Read The Watercress File: Being the Further Adventures of That Man from C. A. M. P. Online

Authors: V. J. Banis

Tags: #gay, #camp, #parody, #man from U.N.C.L.E., #humor

The Watercress File: Being the Further Adventures of That Man from C. A. M. P.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Copyright © 1966, 2012 by Victor J. Banis

Published by Wildside Press LLC

www.wildsidebooks.com

FOREWORD TO THE BORGO PRESS EDITION

The books in the series,
The Man from C.A.M.P.
, were among the earliest of the many novels I have penned. They were written in the 1960s, and they are very much a part of that exciting era when people of so many different sorts were coming out of so many different closets. Gay people were celebrating in the streets the very same lifestyle that only a few years before had engendered in many of us guilt and shame and fear, ruined large numbers of promising careers and sent many to prison.

These books were a part of my celebration. They were written with tongue very firmly in cheek, in a few days each, with nary a thought of rewrite or polishing up some admittedly amateurish prose. They were never intended to be “literature,” and they are not. They were, however, intended to be fun.

I think they still are.

—Victor J. Banis

THE MAN FROM C.A.M.P. CHECKLIST

1.
The Man from C.A.M.P.

2. *
Color Him Gay

3. *
The WATERCRESS File

4.
The Son Goes Down

5.
Gothic Gaye

6.
Holiday Gay

7.
Rally Round the Fag

8. *
The Gay Dogs

9.
Blow the Man Down

10.
Gay-Safe
(not written by Victor Banis)

Associated Titles:

Sex and the Single Gay

*The C.A.M.P. Guide to Astrology

*The C.A.M.P. Cookbook

*=Published by Borgo Press

CHAPTER ONE

Jackie Holmes sighed dreamily and ran one hand fondly over the expanse of naked, ivory-colored skin next to him on the bed. The ivory skin stirred, and his companion's incredibly long eyelashes fluttered open. Lin's bewitchingly pretty face broke into a happy smile as he saw Jackie.

“Again?” Lin asked in the soft, musical voice that sent little darts of excited anticipation chasing one another up and down Jackie's spine.

Jackie beamed and nodded his head in quick agreement. “Again,” he said, moving happily into the open arms. Lin embraced him gently at first, still lethargic with the clinging sleep from which he had been awakened. Jackie's hands, however, were busy on the silk-like smoothness of the naked flesh, making their way down the curve of the spine, fondling the delicious softness of the mounds, exploring the warm moistness of delight between them. Lin was shedding the sleep rapidly, his body stirring as it woke, his arms clinging more tightly to Jackie.

“The flower of the backyard,” Jackie whispered as his searching fingers reached the core of Lin's erogenous zone. Lin laughed softly at the remark. “You are familiar with Chin P'ing Mei,” he asked.

“The Golden Lotus?” Jackie said, his fingers pleading silently for an invitation to what he suspected was an enchanted playground. “I've read it.”
The Golden Lotus
of which they spoke was one of the most notorious, and most stimulating, works of oriental erotica. The term that Jackie had used was one that came from the work, one used in connection with backward loving.

“Then you'll understand,” Lin went on. “If I say that the blossom waits to be plucked.”

Jackie understood, all right, and he didn't need a second invitation. He allowed Lin to turn, dropping to the floor and kneeling to rest his upper body upon the bed, his skin exposed and raised. Jackie admired it hungrily—the golden half moons, and nestled between them, the blossom of which they had spoken, a mere dot that looked inadequate for the size of Jackie's ready excitement.

“You're too small,” Jackie said regretfully, leaning across Lin's bent body in frustration. “It'll hurt you too much.”

Lin chuckled softly and wriggled an invitation. “The tiniest of buds may unfold to reveal an ample rose,” he argued. “But knock at the door, and it will open to you.”

Jackie gladly gave up the argument, nor did he resist when Lin, impatient, reached for him and guided him to the target. He was right—the door did open to him, and there was room enough, even completely. If Lin suffered any pain, he disguised the fact well. He moaned softly with pleasure as he was thrilled to the brim, and reached behind to squeeze Jackie's buttocks, pulling Jackie even closer.

“There isn't any more,” Jackie told him with
a
laugh. “Unless you want my arm too.”

For an answer, Lin only quivered and began to twist maddeningly, pushing the springy softness of his buttocks back against Jackie. Jackie began to move too, slowly at first and then faster and faster as the enchanted chamber began to work its magic. It was pretty potent magic and, to Jackie's regret, the end came all too quickly. Surprisingly, at the first convulsive spasm within himself that signaled Jackie's finish, Lin too erupted in a burning, torrential finish, that left them both limp and exhausted.

Afterward, Jackie held Lin happily in his arms, talking little and kissing a great deal. The morning sun, filtering through the closed draperies, told him it must be nearly noon, but he was in no hurry to get up. In fact, it was just beginning to look as though they were ready for still another round when the phone rang.

He frowned in annoyance, the hand that had been feeling around at Lin's legs pausing. It would be easy to ignore the jangling bell, and take advantage of the growing tenseness in his hand.

The telephone seemed to be louder and more insistent with each ring. Jackie sighed and let go of Lin to reach for the receiver.

“Jackie?” It was a woman's voice, high pitched and rather tremulous. Jackie recognized it at once.

“Aunt Lily,” he said, pleased to hear her voice despite the fun she had interrupted. “I haven't heard from you in ages. Where are you?”

“Oh, I'm at home,” she explained. “In Washington. But I was wondering—is there any likelihood that you'll be coming by this way?”

It seemed to Jackie rather a nonsensical question. He was in Los Angeles, where he ordinarily lived, and Aunt Lily was all the way across the country, in Washington, D.C.

“I hadn't planned on seeing you today,” he answered. “Why, is there anything the matter?”

“I don't know,” she said in a sober tone of voice. “I could be mistaken, but I somehow think we've stumbled upon something. It seems to be a message of some sort....”

“A message?” Jackie's attention quickened. “What sort of message?”

“I don't know, exactly,” she admitted. “It's in some sort of code. But there is a little drawing at the bottom, almost as if it might be a signature.”

“Can you describe the drawing?”

“Oh, quite easily. It's plainly a butterfly.”

Jackie caught his breath sharply—a coded message, signed with a butterfly. Aunt Lily was right—unless he was very mistaken, she had indeed stumbled upon something—maybe something extremely big.

“It's a long story,” she was saying.

“Save it until I get there,” Jackie said quickly, interrupted her. “I should be there sometime this evening, if I can get a reservation.”

“Oh, how wonderful. I'll have tea ready,” Aunt Lily gushed.

Lin was sitting up by the time Jackie finished the conversation, looking rather disappointed. “You will have to go out?” he asked.

“Way out,” Jackie agreed. “All the way to Washington, D.C.”

“Too bad,” Lin said, looking at his still aroused condition. “And just when things were getting interesting.”

Jackie smiled and leaned over to plant a kiss briefly on the center of Lin's interest. “Save me the leftovers, and I'll warm them up when I get back.”

Lin giggled, and got up out of the bed, dressing with natural grace. Jackie watched the appetizing frame being tucked into a pair of white pants, sighing as the golden flesh disappeared. Forcing his eyes away, he began to dress himself.

He waited until he had seen Lin out of the apartment, with a last, lingering kiss, and a promise to call as soon as he was back in town. He was grateful for the fact that Lin had not questioned him regarding the call or the nature of his trip to Washington—Jackie would have been unable to give him the honest answer.

Alone in the apartment, Jackie went to the phone and dialed two digits, waiting impatiently until a deep, masculine voice answered with a quick “Yes?”

“Rich, I've got to go on a little trip,” Jackie explained hurriedly. “I'm leaving now for the airport—call ahead and get me a reservation on the next Washington flight. And call Ted Summers for me, tell him I'm on my way to Washington and he's to try to meet me at the airport. I'll leave word.”

“Something big?” Rich asked on the other end.

“Looks like it might be,” Jackie answered. “Big enough, at least, that I want to look into it myself. But I have a feeling I'll need some government help, and Summers is the only agent in Washington that I'm personally acquainted with. If nothing else, he'll know who I should talk to about it.”

“Any message for him,” Rick asked.

“Tell him it concerns Butterfly,” Jackie said quickly. Without waiting for Rich to register surprise, Jackie hung up and hurried to the bedroom, quickly packing for the trip.

CHAPTER TWO

Of all the cities in the United States, Jackie thought, pressing his nose against the glass to look out the window, none could be more beautiful to see from the air, at night, than Washington. The pilot had come in low, banking slightly to allow the passengers a full, breathtaking view. The Washington Monument reached up into the sky, looking almost as if it would scrape the underside of the plane. Other monuments, each lighted artfully, were set like jewels in the tapestry of the city. And every where were the lights and color of Washington by night—the streets radiating out from the center, like the spokes of a wheel, creating a brilliant starburst effect.

The stewardess passed, pausing to indicate Jackie's still unfastened safety belt. He clasped it over his middle and watched as the ground loomed nearer. The landing gear had already descended with a loud thunk and a few minutes later the plane bounced slightly as it came down, touched the ground, and they were braking mightily as they swept down the runway.

As he entered the terminal, Jackie glanced around for Ted Summers, in case he'd beat him there by the special jet. There was no sight of him, and he was about to move on, expecting to find Summers at the baggage area, when a stranger stepped unexpectedly in front of him.

“Mr. Holmes,” the stranger asked, his manner business-like and formal.

“Yes,” Jackie answered, motionless but alert.

“Craig Mathews,” the man said, flicking open his wallet to reveal his identification. “Of the C.I.A.—Summers couldn't make it, and he thought this might be more down our line anyway.”

“I see,” Jackie answered simply. In a sense, he was disappointed. He had looked forward to an encore with the handsome, masculine Treasury agent with whom he had worked before and who he had managed to bed before their partnership was ended.

On the other hand, he could hardly resent Craig Mathews as a replacement. The C.I.A. agent looked more like an ivy-league student—nut brown hair combed with extreme care in a continental style, a small but apparently well-formed body fitted into a four button suit and tab-collared shirt, with a finger thin tie. Rather a nice piece of homo-work, Jackie decided, something he really wouldn't mind boning up on.

His survey of Craig Mathews surface charms had taken no more than a second. Now, smiling, he shook Craig's hand warmly in his own, and started down the hallway, with the agent falling into step beside him.

“New England?” he asked as they walked. He had noted a distinct accent in Craig's voice.

“Boston,” Craig answered, without embellishment.

He was not, Jackie observed, bubbling over with good cheer.

“I'll have to get my bag,” Jackie said as they neared the baggage pick up area.

“I'll have it picked up for you,” Craig Mathews told him, steering him instead toward the exit. Jackie did not like the abrupt, nearly rude way in which he was being handled, but he did not for the moment offer any objections. He remained silent as he followed his companion outside.

As if by magic, a cab appeared in front of them. It was not, Jackie observed, in line with the others that took turns with the fares from the airport, but rather had been parked quite by itself. Efficient, he thought admiringly—in the cab, with another agent driving them, they could talk safely without fear of being overhead by the wrong party. Craig Mathews, Jackie noted, glanced carefully inside as he stooped to enter the cab. He was taking no chances on mistakes.

The cab had begun to move again almost before Jackie was inside. Jackie pulled the door closed and relaxed against the seat. The windows were closed, shutting out the bouyant April air, but he suspected that was deliberate, and did not try to open one.

“Now then,” Mathews said finally. “What's this about Butterfly?”

“I wish I could tell you,” Jackie answered with a grin. “But I don't know much myself. For all I can say, it might be just a wild goose chase.”

Carefully and rapidly he explained about the call from Aunt Lily. “It might be nothing,” he repeated. “But with a name as important as Butterfly, I didn't think it would do to take any chances.”

“You're probably right,” Mathews agreed, although he was frowning. No doubt, Jackie thought, watching the youthfully handsome agent, he was disappointed. And also uncomfortable—with some reason. If he knew about Jackie, presumably from Summers, he knew Jackie was gay—and made a policy of always getting his man.

“Did you get the address?” Mathews asked of the driver, leaning forward. The driver repeated Aunt Lily's address correctly. They were already driving in that direction.

They rode for a few blocks in silence. Jackie found himself wishing that his companion would thaw out slightly. Even if he didn't make the scene with Mathews, it was a shame to see anyone so attractive being so unfriendly.

“You know,” Jackie said aloud finally, determined to break the ice. “I don't think you like me.”

Mathews did not even look in his direction, nor did the expressionless mask on his face slip at all. “My instructions had nothing to say about liking you,” he said simply.

Jackie winced—it wasn't a very good beginning, “I suppose you hate faggots,” he said, allowing himself to be a little sarcastic.

Mathews shrugged. “Not particularly. I just prefer to be around my own type, as I'm sure you do as well.”

“On the contrary, I like being around straight men,” Jackie said. “Particularly the Irish type.” With a big smile, he leaned toward the agent and clapped a hand loudly and brazenly on one of Mathew's legs, halfway between the knee and his nicely rounded crotch.

Mathews jumped as though he had been stuck with a pin. “Cool it,” he snapped angrily, knocking Jackie's hand off his leg.

Jackie shrugged and folded his hands across his own lap. At least he had broken through that icy facade, which was an accomplishment. In the rear-view mirror, he saw the driver of the car watching the back seat, barely able to suppress his amusement. Jackie winked, and the driver started to chuckle. At the same time, he caught sight of Mathew's angry face, and swallowed the laugh, choking loudly instead.

Jackie did not attempt anything more in the way of ice-breakers. Better not push his luck too far, he decided, at least not right away. If by chance they were together for a while...well, that might be a different matter. There was no denying that Mathews was attractive. His complexion was inclined to be ruddy, although a faint shadow of freckles could be seen at the bridge of his nose. Beneath thick eyebrows, his wide eyes were a bright Kelly green. His nose, just avoiding being too large, tilted upward at the tip, and his mouth was a sharply etched and wide design above an angular chin. Boyish, handsome, and Irish as County Cork—except for the Mathews name. He made a mental note to ask about that later.

As for Craig's resentment—well, it was not hard to understand. Jackie had encountered it often enough, as did most homosexuals. Of course, he could have saved himself a certain degree of embarrassment by acting more masculine and less noticeably homosexual. But his effeminate mannerisms were essential, a mask that he wore in public as a part of his job.

Like Mathews, Jackie too was an agent, although not for the United States or any other government. His organization was international, and underground, a highly efficient network of agencies and people, dedicated to a common cause—the protection and advancement of homosexuals. It was called C.A.M.P., and there were few who knew of its existence, although many benefited from its work. Throughout the world, agents of different sections within the organization worked tirelessly—some of them attempting to improve the lot of the homosexual politically, some socially; some worked with medicine and others with the mind.

Jackie's field was protection, the super police activities necessary to protect and save homosexuals from the dangers of blackmail and violence. He had come to the field young, after an unfortunate experience, and he was one of C.A.M.P.'s top men. Although he appeared to be only an effeminate and probably helpless faggot, small, blond, and comfortably pretty, he was in fact a man of awesome feats and capabilities. His aim with a gun was so perfect that neither he nor anyone else could remember a single shot within the last five years that had not hit its intended target. Although he was slender, he was not at all weak. With a wiry strength that belied his size, and a full understanding of nearly all the arts of self-defense, from judo to karate, from wrestling to sword fighting, he was a match for any adversary.

Craig Mathews, however, could not know any of this, for his files would have little to say about C.A.M.P., and less about Jackie Holmes. Mathews would know only that Jackie was a homosexual, working for a homosexual outfit, and that Ted Summers, the T-man who knew Jackie, had passed on a message and warned that Jackie's suggestions were not to be taken lightly.

Staring out the window on his own side of the car,
Mathews was thinking exactly those thoughts. He did not like the assignment at all, nor his companion. Summers had indicated that Holmes was a sharp individual, but Mathews could see little to admire about the nelly queen sitting next to him. Chances were, fortunately, that there would be little to the assignment.

It was not likely that some zany relative of this fairy's had actually stumbled upon anything connected with Butterfly, the super-secret, world-wide spy organization that was a source of fear to most of the world governments.

The top agents of two dozen nations, to say nothing of the U.N. and Interpol, were rarely able to come up with any information as to their activities—so although he could not afford to pass up the lead, Mathews had little hope for the outcome. In the meantime, he hoped to hell that the blond faggot next to him would just keep his hands to himself.

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