George & the Christmas Dragon: M/M Romance
by Barry Lowe
George is used to playing the ass end of a camel or a donkey in his company’s Christmas panto. He puts up with it to be near his girlfriend, Meredith, who always plays the lead and who shows much too keen an interest in Eric from the accounts department. But this year, management is doing away with the traditional panto and trying something with a little more beefcake and bare skin. George suddenly finds himself thrust into the lead role in George and the Drag. He’s flattered until he learns the character he’s playing is gay and, worse still, is scripted to develop a crush on the dragon he is sent to kill. If that’s not bad enough, when George discovers that the dragon really does get his heart racing because he’s played by hunky Rod from the sports goods department, he’s forced to question his sexual orientation – is he really turned on by dragons? Or is it just Rod? And what about his girlfriend Meredith?
“You trying out for the Christmas panto this year?” Rod for the sporting goods department asked as he handed me a box of brand name runners.
I chuckled as I eased my foot into the comfortable shoe. “I don’t have to try out. I just automatically get whatever animal needs an ass end, be it camel, donkey or wombat.” I looked up to see if he was having a joke at my expense. Nuh. He looked serious. “I’m surprised anyone even knows I’m on stage. It’s not like anyone sees me or I have any lines.”
“I always know it’s you under the costume.”
If Rod – he hated being called Rodney, and hated his nickname of Hot Rod even more – hadn’t been the most hetero male in the entire department store I would have sworn he was flirting. He was called Hot Rod, behind his back, because he was incredibly hot. Management encouraged him to wear tight-fitting T-shirts or singlets as well as skimpy shorts or dick-revealing jeans to work. He was the only male to be excused the button down shirt and black trousers uniform that rest of us struggled with.
I could see their point. The sporting goods department was always crowded unlike the customer-free wasteland it was before Rod took over. He upped the profile of the department so successfully that management had quickly increased the definition of what constituted sporting goods. His domain now included male and female underwear, backpacks, quinoa products, plus male and female sex products, in fact, anything that they could cram into the area that Rod patrolled like some sort of Greek god.
Of course, a lot of his customers were gay men with a lot of disposable income. Before you jump down his throat, he encourages his customers to recycle used items they no longer wear but which are still in reasonable condition which he donates to a club where he coaches underprivileged youth. It’s no wonder Rod is admired throughout the company.
It’s also no wonder he gets hit on by members of the staff (all sexes) and customers. But he turns them all down more politely than they approach him. I know because my girlfriend Meredith tried it once. Oh, she maintains she did it on a dare from the other women in the perfume department. It could be true because she told me about it. On the other hand, it may be that she thought I’d find out about it through the store’s gossip vine.
As to how I know he’s hetero: he turns people down by mentioning he already has a girlfriend and is in a committed monogamous relationship. Could be fake, of course, but Janine, the Board’s receptionist saw him ‘up close and personal with a very hot female’ – her words – at one of the town’s hipster nightclubs.
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