Mummy insists we all have a nice dinner before I fly back to Ames. Daddy says to use the Lear Jet, so I don’t have to go commercial. Isabelle knows exactly what I want. We feast on chicken cordon bleu. I wonder if she was sent to Paris to produce such wonderful food. Jack waits until after we leave the dining room to make his last plea to go with me. When his request is rejected, he accepts the decision without going speechless. I’m relieved he isn’t acting dumb again.
I arrive home before midnight, ready to make classes in the morning. Only the moms come to the airport, as it is a school night. After an extended weekend of LA and NYC, I’m ready for normality. Everyone is supposedly asleep, including ‘Gator in my bed. When the moms go back downstairs, the twins pile in with us, wanting to know everything. I moan and pass out. They have to wait until morning for the sordid details of Andy World.
All too soon, ‘Gator is shaking me awake.
“Wanna go milkin’?”
I moan and bury my head under the pillow.
Appealing to my heart-strings, he knows how to get me up. There’ll be no sleeping in and no Isabelle’s Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Bessie does seem glad to see me. We’re soon back at Hyland Street for Mom’s blueberry pancakes (since I’d missed their usual Sunday morning appearance). I have the Post’s Page Six celebrity photos to regale everyone with my renewed fame.
“Now I knows why y’all wears them funky britches,” ‘Gator concludes.
The moms are less sure why Jack and I frequently must undress in public. My attention addiction is obvious for all who know me.
Molly decides to confiscate my proof of fame, declaring, “There’s no need in advertising what you look like under your street clothes.”
We all complain, to no avail. I must return to class as just another student ‘aiming high.’ I decide not to mention I returned by private jet for fear of seeming snobby. I skip the stories of Joey’s junkie ways in favor of my hanging out at nightclubs in Hollywood and New York. The twins even knew who Joan is, from her Runaways’ fame, calling me a ‘ch ch ch cherry bomb.’
My lack of sleep fatigue disappears by the time we get to school.
School takes on its familiar routine. Mrs. McCarthy asks me to stay after English class. She has gotten a letter from Harvard Admissions, asking for further praise and details from her recommendation letter. She is ecstatic that one of her students might go to Harvard.
“I’m not sure I’ll go, if I actually get in.”
“I know, but I only applied because John Boy is going.”
She smiles like I’m the cutest thing. “Well, that is something, but you need to see all the opportunities you’ll have there. Their student drama club is called Hasty Pudding. You’ll be doing Shakespeare and other great plays”
“We call it Crème Brulee. And, we did Shakespeare in 11th grade.”
“I know how brilliant you are, Andy. Don’t you want to meet other brilliant students?”
I almost throw up. “Well, I may not get in. Obviously, they wrote you because they are not certain I belong there.”
“I will convince them.”
I gave her a hug which produces a big smile.
“Gator is attending Spring football practice at State (just as an observer), so it’s just the three of us in the band room after classes are over. We’re dispirited without ‘Gator to spur us on. I tell the twins about my audition at the Troubadour, where I did some of the Triplets’ songs. Angie is mad at me for chasing Joan out of the club. I omit that I used a hard-on to scare her away.
“Didn’t she know you’re gay?”
“It was something else that came up.”
“Ew, gross!” they both exclaim.
“I asked her and her friends to come to my audition, so I had someone to sing to.”
“How did the audition go?”
“The club owner told me to grow up – too many antics.”
Then I tell them the story about Joey disappearing at the airport in New York. Their reaction reflects everyone’s poor impression of my junkie cousin.
“It’s hard to explain why he means so much to me. You think I’m wild. He’s been that way since running away to New York City when he was fifteen. If something happens to him, I’ll be crushed.”
“Andy? You’ve had a boyfriend who was shot and killed in front of you. John Boy almost died from snake bite. Your old band has a drummer who OD’d from heroin. Your cousin’s sick from drugs. He’ll probably die or at best end up in jail. You’ve done everything possible to save him. Now it’s up to him. You can’t save everyone,” Angie always speaks her mind.
“You’re so deep,” Amy reflects. “I think I know what you mean. We love you, Andy, just like you do your cousin. We were just hicks from the sticks and never thought about anyone but ourselves. Now we have ‘Gator to deal with. Thanks a lot.”
“How’s that going?” I laugh, not really wanting to know.
“You really care?”
“Maybe just that it’s all good?”
“It’s crazy. He’s incredible. His heart is so big. We don’t even think about his cheerleader/girlfriend. He tries really hard to understand us. With you, he can love you like the brother he never had. With us, he tries to appreciate the twin things between us and wants to share in it.”
We lapse into silence for a while. I pick up a guitar and run some chords, riffing off of myself. The twins start humming before coming up with random phrases to respond to my music and their feelings about their mutual boyfriend. We create a chorus based on the old daisy chain rhyme:
‘he loves me/he loves me not
He loves you/ he loves me not
He loves me not/he loves you
He loves you/he loves me too’
It’s fun just creating a mood together.
“Just fooling around. It’s called ‘Boyfriend Confusion.’ Andy, played some of our songs at an audition in Hollywood.”
“Gonna be a star, Andy?” he casually remarks, like it is predestined.
“Naw. They told me I’s too young and needs ta grow up.”
“Never, but maybe’s y’all can do the muckin’ out.”
Everyone laughs. Our jam session ends. Ol’ Bessie is a’waitin’ my soft hands.
My Pizza Pit manager lays down the law. I missed so many shifts, he is thinking of hiring a replacement. I promise better attendance. I feel it is unfair to fire me from a two-hour shift – the desperation of the minimum wage worker. I like driving around Ames and the tips are good. Spring has definitely come to the prairie. My mood lifts. When I call Jack, he gets upset that I’m not as miserable as he supposedly is from missing me. It isn’t the hormones, as Jace has been keeping him busy all night long.
By week’s end, I was comfortably back into my routine. Jack had his Regis Knight Corps at his beck and call. His appearance on Page Six was noticed by the Monseigneur at Regis High. The Knights are now charged with keeping him out of further trouble. To allay his boredom, I suggest he take the Knights on a weekend visit to the Stone family farm in Vermont. Their milking skills need not go to waste. Jack reports it is a success. Jace notices that the Regis boys experience repressed attraction to their fairy charge, but no overt activity has occurred. I should think about unforeseen consequences when I send Jack off to the country with horny ROTC cadets.
In mid-April my application for admission to Harvard is approved. Ames High’s teachers and staff act as if they’re on a sugar high. Even students come up to congratulate me. Jack is allowed to come visit for the weekend. He is over the moon that I’ve been accepted. Dad is the only nay-sayer, with an annual cost over $6000 for tuition, room and board. I point out that he is already paying more than that in child support. What I don’t bring up is our old argument about getting an athletic scholarship for swimming. Jack points out that Harvard only gives aid to those from poor families. Everyone assumes I am enthusiastic about four more years of studying. What ever happened to the good ol’ days of the ditch pad at Jace’s garage?
Jack arrives with just one Regis Knight, Seamus, to protect him. Bessie will be pleased. Seamus has taken a shine to ‘Gator, as everyone generally does. They sit up discussing the ins and outs of farming on the prairie. I’m glad to sleep in on Saturday morning when ‘Gator drags Seamus for milking. I am slightly jealous that Bessie might not even notice the difference. With no one to protect him, Jace and I make short work of fucking John Boy, our morning delight. We are making up for lost time, with an evening and now a morning fuck-fest. Taking a break, we fantasize about rooming together in college. We end up singing the Shondells ‘Love that Dirty Water.’
I hate how I have to try to be as ‘rah rah’ as Jack. Once he stops celebrating and notices my lesser enthusiasm, he has a Jack minor meltdown. I assure him that it was still months away. I will be perfectly happy as long as we are together.
“I could always go back to Florida when I’m 18 and go to junior high with Tommy.”
He gives me a dirty look. Then he laughs, “Tommy’s still in junior high?”
“He just turned 15. What did ya think?”
“I thought he was my big rival.”
“You made me be so mean to him. He was abused.”
“Good,” never one to forget a grudge.
We shower and go down for breakfast. ‘Gator and Seamus are already tucking into eggs, bacon and biscuits with gravy.
“How’s ol’ Bessie?” I ask.
“Didn’t miss y’all one bit,” Seamus is picking up a drawl. “’Gator here told me a chicken joke. Wanna hear it?”
‘Gator looks uncomfortable, so naturally we have to hear his farm joke.
The moms quickly leave the dining room to finish cleanup in the kitchen.
“The first day a young rooster arrives, old Red challenges him to a foot race around the barnyard to prove who is the fittest. Red quickly gets out in the lead but as they approach the halfway mark, Red is tiring. Just as he passes the front porch, ‘BAM,’ the young rooster is blown away by a shotgun blast. The next four days, new roosters appears. Old Red races the young studs, and each day ‘BAM’ Ian Ethan blows away the new bird.
“I ain’t buying no more of them roosters from that Perdue Ranch,” Ian Ethan complains. “They’s ain’t nothin’ but faggot roosters trying ta git at my old rooster, Red.”
The girls and I burst into giggles and laughter. ‘Gator is relieved we don’t take offense. Jack looked distressed at the anti-gay joke. I punch him on the arm.
“Just think ‘bout ol’ Robert Maplethorpe chasin’ ya ’round the Dakota.”
Now, Seamus finally figures out that it isn’t the Baptists he has to defend Jack from.
“I’m sorry,” he apologizes. “I didn’t know.”
Jack laughs. “Don’t tell the Monseigneur. We’ll all be in trouble.”
“I likes ya, Jack. Jist not in that way.”
“Well, we won’t tell Monseigneur ‘bout ya bein’ sweet on ol’ Bessie, neither.”
‘Gator has organized the first barn party of the year that Saturday night, to show the ‘real’ Iowa to the New Yorkers. We agree to perform an acoustic set by The Triplets Plus 1, with special guest, John Boy. ‘Gator promises to keep his drumming under control, by mostly riding his high hat and snare drum. He makes us promise we’ll play some covers by his favorite stadium rockers, like Boston, Journey, and Electric Light Orchestra. ELO’s current hit ‘Evil Woman’ is nixed by our feminist bass section as misogynistic. We agree to ‘Don’t Bring Me Down,’ as a compromise. We put Seamus on the spot, insisting he sing one song. He choses ‘Danny Boy.’
After rehearsing all afternoon, the moms put on a barbecue dinner when ‘Gator and Seamus return from milking. I’m starting to miss Bessie. John Boy takes the edge off with a quick blow job in the third floor bathroom. The girls don’t say anything, even though I know they know what’s up. After we are stuffed from ribs, mashed potato and coleslaw, we leave for the barn party. ‘Gator and Seamus go in his truck, so they can pick up their cheerleader/comfort girlfriends. The twins drive their station wagon while John Boy and I make out in the back seat. Before it gets too hot and heavy, I realize the twins are depressed that their boyfriend is off getting laid that night. No wonder they aren’t excited about our performance. We jump into the front seat and try to cheer them up.
“Let’s do ‘Evil Woman’ and dedicate it to ‘Gator’s comfort girl.”
“Ew, we don’t want to even acknowledge that she exists,” Angie disagrees.
“I thought you liked him working off his hormones elsewhere.”
“We’re not listening.”
John Boy and I start singing,
‘You made a fool of me, But them broken dreams have got to end.
Evil woman. Evil woman. Evil woman. Evil woman’
Songwriters: JEFF LYNNE
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
“Slow down, slow down,” we scream.
“Then stop mocking us. ‘Gator’s love life is none y’all’s biznuss.”
We shut up. Angie slows down. I guess that their sex lives are unsatisfactory. I don’t want to know.
Once we find the barn, we off-load our equipment, setting up inside the circle of vehicle headlights. Instead of helping with the drum set-up, ‘Gator leads his comfort girl hand-in-hand away from the crowd. We know where that’s going to end. Seamus is right behind them with his girlfriend. The four of us remain with the equipment. Lame stadium rock is blasting from several pick-up truck radios. Gator has us promising we’ll play that crap.
“Let’s play those songs like we would do it – no long guitar or drum solos, no standing around like statues, and play the song fast.”
We all look at each other and laugh.
“’Gator was told to tone down his drumming.”
“Won’t he be surprised.”
We wait for the ‘boys’ to return from their respective dates. Friends come by to say hi to John Boy, sharing beers and pot with us. I’m pissed enough at ‘Gator to not care that pot means I’ll be fagging off with John Boy. He half drags me off in a deserted direction. Once we’re clear of the party, he is all over my ass, humping and grabbing me. We flop down in a bed of alfalfa. We go at each other in our makeshift nest. I can see why people like barn parties so much. I feel a twinge of empathy for the twins, as everyone else is fucking. How great is that? Jace soon appears and offers himself as meat in our three-way sausage sandwich. We are glowing. Unfortunately, the glow can be seen by those just outside the circle of vehicle headlights. John Boy and I cum quickly, causing Jace to float above us, jerking off. He glows as he hovers. I hear whispering and murmuring converging on our love nest. Jace spots the looky-loos first. I watch him jerking it to a climax, while the looky-loos just see a glowing ball of golden light. It suddenly explodes, with a burst of ghostly sperm. They imagine the light is shooting at them. Screaming and clawing to get away, they escape back to the party. Jace disappears in a puff of golden light. We put on our clothes and wander back to the headlight circle.
“There they are. They’re alright,” the panicked teens rush up to us. “What was it like? Was ya abducted by aliens?”
“You both was lying naked on the ground and the flying saucer took off. Don’t you remember?”
“I don’t remember anything,” John Boy lies.
“Ya both was abducted by aliens. They must’ve wiped yer memories.”
“No way,” I shrug. “I ain’t never seen no aliens.”
“That flying saucer took off faster then I ever seen. Bet its half-way to Mars by now,” the ugliest boy exclaims, jumping up and down. ” Holy shit.”
The girls are in heated discussion with ‘Gator. We run over and tell them to get ready to play. The panicked kids are telling all their friends about the flying saucer and aliens. They begin pointing at us.
I whispered to ‘Gator and the girls, “Purple People Eater. ‘Gator you get to sing.”
‘Well I saw the thing comin’ out of the sky
It had the one long horn, one big eye.
I commenced to shakin’ and I said “ooh-eee”
It looks like a purple eater to me
It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater
(One-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater)
A one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater
Sure looks strange to me (One eye?)
Well he came down to earth and he lit in a tree
I said Mr. Purple People Eater, don’t eat me.
I heard him say in a voice so gruff
<I wouldn’t eat you ’cause you’re so tough>’
Songwriters: S. WOOLEY
© DOTSON-WOOLEY ENTERTAINMENT
Just as soon as we end, Jace appears above our heads as a ball of light going a hundred miles an hour and swoops down on the crowd. Everyone screams. He lands on a pick-up’s roof and proceeds to jerk off until the ball of light explodes with silvery ghostly sperm. After scattering, the party-goers sneak to their vehicles and take off in a cloud of prairie dust.
“What the hell?” ‘Gator is the only one not in on the joke.
’Gator looks confused, “Ya mean I jist saw Jace”
“No, “Gate. You saw the glow that happens when he makes us happy, like at Christmas.”
“He thinks it makes us happy that our friends and fans ran away like in a horror movie.”
“How’s I gonna ‘splain it all?”
“The aliens liked our choice of songs?” John Boy suggests.
Now everyone laughs.
“That was the shortest concert ever,” ‘Gator proclaims.
“And the most exciting,” I declare.
The twins ride home with ‘Gator, coming into the Hyland House about half an hour after John Boy and I arrive. I figure they need to work out the hurt feelings and hormonal urges together. John Boy spills the beans to the moms about our aborted performance. They are none too pleased about us creating more controversy with our show. I omit explaining what Jace did to cause the silvery sperm to shoot out from his glowing ball of light. I’ll have to quiz the twins to make sure they aren‘t able to see him yet. Jace is lurking about, shamed by all the reactions to his pyrotechnics.
Upstairs, the six of us, including Jace, sit on the floor and reflect on the stunt he pulled.
“What did happen? I can guess why people saw you two naked in the field.”
“Splendor in the grass,” John Boy quotes Wordsworth. “nothing can bring back the hour.. of glory in the flower.”
“What made Jace start glowing?” Amy asks.
“He gets all happy when we’re all having sex,” John Boy is direct.
“Y’all? Like all three of you? How’s that work?” Angie jumps in.
“He’s forever 15. He can’t help hisself.”
“We all can feel him. I had to let him fuck me for 24 hours non-stop so I can see him like Andy does.”
“Too much information, John Boy,” I stop him.
‘Gator is speechless for once. It’s barely midnight. We’re ready to sleep. He goes right in with the twins, leaving John Boy to share our bed alone with me. That is, until Jace pops up, glowing from his space alien impersonation. He even makes his skin appear purple.
“You are so juvenile,” John Boy observes.
“He’s been 15 for two years. Don’t be so judgmental,” I chastise John Boy.
Jace turned from purple to blue.
“We don’t wants y’all ta ever change,” I declare. “We loves ya jist the way ya is.”
“But you two are already changing, goin’ ta Harvahd in a few months. John Boy was quoting Romantic poetry to the twins.”
“You’re learning right along with us. How’d y’all knows Wordsworth’s a Romantic.”
“I don’t knows, and I ain’t goin’ to class ta find out.”
We start making out which quickly progresses to a full-on three-way. Only when we’re finished do we hear the multiple moans coming from the twins’ bed room. The pitch of moans is not at ‘Gator’s masculine bass level. We all laugh that no one has missed out on the night of the first barn party of 1976. All three of us start singing the Stones’ ‘Satisfaction.’
The other room joins in. Two three-ways simultaneously on the third floor confirms our mutual satisfaction. Just as I settle back to fall asleep, I realize we haven’t seen Seamus, the Regis Knight, since before the flying saucer incident. I bang on the twins’ door.
“Get up. Seamus is missing.”
“I know where he is and what he’s doing,” ‘Gator laughs.
“He should be back by now,” I argue.
“Alright. Alright. I’m getting’ up,” “Gator relents.
Throwing on our clothes, the five of us rush downstairs and out the front door.
“Stop,” John Boy orders. “There he is,” pointing to his missing Knight, sleeping it off on the porch divan.
‘Gator shakes him awake. “Why ya out here, boy? Y’all scared the daylights outta us’n.”
“Maybe he got abducted by the space aliens,” John Boy can’t help himself from creating drama. “What do you remember, Shame? How’d ya get here?”
“Last I remember was floating away on a cloud with that girl.”
“Her name is Cindy,” ‘Gator says sharply.
“Yeah, Cindy. Well, I don’t remember anything else,” he admits.
I figure he has conveniently forgotten what he otherwise would have to confess.
“Ya don’ts remember no space ship and aliens?” ‘Gator presses the guilty one.
“Just being woke up by you, ‘Gator. Is it time to go milkin’?”
“Not now. Later.”
We walk him to his room on the second floor. At least, we don’t have to explain all the moaning and groaning that happened earlier here on the third floor.
Sunday morning with Mom’s blueberry pancakes is a good way to start the week. ‘Gator and Seamus come back from milking in time to eat their fair share. Even church is tolerable. Seamus, John Boy and I go to Catholic services early, back in time to sing with First Baptist’s choir. Seamus has recovered enough to be on high alert about the Baptists. Cindy his comfort girl attends, making him feel even more sinful, when she smiles and waves to him. He turns bright red. Baptists are so forgiving.
Rumors of John Boy and me being abducted were forgotten after ‘Gator tells everyone it is Seamus who had been taken into the flying saucer and later left on the Hyland House porch. Seamus is even interviewed by the local newspaper when we are trying to eat our Sunday dinner. The moms keep quiet, even though they are in on Jace’s silvery ball of light. They seem to be relieved that neither John Boy nor I are the center of attention.
The Lear has to be back at Teterboro Airport for a Sunday night trip. It means John Boy and his Knight have to leave shortly after midday dinner. The hubbub about aliens is getting old. I worry that we will eventually reap what we have sown in the minds of country folk. I can’t quite say it is all in good fun. Seamus is sticking to his story that he remembers nothing. When Cindy comes with us to the Ames Airport, he can barely look at her – Catholic guilt runs deep, especially when someone plans to lie in the confessional. ‘Gator explains to Cindy that all New Yorkers are snobby.
“Look at John Boy,” he points to our co-conspirator.
We hug at the gate after stealing kisses in the Men’s room. He finally accepts that Tommy is really too young for me. He agrees with my scheme to send Jace, the permanent 15-year-old, to Florida in order to cheer up my own personal Tom Sawyer. It is a plan that makes the three of us sad. I fear I’m out-growing Jace. I promise he can come to Harvard with us in the Fall. I call Tommy, who is pouty from my not calling him enough (like never). He complains that ‘he don’t want no ghosts in his life.’
“Just see how it goes. He’ll love ya if’n y’all gives ‘im a chance.”
“I gots plenty of chances fer sex. I only wants you, Huck.”
“It’s only until I turn 18 in July,”
I’m still living day-to-day. July is months away. Harvard is not even on my radar. Jack even talks civilly with Tommy, telling him how he is called John Boy in Iowa. They almost bond. Just what I need – two boyfriends and a ghost.