Co-Written by Jo, Carol, Mel, Tarabeth and LJ
(Note: The body painting plot was suggested by Tarabeth and we are all so grateful she came up with it and thought to share it with us.)
Billy was giggling as he paged through the website he’d found. “Hey Jay,” he called out. “Come and look at this. It’s really cool.”
‘Probably more cute kitten pictures,’ Jason thought, grabbing a shop towel and wiping his hands off as he went over to see what Billy was looking at. “Wow! Hey, that’s cool!” He tilted his head to one side and then laid his chin on Billy’s shoulder for a better look. “But what is it?” he asked, trying to figure out what he was looking at. He’d seen a lot of strange things that people did with their bodies, but nothing like this.
“It’s body art,” Billy replied. “People paint themselves. It’s kind of an art form. I’d like to try it out. I wonder if there’s anyone in town with experience in this kind of thing? I’d love to surprise Mason.” He grinned wickedly. “We’ve only got chocolate body paint at home.”
“Sounds like fun.” Jason’s smile was also a wicked one. “There’s a guy who did Christmas art on Jack’s windows. I think he’s married to the Pharmacist. Maybe he might know someone,” he mused, trying to remember his name. “I can’t think of his name, but he’s real good. He’s also the one who does the murals around town.” He moved the web page down to check out the pictures.
“What about that model, Cameron?” Billy suggested. “The one who works in the lounge; bet he knows about it. Let’s go see him. It’s not like we’re busy at the moment. I can close early for once.”
“Body art?” Cameron looked at Billy and Jason curiously. “Why do you want to know about that? Sure, I did it once for an ad campaign. It was fun. You know, I think I saw some body paint in the store the other day when I was shopping but I've no idea why the ‘Forget-Me-Nots’ store was selling it.“ Cameron’s head tilted to one side as he smiled at the picture coming into his mind. “It would really be fun to do it. I could give Chad one hell of a surprise.”
Billy blinked in surprise as he remembered his own comment back at the garage.
“We’ll need to find a couple of artists,” Cameron pointed out. “I’ll ask Kyler when I see him next.”
Kyler unwittingly chose that moment to walk into lounge. It was a Wednesday morning and the day of the week he updated the books for Kipper and Chad. He waved at Cameron who was standing behind the bar and gave a friendly nod to the two men talking to his friend.
“Can I rope Kyler in?” Cameron asked.
Billy shrugged. “Sure, fine by me.”
“Looks like you guys are having a meeting or something,” Kyler teased. “Anything up?” He wondered what had brought Billy and Jay to the pool hall during working hours.
Cameron smiled at Kyler. “These two found some body painting art on the net and wanted to find out if I had ever been painted while modeling. And as it happens, I have. I think it would cool to paint ourselves and give our partners a surprise. We need an artist though and wondered if you could suggest someone.”
Kyler didn’t need to give it a moment’s thought. “Sure thing; I actually know of two people. But I’m only going to tell if I can be in on the fun.”
Seeing the wide grins on the other men’s faces, assured Kyler that he was included. “There is Jades Heights’ professional artist, Rene Pierce. Then there’s also Quinn, one of the Sweeney brothers who works at the mine and likes to draw for a hobby. He’s a lot older than the rest of us but might be persuaded to help out.”
He walked behind the bar and helped himself to a cold beer. “Kadyn bought a bunch of body paint a while back, but darn if I know what he planned to do with it. Maybe, I’ll pay him a visit and see if I can get us a deal on it. I’ll also talk to him about getting Rene involved as he and Rene are very good friends. What do you guys think of those ideas?”
“Sounds really cool,” Billy replied. “This is going to be so much fun. I know Quinn. Mason and I had our wedding at the Inn; then James and Quinn watched Thomas while we were on our honeymoon He’s lots of fun and it’ll be good that I’m not the oldest in the group.”
“Old is a state of mind,” Cameron commented, laughing. “At least, that’s what Chad says.”
Without thinking Jason took the beer that was handed to him. “Do we do it as a group or as individuals?” he asked, taking a swallow of the forbidden drink.
“Well,” Billy drawled, his eyes dancing wickedly. “I don’t see us all agreeing on the same theme. It could end in fights.”
Cameron shuddered slightly. “I don’t need that,” he stated firmly. “No more fighting. I vote we get painted together but decide what we want individually.”
Kyler and Cameron exchanged knowing glances; both knew exactly what the other was thinking.
“Sounds like a plan to me. You got my vote,” Kyler voiced his agreement with what his friend had recommended. “Just one more question; it’s now mid-week, so when would you all like to get together and paint?”
“I’m easy as long as it’s not Sunday,” Cameron replied. To him Sunday was strictly a day he spent with Chad, even if it was just hanging out together.
“My garage closes at five-thirty every day,” Billy reminded them. “But I’m not open weekends. What about Saturday afternoon?”
“It works for me!” Kyler merrily announced. “And I can’t see Kadyn having trouble arranging the time off but will check with him this afternoon. Meanwhile, I better get into the office and do some book work. See you all later.” With that he drained the last of his beer and placed the empty glass on the bar.
“Cool. Sounds like a plan,” Billy responded and Jay happily nodded his concurrence.
Kyler gave a friendly wave as he entered the small room at the back of the pool hall to start work on the books.
Billy handed Cameron a card. “My cell number is on this; text me if there are any problems. Jay and I need to get back to the garage.” He and Jason headed out of the pool hall and Cameron heard them laughing.
Cameron absently wiped off the bar. ‘This is going to be so much fun,’ he thought as a smile spread across his face. Chad would have shuddered at the look in his Brat’s eyes.
Kyler grinned as he entered the candy shop. The little bell over the door announcing visitors’ arrivals always seemed so welcoming and made him feel good.
If Kyler was surprised to see the town’s artist sitting at the small table with a cup of coffee in his hand, he didn’t show it. Truth be told, he had been somewhat amazed when these two men had become such good friends. To him, Rene seemed so reserved beside Kadyn’s effervescent, devil-may-care personality.
“Hi!” he called out to attract the store owner’s attention.
“Hey, Kyler. Come and join us, man. You guys know each other, right? If not: Rene, meet Kyler and Kyler, meet Rene.” Kadyn made the introductions as he reached for the coffee pot and an extra cup. “You’re gonna sit a while, aren’t ya, Kyler? Oh and by the way, congrats on finishing university.”
Kyler blushed and murmured his thanks to Kadyn while offering his hand to Rene. “Seen you around town a lot and admired your work, but have never been introduced until now.”
Rene accepted the extended hand and gave it a firm shake. “Thanks; it’s nice to meet you.”
“So what brings you by, Kyler?” Kadyn asked, filling the cup with hot coffee and pushing it across the table towards his unexpected guest. “Hope it’s something interesting. It’s been so dull around here lately, watching grass grow would be more exciting.”
Kyler swallowed a mouth full of the hot beverage. “Hmmm, not bad,” he commented as he smirked up at his old school mate. “To answer your question, I do have a fun idea to talk over with you. Actually, I have two things to run by you and I am hoping Rene will be interested in one of them.” His eyes gleamed when he saw the curiosity on their faces.
“A few of us were talking earlier at the lounge and came up with a brain wave to do some body painting. We thought it would be fun to surprise our partners. You bought in a small supply of that water-based body paint a while back, didn’t you, Kadyn? Sure hope you have some left.”
“I got almost all of it left and would be more than happy to get rid of it. My Dad wasn’t exactly thrilled with me buying it in the first place. I can let you have it for cost. Ya know, kind of split it among anyone who wants to join in.”
“So far there’s Cameron, Billy, Jason and me in on it. We’re doing it this Saturday afternoon. I was speaking to Cameron just before coming here and he thinks we’ll be doing it at Billy’s garage. Are you two up for it?”
“You can sure count me in,” Kadyn answered enthusiastically. “What about you, Rene?”
Rene smiled broadly. “Oh yeah, it will be a blast. A bunch of my fellow art students and I did body painting in our senior year. We actually did it as a class presentation and got an A for it. I haven’t done any since but I’d love to do it again. Does everyone know what they want done?”
“I’d like you to paint me, Rene; something colourful and lively looking.” Kadyn hadn’t given his choice a moment’s thought, already having a picture in mind.
“I have no idea what the other guys want, but I was thinking of something Celtic for myself,” Kyler answered after a couple of minute’s contemplation. He smiled at Rene. “Or would that be too difficult to do?”
Rene shook his head. “No, Celtic designs can be really interesting. What I suggest you do, is to look on the internet and see if you can find something that you like. Then what you will need to decide on is how much of ‘you’ you want painted. I mean body painting can be anything from small areas to the entire body. We did whole body paintings for that class, so if you guys want to do that of course it means being nude.” He blushed slightly. “And of course the more detailed you want in the design, the longer it will take. So you also have to figure on how long you want to sit still for it.”
“I want all of me done. I know you find it hard to believe, but I can sit still when I want to.” Kadyn laughed along with his friends. “Being nude doesn’t sound too bad, but I think I’ll at least wear a thong.”
“I think I want the whole-body thing too, and a thong also works best for me. Thanks, guys, for taking part. This is going to be a blast.” Kyler grinned broadly at the other two men. “I’ll put your suggestion to work right after supper, Rene, and check out the internet for ideas.” He drained his coffee mug and got to his feet. “I better get going so I’ll have time to stop off at the lounge on the way home and let Cameron in on everything. I’ll also let him know how much it will cost each of us and he can pass the word along to the others. Then I'll get back to you about the time and all.”
“Tell him the cost includes several large bottles of latex body paint in a variety of colours, some cans of base spray, sponge brushes and even some stencils,” Kadyn reminded him. “It’s going to take a lot of paint if what I read is true about the thicker you put it on, the easier it is to peel off. Is it, Rene?” he asked as he followed Kyler over to the door to see him out.
Rene nodded. “It could be, but I think it’s easier to just wash it off in the shower.” He smiled and waved at Kyler as he left. “Nice meeting you. See you on Saturday.”
Turning back to his friend, Kadyn asked, “You got time for another cup of coffee or do you have to make tracks for home?”
A grin split Rene’s face. “I’ve always got time for some more coffee,” he replied as he surreptitiously glanced at his watch. It was just past four-thirty, so he figured he would be able to make it home by his five o’clock deadline.
Thinking of his deadline had him thinking of Zack and how he would feel about him doing the body painting. “Kadyn, you think Vincent will have any problem with you participating in this body painting?”
Kadyn mulled over the question as he refilled their mugs and sat down. Then grinning mischievously, he shrugged his shoulders. “I have no idea what Vincent will think. He’s kinda old, you know. Besides, it’s supposed to be a surprise.” He chuckled as he tried to picture his partner’s face when he showed up painted from head to toe. “How do you think Zack will react to his surprise?”
Rene grinned; he couldn’t help but be drawn in by Kadyn’s carefree attitude. “Well, he always says he loves to see me express myself in my art, so I think he’ll be cool with it.”
“Then it’s a go!” Kadyn crowed and held up his hand for a high-five.
Rene raised his hand and clapped it against Kadyn’s. “Sounds like this is going to be a blast. Zack always works in the pharmacy on Saturdays, so I’ll be free to work on this without having to even explain where I’m going.” He hesitated. “Well, that is if Zack doesn’t ask ahead of time.”
“Just play it cool, man. It’s what I plan to do if Vincent happens to ask what my plans are for the day while he is at the book shop.”
Rene put on a smile he didn’t quite feel in his heart. “Yeah, I can play it cool.” At least he hoped he could.
“You seem to have doubts, my friend. Just remember, this is a surprise and telling your partner about it before hand would totally ruin it.” Kadyn put his cup down and looked closely at the other man sitting across from him. “You can keep this kind of info from your Top, can’t you?”
Rene brightened up some. “Yeah, you’re right. It is a surprise and it’s not like it’s something that I’ve been told I’m not supposed to do. I mean it’s not dangerous or anything. So yeah, I’m good.” He felt better the more he thought about it.
They chatted a bit more; then Rene glanced at his watch and saw it was only a couple of minutes to five. He gulped down the last of his coffee, not wanting to leave a drop of his favourite beverage behind. “I gotta run, my friend. Thanks for the coffee and visit. Send me an email with any ideas you have for what you want painted.”
“Will do and I’ll also keep you informed of anything else I hear from Kyler.” Kadyn followed Rene to the door and they parted company.
It was lunchtime at the mine. The Sweeney’s were all sitting around a picnic table eating. Well, all the Sweeney’s except for Quinn. After the paddling he received last night, he had no desire to ever sit again. James had paddled him within an inch of his life and of course, somehow he ended up on bulldozer duty today; meaning he had spent the morning sitting on his very punished backside.
He was thankful when he saw Kyler walking towards the mine office. He didn’t think he could continue to ignore his father’s request for him to sit down at the table and eat. “Hey there, number boy, what brings you back to our parts?” Quinn called out as he walked cautiously to catch up with Kyler.
Kyler turned with a smile and jogged across the compound. “Hi ya, Quinn; I was hoping to see you when I dropped off my uncle. Kipper, Gaetane and I went fishing this morning. It was great getting out on the lake. Man, it is only end of May and it’s already showing signs of being a long, hot summer. We’re gonna have to get together for another river rafting trip. But first, I have something else to talk over with you.”
“It’s nice to see you too. I’m not sure my butt can handle another river rafting trip. Between James’ displeasure with my leading you into the great Canadian wild and your partner’s terribly mean placement of syringes full of prescription-strength antihistamines, I was not sitting comfortably for several days.” Quinn gave Kyler a bit of a sad face and after ensuring there was no one around other than Kyler, he gave his butt a much needed rub. “You’re not looking to get me into any trouble, are you?” Quinn asked, turning his mood around and giving Kyler a bit of a tease.
“No way, man; there’s no trouble in the wind for any of us. I was just wondering if there was any chance you’re into body painting.” Kyler laughed at the expression on the other man’s face. “The reason for my wanting to know is that a group of us are getting together tomorrow afternoon with just that idea in mind. I told some of the guys about your drawing abilities; we were hoping you’d be free and willing to join us.”
“Well I’ve drawn and painted people, but I’ve never painted on people.” Quinn laughed at his own joke and then got a twinge of excitement when he thought of the nudes he had drawn and painted of James. These were all carefully hidden, but he was still trying to convince James to let him hang one in the discipline room. Quinn forced himself back to reality. “That sounds like fun. What time are you getting together?”
“We are meeting at Billy Fleming-Monroe’s garage as close to noon as possible. You know where it is; just on the other side of town, not too far from the park and playground.”
“Cool, James is going be working at the Inn most of the day. I’ll be glad to have something to do.”
“That’s great, man. We’ll see you there.” Kyler waved as he headed towards his car. Moments later, he was peeling through the mine’s entry gate with a cloud of dust following in his wake. His frown was accompanied by a shrug when he remembered a little too late that his uncle was sure to take him to task for his driving.
Billy and Jason were busy clearing up the garage. Billy moved all the cars outside, even his precious, nearly-restored truck. He was putting old sheets on the floor to help with easy clean-up and Jay was making sure all the bikes were covered.
Billy looked up when he heard a noise. Cameron was standing there holding a couple of six packs of beer. “Great!” he exclaimed. “I was too busy to restock the fridge.”
Cameron grinned. “I may never have been a boy scout, but I’ve always tried to follow the rule of being well prepared.” He opened three beers and handed them out.
Jason hesitated for a minute, remembering his alcohol ban, but didn’t want to appear weak in front of Cameron.
“I wonder where the others are,” Cameron commented before taking a healthy swig of his drink.
“We’re here!” Kyler enthusiastically shouted as he sauntered into the garage. “I’ve got Quinn with me. I ran into him at the mine yesterday, told him about our plans and he’s willing to help with the painting.” Kyler turned to beam at the older man following him. “Quinn, you know Billy and these guys are Cameron and Jay.”
“Hey, Billy, how are you? Jay, aren’t you our mailman? Hi, Cameron, it’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve seen your picture on Chad’s desk at the mine.”
“Nay, I don’t deliver mail. I only sort it before it goes out,” Jason explained, shaking Quinn’s hand.
“By the way, I just texted Kadyn; he and Rene are on their way with all the supplies,” Kyler informed everyone.
“Cool,” Cameron replied. “I printed off the tiger I want. I’m not going to be a sissy and use a thong. I haven’t got anything to be ashamed of.” His eyes twinkled in mirth.
Billy laughed. “I usually go commando anyway, so why would I change now? Besides, the design I want involves shorts; tight shorts.” He winked at Jay.
Jason smirked and took another mouthful of beer.
“Here are Rene and Kadyn,” Kyler announced as another car pulled up in front of the building. “I’ll go help them carry in the supplies.”
Moments later, three young men entered carrying several well-filled cartons. Any necessary introductions were quickly made and then everyone excitedly got down to the business at hand; the first thing on the agenda being the handing out of more beer. The beverage supply had been added to by the others as they arrived.
Kyler put a can to his lips at the same time as he took a closer look at Kadyn who had just removed his ball cap. Almost spewing out the beer, he swallowed and tried to catch his breath before choking out, “What the hell did you do to your hair, Kadyn?”
“I shaved it all off.” Kadyn thought it was pretty obvious as he ran a hand over his bare scalp. “I needed it this way so Rene can paint the alien on the back.”
Rene was smiling. He was finally getting to know some of the other gay men in town that he’d heard about through Kadyn, and he was going to spend a day sharing the one thing he knew he was good at with them. A year ago, the only thing in his life he had any confidence in was his art. Now he had Zack and a growing circle of friends and family.
He swallowed back the beer he’d been handed as he was laying the supplies out on the long table that had been set up in the garage. He turned to the others as they were looking curiously through the paint containers and asked, “So does everyone know what they want painted on them?”
“You already know what I want to be, Rene. I got the pics right here.” Kadyn put down the papers and the beer he was holding, picked up a can of blue spray paint in his right hand and a can of silver in his left and began to shake them up. Kadyn and Rene had already spent time going over each others choices. “I can probably get my legs from my hips down and left arm done on my own, but will need a bit of help with my lower back. I can also help get the silver sprayed over the parts of your body that you can’t reach. Then maybe Quinn will help you finish the fancy artwork part.” He smiled up at the bigger man who he had just been introduced to.
“Of course,” Quinn agreed. Although normally a bundle of energy, he was still a bit subdued by this week’s punishment and he wasn’t totally sure what James would think of him painting naked men. He knew James would not be very pleased if he were to allow someone to paint him and the fact that his butt was still several shades of pink, red and a bit of purple, he had no intension of getting naked in front of anyone other than his husband.
“I printed off a couple of Celtic designs from the internet like you suggested, Rene. I don’t need any spray paint as my selection only involves black paint on bare skin. I won’t know if it’s all freehand or if you’ll use stencils,” Kyler informed the young artist who would be working his magic on him. “At least it isn’t as detailed as Kadyn’s,” he chuckled as he began to unbutton his shirt.
“Mine is pretty simple,” Billy said. “I need black paint for most of my body and I’ve done a template of the silver fern, which despite the name is done in white. I reckon as Rene is busy with the intricate work, Quinn can work on me.” He grinned and took a swig of his beer.
Quinn nodded his okay to Billy.
“Here’s my picture of a tiger. Have we got any hair dye?” Cameron asked, handing over his printout. “I guess I can do the orange bit, but I’ll need help with the stripes.” He opened a new can of beer absently and took a drink. “A tiger doesn’t wear underpants, so like I said earlier, I’m going nude. What about the rest of you.”
Jason smiled. He had totally forgotten about his alcohol restriction and was on his second beer. “I want dark brown chaps and a matching vest painted on. What’s the point of having chaps on, if I can’t show everything?” He glanced over at Quinn. “Will you give me a hand, too?”
“Yeah, of course,” Quinn responded.
“I’m getting shorts painted on.” Billy’s eyes were twinkling. “Seeing as this is mainly for Mason, why would I restrict access?”
Rene laughed. “Well, then let’s strip off and get to work. I brought along some disposable razors and shaving cream. If you want a clean design on your body, I suggest that some hair may need to go. I understand there is a small shower in the back room. I’ve already shaved off at home but if you guys want a better look to your painting, then you need to lose the body hair.” Rene thought back to standing in the shower at home after Zack had gone to work and shaving off all his own body hair. He wondered how Zack was going to feel about that. Not that he had a lot of hair to begin with but still it was strange not having any.
“After you shave, I suggest that everyone paint the parts of themselves that they can reach and handle easily such as the solid background colours because those have to dry first anyway. If you’re using the spray paint, do not use it anywhere near your face. For those doing them, faces should be done very carefully with the brushes so that no paint gets into anyone’s eyes. Also in order not to contaminate the paint in the containers, we will be pouring out small amounts onto these little foil trays. We’ll use disposable foam brushes for the painting of any intimate body parts.”
Kadyn finished off his beer and, realizing he was falling behind, grabbed up another one. “I shaved too, because Rene already warned me. I’ve got a matching thong with me, but if none of the rest of you are going to wear one then I guess I won’t either.” Suddenly remembering something, he put down everything he was holding and darted for the door, only to return a couple of minutes later with a camera dangling from his hand. “I wanna take pictures; not of the proceedings though, just the finished products.”
“Good idea, Kadyn. Guess the rest of us never thought to bring one. I already shaved like you did, with the exception of my head and some private parts.” Kyler laughed. Feeling any inhibitions he had slipping away to the point of not caring if he stood out by being different, he added, “But I’ve decided not to ditch my flesh-coloured thong.”
Billy, Jason and Cameron all got the giggles as they shaved themselves wherever necessary. Only Jason left his pubic hair as is.
“This is really kinky,” Cameron declared. “I haven’t done this since that modelling gig when I was sixteen. It was the only time I got body painted.” When he’d finished shaving, he grabbed the bright orange body paint and began to shake the can.
Billy grabbed a can of the black and began to spray his torso. “Quinn, once I’m dry I’m going to need some cleaning up and styling of the top and shorts, plus the white fern on my chest. Is that okay with you?”
“Sure; bring your stencil over. You know it might be cool to put some white into the banding of your shorts. I think it would bring everything together,” Quinn suggested and was pleased when Billy seemed happy with his suggestion.
Each man painted what he could of himself, getting help from others for the places impossible to reach on their own. Soon all base coats were sprayed on and dried. Then the real artwork began.
Billy turned and gaped when he saw the colour Cameron had painted himself. “If you do my back, I’ll do yours,” he suggested to the ex-model. The two men finished each other off and waited while they dried.
Jason presented himself to Quinn for the brush work. Unlike the other two, he didn’t need a base coat. Quinn started painting the chaps on, making sure the crotch and butt areas were left au natural.
Quinn started to draw an outline of the chaps and vest onto Jason’s body. The design would actually go quite quickly once he had the detail of the chaps and vest outlined, as it would be easy to paint in the rest. “Hold still, will you,” Quinn said as Jay giggled and squirmed when Quinn ran the paint brush along the under-curve of his butt.
Billy and Jason were finished first, and they pitched in to help where they could with the others. The next one soon to be done would be Kyler. Cameron’s was taking a lot longer, as were Rene and Kadyn’s.
Rene had finished up all his work on Kyler. He’d even had the young accountant painting with stencils on some of his own easier to reach bits. Kadyn was a work in progress as the inter-twined alien bodies and background had to go on in layer upon layer of colour. His own body was covered head to toe in silver paint and he’d begun putting on the outlines of the many impressionistic faces he had planned to have covering his torso. He noticed Quinn digging another beer out of the cooler when he’d finished his work on Jason and decided to approach the older man. “Wow, you did a great job of Jay’s chaps; they look fabulous.”
“Thanks,” Quinn blushed. He’d never had any formal art training and receiving a compliment from Rene meant a lot to him. “You’ve done a great job on Kyler’s Celtic designs. I think if I didn’t have to help at the Inn tonight I’d have liked you to do something similar to me.”
“You’re married to James, the owner of the Trillium Inn, aren’t you?”
Quinn beamed with pride. “Yes, we just had our fifth anniversary.”
“My husband, Zack, and I stayed there on our wedding night last New Year’s. It’s a really beautiful place. I was admiring some wonderful charcoal drawings in the room we stayed in. They were signed QSSL. That’s you, isn’t it?”
Quinn blushed again at Rene’s compliment. “Yes, I like to go draw in the crown lands. It’s always so quiet and peaceful compared to home. My brothers weren’t very quiet when we were growing up and being in a house with the four of them could be overwhelming. I’ve really enjoyed the murals you’ve done around town. You’re a very talented artist.”
“Thanks; you’re no slouch yourself. I was hoping you could help me with the faces I want painted across my torso.” Rene indicated some of the outlines he’d done on his chest and stomach, suddenly feeling a bit embarrassed by his nudity in front of the fully clothed man. He could feel the heat of a blush spreading from his chest right up through his face and was very grateful for the heavy silver paint that hid the bright red he knew his skin had turned. He quickly held up a sketch pad in front of himself. It displayed some drawings he’d done ahead of time. “This is what I’m going for; but of course, can’t reach to do all of them myself. Would you mind doing some for me?”
“Wow, Rene, your drawing is great. I hope I can do it justice.” Quinn was terribly nervous at the prospect of duplicating Rene’s beautiful design. He dipped the brush into the olive green paint Rene had mixed and began to paint the young artist’s shoulder, chest and the curve of his underarm. He found he was going much slower in trying to copy the exact curve of the each line.
Rene squirmed and laughed as the bristles of the sable brush stroked along the side of his chest and under arm. “Sorry,” he giggled. “It tickles. Maybe we should have used a sponge,” he laughed even more.
“I can’t get the detail you want with the sponge brush so you’re just going to have to suck it up and take it like a man,” Quinn teased.
Rene laughed and stuck a long pink tongue out of his silver-painted face. “You could let me paint you and see how it feels.”
Quinn blushed. “Umm...” he mused as he tried to remember the reason he had given the others for why he wasn’t getting painted. “I can’t. James and I are going to dinner with my brother and sister-in-law.”
“Excuses; excuses,” Rene teased. “You know I’d be happy to do you another time if today isn’t good” Suddenly Rene thought of how that offer could be misinterpreted. “I mean paint you another time,” he added with a burst of laughter.
Quinn couldn’t help but laugh too. The younger men’s fun was contagious and a great thing to be around when nursing a sore butt. He was thankful for Kyler’s invitation, because otherwise he would have either spent the day alone wallowing or being towed around the Inn by James to ensure he didn’t wallow. Being in this environment was just what he needed.
Rene enjoyed talking art with Quinn as the older man finished the painting. Once done, Rene went to look in the long mirror they had set up for everyone to get a good view of their artwork. He turned several times, looking at the variety of painted faces that curved around his torso. “Wow, Quinn, thanks; this is exactly what I was looking for. You’re a wonderful artist. I can’t believe you didn’t have formal training beyond high school art class.”
Quinn blushed yet again. “Thank you. That means a lot to me.”
The other five men wandered over to see Rene’s finished artwork as he had been the last to finish being painted. They had already marveled over their own and each others designs.
“Wait, we need more pictures,” Kadyn said as he broke from the crowd to retrieve his camera. He began to take numerous photos while Quinn stood back and laughed as the younger men took turns posing and admiring themselves.
“Wow, guys, you all look great! I think your partners will be most impressed.” Quinn looked over the six well-painted men and wondered to himself if any of them had thought about how they were going to get home. He shook his head; of course one of them surely would have. “Okay, well, I gotta go. I don’t want to keep James waiting.”
Kadyn clicked through the photos on his camera once again. Kyler was on one side of him and Rene on the other, looking over his shoulder. The garage had finally been put back to rights and everyone was just hanging around finishing off the few remaining cans of beer.
“There must be a neat way we can show off all of these great pics,” Kadyn commented. “We did such a bang-up job and deserve to brag about it some. Hey, maybe we should put together a calendar. Maybe even sell for as a charity fund-raiser.” He polished off the last of his beer.
“That sounds good, Kadyn, but I wonder what work would be involved and how much it would cost.” Kyler almost always seemed to zero in on the business side of things. “What do you think, Rene? Any idea of how we’d go about doing something like that?” Kyler leaned forward and glance passed Kadyn to see Rene’s expression, but sat back in a hurry when the change in position made him light-headed.
Rene was sipping on his fourth, or maybe it was fifth, beer and enjoying the free feeling of sitting around au natural with the guys. No one seemed to give a damn about their state of undress. They were just having a good time and admiring the art work they had created.
“We really do look good. We’d make a hot calendar, huh? But I have no idea how you’d go about either getting it made or selling it for some charity.” He looked over to where Billy was talking to Jason and Cameron. “Hey, Billy, your husband’s the fire chief, right? Did he ever do one of those fireman’s beefcake calendars?”
“I don’t think so. He’s really serious when he’s in ‘Mason Monroe, Fire Captain’ mode.” Billy giggled. He was about to start on his sixth beer.
Jay looked up. “I’ve got a computer program that can create a calendar and I’m sure we can find a good colour photocopier, if we want to go that way.”
Cameron was listening to this intently. “I’m not sure we’d get many takers,” he said thoughtfully. “I did this for Chad. I guess he’d want a picture, but I’m not sure anyone else would buy a calendar of naked men; not even for a charity.”
Billy’s eyes glinted and Mason would have winced at the sheer recklessness in his eyes. “Let’s find out,” he suggested. “Let’s all go to the park and show off our artwork. We can ask people if they’d buy a calendar. It’s called Market Research.”
Cameron grinned. He was drunk enough to think this was a great idea.
True to form, Kadyn was up for taking part in Billy’s suggestion. He had consumed more beer than he was used to and therefore had no trouble at all throwing caution to the wind. Not that he was in the habit of thinking things through in the best of times.
Jay wasn’t so sure. He knew he was already in trouble for breaking his alcohol restriction and was quite sure Jack wouldn’t be happy with him walking through the park naked. He took another pull at his beer. ‘Hell, there is no way I’m going to act like a wimp, not in front of all these guys,’ he thought to himself. “I’m in,” was all he said.
Kyler stared at the partially empty can in his hand and tried to remember how many he’d had. “For a numbers guy, you’d think I’d know how much I drank.” He chuckled and downed the rest of his beer before adding, “Marketing research, huh? I kinda like that. I’m game even though I doubt there will be many in the park this late on a Saturday afternoon. How about you, Rene?”
Somewhere deep inside, a voice was telling Rene this wasn’t such a good idea. However, that voice was drowning in beer and bravado. “Why not? Look at us; we’re not naked! We’re art! That would make us ‘Art in the Park’ and that’s all the rage! And I know this for sure because I am an artist!” he giggled.
So it was a go! Everyone was laughing as they did up their footwear and headed out the door. None of them knew they were in for a very unpleasant surprise. Not only were there still a large number of people milling about, the police were also there.
Kadyn slowed momentarily when he spotted a large sign a short distance before they would be taking the bend in the path that lead to the playground.
“Hey!” he hollered. “Look at this! There was a bike rodeo for the kids today.” Unfortunately, no one heard him. If they did, they didn’t pay attention to what he was telling them. “Oh well, it’s probably over by now.” He shrugged his shoulders and ran to catch up with the others.
Billy and Jason were in the lead. They suddenly came to a complete halt, causing Cameron and Kyler to bump into them.
Seeing the stunned looks on the others’ faces, Kyler glanced past them to get a glimpse of what had stopped them dead in their tracks.
“Holy shit!” he exclaimed seconds before almost being run down by Rene and Kadyn.
“What the hell?” Cameron muttered. His face turned a bit pale when he saw the lingering group of kids and parents. “Oh shit; I don’t think this is our target market,” he joked weakly.
“I suggest we get the fuck out of here,” Billy strongly suggested, spying uniforms out of the corner of his eye.
Rene froze on the spot. “Oh my God!” was all he could say. He wouldn’t have moved if Kadyn hadn’t grabbed him by the arm as the group turned to run.
Six young men scrambled to make a hasty retreat but didn’t get far.
“Hold it!” Police Chief Chandi Barrett bellowed as he and Constable Paul Quincy began to give chase.
It didn’t take long for the two officers to amass half a dozen inebriated, naked men; bundle them into two cruisers and drive to the police station. There the six miscreants were processed and ushered into a sizeable interrogation room.
Chandi stood glaring at the quickly sobering young men seated around the large conference table in front of him and shook his head. He thought he had seen just about everything, but apparently he hadn’t.
“Okay, fellas, just so you know; indecent exposure is a criminal offence and can carry a jail sentence. But I can see where over-indulging probably had a lot to do with how you all ended up here, and I’d hate to see any of you having a record for what is basically plain old-fashion mischief. So I’m charging you with the misdemeanour of being a public nuisance and fining you each one hundred dollars. I also expect you to volunteer for some community service. Being as you like to paint so much, now about next weekend putting your talent to work by painting all the playground equipment at the park?”
The Chief of Police bit his cheek to keep from smiling when he saw six nods of understanding. Everyone knew his question was rhetorical and required only compliance. “Right now though, I want you each to give Constable Quincy the name and number of someone we can call to come and pick you up.”
Billy for one had sobered completely and was feeling seriously sick to his stomach. During the lecture Chandi gave them, his mind kept flashing to Mason holding a paddle.
Cameron wasn’t much happier. He knew Chad wasn’t going to be happy and had an uneasy feeling he was going to be grounded again. He knew for sure that he was going to get a spanking.
‘My ass is grass,’ was all Jason thought as he listened to Chief Barrett hand down their sentence.
After Chandi and the other officer left the room, Cameron caught Kyler’s eye and grimaced. Billy and Jason looked at each other and winced as they slid down in their chairs.
“I’m hoping about now that Mason hasn’t bought another wooden spoon,” Billy said in an undertone to Jason, who was too busy praying that Jack wouldn’t remember the belt in the back of the closet to answer.
Rene looked to Kadyn who was sitting beside him and whispered, “Zack’s not gonna be very happy with me. How could we have done something so dumb?”
“Huh?” Kadyn didn’t appear too concerned; yet. That was subjected to change when Vincent showed up. In the meantime, Kadyn was still enjoying a buzz. “Hey, we were just having a bit of fun, man. And the Chief did say none of us would end up with a record.” It briefly crossed Kadyn’s mind to wonder if he was trying to convince his friend or himself.
Cameron’s eyebrows had risen in shock when he heard the comment Billy made. He had very sharp hearing. He glanced at Kyler who was sitting with his head in his hands. “Hey man,” he said very quietly. “It may not be too bad. At least we’re not the only ones dreading what our partners will do.”
Kyler lifted his head and glanced around. Rene and Kadyn were at the far end of the table, quieting whispering to each other. Across from him and Cameron, Billy and Jason were grumbling. They apparently had no problem with being overheard.
“We may have got off light where the law is concerned, but are we ever in deep shit with our partners,” Kyler groused for Cameron’s ears only. “Ah, tell me, Cam; we didn’t endanger ourselves or anyone else, did we?”
“No,” Cameron firmly insisted. “It was only a little fun that got a bit out of control. Although I don’t expect it to save my butt; we didn’t hurt anyone. It’s not like the kids will be scared for life, assuming they actually realised we were naked.” He grinned at his friend. “Hell, the women there might have even been turned on. Their husbands and partners may well thank us later on.” Cameron, as usual, couldn’t help but see the funny side of things.
Kyler’s smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. It wasn’t long before the room became quiet as each of the Brats fretfully contemplated the fallout for today’s alcohol-induced choices. Even Kadyn was finally giving the day’s activities some serious thought.
Chief Chandi Barrett walked out of his office and over to Constable Quincy’s desk. He sat in the extra chair and laid down the clipboard he had with him.
“I was able to get a hold of Zack Pierce at the pharmacy. He should arrive momentarily. Vincent La Maur is also on his way and he sounded somewhat unhappy; not that I blame him. While I wasn’t able to reach Hugh Jackson, Dr. Patrick Dean is on his way back from Kelowna and should be here in a less than an hour. How did you fair out, Paul?”
“Not as good as you did,” the other officer replied, looking down at his list. “I reached Chad Cavenaugh at the mine. He did not sound too pleased and I got the impression he was in his vehicle before I hung up the phone. Jackson McCallum will get here as soon as he can. He just has to lock up his shop. So far I’ve been unable to get a hold of Captain Mason Monroe. The fire department was called to an out-of-control field fire and there seems to be a lot of static in the area, but I will continue trying.”
Both men looked up as the door was roughly yanked opened and the town’s pharmacist rushed into the station, his lab coat billowing out behind him.