3 min

One way to tell

A tool with two holes

Credit: Xtra West files

Will Gray and Ryan Merilees are about to give up and head to Melriches for a Pale Ale-but there it is, at last.

1133 Pendrell Street.

Smack in the heart of Mole Hill, it’s also buried halfway down a gravel path. Unless you’re looking for it, you might never notice this place. A heritage home. The trim is freshly painted-Vancouver Green.

Will and Ryan’s new abode. All on their own in a real house. Ryan keeps on bubbling, “Just like Party of Five.”

Will raps with an iron knocker, too loudly, and the pair wait while sounds of confusion, zoo-like, come through the heavy door.

“Back! Back!” It’s a manic voice from inside. Ryan and Will exchange oh-fuck looks. But now the door is opening. Too late to bolt.

The face through the cracked door is a haggard one, red skin floating off the cheek bones. The body is muscled like a bulldog though, under a jogging top that reads NYU.

“We’re here about the basement suite,” Ryan starts in. “We…”

“Any drugs?” the man interrupts.

“Not on me, no,” replies Ryan, miffed.



“Get lost, then.” He moves to close the door. But Ryan jams a sneaker in the way.

“I do smoke when I get drunk! And Will, um, Will did poppers once. Didn’t you?”

Will nods Yes and stares a NO! at Ryan.

But voila, the man relaxes. He even suffers a ferocious rottweiller to muscle between his legs and slobber on the boys. “Well, alright then.” He widens the door. “Welcome to Mole Hole. My name is Prior Walter. You can call me Pry.”

By next morning, the boys have moved in. Mostly it’s all in boxes still. Just the essentials are unpacked: ass-wipe, Fruit Loops and lube.

Will is passed out on a bare mattress, legs clamped suspiciously around the body of a giant stuffed Smurf.

Ryan leans in, plucks one of Will’s chest hairs, and jumps back to miss the swinging arm.

“Wha-?” A pillow goes flying. Ryan navigates through a maze of moving boxes to the safety of the door frame.

“Morning Mole,” he says, darkly.

“Fuck you.” But Will does crawl off the futon, tripping over the boxes to peck Ryan on the cheek and head for the shower.

The bathroom is cozy, said Pry, as he gave them a quick tour. Elfin, more like.

The water pressure is a geriatric piddle, and Will has to bend over to get his hair wet. But this is his shower, his own. His shower, in his home. And that feels good.

Then somebody upstairs flushes a toilet and the hot streams turn frigid. Will’s dick retreats in the cold and he gets a little miserable. The soap isn’t rinsing and he can’t jerk off for fear of slamming his head into the akimbo wall.

He wonders when this will start to feel as romantic as Party of Five. And the horrible notion that it might never happen begins to dawn on his shivering, dripping, head.

Down the hall, Ryan has made eggs for the first time in his life. Scrambled, it turns out. Giving up, he pads down the hall buck naked save the floral-print apron, and watches dispassionately as his roomie towels off an unfortunately shrivelled member. Will is clearly in a foul mood, complaining about all the weird problems with the place.

“Honey,” murmurs Ryan. “You have to love all the strange stuff. Love it for being strange.”

Will is studying the blue ring around the tub, the mould in the tile grout. He decides, “you love the strange. I’m buying some Comet.”

Around midnight, after Will has gone to bed, a stranger enters Ryan Merilees’ life. He lives in the attic of Mole Hole and harbours a penchant for cowboy hats. That much Ryan gets out of the falling-down-drunk wrangler.

Ryan was flipping through a Kushner play when Cowboy stumbled through the open door.

“Forgot my keys,” he slurred, giving Ryan the once-over and gripping the end of the couch. “I live upstairs. Don’t worry. I’m going.”

But he hasn’t yet. He’s started talking with Ryan in a plodding, steady sort of way and sat down. Legs wide.

The cowboy hat obscures his eyes, which pleases Ryan. Anonymity insures separation. And separation cultivates desire.

“Fuck I’m needing,” Cowboy admits, in an abstract yet encouragingly direct sort of way.

Ryan needs no encouragement. Zip.

But what’s this? Ryan’s face has turned from rapture to clinical scrutiny. He turns the cock over in his hand, as one might study a rare butterfly.

It has two holes. Ryan has never seen two holes before.

“Do you cum in stereo?” he whispers, bending onto his knees in reverence.

Cowboy smirks and touches Ryan’s ears. “One way to tell.”

Ryan bows in, his gaze steady as a nun in prayer, and takes the strangest part of the stranger into himself.