Sentimental Journey: A Christmas Special

by Ian McDuff

Cheers and jeers - and suggestions I may or may not take - gladly accepted at A kudos apiece to all who have written already, and the chatroom crew. Warm fuzzy feelings and all that. Seriously, thanks for the egoboo, guys.

Standard Disclaimer: If descriptions of same-sex acts, feelings, &c are held to be - by any governmental entity asserting jurisdiction over you, or by your religion or moral framework - illegal, immoral, unethical, or fattening, read no further. If you are underage according to your local laws, read no further. If you have somehow managed not to notice until now that this is a gay site, read no further (and look into either corrective lenses or remedial English classes, because you've managed to miss about a dozen different warnings to get here at all). I need hardly say that the events and personalities depicted in this story are wholly figments of the author's rabid imagination, and in no wise should be taken to imply that any actual member of any boyband, or any celebrity known to mankind, or any real person, is or conceivably could be gay - least of all the members of 'N Sync and of the Backstreet Boys, all of whom are of course straight, well-dressed, intelligent, articulate, cultured, sweet-natured, and kind to their mommies. No celebrity so much as mentioned here should be construed as having these assigned fictional habits, preferences, personality, or taste in bamboo fly-rods.

Equally, it should be evident that I have no contact with or knowledge of any of such musicians, pop stars, their agents, associates, staff, or families. It should also be relatively clear that this is hardly my first time writing fiction, though it is assuredly the first time I've written in this genre or for this nifty little site. Oh - a word about that. Obviously, intellectual property rights are held by me, and no cross-posting to any site that charges any fee for entrance or activity is allowed without prior written consent from the author. And two quick words about the story: first, of all the subgenres out here, Celeb/BoyBands was the least likely for my gay fiction debut. Some readers - who refuse to read it - seem to think that it's all wannabe fantasy, and that using characters made to order is all we can manage as writers.... But there are a number of superb and highly original stories in this genre, and I too wanted to tackle the challenge of breathing originality and freshness into what could so easily be formulaic. After all, the challenges are there: believability, the heightened pressure of closeted relationships for young men whose growing up has been anything but normal, often the collision of worlds and backgrounds.... The other warning is that this series is not going to move urgently into hot monkey sex - though, yes, we're getting there: patience; it will build, and it will I hope be something more than quick stroke-lit. Now enough prologue: let's get to the tale....


We are pleased to offer a SPECIAL HOLIDAY PRESENTATION prior to the next, soon-to-come installment of our serial, 'Sentimental Journey' - a CHRISTMAS STORY starring our own beloved Lance and JC. Unlike the comedy, 'Mister Stealth,' that preceded Chapter 13 of 'Sentimental Journey,' in this HOLIDAY SPECIAL our boys are seen in their usual roles, as a couple.

Please enjoy this SPECIAL HOLIDAY PRESENTATION, as our gift to you. We'll return to the usual light angst and melodrama in due course....

The Gifts of the - Wait, Magi Are Supposed to be Wise Men. Oh. Oh. Never Mind: Seems They Are Wiser Than They Look....


JC: Makin' A List, Checkin' It Twice...

Okay, this is insane. Totally whack. I have finally, officially, majorly lost it.

Like everybody didn't already think that.

It's not my fault, though. It is not ... my ... fault. I know, and you know, yeah, you, the audience that's always in my seriously whacked head, the whole freakin' world knows (though none of you, none of you, admits it), whose fault it is.


My long-awaited final descent into raving nutcase is the fault of one person. One boy - man - boy-man, man-boy, god. Yes. A god - my God is he ever. The sweet boy, the strong man who's strong enough to be a boy when he wants or I need, to be the man I need, my stake and support - stake is right, I am lashed to him and I burn, consumed, afire - the man strong enough to be tender, caring enough to be strong, innocent even in the most *n (and I am giggling, giggling goddamn it, I do mean *n-credible [I can't help it]), the most unfuckingbelievable passion -.

Oh fuck.

Now look what I've done. No, don't. Don't look.

Great, a public fucking hard. Scoot over an aisle, quick, where no one will see. Calm down, Shazam.

But it - yeah, this too - it is not my fault.

It's the fault of that innocent, naughty, cool, dorky, studly, chaste, walking talking singing, singing, dancing (he swears he can't, he hates how he does it, but my God I can barely stand to catch him out of the corner of an eye or I am lost, lost I tell you) bundle of sweet contradictions.

It's that nose, the nose I wish I had in place of this godawful freakin' honker.

It's that hair, hair that is finally free to be itself (our fucking hair can come out of the closet, we just can't), sourwood and tupelo honey and cinnamon and nutmeg and my God, my God, to run my hands through it before the gelling, before the false fronts we have to present ... but the gel's good, the gel's cool, because it makes for that bed-head look all day, the look that in the morning - let's not go there, okay, not in the middle of a fucking store in some no-name town at one in the freakin' morning.

You know what? I hate the gel. I hate it because it allows millions of lovestruck whack-jobs to see and share in that look (not The Look, we all know what those sweet syllables are reserved for, but - that look) that ought to be reserved for me alone, me, the one he really does wake up next to every blessed, blessed day. Fuck the gel.

Damn it, I am the only lovestruck whack-job who should ever be allowed to see him that way.

Oh God. Christmas freakin' lights. Green and gold ones. And suddenly I am standing here lost, unable to move, unable to breathe, transfuckingfixed. You know why. You know why. If - yeah, if, that's a laugh - if I am finally certifiably nutso, it's this, it's all his fault, it's the fault of all of him, but mostly it's this. I love his voice, the voice that turns me into molten wax with the barest whisper, that voice as Deep-as-the-Deepest-South and as warm and lazy. I love his arms, his ass, his legs, that incredible, unbelievable, magic wand of a freakin' cock (yeah, Mr Boa Freakin' Constrictor, 'long, big, and exotic' - you did that deliberately, Lansten, just to see if I'd break in public - it's like the old Carol Burnett Show from before we were freakin' born, that we've seen over and over on vids and DVDs, Conway ambushing Korman: when, not 'if,' when will he break him up?), that torso I adore and I don't care what he says about his waistline and his abs I love it in all its chunky, firm glory ... but yeah, it's not all that, it's not that alabaster skin or those perfect lips or the ears I can just touch, barely touch with my tongue and he goes taut all over, or the brows or even that scar on his eyelid I've kissed a hundred thousand times, it's all this, it's those jade-and-emerald fonts of mystic freakin' adoration he has for eyes.

It's all his fault.

You hear that, James Lance Bass? Can't you fucking hear me thinking this loud? This is your fault.

I don't know where I am, I never do, he always does, even when he's not playing Scoop the Schedule Boy he knows - he creates - where we are, he makes us a place in the fucking cosmos, he is my place in the cosmos. All I know is I'm in some freakin' Family Dollar or Walmart or some damn thing in some one-stoplight town under the glare of one-a.m. lighting worrying about Christmas. Because of him.

We've got money out the ass. We can and do buy each other gold, frankincense, and myrrh, ivory-apes-and-peacocks (whoa ... Ellington). And I know, I know we will end up - again - giving each other one, The One, special, small gift that conveys, connotes, carries with it things no one can express, we'll pick it out separately and without so much as a hint, each of us, and on Christmas morning we'll be totally unsurprised that without even swapping glances we both got the same thing for each other, because we are that connected, probably it'll be a CD, remastered Bob Wills or current Asleep at the Wheel, something where my jazz meets his country and somehow one fifteen dollar CD holds within it the whole mystery and sacredness of our relationship.....

Whacked, I tell you. We are both totally and cheesily gone.

But we have this sweet, silly, sappy, disgustingly sappy tradition (that I wouldn't give up if they killed me for it) of gag gifts and cheap knickknacks and stocking-stuffer shit. I don't know how it started - yes I do, it goes back to the earliest days when it was all we could fucking afford: that bastard Perlman ... I wonder if Johnny really supports me and James like he says ... but fuck it, after Lou, Johnny and them are saints - but however it started, it's still his fault, because I wouldn't do this year after year for anybody but my James.

And that is why I'm standing here, looking for crap to give him, and trying to come up with - because he had to fucking ask - to come up with my own freakin' Wish List of what he can buy me.

Oh. That's cute. Gag. A 'Singing Bass.' Thanks, I have one at home. (I'll end up having to get that for him.)

He could give me a jersey. Isn't there a sports team of some sort named the 'Lancers'? (Johnny would go ballistic. I wear that to one interview and wham.) And Lansten giving me a team jersey ... especially if it was basketball (is it? Um, hockey, maybe?) - what a riot. Fuck, if it isn't the 'Skins or the Orioles, I don't pay attention.

Screw this. Screw this. I want to go back to him, to bed, to sleep - but only after him plus me plus bed equals ecstafuckingsy. Express Lane, hello, yes it will be cash. One plush Taz thingy, one 'Singing Bass' - and fuck the Wish List.

He knows there's only one gift I ever want. And he's already given me that. Him.


Lance: 'Chris'mas Gif'!'

I'd be better off coming out on national TV - like, Josh and I announce our engagement on TRL or something - than letting people know this.

But it's true. When I was little, Big Daddy - no, no, Josh (I know that somehow, some way, you can hear me thinking), but not you, I mean my granddaddy - Big Daddy, mostly, sometimes Pawpaw (my other granddad), sometimes Daddy hisself, they'd read me to sleep on special nights with the Uncle Remus stories. The real ones, pre-Disney, the Joel Chandler Harris ones. (Isn't there a Don Williams song 'bout that? What Do You Do With Good Ol' Boys Like Me?)

I loved them then and I love them now, and I'd get more hate mail than Carter has oats, I ever said as much to anybody. I'm about the least bigoted man I know, I plumb hate racism, but these are simply great stories, and I'd think that if everybody calmed down they'd realize what the University Press that's reprinted them says, that they are a 'great anthropological field work,' they are 'preserving African myth and folktale, and the stories Harris transcribed should be applauded as an African-American achievement in the survival of oral culture even in the worst of conditions.'

That was a professor wrote that, not me.

Anysomehow, Josh, that little volume's going to be in your stocking Christmas morning. You always want to know everything about me, you get me, beg me, you by gum seduce me to talkin' about my family, my childhood, ever'thing that happened before You. (Cain't you figure out that to me, nothing that happened before You matters that much? They were good times, mostly, and a right smart of bad in there too, but they're all, I don't know, irrelevant now? Yeah. Irrelevant. The only relevant thing in my world is you.)

And sometimes I wonder what in the Sam Hill you're doin', and then I know. You want to download all my memories and thoughts to merge and meld with your own, to make it to where we have been together since birth as we're fixin' to be 'til death, the same way you have every inch of my body mapped and memorized - honey, you can put your finger on any given freckle on me in the pitch black, and we both know it - the way you want us to be one person and Lordy it scares the tar out of me sometimes and even then I love it, it pierces me like an arrow, it splits me half in two, and still I love it ... and, mainly, I love you.

I just plain love you to death, Josh, and I can never, ever, hardly do enough to say and sing and show it.

And you know what? If we came out tomorrow and some miracle happened and the whole world suddenly rallied to our support and we were free, hell, encouraged to make out in public and never hide our love, I still couldn't do near enough to prove my love. There's not time enough. There will never be time enough to exhaust it all, not in eternity, even. And you know I cain't rightly use all the time I do have, because I look over at you and - bam. The clocks stop and time grinds to a halt like Chris driving over a shrub trying to back out of our driveway without shutting up and looking where he's going (and damn if there ain't still a raw patch on the lawn from that even if we have replaced the damn shrubbery) and I get totally lost in you.

Which ain't a bad a thing some at all.

We're right young, dear God it scares me to where I'm shittin' pure pork sometimes to think how young we are, but even when are old and I am gray and bald and fat you, my love, will still be a god. You're a god / And I am not.... But - punkin, it don't make no nevermind. Don't you ever think I love you because of your ripped body, or your perfect hair, or your trillion-watt smile, or your seraphic voice, or your wet-dream, kissable lips, or your incomparable profile that them damned old Greeks tried and failed to sculpt an ideal of, or even that ocean I drown in whenever I look into your sea-changeable, incorruptible eyes. I'm young and I'm not a sliver's-worth of being as unfathomably deep as you, but I'm not that shallow. Let them twin you, clone you, it doesn't make a fart in a windstorm. Your twin would not attract me, no other god could secure my worship. Yes, millions find you to be sex on wheels. I do too. But that outer shell - my God, what a shell - that outer shell isn't what I love or why I love you. It's you. The Josh no one, no one, has ever seen the way I have. The heart, the mind, the soul.

It's like - at the end of hard times, when things finally recover, it's what Uncle Remus says, 'bout how he's going to wake up Christmas morning and sneak on over to the Big House and go on in and holler out '"Chris'mas Gif'," like we use to do in the old farmin' days befo' the War.'

I've got everything ordered and bought and wrapped, by me or by the shipper. There's big ticket stuff and silly trinkets and a book from my childhood and an Asleep at the Wheel CD where they do nothing but cover Bob Wills songs, pure Western swing, Ride With Bob, music that mates and marries country and jazz the way our souls are united inseparably. But it's not and will never be enough, any more than my giving you all of me every day can ever be enough when you deserve so much more, so much more than a man like me, so much more adoration than a man like me can give you, and yet you accept that as if it was all and more than your due. The god Apollo can be right generous after all. And you are. You are Apollo, master of the muses and all music, the god who is willing to stoop to loving a mortal boy. I can never give you enough, yet you take what little I have and grace it as enough.

And that's why I hope you aren't planning on getting me anything this Christmas. Nothing anyone can sell or buy has anything to do with the Gift that Christmas is (don't forget, damn it, it's on the message board next the kitchen phone, we have the six o'clock Christmas Eve service at First Baptist, then dinner, then Midnight Mass at St Pius).

And nothing else God ever created has anything to do with or can ever even stand next to the gift you give me everyday, love. Love. Your unbelievable, undeserved love. That's all I ever want, and for whatever reason, you chose me to give it to. Thank you, and thank God. I love you.

Join us next time for another thrilling installment of Sentimental Journey. Will more dire secrets emerge? Will we be back to angst? Who knows what evil lurks - um, never mind. This exciting series is brought to you courtesy of the good folks at Burma-Shave. We now return you to our studios for the Southern States Farm Report.