The star-laden violet summer sky surrounded the sloped mountains, inky lake, and Victorianstyle white fraternity house like a soft blanket. Inside the last bedroom on the third floor, a young man reached a muscular arm around a petite young woman as they lay in T-shirts and shorts on the white four-poster bed. They shared a kiss as his jet-black hair and her blonde locks glistened in the moonlight. The girl peeled off her T-shirt revealing small nubile breasts. Then she pulled off his, exposing wide pectoral muscles and washboard abdominals.
His dark eyes widened. “We can’t! We signed our virgin cards. We’ll go to Hell.”
“All college football players and cheerleaders go to Heaven.” She unzipped his fly and slid off his shorts, unleashing his firm, muscular buttocks. Then the young woman slipped off her own shorts and pulled him on top of her. “Don’t you want me to take you to Heaven, baby?”
His olive-colored skin grew pale. “I’ve never done this before.”
She reached down below. “I’ll hold on to this like a football and help you make a touchdown.”
They kissed. She cried out in excitement as he entered her. Her cries soon turned to moans of pleasure as she pulled his hips in closer to her, and then up and down in a solid rhythm.
Gazing into her lover’s dark eyes, she noticed the silhouette of a young man in a football jersey and helmet. The girl gasped as the visitor raised a large wooden cross over the bed. Then she let out a blood curdling scream as a blade at the bottom of the cross plunged into her boyfriend’s wide back, splattering thick burgundy-colored blood over the white sheets.
The killer chuckled in a guttural tone. “Goal!”
In a state of panic, she pushed the dead young man off her, and frantically ran out of the room shouting for help.
“Score!” The murderer guffawed in maniacal delight.
“Cut!” That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Associate Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College, a quaint private college in the quaint town of Treemeadow in the quaint state of Vermont in the not so quaint United States of America. What am I doing standing behind a camera directing a movie in a fraternity house at Treemeadow College?
It all started with Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow, a wealthy gay couple who founded the college a century ago. They paved the way for couples like Martin and Ruben, and Noah and me.”
Standing to my right, Martin Anderson’s tiny hands fanned his bald head down to his thin neck. “Watching that scene made me blush, Nicky.”
“Why? Because you can’t wait to get the dirt on the actors’ personal lives?” Martin’s husband, Ruben Markinson, stood opposite Martin with a smirk on his aging face.
“I can’t help it if I take an interest in other people’s lives,” Martin said to his husband.
Ruben replied, “An interest! That’s like saying a scavenger is interested in a deer carcass laced with honey.”
Wearing a chartreuse bowtie and sweater vest, my department head and best friend glared at his spouse. “Ruben, there’s something you should know for tonight about your personal life, or lack thereof.”
In a chartreuse leisure suit, our producer grinned devilishly at his husband. “Hm, I wonder if it’s too late to ask a has-been movie star to play your role in the film, Martin?”
“I am not a ‘has-been.’ I’m only middle-aged!”
“You mean born in the Middle Ages?”
The elderly couple burst out laughing at their own antics. Martin, somewhere between seventy and decomposition and standing about five feet tall, blew a kiss at his taller husband who caught it and placed it over his heart. Then Martin turned to me. “You’re a one-take wonder, Nicky. One take for the long shot. One take for Bonnie’s close-up. And one take for Lenny’s close-up. Good work on the scene!”
Ruben patted his pocket. “And we in the producer’s office appreciate that.”
“As do we actors.” I smelled strawberries as my husband and colleague Noah Oliver,
Assistant Professor of Acting, kissed my cheek. “Great scene, Nicky.”
I returned the kiss. “You did a terrific job working with the three young actors on their actions, objectives, emotional beats, and characters.”
“My husband inspires me.” He kissed my sideburn.
“I know the feeling.” If I do say so myself, Noah and I make an adorable couple in our usual attire: dress shirts, slacks, and blazers.
“Soon we’ll be shooting my scene,” Noah said with excitement.
“We’ll be shooting something tonight.” I winked at Noah.
He licked his lips. “Alas for now, duty calls. I need to check up on our son.”
“Where is he?”
“In the kitchen with Cornelia, the frat house mother.”
“Make sure he knows his lines for the upcoming scene.”
Noah placed a delicate hand on his trim hip. “He learned his lines before I learned mine!
Taavi can’t wait to get in front of the camera.”
Like fathers, like son. As Noah left the room, I gazed at his long blond hair, crystal blue eyes, and lean cut body. My pants tightened. And they were pretty snug already. You Nicky and Noah mystery fans know why. I’ll bring you newbies up to speed. Accent on “up.” I’m tall with dark hair, long sideburns, emerald eyes, a Roman nose, olive-colored skin, muscles courtesy of our campus gym, and a nearly foot-long penis. This is no tall tale (no pun intended).
But enough about little (or not so little) Nick. Back to our story. After I starred opposite Noah in a new musical play at Treemeadow College last summer, we took sabbaticals and headed for the Great White Way. But it wasn’t so great. Sure, we won “Bravos!” and Tony Awards, but the glamorous life of living in “the city that never sleeps” grew as tiring as a child with ADD on a sugar high at Christmas after stealing his mother’s uppers. No longer dazzled by the bright lights and flashing marquees of Broadway, we longed for our little hamlet, and our not so little Victorian house (actually the college’s house) in Treemeadow—especially when an offer came my way to direct Tight End Scream Queen, a low budget indie slasher film. When I read the screenplay, I couldn’t help thinking of Williams, Hawthorne, Alcott, Twain, Wilde, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. How they would be turning in their graves. Okay, the script was crap, but the plot intrigued me.
Clearly there would be no Academy Awards in Tight End Scream Queen’s future, however, it was to be my film directorial debut. And it would be shot at our own Treemeadow College! The selected location was the Phi Delta BOFO (Ball on the Field Only) Christian football players’ fraternity house. More importantly, there were roles in the film for Noah, Taavi, Martin, and Martin’s ex-administrative assistant Shayla Johnson. Of course, Martin’s husband Ruben Markinson would produce. One of our female theatre majors (Bonnie Tyler) and three male BOFO Fraternity brothers (Petey Collins, Lenny Benedetto, and Tibald Regina) would appear in the film alongside two stars (Alejandro Gallo and Malcolm Kahue). I was sold, or rather bought.
Standing next to the bed after finishing the scene, Lenny looked down at the sock covering his genitals. “It’s still in place.”
“No surprise,” Bonnie replied in a G-string.
They headed for the bureau and put on their robes.
Lenny ran a strong hand through his dark thick locks. “How do you think our scene went?”
Bonnie answered, “You seemed really hot for me. I guess you’re a good actor.”
“I am hot for you, Bonnie.”
“And Alexander the Great was hot for Roxana,” Bonnie said while putting on her eyeglasses.
I joined them. “The scene was sheer magic, you two!”
“Thanks, Professor. I had to use my imagination like Professor Oliver taught us in acting class.” Bonnie smirked at Lenny. “Since that’s the most action Lenny has ever seen in bed.”
Lenny pulled Bonnie over to the window and whispered, “Is this about the abstinence-untilmarriage pact the brothers signed at BOFO?”
“Yes! Shooting this scene was the closest we’ve gotten to each other in months, Lenny,” Bonnie said with a pout.
Lenny lifted her chin with his thick thumb. “Don’t make me choose between my love for you and my love for Jesus.”
Bonnie flicked back her blonde hair. “Didn’t Jesus have enough men with the twelve disciples? Why does he need you too?”
Lenny drew her into his strong chest. “Bonnie, you know my faith is important to me.”
“And am I important to you?”
“I’d kill for you, baby.”
I noticed the star of our movie, Malcolm Kahue, take off his football helmet and sit on my director’s chair. Not one to be territorial (except over my husband, son, house, college, something I’m directing, or any thought in my head if someone disagrees with me), I moved over to Malcolm. “Are you feeling okay?”
The twenty-three-year-old looked up at me with bedroom gray eyes. He stretched his arms, and bulging biceps appeared like melons on sale outside a fruit market (no pun intended). “Playing this role is killing me.”
Yes, how difficult it must be to put on a football uniform, wave a wooden cross, and get paid thousands of dollars. “You did fine in the scene, Malcolm. And equally well in the exterior scenes we shot around campus.”
His dimples appeared. “It’s a whirlwind. Only a week to shoot a whole movie. I had two months to shoot Full Moon in upstate New York.”
I’m sure playing a young werewolf who mooned people presented quite a challenge for your bubble butt.
“But this role in Tight End Scream Queen is hitting me right here.” Malcolm pressed his fist between his wide pectoral muscles. “I want to do justice to the character of Davey Doubt.”
“Perhaps you’d like to speak with our author for some background information?” I pointed to a young Asian man in his twenties, sitting on a powder blue wingback chair next to the fireplace.
Malcolm looked over. “He’s the real Davey Doubt, right?”
I nodded. “Except his name is Robert Lee. And, like you, he never murdered anyone.”
Malcolm opened his mouth, seemed to think better of it, and then headed over to Robert.
With technicians hauling the camera, lighting equipment, and sound equipment out of the bedroom, Malcolm stood in front of Robert. “I need to get inside you.” “Excuse me?” Robert’s dark eyes jutted from side to side.
Sitting in the adjacent wingback chair, Malcolm said, “I want to know what makes you tick.”
Robert clutched onto the script at his lap. “Are you a method actor?” “Yeah.”
Malcolm’s method is to get better roles than this one.
“What do you want to know about me?” Robert’s voice broke like an aging choir boy on his knees before a priest.
Malcolm leaned over and his pectoral muscles nearly ripped the football jersey in two. “Are you nervous about something?”
Robert used his wrist to wipe the sweat off his forehead. “I’ve never talked to a movie star before.”
Malcolm grinned. “Did you see Full Moon?”
He nodded. “Six times.”
“I connected with that character right away.”
“A stuttering werewolf with fleas who shows his bare behind to people?”
“Which of course was a metaphor for somebody shy on the inside who hides it by acting brash on the outside.” Malcolm rested his leg over the arm of his chair.
“Of course.” Robert glanced back and forth excitedly between his quivering arm and Malcolm’s shapely thigh—only inches apart.
Malcolm placed a hand on Robert’s shoulder. “What are you doing tonight?”
“Heading back to the Treemeadow Hotel to check over the scenes for tomorrow’s shooting.”
“That place is too quiet. I can’t think straight.”
I have the feeling you’ve never thought straight, Malcolm.
“Come to the party with me.”
“The party?” Robert wiped his sweaty palms against his navy chinos.
“The frat house is throwing a party tonight to welcome the cast and crew, and celebrate completing the first day of filming. You’re the screenwriter. You should be there. We’ll find a sofa without beer stains and you can answer my questions.”
Robert raised his hand as if asking a teacher if he could speak. “No beer stains. This is a Christian football fraternity house. I understand they don’t allow liquor, drugs, or sex. But I bet they allow rock and roll.” Robert laughed uncomfortably at his own joke.
Thankfully Robert doesn’t write comedy.
“See you at the party.” Malcolm rose. “Don’t disappoint me. I’m a monster when I don’t get my way.”
Drama Fraternity: A Nicky and Noah Mystery (Nicky and Noah Mysteries Book 6) – Blurb:
Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring his husband and theatre professor colleague, Noah Oliver. When young hunky cast members begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending the quarterback, jammer, wide receiver, and more to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining sixth novel in this delightful series. Lights, camera, action, frat house murders!
5-Year Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense – Anniversary Giveaway:
Author Joe Cosentino has graciously offered to provide one of our members a FREE, audiobook code for the first Nick and Noah Mystery, Drama Queen, written by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe (Divine Magazine Reader’s Poll Award Winner for Best LGBT Mystery of the Year!).
To enter the FREE drawing, please leave at least a one-word comment via Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Facebook group via the Excerpt link for Drama Fraternity.
The winner will be drawn and announced on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 9pm EDT. Good luck!