4 – Blog 21- New Year’s Eve

Dinner for the eight of us, four parents and four teenagers, is a production. The fancy French restaurant seats us in a private dining room. Samples of the appetizers and entries are brought out for tasting. We get wines as if we are adults, different vintages for each course, as well as champagne for toasting. I restrain myself from noting that they are wasting their money on teens who always prefer pizza to anything else. The food is perfection.
The wine boosts our recklessness to the point that we dare to attend the football team’s New Year’s Eve bash. I promise to stay away from beer and pot, as well as to stifle my crying jags.

When we arrive, there’s a big commotion in the back of the house, with cheering and groans indicating a performance is happening. As we approach the scene, Noah runs over and warns us off.
“Ya ain’t gonna wanna go in there. The cheerleaders are initiating the freshmen on the team.”
I think he means something like frat hazing, “What are they making them do?”
“Jist ordinary missionary position. It’s the requirement that the upperclassman watch that makes it sick.”
“I’m so outta here,” Angie exclaims.
We all agree. Unfortunately a couple of team members recognize me and know about Jack.
“Hey, Andy. Is this your boyfriend?” one innocently asks.
“This is Jack. He just moved to Ames,” I explain.
They corral us and push through the crowd outside a back bedroom. There is a trembling fourteen year-old, half-naked with a scowling cheerleader waiting for him on the bed. The upperclassmen are taunting him. He grabs his clothes and runs out of the bedroom. The crowd is in an angry, frustrated mood.
Our new friend holds up our arms, yelling, “Gay sex. Gay sex.”
The crowd perks up, anxious to humiliate anyone unlucky enough to catch their attention. We’re surrounded by chanting, deranged Neanderthals, all yelling “Gay sex.”
I decide to throw them a sop, grabbing Jack and frenching him for 30 seconds.
The chanting stops, as individual players gasp or shout out obscenities.
“That’s it, boys. If that ain’t enough of a thrill then ya better think ‘bout getting’ it on with yer best friends.”
“Fuck you, faggot,” someone yells.
I grab Jack by the hand. We push toward the door, only to be blocked by the offensive line. Hands grab us, pulling at our clothes. The chants of “Gay sex,” start up again.
My mind goes instantly back to that motel room in Alabama, with four burly men holding me down. I go berserk. This time I fight back like a banshee.  I kick the first guy in the balls and put him down with an uppercut.  I am grabbed from behind, trapping my arms. I reach back and grab a semi-hard dick. Yanking the dick and its balls hard, the jerk lets me go. I whirl around with an elbow to his jaw. Down he goes. Three guys are on top of Jack, pulling on his trousers. The adrenaline surges again. Kicking and swinging at them, I pull Jack to his feet. I back us up to a wall, crouching to take on the next attacker.
“What the fuck,” ‘Gator screams, running into the room. Jack and I both are in fighter stance, with five guys lying on the floor in front of us.
‘Gator laughs, “You pussies want a piece of me, too. Ol’ Andy’ll tear yer heads off.”
He throws his arms around both of us, walking us out of the fuck room.
Looking back at the disgruntled crowd, he shouts, “Y’all is lame faggots. I only like fightin’ faggots.”
Jack giggles, but I’m somewhere else, fighting the demons of my rape. I run outside and throw up – all that expensive food. I keep seeing myself, tied to the bed, with all the terrible things that were done to me. I pass out.
I come to in the car. ‘Gator is holding me down. I think he is one of the truckers. I thrash to get away from him.
Next I wake up, strapped to a hospital bed. Jack is hovering, looking fearful. The girls are crying. They must care. I calm down, taking deep breaths.
“You okay?” ‘Gator asks.
“Yeah. Just had a flashback to another fight where I didn’t win,” I explain.
Everyone exhales at once, in relief that I am myself again.
“Jack says you put all five guys down by yerself,” ‘Gator is impressed.
“Ain’t gonna be much o’ a team once ya graduate,” I kid him.
The girls and Jack run over to hug me. The moms arrive, breathless from worry.
“What happened?” Molly demands.
“Jist a fight. I bin in ‘em before.”
“Then why are you in the hospital?”
“I went a little crazy. I even hit ‘Gator here. Sorry ‘Gate, I thoughts ya’s was an attacker, too.”
“Are you hurt?” Mom is solicitous.
“They never landed a blow. It’s my screwed up head again. Jist like last time, I passed out after t’was all over.”
I look for Jace, but he is not there. I ask my heart where he is. He is not there either. I get really worried. I motion for Jack to sit beside me.
“I can’t find Jace,” I whisper. “He ain’t in my heart no more.”
Jack looks at me thoughtfully. “I can still feel him. He’s just scared. The violence made him face his death again.”
“Is he afraid o’ me?”
“No. You’re always the protector. He feels badly that he needs your protection still.”
Angie comes over. “Why are you guys whispering?”
“Talking about Jace. The fight scared him. Andy can’t feel him right now,” Jack explains.
“I can feel him. He’s worried,” she responds.
“He said the fight brought back his own death.”
“How did he die?” Amy asks.
“His brother shot him last Christmas.”         

The moms go out to talk with the doctor. I just want to go home. I will see Dr. Kamikaze to deal with the flashbacks. Was I ready to tell him about the rape? I must need to. I need to stop this going-berserk and passing-out business.

I wake up cuddled with Jack. Jace still isn’t with me. I start to tear-up. I realize that since Jace had not been with me in that motel room, my flashback last night is the first time he experienced the rape. I see why he is so freaked out. There are no shrinks for ghosts. Maybe Dr. Kam could work on it with me. I wake Jack up.
“I have something to tell you. But first, Jace still isn’t in my heart.”
“He’s still upset. He feels he really never dealt with being killed, since he found you immediately after his body died.”
“It’s about something that happened to me while he was locked out of my heart this summer. My flashback last night was the first time he experienced it. I was raped.”
“What?” he is too shocked for words.
“You’re the first person I’ve told. Don’t freak out. I’d been wandering aimless in the South. After it was all over I knew to come here, to Ames.”
“Oh, Tim, er Andy, I knew you’d changed. Was it really terrible?”
“Pretty much. Four beefy truckers tied me to a bed and serially raped me for twelve straight hours.”
Jack turns white and silently hugs me. His good manners keep him from asking more details. I know I have to go into the whole mess to get over it. Dr. Kamikaze will be able to help me. I’m glad that I told Jack first.

It is early. We lay there being close.
The girls cautiously come into our room.
“Feeling better,” Amy asks.
“Yeah, this helps,” I indicate the still sleeping Jack.
“’Gator says you totally kicked ass in the fight,” Angie needs an explanation for my breakdown.
“I’m so sorry we took you there. It must have been terrible. After I went outside, it brought back unpleasant memories. That’s why I go to see Dr. Kamikaze.”
“Are you okay?”
“I will be when Jace returns. He doesn’t like me fighting.”
“We’ll be the center of attention for even daring to go to a football party.”
“Well, don’t tell anyone about the fight. It’ll make ‘Gator look bad. Those are his boys, his teammates.”
“The moms need to know.”
“They weren’t there.”
“We gotta tell ‘em.”
“Cain’t we just let ‘Gator take care of it. He stopped it. I wanted to take ‘em all on.”
“Shut up, Andy,”
I am still acting crazy.
“Get ‘Gator over here to talk with her,” Amy proposes.
“Get up, Jack,” I shake him, knowing he was already half-awake. We get dressed while the girls start breakfast. We have three more days of vacation. I suddenly feel good about the fight, but there’s no Tommy to share it with. Before eating, I call him.
“What are you doing?”
“Yeah. I needs ta talk with ma Hillbilly Brother.”
I hear him yell to Auntie Em to wait while he talks with me.
“We’s having Christmas on New Years, Hucky. Ain’t it grand? Two Christmases.”
“I gots in a big fight last night. Ended up in the hospital fer a couple o’ hours.”
“Man, ya loves ta fight.”
I knocked out two guys and kicked the asses of three guys tryin’ ta rape Jack.”
“Poor Jack,” he mocks.
I laugh. Jace instantly pops back into my heart.
“Kin ya feel that,” I ask Tommy.
“Yeah, in my heart. What’s that?”
“Jace came back afta ya made me laugh.”
“Where’s he bin?”
“It’s complicated. But, thanks, ya brought ‘im back to me. Must mean, he’s in ya heart, too.”.
“Does that mean he loves me?”
“Must be. I gots ta get off the phone. Thanks. Love ya.”
“Me, too.”
“Conceited much?”

“Jace is back,” I announce walking into the kitchen.
“While you’s was in the bathroom jist now?” Angie is always keeping track of me.
“He just popped up.”
“You do that on the second floor bathroom from now on.”
“I weren’t in the bathroom. I called Tommy. He made me laugh and Jace came back. Even he felt him.”
Jack keeps his mouth shut. Good manners as always.
“Why’d ya call Tommy, just to brag about yer fight?” Amy asks.
“Yeah. He’s the only one besides Jack that’s seen me fight before. I realize that one fight will stop any further fighting, ‘less our victims need to git even. Jack and I just got a pass from all the shit-storm that is bound to happen because we outed ourselves.”
“Language,” yells Molly as the moms come down the stairs
‘Shitzsturm,” Jack quips.
Molly gives him a look that tells him he is no longer a guest.
“You going to explain yourselves?”
“I told you. It was just a fight. I got sick afterwards. Bad memories from fighting and not winning.”
“We won’t let you fight, Andy.
“I’m going to see Dr. Kamikaze. He’ll tell you if I’m sick in the head.”
Turning her glare on the girls, “What are you doing at a party where there’s fighting?”
“They’re our friends, or were our friends.”
“You know what caused the fight?”
They do not know what to say.
Luckily ‘Gator comes in unannounced.
“I am so sorry. This is all my fault. What happened is wrong.  I will make sure it never happens again. The whole cheer squad has been suspended.”
“Will someone tell me what happened last night?”
All four of us mentally try to shut ‘Gator up. But he is not going to lie.
“Well, I can only say how proud of Andy I am for sticking up for Jack, who held his own as well. They took on at least twenty boys and after knocking out five of them, the rest didn’t have the stomach to jump in.”
“What started the fight?”
“Andy kissed Jack after they taunted him.”
“You girls saw this?” Molly asks.
“We never went back where the fight was.”
“We got jumped. When I get angry, I have a one-two knockout punch.”
“You knocked out five people.”
“Just two. The other three didn’t get up.”
“You are on restriction, young man, for the rest of vacation – no leaving the house, no guests, no pizza delivery, no phone, and you’re sleeping on the second floor where we can keep an eye on you.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“You will remember there is no fighting while you live here.”
“You’ll kick me out?” I whine.
“Never. But do it again, and you’ll wish you got thrown out.”
Everyone is speechless. Secretly I like her decisiveness. No wonder Mom loves her. It also feels good to be punished unjustly. My likability rating continues its soar – just aiming high.
“I better leave, then. I’m so sorry. I will fix this.” ‘Gator turns to go.
“Oh, good heavens, ‘Gator. You’re as much a part of this family as the rest of the bunch. You don’t have to leave.”
He smiles. We all have breakfast.

Jace sits with me and starts stroking my dick. Jack starts to giggle. Always paying attention Angie notices my bulge and that I’m giggling too.
“Why are you so happy, Mr. Restriction Retard?” she starts my interrogation.
“Seems like I did everything purfect, even taking unjust punishment fer jist doin’ right.”
“Language,” Mom interjects. Now I have all the Muller-Castles on my case. I am downright giddy from all this perfection.

Up on the third floor, we all sit around and go over the full story of what happened.
“What was goin’ on in that room before we got there?”Angie is chief detective on the case. “I know it was more than the usual comfort girl business.”
“That is so sleazy,” Amy comments.
“It’s hazing of the freshman on the team. They gots to lose their virginity a’fore they becomes sophomores,”
“That’s real mature,” Jack comments. ‘Gator explains.
“It’s a tradition. The cheerleaders started it.”
“One way to keep fags off the team,” I conclude. “They havta do the deed in front of the whole team?”
“So’s we knows they don’t cheat and says they done it when they didn’t,” ‘Gator explains.
“They all were mocking that boy ‘cause he refused to get on the bed. He ran out humiliated,” I tell what I saw.
“After that, we were dragged into the room, with everyone yelling ‘gay sex; gay sex,’” Jack adds.
“We kissed for a long time, figuring that would gross them out enough to not want to see anything more.”
“They told me you was mockin’ ‘em by kissin’.”
“I jist showed ‘em what it’s like. We tried to leave but got jumped.”
“Then you turned into Mighty Mouse, knocking out two o’ my boys and kicking the asses of three more.”
“Yeah. I kinda went berserk. They attacked Jack, pullin’ off his clothes. We ended up backed against the wall. You showed up. We was saved.”
“Nobody wants to fuck with you after you took down five guys.”
“Good. Maybe now any redneck asshole who wants to fuck with Jack or me will think twice.”
“After last night, anyone who fucks with you will answer to the whole football team. They’s sworn ta defend ya if needs be, but none thinks ya need the help.”
“I thinks yer the only friend I has on the team.”
“No way after last night. Ya earned tons o’ respect. They loves ya fer kickin’ their asses. Ain’t it strange?”
Angie stops the love fest. “What are you gonna do about the sex hazing. That’s sick.”
“I’ll make sure it stops. Maybe we’s gots a new tradition – a designated faggot to beat the crap outta ever’one.”
“I ain’t comin’ back to show ‘im how.”
“What’s your secret, Andy? How’dcha kick so much butt?”
“The knockout punch. Once they go down, they stay down.”
“Yer a scrawny one. Ya must have some secret muscle behind yer punches.”
“Ya just gotta know yer punch will do the job. I used a kick to the balls to double over the first one and straightened him up and out with an uppercut. The other one pinned my arms; I yanked his balls so hard he let go and I took ‘im out with an elbow to the jaw. Took about ten seconds. Then I took the guys on Jack by surprise, kicking and punching them ‘til they went down and stayed there.
“Ain’t the first time he’s saved me from the haters,” Jack adds. “We’s a team.”
“I’s so ashamed o’ my boys. They knows y’all’s my friends.”
“They was all in a sexual frenzy, like a pack o’ dogs on a bitch in heat.”
The twins turn bright red.
“I’s gonna kick their butts ’til Sunday. We’ll stop this, okay girls?” ‘Gator knows to stop me from gloating anymore.
“People get hurt, ‘Gator, even though y’all think it’s jist sex.”
“Coach and I will devise a plan to stop it all.”
“You devising now, ‘Gator,” I joke, amazed how his vocabulary has improved.
“Yeah. I’m devising that the bowlin’ team will be mandatory, so these boys gots to find a girl to partner with, not just some comfort girl cheerleader ta take advantage of.”
“Co-ed bowling rules.”
“Yeah. Let’s go bowling taday.”
Good idea, except I am on restriction and cannot go. Jack fills in as Angie’s partner.

I use the time alone to write a new song:

Fuck Off

Don’t fuck with me
I’ll take ya down
Gots ta be free
Hate gits me wound

Hate sees me seethe
Can’t seem to breathe
Yer arms on me
I gots ta be free.

Get outta my face
This ain’t the place
To make a stand
To be a man

Your nose I’ll crunch
My knockout punch
Will put ya down
Yer out cold bound.

Jack gets a guitar and rips dissonant minor chords. The mood is grim.
“The twins will hate it,” Jack predicts.
“We’ll keep it in our back pocket. ‘To be used when needed.’”

At dinner, Jack asks the moms if he can sleep on the second floor with me.
“No hanky panky, boys,” Molly warns us.
We giggle.
In bed together, I tell Jack we cannot fool around, out of respect for the moms, who sleep across the hall.
“I just want to be in your arms. If you get all hot and bothered, there’s always showering together.”

Lying in bed, we tell each other the stories of being apart. With Swamp Boy gone, Jack revels in the security of our relationship. He’s rightfully proud that he fought for me and won. Over several nights of pillow talk, he relates how monastic life made him more sure of himself. My poor, shy understudy has come out of his cocoon, fully blossomed.

First he tells me all about the Cannes Film Festival and Pink Floyd concert in Nice’s Bull Ring.

He only played a peripheral part in Scorsese’s Jace Tribute film. It was problematic that I was incarcerated and unable to do publicity at its premiere in France. He did lots of interviews about me. When asked specifics in our sex lives, he invoked the ‘no kiss and tell’ rule. Martin was unable to get a distribution deal. All the business meetings bored Jack. When the Cannes screening was over, he went immediately to Nice, arriving for sound check with Pink Floyd. David Gilmore and Jack jammed on Floyd riffs and leads, hitting it off instantly. Sid Barrett was in attendance, although no longer in the band. When Gilmore and Jack jammed, Sid joined in, singing gibberish lyrics plus making funny noises. Jack showed them our Monkey Song. All three jumped around the stage during sound check. Even though the band members were all in their twenties, Jack felt fully comfortable playing with them. With him and Gilmore trading leads and doing riffs from different Floyd songs, it really got Barrett going. When they went on stage, Jack was introduced as an additional guitarist and singer. Then Gilmore announced that Sid has joined them as a percussionist. The roar in the bull ring went on for at least a minute.
“I never felt that rush before of everyone’s enthusiasm pouring down on me on stage.”
“Yeah, the twins and I sang to 15,000 football fans. It feels like you’re outside yourself, while still feeling the audience.”
“I asked them to do ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ first. Usually it’s their finale. They seemed to want me to make suggestions.”
“Did Barrett act ‘the lunatic on the grass?’”
“Jace egged him on. Sid picked up one of Gilmore’s guitars as they started ‘Wish You Were Here.’

“Did he play guitar?”
“ Yeah. He and I sat together, creating effects on all those pedals and with the tremolo bar. On stage it sounded like bad Hendrix. The audience was going nuts.”
“What did Gilmore do?”
“He said that was why he wanted me on stage, to break Sid out of his shell, his paranoid delusions.”
“That blows me away. Last year we were playing air guitar to those songs. Now you and Jace played a Sid Barrett reunion gig.”
“The laser light show came on. Jace went crazy, flying up into the laser beams. I kept seeing glimpses of him illuminated in the sky. He loves showing off.”

Jace shows up and dances in the air for us.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “Andy showed up backstage to gather me. He was my guardian for the rest of Cannes. He invited the band including Sid to come back to Jackie O’s yacht. The press found out we were jammin’ for Jackie O and Andy. All those photos of me making out with Andy got into the papers.
“You were doin’ it with Andy?”
“There’s only one Andy in my life. Anyway, he’s got this medical device he wears. He’s prohibited from having sex. I threatened to shake up his shitbag, which he thought was hilarious. He’s so sweet. I just made out with him and cuddled a lot.”
“What did you say when they told you to go to Switzerland?”
“Great. It’s what I wanted after I lost you. I now speak five languages.”
“’Blowjobs for pot’ in rainbow-colored tongues. Why’d you leave Cannes?”
“I was yesterday’s news. Without you to plug the film, the whole story goes over people’s heads.”
“Kicked off the ship, like a stowaway?”

I tell Jack my stories about juvie, all the 16 year-old molesters raping 12 year-olds. He revels in my accounts of all the fights I got in. He’s shocked I used sex to dominate the abusers. He refuses to believe I did not get off on subduing boys with my dick.
“Those assholes were getting re-arrested so they could get at defenseless little boys.”
“That how you met Swamp Boy?”
“Yeah. He was much smaller then. He was the leader of the abused, begging for my help in the first days I was locked up. He’d sleep at the end of my bunk.”
“You’re a sucker for rescuing the hopeless.”
Jace slaps him for denigrating how he and I got together.
“Sorry, Jace. It’s just that Andy must have a big heart to let us all in it.”
They kiss and make up, while I go to see what the twins are doing.

During my restriction weekend, we continue to tell our tales of separation. Jack’s initiation into monastery life is similar in ways to my life in juvie. With the dorm door locked at night, a pecking order of molesters dictated who were predators and who were prey. Showing that he learned from the several fights we had with haters, Jack fended off one of the minor molesters on his first night. There are some boys our age who refrain from the whole ‘Wild Boys’ sex scene. Jack joins them. He is not hassled anymore. That group’s amoral attitude about the sexual abuse going on around them is a prime lesson on Swiss neutrality – they do not care what their neighbors do as long as it does not affect them. That Swiss attitude goes back to the Nazis and their plundered gold. He had no real friends and pined for me. Jace and he broke the sex pact rule regularly.
“I had a dream that you came with Jace. You didn’t get turned on. It woke me up.”
“I was in that dream. Jace brought me along. I was just watching. You rushed over and freaked out when I wasn’t hard.”
“You’re fine now.”
I fail to say that it is due to Tommy revving up my libido.

My restriction comes off on Sunday night after we have a house meeting to discuss the upcoming winter term. Our report cards came in the mail. All three of us had received straight A’s, including my A+ in English from Mrs. McCarthy. I suspect she is trying to win approval from the moms due to some unconscious homoerotic yearning. She is married. Jack accuses me of being jaded and cynical. ‘Gator is at the meeting, the newest member of the ‘family.’
“We won’t let you fight anymore, Andy,” Mom announces. “I know you were defending Jack and yourself, as well as protecting the twins, But fighting only leads to more trouble.”
“He ain’t gonna havta fight no more,” ‘Gator asserts, as Molly shakes her head at his grammar, “he proved hisself New Year’s Eve. Ain’t no one gonna even look at ‘im twice .”
“Thank you, ‘Gator. I hope you and your teammates will protect our kids.”
“I gots ta protect them from Andy. He’s the killer.”
“Let’s not make him a target. And please can we get you to speak properly. I love you, ‘Gator, but your country speech just grates.”
“Sorry, ma’am. I kin do better.”
We all laugh, which confuses him. ‘Gator is increasingly a presence at the house, yet he has to be at the family farm for evening and morning chores. He cannot sleep over. He always arrives for breakfast with us in the morning, his chores done by rising at 4 am. I have no doubt he’s straight and wonder how he views the twins. His cheerleader girlfriend is nice but fairly bland. She really does not keep up with his highly energetic comings and goings. Angie is his bowling partner, yet he pays more attention to Amy than he does to her. He hangs all over me, and to a growing degree, Jack. I figure he and I are alike, having missed out on brothers and sisters, getting family outside our own homes. Knowing I can defend myself makes me more of an equal, unlike how his posse looks up to him as leader and defender. He is Prince Hal, maybe to my Falstaff. Much that I disdain Shakespeare, I am reminded that his portrayals are as astute today as in the 16th Century.
“Are you listening, or just running around with Jace in Fantasyland?” Molly observes my musings.
“Want to hear the new song Jack and I are working on?” I return to the business at hand.
“After we all agree on how you kids will start school tomorrow.”
“We’re safe, Mom,” I call her for the first time. “The word is out not to aggravate me. The football team will always back me up. The bowling team was a joke at first, but now it’s time to make it happen. It’s a real co-ed sport and will teach the football goons (sorry, ‘Gate, not you) how to work equally with their girl partners. That’s the way to keep abusive traditions like hazing from happening because the boys will stop seeing girls (and gays) as objects to be abused.”
“You may have intimidated your classmates, Andy, with your fists, but you and Jack need to think about what image you want to project.”
“In Miami, we outed ourselves by kissing in front of everyone at Nutrition. At first, everyone was silent until our friends applauded. Someone yelled, “More girls for us,” and after that we were just another couple.”
“You may not get that same reception here.”
“There will always be haters. We look for friends from the kids with open hearts.”
“I hope you find real acceptance here, but I don’t recommend kissing in public to make yourself popular.”
“How about we just hold hands, just like any other couple?”
“Let’s see how that goes. Anyway, I want to get more organized this year.”
Mom takes the lead, bringing out a scheduling board with all our names on it and each day broken down by the hour.
“Good going, Mom,” I compliment her. “You’re the head organizer.”
Each of us, including ‘Gator, writes in all the activities we’re committed to. With choir, church, bowling, Pizza Pit job, Dr. Kamikaze, school, and homework, there’s little time for the band and being a carefree teen. I suggest that Jack get a job (to the horror of the little lord of the manor) at the Pizza Pit; I know my boss needs a counterman as business is really picking up. That way we will be together the whole day. Jack asks to join the bowling team, stating his average is 149, twice what the rest of the team averages.
“You need to find a girl to partner with,” I tell him.
“Gator said he’d find him a comfort girl, which I nixed,” Angie states.
“Have no fear, my goods manners will win someone dear.”
What a lame poet. He runs upstairs and brings down his guitar and practice amp. We play ‘Don’t Fuck with Me,” to the girls and moms. It is instantly banned at Hyland House.

It is our last night banned to the second-floor bedroom. Jack and I lay in bed giggling and tickling each other. Considering we both had experienced evil sex abuse while separated, we’re in better sync about abstaining from nightly debauchery. Jace is often away, on Teen Jesus duty. Aaron and Paul are reported to be doing better; Aaron refused to attend synagogue until his parents accept their relationship.   Once he starts attending mass with Paul, his family and the Jewish congregation totally cave. The boys spend their weekends going back and forth to Sabbath and Sunday services as well as Catholic Youth Group on Thursday and Jewish Social Services volunteering on Saturday nights at the new Jace’s Place run by his Jewish congregation. They are too busy to get into trouble, except with each other. We tell Jace we do not want to know those details.

We start talking about ‘Gator. We agree he needs a real girlfriend. Comfort girl can never keep up. She’s like a milk maid, keeping the milk flowing and avoiding a buildup of testosterone. The image of ‘Gator as a cow makes us laugh,  but making him a bull causes problems for the milk maid.
“What if ‘Gator is like you and needs more than one person to love?” Jack suggests.
“We seem pretty simpatico.”
“Except you like boys.”
“I like girls, too.”
“Ya needs a girlfriend, too?” Jack’s eyes glistens.
“I kin barely take cares o’ y’all,” I admit.
“Let’s keep it that way,” Jack is still possessive. I’m not complaining with Tommy gone, just not forgotten.
“How’s ‘bout the twins? I can see a three-way in the making,” he jokes.
“That’s a monkey-wrench in our happy little family. I ain’t gonna pimp my sisters out, even to ‘Gator.”
“Naw, good manners will get ya whats ya want.” It is Jack’s philosophy.
“How’s that work?”
“Propinquity. Jist keep ‘em together a lot.”
“Stop using slang when ya use big words. They don’t fits yer dumb good ol’ boy persona.”
We laugh, tucked in bed with each other. Soon I’m dreaming of ‘Gator’s wedding to the twins. It’s a great reception, followed by his arrest for bigamy.

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