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Prologue: The End is the Beginning

Buck Masterson’s charade was over.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, the married father of three stared into his laptop’s monitor, like he’s done on so many similar evenings where he’s found himself abandoned in his house with nothing more to do than occupy the hours by getting lost in his fantasies. On the screen was a familiar face: the Masterson patriarch with a wide grin. Semen was dripping from his brow, his cheeks, his lips. It was everywhere. In the strikingly clear amateur video, which was paused, a group of at least five men just finished their sexual act by relieving themselves across the contented mug of their middle-aged partner. For as good a time as he appeared to be having, the evening is mostly forgotten, squashed between memories of hundreds of other sexual dalliances, some fair and others extraordinary, and all part of a prolific quest to stay sexually gratified.

Shortly after Buck started having sex with men again, something he did before he met his wife Barbara during their freshman year of college, he began using his phone’s camera to document his trysts. On the surface, this might seem a careless act, but the serial philanderer was expert in his discretion. After each assignation, he saved the video to his laptop, deleted the file from his phone, and then returned the computer to his private storage unit. The locker, only a few blocks from his home, housed a small wardrobe of clothing depending on his need to arouse potential mates or to return home evidence-free after an especially erotic evening. Shampoo, bottled water, soap, toothpaste, and towels, were among the small arsenal of items on hand to ensure Buck arrived home in the same state in which he left.  Of course, he only went on his dates when nobody was around to notice he was gone. For five years, Buck scheduled his outings around his family’s schedules. His older sons, Chase and Rod, were out of the house, so he only needed to work around Barbara and Austin, his youngest son who, at twenty, was home irregularly thanks to an active social calendar and college. As a registered nurse, it wasn’t uncommon for Barbara to be out of the house over much of the weekend, leaving her husband with plenty of time to carouse, to relive previous escapades on his laptop, or document his most twisted fantasies in his journal.

Thanks to Buck and Barbara’s healthy sexual appetite, the two found themselves, to the equal dismay of their parents, preparing to start a family right in the middle of their sophomore year of college. Making it work was essential to the young couple, who managed to remain in school, although Barbara took a semester off to bring Rod, their first child, into the world. Chase Masterson was born the following year, and, as a result, Buck and Barbara rethought their independence and found themselves before a Justice of the Peace. Two years later, with the newlyweds now comfortably out of college, Austin, their third and final son, was born. Buck took the responsibility of his young family seriously by putting aside the sexual-binging of his youth behind him. This sense of duty waned over the years, as his boys began growing into men. At the same time, attitudes towards gays were changing, and the father’s thoughts began to be consumed by what he missed as a result of his marriage. On his thirty-eighth birthday, with two sons now in college, Buck knew it was time for a change. He bought the laptop computer, the storage unit, clothes to make him feel attractive, and a conservative number of condoms. Once Buck’s secret life was underway, he started buying them in more significant quantities, and he often marveled at the frequency he needed to replenish his supply.

Although Barbara would come to learn about her husband’s infidelities, most of the specifics remained unrevealed to her. On most Wednesday evenings Buck attends a sex party frequented by anywhere from six to twelve men, usually in their early to mid-twenties. The men fawned over the older man, who they would refer to as their “resident daddy”, in the same way the housewives in his neighborhood do. However, these local adoring ladies are not the recipients of Buck’s affection, nor do they have the knowledge of what it is like to be plunged on the lap of their amorous neighbor. Also far off from Barbara’s radar was the summer fling her husband had with Teddy Abernathy, one of Austin’s closest friends. After graduating from high school, Teddy threw himself at his buddy’s father and the older man demonstrated no discernable restraint. Before leaving for college, Buck introduced the young man to a world free of sexual inhibitions, where there was no guilt in pulling the desired fruit from any tree within one’s reach. Teddy referred to it as being a “total cum slut.” And Barbara couldn’t imagine her husband would take to the bed of their oldest son’s morally bankrupt father-in-law, Reed Barrington. Yet that is squarely where the two men found themselves on the night of Rod’s bachelor party. Buck’s disdain for the man was not as pronounced as his lust. It only happened once, so nobody save Reed could say with certainty if this single night of passion was the catalyst for the dissolution of the Barrington’s marriage. No, Barbara Masterson remained in the dark as to the far-reaching nature of her husband’s adultery, but she didn’t need to know every detail to make an informed decision about her future.

It was five years into Buck’s extramarital odyssey before he got sloppy. Typically, no romantic entanglements were considered if he thought a chance existed he could get caught. Unfortunately, a once in a lifetime opportunity presented itself on a night Barbara wasn’t scheduled to work. According to Barry Littleton, one of Buck’s frequent tricks, Blake Hart, a famous young porn actor, was planning to attend their Wednesday orgy. This meant having to lie straight to his wife’s face in order to get out of the house and he didn’t know if it was worth the risk. Later that evening, while being fucked for a third time by Blake Hart, surrounded by a dozen young studs in a circle jerk, Buck was sure that one little white lie might not be utterly horrendous. Instead of coming home from work, Buck informed his wife over the phone that he was going out for drinks with an unnamed co-worker. For Barbara’s part, there wasn’t a suspicion to be had. That is, not until she tried to reach her husband thirty minutes into his sexual bender. Fifteen minutes later, she attempted to contact him a second time. After another twenty minutes, she called again. Buck was never far from his phone. Not at the dinner table, not at the movies, and not on date nights. Just never. As soon as the thought crossed her mind that something could be amiss, her phone rang.

“Babe, I must have left my phone in the car,” Buck said, sounding sincere and perfectly natural. “What’s up?”

“Nothing, everything is fine,” Barbara replied, sounding sincere and perfectly natural. “I was going to ask you to pick up coffee creamer on the way home.”

Barbara Masterson knew her husband. When he slumped in his seat during a movie, she knew he was bored. If he ambled through the mall, it was clear he wanted to leave. Should he stammer to describe his feelings after an argument, she was aware he was trying to spare hers. Every twitch, every tick, and every inflection revealed his true feelings. When Buck said he left his phone in the car, she knew he was lying. Now she needed to understand why.

Catching Buck in some form of the act did not prove to be difficult. Barbara assumed the worst: her husband was cheating on her. It didn’t take her long to deduce the most opportune time for him to take advantage of being left alone. On the next Saturday night, she texted him at 8:30 pm to let him know she was worried about a strange sound her car was making.

“Must have had my phone on vibrate,” Buck texted his wife two hours later. “You want me to pick you up?”

“False alarm,” she responded. “Left the gas door cover open.”

On the following Saturday morning, Barbara lied in bed, planning her next steps. Should she call him again while at work? Or maybe she could try something different, so as not to alert Buck that she was onto him? But it occurred to her that she knew her husband was cheating on her. Without a single ounce of evidence, other than Buck not answering his phone immediately on two separate occasions, she was sure he’d broken their sacred vows. As much as she wished she could forget everything, she knew she needed to uncover the truth. While her husband worked in the garage on his car, Barbara contacted the hospital to call out sick. Tending to the frail and debilitated for two decades contributed to her deft performance. At 5:30 p.m. that evening, she kissed her husband goodbye and purported to leave for work. Again, she put on another convincing act, as Buck was none the wiser. She parked her car down the street, still close enough to where she could see her husband leave the house. An hour and forty-five minutes passed before she wondered why she didn’t merely march back into the house and confront the man for his betrayals. No matter how inviting the idea, she resisted the temptation. For another thirty minutes, she occupied her time musing about how she might react when she eventually faced down her husband. She fumbled around her purse for a pen because she knew she ought to record some of her ideas. As soon as her eyes return to her home, she realized the garage door was finally open. She released the pen, grasped her keys, and forced them into the ignition. The car rumbled as it began its voyage to discover the truth about her marriage.

Buck’s first stop was to his storage locker, where he disappeared behind a secured gate for twenty minutes. He returned quickly, wearing a red tank top and tight black jeans. Barbara thought he looked ridiculous, though her husband, who was more fit today than when they met twenty-five years ago, still aroused her. Every morning, her husband was out of their bed at five a.m. to go to the gym. No matter the circumstances, he took excellent care of his body and she saw, in this new outfit, he was eager to display the fruits of his discipline to the world. But where was he going? Was he dating a woman half his age? Could that be the reason for the ill-advised ensemble? Barbara followed Buck to an apartment building less than five miles from their home, in a particularly affluent area of town. If this was the destination of his rendezvous, she knew she had a wait on her hands. After thirty minutes, Barbara paced outside to stretch her legs, defiantly telling herself she didn’t give a shit if Buck found her spying on him, but jumping anytime she heard a sound that might be her husband coming out of the building. Another hour was killed playing online games on her phone, as she continually maintained an eye on the front of the building. Then, more quickly than she expected, Buck stood in front of the apartment again. It was clear from his mussed hair, he just had sex. His air of satisfaction was also a dead giveaway. Suddenly three attractive young men exited the building to join Buck. Within seconds, the men were upon her husband, fondling him and passionately kissing him. Whatever she just witnessed didn’t feel real to Barbara. In that instant, every absurd idea that previously crossed her mind about her husband came rushing back to her as though dozens of clues to a long-standing mystery finally made sense. Barbara saw her husband for who he was.

While running errands the following weekend, Barbara rented a small storage locker at Murray’s Self-Storage. This proved to be an easier task than locating the key to Buck’s storage space, which she determined was not in any of his coat pockets, his desk, her desk, inside or under any vase, hidden behind a single picture frame, in the glove box or any other crevasse of his BMW, nor any obvious or non-obvious hiding place for just one key. After a second pass, Barbara decided she wouldn’t find the key. While sitting down to read one evening after dinner, she noticed the lampshade on her nightstand had come loose. She went to the garage to find a screwdriver in Buck’s toolbox. Before she made a few steps back inside the house, she dropped the screwdriver after she realized pay dirt was hit. Hanging on a small prong inside the toolbox was the key to Buck’s storage facility. A round red label on the key ring read “10-A”. Barbara searched her purse for her key. The label read “10-F”.

Not to the surprise of Barbara, the storage facility was impeccably organized. One box, the first she checked, is filled with dildos. One is so enormous, she didn’t believe it would fit inside a human.* Another box contained metal paraphernalia that she didn’t recognize, but she didn’t bother to question what they are used for. A small white hamper contained a handful of garments covered in what she suspected is semen. She assumed this clothing would make its way into the laundry once the hamper is filled. Most of the space is filled with clothing. In fact, more than Buck had at the house. She actually laughed out loud when she came across a pair of leather pants and a vest, having a difficult time picturing her husband wearing something so uncharacteristic of her husband. In the corner of the large closet Barbara saw a laptop computer with a purple notebook sitting on top of it. She was relieved to find the laptop was not password protected and only partially viewed two videos before she realized she’s seen enough. Clearly, Buck figured he’s thought of everything and didn’t need to take any unnecessary precautions. Even with everything she had seen, Barbara did not know what her next step would be. Confront Buck and try to work on their marriage? She wasn’t certain. Not until she opened the notebook and proceeded to read an assemblage of disturbing handwritten fantasies featuring unimaginable acts between her husband and their three sons. This was the line. Now Barbara knew what had to be done. She took the laptop and notebook with her, locked the padlock, canceled her contract at the front desk, and drove home to confront Buck.

Buck was in the shower when Barbara returned. She took advantage of his absence to set up the computer and opened one of the more damning video files, featuring her husband surrounded by the men who just finished spraying their semen all over his body. The amateur movie was paused on a clear shot of her husband’s smiling face. She stood in the doorway, waiting for her husband to enter their bedroom. Once he entered the bedroom with a towel around his waist, the only thing he saw in the dark room is his image on the computer. He knew he’d been caught. The man sat on the edge of the bed without a word to speak in his defense.

“Look at you, Buck. God, I… I don’t know that person. That’s not the man I’ve been married to for twenty-five years.”

“Barb—“

“No. If you have any feelings for me, I need you to say nothing. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to hear your side of the story. I know what has to be done. I’m going to go stay with Paula. I haven’t told anybody what I’ve found. Don’t… don’t take any satisfaction from that. It’s too humiliating for me right now.”

Buck sat there, crushed at what he’s caused.

“One more thing. I don’t want Austin here. I’m sending him to stay with Chase. I want this to be permanent, or I’ll be forced to tell your sons why we aren’t together.”

“But, Barb—“

“Buck, I read your journal. It was sickening. The things you’ve written about Rod, Chase, and Austin. Those are our boys! How could you, Buck?”

Buck sat silently as his wife screamed at him. He wasn’t going to argue with her because he knew he’d lose and he loved her too much even to consider hurting her more than he already had. In less than an hour, Barbara was packed and ready to move on. Before driving to her sister’s home, she picked up Austin who she informed will be living with his older brother Chase. She didn’t explain anything to her curious son, other than his father “needed to be alone to work on some personal stuff.”

The Masterson home was empty, and the charade was over.

*It does fit inside a human. While Buck never used his Colt Big Boy Plug on himself, a small group of his more adventurous partners allowed him to use it on them.

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