Why’s ya always gots ta be so mean,” Tommy whines at me. The twins have calmed him down after I ‘rejected’ him.
“It’s jist what big brothers do. It don’t means I don’t loves ya.”
He rushes into my arms, hugging me as if he’ll never let go. Finally he relaxes.
‘Gator walked into the third floor music room pity party.
“Why’s ya cryin’, homo #2?” he asks.
“Huck don’t loves me as much as he loves homo #1.”
“Git over here,” he orders Tommy. “I don’t loves ya but I shure likes ya, Little Buddy.”
Tommy runs over and ‘Gator throws him into the air several times.
“Jack’s staying and is goin’ ta school with us.” I tell ‘Gator
“Whatever floats yer boat,” he kids me, winking at the girls. The twins both turn bright red. He has his charms, too.
I decide to stay home from church to be with Michael and Robby before they leave. Jack goes with the twins, happy to take my place in the choir. ‘Gator decides to go to church with the moms. Tommy joins us on the porch for the traditional wake and bake. He sits as close to me as possible. Michael and Robby move away.
“Hey, being gay ain’t infectious.”
“Ya think? Then whys everyone turn gay ‘round you?”
“Bein’ a teen means yer always horny. It ain’t gender specific?”
“So that explains lonely farmers and their favorite sheep.”
We all laugh. Tommy keeps his mouth shut, sliding an arm around my waist, and snuggling into me.
“Since ya’s rejectin’ ‘im, I’ll take ‘im up.” Robby is acting pervy.
Tommy tightens his grip on me.
“No way,” I defend Tommy. “I’s jist sendin’ ‘im home to be fattened up fer his 16th birthday orgy.”
“Jack ain’t ever allowin’ that.”
“He’ll be off to sum fancy college by then.”
“No long term plans.”
“Shit, I gots ta survive high school hell with a boyfriend to ignite homo fears.”
“Ya thinks the whole school’s gonna turn queer?”
“Fuck no. Startin’ Monday, I’ll be fightin’ rednecks jist to keep walkin’ in the halls.”
“They gots rednecks in Iowa?”
“Does the pope shit in the woods?”
“Does the lone wolf run scared on the prairie?”
”Ya ain’t gonna be ‘lone with Jack at yer side.”
“Fat lotta good that does me. He throws a punch and runs ‘round behind me fer protection”
“Maybe yer football friends will protect ya.”
“They’s gotta a strict survival of the fittest code. If’n I cain’t protect m’self, I’s jist roadkill ta them.”
“Andy Armadildo, flat on his back a’side the highway.”
We kept hittin’ the joint, making these images more and more vivid. Good preparation for my upcoming battles.
Tommy is asleep, like he always did at Sawgrass Camp singalongs. I pick him up and deposit him on a living room coach. We have the munchies and raid the kitchen, as everyone else has gone to church. There’s plenty of pumpkin pie to gorge on.
“Why’s y’all so mean ta Hippie’s bride at her wedding?” I challenge them.
“That bitch? We gots tired o’ her always sayin’ she was prayin’ fer us. We blew up her weddin’ cake with cherry bombs. It splattered half her church-goin’ guests.”
“Ya cain’t accept she makes Hippie happy?”
“Wait ‘til the baby comes and see hows happy Hippie is.”
“Hippie ain’t phased by nothin’.”
The church crowd comes in the door. ‘Gator sees the decimated pie on the counter and makes a bee-line for it.
“Y’all better not’a et the whole pie.”
“Munchies, man,” Robby counters.
“Y’all’s a bunch a potheads,” ‘Gator claims the remains of the pie. “Looks like ya drugged my little buddy,” as he pointed at the sleeping Tommy.
“Well, why don’ts ya take ‘im upstairs and satisfy his homo needs,” Robby challenges him.
Gator gives Robby a mean look, grabs him and tosses him up in the air like he always does with Tommy. Robby is quick enough to grab one of the old gaslight pipes that still run across the ceiling. ‘Gator expected to catch him on the descent. He roars when it doesn’t happen and starts chasing Robby around the living and dining rooms, trying to grab his feet. Robby is too nimble. Michael, Jack and I start doing the monkeyshines dance, squawking like apes. The girls walk in and instantly join us.
“Stop destroying our home,” Molly commands as Mon and she are the last to enter. Robby falls into ‘Gator’s arms. Tommy wakes up and runs to ‘Gator who tosses him up several times without destroying anything else. Between Christmas partying and the jungle moves, the downstairs is a shambles. The twins order all the guys to start cleaning up. The moms stand at the doorway with their hands on their hips, glaring at us. Christmas spirit is not in the air.
After the downstairs was back to normal, the moms go into the kitchen to prepare Christmas dinner. They count the ten current guests, adding enough food to accommodate an even dozen They assume more uninvited guests are sure to show up.
I feel guilty for not taking advantage of church time to molest Tommy. I lure him out to the car, with Robby in tow. The usual joint appears, with Robby giving Tommy a shotgun hit. At the finish, he kisses Tommy. Tommy instinctively slaps his face. I kicked Robby out of the car. Some things never change.
Rather than discuss our ‘breakup,’ I just attack him. That’s all it takes for him to instantly cum. At least I get his dick out of his pants in time to avoid creaming his shorts. Unfortunately, he sprays all over the back seat; boy sex stank is sure to linger and upset Angie.
Tommy goes for my dick. Soon it’s a 69 session. His dick never deflates. Soon I cum. He lays back with me going at him, watching my head bob up and down. I sense he’s getting close, so I slide his trousers down. Once he starts to orgasm, I pull back and enter him up to my balls. Hitting his prostate causes copious jizz to spray, most of it on me. We use an old towel to wipe up what we can. Clear evidence of our debauchery is smeared across my shirt. We run into the house and upstairs to the bathroom for clean-up and a shower together. The warm water has us going at it again. I hurry our climaxes, worrying the Twins will be unhappy at the desecration of their bathroom. The sheepish looks on our faces are clear evidence of our evil-doing. The twins look resigned instead of upset. I have no excuse, except that you can’t make all the people happy all the time.
The feast the moms prepare erases any thoughts of our misbehavior. Wine is served to everyone. We toast the moms, the guests, and Christmas in general. I notice that the cheerleader girlfriends arrived in our absence. More witnesses to my crimes. At least school is on holiday for another ten days.
It’s time for the boys to go back to Miami. The fancy red Alfa Romero looks bedraggled, with snow and salt stains. I feel badly that I considered asking them to take Tommy along. Hippie would take him home in just a few more days. He probably is safer with the church people. At least someone would be praying for him. After protracted good-byes, the Alfa tears away from the curb in a blaze of packed snow, fish-tailing up South Hyland. Michael must have let Robby drive, license or not.
It isn’t until Christmas night that we finally have our gift exchange. With my tips from pizza delivery, I had the funds to get gifts for everyone, even ‘Gator. I give the moms a single gift, a framed self-portrait of the Mexican artist, Frieda. It cost over $100, but I felt it was exactly what they needed to know that I support their lesbian lifestyle. I ordered the twins customized bowling shirts, with Ames High Bowling embroidered on the back of the pastel blue polyester shirts. They got me a dog collar and leash, as well as one for Jack. They were confirming our roles in the family. Everyone had gotten gifts for Tommy, mostly hair product and makeup since they had been dressing him every morning. There had not been time for me to get something for Jack as he had just arrived on Christmas Eve. Instead, I sang him our love song,
“I never feel this way.
Just happy full of play.
I wake up every day,
You’re by my side,
You reach and touch,
I say goodbye.
There’s no future,
But we have now.
“We’re perfect for each other,
I never think of another.
Can’t be love, but who can say
I know you’re here to stay?”
There’s no future,
But we have now.
We can’t live by ourselves.
We need people that we love
We hate those who hate themselves
We know what they’re made of.
Love, love, love
I need your love
I need your love
I need your love
I need you”
The moms and twins clap and shed a few tears. Jack just beams. Tommy was grief-stricken at the line ‘I never think of another.’ Again I’m his mean big brother. All of us surround him.
“I love you, too, Tommy. I wrote this song before I met you.”
“It’s not fair,” he sobs.
The twins hold him, until he calms down.
“Here, Jack, have this mascara. Since I’m going to be crying all the time, I cain’t use it. Merry Christmas,” he sniffs.
He is so cute.
The next few days of vacation, we concentrate on making his visit a happy one. ‘Gator is the ringleader. We go sledding on the one hill in town now covered with a foot of snow. The skating pond was cleared and now snow-free. Tommy on skates is an instant disaster. He likes taking pratfalls, wildly waving his arms until he topples over. There’s a hot chocolate stand at the pond to keep us warm. We have to leave after we play ‘snap the whip’ and send Tommy crashing into the hot chocolate drinkers. He is covered in cocoa. ‘Gator has us out to the family farm. Instead of riding the cows home or a hayride, he gets us on his dirt bikes. The snow on the ground creates rooster-tails as we spin out crisscrossing the frozen fields. ‘Gator’s folks are soft-spoken farmers. He has no brothers or sisters. It makes me realize why he has latched onto our ever-growing family. We end up in the barn, climbing to the roof on the stacked hay bales. ‘Gator tosses Tommy up, then tosses him over the edge, where he falls into a huge pile of loose hay. He screams all the way down. We all jump after him, making him scream louder as each of us lands next to him. “Gator does a double flip before landing. We repeat the stunt several more times; everyone tries to replicate the Tommy scream, to no avail.
Then it’s time for Hippie and Anna to pick up Tommy for the ride back to Florida. He goes into a total funk, refusing even the twins’ solicitous attention. Everyone thinks I’m a jerk for ignoring his emotional meltdown.
After placing his suitcase in Hippie’s station wagon, he turns to face me, offering a final chance to choose him over Jack.
I pull him into a stiff hug.
“Ya knows I’m just being yer big brother when I’s mean like this?”
“Yer always bein’ mean ta me.”
“And ya knows I love ya, not jist as a brother?”
“Then why’s ya sendin’ me away?” He starts crying.
I pull him into a tight embrace and kiss him on the lips in front of everyone.
“It’s time ya havta grow up. Yer goin’ back to foster parents that really loves ya. Ya got tons of friends in Florida. Ya hadda wonderful time here. Look at ‘Gator. He loves ya, too. Ya wants ta have adventures, ya say. Well, this is yer great adventure, becoming more than a boy. Learn to be loved. Ya do that, we’ll be brothers and lovers fer shure.”
He sobs in my arms. I just hold him. When he shakes me to release the hug, I let him go. Anger surges to his face. He walks away from me without looking back, slamming the car door. I hug both Anna and Hippie, telling them to come back soon..
We wave good-bye as Hippie drives away. Suddenly Tommy jumps into the back of the station wagon, waving like mad. ‘Gator and I jump up and down, waving back. I see the tears streaming down Tommy’s face. We keep waving and jumping until we can no longer see him. I burst into tears. It’s ‘Gator who holds me, until Jack rushes over. He had stayed back, feeling like the villain in this drama. No one blames him. He’s still my boyfriend.
I had lost track of Jace. In my heart I know he is staying with Tommy for the meanwhile. I call his foster parents and speak with Auntie Em.
“Tommy’s on his way home. He’ll be there tomorrow.”
“Oh, we’s missin’ him sumthin’ terribl’. But we’s holding off Christmas fer when he gets here.”
“He’ll need sumthin’ to cheer him up. He’s pretty mad at me, but I’m sure he perk up once he’s home.”
“That’s right. This is his home now “
“He really had a great time, jist hard fer ‘im, to leave. Ask ‘im ‘bouts his friend, ‘Gator.”
“Oh, was he tellin’ that ‘Gatorsurus story? We must’ve heard it a dozen times.”
“The captain of the football time took a shine to him. Now ever’body calls’ ‘im ‘Gator.”
“Very nice of y’all ta call, Huck. We can’t wait ta see that boy tomorrow. Thank yer mom fer putting ‘im up.”
“I was so happy we was tagether agin.”
More bowling team members show up, both guys and girls (some now the boys’ girlfriends). The tension of my dueling boyfriends has evaporated. All the teens are upstairs on the third floor. We play and everyone sings to the popular songs we all know. There’s no heavy metal, glitter, drug or what is called FM rock in Iowa. We even do the Archies’ ‘Sugar, Sugar.’
No one seems to notice that Jack and I are happily ensnared with each other. We both relax and are ourselves.
Jack asks if I wanted to speak with Mummy, as he needs to call and wish them Merry Christmas.
“Good time to ask their permission to stay here,” I note.
“No to Deerfield,” he jokes.
After I wish them holiday greetings, I get the moms to discuss plans with the Stones for Jack to move here. It goes well. They really trust me, after all the times I defended Jack from haters.
“If Jack and Tim both have to be in exile until they are eighteen, why not let them be together?” Mr. Stone concludes. “We will of course send the same monthly support allowance as Tim’s father has been sending.”
Mummy promises to send important literature, so we wouldn’t become uncultured in the wasteland.
“It’s called the heartland, Mummy.”
They insist on coming to visit. The moms invite them to stay at the Hyland House. The Stones demure, “We wouldn’t want to impose. You already are raising our baby boy. And to be honest, at our age, it’s so much easier to stay at a hotel.”
Jack and I run upstairs, hand-in-hand.
“I get to stay and go to Ames High,” he announces proudly. “I’ll be a Cyclone.”
Although that was our school nickname, no one ever calls themselves that.
As everyone laughs, Angie asks, “So Mummy approves?”
Jack turns red. “Mother and Father are coming to visit. They will be pleased if we perform for them. What should we choose to do.”
“Something from the thirties or fifties?” I suggest. “We usually did show tunes before dinner in Miami,” I explain.
“How about something from ‘The Music Man,’ to welcome them, right here in River City,” Amy suggests.
Angie runs down and gets the show’s album from the moms. After listening to all the tunes, we chose ’76 Trombones,’ ‘Ya Got Trouble, (Right Here in River City),’ ‘Gary, Indiana’, ‘Iowa Stubborn’, and ending with ‘Til There was You.’
‘Gator and Noah promised to revive Bunny as local lore. I call the chorus people from Little Prairie and ask them to come over to work on the songs. Jack and I will double up as the Music Man. The twins will be the romantic heroines. We practice by singing to the record sound track, until the moms kick everyone out at ten o’clock.
When it was just the six of us, the moms sit us down to lay out ground rules.
“First,” Molly asked, “Do you girls want the boys to move down to the second floor.”
“If they are going to be doing it all the time.”
“Well, you’re all teenagers. We don’t condone any of you having sex. But you’re seventeen. We don’t want to know about your sex lives.”
“As long as they’re not sexist pigs, they can stay up on the third with us.” Angie decides.
“Y’all already come in unannounced in the mornin’ and pull our covers off to check. I doubt you can embarrass us anymore than that.”
“As I said, we don’t wanna know. Sounds fine, though.”
Both Jack and I make faces at the sex police girls.
After we get into bed that night, both girls come and sit at the end of our bed.
“Jist so’s ya knows, we’s always slept tagether,” Angie announces.
“Ya mean ya wants all four o’us sleepin’ tagether?” Jack looks worried.
“Don’tcha worry, sweet pea, ya kin have Andy all ta yerself. We jist wants ya ta know we don’ts thinks its weird.”
“Should we be comin’ in the mornin’ and checkin on ya’s?” I joke.
They throw our pillows at us and flounce out of the bedroom.
Turning out the light, we lay there whispering about everything until we fall asleep. In the morning we wake up early. Jack insists on knowing what Tommy and I did in the car before he left. It makes him so horny, we run to the bathroom, lock the door and fuck each other in the shower.
Later the girls complain that the hot water ran out before they finished showering. The moms agree to purchase a new water heater, accepting that it’s needed for four showers each morning. We don’t correct them that it will only be three showers. The extra support money means the budget will not be so tight. I’m remiss in not telling the moms that Jack is much more high maintenance than me. They seem to already understand that.
The remainder of Christmas vacation goes by quickly. The upcoming Music Man performance has our full posse of bowling team and chorus often at the house. Nightly dinners for 15 to 20 teenagers is eating into the added support money. Mom is in her element, which pleases Molly. I start calling her Moms Mabley, to which she replies I have discovered her secret ambition to appear on the ‘chitlin’ circuit.’ It shocks me to find out Mom has a sense of humor. It isn’t that Dad oppressed her, more that she suppresses herself.
The Stones breeze into Ames just before New Year’s Eve. They take the six of us out to dinner. They are staying at the Ames Hotel with a two bedroom suite. Jack and I promise we’ll spend the night with them. The thought of sharing a bathroom with sixty-year-olds grosses us out. The ‘Music Man’ skit is on for New Year’s Eve. We are excited to again be performing for them. I remember the ‘Oklahoma’ skit we did in their living room, with the D&D nerds and Dave as dancers. This year’s skit promises to be much more polished, although I love doing impromptu performances.
The next day, the moms host a luncheon for the Stones, after which all the kids who are performing that night come by to meet the honored guests.
“Johnny, you have so many new friends here. They all seem so nice and clean, and polite.”
“And all white,” Jack adds.
“Well, it is the heartland.” Mummy concedes. “Have you been going to Church?”
Jack gets all red and admits, “Yes, I’m in the choir.”
“Oh, Father Frank will be pleased.”
“I doubt it,” I interjects.
“It’s a Baptist church.” Jack confesses.
“Oh, dear,” Mummy is aghast. “Did those monks ruin you for Catholic services?”
“They didn’t help. And Father Frank made me leave Miami thinking I’m a criminal.”
“We saw what happened to Tim. We had to protect you.”
“His name is now Andy, and he protects me much better that anyone.”
“We love Tim like our own.”
“Oh, Mummy. I’m so happy here. I hated Switzerland. I had to escape, just as Andy had to escape the juvenile justice system. I had a BankAmericard. He had to hide in the Everglades for four months.”
“Oh, dear. All by himself?”
Jack can’t help himself. “He got a new boyfriend to replace me.”
“That’s not true, Jack,” I interrupt. “The juvenile prison messed me up. I no longer could feel you in my heart.”
“It’s fine now,” Jack’s sense of ownership rears its ugly head.
“How about a tour of the local ‘sights?” I offer as penance for jilting Jack.
“No farms, please,” Mr. Stone requests.
“Your father, Johnny, is allergic to cows. He spent many summers at the family farm, riding cows in to be milked,” Mummy explains.
“Sounds fun,” Jack kids his father.
“Not when you have to muck out the barn every morning.”
“Ew,” we both exclaim.
“Iowa State University is just around the corner, where my moms teach and take classes. I also want to show Jack our high school where he starts next week. It’s on the other side of the University.”
The twins look antsy. “Why don’t you both come and give us a tour? I’ve only been here a few months. You grew up here,” I suggest.
The highlight of the tour is the limo that the Stones arranged for their visit. The twins had only seen limos in the movies. Every time they see one of their friends, we open the sun roof so they could stand up and wave. It was a nice sunny day but really too cold for sun roofs. Mummy declares that the twins are the cutest young ladies. Her definition of ladies doesn’t jibe with my knowledge of the twins.
We walk into the Iowa State football stadium and narrate our experience as the marching band’s fight squad. The Stones nod when we explain how we were banned for playing rock n roll. The twins like being cast as ‘bad girls.”
Next we park at Ames High (shoots low). It is pretty generic. I show off the football stadium, explaining that our friend ‘Gator is the team captain.
“Not many alligators in Iowa,” Mr. Stone notes.
“His name is Brock. My first day we got in an argument and arm wrestled to see who is toughest. He won. I started calling him ‘Gator because he reminded me of the story Tommy tells about a huge alligator that chased us in the Everglades. We called it ‘Gatorsaurus.”
Thinking of Tommy makes me gulp. I have to blink away tears. Jack is right on it, giving me a hug right on the football field.
“Was Tommy your new boyfriend?” Mummy always spots teen drama.
“He’s just a kid. Jack exaggerates. I never stopped being his boyfriend. Tommy and I just had adventures. We call each other Tom & Huck. He’s really fun for a fifteen-year old.”
I miss him already. That turns on the tear faucet. I promise myself I’d call him that night.
“Oh, Tim. Was it really hard for you?”
“He had a nervous breakdown when he got here.” Jack defends me.
“Well, I’m sure it’s nice to be with your mother again.” Mummy’s manners are impeccable.
“Wanna see where we all hang out?” I change the attention away from my fragile soul.
We drive to the Pizza Pit. My boss is impressed that a limo has come to the Pit. He provides curb service, with sample slices. We order several larges to bring to the house. While awaiting our order, I ask the Stones about Dad and Susan’s wedding. Apparently it was perfect, no cherry bombs in the wedding cake. It was on a dazzling day in June, with the service conducted at the Stone’s by Father Joseph, assisted by Father Frank. Over two hundred guests attended the reception. People asked about me and were told I was still recuperating from the band’s fiasco. The Antonio’s and Lombardi’s attended, just not Michael or Jenna.
“Thank you for being so nice to my parents.’
“Not at all, Tim. We consider you family,” Mr. Stone remarks.
Although I was sad that I missed it, having Jack more than makes up for all my travails.
We arrive home with enough pizza to satisfy all the teenagers who re part of ‘The Music Man’ revue.
The adults sit drinking while we prepare everyone upstairs. Our English teacher, Mrs. McCarthy, has been invited to attend, pleased that we’re still interested in prairie culture, even if school is on holiday. Everyone dressed ‘country’ with the boys in colorful cowboy shirts and the girls in gingham, as worn at the Christmas Assembly.
I ask Mom if she would oversee the recorded music. She’s pleased to be part of the show, manning the phonograph. She keys up the Overture as we troop down the stairs to take our places. The chorus remains standing on the stairs as we sing to the recorded music.
We started with ‘Iowa Stubborn’
“Oh, there’s nothing halfway
About the Iowa way to treat you,
When we treat you
Which we may not do at all.
There’s an Iowa kind of special
We’ve never been without.
That we recall.
We can be cold
As our falling thermometers in December
If you ask about our weather in July.
And we’re so by God stubborn
We could stand touchin’ noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye.
But what the heck, you’re welcome,
Music: Meredith Willson
Lyrics: Meredith Willson
That segue lead us into ‘Trouble’
“Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in River City.
Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital “T”
That rhymes with “P”
And that stands for Pool,
We’ve surely got trouble!
Right here in River City,
Gotta figger out a way
To keep the young ones moral after school!
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble…”
Meredith Wilson lyrics
Bunny continues his antics, running around looking distressed and lifting his front hoof to his head. We set up for the romantic double duet between us and the twins, ‘Til There Was You’
“There were bells on the hill
But I never heard them ringing,
No, I never heard them at all
Till there was you.
There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging
No, I never saw them at all
Till there was you.
And there was music,
And there were wonderful roses,
They tell me,
In sweet fragrant meadows of dawn, and dew.
There was love all around
But I never heard it singing
No, I never heard it at all
Till there was you!
Music: Meredith Willson
Lyrics: Meredith Willson
All four of us end the song holding hands.
Bunny next leads the chorus down the stairs, as we break into ’76 Trombones.’
“Seventy six trombones led the big parade,
With a hundred & ten cornets close at hand.
They were followed by rows and rows,
Of the finest virtuosos,
The cream of every famous band.”
Music: Meredith Willson
Lyrics: Meredith Willson
With a cymbal crash, we all bow to the audience of five adults. They jump up, applauding and hugging the four leads. Mrs. McCarthy, relieved we hadn’t played any heavy metal, insists we perform for a school assembly. The Stones praise the improvement in our production aesthetics.
Mom announces that pizza is served. Hungry teenagers devour every slice. A second order is phoned in, My manager was so bedazzled by the limo that he gives me the rest of vacation off, so I could be with who he calls my rich in-laws.
When we get back, ‘Gator is still basking in his virtuoso horse performance’s glory.
“There’s a New Year’s team party tonight. Everyone’s invited.”
He gives me the address after we say we had to go out with Jack’s parents and the other adults. The chorus was very skittish about going to what they assumed has to be an orgy. I tell them we’ll call once we got there later, if it is fun .
Dinner for the eight of us, four parents and four teenagers, is a production. The fancy French restaurant has 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 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 chant of “Gay sex,” starts up again.
My mind goes instantly back to that motel room in Georgia, 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’m grabbed from behind, trapping my arms. I reach down 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, one guy going at my ass, the three others masturbating and spitting on 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.
I wake up next, strapped to a hospital bed. Jack is hovering, looking fearful. The girls are crying. They all 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’m 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.
“Just 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.”
“Are you hurt?” Mom is solicitous.
“They never landed a blow. It’s my screwed up head again. Jist like last times. I passed out after t’was all over.”
I look for Jace, but he isn’t there. I ask my heart where he was. He isn’t 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 can 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 the going berserk business.
I wake up cuddled with Jack. Jace still isn’t with me. I start to tear-up. I realize that since Jace hadn’t been with me in that motel room, my flashback last night is the first time he experienced the rape. I see why he’s so freaked out. There were no shrinks for ghosts. Maybe we could work on it together. 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 I had him locked out of my heart last fall. My flashback last night was the first time he experienced it. I was raped.”
“What,” he’s 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 keeps him from asking more details. I know I have to go into the whole mess to be over it. Dr. Kamikaze will be able to help me. I’m glad that I told it to Jack first.
It’s 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 on all o’ ‘em.”
“Shut up, Andy,”
I know I’m 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 felt 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 Hillybilly Brother.”
I hear him yell to Auntie Em to wait while he talks with me.
“We’s having Christmas on New Years, Huck. 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.”
“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 again.
“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 after 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’s no longer a guest.
“You going to explain yourselves?”
“I told you. It was just a fight. I got sick afterward. 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 are our friends, or were our friends.”
“You know what caused the fight?”
They don’t 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 trs to shut ‘Gator up. But he isn’t going to lie.
“Well, I can 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 just 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.”
“You will remember there will be no fighting while you live here.”
“You’d kick me out?” I whine.
“Never, but do it again. 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 climb – 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 her interrogation.
“Seems like I did everything purfect, even taking unjust punishment fer doin’ right.”
“Language,” Molly interjects. Now I had two Muller-Castles on my case. I’m downright giddy from all the protection.
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.
“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’d seen.
“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 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 any redneck asshole who wants to fuck with Jack or me will now think twice.”
“After last night, anyone who fucks with you will answer to the whole football team. They’s sworn ta defend ya if need be, but none thinks ya needs the help.”
“I thinks yer the only friend I has on the team.”
“No way after last night. Ya earned tons o’ respect. They love 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 the 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 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 ta 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 that his vocabulary has improved.
“Yeah. I’m devising that the bowlin’ team will be mandatory, so those boys gots to find a girl to partner with, not just some comfort girl cheerleader ta take advantage of.”
“Yeah. Let’s go bowling taday.”
Good idea, except I’m on restriction and can’t go. Jack fills in as Angie’s partner.
I use the time alone to write a new song:
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.
At dinner, Jack asks the moms if he can sleep on the second floor with me.
“No hanky panky, boys,” Molly warns us.
In bed together, I tell Jack we wouldn’t fool around, out of respect for the moms, who sleep across the hall.
“I 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 interviews at its premiere in France. He did lots of interviews about me. When asked specifics about 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 jam on Floyd riffs and leads, hitting it off instantly. Sid Barrett is in attendance, although no longer in the band. When Gilmore and Jack are jamming, Sid joins in, singing gibberish plus making funny noises. Jack shows them our Monkey Song. All three are jumping around the stage during sound check. Even though the band members wae all in their twenties, Jack feels fully comfortable playing with them. With him and Gilmore trading leads and doing riffs from different Floyd songs, it really gets Barrett going. When they go on stage, Jack is introduced as an additional guitarist and singer. Then Gilmore announces that Sid has joined them as a percussionist. The roar in the bull ring went on for at least a minute.
“I never before felt that rush of everyone’s enthusiasm pouring down on me on stage.”
“Yeah, 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.”
“It 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 loved showing off.”
“Andy shows up backstage to gather me. He is my guardian for the rest of Cannes. He invites the band including Sid to come back to Jackie O’s yacht. The press finds out we’re jammin’ for Jackie O and Andy. All those photos of me making out with Andy get 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 threaten to shake up his shitbag, which he thought is 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 is 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 use sex to dominate the abusers. He refuses to believe I didn’t 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’s 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 dictates who is preyed upon and who are the predators. Showing that he learned from the several fights we had with haters, Jack fends 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 isn’t hassled anymore. That group’s neutrality about the sexual abuse going on around them is a prime lesson on Swiss amorality – they don’t care what their neighbors do as long as it doesn’t affect themselves. A Swiss attitude goes back way before 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 where 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 when I wasn’t hard.”
“You’re fine now.”
I don’t 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 an A+ in English from Mrs. McCarthy. I suspect she is trying to win approval from the moms due to some unconscious homoerotic yearning. She’s 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 announcs.”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 twice at ‘im.”
“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 can’t sleep over. He always makes 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 doesn’t keep up with his highly energetic comings and goings. Angie is his bowling partner, yet he pays as much attention to Amy as 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, like how his posse looks up to him as leader and defender. He is Prince Hal or maybe my Falstaff. Much that I disdain Shakespeare, I’m reminded that his portrayals are as astute now 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 is 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, ‘Gator, not you) how to work equally with their girl partners. That’s the way to keep 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 out 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 the same reception here.”
“There will always be haters. We look for friends from the kids with open hearts.”
“I hope you find real acceptance, but I don’t recommend kissing in public to make yourself popular.”
“How about we just hold hands, just like other couples?”
“Let’s see how that goes. Anyway, I want to get more organized this year.”
Mom took 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 carefree teenagers. 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’ll be together the whole day. Jack asks to join the bowling team, stating his average was 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 played ‘Don’t Fuck with Me,” to the girls and moms. It is instantly banned at Hyland House.
It’s 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, after Aaron refuses to attend synagogue until their parents accept their relationship. Once he starts attending mass with Paul, his family and 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’re too busy to get into trouble, except with each other. We tell Jace we didn’t want to know those details.
We started 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 too possessive. I’m not complaining with Tommy gone, just not forgotten.
“How’s ‘bout the twins? I 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’s 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 good ol’ boy dumb persona.”
We laugh, tucked in with each other in a single bed. I’m soon dreaming of ‘Gator’s wedding to the twins. It’s a great reception, followed by his arrest for bigamy.