overview Like a low-hanging, swollen fruit, the moon held court among its celestial brethren. Fat with portent, it presaged change among tides and men. Its gravity, though ephemeral, was inescapable. Predilections swayed in favor of spontaneity. Logic genuflected before myth. And nature triumphed reason. Because under the moon’s rule, nothing was quite itself. Mason Grant was no exception. As though repeatedly guided by the moon’s unseen magnetism, he found himself in Prurience. The club was in the city outskirts where commercial establishments were intermittently spaced with dense expanses of underbrush and overgrown lots whose manicured landscapes were long ago tempted to mutiny by summer heat and rain. Roadside swales periodically pooled with runoff, ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, rushes, and the occasional cattail. Both day and night, the air vibrated with insect frequency. Despite its less than idyllic location, Prurience spared no expense when it came to quality of service and accommodations. Entertainers were held to a standard. The liquor was top-shelf. And private rooms were fully furnished. Like professional pornography, the club was a filthy clean, washed, bleached, plucked, sculpted, concealed, and groomed to and art. But everyone knew what slicked down thighs and glittered along the edges of coy smiles. It was no secret. Though sanitary or sleazy, Mason hated the place all the same, hated it with a preoccupation bordering on monomania. That the bartender knew his order was vulgar, as though to suggest Mason was a regular, an inveterate voyeur with a penchant for fags. It pissed him off. He’d have drifted to another gay bar if it wasn’t for Tobias. Thought of the twink bastard set Mason’s skin alive with heat and tension. Like a coil winding tight, he could feel it in the set of his shoulders, an eagerness. Though for what exactly Mason didn’t know, refused to question why. He took a generous drink from his glass. Whether the alcohol was to allay that sensation or tempt it further, Mason couldn’t say either. He didn’t know much of anything anymore. Impulse, like a scream swelling in his chest for release, was his only compass. And it always led him back to Prurience, back to Tobias. It was pathological. The fag was hypodermic, beneath Mason’s skin and writhing for satisfaction. Like an addict's need for more, suffering the withdrawal, Mason had to see him. He couldn’t deny that desire. Like water, Mason physically needed it. And the week had left him parched. So there, in the blue-dark shadows of the booths, Mason waited. Some of the boys were keeping the place warm, gyrating and dancing fluidly to the drone of guitars on small, lesser stages. The air was cloying, thick as cake and just as sweet. It was killing him. Mason threw back the remainder of his drink and flagged the bartender for another. Alcohol was the best solution he had, constantly checking the time, as he waited for the lights and music to change, for his drug to come on stage.