GENRE: Gay Romance
LENGTH: 5,822 words
All he wanted to do was retrieve his newspaper, but Raymond is panic-stricken when a rat dashes through his open apartment door. No worries, though. Pandy is on the job! Except Kevin doesn’t want Raymond’s cat to eat his beloved pet ... mouse.
Can Kevin rescue Corky before Pandy gets to her? Will Raymond’s upturned box of ... um ... personal toys and videos drive Kevin away, or will the pile of filigree undies Corky has burrowed into turn Kevin on?
Even this early, his copy of the Sunday edition of the Kansas City Star should be waiting in the hallway, so he opened his studio apartment door. Another door down the hall, the same from which movers had shuffled in and out the previous day, creaked open.
As he lifted the newspaper, a white blur ran across -- across! -- his slippers. Before he could stop himself, Raymond produced a high-pitched yelp that would have sent Leon’s eyes rolling all the way back in his head.
He hopped from foot to foot and shrieked, “Rat!” as the pale streak detoured into his apartment.
The new neighbor down the hall muttered, “Shit,” no doubt regretting his choice of apartment building since it was apparently infested with “rodents of unusual size” as if escaped from The Princess Bride’s fire swamp.
Raymond’s one sentient thought was to get to higher ground, so he ran into his apartment despite the imminent threat of rabies, or plague, or whatever the hell rats carried, because ... furniture. He left his door open because he wasn’t about to be trapped inside the apartment with the gruesome creature.
“Get it, Pandy!” he shrieked. “Get it!”
The instruction proved superfluous since the cat hadn’t missed the flash of premium breakfast streaking by. Pandemonium was on it like stink on poo. Particularly her own nasty poo, which eating a sewer rat wasn’t likely to improve.
His new neighbor shouted, “No!” and rushed into Raymond’s apartment. The man put up a hand and said, “Sorry, sorry. I’ll take care of it,” while Raymond channeled Jennifer Beals frenetically dancing to “She’s a Maniac” in Flashdance on his loveseat.
Pandemonium lived up to her name as she squalled and dove under Raymond’s bed, where the unfortunately-not-drowned-rat had dashed. It had better not be burrowing into his box springs. So help him, if that rodent ravaged his bed, the landlord would be paying for the damages.
Despite the horror of the rat invasion, Raymond couldn’t help but appreciate the vignette unfolding before him. His new neighbor, wearing only a ratty (no pun intended) pair of blue jeans and an unbuttoned shirt, lunged after the animals, coming to the rescue like a knight in shining flannel, far sexier than armor from Raymond’s perspective.
The sheer bravery of the man feeling around under the bed with his bare hands with a river rat on the loose was swoon-worthy, until a shoebox Raymond had under there came tumbling out, and his dildo collection and vintage gay porn DVDs -- Teamplay, How the West Was Hung, and Kansas City Trucking Company -- skittered across the concrete floor. He was still likely to faint, but now it would be from mortification rather than manly-man overload.