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Mikhail had purchased Boris off the black market as a personal attendant – someone to keep his room, warm his bed, and act as the entertainment for him and his guests. Boris took orders well, and he seemed to adjust appropriately to his new position. But as winter warmed into summer, Boris began to wilt. Mikhail was concerned. It wasn’t a lack of things to do or thinks to stimulate his mind.

Boris enjoyed liked parties, he enjoyed lovemaking, he was good at the work he did, he spent his free time reading in the garden – but something was wrong. Boris refused to say anything was wrong. His family had been torn by debt and crime; the money Boris brought on the black market had helped his mother get an apartment. He didn’t want to seem ungrateful.

But Mikhail persisted. He waited until Boris was softened by particularly long session of sex to try to pry him open. Boris finally admitted he missed his brother – and to Mikhail’s shock, Boris began to cry. His father had sold both boys to pay off the debts to loansharks, something not unheard of for a poor family in a poor post-Soviet country. The boys had been separated. Boris assumed they would stay in contact somehow, but it was too hard. Boris was just so worried about his brother, Alexei.

It took Mikhail two months to track down where Alexei went. He was working in factory processing and packing drugs. The men were just indentured labor there. Basically meat. Meat had a price. Mikhail negotiated, closed the deal in a day, and sent his driver to go pick Alexei up. Alexei was bewildered when he stumbled out into the daylight to see a Mercedes waiting for him.

Of course, this was a surprise, and Boris’s reaction to Alexei’s arrival made everyone cry.

Boris bloomed overnight. Mikhail was almost bewildered by the change. Boris was full of energy, all smiles, lots of jokes and laughter. He was so eager to please and do whatever Mikhail asked, and then some. Instead of languishing around the home, or garden for hours, Boris went on long walks and swims in the river. Mikhail’s well-heeled friends were bemused by Mikhail’s attention over his boy and how delighted he was to make him happy. Why are you treating your boy like your boyfriend? they would say with a chuckle. After all, they’re only meat.

One day, Mikhail was the last one awake on a late summer evening. Boris was asleep, attached to his side; Alexei was splayed out in bed next to his wife. They had made love all evening. He watched the curtains blow in the wind. A boy for him, a boy for his wife. It had worked out so well. Mikhail felt a bit sorry for his friends. No doubt they were not utilizing the full potential of their “meat”. What fools. Bringing Boris and Alexei home was the best investment he’d ever made.

Captions are fictional.


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