10 Reasons Why – Jack

Father John from St Paul’s came to tell me. He arrives at my dorm room with Kevin and Liam. I smile that the boys remember to come visit with an adult. David snorts when he sees the boys but stands up when he sees the priest.

“Welcome,” I smile.

“I’m afraid I have bad news, Jack and David,” he looks sad. “Tim was in a surfing accident yesterday. He drowned.”

“What?” Minehan yells.

“He died, boys.”

David grabs me, as I feel faint. He sits me on my bed. The boys start crying. Father John sits beside me. I search my heart for Tim, then Jace. I feel nothing.

“We can’t feel him either, Jack,” Kevin confirms.

I curse myself for not keeping my heart open to him. If I had then I’d reach him. I instantly realize how ridiculous that idea is. I burst into tears.  The boys rush over and hug me as we cry our eyes out. David looks pained. I know how uncomfortable tears make him. I stand up and hug him. That makes him doubly uncomfortable.  My heart feels his confusion and tells him I need his understanding. He calms down. It’s the moment I know we’ll be lifelong friends, always open to each other no matter where we go. Kevin, Liam and Father John open up as well. The five of us look at each other and smile.

“Now don’t be saying he’s smiling down on us, Father,” David notes. “He may be in heaven but he’ll always remain in my heart.”

My heart confirms what David is saying. I no longer feel him but my heart just knows David is right. All of us nod. My next thought is ‘what about Jace?’ My heart responds with the knowledge that they are together now, passed beyond the veil of the spirit world. I yearn to be with them.

“Don’t be wimping out, Jack,” David speaks directly to me. “Your life’s not over yet. We all have to live up to what he has given us.”

“And Jace, too,” I say.

We instantly knew what to do.

“We have to play,” David and I simultaneously announce.

 

All five of us run down to the boiler room. Minehan insists that he play the MOOG. “You’ll just play those dreadful dirges. We need something glorious.”

He tunes the synthesizer to his own music. The boys pick up guitars  and naturally start the long intro to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You were Here.’

 

Before David reaches the vocal part, I improvise by singing the words from “Shine On You Crazy Diamond’. ‘Remember when you were young, we reached for the sun..shine on, you crazy diamond.’

 

 

It’s perfect for our shared image of Tim surfing into the setting California sun. With tears rolling down their dewy cheeks, the boys smile and laugh.

David hits percussive chords at a furious pace on the MOOG. He sounds like Tim when he plays his LA friends’ punk songs.

 

 

FOOLS WHO LAUGH

 

They hang around, abate and fade

They don’t realize their normal fate

Repel on another, complacent that way

Their vermin minds just waste away

 

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

 

Inclined to humor they spread their rumors

Mourn themselves they’re lacking in humor

Emaciated and meandering

Cherubs without wings

 

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

 

Setting on others for their fun

Til the night is finally done

When they’re all they’ll realize

How precious time was to their lives

 

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

 

Now they’re gone and we remain

How vacuous to call us insane

Fools we are but we linger on

All of them have gone beyond

 

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

…Last

 

Copyright MIB by David Delgado

 

We all laugh as he finishes. I repeated the end of the song.

 

‘When they’re all they’ll realize

How precious time was to their lives

 

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

 

Now they’re gone and we remain

How vacuous to call us insane

Fools we are but we linger on

All of them have gone beyond

 

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

…Last’

 

We stare wildly at each other.  The boys are jumping up and down, arm in arm. As we calm down, Father John plays Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’ It calms us.

 

 

“Can we have a mass for Tim, Father?” Kevin asks. “So we can play again.”

“I’ll ask Dr Marier to get permission. He’s suspicious of miracles.”

I speak up. Let me call Cardinal Cooke in New York. I’m sure he knows about it. Maybe we can play at the funeral mass.”

The boys’ eyes light up.  I’ll called Father Frank.

We look up and all the Mower girls and other Mower residents are standing by the boiler room door. It’s late and we were playing loudly.’

“Why are you playing?” Jill asks.

I rush over, hug her and tell everyone what happened. David hugs Carol. The boys start crying again, pressing themselves into Father John’s embarrassed arms. We all go to Grendels for coffee and cocoa. The Mower girls comfort the choir boys, some mothering instinct. The boys revel in the attention from the college girls. Who knew?

 

Father Frank is permanently staying at the Dakota. My emotions are buoyed by the music and the coffee. I decide to tell Mummy first, before involving the Church.

“Mummy. Tim’s dead. He drowned while surfing in Malibu,” I simply tell her.

“Oh, Johnny. Are you all right.”
“I’m here in Cambridge. He was surfing by himself.”

“You don’t sound upset?”

“He was the love of my life. I love that he was so reckless. It’s not a shock. I’ll never love anyone as much as Tim.”

“Do you want to come home?”

“I need to speak with Father Frank. The Church needs to be involved with the funeral.”

“Johnny, you’ve really grown up. I’ll get him.”

 

“I cannot believe he’s gone, Johnny. Are you okay?” Father Frank comes on the line.

“We wrote a song for him – ‘Fools Who Laugh’.”

“That’s ironic.”

“Tim changed me. I’m not going back to being a nerd.”

“I need to call the Cardinal.  I believe Tim should be beatified.”

“You have the two miracles. Tim was really worried that the Church wanted to keep him sin-free for sixty years.”

Father Frank laughs. “What kind of service do you think he’d want?”

“Nothing as grand as Cardinal Cooke will want.”

“He loves Tim.”

“I know. But Tim didn’t need the smothering attention of the Church. He never feared death. It promised him that he’d be united with Jace.”

“I hope he didn’t want to die.”

“He loved life so much he kept Jace from leaving him. He actually was afraid that he’d become too mature for Jace, who stayed a fifteen-year-old.”

“The logic of teenagers.”

“I loved Jace, too.”

“Don’t try to explain that to me.”

We both laugh.

“I think Tim would want his funeral to be at his local parish.”

“Now that’s an ironic twist. Father Joseph eulogizing Tim.”

“I believe Tim joined a parish in West Hollywood.”

“Oh god, the Dignity group.”

“Why does the Church refuse to minister to the needs of gays? Didn’t Jesus embrace ‘the least of these.’

“All institutions need scapegoats. How about the actual service in West Hollywood, with music and celebration? Then the Church and Cardinal Manning can beatify him at Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral .”

“I thought it took years.”

“There’s some movement within the Holy See to make the process quicker. We need to avoid making Tim’s canonization controversial because of his sexuality. We’ll get Pope Paul to order the beatification. You can celebrate his life in the small parish in West Hollywood where all the gay members are tolerated. The Cathedral ceremony can concentrate on Tim’s good works – Teen Jesus will appeal to all young Catholics.”

“You are so political.”

“You have no idea how political the Church is.”

“I love you, Father Frank.”

“Let me deal with the politics. You can handle Tim’s funeral.”

“Just keep me informed.

I hang up and cry for five minutes. That’s enough. I have a funeral to arrange.

 

The family Lear is reconfigured to accommodate all the passengers for the flight to LA. It leaves Teterboro at noon on Friday with Father Frank, Aaron and Paul from Temple El-Emanuel, Edward Gory and PJ from the National Lampoon, Tina and Pete from the Bronx, and William Burroughs. They fly to Boston, where Jill and the 3D girls, Minehan and his Neighborhoods, plus Father John, Kevin and Liam from St Paul’s, and I crowded in for the flight to LAX. I’ve been spoiled by spacious flights in the Lear. Now I find out what it was like to go coach in a cattle car.  Minehan is in high spirits, egging on the choir boys to misbehave. Alcohol service is cutoff shortly after takeoff from Logan.

Daddy charters a Boeing 727 for all the people from Miami (and of course, Tommy from Ft Lauderdale) and to pick up Tim’s family and friends in Ames. We all arrive about the same time on Friday night. Rooms at the Beverly Wilshire are assigned to the adults.  Cardinal Manning arranges for dormitory beds at Loyola College near LAX for the boys and at Marymount College in Brentwood for the girls. This arrangement pleases the adults but not the teens. I tell Father Frank that it’s unfair for the older teens to have to ‘baby-sit’ the two choir boys from Boston and Aaron and Paul from Temple El-Emanuel. He and Father John speak with Father Luke from St Viktor who lets the youngsters stay at his Parish House. I have my doubts about sending the innocents to West Hollywood, but all of the older teens just want to be free from watching young kids. I’m sick of herding cats.

 

I call Tony and Jimmy who tell me to meet them at Doug’s house. It takes two cabs to get us all there: Hippie and Robby from Miami, Tommy who proclaims that 16 makes him an adult, Minehan and his band, plus ‘Gator and I. Michael and Jenna are staying at the Beverly Wilshire. Tony tells me to get them to Doug’s, who hopes to promote his dream team of a second generation Beatles. I call Mary at Marymount. None of the girls (Mowers, the Jacettes, and the twins) want to hang out. They’re enjoying cloistered life with the nuns.  No surprise there. I’m exhausted by the time we all get to Doug’s. Good manners insist I spend time with Doug in appreciation of his hospitality. The BBQ is set up on the patio. Tommy and ‘Gator celebrate their bromance reunion by stripping down, making it a pool party. The Neighborhoods feel right at home, with Minehan showing off his Harvard accomplishment of learning to swim.  Doug is distracted by the unclad teenage boys jumping in and out of his pool.  I make the mistake of telling him I’m the only gay boy. He turns on the charm but his wandering eye keeps his attention locked on the wet boxer and brief contest going on ten feet away. I’m slightly jealous but relieved that I’m not the object of his attention. We talk about Tim which is a dick-killer for me. Tony and Jimmy man the grill and a dozen hungry teens keep them busy.

 

The most excitement is William Burroughs’ appearance,  ostensibly to thank Doug for successfully shopping his novels to various studios. I know that the proceeds are keeping Burroughs in dope. The appearance of a 70-year-old junkie gets everyone’s attention. Doug points out the tee-pee in the back corner of the yard, where the ‘Wild Boys’ reenactments had occurred.

 

Burroughs is thrilled to see his story come to life. Tony and Jimmy organize an impromptu re-creation, complete with the orange pot smoking and the warrior headdress, which Doug insists that Burroughs wear, taking his place of honor. ‘Gator and Hippie refuse to smoke pot. I tell Doug not to recreate the sex play with Minehan and his band. There are plenty of Indian war cries and dancing after the pipe makes its rounds. Doug males me sit at Burroughs feet and be resurrected with second-hand hits of pot, which amuses Minehan no end. I get so horny that both Doug and Burroughs drag me off to the master bedroom.  Burroughs enjoys playing a part in his own writing, but his need for a heroin fix over-rides his pleasure at my performance in bed. He ‘s replaced by Tony and Jimmy. They have to get to work soon. All three of us teens molest Doug in every way. He recently embraced being submissive. We make quick work of every orifice.

 

While I’m distracted, ‘Gator and Tommy find Minehan and the Neighborhoods  more to their liking. David calls Tommy a fag and is roughly upbraided by ‘Gator. 

 

After ravishing Doug, I follow Tony and Jimmy to the club. I become extremely depressed, feeling like a slut. I’ve never had sex unless Tim was there. Like when Tim and I got off with Robby, but that hardly counts. Pot makes me so horny that I have to do it. I just really miss Tim. My heart knows he would not be upset. I barely know Doug. At least I somewhat like Burroughs, but he leaves quickly. I don’t miss him once he’s gone. Tony’s working, so Jimmy takes charge of me.

“Why the long face, Jack? Ya missin’ Tim?” he asks.

“That was the first time I’ve had sex without Tim there.”

“Aw, that’s cute.” He gives me a hug.  “You never cheated on him unless he was there.”

We laugh but I’m about to cry.

“No tears. Here,” Jimmy pulls out a joint. “I have the solution.”

He has a wicked grin on his face. We find an empty dressing room and get high. My libido kicks back in and we start making out.

“Feeling better?” Jimmy asks. I have my hand down his pants as I back him up to the vanity while we kiss.

“Mhm, hum,” I groan, as he squeezes my butt cheeks through my jeans.

I take one of his hands and stick it down the back of my jeans. His fingers are soon stroking my butt hole. I push myself onto his fingers. He spins us around so I’m sitting in the vanity. He undoes my jeans, pulling them down to my knees. He nuzzles my dick through my briefs  and the tip pops out of the waist band. It wiggles back and forth. It’s all the come-on Jimmy needs. He licked the tip and pulls my briefs and jeans in one motion. I press his head down onto my straining dick. He lifts my legs over his shoulders and returns his fingers to my butt hole. He takes my dick all the way down to the pubes.  It is double the pleasure as he stimulates my dick and ass simultaneously. It doesn’t take me long to cum, spurting again and again down his gullet. Jimmy takes it as a sign that he should fuck me now, lifting my legs higher to gain access to my ass.  Knowing I’m about to be righteously fucked keeps me hard. Pretty soon Jimmy’s doing the old in-out. I grab him around the neck and we resume kissing each other. My legs slip down to his elbows, so I can lock them behind his back. Unable to use his arms, he lifts me off the vanity and shoves me against a wall. Tim 18 His thrusts are quick and vigorous. I loosen my legs’ hold on his arms and place both his hands on my straining cock. He gets the hint and strokes my dick in rhythm with the stroke of his dick into my ass. I’m delirious from the pot and the fucking. I cum again,  all over our stomachs. He laughs, strains and cums deep inside me. I go limp as his thrusts and straining keep me pushed against the wall. With a final throb and squirt he collapses. We fall to the floor.

“Who’s in there,” someone shouts outside the door. We’re both speechless as the intruder unlocks the dressing room door. One look at us laying on the floor, covered in cum and Jimmy’s dick up my ass gets his attention.

“Is that you Jimmy?” the guard asks.

“Yeah. Don’t tell Doug.”

“Give me a joint,” he demands a bribe.

Jimmy pulls out a blunt and the guard sits down beside us. Jimmy lights it up. I refrain, afraid my sluttiness will return to what was a possible three-way.

“No way,” I exclaim.

“Don’t worry. He’s straight,” Jimmy reassures me. I still refuse to smoke more. They get high while I attempt to clean up once Jimmy’s dick slips out of my ass.

“Feeling happier?” Jimmy asks once the guard leaves.

 

REQUIEM

I’m conflicted as I walk down the rows of church pews to the front where I’m to give the eulogy. If I have regrets about losing Tim, it’s my loss of the trust Tim promised me by being able to see, feel, and hear his heart. I  feared he would see my weakness and mistrust of myself when he looked into my heart. Now he’s gone. That trust will never be open to me again. How much I miss him is immeasurable.

I pause at the open casket. I steel myself not to cry, but a single tear escapes my resolve.  I wipe it away on my forefinger and place the tear just below one of Tim’s eyes. I sigh and continue to the altar to read the New Testament passage and deliver the eulogy.

“A reading from John, Chapter 10, 1-11.

‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

4 When he hath put forth all his own, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

7 Jesus therefore said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

8 All that came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

9 I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture.

10 The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have [it] abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep.’

“This is the word of the Lord. Praise be to God. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Tim was a leader of youth among men. His example was not perfect but true to his nature and innocent of sin. His recklessness ended in death. He loved music, his friends, the freedom to experiment and take risks. No one gets out of this world alive. To be cut short at a young age is the stuff of tragedy because death ends one’s prospects in life. Tim always went for the gusto. We’ll never know what he would have accomplished had he had a full life. But every moment he was here, every accomplishment was so outstanding that we must glorify them and not rue that his future was cut so short.”

I pause and look out over the congregation.

“There are many young people here today and many adults who support these young people. The belief that the young represent the future is hope for the future. It is also a reaction against the intransigence of institutions, even the Church, that hold back that future. Old age and experience place people in institutional positions of power who are fearful of the future. They see enemies where there is only hope for change. Tradition-bound rules hold the young back. Tim embraced rock and roll, an affront to even those who embraced jazz in their youth. But he also saw music for its spiritual foundation and heartfelt emotions. Anything that comes from the heart is true and divinely inspired. He faced haters, not with hippie love and peace, but with an understanding that the hate comes from evil forces outside the hater. He looked into the hearts of his enemies and embraced those who opened up to him. He loved to fight, regardless of winning or losing. He believed he was right and that right triumphs. He loved anyone who loved him, returning the love exactly as it was given. He was blessed. I have lost my best friend. He gave his best to me. I am forever changed. I am blessed.

I look up and see my parents beaming at my eulogy. They made him part of our family. It was silliness that made me jealous that they loved him in ways they would never love me. I love them for that. Tim’s parents are sitting with them, both pairs on either side. What a strange family we’ve become.

“After the service is complete, please come to the Troubadour, the corner of Santa Monica and Doheny, for a celebration of Tim’s life. Many of the bands he inspired will play in his honor. It will be chaotic and crazy. It will be what Tim wanted.”