das badehaus

chapter 1

“Welcome back, my friend,” Papa said, greeting another customer in his deep, booming voice. He smiled wide at the man who had entered, appearing genuinely pleased to see him again. Alphonse, who was one of the few men in the house unable to earn enough to be in Papa’s good graces, cleaned the floorboards near his employer’s feet. He looked up to see what he considered to be an abnormal expression on Papa’s face. When not in front of patrons, Papa was a domineering tyrant.

“Hello Deidrick,” the man, a coal miner, replied.

“Would you like a bath? Or are you here to see one of my sons?” Al rolled his eyes every time Papa referred to the men who worked in the bathhouse as his sons. No real father would sell his children to horny men day after day, happily hoarding the earnings and keeping his offspring in servitude. Alphonse continued scrubbing, his arms somewhat sore. He’d been at it for nearly an hour. There was soot everywhere, as the late-night rush had brought the men who worked the second shift in the mines.

The coal miners always had soot and other debris on their boots and uniforms. Alphonse detested these men not only for the messes they left behind, but also for their ill-mannered dispositions. Al thought there was no worse customer than a miner; they were loud and aggressive, hitting the workers whenever they fancied. He hoped that when he was put on the market, he would catch the eye of a higher caliber of customer, like a baron or businessman.

He scrubbed at the floorboards more vigorously, wanting to be finished for the evening. Papa wouldn’t allow him to go to bed unless all of his chores were completed. He’d already mended Papa’s socks, done the washing, and helped prepare supper. He looked up at Papa again, who continued to entertain the grimy miner standing in the foyer. Papa had short, salt-and-pepper colored hair. It looked dignified, which was funny considering the fact that he ran a male brothel. He also had a mustache that was neatly trimmed and thick. His eyebrows were unkempt and always furrowed in disdain, even when he was smiling. Papa wasn’t an exceptionally tall man, standing quite a few inches below six feet.

Papa made up for his shortcomings with a solid, beefy body. He used his size to keep his sons in line. He’d had to strike Alphonse on more than a few occasions; the young man mouthed off quite often, a habit that still hadn’t been broken in the three years he’d been in Papa’s care. His russet-brown skin thankfully didn’t bruise too easily, and Papa made sure to administer punishment in areas unseen. The blows didn’t really hurt Alphonse anymore; nothing really seemed to hurt him anymore.

“I think you’ll find what you’re looking for in room six,” Papa said, before turning and pulling a string that would ring a small bell letting the son on duty know a customer was on his way.

“Much appreciated.” The man walked off towards the staircase that would lead him to his happy ending, leaving a trail of sooty footprints behind. Alphonse looked despondently at the new mess he’d have to clean. For another half hour he continued his work in the foyer.

A customer entered. From the look of his shoes, he was no coal miner.

“I take it you are here to see Dorian,” Papa said to Mr. Pfeiffer, a prominent lawyer in the city. He was always at the bathhouse to see Dorian, the best earner in the entire house. Dorian was incredibly handsome. He had wavy brown hair and blue eyes. His body was long and lean, his skin smooth.

“Yes,” Mr. Pfeiffer replied stiffly. “I’ll see myself to his quarters.” The unsmiling barrister left Papa and Alphonse in the foyer. He had a standing appointment with Dorian every Wednesday evening. Papa just laughed to himself, turning to pull the string that would alert Dorian of his visitor, knowing this appointment was just padding his already hefty pockets.

Dorian was exceptional at what he did. He knew how to manipulate his clients, to make them feel special and catered to. He used his sensual wiles to ensure his suitors retuned time and time again. However, just like Papa, Dorian’s courteous façade did not extend to his contemporaries in the bathhouse. He looked down on the other men because of his status as the highest earner. He was Papa’s crown jewel, and it was implicitly understood no one should cross him.

Alphonse knew he did the same things as the other men, taking and giving cock, but he’d heard Dorian actually enjoyed the work. Alphonse wanted to ask him about it, hoping to learn more for when he needed to service a customer, but Dorian just laughed and told him couldn’t reveal his secrets.

The debt Dorian’s family owed to Papa had been paid off nearly nine months prior, but he was still working in the bathhouse. Al couldn’t believe it. People wanted to leave the bathhouse more than anything. None of the men had come to work at the bathhouse because they wanted to.

Papa would give money to poor families, warning them of what would happen if the debt went unpaid; they were to provide a son to work off the remaining balance in the bathhouse. Alphonse speculated that Papa spent his Sunday mornings combing through the obituaries in the newspaper, searching for easy targets.

Alphonse’s mother, a widow, fell prey to Papa’s methods, needing money to feed her son and two young daughters. The mustached manipulator had shown up on the doorstep of Al’s family five days after his father had died in the mines, a wad of bills in his hand and a sly smile on his face. They couldn’t pay what they owed, so over three years later, Alphonse was still in the bathhouse. Once Alphonse started working as an official son, he would still be two years away from his freedom.

Many of the young men in the house never spoke positively of their experiences in the private rooms. Some told Al it was painful and vile. Some said their bodies reacted pleasurably even though they didn’t want them to. Some even cried at night.

Alphonse sometimes cried as well—for he felt he might enjoy the rough-edged touch of a man. There was no chance at an easy life if he was truly homosexual. When Alphonse considered how looking at men made him feel, he understood he was likely the same as Dorian. He’d observe the various men that frequented the bathhouse, finding a great deal of them attractive. Some even so handsome, he couldn’t speak when they addressed him. He’d take the mental images of these men with him into a secluded closet or unused room and touch himself, thinking about what it must feel like to be taken by one of them. He’d picture their broad shoulders and thick torsos, but it didn’t stop there. The closer he got to climaxing, he would visualize the bulges in their pants, in both the front and rear. He wanted to grab another man’s ass, another man’s penis, to feel how they differed from his own body.

“I am many things, but I am no child abuser,” Papa had told Alphonse when he first started work in the bathhouse three years ago. “I’m in the business of selling men, not children. You will be cleaning and preparing meals for my sons until you are old enough to make real money.” Alphonse cringed at the memory of those words. He would be eighteen in two weeks’ time. He scrubbed harder, trying to distract himself from his impending debut. There was only fourteen days until he’d be done with housework for good. Only fourteen days until he experienced what he’d only been able to fantasize about.

“Alphonse, go to your room.” Police Chief Claggett had entered. He looked grumpy, almost as crabby as Papa. Al stood up, pushing some stray curls from in front of his face, and walked out of the room towards the staircase. He already knew Papa was giving Chief Claggett a cut of the money they earned so he wouldn’t be arrested. Everyone in town knew that. It was not like people were ignorant of what went on in the bathhouse.

And no, it wasn’t just the fact that Papa was selling sex. The red-light district was perfectly legal, but Papa’s means of acquiring employees was definitely criminal. Extorting these families and threatening to seize everything they owned was not morally or legally sound. Alphonse had been a child when he was taken from his mother. Many of the others started out as servants in the bathhouse until they were old enough to be forced into prostitution.

Chief Claggett knew many men who frequented the bathhouse. Even some of his officers enjoyed rough sex with Papa’s sons. There was certainly those who were homosexual, but a large percentage of customers had wives and children. Their dalliances with these sex workers were opportunities to explore their repressed sexualities without disrupting the status quo.

Alphonse climbed the stairs to his room as Dorian exited his bedroom, face flushed, clothes disheveled. “Looks like Mr. Pfeiffer really gave it to you tonight,” Al said, grinning.

“Oh, be quiet Alphonse. Burgess had a very stressful day at his firm,” Dorian replied, a coy smile on his lips. “It’s good that you’re here. Go and get us two glasses and a bottle of wine.”

Al wished to say something smart, but he was too exhausted to trade quips. He turned and made his way down the stairs, all the way down to the basement. He grabbed what was asked of him and returned to where Dorian stood waiting.

“Will that be all?” Alphonse asked.

“Yes, thank you.” He gave one final smirk before returning to the lawyer. Alphonse continued to his own sleeping quarters. He shared a room with Alvin Baum. They called them The Two Al’s. The pair had been there almost the same amount of time. Alvin, however, had started working with the men before Alphonse because he was two years older. Alvin was sprawled out on his mattress, face worn and tired.

“Rough day?” Alphonse asked.

“Every day here is a rough day.” That could not have been a truer statement.
10 chapters, created 12 years , updated 3 years
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Stevita 3 years
Anyway, keep writing! The world needs more stories about fat admiring MLM of color.
Stevita 3 years
Really glad you've decided to pick back up some of your old stories! Your romances between the characters are so soft and sweet, it warms my heart. Love the way you build contrast in your pairings (rich vs poor here, jock and nerd in your last one, etc.)