Please give a warm welcome to Johnny Smith from Whither Thou Goest by Tinnean today as we sit down and see what makes him tick.
Hi Dawn. Thanks so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be back here in the States, although we’re just visiting. Hildy Patterson, my little sister, will be going to school in Manhattan, so we’re dropping her off. Hildy isn’t my blood sister. Mr. Chetwood and I rescued her when her daddy died in a fire, and she decided we were family. I guess she’s right. You see, family doesn’t have to be blood. In our family there’s the skipper, Charley, our cook, and Nick, who operates the wireless on the August Moon.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not saving your mate?
Aside from making love with Mr. Chetwood? Well, Captain Johansen—he’s the skipper of the August Moon, the ship we sailed to the South Seas—he’s teaching me how to navigate using charts and instruments. Y’know, I never gave it much thought, but maybe one day I’ll get to be skipper too.
What is it about your love interest Church Chetwood that makes you crazy in a good way?
Where do I start? He likes to think he’s this tough guy who swaggers his way through life, but he’s actually a good man. Back when we first met, he got me out of a real jam. I was going to steal some pickled eggs. Pickled eggs. What was I thinking? But you see, I hadn’t had anything to eat—times were really tough during the Depression—and he used one of his last bucks to buy me dinner. Yeah, those same pickled eggs, but it was the thought that counted. Then he took me to the automat and really fed me. And on Iwi Po’o, he prepared the rabbit-critter we’d caught for dinner. It seems it always comes down to food between the two of us.
Do you sometimes want to strangle your writer? Thrash her to within an inch of their life? Make them do the stupid crap they make you do?
Of course not! Tinnean has my best interests—Well, now that you bring it up… She did make me climb a banana tree. That thing was thirty feet high, maybe forty feet, and on top of that, there was this huge spider in the branches. A HUGE spider! She knows creepy crawlies give me the heebie jeebies. And how about that pond that started steaming, Tinn? Not an experience Church or I want to repeat.
Lobster. My father took me to Delmonico’s when I was thirteen, and he said I could order whatever I wanted. I remembered him talking about lobster, so I asked for that. It was served with drawn butter, and I ate so much I got sick afterward. That kind of gave me a dislike of it, but the occasion made up for it. My father didn’t have much time to spend with me. Not that he wouldn’t have, but I was away at school. Darn, I think I got something in my eye. But the best meal I ever had was the sandwiches, pie, and coffee that Mr. Chetwood bought me that first night. I’d been so hungry. After that… well, I’d have done anything for Church Chetwood.
Tell me a little bit about your world. What are your greatest challenges in that world?
My world is pretty much the same as yours, except for the fact that there’s an island west of Sumatra where time kind of stood still. It’s inhabited by prehistoric animals that somehow survived the passage of time. This is where Mr. Chetwood found that sabertooth the Press called Chetwood’s Kitty. He brought her back to Manhattan, and she broke free and caused a lot of damage—a lot of people died. Other than that, though, it’s still the Depression, and things are tough. No jobs, no money, no food or shelter.
Describe yourself in four words.
Oh, I don’t like to talk about myself.
Then I will.
Geez, Mr. Chetwood, what are you doing here?
Looking after you, kid, what else? Ma’am, you want me to describe Johnny Smith in four words? Loyal, steadfast, honorable, and he loves me.
That’s more than four words, Mr. Chet—
*cough* We’ll just wait until they finish kissing before we move along. Okay, you two. Are you done now?
I think I’ve created a monster!
Tinn, go write another story.
What do you do for a living?
See, like I said, times were tough. I couldn’t finish my schooling because my father neglected to pay the fees, and then he did a swan dive off the Smith, Jones, and Brown building after the stock market crashed. I’ve been on my own since I was sixteen. I turned my hand at whatever job was available, even going out to the movie studios in Astoria to try for a job as an extra. There wasn’t much for a kid, when men with families needed the work more. I… I wound up having to… to do things I never thought I would, just to eat or get a place to sleep. Now I do whatever Mr. Chetwood wants me to do. Rescue saber-toothed tigers or baby mammoths, row lifeboats, climb banana trees…
What do you fear the most?
Losing Mr. Chetwood.
Whither thou goest, right, Church?
Yeah, kid. You’ve got that right.
Genre: m/m alternate reality historical
Blurb: Johnny Smith meets Church Chetwood during the dark days of the Great Depression. He knows Mr. Chetwood can’t be his forever. Why would the handsome and charming director want to stay with a young man who has nothing but his body and skills in bed to offer? His Mr. Chetwood can have any women—or man—he wants, but Johnny is going to keep him as long as he can.
When they have to leave suddenly on the SS August Moon to evade the process servers trying to find Church, Johnny is glad they’ll have more time together. But the crew rises up against the good Captain Johansen, urged on by a stowaway who wants the August Moon for himself. Johnny and Church, together with the captain, the cook, a wireless operator, and the little girl Johnny saved from prostitution, are cast off into a small lifeboat—and doomed to the open sea. Their other option is to try to land on the island where Church once discovered a saber-toothed tiger. The problem is, the last time Church was on this island, twelve men paid the price with their lives. Will Johnny, Church, and their friends make it out alive this time?
Under the guise of passing me my dish, he allowed his fingers to linger on the back of my hand, and my gaze rose to his in surprise. He didn’t usually touch me in public.
“Let’s eat and then get back to the August Moon. It’s been too long since I’ve had you.”
“But Mr. Chetwood, what about this afternoon?” I kept my face serious, but I was sure my eyes crinkled in silent delight. Shortly before we’d sailed into Selamat datan, I’d gone down to our cabin for a quick wash and to change into shore clothes. My lover had followed me and found me just pulling on my trousers. He’d yanked them back down, scooped up some Vaseline from a jar he kept on hand, and while one hand stroked me to full arousal, the fingers of the other stretched and prepared me for his invasion. When he finally slid into me, it hadn’t taken very long before I was panting and trembling under him, and then I poured myself into his hands as he climaxed with a groan.
“Like I said. Too long.” His gaze was hot as it leisurely traveled over my body.
My cock quivered, and I licked my lips and peeked at him through my lashes. “You promised me a night on the town,” I teased.
“This is the sum of the nightlife in Selamat datan, Johnny.” He gazed pointedly around the scruffy bar, and I laughed. “I like when you laugh, kid. You don’t do it often enough.” He nodded toward my plate. “Dig in.”
Mr. Chetwood took up a pair of chopsticks and welded them with easy skill, but I had no talent with them, even though Charley had tried to teach me. I couldn’t bend my right forefinger, and once he’d realized that, he’d tried teaching me to use my left hand, but it was too awkward and I couldn’t master it. I used a spoon and my shiv, and they worked well enough.
“This wasn’t bad,” I murmured as I mopped up the last of the sauce with a piece of bread.
“You realize that might be cat, don’t you?”
I paused, then finished chewing and swallowed. “As long as it isn’t monkey.”
“Monkey’s not that bad.”
I stared at him in dismay. “You’ve eaten monkey?”
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