I found it shocking, waking up on Monday morning. Usually not my favorite morning of the week, but this Monday seemed unbearable with Tim gone. David shook me gently to get me up, after I had buried myself under the covers.
He walked me down to the dorm bathroom. I didn’t resist, but it felt odd to have a high school minder. I had defended his quest to sneak into Harvard. I half expected him to join me when he shoved me into the shower. That was not wishful thinking. Anyway, he seldom showered.
At commons the 3D girls surrounded David and me. No one mentioned Tim, but they eyed me for signs of mental instability. Did I seem so fragile? Anyway, I had David to defend me, everyone’s knight in shining armor. I decided to take the bull by the horns.
“We need to reassess all the projects we have going on and make sure we can cover the tasks that Tim was spearheading.”
They all smiled, knowing I wasn’t in some depressive funk.
“I have the Lampoon draft on male misogyny,” Jill noted.
“Good. With Tim gone, will you put your name on it?”
“Sure. It’s about me. People will see it’s a lampoon when they see my name after reading how I terrorize the poor male staffers.”
“The girls have already taken over my swim lessons,” Minehan remarked.
“Who wants to work with the St Paul’s Choirboy School? We promised to bring music to their rehearsals.”
Jace was bouncing up and down. “I’ll go and let Jace inspire the boys.” I volunteered.
The 3D girls looked confused. “Who’s Jace?”
“Tim’s first boyfriend. He started False Gods. He taught all of us how to play. He was teaching Jim from The Neighborhoods how to play bass at the Yard battle of the bands.”
“What?” Minehan was clueless.
“He’s a ghost,” I explained. “I can see him. He’s all excited about the choirboys.”
“That’s not a good sign,” Jill looked worried.
“He’s the inspiration for Jace’s Place. He wants all kids to be safe. He’s been fifteen for three years.”
“It’s a boys choir. Maybe you and Minehan better take that responsibility,” Jill decided.
“That’s not how we think. We want to teach them to play rock instruments. We need you to teach too, Jill.”
“Maybe after you get it started,” Jill was conflicted.
“What about the Smithies?” Trixie asked. “I thought you made up with them.”
“Yeah. They’re coming for The Game November 9th.”
“What are the plans for the Sitting Band spirit concert.”
“Tim will be back on the weekends. We do need to work with the Harvard cheerleaders so our routines on the sidelines are coordinated.
Trixie and Carol looked at each other. “We’ll work with them. We can practice on the Mower lawn.”
“Once the vomit dries out from the weekend.”
“I’ll get the Yard Guards to water it down,” Minehan liked harassing his friend Mick. “Maybe they’ll do something about all the drunk boys on the weekends.”
“You’re one of the worst,” Trixie winked at him.
“Not no more. I’s taken the Pledge.”
“I ain’t sexy. It’s the anti-alcohol pledge.”
Their sassy attitude gave me an idea. “Why don’t you all be our backup singers, wearing sexy outfits to inspire the Harvard boys before attending The Game?”
“Really?” they were glad to objectify themselves. Jill looked disappointed in her corridor mates. “You want to work with the backup singers, David?”
“We’ll keep working on lyrics for our Harvard songs. Can we all meet in the boiler room at nine each night, to rehearse the Sitting Band?”
“Should we sit down while we sing?” Trixie felt encouraged to contribute, now a full member of the Sitting Sisters.
“I think rock n roll is standup music, but we can try it,” I was adaptable in my role as the new leader.
“The idea is to charge up the boys and create excitement for the football game. How about a can can dance to spark ‘em up?” David was more hetero-normative.
“I won’t be in a striptease band,” Jill put her foot down.
We all laughed. “Okay. Okay. I think there’s a lot that we count on Tim to do. Let’s not get sidetracked. Nothing wrong with a little can can. Just don’t turn it into can’t can’t.”
My attempt at humor was met with silence. We all went to class or to the Lampoon Castle.
“I’ll contact Father John at St Paul’s. He seemed interested in getting us involved,” I concluded our meeting.
Jill came up to me as we were leaving.
“How about going through the Newman Society here on campus. It may be best to approach the boys choir through an established organization.”
“Worried about unnatural interest in the boys?”
“Don’t fall for that ‘all gays are child molesters’ crap. Jace wants kids protected.”
“I may not be the only one who worries about kids.”
“Okay. I’ll check it out. The parish priest wants us to get involved. No problem speaking with the Harvard Catholics.”
Back to the Dean’s office. The receptionist scowled as Jill and I entered. When she found out we were looking for the school Catholic organization, she became much more cooperative.
“I was hoping you’d see the light,” she waved us goodbye.
I twirled Jill around. “We’ve already found the light fantastic.”
The Catholic students actually met after noon mass. Jill wasn’t pleased that I had us planning to attend daily mass.
“How goodie goodie must I be?” she complained.
“Trust me, you’ll be amazed once Jace goes into action.”
We attended noon mass on Tuesday. Father John was pleased. The boys choir performed at noon. I suggested we meet with those boys who wanted to learn electric guitar. I knew that many churches had introduced hokey folk guitar at their masses. I would need to make my case that electric rock was more youth-oriented. Father John invited us to eat lunch at the school and meet the Choir’s Director, Dr. Marier. He had been there for twenty years and seemed put off that a teenage girl would be teaching the boys. Jill and I realized changing Harvard’s attitude toward women was a piece of cake compared to making progress with the Church. We were fighting only 300 years of male dominance at Harvard. Dr. Marier said little. I assumed he was evaluating our acceptability for working with ‘his’ youngsters.
I made the argument that rock guitar was as divinely created as spiritual music, as it came from the heart and soul. I used the example of the musical ‘Godspell,’ which had recently opened on Broadway.
“Can I sing one of its songs,” I asked as we sat in the dining hall, “’Day by Day,’ it’s based on Hymn 429 and the Gospel of St Matthew.
“You’re going to sing it right now?” Father John was surprised, looking around at his charges eating their lunch.
“I’m not shy,” I admitted. Jill was less sure, so I whispered, “Just join in at the chorus, if you know it.”
I stood up and cleared my voice to get the boys’ attention.
The kids responded positively. I got a smattering of applause. Father John looked to Dr. Marier, who nodded his approval.
“Great,” I concluded. “We’ll start tomorrow on acoustic guitar. You’ll be amazed how quickly kids pick it up. I’ll let them play the songs that are already in their hearts. Father John is free to stop them playing any songs he feels are inappropriate.”
“Can I learn as well?” the father asked.
Jace was hovering. He could tell that the father had an open heart.
“Of course. We’ll find out what music you really love.”
The glow around him brightened. Dr. Marier had yet to glow. He was a work in progress.
“I don’t teach them. Jace does,” I stated.
“The ghost. Now he’s a Holy Ghost?”
“Let’s say he’s inspired by spiritus sancti.”
“You really into this hokum?”
“As much as you’re into Tim.”
She turned red. “He’s into you, not me.”
“Don’t sell yourself short. He likes girls. Even I like girls now. He decided not to be romantic with you because you’re already doing so much together. He’s just following his feelings.”
“What are you saying?”
“He knows you like him. That’s all it takes for him.”
She changed the subject. “How can Jace teach these kids, as well as the priest?”
“Maybe it’s time for you to let him into your heart. You already are open-hearted by trusting Tim and me. We’ll let Jace join us there. You just have to feel him in your heart.”
“Then what? Will he haunt me forever?”
“No. He’ll know what you’re feeling and if you need him he’ll come running.”
“Some people call him Teen Jesus. He’s not exactly sin-free.”
“Sounds like Minehan, always trying to rescue me.”
“I think he has his own agenda. Maybe David’s Teen Satan.”
“I’ll stick with Teen Jesus.”
I saw Jace hovering. “Just want him to be in your heart and trust him to be there.”
Jace put a hand on the top of her head. She smiled and laughed. “I can feel him.”
“That means he’ll always be in your heart, like Jesus has been since First Communion.”
We held hands as we walked into the Lampoon staff room, to several whistles and catcalls. I love jealousy.
David and I had worked on the staff caricatures, some of which I gave to Kurt for his review.
“If you okay it, I’ll have a printer turn these sketches into the face cards of a Lampoon 100th anniversary souvenir pack for the Yale Game issue.”
“I thought you were using them in Jill’s article on staff harassment.”
“For the issue. we’ll graffiti over them with joke names for each staffer.”
“You plan to sell these playing cards?”
“Well, Minehan’s desperate to earn money toward his tuition. I’ll pay for the printing. He’ll sell them. After reimbursing me, he can pocket the profit. Since we’re defaming other students, I doubt the Lampoon would want to claim responsibility.”
“Can’t his parents pay his tuition?”
“It’s complicated. I don’t think they know how much it is. They don’t pay a lot of attention to him. He’s mad they won’t get him a car.”
“Stuck riding the T.”
“Yeah. That’s why he stays in Mower most nights.”
“He mostly stays with us, er me, now. We want him to stand on his own two feet. That’s why he needs to pay his own tuition.”
“Just helping a fellow student in need.”
“Okay. But before you go around defaming my staff, I want to see what you’re planning to say.
After studying, the Sitting Band held our first rehearsal without Tim in the boiler room. David brought Mike and Steve, making it more of a Neighborhoods rehearsal. We forgot about Tim and were soon working on their rhythm section with Minehan constantly berating them to keep up. As for songwriting, it was agreed that after The Game’s performance, those songs that applied strictly to Harvard would be in the Sitting Band set. Those songs more generally about any school would remain with the Neighborhoods.
During a break, Jill asked if we wanted to do a spoof of the Harvard Alma Mater. She had the words that Tom Lehrer had written over twenty years ago.
“It’s a bit sing-songy,” Minehan complained.
“Let’s rewrite it in a four-four rock beat, instead of the two-two folky speed,” Jill suggested.
“Go ahead,” I encouraged her.
Fight on Harvard, fight, fiercely, fight!
Impress them with our prowess, do!
Make Crimson bright,
Stout heart and true.
Come on, chaps, fight for Harvard
Peachy if we win the game?
Not to shame them, (But, for fame!)
Fight, fiercely, fight!
Don’t be rough, though!
Fight, fight, fight!
Do fight fiercely!
Fight, Fiercely, fight!
Minehan picked up a guitar and played simple E A D chords, making it sound more Ramones than Noel Coward. It felt so subversive. Minehan said it was a big improvement. No folkies in Waltham. Jill beamed from having written her first song.
Tim called that night. It really picked me up. Of course, he was in the New York Post again. He’d taken National Lampoon staffers to Max’s, introducing them to Patti Smith and members of Television. And, Andy, of course. Instant paparazzi attention. I wasn’t jealous but yearned to be there with him. I sucked it up. I told him about the Sitting Band’s rehearsal and confirmed he would be back for the football game on the weekend against Princeton. Tim said he hated staying at the Chelsea without me – all the memories. He swore he could still smell Robby’s heroin-induced vomit.
“It’s likelier to be more recent than that” I explained.
The next noon, we headed to St Paul’s for mass and our first meeting with the Boys’ Choir. Minehan wanted to skip mass and just come for lunch.
“No free lunch with the Catholics, dude.”
Minehan came, barely keeping awake during mass. He never wanted to miss anything about music, even if he had to sit through homilies, ceremony, and creed. We made him take communion with us, to prove our piety.
“I need to go to Confession,” he objected.
“I can imagine,” Jill remarked.
“Go on Saturday, if you need to,” I told him. “You can confess taking the Eucharist before being forgiven for your sins.”
He laughed. “That’s the least of my sins.”
“We need to show the priest and kids that we are with them.”
“Like good little twelve-year-olds.”
“Just grin and bear it. If your sins are that great, God will smite you down,” I smiled.
“And you’re so pure?”
“I have a personal confessor,” I told him about Father Frank.
“Typical of the idle rich,” he concluded.
Sitting down while the boys sang during the body of Christ dispensing, I thought about how I would do the Jace open heart procedure for the first time without Tim. Jace was in my thoughts, reassuring me that it would go fine. He was really looking forward to bringing out the music in the boys’ hearts. We already knew they were very trusting and open. I would make sure it renewed their faith in Jesus. Jace realized I didn’t have the same self-assurance needed to bring Teen Jesus to others.
“All you need to do is ask Tim to lend you his strength,” Jace reminded me.
“But he’s in New York.”
“He’s not in your heart?” Jace seemed shocked.
“Well, of course. I know what he’d think. But what if someone doesn’t accept you?”
“Tim’s giving you his strength and self-assurance. He won’t tell you what to say. Just channel his character.”
I realized that Jace was really good at preaching in church.
Before going into the cafeteria for lunch, Father introduced to us to the boys and said that anyone interested in learning guitar should eat quickly and return to the parish hall for lessons. The boys were more interested in food. Only two showed up after everyone had eaten.
“How come only you two came?” I asked.
They hemmed and hawed but finally it came out that no one was interested in playing folk and religious music. They had seen that we had only brought acoustic guitars.
“Well, we play rock. We’ll bring electric guitars tomorrow. We figured it was easier to start on acoustic. Electric is more exciting.”
“Will they let us play rock at mass?” a tow-head asked.
“We played Pink Floyd for Easter Mass at St Patrick’s last year.’
Both boys’ eyes popped, looking very surprised.
“What did you play?”
“Wish You Were Here.”
“You boys already are singers. Can you sing the words for us and watch as we play the guitar parts. Maybe Jesus will be here.”
“He’s already here. He’s in our hearts.” They were so innocent. Jace was doing flips. It was too easy.
“While you’re singing, see if you can actually feel touched by Him.”
Father John was looking concerned that we were testing their faith. I nodded to him that it was okay.
“We’ll play a shortened version of the song’s intro on guitar. Once you feel Him, start to sing,” I instructed.
Minehan was grinning, finding our lesson a chance to show off his guitar playing. Jill was wide-eyed and going along for the ride. All three of us played the intro.
Jace was hovering and the glow above the boys intensified. Once he touched them, they smiled and started singing:
‘So so you think you can tell
heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
from a cold steel rail
A smile from a veil
do you think you can tell
Did they get you to trade
your heroes for ghosts
Hot ashes for trees
Hot air for a cool breeze
Cold comfort for change…
How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Runnin’ over the same old ground
What have we found the same old fears
Wish you were here’
DAVID JON GILMOUR, ROGER WATERS
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
The whole song was perfect. The boys’ ranges were great. They extended themselves, singing back and forth, each taking a lead. Even Sid Barrett would be pleased. Father John was relieved, knowing they were tapping their inner faith to sing so beautifully. I wondered if we could get the boys to sing solos at Sunday Mass. I was fantasizing. I needed to get on with the guitar lesson.
“So you both felt him.”
They nodded, agreeing with each other as well.
“You want to play the guitar parts?” I asked.
They nodded, came over, and sat with us.
“Here comes the easy part, yet the one you may not believe you can do. Let the spirit in your heart tell you how to move your fingers on the frets.”
They looked concerned.
“Can’t you just show us the fingering?” Tow-head asked.
“You know this song because it’s in your heart. Trust the spirit in your heart to guide you.”
“Jesus knows rock n roll?”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Well, Kevin. It’s not just Jesus you have in your heart. All the people you really trust, like your folks, Father John here, and others are there as well. Our band believes we have a spirit we all share, similar to Jesus. Some people even call him Teen Jesus, because he was an inspiration through his musical genius. Any song he knew, he was able to play or sing naturally, from the heart. He was a teenager when he died, not perfect like Jesus, but pure of heart. He even smoked, liked girls, and especially liked rock n roll. His name is Jace.”
The boys were looking incredulous, while Father John looked concerned again. Good thing I skipped the pot smoking and being gay.
“If you let him, he will help you shape the notes on your guitar until you are confident that the sound will be what’s in your head. We call it playing from the heart.”
“Like soul music?” Kevin asked.
“Exactly. Think how Black gospel singers just sing out, with no restraint. Soul music from Motown is like that. But it’s not just soul music that inspires people. All rock n roll comes from the heart. Some people say white folk stole it from the Blacks, but it’s not theft when it’s divinely inspired.”
“Why do people say rock is evil then?”
“There are people with evil in their hearts. It may not be their fault. They trusted the wrong people and lost their innocence. Later we’ll explain how having Jesus in your heart teaches you how to trust others and how to know when someone can’t be trusted. But let’s get back to the guitar lesson.”
Father John looked relieved. He approved. Time to let the boys learn guitar.
“I saw you watching our fingering, so you know the chords, but we want you to play by ear, not by sight.”
They looked worried, not trusting their musical ability.
“You have to trust us that you can do it. Since you just met us, I’m going to do a quick test on how trusting you are.”
Father John stopped smiling, but I pushed ahead. Tim had always invoked Jace in these exercises. I worried I was not up to it. Jace was right there, hovering over the boys. At the word trust, their glow of innocence brightened. He inspired me.
“Jace is right there in your heart, sharing his confidence in you.”
I smiled and pushed ahead.
“Playing by ear, really means playing from your heart. Like a gospel performance.”
“Do they use the hymnal to read the notes and words or do they just sing out, letting the music soar?”
“You both sing beautifully. The music flows because you have confidence in your voices. It’s the same on the guitar. Fingering the chords looks complicated, but trust that your hearts know the instrumentation. It’s not about thinking but about trusting how to play.”
They looked confused.
“Okay. When I started playing, there was a spirit that showed me the fingering until I was confident enough not to need the guidance. It was the spirit of our band – Teen Jesus, because we all had Jesus in our hearts, even though we were Catholics and Baptists.”
Father John was looking more concerned. I would speak with him later to show we weren’t proselytizing his charges.
“We shared the same faith which allowed us to accept and trust Jace. I sense the same trust in both of you. Watch me and tell me if you feel touched by Jace.”
Jace placed a hand on each of their heads. The glow intensified.
The boys looked at each other.
“I feel a hand on my head,” Kevin affirmed.
The other boy, Liam, nodded. They both smiled.
“Okay. Now let the spirit guide you,” as Jill and I handed over our acoustics. Minehan had not been through this lesson in trust before.
I turned to him. “Play the Pink Floyd again and let’s see if the boys can play along.”
He started with the long intro. Jace guided Kevin’s hands and quickly he was in tune and on time with David. Jace moved to Liam, where he repeated teaching the fingering. Soon all three of them were in synch. Jill and I came in with the vocals. At the line ‘ two lost souls,’ they looked at each other and started singing with us. In five minutes they had learned all they needed to play rock n roll.
Father John was stunned.
“They already have music in their hearts. All it takes is trust for it to come out,” I explained.
He shook his head. Then he realized he questioned my premise from his own disbelief. I could feel he trusted me. Jace rushed over, anxious to reach an adult. As he touched the father, that disbelief disappeared.
“That’s what the boys felt, Father. Your faith is strong to feel it. Most adults have closed their hearts to it.”
“So, rock n roll is easier for kids to love?’
“That’s interesting,” I agreed. “It’s more than just music that moves us. It’s the ability to be open-hearted to others and trust each other.”
“We call that Grace,” he exclaimed. “I understand it, but this is the first time I’ve felt it.”
“How about you sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ and the boys play it?”
I joined them on piano.
It was a good place to end the lesson. I knew I had some explaining to do with Father John. I worried that Dr Marier, who was older, may not be so receptive. I had to trust my motives. Good manners may help. As a last resort, I could enlist Cardinal Cooke’s support. Hell, Tim was almost a saint in his eyes. I missed Tim.
That afternoon, we met with Kurt to review our progress on lampooning the Lampoon. David and I again presented the caricatures we had done. Kurt said they were wonderful but he decided they hit too close to home. He allowed us to go ahead with the Lampoon’s 100th anniversary playing card pack, much to David’s relief. He had already banked the profit he planned to make on their sale. I found an old sepia tintype photo of the Lampoon founders. We said we’d make our own sketches from it and use the founders as the original misogynists. We told Kurt the nicknames we planned to use. He was a bit taken aback and suggested we work with him for comic, rather than shock affect, once we had done the sketches.
Jill submitted her parody of the office culture. She called it Boston Barbarella, or Bossy for short, and how she took over the Lampoon. Kurt was very pleased. We sat around laughing at her description of reverse discrimination.
That night, Tim called and we bemoaned how much we missed each other. I enjoyed his adventures at the Chelsea, urging him to tell Bill Burroughs that we hadn’t broken up yet. The decision on whether and when he was going to Hollywood would be made soon. I made him promise he’d return for The Game, regardless.
Trixie and Carol had used their charm to talk all of us onto the Harvard Cheer-leading Squad. For some odd reason the boys believed the 3D girls should be dressed in long pants and sweaters, like the boys were. Trixie, Carol and Jill planned to sew skirts and school blouses. I berated them for falling into a stereotype. Mummy promised that appropriate female cheer outfits would be delivered before the weekend. The cheer-leading boys were miffed. They knew that their days as stars of the sidelines were over. Once we worked on routines together, their reluctance evaporated. Building a pyramid with the girls at the top took them to new heights. Ever bold Jill volunteered to be at the apex and to flip onto two boys on the ground. I was relegated to choreographer, which was fine. I told them that I’d be in the press box, to play my MOOG for the National Anthem. The Marching Band was practicing at the same time. I was emboldened to approach the Band Director, suggesting that the spirit section Tim & I had proposed now be allowed. He dismissed the idea, out of hand. He said we were better off with the cheerleaders.
As I was leaving, the boys who wanted to join the Sitting Band approached me.
“We have an idea, Jack. Since you’ll have the MOOG amped up in the press box, we can play fanfares and you can come in with an organ chord. Da da, da dut, ta dah,” They mouthed.
“Let’s hope he has a heart attack and dies,” one of the trumpeters snarled. I worried he was being prophetic. Progress marches on.
I realized I could play my MOOG throughout the game, like the organist at old-time silent movie theaters.
“Yay. Come to our rehearsal at Mower tonight at 9. We’ll work out cheers. We’ll really spark up the stands.” I felt just like Tim, without the country accent. I hugged them. They looked embarrassed.
The band rehearsal was missing Minehan that night. He claimed The Neighborhoods couldn’t come into Cambridge. They were rehearsing at Jim’s in Waltham. David was worked up about Jim being in on the Teen Jesus thing. He planned to interrogate the boy. Jace promised me he’d be there to defend Jim. The band boys arrived with their brass instruments. They seemed more normal out of their funky, heavy wool band uniforms, and no military style hatware.
We worked on Trixie’s song, ‘The Gauntlet,’ about the terrors of using the bathrooms in a co-ed dorm. I renamed it ‘Jake, the Rake,’ after the football perv who stalked them in the halls.
‘I need a shower
How will I ever
Sneak in a towel
Down the halls
Who knows his name
His ruthless game
Take me, take me
That’s what he wants
I’ll be free
Run the gauntlet
Lock the door
Not to fret
Won’t get me yet
It’s not his floor
That’s all she had, but it was a great start. We could polish it before The Game in three weeks.
The band boys were going crazy with their fanfares. It added up to a great rehearsal. I called Tim in New York, leaving a message at the Chelsea. Good luck on him getting it. I wasn’t surprised Tim wasn’t in when I called at eleven pm. I wasn’t envious, yet.
David was back from Waltham in time to drag me to commons for breakfast. He was his cheery self and made it easier to get up. The girls told him all about the band rehearsal, making him jealous when they praised the Marching Band boys who had joined our group. I watched him plotting his promotion from pet to boyfriend material. Good luck.
Returning to our room, I saw Jace sitting on my bed. He looked concerned
“What’s up, butt boy?” I asked.
“Don’t call me that,” Minehan complained.
“Sorry. I’m talking to Jace. He’s sitting on my bed.”
“More of this ghost crap? I had to beat Jim down to get him to tell me about the whole Jace thing. Did he tell you to pretend to be talking to ghosts?”
Jace looked more unhappy. I needed to work Tim’s magic on Minehan. I sat next to Jace, facing David who was sitting on my old bed.
“Do you trust me?” I grabbed the bull by the horns.
“I knew it. I ain’t gonna fool around with youse. You gays are all alike.”
“Stop it. No one can take advantage of you. I like that you stick up for all the girls, and even for me. You sure aren’t gonna let anyone push you around.”
‘Ya got that right.”
“I’m just asking you to trust me when I tell you about Jace. You already played the MOOG with him. Now you need to learn to trust him.”
“Right. Teen Jesus. Sock it to me. Jim’s a pushover. I ain’t that easy.”
“Jesus, David. That’s your problem. You won’t let anyone in. We live together. We really are friends. There’s no way I want to mess that up.”
“Not even to be ‘comforted’ ‘cause ya miss yer boyfriend?”
“This is not about me. It’s not about the band and music. It’s about you learning to trust others by being open-hearted.”
“A whole lotta good that’ll do me.”
“You liked learning to play the MOOG?”
“Sure. I’m a natural.”
“You don’t remember letting Jace control your hands and the MOOG controls.”
“Why can’t you let Jace into your heart? He’ll tell you who you can trust.”
“Yeah. I’ll bet he’ll be sneakin’ you and your fuck buddy right in there as well.”
“You’re right. ‘Cause we want you to trust us, too.”
“You’ll be in there fucking so hard my heart’ll be rockin’ and sockin’. You want me ta think it’s natural.”
We both started laughing. His imagery was so great.
“Calm down. You’ll only let people in who you trust and you know who love you, like Jesus at first communion.”
“I’m beyond that stage.”
“Was it so bad? You were a little kid. We’ve known each other for two months, but right from the start I trusted you and held you in my heart.”
“Jesus. Here it comes.”
“I know you like Tim.”
“I like you, too,” he admitted. “Just don’t push it.”
“I just want you to be more trusting. Obviously no one’s going to take advantage of your hard-hearted ass.”
He laughed. “That’s for sure.”
Jace interrupted me. We had to talk.
“Let me talk with Jace. I’ll use sign language so you know I’m not speaking to you.”
“You use sign language? Can I learn?”
“Okay. Just watch. I’ll translate.”
Jace looked exasperated. He signed, “I have to tell something about Tim.”
I told David and signed back to Jace that I was listening.
“He’s going to Hollywood this weekend,” Jace spilled the beans.
“What? We have all these things we’re doing for the Princeton game.”
“He knows and is upset. He has no choice.”
“Great. I knew it,” I started to tear up.
“What?” Minehan saw me start to cry.
“Tim’s not coming this weekend. He’s off to Hollywood.”
“Thanks a lot,” I sniffed.
David came over and put his arm on my shoulder. He jerked suddenly, and then laughed.
“Is this what you mean by having Jace in my heart?” he smiled. I felt him in my heart for the first time.
“Tim’s there, too. That’s weird. He’s in New York.”
“Yeah. We’re always connected. Now you are too.”
“He says he didn’t want to tell you about not coming to Cambridge because he knew you’d freak.”
“But, ‘cause we can always feel him, it’s like he’s here.”
“Well, there’s certain things that I need him here for, more than just in spirit.”
“I think you make it more complicated than it really is.”
I realized he was right. He knew that was what I thought and gave my shoulder a squeeze.
“That’s as far as I’m going. Just don’t cry.”
My new ‘insight’ into David revealed what a softie he was for tears. He instantly knew I had found his weak spot. He glared and removed his arm.
We didn’t discuss Tim’s defection from the cause with the 3D girls until the evening rehearsal in the boiler room. They agreed to be extra nice to Trudie when she came with Joan for the weekend. Thinking about Joan, I knew she’d help me forget how much I missed Tim. Tim popped up and let me know he approved of my hetero-normative tendencies. Mummy would be so pleased. I wasn’t so sure. What a normal teenager I’d become. I called Isaac in Miami; we had not spoken in months; he was full of D&D lore to discuss; I was glad to have matured some. He was at the University of Miami and worked up about joining a fraternity or not.
“We all make mistakes in life,” I told him. “Why not just start your own D&D group there.”
I promised to send him my tactical rules manual, suggesting he call it Advanced D&D. His enthusiasm jumped when I promised to attend over Christmas break.
Trixie was again worked up about the cheer-leading for upcoming football games. The 3D girls were excited about debuting their new cheer-leading outfits that Mummy had sent. We agreed to make their debut at the stadium into a fashion runway show. They had been practicing their tumbling and pyramid-building with the boy cheerleaders. I played several fanfares on the MOOG to get them into the spirit. Now all the third floor Mower girls were taking part in the show. We decided to change our name to The No Longer Sitting Band.
Lying in bed, with Minehan snoring away, I decided I needed to communicate with Tim through my heart. Just wishing it, made him pop into my thoughts.
“I’m sitting with Bill Burroughs at the Chelsea,” he signed. “He says hi. Actually he is high. The money Doug Weston got him for ‘Wild Boys’ is keeping him wasted, 24/7.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“Don’t be judgmental.”
“Don’t you start acting mental. I have enough of that dealing with Minehan.”
“Your new roommate,” he laughed.
I gulped and Tim instantly knew I still missed him.”
“I go to LA this weekend. I’ll take the shuttle up to Boston for the game, then fly out on Sunday. Happy?”
My heart was flipping up and down. He smiled. (how did I know that).
“I do, too,” he stated, sensing how much I loved him.
I instantly came, just like in a wet dream.
“Wow. Psychic sex. That’s a new one,” Tim exclaimed. “How’dcha do that?”
“Just by knowing you love me.”
“That will never change.”
I was getting hard again.
“Ya gettin’ off agin?”
His reverting to country speech was a turn-off.
“Sorry. I need you to hit me when I use New English.”
I fell asleep quickly, holding him in my mind. Just before I went under, I glimpsed that Burroughs was in his heart. What an old perv.
David was peevish in the morning, no longer leading me to the bathroom. Anyway, I was over feeling sorry for myself.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him.
“If ya gots to jerk-off in bed, don’t make so much noise. I need my sleep.”
“Sorry,” as I turned beet-red. I wasn’t about to tell him about psychic sex with Tim. I doubt he was interested.
He had The Neighborhoods rehearsal in Waltham that afternoon. He gathered my sheets as well as his for his mom to wash, giving me the evil eye, too obviously enjoying my shame.
Trixie, Carol and I went to a costume house in Boston. It was close to Halloween, so they couldn’t do a special order until after November first. We designed bulldog heads which we would use for the cheerleading skit against Yale. We rented five Tony the Tiger heads and tails for the Princeton game. It was agreed that the props would be shared with the boys, so it would be equal groveling for both male and female cheerleaders on the stadium field. We were so right on.
I didn’t tell anyone that Tim was coming for the game. Everyone went to the Smith bus to greet Trudie and Joan. Trudie definitely missed Tim. All the girls made an extra effort to include her in our preparations for the game. A dinner at the Ritz helped. The Smithies quickly learned the Irish Step-dancing. The Ritz security had arranged for a South Boston parish to send their whole youth group to participate. The twelve-year-olds were the stars. We all ended up singing ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Irish Eyes’ together. It was better cross-border diplomacy than a visit to the Rat. We promised to come to their youth group in Southie. They said they loved being at the Ritz. Jill and I had to sing ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz.’
Soon everyone was dancing like it was 1976, more disco than swing.
Minehan announced he had a surprise for us on Saturday at the Rat. He was mum about it, but it was an apt counterpoint to our Harvard weekend.
Since we were so well dressed, we decided to crash the Fox. They welcomed us as we walked in, insisting David and Carol reprise their song and dance from the previous weekend’s cocktail party. We all reprised our ‘Ritz’ act for an encore to our evening. Joan and I made sure Trudie was totally involved in our antics, so she didn’t miss Tim.
As we said goodnight to the girls on the stairs, Minehan announced he was going home that night to get ready for his Saturday night surprise. He gave me a quick wink, to clue me in that I had our dorm room to myself. I quickly whispered to Joan that I’d wait for her at the bottom of the stairs, so she could graciously excuse herself from the third floor. Joan turned red from blushing. Trudie gave her a wink as well.
We walked down my corridor, arms around each other’s waist. I wasn’t showing off, but there were several wolf whistles as we walked by open doors. Good manners restrict me from going into details of our first night of passion; she was still 17. Suffice to say, it was much more satisfying now that she wanted to ‘go all the way.’ As a gentleman, I can say she was totally pleased. As she lay sleeping in my arms, Tim came into my heart, signing a big ‘Hah.’
In the morning, Jill, Trudie, and the 3D girls peeked in on us. Piling in and sitting on Minehan’s bed, they were pleased to see us wrapped up together. The two of us were embarrassed to be totally naked, pulling the covers up to keep us decent. At least the bed wasn’t torn up. I laughed remembering the motel rooms on the Easter road trip to New York. Everyone was excited about the football game.
After breakfast, we all went to the boiler room to debut our new songs for the Smithies. It got so crowded, we took the acoustic guitars, MOOG, and a pair of tom toms out into the Mower courtyard. Without beer or pot, we still drew a crowd. The songs went over well, especially the ‘Fight Fiercely, Fight’ ripoff of Tom Lehrer.
During a cheerleading practice, I had scouted out the sound system in the press box. There was no mixing board, just an amp with several open jacks. The stadium attendant who let me in was into rock and promised to help me set up the MOOG on Saturday. He told me that the regular announcer was pretty old. I would need to convince him that I was part of the Marching Band’s performance. The announcer was no fan of the Band Director, having played a recorded version of the National Anthem for years, only to be told the band was replacing him with a live performance. I trusted my good manners to win the old guy over. He had been announcing since the Civil War.
We all went to the cheer-leading room in the stadium. When the boys saw the girls in their short, sexy outfits that Mummy had sent, they were not pleased. I pulled out the tiger heads and tails.
“You boys want to go first as doppelgängers for the opponent. We’ll switch after the half, so both genders have to submit to the whip. Jace was hovering and snapped his whip. Several boys jumped. They all looked worried. The faculty adviser smiled. Unlike the band, there was no adult supervision, just an adviser.
“Com’n boys. It worked against BU. Let’s do it again.”
“I’ll be playing music to go along with the domination of these pussies,” I crowed.
“Jack!” the girls screamed, while the boys laughed at my misogyny. Compromise, compromise.
Next I explained how their entrance into the stadium would be like a runway show, premiering the new girly outfits. There were no complaints.
It was all set. Before going up to the press box, I wandered over to where the Marching Band was setting up. I winked at the boys we had been practicing fanfares with. They winked back. Another musician shouted, “Hey it’s the Sitting Band.”
“We changed our name,” I replied.
“’Bout time,” little did he know.
The Band Director looked on smugly.
I introduced Joan, Trudie and myself to the announcer. He had his notes out and was preparing his play-by-play routine.
“We’re the amplified part of the band,” I explained, not specifying which band. “We realized you were right about an amplified National Anthem.”
“Finally, someone listened to me. What’s that keyboard?”
I explained how the MOOG worked. He was amazed but willing to listen and learn.
“Ready to sing the National Anthem?” I asked the girls. Their eyes got big. “I’ll sing along with you, if you forget the words or anything.”
“Jack, you need to ask us before springing surprises.” Trudie attempted to set boundaries.
“What? And ruin the excitement?” Joan laughed, to Trudie’s dismay.
“It’ll be so much better if we three sing along to the band. I can do it by myself..” I left it hanging.
It was show time. The announcer read his usual ‘Welcome to Harvard Stadium’ spiel. The male cheerleaders came running out, as I set the MOOG’s rhythm function to disco and started playing Cher’s ‘Believe.’
Trudie came in right on time, singing a breathy ‘After love, after love’, as the first female cheerleader came strutting out of the tunnel, in high heels, and vogueing her new outfit. Trudie was a perfect Cher with her East Coast accent. Jill led the girls onto the playing field, through a runway formed by the boys. The student section erupted in cheers and whistles. Disco had invaded college football. The alums sat silently in their sideline seats, stunned by the radical change. Jill strutted to the middle of the field, nodded to her left and right, and then turned around as Trixie took center stage. Every girl had her 2 seconds of the spotlight. They turned around and marched to the end of the line, kicking off their heels, and once all the girls had finished their runway walks, came back tumbling, twirling and waving to the crowd. The students were an unending cheer and shout. The younger alums picked up the cheer. The male cheerleaders grabbed the megaphones and urged on everyone to chant ‘Go Harvard, Go Harvard.’ The fanfare boys in the band, let loose with their trumpets. I added bassoon punctuation to the fanfares. The girls tumbled their way back to the tunnel entrance, out of which came the five boys in tiger heads and tails. Short bull whips had been placed by the tunnel. The girls got behind the faux tigers and whipped them into the middle of the field. The end zone student section was in a frenzy. Even the old alums knew what the skit meant. After a big roar, the male cheerleaders had everyone chanting ‘Go Harvard’ again. The tigers were herded to the Princeton side, where the stands were as silent as whipping boys. All the cheerleaders lined up and reformed the gauntlet for the team players’ entrance. The team was pumped up by all the noise and cheering. This was not the Harvard they knew. Everyone, including cheerleaders, lined up on the sideline.
I turned to the announcer, who returned to his script.
“Welcome Princeton and Harvard fans to the 79th annual football confrontation. Please stand for the singing of the national anthem.”
The Marching Band was assembled in the peristyle end zone. The Director raised his baton and the band commenced the Star Spangled Banner.
I turned on our mic and the three of us sang out the National Anthem. The band director dropped his baton. My MOOG never missed a beat and the band played on. As we finished, there was a huge, sustained cheer. Imagine that, patriotism after ten years of useless war in Southeast Asia. The older alums were so pleased. The band director recovered his poise. The Marching Band exited the field, the director casting an evil eye toward the press box. The announcer came back with the starting lineups for both teams. The captains met in the middle of the field for the coin toss. It was time for football. I locked the press box door. All my worry and care to stay on the right side of the University Administration was washing down the drain. All I could hope was for Harvard to prevail in football.
While continuing to do his play-by-play, the announcer wrote me a note: ‘give it to that band director.’ He winked at me. I had my first ally. The Harvard team was shaken up by all the cheering. Princeton may have been incensed by the insult to their mascot; they took a 7-0 lead on their first drive. On their second drive, I started a ‘Hold that tiger, hold that tiger,’ cheer with Trudie and Joan shouting out the lyrics. My band friends ended each cheer with a fanfare.
Now we had ragtime in the stadium. I continued to play organ ragtime, like in a silent movie theater.
Suddenly I felt all happy. Tim was at the stadium.
“Where are you?” he asked my heart.
“In your heart,” I laughed. “Actually I’m locked in the press box with Joan and Trudie.
“No sexy moves until I get there.”
“Too busy playing the MOOG.”
“Jesus. I can hear it all over the stadium.”
“Get down on the field with the 3D girls, before the cheer boys humiliate them.”
“I wanna see you.”
“Just wait until halftime.”
I went back to the MOOG. I told the girls to go down to the field and check that the band director wasn’t up to anything. They joined the other girls, surrounding Tim. He grabbed a megaphone and began pacing up and down the Harvard sideline, exhorting the fans to cheer for their team. He reminded me of Felix the Cat, all dressed in black. He had spent his per diem at Trash & Vaudeville.
The cheering had stiffened the Harvard defense; we used the ‘Hold that Tiger’ song to get the fans cheering their efforts. I played ‘Crimson and Clover’ and the offense was able to mount a drive and tie the score by halftime at 7-7
The psychedelic riffs had the students shouting and waving. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect on the older alums. I switched to King Crimson’s ballad ‘In the Court of the Crimson King.’
The Marching band’s flute section picked up the solo part, calming the older alums who felt they were at Symphony Hall. Next I played selections from the progressive rock on Jethro Tull’s ‘Thick as a Brick’ album.
I played a lead, with the flutes riffing on it. The older alums still thought it was classical music.
The Marching Band took the field, with the announcer reading his notes of their concept of halftime entertainment, something about the ‘Spirit of 1776.’ The stands were buzzing from the excitement of amplified music in the stadium. I ran down to the field, jumping into Tim’s arms in the midst of the cheerleaders. The males had that ‘I knew it’ look on their faces. The girls turned it into a group hug. Tim was back!
“Your performance is incredible,” he proclaimed. “It echoes throughout the old stadium,” he enthused.
“How’s it compare to your performance at Iowa State?”
“It’s so much better. You’re riffing with the band. The cheerleaders are using music for their skits. You came up with this in one week. I know Mummy had a hand in the girls’ outfits.”
He reached out and we locked lips for what seemed like forever.
The whole stadium went ‘Ah.’ There were also more than a few ‘No’s.’ Coming out is always an event. Doing it for 30,000 fans is dramatic.
I ran back up to the press box. We had a visitor, Dean Epps. My Harvard career hanging by a thread was at a turning point.
“Dean Epps,” he was glaring at me.
“I thought that with Castle gone, you’d revert to more traditional behavior. You are not the first Stone to come to Harvard,” he reminded me. “But you continue this disruptive behavior and you may be the last.”
“I hope you see that the football players have responded to tie the game,” I made my only defense.
The glare on his face softened.
“I hear that the inclusion of female cheerleaders is partly your idea.”
“Just that Mummy sent cute outfits, after the boys wanted them in long trousers and sweaters.”
“Ah, Mummy. Well, no one can criticize her. The addition of girls went over well.”
“But I’m tired of getting complaints from faculty about your insolence. The Band Director collapsed after their performance. He says you undercut him.”
“Only to allow the horn and flute sections to join me on the fanfares and classical music through the stadium speakers. How did you like our singing of the National Anthem?”
“Wonderful, but those girls aren’t even at Harvard.”
“They’re from Smith, visiting the Radcliffe girls in Mower.”
“I suppose they want to come to Harvard now?”
“They’ve said so, but their parents want them in an all-women’s school.”
“What do you expect me to do?”
“Please let me finish the game. There are no more surprises. We just want to cheer the team on to do their best.”
“If I pull the plug, I know I’ll live to regret it. Can you tone it down?”
“Can you keep the band director in the stadium office, for the sake of his heart?”
“I’ve already told him that. The first violinist will conduct.”
I smiled. He laughed. We reached an accord. I’d still be at Harvard for at least another week.
“In two weeks, the Yale game is here. I want to know ahead of time exactly what you plan .”
I nodded, knowing how impossible it was to plan all the spontaneous stunts. I’d be facing the music again.
Dean Epps slapped me on the back. “You know, your brothers were just ordinary student clowns. Somehow you’ve elevated their game.”
“My folks call me their November surprise.”
“Make sure they’re pleased, not embarrassed.” Dean Epps left. The announcer winked at me. The old curmudgeon liked being on the side of youth against the establishment.
The second half was about to start. The male cheerleaders trooped out and began building their pyramid. They each stripped off their bulky sweaters and showed off some pecs. The students all cheered, without realizing how faggy it was. When the girls ran out to build the pyramid apex, they got a big cheer, especially from the alums. With Jill at the top, the remaining girls came running out in the tiger head and tail outfits. The Princeton side erupted in cheers, until the remaining male cheerleaders came out with whips and chased the tigers around the pyramid, Little Black Sambo style. Now the Harvard side was cheering. The pyramid came down in an orderly collapse. All the cheerleaders chased the tigers off the field. We were ready for football.
It was also time for rock to invade the stadium. It had to be ‘Champions’ by Queen. As the team prepared to reenter the stadium, I started the opening lyrics, “I’ve paid my dues….” The band’s new leader directed the percussion section to come in, switching to the rock beat. The team swarmed out to “We are the Champions.’
Tim came up, leaving the cheer squad to whip up the crowd. When Princeton’s offense was marching toward a go-ahead score, we sang Bohemian Rhapsody as a duet.
‘Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go’
The band accompanied us as the MOOG rang out through the stadium speakers. As their drive reached the critical red zone, we switched back to ‘Champions.’ All the student section was singing the rousing lyrics. After the drive failed a fourth down conversion, we went into ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’
The stands were laughing at hapless Princeton. The Harvard team mounted a final drive and the game ended with a 21-14 victory. We played the Princeton alma mater, ‘Old Nassau’ as the fans departed the stands.
To the Princeton fans’ credit, they all stood still and sang along with us. As a final touch, we recognized the value of Queen’s rock outrageousness by playing ‘Killer Queen.’
We opened the Press Box’s sliding window. Tim and I were arm in arm singing to the crowd.
The student section gave us a big cheer as we finished and bowed. The band blew several fanfares. The first violin took his bow.
“You boys sure know how to put on a show,” Ralph, the announcer, clapped us on the back, taking his own bow for the first time since the Spanish-American War.
As we hurried out the Stadium lot, surrounded by our 3D cheerleaders, the tailgaters gave us continued applause as we rushed by. With alum support, I knew Dean Epps wasn’t likely to expel us. We saw him overlooking the scene. We waved to him. He did the Nixon double ‘V’ salute. 21-14 was what we needed.
I couldn’t wait any longer, dragging Tim to our room. Minehan was still missing in action. We had the room long enough to achieve four orgasms each. The first one went off in less than five minutes. The rest were more satisfying but I knew I couldn’t get enough of Tim. Jace let us know that Tommy had him tied up (literally) in some homo exorcism Tommy’s latest girlfriend had made him undergo. Good luck on that one. Jace knew we missed him but it didn’t slow us down.
We met Jill and the rest of the third floor at ‘Noch’s for pizza. They laughed at our red faces. We weren’t embarrassed, just exhausted. Pizza would do the trick. Jill had a note from Minehan that ordered us to be at the Rat by nine o’clock. Plenty of time for extra toppings. Trudie and Joan felt left out, worried we had bankrupted the sperm bank. We knew to devote the evening to their desires. Pizza recharged us. While the 3D girls were dressing down for the Rat, we made the most of the time for making out with our dates. Minehan’s bed was still taboo, although we swore his mom was thorough in her washing of sheets. The girls just wanted our attention. We knew that the single bed was going to take a beating. Finally Jill stuck her head in to warn us we had to leave for the Rat in five minutes. I argued that we could call a limo. The extra thirty minutes alone with the Smithies was shot down. Even Joan and Trudie were against invoking privilege. We tucked in our shirts, slung our arms around the girls and headed for the T. I love slumming.
David was pacing out in front on Kenmore Square. He ran up to us, even giving Tim a quick hug. He was rattled. Tim and I went straight for his heart and calmed him.
“What’s up, Townie? The other locals kick you out?”
“We need you here. We go on in five minutes.”
“Who’s letting you play with them? They’re crazy. You always upstage everyone.”
“We’re opening tonight,” he was gleefully crazed.
“Who is,” I asked, still confused.
Tim smiled. “I know. It’s The Neighborhoods’ big debut.”
David jumped up and down, shaking us. He was so worked up.
“Are you guys ready?” I was the Doubting Thomas.
“You’ll find out,” he yelled, running back inside. “Just make sure you’re down in front.”
The girls ran in with him, swearing they’d be his groupies for the night. Minehan beamed.
“This is a surprise?” Tim asked.
“I guess we’re no longer in his band,” I shrugged.
“We never were the neighbor hoods.”
“What will we play if he asks us on stage?”
“Great. Always a cover band.”
“Let’s never grow up.”
“Look what happened with Jace, stuck in Junior High in Lauderdale .”
“Gross,” I noted from my lofty perch as a college freshman.
“You’re so retarded,” Tim claimed.
“More likely a nerd forever.”
We went down into the Rat. Minehan had the boys set up and ready to go. The 3D girls were dragging the townies to the front. The boys were losing their cool to hang with the co-eds. The Rat had evolved.
“Okay, Boston, are you ready?” David strode to the mic. “We are the Neighborhoods and the Rat is our world.”
He jumped up and down in Beatle boots while Jim started in with the bass intro. Once he started the vocals he stayed on the mic. The first songs were about girls. Finally he broke away from the mic and ripped into guitar licks, jumping around like a kangaroo. The girls were screaming and pulling the townies around the front of the six-inch riser stage. We jumped into the mix, bouncing up and down. I refrained from ass bumping Tim in deference to our suburban friends. Minehan kept shouting the name ‘Roxanne.’ Did he have an unknown girlfriend. Was his status as college freshman threatened by dating in high school still. We had assumed he just wasn’t sexy yet. Finally he introduced her in song.
“This song is called ‘Roxanne.’”
“Roxanne, Roxanne.. You broke my heart”
Songwriter: David Minehan
I guess his sex life was stuck in high school. Oh, never to be 17 again.
They played five songs.
“That’s about it, so far. We just started this fall,” he explained.
The girls were shouting, “More, more.” Even the townies were clapping.
“Okay, we’ll play the set again,” David was beaming at an encore. They played the same five songs and departed to the cheers of their fans. The rest is history.
I ran to the bar and got three beers for the band. David drank all of them, so I had to go back to get more for Mike and Jim. By the time I got back, David was spinning in place, drunk as a skunk, proclaiming his band had conquered Boston. The world best beware. The townies were all over the co-eds, Tim had rescued Trudie and Joan. Jill was berating David for not bringing the Sitting Band up on stage for the encore. He wasn’t about to share the spotlight. Mike and Jim were his props on the road to fame. He grabbed Carol from the Southies, with an arm on her shoulder as he regaled the other groupies. She looked relieved; but this wasn’t dancing under the stars at the Ritz.
Tim and I took Joan and Trudie out on the stoop in Kenmore Square.
“This will be your life in Hollywood?” Trudie teased Tim.
“Oh, gawd. That’s a reality check. Hollywood’s more cosmopolitan than Boston. There’s three clubs to go to, not just the Rat.”
“How about Manhattan?” she asked.
“It’s been my second home since before I went to high school. The scene is real, not just on a weekend night. But everyone’s so much older. Our best friend is a seventy-year-old beat writer.”
“Jack’s not your best friend?” Joan wasn’t totally clued in on our relationship.
Tim grabbed me in a hug. “He’s more than that. We’re soul lovers.”
I turned red. The girls just nodded.
“That’s why we date roommates,” I assured them. They beamed and hugged each other. I grabbed Joan and Tim had Trudie. Minehan would be sleeping on the third floor again. The 3D girls came outside, followed by Minehan and his minions.
“Pizza,” David cried. We needed to carb-load. Soon we were on Washington Street, seated in a takeout joint, just stools against the wall.
“I know,” David admitted. “It’s skuzzy, but ya can’t beat a slice and a beer in the ‘Combat Zone.’
“They don’t sell beer, David,” Jill was on top of the situation.
“That’s why we just buy slices,” was his answer.
Soon we were walking toward Chinatown, with slices in both hands. David walked us into Jake Wirth’s, a German bar and restaurant, with sawdust on the floor. We all ordered dark bock beers which came in pint mugs. They never carded us, so the high schoolers and David were served. The beer was sweeter than lagers. It went down well with the slices we still were eating. David somewhat obeyed Carol when she slowed down his alcohol consumption. We laughed at his minder.
“Sure yer name ain’t Roxanne?” Tim crowed.
“That bitch dumped me,” Minehan revealed the truth.
“David,” all the 3D girls yelled at him.
“She was my first love,” he moaned.
“You should remember the good times with her then,” Trixie spoke up.
“That’s Carol. Alls we have is good times.”
Carol looked dismayed that she now had a high school boyfriend. But David was soon out on his feet. Jim took charge of him, announcing they had to pick up their equipment at the Rat. The Neighborhoods at least had someone with a car. Bass players have their uses.
We took the T back to Harvard Square.. It was still early, so I suggested we try to get into Porcellian. We went back to Mower to spruce up. Our Rat outfits were deemed trop trashy for snobby social clubs. We convened in 3D. Soon the bull session became so animated that no one wanted to leave.
“Look out,” Tim warned. “Jack’s social ambitions are being crushed,” once it was decided to stay in. Tim told stories about his week in New York. It made him seem so much more mature than the rest of us. He was out in the world pursuing a real job. It was more than social-climbing that was crushed for me. Soon our dates made it obvious that they were ready to get to our room and get it on. My maturity level was rising as well.
After a careful inspection of my bed, it was determined that Minehan had not left crusty sheets. Each couple was soon going at it in separate beds. The girls were not ready for a four-way. They were exploring two-ways with complete abandon. Harvard beds were exceptionally squeaky. It wasn’t exactly cacophony, but there was a definite sense of rhythm to the noise. We claimed it was due to our Catholic upbringing. Rhythm was the only approved birth control. We were sinners in multiple ways that night. The girls had provided condoms. We felt so safe.
I know that Tim took longer than I did to achieve full penetration. By that time I lost track of what was going on in the other bed. Joan was a bit shy at first. Once we got started, she was over any reluctance. She quickly let me know what was pleasing and exciting. I was finding girls more willing partners, in the sense that they expected the guy to be the dominant one. There was no confusion of who was going to be penetrated and when. We took our time. Tim had reiterated Tommy’s discovery that there was little difference between cunnilingus with girls and blow jobs for guys. Girls require a little more exploration, while guys require you to choke on it. The key was getting down there and enjoying how turned on it made your partner. And, how turned on it made yourself. It wasn’t long before Joan needed more than just tongue down there. As her need increased, I held off long enough to make her slightly frustrated, then teased her even more by rubbing my dick head across her labia. She was totally squirming and panting for it. I attempted to turn on other erogenous zones by licking her nipples. Now she was begging for it. The big moment lasted just seconds, as I penetrated her with, as Tim called it, my garden hose dick. Its length easily pushed against her cervix. She winced, causing me to fully withdraw. She moaned ‘no.no,’ needing me inside her. I knew how she felt. Not denying her need I stayed fully inside as her pussy squeezed and pulsed. Her first orgasm came quickly. As she let loose, I stroked in and out with short thrusts. She was loudly squealing and moaned as the sensation subsided. I heard Tim and Trudie giggling. I enjoyed putting on a show, but soon was simply satisfying myself; her pussy continued the throbbing as my invader brought her close to a second orgasm. Between the throbbing and the fast approaching orgasm I realized Joan was being overwhelmed. The thoughts of unending orgasm on her part gave way to a need to bring her back to reality.
I whispered, “Let’s take a break.”
“No,” she clamped down on my dick, determined to complete her second orgasm.
Her assertiveness tweaked my passive side. I gave in to her hurried race to cum. We climaxed together. My long skinny dick whipping and spurting deep inside her cunt. She screamed in ecstasy, and then collapsed semi-conscious as she finished. I pulled out and hugged her. I glanced to my left. Tim and Trudie were kneeling beside my bed, anxious and concerned about our fucking.
“She’s not dead,” I asserted. “I wanted to slow down but she took over and charged to orgasm.”
“How did that work?” Tim seemed to want a fucking lesson. He’d have to wait.
They climbed into my bed and we played sardines while I stroked Joan who remained comatose.
“This is not fun,” I joked. Soon Joan returned to the living, shocked that Tim and Trudie were in bed with us. She was instantly asleep again. I lay back and fell asleep myself.
Hours later, I awoke to the rustling of Tim’s bed. He wasn’t wasting his final hours with Trudie. As far as I knew, they may have been fucking all night long. Joan was resolutely in dreamland. Before we got up, she and I made out. There was no indication she wanted to repeat our fucking moves. I didn’t feel denied but was left with a definite feeling that I wanted a repeat soon.
We wandered down to commons, asking the 3D girls if they wanted to attend mass at St Paul’s. Minehan had returned and was draped all over Carol. She was still perplexed about their budding relationship.
“Is Carol your Roxanne replacement?” Tim kidded the pair.
David just squeezed her tighter. Irish boys treat their girlfriends like shit, and then elevate them to sainthood once they’re satisfied.
Father John had told me that the boys’ choir would perform at ten o’clock mass. He was anxious to meet Tim, our saint-in-training. I was anxious to see how Kevin and Liam did playing electric guitar. They had only learned earlier that week. All the 3D girls and even Minehan were happy to go. Our Protestant girlfriends were conflicted but wanted to go along with the group.
Seven girls and three boys, mostly dressed in white, made for a grand entrance. Our guitar prodigies waved to us from their perch beside the choir. They smiled and looked confident about their performance. A couple of other Harvard students waved us over and we joined them, crowded into a long pew. We had finally met the Newman Society.
The service went along, with the boys playing softly behind the choir’s singing, adding a musical tone to the crystal voices. Even David paid attention. As the priest released us, he noted that Kevin and Liam would play the processional; the selection was a rock song by Pink Floyd. The parishioners gasped. Tim gulped and tears formed on his eye lashes. I grabbed his hand in support. The Newman Society moved down the pew. The 3D girls huddled around us. Jace flew up above the choir. It was his song. The boys were not singing, just playing the guitar part. Standing there, Tim and I sang the final words:
“How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Runnin’ over the same old ground
What have we found the same old fears
Wish you were here”
Writer: WATERS, ROGER/GILMOUR, DAVID JON
Copyright: Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
The parishioners were filing past us, giving us strange looks as we sang, tears flooding our cheeks. Music at mass was still a work in progress. Jace was hovering above the choir. The aura of trust and love intensified. The glow exploded into a burst of golden tears, falling on the boys, and spreading throughout the church. They popped wherever touched by any disbeliever. The choirboys collected quite a few. I hated to tell them they weren’t worth their weight in gold. It was a second miracle – Tim’s guarantee of sainthood. Minehan was able to collect as many as were near him, hoping to add their value to his tuition fund.
“Congratulations, David,” I explained how it worked. “You must be a true believer.”
He just shook his head and distributed his extra tears to the girls who were too shy to collect any. Our second saint.
Father John had us gather with the choir in the parish hall. All the boys were holding their precious pieces of gold. I explained that they would only last until a non-believer touched them. Father John was visibly shaking from the excitement. I suggested we all sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ to calm down. Dr Marier walked in, pleased we were all singing. I could tell he was skeptical about the spectacle at mass. He asked to see the tears, but the boys refused to show him. Finally Minehan gave him one from his collection of twenty or so. It immediately popped. The boys moved away from him.
“It’s right that Dr Marier be skeptical,” I asserted. “He is not questioning our faith but only needs to make sure it isn’t some scam.”
He had that look I’d seen in other clerics’ eyes. His mission was to bring religious music into daily services at mass. Rock was not on his approved list.
“This has gotten way out of control,” he was angry. “I let two boys play quietly at the processional and it turns into a riot.”
He looked at us like we were devil’s spawn. I was ready to have him call Cardinal Cooke as a character reference. Tim placed a hand on my wrist to hold me back.
“Please don’t judge something you don’t understand. The Church needs to embrace music, not just tolerate it.”
Still glaring, he took a deep breath. “And what rock song was it that you had the boys play?”
“’Wish You Were Here’. It was a prayer for Christ to be with us,” I reinterpreted the Sid Barrett ode.
“And who provided these gold drops?”
“I can’t explain it. It happened once before, last year at St Patricks’ Easter service.”
“This is humbug,” he insisted.
The boys, remembering their Dickens, all went, “Bah, humbug.”
Even Dr Marier laughed.
“Just contact Cardinal Medeiros about investigating what happened today. He’s friends with Cardinal Cooke,” Tim suggested.
The kids crowded around Tim, after someone said he was going to be a saint. We quickly excused ourselves and went to Grendel’s for lunch. Everyone was buzzing about what happened. Minehan needed instructions on how to preserve his cache of gold. The Smithies were skeptical of the what they saw as Catholic superstition. I reminded them that Protestants believe in the Rapture. They denied any knowledge of extreme Protestantism. I grew sad, knowing Tim had to fly to LA that afternoon. We grabbed Joan and Trudie and walked along the Charles. The leaves were turning, though it remained warm in the afternoons. It’s called Indian Summer. They were also leaving. I grew morose. They tried to cheer me up. Tim promised to return for The Game in two weeks. I tried to be upbeat, finally collapsing in tears.
“I’m going to miss everyone,” I sobbed.
We all had a group hug. The girls were soon on their bus back to Northampton. I took the T with Tim to Logan Airport. I was dragging my feet, subconsciously hoping he’d miss his flight. It was to no avail. We hugged and kissed. I pressed my face to the waiting room window, trying to catch a glimpse of him as the plane taxied away.