Escape to Girne Ch. 02: Into Fire

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“We don’t have time for this, Ergon. We’re going down to the harbor for dinner.”

“There is always time to make fuck,” Ergon answered me. “And we have an hour before we should be down in the harbor. Turks don’t eat their evening meal before ten at night.”

He had come up to the flat after dark—after they had stopped work for the day. The main bath in the house was usable now, and I’ve given the three workers permission to clean up there at the end of the working day. Ergon was wearing running shorts, sandals, and a tight T-shirt. I had caught on that that was the normal wear for going down into the harbor at night and was attired the same way.

Except that Ergon already had the running shorts and the black mesh sock thong I was wearing underneath them down to my knees. He had a hand running up under my T and was pinching one of my nipples while we rocked back and forth against each other.

He had drawn his breath in when he discovered I was wearing a thong and said somewhat admonishingly, “You are planning on having some action down in the harbor tonight?”

“I like to be prepared,” I said. I wanted to limit what I told Ergon or the other workers about my plans.

He pushed me down on the bed in a sitting position and knelt between my spread knees. I murmured, “We don’t have time for this” again, but Ergon wasn’t paying a bit of attention. And once he’d opened his mouth over my cock, I didn’t particularly care. I said it again, more weakly, when he stood and grabbed and further spread my thighs with his hands and then entered me and began to pump as I lay back on the bed and reached up to run my hand under his T-shirt and grip his sides. But he didn’t listen to me then either. We were both grunting and moaning and came almost simultaneously. We had fucked often enough now that we knew each other’s patterns and were managing to come together ever more closely in time.

Without pulling out of me when he’d come, he leaned his torso down to mine and pressed his forehead into mine, looking deeply into my eyes. We rarely kissed. It was not a romantic arrangement.

“We could just stay here and do this over and over again into the night,” he whispered to me. He was being a bit affectionate and seductive, which put me on my guard.

“Is there some reason you don’t want to take me to Effendi’s tonight?” I asked. “I could go alone if you don’t want to go. I’m sure I can find it myself.” I’d been there quite a few times in previous years.

“No, I’ll take you if you insist on going,” he said.

I could tell there was concern in his voice, though. “If I insist on going?”

“I think it best you do not go—especially when you are in a mood as you are.”

“A mood. What mood?” I asked. I was trying to be careful with this. I needed to know how I was coming across.

“I fear you are in a hurt yourself mood,” Ergon said, somewhat reluctantly. “You are in a sad mood, and you want to be fucked hard and often. You won’t say why, but you seem to want to be punished hard. I think it must be tied up with this lover of yours who has died, but you will not talk about it. I think you are intent on doing yourself harm.”

“And that’s why you don’t want me to go to Effendi’s tonight?”

“I’ve asked around more on the owner of this restaurant, the man who sold you this house and who lives behind it in the new villa. He is not the sort of man I think you need to be near when you are in this mood of yours.”

“Are you saying that this man, Fuad—Fuad Fikret—is somehow evil?”

“I fear he may be—and that he is not a safe man to be around when you are in the mood you are in. And I have been told of his brother, Fazil, who owned the restaurant before Fuad took it over. He is some sort of wanted man, I hear.”

“Wanted? Wanted for what?”

“I understand that he was involved in smuggling. Exchanging drugs from the terrorists in the Levant for weapons from Eastern Europe. He was almost apprehended here a few years ago, but escaped. Now his brother, Fuad, has the restaurant—and I fear he may have some of his brother’s other activities as well.”

“Well, I don’t have either drugs or arms to exchange for the other. I have a wish to eat at his restaurant and to meet him. That’s why I wish you to be along. You said you knew him from his checking on what was happening here with the house while I was gone. I want you to introduce me to him.”

“And there lies the most difficult problem I have with that,” Ergon said. “I am afraid of you meeting him when you are in this punishing mood.”

“Because . . .?”

“Because of what else I hear about Fuad Fikret. I hear he is a destroyer of men.”

“He’s a murderer?”

“He may be that too. But what I hear is that he preys on men. That he takes them hard, brutally, and . . . he has a yacht in the harbor, tied up right beside the outdoor table of his restaurant. Whatever you do, if you meet him, don’t go out with him in his yacht. I have heard that men who do that don’t come back.”

“I want to meet him, Ergon. Will you introduce us if he’s at the restaurant tonight? I can go alone casino oyna and manage it if you will not go.”

“I work for you Mr. Clarke. Of course I will go if that is what you must have,” Ergon answered with a deep sigh. “But I think it would be much better if you faced why you seek such punishment. I’m afraid it will be the end of you. Perhaps we shouldn’t let him know . . .”

It’s an end that I seek, and I know the seeking of it is very dangerous, I thought. But I said nothing to Ergon. I didn’t want him any more involved in this than could be avoided. This, though, I couldn’t avoid. “No, Ergon, I want you to convey to this Fuad Fikret exactly what you, Jamil, and Sami have been doing with me.”

* * * *

Kyrenia Harbor—known to the Turks as Girne—was one of my favorite spots on earth, especially at night, with the fairy lights playing over the outside restaurant tables along the edge of the encircled yacht harbor, where the bows of the boats come almost up to the quayside where the tables are set for dining and drinking into the wee hours of the morning. Built in medieval times, the eastern end of the harbor was anchored by a Byzantine castle that the crusaders of Richard the Lionhearted had encased in a crusader castle. Running two-thirds of the way around the curve of the inner yacht basin and set some thirty feet back from the edge of the water was a line of four- and five-story stone row houses that had acted as yet another wall protecting the harbor.

In the medieval period these had been merchant houses for the Mediterranean sea trade between southern Europe and the Levant. On the ground story, facing the harbor, were the warehouses and shops for the individual merchant’s trade. Above that was more warehouse space and the merchant’s house, which opened out onto the narrow, cobblestoned street at the back of the building, away from the harbor. Other stone buildings faced this first line of merchant houses and then, once, there had been another city wall, which now was crumbled and in little evidence. The Dome Hotel held down the Western end of the inner harbor and from there a narrow jetty swept around on the northern, Mediterranean side of the harbor and past the northern walls of the castle. Boats coming into the harbor had to enter alongside the glowering inspection of the castle walls.

I hadn’t been down to the harbor since I returned to Cyprus, but I had been here many times before over the years. Cyprus was where I had first met Peter, who had been sent to me for his first assignment. The attraction between us had been immediate, but we could not play out our desires for each other on the Greek side, where I was the chief of station at the American embassy and Peter was a new agent assigned to me. He had been so full of life, so hard-bodied, and so steeped in sports. We had started as tennis partners and had moved fairly swiftly to bed partners, with Peter fucking me and fully satisfying my needs and desires.

It hadn’t been safe to tryst regularly in Nicosia, the capital on the Greek side of the island, though. I rented a villa on the mountainside, overlooking the sea, up in Bellapais, above Kyrenia, and it is there where we met whenever we could.

When I returned this time, I could not bear to face the memories by buying an old villa in Bellapais to restore, although there were several on the market, including the one Peter and I had so happily, openly, and wantonly fucked in. But I dared not welcome those memories. So, I had settled for a place down closer to the coast, in Kyrenia but two levels up from the harbor, overlooking the southern wall of the castle, with a small Anglican church and its isolated, treed graveyard park between.

The effect of the harbor—with the bittersweet memory of my evenings with Peter here before he took me back to our Bellapais villa and fucked me into Nirvana intruding into and reinforcing the mission that brought me here this evening—was almost magical. Ergon and I walked down to the harbor via the ramp from the higher cobbled street to the yacht basin beside the Harbor Club, the British-style pub that was the favorite of the diplomatic corps and the Westerner expatriates. Peter and I had come there often—when we weren’t in the mood to eat at one of the Turkish restaurants quayside and pick up a young, hunky, Turkish stud to drive up the mountain with and to fuck me on our terrace overlooking Kyrenia and the sea while Peter sat, drinking brandy, and watched with slitted eyes.

Effendi’s was just three row houses to the west from the Harbor Club ramp and had one of the best views, in all directions, of the activity in the harbor, which was quiet at this time of evening, but also festive. The restaurant was one of the oldest ones on the harbor. It had been called Effendi’s when I last ate there—cruising for young Turkish hunks—and it had been one of my favorites. As with all restaurants in the warmer weather of Cyprus, which lasted some eight months of the year, all of the restaurant’s tables had been pulled out to the quayside and the interior of the restaurant, although dimly lit, was nearly empty.

I slot oyna saw the man I assumed was Fuad Fikret almost immediately, standing in the shadows beyond the restaurant, menus in hand, talking to another man. Fikret was exactly what I would have expected, a middle-aged man—probably nearly ten years older than I was—who belied the usual fast deterioration of body of the Turkish-Cypriot male of this age and was, instead, a swarthy form of a Zeus. His aspect was one of being both meltingly enticing and disturbingly dangerous. He had the air of extreme self-confidence about him, the insistence of control, the knowing that he was superior among the men of late middle age.

He was dark-skinned—deeply tanned—although not as dark as the man he was talking with so earnestly in the shadows, and the first impression I got of him was how hirsute he was—and how much I’d like to follow that curly line of black hair coming down from his throat and into the neckline of his billowy white, open-fronted shirt down to below his beltline. I found myself going hard immediately, which was all to the good for what I hoped was to come. He had a full head of black, curly hair with silver highlights in it and a perpetual, I assumed, five-o-clock-shadow beard and mustache. I had the sensation of lying there under him, him inside me, and looking at his face while he shaved, but seeing the hair start to grow out on his cheeks and chin almost as soon as he was finished and began once more pumping inside me.

To say that I wanted him inside me from the first moment I gazed upon him would be an understatement.

The curly hair continued down his throat and tumbled out of his shirt front, open three buttons down. I could tell that his chest would be heavy slabs of hard muscle. A gold medallion, suspended on a thick gold chain, nestled between his pecs. My eyes moved down to his tight black trousers to assure myself that the bulge at his crotch would be prominent, which it was. He was wearing sandals without socks, and even from here I could see that the toes were plump and covered with curly black hair.

His ruggedly handsome face was set in a scowl, which was accentuated by a hairline scar running from an earlobe across to the corner of a cruel-looking mouth. He had all of the markings of a satyr or the devil himself, and I felt myself trembling at the possibilities of him.

All of that was taken in with a quick observation, though, as I was more concerned about the man he was so intensely engaging in conversation—the Yemeni. I knew he was a Yemeni. I even knew his name, or the one-syllable name we referred to him by at Langley. Murad. I knew him well, and my blood ran cold and I lost my budding hard on when my attention went to him. All of my muscles tensed, and it was all I could do not to pounce on him.

I had to believe the possibility that he knew me too, though. And this was not the time and place for a reveal.

I held up my pace at the bottom of the ramp and arrested Ergon’s movement with a hand to his forearm.

“Please go ahead and procure a table for us, Ergon. I have to take a piss first.”

Without waiting for a reply, I slipped into the front door of the restaurant and headed toward the back of the large, nearly empty room. I had to trust that Ergon would also use the time to tell Fuad what I had wanted Fuad to know. As I entered the building, a hulking black man—an Egyptian from the south of that country, I immediately sized him up to be, such quick assessments were what I was trained to do—stepped aside to permit my entry. One of two young, handsome and smiling Cypriot-Turkish waiters also passed me, carrying a tray of enticingly scented food. Although the waiters bustled back and forth between the quayside and the kitchen at the back of the building for the entire time I was at the restaurant, the hulking Egyptian remained standing by the door, ever vigilant, ever foreboding. If a bouncer was needed, that would be him.

I took my time in the head and when I returned, I could see, through the window beyond the dim lighting of the interior of the restaurant, that the discussion between Fuad and Murad had ended. Murad dropped down into a small dingy beyond the quay, and, having started the motor, was headed out into the middle of the yacht basin, toward a good-sized yacht that was showing its age. I made sure, during the rest of the time at the restaurant, that, once he’d reached this boat, he cast off and sailed the yacht out of the harbor and into the Mediterranean.

As I exited the building, past the Egyptian bruiser, I spied Ergon sitting at a table on the pavement near where the quay ended and the stern of a very nice cabin cruiser bobbed almost imperceptibly in the water. He didn’t look delighted to be here.

“You must be Mr. Clarke,” I heard in a smooth, British-accented baritone. Fuad was at my side, a big smile on his face—looking more hunky now than malevolent. “Your table is just this way.”

He had taken my hand in his. A shiver went up my spine, because he had not only taken the hand in a handshake, but he’d bent his thumb while doing so, and that canlı casino siteleri was now pressed to my palm and rubbing—a signal I had learned in previous encounters with Turks not only of sexual interest but also a declaration of aggressive domination. I did not take my hand away, but, rather, folded one of my fingers under to where it was encircled by the bent, rubbing thumb, signaling a willingness to surrender to aggressive domination. He gave me a smile and made little effort to end the handshake either.

I looked down at his beefy hands and at the curly black hair on his knuckles. My mind zipped back to one of the young men Peter and I had taken up to Bellapais from this same restaurant years before—a younger version of Fuad named Tahir—and of licking the black, curly hair on his inner thighs before swallowing his hairy balls.

Our hands didn’t lose contact when we fell out of the handshake. Our arms lowered between our bodies and I cupped my thumb and first finger around the root of his thumb—yet a further signal of what I would let him do to me, if he wished.

“And you must be Fuad Fikret,” I answered as he slowly walked me to the table, both of us under the close, troubled scrutiny of Ergon. “Ergon has told me of the special service you provide at this restaurant, and I just had to experience it myself.”

We were seated and Fikret waited on us himself, discretely signaling off the two waiters moving about the dining space. He practically ordered for us too, declaring we’d have the mixed grill, which was served with a mountain of deliciously greasy French fries. I said politely I’d never finish it all, but he declared I simply must as “It gives a man stamina. I am thinking that you never can get enough . . . of French fries, and that’s what I offer here—all of the French fries a man can take.”

We drowned the meal in gallons of Efes beer.

Ergon stayed through the meal, saying hardly anything to me and looking out to the boats in the yacht basin whenever Fikret appeared, jovial and all smiles, the perfect host, seemingly paying much more attention to our table than to any other.

After the “mountain of fruit” course, downing of a cup of the sludge the Turks call coffee, and the pouring of the brandy, Fikret didn’t leave the side the table. “Do you mind if I join you? There seems to be a lull in the service, and I could use the breather.”

I looked around. The supper crowd looked pretty overwhelming to me, although the two young Turkish waiters were efficiently handling the demand.

“By all means,” I said. Ergon just grunted.

Fikret sat across the table from me, looked meaningfully at Ergon, and said, “I’m sure you need your rest, young man. I hear the racket of your hammering each morning much before I wish to be awake.”

Ergon turned distressed eyes to me and opened his mouth to speak . . . but then, with a look at Fikret, closed his mouth.

“I will be happy to entertain Mr. Clarke from here,” Fikret said. The words were friendly, the tone was a bit harder.

Again Ergon looked at me with imploring eyes.

“Yes, I’ll be fine, Ergon,” I said. “I’ll see you in the morning. I believe you wanted to know what color to paint the living room. I’d like to see how the morning light plays in the room before deciding.”

I had meant it as a promise for him tomorrow—that all would be as it was before. I don’t know if the message conveyed, but he shrugged, stood, and left us, slowly moving to the ramp leading up to our street, looking back with concern on his face no more than twice.

Fikret reached over to top up my brandy glass and when he put the bottle down, his hand came down on top of the forearm I had laying on the table and gripped me there—not painfully hard, but strongly enough to feel the connection. Again the thumb bent under his palm, rubbing my arm.

“So, do you regret having bought the ruins at the street in front of my villa, Mr. Clifford Clarke?”

He was telling me that he already had been interested in me before Ergon had brought me to the restaurant.

“I don’t regret it a bit; it’s just what I wanted.”

“The selling papers didn’t give your nationality. American?”

“No, Canadian,” I answered. “And you, are you a Cypriot or from mainland Turkey?”

“We don’t make the distinction,” he answered, parrying my query, but doing so with a smile on his face. It told me that he was a mainland Turk. The Turkish-Cypriots considered themselves more sophisticated than their mainland relatives and were quick enough to convey that message. “Were you government service?” he asked.

“They call me a coal baron at home. Mines in Sudbury. Sudbury, Ontario.”

His eyes looked a little more relaxed.

He moved his hand to the table, reaching across to the half-way point on the table top. I reached my hand to his, feeling a jabbing pain when he drove the nail of his thumb into the center of my palm. Wincing inside, but trying not to show it to him, I loosely wrapped my fingers around his middle finger, and gently stroked his finger with my thumb—signaling that I was completely open to him and for more than just a straight fuck. He smiled at me again. I was signaling more than this. I was signaling that I was a serious player. I knew the signals of men like him, and I didn’t shy away from them.

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