The Man From C.A.M.P.

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Overview

Resourceful as James Bond, flamboyant as Austin Powers, and gay as a Christmas goose, there's never been a secret agent quite like Jackie Holmes, the Man from C.A.M.P.

These fast-paced stories, written and set in the swinging sixties introduce a new generation of readers to the fabulous adventures of gay superspy Jackie Holmes, the Man from C.A.M.P. Armed with a cache of secret weapons, a body that just won't quit, and a white poodle called Sophie who's trained to kill with her ...

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The Man from C.A.M.P.

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Overview

Resourceful as James Bond, flamboyant as Austin Powers, and gay as a Christmas goose, there's never been a secret agent quite like Jackie Holmes, the Man from C.A.M.P.

These fast-paced stories, written and set in the swinging sixties introduce a new generation of readers to the fabulous adventures of gay superspy Jackie Holmes, the Man from C.A.M.P. Armed with a cache of secret weapons, a body that just won't quit, and a white poodle called Sophie who's trained to kill with her razor-sharp teeth, the blond bombshell with a license to thrill known as Jackie Holmes will blow you away!

This collection includes The Man from C.A.M.P., Holiday Gay, and The Son Goes Down plus an interview with the author by Fabio Cleto.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934531204
  • Publisher: MLR Press
  • Publication date: 8/7/2008
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The bar did not, at first sight, offer a very appealing picture. Not even the dimness of the lights, which left the interior in near darkness, could manage to lend any sort of charm to the battered counter or the stools with torn plastic hanging loose. The floor was covered with sawdust and debris of various sorts.

The customers, too, might have been described as debris. Some bars catering to homosexuals employ a certain discretion, and that discretion is often imitated by the customers. Neither The Round Up nor its patrons could have been given credit for such thoughtfulness. The photos pinned to the walls, pictures of nearly nude young men, mostly bodybuilders, identified the bar for what it was, a gay hangout. The patrons were as easily identified.

If the two men who had just entered found the bar and its customers peculiar, they themselves were regarded as not less peculiar by the inhabitants of the room. Not that they were particularly odd themselves; rather, it was their air of normality that made them seem out of place in The Round Up. Neither of them gave any indication of being homosexual or "on the prowl." It might have been that they were police--they had an official air about them but the patrons of The Round Up were quite familiar with the more devious tactics employed by the vice squad of the local police. This was too open an approach, and that possibility was quickly dismissed.

The two stood inside the door for a few minutes, allowing their eyes to adjust to the dim light. Of the pair, it was the one trailing behind who aroused the most interest on the part of the people at the bar. Ted Summers was the proverbial tall, dark, and handsome.Not quite forty, he offered an appearance that was a confusing and attractive combination of age and youth. His unruly hair, once jet black, was now flecked with gray, and his face had a tan, leathery quality that evidenced the fact that he had been around a bit. He had, in fact, been around a lot, and his years had been action filled, first as a heroic young marine who had come back from the service sporting numerous medals and later as a rugged, highly regarded investigator for the U.S. Treasury Department. His body, however, was the same body that had belonged to the young marine. Tall and powerfully built, be was every inch a man's man, easily a match for any of the muscle boys whose photos were displayed on the walls.

His companion, on the other hand, might have been taken for an accounting clerk in some small office. Lou Upton was only a few years older than Ted, but he was already balding and showing a tendency toward fatness, especially around the waist. He was not, never had been, the perfect physical specimen. But behind the quick gray eyes, exaggerated by the thickness of his glasses, was the mind of a top-notch policeman, a representative of the world police organization, Interpol.

With a nod toward his companion, Upton led the way to one of the booths that lined one wall. They seated themselves and sat in silence until the pimply-faced bartender had taken their order and returned with two beers. By this time the newness of their arrival had begun to wear off and the others in the bar were losing interest, returning their attention to one another.

"Seems like a funny place to contact an agent," Summers said in a low voice, sniffing as he glanced around the room

"Jackie's an unusual agent," Upton answered him, downing a healthy mouthful of his beer.

"Who is she, anyway?" Summers wanted to know. "One of your people?"

"You'll find out in plenty of time."

Summers frowned at the answer. "I don't think I like this whole setup. Hell, I've been with the force long enough to be filled in on details. I don't like being treated like a security risk."

"I didn't know you were being treated as such," Upton argued.

"I'd say so. No one's told me the first thing about this except to tag along with you. I don't know what we're working on or who this Jackie is, or anything else."

"You'll find out," Upton assured him. "In..."

"In due time," Summers finished, with another frown.

They fell silent again, drinking their beers and occasionally glancing around at the growing crowd of homosexuals. With few exceptions they were all the loud, flamboyant type known among their own people as "swishy." Summers continued to feel uncomfortable. He had known one or two homosexuals in his day who had been all right guys, but they had been the careful type, the ones you could never identify. These people were something different. He instinctively leaned away each time one of them passed near where he was sitting, as though afraid of contamination.

Upton, on the other hand, seemed quite unperturbed by the setting or the people around them. He smiled from time to time, more to himself than to anyone else, as though he were enjoying some private joke.

They finished their beers and Upton signaled the waiter to bring them two more. Summers looked at his watch impatiently.

"She's late, isn't she?" he said aloud. "I thought we were to meet her at ten and it's after ten-thirty now.

"Jackie will be here," Upton promised him, still quite patient himself. "When the right moment comes, contact will be made."

As the minutes passed Summers began to have doubts about Upton's statement. In his field of work delays usually meant trouble.

It was eleven by the time he finished the second beer, and still there had been no attempt at making contact.

"I've got to go unload some of the beer," Summers said, standing. "Never could hold that stuff very well."

"I'll save your seat," Upton answered, with another of his puzzling smiles.

Summers edged his way through the Saturday-night crowd that was beginning to fill up the bar, heading for the rear. Beyond a dingy curtain was a narrow hall with doors opening into the Ladies' and Men's rooms. He smiled to himself as he passed the door marked Ladies, wondering which of the customers at the bar used that door, and entered the other.

He had just stood up to the urinal when the door opened behind him and an effeminate blond stepped up beside him. For a moment Summers ignored the newcomer, thinking instead about the mysterious Jackie whom they should have met an hour ago.

He was suddenly aware of the fact that he was being stared at. He glanced angrily sideways. The blond, short and slender, was looking him over brazenly, an irritating smile playing upon his lips.

"Nice," he said simply, raising his eyes to wink at Summers.

"Knock it off," Summers snapped angrily, stepping back.

"Don't turn away, Mr. Summers," the blond told him quietly. "It gives us a good excuse to stand here and talk."

Summers froze instinctively, despite his rather awkward position. "You know my name?" he asked, staring in surprise at the still smiling homosexual.

"I know quite a bit about you," the blond assured him. He glanced meaningfully downward as he added, "Although they left the nicest things out of the report."

Summers blushed and stepped back to the urinal, leaning close against it to prevent any possible observation of his endowments. "But who the hell..." He stopped in mid sentence and his jaw fell open. "Oh, no, you can't be..."

The blond nodded. "Umm-hm, I'm Jackie."

Summers groaned and rolled his eyes heavenward. It was fast becoming evident that he wasn't going to like this assignment at all.

"Do we have to stand here like this?" Summers asked. Standing at a urinal with a homosexual beside him was proving to be disquieting. "It's sort of a peculiar way to make contact."

"It's a rather good way, as a matter of fact," Jackie informed him, clearly deriving more enjoyment from the situation than Summers was. "We could stand here for hours without raising suspicion. If anyone comes in they'll only assume we're cruising one another."

"Cruising?"

"Flirting which isn't a bad idea at all. Do you have to stand so close against that thing?"

"I'm holding myself up," Summers told him sarcastically. "My legs are weak."

"I've been told I do that to men," Jackie said with a shrug. "Oh, well, how much do you know?"

"Not a damned thing. And I can see now why Lou didn't want to give me any details." At the moment, Summers could happily have strangled the man in the other room.

"Don't tell me you're the sort who hates fairies?" Jackie asked with obvious enjoyment.

"They're all right in their place," Summers snapped. "I've just never shared that place."

"Pity," Jackie decided, growing more sober. "I guess we may as well get with Upton and see what he has on his mind."

With relief Summers hurriedly ended his exposure and stepped back. "I'll go get him," he offered quickly.

"That won't be necessary. He's being picked up right now, as a matter of fact."

"What makes you think Upton's going to let himself be picked up by a homosexual?" Summers wanted to know.

Jackie smiled again. "You don't know Sandy. He always gets what he goes after."

"Anyway, you don't mean to tell me the three of us are going to stand in here and talk. Or will people just think we're having an orgy?" His sarcasm was evident.

For an answer Jackie crooked a finger. "Come with me," he said, leading the way toward the stalls provided in the rest room. The far most one displayed a large "out of order" sign on the door. Ignoring that, Jackie pushed open the door, holding it with his foot. As Summers watched suspiciously, Jackie nonchalantly pulled aside the ceramic top of the water closet and plunged his hand inside. He felt about for a moment; there was a click and a whir of gears as the end wall swung open.

Wide-eyed with amazement, Summers followed him through the opening. The wall closed behind them, leaving them momentarily in darkness.

"I can't see a thing," he growled.

"If you're frightened, you can hold my hand," Jackie informed him. Summers chose to ignore the remark.

A moment later another door opened. Summers followed Jackie inside to find himself in a luxurious apartment. Crystal chandeliers glittered overhead and candles cast flickering shadows on velvet-covered walls. Twin sofas covered in pale charmeuse flanked a fireplace in which a fire was burning low.

"Make yourself comfortable," Jackie suggested, indicating one of the sofas. "Cognac?"

"Sounds good." Summers seated himself, staring around the room in awe. "Quite a place. You live here?"

"Not exactly." Jackie returned to hand him the cognac in a large balloon glass. He glanced wistfully at the spot next to Summers, then seated himself discreetly on the facing sofa. "It's one of the offices of

"C.A.M.P."

"What in the hell is C.A.M.P."

Jackie cocked one eyebrow. "You are in the dark, aren't you? Well, without going into all the details, it's an underground organization dedicated to the protection and advancement of homosexuals."

Summers sat forward on the sofa. "Good God, don't tell me I'm being assigned to protect a bunch of fairies?"

Jackie continued to smile, but his voice turned ice cold. "Don't you think we're entitled to protection?" he asked sharply.

Summers was spared the necessity of a reply. The door through which they had entered the apartment swung open, and another of the homosexuals who had been seated at the bar entered, followed by a grinning Lou Upton.

"Well, I see you passed the test," Upton greeted Summers cheerfully.

"Thanks for all the advance warning," Summers growled in annoyance.

Upton shrugged. "I couldn't let you know the score. You might have balked at the assignment. Anyway, Jackie wanted to look you over before he agreed to talk with us."

"He looked me over all right," Summers answered, still ruffled. "Don't tell me you're a member of the club I've been hearing about?"

"C.A.M.P." Upton laughed aloud. "No, C.A.M.P.'s an independent organization, so far as I know, not connected with any government or any other police outfit. I contacted them on this case because I thought they might be able to give us some help."

The homosexual who had brought Upton into the apartment left quietly the same way he had come, but yet another stranger entered the room through a door on the opposite wall. This one, Summers thought as he glanced up, would never be pegged as a homosexual. A football player, maybe, or something in that vein. He was tall, easily six foot five inches, and built like a bull, handsome in a rugged, brutish way.

"That's Rich," Jackie explained without glancing at the newcomer. "He keeps an eye on this place."

"And you?" Upton asked.

"And me," Jackie agreed with a grin. "Like the song says, it's nice to have a man around the house. Of course, I'm really living it up tonight."

"What's about this case?" Summers asked, impatient to steer the conversation away from a distasteful subject and back to business.

For an answer, Upton removed a diminutive black pouch from his pocket and handed it to Jackie. "This is the problem."

Summers leaned forward to see. Jackie opened the pouch and rolled a brilliant diamond of impressive size into the palm of his hand. He rolled it about, holding it up to the light once or twice. The stone caught the light and reflected it in a rainbow of shimmering color.

"If this is your problem," Jackie decided, "I'll be only too happy to take it off your hands. That's as fine a diamond as I've ever seen."

"Is it?" Upton asked him calmly. "Here, take a look through the glass." He took a jeweler's glass from his pocket and handed that to Jackie as well.

Jackie studied the stone again. "Still looks fine to me," he insisted. "I'd say it's a perfect stone."

Upton leaned back in his seat with a smug expression. "You'd certainly think so to look at it. And most of the world's experts would have said the same thing. As a matter of fact, however, it's a counterfeit."

"A counterfeit?" Jackie looked amazed and even dubious. Though it was not something he was wont to brag about, he was one of the world's experts on diamonds, having taken top honors at the World Diamond Institute in South Africa.

"Exactly," Upton assured him with a nod. "It's the most fantastic duplication ever seen, a chemical formula so perfect that it fools even the experts. We've been working on it for months now and still haven't managed to break down the formula, although we're getting pretty close."

"If it's so perfect," Summers interjected, "how was it ever spotted in the first place?"

"Good question," Jackie agreed.

Upton took a second pouch from his pocket and handed that to Jackie. Jackie removed another stone, equally as large as the first, from the pouch. He examined it carefully for a moment, scowling. Then, leaning forward, he tapped it lightly on the tile hearth before the fireplace. The gem shattered and fell apart in numerous pieces.

"It's a flaw in the formula," Upton explained. "The stone begins deteriorating almost at once. A month ago, that stone was as perfect a counterfeit as the first one.

"Just long enough for someone to make himself a bundle of cash," Jackie murmured, fingering the pieces of shattered stone thoughtfully.

"And someone has been doing just that," Upton told him. "Those stones are turning up all over Europe pawned in jewelry, sold directly to the diamond merchants this is not just one individual at work but a highly organized ring, efficient and dangerous."

"It could knock the bottom right out of the diamond market," Jackie said. "The ripple effect could wreak havoc with the world economy."

"Any leads?" Summers asked. The case at last was beginning to sound interesting. He liked big assignments, particularly those that promised a lot of excitement and danger.

"Not much," Upton admitted with a sigh. "We have reason to believe that the stuff's originating here in America, probably in this general area. It's a matter of the availability of certain chemicals used in the formula and a few other details."

"It's very fascinating," Jackie stated, returning the stones to their pouches and handing them back to Upton. "But it sounds like it's ready-made for you two boys. I don't see where C.A.M.P. fits into the picture."

Upton's face grew grim as he met Jackie's gaze evenly. "We also have reason to believe," he went on, "that this organization is a homosexual one."

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