Slasha, Baby 2007
'Okay, so tell me: was this your I'd-Rather-Die job, or your If-I-Don't-Do-It-I'll-Starve-To-Death job?'
Elijah grimaced at his reflection in the mirror. 'The latter. You?'
'Yeah.' Dominic readjusted his hat and sighed. 'Me, too. Never mind, eh? Worse things happen at sea.'
As they left the small staff bathroom together and shoved their clothes into the single locker management had awarded them, Elijah wondered exactly how that was meant to cheer him. Of course worse things happened at sea. Like drowning, and scurvy... that kind of shit. But it was hardly comparable to their situation. They at least had food on ships.
Dominic's cheerful attitude came mainly from the hip flask of whiskey he kept hidden underneath his red velour tunic. He sipped from it every chance he got, and Elijah had seen more than one child unsteady on their feet after Dominic had belched unexpectedly in their faces.
'Want some?' Dominic waggled his flask. Elijah took it automatically.
'Sure. Thanks, man.'
Dominic was right: worse things did happen at sea. But none of those Navy bastards had ever been forced into tiny green shorts for money.
'I hate my life,' Elijah muttered as he took a swig of the alcohol and scratched unashamedly at his crotch; their shift hadn't even started and he was already getting damp balls. Stupid fucking shorts.
'Happy face, Elijah,' Dominic sing-songed, jazz hands waggling. 'Happy magical pixie face of festive joy!'
'I hate your life, too, by the way.'
Dominic snorted and held the door open for Elijah. 'You're a true friend.'
'And what do you want for Christmas, young man?'
The child on Orlando's lap stared up at him with no small amount of suspicion. 'You're not Santa.'
Orlando blinked, clearly thrown. They were only an hour in, after all; the kids didn't tend to get disillusioned till the afternoon, when their McDonald's lunches began to repeat on them and make them fractious with stomach aches. 'Ho ho ho! Of course I am!'
Elijah tried to hide a smirk, failing miserably. Orlando was trying so hard, bless him, but he hardly had the booming laugh every child hoped for from their mall Saint Nick. Elijah wasn't even sure why he'd gotten the gig in the first place. He was tall, granted. Too tall for an elf, at least. But he was also rake thin, and about twenty years too young to pull it off.
On the upside, he took the whole thing very seriously, which was handy since Dominic was usually half-drunk and giggling by lunch and Elijah just didn't give a fuck. Someone had to think of the children.
'Mr. Elf, a little help here!' Orlando squeaked. The child on his lap was snivelling as a wet patch grew on his trousers, spread down his leg and dribbled onto the floor around Orlando's shiny black boots. Elijah rolled his eyes and made a move to call in the owner of the incontinent toddler.
'Ma'am? Your child has had a little accident.'
As the mother rushed past him and offered her profuse apologies to Orlando, Elijah caught Dominic's eye as he manned the queue and held up four fingers, two thumbs. Dominic spluttered from his laughter. 'Six?' He mouthed. Elijah grinned and nodded.
Six tiny pissers was a record on Elijah and Dominic's shift, and it was only eleven-thirty. When he waved the next child through it occurred to Elijah that maybe it wasn't the kindest way to entertain themselves... after all, those poor parents were usually red-faced and humiliated by their child, while the brat in question left Santa's plastic grotto screaming and crying and dripping with their own piss. Meanwhile, Orlando - poor, poor theatre-school-trained Orlando, the only mall Santa to method act - was left stinking of several types of urine the whole day.
Elijah looked out of the house, caught Dominic's eye, and ran around the back to hide until his laughter had subsided.
'I mean, I don't mind it being sunny...' Dominic stared up and the sky, chewing and swallowing the burger he'd just talked around. 'It just doesn't feel very Christmassy.'
'So does it snow in England?'
'Nah, not really. Not anymore. When I was a kid it snowed loads around Christmas. At least, it felt like it did.' Dominic smiled. 'Too warm now, innit?'
Elijah sucked on his strawberry milkshake, frowning at the effort it took to pull the gloopy drink up through the straw. It was the first sweet thing he'd had in days, and despite the hard work needed he was loving every second. 'But not as warm as this?'
'No. Couldn't sit outside in hot-pants in December, that's for sure.'
Grimacing a little, Elijah wriggled his ass against the pavement. His balls were still squashed together unhappily inside the miniscule shorts he was expected to wear, cradled in frankly unhygienic and cheap nylon hose; he didn't need Dominic reminding him.
'I hate these things.'
Dominic grinned and looked him up and down. 'Give over. You know you look hot in them.'
'Not the right kind of hot.'
'Nah.' Dominic went back to his burger, taking a huge bite. 'You're full of Christmas spirit, Elijah, don't you worry.'
'Oh. My. God.' Dominic's expression was one of horror and desperation. 'Fucking hell, I'm serious. Oh. My God. Hide me, for fuck's sake!'
Elijah followed him inside the grotto and shut the door behind them. Orlando looked up, clearly annoyed at having been disturbed. He'd pushed down his beard so it hung around his chin, making him look like a particularly elderly and unconvincing Abraham Lincoln lookalike. Dominic continued to mutter to himself, completely oblivious to Orlando's anger.
'I still have five minutes till lunch break's over, you know,' Orlando spat. 'I need to read this script in peace.'
Dominic stopped muttering and glared at him. 'Oh, shut up. This is an emergency!' He turned his attention to Elijah and fixed him with a pleading expression. 'We need to swap places. I can't go back out there.'
'Why? What's happened?'
'Ex-shag, waiting in the queue,' Dominic groaned. 'Really, really fit shag. I had him about a week ago and I was going to call. If he sees me like this he'll never want to do it again!'
Elijah crossed to a tiny window at the front of the grotto and peered through it. 'Which one?'
'Sort of homeless looking, shaggy hair, bit gaunt.'
'Homeless looking?' Elijah smirked over his shoulder. 'Where did you pick him up? At a soup kitchen?'
'Actually, yes.' Dominic looked defiant when Elijah turned around in disbelief. 'But he was volunteering, it's not like I went and did it in his little cardboard box house.'
Elijah could only stare in disbelief. 'What the fuck were you doing at a soup kitchen?'
'I volunteer, you know. I'm a giver.'
Orlando snorted. 'Not what I've heard, darling.'
Elijah ignored him. 'Dom, I've seen you with food. You wouldn't give the crumbs in a cookie jar to a starving orphan if you could eat them yourself. Why were you there?'
Dominic scratched at his crotch; Elijah sympathised and did the same. 'Money's tight, innit? I'm not dressed up like this because the cash is rolling in. And they don't ask any questions.' He frowned at Elijah. 'Anyway, I've only done it a couple of times!'
'If things are that bad, come eat at mine, Dom.' Elijah smiled. 'You know you're always welcome.'
With his frown melting away, Dominic stopped playing with his genitals long enough to give Elijah a quick hug. 'Like you have anything going spare. But you're a mate. Cheers.'
'Of course.' Elijah went back to the window. 'Now, tell me again which one he is.'
'You think so?'
'Oh my God, yes.'
'So you think I should call him?'
'Dom, he's a DILF. A total DILF. If you don't call him, I will.'
Dominic laughed. 'Dad I'd Like To Fuck?'
'Dad I'd Love To Fuck,' Elijah corrected. 'What's his name again?'
'Virgo, I think. Like the Thunderbird.'
Elijah frowned. 'There wasn't a Thunderbird called Virgo.'
'Yes there was!' Dominic argued. 'There was Scott and Gordon and Tracy and... Sandra. And... Virgo. I'm sure that's right.'
'Virgil, moron.' Elijah folded up his shorts and shoved them into his bag. He turned his back a little as he pulled down his green hose, trying to maintain as much dignity as possible and hide his sweaty crotch. 'Was he called Virgil?'
'Yeah! That was it. Or... maybe. I don't know.'
Elijah balled up the hose and threw them into his bag, reaching past Dominic for his jeans. 'So, are you gonna, like, call him, then?'
'Fuck it.' Dominic's cell was in his hand and to his ear before Elijah had the chance to remind him not to use the name, not if he wasn't sure. Pulling on his pants, t-shirt and jacket, he waited patiently for the call to end, listening to Dominic's easy banter with the soup kitchen guy whose name he couldn't even remember. Couldn't have been that memorable, right?
He was a total DILF, though, Elijah gave him that much. He'd smiled as he passed through the queue with his toddler child, looking Elijah up and down with a wide and charming grin that left a pleasing warmth in Elijah's stomach. Yeah, Elijah would have happily shared the spirit of Christmas with Virgo or Virgil or whatever-the-fuck he was called. He was a DILF.
Dom's DILF. A DILF with a date with Dom. Not that Elijah was jealous or anything. He didn't care what (or who) Dom did.
Elijah stared at the damp patch on his ceiling. It was definitely getting bigger. He made a mental note to move his bed to the other side of the room, just in case the ceiling caved in. Elijah knew his life wasn't up to much, but he didn't want to die drowning on someone else's filthy toilet water as it came gushing down on him as he slept.
Later, he thought, lighting his third cigarette that morning. I'll definitely move it later.
Of course, in truth Elijah knew there was very little chance of him doing anything later. He had a bunch of things on his to-do list, like finding a job, finding some money, finding a week's food for under five bucks. He was pretty certain he'd just end up spending the five bucks on a packet of cigarettes and smoking them all while listening to his neighbours fuck through the paper-thin connecting walls.
His cell phone beeped across the room. Elijah knew exactly where it was: in the back pocket of his jeans. He also knew he wasn't moving for anything or anyone right that second. Not unless the ceiling suddenly gave way.
After five minutes the phone beeped again, and again, and then began to ring. With no small amount of annoyance, Elijah threw back his sheets and stomped over to his clothes, digging out his cell and flipping it open without bothering to check caller ID.
'What do you want?! Christ!'
'Whoa, sweetheart! Got a hangover?'
Elijah sighed and walked back to his bed, flopping onto the mattress. 'Dom. Hey. What's up?'
'Just me,' Dom purred down the line. 'I'm always up...'
Elijah rolled his eyes. 'So not in the mood for you taking the piss.'
'I have pizza. One of the guys here gets it free, like staff benefits or something, but he's about to go out and eat some real food. He brought it home for me. Wanna share? It's Four Seasons.'
Elijah's mouth watered at the thought of pizza. 'I don't have the bus fare.'
'So get a taxi. I'll pay. My treat.'
'How come you have money for cabs? Have you found a job?'
'Maaaaybe,' Dominic replied infuriatingly. 'And they'll probably have one for you, too. Come over, I'll tell you all the details.'
'I can't believe I'm doing this... I can't believe I took this fucking job again, like last year wasn't enough torment.' Elijah held up a familiar pair of green velvet shorts. 'Have these gotten smaller?!'
Dominic laughed. 'Maybe your arse has just expanded.'
'Fat chance. I'd have to eat occasionally for that to happen,' muttered Elijah. 'Fuck, why am I doing this?'
'Because it's good money. We ate like kings for a while last Christmas, remember? And because I'm pretty sure you can't resist a man in uniform. Take a look.'
Elijah couldn't help but laugh when he turned round and saw Dominic completely kitted out in his own costume. The pillow shoved inside his red suit jacket created the least convincing belly imaginable, and his beard was wonky. With a fond smile, Elijah adjusted it and patted Dominic's tummy.
'Very nice. I'm impressed you've graduated to such a lofty position. I can't believe you're going to earn more than me though, it's so unfair. I have to wear these damn shorts and you get to hide behind a beard.'
'But I'm going to get pissed on, and I have to talk to the little brats,' Dominic replied, which Elijah had to agree was probably punishment enough. 'So, Elijah, have you been a good boy this year?' Dominic asked, pulling him close.
'Ew, cut it out! The Pervy Santa thing is so gross...'
''Cos I have it on good authority that you've been very, very bad,' Dominic leered, his beard tickling Elijah's face as he leaned in. 'Bad little elf, corrupting other little elves...
Elijah laughed and pushed back on Dom. 'Only the one, and he was a total degenerate to start with anyway.'
'Is that so?'
'Ah well. Santa can forgive that,' Dominic replied thoughtfully. 'And if it was ever to happen again, I could turn a blind eye to the whole thing then, too.'
Elijah opened his mouth to ask if that was a fully-fledged invitation. He and Dominic had never really talked about their one night thing way back in June, the one right after Viggo finished things and Dominic had been kinda devastated. They'd shared the last of Dominic's instant mashed potatoes, some stolen tequila and a sweaty fuck on the communal sofa, followed by a healthy dose of awkward silence. Dominic had made no mention of a re-run, either, just flirted as normal the next time they hung out and never took it further, leaving Elijah to just... take the hint.
Only now... well, was that a different hint?
'We should get to work,' Dominic said, interrupting Elijah's musings. 'The kiddiewinks want their moment of joy with a crap impostor. Get those hot-pants on, quick smart.'
Elijah sighed. 'One magical pixie face of festive joy coming right up.'
Later that night, as he lay in Dominic's infinitely more comfortable bed on the far nicer side of the bad side of town, Elijah began to laugh. Dominic opened his eyes sleepily and shot him a curious look.
'What's so funny?'
'You know what you are?'
'Mmmm... Fucking tired?'
'A Santa I Love To Fuck.'
Dominic paused and pulled Elijah to him, laughing quietly.
'That's so fucked up. You're fucked up, you know that?'
Elijah grinned. 'Nah. I'm just full of Christmas spirit, that's all.'