A N.I.C.E. Boy, by Ganymede

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!

By downloading this story: "... you implicitly declare and affirm under penalties of perjury that you are not a minor or in the company of a minor and are entitled to have access to material intended for mature, responsible members of society capable of making decisions about the content of documents they wish to read...."

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.

The story is copyrighted under the pseudonym, Ganymede. Copies have been placed in the Nifty archives for your enjoyment. The story cannot be used to derive monetary gain. The story cannot be placed in archives that require payment for access, or printed and distributed in any form that requires payment either directly or indirectly.

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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!

A N.I.C.E. Boy, Part 8

Supreme Court Unanimously Supports NICE

U.S. Bulletin December 16th 2004

Today, the US Supreme Court in its decision on Elijah Larson v. the State of Mississippi, unanimously added its support to the Natural Intervention to Curb Evil Act, thus removing the final impediment to national implementation. Prior to this, individual states had been required to pass similar legislation in order to overcome legal challenges that have held the implementation of the federal legislation with suits in four U.S. Courts of Appeal. Even with state legislative action, realization of efforts to eradicate pedophilia once and for all has stalled in at least five state high courts. The U.S. Supreme Court decision enables the National Institute for Sexual Health to carry out its programs to eliminate the da Vinci gene, proven to cause the type of pedophilia involving men and young boys. Speaking on behalf of the Institute, attorney Robert A. Schuster said. "This is a landmark decision equal to the Buck versus Bell decision of 1927. That decision legitimized sterilization as an appropriate treatment for some conditions, primarily mental incompetence. We see pedophilia in much the same way. Mentally corrupted men have plagued our nation's children for much too long. With today's decision we can now complete the task of eliminating the evil of pedophilia once and for all. What we all have to realize is what the Larson boy did was a depraved and shameful thing. It is evil and indicative of what he will do to other boys in the future. He has finally received the punishment he deserves."

Candice Larson sued the State of Mississippi on behalf of her eleven-year-old son, Elijah, who had been required to be permanently sterilized as part of that state's program to eradicate pedophilia. Elijah Larson was convicted of two counts of gross sexual imposition with a minor child last year, following an incident when he was left at home with his eight-year-old brother. He was observed by a neighbor as he masturbated and then performed fellatio on his younger brother while playing in the woods behind their house. Elijah pleaded guilty and was sentenced to spend eight years at the recently opened Mississippi Farm for Juvenile Sexual Deviates. Under the Mississippi legislation intended to stop pedophilia, surgical castration is required of all inmates of state facilities who test positive for the da Vinci gene, either in its recessive or dominant forms.

In the decision, Chief Justice, Alvin C. Brown wrote:

"In the course of human history, there comes those difficult moments in time when actions must be taken to intervene in the natural order. This is such a point in time. There is clear and convincing evidence that Elijah Larson is a pedophile in the making. That he had no qualms in perverting his younger brother to become the same way is merely proof of his degeneracy. While we might like to pretend that this incident was innocent childhood sex play, there exists more than enough evidence to suggest that what was witnessed in the woods will be but one event among many such incidents. With a positive test result for the da Vinci gene, it is apparent that Elijah Larson will continue on the same wicked course. The risk of him seducing other young boys and anally raping them is simply too high for society to endure. Drastic action must be taken to stop him and others of his kind."

Furthering the argument of the social gain to be attained by upholding the Mississippi statute, Justice Yvonne Hall, a recent appointee to the bench by President Denton, wrote:

"That the Larson boy can be sterilized without detriment to his general health, and that his welfare and that of society will be promoted by his emasculation is sufficient cause to uphold the decision of the Mississippi High Court. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting for him to perform some depraved and evil act on another boy, society can with a relatively simple medical procedure both prevent him from acting on his perverted desires and from continuing his kind. The principle that sustains our unanimous decision is the loss that he will suffer is insignificant compared to the damage he can inflict on others. His loss is not cruel and unusual punishment as claimed by the Plaintiff, but an effective and appropriate action to correct one of nature's worst mistakes."

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision was made public, Elijah Larson was conveyed to the NICE Region Four Clinic in St. Louis, where he was subjected to a forty- minute bilateral orchiectomy procedure using a laser surgery. The procedure, performed under local anesthetic, involves the removal of the testicles and spermatic cords from the scrotum using incisions on the sides. The spermatic cord consists of the testicular artery, testicular vein, van deferens, and the cremaster muscle, effectively emptying the scrotum and facilitating contraction. His mother, Ms. Candice Larson, who is divorced, was reportedly very distressed, but she remained at her son's side throughout the brief operation. While declining to comment on the decision, her attorney, Ted Hassleman, released a brief press statement on her behalf. "While I do not condone the actions of either Elijah or his brother Adam, the fact that both boys have tested positive for the recessive form of the da Vinci gene must be taken into account. It is my belief that they were engaging in what for them was entirely mutual sex play as a way of learning about their bodies. They hurt no one but themselves. It remains to be seen whether either of them will grow up to become pedophiles. Any way you look at it, the castration of an otherwise perfectly healthy eleven-year-old boy is an extreme punishment."

Chapter 8. Lane's Bookstop, Liberty Street, Champain. December 24th, 2004

"What's castration?"

Lane looked up suddenly. It was hardly a question he expected, although he was vaguely aware that Daniele had been reading the newspaper for nearly ten minutes. Lane had read the article about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision during his lunch break. It had sickened him, yet it was only one incident among many. It would be grist for his chat with Cal Brewster the next time he came into the store, so he had put the newspaper aside for that reason. He had not expected Daniele to pick up the newspaper and read it, but he should not have been surprised. Daniele read voraciously.

"Huh? What's what, Monsieur de Bookwormie?"

Daniele rolled his eyes although he enjoyed their name game. "Castration? I know it's some form of surgery because it says `surgical castration', but what is it exactly?"

"Um,..." Lane stalled, asking himself why he had not thrown the newspaper away even though he knew the answer. "Well,... it's not particularly nice, Daniele. Castration means,... it means sterilizing a guy,... It's done by cutting off both of his balls," he explained.

"Oh,... It talked about `sterilizing' in the article, but I thought it meant making something clean by killing the germs. Sort of like sanitizing."

"That's one meaning of the word," Lane clarified. "But sterilizing also means preventing sperm from forming."

"Like what a guy needs in order to make babies?" Daniele asked offhandedly. "So they cut off his balls so he couldn't have babies," he said, thinking aloud.

"Yes, something like that. Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that, but you have the general idea."

"So it's kind of like neutering a dog, huh?"

"It's the same thing," Lane said. He put down the book he had been reading. "Are there any other words you don't understand?"

Daniele glanced at the article. He shrugged. "A few I suppose, but I can mostly figure out what it's about."

"Okay." Lane picked up his book again and turned the page.

"It's a bad thing, isn't it?"

"What's a bad thing? The court's decision,... or what happened to the boy?"

"I was thinking of what the boys did." Daniele glanced around to make sure that he would not be overhead. Still, he lowered his voice, just to be careful. "Masturbating and then performing fellatio on his brother," he quoted. "That's serious."

"You know what those words mean?" Lane asked earnestly.

Daniele giggled as any boy would who knew what `masturbation' and `fellatio' meant. Lane suspected that there were very few boys of Daniele's age who would know, but then Daniele was not an average ten year old boy.

"Sure. It means he played with his brother's thing." It was no secret that most boys masturbated occasionally, at least until they got married, although very few boys ever referred to it as that. Then, Daniele's voice became even quieter. "And fellatio is a fancy word for,..."

He giggled conspiratorially. He looked at his forefinger, and still meeting Lane's eyes, made an `o' with his lips and slowly inserted his finger into his mouth.

"It means sucking your finger?" Lane joked, raising his voice in exaggerated surprise.

Daniele giggled uncontrollably. "No! Don't be silly, Mr. Lane. You put it in your mouth. It's when you suck someone's thing. All the boys at school make jokes about cock-sucking. It's in the book too."

"I'm impressed," Lane remarked dryly. "I'm sure I had no idea when I was your age. I must have been twenty before I knew about things like that."

He sat back, his legs crossed. It was fortunate that he could sit like that without revealing his excitement. His penis was hardening rapidly. Of course, merely being around Daniele was enough to do that, but it usually deflated when his lust ebbed. The problem was that it ebbed only after Daniele departed.

"Well, it's in THE book," Daniele repeated pointedly as if Lane did not believe him. Emphasizing `the' was his way of referring to the `Joy of Gay Sex.' There was a few seconds of silence. "If they cut off his balls for doing stuff like that, then it must be terrible."

Then, realizing that he sounded guilty, he resorted to studying the article again, hoping that Lane would go back to his reading.

"Hm,... well, I suppose that depends on a person's perspective, Dani," Lane replied honestly, although he would have been happy to let the matter drop. "If I remember correctly, they called it evil and depraved in the article. I for one, don't think it is."

"Not even if boys do it?"

"Especially not then. I think their mother was absolutely correct. Kids learn by playing and they find out about the world by doing new things. Sex play is really just that. It's how children find out about their bodies. They shouldn't be put in jail for doing what comes naturally."

Daniele nodded thoughtfully. "They put the older brother in jail for eight years. That's a long time."

He glanced down at the article again. His hands felt sticky, almost clammy. He still remembered what he had done with Grey. In fact, the memory was vivid. It had always been with him, as if it was indelibly imprinted in his mind. It was difficult to understand why a boy would be sentenced to eight years on a prison-farm just for sucking another boy's penis. And they castrated him as well? For doing that? He had done almost the same thing with Grey. He swallowed nervously, not realizing that he was beginning to sweat. He sat quietly, emanating guilt.

"Is something wrong?"

Daniele shrugged and pretended to be nonchalant. He studied the next page of the newspaper intently although there was nothing of interest to read. Eight years, and they cut off his balls? They castrated him? That had to be what orchiectomy meant. They did that to a boy who was just a year older than he was? It seemed unbelievable, but it was there in black and white. Obviously it would involve an operation, but it didn't take very long, not if all he had was a forty-minute out- patient procedure at a clinic. Daniele breathed out in a rush, imagining a scalpel cutting through the delicate skin of his scrotum. There would be a scar, maybe even one on both sides. He wondered what it would be like not to have balls.

"Dani?" Lane prompted.

"Huh?" He looked up, suddenly feeling so uncomfortable that he had to wriggle in his seat.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

He tried to shrug again. Instead, he nodded, guiltily avoiding Lane's eyes. He felt pale- faced, as if the blood had drained away. He was exposed before Lane's unwavering introspective eyes. Why couldn't he leave him alone? Reading the newspaper article was enough to leave him cold. He did not want to talk about it, but he wanted to know more.

"Why do they call it da Vinci?" Daniele asked suddenly. He had heard about the gene. Everyone knew it was what caused boys to become pedophiles.

"Because of Leonardo da Vinci."

"Did he have it?"

"I don't know. I don't think anyone knows for certain. However, he may well have had it," Lane said, thinking of what he had read about the exploits of the most creative renaissance man of all of them. There was at least one young boy who shared his life, and probably several others who had not made it into the annals of history.

Daniele folded the page back so that he could study the article. "It says the boy had the gene, but it was recessive. I thought that meant that it didn't have any effect. It's sort of dormant inside you. It's only a problem if it's dominant."

"Maybe you should talk to Cal," Lane laughed.

He did not need to explain to Daniele that his close friend, Professor Calvin Brewster, was a world-renowned bio-geneticist. Cal and Daniele had already met each other when Daniele came into the bookstore on a Sunday instead of his usual weekday visits. It had been an unsettling experience if only because Cal was also attracted to boys.

"Maybe I will," Daniele teased.

He had was aware of what Lane was thinking even when nothing was said. Lane called it his `inner sense'. It was not as if he could read minds. No one could do that. Minds were private things. He merely picked up the same clues and interpreted them in the same way. He was also very sensitive to moods. It was because of that sensitivity he realized that both Mr. Lane and Professor Brewster suddenly became very tense when he came into the bookstore. Somehow he knew that they had been talking about him. Equally, he was fully aware, that he, Daniele Webster, was the cause of their distraction. He enjoyed being able to distract Mr. Lane with nothing more than a smile. He was not at all pleased about the effect he had on Professor Brewster. It was unsettling that the man would not stop looking at him. He was certain that Mr. Lane noticed it too, and even seemed to approve of the attention he was receiving. It made him feel uncomfortable.

Lane smiled, enjoying the moment. "Okay, Dani-boy, I'll spare you his long lecture. The da Vinci gene is what is called a trigger gene, meaning it's carried on the male's 23rd chromosome and it somehow manages to trigger other genes on both the X and Y chromosomes that would normally be dormant. You're right in saying that genes are basically unimportant if they're recessive. The important thing is when it's dominant. The d-V gene apparently has a range, so it isn't just recessive or dominant. It might trigger only a few genes if it's recessive, but if it's fully dominant, well,... Then, it triggers a large amount of otherwise unused DNA to come into play. That's when geniuses result."

"And pedophiles," Daniele interjected.

"Yes, and pedophiles too." Lane reflected on what to say next. "You know, I've always thought that calling someone a pedophile is a bit like calling someone a nigger. It's not a nice word."
"But you see it all the time," Daniele said absently. "My teacher used the word in class when we were talking about how important it was for society to do what was in its best interests."

"It's true that you hear the word a lot. However, the way it's used it has a certain unpleasant connotation." Lane gestured to the paper. "How do they talk about the boy in there? What was his name?"

"Elijah Larson," Daniele replied without consulting the newspaper. "It's like he's horrible. They used words like evil and depraved, and wicked too, because he's a pedo. And there was someone else, his lawyer I think, who said he did a bad thing. I know it's wrong, but..."

"What he did doesn't seem to be all that terrible to justify what happened to him?" Lane finished.

Daniele nodded awkwardly. He kept thinking of what he had done with Grey. It had been fun at the time, and intensely satisfying, although it lasted only for a very short while. He had never experienced a thrill like the one he had felt when he touched Grey's penis for the first time. He remembered that despite the difference in their ages, it was almost the same size as his own. And it was hard, so hard that it felt like it might snap off. Desire, hungry, insatiable desire, gnawed at his belly. Sometimes all he could think of was Grey's deliciously naked body pressing against him as they played their childish games. Only with the greatest difficulty did he manage to divert his thoughts again.

"Everyone says it's wrong," he said adamantly.

"Hm,... well, Dani, I think if people in important positions say things like that often enough, everyone begins to believe it."

"You don't think it's wrong?"

Lane smiled. He had asked himself the same question a million times.

"Is it wrong to have sex?"

Daniele shrugged, avoiding answering the question until he had formulated his thoughts.

"No, I guess not. You have to have sex to make babies."

Lane nodded seriously. "Sex isn't just about making babies. It's an essential part of loving someone, Dani."

"It can be fun too," Daniele smirked with playground humor.

Lane grinned. "That's very true." He waited for the amusement to fade. "But while it's an important part of love, love is a lot more than having sex."

He leaned forward. He wanted to touch Daniele's face, to lightly brush his fingers across the boy's chaste lips, to touch his smooth cheek.

"Love is about caring for someone, and commitment and friendship as much as it's about passion. And it's just not for men and women."

"My teacher said that gays sometimes love each other."

"Yes they do," Lane said candidly. "Do you know what a pedophile is?" he asked gently.

"Duh, who doesn't? It's a person, usually man who has sex with a kid," came the prompt school-board-approved sex-education answer. "If you have the da Vinci gene then you have sex with boys. My teacher says that's the worst kind of disease."

Lane almost laughed except that it was too sad to be funny. Deep down inside he was depressed. He longed to touch Daniele in places when a man was not supposed to touch a boy. Ever since they had met, he had sensed the boy's guilt, his confusion, his interest in homosexuality. It was evident in the way he lingered over Von Gloeden's photographs of naked boys in the `History of Modern Photography'. Daniele Webster was at an age when his sexual identity was being formed. His interest was beginning to manifest itself. As he pondered what he had observed over the last month, Lane concluded what should have been obvious all along. Was it possible that the boy was not only attracted to his own sex, but to boys? To young boys? He had met men like that online, men who preferred boys of eight or nine, and sometimes younger.

"Dani,..." he began cautiously. "Let's think of it from a different point of view. What if we called someone like that a boy lover?"

"A boy lover?" Daniele repeated.

Lane nodded slowly. He was taking an enormous risk, but then he had been risking everything from the very first time that the boy walked into his store and begun the process of discovering who and what he was.

"Yes. Would it have the same connotations as pedophile?"

He truly enjoyed talking to Daniele. He could use words and discuss thoughts that he would have had to avoid with any other boy.

Daniele shook his head. "It wouldn't be the same. It's about love, then."

"Ah,... And would that be different?" Lane pressed.

"Uh huh. Of course. You're talking about loving boys so it's not just sex." Daniele put the newspaper down. "But it would still be wrong, wouldn't it Mr. Lane?"

"So it's wrong to love someone?" Lane asked pointedly. "If you loved them so much that sex was really about making love."

"No, of course not...." Daniele considered his answer. "It's not just about semantics is it?"

Lane smiled. He was proud of Daniele, not only for knowing the word, but understanding the concept in the first place.

"A good question. What do you think, Daniele?" he posed.

There was a long silence. "If a man had sex with a boy and that was all there was, then that would be wrong,... but you're saying what if they loved each other when they had sex?" Daniele clarified nervously.

"Maybe like brothers," Lane suggested.

"Then it would be very different. It wouldn't be bad because they'd both want to do it to show how much they loved each other," Daniele ended. He flipped at the newspaper crossly. "But they cut his balls off because he had sex with his brother."

Lane shrugged dispassionately although he was hardly impartial.

"Of course, most people think of boy-lovers as men, but boys can love boys too," Lane said gently. He watched Daniele's reaction. He made the connection swiftly.

"They did that to him,... even though,..." Daniele swallowed. "All he did was to show how much he loved his brother." His hands clenched, his fingernails cutting into his palms. He was very close to crying. "But even their mom said it was mutual. That means they both wanted to do it."

"I think it's more than likely, Dani, particularly when both boys have the da Vinci gene. They're genetically predisposed to it. It would be very difficult for them not to experiment with each other."

Daniele pursed his lips thoughtfully. Absently, he scratched at his eyebrow as he thought it through to its logical conclusion. `Boys can love boys, too.' That was what Mr. Lane had said. And the way he had said it, distinctly, reassuringly,...it was almost as if Mr. Lane understood what he was thinking and was telling him it was okay. He needed to be accepted, to know that he wasn't a terrible person.

"Mr. Lane?"

"Yes, Wormster?"

Daniele smiled shyly, thinking spontaneously. The problem he labored with was how to phrase what he wanted to ask.

"Uh,... um,... does that happen, ah, like very often?" Daniele stopped, realizing that he was making very little sense. "I mean boys, um,... you know,... um,... loving other boys?"

Lane tilted his book down to cover what had become a very pronounced erection and stretched his legs. He said what needed to be said, what Daniele had waited all of his life to hear.

"It happens all the time. Boys grow up to be men, Daniele, so every boy-lover was a boy at one time in his life. They had to start somewhere."

"Yeah, I guess so,.... You're saying that they start out loving boys and then keep on loving them when they're men?" Daniele sucked on his bottom lip. "What happens to the boys they love when they grow up?"

"It depends on the boy. Some boys go through a stage when they're attracted to their own sex. They experiment, but they become interested in girls after a while."

"And the other boys become gay when they grow up," Daniele stated logically. "So everything works out okay."

Lane pointed to the newspaper. His penis was so hard that it ached. The way that Daniele was sitting made his jeans bunch up at the crotch. Somewhere underneath the folds of faded blue denim was the thing that Lane wanted desperately to touch. He wondered whether it also was erect, pointing upward into the cloth. Probably not, he decided, but his hand still trembled as he imagined touching Daniele's penis, stroking it into full erection, until it throbbed, until it reached the pinnacle of human pleasure, until it gave him release from all the problems of life. They could escape together, even though it was only for a very short time.

"Unfortunately not, my boy," Lane said in his best W.C. Fields imitation. "Our society, in its great wisdom, has decided that it's evil and depraved for me to love you. We can be friends, but I can never,... touch you," he ended awkwardly.

"That's so dumb," Daniele said hotly. "It should be up to me to decide if I want someone to touch me."

"It's more than just touching," Lane added.

Daniele rolled his eyes flippantly. "Yeah, I know. Adults say touch when they really mean have sex. It would be wrong for you to make me do something I didn't want to do, but if I wanted to have sex, then that's my decision. It shouldn't be against the law."

"I agree, but the problem is that the vast majority of people don't agree, and they're in control."

He hesitated to say more. He sensed Daniele reaching out, struggling to come to terms with who and what he was. They listened to a siren in the street. It was a sound that always frightened him. It did not matter if the siren came from a fire engine, an ambulance, or a police car. It was always coming for him.

"Daniele, I don't have to even touch you," he explained carefully. He handed over the book he had been reading. "This is,... Well it's an anthology of boy-love literature. It's actually illegal for me to read it, although all of the stories are on the Internet. I guess most people would call it disgusting, but in my opinion they're some of the best love stories ever written."

Daniele opened it, turned several pages of the thick, cheaply printed book, and scanned the table of contents. "The authors have funny names," he observed. "Randu? Teglin? Weird!" He ran his finger down the list of titles. "What's `Double Trouble' about?"

Lane laughed. "That one is a classic, my boy." He ended his W.C. Fields impression abruptly. "It's about twin nine-year-old boys who have special powers. It turns out that they have a boy-lover as a neighbor."

"Do they have sex?" Daniele asked with a gleeful smirk.

"Ah, actually,... well, yes they do. At first, it's about a man providing friendship to two needy boys. Even though he's sexually attracted to them, he doesn't do anything," Lane answered. "Eventually they go all the way."

"Both of them have sex with him?"

Lane nodded.

Daniele giggled. "Hence `double trouble'. Cute. Are the twins pedophiles too? I mean boy lovers."

Lane smiled. "No, I don't think so. There are some things in the story that suggest they're both going through a stage where they need a man's companionship. Their own father left them a couple of years earlier."

"Okay,... um, so what's,..." he scanned the list of stories. "'Why Not Me' about?"

"It's sc-fi," Lane replied. "I usually don't like stories that are in the future, but this story kept me awake at night. It's about a boy on a spaceship who's,..."

He hesitated, wondering what the author would think if he saw Daniele, a boy whose physical beauty was without equal. The point of the story had not been lost on him, yet like most boy-lovers he continued to seek out boys who fulfilled his vision of perfection. Daniele wasn't blond or blue-eyed, but he was supremely beautiful.

"The boy's unattractive and physically handicapped so men don't desire him. He knows why, of course, but there is nothing he can do about it. He still wants to be loved. Eventually the captain of the ship falls in love with him."

"That's good." Daniele grinned. "And then they have sex?"

"Of course."

"In the butt?"

"Um,... It's been a while since I read it, but yes, I'm sure they do. Making love is a big part of being in love, Dani, and the last time I checked that was how men and boys did it."

Daniele blushed slightly. He licked his lips, thinking about it, about doing that to a boy, a boy who was younger than himself. Could he really put his penis inside another boy's bottom? It was dirty there, or it could be sometimes. If men could do that to each other, in only stood to reason that a boy could do it to another boy. A penis had to fit inside given the size of what came out.

"Can I read it?" He sounded eager, too eager. He tempered the request. "Someday, when you're done with it, maybe?"

Lane winked. "You'll have to read it here, I'm afraid. If your parents found it,..."

"I'd be dead." Daniele smiled happily.

Mr. Lane agreed with a nod, giving way as he always did to Daniele's requests when they were associated with a smile. Despite that, the boy's hands clutched the book tightly, almost as if he was frightened of it being taken away.

"Well, like I said, it's illegal. Just about anything to do with boy-love is illegal nowadays," Lane commiserated.

"Why? If it's really about love?"

Lane shrugged and tried to be objective. "Society considers it undesirable that men and boys love each other," he said simply. It was not enough to explain the future that Daniele faced. "There's always been a problem with kids having sex," he explained. "At least in this country. I expect we can thank the Puritans for that." He leaned forward in his seat. "But in 2002 or thereabouts, it began to get worse. It began with a furor over the Catholic Church protecting priests who had been sexually abusing boys. It started off as just a few men taking advantage of boys, but it ended up with many more. Perhaps as many as a thousand."

"They weren't boy-lovers?"

Lane's brow furrowed. "I'm sure some of them were, Dani. Most situations that made the news involved the priest taking advantage of a boy who needed affection. I expect a few priests even raped boys. Anyway, there was a number of abductions and murders after that. Most involved young girls, but then there was a serial killer down south who went after boys. That's when things began to change. A lot of laws were passed and a lot of men were arrested, sometimes on trumped up charges. It was a bit like the Spanish Inquisition at times."

He remembered a time when he was a professor, the youngest full professor at the university. The turn of the century was the golden age. He allowed himself an hour a day to browse the Internet looking for boy-love sites. No longer than that because it was addictive. He was very careful even before the witch hunts began. It was like watching a plague spreading, until everything was infected and no public place was safe. He still remembered the day when `Ghouldrool' was shut down and over seven hundred boy-lovers were arrested, most of them on charges of `conspiring to abuse minors'. Freedom of speech had been put aside when it came to boy-love. The boy-love movement, if that was what it could be called, went deep underground.

"Most of it has gone now," Lane said. Daniele gave him a questioning look. "There used to be a lot of Internet sites," he explained. "Places where boy-lovers could meet online, where they could play games or share stories."

He had met Cal Brewster at such a place. Ever careful, his identity was concealed by a firewall and half a dozen proxy servers. It was the same for Brewster. Anonymity was essential to both of them. As the friendship blossomed, they increasingly shared personal information until the day came when they both reached the same conclusion. Not only did they live in the same city, but they worked at the same university, in buildings that were barely a hundred yards apart. They met for lunch and laughed as if they had been friends since childhood. On the weekends they would cruise the malls or go to baseball games together, always looking for the perfect `10'.

"What's so funny?" Daniele asked.

Lane looked up. He had been unaware that he was smiling. There had been very few `10's over the years. Always there was a flaw, buck-teeth, ears that were a tad too large, or too many freckles accounting for that 0.01 that prevented a boy from being a perfect `10'. Yet, Daniele was without question a perfect `10'.

"Oh. I was just thinking about the old days."

"You said it's all gone?" Daniele reminded him.

"Most of it, at least publicly. There are still a few places left, but they're very private and hard to get into."


Lane watched Daniele as he slowly turned the pages of `In Love With Boys: Nifty Stories in the Public Domain', scanning quickly. He paused a moment to read. He smiled slightly. He looked up nervously.

"How old is Wishus?"

"About your age, I think." Lane smiled, remembering.

"So it really is about a man and a boy," Daniele observed shyly.

"They truly love each other, Daniele," Lane offered. It was another of his favorite stories, discernible by the condition of the pages. "'Three Weeks to Heaven' is a wonderful story. It's by the same person who wrote the sc-fi story."

"I think I'll read it first then." Daniele put the book down. "I guess I had better go home soon." He stood up and stretched his legs, arched his lithe back. "It's nice."

"What's nice?"

Daniele smiled slightly and started towards the door. "Knowing I'm not alone," he said looking back over his shoulder.



"Merry Christmas, Bookworm."

"Hey, ditto Mr. Lane." Daniele paused, his hand still on the door knob. He had forgotten it was Christmas Eve. "Thanks," he said quietly. "Thanks for being here for me."