After switching to a commuter flight in Chicago, it’s after dark when I land in Ames. No Jetway there. I see my family waving from inside the terminal. The surprise is ‘Gator, who has an arm around each twin. Has he finally seen the light?
“Tell me the news, ‘Gate. You seem ready to burst.” I know he is ready to land a knockout punch himself.
“Jist followin’ yer example, Andy. I cain’t jist love one person,” he crows with an arm around each of my twin sisters.
“And we swore never to exclude one another from our lives,” Angie explains how twin-think goes along with this plan.
It’s exactly what Jack and I have been thinking for quite a while. The twins are never going to be apart. ‘Gator is so larger than life, he needs two girls to satisfy his every need.
The moms look somewhat shell-shocked by this development. Hell, ‘Gator is already part of the family. His feelings are not in the ‘just a big brother’ category. It seemed obvious to Jack and me that two girlfriends are better than one for the ‘Gator. And, the twins are used to sharing. The sleeping arrangements may be dicey. Am I supposed to protect my sisters from my best friend? I’ll treat it as if we’re just sharing him.
All my NYC news/gossip seems trivial, just ‘a day in the life’ with the Beatles. I really feel at home.
The moms prepare a Sunday night supper of beans and franks with cornbread. Am I weird to be famished. It tastes better than my previous night’s dinner at ‘21’. I call Jack to tell him I’m home and give him the news about ‘Gator and the twins.
“I knew it,” he crows.
“How was your day? Miss me?”
“Totally. The kids ditched me for all their new friends from Youth Group. Dakota may be history.”
“You could jam with the cousins.”
“They’re avoiding me. Too close to gay for comfort. Catching them jacking off to us faking sex is making them question their sexuality.”
“Jesus. I got a three-way going here while my boyfriend is contemplating one there.”
“No way. They’re gross.”
“Maybe you’ll get back here in time for the State Bowling Championships. Your fag hag posse will want to know tomorrow in school.”
“Oh, la gloire.”
“Didn’t you get enough sex last night to last until then?”
“I love it when you take charge like that. Crazy mad fucking.”
“I cain’t lets ya firgit me.”
“I even miss yer fake country accent.”
“No more losing your voice?”
“Naw. I was just tryin’ to get ya to stay. Didn’t work.”
“So you were faking?”
“No, but someone had to make me wake up and accept I can’t always get my way.”
“I don’t blames ya. I’m a’gonna miss ya like crazy ‘til y’all’s back here. I already does.”
“You are so cute,” he gushes.
Then I call Flo and fill her in on my adventures. She is envious but not jealous. She truly loves me. Jace asks if he can go fulfill her virginal fantasies. I tell him he is a perv and to go see Edi if that is what he wants.
The moms sit me down and ask if I am ready to be a normal kid.
“What’s that like?” I shrug.
“Well, how about college next year. You could go to State and still live here. Or else, you need to get applications in by April first for fancy schools. What are Jack’s plans.
“He’s already in at Harvard. Mummy took care of it.”
“Is that what you want?”
“Jack says I need to be in the real world, that college would be a waste of time for me.”
“You need to have a better plan than just ‘real life.’ College is to prepare you for being an adult.”
“I can tell I’m in trouble. How about I finish my therapy with Dr. Kam and hopefully I can make a real choice for next year?”
“You don’t want to look at selective schools? Applications are due in a matter of days.”
“I just want Jack to be here and for us to be happy together.”
“You could apply to Harvard, too. Your grades are good. But you need to apply now.”
“I’m not sure if Jack really wants to go. It’s Mummy who got him in.”
“How about just doing the application, in case that’s what you both want next fall?”
“Okay.” I give in.
Molly knows how to back me into a corner.
I finally get upstairs where ‘Gator and the twins are waiting for me. I just shake my head.
“Too many moms?” ‘Gator laughs.
“They want me to be normal. I haven’t a clue.”
“How ‘bout playin’ us a song? Ya always let yer feelings out that a way.
I grab the SG and strum a few blues chords, then change the rhythm to reggae.
‘(I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh!
I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot no deputy, ooh, ooh, ooh)
Yeah! All around in my home town,
They’re tryin’ to track me down,
They say they want to bring me in guilty
For the killing of a deputy,
For the life of a deputy, but I say
Oh, now, now, oh!
(I shot the sheriff) the sheriff
(But I swear it was in self-defense) Oh, no! (Oh, oh, ooh)
Yeah, I say, I shot the sheriff oh, Lord! (And they say it is a capital offense)
Yeah! (oh, oh, ooh) Yeah!
Sheriff John Brown always hated me,
For what, I don’t know,
Every time I plant a seed,
He said kill it before it grow,
He said kill them before they grow, and so I
Read it in the news! (I shot the sheriff) Oh, Lord!
(But I swear it was in self-defense)
Where was the deputy? (Oh, oh, ooh)
I say, I shot the sheriff,
But I swear it was in self-defense, yeah! (Ooh)
Freedom came my way one day
And I started out-of-town, yeah!
All of a sudden I saw sheriff John Brown
Aiming to shoot me down,
So I shot, I shot, I shot him down and I say,
If I am guilty I will pay!
I didn’t shoot no deputy (oh, no-oh) oh no!
(I shot the sheriff) I did!
But I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh (Oh, oh, ooh)
Reflexes had got the better of me
And what is to be must be,
Every day the bucket a-go a well,
One day the bottom a-go drop out,
One day the bottom a-go drop out, I say
I, I, I, I, shot the sheriff.
Lord, I didn’t shoot the deputy, no
I, I (shot the sheriff)
But I didn’t shoot no deputy, yeah
Lyrics © BLUE MOUNTAIN MUSIC LTD.
“Tryin’ to tell us somethin’ boy?” ‘Gator looks worried.
“Once a gangster, always a gangster.”
“Heavy. Yer jist like Willie Nelson, ‘the Outlaw.”’ ‘Gator realizes.
To my surprise, ‘Gator tells me he is spending the night. He strips down and jumps into my queen size bed.
“’Gate?” I question his intentions.
“Hush, ya ain’t havin’ ta cheat on yer boyfriend.”
“Goodnight, Jim Bob,” the twins call out.
“Goodnight, Mary Ellen,” I call back.
He hushes me with a finger to his lips. We lay there whispering about all the things I did in New York and how there is so little to do in Ames. Thirty minutes later, he leaves me alone for the twins’ bedroom.
I am shocked.
All the moms’ talk about colleges and a normal life make me realize something about my future: I’ve always believed there is no future, just now.