The Reunion Show – part 6
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Nick, this part’s for you, baby!
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“Alrighty Mr. Dell,” I
said. “Tell me about your life.”
All of a sudden a sadness fell over
him like a ton of bricks. Instantly I regretted asking that
question. “Dude, sorry, I just like to get to know people, is
all,” I said.
“No, man, it’s alright.” He
smiled weakly and said “I’m just trying to figure out what parts to
“Hey,” I said, chuckling a bit, “I
didn’t mean to stir up something bad, just was asking.”
“Really, it’s ok. Oh, man” he
said, sighing. “Where do I begin.”
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“Look,” I said, “I didn’t mean to
pry. It’s just that since we’re going to be together for the next
five weeks I thought-“
“Oops. Eight weeks-that now’d
be a good time to get to know you. We can talk about something
else if you’d like. Wanna talk about Christmas?” Now I was trying
to make light of the situation.
He chuckled a bit. “Logan, it’s
“You know, nobody’s ever called me
that. It's always been just Mike.”
“Not Mikey?” with a grin.
“Uh….no. Don’t go there.
I always thought that nicknames were cool on some people; just never
had one myself.”
“Logan it is, then.”
“Well, at least I’ll know who you’re
talking to. Now if you ask me for sex,” referring to the drink
the night before, and I just let it go at that, laughing at my own
“So tell me about
yourself. Other than the fact that you cuss a lot.”
I laughed a bit. “Yeah, I do
cuss a lot, don’t I.” I noticed how deftly he’d changed the
subject from him to me. Oh well.
“It’s all part of your charm,” Scott
“Now you’re talkin’. Well, what
would you like to know? Hey,” I stopped walking, “will this be,
like, our first date? With all these questions….well, you
know.” He laughed at that.
We continued walking. “Well,
for starters, are you from Georgia?”
“Nope. I’m originally from New
“Yankee!” he said with a big
smile. Perfect teeth, dammit. God, I dug that smile.
“Yeah? Fuck off. I got
enough of that bullshit from you when I moved here,” I said
“What do you mean?” He looked
“You don’t remember, do you.”
“No, I thought you said you were from
“I said I moved here from Arizona, but I was born in New York.” He
snickered at that. “What?”
“I’m not gonna say it.”
“Yes,” he laughed a bit.
“Idiot. And what’s up with that
shit anyhow? War’s over, pal.”
“It’s just how I….” and his voice
“How you what?”
“Well, I was gonna say how I was
raised, but I should correct that and say how I wasn't raised.”
“Well why’d you leave New York?
City too big?”
“No, we lived Upstate near
Rome. When I was nine my dad took a job near Phoenix and we moved
“One extreme to another,” he laughed.
“Yep. We lived out there for
two years. I really liked it; had some good friends. Then
dad took a job here and we moved to Stone Mountain right after I
finished sixth grade. It’s funny because I remember thinking that
Georgia would be the same as Arizona, with the city laid out in a grid
and you could ride your bike to the store or the arcade or
school. It’s just so damn hilly here that’s almost impossible.”
The sidewalks in this part of town
are old and kind of crumbly and just then the poor cameraman stumbled
and fell. We both helped him up and asked if he was ok. He
said that he was but his camera was not and he’d have to get a
replacement. He called one of the producers and they brought out
a car to get him, but not an extra camera. Then we both realized
that they were leaving us without a cameraman. It kind of
confused us because we were told that we could never leave the studio
without a cameraman in tow. Technically, though, we hadn’t.
They were tailing us and then left us. Oh well. Nobody told
us what to do so we continued our walk.
“I wonder if they’ll try to catch up.”
“How do they know where we’re going?”
“Well, nut, we’re on video
tape. Their own, to boot. If they can’t figure that out
then I can’t help them.”
“Go on with what you were
saying….about just moving here from Arizona.”
“Oh yeah. In Arizona I had
quite a few friends and I was, well, not really a ‘leader’ but I was
someone who was always goofing off, sometimes getting in trouble.
Then I moved here and it was quite a culture shock.”
“Well, there’s all this Southern
pride and lots of people still fighting the Civil War. Add that
to me moving here and starting school in seventh grade, when everyone
was already in their own group. It was just tough. What can
I say. But then, what are ya gonna do.”
“You said you knew me in elementary
“Oh man, I tried to steer clear of
you,” I said chuckling.
He chuckled a bit too and asked “How
“Man, let me tell you this as gently
as I can….you were the biggest asshole to me.”
“I was?” he asked, looking over at me.
“Oh my God. I guess I also
forgot what it was like to be the new kid on the block after I moved
here. I was the newbie in Arizona too. Some of the guys who
were shits I actually ended up befriending and most things turned out
pretty cool. I actually benefitted from the Arizona experience
because oddly enough, after Christmas break there was when some of the
douchebags became pretty cool to me. So I figured that the same
thing would happen here. Believe it or not once Christmas break
was over I made more friends here as well. I sorta knew it would
happen. But then, some of you guys were just…..shitty.”
He laughed a bit at that “Man, I’m so
“Hey,” I said. “Don’t sweat
it. I don’t hold any grudges. I mean hell, that was years
“Oddly enough, even at that time I
had…” I almost told him then that I used to have a crush on him.
I guess I could have, seeing as there were no cameras around. But
I try not to get my sexuality involved in most conversations. I
mean, straight people don’t walk around saying “Hi, I’m Bob and I’m
straight.” Plus, Scott was straight, right?
“You had what.”
“You know,” I laughed “right as I
said that I lost track of what I was saying. I have to say,
though, that you stood out in my mind as the worst of all the guys.”
I paused for a moment. “Is it
He stopped walking and touched my arm
with his hand, turning me towards him a bit. “Yes. It
is.” I could see in his eyes that he was sadened, or upset, or
“Man, you were pretty friggin’
mean and it didn’t stop until after ninth grade.” We continued
walking. By this point we had just turned onto Piemont and were
heading north towards the park.
“What’d I do?” he said quietly.
I sighed. “Well, first there
was that time you slugged me in the back in Miss Harris’ class.
(Note to the readers: In the South we call every woman "Miss"
so-and-so, whether or not she’s a Miss or a Missus. Just so’s you
knows.) For no reason at all. I actually turned around and
you said if I hit you back you’d kill me. Nice move. You
used to throw my books from my hands, break my shit. The hardest
thing for me to forget, since you obviously want to be tortured with
your past,” I said smiling over at him “is when you sorta body checked
me in ninth grade.”
He looked over at me. “Sort of?”
“Well, we were up in the wrestling
room during gym class. I was walking towards the weight room and
you came running across the mats and dove feet first into me, knocking
me over. The hardest thing I think to get over was I knew that my
pride was really hurt.”
“Well, if I had known how to defend
myself, stand up to guys like you, or at least how you were then, I….I
don’t know how to explain it. I guess I lost a little self
“No. I don’t buy into the whole
‘self-esteem’ psycho-babble. I lost self respect because I didn’t
have the balls to try and defend myself. Not that I ever could,
mind you. You were tougher than I was. Hell, for that
matter my cat was tougher than I was.” He smiled at this.
“So in a way I lost some self regard for not standing up for myself.”
“Why didn’t you? I mean, why’d
you take it?”
“Didn’t want to make enemies.
Didn’t want to make things worse. Sort of like Europe appeasing
Hitler by surrendering Poland. Knew I’d get my ass kicked and
didn’t want to cry in front of everyone. I’m tellin’ you man, I
was a wuss. I knew that nobody’d be on my side. What was I
going to do? I actually smiled after you did it, so I wouldn’t
get upset.” I sighed and said “Scotty, you really were a prick.”
“I’m sorry.” I could hear in
his voice that he was and he kept looking away from me.
“Hey pal, don’t worry about it.
Trust me. I got over it.”
“No, I really am sorry for causing
you that kind of pain. I know I used to be a real shit-suck, but
I’ve never talked to any of the people I’d picked on. You know, I
actually remember doing some of that stuff. I just asked because
I wasn’t sure if you had. Frankly I’d kinda hoped that you
hadn’t. Mike, I really am truly sorry for that; for how I was.”
“Dude. Don’t beat yourself up
too bad. We all have our ‘shit-suck’ moments,” I grinned at
him. We continued on in silence until we got to the park where we
headed over towards one of the park benches overlooking the lake, or
pond, and sat down. I’ve always enjoyed Piedmont Park.
Unfortunately there’s an area where lots of guys are cruising for
sex. I think it’s a shame because lots of families like to come
to the park, and they have to put up with that bullshit going on.
After sitting in silence for a while
I looked over at Scott. He had this far away look on his face;
looking down the hill toward the pond he had a stick that he was
peeling and throwing onto the ground. We were sitting at a good
“I’m not gay” distance from each other and I could see his features
really well. Good square jaw and the goatee begged to be chewed
“Your hot,” I said. “Wanna
He burst out laughing at this, which
was my intent. “Logan, you say the damndest things.”
“Well, I had to bring you out of the
depression basket. Shit man, where are you?” I asked, tapping his
head with my finger.
“God I wish I could take it all
back,” he said, shaking his head a bit.
“I’m sorry I brought it up. I
“No, not just that. I wish I
could rewrite history.”
“Puhhh” he exhaled, “because it can
I didn’t say anything.
“I was not a nice kid.” He
looked so sad. “I hated everything. Everyone. You
know I never told anyone this-“
“Are you sure you want to?” I
interrupted. “I mean, we just really met yesterday.”
Scott took that in for a moment and
said, “Yeah, but there’s something about you.”
“You got gaydar too?” I smiled.
“Idiot,” he smiled back. He
didn’t get the gaydar comment. “You say the damndest
things. I’m serious, though. You seem like a really nice
I sat back, breathed out heavy and
said “I am!” sarcastically.
“I’m sorry. I’m working on
taking compliments better.” He looked over at me. “Go on,”
I told him.
“Well, you’ve been nothing but
friendly to me since we ran into each other.” That’s ‘cause,
Scottie, I want to have a sword fight with our peckers. He went
on. “Always cracking jokes, you’re easy to talk to…I don’t
know. It’s like….how do I say it. There’s something right
with your soul. Does that sound right? It’s like, something
I can sense. I must sound like a dope. I know we just met
and all, but I…there’s a connection I can’t quite put my finger on.”
“Actually, that’s one of the nicest
thing anyone’s said to me.” I still wanted to neck with
him. Plus he had something I’d like to put my finger on. I
should break here and say that I’m not always thinking like a pig, but
looking back and writing this out, my piggy tendencies emerge.
“So Scott, what did you want to tell
“Oh God,” he said. He looked
down at the water, still peeling the stick. “I haven’t shared
this with anyone.” He looked over at me but I didn’t say
anything. “When I was a kid my step-dad was mean to me. Not
just mean, but fuckin’ cruel.” He looked up and shook his head
slowly. “He did some evil things. Not just to me, but to my
brother as well. My sister lucked out because she had already
moved out once Mom got remarried.”
I just sat and listened. Yes, I
actually know when to keep my trap shut.
“At first it started with the
switches. He’d get so mad at us for no reason, and then he’d
start hitting us with a switch. Hurt us like a fucker. Mom
actually made him go see someone about that, but then he got
smart. He’d hurt us in ways that you couldn’t see.” Scott
looked down at the stick he was still peeling. “I think that she
was miserable and wanted to have a man in the house; she must have
known what was going on. For months he didn’t lay a hand on us.”
“How old were y’all?”
“Probably eleven or twelve, my
brother John’s two years younger. Then he started paying us for
chores, but they were chores that we didn’t ask for. I guess he
figured if he paid us we wouldn’t mind.”
“Wouldn’t mind what?” I asked, my
He let out an exasperated, cynical
laugh and said, “Sex.”
I took a deep breath and looked
“What? Am I freaking you out?”
Scott asked with a concerned look on his face.
“No. I’m making sure that the
camera guys are still gone,” I simply stated.
He sat up. “See. Just
that kind of thing. You’re concerned about this winding up on
television. I don’t think that most people would give a crap
“Well, baby, I ain’t most people,” I
replied, playfully backhanding his shoulder. He smiled at
that. “Don’t say a word,” I warned sarcastically.
“Yep, Frank paid us for sex.”
He looked off towards the old granite boathouse, but you could tell he
wasn’t seeing it. After what seemed like an eternity he went
on. “At first he’d do something like take our hands and rub them
on his ass or his crotch. Then he’d fling a dollar or a five at
us and tell us that we’d earned our keep.” Turning to me he
gritted his teeth a bit, shook his head and said, “I can’t believe I’m
this.” He sat back against the bench and put his hands on top of
his head, still looking at the boathouse.
“It means a lot that you trust me
enough to tell me.”
Scott smiled at that. “It took
me a long time, so fuckin’ long to trust anyone again.” Looking
over at me he said, “I can trust you, can’t I?”
I leaned up and said, “Do you trust
He sat for a minute. “Now I
do.” I could tell this was really hard for him. “Weeks went
by and he’d get even worse; what could we do. But
hey! The money was good!” he said bitterly. “Oh God,
what an evil fucker he was. Is.”
“Did you tell your mom?”
“Please. I think somewhere deep
down she knew her kids were being peddled for sex. No wonder she
drank so much. It got to the point where even taking a shower
wasn’t safe. Frank would pick the lock on the bathroom
door. Then he’d rip that shower curtain back and push me to my
knees.” At this point the tears starting rolling down his
cheeks. I closed my eyes and wished a silent prayer of death upon
Frank. “When he left the bathroom there’d be a twenty on the
I sat there and was horrified that
someone could violate a kid like that. And that the kid’s parent
could sit back as it happened. I didn’t want to show a ton of
emotion, or horror, for fear that he wouldn’t be able to
continue. He needed this, and even if we were only going to be
together for eight weeks, I wanted to be there for him. Hey, deep
down past my cynnical assholeness (there’s a new one for ya), I’m
really a good guy.
“How long did it last?” I asked him.
“Oh God, long enough.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean-“
“I know. It’s just that I
missed out on so much. I hated everyone, everything. I
guess I took out my anger on whoever I saw was weak, like myself.”
“Scott, you weren’t weak. You
were a boy for Christ’s sake.” He started sobbing a bit at that,
with his eyes resting against his fists. “Man, there are some
things that we absolutely cannot control, and sometimes horrible things
happen to really great people. But you were a boy!”
“I should’ve stood up to him!”
“Would you put up with that shit if
he started it today?” I asked.
Turning to look towards me he said,
“Oh, shit no.”
“And why’s that.”
“What the fuck kind of question is
“A damned good one. Why
wouldn’t you put up with his shit today.”
“Because I’m a fuckin’ grownup,
that’s why.” I think he was getting kinda irritated with me.
“Exactly,” I said. “Because
you’re a grownup. You’re bigger now. Stronger. You’re
a grown man, not a boy anymore. You weren’t weak. He’s a
sick, twisted fuck.”
Scott just shrugged his shoulders.
“Alright ‘strong boy-man at twelve’,
how many firemen did he rape?” I asked.
“Huh?” he said, puzzled.
“You heard me right. How many
firmen did he rape? How many cops did he force himself
upon?” Sometimes I have to get real forceful with people to get
my point across and I thought this was the slap in the face he could
“None. That’s a stupid
question, dude” he said, wiping his eyes.
“No it’s not. The reason he
didn’t attack any of them was because they were grown men who would
have ripped his head off and shat down his neck had he tried what he
did to you on them.” This made him pause for a minute.
“Damn right it’s true! You
became the target to a sick bastard. Don’t give me this ‘I was
weak’ crap. You were a boy.” I leaned toward him and put my
hand on his shoulder. “God damn, man, you were just a boy.”
I said this part a bit quieter and oh man, he really broke down at
that. I was glad that we were somewhat shielded from the walking
path because I didn’t want him to feel embarassed thinking someone was
watching him cry. His crying broke my heart and soon I had tears
rolling down my cheeks and a big ole’ lump in my throat. I knew I
needed to be strong for him. He needed a friend.
After he finally calmed down a bit I
asked him about John. “What happened to him.”
“Shit, poor kid really went into
himself. Where I picked on people, he started drinking.”
“Yeah, he saw mom hide her life in a
bottle; figured he could too. Then he started doing drugs.”
I shook my head. “Eventually he started whoring around.”
“Promiscuous, huh?” I said.
“No, actually whoring around.
He became an escort, or something worse. Last I heard he was
walkin’ the streets, hookin’ up with whatever John came along.
Hah,” he laughed bitterly, “John picks up Johns.” He shook his
head again. Suddenly it dawned on me about his questions
regarding the guys who cruise the park.
“Scott, there’s absolutely nothing I
can say or do, but-“
“Yes there is, and you’ve already
“What?” I wondered.
He turned to look at me. “You
were here when I needed someone. I’ll never forget that.”
More tears rolled down his cheeks.
This time I got tears in my eyes –
again. I smiled at him and said “Anytime.”
Scott popped my knee a couple of
times, in a manly “I’m not gay” sort of way and said, “C’mon, let’s
finish our walk.”
We headed out around the pond (lake,
whatever) towards the main parking lot. Unfortunately this was
where the cruisers were. All of a sudden this really cute guy
came running past us, wearing only jogging shorts. It was getting
late in the morning and with all of the rain yesterday I could tell it
was gonna be a hot and humid day. I’ll bet the jogger thought
that it was so hot and humid that it felt like there was a gigantic,
sweaty walrus sitting on top of his head. And I’m sure all the
gay men, small children and elderly grandmothers were watching him as
he ran by. I remember thinking, “Hello, Nick.”
As Scott and I walked towards Park
Lane, which was where one of the park exits was, I spied a family
standing at the top of the hill, next to the bridge, overlooking the
abandoned train tracks below. As we strolled over the bridge I
could tell Scott was looking at the cruisers. I wondered if he
expected to see his brother. I wanted to distract him so we
walked over to the railing so I could show him a restaurant that had
opened up in the old golf clubhouse. When we got to the railing
we looked down and saw what the family was waiting for: their mom was
at the bottom of the hill, beneath the bridge, with her purple panties
down around her ankles, taking a piss. I started
hollerin’-laughin’ like I never had before. Poor thing must have
embarassed as hell. I couldn’t stop laughing though. Scott
started pushing me down the street; he was laughing too but was in more
control of himself than I was.
Once the laughter subsided he asked
me a strange question.
“Logan,” I really liked hearing that,
“what do you think of gay guys?”
Uh-oh. I gave him my honest
answer. “I don’t.”
He looked kinda surprised and said
“I don’t,” I repeated. “I mean,
I don’t just sit around thinking about gay guys, or lesbos, or
trannies, or blacks, or Mexicans, whatever.”
“I mean, well, do you know any gay
I couldn’t tell if he was on a
fishing expedition or not. “A few” I lied. Most of the guys
I knew were gay.
“Does it bother you?”
“A Dirty Sanchez would bother me, or
an Angry Pirate.”
“What the frig are those?” he asked.
“Well, after you have a little
butt-love you pull out, stick your finger in there and then wipe it on
their lip like a Ricky Ricardo mustache. Hence the name, dirty
Scott stopped and laughed so hard I
thought he was gonna have a stroke. This time tears of laughter
replaced the tears of sadness from earler. I just stood there
watching him convulse with laughter. I tried my damndest not to
laugh. When his laughter died down a bit he asked, “Well what’s
an Angry Pirate?”
“Oh this one’s really cute.
It’s where you blow your load in your partner’s eye and then kick ‘em
in the shin. With their eye closed they go “arrrrrr” from the
pain in their shin.”
“Oh God!” he hollered. “Oh
shit!” This time I had to join him. We both laughed like
complete friggin’ morons.
We continued walking and turned south
onto Monroe. “So it doesn’t bother you that some of your friends
are gay,” Scott said.
“Um. No. Why should
it.” Oh boy. Here we go.
“I don’t know. Just more
conversation, I guess.” We walked on a bit more and the street
traffic had gotten a little bit heavier.
“Can I ask you something personal?”
“Shoot,” I replied.
He was getting uncomfortable. I
knew what was coming.
“Well, I really like you, and I
honestly do consider you a friend, even after such a short time….”
“And?” I said.
“I’m just curious. In high
school there were lots of rumors.” Oh goody gumdrops. Here
“There always are.” I was
starting to get a little shifty, nervous. “About me, I take it.”
“I’m probably jumping ahead of the
question a bit, but do you remember what I looked like then?”
Scott said “Yes, I do.”
“Would you have dated me?”
He chuckled a bit. “Probably
“Ok. Does that answer your
question?” There that settles that! Or so I thought.
“Are you gay?” There it
was. The question of the century. We walked on for a second
before I answered him.
“Out of curiosity, whatever the
answer is, would it change how you treat me?”
“Would it change your trust for me?”
“Would it change the flavor of my
weeks at the beach?” I asked, smiling.
“Your ‘sex’, Logan.” He
returned the smile. Oh man! I’m dyin’ here. I opened
my mouth to answer him when all of a sudden we heard a car horn
beeping. We turned around and saw Mr. Happy Camerman hurrying
over to us with a new camera. I closed my mouth and turned back
“Looks like we’re back on the camera,
Scotty ol’ boy.” I smiled a big grin.
“So you’re not going to answer,” he
said with his eyebrows raised.
“Let’s finish our walk.”
* * *
Ok fellows, that’s it for this
part. I’m tired and fidna go to bed.
As always let me know what you think.