10 Reasons Why – Jack

It was Father John from St Paul’s who told me. He arrived at my dorm room with Kevin and Liam. I smiled that the boys had remembered to come visit with an adult. David snorted when he saw the boys but stood up when he saw the priest.

“Welcome,” I smiled.

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

“What?” Minehan yelled.

“He died, boys.”

David grabbed me, as I felt faint. He sat me on my bed. The boys started crying. Father John sat beside me. I searched my heart for Tim, then Jace. I felt nothing.

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

I cursed myself for not keeping my heart open to him. Maybe I would be able to reach him. I instantly realized how ridiculous that idea was. I burst into tears.  The boys rushed over and hugged me as we cried our eyes out. David looked pained. I knew how uncomfortable tears made him. I stood up and hugged him. That made him doubly uncomfortable.  My heart could feel his confusion and told him I needed his understanding. He calmed down. It was the moment I knew we would be lifelong friends, always open to each other no matter where we went. Kevin, Liam and Father John opened up as well. The five of us looked at each other and smiled.

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

My heart confirmed what David was saying. I no longer felt him but my heart just knew David was right. All of us nodded. My next thought was ‘what about Jace?’ My heart responded with the knowledge that they were together now, passed beyond the veil of the spirit world. I yearned to be with them.

“Don’t be wimping out, Jack,” David spoke 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 told him.

We instantly knew what to do.

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

 

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

He tuned the synthesizer to his own music. The boys picked up guitars  and naturally started out the long intro to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You were Here.’

 

Before David reached the vocal part, I improvised 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 seemed perfect for our shared image of Tim surfing into the setting California sun. With tears rolling down their dewy cheeks, the boys smiled and laughed.

David hit percussive chords at a furious pace on the MOOG. He sounded like Tim when he played 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 laughed as he finished. 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 stared wildly at each other.  The boys were jumping up and down, arm in arm. As we calmed down, Father John played Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’ It calmed us.

 

 

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

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

I spoke 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 lit up.  I’d called Father Frank.

We looked up and all the Mower girls and other Mower residents were standing by the boiler room door. It was late and we had played loudly.’

“Why are you playing?” Jill asked.

I rushed over, hugged her and told everyone what had happened. David hugged Carol. The boys started crying again, pressing themselves into Father John’s embarrassed arms. We all went to Grendels for coffee and cocoa. The Mower girls comforted the choir boys, some mothering instinct. The boys reveled in the attention from college girls. Who knew?

 

Father Frank was permanently staying at the Dakota. My emotions were buoyed by the music and the coffee. I figured I’d tell Mummy first, before getting involved with the Church.

“Mummy. Tim’s dead. He drowned while surfing in Malibu,” I simply told 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 loved 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 came 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 laughed. “What kind of service do you think he’d want?”

“Nothing as grand as Cardinal Cooke will want.”

“He loved Tim.”

“I know. 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 laughed.

“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 can beatify him at Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral by Cardinal Manning.”

“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 hung up and cried for five minutes. That was enough. I had a funeral to arrange.

 

The family Lear had to be reconfigured to accommodate all the passengers for the flights to LA. It left 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 flew 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’d been spoiled by spacious flights in the Lear. Now I found out what it was like to go coach in a cattle car.  Minehan was in high spirits, egging on the choir boys to misbehave. Alcohol service was cutoff shortly after takeoff from Logan.

Daddy leased 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 arrived about the same time on Friday night. Rooms at the Beverly Wilshire were assigned to the adults.  Cardinal Manning had arranged for dormitory beds at Loyola College near LAX for the boys and at Marymount College in Brentwood for the girls. This arrangement pleased the adults but not the teens. I told Father Frank that it was 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 spoke with Father Luke from St Viktor who agreed the youngsters could stay at his Parish House. I had my doubts about sending the innocents to West Hollywood, but all of the older teens just wanted to be free of watching actual kids. I was sick of herding cats.

 

I called Tony and Jimmy who told me to meet them at Doug’s house. It took two cabs to get us all there: Hippie and Robby from Miami, Tommy who proclaimed that 16 made him an adult, Minehan and his band, plus ‘Gator and I. Michael and Jenna were staying at the Beverly Wilshire. Jules and Nina had convinced Andy to let them stay with him and Blair, also at the Beverly Wilshire. Tony told me to get them to Doug’s, who hoped to promote his dream of a second generation Beatles. I called Mary at Marymount, but none of the girls (Mower, the Jacettes, and the twins) wanted to hang out. They were enjoying cloistered life with the nuns.  No surprise there. I was exhausted by the time we all arrived at Doug’s. My good manners insisted I spend time with Doug in appreciation of his hospitality. The BBQ was set up on the patio. Tommy and ‘Gator celebrated their bromance reunion by stripping down to boxers and making it a pool party. The Neighborhoods felt right at home, with Minehan showing off his Harvard accomplishment of learning to swim.  Doug was distracted by the unclad teenage boys jumping in and out of his pool.  I made the mistake of telling him I was the only gay boy, besides Tony and Jimmy. He turned on the charm but his wandering eye kept his attention locked on the wet boxer and brief contest going on ten feet away. I was slightly jealous but relieved that I was not the object of his attention. We talked about Tim which was a dick-killer for me. Tony and Jimmy manned the grill and a dozen hungry teens kept them busy.

 

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

 

Burroughs was thrilled to see his story come to life. Tony and Jimmy organized an impromptu re-creation, complete with the orange pot smoking and the warrior headdress, which Doug insisted that Burroughs wear, taking his place of honor. ‘Gator and Hippie refused to smoke pot. I told Doug not to recreate the sex play with Minehan and his band. There was plenty of Indian war cries and dancing after the pipe made its rounds. Doug made me sit at Burroughs feet and be resurrected with second-hand hits of pot, which amused Minehan no end. I got so horny that both Doug and Burroughs dragged me off to the master bedroom.  Burroughs enjoyed seeing his work come to life but his need for a heroin fix over-rode his pleasure at my performance in bed. He was replaced by Tony and Jimmy. They had to get to work soon. All three of us teens molested Doug in every way. He had recently embraced being submissive. We made quick work of every orifice.

 

While I was distracted, ‘Gator and Tommy found Minehan and his crew more to their liking. David called Tommy a fag and was roughly upbraided by ‘Gator. 

 

After ravishing Doug, I followed Tony and Jimmy to the club. I became extremely depressed, guilty of becoming a slut. I’d never had sex with anyone but Tim. Once he and I let Robby get off with us but that hardly counted. It was the pot that made me so horny that I had to do it. I just really missed Tim. My heart knew he would not be upset. I barely knew Doug. At least I somewhat liked Burroughs, but he left quickly. I didn’t miss him once he was gone. Tony was working, so Jimmy took charge of me.

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

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

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

We laughed but I was about to cry.

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

He had a wicked grin on his face. We found an empty dressing room and proceeded to get high. My libido kicked back in and we started to make out.

“Feeling better?” Jimmy asked. I had my hand down his pants as I backed him up to the vanity while we kissed.

“Mhm, hum,” I groaned, as he squeezed my butt cheeks through my jeans.

I took one of his hands and stuck it down the back of my jeans. His fingers were soon stroking my butt hole. I pushed myself onto his fingers. He spun us around so I was sitting in the vanity while he undid my jeans, pulling them down to my knees. He nuzzled my dick through my briefs  and the tip popped out of the waist band. It wiggled back and forth. It was all the come-on Jimmy needed. He licked the tip and pulled my briefs down and off my legs with my jeans. I pressed his head down onto my straining dick. He lifted my legs over his shoulders and returned his fingers to my butt hole. He took my dick all the way down to my pubs.  The pleasure was doubled as he stimulated my dick and ass simultaneously. It didn’t take me long to cum, spurting again and again down his gullet. Jimmy took it as a sign that he should fuck me now, lifting my legs higher to gain access to my ass.  Knowing I was about to be righteously fucked kept me hard. Pretty soon Jimmy was doing the old in-out. I grabbed him around the neck and we resumed kissing each other deeply. My legs slipped down to his elbows, so I locked them behind his back. Unable to use his arms, he lifted my off the vanity and shoved me against a wall. Tim 18 His thrusts were quick and vigorous. I loosened my legs’ hold on his arms and placed both his hands on my straining cock. He got the hint and stroked my dick in rhythm with the stroke of his dick into my ass. I was delirious from the pot and the fucking. I came again,  all over our stomachs. He laughed, strained and came deep inside me. I went limp as his thrusts and straining kept me pushed against the wall. With a final throb and squirt he collapsed and we fell to the floor.

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

“Is that you Jimmy?” the guard asked.

“Yeah. Don’t tell Doug.”

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

Jimmy pulled out a blunt and the guard sat down beside us. Jimmy lit it up. I refrained, afraid my sluttiness would return to what was a possible three-way.

“No way,” I exclaimed.

“Don’t worry. He’s straight,” Jimmy reassured me. I still refused to smoke more. They got high while I attempted to clean up once Jimmy’s dick slipped out of my ass.

“Feeling happier?” Jimmy asked once the guard left.

 

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

I paused at the open casket. I had steeled myself not to cry, but a single tear escaped my resolve.  I wiped it away on my forefinger and placed the tear just below one of Tim’s eyes. I sighed and continued 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 cuts short one’s prospects in life. Tim always went for the gusto. We’ll never know what he’d accomplish had he had a full life. But every moment, every accomplishment was so outstanding that we must glorify them and not rue that his future was cut so short.”

I paused and looked 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 that future. It is also a reaction against the intransigence of institutions, even the Church, that hold back that future. Old age and experience places 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 came from the heart was true and divinely inspired. He faced haters, not with hippie love and peace, but with an understanding that the hate came from evil forces outside the hater. He would look into the hearts of his enemies and understand. 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 looked up and saw my parents beaming at my eulogy. They had made him part of our family. My silliness had made me jealous that they had loved him in ways they would never love me. I loved them for that. Tim’s parents were sitting with them, both pairs on either side. What a strange family we’d become.

“After the service is completed, 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.”