Jace is always shy and stand-offish when we are with anyone else. When it’s just the two of us, he’s a different person. His guitar playing improves as well. He leaves it hidden in my room. When he lets it out of the closet, so is he. Flamboyant like Jagger, screamin’ like Jimmy Paige, crazy like Hendrix, and wild like Gene Simmons. He needs a real amp so badly; it isn’t enough to run around my room playing acoustic while I spit out the lyrics. We end up lying on the floor, panting from running and jumping so much. I swear he can see the fans out there going crazy for him. But it never happens unless we’re alone. It bugs me, that he’s so uptight. What anyone else thinks is their crap, not ours. One night no one else comes over. We’re lying there panting after running through our set of guitar covers. I get up and put Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon’, on the stereo, starting after the ‘Money’ cut.
I pull him to his wobbly feet and push him onto my bed. He never stops me from doing whatever I want. I lie down and we float away – ‘lunatics on the grass.’ Spacy space cadets. I reach over and hold his hand, hoping we’ll levitate. At least that his shorts might rise. We fall asleep. He wakes me as it’s getting light outside.
“Tim, wake up.”
I smile and get back his goofy grin.
“I gotta get home before school?”
“Why? Does your step-mom check up on you?”
“Naw, she’ll be too busy getting ready for work.”
“So, stay here. We’ll go to school together.”
“What if someone sees?”
“That we walk to school together? Maybe if I hold your books for you.”
He turns red. Score one for the Dude.
“So, talk to me. We’ve got two hours before we have to get up.”
“Whadda ya mean?”
“Well, what’s the plan about an amp?”
“I dunno, maybe for Christmas.”
“Right, your parents???.”
“What can I do?”
“How do we get high?”
“’With a little help from our friends.’”
“How do we get by?”
“’With a little help from my friends?’”
“I don’t need anybody.’”
“I just need someone to love.”
And I poke him.
(Could it be anybody?)
I want somebody to love.”
Writer(s): Paul Mccartney, John Lennon
Copyright: Sony/ATV Tunes LLC
And he leans over and kisses me.
Finally. Oh my gawd. I about die and go to gay heaven. It is so not expected, nor is it that long. After the kiss, he has the goofy grin again. I love the goofy grin. Now it’s my turn. I don’t let go until he’s squirming under me with my tongue going in and out of his open mouth. Maybe his jaw is locked open, but I take it as an invitation to probe deeper. He remains still until I feel the stirring of his cock. I let nature take its course. It is quickly over. Do I say anything? It will only spoil what happened. Goofy is as Goofy does. We both lay back in bed. He reaches and grabs my hand.
“This is what did it for me,” he indicates our hand holding. “Pink Floyd and us united.”
Not quite poetic, but I’ll write the lyrics.
“Let’s have a band,” I roll on top of him and shake him by the shoulders.”
“Just the two of us?”
“You’ve got to stop being shy in front of everyone but me. You’re a guitar hero, but nobody knows it.”
“What about an amp?”
“Listen, we’ll get Robby to solve all that. He can play his drums to something more than records. I’ll sing and you can teach me rhythm guitar. It’s your band, music man.”
He kisses me again. My god, three kisses in on day. We start doing it again, ending drenched in cum. I see a wad in his hair. He picks it out by a finger, swallows it, and pronounces it’s his by its taste.
“You don’t know what mine tastes like. How can you be sure?”
He leans down and licks a glob of it off my stomach.
“Yup, mine’s sweeter..”
We wrestle around, finally falling off the bed, continuing to smear ourselves on each other on the floor.
“Tim, is everything all right up there?” Susan calls up.
“I’m fine, just getting ready for school, Mom.” It’s the first time I call her Mom. It completely throws her off her game.
“Oh, Tim,” she sighs.
I’m so bad.
Jace’s face goes from panic to goofy grin.
We jump in the shower together. He begins soaping up my back. He knows the area well from all the massages he’s given me. We start doing it again. I grab the shower knobs and hold on as he rides me like we’re at in the rodeo. Jace does his best to control me while his dick is on its own Journey to Bountiful. We both get off. The shower is still warm. We uncouple and finish washing each other. How do I find these incredible fuckers?
We make it to home room, although my cool slouching walk is a little stiff. I try to hide it but it’s so obvious from Jace’s red face. Is there no modesty in this world? More obvious is my glow which I can’t suppress all day. Before we ditch, he takes me aside.
“You gonna be mad I don’t act like your boyfriend in front of everyone? I need to take this slow.”
“We’ll save that for ‘The Dark Side of the Moon.”
Goofy grin again. “’Shine on You Crazy Diamond.’”
When we meet for ditch hour at Nutrition, we decide to return to the garage, as it is closer to school. Jace misses Max, or, as he says, Max misses us. I’m silently grateful that my room is no longer everyone’s ashtray that never gets dumped. Standard procedure is to leave Jace’s and John’s garage before their folks get home from work and go to Robby’s for the evening.
Max is indeed a happy black lab when we return, sniffing everyone’s pockets for weed; when he finds Robby, his tail wags furiously. He barks authoritatively, demanding his smoke. Max follows the joint around the room, catching his share as each person exhales. It ends when he falls over, unable to get back up. Jace sits with him in stoner heaven. I can’t keep my eyes off Jace. Instead of being annoyed, he just winks at me and grins.
Ain’t love grand.
Mary is the only one who notices, but doesn’t say anything. She already knows how painful my break up with Scott was. I ask her if Robby is her first boyfriend, or if she’s been in love before. She tells me about Ned. He had been part of the group but moved away two years ago. They still write, hoping he’ll come back to Miami for college. She started going out with Robby after Ned left. What strikes me are her plans to go to college. We’re such a group of dropouts; it doesn’t seem likely anyone will graduate.
“You’re in all college-prep classes,” she reminds me.
“That’s before I started smoking out.”
“You just changed?”
“I don’t even think about tomorrow, let alone in two years. All that preppy crap is a waste of time.”
“Well, I’m not going to give anything up until I have to. All you guys do is get stoned and listen to music. I may as well stay at school. That’s boring, but so is this.”
I don’t have to agree with her, but she is the one person in the group with whom I can talk about my thoughts and feelings. Whenever I bring up Tina or my other Puerto Rican friends, she shuts me down. I’m stereotyping her by ethnicity. I admire her forthright attitude.
Jace and I go to Robby about our band plans, believing he can solve our logistical problems – no amp and no place to practice. Not knowing how well Jace plays, he’s enthusiastic but requires that we help him first with his Halloween plans. When he asks Jace what kind of amp he wants, Jace instantly answers “Marshall Stacks.”
“At least you’re ambitious,” Robby remarks.
I agree to help with his preparations. The next night Robby leads me on an exploration beyond our regular neighborhood. Sitting high up in branches, he asks me to use my ‘second sight’ to find a special group of trees.
“What’s ‘second sight.’” I ask.
“Looking beyond what you see.”
“You mean see more than I see?”
“Yeah. Like when you close your eyes, you see an after image.”
I close my eyes. “All I can see is your ugly face.”
“Good, ‘cause you’re not really seeing my face. Your mind is creating it. Am I really ugly?”
“You’re grinning at me, really evil.”
“Great. Now do the same thing with the trees. Close your eyes and let your imagination take you in the direction of our Sacred Grove.”
“Yeah, we need to find a place where the spirits will speak to us.”
“I thought they spoke to us through our feet.”
“No, idiot. Our feet keep us in touch with the spirits, in the earth and in the trees. No one speaks to your feet.”
“Now, try it. Let your imagination lead us to the Grove.”
“Why can’t you do it yourself?”
“I am the ‘Drinker of the Blood.’ My powers are different. You are the ‘White One,’ the spirits speak to you.”
I like that I have an important role. Looking in all four directions, I create a picture of our surroundings in my mind. Closing my eyes, I search the picture, looking for a sign that would direct me. After long seconds, my imagination takes over. The picture became more primeval, with the colors brighter and the sky glowing. A brightening on the horizon makes me think it’s dawn, with the sun rising. When I open my eyes, I’m surprised to see I pictured the sun rising in the south.
“Well,” Robby anxiously asks, “did you see the Grove?”
“No, but Nature played a trick on me. I saw the sun rising in the south.”
“That’s a sign. It’s in that direction.”
Before I can argue, he jumps to the next tree, in the direction I indicated. We climb for a while, stopping only for me to check my imagination. We head for the rising sun. After several blocks, the trees abruptly stop. It’s Bird Road, with no overhanging branches.
“Where do we go now?” Robby demands.
“My vision doesn’t show a gap. I’m seeing the trees before they built the road. It’s like a long time ago.”
“Really? This is good. But, still, where do we go from here?”
“Do we have to stay in the trees. Maybe the Earth can direct us as well.”
“I buy that. Let’s climb down.”
As soon as we were out of the trees, my vision is gone. It becomes fragmented memories, with no coherent order or direction. We cross Bird Road. Still there are no visions.
We sit on the curb in front of a house. Robby asks me how serious I am about the band.
“I am, mostly because Jace is so into it. He’s a master on guitar, able to play any song by just listening to it once.”
“Jace? Do I have to ask how it’s going with you two?”
Don’t kiss and tell rules out sharing, even with Robby, but I figure I can be opaque.
“We’re doing a lot of practicing. It’s just that when we’re alone, he’s so much happier and open. He shuts down when anyone else is there.”
“By open, you mean his jeans?”
“Don’t even go there. He’s great with me. I don’t even miss my swim team friends now. You guys are my friends, especially you and Jace. I’m as excited about the band as he is. Can’t you get into it, too?”
“I’m up for it. Let’s wait until after Samhain’s over. Maybe we need a joint for inspiration” as Robby takes one out from behind his ear and lights it up. We sit there getting high in someone’s front yard. A voice yells at us from the house. Robby casually drops the joint. A kid our age comes out the front door.
“Hi. You guys want to share that?”
“Sure, man. What’s your name?” Robby finds the joint and hands it to him.
“Uh, George. Can we walk around the side of the house, so my dad don’t see me doing it?”
“It’s your house. Get stoned a lot?”
“Naw. I just moved here. I seen you guys at school and figured you was stoners.”
“That obvious, huh?”
“It’s how you walk and are always on the lookout for narcs.”
“Well, we gotta be careful.”
“But you were just getting high in the street.”
“Yeah, school’s out, George. In case you didn’t notice.”
We all laugh. Once we are all under the trees in his side yard, we stop to finish off the joint.
“Wow, guys. This is really cool. I haven’t been high for months.”
“You can come over to my house anytime you want to get high,” I offer.
“Thanks, man. I don’t really have any friends yet.”
“Now you do.”
“You probably don’t know this neighborhood too good either?” Robby observes.
“Well, I have been exploring. There’s an old abandoned graveyard about a block away. It’ll be cool at night, stoned and all.”
Robby and I look at each other, nodding. George leads us down the street, then into an overgrown, vacant lot. As we walk on a path leading into the undergrowth, I can feel my feet tingling.
“Feel it, too, Robby,” I ask.
“Yup. This is it, man.”
“What?” George asks.
“This is where we’re going to have our Halloween party,” Robby tells him.
“Check it out. There’s even some old gravestones over here.”
There were several old stones, half-fallen over, even an old crypt, with the door missing. It is very spooky. Robby and I start to dance around each other. Our feet tingle and kept us dancing in a mad, whirling dervish manner. George looks at us in amazed glee. Settling down, we stretch out, with backs against the tombstones.
“Think there are ghosts watching us?” George asks.
“You must promise not to repeat what I tell you,” Robby looks at him seriously.
“We’ve been on a quest tonight, to find the perfect place for our Samhain ceremony (that’s the same as Halloween). We asked for a vision to guide us, but the spirits are so old, they didn’t know that there are roads in the ancient forest. We were directed to this place, but Bird Road interrupted our vision. We were lost but found you. This is a sacred place, far more ancient than a burial-place for these poor souls. It was the spirits that rule this world that led us here, not mere ghosts.”
“You made a vow not to reveal our secrets. If you break that vow, the spirits of the underworld will haunt you until you are theirs.”
“Com’n you guys, you’re scaring me.”
“If you have nothing to be afraid of, then you can’t be scared. Why are you afraid?”
“Nothing. You guys are spooky.”
“Then run home and hide,” Robby yells at him.
He jumps up and starts running to his house. Robby laughs. He gets up and runs after him, telling him not to be so scared.
I sit in the darkness of the overgrown lot. All the thoughts about spirits and visions course through my pot-addled brain. I wonder what it is like to actually confront a spirit. Before I can laugh, I hear my name being called. I look up quickly and swear I see a wispy, white presence, sitting on a limb above me. I hear my name again, but from a distance. Looking directly at the smoky apparition, I hear it speak to me in my head, not from the outside.
“Are you willing to let a spirit inside you?”
“To converse,” I think without speaking the words.
“Do you trust any spirit to enter your mind, to control your thoughts?”
“Is that how to speak to a spirit?”
“How else? I am not of this world.
“What world are you from?”
“From beyond this realm.”
“Can you come into this world?”
“Only when you let me, like right now.”
“I’m letting you come into my mind?”
“There are dangers. You have to give me control. I’ll take over your body, and you’ll be trapped in the back of your mind until I leave.”
“Yes. Once I take control, you can only look out through your eyes and watch what I do with your body. Are you still willing to let me in?”
“No way, man. Isn’t there some other way to communicate?”
“You must let me into your mind, like we are doing right now. It’s only a matter of time before I take over.”
Again I hear my name called, this time, two voices, one is Robby’s. I shiver and consciously push the apparition out of my mind. Jumping up, I run toward their voices. A quick backward look confirms that the spirit is still sitting on the limb. I run through the brush, not worried about finding the path. Soon I’m on the street with Robby and George.
“You look like you saw a ghost,” George notes.
“I did. I swear, I just talked with a ghost.”
Sitting down I relate the whole conversation to them. George becomes even more nervous. Robby’s reaction is just the opposite.
“It’s ‘cause we split up. The spirits are able to break through to you, when you’re alone. This is great! All the signs say this year’s Samhain will be the greatest since the Druids left this world for Avalon and Tir-na-nOg.
I began to feel how cut and scratched I am from my flight through the brush. Pulling a green thorny leaf from my jeans, Robby cries out, “Look. Another sign. This is mistletoe, the holy plant of Wicca. We must gather more. This is the sacred place.”
He starts running home. I follow, after telling George to meet us at Nutrition the next day. Once we pass Bird Road, Robby is up into the trees, swinging branch to branch toward his home. I try to follow but can’t keep up. He comes back to me, reveling in our spiritual adventure, finding the deserted cemetery. He is convinced I have special powers which enhance his own. I tell him it’s all the pot we consume.
“Don’t you see. The drug is a path to the inner world. It helps unlock the barriers we impose between the spirits and us.”
“I just had a spirit tell me to beware of breaking down those barriers.”
“You feel vulnerable because I wasn’t there to protect you.”
“I wasn’t thinking about you. I was freaking out. It’s your voice I recognized that got me to push the spirit out of my mind.”
“See. I told you. You need me to protect you. Who knows what we’d have seen if I’d been there, too.”
He’s definitely carried away by the experience. When we get to his house, he immediately calls Mary to come over. The two of them make me go over the details of what happened. Mary takes out her Tarot cards to help interpret it. Robby keeps making me take bong hits, so I don’t care what’s going on. She has me shuffle the cards for the longest time. She lays out the first six cards in the shape of a cross. The top of the cross card reveals The Wheel of Fortune, depicting a man and wife reveling at the apex of a wheel while their child tumbles into the abyss. Next come the four prediction cards. Making a cross at the top, the final one is The Hanged Man. Robby jumps up and down.
“You’re all hung up. You’re going nowhere.”
“Shut up, Robby, it’s more likely he’s hung up on some moral dilemma.”
“Maybe I’m just hung.”
“Shut up, both of you. You’re ‘sposed to take this seriously.”
“Then, what’s it say?” I ask tentatively.
Mary takes the top two cards and explains they both represent the future. The Wheel of Fortune is an influence, that I’m affected by Fate. The Hanging Man is an actual event, when I’ll get hung up on some problem. Then she reverses the card, making it look like the Man is standing on a beam, explaining that the reverse reading might be what will happen to me: I’ll be forced to balance the conflicts to get things to turn out as they should. I may get hung for my mistakes by not planning beforehand. I agree I’ve taken this path.
“Just remember,” she warns, “Fate decrees we all pay for our choices eventually. Be prepared to accept what fate befalls you.”
It sounds pretty authentic, just like a real fortune-teller.
After the reading, Robby has a list of things for us to do. It’s mostly about the Halloween costumes we’ll wear. He wants us in white robes, carrying scythes, like Father Time. He refuses to hear that these are New Year’s Eve costumes. We also have to carry candles, keeping them lit while we walk around. He makes it sound important. I’m glad to have some new adventure to pursue in the next ten days. He also says we celebrate Samhain/Halloween on November 1st, not October 31st. When I finally leave Robby’s, I’m too high to go to bed, so I’m drawn back to the deserted cemetery. I want another look at the wispy ghost. I boldly walk down the overgrown path and find the gravestones and crypt.I try to invoke the ghost, actually calling out for it to come forth. It’s to no avail. I sit down, exhausted by the night’s experiences, especially the bong hits. Once my mind has calmed, I heard the familiar voice.
“You still want me to take control?”
“No, but I want to converse. How can I regain control, once you’ve taken over?”
“It’s not me that would take control. I’m the guardian, to warn you of the dangers of entering the spirit world.”
“Then who do I speak to, to give over control.”
“The spirit world enters you, once you ask it in. It’s not just one spirit. It’s the power of the whole spirit realm.”
“You mean I’ll be possessed by evil?”
“It’s neither good nor evil. It is power in its purest state. Your will is lost once you accept it.”
“Can’t I just push it out of my mind, like I did with you earlier?”
“All you can do is observe the loss of will, watching the spirits direct your body.”
“What if my friends physically control my body, not allowing the spirits to act?”
“There are ways to exorcise the spirits, but that knowledge has been lost. Don’t foolishly oppose the spirits.”
“Can the spirits help me?”
“The spirits don’t recognize you as an individual person. You possess a modicum of soul, yearning to join the greater body of souls in the spirit world.”
“Why don’t the spirits come and take over all the souls in the world?”
“There’s no need, since everyone in your world dies. Their souls are already committed to the spirits.”
“But don’t the spirits desire to control this world?”
“The spirits can’t see your world. They only exist as pure energy. Matter doesn’t matter to them.”
There are a hundred questions in my head, but I feel a terrible fatigue from this conversation. I look for the apparition of the guardian, but it is nowhere to be seen.
“You won’t see me again. Once we’ve spoken like this, I can no longer serve as guardian for you. When you are here, in a sense you have already crossed over.”
“But you still speak to me?”
“Everything I have to say has been imparted to you. How and when you remember it is up to you.”
“You are my friend, always with me?”
“I am a message. How you interpret it is your choice. Because you face death, choice is the only difference between your world and ours.”
“You mean I can choose to live?”
“No. Your only choice is when to die.”
“So death is choosing to let the spirits in?”
“No. Dying is giving up the chance to bring the spirits into your world.”
“So the spirits can come into this world?”
“This world of space and time, of energy and matter, doesn’t exist to the spirits. They are only aware of pure energy. It only exists here when your soul gives up the body and departs. Once you become pure energy, you enter the spirit world and are absorbed. That is why you, the singular, is really you, the plural.”
These thoughts inspire thousands of questions, but the guardian spirit starts to slip away.
“Wait. Can I always talk with you?”
“That is not part of my message. I can only serve as a warning. What you desire to know requires you enter the spirit world. The final warning is, once you lose your soul, this knowledge means nothing, because this world does not exist for the spirits.”
It has almost faded, but I ask a final question.
“Friend, how can I call you, if I don’t know your name?”
“I am called Guardian, but I was named Charon by the Romans; as an animal, I was called Cerberus; in medicine, I am Cerebellum. Your Wicca friend would call me God of the Oak.”
“I will call you Friend, Guardian.”
It is gone. More questions arise, but I push them away.
I barely make it home, I’m so exhausted. Jace is sitting on my bed, practicing guitar chords. He often comes over at night, usually to practice guitar and often sleeping with me. He is seldom in the mood for sex before we go to sleep, but he appears to be someone who is horny when waking up, the joys of morning wood. I’m giving him time and space to work out what he wants and if he is really gay. It doesn’t seem that way. Also, I’m not interested in another intense relationship, so soon after Scott. This night I’m glad to fall into his arms and go to sleep while my back is expertly massaged. I awake at ten o’clock to Robby and Michael shaking me from a dreamless sleep. Jace is long gone. I can tell that Robby notices from the bed covers that someone else has been there. He doesn’t say anything. I try to explain to Robby what I learned. He is incensed that I went back to the cemetery without him, warning me I need his protection. I need to mull over all these thoughts before choosing whom I need as protector/guardian.