Was he having fun yet? Huddled in the corner of the closet, his wrists cuffed together and resting on his knees, his legs shackled, a leather hood covering his face, eyes behind zipper pads, Terry heard the muffled voices of the soldiers in the bedroom. They had decided to “put him in storage,” Jamal’s phrase, while they went out for a beer and pizza, before coming back to “fuck the shit out of him,” according to Wolfgang. Wolf had zipped the mouth opening shut and then knocked him about the head several times, one slap after the other, each one harder than the one preceding, until one final hit, this one a closed fist, knocked Terry to the floor where Wolfgang kicked him in the ass and would have continued if Jamal hadn’t intervened.

“That’s enough, Wolf, keep him in the closet for now.”

And so, after been dragged to the bedroom, Terry found respite among the dust balls in Kurt’s closet: airless, stuffy with the smell of Kurt’s sweat and unwashed clothes, which sometimes piled up for days, the clean uniforms and shirts dangling over his head. He saw nothing, had some difficulty breathing, could have been at the bottom of a well or locked up in a windowless cell for all the help he’d get now. In case of fire: panic. It wasn’t wise to have left him alone, but they didn’t give a damn. Kurt wouldn’t have left him alone. Terry didn’t think he was bleeding anymore, although his bladder screeched and he could have pissed on the floor, but he restrained himself. They hadn’t taken thought about his human needs, drinking and eating without regard for his own appetite. Difficult to determine how many hours they had been fucking and beating him, but Terry calculated it must be at least six, maybe eight, since the hospital visit. He had returned to the apartment with Jamal around noon hour, Wolfgang appearing a bit later. Before shutting the close door, Jamal ordered him to be a good cunt and wait. They’d be back.

“You got that right, Jamal. Ain’t finished with the fucking fag yet.”

Given no choice, unable to move, struggling against releasing his own urine in the closet, he slipped into a reverie of possibilities, each one merely a blur, nothing coming into focus. His face hurt, his jaw hurt, his ass hurt, all his muscles hurt. Trying very hard, this time he could not rise above his body, he could not liberate his spirit, could not separate spirit from flesh. Trying to find some consolation in religious terminology, his imprisoned and crunched body, the abrasions around his wrists and ankles, the heat and sweat behind the mask, he could not rise above the occasion and assume the comfortable perspective of the angels. If he pissed, he’d feel it. And he closed his eyes behind the mask, hoping that sleep might provide respite. Crying would serve no purpose. Somehow, sleep came to the rescue, at least rescued his sense of stupidity and pointlessness. What the fuck was he doing there? What had he done? Why had loving Kurt led to being raped and locked up in the dark? How would life be? How would life be with Kurt once he got out of the hospital? But first he would have to be liberated from the dunghill of quiet despair. Well, not a dunghill, because he didn’t feel elevated so much as lowered in a shit pit swilling with cockroaches and rats and slithering with unspeakable snakes.

Sleep, sleep, sleep, blessed sleep, perhaps his eyes had closed behind the mask, he could not tell, but at a certain point Terry lost all sensation and drifted into a kind of self-induced anaesthesia. The lull that refreshed, or could have if he had been allowed to stay unconscious, but he woke up when Wolfgang clunked his jaw against the rim of the toilet while directing the head into the piss-polluted water. His hands tied behind his back, Jamal standing watch, he didn’t have much resistance in him. Wolf forced the head entirely in the bowl so his mouth, gag free, and nose dunked beneath the surface. Held down for what seemed an eternity although it couldn’t have been more than half a minute, he was pulled up by his hair, the yell out of his mouth spluttered wet with stale piss.

“Please…” he managed to say, trying not to cry because tears served no purpose.

“This fuckhole says please, Jamal. He likes it…he wants more.”

Jamal released the arms and Terry thought he was free, sweet freedom, swing low sweet chariot coming for to carry me home, freed from slavery by the black soldier, but no, he did not sing the words, ah freedom, yes, they had freed him, but how quickly disillusionment hit the side of the head in this cruel, cruel world. He pleaded when the shackles were attached to his wrists again, this time to the rings in the leather slave collar, and his head was pushed backwards over the toiled bowl.

“Look what I found. Just what the piss pig should have.”

Wolf inserted the funnel gag in Terry’s mouth, and then simultaneously, both men pissed into the funnel, and Terry, at first refusing to swallow as his mouth cavity swirled with hot liquid, began drowning in the piss as it went down the wrong tube, then admitted he had no choice. He heard his own gargling as he worked his throat muscles and choked down the acrid streams, unable to distinguish the taste of one man’s piss form the other, but then, it really didn’t matter, did it? People in less dire circumstances throughout the world had been known to drink piss to survive. The urge to puke occupied his brain to such an extent that the convulsions rippling through his chest and up his throat distracted him from questions of flavour. Puking with a funnel gag attached to his mouth, with piss streaming down his throat, seemed counterproductive, so Terry by sheer force of will suppressed nausea and relaxed. After all, it was only piss, supposedly sterile. One could always rinse out one’s mouth and drink water afterwards to dilute the high acidity of the liquid. Again, compliance seemed to deflect physical abuse. So he drank, noisily, his throat visibly moving to embrace the hot piss.

He counted on boredom. The soldiers would get bored even if they had returned after their pizza to fuck him again. He wasn’t the most attractive piece of meat on the planet, and if it weren’t for the fact that he came between them, between Jamal specifically and Kurt, this cocksucking fag, to quote Wolf’s oft-repeated and reductive, stereotypical comment, they would never have fucked him. He was beginning to think Wolfgang limited in his understanding of human relationships. The man couldn’t see much beyond his dick and bigotry. They wouldn’t have bothered with this particular civilian cunt at all, except he stood there, an undesirable object between them and Kurt. This tremendous need to exercise their manhood at his expense, and to reassert their claim on Kurt, it seemed, necessitated their attack. Really, there was a kind of ferocious beauty in Jamal, in his body, in his cock, in his voice. Maybe, he, Terry was as necessary to Jamal as much as he was necessary to Kurt, for different reasons, but all originating in and expressed by the brutal fuck. Oh, let him not think of beauty and brutality together.

Hunched over the toilet bowl, he could have thought out an entire disquisition about sex and violence and loyalties in the military, along with bonding and ‘til-death-do-us-part friendships the like of which, until Kurt, had eluded Terry who had long envied the passion between brothers-in-arms. Well, he had certainly been in the arms of these “brothers,” but they had raped him, he was no more than a piece of civilian fuckmeat, gender neither here nor there; well, it seemed important to Jamal and Wolf that he was a cocksucker bitch, according to their understanding, not impressive in any case, and if he, Terry, had to mark an essay on the topic of gender and love and sexual roles, he would have failed it because they couldn’t rise above the baneful and banal in their observations. So, according to their definitions, he could be used and discarded, after being fucked over, kicked aside, taught a lesson. Well, in the end, let them conclude that he had been well taught, and let them disappear. Forever.

Once done with him, and surely they were done once and for all, they’d also probably want to go out to a bar downtown, watch hockey or some pointless shit on television, drink, and hook up with chicks on the prowl for army cock. Terry did hope, however, that they’d unshackle him before leaving. Wolf directed some of the piss over his head, as did Jamal. All that beer had to be find an exit from their system in one way or another. He’d have to clean the washroom before Kurt got home from the hospital. And then he remembered that Jamal was supposed to return with things Kurt needed, but so far that had not happened. It must be pretty late, in any case.

Dragged out of the closet after their return, the hood removed, he did catch a glimpse of the window and noticed that daylight had disappeared. His stomach grumbled and his bladder screeched.

“Please, I need to piss.”

“Do it, then,” Jamal had boomed, while attaching the leash to the slave collar.

Understanding the parameters of the command, do it, do it now, do it here, not in the toilet, bitch, do it now, bitch, on the floor, Terry released his urine over his thighs while Wolf feigned shock disgust and horror and Jamal laughed.

“He can clean it up after.”

“But first we gotta show him what the toilet’s for.”

“You say one word about this to Kurt and you’re dead meat. Got that, bitch.”

Terry didn’t attempt to stand until they left. When he tried, his legs caved under him and he fell to the floor. He smelled urine and semen and musk and sweat and lemon. At least they had not shit on him, which was a mercy. He must shower. He must brush his teeth. He needed to clean the apartment. He needed to remove himself from the premises. Lock the fucking shitty door behind him and just disappear. But first, get a grip. Get his act together. To be together with Kurt. What about Kurt’s things? Jamal didn’t mention anything about going back to the hospital.

He found his way to the bedroom and collapsed as if the bones in his legs had dissolved. Lying on the floor by Kurt’s bed, he wondered what time it was. No, he couldn’t say anything to Kurt. He couldn’t say anything to the police. He wanted to report a rape. Two soldiers had raped him. Yes, that was right. Two soldiers. Our heroes. True, some soldiers were heroes. Kurt had heroically saved Jamal’s life. He would have saved Terry’s life if he had to. He would save the life of a child at the risk of his own. He was a brave and true soldier. He would have taken a bullet for him. In my friend’s apartment. Over and over. How many times, the detective would ask? Did it matter, the number of times? He could only die once. They were Kurt’s friends, also soldiers. No, Kurt hadn’t raped; well, yes, he fucked him, but Terry wouldn’t have called that rape, not now, he knew the difference, and besides, he was in the hospital. Should he go to the hospital? Jamal and Wolfgang had been very rough. They might have damaged him. Every muscle ached, bones bleated, his groin seemed swollen, and uneasiness unsettled his stomach. How could he explain his condition to doctors in emergency? No, it wasn’t possible.

He must not speak about it. The story would remain in Kurt’s apartment, maybe shackled and unnoticed in the dark corner of the closet. For some reason, he didn’t believe they’d come back. Wishful thinking perhaps, but he couldn’t have endured another episode. How could Jamal be Kurt’s best army buddy? Wolfgang didn’t count. Why didn’t Kurt know better men? He must know better men than Jamal and Wolfgang. He should have introduced Terry to soldiers who were also good and virtuous men. So many good soldiers, yes, good men, men who would sacrifice their lives for families and friends and country. Men who believed in virtue and decency and treating civilians with courtesy and respect. Dulce et decorum. Not every soldier fucked shack rats or beat the shit of anyone who displeased them or raped at will. Despite their experiences, many soldiers remained sweet and proper even with the expertise of killing drilled into their hearts and mind. They remained good men. They would not have raped Kurt’s friend.

Yes, hoisting himself off the floor by hanging on the messy bed, he should think of all the good men and women, too, in the world. It looked like daylight. What day? What must he do today? Shower, brush his teeth, maybe take a second shower, for some filth required repeated washing, hard scrubbing in scalding hot purifying water. His battered and bruised body must be filthy. He could smell his own filth. Some filth stuck to you like glue. None of this had been his fault. He had not imagined any of it, or had he? Searching his conscience, he confessed to concocting violent scenarios, but did not desire their enactment it in any way, despite his sometime admiration for Jamal’s physique, despite the involuntary glance at the black soldier’s boots and crotch. Something so forbidden historically, so desirable, so elemental, so fucking hot about Jamal when he thought about it. Maybe he did, maybe he did not know his own desires. Kurt did. Still, he should not have been treated this way. He was a man, also, like the soldiers, not a rat, not vermin, not a cockroach whizzing in a dust ball, and he had only wished to be a friend. Something had to change, though, good grief, did it ever? What to should he do? Kurt lay in the hospital and there it was: the sack filled with stuff for Kurt. Jamal had not taken it. So there was something that needed to be done. If he imagined himself standing, hefting the laundry basket on to his hip, finding his way through the corridor to the elevator and down to the basement laundry room where he’d wash Kurt’s clothes; if he could picture that, he could do it. Visualization: wasn’t that a technique to help people out of their suffering?

Still kneeling, he leaned over the bed, grabbed a fistful of dirty sheet stained with blood and semen, yes the fucking laundry. Maybe he should first do Kurt’s laundry, but he didn’t have the energy to lift a laundry basket, scarcely enough to stand. All the mental pictures in the world did not give him strength. Lassitude, inertness, boneless, the body soft and sore, and even breathing hurt. He could close his eyes and sleep the sleep of death. But those sensations were consequences, not permanent conditions; they would pass. Nothing lasted forever, even the most horrible of circumstances, he had often advised students in trouble. And why would this not pass?

First, he must scrub off the filth of the day and night from his flesh, from his spirit, and emerge from the shower refreshed, cleansed. Such things were possible. He could do that. Stand up, carefully walk, and step into the tub. Wet his bruised body, soap himself. The filth would slip off, surely, sluice down the drain no more substantial than a thin sugar coating. Well, he didn’t feel sugary, but he couldn’t think of another analogy. Despite the pain and brutal memories, Kurt wouldn’t ever know. He hadn’t given Jamal permission. Jamal had lied.

Let him think of good men, of good soldiers, of good and kindly men who meant him no harm, who would die to save him, like Kurt, fuck but not fuck to death. Hadn’t Kurt, though, also degraded him from time to time, and he, Terry, had returned, compelled by perverse delight? Jamal and Wolfgang: the mind of bulls who understood kill or be killed, their minds befuddled with false notions and self-importance, eager to join their comrades in the sandbox. He needed to get out of this place, like the song said. If. It. Was. The. Last. Thing. He. Ever. Did. And Terry managed to spread his lips, slightly swollen, into something approximating a smile. Kurt would recover, he’d clean the apartment, and he remembered that he had bought orange-scented Pledge to dust the furniture, and the odour of lemons hung in the air still. He’d still polish Kurt’s boots and do as he was told. In obedience lay freedom. Just wait a while by the side of the bed until his body adjusted itself. Dulce et decorum. How good to think of sweet and proper men in the world as he scratched at the dried blood around his anus.


For all installments of “Shack Rat,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2