Their leaving early means I get time to spend milking Ol’ Bessie. She totally ignores me, obviously missing Seamus, the new kid in town.
I don’t care. She is my Bessie, a true bossie, not quite me bonnie lassie. Maybe I’m high because I’m not sad seeing John Boy leave. She needs me to milk here dry. ‘Gator just smiles, seeing I’m so happy. He never suspects it is from that blow job in the bathroom. He just knows I’m okay. Angie takes some convincing that I’m not about to have a meltdown or nervous breakdown. I guess it’s nice she cares so much, but too much brings you down. I worry that she’ll miss the chance to be happy by not recognizing it when it comes down the road. When I go off to deliver pizza, she finally accepts I’m okay as well. Amy never doubted it.
“Hey, Ame. I fixed the Tommy problem with John Boy,” I confide with her later. “We sent Jace to rid ‘im of his sexual frustrations. They’re both 15 now. Tommy even talked nice to John Boy.”
“You’re being evil. He’s just a boy.”
“So’s Jace. He’s trapped in a 15-year-old’s body. They’s perfect fer each other.”
She laughs. “That’s so true.”
TOMMY’S NIGHT OF HORROR
“I’s goin’ out,” he shouts to Auntie Em, as he runs out the door. It’s late, but he knows where friends are smoking dope and hanging out. He needs to stop obsessing on Huck. It always brings him down. The old cemetery off Dixie Highway in North Lauderdale is the regular spot.
Soon he’s kicking back with four boys his age and a couple of girls, who don’t smoke but like hanging out with the boys. One girl, Tray, is talking non-stop to his left ear. He is high and has stopped listening. They’ve had sex, a couple of times. It isn’t bad, just not as intense as when he does it with ol’ Huck.
“Damn, I’s getting’ ta be a total fag,” he thinks. “Maybe I just need to practice more, like when I’s 14 and always cum too soon around Huck. Hell, all Huck had ta do was sound sexy and I instantly went off. I’s too lame ta control my dick.”
“Com’n Tray, let’s go explore this here cemetery.”
“Weirdo,” one of his nameless friends remarks, winking at him to show he knows what’s up.
He grabs Tray’s hand and they wander away from the group, walking between the falling down tombstones.
“It ain’t likely they kin feel me.”
“It’s like disrespectful,” she answers.
“Hows ’bout we do it, right here, on top of a grave?” Tommy teases her.
“Ew, that’s sick.”
“I knows y’all wants it.”
“It’s too scary. I want ya ta be romantic.”
“I’ll show ya romantic,” Tommy draws her into his arms and frenches her deep and hard, his tongue thrust in synch with his mildly humping hips. He puts both hands on her booty and draws her in tight.”
“Oh, Tommy,” she squeaks. “That feels so good.”
“Let’s lay down.”
“I said I ain’t doin’ it on a grave.”
“Over here, then. It’s just open grass.” Tommy kisses her cheek and licks her bottom lip, just as Huck always did. Her breathing speeds up, causing him to pant.
The grass feels cool but dry as they lay down.
“Y’all gots protection?” Tray asks.
“Sure,” Tommy is breathing heavily as he pulls out the rubber he always carries.
“Let me put it on ya,” she takes the condom and unwraps it.
Tommy slides his jeans and briefs down past his knees as Tray unrolls the rubber on his stiff hard-on.
“Ouch, stop. You got it inside out. Turn it over so it rolls down easy.”
“Y’all’s so big. I cain’t do it.”
“Here,” he takes the partially unrolled rubber. “I’ll do it,” as he laughs about being called big. He knows what big really is.
“Damn, I ain’t ‘sposed to be thinking ‘bouts ol’ Huck,” he chastises himself.
With the rubber fully on, he goes to work on Tray’s pussy. He knows girls like it when he goes down on them. “Ain’t no different from a blow job, ‘cept it don’t require choking on a shaft halfway down yer throat,” he thinks. Again he’s thinking about dick. Shit.
Tray’s squirming and heavy breathing captures his full attention. She’s ready. Just as he’s about to slip it in, a funny feeling comes over him. It’s like he is being watched.
“Damn, perverts,” he thinks. “They must’ve sneaked after us. Well, I’ll jist give ‘em a show.”
His dick slides all the way past her labia and deep into her warm, wet pussy. He starts a slow and steady rhythm, perfect for not cumming too soon. Deep inside her, he gets on his knees, pulling her ass off the grass for deeper penetration. Tray is huffing and puffing all the way to her first orgasm.
“I bets I kin makes her cum four times, jist like ol’ Huck told me he did with Jack-off.” Tommy thinks. “Shit, I cain’t stop thinkin’ ‘bouts ‘im.”
Tommy’s ass starts pulsing, just from the thought of Huck. He wants to be fucked himself, even while he’s pumping away with Tray. He moans in pleasure but also regrets he needs dick so badly.
Jace watches this porno scene for some time. He can read all of Tommy’s thoughts and feelings. The moment is right for Teen Jesus to save the boy’s conflicted soul. On his knees behind Tommy’s pumping butt, he bends down and starts licking the puckering butthole in front of him.
“Ah, ah,” Tommy moans as he imagined it is Huck making his asshole feel so tingly and excited. He thrusts fully into Tray, holding himself there. The butt licking massages his hole and makes him relax. Pulling back he feels a tongue enter his anal cavity. He arches to receive it, fully pulling his dick out of Tray. She screams in need of the missing dick. He reenters her, thrusting deeply as Jace follows him downward, tongue moving inside Tommy with slight, rapid thrusts. It is more than Tommy can take. Out of control, Tommy’s dick fills the condom with bursts of teen sperm. Tray can feel the shots through the condom and arches with her second orgasm. Jace waits until Tommy’s bursts slow, then removing his tongue, thrusts his straining dick fully up Tommy’s ass.
“Oh, oh oh, ouch, oh, ah, ah,” Tommy can’t stop from screaming until his initial resistance to the stiff dick is overcome by the pleasure it is causing. He remains deep inside Tray, writhing in pleasure from the penetration. Tray is the receiver to this hail Mary pass. She came when Tommy simultaneously exploded inside her. Now she cums a third time as he keeps pumping with a dick that refuses to go limp. Jace grasps Tommy’s shoulders to pull himself into the boy’s body as he thrusts deep into his ass. Jace is on auto pilot until he reaches his own orgasm. Just as he begins to cum, he pulls out, leans back on his knees and sprays ejaculate over Tommy’s back, head, and onto Tray’s startled face. Wide-eyed she only sees a wispy white glow with a flood of ghostly drops flying over Tommy’s back and falling directly on her. The drops burst the second they hit her.
Tray screams and pushes Tommy’s writhing body off of her.
Trying to get up, she trips over her half-undone jeans. Screaming and shaking, she runs away, pulling on her clothes.
Tommy continues to writhe, deep into his final orgasm, unaware that Tray has run off,. Jace is stroking Tommy’s butt with his fingers deep inside him. Finally, the writhing stops, replaced by shaking and shuddering, until he is still. Jace lays down and cuddles the fucked-out boy.
“I needed that, I so needed that,” Tommy mumbles.
“I guess,” Jace answers.
“What?” Tommy is startled. Realizing he was being held and cuddled, he freaks and jumps up.
“Who’s here?” he demands.
“Its Jace. Tim sent me. Ask him in your heart to trust me.”
All the negative thoughts of violation, anger, and resistance disappear when Tommy thinks of Huck. For the first time, he wants Jace to be real.
“Ya scared me,” Tommy whispers. Then he laughs. “Y’all scared the fuck out of Tray. That might be the most excitin’ fuck o’ her life.”
“You weren’t complainin.’”
“That was sumtin’ else. I think you raped me.”
“And you liked it.”
“But I ain’t yer bitch.”
“I’ll play bitch next time.”
“Wiseass. Y’all thinks we be doin’ that agin?”
“I know it. You loved it.”
“I jist was thinkin’ of ol’ Huck. I neva wanna do’s it wid no one else.”
“It’s him that’s in yer heart. He sent me away, just like he rejected you. Same reason – he’s got too old fer me.”
“How old are y’all?”
“Fifteen. I ain’t aged a day since I was shot.”
“We’s the same age?”
“That’s why Tim sent me. He’s getting too old. Going ta college an’ all.”
“Y’alls a country boy, too?’
“Naw, but I sure as shit loves country boy ass.”
Tommy laughs. “I guess I do feels y’all in my heart too.”
“I knows that. Y’all has to trust me fer ya to feel me and hear me, as well as fuck ya.”
“I’m taking y’alls home wid me. We ain’t finished yet.”
“Bring it on, White Boy.”
“That bother you?” Jace laughs.
“Yeah. Y’all don’ts seem Black.”
“Wanna find out. I’ll fuck ya day and night and then you can see my skin color.”
“That so? I don’t care. You fucked me already. Y’all better be happy, for it’s never happenin’ agin.”
“Hell, if that’s what floats yer boat. Let’s go scare the crap outta yer stoner friends. Yer fuck buddy thought she saw a zombie. Think y’all can play a zombie for them?”
Tommy thinks about it and smiles. “Why not?” He roughs up his shirt and jeans, smearing dirt on them, on his face and in his hair. He approaches the stoner group with his arms held out in front and a dead look on his face.
Tracy was frantically telling the group what she thought she saw. Tommy approaches her from behind.
“Shit. It’s Tommy,” one of the boys screams at a high pitch. “He got turned into a zombie, too.”
They scramble to get up and run away. Tracy whirls around, shrieking and falling into a dead faint at the sight of the possessed Tommy. Tommy picks her up as if to carry her away. One boy turns around to save her. Jace grabs a fallen branch and started beating the rescuer, who only sees a waving branch flying at him. Tommy lets go of Tracy, who is dragged away by the terrified boy. As the stoners disappear into the darkness, Tommy and Jace fall into a hysterical heap, hugging each other and gasping for breath.
Finally calming down enough, Tommy realizes he was hugging something he can’t see. Momentarily as frightened as his friends, he pushes Jace away.
“Y’all didn’t enjoy that?” Jace asks.
“Same as y’alls.”
Tommy laughs. “I guess. How’s I gonna ‘splain it all tamorra?”
“Too much pot.”
“Ya got that right. I ain’t sayin’ I gots a ghost livin’ with me?”
“That means I kin stay?”
“Yeah, but I ain’t lettin’ ya fuck me ‘til I’s fucked y’all a bunch.”
“How’s y’all gonna fuck someone ya cain’t see?”
“I gots the magic dick,” Tommy brags.
“That’s what Tim always says.”
“I caughts it from ‘im.”
“I hear that’s not all ya caughts.”
“What that ol’ boy say ‘bouts our summer tagetha?”
“Don’t know nothin’ ‘bout that. Jist that he locked me outta his heart when y’all was in juvie.”
“Ol’ Huck was my hero the second I met ‘im there. He beat up three bullies the first night. The next night he let another bully fuck him so my friend ‘scaped. Then he turned the tables and fucked the hell outta the bully ‘til he yelled ‘Uncle.’”
“Y’all liked that?”
“I turned faggot then and there. I creamed my pants. I love him. He rescued me time and agin. Even beat down my older brother when he came to bust us in hospital. That’s how I ended up with my foster parents.”
“He beat up my older brother, too. That’s why I died. Jeff gots a gun and shot me.”
“It’s ol’ Huck’s fault?”
“Naw. He jist defended me. He’s my hero, too.”
“And he sent y’all to me. I thinks I rilly likes ya.”
Jace pops into view.
“Y’all ain’t Black,” Tommy observes. “I thoughts I hadda let ya fuck me to see ya.”
“I was just joshin’ ya. All y’all needs is to trust me, then love me. I’m glad y’all kin see me now. Y’all kin be pretty hard-hearted.”
“Stubborn as a mule.”
“Naw, fuckin’ gay.”
“Ya givin’ up girls?’
“Let’s git home and settle that in the bedroom.”
“Let’s write our own adventures. ‘Hillbilly Brothers, fuck all the others.’”
Tommy is pretty burned when he gets home, falling asleep in Jace’s arms before anything could start between them. Jace spends the night, with no urgent Teen Jesus calls to answer. In the morning, Tommy sulks when Jace refuses to go to school with him. All his plotted out zombie antics need an invisible partner to bewitch his friends and enemies. Jace feigns he needs his sleep. Once Tommy leaves, he catches up on less urgent Teen Jesus tasks. Jace returns and waits for Tommy to get home from school. The boy is so horny thinking about Jace at school all day, it takes two blow jobs to calm him down.
Laying on their bed, Tommy asks, “What’s we gonna do tanight?”
“Let’s go visit my old band. I gots payback due on Robby fer tryin’ to rape Jack last year. Michael’s his best friend. He kin see me. We all kin pay ol’ Robby a visit and fuck ‘im up. Ya knows enyone wid a car.”
“There’s ol’ Vic from the Sawgrass Campground. He gots ta play wid yer band when I’s momentarily laid up in hospital. He’s 23 but still cool. I’ll call ‘im.”
Vic’s up for it. Soon he’s driving Tommy down I-95 to Coral Gables. Jace rides along without Vic being aware he’s there. Tommy has to ride pussy, which pleases homophiliac Vic, who slings an arm around the boy.
They bang on Michael’s back door. Jenna and he answer. They both rush to Jace, Jenna hugging him and Michael pounding him on the back. Vic is totally confused; Tommy says he’ll explain later.
“How’d you end up with ol’ Vic and Tommy? I thought you were hand-cuffed to Tim for life.”
“He sent me to Tommy ‘cause he’s also 15. I ain’t aged since I died.”
“Never get ta be 16?”
“It sucks. Tim’s goin’ to Harvahd in the Fall. So I’m bonding with Tommy ‘cause he’s my age.”
“We wants to start back up the Hillbilly Brothers,” Tommy makes it known what he wants.
“You can try talking the Out Crowd members into going country. They’re your age. They’ll be here later.”
“We gots biznuss with ol’ Robby first. We needs ya to get us into his house.,” Jace declares.
“You want me to set him up for a beat down? He’s my friend.”
“He don’t deserves it?”
“A little payback may be a good thing.”
“Let’s go, then.”
“Y’all gots ta pull yer punches. Tim and I did that ta git our dicks hard,” Jace whispers to Tommy.
“I ain’t fuckin’ ‘im.”
“No, but we shure is fuckin’ him up. Jist play along.”
Michael gets them past Robby’s mom. We burst into the bedroom. Robby is still in his arm-chair lording it over a collection of 14 & 15-year-olds. Nothing ever changes in Stonerville. Robby recognizes Tommy but worries that the old Vic may be an undercover narc.
“What’s you want, boy. You still Tim’s reject.”
“Jist another reason ta fuck y’all up,” Tommy jumps into Robby’s face. He makes air punches at Robby while remaining out of his reach. Jace swats Robby every time Tommy swings at him.
Maybe Robby failed to ‘maintain’ that day, looking dazed and confused at the blows that are falling down on him.
Michael can’t help himself and throws mock blows alongside Tommy. Jace doubles his frenzy, slapping and pushing the confused Robby. The junior stoners scatter to the room’s corners, expecting another Robby magic freak show.
“Ya want me. Ya still want me,” Tommy yells at Robby. The punching excited the bulge in his jeans. He grabs and starts humping Jace, who continues the faux beat-down on Robby. Michael and Jenna can see Jace and decide they don’t need to watch two 15-year-olds go at it. They grab the confused Vic and leave the scene. Vic has the presence of mind to grab an unlighted joint for later.
“We’re going back to the music room. These boys are going to get the Out Crowd to play some country, if you’re coming,” Michael informs Robby, who continues to duck and cover up from blows he can’t see coming. Jace pulls Tommy away. He follows him to Vic’s truck, where they jump into the bed, continuing their humping of each other.
“That ain’t the sweet little brother I remember from last summer,” Vic notes.
“Ya ain’t seen the half of it,” Michael laughs. Jenna is studiously trying to avoid watching the fag scene in the truck’s bed.
Back at Michael’s, the Out Crowd is setting up for their rehearsal. Dave looks up from the drums and nods to Michael, his mentor.
“Who’s your friend? He looks our age,” Dave asks, nodding at Tommy.
“This is Tommy. He’s Tim’s old boyfriend from juvie. I met him in Iowa at Christmas.”
“Hey,” Dave walks over. “So, yer a fag, too.”
“Jist when’s I’s with Huck. I calls Tim Huck, ‘cause we’s Tom & Huck, livin’ large in the Everglades.”
“Well, I ain’t a fag, even though I work at a fag underwear shop.”
“Yup. Jist like Tim’s. But I ain’t into underwear, so there’s no worry fer y’all.”
Everyone laughs. John has been tuning the fender Mustang. He looks over his shoulder to see why everyone is laughing. He drops the guitar, creating an amplified crash.
“You kin see me?” Jace answers.
A confused John runs over. “Why’d everyone say you’s dead.”
“I am dead and a ghost. You jist couldn’t see me. Tim couldn’t tell no one ‘cause he knew they’d think he’s crazy. Something’s changed. Now you can see me. What’s different about you?”
“Nothin’, just I really belong in the Watt family. Scott even hates me sometimes. Why did you abandon me?” he cries.
“I didn’t. Many nights I slept right next to you on the floor in Stu’s room.”
“Really? Some nights I was so relaxed and happy. Others I just felt rejected.”
“Oh, John. I never stopped bein’ yer brother.”
“Why ya talks like this, like a country hick?”
“Tim’s the country boy. Ya should hear ‘im carryin’ on.”
“He was so nice ta me. He knew, ya know, about everything with Jeff.”
“Y’all kin talk ‘bout it now?”
“Not really. I don’t wanna but it ain’t important now. I got a family that really loves me, even Scott, the dickhead.”
Stu comes over. “Why aren’t you with Tim? Did you guys fight? Tim loves to fight.”
“Naw. He sent me to be with Tommy. I ain’t growed up like he done. I’ll be 15 forever. Now he has Jack. They’s goin’ off ta sum fancy college. I ain’t never goin’ ta school agin.”
“Can ya be in the band now that we’re your age?”
“I’s here ta help Tommy. He’s Tim boyfriend from juvie.”
“Hi,” Tommy comes over. “Y’all must be Stu. Yer brother usta call ya ‘Stupid.”
“I ain’t stupid. Tim was my big brother. He likes boys now?”
“We was more like brothers, livin’ large with alligators and even a panther that came at night ta hear us sing tagether.”
“Jist country music. Tim hadda pinch me to hit the high notes. We’s gots a band, The Hillbilly Brothers. We only played fer our friends at the Sawgrass Campground off’n the Alligator Alley. Now he’s in a band wid his twins sisters in Iowa. They calls it The Triplets.”
“And he’s in Dakota with John Lennon’s son Julian,” adds Jace.
“That boy can’t stop hisself from showin’ off.”
“Yeah, he played False Gods songs in a one man show in Hollywood last week. He was chasin’ Joan Jett from the Runaways around the Troubadour.”
“He’s playin’ our songs?” Robby pipes up.
“Y’all kin hear me now?” Jace asks Robby.
“Once I stopped being pissed that you were hitting me and started enjoying the abuse, you came into focus. Those blows were pitiful.”
“Must mean y’all likes me,” Jace concludes. “At least likes being abused.”
“Next time I’ll wring yer scrawny neck.”
“Try it,” Jace dares him. Robby tries to grab Jace by the neck but his hands go right through the wispy ghost. Half the people laugh and several scream. Ghostly delight.
While the reunion is going on, Vic sets up with a spare electric guitar. It is beat up and out of tune, just what Vic is used to. He starts the leads to ‘One Toke.”
The Out Crowd kids look at each other, and then grab their instruments, joining Vic. Tommy and Stu join Mike Jr. at the mic. Jace is right there to pinch Tommy and keep the harmony sweet. Robby pulls out a joint from behind his ear, lights up and walks over to each player, providing shotgun hits. In the corner is heard the demanding bark from the familiar pot addict, Max. All the ghosts are there. The music stops while Max gets his shotgun hit. He rolls over with his legs wiggling in the air.
Tim’s week has been routine and easy. He explains to Dr. Kam that Jace is with Tommy in Florida.
“Do you miss him?”
“Sure thing, but I know Tommy needs someone to love, so it’s okay.”
“So your answer is that you do miss him?”
“Yeah, but I got lots of love from my family, and even ‘Gator loves me. He just doesn’t think ‘bout it.”
“So you don’t miss him?”
“We have slowly moved apart. He’s still 15. I guess I’ve forgotten what that’s like.”
“You’ve grown up?”
“’Course. He’s forever in my heart, just like all those adventures and times together.”
“What’s the plan, man? Go to Harvard? Go all Ivy League?”
“That what y’all thinks? I can be some rich bitch livin’ off John Boy’s trust fund?”
“I know you live day-to-day. I’m still hoping we’ll take that Shikoko Island pilgrimage in Japan this summer.”
“Ahso desu. Gomenasai. Yuko.”
“John Boy coming?”
“He’s already bought our kimonos.”
“Tradition dictates a white pilgrim’s costume with a white broad-brimmed hat. It looks like a full body diaper.”
“John Boy will be disappointed.”
“It may do him good to lose a little ego.”
“You think he’s conceited?”
“No, just self-centered.”
That night I call the selfish bastard and tell him about the plans for the Japanese pilgrimage. The lack of garish dress distresses him. I tell him he would be among thousands of similarly dressed pilgrims.
“Is it like the Hajj in Mecca?”
“A Buddhist version, more self-denying.”
“Am I hearing a message here?”
“Even Daddy thinks you need to be less demanding after the snake bite hysterics.”
“I was not hysterical.”
“Quite the opposite. You went speechless, your version of reverse psychology.”
“I guess you think it’ll be good for me, this pilgrimage?”
“No, Jack. It’s one of those cultural experiences you want to pursue, like when you got locked up in a Swiss monastery.”
“That didn’t go so well.”
“And, you’ve been learning Japanese. This will be a true test of your proficiency.”
“Maybe Yoko will come.”
“You decide for yourself. What are your plans for this summer?”
“God, Tim. You never plan ahead. Isn’t your credo to live only for today?”
“Well, we had to plan ahead for the Skynyrd concert.”
“That went really well?”
“Maybe we weren’t that prepared. We’d never played a big venue. Our antics got out of control.”
“You mean Robby got out of control.”
“I have to agree with Dad that I set it all in motion. What if the police had shot any one of the kids in the boat?”
“Well, you’ve sure changed. Maybe Iowa makes you less exciting.”
“Let’s go to Japan together then. I met one of the Runaways in Hollywood. They’re going to tour Japan this summer.”
“Do I have competition?”
“She’s hot like a firecracker.”
“Yeah, I know the song – ‘Cherry Bomb.’
“No competition. She’s too much like Joey – drugs.”
“You seem to attract the type.”
“He’s too straight. How are they doing?”
“It’s tough to make it in the music business.”
“I bet he ends up living in some broken down motel, doing drugs, and waiting for success to find him. I love his songs, though.”
“Maybe we should just go to Hollywood this summer. It’s easy to make connections there.”
“Yeah. How many times did you sell your ass last weekend?”
“I was just window dressing for my friends. We had a three-way in the Pussycat Theater and afterward my friends were selling their phone numbers for hook-ups. We’ll just get you stoned and let you loose on the natives.
“You know I’ll follow you anywhere. Japan seems about as far as you can get from New York.”
“Probably as different as you can get from Iowa.”
“Always aiming high.”
“God, I graduate in a month. Last year I was sure I was a dropout.”
“How’s Jace doing with Tommy?”
“I haven’t heard.”
“I’ll bet Tommy won’t even know he’s there. He’s only gay for you.”
“Don’t be jealous.”
“I won that contest fair and square.”
“Tommy’s barely out of puberty. Not exactly a fair contest.”
“He had your attention all summer. I’ll go to Japan. It’ll be our ‘Summer Place.’”
After hanging up, I call Tommy to see if Jace has shown up. He was all excited about going to Michael’s and playing with the Out Crowd.
“How did you get to see Jace?”
“I was fuckin’ my girlfriend in the cemetery, but I was thinking about y’all, Huck. Suddenly I was being fucked in my back door. It felt so good. ‘Cept it weren’t you. Jace came all over Tray and me. She thought he was a zombie. We scared the fuck outta my stoner friends. We bin havin’ a’ventures ever since. He’s my age, ain’t he. It’s jist like we was last summer. He gots yer sense of a’venture.”
“Sounds like he may stay there.”
“Oh yeah. He likes being with kids his age, like me. We’s partners. I ain’t lettin’ ‘im fuck me agin ‘tils I’s fucked him day and night.”
“Maybe y’all kin see him then.”
“Oh, I see and hear ‘im alright. When I couldn’t sees ‘im he acted like he’s a black boy, which didn’t make me so happy. He showed me hisself then. He’s rilly cool.”
“Ain’t missin’ me?”
“I always love ya Huck but yer right, best when the other guy’s my age. We’s blazin’ red rockets on the 4th o’ July.”
By the time I get upstairs for bed, ‘Gator is sound asleep. I tuck in with him and he pulls me close with an arm around my chest. He hasn’t told me about his progress with the twins. I know it’s all good. All my friends are happy. I fall asleep quickly. I wake up alone at dawn, sure that ‘Gator will soon be up to take me milking. Ol’ Bessie is the only one who loves me exclusively, at least now that Seamus is gone. Our hearts grow large but seldom stay true to just one. I allow myself a few tears for sending Jace away. I want to blame Jack for being so possessive. Maybe he’s just being normal, a concept foreign to me.
I speak with Dr. Kam that week about missing Jace.
“You were the one to suggest he go to Tommy’s.”
“It was a neat solution to two problems.”
“Hooking up your two spurned lovers? Did you think it was a simple solution.”
“They’re happy, it seems.”
“Why are you complaining? Was Jace going to Harvard with you and John Boy?”
“He complained and said he wasn’t going to ever take classes again.”
“So the only tradeoff is you miss him already?”
“We were so in love at 15. I’ll never feel that way again.”
“They say ‘you can never go home again.’ Maybe it means you can never be that young and innocent again.”
“You’re right, as always. I’ll get over missing him eventually.”
“Why can’t he come visit when you want him?”
I thought about it. Was that depriving Tommy of his new best friend, Casper, the Friendly Ghost?
“Maybe I can let him know to come to me when we miss each other. Our hearts will never be apart.”
“Ask him to come mix it up on our Shikoko Pilgrimage. It will be pretty boring a lot of the time.”
“He’ll love the communal baths. Maybe he can get a Kabuki costume to wear. He’s still wearing the clothes he had on when he died.”
“You figure that out and you may be visited by other ghosts with fashion problems.”
‘Gator finds me singing to Bessie as she is contentedly milked.
“Y’all gonna hook up any of t’other the cows? I swears, yer lovin’ Bessie makes me think you’ve got perverted thoughts ‘bout my milkers.”
“I’s only gots eyes fer her,” I swear.
“Com’n with me. Y’all gots ta up yer game. Ya ready to deal with less contented cows.”
He leads me to another section of the milking barn. The cows look at me suspiciously. My lazy, hazy, crazy days with Bessie are over.