Mason's an Asshole (but he already knew that)
“Mr. Jim,” Mason straightened his tie and nodded at Dad as he sat in the hair that was still warm from his father. He didn’t even glance at Bruce. Which was good. His poker face was great… but nobody in Vegas could have kept a straight face under those circumstances.
“Hey, Mason. I hear congratulations are in order.” Dad leaned forward, buttering the stupid kid up.
Mason moved a few of the binders on the desk around, trying to look important. “Yeah, Daddy thought it was time to open another store.”
“I’m surprised you’re here today,” Dad said. “I figured you’d have gone out partying last night.”
Mason nodded. For a second, he looked tired, but he quickly caught himself. “Me and some of the boys did. Hell, Dex was with us for a while, but he baled right before we went to the titty bar.”
Dad nodded, but Bruce couldn’t tell what was going through his head. For Dex’s sake, he hoped Dad didn’t come to the right conclusions.
“Well, nobody can blame you for that. Might as well get lucky to celebrate. You deserve it.” Dad was laying it on thicker than horse shit.
If his boss’ nineteen year old son had been promoted over him, he’d have been bullshit. It’s no wonder Mason took so many of the guys from the store to the strip club.
“I… well, I didn’t actually…” Mason shook his head. “Never mind.” He made a point of not looking at Bruce. “Anyway, I was promoted. Some might say it’s a little early—”
“Nonsense!” Dad said. “I’m sure you can make good decisions and wield power with intelligence. You know—keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” He paused for a beat then nodded toward Bruce. “And, speaking of that—”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Jim. You know I respect you. And, your other son’s one of my best friends, but I just can’t hire him back.”
He hadn’t even glanced at Bruce, and it looked like he didn’t even want to use his name.
“Look, Mason.” Dad leaned forward. “I understand. Believe me. If anyone knows how worthless my boys are, it’s me. But, he really needs to work, and I swear—” He put his hand over his heart. “This little asshole will do whatever you want, whenever you want. It’ll be nothing but ‘yes, sir, Mr. Keller’ and ‘no, sir, Mr. Keller’ the whole time he works for you.”
Mason raised an eyebrow and finally looked at Bruce. “This true?”
Bruce wanted to punch him and Dad. Instead, he grunted.
Dad’s hand lashed out and punched him on the arm. “He asked you a question!”
Bruce took a deep breath. “Yes, sir…” His insides were having a nuclear meltdown. “Mr. Keller.”
A suspicious—but evil—grin played at Mason’s mouth. “Well, we might be able to work with that. Maybe.”
Dad nodded, encouraged by the way things were going. “Seriously. Anything you want. Mopping, cleaning drains… Hell, if you didn’t get laid last night, my boy’ll suck you off. Whatever you need him to do.”
Mason and Bruce both jumped in surprise and stared at Dad. Mason’s mouth worked in silent shock and Bruce’s let out grunts of disbelief.
“I… that won’t be necessary,” Mason said, straightening his tie, trying to look as professional as possible.
Dad shrugged. “I just figured that if you needed a way to make sure I was telling the truth, that’d be a good test. Besides—”
Mason held his hand up, about to interrupt, but Dad pressed on.
Bruce’s grunts grew louder.
“I hear he’s pretty good at it.” He hurried forward before he could be interrupted. “I’ll leave you two to finish the discussion ‘cause I have some things I need to pick up.”
He stood and walked around behind Bruce’s chair. Grabbing his hair and yanking his head back, he said, “Anything he asks—you hear me?”
Bruce stared straight up at his upside-down face and gulped. He tried to nod, but the grip on his hair wouldn’t let hi .
“Yes, sir,” he muttered.
Dad shoved his head forward. “Meet me at the truck when you’re done.”
Bruce stared at the floor, numb.
“Good to see you, Mason. Any trouble from him—anything at all—you let me know, and I’ll take it out of his hide.”
Within seconds the office door closed, and they sat in uncomfortable silence for at least a minute.
“So, you a cock sucker now, Bruce?”
His blood ran cold, but anger burned his face. “No!”
Mason leaned back in his chair. His discomfort was gone, and he seemed to be enjoying himself. “Well, that’s an odd thing for your dad to say if you weren’t.”
Bruce seethed and stared, trying to get him to drop the subject.
“I guess that makes sense then,” he continued. “Why would Dex bother with the titty bar if he’s got a mouth at home to suck him off?”
Bruce’s body acted on its own. He jumped out of his chair and prepared to launch across Mason’s desk.
Mason reached toward the old PA mic on his desk. “Need me to page Mr. Jim?”
Bruce’s fists clenched, and he shook with rage. His vision was dark, and his body hurt from the need to fight.
“He’s still in the store,” Mason said, nodding out the two-way mirror.
Out in the store, Dad calmly opened the dairy case and pulled out a gallon of milk.
“God damn it,” Bruce muttered through clenched teeth.
Mason’s chuckle was dark and would have made a cartoon villain proud. “You gonna behave?”
Bruce couldn’t unclench my teeth, so he just nodded.
Mason sighed and reached for the mic. “That didn’t sound like the answer I was promised.”
With an effort that should have won a gold medal at the Olympics, he unclenched his jaw. “Yes, sir, Mr. Keller.”
Bruce willed my body to unclench and started to ease back down onto my chair.
“Wait…” Mason said. “Before you sit.”
Bruce’s breath was so ragged my lungs hurt.
“When Mr. Jim mentioned it, I thought it was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. But, now I’m thinking your dad might be pretty smart.”
Son of a bitch. If the conversation was going where he thought it was, one of them was about to end up dead.
Mason glared at him. “You a faggot, Bruce?”
“No.” There had to be enough hatred in Bruce’s face to kill.
Mason’s finger tapped the desk near the mic. “I think you are.”
The only way Bruce wanted to talk was with his fists. He couldn’t have spoken if someone had a gun to his head.
“And to think, I had to shower with you in gym class.” Mason looked out to the sprawling grocery store, teaming with people. “I bet a lot of the boys would be interested to know you were checking out their dicks all those years.”
Adrenaline pounded through Bruce, and his breath came in pants.
“Guess there’s only one way to find out.” The chair squeaked as he leaned back. “Why don’t you come around here and let me judge whether you’ve sucked a cock before.”
Bruce stayed where he was. There was no way in hell.
Mason waited a few seconds then reached over and pressed the mic button. “Mr. Jim to the manager’s office, please. Mr. Jim to the manager’s office.”
Dad had just pulled a box of cereal off the shelf. His head snapped up to look at the mirror. Bruce’d never seen that kind of rage on anyone’s face.
He slammed the cereal into the cart and stormed toward the back of the store. They couldn’t hear what he was saying, but people he passed turned in shock, so it couldn’t have been good.
“Fine,” Bruce said.
Mason looked away from the store and back at him. “I’m sorry?”
“I said ‘fine.’” Bruce unclenched his fists.
He raised his eyebrows. “Fine what?”
Bruce closed his eyes and forced the words out. “Fine, I will suck your dick.”
When he didn’t cancel his announcement, Bruce opened his eyes. Mason still looked expectant.
He’d gone that far—so why the hell not. “I will suck your dick, Mr. Keller, sir.”
Triumph bloomed on Mason’s face, and he reached over and pressed the button. “Cancel, Mr. Jim.”
Dad stopped and glared up through narrowed eyes. Finally, he nodded and tramped back to his cart.
Mason rotated his chair. “Get to it.”