—— Boy meets Boy ——

It had been maybe an hour in the waiting room when this asshole sitting opposite me started to really drive me crazy. What is it with people who don’t realise you can’t just play games on high volume in public?! Especially in a fucking hospital emergency department where there were already crying children and gossipy mums and some drunk idiot who obviously went way too hard way too early.

I glared at the guy playing whatever it was. Despite Kiwi sensibilities of never actually saying anything directly to an asshole, I had been tutting and sighing for almost half an hour and he hadn’t responded so I was on the verge of asking him to turn it the fuck down when the unmistakable sound of a Grindr message rang out through the room. He glanced up and the tips of his ears turned red, but naturally the sea of mothers and children and the guy puking his guts out didn’t notice. I caught his eyes almost immediately though. I raised my eyebrows. He chuckled and cleared his throat. He quickly muted his phone.

I looked him over and slowly put my magazine to the side. It was too fucking funny to stay mad at him. I leant over.

“He hot?” The guy glanced up at me again and smiled.

“Fucking incredible.” He replied, obviously as bored as I was if he was willing to talk to me. He leant forward awkwardly and showed me a picture. I scrutinised it.

“Well yeah.” I said, taking in the chiseled abs and broad chest. “That’s William Seed. Looking hot is his job.”

“Oh.” The guy’s face fell. “Dammit. I’m guessing William Seed probably isn’t in Newtown?”

“I’m guessing he doesn’t need to trawl Grindr.” The guy sighed and slumped back in his chair.

“Thanks anyway.” He said. “Ash. Nice to meet you.”

“Dusty.” He laughed.


“Really. And shut up, I didn’t name myself.” He rolled his eyes.

“My parents named me Ashley dude.” He winced. “Just a weird coincidence that you’re Dusty and I’m Ash.” I grinned.

“What are you in for?”

“Fucked my arm up.”

“Me too.” He glanced at my arm, which you had to admit, looked pretty awful. It was just bending slightly the wrong way and there was an awful lot of swelling. He winced and glanced at his own arm. I couldn’t really tell because he had long sleeves on but his thumb was swollen to twice the size of mine and his hand was purple.

“Looks bad.” I said.

“Really? Here I was thinking I’d just get a bandaid and a lollipop.” I laughed. It kind of hurt to laugh. I think my ribs were fucked too. “Least you did your left arm in.” He said. I frowned.

“Why is that better?”

“Well, you can still write and shit.”

“Unless I’m left handed. Which I am.”

“Oh.” Ash grinned at me and jerked his head up as the nurse called for an Ashley Wang. “Looks like I beat you in.” He said. “Nice to meet you Dusty.” I nodded and winced as the pain returned.


About an hour later they’d moved me to Orthopaedics. I grinned as I heard his stupid phone going off from the front desk and sat next to him.

“You know, most people keep their phone on silent because it’s less obnoxious.” I said. Ash looked up and me and smiled.

“I’m not most people.” He looked around and leant in conspiratorially. “The nurse is really cute.” He said. “Give you ten bucks if you can work out if he’s gay for me.”

“You’re on.” I laughed.

I was called in a couple of minutes later and inspected and booked in for an X-ray and offered all manner of painkillers.

“I’m fine.” I said. I wasn’t fine. But I might have been playing it tough to impress the cute nurse just a little bit.

“I won’t tell.” He said seriously. I looked at him and checked that the other nurse wasn’t around.

“Maybe some panadol.” I said quietly. He smiled and turned away to retrieve me some relief. I took a deep breath. Right. Gay? Honestly, I have shitty gaydar. One of those dudes who needs a flashing sign saying -Yo, I’m into you- before I even have an inkling that the beers he’s been buying me all night are a sign of anything other than friendship. That at least is why I prefer Grindr. Well, no. Grindr is a cesspit of despair and married assholes who think because I’m younger I’ll go along with their stupid fucked up fantasies until they delete the app because the wife might find out… but hell, at least if you’re able to take a good pic you know the guy messaging you wants it.

I blinked as Nurse Cavander cleared his throat. He was holding out the panadol and a plastic cup of water.

“Oh I’m good.” I waved away the water. He sighed.

“Dusty, no one is judging how manly you are.” His eyes crinkled. I shrugged and swallowed the pills. I’m sure there’s a whole reason you’re meant to swallow pills with water but it’s never been a big deal for me. “You can take that with nuerofen.” He offered. “Better to knock the pain head on.”

“It’s really fine.” I said. It is. It’s funny- when I was a kid I used to hurt myself all the time, and I would cause the biggest fuss…. but only because it made Mum all soft and cuddly, and Dad would buy me Fanta and KFC and we all looked after each other. These days I’m not such a… well. Let’s call it like it is. Attention seeker. Turns out my tolerance for pain is pretty phenomenal, which is good luck for me because the last two years have been nothing but accidents.

“Ash was begging for codeíne.” Nurse Cavander offered. I laughed.

“Well ok then.” He went to grab the neurofen and I brought up YouTube and turned my sound on. One surefire way to know right?

I played the notification sound that had got me talking to Ash.


“Straight. Sorry dude.” Ash grumbled and fumbled with his wallet. Both our arms were in slings now and we were waiting in Radiology. He handed me $10 and paused before I could take it.

“How’d you know?” I played the sound and shrugged at Ash.

“He gave me nothing.” I heard a chuckle from the desk and the radiologist quickly looked away as we caught each other’s eyes. “Ooh.” I muttered, pointing him out to Ash. Ash leant in.

“Not my type.” He muttered. “You should go for it buddy.” I looked at the guy. A blush was creeping up his neck as we unsubtly checked him out. He had short hair and glasses- kind of nerdy. Kind of hunky. I bit my lip. My type was a bit more hipster. Long hair and tattoos and stuff. A bit more… Well. Like the guy sitting next to me, with his long dark hair spilling over his shoulders and his not quite designer scruffy moustache. I glanced at Ash.

“Fuck it, I will.” I said. I reached for the $10 and Ash held it away.

“Hold up.” He said. “Nurse Cavander might still be gay. Maybe he’s just not a whore like us.” I laughed.

“Alright fine. I’ll keep working at it buddy.” I looked up as my name was called and winked at Ash.

“Wish me luck.”

“You don’t need it.” He smiled as I went into the room and got the whole spiel.

I cleared my throat as the radiologist arranged my arm.

“Hurts?” He asked. I shrugged.

“Maybe I’m being a big baby, but I think there’s a chance it’s broken.” He laughed. Callum. That’s what his name tag said.

“You know, this is gonna seriously impress you but even without the X-ray I think I can tell you it’s cooked.” He said. I laughed.

“Damn.” I sat back. “I work in Construction. Could you use those crazy deductive skills to tell me if it’ll be ok by Monday?” Callum raised his eyebrows.

“You’re not gonna like the answer. Alright. Stay there.” He left the room and I watched him as he took a photo. He winced as he looked at his monitor. I tried to ignore that. Maybe if I pretended I was fine I would be fine. Power of thought or prayer or whatever right?

“So what do you do?” I asked as he came back to rearrange me. I groaned and let my head hang. “Oh my God.” I said. “We are both gonna pretend I didn’t ask that.” Callum carefully moved my arm and I could see him smiling.

“I’m an actor.” He said seriously. “I do this on the side so the bills don’t pile up.”

“Ah-huh.” I caught his eye and he grinned at me. “Should I know you from anything?” I asked. He laughed.

“Shortland Street.” He said. He paused as he went to leave the room again. “I play a cute radiologist.” I bit my lip as he left. I think the pain was doing dumb things to me. I don’t normally flirt- but I guess I kinda wanted to show Ash I was great at this.

“Oh yeah.” I said, looking at him carefully when he came back to lie me down and take a photo of my ribs. “Actually I think I do recognise you. You’re that one who gave his number to that kid who broke his arm trying to do BMX tricks right?” Callum blushed.

“You saw that episode?” He asked. I grinned triumphantly as he rolled his eyes at me and walked away.

“Didn’t it end with drinks and you going back to his?” I called out. He laughed as he looked at the photo.

“Hmmm.” He said, coming back, and gently positioning me. He had a nice touch. “And nothing happened because BMX dude had cracked ribs and believe me sex was gonna hurt like a bitch.” I winced.

“That’s not what I remember….”

“Last photo.” He said. “Your mate is back in Orthopaedics.” He left the room and when he came back he pressed his number into my good hand.

“I can’t believe that worked.” I blinked. He smiled at me and shrugged.

“Me either. Do you need me to call an orderly?” I shook my head.

“I know my way around. Believe it or not I’m kind of a big deal here. They know me as ‘that idiot again’.” Callum smiled.

“So I’ll see you again Dusty?”

“You will definitely see me again, Callum. Maybe I’ll break my leg next time.” He blushed and I left, taking the stairs by two and regretting it as I had shooting pains running through my torso.


“So?” Ash asked as I sat next to him. I grinned and showed him the number.

“Irresistible.” I said.

“Nice.” He automatically raised his right arm to hi-five and winced. “That’s right.” He said as the sling stopped him. “We were in here to get our arms fixed up, not just to get laid.”

“Any luck with Nurse Cavander?”

“He’s not married and doesn’t have a girlfriend.”

“Good start.”

“You’re up next. I just need, like, absolute confirmation he’s into me.” I rolled my eyes.



I swung my legs as the doctor talked me through what I’d done to myself. Basically smashed my elbow it sounded like. Which was gonna be so great when you work construction. God I was gonna get so fucking fat if I couldn’t work. I glanced at Nurse Cavender as the doctor walked out.

“So that sounded bad.” He laughed.

“Hey, sounds like you’ll get a cushy few weeks off.” He smiled and sat opposite me. “That could be nice. Can’t say I’d mind a few weeks off.”

“What would you do?” I asked. “My only hobby is biking.” Nurse Cavander looked thoughtfully at the wall.

“I’d garden.” He said. “And cook. Shift work means a lot of takeout. And I’d get the house in order and read and catch up with all the friends I never get to see.” I sighed.

“Oh well.” I said. “I’ll find something. That’s not exactly up my alley.” He smiled and handed me- fuck, ANOTHER DAMN FORM? I’d filled in like 7 already. I glanced at him as I awkwardly filled it in. Ok, he liked gardening which I guess is a little gay but I know straight dudes who do plants. I swallowed. “So this cracked rib sitch.” I said slowly. “Uh… I didn’t want to ask the doctor because she was scary but between you and me… odds of fucking are…?” He laughed.

“I would recommend a few weeks off.” He said.

“Ah.” I sighed. “I feel like that’s a disservice.” He laughed again and looked at me seriously. I waited for the telling off.

“There’s a lot of dick out there.” He said instead. “I’m sure with yours out for a couple of weeks they’ll make do. Even with the top shortage.” Oh he was SO gay. I grinned and started laughing. Nurse Cavander grinned back.

“Do you and Ashley have a bet?” He asked. “I’ve got to say I’ve never felt so inappropriately hit on consistently my entire life.”

“Is that inappropriate?” I shrugged. “Uh… Tell Callum in Radiology I’m real sorry.” He rolled his eyes. “Ok.” I said. “The deal is I get $10 if I figure out if you’re gay. And ahh… then I think Ash might be initiating another inappropriate conversation…” Nurse Cavander laughed.

“$10 was not enough.” He muttered. “You can tell Ash I’m sorry.” I laughed.

“Oh man, you’re gonna break his heart.” Nurse Cavander took my form off me.

“Nope.” He said. “You can give him the bad news that medical professionals, despite what TV might tell you, have other things to think about than a kid 12 years their junior hitting on them.” He smiled at me. “Back into the waiting room Dusty.” I stood up.

“Thanks.” I said. “Good luck getting Ash off your back.”


“Bad news bud.” Ash looked up at me and sighed.

“Straight.” He said. “Dammit.”

“Even worse bro. Gay and not into you.” Ash wailed and I laughed as he clutched his heart.

“Say it ain’t so.” He moaned. “I’m so pretty!” I laughed.

“Maybe it’s your personality?” He sighed.

“Must be. Maybe he hates skaters.” I looked at Ash. God. A fucking skater. Of course he was.

“That how you fucked yourself?”

“Yeah, didn’t say I was a good skater.” I laughed. “You?” He was really nice to look at when he smiled.

“BMX.” I said slowly. Ash nodded and he pushed his hair off his face as it fell into his eyes. I almost helped him. His hair was thick and dark and… I just really wanted to touch it. Weird night. Most times I’m in here I’m just concerned with getting out but… well. You just don’t come across hot guys browsing Grindr in an ED room that often.

“Nice.” He sighed. “I’m so screwed. I work for DoC and I’m gonna be stuck on paperwork for weeks.”

“Do you one better. I’m on site and believe me there’s not a lot of paperwork for a grunt on an apartment build.”

“Oh shit.” Ash glanced at me. “You gonna be ok?” I shrugged.

“ACC? I don’t think they’re allowed to fire me. But I guess there’s always the dole.” Ash bit his lip.

“Dude. That’s really lame. I’m sorry.” I looked at him. I opened my mouth to say something vaguely along the lines of ‘Hey Ash wanna make it better…’ but his name was called, and then my name was called.

And then I realised that was it. I was being sent home, with surgery booked in, and a shit ton of painkillers. Fuck.

I definitely had the wrong guy’s number.


Not that Callum was a terrible second choice. I texted him a few days later while I was lying in the hospital doped up.

That shortie street episode was so cute where that hot radiologist dropped in on room RRE4 to see how BMX dude was getting on after surgery…

He didn’t reply. But he did show up half an hour later and sat on the end of my bed.

“How are you feeling?” He asked.

“Super.” I smiled at him and tried to sit up. He stopped me and fiddled with the remote for the bed. Oooh. One of those mechanical beds. Well yeah. I guess that made sense for a hospital.

“Go easy, man.” He said. “You did quite a number on yourself.”

“Yeah these wankers say I’ll be in a cast for six fucking weeks.” Callum narrowed his eyes at me.

“Promise you won’t cut it off.” I smiled at him.

“I’m a man of my word, Cal, I cant promise you that.” Callum sighed.

“Then you’re looking at a weak elbow which you’ll probably fracture again in a month when you swing a sledgehammer too hard. Guess I’ll be seeing you a lot more.”

“Would that be so bad?” Callum reached out and took my good hand. He smiled at me.

“I guess you do look pretty cute in a hospital gown.”

—— Boy gets laid —-

He texted me a week later and asked how I was doing, which was not good at all. I was stir crazy, I was mad at myself and my boss was mad at me, and as much the pain had rescinded- my ribs meant even jerking off was a pain in the ass. And, because I went from biking everyday then working on site for 8 hours to doing sweet fuck all, I was hungry all the time and had to stop myself from eating.

I am an absolute nightmare to be around.

I texted back.

But maybe I could be charming over drinks.

Well why don’t we make it my shout? Get you in a good mood.

Huh. You know, I think it’s working already.

We agreed on 7 at LBQ and I jumped up and made my way to the living room.

“What.” Jared said grumpily as I plonked myself down next to my flatmates and winced. I wasn’t used to working with a body in pain.

“Date.” I looked at his girlfriend Nicky. “Help.”

“Can it wait?” She sighed. They were drawing up plans for a protest about the housing crisis. I looked at it.

“Oh come on. This isn’t going anywhere.” I gestured at the plans. They frowned at each other. They were trying to buy a house. They had 80k and couldn’t find a place within budget, couldn’t get a loan…. but we’re all fucked for housing. And I didn’t want them to leave me, but I’d never tell them that. I bit my lip and tried the wide eyed puppy look. Nicky refused to look at me.

“Is he doing the face?” She asked Jared.

“Eyes on me.” He said firmly.

“Please…” I whimpered.

“Don’t look at him.” Jared warned. “It’s manipulation.”

“I’m not looking.” Nicky gritted her teeth.

“His name is Callum.” I sighed deeply. “He held my hand when I came out of surgery…”

“Aw…” Nicky glanced at me and Jared sighed. Heh. Game over.

“Go on.” Jared huffed and started to pack away their plans. “I wish you’d fall for me the way you do for that stupid trick.” Nicky laughed as she looked at me.

“You’re not as cute as Dusty.” She said.

“Don’t I know it.” He sighed and turned to look at me. “So you found skater boi?” I bit my lip.

“Ummm… Noooo….”

“Ugh.” Nicky rolled her eyes. “You are the only guy on earth who breaks his arm and makes hooking up his priority.”

“Well, that’s not true.” I said. “Skater boi was definitely making hooking up his priority too.” I sighed. “Just not with me.” Jared rolled his eyes at me.

“Stop being so dramatic. Nicky, fuck it, go do your thing.” He sighed and packed up the table as I jumped up with glee and moaned in pain again. That’s right. Ribs.

“Well. Sleeves are out.” Nicky said as we tried to wrangle one of my nicer button ups over my cast. There was no way. I grumbled to myself.

“I can’t go in a singlet. I’ll look like an idiot.”

“Maybe just go shirtless?” She teased. “Not a bad look for you.”

“Na, I’m going to get so fat over the next few weeks, I don’t want him to know what I used to have.” I sighed and picked up a black t-shirt. I started to try to put it on and Nicky sighed as she watched me struggle with my right arm.

“Wow, you really are useless.” She said, helping me out and pulling it down. “Hmmm.” She said. “You’re gonna hate me but I think we go with white.” I moaned as she started gently pulling the shirt off me again and swapped it out. “Better.” She said. “Wear those dark blue jeans you never wear…”

“Because they’re too tight…”

“They make your legs look good.” She said firmly. “And do you have a single pair of shoes without holes in them?” I glanced at the bottom of my wardrobe as I struggled with the jeans. God knew what was even in there. Nicky sighed as she turned around and zipped me up.

“Thanks.” I grumbled. I hadn’t worn actual pants since I got out of the hospital, and turns out buttons are hard one handed. Nicky’s nice though, and it’s not like she hasn’t seen everything- the three of us go back to high school and we’ve done enough harmless skinny dipping over the years that her and I lost any shame some time ago. “My steel caps don’t have holes.” I said. Nicky raised her eyebrows.

“Sorry I should have been clearer. No holes and not covered in paint primer.” She dug around in the wardrobe and found an old pair of Timberlands that I guess passed. She held them to me and I looked at her awkwardly as I slid my feet into them.

“Unmmmm.” I winced. “You couldn’t help with the laces mate?” Nicky sighed as she looked at me.