The Journal of Julian Corsair,
An Uncommonly Good Man
Copyright© 2014 – Nicholas Hall
Julian Corsair – Chapter Twenty-eight – “Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in my own house?” – (William du Bois)
Zach sat, quiescent, eyes downcast, slowly beginning to fidget, massaging his delicate, long, almost erotic fingers and hands, indicative of those artisans who were able to create designs unimaginable to others or perform masterpieces to sooth the fears or calm the beastliness of others, but on him were a thing of young teen beauty as was the rest of him. Raising his eyes, gaining visual contact with mine, his voice pleading, imploring me for assistance, drifted from his lips as softly as the morning breeze.
“Where should I begin?”
“Why don’t you just tell us something about where you live, your family, your school, and let the words lead you where they will?” I suggested, outwardly calm, but internally anxious to gather his story, in its entirety, into my mind and heart.
“I’m the youngest of six boys and there are three of us still at home; Samuel who is a senior in high school and Isaac who graduated a year ago, but hasn’t a place of his own. I’m a sophomore in high school as of the beginning of this school year. We live on a small acreage just outside of town and on our acreage we have a large garden and some chickens and a pig or two generally. My mother is a stay-at-home mom but does a great deal of volunteer work for our church.”
Zach’s father, Ezra, worked in Burlington, some fifteen miles away. His parents were born-again, evangelical Christians and believed in raising their children in an ultra- conservative, Bible and faith oriented, fundamentalist home. Some of their beliefs and practices were definitely strange and odds-bodkins of other faiths, but it’s the religion they practiced. As a result, there was no television in the home or computer and church attendance, most of the day on Sunday and three evenings per week, was required. Their one concession was allowing the boys to attend public school (as if they wouldn’t be exposed or corrupted by worldly sights and sounds there). His parents felt a high school education was sufficient and a college education only “furthered the Devil’s conquest of the world.”
Three of his older brothers were married, lived in the area, and were raising families of their own. However, one of the three had “fallen away from the faith” by marrying outside the little community of believers and was generally shunned by the rest of the family and the religious enclave. There were a number of like splinter churches in the area, so the opportunity to meet with and “testify” was not wanting. Ezra definitely believed in saying “spare the rod and spoil the child” and did not spare the rod! He didn’t hesitate to apply switch or belt for any infraction, disobedience, failure to complete school work or chores, or question the faith.
As I listened, I still could arrive at no conclusion why Zach would’ve bailed from the house and come here, but, I have the patience of Job sometimes, so I waited and was soon rewarded.
“About three years ago, maybe two, two and half years ago,” Zach pondered trying to arrive at the right time period, “ I was in the living room doing my homework when I heard father tell mother she’d received another letter from that perverted sinner of a relative in Wisconsin. She told him to throw it in the trash like they’d done with all of the others. I waited until they left the kitchen, retrieved the unopened letter from the trash, went to my room, opened it and read it. In the letter, Julian Corsair gave the address of his house in La Crosse and the one here if anyone would care to contact him. I tucked the letter away in a safe place.”
“Why did you save it?” I questioned curiously.
“I don’t know; I just thought it was so sad, we had relatives up north in another state who really wanted to know us and my parents refused their offer. I thought for people who claimed to be such good Christians, the rejection was rather un-Christian-like. Besides, the way they talked about our northern relatives, I thought I had an uncle and cousin who were like me!”
His admission concerning his sexual orientation gave some explanation to his being with us and how, I was beginning to think, as I continued to listen to him.
Zach was different from his brothers from an early age; he wasn’t the macho type or interested in the same activities they were, smaller in stature and weight, and as he grew older became increasingly aware he was more interested in boys than in girls like his brothers were. His interests, other than boys, tracked more to the cultural, the arts such as music and drama, and the visual arts, painting and drawing. While his brothers enjoyed the more rough and tumble activities, he preferred the cultural activities, although the opportunities weren’t very plentiful in the area.
He masked his sexual preferences and buried himself deeply in the closet since he knew his parents and siblings abhorred homosexuality since it was the topic quite often at church after Iowa legalized same sex marriage. The pastor and members of the congregation would rail loudly against the “ungodly” and their perversions of the body and soul!
In middle school there were exploratory courses in shop, home economics, art, and music for students so they might experience each subject, learn a little about each, and make decisions concerning whether they wanted more of the material in high school. It was the art teacher who discovered and unleashed his talents as an artist and encouraged him. Anything he drew to be taken home or displayed depicted either a religious or pastoral scenes. His penciled and water-color landscapes were often held in high regard at the school and made appearances in the art displays. His parents weren’t always very happy with it since they thought it was clearly a sign of decadence and a lack of faith!
This past year, ninth grade, his first year of high school, was the beginning of really hard times for Zach! Instead of enrolling in Vocational Agriculture as his older brothers did before him, he chose to add more science, mathematics, and art, much to the displeasure and disgust of his father and older brother Samuel.
“Samuel seemed to dislike me from ever since I can remember,” lamented Zach. “He’d smack me alongside the head or back just for the heck of it and would tattle on me; many times accusing me of doing something I didn’t do and I’d get the belt for it. It was always on my bare ass! I learned early on never to whimper or cry; I’d get it twice as hard then. If I did, my father would shout, ‘Christ didn’t cry on the cross! It’s a sign of your weakness and sinfulness’ and lay the strap on harder.”
I have nothing against discipline, when applied to correct poor behavior, but there are limits and types which I believe shouldn’t be administered. Furthermore, I have no animosity toward someone’s particular religious beliefs, but I don’t want them proselytizing to me. What I really dislike and abhor is someone who uses religion to justify their violence, intimidation, bigotry and prejudice, ridicule, and outright bullying! I was beginning to have the impression, from Zach’s story thus far, that Ezra Fuller was not only a bully, but a bully with a mean and vicious temper who liked to take it out on his boys, in the name of “religion.” Bullshit!
“Samuel would goad our father on by yapping how ‘only gay boys’ take art and music in high school,” Zach uttered angrily.
No matter how vociferously Zach tried to defend himself, it was difficult, given the strong prejudicial and bigoted atmosphere present in his home. The low regard for anything cultural or artistic only increased the resistance from his parents in his attempts to dissuade them from the contrary belief.
Ninth grade was also that time period when physical education class became one of the most trying and agonizing interludes in his short life. The physical education teacher required all boys to shower after class. Failure to take a shower would result in a lowering of the grade for the day and a detention after school. The lowering of the grade he could handle, but detention was another matter and one which would surely raise his father’s wrath, resulting in another butt whupping with a belt.
Showering presented a couple of risks for Zach, the least of which would be baring his back and buttocks in front of the other boys. He’d been relatively successful in junior high concealing the embarrassing welts and bruises raised by his father’s belts, by wearing a t-shirt, keeping his back toward his locker, and dodging the showers. Required showers at the high school level meant concealment was no longer possible. He could only hope the other boys wouldn’t notice. His second and major problem was being in close proximity to other naked, wet boys, soaping up their crotches and butt cracks, running their hands across and around their bodies cleaning away the sweat and grime, and lathering up their penises.
The assorted sizes and shades of penises, uncut and cut, on display, were all very enticing and arousing! In junior high, if he felt an uncomfortable growth beginning in his crotch, he was able to mask it by quickly pulling on his pants or hurrying out of the locker room. But in high school, with the required showers, it was next to impossible. He did his best to avert his eyes, stand under cold showers, and silently pray to God to dampen any tumescence which might decide to make an appearance. Zach would hustle in and out of the showers as quickly as possible making certain he was wet so he’d fulfill the shower requirement.
More than once, he’s hear shouts in the shower room of “queer boy” or “he’s got a bone,” or “look at the stiffie on that faggot,” as the some of the other boys would tease and torment one of their peers. Fear that it’d happen to him permeated his thoughts every physical education class. If it happened to him, Samuel was certain to hear and delightfully report it to his father.
Zach was gay and he knew it! He also knew the sight of naked boys aroused him terribly! Nightly, he’d pray for God to help him not to be gay, but nothing seemed to change, no matter how hard he prayed. Zach was convinced God had forgotten him or sentenced him to hell on earth for whatever sins he’d committed.
He did well controlling his arousals until late March, when IT happened! The physical education classes in the second semester, was a mixture of grade levels. Among the older, upper grade level boys, was a group of three or four boys who delighted in bullying younger classmates – when the teacher wasn’t looking. They’d target some freshman and be-devil him either by stuffing his head in the toilet and giving him a “swirly,” throw his clothes out in the hall, piss in his shoes, or any bit of evil they could contrive.
This particular Friday in March, they zeroed in on Zach, only they didn’t do what they normally would do in bullying; no, this time in the shower, they crowded close to him, putting him in the middle, and then amidst fondling his buttocks, they pressed their naked bodies up against him, wiggling their junk up against his nakedness, laughing, giggle, calling him “queer” and “faggot” until, reacting to their sensual ministrations, his penis erected to its full five inches. The bullies suddenly stepped aside and began shouting “Zach’s got a boner” and everybody laughed and pointed!
He was mortified! There was no way to hide it until he was able to get a towel to cover himself and it was hanging in his locker. Amidst all of the catcalls and laughing, red-faced and ashamed, he dashed back to his locker to cover up. By the time he’d dried and dressed, his dick had shriveled back to normal, but the damage was done. He could only hope Samuel wouldn’t hear of it. No such luck!
Nothing was said after school when Zach arrived home, but the manner in which Samuel sneered at him, upper lip curled in disgust and eyes glinting with deceit, the inevitable was expected. At suppertime, his father offered the usual table grace, paused to allowing others at the table to add to or offer their own thanks and prayers, and Samuel spoke up in a prayerful, sanctimonious tone, “We pray, dear Father in Heaven, to turn our brother, Zachariah from his ungodly desire to lust after other boys, as he did today in school. Amen.”
There was a deathly silence at the table as his father and mother absorbed and sorted out what Samuel prayed for. His father slowly slid his chair back from the table, stood, and roared his first volley of condemnation of sodomites and his youngest son’s desires to turn from God and join the heathen, devil worshippers. Zach was so frightened at his father’s words, the balling up of his fists, the rage flaming on his father’s face, he pissed his pants! Zach tried to stutter an explanation, but Samuel kept interrupting, until finally adding with a smirk, “See, Father, he was so afraid you’d find out about his homosexuality, he wet himself!”
Ezra walked around the table, grabbed Zach from his chair, and ranting his disgust at his son’s perversions, dragged him to the back porch where he ordered Zach to strip off his wet togs and bend over. The belt came from Ezra’s waist and he commenced a thorough, harshly administered blistering to Zach’s ass, praying all the time to drive “Beelzebub” from his son. Zach was sent to bed without his supper and the next day, Saturday, he was taken by his mother and father to the pastor’s house, where he was forced to his knees to pray for several hours denouncing the sinful lusts Satan placed in his mind, causing him to lose control of his sexuality.
The next day, Sunday, he was marched to the front of the church congregation and, standing there, shameful, embarrassment visible through the pink tinge of his flesh, eyes downcast, and trembling, the pastor announced, in detail, Zach’s transgressions and asked everyone to pray for this wayward member of the flock. He divulged to us it was the first time he really considered ending it all! His salvation was his art teacher; he confided in her what had happened and she was able to convince him he had better things ahead of him. Why she didn’t report the abuse to the police is a mystery.
There were no more incidents at school, although everyone in the locker room knew very well what happened and, fearing they’d be similarly accused, steered clear of him. The church members moved on to other issues after a month or so and began praying for other things. However, in May, the art class took a field trip to an art gallery/museum in nearby Burlington and it was there Zach viewed his first nude male as depicted by an artist. There were drawings and etchings depicting the naked male body from ancient Greece, Rome, and copy of the statue of Michelangelo’s “David.” The lines, the definition, the beauty of it all impressed him, not only sexually, but artistically. There were also some Asian fine charcoal and pencil drawings, allowing him to see what can be done with those simple mediums. A computer terminal in the museum (with his teacher’s permission and supervision) gave him access to the photographic works of Robert Mapplethorpe. Although no frontal nude photos were displayed and he was able to look beyond the sexuality he first saw when looking at the photos, to see the beauty of Mapplethorpe’s work and was greatly impressed!
Zach found the form, the detail, and natural definitions of the human male body lovely to behold! Surreptitiously, he began doing pencil sketches at home after everyone was in bed, remembering and drawing figures of the young men in his physical education class. He was very careful not to depict the face of the person in order to avoid identification. He also separated those with frontal nudity from those whose genitals were hidden by legs, hands, or were sketched with their backs turned to the artist. Zach didn’t trust his brother or his father, for that matter, and kept his sketches hidden separately. He knew it was wrong, as far as his family was concerned and the church they belonged to but he found the nude male body beautiful and wonderful to sketch. How could anything created by God, he reasoned, be wrong if it was so beautiful and created in His image?
The summer seemed to go swiftly, but his wariness of his father, mother, and older brother didn’t lessen! He was in a constant state of tension, concerned the wrath of his father would fall on him for no apparent reason. School started, Zach signed up for another art class, plus more science and nothing was said, although he thought he could feel the tension build at home.
“Two and a half weeks ago,” he said sorrowfully, “Samuel got into my room when I was out doing chores, rummaged around and found part of my sketches and took them to my father.”
“Were they the front nudie ones?” Ben gasped!
“I’ll still bet the shit hit fan!” exclaimed Ben in response.
“I wish that’s all what happened,” groaned Zach. “When I entered the kitchen after finishing chores, my father grabbed me by the front of my shirt, held up my sketch pad with the other hand, and demanded to know where I’d gotten such filth and brought it into his house. When I told him I drew them, he grew extremely quiet; almost deathly so. His anger seethed beneath the surface, its strength manifest in the tautness of his jaw and flashes in his eyes. I expected him to beat on me, but he didn’t!”
Ezra ordered him to his room and to stay there until summoned. Zach heard nothing from his father all evening or during a very sleepless and long night. The next morning, Ezra knocked on his bedroom door and told him to get downstairs. Stepping into the kitchen, he was met by Isaac and Samuel. They each secured an arm and frog-marched him to the car, deposited him in the back seat with one of them on either side of him, and drove to the church where the pastor met them.
Samuel and Isaac hauled him inside to the church sanctuary and, despite his objections and struggles, stripped him naked, spread-eagled him with his stomach on the floor, and held him by his legs and arms. The pastor began with a long prayer, opened either a Bible or prayer book of some sort and commenced intoning incantations ordering “Beelzebub” or whatever satanic devil currently inhabiting his body to leave. When there was no reaction from Zach, other than his ineffective struggles trying to get away, the pastor raised his voice and was joined by Ezra who, after each roaring order, lashed Zach across the back, the buttocks, and legs with a leather strap. The pastor joined in and when Zach asked them why they were doing this and begged them to stop, he was told they were “scourging” him of his sinfulness.
The vicious beating continued throughout the day with periodic breaks for Ezra and the pastor to catch their breath. During one of those lulls in the action, Zach was able to wiggle loose and made an attempt to escape, but in the effort, he rolled over on his back, accounting for the bruises on his stomach, chest, and the front of his legs.
“It took more effort than they anticipated,” he smirked, “to subdue me. I howled like a banshee, cursing them all to hell, and landed a good solid kick right in Samuel’s balls, bringing yowls from him like a baby. All it did was aggravate the situation once they were able secure me to the floor again.”
Pinned to the floor again, Zach suddenly just quit fidgeting and uttered not a sound as the torment continued. A quiet determination built up in his mind, as he was ordered to stand and get dressed while the pastor and his father had a conference. While in a state of seeming placidity, he was still, covertly alert to all happening around him and cognizant of the conversation his father was having with the pastor. The pastor told his father the only “cure” for his aberration was a special Christian school located in southern Illinois that “specialized in such treatment and could re-educate him.” Pastor assured Ezra he’d make the arrangements and Zach would be on his way to a new life within a few days.
Once home, Zach was sent to his room and told to stay there. His mother set his meals outside of his door, collected his soiled dishes and clothing, and returned his clean clothes with the next meal. He figured it wouldn’t take long for his departure to be arranged, so he began making plans, collecting things he thought he might need when he left, including the letter from Julian. The third night, after midnight, when the house was quiet, the sleep of the guardians of his person were deep and undisturbed, he packed what clothes he could into his school backpack, retrieved a sketch book and pencils from a hiding place behind a loose board in his closet, checked to make certain he had his social security card in his wallet, dressed warmly, snugged himself in his winter jacket and stocking cap, stole down the stairs, made a detour to his father’s desk, lifted two hundred dollars from the “church offerings” envelope kept there, and left the house!
Zach hitchhiked his way north along the “Great River Road” to La Crosse. His last ride dropped him within a mile or so of my house in La Crosse and he walked there. Upon his arrival, a friendly neighbor, when asked, informed him Julian was dead and I was living in Fox Creek. Walking back to the Interstate, waiting at a truck stop until he found a trucker heading north, and catching various short rides, he ended up across the road from the “Rabbit Patch.”
“Quite a story,” I remarked when he’d finished. I scratched my head, looked at Pauley, and Ben, saying as my eyes returned to him, “We’re going to do all we can to keep you safe and here with us. It may be tough to do, but I’ll do my damnedest to make it happen.”
Zach, grinned, walked over to me and gave me a strong, sincere, thankful hug, adding, “You want to see some of my drawings?”
To be continued:
Thank you for reading Julian Corsair– Chapter Twenty-eight- “Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in my own house?” – (William du Bois)
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