Eighteen – Chapter 13

Having tied up the locations for the upcoming ‘Animal House’ shoot, the last detail was to arrange lodging for the cast and crew. Landis was a stickler about getting all of us to bond. Having everyone stay in the same place was his idea of forced camaraderie. Our new friends at Phi Psi  had recommend we check out the Rodeway Inn in Springfield. We pulled in and took a double room. The clerk relaxed when we asked for twin beds. We met with the Inn’s manager, who was pleased to reserve a block of rooms for the month of February. It was their slow season. He gave us a great rate for the rooms and upgraded us the next two nights. I made sure that Miller’s single room was far from ours. Checking out the bar, we spotted a piano and mic, for more bonding at the end of each day’s shoot. Cruising Springfield assured us that there was little to distract the crew, beyond the local pizza parlor that I quickly spotted. The Rodeway’s restaurant was adequate to keep us going. We ended up back at Phi Psi, arriving with two cases of Olympia beer, which was cheered. Later we learned it was secretly disdained as a Washington State brew. The boys preferred Anchor Steam, a Frisco local brew. Oregonians weren’t sure which way the wind blew, stuck in the middle of two cultures. I counted more Pendleton flannels than tie-dyed shirts. I brought in my SG and amp to entertain the boys. Trevor was my adoring fan. He got kidded, loudly proclaiming his masculinity. After two brews, he was sitting at my feet, staring intently up at me, as I played Deadhead songs.

“Anyone want to get up here with me and sing? I usually know your favorite songs,” I claimed.

The older frat boys weren’t shy, glad to participate. We mostly did songs everyone knew. I turned it into a sing along, mostly early 70’s rock anthems – Fleetwood Mac, even Boston.

“No one into Glitter?” I asked, hitting the intro to ‘All the Young Dudes.’ I got booed, too close for comfort. Trevor turned bright red.

“Com’n up here, Trevor. I know you wanna sing,” I encouraged him. He was mortified. “How about some blues? Janis Joplin?”

“I can do ‘Bobby McGee,’” he admitted. I gulped. It was too close for my comfort, thinking about Tommy.

“Well, get up here.” I started playing the main chords. I remembered the proper words, not my Sawgrass Campground version.

Halfway through the song, Trevor pulled a harmonica out of his pocket, while I kept singing

‘I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna

And was playing soft

While Bobby sang the blues’

Songwriters: FRED FOSTER, FRED L FOSTER, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

When I sang ‘Holdin’ Bobby’s body next to mine,’ Trevor started to shake and looked like he’d pass out. I stopped playing guitar and put an arm around him. We finished singing without accompaniment. The frat boys were too stunned to cheer us.

“I guess that’ll havta do,” I announced. The boys clapped and Trevor tried to pull away from me, to run back into the closet. I wouldn’t let him go, until the audience finished clapping.

Landis got up.

“Thanks for making us welcome to Eugene. We were a little put off by the clean-cut image over at Oregon State, but you boys made us feel at home. I hope you’ll consider being part of the production. We’re looking for students who know how to party, as well as those who look like they haven’t a clue.”

The Phi Psi’s were enthusiastic to learn they were needed as extras in a movie.

I walked Trevor outside and we sat on the front steps of the abandoned fraternity next door.

We talked awhile without mentioning his meltdown in front of his whole fraternity.

“How do you feel about what happened this afternoon?”  I figured I might as well grab the bull by the horns.

“I’m just a freshman. It’s left me pretty shook up.”

“I’m a freshman, too. I think being the same age is part of our attraction to each other.”

“You really like me?”  he wasn’t being coy, just incredulous about what was happening.

“How can you doubt it. We had sex within an hour of meeting each other. Now, you pretty much let everyone know how you feel when we sang to each other.”

“It’s just so new for me.”

“You never had crushes in high school?”

“Never. I felt scandalized anytime I was attracted to a guy. I trained myself to not think about it.”

“Is there a gay support group on campus?”

“Yeah, but everyone would know if I went.”

“Seems like they’re going to know anyway. Why are you afraid of what others think?”

“I don’t want to be hated.”

I realized I knew nothing about him, except that he wanted me, badly.

“Have you had girlfriends?”

“I don’t even have friends. Being in a frat is the first time I’ve felt normal.”

“Nobody’s totally normal. Let’s just act like being boyfriends is natural.”

“You’ll be my boyfriend?” He was so cute. It was breaking my heart.  Easy sex never turns out that way.

“I’m going to be here all next month. We’ll find out if we’re really boyfriends.”

He started crying. I hugged him while he shook.  I had to slow it down.

“You have to enjoy it, not be so overwhelmed. We’re the same age, but I’ve been out since I was fourteen. You’ll get over being so confused by letting out your feelings, as you begin to feel comfortable.”

I told him the story of how Joey supposedly molested me and, then set me up with girls to make me feel normal.

“How many guys have you been with?” he needed to know.

I related my entire sex history. My high school years impressed him that I genuinely loved anyone I went with. I excluded the hitchhiking trauma in Alabama. I told him I had had girlfriends but didn’t provide details. It was the sluttiness in the last few months that threw him off, especially Jake, at 42.

“I’ve never been with anyone, until you today. How can I ever satisfy you?”

He felt he was a silly virgin. I looked at him for the first time. He was not some twink boy. His good looks started with the seriousness in his eyes. His dark hair and a strong chin exuded confidence. He was feeling dismayed, but there was a strength in his expression that attracted me. He doubted me because I was more experienced. He’d catch up, if I gave him the chance. In the back of my mind, I liked feeling this way; it pushed Jake into a less serious place. Oh, how easily I was replacing him. The key for Trevor and me was whether he could accept my penchant for loving more than one person at a time. I grabbed the bull by the horns.

“What’s different about me is I can and seem to need to love and be loved by more than one person at a time. Can you deal with that?”

“I can’t say but I sure wanna try. Can I come home with you tonight?”

My dick knew the answer. I’d have to get a separate room. Landis would laugh and tell me I used Trevor to get over being ignored in San Francisco.

“You gonna tell your frat friends?”

“If they ask.”

“Then okay. I really want you to be with me tonight.”

As I expected, Landis was understanding. “Oh, to be eighteen again,” he moaned. “That boy is a virgin, right? You better go easy on him. We go back to LA in a couple of days.”

I promised to play nice. “Do I need to get Sister Mary Boom Boom’s approval?” We laughed.

Trevor rode on my lap to the Rodeway Inn. I had to pay for a separate room. I got the one with the biggest bed. The clerk mumbled, “I knew it.” He said it was the honeymoon suite. Trevor was totally mortified as I led him to the elevator. The bulge in his jeans indicated he would get over any diffidence. As soon as the elevator door closed, I made my move. The second our lips touched, he shook and a tell-tale wet stain spread across the front of his jeans. He was just like a fourteen-year-old Tommy. I tried not to laugh He started crying. I used my ‘lick to his lips’ move to reassure him. I was afraid he would cum again as he pressed himself to me. The elevator stopped and the door opened on a shocked older couple. We instantly fell apart.

“Going up?” I asked.

“No,” the husband quickly answered.

I pushed the close-door button. Trevor refused to return to my arms. “Wait until the room,” he whispered.

I licked his top lip again. He instantly came. I worried he’d be done before we got into the room.

It wasn’t an issue. Once behind closed doors, I pulled down his jeans. He remained ready to go, if just a bit sticky. I licked the sweet jizz from his lower abdomen. He started to shake again, ready to go off a third time. I pulled away and sat behind him on the bed. I massaged his shoulders and back, while he shivered, finally calming down without cumming. He relaxed and leaned back into my arms.

“Maybe we should talk,” I suggested.

He shook his head, pushing back into my arms.

“I don’t wanna exhaust your sperm bank before I even get off,” I complained. “I’m pre-cumming like a mother-fucker.”

He laughed, turning around so we sat facing each other with our legs wrapped behind each other’s butts. He attacked my jeans, giggling when he pulled them and my Out and About briefs down. When my dick popped up, glistening from the pre-cum, he looked panicked by its size.

“It’s already been inside you once,” I reminded him. He was bug-eyed  and impressed that he had easily handled the size of it.

Let’s do it again,” he suggested. That thought made him geyser again, the third time. I leaned over and took his pulsing dick into my mouth. I realized he had a lifetime of jizz built up, ready to tell the world, ‘here I am.” I didn’t need to count how many times he got off. He fell backward, pulling me with him as his dick continued to go off down my throat.  Once the pulsing stopped, I kept the depleted shaft in my mouth, cleaning it with my tongue, like a cat lapping milk. I reached up and pinched his hard as pebbles nipples, making him squirm from the pain and stimulation. The tip of his dick was knocking against my tonsils, as he jerked. His legs wrapped around my back, pulling me off his dick. He wanted to be kissed. I scooted up and we frenched intensely. I hooked my arms under his knees, lifting his butt off the bed.  My tongue was thrusting into his mouth, rolled up like a taquito. His tongue wrapped around it and squeezed as I thrust. He groaned every time it pulled back and moaned as it thrust inward again. I didn’t need to be told what he really wanted. I started rocking our bodies in synch with my french kissing.

“Fuck me. Fuck me,” he begged.

Remembering how I handled Tommy’s first time, which we called panther fucking, I stuck just the tip of my dick into his ass. He grabbed it with his anal lips and squeezed in sync with my tongue thrusts. His breathing was ragged and wheezing. He started to shake, about to cum. I pulled back and rotated so he was on top of me, his straining dick at the lips of my asshole. He was stunned for a second and his breathing returned to normal. I pulled him fully inside me.

“Sweet, Jesus,” he swore, suddenly doing what he subconsciously needed. He didn’t need lessons. He was thrusting like a bull on a young heifer. We rocked back and forth on the honeymoon bed. Once his breathing became ragged again, I rolled him backwards, expelling his dick and sticking mine just inside his anal lips.

“Holy, shit,” he knew he wanted to be fucked as much as he needed to fuck me. He grabbed my butt cheeks, pulling me fully inside. He grunted at my size but didn’t slow down squeezing me as I thrust, only complaining as I pulled back. He was so good at this double fucking that I forgot to hold back and realized I had gone far past the point of no return. I doubled the speed of my thrusts, then fully inside, I held myself rigid without breathing. After ten seconds a first blast erupted inside Trevor.  I pulled out, my dick squirting everywhere. Rolling back, I impaled myself on his straining dick. The pulses of my orgasm inspired him to his orgasm deep inside me. I continued to spray him and the bedspread. He had cum all over his face and in his hair,  with his head thrown back as he emptied himself inside of me. I had instinctually known he would be a good top and bottom. I wanted badly to kiss, but had to wait until his orgasm was done. We lay there in a heap, covered in cum and kissing like mad. We had gone at it for over an hour.

“Oh, my god,” he finally could speak, cuddling up next to me. “I never imagined it could be that good.”

“What? Fucking or being fucked?”

“Both. It’s just total fucking. I want you so much. And, I want you to want me so much. Oh, my god.”

It was Revelations, without having to go through the Rapture or follow the strictures of Romans I & II.

I pulled him into the shower, soaping him up and rinsing him down. His breathing was still rapid. I turned him around and licked his asshole clean.  I felt him trying to suck my entire head into his butt. I quickly substituted my dick. He held onto the faucets while I pumped him with the hot water running over both of us. He was so relaxed that I finally just came, not caring that he wasn’t ready again. He erupted spontaneously, as I was spasming out in his ass. This time he washed me, mounting me from behind, and then cleaning me up after he was done. I love hotel showers – unlimited hot water. We crawled back into bed. He was done but wanted to talk.

“Don’t expect it to always be so intense,” I schooled him, as we calmed down.

He looked sad, thinking his first time was never going to get better.

“Every time should be unique. Don’t rate yourself. I gave a 72-year-old a hand job, ‘cause I felt sorry for him. Just a helping hand. He gave up paying for it with prostitutes after that. He couldn’t stand doing it with anyone who didn’t care.”

“You are so nice. Should I be jealous?”

“It was just sympathy sex. And, don’t be jealous. My love life is complicated. You’re fresh news. I needed that.”

“Do you love me?” Oh, my god.

“Of course, but I love people too easily. Are you possessive and demanding?”

“I’ve never loved anyone… before.”

He was a goner. I’d promised myself that I’d do my best to love him back. The joys of being eighteen – the future is unlimited – responsibility always sneaks up on you.

“Will you tell your boyfriends?” he asked. Was he testing me? Teasing me? Or, was he just being innocent. Why not?

“Well, Jack’s on the East Coast in our dorm room. No calls after ten. But Jake’s in LA. I should call him anyway.”

“Let me listen.”

“Okay, but if it goes well, you can speak with him, too.” Trevor’s eyes widened.

“Hey, Jake. I’m in Eugene. Miss me?”

“I figured you fell into the sewers of gay Frisco, never to return.”

“Sounds like you’ve missed me.”

“You are such a tease. How’s the trip going.”

“More exciting than I expected. The queens of San Francisco found me boring, but Oregon has been great.”

“Did you go to Reed?”

“Yeah. I tripped on mushrooms. Landis rejected it as too hippie. We found the perfect location in Eugene.”

“At Oregon State?”

“Naw. Oregon University. Not so clean-cut.”

“Did you get to perform for the boys?”

“Yeah. We did a sing along.”

“I’ll bet they loved you.”

“Well, just one, really.”

“Oh, found someone new. Should I be jealous.”

“Yeah. His name is Trevor. No need to be jealous. He’s my age.”

“Oh, you like my maturity. Not letting me out to pasture yet.”

“You want to talk with him? He’s right here.”

“You passing him around?”

“No, he wants to know you, that I’m not cheating on you.”

“I thought we were cheating on Jack.”

“That’s another story. Trevor just lost his virginity. He’s full of questions.”

“And, I’m the answer man?”

“He’s really sweet, but love confuses him.”

“Ah, love at first sight.”

“No, more like love at first fuck.”

Trevor grabbed the phone. I liked that.

“Hi. And I fucked him, too.”

“Good for you,” Jake knew how to handle virgins. “Will I get him back, now that you’re dominating him?”

Trevor laughed. “Actually, he fucked me a lot. I can’t stop loving him.”

“It seems to work that way.”

“You’re not jealous?”

“I’m the one  who he cheats with on his roommate. I miss him but I’m happy for him. You sound nice, if a little inexperienced. Next time, don’t fall in love so quickly.”

“It’s my first time. I don’t even have friends.”

“That’s another problem. But, Tim is good to love. You’ll find friends appreciate you more if you’re not a virgin. How did you meet Tim?”

“He came to our fraternity. They’re going to use us in the movie.”

“If you’re in a frat, you must have friends.”

“Not real friends. I didn’t even know I was gay.”

“Tim tends to bring that out.”

“You’re nice.” He handed me back the phone.

“You going to tell your girlfriend, Joan, too?”

“You’re full of advice. Maybe. I haven’t seen her since we decided to go out.”

“When do I get to see you again? I have needs, too.”

“I like that. We’re pretty done up here. The rest of the crew arrives in the morning. We just have to make sure they’re on board with our decisions. I’ll be back at the end of the week.”

“Anna’s?”

“I love that place. How about Mongolian Barbecue?”

“It’s a date. I love you, Tim. Don’t let me slow you down.”

“I love you, too. I’ll be back soon.”

As soon as I hung up, Trevor wrapped himself around me.  At first I worried he was horny again but he was just being affectionate, making sure I knew he still loved me.

We lay in bed and talked all night. He had grown up in Astoria. His father was a Baptist minister. His parents expected him to toe the line. His older brother was rebellious and fought with his father, finally getting kicked out. His dad never worried about Trevor who never caused problems and was an obedient member of the Church’s youth group. No one ever took him seriously, just glad he wasn’t like his brother. He had a romantic streak, telling me all about Astoria,  where the Columbia River runs into the Pacific. It sounded nice. Pretty soon I drifted into sleep. I woke up early, as usual, with Trevor wrapped around me..

It had been two days since I had slept with anyone. It felt good.

I went to the restaurant and had breakfast. Landis joined me. The crew was arriving that morning, driving from Portland in a rental car.

Where’s that boy?” he asked.

“Oh, Trevor? He’s still asleep.”

“You better take him back to school,” John was acting paternal, tossing me the keys to the Roadster. “And best not to advertise to the crew that he’s your boyfriend. Miller especially may squawk.”

“Right. Thanks, Dad.”

Landis shook his head and smiled.   He was my prince, too.

I woke Trevor with a friendly kiss. He was in shock until he realized it was me. He panicked from being late to his morning classes. The freshman joys of eight o’clock classes. As we hurried back to Eugene, we chatted about both being freshman. He perked up from finding we had things in common. He joked about how clueless his roommate was. I told him the story of how Minehan had become our roommate.

“You can sneak into Harvard,” he was amazed.

“Only if you have the balls to try and not care if you get caught.”

“You sure he isn’t in love with you, like Jack was in high school.?”

“No way. He’s like my best friend. He freaks out when we get too close. The day he met us at the club, he mocked us for being gay, like all Harvard students.”

“He’s a redneck?”

“The Boston version – an Irish Catholic snapper.”

“I wanna go to Harvard.”

“It’s not worth it. Everyone’s so stuck up about how smart they are. it makes them stupid.”

I let him off near his classroom. He gave me a chaste kiss, winking to let me know he was saving himself for later.

On the way back, I stopped and got Landis his donut and coffee. We had a busy day of work ahead. He was already on the phone, dealing with production details in LA. The crew was due to arrive by lunch. He took a break to eat his donut.

“The suits want to cut the budget,” he complained.

“You want me to call Jay in Miami? He loves breach of contract.”

Landis looked at me and shook his head. “Maybe you should be director.”

“No way. You’re the best director in Hollywood. Remember?”

He calmed down. “Make sure Jay has the production contracts.  I’ll deal with the suits. We may need PJ in New York to shop the film around, or at least get out the word that Universal is being difficult.”

I loved that he actually listened to me.  No suit was going to give an 18 year-old the time of day.”

“Better call Debbie after you’ve finished your donut. She needs to design the bed sheet togas.”

“Right.” He had his marching orders.

Everything was back on track by the time the crew arrived and had checked in. I ordered sandwiches and we gathered in Landis’s room, the suite. John went over the locations we had scouted and explained why we chose Oregon University, for its funky charm. The abandoned house could be turned into a shabby frat, with the adjacent frats supplying real student extras. Everything was to be done on the cheap.

“We chose the Rodeway,” John explained, ‘so everyone will be stuck with each other. You’ll either bond or go home. The actors will go by their character’s names  and the crew can choose frat names for themselves. I want the film to have authentic camaraderie.”

Miller piped up, “Looks like you two have already established your own gay camaraderie.” He pointed out that only one bed had been slept in.

Landis was perturbed.

“I have my own room,” I jumped to his defense. “I paid for it myself.”

“This is exactly what I don’t need on the set,” Landis was furious, turning on Miller. “You either get with the program or we’re having another boxing match.”

Everyone else laughed. Miller seemed stunned that his comment was offensive. I made a fist and punched my opposite hand for emphasis.  Miller jumped.

We drove to the frat location. The set people took pictures and made drawings. I looked around Phi Psi for Trevor, finally asking if he was there.

“Not until later. They have pledge duty tonight.”

I got the house phone number so I could call him. They gave me a big grin.

“You made our preacher’s boy come out of his shell,” the Phi Psi remarked, referring to Trevor’s harmonica skills.

I turned slightly red, “He has talent.”

They all laughed. I didn’t mean to out the boy.

Next we went to the Lake club and repeated the scouting. I went and got pizza for everyone. It was warm enough to eat outside, about ten yards away from where Trevor and I had first fucked. Sweet memories are made of these. Once back at the Rodeway, we reviewed the visits in Landis’s suite. Miller had been so quiet that Landis had to ask him what he thought. They discussed the need for several bedroom locations. I suggested we use the Phi Psi house, as it already was set up with student bedrooms. It meant going back to Eugene. I secretly smiled.

The Phi Psi brothers had their freshmen pledges lined up in the front room and were hazing them for their inadequacies. Trevor was on his knees,  asking for forgiveness, as we walked in. The house manager came over and we asked if we could use several bedrooms in the movie. The rest of our group went off to investigate possibilities. I stayed  downstairs, enjoying Trevor’s travails. Hazing supposedly was a bonding ritual. It seemed inane. All the freshmen were harassed in turn. Trevor had spotted me. He flashed me a big smile. I checked his jeans to see how happy he really was to see me. Once all the pledges were properly ‘punished,’ they were released. Trevor came running over.

“You came back?” he assumed I was there strictly for him.

“We’re checking bedrooms for location sites.”

“The bedrooms are all a mess,” he admitted.

“Perfect,” I laughed. “The whole crew is upstairs.”

Trevor dragged me next door to the porch of the abandoned frat next door. In a secluded corner we furiously made out.

“Can I come back with you tonight?” he breathlessly asked.

My bulge was the only answer he needed, as I nodded.

“Everybody was kidding me about you tonight.”

“Were they jealous?”

“They said you asked about me this afternoon.”

“I just said I liked your harmonica playing.”

“They said that wasn’t the only thing I was blowing.”

“Did we do that?”

“You’re so bad,” he laughed.

It was my cue to be Tom Petty.

Trevor was thrilled. He brought out his harmonica and blew blues to accompany me. We ended in big smiles, but were stunned when five guys clapped after our performance. Out of the closet and onto the porch. He was mortified.

“It’s okay, Trevor. We wondered if you had any personality, Mr. Preacher’s boy. You’ll survive.”

I assumed they were all Deadheads, so I started singing “A Touch of Gray.’

They all came over and sang with me while Trevor blew his harp. Pretty soon more brothers came over and finally the movie crew joined us. Trevor and I ended our mini-concert with ‘Bobby McGee.’ Everyone sang along.

 

 

It brought me back to the campground and Tommy. Now I was crying and more embarrassed than Trevor who kept blowing the harp.

“Fags,” Miller snorted.

Everyone turned on him.

“What’s wrong with you?” one of the older frat boys challenged Miller. “They’re just boys.”

Landis grabbed Miller and pulled him away to the van. I could hear John yelling but did not pick out his words. I loved having a defender.

Trevor started playing ‘Piece of My Heart.’ I sang

‘I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on

And take it, take another little piece of my heart now, baby

Break it, break another little bit of my heart now, darling

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Have a, have another little piece of my heart now, baby

You know you got it, if it makes you feel good, ooh yes it does, yeah’

Songwriters: JERRY RAGOVOY, BERT BERNS, ROBERT MCDONALD LIVINGSTON

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., THE ROYALTY NETWORK INC.

 

Trevor looked lovingly at me as I sang the lyrics to him. When we finished, instead of applause, there was a communal holding of breath, waiting to see what we were going to do next. I wanted to kiss him, but it would have to wait. I had promised John not to press any more gay buttons. I hugged Trevor.  Everyone sighed in relief, no screams of shock.

It was time to go back to the Rodeway. Trevor just followed me into the van. His frat buddies shook their heads and laughed. Trevor kept his head down. Nobody said much in the van.

“You guys are just going to sit here and say nothing. This is Trevor. He helped us find the club we were at this afternoon.

One of the set directors stepped up. “Hi, Trevor. I’m Pete. I do sets. Are you Tim’s boyfriend now?”

Miller snorted again, unable to contain himself.

“Jeez, Pete. We just met,” I jumped in.

“It’s okay,” Trevor was finding his feet. “I’ve never had a boyfriend. So, I don’t know.”

“What’s that kid you had at the boxing match gonna think?” Pete asked me.

“You had a fight?” Trevor was shocked.

“Ask Miller about that,” Pete suggested. The rest of the crew laughed.

“That’s Jack, my college roommate,” I answered the original question.

Nobody, especially Miller, wanted to learn any more. Trevor moved closer to me in the van.

When we got to the Inn, Landis told everyone to hang out at the bar. I sat down at the piano. Jace popped up to help me tinkle the keys.

“You boys have any more songs we should hear?” Pete asked.

“How about a protest song?” Trevor spoke up’

“Yeah. Bob Dylan.”

“Well, since you really wanna know about me. Anyone know this one?” Trevor blew the chords to a song I didn’t know. Jace helped me pick out the notes. Trevor started singing, ‘Sing if You’re Glad to be Gay.’

‘So sit back and watch as they close all our clubs

Arrest us for meeting and raid all our pubs

Make sure your boyfriend’s at least 21

So only your friends and your brothers get done

Lie to your workman’s, lie to your folks

Put down the queens and tell anti-queer jokes

Gay Lib’s ridiculous, join their laughter

‘The buggers are legal now, what more are they after?

Sing if you’re glad to be gay Sing if you’re happy that way’

Songwriters: THOMAS GILES ROBINSON

© CONEXION MEDIA GROUP, INC.

 

That stopped the conversation. I got up from the piano and hugged Trevor. He looked in my eyes for approval. Coming out is so powerful, especially to a friendly audience.

“Well, another one bites the dust,” I quipped to the crew. “If we’re obnoxious, it’s ‘cause we don’t know what to do.”

I sat back down and pounded out ‘Bangaladesh’ with Trevor joining me. The Beatles were more familiar. Everyone gathered around the piano and sang along.

 

 

Landis looked pleased. It was just what he wanted, although not exactly how he planned it. The mood became raucous, with Pete and the guys yelling, “Gay sex. Gay sex.”

It instantly brought back my PTSD.  I tried to leave, fainting after I stood up too fast. I woke up on my back with my head in Landis’s lap and Trevor in tears, standing above me.

I was okay.

“Sorry. I had a flashback to my senior year in Iowa. I’m really okay,” as I tried to stand up without much success. Landis picked me up and carried me to the honeymoon suite. He was a bit shocked at how garish it was, with the heart-shaped bed and ceiling mirrors. Trevor was visibly upset, not by the bed, but by my breakdown.

“What is going on?” Landis demanded once he was sure I was not damaged.

“I have PTSD. I get flashbacks.”

“And pass out?”

“Last time I knocked out two football players and put down three more who were trying to rape Jack.”

“At Harvard?”

“No. High School. Long story, but I had a shrink there. I thought I was cured. The cries of ‘Gay Sex’ were what the jocks were chanting before they attacked us.”

“You sure didn’t look like you could beat up anyone tonight.”

“Miller missed his chance,” I joked. “In Iowa, after the fight, it hit me. I threw up, passed out, came to and attacked my best friend, passed out again and woke up in the hospital.”

Trevor looked bereft.

“Come here, boyfriend,” he perked up. “I need company.”

That was Landis’s cue to leave.

Trevor and I were alone in the honeymoon suite. He was tentative at first, worried I’d relapse.

“Just don’t shout ‘Gay sex,’ when you’re horny.”

We fucked like rabbits for about an hour.  No one counted orgasms. Finally laying there exhausted, we started talking about ourselves. Someone had told Trevor that I was a rich bitch, living in New York City.

“That’s Jack. I’m strictly a hometown kid. Hanging out with football players, milking cows every morning and night, and singing in the Baptist Church choir.”

“You’re a Baptist, too,” Trevor was hopeful.

“Catholic, but my second mom and twin sisters are Baptist, so that’s where I attended.”

“I’m in the choir.”

“You know what they say about choir boys?”

“What?”

“Pure of heart but wild in the sack.”

We kissed for the longest time.  You know how that ended up.

In the morning, the crew looked hung over. Trevor and I were too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for them. We sat with Landis and Miller.

“No more flashbacks?” Landis asked.

“Just good ones,” I joked.. Trevor turned red.

“You have something to say Miller?” Landis prompted.

He turned to Trevor. “I’m sorry for being mean. You’re a nice kid.”

“It’s okay,” Trevor agreed. “I’m sure my fraternity brothers will say worse things, once you guys leave.”

“That reminds me, Tim,” Landis remembered. “You have to fly back today. Your lawyer friend showed up with contracts to be signed. He also wants to meet with Junior Bronfman.”

“Oh, crap. I never told him we were coming up here.”

“There’s a ticket for you at Western Airlines. You can fly out of Eugene. We need to leave after you eat.”

Trevor looked distraught, I grabbed his hand, under the table, and gave it a squeeze. We quickly finished our pancakes and ran back to the suite to pack. It took one minute, after which we passionately made out. Trevor came three times without any prompting. I lent him a fresh pair of jeans. He looked so longingly at my gay briefs that I gave him two pairs. We both laughed, but underneath, we were dreading our separation. Young love.

“I’ll come with,” he announced.

I shook my head. “I’ll be back in a month. Don’t threw away your college plans over a two-day crush.”

He started to cry.  I licked his tears and then his upper lip.  He was about to cum again. I took him in my mouth. I wasn’t going to give him another pair of jeans.

He was despondent all the way to the Eugene airport. Landis sat with us while I waited for boarding.

“Trevor,” Landis tried to cheer him up, “we need you on the crew, if only to sing and play harmonica.”

He laughed. “My frat brothers will make my life miserable if I get special attention. Just let me be one of the extras.”

“Extra with benefits,” I declared.

 

I found myself back at my desk by early afternoon. Jay had checked into the Ambassador Hotel in the mid-Wilshire district.  I called him.

“You know Bobby Kennedy was assassinated there?”

“Hi, Tim. How are you?”

“Better, now that I’m back at work. I failed to tell you I was on a location scouting trip in Oregon. I just got back.”

“You said you’re working 18 hours a day. I figured you’d be happy to see me.”

“I always am. Can you come up to Universal Studios, or do you want to meet there?”

“Tell me what you need to get done. Then we can get started.”

He needed to meet with Universal’s legal staff over production issues. He asked me to get Joan and Tom to meet him at my office before jointly meeting with Bronfman on their contract issues. Finally, he and Doug needed to meet with Otis and tie down his contract. It would be a busy couple of days. I suggested we have dinner with Jake Stern and discuss the terms of his work on the score. All these meetings should have been scheduled before he arrived. My being on a road trip meant we’d be scrambling. We agreed to first meet with the studio people to establish a good working relationship before any real negotiating. I got on the phone while he took a cab to Studio City. 

“Hi, boyfriend,” he greeted me, walking into Landis’s office which I had taken over. “Are you the Director now,” he pointed to the sign on the door.

“I’m the Great Pretender.”

“Please don’t sing that song.”

“No. I’m all work today. I did sing several times in Oregon. I’m now an official frat boy.”

“Who better to do a frat movie?”

“What are our marching orders?”

“We need to meet with the Universal Legal Department and go over the contracts we want to use with actors, musicians, and publishing houses.”

“I set up a dinner with the composer. You’ll like him. He’s an actual adult.”

“I guess your days as Max deBowser are over. You’ll get used to dealing with adults, like the legal department.”

“That’s your job.”

“You seem to need to control all aspects.”

“Just learning the business.”

“The latest 18-year-old movie mogul. I hear you’re in the Harvard Business Review.” 

“Really. I didn’t know it had been published.” I knew Seth would be pleased. I had totally forgotten him.

“Yeah. We got a check. Mike wasn’t happy we didn’t know about it.”

“Oh, well. Someone has to be in control of me. When we first started the band, I felt he was my substitute-dad.”

“He’s a great dad.”

“Let’s talk about the artists.”

“Joan Jett, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Otis Day and Doug Weston, your composer friend, Jake Stern, and then, all the actors not already signed, including extras. The production company will hire the crew. Everyone has to be under contract, even you.”

“You’ll be here for weeks.”

“No, my wife’s due soon. You and Landis will do the hiring. I’m here to get the paperwork straight, so all you’ll have to do is get signatures.”

“You’re boring me.”

“Good. Paperwork is boring. Wait until you need to fire someone or make them do their job. It’s all in how the paperwork is written.”

“Okay. Okay. Let’s go meet the suits.

A panel of three lawyers met us in their conference room.

I could tell they were not impressed with our team, an eighteen-year-old and a twenty-something barely out of law school. They passed a large stack of contract documents, each many pages long. Jay handed them our proposed contracts, none more than a single page each. The legal eagles snorted and only briefly perused the first one. Jay read through several of their’s, while they waited for our approval. Finally he slid their documents back to them.

“These contracts don’t meet our needs. Morals clauses, drug policies, dress codes, etc won’t work with the staff we plan to hire. Everyone will work on an ‘as needed’ basis and subject to ‘at will’ termination. All these potential causes for termination are redundant. We don’t need cause to fire someone.”

“Is that what they’re teaching in law school now?’ one of the suits sneered.

“Yes, but it is also standard practice now, even here in California.”

“I assume you’re licensed to practice law in California.”

“I’ve passed the bar in New York and California, as well as in Florida. Entertainment law is my specialty.”

That shut them up.

“Jesus,” the senior lawyer exclaimed, “we’re not going to war over a B movie for kids. Just accept our boiler plate forms.”

“I didn’t spend all this time creating modern contracts to give in to your outdated ones.”

They argued for several minutes before the suits gave up.

“You should review section IV in the production company contract about final control of the creative material. There should be no question on both sides on our control of the final editing product,” Jay warned them.

They shuffled the contracts and quickly read the article that gave Landis total control of the movie.

“There’s no way we’re giving up final cut to a young director.”

Jay turned to me, “How have your discussions with other studios been going? You told me Universal was threatening to pull the plug after tabloid reports about the main star.”

“Paramount loves use. We had a knockdown, dragged-out fight at United Artists but in the end I was declared the winner,” I stretched the truth, in true-Hollywood style.

The suits were in shock. “We need to take this to the executive board. How long are you in town?”

“I have another day of meetings with artists I represent. Landis will be back. I know he is just as adamant about total control. He can discuss your decision. I have to be back in  Miami before the end of the week. I work for Michael Antonio, as well my entertainment clients.”

Mike Sr.’s name got their attention. We weren’t some small town lawyers. It was already known that he was running for Miami Mayor.

The suits got up and left the room without saying goodbye. I was worried.

“We got their attention,” Jay reassured me. “They’d only be polite if they thought we had been bamboozled.”

No bamboozling allowed on our side, just the teenage Jay & Max team.

No time to celebrate, we next met with Edgar Jr. He knew me too well to be bamboozled.

“How did the legal department treat you,” he asked.

“They walked out when we demanded total control for Landis,” Jay answered before I had a chance to introduce him.

“Good for you,” Edgar, the creative guy, was on our side.

“Call your dad,” I suggested.

Edgar shook his head. “I can handle it.”

“We want you to sign Joan and Tom,” Jay put us all on a first-name basis.

“Yeah. Tim’s been bugging me. I can be their agent.’

“We already represent them,” Jay established the situation, “Tim says you’re creating a record label here at Universal.”

“I’ve decided to acquire established, smaller labels to create a group.”

“Don’t you want some successful artists of your own,” I piped up.

“Like Elton John? Of course.” 

“That wasn’t going to happen. You need up-and-comers, not someone who wants a big paycheck for his back catalog,” I advised.

“Jesus, kid. This is the big time. When did you grow big balls. What happened to your partner? I could at least talk to him.”

“Why? Because you both went to Collegiate? He’s in college. Like you, I don’t need four years of lectures to know what music is going to sell.”

Edgar and Jay both burst out laughing.

“I’ve learned not to underestimate you. What’s the whole story with Joan and Tom?”

“We’re hiring them as PAs on the movie so they learn enough about film production to create videos that people actually want to see, over and over again, like 45s used to be.”

“The voice of the future,” Jay backed me up.

“You need to buy their contracts. Their current labels have given up on them.”

“I’m trying to acquire labels, not steal their talent, only to end up owning them anyway,” Edgar had a point.

“This is just like the movie. We want you to give the talent creative control. The whole business is run by lawyers. (sorry, Jay) What makes dollars and sense doesn’t create the best product.”

Edgar thought for two seconds and smiled. “You’re right. But you negotiate with their labels and I’ll pay the buyouts. We’ll keep Joan and Tom busy with the movie until I get the Universal Music Group established. You want to be my legal department, Jay?”

“I’ll represent you. I can’t leave Mike. He’s connected.”

“ I understand. You can represent me until all these negotiations are done.” They swapped business cards. It seemed so adult to me. Looks like I had found a multi-million-dollar client for Mike Sr.

“Let’s do dinner,” Edgar suggested.

“We’re meeting with my composer at Musso & Frank tonight. You’ll like him. He’s twice our ages. Meet us there at six-thirty.”

Jay and I walked back to my office. Joan and Tom  were in deep conversation, waiting for us. I assumed it was about drugs. Luckily, they were too broke to afford any. I kissed Joan and introduced her as my girlfriend. Jay looked worried but turned his attention to Tom, his long-lost friend from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Gainesville.

“How’s Mudcrutch doing,” he asked.

“We’re now the Heartbreakers. How’d the meeting with Universal go?”

“Excellent. Bronfman agreed to buy out your contracts. You’ll be the first artists on his Universal label while he acquires small labels like Shelter. You’ll get paid to  work on Tim’s movie to learn how to make music videos from your songs. Just don’t tell anyone until everything’s set. Shelter can’t know he’s stealing their artists while he’s acquiring them.”

“More Hollywood lawyer bullshit,” Tom knew. Joan nodded. They didn’t want to know any more than necessary.

“You’re Tim’s girlfriend?” Jay was surprised. He turned to me, “What about Jack.”

“He’s still learning to appreciate girls.”

“What about me?” Jay was confused. “I thought we were crushing?”

“You’re married and pregnant. You’re off the market, no matter how horny you get.”

“You like girls now? How does that work?”

“He’s in love with my dildo.” Joan joked.

“That explains everything,” Tom had a clue.

“Enough about me. Sign these contracts, so you can get paid, and then you can go out and score.”

They quickly signed and took their contracts to the finance department to try to get advances.

I wrote up a long fax to Landis, detailing our discussions and the status of negotiations and sent it to the Rodeway Inn. It had been a long day. I finally called Jake and explained the change of our dinner date to a business dinner. I promised an extended sex session after we completed the business. He was excited about discussing his score with Bronfman, whom he considered an artist’s agent. I told him to drink Canadian Club at dinner.

I drove Jay to the Ambassador and went up to his room with him.

“I guess I feel more comfortable now that you’re straight,” he joked.

I grabbed him and kissed him on the cheek.

“Not that straight.”

We laughed.

“That’s the old Max deBowser, I remember.”

“Don’t be too disappointed. I’m saving you for your wife.”

“Let’s go see where Kennedy was shot.”

“I don’t think they give tours of the kitchen,” I warned.

“We’ll find our own way.”

One kiss and his spirit of adventure was born. We didn’t find the way to the kitchen, but we did locate the Coconut Grove nightclub. A security guard stopped us from going further. I told the guard that we were scouting locations for a live music performance. He contacted the catering and special events planner, who took us on a tour. The stage area was perfect for a dance band, like on the ‘I Love Lucy’ show’s Ricky Ricardo Band. I visualized The Weirdos playing for a thousand screaming fans, enough to wake the dead, possibly even Bobby Kennedy. Jay and I sat there at a dance floor dinner table discussing my fantasies.

“No interest in bringing the old band out here?”

“My musical tastes have evolved. ‘False Gods’ is really a cover band.”

“You wrote your own songs, about your lives in Coral Gables. It was true to your roots.”

“Right, entitled rich kids.”

“It was pretty exciting.”

“I got so upset when the police shot Max.”

“You still upset?”

“He’s another ghost in my life. He now hangs out with my Dad’s new puppy.” 

“You are so weird.”

I didn’t dispute that. It was time to go to Musso & Frank. It was a quiet Tuesday night, so we got one of the premium leather banquettes.  A photographer came by, before the others arrived, asking who we were, in Hollywood terms. I explained that it was a business meeting about the music for ‘Animal House.’ The paparazzi wrote down all the attendees. I was happy to be appearing in the Hollywood press.

Edgar arrived, noting, “You’ve learned how to score a decent table.”

“It’s a quiet night,” I explained.

Jake soon joined us. He slid in next to me and gave me a modest kiss.  Jay took note and smiled. Edgar just shook his head, good Canadian that he was. He was happier when Jake and I both ordered Seven and Sevens. No one asked me for an ID. Normally a strictly beer consumer, I was talking a mile a minute, touting the social lubricant of Seagram’s Seven.  The adults sat back and enjoyed my lack of social manners. Jay and Edgar were discussing the upcoming visits to different music labels, to which Edgar wanted Jay to accompany him. Jake and I were going over the scores to several Greek operas we wanted to use for melodies and leitmotifs. Edgar soon was spouting his operatic knowledge which seemed limited to strictly German, especially Wagner.

“Aren’t you Jewish” I asked.

“Now that Hitler’s gone, it’s okay to spout Goethe’s Man and Superman philosophy.”

“I think some other studio is doing ‘Superman’ this year. Jerry Goldsmith is doing the music,” Jake piped up.

“Now they’ve hired John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra. I doubt Universal will pay that level of costs,” Edgar belittled our B movie budget.

“I plan to steal certain themes from operas already in the public domain.”

“That’s more like it.”

They went back and forth, as Jay and I enjoyed their creative ideas. I just wanted a cheap soundtrack, heavy on early rock n roll hits.

I described the various main characters and how they related to Greek mythic characters. Everyone loved the drunken Dean’s wife as Medusa or Clytemnestra or even Electra. We were having a second round of drinks and became slightly boisterous. Our photographer was taking photos without us noticing. Finally we ordered our meal. The conversation became more inclusive.

Jay asked, “How did you meet Tim?”

We both laughed.

“I picked him up in the library,” Jake answered honestly but omitted that it was at a gay club.

“He’s tutoring me in classical music. I’ve been corrupting him with rock n roll.”

“I flew to Miami and attended his five-hour performance at a Globe Theater replica in Coral Gables.”

“I was there,” Jay noted. “That’s my boss’s house. He plans to have Tim as the godparent for his first grandchild.”

“Mike Antonio?” Edgar asked. “Isn’t he running for Mayor.”

“He hasn’t announced yet.”

What a small world it was. I couldn’t help myself and sang the Disneyland ride theme song.

Jake and I finally escaped our new and old friends. Jay was trapped by his new client, Edgar, for further drinking at the restaurant bar. Jake had taken a cab to the restaurant. It was a warm night for January. The Santa Ana winds were blowing. The Wreck’s top was down. Before we got to Jake’s, he told me to continue up Western into Griffith  Park. We stopped at the Observatory and sat on the car’s hood, arms around each other,  looking out at the LA basin below us.

“I heard that the telescope no longer works due to the light pollution,” I remarked.

“It still works. It’s just outdated.”

“Like someone I know,” I kidded him.

He laughed and proceeded to kiss me passionately.  His sex appeal was not out of date. We soon were down the hill at his apartment. It seemed like forever that we had been apart. It was less than a week, but I was being sentimental. I let him take the lead, giving in to his kisses and letting him lift me and pull me into the bedroom.  He laid me on my back and proceed to sit on the rigid shaft sticking straight up. I guess he’d missed my cucumber dick.  Maybe he had been practicing because he slid easily down its eight inches and wide girth. As he bounced up and down, I just rolled with the punches, holding on to his stiff dick as if it was a horse saddle pommel.  It didn’t take long for him to orgasm all over me, his butt squeezing and releasing with the bursts.  Once he relaxed, I rolled him off me, throwing his legs up into the air and fucked him thoroughly with long, powerful thrusts.

“I love it,” he shouted.

“Say it again,” I answered.

“I love it. I love it. I love it.”

I was on my knees, holding his butt off the bed,  going in and out as fast as I could. All of a sudden, some primal urge took over. I was going in and out at twice what I had thought was my fastest pace. I was out of control. Jake’s head was banging against the headboard. I couldn’t stop. He was screaming. I was in a panic, thinking I was hurting him. But, I couldn’t stop. With one final thrust I came, jerking with each eruption deep inside Jake. I collapsed. He continued to moan. He had cum again. Finally I was able to control myself.

“I’m so sorry. So sorry,” I cried. “I was hurting you,” I wailed.

“Don’t ever stop. That’s the best fucking I’ve ever had,” he cuddled me, wiping away my tears.

I couldn’t stop crying.

“You fucked my brains out,” Jake crowed. “I loved it.”

“Really?” I whimpered.

“You are too sensitive,” he remonstrated. “What happened to the superficial teenager I love.”

“You love me.”

“Jesus, Tim. Calm down. Last time we fucked, you couldn’t stop shaking. This time you’re crying. I feel like a child abuser.”

I laughed, the tears still rolling down my cheeks. “No, it was more like elder abuse on my part.”

“We’re both criminals,” he declared. “I need another drink.”

We sat naked on his patio, drinking seven and sevens – all part of the Seagram family.

 

I woke up with a mild hangover. It was already nine. My country wake-up time was fading. I called the studio and left a message for Landis (if he called) that I was taking a day off. Jake and I had coffee on his patio. It helped. The Santa Ana’s were still blowing. The view across downtown LA was crystal clear. It was warm and getting warmer.

“Beach day?” I asked.

“Perfect,” he didn’t have a job to which he had to report. “Wait, here. I have a surprise.”

He came back with a rectangular box with VOIT on the side.

“I was told you should use these in the surf.”

They were swim fins, blue with solid heel straps.

“We’re going to the beach,” he declared.

I kissed him as thanks. He made me so happy. Although, I believed I was such a great swimmer, I wouldn’t need the fins.

We drove to Du-Par’s on Ventura Boulevard for their pancakes. Jake just had coffee, so I finished his flapjacks. I called them ‘flapjakes.’ It was really hot in the Valley at just 10 am. We drove up Laurel Canyon and turned west on Mulholland Drive. When we were close to Deadman’s Curve, I sped up. Jake whooped and hollered as we skidded around the twisty road. He could act crazy, too. I slowed down and we stopped at the overlook. We made out for a couple of minutes, until another car pulled into the parking area. We had calmed down. It was another hour’s drive to the Kanen Road turnoff and descent to Zuma Beach. Jake promised to take me to the gay Mexican Restaurant in Santa Monica after our day at the beach. The sand was so hot on our feet, that we ran all the way to the water’s edge. We cooled our feet off in the cold water. The air was approaching 100 degrees while the water was barely 60. Finally sitting on the wet sand, I looked out at the breaking waves. They were much bigger than the last time. Jake explained that in the winter, the North Pacific experienced massive winter storms. The swells traveled thousands of miles before breaking on west-facing California beaches.

“That wave has traveled all that way and just ends on this beach?”

“It doesn’t just stop. They crash with tremendous force and energy. You be careful out there.”

“I looked out and saw an approaching swell, 3 dark lines of deeper water moving toward us.  I couldn’t tell how large the faces of the waves were. Suddenly a single board surfer appeared from the right, paddling furiously with his arms and hands to stay ahead of the approaching wave. As the wave peaked and began to crest, the surfer jumped to his feet and pointed the board across the face of the wave. He seemed to be dropping straight down, with a trail from his wake following him.  He continued down the face of the wave which was massive in relation to his six-foot frame. It looked like he was being chased by a three-story house. He rode faster and faster to stay ahead of the approaching monster, a faceless ogre trying to eat him. Before he reached the bottom of the wave he turned upward, allowing the wave to catch up. Then he turned downward again, gaining enough speed to out-race the implacable wave which never changed speed.  Finally the wave seemed to lose energy and the surfer went back over the top, flying over the wave with his surfboard falling loosely below him. He dropped ten feet into the water behind the dying wave. A wave of sorrow swept over me for the defeat of this aquatic monster. Traveling all that distance for days to be defeated by a minuscule human on a plastic board, and then dying like an exhausted beast. I waited to see the conquering hero who reemerged from the ocean he had dropped into, retrieving his board and paddling northwest to challenge the next monster.

I was totally exhilarated. I had to get out there. Jake handed me my new fins. He warned me not to go where the surfer was. It was too dangerous and without a board, the waves would easily swallow me up. I noticed that after these monsters broke far from shore, they reformed where I had bodysurfed before. Not as huge and dangerous, I believed I could master these reformed monsters.

I strapped on the fins and awkwardly duck-walked into the water. My ankles ached and balls shrunk into my belly, knowing what shock was soon to come. When the water was up to my knees, small shore break waves swept over me. I dove in face first. The shock of cold water was intense. All the nerves on my face contracted in agony. I had an ice cream headache all over my head. I knew to keep my blood pumping by swimming strongly. It became hard to breathe, the cold shocking my heart and lungs. I was suddenly fearful for my life. I rolled over and looked back at Jake. He looked concerned. I waved and shouted ‘It’s really cold.”

He yelled to come back to shore. I shook my head and rolled over, stroking fast and firmly to keep my circulation going. It was all I had to keep me alive. I felt like a primitive man, facing unknown and deadly danger. I knew I was alive.

It took a while to reach the ‘outside’ where the reforming waves were cresting. Once there I duck dove under the white water.  The first few times, I failed to go deep enough. The swirling whitewash grabbed me and pulled me ten yards back toward the beach. I needed to dive deep enough to escape its reach. After several waves I had lost almost all the distance I had swum. Finally I learned to go as deep as possible. On the sandy bottom, using my hands to grasp the hard sand, I kept myself from being pulled backwards. As soon as the roaring wave passed overhead, I pushed off the bottom, quickly reaching the surface. I was able to gasp several breaths before the next rush of whitewater hit me. I was able to dive to the bottom again. The next time I came up, I was able to take several arm strokes to move further outside. I dove again and this time I crawled a yard or so on the sandy bottom before popping up. I was making progress. The elation gave me strength. I forgot about the head ache and the numbing cold. After about ten minutes I reached a dead zone. The swells came through but didn’t crest and break yet. I heard the thunderous roar as they crashed ten yards inside of where I bobbed. I had defeated them. I was safe.

Suddenly I saw a bigger swell approaching. I calculated it was going to crash before it reached me. I thrashed my arms and sprinted as fast as possible, head down and not breathing. I felt the extra push from the fins Jake had given me. ‘Thank you, Jake.’ I looked up in time to catch my breath and see how the wave was forming. That word made me think of Safety  and Gerber. They would never know this thrill. I had passed the point of being fearful for my life. I was exultant. The wave was going to pass me by. As it lifted me above the fray I saw two additional waves closely following. Again I felt they would tumble me if I didn’t move further outside. I thrashed and sprinted to safety. Finally, there was a break. I was far from shore. Jake was a stick figure on the beach,  still watching and probably still worried. I raised my arm and waved. He waved back. I felt a sense of relief in the confidence of his waving.

Laying on my back, I rested until my breathing returned to normal. I realized I was no longer cold. I was pumped from the exertion and exhilaration. I looked up the coast. In front of cliffs on the shore, the waves were breaking far outside. I caught a flash of that skilled board surfer. He was testing waves far bigger than had tested me. It took brazen confidence to ride and conquer those monsters. I steeled myself to actually challenge the mini-monsters that I faced. A line of three swells approached. I began to estimate where they would crest and break. I was safe enough outside. When the first one approached, I turned and stroked to match its speed. I was too slow. It passed me by. The next one approached, just as fast. This time I used my new fins, kicking as strongly as possible. I felt the wave lift me up above the water in front of us, the mini-monster and me. I felt it momentarily slow and lift me higher. I perched on the edge of the lip. The distance to the water below seemed immense, at least the height from my window at home to the ground below. I chickened out, pulling back at the last-minute, dropping down the backside of the wave. As if to mock my challenge, I was now inside the breaking point of the third wave. It crashed on top of me, sending me spinning to the bottom and bouncing off the sand with a hard thump to my shoulder. ‘Shit.’ I came up gasping for breath. Sure enough, another set was lining up to crush me. I swam furiously into their faces, diving under the breaking lips. On the third wave, I dove into rather than under the wave. I took two butterfly kicks and a butterfly pull, exiting the back off the wave, and flying completely out of the water. “Did Jake see that?’ I looked back. He was standing still, hands on hips, willing me to come in. It was my first ride, except I was going 180 degrees in the wrong direction. I heard a thunderous crash and roar as the wave fully broke.

Should I go in? Maybe I could ride some of those inside waves that I had easily passed through on my way outside. Jake was telling me to give up. I was not prepared for these large outside mini-monsters. I was resolute and steeled myself for a second attempt. I lay on my back watching the ocean for the next swell. It didn’t take long. Another set of three waves approached. I figured I’d wait for the third and final one, to avoid being caught inside if I failed to catch the first ones. My patience was rewarded. I waited and was in the perfect position to catch the third wave. Again I looked a long way down into the trough before me. I had two seconds to decide which direction to go, left, right or straight ahead. Straight was over the falls and not my natural direction. I knew the swell was coming from the north. I leaned to my right and went toward the south, down the coast. I was sliding along at the right speed, just barely kicking my new fins. I put out my right hand. The spray of my speed hit me in the face causing me to turn upwards on the wave and momentarily slow down. It tumbled me and I was being held under by tons of water which only wanted to hold me down. I spun around and swam toward the surface. I shot my arm in the air. I had ridden it for at least 3 seconds. Jake waved again with real enthusiasm. Knowing how to act like a real surfer, I gave him a modest nod. Suddenly I knew I had to swim back to the safe zone. Luckily no swell interrupted my furious sprint to safety.

The next set came and I again took the third wave. This time I took off to my left and was quickly rushing down the face of the wave seeing the curl coming right at me.  I turned almost at the bottom, rushing up the face, much like I had observed the board surfer on the point break. My speed was incredible. Without turning back to see where the curl was, I went over the lip and tumbled into the white water from a previous wave. I sprinted again to the outside. Now I had time to catch my breath before the next set. I was having fun. I could do this, despite the danger. That’s when I made another rookie mistake. The next set approached. I was in the perfect spot to catch the first wave. What the hell, I could deal with the following waves, as long as I got a decent ride. Maybe I was worried about being caught inside. As I went to exit over the breaking edge, it caught me and threw my back into the trough, a good ten feet.  ‘Crack,’ my head hit the hard sandy bottom. I blacked out.

Coming to, I realized the wave had caught me and I was riding left toward the point and the breaking curl. I looked to my right and Jace was there, easily riding the wave. He reached over and put a hand on my shoulder, slightly pushing me down and getting a better a ride for himself. Then I heard the familiar bark. Max was furiously dog-paddling to stay with us. Using my left arm, I reached forward and he had his paws on my forearm. The three us were riding past the point, out to sea. It was a triple tandem. Jace was singing ‘Surfing Safari.’

The curl slowly closed down of us. Looking back toward shore I only imagined that Jake was waving at me. It was all good.   

 

LA Times January 7, 1977

Malibu, CA

TEEN IDOL DIES IN SURF DROWNING

Tim Castle, 18, legendary singer, guitarist and songwriter of the Southern Blues band False Gods was identified after his body washed ashore at Zuma Beach on Wednesday. Accompanied by his companion, composer Jake Stern of Hollywood, he was reportedly bodysurfing in perilous conditions. Lifeguards had called in LA County surf rescue authorities after Mr. Stern notified them of Castle’s disappearance. The body had been in the water for several hours. Efforts to revive the youth were unsuccessful. He was declared dead at the hospital. The authorities said the death was an accident. Warning signs had been posted for heavy surf conditions. In addition to being a musician, Castle was a champion swimmer in high school.

Castle was a Harvard sophomore on the staff of the Harvard Lampoon. He was in Los Angeles working on the Lampoon’s production of the upcoming movie ‘Animal House.’ The movie’s director’s John Landis stated that his entire staff is devastated by the loss of Castle who was the music coordinator on the movie. “Tim was an inspiration to all aspects of the production. My wife and I are personally devastated by his death. We treated him like a son. He was young, bold, and a musical genius.

His many accomplishments included rewriting Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer’s Night Dream, as a musical comedy, directing a Christmas episode of ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ and as the writer of a humorous parody of feminism at Harvard in the Lampoon. He also published a business case study on the movie’s development in the Harvard Business Review. He is credited, along with his Harvard roommate, Jack Stone, for ending de facto segregation at Coral Gables High School. The band False Gods earned notoriety for inciting a riot when opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1975, as well as playing at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Easter that same year. Cardinal Cooke of New York issued a statement that Castle is being considered for sainthood after a possible miracle at that Easter performance and the subsequent establishment of teen homeless shelters in New York by various religious denominations. Los Angeles music fans remember him as guitarist and backup singer in last summer’s Cabaret performances by Lisa Minnelli and Elton John at the Troubadour. He also wrote the parody of Crocodile Rock that was performed by Elton.

Castle is survived by his father and stepmother in Coral Gables, FL and his mother, stepmother and twin sisters in Ames, IA.

The accompanying photo of Castle was taken the night before his death at a business meeting for the movie at Musso & Frank, Hollywood.