Three hours into the stakeout, Rusty and Bishop were having themselves a grand old time. There were swapping stories, telling jokes and a bottle of scotch purchased from the liquor store loosened their lips quite a bit.
“And so I says to the lady bartender….get this…I says….” Rusty was beside himself with laughter, slapping his knee.
“What did you say?” Bishop asked.
“I said,” Rusty said between chuckles. “Is that a cucumber in your pocketbook or are you happy to see me?”
Bishop busted out laughing. “Bahhh ha ha ha!”
The big man wiped some tears of joy from his eyes and calmed down. “Shit. You’re alright, Red.”
“You’re not so bad yourself, big guy,” Rusty said.
“When I met you I thought you were just some dumbass hillbilly cop trying to throw his weight around,” Bishop said.
“I am,” Rusty said. “Don’t tell anyone any different. I got a reputation to uphold. Oh and I thought you were some kinda musclebound ex-marine who gets off on intimidating people with his size.”
“Ex-Navy Seal,” Bishop said.
“Get out,” Rusty said.
“True,” Bishop said.
“You were over there in the shit?” Rusty asked.
“You know it,” Bishop said.
“How was that?” Rusty said.
“It was like a really fun vacation to an amusement park,” Bishop said. “What do you think it was like?”
“Sorry,” Rusty said. “Dumb question.”
“Nah,” Bishop said. “It’s alright. It was hell. Saw too many people die. Came too close to dying myself too many times. I was ready to be out.”
“Must have been an adjustment coming back to the states,” Rusty said.
“At first, yes,” Bishop said. “But honestly, ever since I got back, little has bothered me. If you can live through war, then you can live through anything.”
“Good for you,” Rusty said.
The duo clanked their scotch filled paper cups together. “Cheers,” Bishop said.
“Back at ya,” Rusty replied.
The two men sat in Bishop’s car, keeping their eyes glued on Buford’s motel room door. No movement.
“You know though, I gotta say, I feel bad for shooting the breeze with you like this on account…”
“What?” Bishop asked.
“Well,” Rusty said. “Cole’s my best friend and you his ex-wife are…”
Bishop grimaced. “Are what?”
“Don’t get me wrong,” Rusty said. “I get that she’s divorced and she’s not Cole’s property or anything it’s just, you know, I feel disloyal hanging out here with you while you’re with the love of my best buddy’s life is all.”
Bishop laughed. “You really are a dumbass hayseed.”
“What?” Rusty asked.
“Sharon and I aren’t together,” Bishop said.
“What made you think we are?” Bishop asked.
“I dunno,” Rusty said. “Cole said he walked in on you two and you were…”
Bishop sighed. “Spit it out!”
“Naked,” Rusty said. “Sans pantaloons as the French say.”
“The French don’t say that,” Bishop said.
“Do I look like I’ve been to Paris?” Rusty asked.
“I was naked because I was doing pushups,” Bishop said.
“Why the hell would you get naked to do pushups?” Rusty asked.
“Clothes are restrictive,” Bishop said. “Being naked helps my body move better. It gives me the edge I need to stay fit.”
“Bullshit,” Rusty said.
“No shit,” Bishop said. “You aren’t going to get your best workout if you’re stopping every five minutes to adjust your pants.”
“What about the wine?” Rusty asked.
“What about it?” Gordon replied. “Sharon has exactly one glass every night. Helps her sleep.”
Rusty was skeptical. “You mean to tell me that two adults in their sexual prime, one of them naked, the other in a bathrobe, and there’s a bottle of wine in the mix and neither of you…”
“Nope,” Bishop said.
“I still call bullshit,” Rusty said.
“Call all you want,” Bishop replied. “Nothing has ever happened between us.”
“Something’s not right,” Rusty said. “How are you gonna run around in your all together in the presence of a woman you work with and you’re not either banging her or getting sued by her for sexual harassment?”
“God man, I dunno,” Bishop said. “Sharon’s been my partner for ten years now. We went through Quantico training together. We’ve been through all sorts of shit, saved each others’ asses more times than I can count. There’s little either of us can do to shock the other at this point. She’s just a good friend.”
“A good friend?” Rusty asked.
“That’s all,” Bishop replied.
“That you don’t want to…”
“She’d have to grow a dick,” Bishop said.
Rusty smiled. “Oh ok.”
The duo sat there in silence for awhile. Rusty dozed off, then perked up when the gravity of Bishop’s last statement hit him. “Wait, what?”
“I’m gay, man,” Bishop said.
“Get out,” Rusty said.
“Why do you keep telling me to get out?” Bishop asked. “Where am I going to go?”
“You’re gay?” Rusty asked.
“I didn’t stutter,” Bishop answered.
“You?” Rusty said. “With all your muscles?”
“Yes,” Bishop said.
“Seems like a waste,” Rusty said.
“How’s that?” Bishop asked.
“Well shit,” Rusty said. “If I had your body, I’d be grabbing more pussy than a crazy old cat lady, that’s for sure.”
“I don’t know if you might have heard,” Bishop said. “But gay men like muscles too and I do just fine.”
Rusty shifted in his seat. “That’s probably more information than I need.”
“Too fine actually,” Bishop said. “Sharon keeps nagging me to find a special guy to settle down with but I don’t know. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, you know? Each man I’m with, it’s like a whole new, beautiful experience.”
Rusty looked at his watch. “Oh wow, look at the time. We should probably wrap this up. This dipshit probably went to bed.”
“Oh I see how it is,” Bishop said.
“How what it is?” Rusty asked.
“You’re one of those ignorant rednecks who thinks that just because a guy is gay he must automatically want your dopey ass,” Bishop said.
“I didn’t say that,” Rusty said.
“Probably got more red hair on it than Willie Nelson’s beard,” Bishop said.
“I didn’t,” Rusty repeated. “I’m sorry. I just wasn’t expecting that, is all. It’s a free country man. I’m not telling you to stop being you.”
“Whatever,” Bishop said.
Further silence ensued until Rusty broke through. “It’s actually been nice talking to you.”
“Yeah,” Bishop said. “You too.”
“Cole and I used to talk like this,” Rusty said. “Back when we were younger. But ever since…well, he went through a lot of shit and he just clammed up. I do miss chatting with my friend, I’ll tell you that.”
“I’ll chat with you anytime,” Bishop said. “Just don’t get any crazy ideas about me being interested in you. I can do way better than you.”
“I…shit,” Rusty said. “I don’t even know what to say to that. Am I insulting you if I tell you I don’t want that? Am I insulting you if tell the truth? Can you just be you and I’ll be me? Damn, this is a confusing ass time we live in.”
“Just say whatever you want,” Bishop said.
Rusty took a sip of scotch. “You know it’s just that…”
“What?” Bishop asked.
“Look, I’m not gay,” Rusty say.
“If you gotta declare it…” Bishop said.
“Shut up,” Rusty said. “Nah, it’s just, there have been times in my life where I’ve tried to open up to women about my feelings, you know? Only they have no idea how men work and there were times where, and shit don’t you repeat this…”
“I won’t,” Bishop said.
“There were times back in the day when Cole and I used to talk more where I felt like, if I could just put my arm around him and snuggle for awhile, it would be nice,” Rusty said.
“Interesting,” Bishop said.
“It would be comforting to be held by someone who understands where you’re coming from, regardless of what genitals they got, you know?” Rusty said.
“I hear you,” Bishop said.
“That doesn’t mean I’m gay, does it?” Rusty asked.
“I don’t know,” Bishop said. “Do you think it does?”
“I don’t think so,” Rusty said. “Because I still think about pussy twenty-four seven and titties? Don’t get me started. The bigger the better.”
“Maybe you’re bisexual,” Bishop said.
“I do buy it, yeah,” Rusty said.
Bishop smirked. “No. ‘Bisexual.’ You like men and women.”
“What?” Rusty asked. “Like an AC/DC outlet? Nah. I only go one way.”
“You sure about that?” Bishop asked. “Can’t think of many straight men who would want to snuggle with another man.”
“Well,” Rusty said. “Here’s the big question though. You know that part of gay sex where one dude blasts another dude in the ass?”
“I’ve heard about it, yes,” Bishop said.
“I’m not trying to insult you,” Rusty said. “But I think that’s the most disgusting thing ever. I mean, the idea of one dude jamming his ramrod up my backdoor makes me want to vomit out everything I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.”
“Maybe that’s just because you’ve never tried it before,” Bishop said.
“Yeah, well,” Rusty replied. “I’ve never been hit by an oncoming train but I’m pretty sure I don’t have to in order to comprehend that the experience would be less than enjoyable.”
Bishop shrugged. “To each their own.”
“See this one time,” Rusty said. “I went to the doctor because my stool was coming out red.”
“There’s a turn-on,” Bishop said.
“Nah, it was OK,” Rusty said. “Turns out I was just using way too much cherry drink mix. But just to be sure, the Doctor stuck his finger up my old wazoo and boy, that did not feel good at all. Felt like a burglar was trying to pry a rusty old iron door open with a crowbar.”
“So what are you saying?” Bishop asked.
“I’m saying that I love pussy,” Rusty said. “And I’m not gay. And I still hope to marry a woman one day but…I would really like to feel safe in another man’s arms. Is that even a thing?”
“It’s 2017,” Bishop said. “Everything’s a thing.”
Rusty and Bishop locked eyes. Before he knew it, Bishop was putting his big, strong arm around Rusty and pulling him in close.
“Oh shit,” Rusty said.
“Shh,” Bishop said as he wrapped his other arm around Rusty. “Don’t fight it.”
Rusty breathed a sigh of epic relief as he buried his face into Bishop’s thick neck and sniffed a burly, manly scent. “Aww yeah. That’s the stuff.”
“It’s nice, isn’t it?” Bishop asked.
“Oh God yes,” Rusty said. “Like being a little bear cub wrapped up all snuggly soft in his mother’s arms.”
“OK then,” Bishop said.
“This must be what a baby kangaroo feels like in his mother’s pouch,” Rusty said.
“Sure,” Bishop said.
“It’s like someone just picked me up and shoved me up my mother’s uterus again,” Rusty said.
“And you ruined it,” Bishop said.
“I did?” Rusty asked.
Bishop rubbed his hand up and down Rusty’s back. “No.”
“Bishop?” Rusty asked.
“Yeah?” Bishop replied.
“You think I could ever find a man who would be willing to do this for me on the regular?” Rusty asked.
“I don’t know,” Bishop said. “Anything’s possible I suppose.”
“But unlikely,” Rusty said. “Because sooner or later he’ll want to invade my behind with his heat seeking moisture missile.”
“True enough,” Bishop said.
“No rear entry is like a total deal breaker for male on male relationship?” Rusty asked.
“Maybe not at first,” Bishop said. “But any long lasting relationship of any kind isn’t going to happen unless there’s physical intimacy…of the carnal variety.”
“So two men can’t just get together on a long term basis and cuddle without fucking?” Rusty asked.
“Afraid not,” Bishop said.
“God damn it,” Rusty said. “Men are such pigs.”
“We really are,” Bishop replied.
The sound of a door slamming broke up the party. Bishop and Rusty released one another and turned their eyes to Buford, who was walking out of his hotel room with an assault rifle in hand.
“Holy shit,” Rusty said. “Should we bust him?”
“Nah,” Bishop said. “That’s an AR-15. Legal. He’ll just flash a permit and say he was putting it in his truck to take it to the range tomorrow or something.”
Buford put the rifle into his truck, then got in and started his engine.
“So what do we do?” Rusty asked.
Bishop switched on his ignition. “We find out what he plans to do with it.”