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Sheriff Gillman examined the body, his brow furrowed. He’d never seen violence like this in his life (other than the people he killed himself before becoming a sheriff). The body was ripped to shreds, intestines hanging out, blood everywhere. It was nauseating. Gillman had been sheriff of Devil’s Run for eight years, and he’d never had to deal with a murder. There were only 300 citizens in town; it wasn’t like they could afford to lose anybody.

Sheriff Gillman stood and stretched. He ran over a list of possible suspects in his mind. The corpse on the ground was Bela Lugosi, a washed-up movie star who had been living in Devil’s Run since the 70s, when he faked his own death to avoid starring in yet another Dracula film. Sheriff Gillman shook his head, pitying the poor man. He couldn’t think of anyone who would want to kill old Bela, yet someone had.

Behind Sheriff Gillman, a police cruiser pulled up, lights flashing, and his deputy, a zit-faced 19-year-old named Tootsie Noodles, stepped out. Tootsie Noodles bore an uncanny resemblance to Steve Buscemi. If this were a movie, some would even say he was played by the Big Man himself.

“G-g-gee, boss,” said Tootsie Noodles, clapping a hand to his forehead at the sight of the corpse. “W-why, that’s old B-Bela!”

“It is indeed,” Sheriff Gillman gurgled. He wiped the slime off his brow and stepped into the shade. “It appears he’s been murdered.”

“M-m-murdered!” said Tootsie Noodles. “Well, I’ll b-be! In our little t-t-town?”

“I know it’s hard to believe,” said Sheriff Gillman grimly. “Get the forensics team down here, Noodles. I’m going to go do sheriff things.”

“Yes, s-sir.”

Tootsie Noodle gave Sheriff Gillman a snappy salute and pulled out his radio to make the call. Sheriff Gillman stalked past him, his mind miles away. He needed to talk to the people who lived nearby, find out if they had heard anything. If they had, they would certainly be more willing to talk to Sheriff Gillman than to Tootsie Noodles. Gillman was tall, bulky, and ugly. Nobody ever messed with ugly people.

Gillman stalked around town for hours, talking to every single citizen in Devil’s Run. Bela’s best friend Boris was devastated and wept on Gillman’s brawny, scaled shoulder for a full thirty minutes.

“Bela,” he sobbed. “Oh, Bela.”

Gillman patted Boris on the back with his webbed hand. “I know,” he said. “It’s always hard to lose a friend.”

Gillman wouldn’t know, actually, as he’d spent most of his life being very lonely, as the only swamp creature in the Black Lagoon.

“It’s worse than that,” Boris sniffled, pulling back to wipe the tears from his eyes. “Bela, he was more than a friend. He was my … my …”

“Your lover?” asked Gillman gently. Boris’s face twisted with grief.

“My queerplatonic partner,” he whispered, voice broken. Gillman’s heart ached for Boris. Although Gillman had never had a lover, or even a queerplatonic partner, he understood Boris’s pain. He could think of nothing more painful than to finally find love only to lose it.

“You have my condolences,” he said. “Please, if you hear anything, don’t hesitate to call me.”

He squeezed Boris’s hand and made for the door. Halfway to his car, his radio squawked, and Tootsie Noodles’s squeaky voice filled the air.

“B-b-boss? C-come in, boss!”

“Hi,” said Gillman into the radio.

“B-boss, f-f-forensics is d-done here. T-they’ve t-taken the b-body to the morgue.”

“Roger that,” said Gillman. He looked at his extremely expensive hybrid smartwatch from Fossil with the rose gold analog face and the navy blue leather band. “It’s late, Tootsie. Write up a report for today and you can head home.”

“Roger, b-boss,” said Tootsie. “Over and out.”

Gillman lumbered into his Pontiac and sighed deeply, leaning his forehead against the steering wheel. The sun was setting. It had been a long day with no leads and a lot of questionable police work. He thought of his barren little home on Plum Street and closed his eyes, imagining a world where someone waited there for him, perhaps cooking dinner or watching TV.

But Gillman had no one, and he never would.

Gillman lay on his waterbed that night, staring up at his ceiling and thinking hard about Bela and Boris. What would happen, Gillman wondered, if he died tonight? Would anyone mourn him? Would anyone but Tootsie Noodles attend his funeral?

Gillman rolled over and hugged his pillow to his chest, wishing for the millionth time that day that there was someone to cuddle him. But who would ever love a creature from the Black Lagoon? Gillman had tried for love, many times. He’d been rejected by Kay Lawrence and Helen Dobson. He’d tried Grindr but it seemed like every cute guy on there had “no creatures” in his profile.

It was beyond humiliating to be like this -- 45 years old and a virgin. Gillman had never even been kissed -- in fact, he wasn’t sure he could kiss someone, with his giant scaly lips. But he’d like to try.

A horrible thought popped into Gillman’s head, one he tried to push away. But it stayed there, echoing relentlessly in his mind as he tried to sleep. The thought was this: what if he paid for sex? Somewhere out there, surely, was a sex worker willing to fuck the Gillman. Willing to hold him, to be kind, to make him feel loved.

Gillman rolled over, reaching across the bed to grab his phone off the bedside table. He went to the appstore and searched for SexPlz, an escort app he’d heard about recently from a friend. Gillman typed his information in when prompted.

Name: Swampy ;)

Age: 45

Height/Weight: 6’7”, 250 pounds.

Details: Just a scaly green virgin with a fishy complexion looking for a gentle night of fun. M4M. Will pay any price.

Gillman read it over again, hoping he didn’t sound too desperate. He put his location as Detroit, as that was the nearest city. He was willing to travel a bit for this. Reluctantly, he put his phone back on the table, reminding himself that it would be hours or even days before someone responded.

If anyone ever does, he thought darkly. He was almost asleep when his phone buzzed. Gillman froze, heart thumping in his chest, and reached over to see what it was.

He had a SexPlz notification.

Gillman opened the app, his fingers trembling. He clicked on his inbox, where a little flag indicated he had a message. It took Gillman five tries to finally understand what he was reading.

5’6” 120 lbs. Male. $200 per hour. Meet you at Halloween Inn?

Gillman closed the app without answering and cradled the phone to his chest. His gills fluttered, betraying his nerves. Someone had answered -- and they’d answered so fast! He sucked in a deep breath and tried to think. $200 per hour … Gillman thought he would definitely need more than an hour. He’d never done anything before, and it was quite possible that he would chicken out if the escort went too fast.

He checked his banking app, moved some money around. He could do this. He’d need a lot of time -- six hours, to be exact -- but he could do this. And if it all turned out okay, he might be doing it again.

He opened SexPlz again.

Saturday from 6-12?

A ten minute pause.

Room 104, the escort said. Bring cash.

Lawrence Talbot paced his room, leaning heavily on the silver wolf-head cane he’d inherited from his father. He was trying not to think about Sir John Talbot at all -- his father had called twice today, leaving a voicemail each time, and Lawrence had yet to listen to them. He knew Sir John was just trying to reconnect, but after what had happened last time…

Lawrence came to a halt in front of the mirror, examining his bare chest. He’d grown exceedingly thin since he left England. The mark on his collarbone stood out like a vivid scar. Lawrence covered it with his hand and met his reflection’s eyes, trying to mask the look of revulsion on his face. He had a date for Saturday -- a very lucrative date -- and as usual Lawrence was having trouble getting over his own self-disgust.

He reached for a pot of tattoo concealer on his dresser and spread it over the mark on his chest, watching with satisfaction as it disappeared from sight. Lawrence’s thoughts wandered to the mysterious man from SexPlz -- ‘Swampy.’ Twice Lawrence’s size in every way, and evidently some sort of fish-man.

There was something comforting about the idea of fucking a fish.

Swampy had asked for someone gentle, and Lawrence could provide that. His specialty was, of course, in rough sex, but that didn’t mean he was incapable of gentility. And he was intrigued by the concept of a swamp creature.

Lawrence shucked off his pants and crawled into bed, wearing nothing but his boxers. He slipped one hand past the waistband, long, elegant fingers caressing the length of his penis. He closed his eyes and pictured himself straddling the creature, running his tongue down its scaley abdomen. The creature in his head raised its webbed fingers to caress Lawrence’s face and he reached one hand around its back, playing with the fins that were pressed into the mattress. The creature was damp with a mucus-like slime that bled into the bedsheets and worked greater than any synthetic lubricant.

In the daydream, Lawrence used his fingertips to scrape the slime off the creature’s skin, reaching between his legs to prepare himself with it. He moaned at the wet feeling of Swampy’s slime. Gently, Swampy reached between Lawrence’s legs, squeezing his dick, and Lawrence reached over to reciprocate, wrapping his fingers around Swampy’s …

Lawrence paused the daydream. He took his hand out of his underwear and grabbed his phone, opening Google.

whats a fish dick like, he typed. Google threw about 12 dozen South Park references at him. Lawrence frowned and reworded his question.

fish penis

Google provided him with several images of a penis-shaped fish and absolutely zero information relevant to his needs. Exasperated, Lawrence typed:

if the swamp thing had a dick what would it look like

At last, Google provided him with something worthwhile. Lawrence scrolled through an article about the Swamp Thing that provided examples of the Swamp Thing failing to have sex with human women and one anecdote about the Swamp Thing’s root-like penis getting cut off for a movie. Lawrence sighed and stuck his hands in his pants again. He was still hard, and he tried to work his newfound knowledge into the fantasy.

He ran his fingers over a tiny, button-like knob between the creature’s legs, pushing and caressing as Swampy moaned, squirming sensually beneath him. Lawrence bent down and licked the knob; it twitched against his tongue.  At the same time, Swampy’s hands ran up and down Lawrence’s penis, the thin webs between his fingers providing a smooth, wet surface that tickled and teased. Lawrence’s breath hitched and he pulled his legs up, giving Swampy access to the place between his legs.

The daydream stopped there; Lawrence came violently in his boxers, chest heaving, eyes closed. Slowly, the tension left his body, until he was sunk deep in the mattress, so tired he couldn’t even fathom getting out of bed to clean himself up.

He couldn’t wait to meet Swampy.

Gillman had no leads on Bela’s murder, and it was making him nervous. Of course, it wasn’t the only thing on his mind. Today was Friday; in a few hours, Gillman would be at the Halloween Inn. Today was the day he finally lost his virginity.

“You seem n-nervous, b-b-boss,” said Tootsie Noodles. “G-got a hot date tonight?”

Gillman’s eyes slid closed. Tootsie Noodles didn’t mean for his words to be cruel, of course, but they struck a deep nerve.

“B-boss?” Noodles said again. Gillman took a deep breath and turned to face him.

“As a matter of fact,” he said, “I do have a hot date tonight, Deputy.”

Now that the words were out, he felt more nervous than ever. He turned away from Noodles and his wide, shocked eyes, trying to hide the dark blue blush taking over his scales.

“Gee, boss,” Tootsie Noodles whispered, “I-I didn’t mean--”

“Forget it,” said Gillman brusquely. He gave a jerky shrug. “I’ve gotta go, Noodles. I have to … prepare for my date.”

He strode off with a convincing amount of confidence he didn’t truly feel. Tonight was the night. Butterflies fought a war in his stomach. Was he really prepared for this? Truly? Sure, he’d had fantasies before, but his experience with real-life sex was… well, zilch. He would make a fool of himself, he just knew it.

Gillman made it to his car before his faux confidence collapsed. He bent over the steering wheel, resting his head in his strong webbed hands as he sucked air through his gills. Is that how gills work? Well, anyway, that’s what he did. For ten minutes Gillman suffered through what could only be described as a panic attack.

Finally, his scales stopped trembling and he managed to take a full breath without his lungs stuttering in his chest.

It’ll be alright, Gillman told himself. Everything will be fine. An escort’s job is to please you, after all.

Still, he couldn’t help but wonder if this was a mistake.

That evening, Gillman sunk into a deep bathtub full of pleco to clean the algae off him. As always, the feeling of warm water lapping between his legs and tiny mouths sucking against his scales drove him wild. His thoughts scattered all over the place -- who would he meet at the Halloween Inn? What would they do to each other? What if Gillman chickened out? What if he came too soon?

But all these thoughts were pale shadows of the anxiety that plagued him earlier. They swirled in his head vaguely, drowned out by the pleasure brought to him by the little catfish, their tiny mouths plucking at his skin. Gillman’s back arched as one of the pleco swam between his legs. Its whiskers tickled his inner thighs; its lips closed on the sensitive button Gillman had where a human’s penis would have been.

“Ah,” Gillman gasped. Pleasure overtook him and he nearly succumbed to it entirely. The pleco nibbled at the algae between Gillman’s scales. He could let it keep going, let it tickle his nerve endings until he came.

But no -- he had to save his strength for tonight. Gillman caught the pleco in the webs of his hands and scooped it away, to another part of the bathtub. It slipped and flopped in his hands before he released it, then swam away, unbothered by the interruption. Boneless and out of breath, Gillman collapsed against the back of the porcelain tub.

He felt much more relaxed now, more optimistic. As the suckermouth catfish finished cleaning the algae off him, he plucked them out of the tub and deposited them in an aquarium on the bathroom floor nearby. Then he grabbed a lavender-scented fish-friendly bath bomb which he’d ordered from Petco off the counter and dropped it in the bathwater. The aroma spread deliciously over his scales.

He was determined to present the best possible image of himself tonight.

After his bath, Gillman dried himself off and examined the outfit laid out on his bed. It was flattering, but not pretentious, and he felt it was a perfect representation of himself -- a Save the Whales t-shirt, a flannel shirt, and a puffy fisherman’s vest. More importantly than anything else, it was comfortable, and Gillman felt he’d need that tonight.

He got dressed quickly, vibrating with excitement. When he checked his phone, he saw a notification waiting on the SexPlz app.

See you soon, luv ;)

Gillman’s heart skipped a beat. An involuntary smile conquered his typically stony, masculine face.

C u soon, he typed back.

Lawrence Talbot paced the floors of his room at the Halloween Inn. He was dressed in his finest bespoke suit, with his wolf-head cane in his grip. The moon was high and waning, and each time he passed the window, beams of pale light sent shivers crawling over his skin. His hair stood on end, reminding him painfully of his last transformation.

His muscles still ached from it, but soon, he hoped, they would ache from something much more pleasant. Swampy was set to arrive any minute now.

Anxiety fluttered at the base of Lawrence’s throat. He had been an escort for over a year now, servicing invisible men, phantoms, vampires who looked like John Carradine, abominable snowmen, and even the occasional human, but it never seemed to get easier. He was either overcome with self-loathing during these illicit entanglements or he was completely numb.

Tonight, it was self-loathing. He caught sight of himself in the mirror and quickly looked away, flushed with shame. What would his father say if he could see him now? His only son, nothing more than a common slut.

It was too painful to think about. Lawrence pulled out his cell phone and distracted himself, reading back over his messages to Swampy. He bit nervously at the nail on his thumb; though the full moon had faded nearly five days ago, his incisors were still a little too sharp, and he relished the sting of pain when they brushed none-too-gently against his skin.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Lawrence froze. He took a deep breath, steadying himself, and stowed his phone in the bedside table.

Behind the door of Room 104 was his newest client -- the fishy hunk of Lawrence’s dreams. He steeled his nerves and flung the door open, putting a charming smile on his lips.

What he saw took his breath away.

Lawrence had never encountered such beauty. Swampy stood well over six feet tall, just as he’d said in his description. Muscles strained beneath his clothes; a Save the Whales t-shirt stretched over chiseled pecs, and a pair of worn corduroys barely covered bulging, powerful thighs. Lawrence’s eyes roved from Swampy’s emerald scales to his fluttering gills to the slits of his yellow eyes.

How could he feel anything but inadequate compared to this Adonis? Suddenly feeling faint, Lawrence stumbled to the side, grabbing hold of the dresser to keep himself on his feet. Swampy’s brow wrinkled with concern and he stepped inside, closing the door behind him.

“Are you alright?” Swampy asked. His voice was as beautiful as the rest of him. “You look pale.”

Shame filled Lawrence all over again. He was a fool to think he could do this, that he could ever measure up to a scaly god among men. He was nothing but a short, skinny freak -- an error of God -- an aborted creature of the dark. He had no right to even be in the same room as Swampy.

“Here,” said Swampy. His voice was soft, his touch even softer as he grabbed hold of Lawrence’s sleeve and led him to the bed. “You need to sit down.”

Gently, Swampy pushed Lawrence back until his knees hit the mattress. He sat down heavily; his scanty weight barely made a dent on the bedspread. The massive swamp creature knelt before Lawrence, putting them almost at eye level. He put one webbed hand against Lawrence’s forehead, feeling for a fever.

“I must have frightened you,” said Swampy, and Lawrence was alarmed at the morose tone of the other man’s voice.

“No,” he blurted. “No, not at all.”

Swampy looked away, unconvinced.

“You took my breath away,” Lawrence said without thinking. He blushed at his own words, but when Swampy hesitantly met his eyes, Lawrence didn’t look away. He wanted to hide, wanted to pull the blankets over himself to keep his shameful, wretched body out of sight. But he couldn’t do it.

He couldn’t stop staring at Swampy’s beautiful face.

“I…” Swampy started. His voice was small, almost soundless. “I didn’t expect you to be so…”

Lawrence squared his shoulders, tensing in anticipation of the horrible words, the words that had been dogging him since he left Sir John at the ancestral home.

You’re a disappointment, Lawrence. You’re a monster.

“So beautiful,” Swampy whispered. Lawrence’s heart stopped. He could feel himself trembling but could do nothing to stop it.

“I’m not beautiful,” he said. The words left him before he’d even realized he was going to speak. “You are. You’re the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.”

Swampy stared at him with uncertain yellow eyes. Suddenly, Lawrence knew what he needed to do -- and he had the courage to do it. He wasn’t worthy to touch Swampy, never would be, but he knew that Swampy needed it nonetheless.

He leaned forward. His soft, lipsmack-moistened lips found Swampy’s slimy ones. They tasted just like Lawrence imagined they would -- like brine, saltwater, kelp. It was intoxicating. Lawrence moaned into Swampy’s mouth, leaning forward without thinking. His hands found Swampy’s broad, rock-hard chest.

For a moment, Swampy seemed frozen. He was as still as a statue. Then his lips moved under Lawrence’s, opening ever so slightly, and he put his webbed hands on Lawrence’s slim waist. By the time they pulled apart, Lawrence was dizzy from lack of oxygen. He felt almost drunk from the instant, electric connection between himself and Swampy. One brief kiss had left him seeing stars.

“That was my first kiss,” Swampy murmured, sounding awestruck. Lawrence stared at him, mouth hanging open.

“Your first kiss?” he repeated. “Ever?

Shyly, Swampy nodded. It was inconceivable to Lawrence that someone so perfect, so jaw-droppingly handsome, had never been kissed before. He looked at Swampy doubtfully.

“What, have you been living in a South American lagoon all your life?” he asked. Swampy blushed fetchingly and looked away.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said in that smooth, maddeningly seductive voice of his. “I’m here now. And I want … I want to learn.” He met Lawrence’s eyes, and for a moment Lawrence forgot how to breathe. “I want to try things I never have before,” Swampy said. “With you.”

Desire surged through Lawrence’s body. He let out an involuntary growl, clutching Swampy close to his chest.

“I’d be honored to teach you, Swampy,” he said. Swampy’s fingers found the buttons on Lawrence’s shirt, deftly undoing them until Lawrence’s chest was bare. He froze for a moment as Swampy’s lips brushed over the invisible mark of the wolf on their way to one of Lawrence’s six nipples.

“My name,” said Swampy, his breath ghosting over Lawrence’s skin, “is Gillman.”

Lawrence’s heart beat unnaturally fast as Gillman’s tongue laved at his nipple, hardening it to a point. Then Gillman moved to the next, and the next, devoting equal attention to each one. When all six had been attended to -- when Lawrence was shivering with pleasure, his cock straining in his pants -- Gillman glanced up, his eyes hooded and dark with desire.

“What’s your name?” he asked. “Your real name?”

Lawrence bit his lip. His sharp incisors dug in too deep, and he tasted blood in his mouth. Could he bear to say it? Could he withstand the shame that followed him, that plagued his family name?

“Please,” Gillman said, and his expression was so innocent, so pure, that Lawrence couldn’t resist.

“It’s Lawrence,” he said softly. “Lawrence Talbot.”

Gillman nodded. If he recognized the name, he didn’t show it. He stood, towering over Lawrence, and allowed the smaller man to guide him to the bed. Lawrence’s experience in the escort field took over, and he found himself taking charge, straddling Gillman as he laid sprawled out on the mattress. Their eyes met, and warmth suffused Lawrence’s entire body. He couldn’t deny they had a special connection. He’d never felt like this with anyone before, certainly not with any of his other clients, and certainly not on the first date.

He took a deep breath and reached for Gillman’s fly.

It was time to find out exactly what a fish dick looked like.