I’m shocked, waking up on Monday morning. Usually not my favorite morning of the week, but this Monday seemed unbearable with Tim gone. David shakes me gently to get me up, after I bury myself under the covers.
He walks me down to the dorm bathroom. I don’t resist, but it’s just odd to have a high school minder. I defended his quest to sneak into Harvard. I half expect him to join me when he shoves me into the shower. That is not wishful thinking. Anyway, he seldom showers.
At commons the 3D girls surround David and me. No one mentions Tim, but they eye me for signs of mental instability. Do I seem so fragile? Anyway, I have David to defend me, everyone’s knight in shining armor. I decide 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 is spearheading.”
They all smile, knowing I’m not in some depressive funk.
“I have the Lampoon draft on male misogyny,” Jill notes.
“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 remarks.
“Who wants to work with the St Paul’s Choirboy School? We promised to bring music to their rehearsals.”
Jace is bouncing up and down. “I’ll go and let Jace inspire the boys.” I volunteer.
The 3D girls look 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 is clueless.
“He’s a ghost,” I explain. “I can see him. He’s all excited about the choirboys.”
“That’s not a good sign,” Jill looks 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 decides.
“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 is conflicted.
“What about the Smithies?” Trixie asks. “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 need to work with the Harvard cheerleaders so our routines on the sidelines are coordinated.
Trixie and Carol look 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 likes harassing his friend Mick. “Maybe they’ll do something about all the drunk boys on the weekends.”
“You’re one of the worst,” Trixie winks at him.
“Not no more. I’s taken the Pledge.”
“I ain’t sexy. It’s the anti-alcohol pledge.”
Their sassy attitude gives 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’re glad to objectify themselves. Jill looks 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 feels 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’m flexible in my role as the new leader.
“The idea is to charge up the boys and create excitement at the football game. How about a can can dance to spark ‘em up?” David is more hetero-normative.
“I won’t be in a striptease band,” Jill puts her foot down.
We all laugh. “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 a can’t can’t.”
My attempt at humor is met with silence. We all go to class or to the Lampoon Castle.
“I’ll contact Father John at St Paul’s. He seems interested in getting us involved,” I conclude our meeting.
Jill comes up to me as we’re 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 scowls as Jill and I enter. When she finds out we were looking for the school Catholic organization, she becomes much more cooperative.
“I was hoping you’d see the light,” she waves us goodbye.
I twirled Jill around. “We already found the light fantastic.”
The Catholic students actually meet after noon mass. Jill isn’t pleased that I have us planning to attend daily mass.
“How goodie goodie must I be?” she complains.
“Trust me, you’ll be amazed once Jace goes into action.”
We attend noon mass on Tuesday. Father John is pleased. The boys choir performs at noon. I suggest we meet with those boys who want to learn electric guitar. I know that many churches introduced hokey folk guitar at their masses. I need to make my case that electric rock is more youth-oriented. Father John invites us to eat lunch at the school and meet the Choir’s Director, Dr. Marier. He has been there for twenty years and seems put off that a teenage girl wants to teach the boys. Jill and I realize changing Harvard’s attitude toward women is a piece of cake compared to making progress with the Church. We’re fighting only 300 years of male dominance at Harvard. Dr. Marier says little. I assume he’s evaluating our acceptability for working with ‘his’ youngsters.
I make the argument that rock guitar is as divinely inspired as spiritual music, both come from the heart and soul. I use the example of the musical ‘Godspell,’ which recently opened on Broadway.
“Can I sing one of its songs,” I ask as we sit 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 is surprised, looking around at his charges eating their lunch.
“I’m not shy,” I admit. Jill is less sure, so I whisper, “Just join in at the chorus, if you know it.”
I stand up and clear my voice to get the boys’ attention.
The kids respond positively. I got a smattering of applause. Father John looks to Dr. Marier, who nods his approval.
“Great,” I conclude. “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 asks.
Jace is hovering. He can tell that the father had an open heart.
“Of course. We’ll find out what music you really love.”
The glow around him brightens. Dr. Marier had yet to glow. He will be a work in progress.
“I don’t teach them. Jace does,” I state.
“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 turns 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 changes 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 David has his own agenda. Maybe he’s Teen Satan.”
“I’ll stick with Teen Jesus.”
I see Jace hovering. “Just want him to be in your heart and trust him to be there.”
Jace pus a hand on the top of her head. She smiles and laughs. “I can feel him.”
“That means he’ll always be in your heart, like Jesus has been since First Communion.”
We hold hands as we walk 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 give 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 as 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’ll want to see what you’re planning to say.
After studying, the Sitting Band holds our first rehearsal without Tim in the boiler room. David bringst Mike and Steve, making it more of a Neighborhoods rehearsal. We forget about Tim and are soon working on their rhythm section with Minehan constantly berating them to keep up. As for songwriting, it’s 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 asks if we can to do a spoof of the Harvard Alma Mater. She has the words that Tom Lehrer wrote over twenty years ago.
“It’s a bit sing-songy,” Minehan complains.
“Let’s rewrite it in a four-four rock beat, instead of the two-two folky speed,” Jill suggests.
“Go ahead,” I encourage 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 picks up a guitar and plays simple E A D chords, making it sound more Ramones than Noel Coward. It feel so subversive. Minehan says it was a big improvement. No folkies in Waltham. Jill beams after writing her first song.
Tim calls that night. It really picks me up. Of course, he’s in the New York Post again. He’d took National Lampoon staffers to Max’s, introducing them to Patti Smith and members of Television. And, Andy, of course. Instant paparazzi attention. I’m not jealous but yearn to be there with him. I suck it up. I tell him about the Sitting Band’s rehearsal and confirm he’ll be back for the football game on the weekend against Princeton. Tim says he hated staying at the Chelsea without me – all the memories. He swears he can still smell Robby’s heroin-induced vomit.
“It’s likelier to be more recent than that” I contend.
The next noon, we head to St Paul’s for mass and our first meeting with the Boys’ Choir. Minehan wants to skip mass and just come for lunch.
“No back sliding with the Catholics, dude.”
Minehan comes, barely keeping awake during mass. He never wants to miss anything about music, even if he has to sit through homilies, ceremony, and creed. We make him take communion with us, to prove our piety.
“I need to go to Confession,” he objects.
“I can imagine,” Jill remarks.
“Go on Saturday, if you need to,” I tell him. “You can confess taking the Eucharist before being forgiven for your sins.”
He laughs. “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 smile.
“And you’re so pure?”
“I have a personal confessor,” I tell him about Father Frank.
“Typical of the idle rich,” he concludes.
Sitting down while the boys sing during the body of Christ dispensing, I think about how I will do the Jace open heart procedure for the first time without Tim. Jace is in my thoughts, reassuring me that it will be fine. He’s really looking forward to bringing out the music in the boys’ hearts. We already know they’re very trusting and open. I will make sure it renews their faith in Jesus. Jace realizes I don’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 reminds me.
“But he’s in New York.”
“He’s not in your heart?” Jace seems shocked.
“Well, of course. I know what he’ll 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 realize that Jace is really good at preaching in church.
Before going into the cafeteria for lunch, Father introduces to us to the boys and says if anyone is interested in learning guitar they should eat quickly and return to the parish hall for lessons. The boys are more interested in their food. Only two show up after everyone had eaten.
“How come only you two came?” I ask.
They hem and haw but finally it comes out that no one is interested in playing folk and religious music. They saw that we only brought acoustic guitars.
“Well, we play rock. We’ll bring electric guitars tomorrow. We figure it is easier to start on acoustic. Electric is more exciting.”
“Will they let us play rock at mass?” a tow-head asks.
“We played Pink Floyd for Easter Mass at St Patrick’s last year.’
Both boys’ eyes pop open, 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 are so innocent. Jace is doing flips. It’s too easy.
“While you’re singing, see if you can actually feel touched by Him.”
Father John looks concerned that we’re testing their faith. I nod to him that it’s okay.
“We’ll play a shortened version of the song’s intro on guitar. Once you feel Him, start to sing,” I instruct.
Minehan s grinning, finding our lesson a chance to show off his guitar playing. Jill is wide-eyed and going along for the ride. All three of us play the intro.
Jace is hovering and the glow above the boys intensifies. Once he touches them, they smile and start 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 is perfect. The boys’ ranges are great. They extend themselves, singing back and forth, each taking a lead. Even Sid Barrett would be pleased. Father John is relieved, knowing they are tapping their inner faith to sing so beautifully. I wonder if we can get the boys to sing solos at Sunday Mass. I’m fantasizing. I needed to get on with the guitar lesson.
“So you both felt him.”
They nod, agreeing with each other as well.
“You want to play the guitar parts?” I ask.
They nodd, come over, and sit 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 look concerned.
“Can’t you just show us the fingering?” Tow-head asks.
“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 ask.
“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 are looking incredulous, while Father John looks 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 asks.
“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 may have 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 looks relieved. He approves. 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 look 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 stops smiling, but I push ahead. Tim always invoked Jace in these exercises. I worry I was not up to it. Jace is right there, hovering over the boys. At the word trust, their glow of innocence brightens. He inspires me.
“Jace is right there in your heart, sharing his confidence in you.”
I smile and push 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?”
They nod again.
“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 look confused.
“Okay. When I started to play, there was a spirit that showed me the fingering until I was confident enough not to need the guidance. It’s the spirit of our band – Teen Jesus, because we all have Jesus in our hearts, even though we’re Catholics and Baptists.”
Father John is looking more concerned. I’llspeak with him later to show we aren’t proselytizing his charges.
“We share the same faith which allows 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 places a hand on each of their heads. The glow intensified.
The boys look at each other.
“I feel a hand on my head,” Kevin affirms.
The other boy, Liam, nod. They both smile.
“Okay. Now let the spirit guide you,” as Jill and I hand over our acoustics. Minehan has not been through this lesson in trust before.
I turn to him. “Play the Pink Floyd again and let’s see if the boys can play along.”
He starts with the long intro. Jace guides Kevin’s hands and quickly he is in tune and on time with David. Jace moves to Liam, where he repeats guiding the fingering. Soon all three of them are in synch. Jill and I come in with the vocals. At the line ‘ two lost souls,’ they look at each other and start singing with us. In five minutes they have learned all they need to play rock n roll.
Father John is stunned.
“They already have the music in their hearts. All it takes is trust for it to come out,” I explain.
He shakes his head. Then he realizes he questioned my premise from his own disbelief. I can feel he trusts me. Jace rushes over, anxious to reach an adult. As he touches the father, his disbelief disappears.
“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 agree. “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 exclaims. “I understand it, but this is the first time I’ve really felt it.”
“How about you sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ and the boys play it?”
I join them on piano.
It’s a good place to end the lesson. I know I have some explaining to do with Father John. I worry that Dr Marier, who was older, won’t be so receptive. I trust my motives. Good manners may help. As a last resort, I can enlist Cardinal Cooke’s support. Hell, Tim is almost a saint in his eyes. I miss Tim.
That afternoon, we meet with Kurt to review our progress on lampooning the Lampoon. David and I again present the caricatures we had done. Kurt says they are wonderful but he decides they hit too close to home. He allows us to go ahead with the Lampoon’s 100th anniversary playing card pack, much to David’s relief. He has already banked the profit he plans to make on their sale. I find an old sepia tintype photo of the Lampoon founders. We say we’ll make our own sketches from it and use the founders as the original misogynists. We tell Kurt the nicknames we plan to use. He was a bit taken aback and suggests we work with him for comic, rather than shock affect, once we do the sketches.
Jill submitted her parody of the office culture. She calls it Boston Barbarella, or Bossy for short, and how she takes over the Lampoon. Kurt is very pleased. We sit around laughing at her description of reverse discrimination.
That night, Tim calls and we bemoan how much we miss each other. I enjoy his tales of the Chelsea, urging him to tell Bill Burroughs that we haven’t broken up yet. The decision on whether and when he is going to Hollywood will be announced soon. I make him promise he’ll return for The Game, regardless.
Trixie and Carol use their charm to talk all of us onto the Harvard Cheer-leading Squad. For some odd reason the boys believe the 3D girls should be dressed in long pants and sweaters, like the boys are. Trixie, Carol and Jill plan to sew skirts and school blouses. I berate them for falling into a stereotype. Mummy promise that appropriate female cheer outfits would be delivered before the weekend. The cheer-leading boys are miffed. They know that their days as stars of the sidelines are over. Once we work on routines together, their reluctance evaporates. Building a pyramid with the girls at the top takes them to new heights. Ever bold Jill volunteers to be at the apex and to flip onto two boys on the ground. I’m relegated to choreographer, which is fine. I tell them that I’ll be in the press box, to play my MOOG for the National Anthem. The Marching Band is practicing at the same time. I’m emboldened to approach the Band Director, suggesting that the spirit section Tim & I had proposed now be allowed. He dismisses the idea, out of hand. He says we were better off with the cheerleaders.
As I’m leaving, the boys who want to join the Sitting Band approach me.
“We have an idea, Jack. Since you’ll have the MOOG amped up in the press box, we can play fanfares as you can come in with an organ chord. Da da, da dut, ta dah,” They mouth.
“Let’s hope he has a heart attack and dies,” one of the trumpeters snarls. I worry he may be prophetic. Progress marches on.
I realize I can 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 feel just like Tim, without the country accent. I hug them. They look embarrassed.
The band rehearsal s missing Minehan that night. He claims The Neighborhoods can’t come into Cambridge. They’re rehearsing at Jim’s in Waltham. David is worked up about Jim being in on the Teen Jesus thing. He plans to interrogate the boy. Jace promises to be there to defend Jim. The band boys arrive with their brass instruments. They seem more normal out of their funky, heavy wool band uniforms, and no military style hatware.
We worke on Trixie’s new song, ‘The Gauntlet,’ about the terrors of using the bathrooms in a co-ed dorm. I rename it ‘Jake, the Rake,’ after the football perv who stalks 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 has, but it’s a great start. We can polish it before The Game in three weeks.
The band boys are going crazy with their fanfares. It adds up to a great rehearsal. I call Tim in New York, leaving a message at the Chelsea. Good luck on him getting it. I’m not surprised Tim isn’t in when I call at eleven pm. I’m not envious, yet.
David is back from Waltham in time to drag me to commons for breakfast. He’s his cheery self and makes it easier to get up. The girls tell him all about the band rehearsal, making him jealous when they praise the Marching Band boys who have joined our group. I watch him plotting his promotion from pet to boyfriend material. Good luck.
Returning to our room, I see Jace sitting on my bed. He looks concerned
“What’s up, butt boy?” I ask.
“Don’t call me that,” Minehan complains.
“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 looks more unhappy. I need to work Tim’s magic on Minehan. I sit next to Jace, facing David who is sitting on my old bed.
“Do you trust me?” I grab 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 start laughing. His imagery wi 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 admits. “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 laughs. “That’s for sure.”
Jace interrupts me. We have 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 looks exasperated. He signs, “I have to tell something about Tim.”
I tell David and sign back to Jace that I’m listening.
“He’s going to Hollywood this weekend,” Jace spills 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 start to tear up.
“What?” Minehan sees me start to cry.
“Tim’s not coming this weekend. He’s off to Hollywood.”
“Thanks a lot,” I sniff.
David comes over and puts his arm on my shoulder. He jerks suddenly, and then laughs.
“Is this what you mean by having Jace in my heart?” he smiles. I feel 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 knows 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 realize he’s right. He knows that is what I thought and gives my shoulder a squeeze.
“That’s as far as I’m going. Just don’t cry.”
My new ‘insight’ into David reveals what a softie he was for tears. He instantly knows I have found his weak spot. He glares at me and removes his arm.
We don’t tell the 3D girls about Tim’s defection from the cause until the evening rehearsal in the boiler room. They agree to be extra nice to Trudie when she comes with Joan for the weekend. Thinking about Joan, I know she’ll help me forget how much I miss Tim. Tim pops up and lets me know he approves of my hetero-normative tendencies. Mummy will be so pleased. I’m not so sure. What a normal teenager I’ve become. I call Isaac in Miami; we haven’t spoken in months; he is full of D&D lore to discuss; I was glad I have matured some. He’s at the University of Miami and worked up about joining a fraternity or not.
“We all make mistakes in life,” I tell him. “Why not just start your own D&D group there.”
I promise to send him my tactical rules manual, suggesting he call it Advanced D&D. His enthusiasm jumps when I promise to attend over Christmas break.
Trixie is again worked up about the cheer-leading for the upcoming football games. The 3D girls are excited about debuting their new cheer-leading outfits that Mummy sent. We agree to make their debut at the stadium into a fashion runway show. They are practicing their tumbling and pyramid-building with the boy cheerleaders. I play several fanfares on the MOOG to get them into the spirit. Now all the third floor Mower girls are taking part in the show. We decide to change our name to The No Longer Sitting Band.
Lying in bed, with Minehan snoring away, I decide I need to communicate with Tim through my heart. Just wishing it makes him pop into my thoughts.
“I’m sitting with Bill Burroughs at the Chelsea,” he signs. “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 laughs.
I gulp and Tim instantly knows I still miss 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 s flipping up and down. He smiles. (how do I know that).
“I do, too,” he states, sensing how much I love him.
I instantly cum, just like in a wet dream.
“Wow. Psychic sex. That’s a new one,” Tim exclaims. “How’dcha do that?”
“Just by knowing you love me.”
“That will never change.”
I’m getting hard again.
“Ya gettin’ off agin?”
His reverting to country speech is a turn-off.
“Sorry. I need you to hit me when I use New English.”
I fall asleep quickly, holding him in my mind. Just before I go under, I glimpsed that Burroughs is in his heart. What an old perv.
David is peevish in the morning, no longer leading me to the bathroom. Anyway, I’m over feeling sorry for myself.
“What’s the matter?” I ask him.
“If ya gots to jerk-off in bed, don’t make so much noise. I need my sleep.”
“Sorry,” as I turn beet-red. I’m not about to tell him about psychic sex with Tim. I doubt he’s interested.
He has The Neighborhoods rehearsal in Waltham that afternoon. He gathers 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 go to a costume house in Boston. It’s close to Halloween, so they can’t do a special order until after November first. We design bulldog heads which we’ll use for the cheerleading skit against Yale. We rent five Tony the Tiger heads and tails for the Princeton game. It’s agreed that the props will be shared with the boys, so it’ll be equal groveling for both male and female cheerleaders on the stadium field. We’re so right on.
I don’t tell anyone that Tim is coming for the game. Everyone goes to the Smith bus to greet Trudie and Joan. Trudie definitely misses Tim. All the girls make an extra effort to include her in our preparations for the game. A dinner at the Ritz helps. The Smithies quickly learn the Irish Step-dancing. The Ritz security arranges for a South Boston parish to send their whole youth group to participate. The twelve-year-olds are the stars. We all end up singing ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Irish Eyes’ together. It’s better cross-border diplomacy than a visit to the Rat. We promise to come to their youth group in Southie. They say they love being at the Ritz. Jill and I sing ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz.’
Soon everyone is dancing like it’s 1976, more disco than swing.
Minehan announces he has a surprise for us on Saturday at the Rat. He is mum about it, but it’s an apt counterpoint to our Harvard weekend.
Since we are so well dressed, we decide to crash the Fox. They welcomed us as we walk 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 make sure Trudie is totally involved in our antics, so she doesn’t miss Tim.
As we say goodnight to the girls on the stairs, Minehan announces he’s going home that night to get ready for his Saturday night surprise. He gives me a quick wink, to clue me in that I have our dorm room to myself. I quickly whisper to Joan that I’ll wait for her at the bottom of the stairs, so she could graciously excuse herself from the third floor. Joan turns red from blushing. Trudie gives her a wink as well.
We walk down my corridor, arms around each other’s waist. I’m not showing off, but there are several wolf whistles as we walk by open doors. Good manners restrict me from going into details of our first night of passion; she is still 17. Suffice to say, it’s much more satisfying now that she wants to ‘go all the way.’ As a gentleman, I can say she was totally pleased. As she lays sleeping in my arms, Tim comes into my heart, signing a big ‘Hah.’
In the morning, Jill, Trudie, and the 3D girls peek in on us. Piling in and sitting on Minehan’s bed, they’re pleased to see us wrapped up together. The two of us are embarrassed to be totally naked, pulling the covers up to keep us decent. At least the bed isn’t torn up. I laugh remembering the motel rooms on our Easter road trip to New York. Everyone is excited about the football game.
After breakfast, we all go to the boiler room to debut our new songs for the Smithies. It gets so crowded, we take the acoustic guitars, MOOG, and a pair of tom toms out into the Mower courtyard. Without beer or pot, we still draw a crowd. The songs go over well, especially the ‘Fight Fiercely, Fight’ ripoff of Tom Lehrer.
During a cheerleading practice, I scouted out the sound system in the press box. There is no mixing board, just an amp with several open jacks. The stadium attendant who let me in is into rock and promises to help me set up the MOOG on Saturday. He tells me that the game announcer is pretty old. I’ll need to convince him that I’m part of the Marching Band’s performance. The announcer is 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 trust my good manners to win the old guy over. He has been announcing since the Civil War.
We all go to the cheer-leading room in the stadium. When the boys see the girls in their short, sexy outfits that Mummy sent, they are not pleased. I pull 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 is hovering and snaps his whip. Several boys jump. They all look worried. The faculty adviser smiles. Unlike the band, there is 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 crow.
“Jack!” the girls scream, while the boys laugh at my misogyny. Compromise, compromise.
Next I explain how their entrance into the stadium will be like a runway show, premiering the new girly outfits. There are no complaints.
It’s all set. Before going up to the press box, I wander over to where the Marching Band is setting up. I wink at the boys we practiced fanfares with. They wink back. Another musician shouts, “Hey it’s the Sitting Band.”
“We changed our name,” I reply.
“’Bout time,” little did he know.
The Band Director looks on smugly.
I introduce Joan, Trudie and myself to the announcer. He has his notes out and is preparing his play-by-play routine.
“We’re the amplified part of the band,” I explain, not specifying which band. “We realize you were right about an amplified National Anthem.”
“Finally, someone listens to me. What’s that keyboard?”
I explain how the MOOG works. He’s amazed but willing to listen and learn.
“Ready to sing the National Anthem?” I ask 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 attempts to set boundaries.
“What? And ruin the excitement?” Joan laughs, 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 leave it hanging.
It’s show time. The announcer reads his usual ‘Welcome to Harvard Stadium’ spiel. The male cheerleaders come running out, as I set the MOOG’s rhythm function to disco and start playing Cher’s ‘Believe.’
Trudie comes in right on time, singing a breathy ‘After love, after love’, as the first female cheerleader comes strutting out of the tunnel, in high heels, and vogueing her new outfit. Trudie is a perfect Cher with her East Coast accent. Jill leads the girls onto the playing field, through a runway formed by the boys. The student section erupts in cheers and whistles. Disco invades college football. The alums sit silently in their sideline seats, stunned by the radical change. Jill struts to the middle of the field, nods to her left and right, and then turns around as Trixie takes center stage. Every girl has her 2 seconds of the spotlight. They turn around and march to the end of the line male cheerleaders, kicking off their heels. Once all the girls finish their runway walks, they come back tumbling, twirling and waving to the crowd. The students are an unending cheer and shout. The younger alums pick up the cheer. The male cheerleaders grab the megaphones and urge on everyone to chant ‘Go Harvard, Go Harvard.’ The fanfare boys in the band, let loose with their trumpets. I add my MOOG’s bassoon punctuation to the fanfares. The girls tumble their way back to the tunnel entrance, out of which comes the five boys in tiger heads and tails. Short bull whips have been placed by the tunnel. The girls got behind the faux tigers and whip them into the middle of the field. The end zone student section is in a frenzy. Even the old alums know what the skit means. After a big roar, the male cheerleaders have everyone chanting ‘Go Harvard’ again. The tigers are herded to the Princeton side, where the stands are as silent as whipping boys. All the cheerleaders line up and reform the gauntlet for the team players’ entrance. The team s pumped up by all the noise and cheering. This is not the Harvard they knew. Everyone, including cheerleaders, lines up on the sideline.
I turn to the announcer, who starts 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 is assembled in the peristyle end zone. The Director raises his baton and the band commences the Star Spangled Banner.
I turn on our mic and the three of us sing out the National Anthem. The band director drops his baton. My MOOG never misses a beat and the band plays on. As we finish, there’s a huge, sustained cheer. Imagine that, patriotism after ten years of useless war in Southeast Asia. The older alums are so pleased. The band director recovers his poise. The Marching Band exits the field, the director casting an evil eye toward the press box. The announcer comes on with the starting lineups for both teams. The captains meet in the middle of the field for the coin toss. It’s time for football. I lock the press box door. All my worry and care to stay on the right side of the University Administration washes down the drain. All I can hope is for Harvard to prevail in football.
While continuing to do his play-by-play, the announcer writes me a note: ‘give it to that band director.’ He winks at me. I have my first ally. The Harvard team is shaken up by all the cheering. Princeton be incensed by the insult to their mascot; they take a 7-0 lead on their first drive. On their second drive, I start a ‘Hold that tiger, hold that tiger,’ cheer with Trudie and Joan shouting out the lyrics. My band friends end each cheer with a fanfare.
Now we have ragtime in the stadium. I continue to play organ ragtime, like in a silent movie theater.
Suddenly I feel all happy. Tim is at the stadium.
“Where are you?” he ask my heart.
“In your heart,” I laugh. “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 go back to the MOOG. I tell the girls to go down to the field and check that the band director isn’t up to anything. They join the other girls, surrounding Tim. He grabs a megaphone and begins pacing up and down the Harvard sideline, exhorting the fans to cheer for their team. He reminds me of Felix the Cat, all dressed in black. He spent his per diem at Trash & Vaudeville.
The cheering stiffens the Harvard defense; we use the ‘Hold that Tiger’ song to get the fans cheering their efforts. I play ‘Crimson and Clover’ and the offense is able to mount a drive and tie the score by halftime at 7-7
The psychedelic riffs have the students shouting and waving. Unfortunately it has the opposite effect on the older alums. I switch to King Crimson’s ballad ‘In the Court of the Crimson King.’
The Marching band’s flute section picks up the solo part, calming the older alums who feel like they’re at Symphony Hall. Next I played selections from the progressive rock on Jethro Tull’s ‘Thick as a Brick’ album.
I play a lead, with the flutes riffing on it. The older alums still think it is classical music.
The Marching Band takes the field, with the announcer reading his notes of their concept of halftime entertainment, something about the ‘Spirit of 1776.’ The stands are buzzing from the excitement of amplified music in the stadium. I run down to the field, jumping into Tim’s arms in the midst of the cheerleaders. The males have that ‘I knew it’ look on their faces. The girls turn it into a group hug. Tim is back!
“Your performance is incredible,” he proclaims. “It echoes throughout the old stadium,” he enthuses.
“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 your music for their skits. You came up with this in one week. I know Mummy has a hand in the girls’ outfits.”
He reaches out and we lock lips for what seemed like forever.
The whole stadium goes‘Ah.’ There are also more than a few ‘No’s.’ Coming out is always an event. Doing it for 30,000 fans is dramatic.
I run back up to the press box. We have a visitor, Dean Epps. My Harvard career hanging by a thread is at a turning point.
“Dean Epps,” he’s 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 reminds 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 make my only defense.
The glare on his face softens.
“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 smile. He laughs. We reach an accord. I’ll 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 nod, knowing how impossible it is to plan all the spontaneous stunts. I’ll be facing the music again.
Dean Epps slaps 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 leaves. The announcer winks at me. The old curmudgeon likes being on the side of youth against the establishment.
The second half is about to start. The male cheerleaders troop out and began building their pyramid. They each strip off their bulky sweaters and showed off some pecs. The students all cheer, not realizing how faggy it is. When the girls run out to build the pyramid apex, they get a big cheer, especially from the alums. With Jill at the top, the remaining girls come running out in the tiger head and tail outfits. The Princeton side erupts in cheers, until the remaining male cheerleaders come out with whips and chase the tigers around the pyramid, Little Black Sambo style. Now the Harvard side s cheering. The pyramid comes down in an orderly collapse. All the cheerleaders chase the tigers off the field. We’re ready for football.
It’s also time for rock to invade the stadium. It has to be ‘Champions’ by Queen. As the team prepares to reenter the stadium, I start the opening lyrics, “I’ve paid my dues….” The band’s new leader directs the percussion section to come in, switching to the rock beat. The team swarms out to “We are the Champions.’
Tim comes up, leaving the cheer squad to whip up the crowd. When Princeton’s offense is marching toward a go-ahead score, we sing 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 accompanies us as the MOOG rings out through the stadium speakers. As their drive reaches the critical red zone, we switch back to ‘Champions.’ All the student section is singing the rousing lyrics. After the drive failed a fourth down conversion, we go into ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’
The stands are laughing at hapless Princeton. The Harvard team mounts a final drive and the game ends with a 21-14 victory. We play the Princeton alma mater, ‘Old Nassau’ as their fans depart the stands.
To the Princeton fans’ credit, they all stood still and sang along with us. As a final touch, we recognize the value of Queen’s rock outrageousness by playing ‘Killer Queen.’
We open the Press Box’s sliding window. Tim and I are arm in arm singing to the crowd.
The student section gives us a big cheer as we finish and bow. The band blows several fanfares. The first violin takes his bow.
“You boys sure know how to put on a show,” Ralph, the announcer, claps us on the back, taking his own bow for the first time since the Spanish-American War.
As we hurry out the Stadium lot, surrounded by our 3D cheerleaders, the tailgaters give us continual applause as we rush by. With alum support, I know Dean Epps isn’t likely to expel us. We see him overlooking the scene. We wavd to him. He did the Nixon double ‘V’ salute. 21-14 is what we needed.
I can’t wait any longer, dragging Tim to our room. Minehan is still missing in action. We have the room long enough to achieve four orgasms each. The first one goes off in less than five minutes. The rest are more satisfying but I can’t get enough of Tim. Jace lets us know that Tommy has him tied up (literally) in some homo exorcism Tommy’s latest girlfriend makes him undergo. Good luck on that one. Jace knows we miss him but it doesn’t slow us down.
We meet Jill and the rest of the third floor at ‘Noch’s for pizza. They laugh at our red faces. We aren’t embarrassed, just exhaust. Pizza will do the trick. Jill has a note from Minehan that orders us to be at the Rat by nine o’clock. Plenty of time for extra toppings. Trudie and Joan feel left out, worried we’ve bankrupted our sperm banks. We know to devote the evening to their desires. Pizza recharges us. While the 3D girls are dressing down for the Rat, we make the most of the time for making out with our dates. Minehan’s bed is still taboo, although we swear his mom was thorough in washing his sheets. The girls just want our attention. We know that the single bed is going to take a beating. Finally Jill sticks her head in to warn us we have to leave for the Rat in five minutes. I’m shot down arguing that we can call a limo, for an extra thirty minutes alone with the Smithies . Even Joan and Trudie are against invoking privilege. We tuck in our shirts, sling our arms around the girls and head for the T. I love slumming.
David is pacing out in front on Kenmore Square. He runs up to us, even giving Tim a quick hug. He’s rattled. Tim and I go straight for his heart and calm 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’s gleefully crazed.
“Who is,” I ask, still confused.
Tim smiles. “I know. It’s The Neighborhoods’ big debut.”
David jumps up and down, shaking us. He’s so worked up.
“Are you guys ready?” I’m a Doubting Thomas.
“You’ll find out,” he yells, running back inside. “Just make sure you’re down in front.”
The girls run in with him, swearing they’ll be his groupies for the night. Minehan beams.
“This is a surprise?” Tim asks.
“I guess we’re no longer in his band,” I shrug.
“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 note from my lofty perch as a college freshman.
“You’re so retarded,” Tim claims.
“More likely a nerd forever.”
We go inside the Rat. Minehan has the boys set up and ready to go. The 3D girls are dragging the townies to the front. The boys are losing their cool to hang with the co-eds. The Rat has evolved.
“Okay, Boston, are you ready?” David strides to the mic. “We are the Neighborhoods and the Rat is our world.”
He jumps up and down in Beatle boots while Jim starts in with the bass intro. Once he started the vocals he stays on the mic. The songs are about girls. Finally he breaks away from the mic and rips guitar licks, jumping around like a kangaroo. The girls are screaming and pulling the townies around the front of the six-inch riser stage. We jump into the mix, bouncing up and down. I refrain from ass bumping Tim in deference to our suburban friends. Minehan keeps shouting the name ‘Roxanne.’ Does he have an unknown girlfriend. is his status as college freshman threatened by still dating in high school. We assumed he just isn’t sexy yet. Finally he introduces her in song.
“This song is called ‘Roxanne.’”
“Roxanne, Roxanne.. You broke my heart”
Songwriter: David Minehan
I guess his sex life is stuck in high school. Oh, never to be 17 again.
They play five songs.
“That’s about it, so far. We just started this fall,” he explains.
The girls are shouting, “More, more.” Even the townies are clapping.
“Okay, we’ll play the set again,” David is beaming at an encore. They play the same five songs and depart to the cheers of their fans. The rest is history.
I run to the bar and get three beers for the band. David drinks all of them, so I go back to get more for Mike and Jim. By the time I get back, David is spinning in place, drunk as a skunk, proclaiming his band has conquered Boston. The world better beware. The townies are all over the co-eds, Tim rescued Trudie and Joan. Jill is 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 are his props on the road to fame. He grabs Carol from the Southies, with an arm on her shoulder as he regales the other groupies. She looks relieved; this isn’t dancing under the stars at the Ritz.
Tim and I take Joan and Trudie out on the stoop in Kenmore Square.
“This will be your life in Hollywood?” Trudie teases 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 asks.
“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 isn’t totally clued in on our relationship.
Tim grabs me in a hug. “He’s more than that. We’re soul lovers.”
I turn red. The girls just nod.
“That’s why we date roommates,” I assure them. They beam and hug each other. I grab Joan and Tim has Trudie. Minehan will be sleeping on the third floor again. The 3D girls come outside, followed by Minehan and his minions.
“Pizza,” David cries. We need to carb-load. Soon we were on Washington Street, seated in a takeout joint, just stools against the wall.
“I know,” David admits. “It’s skuzzy, but ya can’t beat a slice and a beer in the ‘Combat Zone.’
“They don’t sell beer, David,” Jill is on top of the situation.
“That’s why we just buy slices,” is his answer.
Soon we’re walking toward Chinatown, with slices in both hands. David walks us into Jake Wirth’s, a German bar and restaurant, with sawdust on the floor. We all order dark bock beers which come in pint mugs. They never card us, so the high schoolers and David are served. The beer is sweeter than lagers. It goes down well with the slices we still are eating. David somewhat obeys Carol when she slows down his alcohol consumption. We laugh at his minder.
“Sure yer name ain’t Roxanne?” Tim crows.
“That bitch dumped me,” Minehan reveals the truth.
“David,” all the 3D girls yell at him.
“She was my first love,” he moans.
“You should remember the good times with her then,” Trixie speaks up.
“That’s Carol. Alls we have is good times.”
Carol looks dismayed that she officialy now has a high school boyfriend. But David is soon out on his feet. Jim takes charge of him, announcing they have to pick up their equipment at the Rat. The Neighborhoods at least have someone with a car. Bass players have their uses.
We take the T back to Harvard Square.. It’s still early, so I suggest we try to get into Porcellian. We go back to Mower to spruce up. Our Rat outfits are deemed trop trashy for snobby social clubs. We convene in 3D. Soon the bull session becomes so animated that no one wants to leave.
“Look out,” Tim warns. “Jack’s social ambitions are being crushed,” once we decide to stay in. Tim tells stories about his week in New York. It makes him seem so much more mature than the rest of us. He’s out in the world pursuing a real job. It’s more than social-climbing that is crushed for me. Soon our dates make it obvious that they’re ready to get to our room and get it on. My maturity level is rising as well.
After a careful inspection of my bed, it is determined that Minehan has not left crusty sheets. Each couple is soon going at it in separate beds. The girls are not ready for a four-way. They’re exploring two-ways with complete abandon. Harvard beds are exceptionally squeaky. It isn’t exactly cacophony, but there was a definite sense of rhythm to the noise. We claim it’s due to our Catholic upbringing. Rhythm is the only approved birth control method. We are sinners in multiple ways tonight. The girls provide condoms. We feel so safe.
I know that Tim takes longer than I do to achieve full penetration. By that time I’ve lost track of what’s going on in the other bed. Joan is a bit shy at first. Once we get started, she is over any reluctance. She quickly lets me know what is pleasing and exciting. I’m finding girls more willing partners, in the sense that they expect the guy to be the dominant one. There’s no confusion of who is going to be penetrated and when. We take our time. Tim reiterated Tommy’s discovery that there’s 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 is getting down there and enjoying how turned on it makes your partner. And, how turned on it makes yourself. It isn’t long before Joan needs more than just tongue down there. As her need increases, I hold off long enough to make her slightly frustrated, then tease her even more by rubbing my dick head across her labia. She is squirming and panting for it. I attempt to turn on other erogenous zones by licking her nipples. Now she is begging for it. The big moment lasts just seconds, as I penetrated her with, as Tim calls it, my garden hose dick. Its length easily pushes against her cervix. She winces, causing me to fully withdraw. She moan ‘no.no,’ needing me inside her. I know how she feels. Not denying her need I stay fully inside as her pussy squeezes and pulses. Her first orgasm comes quickly. As she lets loose, I stroke in and out with short thrusts. She is loudly squealing and moans as the sensation subsides. I heard Tim and Trudie giggling. I enjoy putting on a show, but soon I’m simply satisfying myself; her pussy continues the throbbing as my invader brings her close to a second orgasm. Between the throbbing and the fast approaching orgasm I realize Joan is being overwhelmed. The thoughts of unending orgasm give way to a need to bring her back to reality.
I whisper, “Let’s take a break.”
“No,” she clampes down on my dick, determined to complete her second orgasm.
Her assertiveness tweaks my passive side. I give in to her hurried race to cum. We climax together. My long skinny dick whipping and spurting deep inside her cunt. She screams in ecstasy, and then collapses semi-conscious as she finishes. I pull out and hug her. I glance to my left. Tim and Trudie are kneeling beside my bed, anxious and concerned about our fucking.
“She’s not dead,” I assert. “I wanted to slow down but she took over and charged to orgasm.”
“How did that work?” Tim seems to want a fucking lesson. He’ll have to wait.
They climb into my bed and we play sardines while I stroke Joan who remains comatose.
“This is not fun,” I joke. Soon Joan returns to the living, shocked that Tim and Trudie are in bed with us. She is instantly asleep again. I lay back and fall asleep myself.
Hours later, I awake to the rustling in Tim’s bed. He isn’t wasting his final hours with Trudie. As far as I know, they may have been fucking all night long. Joan is resolutely in dreamland. Before we get up, she and I make out. There was no indication she wants to repeat our fucking moves. I don’t feel denied but am left with a definite feeling that I want a repeat soon.
We wander down to commons, asking the 3D girls if they want to attend mass at St Paul’s. Minehan has returned and is draped all over Carol. She is still perplexed about their budding relationship.
“Is Carol your Roxanne replacement?” Tim kids the pair.
David just squeezes her tighter. Irish boys treat their girlfriends like shit, and then elevate them to sainthood once they’re satisfied.
Father John told me that the boys’ choir would perform at ten o’clock mass. He is anxious to meet Tim, our saint-in-training. I’m anxious to see how Kevin and Liam do playing electric guitar during the service. They only learned earlier this week. All the 3D girls and even Minehan are happy to go. Our Protestant girlfriends are conflicted but want to go along with the group.
Seven girls and three boys, mostly dressed in white, make 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 wave us over and we join them, crowded into a long pew. We finally meet the Newman Society.
The service goesalong, with the boys playing softly behind the choir’s singing, adding a musical tone to the crystal voices. Even David pays attention. As the priest released us, he notes that Kevin and Liam will play the processional; the selection was a rock song by Pink Floyd. The parishioners gasp. Tim gulps and tears formed on his eye lashes. I grab his hand in support. The Newman Society moves down the pew. The 3D girls huddle around us. Jace flies above the choir. It’s his song. The boys are not singing, just playing the guitar part. Standing there, Tim and I sing 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 are filing past us, giving us strange looks as we sing, tears flooding our cheeks. Music at mass is still a work in progress. Jace is hovering above the choir. The aura of trust and love intensifies. The glow explodes into a burst of golden tears, falling on the boys, and spreading throughout the church. They pop whenever touched by a disbeliever. The choirboys collect quite a few. I hate to tell them they aren’t worth their weight in gold. It’s the second miracle – Tim’s guarantee of sainthood. Minehan is able to collect as many as are near him, hoping to add their value to his tuition fund.
“Congratulations, David,” I explain how it works. “You must be a true believer.”
He just shakes his head and distributed his extra tears to the girls who are too shy to collect any. Our second saint.
Father John gathers us with the choir in the parish hall. All the boys are holding their precious pieces of gold. I explained that they won’t only last if a non-believer touches them. Father John is visibly shaking from the excitement. I suggest we all sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ to calm down. Dr Marier walks in, pleased we’re all singing. I can tell he’s skeptical about the spectacle at mass. He asks to see the tears, but the boys refuse to show him. Finally Minehan gives him one from his collection of twenty or so. It immediately pops. The boys moved away from him.
“It’s right that Dr Marier be skeptical,” I assert. “He is not questioning our faith but only needs to make sure it isn’t some scam.”
He has that look I’ve seen in other clerics’ eyes. His mission is to bring religious music into daily services at mass. Rock is not on his approved list.
“This has gotten way out of control,” he’s angry. “I let two boys play quietly at the processional and it turns into a riot.”
He lookesat us like we’re the devil’s spawn. I’m ready to have him call Cardinal Cooke as a character reference. Tim places 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.” I tell Dr. Marier.
Still glaring, he takes a deep breath. “And what rock song was it that you had the boys play?”
“’Wish You Were Here’. It’s a prayer for Christ to be with us,” I reinterpret 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 insists.
The boys, remembering their Dickens, all go, “Bah, humbug.”
Even Dr Marier laughed.
“Just contact Cardinal Medeiros about investigating what happened today. He’s friends with Cardinal Cooke,” Tim suggests.
The kids crowd around Tim, after someone says he was going to be a saint. We quickly excuse ourselves and go to Grendel’s for lunch. Everyone is buzzing about what happened. Minehan needs instructions on how to preserve his cache of gold. The Smithies are skeptical that what they saw is Catholic superstition. I remind them that Protestants believe in the Rapture. They deny any knowledge of extreme Protestantism. I grow sad, knowing Tim has to fly to LA that afternoon. We grab Joan and Trudie and walk along the Charles. The leaves are turning, though it remains warm in the afternoons. It’s Indian Summer. They are also leaving. I grow morose. They try to cheer me up. Tim promises to return for The Game in two weeks. I try to be upbeat, finally collapsing in tears.
“I’m going to miss everyone,” I sob.
We all have a group hug. The girls are soon on their bus back to Northampton. I take the T with Tim to Logan Airport. I’m dragging my feet, subconsciously hoping he’ll miss his flight. It’s to no avail. We hug and kiss. I pressed my face to the waiting room window, trying to catch a glimpse of him as the plane taxies away.