School gets hectic with exams and graduation. Then I get a call from Helen in New England. She asks what I know about Joey’s New York City life. She’s worked up from worry.
“What’s wrong, Aunt Helen? Joey hasn’t talked to me since he moved to the City.”
“Oh, Timmy. The Police were here looking for him. They say it’s drugs.”
I don’t know what to say. My new openness says to tell her the truth. I’m too pragmatic to do that.
“It’s probably just a misunderstanding. Joey knows how to stay out of trouble.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“Just be there for him when he needs you.”
“You’re always so practical, Timmy.”
“You’re always so worrying, Aunt Helen.”
“How are your folks doing?”
“Dad’s fine. I met his new girlfriend. Her name is Susan.”
“Girlfriend? I was afraid that’s what happened. How’s your mom?”
“Okay, I guess. She’s not saying much.”
“Well, give her my best.”
“Sure. Um, don’t worry about Joey. I’m sure he’ll straighten things out.”
“I hope you’re right.”
I sit there trying to figure it out, once she hangs up. The police are after him, hopefully only to question him. If he stays low, maybe it’ll blow over. I have no idea what to do, so I call Tina in New York and tell her. She’s great. She rounds-up Pete and the gang. They go to Manhattan looking for Joey. All I want is for him to call me.
Within two days, he calls.
“What’s up, dude?”
“Man, I’m glad you called. The cops are looking for you in Stockbridge.”
“How’d ya find that out.”
“Helen called, all bent out of shape.”
“Shit. Did she tell you why?”
“They told her it was drugs.”
“I just want to warn you, so you can lay low ‘til it blows over.”
”Thanks, man. I’m definitely taking that advice. Wot’s up wid youse?”
“Man, you really caught an accent. Everything’s cool here. My folks split from each other, but I don’t have to move. Once Mom’s gone, Dad’s moving his new girlfriend in here. My best friend lives with me. I sort of have a girlfriend. Normal high school stuff. I’m still on the swim team. You know, just normal.”
“Sounds cool. The City’s swallowin’ me up. How’d ya know those Spic friends who found me. They’re cool, a Bronx posse.”
“They’re my first friends from when I first moved here. They come here on vacation. I stay in touch.”
“They say ya got real street smarts.”
“Just what I learned from you. So, come on, tell me what’s going on with the arty Glitter crowd.”
“Not much. Since I did the porno, they figure they can just buy me. I lost my glamour. Just been dealin’ dope and turnin’ tricks, kinda boring. Well, I’m taking yer advice and layin’ low. I got money stashed. Maybe I’ll head out to the Coast. I’ll keep in touch.”
“Luv ya, Joey.”
“Me, too, kid.”
It’s a let-down. At least I did my part, aiding and abetting. I wonder when or if I’ll see him again. I don’t relate to his world anymore. When I call Tina, I can tell they’re not impressed by Joey. She and the whole gang are excited to return to Miami Beach in July. At least I’m comfortable hanging out with them on Collins Avenue. I hope they don’t find me a snob. Scott is studying for finals. I ask him if he feels funny about hanging out on Collins in South Beach. He laughs at me.
“If you do it, it’ll be fun.”
Finals come and go. All of us pass into the eleventh grade. The night before Scott is to leave on vacation, we ride to the Grove and sit on the same seawall in Peacock Park. Scott tries to talk about our fateful race. I cut him off. We ride through the Grove, stopping at the same shop where Joey bought me my pukka shell necklace. I buy one for Scott, fastening it around his neck. He is really pleased. As we leave the shop, who do we run into but Wilkie.
“Hey, David, still hanging out with the hippies?” I ask.
“Hey, it’s ‘not so little’ Tim. What’s up? The necklace reminds me of when you got yours. How’s your cousin?”
“Okay. Well, not really too good. He’s over his head in the City. I think he’ll move to California.”
“La-La Land, City of Angels and Lotus Eaters. I wish him well. I’m off to England soon, got an Olympics to catch. Why don’t you and your buddy come by and say hi to Jill.”
We follow him to his apartment on our bikes. He rides his motorcycle, waiting for us at their place. Scott is so in awe of him, even more so when he sees Jill. She sizes Scott up pretty quickly and asks if we’re living together.
“How did you know?” Scott asks.
“Oh, I know Tim pretty well. You guys seem really relaxed with each other. I think it’s cool.
When she kisses him on the cheek, Scott blushes and smiles. We say goodbye.
Back at the room, we sit in the window, talking.
“She thought we’re gay, didn’t she.”
“That’s ‘cause she met me when Joey was here.”
“I can’t believe how cool she is about it.”
I then tell him about Joey’s current troubles. It’s weird to feel so removed from Joey. I make it seem like the plot of a movie. I don’t need him anymore, so I can let him go, or at least not worry about him.
Out of the blue, Scott moves next to me and asks, “Can we do it, Tim?”
Out of the frying pan (Joey) and into the fire (Scott).
“Jesus, Scott, you’re freaking me out. Isn’t it all worked out? I know we’ll really miss each other when you leave tomorrow. Call me every night. You’ll have fun up there with the hillbillies. This is a sign we need to get away from each other.”
That’s not what my heart is telling me, which is racing. He’s getting another message from the bulge in my shorts. Then he puts my hand on his dick which is hard as a rock, even though there isn’t as much bulge as mine.
“Shit, Scott, we’ve been avoiding this all spring.”
We strip off our clothes, staring at each other’s dicks.
“You’re so big, Tim. I thought it would look like mine.”
“You’re big enough. I’m melting just looking at it.”
“Will you show me what to do?”
“Shit. Is this happening? Don’t worry about it. We’ll just see how far we go.”
We go at it several times and can’t get enough of each other. Slowing to a stop, he collapses on top of me. Still inside me, he falls asleep. Man, he knows how to take advantage. I move away, then snuggle into his arms. Then both of us are asleep.
I get up several hours later, sneaking out of bed, and sitting in my window. Just as I stick my leg out the sill, I hear a scurrying noise and a white shadow moves across the backyard. I whistle, and the shadow stops, then moves away faster. A minute later, the echoing whistle comes back. I think at first it might be a ghost, and then laugh out loud at myself. Relaxing in my spot, I enjoy the cool breeze from the Bay. I need to cool off. All my good intentions about not doing Scott blown away by passion. I can’t stand thinking about our separation when he leaves in a few hours for vacation. Did I fuck it up? I’m acting on heartfelt feelings. It isn’t that easy. I let my thoughts drift as the Bay breeze cools my naked body. Scott remains sleeping, with his hand tucked under his head, like he’s sucking his thumb. My God, I think, and then laugh. I just want to lie with him and forget these doubts. Soon I’m waking up on Saturday morning. Scott is on his back, with his eyes open.
“I guess we said our goodbyes in the best possible way,” he speaks with maudlin regret.
I roll over, look him right in the eyes, “Do you think I’m ever going to be separated from you now?”
“In some spiritual way, we’ll never be apart,“ he continues in a self-pitying way.
“No asshole. I’m serious. I’m just going to go with you today. There’s no other way.”
He looks stunned, then grabbing his pillow, hits me over and over. We’re laughing and wrestling, until a pillow bursts open. Feathers go everywhere.
“How are you going to get your mom to let you go?”
“Just not tell her. I’ll call once we’re there.”
“My folks would kill me.”
“Your folks aren’t getting divorced.”