Helen and Uncle Bob were reluctant to let the Dakota doorman park their beat-up station wagon. They relented in the face of our attitude of sophisticated superiority. Mummy had an excellent dinner ready for us. I was pleased to see that Isabelle was now in charge. It was a quiet meal as Mummy refused to discuss any plans about finding Joey, invoking the no controversy at the dinner table rule. Father Frank was there. He was allowed to catch us up on progress reforming the Jace’s Place project. Brother Ignatius was long gone and a younger staff was doing a better job. Father agreed that seminary students were a good fit, as rumors of abuse of the seminarians were proving to be commonplace. Mummy quickly changed the discussion once sexual abuse was brought up. Jack was well versed in the goings on at Saint Patrick’s.
Brandy and coffee were served in the large living room, so we could agree on a course of action. Helen was bereft, believing it was all her fault. Dad was subdued, inwardly aware that Joey had disappeared on his watch. I would call Tina and Pete and enlist their help on Monday afternoon, as they had been able to find him the last time he went missing. I announced that Jack and I would start looking in the morning, as I knew the places he frequented, from when I had been with him in the City.
“When did you go to New York with Joey?” Dad demanded.
“I knew something was wrong with you that summer.”
“I mean that you changed.”
“Yeah. I let Joey cut my hair and he took me to the City for one night. It didn’t change my life.”
“You were his little clone, acting like you were better than everyone.”
“No way. We stopped doing what you expected. We knew we didn’t meet your standards. The key was not to care.”
“We couldn’t understand you.”
“It’s called being a teenager.”
“I idolized Tim before we became friends,” Jack interjected.
Dad scowled at Jack for acting like one of the family by interrupting our fight.
Mummy to the rescue. “Tim was so good for our boy. He grew up in just a few months.”
“Until I got locked up in Switzerland.”
“Consequences, dear,” Mummy responded.
The sin of my innocence lost during one night in the Village and Bowery were forgiven as the Stone’s sense of manners glossed over the corruption of a 14 year-old’s morals. The matter at hand was Joey. Tina and Pete agreed to meet us in Times Square in the morning. They would bring the old Miami Beach gang to scour the area. I was unsure how to search St Mark’s and Alphabet City. I wasn’t about to expose my Bronx friends to the gritty junkie world of Tompkins Park. I was more worried about convincing Joey to go home than just finding him. NYC was my oyster.
LA had reminded me that I was a night owl. Jack and I skipped out for Max’s, evading the cousins who had been hopeful of more Page Six exposure. First we went up to the seventh floor to check on Julian and Nina. Jack warned me to expect a turn for the worse in their attitude – almost teens.
Nina hugged me when she answered the door. The overwhelming odor of marijuana wafted into the hallway. Jules toasted us with a bong, as he sat in a circle of similarly stoned 12 and 13-year-olds. I instantly felt old. They had made friends with their peers.
“Just dropped by on our way to Max’s,” I explained.
“Can we come?” he looked up hopefully.
“Not this time. I’m sure they’d deny stoned twelve-year olds.”
“Aw. Yer not fun,” he whined.
I winked at Nina as we waved good-bye. She looked regretful.
“We need your help tomorrow though, finding my runaway cousin.”
“Is he our age?” Jules asked.
“Sorta. He’s a 22-year-old junkie.”
“Ew. Good one, mate.”
We walked down to Columbus Circle to catch the subway to Union Square. Jack took my hand and I felt I really was a New Yorker (just like any hick from the sticks going out late on a Sunday night).
The bouncer at Max’s back room looked at us as if he didn’t know we were 17 year-old celebrities. Fame in NYC is fleeting. Jack handed him his ID with a folded ten spot. He frowned until I added my ten. Fame walks but money talks.
I started to look around hopeful of a familiar face until Jack led me to an empty booth. It was not a busy night, with no live acts. A DJ was in the sound booth. Jack boldly approached him, asking if we could perform.
“Where are your instruments? You’re False Gods, right?”
“Yeah, but tonight we’re gay and we’ll lip synch.”
He laughed. “Abba?”
“Yeah. ‘Mama Mia.’” He winked at me, remembering our drag show in Savannah.
“You sure?” the dj asked.
“It’s Sunday night, perfect for corrupting the morals of the church going crowd.” Jack was in performer mode.
“Okay, but if you guys cause a riot, I’m pulling the plug.”
“That’s cool. We’re bored. Tim’s only here for a few days,” Jack was playing up our supposed celebrity.
“Go it down. Once my set’s done, I’ll give you boys an introduction.”
We sat and ordered beers, I grilled Jack, “We’re not stripping, no matter what.”
“Aw, that’s no fun.”
“I’ve been bored. You probably lived it up in LA.”
“Yeah. I played an audition at the Troubadour.”
“What? Did you play our songs?”
“Yeah. This girl, Joan, and her friends were watching. I got hard and chased them out the door, waving my dick.”
Jack snorted. “Did you pass the audition?”
“No. The owner said I need to grow up.”
“Right. That dick belongs to me.”
I noticed several youngish men eying us. I smiled, so they came over.
“Are you the boys in False Gods?”
“Yes. How do you know about us? Page Six?”
“Are you really gay?
“Gay and straight, as long as you wait,” Jack answered.
They laughed. “Do you still perform anywhere? We want to see your movie.”
“It’s in limited release. Marty rents it to his friends who want to see teen boys making out.”
“That’s what we want to see,” they both exclaimed. “Do you still do shows.”
“Well, wait ten minutes. We’ll be going on.”
“Wow,” they were still kids. I slid over so they could sit down. Jack reached over and kissed me, causing flash bulbs to go off. Brett and Trent would be so jealous in the morning.
They blushed, then reciprocated by kissing each other. “What are you going to sing?”
“Abba. What are your favorites?”
“We love Abba. How about the Dolls”
Right up our line. If only Johnny Thunders was there.
“We’re just lip synching. I hope you’ll like it.”
“We will. Where are you living? I heard you were arrested for indecent exposure.”
“I’m staying with Jack at the Dakota, but I live in Iowa. After I escaped juvie I had to go there to my mom’s. I was arrested for drinking beer. Our dog, Max, was shot and killed at the show. The police covered it up by arresting me.”
“That’s so sad. Max was the pot dog?”
“Yeah, a total stoner. He was the real star in the band. He always knew who was holding.”
“So, it wasn’t just an act. You really are boyfriends.”
“Yeah. Jack gets really horny when he smokes pot. We were in 11th grade English together. He had been crushing on me but I was oblivious. My first boyfriend had died.”
“That’s so sad.”
“He taught us all how to play. He died defending Max from his perverted brother.”
“That’s so cool.”
“Not really,” I laughed. Jace popped up, aware that he was being remembered. “You want to meet him?”
“What. You said he was dead.”
“I couldn’t let him go. We now call him Casper, the friendly ghost. If you’re open-hearted, you can feel him.” Jace hovered over them and touched them both on the shoulder.
“Wow,” the cutest one said. “I do feel him.”
The other man looked sad. “I can’t.”
“Well, you trust each other, so hold hands and feel the love. It should work for both of you.”
They hugged and both of them had the usual Jace glow about them. “See,” I said.
“Whoa,” they both exclaimed. “So, he’s really dead?”
“Yup. But he’s a friendly ghost.”
They shivered, looked at each other and giggled. They were adults but had kids’ spirits.
Just then the DJ announced us, giving a cool introduction about how we had opened for Patti Smith, played at CBGBs and were Andy protegee’s.
We ran up on the low stage, grabbed two mics, and started swaying back and forth to the long intro. As soon as Agnetha and Anni-Frid started singing we jumped in with our a capella version, ending up back to back, rubbing our butts against each other.
The unsuspecting fans didn’t know how to react to two teen boys fagging off on each other. Our new friends loved it, jumping in front of the stage, They waved their hands in the air, making gay fools of themselves. Once the recording ended, the DJ keyed it up again. This time we strictly lip synched without the mics and started a slow strip for our new friends. Several others came up and we jumped into the crowd. By the time we got down to our tee shirts and briefs all the other dancers were stripping. The dj pulled the plug, so I ran over and told him to play the NY Dolls ‘Personality Crisis,’ which seemed appropriate as we ran around Max’s Kansas City in our underwear. We picked up the mic and started screaming over the musical intro.
‘Bout personality crisis,
you got it while it was hot
You know it’s hot,
you know it’s Frustration
what you got
I said I’m talking about personality,
yeah, yeah, yeah
And you’re a prima ballerina on a Spring afternoon
Change on into the wolfman,
howlin’ at the moon,
Songwriters: DAVID JOHANSEN, JOHNNY THUNDERS
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Without the guitar to back us, we had to really scream at each other. We lost track of the crowd, yelling at each other and having a great time. When we turned around the whole dance floor was full. We howled, dropped the mics, jumped into the crowd, getting knocked down, picked up, lifted above everyone, and passed around like a tray of drinks. The song ended and we were dumped back on the low stage. We jumped up screaming, “How’d ya like that one?”
Over the screams I saw Patti and Robert watching from the door. I picked up the mic and yelled at her, “Patti, get your scrawny ass over here.”
I started into:
She went on forever. People were swaying until she started to really sing:
‘Jesus died for somebody sins, but not mine….
…Here she comes
Walkin’ down the street
Here she comes
Comin’ through my door
Here she comes
Crawlin’ up my stair
Here she comes
Waltzin’ through the hall
In a pretty red dress
And oh, she looks so good,
oh, she looks so fine
And I got this crazy feeling
that I’m gonna ah-ah make her mine’
Songwriters: GEORGE IVAN MORRISON, VAN MORRISON
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
When she finished, we all ran over to our table, with the crowd pushing to get at us.
“Gimme a beer,” Patti shouted. Miraculously a beer, half-finished, appeared. We were rock gods for a minute.
Ignoring the crowd that kept shouting at us, “Where you boys been?” she asked.
“To hell, but they rejected us,” I answered.
People kept bringing us beers. Our new gay friends sat there speechless. Of course, Robert Maplethorpe was there, much to Jack’s joy and my jealousy. I just pulled him closer and Patti kept Robert to herself. Finally, the din fell away and we caught up.
“How’d ya know we do ‘Gloria’?” she asked.
“I know everything,” I answered.
We proceeded to get wasted on free beers. I think we got up and did another couple of songs as a trio. Our fame ended when I insisted we do John Denver’s ‘Country Roads.’ It was a disaster as we were too drunk to lip synch. Before we got booted, we went to the restaurant side and ate french fries until all four of us took the subway back to the Dakota. We kicked Brett and Trent out of their beds so Patti and Robert had a place to sleep. The cousins were half-sleep when we locked them out of their own room. Patti ended up in my bed, with Jack and Robert together. That ended when Robert tried to force Jack to have sex. He jumped in with Patti and me. We woke up all tumbled together, unsure of what happened. The cousins banged on the door demanding to know how we got on Page Six again. They were totally pissed. We could care less.
I was on a tight schedule, leaving Jack and our guests to sleep in. I was not surprised to find Mr. Stone reading the Times and enjoying his coffee in the dining room.
“Have a seat, Tim. Isabelle will take your breakfast order,” as he pushed a foot button to summon her. “I was unaware that Johnny and you were going out night clubbing on a school night.”
“You saw the Post’s Page Six.”
“Until my nephews snatched it from me. It is much more amusing than the Times. I see that you still have an attention addiction.”
“Our fame barely extends past the East Village.”
“Is stripping down to your underpants part of a new act.”
“We learned that at a drag show in Savannah.”
“Oh, yes. The Antonio’s were none too pleased about that incident.”
“Sorry for causing you any embarrassment.”
“I was not always so old and stodgy. I even was under house detention at your age when my friends and I commandeered a horse and carriage in front of the Plaza. They caught us racing it in Central Park.”
We both laughed.
“I’m surprised you’ve stayed in New York.”
“We need to keep an eye on Johnny. You know he’s enrolled at Harvard next school year. What are your plans?”
“Mom convinced me to apply at Harvard. Johnny says I don’t need more education, but my folks disagree.”
“Do you want us to put in a good word for you?”
“Best I get in on my own merits. Dad doesn’t approve of using privilege.”
“Admirable. I think Johnny would be devastated if you both are not together.”
“It seems a long way off.”
“Let me know if your admission needs a boost.”
“Thanks. When I was in Hollywood, I had an audition at the Troubadour.”
“Hollywood’s a great place for new singers to be discovered. How did the audition go?”
“The owner said I need to grow up.”
“Well, you are a bright young man. Harvard will be lucky to get you.”
“Thank you, but I seldom plan ahead more than a few days. Trouble seems to chase me.”
“Your cousin sounds like trouble.”
“Everything started when he cut my hair.”
“Looks like you were trying to establish your own identity.”
“We sang a song called ‘Personality Crisis’ last night.
“Before or after you took off your clothes.”
“After, of course.”
Isabelle arrived with my country breakfast. Mr. Stone returned to his Times.
Jack escorted Patti and an abashed Robert Mapplethorpe to the table, calling for Isabelle to take breakfast orders. He had the Post, retrieved from the cousins in return for relinquishing their beds. Everyone was skipping school.
“Let me see Page Six,” I asked. Robert snorted, obviously feeling superior to gossip and the paparazzi.
They had six photos of the two of us, plus Patti in several. Felix would be proud that we still wore his garish briefs. Kissing and butt rubbing each other were the focus of our fame.
Either Patti and Robert were intimidated by the opulent Dakota or they needed a morning fix, as they left having hardly eaten their breakfasts. Jack and I had no difficulty finishing their food. Fueled by calories and coffee we took off for St Mark’s and Trash & Vaudeville. Jack wanted his Regis Knights to protect us. I told him we had to look down and out to get anywhere in Tompkins Park. His clean-cut ROTC boys would brand us as squares (shades of Jack Kerouac). I bought us black jeans and tees to better fit in. We scouted the park, which was deserted that early in the day. I saw the usual line of junkies at an abandoned apartment building. Scoring junk was a job that knew no regular hours. We waited across the street, but Joey did not show. I thought about checking Battery Park, but I knew Joey was now too old to be trolling for pedophiles. We ended up in Blair’s office at the Warhol Factory. Andy never came in that early.
“I loved your photos in the buff on today’s Page Six.” Blair scoffed.
“Only when the photos are of my friends.”
“Oh, we’re friends now. I thought your job was to protect Andy from us.”
“You’re too much fun. He’d kill me if he found out I’d sent you away.”
Our celebrity status was on the rise again.
Blair showed us the collection of Polaroid Big Shots, which was extensive. Andy really knew how to capture youthful beauty in just a head shot. It was exciting to contemplate Andy and Marty working together with the Jace Memorial film to support the Jace’s Place project. He found a photo of Joey and Xeroxed copies to give to our friends looking for him. Soon it was time to meet the Bronx kids in Times Square. We rode the subway there, hitting HoJo’s for fried clams before Tina, Pete and the gang showed up. We sat in window seats holding hands and dreamily watching the Times Square street action. The waiter told us to leave if we continued to make a spectacle of ourselves.
“Yes, we are spectacular,” I joked, remembering a similar give and take with Tommy the previous summer. We walked out, still holding hands. The Bronx kids walked up. Pete was blushing at our public display. I refrained from kissing him and paid more attention to Tina, which made her blush.
Everyone remembered finding Joey two years ago. To them, junkies were beneath contempt. I explained we were trying to get him to go home. No one disagreed with that plan. We split into pairs to canvas the area. I kept an eye on Tina and Pete. He stood up to several pimp types who tried to hassle Tina. Pete was no longer the innocent boy I remembered spending a horny night with when we were 14.
After an hour we concluded that Joey had not been to Times Square. The group laughed when I said they may be too young to search Tompkins Square in the East Village. Once we moved there, they seemed squeamish about approaching the drug dealers and runners who controlled the action. I suggested they go to St Mark’s Place. With its commercial stores and foot traffic, it was more familiar to the kids. Jack and I switched to looking for fixes, rather than finding my lost cousin – no sympathy from the street drug trade.
A young kid, about 12 or 13, came up to us.
“Whadda ya need?”
“We wanna see Miguel,” I answered, remembering the dealer where Joey scored 2 ½ years ago.
“Man, he’s dead. Where ya been?”
“Miami. Been awhile. Who’s holdin’?” I gave him $5.
“Follow me. Wot’s wrong wid yer partner?” Jack was looking dismayed at my tactic of pretending to be a buyer.
“He ain’t neva scored in da City.”
“Welcome to Kmart, shoppers.”
We followed him into a five storied apartment building that looked abandoned. We used a back entrance that had a plywood board, half-attached to the door frame. We all squeezed under the board and went up a stairwell to the fourth floor. The kid knocked on the door, telling the dealer he had brought ‘friends.’
“Yer on yer own now,” the kid announced and left us.
“How much ya lookin’ for?”
“I ain’t buying. That’s my cousin on the floor. We come ta collect ‘im.”
“He owe ya money. He’s broke.”
“Naw. He’s got the plague. I need to get ‘im to hospital.”
“Shit,” the dealer shivered. “Get ‘im outta heah. And take dees needles wid youse.”
I walked in, avoiding the piles of trash and rotten food containers. Joey was comatose and didn’t complain when we picked him up and dragged him to the door. The dealer insisted we take a paper bag of drug paraphernalia.
“Wot kinda plague is it?” He asked.
“Blue Bonnet,” I ad-libbed.
“Fuck. Get away from heah.”
Jack and I held Joey up with an arm on our shoulders and returned to Tompkins Park. Joey was nodding off, so I told Jack to go over to St Marks and get the others. They came running, looking dismayed at the fucked-up junkie. We walked him to the IRT and got off at Central Park West. The eight of us carried him to the Stones apartment. Dad, Helen and Uncle Bob were shocked to see Joey so out of it. We made a quick exit by taking the Bronx kids up to Julian Lennon’s apartment. The same of pre-teen pot smokers were still hitting the bong.
“Take a hit,” Jules suggested.
We made a quick exit and said good-bye to the Bronx gang in the lobby.
“Is all the rich do is get stoned?” one of the kids asked.
“The rich have their problems, too. Just not like me and you.”
Everyone laughed at my literary malapropism. If it rhymes, it’s fine.
“An’ youse ain’t rich?” one asked looking around the lobby.
“We’re all kids here. You guys are great. We couldn’t have found Joey without you.”
“Right. All we did was go window shopping. You knew where to find him.”
“Well, I needed backup. Y’all’s the best for being there fer me.”
“Ya goin’ back ta I-o-way?” Pete asked.
“Yeah, but I really miss ya, man,” I gave him a hug which embarrassed him in front of his friends. Tina giggled and then threw herself into my arms.
Jack and I went back upstairs. The parents were all perturbed about whether to get Joey to the hospital. Dad was again upset that I knew to put Joey in a cold bath, which quickly revived him. I had explaining to do later.
Once Joey revived, I sat on his bed.
“Hey, little bro. Saved me again. You’s my personal saint?”
“What’s next, Joey? All that detox in LA is wasted. Can you make it now in Stockbridge?”
“If that job at Rahar’s is still there. I might just settle in.”
The tears were ready to break out. I bit my lip to keep my eyes dry. I hugged him. All I could think was if he didn’t get straight, he would die. Everyone I love seems to flirt with death. Except Scott Watt, what a dick.
By late afternoon, Helen and Uncle Bob were on their way to Stockbridge with Joey. Dad went back to Miami. Mission accomplished, but for how long? At least Dad was over feeling guilty for failing to keep an eye on Joey at JFK. I pulled Jack into the shared bedroom and locked the door.
“Stay,” he begged. At least he was still speaking.
“You know it’s not the same.”
“I’ll know about Harvard soon. We’ll tear up Cambridge.”
“You know about Hasty Pudding?”
“Is that like crème brulee?”
At the mention of his favorite aphrodisiac, Jace popped up.
“Crème brulee goes right through the boy. Guess how it cums out?”
Jace wiggled his exposed dick at us. Jack was Johnny on the spot, on his knees and sucking the swiftly hardening dick. I was right behind him, lathering his butt hole with spit and an invading tongue. Jace had him by the ears and was pumping in and out of his sucking mouth. I grabbed his hips and proceeded to tease his ass with my dick tip. Holding my shaft, I rubbed across his butt, pausing at the hole to stick it in just an inch or so. His mumbled moans were stuffed down his throat by Jace’s pumping dick. I became distracted thinking how Jace never aged and always wore the same clothes he had died in – Forever 15. Jack got my attention by humping my dick. Firmly grasping both his hips, I fully impaled him. He sighed, letting Jace’s dick pop out of his mouth. Jack fell forward as I went with him, pumping him as he lay face down on the bed. Jace moved behind me, intending to make me the meat in this fuck sandwich. He rubbed both my butt cheeks with his ghostly dick, riding between my butt crack. I was so into fucking Jack, I scarcely noticed as he positioned his dick at my ass entrance. Just as I fully thrust into Jack and started to withdraw, he impaled me. I reversed my motion, going fully back into Jack. Both of us were moaning and sighing as Jace controlled the action. I promised myself not to cum yet, but Jack was reaching ecstasy while Jace increased the tempo of his thrusts. Jack started to shake as he approached orgasm. His butt was milking me. I thought about the Blue Bonnet Plague but was too into fucking to laugh. I thought about Joey passed out in the dealer’s squat but felt too good to be sad. Jack was rocking back and forth as my thrusts became more insistent. Jace was riding me like a cowboy on a bronco. It all felt so good. My dick made its final backward twist at the tip. I was ready to go off, but Jack knew and beat me to it. He jerked back and forth as the sperm exploded into the bedclothes under him. I arched and held absolutely still, my dick fully impaled. Jace never missed a beat on my ass. My whole body shook as I exploded deep into Jack’s gut. Again and again, finally slowing. At that point, Jace let go inside me. His shaft swelling and pulsing as my prostate received its load. I was cumming again. Jack shouted, “More. More. I want all of it.”
There was giggling behind the bedroom door. The cousins were pervy peeping toms, listening to us and imagining why we were all screaming and moaning. Jace went into Casper mode, flying across the room, pulling the door open and ending his orgasm with drops of ghostly white sperm spraying on the two boys clutching each other on the floor. It looked to them like a cloud burst in the hallway. The drops burst like soap bubbles as they landed on the cousins. They screamed and ran down the hall with their pants halfway down. Jack and I lay on the bed in hysterics as Jace disappeared after them. Fine fucking. We kissed and were in tears – first of joy and then sadness at our impending separation. Jace came back and laughed at us.
“I’ll keep both of you well fucked until we’re all together again.” All three of us sang ‘All Together Now.’