…?” Mac murmured, pressing a kiss to Joe’s nape.


The cool, crisp sheets were soft, so clean they smelled like spring. The clammy clatter of sharp corners and unwieldy limbs Mac gathered in close, did not. One was an untold pleasure. The other—though much welcome—was exemplary laundering.






My Way 39

Hi, I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend. 🥰I’m sorry it’s been a while, I’ve been beavering away, but it took forever to write…




My Way 

50 Joe








A low moan rumbled in Mac’s throat when Joe melded their mouths as he’d demanded, but their lips had no sooner met than Mac seized control, darting his tongue between Joe’s teeth. Snatching his breath away with the sheer intensity of kisses as heady as the husky musk of Mac’s skin. Greedy? Joe could never have enough of this. Of him.

A hand was slipped inside Joe’s robe to starfish across his bare back as Mac encompassed his nape with the other. The bad-ass didn’t miss so much as a beat when he shifted on the seat, bracing himself to rise to his feet, powered by tightly packed quads alone. How Joe ached to trace those wiry mounds of lean muscle with his tongue; learn, taste, every inch of Mac’s body. Find every secret spot that made those glinty greens spit sparks. Glean every sacred thing that might drive Mac to the very edge of himself and beyond… 

‘Beyond’ being Mac’s base line…so nothing less would do. Everything he did, had done, intended to do, being precisely that. Beyond the norms that bound men to banality. Driving himself beyond the endurable, beyond the limits of ninety percent of all who dared. Let alone won. Joe might be wrong o’course, there were other Special Forces units, but the bad-ass sure as sharpshooters hadnae been in a run o’the mill regiment. That’s why Joe had asked Mac the very specific: have you ever killed a man. Not men. Of course he had…which is why Joe knew the answer to his question. Mac would have issued an, ‘ex-forces, what d’you think’ shrug, if he hadn’t known damn well what Joe wanted to know. 

As a bodyguard, Mac put his life on the line to protect people who paid for that undeserved privilege. He could’ve said self-defence, shit happens. He hadn’t. Mac had killed in cold blood, and they both knew it. He might’ve done so for Queen and Country…but that was just a matter of jurisdiction. And splitting hairs. It didn’t make his targets any less dead. The truth remained the same. 

All o’this whizzed through Joe’s head at warp speed after being carried across the room and lowered…onto a rug. Not the bed. The floor. As he’d specified. Mac had taken him at his word without so much as a mention of fancy schmancy sheets and foam memory mattresses…let alone whisked Joe off to the bedroom regardless. 

“Don’t move an inch…” he ordered, pausing for long nuff to plant a soul scorching kiss on Joe’s lips before shooting off to rustle up some lube and—it soon transpired—strip naked. Strewth. Joe could weave words for the rest of forever and never do his lean, mean, lethal machine justice. Mac sure as Shermans wasn’t built like a tank…he was the high performance personification of his very own classic car.  Or, p’raps the human incarnation of that particular cat. As sleek as he was deadly. Divine. Predatory, as he slinked to Joe’s side and stood, staring down as if deciding which bit to devour first. Or, hack off. A fact that was p’raps part of his charm, Joe had to admit. To himself.

While thinking all this, he might’ve forgot the part about not moving an inch when he could do some moving-swiftly-on stuff instead. Figuring that a bit of a fidget wasn’t technically moving anywhere, he wriggled out of his robe and pants, then lay back to await the consequences of shifting a smidge. 

“Um…I didn’t move anywhere else?”

“I’d paddle your arse if I didn’t think you’d enjoy it too much,” he found himself informed, which wasn’t as true as Mac suspected.  It didn’t tickle Joe’s fancy enough for its own sake, and delayed gratification wasn’t his very best thing. Far from his favourite waste of time. He never ate starters either…they weren’t worth the wait for dessert. 

“You came armed with paddles?” It had to be asked, when the answer would be worth reaping.

“Nope…but there’s no doubt a Gideon bible in a drawer somewhere.” See? Kinky cat. “So, tell me…did you move purely to wind me up?” Words that dripped from Mac’s lips to sizzle Joe’s skin. Like hot wax cooling on clammy flesh. “Or expediency?”

“The first one would’ve been daft in case it made the latter pointless?” Joe hedged, not having thought it through in advance. His ‘very best things’ list wasn’t very long. ’Nuff said. “P’raps…neither? I just wanted to…give you less time to change your mind…”

Change my mind? Look at me, Joe.” Joe was looking. It was…hard not to. Very. “Does that appear likely…?”

In truth… No. But Mac was so much more than met the eye. A staggering achievement in itself. He was also a cussed sod, who prided himself on feats of endurance far more excruciating than a chronic case of cripple cock. Pointing out that particular truth? A swift perusal of outcomes suggested it mightn’t be advisable on the end game front. Dr. Strange had nothing on Joe. 

“When was the last time you cut y’self some slack?” he asked instead. Being blessed with the wisdom of Tony Stark on a bender, t’boot.

“Every breath I take in your presence?” Mac snorted, dropping to his haunches and grasping Joe’s ankles to snatch them apart. 

“Suicide would be preferable?” Joe guessed, on the grounds that goatee-bearded genius types couldn’t top that rationale. 

“In collateral damage terms, certainly.” Mac shrugged, crawling between Joe’s legs. “Thus answering your initial question…I’ve done nothing but cut myself some slack since crossing your threshold…perhaps even that.” Mac planted a palm either side of Joe’s head to hover over him on all fours. Not a jot prudent on the consequences front.


“So, why? What do you want, Mac?” Joe murmured, all-but boring holes in the scoundrel’s head with a dareyou stare t’die for. In all likelihood. 

“I want…” When he paused, Joe wondered if he was about to witness the first time his bad-ass had bottled it for…ever. “…To watch you come apart.” This in a voice as dark as the glint in those greens. “Wrap your legs around my waist…”

Strewth…that was the last thing he’d expected Mac to want, let alone ask for. They may have done it, briefly, a hasty legs over the shoulders job, mid-way through the first time. Joe had scarce been able to see straight, let alone think it through. As a request, it was so much more…intimate, as close as close can be. That’s what Mac wanted? Rather than shoot himself in the nuts by noting any of that, Joe just nodded. Stayed schtum and simply wound his legs around Mac’s waist before locking his ankles. 

“Christ…” the contrary sod groaned, slamming his lids shut. Cussed. To the last. He’d order tripe as his last supper on death row, Joe was sure of it. No dessert. Nope, not even blancmange, which tasted as fun as it sounded.

The rush of relief when Mac retrieved his right hand to slip a slick finger into Joe’s body without further ado was boundless. Negating the need for words and abating the ache of emptiness—briefly—before the gnawing need for more flexed its talons.

“Please, Mac…” Joe begged, pushing back as best he could and clenching his muscles tight when the scoundrel started a languorous sweep back and forth. “More…” Joe whimpered, when the languid too ‘n’ fro became torture too sweet to bear. He’d never been more grateful to be gifted a finger in his flippin life. The glint of dark fire that gleamed in Mac’s eyes was sin itself when he brushed that mind-blitzing knot of nerves. “Mac!” Joe hollered, under seige of too much, never ever, enough. “PLEASE!”

“More…or me…” Mac’s tone was too knowing to qualify as a question. Joe kept that fact to himself, when he might wind up with neither any time soon, when soon couldn’t come soon nuff. 

“You…” had scarce left his lips afore Mac whisked his fingers away, replacing them with a blink-and-miss-it nudge of pressure, before burying himself balls deep with one sure thrust. The darkness behind Joe’s eyelids bled scarlet as the bliss blazed its way through the burn. Full at last, full of him. Impossibly full, thrumming through every fibre of his being as if his heart might burst. Feeding, fuelling that gnawing desperation to feel—truly feel—for the first time in far, far, too long. Teetering on the brink of his very self, clinging to Mac, when only he could hold the abyss at bay. “Morrre…” Joe pleaded, snatching at the tufts of rug snarled in his fists as he pushed back, urging him on.

“Don’t want t’hurt you…” Mac rasped.

“MAAC!” he shrieked, clenching tight. “Please…

“F’fucksakes…” Mac clasped Joe’s waist, grinding himself deeper before dragging his hips back, almost all the way, before unleashing that superlative spine. Joe tightened his grip, tugging him in closer, when there was no close enough. “Look at me…” Mac demanded.

Joe felt strangely reluctant to peel his lids apart; safe in his cocoon of Mac and midnight darkness, studded with starry flecks of light. The sliver of sight he braved was touchpaper to flame. The ferocity of Mac’s focus, fixed on Joe’s face, made his traitorous cheeks flame crimson as if he’d been caught snaffling his stash from the bad-ass’ back pocket. Mac rolled his hips, with slow deliberation, holding Joe’s gaze hostage.

What was he looking for? How Joe hoped he’d found it. Unless…he dreaded doing just that. A scouting tactic; Mac in reconnaissance mode. As Joe feared.

“Promise me…” Mac growled, with a glint that could prob’ly cut glass. It was impossible to tell where passion blurred with…fury. Suppressed rage, balancing on a knife edge of need. Joe p’raps shouldn’t find that…exhilarating, but he’d caused it. Mac felt it. Its very existence was intoxicating. “You won’t…steal yourself away. Swear it.”

Joe’s batshit senses had far from finished their loony bin application, it seemed. After a brief flirtation with bursting into flames, his body all-but sighed against the rug, buttery boned and leaden-limbed. From combusting to road-kill in a snatched off breath. 

“I…won’t.” If you won’t.

“I’m not going anywhere.” Mac glowered. 

Huh…did I say that last part? Joe didn’t think so, but his system had gone haywire and Mac was buried in his body. He was capable of wayyy worse, it must be admitted. And Mac was capable of farrr more than Joe (understatement wasn’t on his list either, oddly nuff) had given him credit for. As the bad-ass promptly proved. Crushing his mouth down to capture Joe’s and punish him with kisses every bit as incendiary the swish of that oh, so sinuous spine. Slamming into Joe over and over, nailing that scintillating spot, nailing Joe to the rug with the full force of that daggered glint. As promised. Obliterating all else. Joe couldn’t keep still, couldn’t stop squirming, couldn’t get close enough, when that was impossible. The need, too intense to surmount. An immense press, spiralling from the low, burning heat, ever-building, like a fire ball about to blow, too much to bear.

“I-I-Mac!” He was there, in an instant. Sure fingers curling around Joe’s cock, as Mac fired off two, three, hip-snapping thrusts and spasmed; unleashing a scorching bolt of white-hot bliss as pulsing warm flooded Joe’s body, fuelling the ecstatic rush.


Joe lay, in the aftermath, with the flecks of his former fears fluttering around him, settling in the silence.

Leaving space aplenty for a new terror to slink along in their wake. A seducer on the prowl; in shadowy form still, lapping at the edge of his consciousness. He knew Mac thought him a two bit tart…mayhaps found his tastes too…eclectic full stop. But. A Big One. As Joe had proved. That was only true until his appetites executed a screeching halt, the moment Joe happened upon his…well, anything.

His favourite breakfast cereal used to be Kellogg’s Variety Pack; eight titchy boxes to choose from every morn. A large part of their allure, in truth (becoming a bit of a habit, which ne’er went well). Until. He’d tasted crunchy-nutters for the first time.

Joe had scoffed them every single day for two decades. Unless he’d been a smidge…indisposed. Only one thing would stop him from saying exactly the same in another twenty years. If the scoundrels stopped making them, cutting off his supply? Joe would just have to make sure he stockpiled ’nuff to last for fifty.

Hence, the new horror lurking on his horizon. Joe sure as slinky rascals couldnae buy a McMansion to fill to the rafters, could he, if…McCafferty wasn’t there...  


McCafferty, McCafferty there’s no one like McCafferty...flinty-glinted fiend of feline-hipped suavity…  

‘Twas an itty bit irresistible…a lot like the bad-ass. Joe’s very own man of mystery. Cat.

And that, was that.







Macavity: The Mystery Cat by T.S. Eliot





My Way 38 Updated

Hi, I updated it with the rest of Mac’s chapter…


My Way

48 Joe







How Joe wished he hadn’t admitted any—all—of that stuff. Trying to stay on the straight ’n’ narrow never went well; he just drove everyone else round the bend, or to drink. Or both.

The bathroom was…shiny. Sunstroke shiny. Blinding bright and gratuitously greige. Joe squinted at the sprinkle of smack marching in single file across marble, willing it to be ’nuff. It was even less than he’d hoovered up after his mad dash to the loo on Mac’s first day, but he didn’t want to nod off. He wanted, needed, Mac. Joe had waited too long already and it was all too new, too…tentative to wait. Worrying. Afraid that Mac might come to his senses, wonder what the fuck he’d done that for, berate himself for sinking so low, then slam the brakes on.

Joe just hoped to hold the craving at bay, pacify it for a wee while, in a ‘swift snack to tide him over till supper time’ sort of way. Rather than indulge in a gourmet dinner with all the trimmings. That was the most fucked up part; needing it purely to function. Having to take it, just to attain ground zero. In trying to escape from himself, Joe had become a slave to a task master even more relentless…and now? He was too scared to stop, not least when everyone blamed the smack for his mishaps, rather than the true culprit. If he stopped, it would soon become all-too clear that they’d bought into a lie. See Joe for the bedsit busker he really was, knew himself to be, and realise he really wasn’t worth the piece of paper his name was written on.

On that note, what if Joe couldn’t…write? What if he couldn’t create anything without his failsafe fuel? What if every word worth a damn was wrested from somewhere he couldn’t access without assistance? Every silvery sliver of melody, gilded with the sheen of opium dreams? Worst of all would be facing that fact—knowing for sure—rather than just suspecting. That he was nothing without it. As talentless as they’d sneered. As talentless as he feared. A fact that would leave Joe stripped naked on a stage, lashed by the scorch of spotlights, exposed as a charlatan. Then exhibited in high definition on the front pages of the papers, stroblit by the unforgiving glare of flash. As the world watched on…and snorted in derision.

Peace of mind, the reassurance of having secured his fix would have to suffice. Joe took too much, too often—its delivery too direct—for a swift snort to do more than becalm the clamour. The physical craving would ease off in a few minutes, but the mental one would be satisfied in a sniffy jiffy. Those last few words were mayhaps more fitting than he’d meant them to be…


“Y’okay?” Mac asked, when Joe emerged from the bathroom after a blissful wee while relishing the rush of relief. The scoundrel was lounging on the sofa, glass in one hand, cigarette in the other, looking a lot less harassed than Joe had left him. Odd that. 

“Yeah…fine. Mac, will you promise me something?” Joe rued his question the instant it tumbled from his lips, unbidden. 

“If it’s legal…and not too heinous,” he snorted.

“T’is legal…heinous?” Joe sighed, sinking down beside him. “Is your call, methinks. Will you—oh, thanks for the tea,” A reprieve when Joe’s middle distance stare encompassed the cup and saucer on the low table before him. He reached for it, regretted its rattle. A staccato stutter of betrayal. Judas. “—tell me when…you’ve had ’nuff? I-I…can’t bear that…you might…” Crap, that sounded pathetic, even before the clincher, “…stay if you’re wishing yourself away. I—”

“Before you go any further,” Mac interjected. “I believe the phrase is ‘back at ya’. You didnae choose me, or even want me here, I’ve been forced upon you…without so much as the freedom to dispense with my services when I piss you off.” After a wee pause to drain his drink, he added, “This, while being saddled with the occupational hazard of wondering what the fuck everyone wants from you—when they always do—while knowing that nothing you give will ever be enough. They’ll always be left wanting. More. I sure as shit wouldnae trust anyone, if I was in your shoes. I’d suspect the worst case scenario, and act accordingly. Preemptively, more often than not.” 

The glint that glittered in the green was as sinister as it was as…hot as hell when Mac glowered the last part. Joe knew that he should be blown away by the bad-ass’ powers of perception—insights not a single soul had cared to share before—but blinking a bit was about the best he could rustle up. The headiness of his brain and the blood that headed south made mustering ‘staggered’ far too hard. 

“I tend to believe what I want to…’til I don’t. Or can’t fool m’self anymore. I’ve always accepted people as they are—hoping for the same in return I guess—do unto others…” Joe snuffed out a soft sigh. “Until they make that impossible. I can’t change that, not when my…foibles have always been so much…more for them to accommodate. Even if they weren’t, changing how I treat people because I’m ‘famous’ would be obscene. I’d rather be dead than be that person…” Joe flicked his eyes to Mac’s face, fearing censure. Wincing in expectation of the stream of ‘shoulds’ the bad-ass would deem it imperative to issue. Part and parcel of his job; to keep Joe safe, just as he’d promised.

“Joe…” His name preceded a fulsome sigh. Uh oh. “I will do my damnedest to keep them off your back. I meant every word I said…all you need do, is be you. Am I right in supposing that you’d prefer fans who want exactly that, rather than punters who buy into what the record company is trying to sell?” Mac levelled him with a stare so penetrating it could probably lick Joe’s bone marrow. That shouldn’t sound erotic. Not a jot. Shoulda woulda coulda...

“Yes…” Joe nodded. “The big ol’ machine is geared to promoting an…image I could never live up to…but it’s more than that. I don’t want to be sold as better than I am, better than them, when I’m not…I can’t live that lie anymore than I could’ve stayed in the closet,” he sighed.

“That’s probably why they’ve made such a fuck awful mess. They’re used to selling a product that’s willing to be sold as such, to shift units, put bums on seats. It’s a deal with the devil. Not many turn it down, or even want to…rail against being elevated. Feted…lifted aloft on the shoulders of the rest.” A rueful head shake that made the overhanging tendrils of Mac’s hair tremble in the lamplight. He didn’t say ‘even me’, but Joe saw it glint in the green…alongside a sliver of something so impossible it must’ve arrived holding hands with the faeries.

It was way too weird a word to leave room for any others, so Joe let it flit away, along with a trillion others and none at all…which left him feeling sort of floppy. So, he shifted himself around to…stretch out a bit, legs hanging over the arm of the sofa, head resting on Mac’s lap.

“Are you quite comfortable?” The bad-ass asked, eyebrows ’n’ lips twerking in tandem.

“Yes, thank you,” Joe grinned.

“I’m glad someone is,” Mac snorted. “But to answer your initial question: I accepted the gig because it was a challenge. I’m staying because…I want to. I don’t need the paycheck and I sure as fuck won’t come up smelling of roses when I’m done.” If all of Joe had felt ‘floppy’ it sure as strewth wouldn’t have stayed that way. “Landing up to our necks in it is far more likely…” he shrugged, reaching forward to grab the whisky bottle and glug a fair slug before leaning back with a satisfied sigh. 

“How does your way of winding up neck-deep differ from mine?” Joe wondered, squinting up at Mac, who just shot him a flinty special. About a devilish smirk before coshing him with this:

“Let’s just call that a…personal question for now…”

Goddammit. His bad-ass was bloomin’ lethal…and that had bugger all to do with whether he offed Joe or not.



49 Mac





“Are you quite comfortable?” Mac asked, resorting to snark when a warm wave of pleasure rippled through his body, riveting him to the spot. The shaft of lust that accompanied the sudden landing of Joe’s head in his lap effected a double tap, freezing him there. The mind-boggling array of limbs stretched across the sofa were the finishing flourish to this Failure Drill. Of Mac to his seat. Mozambiqued. A metaphor to die for. 

Perhaps he should retire and pull an Andy McNabb. 

A cunning plan that left Mac far too busy plotting Bravo, Zero Brains to man his own battlements. If there was another explanation for betraying himself with his very next breath, Mac didnae care to fathom it. In his own defence, the saboteur in his pants had a lot to answer for. It sure as hell didnae bear repeating but, suffice to say? As suicidal soliloquies went; his last words would probably prove all-too prophetic.

“Landing up to our necks in it is far more likely…”

At which point, Mac sat back and downed a wee dram or three. For self-preservation purposes. Before he spewed any more lethal weapons for Joe to wield his way…




It had not escaped Mac’s notice—crack shot sniper that he was—at this precise moment in time? His charge seemed to be in better possession of his faculties than he. Which should have been…alarming, to say the least.

Was he just too weary to be arsed? Christ, he wasnae in his dotage yet. A few hours lost sleep and a midnight drive couldnae compare to trekking the Brecon Beacons in fuck awful weather with sixty pounds of kit crammed into his Bergen. Nor nine weeks spent sweating in out in the jungles of Belize under pressure designed to break the hardiest of bastards, all hell-bent on proving they couldnae be. A weekend spent babysitting a wraith-like smack addict should be a breeze after enduring thirty-six hours of interrogation resistance. In theory.

Enduring extreme conditions couldnae hold a candle to Joe Fitzgerald in the exhaustion stakes. Endless limbs fidgeting in a constant flurry of movement as he wafted from one wisp of whimsy to the next. Fluttering off half-way through one thought to follow anothermomentarily more tantalizingthread. It had proved pretty much impossible to second guess him, which left Mac constantly on edge. Shackled there by his own conviction, and the ever growing certainty that, if anticipation was indeed the best form of defence? Mac was fucked. 

As if Joe’s enchanting charm wasnae crippling enough, the frenetic intelligence Vince had cautioned Mac against was lethal. Joe was far too capable of wrong footing and outwitting anyone who stood in the way of whatever flitted through his head. Trying to second guess him was pointless when fathoming what the fuck he might do in the first place was impossible. 

Mac’s brain might feel as if it was about to melt out of his ears but physically, he was wound so tight he could scarce marshall his remaining marbles, let alone Joe. Being saddled with a perpetual hard on for…two days, sure hadnae helped matters. Had it only been two days? It felt like three minutes and forever. What day was it now? The early hours of Monday? Mac had arrived on…Saturday. In the interim, his carefully curated self had been blown to oblivion. Two days? The miscreant had pulled that off in the first two hours. Minutes. Worse, the more time he spent with Joe, the less Mac felt certain of.

He’d find himself thinking he’d sort of found his footing, then the rug would be pulled from beneath his feet with a swiftness that left him floundering. There were too many Joes for comfort. His mood swings were as quicksilver as his wit…the excesses Mac had presumed sheer self-indulgence now seemed… intrinsic. Just Joe. Who possessed no internal calibrator to adjust his input or output levels. He had but one setting; everything cranked to the max. Even sedated, Joe was still so much more than anyone Mac had ever met. Smack sure as hell didnae sedate his sex drive.

Another suspicion kept reinserting itself into Mac’s consciousness, further muddying the mire. Would Joe be disappointed if the answer to ‘have you ever killed a man’ was no…as Mac had begun to believe? Would the truth fuel Joe’s romantic fantasies…or extinguish them?

Was it any wonder that Mac had lost the bloody plot in which said question played a part? Not least when he couldnae help but suspect the twist in that particular tale would come as no surprise whatsoever.



“What are you pondering?”

“You…” Mac muttered distractedly.

“Oh. In a bad way? Have I done something amiss?”


“No? Crikey, I’m slipping.” Joe grinned. “You’re having a dreadful influence on me, y’know. I’ll be schmoozing ’round a stage crooning mood music in my slippers and smoking jacket next.”

“I don’t doubt you could pull it off too. Quite how you’d manage to subvert that scenario until it dripped with decadent whimsy, as opposed to being sing-a-long-a-Bing, I know not, but that doesnae make it less true.”

“You’re puddled…or piddled, Mr McBadass. Oh, that reminds me, I want a white tux, so I’ll have to ask Adam, cos I need to go to the studio when I wake up.”

“I thought we were off to Harrods…wasnae that why we drove here tonight?” Mac frowned.

“Oh. I forgot…I have to go to the studio first, cos I needMac...” His name scorched his crotch when Joe pounced to blowtorch a blast of breath through Mac’s trousers.

“Fuck!” He gasped, head snapping back as his hips spasmed off the seat.

“I thought you’d never ask…” Joe yanked on the button and fumbled with the zip, before scrambling onto his knees. Mac was still reeling when the waistband of his pants was pulled clear of his cock… the relief of being freed from their confines promptly eclipsed by the mind-mangling heat of Joe’s mouth.

“Hmm…” F’fucksakes…

“Joestop. NO!” Mac clasped a fistful of tufty hair to tug when the miscreant didn’t seem the slightest inclined to pay heed. Oh Christ...lips glistening in the lamplight, plump, parted, that midnight gaze glazed, cloudy with confusion.

“You don’t want me?”

“What the fuck? How the hell did you come up with that?” Mac groaned.

“You s-said no…” Bewilderment muddied the brown; bottomless, breathtaking.

“F’chrissakes…” Mac released the handful of hair to clasp the back of Joe’s head and crush his mouth to his own, hell-bent on obliterating all doubt. “Of course I do…” he rasped, after dragging himself from the kiss. “You couldnae have had a closer view of that truth.”

“I’m sorry, there was only the no and Imy head hurts, it’s too full up of stuff. Mac, please fuck me…” A noise very like a sob sounded in Joe’s throat when he thunked his forehead to Mac’s chest. “Please…”

“Joe…look at me…” he murmured, stroking his tangled snarls of hair. The midnight eyes he raised to Mac’s face glistened, as if brimming with stars. “How the hell could you think I didnae want you? This, despite knowing damn well that I’m just a ‘distraction’? I could be anyone but I’ll do…I’m here. How the fuck d’you think that feels?” Mac demanded. Much to his own dismay…and utter self-disgust.

“I don’t want distracting…or anyone else…just” Joe cut off mid-sentence, his brows crumpled in a frown. “Feels?

Oh crap. If Mac had a gun handy he might have swallowed it. It would’ve been a sure fire way of shutting himself up. He had no right to feel fuck all. He was just a bloody bodyguard. Here, with Joe, because he’d been employed to be.

“Forget it…I’m just…tired. Stupid,” he sighed, pressing the heel of his palm to forehead. 

“I don’t want to,” Joe pouted. “I can’t just ‘forget’ I’ve made you feel bad. What did I do?”

“You haven’t done anything. It’s my bad.” Mac sighed. “I thought you wanted distracting…?”

“I don’t want distracting from you. I want you.” Joe insisted, eyes, huge, imploring.

“Same difference..” Mac shrugged, forcing his lips into a smile he feared was rueful, at best.

“No. It’s not.” Joe shifted so swiftly he’d straddled Mac’s lap before he could mutter the flippant ‘doesn’t matter’ on the tip of his tongue. “It’s specific. You can’t ‘distract’ me from wanting you, that’s a snake scoffing its own tail sort of sentence. Mac…I want you. Inside me. Nail me to the floor with that daggered glare…make me safe. Make me sure for a…wee while that you want to be here. If you don’t take, I can’t believe you’ll stay. Why would you, when you’ve got nothing to gain. Nothing worth having. Everything to lose….”

Mac let him finish, blindsided by this snow flurry of nonsense. Freezing him in his tracks. Biting into his cheeks like wind burn. What the hell was Joe waffling on about? Snakes, nails and puppy dog taieyes. Huge, begging to be believed while stabbing Mac with beliefs so far from truth they were travesties.

His brain felt fit to combust. It hadnae recovered from being scattershot with fragments snatched from a cascade of lyrics he’d heard just once, couldnae be sure he’d heard at all. Too lost in velvet soft tones to commit them to memory while whisked away on the wings of a melody as crystal clear as a mountain stream, sparkling with sunlight. It was, in fact, impossible to focus on anything in Joe’s presence. Nor when he wasnae—present—that is, and Mac didnae know what the fuck he was up to. Nothing worth having? His senses were too deranged by the dark appetite ablaze in Joe’s eyes to muster a single thing worth the weight of those words. Let alone counter them. So Mac just waded in, for all the world as if he were dead set on dragging Joe from a burning car before the bastard thing exploded.

“I’m not even going to waste my breath, when I know damn well you won’t believe me. I havnae got the patience to take that apart piece by piece when it needs a bloody bomb blast. Listen to me. I fully intend to make you so safe, you’ll live to regret it…for as long as you can endure it. More to the point, I’m too crippled to focus on anything but going nowhere. Least of all when ‘nailing’ you, anyway you wish, has become every bit as distracting as the fact you’re crushing my nuts. So, please…shut up and kiss me, f’chrissakes…”






My Way 37

My Way

46 Mac







“Good evening, Sirs. Welcome to The Berkeley.” the parking valet smiled, sweeping open the driver’s door of the Jag.

By the time they arrived at posh-pants hotel, Knightsbridge, Mac’s patience was shredded. A result of sticking rigidly to the speed limit for fear of being pulled over, when the identity of his passenger all-but ensured a search would ensue. This, while suffering the worst case of cripple cock ever crammed into a Jag—Joe’s—and its chuntering consequences. All accompanied by constant are we there yet seat squirming, and nary a drop of Scotch to drink. Other than that, Mac felt splendid, thank you very much.

Despite this litany of woes, Mac still had to stifle a smirk when—after striding around the car—the valet pulled open the passenger door. It soon transpired that the exemplary training of the Berkeley didnae arm its staff against the three miles of alabaster leg that exited the Jag, about a rapidly blinking gaze before the rest of Joe followed in its wake. 

Mac didnae think it likely that the lad was star-struck, when the rich and famous were frequent patrons of the esteemed establishment he’d selected. A fact that seemed to suggest a particular partiality to his guest, egregious legs or…a rather acute fondness for battered acoustic guitars.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr Fitzgerald,” he blinked, flushing a furious shade of scarlet alongside the more customary inclination of his head.

Or possibly all three.

“Merci, muchly,” Joe grinned, doffing the top hat he’d donned while…pouring himself from the car. 

“A porter will bring your luggage presently,” the valet promised, peeling eyes-on-stalks off silk paisley to glance Mac’s way when he jangled the keys at the poor sod.

“Thanks,” he nodded, before flicking his head towards the imposing entrance. “C’mon Trouble…before my Jag winds up wrapped around a lollipop tree,” Mac sighed, clasping a slithery elbow to steer Joe doorwards. Steadfastly ignoring the sizzle of static that shot up his arm.

They were greeted by a black-besuited gent in a top hat so squat, it was nearly a bowler. The doorman was decked out in vaguely Victorian morning dress; all of which lent him the air of a spruced up Chaplin, sans Hitler moustache. So in they went; the silk swathed mad-hatter and his bulldog-chewing-a-wasp bodyguard. The latter now feeling decidedly surly; a consequence of cripple cock and awestruck fanboys.

“Good Evening Sir, welcome to The Berkeley…” greeted the receptionist when Mac reached her desk. ‘Sir’ because Joe had stilled several feet away and stood, sweeping the foyer like a lighthouse lamp with huge, unblinking eyes. A burgundy blot on a marble landscape.

“It’s very swish, but a bit…bling,” the miscreant decided, with a tut ‘n’ sigh that suggested; I guess I’ll just have to slum it amid modern conveniences.

Once Mac had secured them a suite, they were guided along a plethora of highly polished (possibly) oak and ivory corridors; both gleaming with a supernatural shine that was migraine-inducing at three hundred hours (into Mac’s day). Joe was strangely quiet, his gaze darting this way and that.

“Y’okay?” Mac murmured as they clacked along the corridor.

“Yeah…just a bit beset by craving and shiny.” Joe wrinkled his nose. Like a seven foot rabbit.

“Shiny?” Mac chuckled.

“Surfaces…stabbing my eyeballs. Blimey, it’s bright,” he winced.

Being sandblasted by greige at three a.m., while craving opiates, was possibly not the most comfortable of experiences, Mac had to concede. Their rooms should be furnished with more discreet lighting, at least. With a bit of luck, their luggage would be along in a jiffy and Joe could access his stash. Before his head exploded. 

The Wellington Suite, Sirs…” their porter announced, sweeping the door open, and flicking the switch to illuminate the room.

“Strewth!” Joe cringed, when it was promptly floodlit.

Mac headed straight for the standard lamp in the corner and gestured to the porter to kill the strobes before turning it on.

“Sorry, sir…”

“Thanks, no problem,” Mac assured him. “A touch of…light sensitivity. Migraine.”

After the amenities of the suite had been extolled: expansive outdoor roof terrace with conservatory, sauna, impressive views of London’s skylineetc, etc…their not-so temporary host recited the bumf regarding menus, room service…ad infinitum…informed Mac that their luggage would be with them presently, pocketed his tip, and finally, left them in peace.

Phww...what a palaver. I’m staying at The Hole In The Wall, next time.” Joe sighed, sinking into the plush (porridge) sofa.


“Yeah, I think so…it was the first name wot popped in my head and sounded a mite more…befitting,” Joe grinned. “Y’know it?”

“Yeah…it’s not far from my gaff. I’m…fond of the area. I should probably apologise, that’s why you now find yourself reclining in the greige splendour of the Wellington Suite.”

“I somehow doubt the others would’ve been much of an improvement in the eyesore stakes. You’re a dark horse, Mac. You didn’t strike me as the sentimental type…oddly ’nuff. P’raps cos…your reply to my last personal question reprised, ‘If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”

“The two aren’t mutually exclusive,” Mac pointed out. “Why’d you suppose serial killers keep trophies…?”

“Hm, good point. Blimey, I wish the bloody porter would hurry up with your stash of fingernails,” Joe sighed, kneading at his forehead with the heel of his hand.

“Touché.” Mac snorted. “D’you want a cuppa…or something stronger?”

“A cuppa, weirdly nuff. My belly is fizzing lager and not much else,” Joe owned, with a groan.

“D’you want something to eat?”

“I’ll have some crunchy nutte—thank gawd for that,” Joe perked up, when a discreet double-knock at the door promised a far finer distraction.

“It seems they’ve arrived…” Mac stated the bloody obvious while marching over to open it.

A few minutes later their incongruous collection of luggage was sitting piled on the porridge carpet, looking uncannily akin to the lost property office at Waterloo Station. “Okay, Trouble, what d’you want first?” Possibly the most pointless query on the plant, as he stared at the motley collection of clutter now littering the salubrious suite.






47 Joe




“I thought you were beset by cravings?” Mac smirked, spearing Joe with a flinty special.

“Wracked with them…so p’raps I should say…” Joe winced, while levering his aching bones off the squishy sofa. He stood, scratching at his head—which seemed to be hosting a nest of fire ants—while pondering the pile of luggage, trying to remember where he’d stuffed his stash. Brown suitcase, he decided, creaking to his haunches in order to flick its clasps open and lift the lid. “I want you, first and foremost, but I’d better have a quick toot before the rictus sets in. Unless, you’ve got a crowbar handy to prise my legs apart…which wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest, t’be honest. On the off chance that anyone requires coshing.” 

Joe wasn’t paying a lot of attention to all his gibberish, being too busy scrabbling for his stash, which he finally unearthed, stuffed into a sock. For all the world as if to foil pesky search party poopers. Not his most-inspired spot of subterfuge, Joe had to admit, but no matter…when it was here, safe ‘n’ sound. Possibly on accounts of Mac’s punctilious driving (Joe demented), in order to deter invisible police cars lurking in laybys. Apparently. 

Before you cast aspersions, Mr McBadass, surely you could do with a wee dram or twelve—truth still being the order of the day n’all—so suck it up,” Joe informed him, straightening up; Santa stocking clutched in a clammy fist. “You look a tad tense, so don’t deny it…” Joe raised a tentative hand (sans sock) lest it be batted aside, to sweep a trailing tendril of fringe away from Mac’s face. “I’m sorry…” he murmured, placing a forefinger on the furrow between the dark wings of Mac’s brows to smooth it away. “Forgive me…?” he pleaded, cringing a bit, p’raps cos Mac didnae look as if he was about to nut him. As Joe deserved.

Tense…?” Mac blew out a looong breath, looked as if he were about to say a helluva lot more, then rolled his eyes with a sigh. A heartfelt one. Rather than ‘despairing’…ditto deserved-wise. “It’s my own fault for agreeing to transport you and half the national gross product of Afghanistan across the country, at three a.m. without so much—”

“As a tot o’whisky or a snatch of sleep,” Joe supplied, with a wince. “Not your fault, either. I am sorry, really. That’s why everyone preferred me stoned…at first. I was…easier, before I wasn’t,” he acknowledged.

“Easier?” Mac cocked his head, seeking clarification for something that wasn’t a jot worth hearing. Let alone listening to.

“Less prone to haring off or doing stuff that makes folk miffy? I didn’t know it was four a.m…I needed to go to the studio, it was important. So was the saxophonist. The xylophone…was a bit of a whim, but it worked out a treat.” 

“Did you manage to…obtain a xylophone…at four a.m?” Mac’s lips twitched a tad, despite the eyebrow that paid his hairline a visit.

“Not till six-ish…?” Joe admitted, “It felt like three weeks though. I didn’t mean to be selfish, I didn’t know what day it was, let alone time, I hadn’t been to bed, I just—”

“Needed a xylophone.” Mac shook his head, with an eye roll that looked… No, that couldn’t be right. ‘Fond’ eye rolls weren’t a thing, were they? And even if they were, meanest mo-fo’s on Earth did not do ‘fond’. Way too airy-fairy. Wry? Rueful? Those seemed more fitting. Joe’s marbles were skittering about like dried peas rattling around on a tin tray, in the trailer of a flat-bed truck. This, is why folks preferred him stoned. A smidge.

‘Smidges’ weren’t Joe’s best thing, it must be admitted. In case anyone hadn’t noticed. In darkest Peru, or Timbuktu. Now there was a rhyme worth weaving…

“Ooh, I need a pen…”

Mac? Didnae even bother asking. Nor pull a what-the-fuck face. Just slipped a hand into his jacket…and produced a fancy fountain pen from his inner breast pocket. 

Proving, once and for all, exactly why Mac was a class act. And the baddest bad-ass on the planet. Quite aside from the incomparable butt, that being an unimpeachable fact.




My Way 36

My Way

45  Joe






Anticipation is the best form of defence…?


Crikey…that didn’t bode well. Unless Mac considered such anticipatory prowess a win; lulling him into a false sense of security. Its technicalities nailed down with a flinty glint and an arsenal more potent than Semtex. Said gifts aside—as if that were possible—the bad-ass already had his mitts on the only weapon that could secure his triumph. One so secret, Mac didnae even know it was his to wield, nor the unequivocal ace card it was. Fait accompli, in fact.

Joe sure as shurikens wasn’t about to fess up and surrender his last sliver of salvaged pride. Let alone hand Mac the master key that would beget him game over before it began. Why was Mac staying? For the challenge? To prove he could triumph where featherweights had failed? If that were true…the scoundrel could’ve sauntered off, job done, after binding Joe to his own bed. Before ensuring that he’d ruined Joe for every bugger else. 

Ah well, that was a minor matter in the scheme of things…unless Mac found out. Unless he had done exactly that…which would explain why he’d elected to stay. Joe couldn’t rustle up another reason why Mac would risk the ruin of his peerless reputation. In spectacular style, too…with repercussions he couldnae slip beneath that radar he prized. Not when they’d be emblazoned in bold font across the front pages of the press with a penchant for the spectacularly sleazy.

If Mac took himself off now, before things went amiss; he could claim that unforeseen circumstances had called him away. A matter of far more import than a junkie scumbag. Or, simply declare the gig too tedious to be worth the claim on his time. Thus, safeguarding Mac’s rep and saving him the bother of mopping up Joe’s mishaps, in one fell swoop.

If Joe had one iota of sense, he would compel Mac to go while…what? It was a bit bloomin’ late to do a damn thing about the fact the bad-ass had—unbeknownst to him—failed. In the way that counted most to Mac; the one he’d been contracted to pull off. Rather than ensure that Joe remained a ‘functioning addict’?  The scoundrel had saddled him with another addiction, instead. One just as deadly and intoxicating as smack, but far more lethal. That could only kill him. Joe would have to live with the loss of Mac. If he survived it.

Any noble intentions Joe might’ve retained went winging out of the window a wee while before his guitar. Jettisoned by three verses of poesy that paraded themselves about with much the subtlety of a Carmen Miranda hat at a Pride March. Words that tripped off his tongue with nary a care for consequence, flaunting their wares with no forethought whatsoever. Just a few phrases Joe had strung together while tuning his G string. He would have been better off strangling himself with it.

The lyrics Mac had already read had been revealing ‘nuff. The strumpets that sashayed from Joe’s lips as he sang? Were sporting fuck-me heels, collar ‘n’ cuffs, and bugger all else. 

He conquered…and more? My way to paradise? Not content with those corkers? The next traitors to trip the light fantastic? A recital of the rainbow rhyme sans green. Inspiring a well-dodgy war reference with which to return it to its rightful place. Reigning supreme. Apparently. Daring Joe to dream…which was news to him. When he’d done his damnedest to keep hope on lockdown, let alone allow it to take flight in dream form.

Oh, crap. To quote himself. Possibly in a bid to obliterate the bad-ass’ memory banks, the coffers of which were heaving with far too many truths for comfort. Not least Mac’s…who must wish he’d remained as oblivious as he’d arrived about Joe’s music.

Or worse, rue the day he discovered who-the-fuck Joe Fitzgerald was. The pillock who’d pulled off that coup with unsurpassable aplomb, that’s who. Purveyor of poison dart poetry, as toxic as the blood in his veins. Every bit as untrustworthy as Mac suspected. He destroyed everything, like a clumsy puppy with a favourite toy, never satisfied till he’d loved it t’death. 

Least propitious of all, said lyrics had unleashed a helluva lot of hyperbole on Mac with indecent haste. A timeframe that didn’t account for the fact Mac was opium poured into a slinky suit, oozing sex from every pore, with eyes like lusty laserbeams. Having been poleaxed the moment the bad-ass prowled through the door, Joe had, in truth (….) kept his lips buttoned far longer than the secret spilling lushes were accustomed to.

Not content with taking root in his mind, the poem he’d jotted in his journal had prospered like bindweed. In much the manner their muse was embedding himself in every fibre of Joe’s bloody being. If this kept up, he’d have the raw material for a new album in…five days? Three, if Joe didn’t go abed. He wanted to go to the studio now. After a spot of sexing. First thing tomorrow would have to do.

It was so much more than a waft of whim, or wanting something Joe knew he didn’t deserve. Infinitely more than meeting his nemesis and thriving to tell the tale. Joe feared that he wanted— needed—Mac to think he was…worth it. Worth the very real and plentiful risk to his reputation and worse; the respect his bad-ass possibly valued more than its dividends.

The most worrying part of all this was that Joe wanted Mac to Believe In Him…which was just about the most dipshit aspiration he’d ever cooked up. As deluded as it was demented.

Joe had once thought that being wanted would be paradise. An all-you-can-quaff fountain of plenty. As fortunate as he now felt—and as greedy as he knew himself to be—its spoils had neither quenched his thirst nor sated his appetite. Nothing had felt more nourishing than a needle and syringe. Proving that he’d become the (just about) living embodiment of that old adage: Quod me nutrit, me destruit. What nourishes me, destroys me. 

Then, when Joe had lost all hope in the impossible? He’d been gifted a brew so potent that his smorgasbord tastes had promptly become as picky as a bloody panda’s. After one mouthful. If these metaphorical excesses progressed apace, lyrics would soon start leaking out of Joe’s ear holes. If he didn’t get some of it down on tape sharpish it would eat a hole in his hat. Where was he?

Oh, yes, about to sup from the single wellspring he cared to quaff for the foreseeable. The most spooky part of all? Joe couldn’t recall ever lusting to take via giving. The sharing of mutual pleasure, f’sure. Always. But this…was a different kettle of firecrackers. Joe ached to make Mac come apart. The passion seething beneath that steel-clad exterior was as exhilarating as the superpowers of his steel-sprung spine. Knowing that Joe could unravel that cool as fuck composure was intoxication itself. 

Settling for less would be a helluva lot like tossing his stash out and deciding to subsist on Shandy. It was thirsty work, all this thinking lark. As was fretting that Mac hated the piffle his eardrums had just been assaulted by—or p’raps worse—felt indifferent. So…Joe suggested that they stop for a bit. Partly cos he couldn’t sit still in the car and fret about it for another second…or three. Not without combusting. There were only so many things he could crave at once, and stay sane. Ish.

It was the best stop for services Joe could ever recall. It sure as salty shenanigans beat Newport Pagnell. If there was a sight or soundtrack more glorious than Mac mid-orgasm, Joe had never been treated to it on his travels far ‘n’ wide. Mac might be skeptical about Joe’s adherence to his crunchy-nut diet…but there wasn’t a lot Joe could do about that. Not at present. Not until he proved the bad-ass wrong; as Joe had every intention of doing. Many many times…for as long as Mac would let him.

In the wake of Joe’s snackeroo on the hard shoulder, Mac seemed a smidge distracted. A fact so distracting that Joe quite forgot the whereabouts of his guitar…till they started trundling along the tarmac to rejoin the motorway.

“Mac!! M’guitar!” Nooo...it was his favourite acoustic too. “Stooop!”

“Fuck!” Mac slammed his foot on the brake, just as Joe’s frantic fumble with the door handle paid off. So, out he sort of…scrambled. In much the fashion of a staggering drunk after a fight with a barstool—but with added bits o’grit embedded in his palms—as Joe skidded off in hot pursuit.

“I’m sorry,” he told her, once she was safely cradled in his arms. Blimey. That was close. She’d survived far worse than a wee trip from a car window, but he hadn’t fancied her chances if a soddin’ great lorry had parked up for a tea-break. “C’mon…”

“You could’ve waited until we’d stopped, y’nutter, it wasnae likely to go for a stroll was it?” Mac sighed, when they were safely seated, back on board.

“That wouldn’t have been very gallant, would it?” Joe protested.

“Gallant? You threw it out the fucking window ten minutes ago!”

“Stop nit-picking…and do your driving thing. You might want to do up your flies first though, perchance I forget to remind you when we alight at posh pants hotel. There y’go, see? I’m on a chivalrous roll.”

“I sure as hell never expected to wind up feeling kinship with a guitar,” Mac snorted, shooting him shifty side-eye.

“Think yourself lucky, you could’ve had your fellatory skills likened to being lobbed from a car window, instead,” Joe sniffed.

“F’fucksakes…” Mac spluttered, spraying spittle across his pristine dash. Charmin’.


Blimey…behopes the bad-ass put his foot down when he was done yukking it up. Scoundrel. Joe was suff’ring on so many fronts, he could scarce tell his arse from his elbow crook… 







My Way 35

My Way

44 Mac




“Fuck!” Mac cursed, dodging away from the guitar winging towards his head from the back seat.

“You didn’t need to duck, y’daftie. I wasn’t going to clobber you with it.”

“The trajectory of its arc would have clipped my left ear. Fact,” Mac stated.

Fact? How can you sound so sure? It was nowhere near you when you flinched!” Joe protested. “You’re hellish sexy when you’re spitting bullets, though. Just sayin.”

“Experience.” Mac stated, ignoring the latter to address the former. “I would’ve sat tight—not took preventative action—had there been no need. Anticipating an attack is the best form of defence.”

“Are we talking war…or wits?” Joe asked, that insatiable curiosity piqued.

“There is no distinction in clash of will terms. The victor still triumphs over the vanquished.” Mac shrugged, knowing damn well that his words wouldnae sate it.

“How many men have you…vanquished, Mac?” Joe obliged…and then some. As Mac should have anticipated. The appetite glittering in bottomless black was far too greedy for its own good. It would be the death of Joe. A cause and effect as consequential as: trajectory on impact point.

Eradicating that threat was impossible. A client cannae be killed to save their life. Nor a territory bombed to preserve it. His efforts to keep Joe alive would likely finish them both off. Bring it on, Fitzgerald. I’ll save you if it fucking kills us, Mac vowed to…himself. Just as well, when there seemed to be a wee flaw in his formerly impeccable logic. Well, so be it, but—in the meantime—he’d just have to do his damnedest to ensure Joe’s safety. That was a given; it was Mac’s job. Job? That had bugger all to do with it, as well he knew. He’d be willing to do that for free, but they’d sure as shit have to pay Mac to put up with the press and Joe’s…entourage. Particularly those who purported to work on his behalf. Mac’s employers. A cinch, then.

“I refer you to my previous reply…” Mac snorted, yanking sharply on the steering wheel to swerve around the shadow that scuttled from the hedgerow, straight into their path. 

He focussed on the road for a few miles, thoughts never drifting far from the silk clad tangle of limbs crammed into his passenger seat. What was Joe scheming…dreaming…in that baffling, bewitching, brain? His reverie was interrupted by a trickle of notes that saturated their silence. Left lingering in the air like scent when Joe paused to tweak a tuning knob, before repeating the same sliver of melody. A low murmur accompanied the flutter of Joe’s fingers, Mac could only make out fragments… ‘Wits or war…’ Words he recognised, followed by a stream of several he hadnae seen, or heard, before.

He came, he saw…he conquered. Veni, vidi, vici…Victor victory. Walk the walk…Richard of York…gave battle in vain…somewhere over the rainbow…the show, must go…on.” Sung in a murmur like a whisper on the wind. Aching sweetness, weaving its way around notes fingerpicked at breakneck speed in a spine-tingling clash of contrasts.

 Mere stream of consciousness? All rhyme no reason? Another tweak, the pluck of a single string, then Joe nodded in satisfaction and shifted in his seat, settled the guitar more comfortably. 

A Minor…C…Fmaj7, duh…better…” Joe tutted to himself, then played a melody Mac couldnae discern from the first.

The ferocity of focus Joe had summoned from fuck knows where was staggering. Mac had become (he instantly realised) far too accustomed to random flights of fancy and flurries of movement like light refracting off curved glass. This was laser focus, trained with pin point intensity on a single ‘target’, catching Mac off guard. A sensation uncannily akin to the ‘dramatic gun cock’ in a movie. Fuck. He needed to stay sharp. Being spat out…wasnae an option. Mac was starting to fear he was all out of those…

“’Kay…” Joe raised his head and blinked, several times. “Sorry…I got…” He scratched at his temple, leaving a tufty sprig of hair standing proud, translucent in the light from the dash.

“S’okay. I enjoyed…listening, as it unfolded. Like watching a timelapse clip of a plant growing. If that makes sense…”

“It sure beats the ‘back of a cross-stitch pattern’ I’d been convinced it resembled?” A response that almost seemed…abashed. No…surely not?

It had been one helluva weekend. Mac had lost his mind.

“‘Kay…sorry, here y’go…It’s real rough though, don’t expect much…” A ripple of notes negated the need for a reply, so Mac just nodded, forcing himself to focus on the road ahead.

Joe bent his ever-tousled head over the guitar and began to play with more purpose. His fingers were more fluid, his voice more certain when he began to croon ‘Mac’s’ song.  A thought that stirred the dark heat pooled in the pit of his guts as words flowed from those overripe, ever ready lips. As readily as if they’d been sitting on the tip of Joe’s tongue all this time.

“O those eyes of tourmaline green

That flinty glint, agleam with mean

Glimmering with a lethal sheen

Dangerous with dark desire

Tempered rage and deadly ire,

Ablaze with lust and bad-ass fire…”

Another ripple of notes started tripping off Joe’s strings like a stone skimming the surface of a lake. The melody quickening, as he began to pluck more purposefully. When Joe resumed singing, his rolling vowels now accompanied clipped consonants, enunciated with a click of tongue as the lyrics rang crisp and clear. Words he’d murmured but a few minutes ago…

“Wits or war? He came, he saw. 

He conquered...and more. 

Veni, vidi, vici.  

Victor in victory. 

My way au paradis

Un fait accompli…”

 Fragments of conversation, snatched up and unleashed like a kite taking flight. Mac made a mental note, catalogued it with the slew of observations accrued over the last two days. Reality reflected through those incredible eyes took on a new truth, Joe’s truth. Given authority by the beauty of the words he weaved…and cast into stone by the purity of his conviction. 

Fuck… Mac clamped his mouth shut, and kept his eyes fixed on the tarmac snaking ahead, abruptly conscious of being unable to recall driving the last few miles. 

Oouch, that needs work…sorry…” Joe flinched, but his fingers didnae falter as he segued straight into the next verse. The similar pattern of the first line lulled Mac into a false sense of security, until Joe dropped his voice to sing the second. Gone were the couplets, replaced by more complex rhyme…and recognizable phrases that clashed like bodies on a battlefield.

“He walks the walk, talks the talk.

With diamond-tipped will,

Like The Hawk in the Rain

Swooping in for the kill

While vile Richard Of York.

Died Battling In Vain…”

Joe took it down a notch, slowing to a shiver of notes, repeated as a haunting refrain.

“Lest we forget. The green

Reigns supreme. I dare to dream…

And somewhere over the rainbow… 

The show, oh the show, must go…” 

A line left lingering in the air for several bars…then a single word. As final as the slap of Joe’s palm onto the strings—silencing all sound—in its wake:


Crap…I’m crippled.” 

“Huh?” Mac blinked, as startled from a trance. Fucknows how they hadnae wound up wrapped around a signpost. “Crap? Are you off your rocker?” Mac demanded, glancing to his left. At Joe, entirely present; sitting up straight, scanning the darkness like a sniper rifle.

“According to most…but I said: crap I’m crippled. Are we nearly there yet, Mac?”

“Nearly there? It’s a Jag, not Chitty-Chitty bloody Bang-Bang. We haven’t even reached Reading.”

Pffft. Can we stop for a bit, then?”

“For what…?”

“I just told ya,” Joe grinned. Eyes and teeth glinting like starlight.

“You want to stop. For a bit.” Mac repeated. Gobsmacked by the segue from lyricism to lust.

“Yup. Maaac…” he whimpered. “Pleeease…

“We. Are on the M4,” Mac informed him. For all the world as if that would matter a toss.

“Just park up on the hard shoulder,” Joe insisted, with an impatient huff.

“I am not shagging you on the hard shoulder,” Mac hissed.

“That sentence was just cruel. Sadist. I don’t recall mentioning shagging. I do remember the part where you promised to keep me safe.

“That’s exactly what I’m doing…from the press. And being arrested,” Mac snarled.

“I don’t give a monkey’s nuts about the press. Mine, however, are another matter. Three seconds, Mac. Then I pounce…Oooone…Twoooo…

Shit...Mac glanced in the rear view mirror, then swerved sharply across two lanes of motorway. Never. Ever. Would he drive Joe anywhere in broad daylight. Or busy traffic. Absolutely not. No way.

“Thank you muchly, dear sir.” Joe beamed. Having stopped counting the second the car veered left, victory secured. Demon.

“Joe. I am not—what the fuck are you do—!?” The guitar was jettisoned out of the car window about a sharp intake of breath before Mac found himself engulfed in limbs and lips. As insistent, hot, hungry as the hand that clamped to his crotch. “Joe…”

“No…need, I can’t—” 

Mac’s button gave as that far-too talented tongue darted between his teeth to duel with his own. “Can’t what!? Jooe, stoohhgod…” Mac groaned, when his zip gave way with a rasp like his shredded resistance.

“Stand more craving. Mm, so harrd…” A burning palm branded Mac’s cock; enclosed it in a sure fist.

“Gnnrr…f’fucksakes. Do it…” Demanded the degenerate idiot—supposedly—in the driver’s seat. 

“Do what? This…?” As Joe began a torturously slow glide.

“No…” Mac grunted, head slamming against the headrest.

Hmm…good…I’m starving…”

There was a brief caress of cool air, about a bitten-off cry before Mac’s cock was enveloped in velvet heat. “Aaaah…” The noises ensuing from his own crotch were obscene, deafening in the darkness. Christ, that bloody tongue. “Joe…please…” Mac groaned, bowing his back, hips straining off the seat. “Aaargh..”

“Hmm…” The hum vibrated around his shaft, sparking along his spine, thrilling through his veins. 

“Fuck…don’t stop, never stop…” A plea Mac would’ve sworn he didnae utter, until a cool whisper wafted across scorched flesh.

“Oh, I don’t intend to..”

God no…he had. Oh, whatever… Mac couldnae quite…care, when Joe—who had bobbed up briefly to respond to his own unutterable sentence—damn near swallowed him whole.

“Oh..I..ah…” Blow job? It was like being feasted on by hungry bloody hoover. Back and forth that mind-boggling mouth swept, obliterating all but…He. “Gnh..aah…” Fuck no…the head of Mac’s cock hit the back of Joe’s throat and Mac sucked a sharp breath through clenched teeth, fighting to hold on. A battle doomed before it began. “Joooe!” he hollered when Joe swallowed around him, alongside possibly the most obscene purr of sound Mac had ever heard. The impossible pressure exploded in riot of bliss, blitzing his body with…far too much for…Mac’s last remaining marbles. Guzzled, far too greedily for…anyone but who the fuck is Joe Fitzgerald.

“Mmm…” An appetite that apparently wouldnae be satisfied till Joe had licked the bloody platter clean.

Mac’s lids had no sooner flickered open than slammed shut when his eyeballs were stabbed by the blazing trail of light snaking along the central reservation. “Oh fuck…”

“Oh, if only…” his miscreant sighed. With all the limpid sorrow of le poète. “I suppose we’d better be off though, before someone snaffles my stash in exchange for some overnight accommodation y’cannae refuse.”

“Oh, fuck…” Mac groaned. Again.

“That said, I’m not sure my sterling intentions can outlast a third verbal ejaculation along those lines.” Joe snickered. “D’you want me to drive?”

“NO.” Mac blew out a fulsome breath and scraped a hand through his tangled snarls of fringe. Then…fumbled for the seatbelt he…somehow hadnae noticed being undone. If there could possibly be a more uncanny summation of his plight? Mac sure as hell didnae want to hear it.  

Or an offer of bed and board somewhere far less ‘posh’ than planned, if you don’t get your raddled ass, and the Jag, into gear…






My Way 34

My Way

43 Joe 









“There, see? Just my stash and I’m done.” Joe announced after bouncing his second case into submission. “Oh. When I’m dressed,” he amended. Then realised exactly where his trousers were. “On second thoughts…I might as well just don my dressing gown, I’ll be more comfy. No one will see me in the car, anyhoo. Sorted.”

“They sure as hell will when you arrive at the posh hotel. Particularly if you intend on keeping that…” Mac declared, darting a glance at Joe’s head. “You must be six-eight in that bloody hat.”

“I will be spiffy, is what I’ll be. Very Gent at my Leisure…and most appropriately attired in silk paisley.”

“Don’t forget your cravat,” the scoundrel snorted.

Ooh, perfect…”

“Oh, fuck no…”

“It was your suggestion. So put that in your pipe…”

“No. Pipe. You cannot walk into the foyer of Poshpants Hotel, Knightsbridge, puffing on an opium pipe. No way. Are you planning to sport shoes with this get-up, or going barefoot?” Mr Snarky enquired. 

“Now you’re just being daft. That would be an affront to sartorial flair. I can’t wear shoes with a smoking jacket, I’d look ridiculous, my feet are like flippers.”

“I’m losing the will to live…” Mac buried his face in his palm.

“D’you want a blow job before we go, that might perk you up a bit?” Joe pinned on a cheesy grin. Almost as big as his feet, which were not. Cheesy, that is. His arm pits could possibly do with a swipe of Sure, but he’d never suffered from niffy feet.

“Tempting…but no.” Mac’s sigh did sound regretful, unless that was a result of agreeing to go. Or, arriving in the first place. “I’ve just got washed and dressed so I’d best go and start loading the boot…before I find myself forgetting that fact.”

The bad-ass was taking the abrupt change of plans with astonishing good grace. Joe had expected him to start muttering about ‘terms’ and timetables…but Mac hadn’t even grumbled about his toppled-over towers of tidiness. P’raps obliterated in a bit of a mishap because someone had buried Divinidylle at the bottom. A double entendre par excellence, Joe could not help but note. Nor the divine (comedy) retribution that was Dante’s banishment to the pits of the book pile. Or, while he was on a roll…that Mac’s amenable disposition was most oddsome.

Unless, o’course, he was just relieved that brute force wouldnae prove necessary to prise Joe from his hideyhole. Drat. A spot of tardy-arsery could’ve reaped rich rewards. Ah well, he’d have opportunities aplenty to bear the brunt of said brutery. In truth (tralala) Joe hadn’t intended to kick up a fuss about goingdespite his former disinclination—because that burden now fell to the bad-ass. Whose contract no doubt depended on it, but more to the point…? Proving that Mac’s superlative powers of persuasion could pull off what no other bugger had managed (despite their job title) was irresistible. Begrudging anyone their failure in comparative terms was a wee bit harsh, Joe had to admit. They could’ve turned up in tanks and never outgunned those hips.

Now he’d lost the plot. Where was he? Packing. That was it. For London. How long would he be away for? Joe had no idea, that was just the first stop. Rehearsals had been booked to prepare for the five date mini-tour that followed straight afterwards. He was looking forward to those, Joe loved playing gigs…it was the in-between parts that drove him doolally. That said…the tour bus entertainment was sure looking up. There would, at least, be a plentiful supply of crunchy-nutters to sustain him on his travels. Hmm…

Speaking of, Joe scrounged up a bag for his cereal of the scoffing sort, tossed in a few odds ‘n’ sods, then pronounced himself done. “Once I’ve slipped into my robe and slippers, we can sally forth into the night….” 

“Right…I’ll go and get started on cramming this lot in the car,” Mac told him, slinging the strap of his holdover over one shoulder and seizing the handle of a suitcase to slink off downstairs. 

Joe pulled on a pair of pants and slipped into aforementioned silk paisley, secured the belt in a knot and slid his feet into his fancy slippers. Velvet—as sported on many a red carpet—by la crème of Hollywood no less. So, plenty fine for a swanky hotel by Joe’s reckoning. Hat on head, cigs in pocket, sorted.

“Y’done?” Mac grinned from the doorway, the green aglint with devilry.

“I am, indeed.”

“And splendid you look too, sir. C’mon then, let’s go, it’s just this case and your bag now. Do you want anything from the fridge?” Mac asked, scooping the second hat off the chair and cramming it on with a wink. Dashing he looked, too. “Nooo…we cannae delay our departure, so don’t even—”.

“I didn’t say anything!” Joe spluttered.

“Those.” Mac pronged a two fingered jab at Joe’s eyeballs. “Did.” Dratted traitors.

“Rumbled. Okaaaay… Lager then, there should be some chilled ones left…”

“Okay. I’ll collect that, along with the bag I left in the kitchen. London, here he comes…” Mac proclaimed, tipping his topper. 

“Suits you, sir,” Joe beamed, before adding: “Crikey, I hope so, or I’m staying here.”


“She’s a beauty,” Joe grinned, sliding into the leather passenger seat of the silver Jag. “Thank you for driving us now. I thought you might be miffed.”

“Why?” Mac asked, as the car purred to life. 

“Well, it wasn’t on your schedule…following your ‘terms’,” Joe shrugged, cracking open a can o’lager. “D’you want one of these?” 

“Maybe later, I’m good…” Mac answered, a mite distractedly. P’raps for the best while negotiating the dead o’night driveway. 

“That’s the understatement of the century.” Joe noted. “Just sayin’.” It was too dark to see for sure, but he could’ve sworn that the bad-ass blushed a bit.

The brusqueness of his response p’raps suggested that Joe had been spot on. “The only schedule I care about is the one I’m contracted to ensure you carry out. As long as I get you to the studio by four tomorrow, I’m not fussed about the minutiae.” Another shrug, then Mac sighed, “Joe, I’m not out to make you miserableor shove a spoke in your wheelsif they have a hope in hell of taking us in the right direction. That said, I have no intention of co-starring in a remake of ‘Get him to the bloody Greek’ either,” he declared, shooting Joe a shifty side-eye.

“You may rest assured, I’ve no wish to secrete my stash up your arse…” Joe, um, reassured him.

“Thank fuck for that,” Mac snorted.

“That sounds a lot closer to the truth, that’s for sure. Smoke?”

“Thought it might.” A response too droll to sound disgruntled. “Please…” Mac nodded.

Please..? Blimey, that’s a result, I was willing to beg,” Joe pinned on a big ol’ beam.


Pft. Just a tip. If that’s supposed to sound scary, you might want to have a word with the wisest parts of my person. Okay…here you go.” Joe lit a cigarette and held the filter to smirky lips.

“Thanks,” Mac muttered around it, dragging in a lungful while winding down the window.

“I’ll play your song in a mo, while mine’s still open…” Joe told him, following suit. “…if you still want me to.” 

“Very much. Is the tour part of a new album launch?” Mac’s question was so artless, it was clear he had no clue whether Joe had released two, or twenty, of them. A gift in itself.  

How Joe loved that there’d been no crash course on his back catalogue. Mac didn’t seem to care a toss, which made him feel…safer for some daft reason. Comfy. Whatever the bad-ass thought; it would be his truth. Not gleaned from a record review or opinion piece. Or worse, tainted by the tittle-tattle of the tabloids. 

“Don’t pretend to like it—if you don’t—I’ll be able to tell. I won’t be miffy or have a mishap, if you hate it.”

A mishap? Are you assuring me that your adherence to the terms is not dependent upon my appreciation of your musicianship?” Mac intoned with grandiloquent aplomb.

“Yup,” Joe chuckled. “You’re an incalculable conundrum, Mr McBadass.”

’Ow d’ya work that aht?” Mac parried, breaking into a broad cockney Burt wanted back.

“I doubt I ever will…even if you’re still driving me doolally in twenty years,” Joe admitted.

“Fuck. I’d get less for manslaughter,” Mac snorted.

“Was that a promise or a threat…? ”

“Let’s just call it multitasking,” the scoundrel winked.




My Way 33

My Way

42 Mac








“Well, I guess the proof will be in the pudding. Or not. Here y’go…” Mac bent over the side of the bed and grasp the neck of the guitar to settle it across Joe’s legs. “I really would like to hear you play…”

“Okay…in a minute. Mac, can we buy a kite?”

“A kite,” Mac repeated, nonplussed. Even bearing in mid who’d mooted said kite it was still one helluva random response to having a guitar land in your lap. Try as he might, he couldn’t fathom a connection if his sanity depended upon it.

“I want to go kite flying on Primrose Hill.” Joe beamed, midnight eyes aglitter with delight. Starry with anticipation. Infectious. 

“Okay…where did you rustle the kite up from?” Mac grinned, despite himself. 

“I didn’t. I haven’t got one, that’s why we need to buy one. Let’s go to Harrods, we can get a posh one with two handles and fluttery ribbons to whirl in the wind…’Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaaaring’…” he warbled, all-but bouncing in his seat. “I haven’t been for soooo long, to Harrods, I mean, nor kite flying for that matter. I can’t remember the last time I did something just because…it struck my fancy all of a sudden. Not without being told I can’t. Or all sorts of caveats chucked in…and a babysitter t’boot. There was no one I wanted to…do stuff with, but now? There’s almost nothing I’d rather do. It feels like Christmas.”

“It’s May.” Mac chuckled. Dementedly.

I know that. Well, sort of…it was March last time I checked. It must have been, I had my birthday…my thirtieth, I think. Crikey, no one saw that coming. Can we go, can we, Mac? Pleeease?”  Huge pools of liquid darkness, like black gloss paint, agleam with wonderment. Impossible to disappoint—or dream of doing so—lethal. But, comparatively safe…the shopping, at least. Of all things Joe might’ve been struck by a sudden yen to do? Happy hour in Harrods sounded about as…innocuous as it got. Downright normal—unextraordinary—in fact. Unless perhaps, you were Joe Fitzgerald. Who was lit up like the festive season itself; as exuberant as a wee bairn off to see Santa. With Han Solo…on the Hogwarts Express. Mac had lost his marbles. A fact so blatant that Joe’s grin widened to ear-licking capacity. “Yay! Ooh, I can’t wait now, when will I be able to go?”

“Tuesday? Unless we set out first thing, if you want to do Harrods before rehearsals?”

“Let’s go now,” Joe had shoved the guitar off his lap and scrambled off the bed before Mac had chance to reason why the fuck not. 

Now?” he found himself repeating, instead. With all the ingenuity of a parrot.

Yes now.”

“It’s what…eleven p.m.? Harrods is shut. It’ll still be shut when we get there,” Mac pointed out.

“So, we can go first thing. We can stay in a hotel, a posh one, by Harrods. We’ll be the mostest. I shall wear a top hat. C’mon, pour yourself into your slinky suit, I’ll just-um, pack ‘n’ stuff…” Joe stood, starkers; hands on skinny hips in the middle of the room, head swivelling meerkat style, biting down on his too-plush bottom lip. “What do I need…stash, smokes, journal, guitar, socks, crunchy-nutters…ooh! I can get a white tux while I’m there, it will save asking Adam. C’mon, Mac! Get your glad rags on…”

“I need a shower!”

“Y’can have a posh one later. I’ll play for you in the car, if you still want me to. Hurry up…chop chop.”

“Chop chop?” Mac couldnae do a damn thing to stop his shoulders quaking. What the fuck?

What!?” Joe demanded, as if Mac had said something demented. 

“You! About thirty seconds ago, you conjured a kite from fucknows where. Now we’re on our way to London wearing top hats!” Mac spluttered, swinging his legs around to clamber to his feet.

“Ooh, good point, I’m glad you reminded me…I might have forgot. Hats. I bet you’re glad you never bothered unpacking now….okay, right. Clothes would be good. You’re very nearly naked by the way, hmm…where was I? And very distracting…” Joe was pressed to Mac in an instant, winding everlasting arms around his waist.

“I’m counting on it,” he sighed. A long-suffering one.

“That could prove a smidge unseemly, if you intend on following through,” Joe grinned, unabashed. “You’re a bad influence, Mr McBadass.”

“Me?” Mac snorted, “…and you can take that look off your face, y’monster. I am not stripping off in Harrods…so don’t even think about it.”


“Shurrup and kiss me…then get your arse into gear, if you’re expecting me to drive to London at bloody midnight.”

“We didn’t wake up ’til five, so it’s mid-afternoon by my reckoning…nevertheless, that’s an order, so I’d best be obliging…” Joe murmured at Mac’s mouth, about a sharp intake of breath before doing as directed. For once.

Shutting Joe up had fast become one of life’s great pleasures. Alongside listening to whatever the fuck those lips unleashed next. Therein lay the problem. Why the hell wasn’t he heeding the shriek of his own instincts? How had it proved possible for such soft, dulcet tones to drown them out?

On the plus side, far from Mac’s strongest suit, Joe’s plan was…even an advisable course of action. Almost logical—in the right light—viewed with a squint that blanked the elephant crammed into the back of the Jag.

It made sense to head to London now; ensuring that they would, at least, be there tomorrow. Bypassing the need to drag Joe out of bed and frogmarch him to the car in order to make it to rehearsals by four p.m. If, of course, you ignored the fact that wrangling Joe to Camden by four wasnae a dead cert, even if they set off from Finsbury Park at midday. Last week. On the contrary, arriving in London at three a.m. would give Joe thirteen hours of merry hell to raise. Rather than a mere one, or two.

F’fucksakes. It wasn’t as if they were heading to London to trawl tawdry brothels and crack-dens. They were, apparently, going to a ‘posh’ hotel, shopping in Harrods…and kite flying. An itinerary that couldnae be considered untoward by the bloody Duchess of Cambridge herself, but then she only had three nippers to keep out of mischief. If only a cheeky tongue poked at the Press was Mac’s greatest concern. Joe could cause chaos in a sodding Portaloo. At least the ‘leggy lovely’ had deprived the press pack of that particular headline. 

“I have no memory of this incident. It was a complete fabrication. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it…Just like its floor.”

What chance in hell did Mac have?

He wasnae thinking all this while luxuriating in Joe’s silence, that would’ve been impossible. Reasoning bit the dust the moment those lip—Christ, who was Mac trying to fool? Free-falling into hungry black holes dead-set on devouring his sanity was quite sufficient. There was a point half an hour a go, Mac was sure of it…

He was pondering all this while having a swift wash ‘n’ brush-up in the bathroom. Before driving to London at the drop of a top hat for a trip to Harrods. To buy a kite. F’fucksakes.

“Beats me why you’re bothering…” Mac told his reflection. “You’ve never felt this alive unless staring down the barrel of a bloody gun, and y’know it…” 

His veins were thrumming with an insistent buzz, as if he’d mainlined adrenaline. All-too similar to the one sparked when the shit hit the fan; the full-throttle rush that made whatever-the-fuck-was-necessary possible. 

Get your arse into gear, McCafferty. Recognising that he’d have much to thank that for—if he, miraculously—managed to pull this off? Wasnae Mac’s finest moment, it must be admitted. After fastening the waistband of trousers, Mac turned away from the mirror to glance over his shoulder at his reflection. Christ knows what the fuss was about, but he was more than willing to play dirty, should the need arise. In fact, he was counting on it. Mac never could resist a challenge.

“Good grief, how much stuff d’you need?” Mac gaped from the attic doorway. There was a mountain of miscellaneous fucknows what, heaped in the middle of the floor. His immaculate towers had been obliterated by hurricane Joe and added to the pile of…books, hats, shoes, cds, sundry odds and sods, trinkets and treasures. One guitar, more books…with three sunshine yellow boxes teetering on top.

“Is there a city-wide shortage of crunchy-nut cornflakes in London?” Mac asked, ignoring the taint in the air for the moment.

“There might be…it wouldn’t do to go short,” Joe grinned. “Speaking of, I had a toot while you were titivating. You told me tell you, so y’can keep track…um, I didn’t shoot up? But my guts were griping and you might’ve stabbed me by the time I got to London cos I was driving m’self demented. As y’can see…I’m fine. Just a smidge less…frisky.”

“Thank you…” Mac hadnae expected that confession, not straight up. Despite the scorched tin foil on the desk. Joe had shrugged aside his assurance that Mac woudnae stop him yesterday, then scuttled off the second the opportunity had presented itself. That was progress on the trust front, at least? Now who’s clutching at straws? “Aren’t you bringing any Christmas decorations?” Mac found himself asking, for want of anything…sane, to say. 

“In May? Have you been snorting my bathroom stash?”

“No, strangely enough. I figured you’d packed for six months. I’ve got a Jag, not a ten-tonne truck.” 

“A Jag? Ooh, you had me at hello, but blimey. It’s a classic, isn’t it?” Joe beamed, glee glinting in those goddamn eyes.

“What makes you so sure?” Mac shrugged, poker-face in full force.

“Instinct? Could you be anymore perfect? Methinks not. I’m gladder than glad we’re setting off now. It’s an E-type isn’t it?” Joe bent to scoop up a pile of…stuff and dump it into an open suitcase. Circa a similar era to Mac’s car. The sort a bear might be found sitting on at Paddington Station. 

“Is that a flute case?”

“Yup. It wasnae going to contain a sawn-off shotgun, was it?” Joe cackled. 

“Why ever not…” Mac sighed. “Are you quite done?” he wondered, watching Joe attempt to cram the lid shut. He soon gave up, huffed in disgust and plonked his butt on it to bounce it into submission.

“Errr…yup. Almost…just one more case, then I’m ready to go.” The miscreant announced in satisfaction after fastening the second leather strap. Brown. To match its corners. The case itself was beige…ish.

“Naked?” Mac noted, lifting an eyebrow aloft.

“Oops, I forgot. I have my hat on, tho.”

“I noticed. You’ll have to glue it on and stick your head out of the window if you intend to wear it in the car.”

“I figured I’d use a staple gun,” Joe shrugged. The most concerning part of that particular quip? It seemed entirely feasible Joe might intend on doing just that, if not for the grin. And the irrepressible twinkle. “Daftie. I’m only wearing it so I remember. Yours is on the chair.”


“You said, ‘now we’re on our way to London wearing top-hats’…

“You don’t seriously th—Joe, I have spent the best part of a decade flying beneath the radar. If you think I’m about to start cavorting on Primrose Hill with a fucking kite, and saunter around Harrods dressed like Screaming Lord Sutch you nee—”

“Ooh…cavorting? Crikey, I didn’t dare hope for a spot of that. We’d better go at dusk then, or you might get arrested…wouldn’t do to cause a blip on your radar. ‘High as a kite: Junkie Joe buggered by bad-ass at Twilight Barking.’ 

“Joe, please finish packing before I feel compelled to start digging a moat.”

“I’m not sure there’s a shovel in the shed…so you’d have to go and knock up the vicar’s wife.” Joe tittered, springing off the vanquished suitcase to scoop up an armload of books. “Okay keep your hair on…won’t be a jiffy.”

Mac didn’t know whether to laugh or die. So he grabbed the cigarettes off the bedside table and lit up, seeing as whisky wasn’t an option. Being stopped for drink driving was the last thing he needed. If only on account of his cargo…and the sodding smack.

The crunchy-nutters sure as shit wouldnae fit in the second suitcase. Mac’s life was swiftly morphing into a comedy caper starring said cereal, smack, and sex. Eyes and legs. Bananas. Not…a bad gig in all, Mac had to admit. He could kill for a bloody curry though.