WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual acts between men and MINOR boys. It is not true! The story is not intended to promote illegal acts against minors. I do not condone child abuse, however the love of boys is a different matter. Despite the prevalent attitudes of western society, men have loved boys throughout recorded history. It is my goal to help readers appreciate that love can exist between men and boys. If the subject of man/boy love offends you, if this material is illegal in your place of residence, or if you are under the legal age for such material, do not read further!
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Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is entirely accidental. The sexual acts described in the story are the result of my imagination. I have not performed these acts, and I do not encourage others to perform them with minors.
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FINAL WARNING: If you are under the age of 18, if this material is illegal in your place of residence, or if man-boy relationships aren't your thing, then exit now and save yourself from a life of sin!
The National Institute of Sexual Health (NISH) and AFCR scientists under the direction of Dr. Jarvis Wright of NISH are in the process of undertaking a comprehensive study of the da Vinci gene and its link to violent sex offenders. The da Vinci gene has been identified as the primary cause of pedophilia. The da Vinci gene is considered by researchers to be an anomaly in the human genetic code. It can therefore be eliminated without any loss whatsoever. Professor Alfred Buell of the Peggy Lipton Center for Divine Inquiry at AFCR said that, "The human species was created in God's Image. By definition, the da Vinci gene despoils that inherent perfection, thereby justifying intervention. We, and other research organizations, like our friends at NISH, are doing God's work" NISH, established by the Natural Intervention to Curb Evil Act of 2004 leads the effort to eliminate the gene and pedophilia for all Eternity.
The unfortunate gene is located on the male's 23rd chromosome, which until recently has been considered to be composed mostly of redundant 4-base DNA protein with limited or no contribution to the human genetic structure. "Other than determining the male sex and a few characteristics of that gender, the 23rd chromosome was thought to be largely landfill," said Professor Coleman of Stanford University's Human Genome Center. In 2003, Professor Coleman identified the gene, and discovered that it had the remarkable ability of triggering other parts of the chromosome to become active. The triggering process is unclear, and will doubtlessly remain so since divine action is never to be understood by man. Nonetheless, it was determined that the gene could have a varying effective once it was brought into contact with the female's corresponding DNA. If recessive, or as Dr. Coleman preferred to say `non-active', it promoted very few effects, but if dominant (Coleman's `pro-active') it created individuals who possessed da Vinci-like attributes, including extraordinary levels of creativity.
However, it was Professor Landers of Princeton University's Center for Genetic Studies who identified the gene's link to pedophilia. Even in its recessive form, the gene promotes those unnatural and depraved desires in males that attract them to young boys. It has been speculated by both scientists and theologians that the gene is not of divine origin, but was introduced during Man's Fall from Grace since it is aberrant and goes against the Will of God. It is for this reason that NISH and AFCR have combined their efforts to eliminate the gene in all its forms.
The research program investigates the prevalence of the da Vinci gene among men convicted of crimes related to pedophilia in all of its forms of sexual abuse of children, including illicit touching of a minor, possession of child pornography, and gross sexual imposition, among others; but the study also other crimes against children including physical abuse of a non-sexual nature, kidnapping and murder. The purpose of the research is to identify an indisputable link between the gene and undesirable behavior so that state legislatures can take action. So far only a dozen states, mostly in the south, have passed anti-gene legislation. Among other things, the laws generally call for all men and boys convicted of crimes against children, and who have the gene in any of its forms to be sterilized. There are a few instances where the lengthy sentences arising from state two-strikes laws must be in effect first.
With the results of the present research in hand, it is hoped that the number of states can be greatly increased. With over 67,000 men and boys presently incarcerated, and additional 34,000 awaiting trial for pedophilia, this would represent a major step in eliminating the gene.
Janet Frieland, speaking on behalf of NISH, indicated that the Institute had high hopes for the research. "If we can establish a link, and I am certain that we can do that based on what I know, state legislatures will quickly take action and pass the necessary laws. NISH is also encouraging the states to make the laws retroactive. These men are criminals and deserve what is coming to them. It would be a terrible shame if some of them were to escape the ideal punishment for their crime."
The research program does not just include men who are currently in state and federal prisons. It has been extended to include DNA samples from past crimes against children, even though the person convicted of the crime has already been executed. For example, NISH has obtained evidentiary samples of DNA from Jacob Jeffries, the serial killer and child abuser who lived in Anniston, Alabama. Jeffries tortured, murdered, and dismembered no less than eleven boys during a six-month spree ending in 2004. Frieland's eleven-year-old son, Joshua, was Jeffries' second last victim. "We want an irrefutable link between people like Jeffries and the da Vinci gene so that our critics are unable to say that people with the da Vinci gene are being unfairly treated," Frieland said.
"This man was evil in every sense of the word," Frieland went on to say. "He deserved a punishment far worse than the painless death he received. What's not known by the public are the terrible things that he did to the boys before he killed them. Among other things, he used a tool called a `burdizzo' on them. In case you don't know what that is, and believe me, I didn't either before Jeffries' trial, it is not unlike a pair of pliers. It's used for castrating bulls and horses. It's done by crushing the spermatic cords. The despicable beast used it on the boys. Their pain must have been horrendous." It is not known why Jeffries tortured his victims, although it was implied by the prosecution at his trial that he may have been involved in satanic worship. Criminal psychologists have observed similar patterns of behavior in serial killings of children, arguing the case that pedophilia is the work of the Devil.
Although Jeffries' body was later cremated according to the wishes of his victims' families that he burn in Hell, samples of his DNA were available in semen recovered during post mortem investigations of several of the boys.
Daniele arrived breathless and skittish. Still, he made certain to cautiously open the wood-paneled door to the store, and equally carefully close it behind him. It was important that the latch closed properly so the door would not blow open. A lot of the customers didn't bother. It was not a problem during the warm weather, partly because the door didn't stick in the frame then, but when it was cold, there was a frantic rush to close it whenever it blew open. He glanced around the front room. Usually, Mr. Lane was sitting in his armchair behind the front desk. Of course, it was too warm for a fire, but that spring, before the days became warmer, some of Daniele's best memories were of sitting with Mr. Lane. They spent hours together, reading, talking, simply enjoying each other's company. Sometimes, not often because it was wrong and Mr. Lane did not want to encourage him, they looked at pictures of boys together. Of course, the boys in the pictures that Mr. Lane showed him were always clothed, at least by Speedos so nothing could be seen except an amorphous bulge. Mostly, he liked what Mr. Lane liked. Except for the little boys that he liked most of all. Mr. Lane was not interested in them.
He glanced down the long aisle of bookshelves. Down there, fourth row, in the History and Geography section, at the very end where the over-sized books were kept. He giggled, remembering. That was where they had started giving names to their penises. It was funny how it had started. Daniele had been looking at a book on Africa, in particular a book that talked about tribal initiation practices. There was even a photograph of a boy being circumcised. His entire body was daubed with white paint, or mud. Mr. Lane said that even though it was probably very painful for the boy, it was also erotic.
"Mr. Lane?" he called out.
That familiar voice, even muffled, took away his timidity and calmed him with a single word. It came from the rear of the store.
"It's me," Daniele called back, his voice ratcheting up with the last of his nervous energy.
"Give me a minute, Bookworm. I'll be right out"
"What are you doing?"
Then, his agitation was gone. All of it, in a whoosh that lifted a weight from his shoulders. There was nothing left to worry about, not even the plastic thing concealed behind his shirt. Instead, he felt light-headed. Happy. Just standing there at the front of the store, waiting, remembering again what happened at the end of the aisle. The very first time he realized how very different Mr. Lane was to his father. His father used crude foul words when he was angry, but never in play.
"What do you think I'm doing?"
Daniele heard the sound of the toilet flushing. He grinned.
"Sorry!" he yelled back. "I didn't know you were busy."
He kept looking down the aisle, waiting, wanting Mr. Lane to appear. Finally the door opened. He could not help grinning again. He stayed there, waiting with barely contained joy as Mr. Lane ambled up the aisle. Midway, he stopped to rearrange some books that had tilted over to one side.
"How is my favorite young pedophile?" he asked when he was a few paces away. His voice was lowered just in case anyone else was in the store. At that time of the day, it was highly unlikely.
They had joked about it before, but this time Daniele grimaced. "That's not funny, okay."
"I'm sorry." He sounded admonished. After all it had been him who had lectured Daniele about the difference between a pedophile and a boy-lover. "Well? How did it go?"
Daniele tried to shrug nonchalantly. He felt the man's hand settle on his shoulder. It was reassuring.
"Pretty bad, huh Dani-meister?"
"Yeah,... bad enough."
Daniele looked up quickly, and just as quickly, down to his feet. To Mr. Lane's much larger feet. Boy-sized brightly colored sneakers with grubby, dog-eared laces. Man-sized loafers, burnished, brown leather laces. That was the symbolic difference between them, right there, Daniele decided. That, and what was going to happen to him after the treatment. Mr. Lane was the man he would never be. He swallowed and awkwardly licked his dry lips.
"I'm going to have the treatment," he announced solemnly.
"I,... I'm sorry, Dani. It isn't much of a choice, is it? I wish to God,..."
Daniele heard the regret. And the acceptance of his decision too. 'Passive resistance'. There was no way out. He didn't want to be a pedophile. He didn't want to spend the rest of his life in jail.But he would. There would be another boy, another Grey, or Nicky, or Carter. Eventually, he would be caught. And even if there wasn't another boy, there were police scouring the Internet to find him.
"It is done yet?"
Daniele looked up quickly. Their eyes met. Mercurial boy, enduring man.
"No," Daniele answered simply.
Even though they had become very close friends, the man was not at all sure how to ask about such a personal thing. Sometimes, Daniele Webster was a very difficult boy to know.
"Are you frightened?"
The silence persisted until Daniele found the words.
"I was for a while, but not anymore."
"That's good." The words said one thing, but the tone said something else. Lane was worried.
"I tried to put it myself, but I couldn't get it on properly."
"You're using the cup, huh?"
"You know about the ways?"
"I looked into it. In case you wanted to talk."
"Oh." Daniele smiled absentmindedly. "It seemed like the best way, you know. My 'rents can't afford the ultrasound, and I didn't want surgery,..."
Mr. Lane nodded reassuringly. "And that left the injections and the cup. There isn't much choice left if you want to avoid the two-strikes law."
"I guess I didn't want her touching me,... the doctor,.... She wanted to give the injections right there."
"Not much of a choice at all, is there?"
Daniele sighed weakly. He felt drained again. He was tired of passive resistance. He wanted it over. With luck it could be finished and done with before he had dinner.
"She said most boys are using the cup. It seemed like the best way."
Mr. Lane sighed. It was a travesty, a shameful abuse of medical science, the result of corrupt government, and a society that was incapable of understanding that men and boys could love each other. However, his political views were unimportant. The important thing was Daniele's well-being.
"At last count, fifty-three percent of boys used it last month," he said glumly. "I looked it up on the Internet. Let's see if I can remember the rest. Twenty-nine percent got the injection. Sixteen percent got the ultrasound, and the rest had the operation."
He did not mention that there were unofficial reports of complications that resulted in more operations being done. There were even situations where the boy's penis was affected and had to be surgically removed as well as his scrotum. There was a website dedicated to the issue. The stories of what had happened to some boys were anything but pleasant reading. In the rush for results, there had even been mistakes made in deciphering the DNA tests.
"Two percent." Daniele shrugged. "I guess they're the really unlucky ones." he tried to smile. His mouth twitched at the corners.
"They are all unlucky. It's just a matter of degree, dear boy. The cure of pedophilia is the sine quo non of today's social reality."
"I don't understand," Daniele said simply.
"Hm,... Okay, let me put it this way. Getting rid of people like you and me, well it's become a necessity, Dani. We've become what the Jews were to the Nazis. We threaten people because we're different."
"But,..." Daniele hesitated. "On TV they say it's because we,..." He stopped and chose his words carefully. "We do bad things to kids. That's why they say we're evil. That's why they passed the law we talked about. Two-strikes and it's a lifetime in prison. I've even heard that,... well,... like that guy in Alabama,... He murdered eleven boys after he had sex with them."
Lane nodded. "It's partly true. I don't know whether he had the gene, but I expect that some of our kind are evil. The men who aren't able to control their feelings for boys so they do things they shouldn't. I don't mean having sex with a boy because you and I both know there are boys who want to do it, but forcing them to do it, or hurting them. That's wrong and it shouldn't happen."
"You're not like that." A note of confidence crept into his voice.
"And neither are you, Dani. We want to spend our lives loving boys. Unfortunately, that love, while it certainly isn't wrong to love someone, even a young boy, also involves a sexual component. As society sees it, that's the problem, at least on the surface."
"I didn't ask to be this way, Mr. Lane. And I don't care what anyone else says, I didn't do anything wrong. I can't,... I can't help it. It's not my fault!"
"That's true, but no one else except you and me, and the men and boys who are like us, understand that it's about love."
"So I have to have the treatment, and that's all there is to it," Daniele said despondently.
"I'm afraid that's right. It's either lose your balls or spend your adult life in prison."
"It isn't the end of the world," Daniele admitted. "It's not like I'm losing that much. Mine even all that big."
"I think you'll look cute without balls, Bookworm," Mr. Lane tried to joke. It wasn't funny. "I might even get my own done if I like how it looks." Again, it wasn't funny. He hated himself for saying it and wished he knew what he should have said instead.
They looked at each other. Daniele shuffled his feet. He could feel his face getting hotter. He needed to get it over and done with. If he didn't do it, he was going to be a pedophile when he grew up. The more he thought about boys the worse it became. After what had happened in the ice-cream parlor with Nicky, he had promised himself it would never happen again. Then, along came Carter, the boy who he thought was his best friend. And he had not been able to stop himself. He would never be able to stop himself. This way,... well, at least he would not be in prison until he died. There was no reason that he could find to explain why he felt embarassed, but he was. Ashamed and guilt-ridden, certainly because he deserved to be, but embarassed? There were a lot of things he did not understand.
He attempted to be diffident or resigned. He wanted to appear as if nothing mattered any more because it would be easier that way. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He was helping society by making a small sacrifice of his own.
"Who needs balls anyway? They only hurt like hell when they get kicked."
Mr. Lane grimaced. Two weeks earlier, or was it three, Daniele came to the store after his school's soccer practice had ended. He had been kicked in the groin hard enough to make walking difficult. Even the ice-pack did little to help, although it was enjoyable watching Daniele sitting in the arm-chair with the plastic bag of ice-cubes clutched to his crotch. There were no erections that afternoon. It was almost a relief.
"Yeah, I suppose so," he answered absently.
Daniele looked up and met his eyes. Sooner or later he had to ask Mr. Lane to do what he could not do for himself. He wanted to be brave and resolute. Instead, he was sheepish.
"When I tried to put it on it pinched my balls something awful."
"Ouch! That must have hurt worse than getting caught in a zipper. I can only imagine. I haven't done that in so long."
Again, he tried to lighten the mood. Daniele barely smiled. His eyes blinked rapidly, but he wasn't going to cry. Not here, not in front of Mr. Lane.
"Can you,... Can you put it on me?" he asked as bravely as he could manage. His voice cracked.
Nothing was said for a long while. The wall clock, an elaborate carved cuckoo clock that had come back from a trip to Rothenburg two years earlier ticked loudly.
"Did you bring it with you?"
Daniele nodded, increasingly conscious of Mr. Lane's hand on his shoulder. It was a nice feeling as the strong fingers massaged him, comforting, reassuring, taking away his fear. He felt them moving in circles, squeezing, finding a way to relax him. The hand lifted up across his collar bone, stroked his slender neck, even tickling the delicate skin behind his ear. He did not want to be tickled, not then, but he didn't say anything. Tickling more and more until Daniele giggled nervously and uneasily brushed the hand away. Mr. Lane's expression clouded. He had not intended to do that. All he had been trying to do was comfort him. They stood looking at each other. In those few seconds, the level of stress had diminished.
"Do you want to do it now, Dani?"
"Yeah,... I suppose. There's no point in putting it off."
Mr. Lane's hand moved to the side, stroking Daniele's cheek until it stopped at his chin. His eyes said everything that he wanted to say. Daniele saw affection, respect, admiration, something more that he could not be certain of. It was the same way that his mother looked at him. He swallowed and tried to smile, to put a brave face on what was otherwise bleak and joyless.
"Well, Daniele my boy, shall we go into the back room, or do it here?"
Daniele tried hard to smile again. It was funny in a way, the very idea of standing there in the center aisle of the store, surrounded by books, and putting that cup on his testicles. However, there was no humor in his situation. There was nothing he could do now that the decision had been made by his parents. The weight of their decision was oppressive, pushing him down. The sooner it was over the better. Obediently, even though he had not been told to, he followed Mr. Lane down the narrow aisle. Past the place where Mr. Lane had seen his penis for the first time. A lot of the books had changed since then, but some of the same ones were probably still there. It had not been that long ago. He wondered if the History of Photography book was still there. The book that had the photographs of the Sicilian boys in it, revelling in their naked glory. It was the book that he had been looking at, surreptitiously, engaging in some long-forgotten fantasy when Mr. Lane found him.
Past the toilet, past Dani's favorite section in 'Science', all the way back to the small store room underneath the stairs. Daniele had been in there before with Mr. Lane when they had finally repaired the cover to The Joy of Sex. He entered bravely and the door closed behind him. There was no window. It was stuffy and drab, a little too warm, but the smell was of books and the pleasant smelling glue that Mr. Lane used to make repairs. The light was overhead, a single exposed bulb. Without thinking, Daniele moved towards the workbench, turning when it was behind his back. Not even realizing, he took a deep deliberate breath and let out a long sigh. There was no reason to be afraid. In fact, he wasn't afraid, not really, just a little bit frightened but that was because of the small space. It did not have a window. He always liked to be able to see out, although at that moment he appreciated the need for privacy. If they were going to do this, he would have to undress, at least pull down his jeans and briefs. Mr. Lane had seen him naked before, not completely naked, of course, but all the important parts, front and rear. He still hesitated.
"It's okay," he heard Mr. Lane say quietly. "Don't be frightened."
Daniele's eyes flickered warily around the little room. It wasn't as claustrophobic as he remembered. It was familiar in a way that he enjoyed. Private and personal, not much bigger than a closet. Now, there was just the two of them, looking at each other in a confidential and intimate way. It wasn't claustrophobic, not in the least, he told himself, but a window would have been nice.
"There's no rush, Dani."
Again, that calm patience that took away his fear of the unknown. What would it be like afterwards? After the thing had done its job and dropped off the way the doctor said it would? More than likely, he would look a lot like the boy in the instruction booklet with nothing there except a little darkened flap of skin. It wasn't ugly. There just wasn't very much to see. Were there pictures of what it looked like after the other methods? His mother had the brochures that the Doctor had given them just in case he changed his mind. The idea of getting it cut off made his stomach turn. The injection was much better, yet it involved having a hypodermic needle inserted into his testicles. He hated getting injections. For a second he fancied he could feel the acid as it began to burn, dissolving, eating away his maleness. He shuddered.
"Do you want me to help?"
Daniele nodded after a moment. It would not be the first time that Mr. Lane had undressed him. This time would be just another of their secrets. No one else would know. He had learned the importance of being discreet. Some things had to be kept hidden. Sometimes, it seemed like his entire life was one big secret. Mr. Lane stepped forward. He reached down. Daniele sucked his belly in to make room. In the past, Mr. Lane had sought out what was concealed there simply by slipping his hand down past Daniele's narrow belly, making enough room behind his briefs to play with his penis until it was hard. Not this time. This time Daniele felt his button being opened, the zipper eased down by deft fingers that casually rubbed across his groin as if it wasn't in the least bit important, or wrong, or something to be frightened of. Was it still wrong if Mr. Lane was a pedophile too? If they were both pedophiles? No, boy-lovers, because boy-lovers loved boys. They didn't just have sex with them. The more he thought about it, and he had thought about it often, he had been unable to see the harm in it, not if the boys were willing, not if they wanted to have sex. With Mr. Lane, he had never been forced to do something he did not want to do. Indeed, he was required to initiate, or give permission. He did so again, just as he had in the past.
He wriggled his hips to assist as Mr. Lane slowly pushed his jeans downward. Quickly, Daniele reached under his shirt and found the plastic cup and tube of ointment. He placed them on the counter next to him only a moment before they would have fallen out. Then, his white briefs followed with an unceremonious tug. For once, Daniele's penis was not hard. With his thumbs looked under the elastic waistband, Mr. Lane's hands moved down, not stopping until Daniele was naked from his waist to his knees. Together, they looked down. Daniele's belly was flat, his firm abdominal muscles already showing form, revealing the six-pack that would one day be there. His navel was marked by a scallop of skin that pulled across it. Below the prominent lines of his ribs, his belly narrowed, bulging slightly, but not with fat. The veins stood out just below the skin, curving as they descended to his thighs. His groin was compact, extending the furrowed line between his thighs and belly. There was, in that small, thin, perfectly formed penis, the essence of a male. Finally, Daniele looked up and shrugged. There was nothing left, but to climb onto the workbench and finish what he had started in his bedroom. Still, he made no attempt to do so. Mr. Lane was still looking down between them.
"You're very beautiful, Dani."
The words came out in a rush, but it needed to be said because Daniele Gordon Webster was a beautiful boy. Beautiful, just as Leonardo da Vinci had been acclaimed as a a boy, and later as a youth working for Andrea del Verrochio in Florence. His beauty was acclaimed through the city. Had Leonardo really posed for the bronze statue of David that Mr. Lane had shown him? No one really knew, of course, but that boy was certainly beautiful if older than Daniele liked. He was suddenly self-conscious, but not because he was half-naked. At ten years old a boy simply did not conceive of himself as being beautiful.
He shrugged again. "Might as well get it over with then," he muttered.
He reached behind, placing his hands on the edge of the bench. It was not so high that he couldn't lift himself, yet Mr. Lane reached out to him suddenly and placed his hands on Daniele's chest, just under his armpits. Effortlessly, Daniele sprung up, requiring only the slightest effort from the man to lift him into the air. He sat, his legs dangling, knees apart, his sex exposed like a shameless whore, or an innocent boy who had never known shame.
"For Heaven's sake! There's a rubber band on your balls." Mr. Lane smirked regardless of his shock.
It looked out of place, yet curiously exotic. They both stared at it for a while. The rubber band had pulled Daniele's scrotum into a rounded lump clumped under his penis. After the skin had tightened again, the constriction of the band had caused the skin to darken noticeably.
"I guess you had so much fun you forgot to take it off," he teased.
Daniele glanced up, then down quickly. He looked up a moment later, feeling slightly foolish.
"It's supposed to be there."
"I take it that it's part of the kit?"
Daniele nodded seriously, vaguely wondering why Mr. Lane would think he put it there for if not to follow the instructions that came with the kit.
"I think it's supposed to pull my balls together or something so the cup can fit on."
"It's certainly doing that by the look of it," Lane observed, still smirking.
He was not into sado-masochism, but it was hard not to enjoy the sight. It was vaguely reminiscent of the pictures they had looked at of African tribal initiations. What they had seen was intensely erotic, even though it was without a doubt painful for the boys being initiated. The color and wrinkled texture of Daniele's small scrotum contrasted against the bright pink rubber band. He breathed out slowly, trying hard not to keep on looking down, very aware that his penis was becoming hard. There was an undeniable and very compelling thrill in seeing the boy's body bound like that.
"Does it hurt, Dani?" Lane asked, guilty aware of the excitement he felt.
"No. It just feels tight."
Lane smiled, more relieved than anything else. The last thing he wanted was for Daniele to be hurt. He nodded encouragingly. Suddenly, he wanted it over and done with. Daniele would be safe then, even if there was another Nicky. He thought of what he had witnessed in the toilet of the ice-cream parlor. Daniele was lucky. He was lucky. They had been very fortunate that none of the college students who came in to the parlor had wanted to use the toilet.
"Okay. You had better tell me what I have to do, Bookworm?"
Daniele looked back at him nervously. His confidence was returning slowly. He picked up the tube of ointment.
"First this stuff goes on my balls so they get loosened up."
"Okay! How loose do they have to be?"
Lane watched Daniele glance down. His right finger prodded into his scrotum, pushing it around to identify the shape of both testicles. Most of the ointment had worn off, leaving a greasy patch on his briefs.
"Do you want me to do that?" Lane asked smoothly. He regretted the words immediately.
Daniele looked up and giggled. At least it sounded like a giggle until it ended abruptly. "I suppose. If you want to,..." he said. He swallowed, gulping air. He breathed out in a rush. His voice trembled. "I think you just want to play with my balls one last time."
"I'm joking, okay? They're supposed to be really loose before you put the cup thing on."
Lane laughed uneasily, surprised that Daniele could find anything amusing in the situation. "You're an incorrigible little pervert aren't you?" he finally said, although the words seemed foreign.
Indeed, the situation was beyond unreal, taking on the surreal qualities that only Stanley Kubrick had ever managed to create. It was in a movie, perhaps forty years old. As old as Lane. He searched his memory and finally came up with the name, `A Clockwork Orange'. He jumped slightly when Daniele spoke.
"Yeah, I know. That's why I'm sitting up here waiting to be neutered. But if I'm one, then you're one too!"
"That I am, dear boy. That I am. I guess I'd better put some more on so they're nice and loose."
Lane grudgingly took the tube of ointment from Daniele and read the label as he unscrewed the cap. He squeezed out a long bead onto his finger. He examined it for a moment, wondering what was in it, thinking that it was still not too late, not until he thought about Nicky and the ice-cream parlor, and realized that it was already too late. He had not expected that to happen. He felt empty, regretting yet accepting what had to be done. There was no other choice, not when the alternative involved spending most of one's life in prison. He did not want that to be Daniele's future any more than he wanted it to be his future. He reached down, his finger pointing the way to Daniele's future. The boy tensed slightly and inhaled, but not from the bottomless pit of fear that had been there earlier. He was safe with Mr. Lane. His knees parted a few more inches to provide unfettered access. It was always nice when Mr. Lane touched him there. He sucked on his bottom lip as the finger made contact.
It was cold for a moment or two on the underside of his scrotum and he shivered. His buttocks clenched and his abdominal muscles tightened, slightly elevating his groin. Then, the coolness faded and he felt the warming sensation begin. He looked down watching with detached interest as Mr. Lane's finger moved around, circling, smearing, soothing. His scrotum was almost white. It was slippery and tingling as the heat slowly increased.
"Mmmmm,...." Daniele sighed. It was a nice feeling. He felt his penis becoming hard.
He relaxed, allowing his legs to hang loosely over the edge of the counter, swinging freely and barely cognizant that his knees had moved another inch apart. Mr. Lane's finger slid down, avoiding the stiffening penis, following the groove between Daniele's leg and belly until it curled around the rubber band and behind the boy's scrotum. He paused a moment, gently rubbing the boy's scrotal pouch, then back up again, back across the rubber band until his fingers finally brushed against the boy's small penis. It was fully erect.
"We like getting our balls rubbed, don't we?"
Daniele glanced up and nodded meekly. "Yeah, I guess we do."
"Do it some more?"
Daniele just nodded again. He considered asking Mr. Lane to masturbate him, then decided not to. It didn't seem like it was the right time.
"It feels hot," Mr. Lane observed.
Already, the skin was draped loosely over his finger as he continued to massage the boy's slick silken pouch. He could feel the tiny testicles inside and the coiled tubules as his finger moved slowly back and forth. It was not unpleasantly hot, at least not on his finger, and the heat did not seem to bother Daniele, who had half-closed his eyes. He could not remember ever seeing Daniele's scrotum so relaxed. Normally, it was taut and wrinkled, as if it still had not recovered from spending two hours in the swimming pool. He was used to seeing no more than a little lump that looked rather like a walnut without its shell.
He could have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon, rubbing, caressing, stroking, marvelling at the boy's rapture, for there was no question in his mind that Daniele was totally absorbed in what he was doing. His penis quivered expectantly every time his fingers came close to touching it. Lane concentrated his attention on what was underneath, strangely fascinated by the sagging skin, now so loose that its contents were easily discerned. He could even see the lines caused by his tiny spermatic cords. He heard Daniele's muted sigh and winced when he realized that what he was about to do would deny the boy the pleasure that came with being male. It went without saying that Daniele would lose sensitivity there, if not all of it, then surely enough that he would notice the difference. Yet, there was no choice. It had to be done. There would always be another Nicky. And it would be worse the next time, far worse when Daniele's body was charged with hormones.
"What do I do now?"
"I guess you put it on," Daniele replied, rather reluctantly.
"Please! Just do it okay. Let's not talk about it forever."
Mr. Lane sighed and shook his head. He could not stop from thinking about how close he had come to Daniele over the last few weeks. Ever since the thing in the ice-cream parlor, Daniele had been more devoted than ever before. It was as if Nicky had taken away his independence, his self-respect, his boyish I-can-do-anything bravado, leaving a shell behind. The boy was always reaching out for support whenever they were together. He felt relieved by that, knowing that Daniele needed him, depended on him. That was why he was there, sitting on the workbench, waiting for him to do what needed to be done. There was no one else who he trusted enough to do it, not even his own father. And there was always the memory of what he had witnessed in the toilet, Daniele kneeling on the floor, Nicky standing, his jeans pushed all the way down to his ankles. Nicky's pretty face had stayed with him as well. He was not beautiful like Daniele, at least not to Lane's infatuated eyes, but he was more than attractive enough to get any boy-lover's attention. He had been smiling, awed at what Daniele was doing to him, perfectly content to let Daniele do whatever he wanted just so the nice feelings continued.
His hand moved hesitantly, his fingers extended until they brushed against the split-halves of the cup where Daniele had placed it on the bench beside his leg. He swallowed dryly. He had read enough on the Internet to know how it worked. Of the four methods, it was the most popular. There had been a few complications after it was launched, mostly to do with radiation exposure. A dozen boys had developed cancer of the urethra, and for a couple of them it had spread to their bladders or penises. However, that was almost six months ago when the method was still largely untested and the boys who had been tested with it had been sex offenders taken from state institutions. They volunteered in order to receive additional but unspecified rewards, supposedly shorter sentences. Nowadays, despite what was said at the clinics, there were far more problems with the injections. Lane picked up the cup.
"Do you know what to do?" Daniele asked meekly.
"I think I can figure it out," Mr. Lane answered ruefully.
He glanced down. It did not look very big, but Daniele's testicles had felt very small between his fingers. Carefully, he positioned the rubber band again, pulling it down until the boy's testicles were firmly gathered into a tiny ball, the scrotal skin pulled tight until purple veins were visible under the almost translucent skin. It looked painful. Was it too tight?
"Does it feel okay?"
Daniele nodded slightly. He took a deep breath. He hoped it would not pinch, not like before. Then, it had felt like a knife slicing through his skin. He fancied he could still feel it biting as the two halves closed in, cutting of the circulation so the blood stopped. Perhaps it would not hurt as much this time. He closed his eyes, hoping, telling himself not to cry. He was aware of the man's hand, large, comforting, patting his leg reassuringly. Then, the fingers lifting under his scrotum, pressing to the side. He could feel it then, the unyielding cool plastic, the thumb pressing onto his,... his,.... his balls, pushing them inside. Almost ready to close. There was a momentary pause. Daniele resisted the need to look. He waited. His heart pounded. His legs quivered, tensing, his penis getting even harder, the rest of his body preparing for the pain. But nothing unpleasant happened. He felt the man's hand moving, fingers that were ever-so-gentle, the cup rotating slightly, the pressure against his testicles. It felt like that part of his body was being gently squeezed. Then, click.
The sound was unmistakable although Daniele had never heard it before. He gasped with the suddenness of it, the simple 'click' that meant only one thing. Manhood would never happen, not for Daniele Gordon Webster. A shudder ran through his body. His bowels tightened, his knees jerked inwards. The instinctive reaction passed quickly. Only a few seconds. There was nothing to fight against even though he had preparing himself for hours. There was no pain, no sudden agony, nothing except the gentle pressure between his legs. It was faintly enjoyable, even reassuring in its own way. His penis ached for relief, but he dared not touch himself.
"It's on, Dani."
Mr. Lane's voice was very soft. Daniele felt the man's right hand brush across his cheek, then under his chin, to tilt his head back. Mr. Lane kissed his forehead, and for a few seconds nuzzled his hair. Daniele sat still, very quiet, afraid to look, afraid to think, afraid he would burst into tears. The man caressed his back tenderly, murmuring words of comfort. They were not empty words, not coming from him, but from anyone else, Daniele would have been resentful at what was said. He knew that he was being,... what was that word the woman at the clinic had used? 'Neutered', just like a dog,... that it was the worst thing that could happen to a boy. He kept his eyes closed for more than a minute. It was the longest minute of his ten-year-old life.
Finally, when it was obvious that it was not going to hurt, there was nothing for it but to open his eyes and look down and see what had been done to him. Daniele looked for a moment before he started giggling. It was not a happy sound. It was hysterical, sad, bewildering. However, it was also funny in a way. His penis was hard, completely rigid, so stiff that it pointed straight up towards his face. He could feel it throbbing. Mr. Lane's right hand was so close that it was almost touching it. However, it was not his penis that was so amusing. The thing below his penis was bizarre. His scrotum had been replaced by a ball, a lurid bright-red ball that clung underneath. He stared at it. It was sinister in its sheer simplicity. Just a ball, like a child's toy. He wanted to touch it. What did it feel like? If he pulled on it would it come off? The doctor said it came off by itself only after his testicles had been reduced in size, otherwise it was indestructible. Before long, his balls would shrink to almost nothing. That silly little ball could do that? A funny-looking red ball could do that? It didn't make a lot of sense, but there it was, clinging under his penis with his balls inside where he couldn't see them. Just the little red ball remained. There was nothing else that he could see to show that he had something there. His balls were gone. He would never see them again. He shivered, feeling cold on his legs. He looked up, then quickly lowered his eyes again. It was still there. It hadn't gone away. He was filled with dread. It would not come off until its work was finished. He would never see his balls again, or feel them with his sleepy fingers as he dozed in his bed. Joel would be certain to make fun of him. He started to laugh, panic-stricken.
"What's so funny?"
It took a few seconds before Daniele could stop. He shuddered as he caught his breath.
"That! That thing on me! It looks like I got my nuts stuck inside a ping-pong ball that's been painted red."
"Hm, well, yes, I suppose it does a bit. Does it hurt?"
"No, not really. It feels okay."
Daniele looked up. He met Lane's eyes, seeing the man within. He saw fear, and anguish, and the awful misery that only a boy-lover could know when a boy was being hurt.
"It's okay," he mumbled.
"Dani,... God, I didn't want this for you."
"It's okay." His voice cracked. He blinked. He did not want to cry in front of Mr. Lane. It was bad enough as it was. "I'll be okay, really I will. I'll be safe,... now,... you won't have to worry about me,... I won't be able to do what I did with Nicky,..."
"Dani,... Oh Dani. I'm so sorry."
"It looks weird," Daniele muttered almost to himself.
He pushed the ball with his finger. There was very little movement. Most of his scrotum was inside so it clung tightly beneath his penis.
"It doesn't hurt at all. It's not at all like I thought it would be."
"It's not right. It's not right! God damn them," Lane cursed bitterly at a world that did not understand.
"It's probably working already," Daniele mused aloud. "It only takes a day or two for the radiation to break the cell DNA up so it's useless. That's when the cells stop dividing and start dying. I read that in the booklet."
For some reason, repeating what he had read, caused him to calm down. He was no longer consumed by worry. The thought of having it there no longer bothered him. It was part of him. There was no denying that it looked weird, almost funny. Relief surged through him in a moment and came out as a long drawn-out sigh. It was over. Done. Finished. He would never be a pedophile. He would not spend the rest of his life in jail. Why had he been so frightened? It wasn't that bad. Then, without warning, the fear rushed back. The red plastic ball would be there until it dropped off, and then he would no longer be male. He shivered, and the shiver became a nervous tremble, and then he started to cry. At first, it was a soft whimpering sound that tried to break through from the tight constriction of his throat. His knees jerked, his hands clenched as if fighting the torrent of emotion. There was a modulated voice inside him, repeating the same words over and over again. 'You're never going to be a man. You're never going to be a man. You're never going to be a man.' His brother had said that to him a few days earlier. Now, it was true. He was never going to be a man. The sobs grew inside until there was nowhere else to go.
All of the other words, the words that he had been thinking to himself all day were empty lies, although they had gotten him that far without breaking into tears. 'Passive resistance'; he was not even certain that he really understood what it meant. He remembered reading about Mahatma Gandhi and 'passive resistance', but he wasn't Gandhi, and being passive about anything was not in his character, and he was never going to grow up normally. As Daniele sobbed, muffling his wails in Mr. Lane's shirt, it finally came to him. Passive resistance meant never giving up. Gandhi had never given up. Then, he cried even harder for he realized that he had given up. He had given up the most important thing, his right to be a man.
He was barely aware of Mr. Lane's arms wrapped around him, not until he was hugged so tightly that it seemed as if his chest would be crushed. He muttered something, but with his face pressed against Mr. Lane's chest the words were incoherent. He tried to shake his head, a futile attempt to deny reality. The words stung with truth. 'The world will be better off with one less pedo'. His brother could be so cruel at times. Daniele wanted to scream. He hated Joel, hated him from deep inside where the bad thoughts resided.
Instead of screaming in meaningless fury, he bravely pushed himself away from Mr. Lane's reassuring embrace. He breathed out. Slowly, he shook his head.
"I'm,..." he choked as tears welled in his eyes.
He was going to say 'sorry', even though there was nothing for him to be sorry for, except that he had intended all along to be brave and not cry. He had wanted to show as much 'passive resistance' as he could. Despite everything, he was still a ten-year-old boy, a very frightened boy who saw no future in his limited world. There was no place for him. Absently, he wiped his face, still sniffling. He swallowed, and awkwardly leaned forward to press his face against Mr. Lane's chest again.
"It's okay, Dani. It's okay,...."
The calming words and gentle tone found their way into his head. He wanted to be held forever. He mumbled something to that effect, not caring what he said, that he had never said it before to anyone except his mother. The words `I love you', were remarkably easy for him to say. He wanted to say them again and again, but he stopped at three times. It seemed silly to keep repeating himself.
"I love you too. I'll never let you go. You know that, don't you Dani? I'll always be here for you, no matter what happens."
Then, silence, and Mr. Lane lovingly rubbed his back, up and down and side to side, kneading his ribs and spine, massaging his muscles, relaxing him, taking away the horror of it with simple human contact. And Daniele's penis stayed rigid and unyielding the entire time, because there were sensations from his body that caused it to be so. It was as if that part of his boyish body had rejected the fear of emasculation and sought to prove otherwise. It stood proud, straight out, throbbing urgently. Like Daniele, it was hungry to be touched, caressed, petted until a different kind of relief was achieved, the kind of relief that Daniele had discovered for himself while he lay waiting to fall asleep almost every night.
With the insight of a lifetime of experience, Lane understood what Daniele needed. As his left hand stroked reassuringly over Daniele's lithe back, his right hand grazed across Daniele's bare thigh, coming closer and closer until the tips of his fingers barely touched the boy's hot hardness. It was enough to make Daniele quiver, reach around the man's back, and hold on tightly. Once there, they could never turn back.
For a long while nothing else happened, both still, fingers only just touching that sensitive hot skin, sharing the silence together, never moving.
"Mr. Lane?" Daniele murmured.
"We,... we said it. We did, didn't we?" He could not help being nervous. He had meant what he had said. He did love Mr. Lane, and although all of his reasoning powers said otherwise, he was filled with trepidation that he was not loved in return. He wanted to be loved.
"Yes we did."
"Did you mean it?... I meant it," Daniele hastened to add.
"Yes, dear, sweet boy, of course I meant it. Remember what I said?"
"Not to say it unless,... it came from my heart," Daniele answered. He smiled. "I love you,..." He paused and his shy smile grew more confident. "I love you from my heart."
"I've always loved you," Mr. Lane said softly. "I've been in love with you from the moment you first walked through my door and wanted to know where the psychology books were."
Daniele remembered that day very clearly. He had been fighting all morning with his brother about cleaning up the bathroom after he'd used it. He was tired of finding his brother's mess, the toilet not flushed, urine splattered on the seat. He wasn't fastidious. He just didn't want to sit in a puddle. He was tired of not getting anywhere except his father becoming angry with him. His father was never angry with Joel. Joel almost never got into trouble. Now, he understood why.
Daniele looked up shyly. Without thinking, without meaning to, he had told Mr. Lane that he loved him again. It was becoming repetitive, yet he wanted to keep on saying it. He had a funny feeling inside. A warm glow moved through his body.
"If we love each other, it's probably time that you stopped calling me Mr. Lane. Unless, of course, you'd like me to start calling you Mr. Webster?"
Daniele giggled self-consciously. "Okay."
He thought for a moment, slowly coming to the realization that after months and months of spending every other day at the bookstore, he still did not know Mr. Lane's first name. They had played with each other's penises and he had told Mr. Lane things he would never tell another person Mr. Lane was his very best friend in the whole world and he did not know his first name. It struck him as so ridiculous that he began to grin.
"You have to promise not to laugh if I tell you, no matter what," Mr. Lane said seriously.
Of course, that only made Daniele's nervous giggle continue. It was nearly a minute before he had enough control to solemnly promise he would not laugh, 'no matter what.'
"Okay,.... It's Dustin."
For a moment Daniele did not get it. There was nothing funny about 'Dustin'. His expression momentarily fleeted from uncertainty to confusion, then surprise, finally to amusement as he recognized the joke. He tried to hold it back, but the giggles overwhelmed him. For once his amusement was not tinged with terror. Mr. Lane's name became funnier the more he thought about it.
"You promised you wouldn't laugh."
"I---I'm not,.... I'm not laughing. Really I'm not."
"What would you call it then?"
Daniele grinned sheepishly. "Um,... how about giggling?"
"Very funny," Dustin said with as much seriousness as he could muster. "It isn't that funny!"
"Yes it is. But only if you say it just right. Dust in Lane." Daniele kept grinning. "It could have been worse you know."
"Um,... well they might have called you Rocky? Or,...." he giggled.
"Enough already!" Dustin relented and laughed along with Daniele.
It was impossible to be angry, or even pretend to be angry with Daniele. Whenever those dark beautiful eyes looked into his, Dustin melted. He saw the trust, the deep admiration, and the realization that Daniele was proud. Intensely proud, and that pride was entirely focused on him, just as he was proud of Daniele. He was a slave, imprisoned by those eyes. It had been that way from the very first time, that Daniele had asked him where the psychology section was. It had started then, as soon as he had laid eyes on the beautiful boy. However, he had been frightened by the rush of emotions. Even Jeff had not affected him like that. And then, when he had discovered Daniele with the book, The Joy of Gay Sex, he realized that the weight of the responsibility that had been thrust upon him by sheer chance. He had offered to loan the book not because he did not have the money to buy it, it cost only a few dollars, but to make life easier for him. From that time forth, his goal was to ensure the boy's happiness, because he was in love, hopelessly in love. He would give Daniele everything he had, whatever the boy wanted. They gazed at each other, no longer laughing, but consumed by affection. Simply looking, nothing more, not talking or touching. They shared what made them different and in doing so, exposed their souls.
And Dustin continued to smile because the really important thing was that the boy he loved was happy again. The sound of laughter had been music to his ears.
It was strange, Dustin reflected. For years he had fantasized about meeting a boy and having a meaningful relationship with him. For a few hours one day a boy had appeared out of nowhere and seemed to be exactly what he was looking for. Then, his world had come to an abrupt end. It did not matter that he had been entrapped. He had fallen, hook, line and sinker for the first boy to come along. He had been humiliated. However, even then nothing had really changed. He was still a man who loved boys. He still vacillated between dreams of platonic love and passionate sex, not realizing that what he was imagining was a relationship on adult terms. Only after being friends with Daniele had he realized that it was very different for a boy. Friendship came first. There were silly jokes and riddles, teasing, and mild crudity that usually started with inane things like getting a 'wedgie' or hiding a 'stiffie'. And games, always games. Daniele thrived on games. It was how he understood and learned about the world around him. It was not surprising, therefore, that when sex did happen, it was a game as much as anything else.
Dustin had watched their relationship emerge from innocence without truly appreciating what was happening. Daniele's discovery, and his growing appreciation of his body's sexual function followed an entirely natural course. His curiosity and subsequent sex play with other boys was only to be expected, even though both of them would have preferred his explorations to be with a boy who was close to Daniele's age. Together, they had survived the unfortunate incident with Nicky. He watched with interest as Daniele became more sexual, but somehow he always managed to exert enough control. Just being close to Daniele made Dustin very nervous. All it would have taken was a word, perhaps even a smile. As a result, he was very careful not to instigate, but when it finally started, he could not back away. And it had started when he when least expected it, when he was least prepared to resist.
It was some time later that Dustin's hand finally closed around Daniele's penis. Daniele had been sending signals for several minutes by that point. A shy but knowing smile. A coy look with exaggerated blinks. Eyes that flirted. The small hand that hesitantly guided Dustin's hand across the few inches to a penis that had remained erect for all that time, knew exactly what it was doing. Daniele inhaled sharply at the first intimate contact. The hand was strong, warm, soft, and like his penis, very hard underneath the skin. Beneath the man's comforting hand, his penis grew harder and bigger, but still not large enough that the glans extended beyond the foreskin.
They sighed together. It was strange how that happened, as if they were thinking the very same thoughts. Daniele tightened his groin muscles to make his penis jump and flex within the man's hand. Then Dustin closed his hand, squeezing gently, feeling the little rigid tube that was so much smaller than his own, but so very similar is shape. By pressing his fingertips inward he could feel the sponginess of the urethra underneath. He pushed down very slowly, gradually exchanging his hand's grasp for two fingers and a thumb as he neared the pubis. He made certain to keep his fingers away from the ball in case it hurt. A little jerk at the end and the boy winced as his foreskin retracted and bunched up behind his glans. The first time they had done that it had almost been painful. Not now. Now, Daniele's engorged red-tipped penis tingled and danced, flexing to encourage even more attention be given to it.
Gradually, Dustin's fingers moved back along the tender shaft, lovingly fingering the very flexible skin. It was short yet so sensitive that the slightest touch was enough to make Daniele twitch. It was even more sensitive on the exposed head, and it was there where his fingers were headed next. The tips of his fingers barely grazed the ruddy swollen surface, a surface like soft velvet, but it was enough, more than enough.
"May I?" It came out as a throaty whisper.
"Yes. I want you to." Daniele purred. It was important to give permission. He had learned that lesson the hard way. "Please do it." His eyes had closed to slits.
Dustin smiled. They were a long way past playing games. He did not stop to ask Daniele if he was sure of what he wanted. He asked permission simply because that was what needed to be done. Daniele was still so young that to do otherwise would have been taking advantage of his youth and inexperience. This time, Daniele's fingers pressed down onto his, increasing the pressure against the small throbbing penis. He felt Daniele stiffen, relax, yielding to be touched. Again, his fingers closed around the loose veil of skin and gently glided down the boy's small erection, descending lower until his other fingertips touched the rubber band and the resisting hardness of the plastic ball. Daniele winced, but not in pain. Shock perhaps? Then, up again, so slow that it seemed to take forever. This time, however, his fingers drew the foreskin back over the tip and Daniele groaned in ecstasy at the sudden intense sensation that bordered on discomfort. He seldom did that to himself because it felt so good that it was painful, but he would never say so. The upward motion drew the skin taut along the length of his penis, dragging against what was left of his scrotum. He gasped, aware of something else, a sensation he had never known. It was a wonderful pressure in his groin, a pressure on his testicles, a pressure that made him groan loudly. And it was all because of that ludicrous ball, the ball that was clamped so tightly under his penis that every movement was transferred directly to what was captured inside it.
His body tensed on the fourth or fifth stroke. Neither of them expected it to occur so quickly. It had never happened that fast before. Daniele sucked in his stomach, clenched his teeth, whimpered as he neared the edge. The ball bounced against his thighs, eliciting more groans. The sound he made was wild, frenzied, almost excruciating. He jerked, grabbing the man's chest in a frantic hug as the pumping began in earnest. It had to be fast at the end. Fast, furious, tortuous up and down strokes, each one continuing to thrust the tender glans through the foreskin as the pulses began deep inside the boy's trembling body. The ball smacked loudly against his thighs, sending a shocking tremor though him. He convulsed, begging to it to end. His penis jerked a couple of times in the fruitless effort to expel fluid that would never exist. The force was so great that Daniele's buttocks actually lifted off the counter.
And then it was over, and the boy subsided in sobs and gasps and hugged Dustin with all the strength that remained to him. He ached everywhere but the ache was concentrated inside the ball. He wanted it gone, but it was too late. Strong hands rubbed over his tee-shirt covered back and the sides of his chest, going up and down in a relentless satisfying rhythm, fingers rippling across the lines of ribs, lovingly stroking as if the boy's slim body was a huge phallus that could be brought to orgasm.
"Thanks," Daniele whispered groggily.
"You were fast."
"I couldn't help it." Daniele panted.
He stopped to take a deep breath, to relax and calm his still racing heart. The ache waned, faded, and was gone. His testicles tingled. Although they were concealed, he had never been more aware of their existence. Part of him wished the ball would remain there forever.
"I love you Dust-in Lane," he murmured gratefully.
"What you love is making fun of my name, Randy Weiner."
The rebuke was playful, part of their endless name game, and the boy's glee showed in his eyes when he looked up. He had to pause to take a deep breath.
"Yeah, that too."
Talking ended and they waited for Daniele to recover. However, both man and boy were thinking the same thoughts. Short of using a hammer and chisel to shatter the plastic ball, the boy's future had been determined.
"How long does it take?" Dustin asked timidly.
"A few days. That's all," Daniele answered assertively.
"It's probably happening right now," Daniele said, trying his best to sound as if he was not worried. "The electrons or whatever it is they use inside are killing off the DNA in my cells. Zing, there does another one. Oops that one missed. Here comes another,... zing." He choked and had to swallow.
"Not funny," Dustin remarked dryly.
"Zing! No more DNA!" His voice was wavering, becoming hysterical again.
"I'm sorry." Daniele shook his head. His thoughts had become bitter. "I don't want to be one."
"I hate that word just as much as you do!"
"A boy lover then?"
"No, not that. I mean what happens to me,... after they,.... after...."
"After they what Dani?"
"First they neuter me, so I can't have babies and I can't grow up normally, and.... And then,... then,... then they're going to turn me into a fag!" Daniele said vehemently. "That's what happens at the camp I have to go to in a few weeks. I heard the doctor tell my mom."
Dustin did not answer. His eyes were closed in angry frustration. There was nothing that he could do. Education and intellect accounted for nothing. He was a pedophile in a nation that hated pedophiles. One man against the will of society. Political correctness had ensured that there was no one else to hate.
"I think I wasn't supposed to hear, but I'm not deaf," Daniele continued. "Do you know what else they want to do with me?"
"What?" Dustin almost couldn't get the word out. He had been thinking that it could not get any worse.
"The doctor said I should be circumcised."
"Like me?" Dustin asked with a wink that he wished he had not made a moment later. "It isn't that bad, Dani. It happens to a lot of boys. It'll look a bit different, that's all, but it'll still feel the same when you play with it."
"It's not that. It's why they want to do it! I don't care about how it feels when I jack off. Well I do, but,... Do you know why they wanted to do it to me? They recommend it for gays because it's more hygienic," he parrotted. "I guess because I won't get poop under the skin."
"Well, it's true! You know it is. That's why your's is that way."
"Hardly," Dustin retorted. "Actually, I was cut when I was a baby. It had nothing to do with anything except that my parents wanted me that way. God only knows why. No one knew I was going to be gay then."
Daniele's expression was grumpy for a few seconds. There was so much that he did not understand.
"What is it?"
"You're like me. You're not gay," he said adamantly. "You just like young boys."
"That's true. But be that as it may, it was not why I was circumcised, Dani."
"But you'd still get poop on it when you do it with a boy," Daniele countered. He had meant to say `fuck' but even saying it that way still send a shiver through him. The idea of having sex with Dustin was still remote, yet it had entered the realm of possibility.
They studied each other. Slowly, Dustin smiled and wondered where Daniele was headed. "You're right, Dani. We both like boys. I like them a lot. Maybe it's wrong, but that's the way I am. I can't help it and neither can you."
Daniele smiled weakly. "I know. See I figure you have the da Vinci gene as well."
Dustin sighed. "I'm sure I do. It would account for a lot. But you know something? What I feel inside,... it's more than just liking boys. Having the gene is not all bad."
"I know. I read another article about the gene after we talked. I found out even more about it." Daniele shook his head sadly. "It's nice, you know,... being smarter than other kids, but,... well,... I,... See,... It just isn't worth it." His voice trembled and he almost yielded to tears again.
Dustin nodded understandingly. "I think I would rather be normal too, except for one thing. See, Dani, there's one boy in particular who I love very much. And for him,... well I would do anything, anything at all."
"So there is a good side to it then, at least for you," Daniele said less sadly. "It's not so bad, I suppose."
He looked up at Dustin with increased cheer. There was no doubt in his mind that the man loved him as much, perhaps even more than his mother, certainly more than that other man who he had been calling `dad' for the last ten years. The only problem was that the relationship was so one-sided. He would always view the man as a friend and confidant, as someone who he could talk to about his attraction to boys.
"Hm,... How do you figure?" Dustin asked hopefully.
"At least I have you as my best friend. I just wish I had met you when you were my age, or you had a son or something."
"Me too," Dustin agreed. He had always wanted a son, a son who was like Daniele.
"I suppose it could be worse. For a while I was worried that my balls were going to be cut off," Daniele said with a feeble smile that quickly died. "That's what Joel said," he added bitterly. "I suppose this is better. At least I still have them, even if they are going to be tiny."
Absently his fingers touched the little plastic ball beneath his penis. His testicles were imprisoned inside. He fancied he could feel the radiation, tingling, transforming the cell DNA into to useless broken-up molecules.
"That's certainly looking on the bright side," Dustin joked pitifully. He stroked Daniele's smooth cheek. It would forever be smooth.
"And now, at least I won't spend most of life in jail," Daniele added jauntily.
Dustin shook his head slowly. It was time he told Daniele about what had happened before he left Washington DC. He had never mentioned the first boy who entered his life. The possibility of being arrested and found guilty of pedophilia haunted him continually. It kept him awake at night.
"That's true. You can spend the rest of your life with me instead."
Daniele gave him a pathetic look. "Like my dad would agree to that. He hates me. All he cares about is the tax credit."
"That's enough sad stuff, okay Dani! Otherwise I'll have to start calling you Randy Weiner again," Dustin admonished with a laugh that almost died in his throat.
Daniele rose bravely to the challenge of harassing the man who he suddenly realized could easily become more than his best friend. "Then I'll call you Dusty Cox," he played along.
Sometimes the game could go on for hours.