First Pages: The Young & The Bad by Arnold Dixon
Welcome to First Pages on Fridays! Every Friday, we share the first pages from a book (usually vintage), along with a bit of information about the author and the book’s history.
This week it’s The Young & The Bad by Arnold Dixon, published by 101 Enterprises (New York) in 1968. Not much information is available about 101 Enterprises. They published erotica featuring young men/boys (sometimes in incestuous relationships) in the late-1960’s. Other titles include Route 69 by Carl Coolen, Camp Butch by Floyd Carter, and Baby Face by Anthony Dalton.
Arnold Dixon wrote books primarily for 101 Enterprises, including such titles as Geisha Boys, Sheep Boy, and Gloryhole Hustler. It’s possible that “Arnold Dixon” is a pen name for someone that 101 Enterprises had in their stable of low-paid, quantity-over-quality authors. However, a few other adult-themed books (with non-gay content) were written by an Arnold Dixon in the 1960’s and published by other small publishers, including Strange Relatives and Ship Master. It’s entirely possible that this author published gay fiction under 101 Enterprises and straight fiction under other publishers.
The writing is pretty atrocious. But no one was buying books like this for the writing; they were intended to be titillating and to be read one time. Given the stigma of owning books like this, it’s shocking that any of them still exist! One final note: the cover price is $1.25; for perspective, minimum hourly wage in 1968 was $1.00 in some states, and a gallon of gas cost 34 cents. Most paperback books were priced under a dollar; and hardcovers were priced under $5.00. Apparently, there was a bit of a premium on hard-to-find erotica, however cheaply published and poorly written.
The tall, slim, blond man got off the bed, put on a quilted robe and started for the living room.
“Are you going for a drink?” the boy asked. He was on the bed, naked. [. . .] his hair was blue-black.
“Yes,” the man said. His name was Ned and this was his apartment.
“Bring me back one, please.”
“Sure,” Ned said. He went into the living room, made two drinks, and returned with them. He sat on the bed and gave the boy his drink.
The boy sipped. His eyes, a clear blue, wandered over Ned’s face. He sensed something was wrong. “What is it?” he asked.
Ned looked into his drink. His blond hair was cut very short. He was close to forty. “It wasn’t any good,” he said.
“What do you mean?” the boy asked.
“Your heart wasn’t in it,” Ned said. “You went through the motions but . . .”
“That’s not so,” the boy defended himself. “You don’t know what you’re saying. You’re imagining things.”
“Ned, you know how I feel about you.” The boy sat up, thrust his hand inside Ned’s robe and started feeling his chest. He pinched each nipple in turn.
“Boyd, if I can only believe you.”
“You can, you can.” Boyd put away his glass, wrapped his arms around Ned’s neck. He pulled Ned down on top of him.
“You’ve spilled my drink.”
“Oh, to hell with it.” Boyd’s mouth brushed the side of Ned’s neck. “Let me show you how much I care for you.” He whipped open Ned’s robe and explored Ned’s breasts and nipples with his mouth. His lips found a rubbery nipple and concentrated on it.
Ned closed his eyes and felt the squirming body against his, felt the sweet sensations that rippled through him. “Take me,” Ned suddenly begged. “Take me. I want it now. Now. NOW.”
“Yes. Oh, yes.” Boyd kissed Ned’s mouth, then his neck and shoulders. His mouth wandered down the length of Ned’s body, kissing, nipping, biting. He fondled Ned’s manhood, which was rigid with throbbing passion. His mouth accepted the offering and Ned groaned at the sweet contact.
Ned dug his fingers in Boyd’s black hair and moaned deliciously. He heaved his hot body, driving his strength into that wet cavern of a hungry mouth. He felt teeth sink about him and he cried out as his passion sputtered away. He lay back, pleasantly exhausted.
Mel James was having his early morning coffee when Ned arrived. “You look frozen,” Mel observed, pouring an extra cup of coffee.
Ned removed his coat. “It’s freezing outside. Close to zero, I’ll bet.” He sat down by the formica-topped table and sipped his coffee. “Just what the doctor ordered. Hot coffee to warm my frozen blood.” He grinned across the table at his closest friend.
Mel and Ned had much in common. They were both close to forty and they both liked boys. They had once experimented with each other and had found the affair distasteful. They realized then that they needed young boys and not hardened old queens like themselves. The short affair had left them a bit wiser and much closer. It was not on a friendship basis and that made it all the better.
“Mel,” Ned said, putting his coffee cup back in its saucer. “Did you ever get the feeling that something wasn’t quite right?”
“Lots of times.”
“I had that feeling last night,” Ned said. “I had a go at Boyd and there was something missing. On Boyd’s part. When I told the kid that his heart wasn’t in it, he became very aggressive in his lovemaking. But I believe the whole thing was forced.”
Mel finished his coffee. “You think there’s someone else?”
“Did you ask him?”
Ned snorted. “You think he’d tell me? I pay the bills, remember?”
“Why don’t you kick him out? It’s your flat.”
“I need proof. Besides I’m kind of attached to him if you know what I mean.”
“You should kick him out now,” Mel said with feeling. “Before you get the proof. You might get hurt otherwise.”
“I couldn’t be that unfair to anyone.”
“You’re a funny one.”
“What do you mean?” Ned asked, puzzled.
“You’re too kind that thoughtful,” Mel explained. “We’re despised by the so-called normal type. We’re mocked, laughed at, and shunned. We’re social pariahs. All that makes us hard and uncompromising. And along you come, ready to break the mold. You, my angel, are kind, sincere, and thoughtful. Disgustingly so. You turn the other cheek. You have . . .”
“Hold it,” Ned laughed. “I believe I’m normal in most respects. And being normal means being kind and thoughtful. My sexual desires may not be healthy as far as society is concerned. But I can’t help that. I’m not worried about that, about what normal people think about me. I live my life the way I want to.”
“Well, the problem of Boyd is yours,” Mel said pointedly. “You aren’t going to listen to me so that’s that.”
“I’ll listen if you’ll tell me something constructive. But to kick the boy out without a shred of evidence–that’s too much.”
“Let’s drop the subject,” Mel said. “We aren’t getting any place, it seems. How about going shopping? I saw a beautiful plaid smoking jacket uptown in the window of . . .”
“Shopping? In this weather? You must be mad.”
“It couldn’t be that cold.”
“It’s freezing,” Ned said.
“I can go to my shop but I don’t feel like it,” Mel said. “Besides, Peter can run things without me.”
“I always meant to ask you. About Peter.”
“I know the question, love. The answer is yes. Peter is charming. Maybe, perhaps, someday, I’ll let you taste his charms. His goodies.” Mel laughed.
“Is that why you hired him?”
“Of course. And listen, sweet, I’m having a party tonight. I’ll expect you. And do bring charming Boyd, won’t you?”
To get your own copy of The Young & The Bad or other books published by 101 Enterprises, visit the Somewhere Books online store.