Flies of the Oasis by Suraj Alva

Almost there, my right hand moves faster and faster-my heart racing, my senses poise for the climax closing my eyes in anticipation. A grunt. A flush. The opening and banging shut of a stall door. My hand now frozen in mid-motion on my erect cock, I wait, petrified.

A voice, now talking to a phone, leaves. Alone again, I pull up my pants and peer through my stall’s door, just to be sure. No one. I head towards the sink, disappointed. I didn’t finish. I could go back in. But the moment had passed-I didn’t have any masturbation aides.

I walk out the men’s restroom into the conditioned air of Abu Khaled mall. Named so after the king who actually ruled this city-state.

I am thirteen. I masturbate in public restrooms because I am not able to do so at home. I am not a pervert. It’s simply that I have no privacy where I live.

I exit the mall, taking slow, deliberate steps. It is dusk and in the fading light, the city looks eerily beautiful. There is hardly a speck of sand to be seen, even though this is all arid desert. Anything that is not built upon or paved over is bursting with green.

Oil. Black gold. It was what had enabled the city’s once nomad inhabitants to create a modern-day Atlantis-ironic how the earth’s surface could be rearranged from the contents of her bowels.

And it was the reason I was here. The construction boom that followed the discovery of oil brought hordes of migrant workers from all over. But most of them came from India. No different from the rest of the Arabian Gulf.

A year ago, a severe drought in our village forced my dad, mom and me to step on a plane for the first time and journey to a strange place thousands of miles away.

I will never forget the city’s welcome: a blast of hot dry air punched me in the face as I stepped off the plane. It was routinely 120 degrees in the summer.

We shared a studio apartment with a couple, partitioning the room in two halves. It was not ideal but was the only thing we could afford.

I was twelve then, hitting puberty hard, becoming sexually curious. But my options of exploration were limited. The sharia laws that governed the city called for strict segregation of the sexes. Most public places and schools-including mine-were divided along gender lines.

Contact between the male and female world outside of marriage and family was limited to non-existent. I never met a girl once since I arrived. All I could do was masturbate; relying on scraps of porn I could access through the internet. A difficult task as the government blocked porn sites.

Like I said, I couldn’t masturbate at home. Five people living in such a small apartment with only one bathroom afforded no one any privacy.

Then, a schoolmate recommended that I use the public restrooms.

“Are you crazy?” I asked, disgusted.

“They are not like the ones back in India….the ones here are actually pretty clean.”

I went to the restrooms in the mall whose arcades I frequented. He was right. The ones in Abu Khaled mall were clean. Very much unlike public bathrooms in India. The ones there made your stomach turn.

I now jacked off twice a day. Once, before I went to the arcades and the other before going home.

A few weeks into this routine, I noticed a man following me. He had been doing so for a few days but I didn’t think much of it at first. I soon began to worry and worry gave way to fright. Undercover agents of the totalitarian regime were everywhere. And I didn’t know if they put kids in jail for public masturbation.

I didn’t go out for a while. But boredom soon forced me out, back to my old haunts. I was extra careful, looking around me every other minute. No one seemed to be following me.

One day, to kill time, I went to the arcades in Abu Khaled mall. I didn’t have any money. I was just going to watch people play.

I first stopped at Daytona USA. A virtual car racing game that allowed up to seven people to compete against each other. There were seven screens each with their individual seats and steering wheels. Only one person was playing.

I watched from behind the seat. The player was decent, scoring enough points to go to the next round. Losing the second round, the game over sign lighting up the screen, the player began to get up.

It was a man dressed in a local’s clothing-spotless white sheets. ‘Locals’ were citizens of the city. They made up for about ten percent of the population. The rest were foreigners.

He turned around and I got a good look at his face. I froze in terror. It was the man who had been following me around a few weeks ago.

I turned on my heel, ready to run when he shouted “Stop!” I stood where I was, the tears beginning to run down my face.

He asked, “Do you want to play a game with me?”

“Ex-excuse me?” Stunned.

“Play, race!” Emulating driving motions with his hands.

“B-But I have no money”

“Don’t worry.” Placing a few coins in my palm.

I raced him two or three times. Before I left for home, he gave me some money so I could buy a shawarma sandwich.

That night, on returning home, I headed straight for bed. I didn’t tell my mom about my day as I usually did. She would freak out if she knew I had hung out with a local man. They were rumored to kidnap and molest boys my age. They preferred boys from India and other poor regions of the world because the city’s authorities didn’t care about us.

He was at the arcades the next day too. He invited me over to be his partner in a shooting game. This went on for a fortnight: me playing and him paying. After leaving the arcades, he would take me to a restaurant where we ate and talked.

He told me he was in his mid-twenties, unmarried. He did something or the other for the government. And like me, he loved cars.

He owned about twenty of them. His recent acquisition was a 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible. It had cost him an arm and a leg, he said.

After dinner in one of the mall’s restaurants one evening, he asked me to come and see it. We stepped out heading towards the parking lot. Dusk was giving way to complete darkness. It was winter, so the air was cooler.

The car looked like a green bird ready for flight. I had never seen anything like it and was beyond excited.

“Get in” he said.

He drove around, gunning the engine-calling on all horses. He was like a kid playing with, no, ‘in’ his toy. Finally, he drove up to an alley about six blocks away from the mall.

Not a soul was around. He switched off the lights and the ignition. It was getting late. I told him I had to be home soon.

“I know what you do in the bathrooms” he said. I didn’t move, I couldn’t feel my legs.

“I….don’t know what you’re talking about” I muttered, barely audible. Thoughts of police cars with sirens and flashing lights descending on me ready to take me to jail; ran through my mind. I had to pee.

“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone, I promise” he smiled and put his hand on mine. “But on one condition” he added.

“Wh….aa…tt?” I asked whimpering, frightened.

“I want you to do it here, in front of me.”

“Huh?”

He took out two bills from his wallet-two hundred dirhams or about seventy-five dollars. “This is for you, after.” Despite the situation, I was relieved. I was not going to jail. And I could make some money-it was a simple enough request. I put my hand on my zipper. “Wait” he said.

He pulled a small plastic bag and put some of its white contents on the center console. He took out another bill and rolled it up.

He handed it to me. “Sniff through this, its medicine.” I didn’t believe him. Why would I need medicine? I wasn’t sick. I did it anyways. My heart began pounding faster than it already was. But the terror started to creep out of me.

I unzipped my shorts and pulled out my cock. I started moving my hand up and down it. I closed my eyes and tried imagining a girl. It was difficult. I hadn’t seen one in ages. Still soft, I began to grow desperate.

I tried recreating a porn scene in my head. A blond woman started taking shape. She had big boobs and a firm round butt. As she began to peel off a strap of her bright red lingerie, slowly exposing her left breast, she leaned over and touched my cock. She started fondling it, caressing it very delicately. She soon placed her mouth on it. I felt something warm and wet.

I opened my eyes, startled. The local was bent over the center console, his mouth on my erection. I shook violently. I opened my mouth to scream but no sound came. I tried again but nothing came. I moved closer towards the passenger door.

The local just sat there, calm, as if he’d expected this. “Stay here for a few minutes, we’ll listen to some music, help you calm down” he said. He switched on the car stereo and turned it up. I heard a click coming from my door. He had locked me in.

I am now 43 years old, a successful corporate lawyer living in the poshest district of Mumbai—India’s financial capital. I am quite attractive and fit. But single.

My family and friends think I’m gay. The women who have tried wooing me think likewise. “Otherwise he would have gone all the way” they explain to their friends, or at least that’s what I think they must be saying.

They all have a point. I have never had sex with any of these women on the husband hunt. In fact, I’ve never had sex with a normal, ‘regular’ woman-anyone I have had to have some sort of connection with.

I’ve always stopped short of the final act—inserting my penis where it’s meant to go. Everything that goes on before, I’m game for-foreplay, oral etc.

That is not to say that I have never had sex. I have, plenty of times. But it has all been paid for. It has to be. From the prostitutes in the red light district when I was young and broke to the high-class call girls I can now afford, I have always paid for sex. I prefer it this way. I do not want any connection with the woman I’m fucking. It has to be simply a transaction, a financial one. No names and no possibilities for attachments. No memory.


Suraj Alva is a disabled freelance writer and published author living in the Los Angeles area. You can find him on Facebook here.

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