Brother Jonathan

by FreeThinker

Disclaimer: The following may contain scenes of sexual activity between males. If you find this offensive or if it is illegal for you to read this in your locality, please do not do so. The author does not advocate nor condone the violation of any laws.

Hello! FreeThinker here. This story is a major departure from the type of work I have posted in the past. It is a concept I have pondered for several years. This is the one work I have always wanted to write, but have never had the confidence or the courage to. In my previous stories, I have adopted elements of this story, not believing that I would ever write it. Please forgive the few examples of redundancy.

I ask that you send your comments to . I thank you for reading my story.


Brother Jonathan

by FreeThinker

"I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:

very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to

me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

II Samuel 1:26 KJV


Chapter One

Monday, March 15, 1982



The arms that held him were soft and gentle, the body next to his was warm. He brushed a strand of red hair across the pale white forehead and saw the green eyes look lovingly into his own. Their lips came together and, for the first time in his life, he knew the meaning of true love. It was not the mindless lusting after another's body, but the unity of two souls into one sublime spirit.

He was about to pull back and express those thoughts to his one great love, when he stopped. There was something wrong, something not quite... right. He looked up and there, standing beside his bed, was Walter Cronkite, Uncle Walter, the most respected television newsman in America, looking off into the distance and, of all things, reading election returns! Why in the world would he be doing something so strange and in his bedroom of all places?

He was about to ask when, suddenly, the walls of the room dissolved and, there, before him, in all directions, was a multitude of people, thousands approaching from all directions, cheering and singing and waiving signs and placards. They were chanting and as he listened carefully, he realized it was his name they were reciting over and over. He looked at Cronkite and the newsman smiled. He looked down at The Love of His Life and saw that smile reflected. Thrilled, he stood naked beside the bed and waived his arms. The crowd grew ecstatic as they wildly cheered and yelled, acknowledging his greeting and screaming their adoration for him.

However, it did not last. With a feeling of absolute rapture, he turned, but found Cronkite was nowhere to be seen. He looked down at the bed and The Love of His Life was gone! His heart stopped. A sudden feeling of panic replaced the euphoria of before. Looking back at the crowd, he found the sun which had bathed the multitude in warmth and light, had been obscured by dark and threatening clouds as a strange and eerie silence descended over the people.

And, then, one by one, until all had joined in, the crowd began to shout, to yell, to scream insults and invective, jeers and taunts. They shook their fists in anger and denounced him as a fraud, a liar, a fake.

"No!" he responded desperately. "No! Its not true!"

But, the attacks grew more intense and an ugly growl began to permeate the clamor.

"Why?" he asked piteously. "Why?"

"... traffic moving smoothly with only the usual delays on Loop 248 and inbound on the Capitol Expressway. It'll be another beautiful day here in Scottsburg with sunny skies and a high in the mid-seventies. Now, at seven-oh-five...."

He sat up rigidly in his bed and slammed his fist down on the alarm clock, silencing the inane babble of Mike, The Morning Mouth. He stared at the wall, his eyes seeing nothing, his body drenched in sweat, breathless, a fierce stiffness in his chest. After a moment, he slowly settled back against his pillow and sighed. He hated to go to bed, for every night, he found his love. And, every night, it was taken away, leaving him alone.

The sound of Foreigner booming from a car stereo passing under his window woke him from his reverie and, with a sigh, he sat up. Slowly, almost mechanically, he climbed from his bed and stood before the mirror above his dresser. He looked at himself for a moment and, then, the neutral expression on his face suddenly transformed into a look of determination and he marched into the bathroom.

Twenty minutes later, he stood at the bar separating his kitchen from what the condo committee tried to call the "dining room," turned the small Sony TV to the "Today" show, and poured a bowl of Total. He was only partially paying attention to Jane Pauley when the green Slimline phone on the counter rang.

"Have you heard the news?" was the response to his "Hello?"

"And, a gracious `Good Morning' to you, as well, my dear Mr. Berkeley," he replied ostentatiously. "And how is my Honorable Colleague from District 7 doing on this fine morning?"

He sat down on one of the wicker-seated stools before the bar and turned the sound down on Lee Iacocca announcing another rebate for "the New Chrysler."

"There's been a death at the Pushitaw State Boys Home."

His stomach constricted as he placed his spoon in the cereal bowl.

"Are you there, Jon?"

He sighed.

"Yes, I'm here," he replied. "What happened?"

"A fourteen year-old boy was found hanged in a utility closet this morning."

He brought his right hand up to his mouth.

"Was there a note?"

"They haven't found one yet. But, this may be just what we need!"

He felt a wave of disgust.

"Kevin! What in the Hell are you talking about? A boy is dead!"

He heard am impatient sigh from the other line.

"Oh, Jon, don't get all high and mighty again. You know what I mean. The only way we're gonna get 1218 out of committee is with public support and this kind of tragedy will generate all the public outrage at Human Services we need!"

He sighed.

"Kevin, this is why I hate politics."

There was a pause before Kevin replied.

"Jon, I've never met anyone more idealistic than you. That's why I recruited you to run in `80. You really believe all that shit you spout off at the Republican Women's Club. But, you have just got to accept that if you are ever going to accomplish anything, if you are ever going to do any good, sometimes, in some ways, you are going to have get your hands dirty. And, quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of your holier-than-thou attitude and I am sick and tired of having this conversation on a daily basis. This is politics."

Jon look at his cereal and then, softly, replied, "Kevin, Cicero once said..."

"Oh, fuck Cicero! We have a caucus in Cavanaugh's office at 8. Be there. Aloha"

And, with that, the line went dead.

Jonathan sighed and flicked off the television before dumping his cereal down the disposal. He donned his jacket, picked up his briefcase, and walked out the front door.

It was a beautiful spring morning as he descended the steps from his townhouse to the street. He stopped midway down and looked around at the crocus and daffodils as they made their first appearance of the year. The Bradford pears lining the street were just starting to turn into giant balls of white and tiny purple blossoms were just breaking forth on the scraggly redbud across the street. He loved mornings such as this; they reminded him of his childhood. For the same reason, he hated them.

His `81 Chevy Citation was parked in the street in front of his townhouse. Jonathan scowled as he approached it. It symbolized in his mind everything that was wrong with his life. It had been a compromise, one of the first of many, made when he had begun his campaign for the legislature during his final semester in college. He had wanted to buy a Honda Accord, but in a district dominated by Democratic union members who hated imports and older Republican veterans of "The Big War" who still hated the Japanese, his campaign manager had told him it would be suicide. Instead, he settled for a Citation, which would please the older voters and not offend younger voters as much as a Buick might.

As he settled into the driver's seat and inserted his key, he glanced across the street. A mother in a beat-up Chevy Caprice was honking and looking impatiently at the old bungalow. After the third honk, a teenage boy emerged from the front door and ran toward the car. A mop of dark auburn hair flopped across his face as he opened the door on the passenger side of the Caprice. He glanced up at Jonathan and smiled before climbing in. Jonathan nodded and then looked down at the steering wheel. It was not until after the Caprice had driven off that he finally turned the key.

The three mile drive to the state Capitol was slow as construction marred the drive in several places. Sitting through three lights, he turned on the radio at one point to keep his mind from drifting to places he preferred to avoid.

"News Radio 780 time now seven-forty-seven. Recapping local news, a teenage resident of the Pushitaw State Boys Home was found hanged this morning by staff. The boy's identity is being withheld and a cause of death has not been officially determined, though authorities believe it may have been a suicide. This comes as the Legislature considers a resolution by Republican State Representative Jonathan Holbrook of Scottsburg calling for an investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement and child abuse in the state Department of Human Services. DHS officials are refusing comment on both the boy's death and any possible investigations."

He turned the radio off as he was finally able to turn onto Capitol Boulevard and in moments pulled into his parking space between the red Ford F150 pick-up of Representative Clovis Hardcastle of Blue Frog and the silver Mercedes of Representative Andrew Cardington III, whose upper-class district apparently was not offended by their legislator driving a German import.

As he walked across the west parking lot to the side entrance, he glanced up at the fake Roman architecture of the Capitol, a style almost mandatary for government buildings in a country aspiring to the ideals and power of the ancient Roman republic. The only thing missing above the Corinthian columns and the grand steps leading up to the imposing doors and windows was a dome, a legacy of a previous legislature which, in true fashion, had appropriated funds for the construction of an impressive Capitol, but which ran out of money before a dome could be built. Everyday, as he drove up Capitol Boulevard, the unfinished edifice was a reminder of political folly and short-sightedness.

As he entered the side entrance, the elderly security guard nodded to him and said, "Mornin', Governor!" Jonathan gave a slightly perplexed smile and walked on. A couple of Democratic colleagues from the House were waiting for an elevator as he passed on his way to the stairs and they both grinned and greeted him with a cheery, "Good morning, Governor!" He now knew something was up, but glancing at his watch and realizing he was late for the caucus, he simply waived and ran on.

He was nearly breathless as he finished running up the stairs from the ground floor to the fifth floor attic offices reserved by the Democratic leadership for junior members of the Republican opposition, but he was sufficiently recovered by the time he reached his office at the end of the hall. As he entered the tiny anteroom, which consisted of firstly, a neatly organized desk behind which sat his neatly organized secretary and, secondly, three chairs on one of which sat a neatly dressed teenaged boy in khaki slacks and a blue blazer, he rushed past the desk into his office and called out, "I'm late for a caucus, Mrs. Carlisle."

"Indeed, you are," his secretary replied with a hint of disapproval in her voice.

"Where's my agenda?"

"On your desk."

"Where's my mail?"

"On your desk."

"Where's my Record?"

"On your desk."

Jonathan rushed back into the anteroom.

"Where's my page?"

Mrs. Carlisle's eyes turned to ice.

"Behind you."

Jonathan turned to find the teenage boy he had seen earlier blushing fiercely and looking thoroughly confused.

"Ah," he said to the boy. Holding out his hand, he declared, "Jon Holbrook. And, you are Toby... Greenberg?"

"Greenfield," the boy replied standing up and taking his hand.

Their eyes met and for a moment, time stopped for Jonathan. And, then, he turned abruptly away and as he exited the door, he called out, "Run down to Legislative Services and ask the clerk for a copy of HSJR-12 from 1979, please. I'll be back in twenty minutes!"

The office of the Republican Floor Leader of the House was on the fourth floor of the Capitol, directly under Jonathan's. As he entered the anteroom and avoided the second disapproving secretarial stare of the morning, he could hear several voices all trying to speak at once within the closed door of the Minority Leader's office. Quietly, he turned the knob.

Nearly two dozen men and one woman were either seated in chairs or standing around the room. One man sat imperiously behind the fake oak desk. On the wall behind him were pictures of the man with President Reagan and two former Presidents. All the voices in the room suddenly ceased as Jonathan entered.

"Well, now that the author of the resolution has arrived, I think we can truly begin," declared William Roland Cavanaugh, one of the wealthiest farmers in the state and the Leader of the Republicans in the state House of Representatives. Jonathan looked around. He was mostly greeted with warm and friendly faces, particularly from one younger member. Leaning against the window sill was a man in his late twenties with dark curly hair and a cherubic grin.

"Good morning, Governor!" he declared as Jonathan took an empty spot to the right of the door. This was greeted with several chuckles around the office.

"Kevin, what is going on?"

A man standing next to Jonathan handed him a folded copy of the Morning Journal and said, "Metro Section, page one."

"Later," declared the Minority Leader. "We have a situation. We have a resolution calling for an investigation into the finances of the Department of Human Services. For years, DHS has been exempted by the Legislature from the merit system, meaning they can hire anyone they want, usually someone recommended by a Democratic member of the Legislature. In return for hiring their friends, the Legislature turns a blind eye to the Department's spending. Every time someone tries to investigate, they run into brick walls and road blocks. Now, we're getting reports of abuse and neglect in the children's services division and, once again, getting nowhere with attempts to investigate."

Jonathan looked around the room. Some eyes were locked intently on the Floor Leader, others seemed to wander aimlessly around as their owners yawned surreptitiously.

"We have just been handed a gold mine this morning. Some kid died at the Pushitaw Boys Home and this is just what we need to break the Democrats' stranglehold on DHS. If we can tar the Democrats with this kid's death, we can force HR 1218 out of the Rules Committee and onto the floor for an honest vote. Then, when its defeated, as it inevitably will be, we will have the perfect issue for this fall's campaign. We can probably take control of the House with this!"

Jonathan stared at the minority Leader in shock.

"Now, we all need to be in-sync on this. We all need to be playing from the same play book. We need to demand an immediate investigation into this boy's death. If it was suicide, we want to know what at Pushitaw drove the boy to suicide. If it was something else, we need to know what or who at Pushitaw killed him. We all need to be on the same page. And, Jonathan, as the author of the resolution, you need to call a press conference this morning first thing and demand the Rules Committee vote the bill out tomorrow morning. We need to really take advantage of this."

There were numerous nods from around the room, most vigorously from Kevin Berkeley and, surprisingly, from Eddie Stillman, a representative from Clear Creek, a suburb of Scottsburg. Stillman's fortyish face, framed by his coal-black, slicked back hair and his equally dark eyes, gave Jonathan a warm grin and a nod. Jonathan involuntarily shuddered, as almost all contact with Stillman seemed to engender.

"Well, Jonathan?"

Cavanaugh was looking at him with expectation. Jonathan looked around the room as he considered his reply. Kevin gave him a look that said to behave. Jonathan sighed.

"I... do not want us to lose sight of... the tragedy that occurred this morning, nor do I want us to lose sight of the reasons I introduced this resolution in the first place. A boy is dead. A boy is dead. We don't know why and I think it is premature to rush to any press conferences. I also think the public would consider it cheap political exploitation and if I were a Democratic strategist I would definitely counsel theme to say so."

The room was deathly still. Few people had the courage to openly disagree with Bill Cavanaugh. However, the Minority Leader was intently listening to Jonathan's words. The younger man took a deep breath and continued.

"Perhaps," he started off cautiously, "there is another way."

He paused for dramatic effect. Kevin was watching him, intrigued.

"Perhaps, a motion this afternoon to discharge the resolution from committee would be an effective tool to bring it up for debate on the floor."

Cavanaugh clearly was considering Jonathan's words, as were several others in the room. Stillman had a strangely dark look on his face, but Kevin was grinning and nodding proudly.

"Besides," Jonathan continued, "I can name three or four mavericks on the Democratic side that might just vote with us on this. I think if we word it correctly, we might actually pass it."

"You aren't serious?" Cavanaugh asked in disbelief. "You don't honestly think this will pass?"

"I wouldn't have started this if I wasn't serious. We need to investigate DHS. We need to pass this resolution. We don't need another campaign issue."

Cavanaugh raised an eyebrow, but surprised everyone in the room by not responding to the comment. Instead, he announced, "OK. Let's do it. Let's plot some strategy and get this thing passed. "



He felt safe and secure. Warm breath caressed his shoulder. Lips tenderly kissed his neck. He was loved and every dream was coming true in that one moment. He turned in the arms of his love and gazed into the deep blue eyes, brushing the beautiful blond hair away and uncovering the perfect skin, the perfect smile, the perfect love. Their lips slowly touched, moved back and forth as breath was exchanged, before pressing together in a kiss of devotion and enchantment. This was the most meaningful, the most fulfilling moment of his life and...

He jerked up in bed in unimaginable panic as the obnoxious, blaring claxon of his alarm clock exploded over him. He cursed furiously as his fist hit the button silencing the alarm. He must have moved the switch the previous night too far, from "off" past "radio alarm" to "alarm." Unfortunately, he couldn't remember actually coming home the previous night.

He was covered in sweat and he could barely breath. Tears formed in his eyes as his heart broke once again, as it seemed to do every night and every morning.

He sat in the bed, barely able to focus his eyes, a dreadful headache pounding in his temples, nausea building in his throat. He wanted nothing more than to lay down and sleep for the rest of the day; but, he knew that was not an option. He had called in sick one day the previous week and was given a final warning. One more time and his job as both a lunch waiter and as an evening performer at The Bohemian Scandal would end.

He had been fired from some of the best restaurants in Scottsburg and it was becoming increasingly difficult to rationalize in job interviews his checkered work history. Of course, no matter what explanation one presented, a manager who had been in the business more than a few months and who knew waiters and waitresses would know the truth.

He looked at the clock and weighed the options in his head. What would be less painful, sleeping the rest of the day and job hunting tomorrow or saving his job and vomiting several times during the shift? It was ten-thirty-five and he had no time to deliberate. With a nauseous sigh, he staggered out of bed and stumbled naked to his bathroom.

He was barely able to make it to the toilet before the heaves began and before they ended, he was seriously reconsidering his decision. Perhaps job hunting on Tuesday wasn't such a bad option after all. And, then, he thought of Matt. He had promised the busboy that he would talk to him during the evening shift. The kid was almost in tears at the end of Sunday Brunch and had nearly begged David for the chance to talk and ask advice. He had agreed. If he missed this shift, he would miss his promise to Matt for that evening.

Slowly, he climbed out of the toilet and splashed water from the sink across his face. In the mirror was the sagging, wrinkled, bags-under-the-eyes face of a hung-over alcoholic. His once boyish countenance, with his red hair and freckles, his once laughing eyes, his once happy grin, now seemed more appropriate on a forty-something street person.

Painfully, he brushed his teeth and shaved, tried to sponge-bath under his arms and around his cock, sprayed on Right-Guard, and tried to splash on enough Polo to cover the stench of too many one dollar vodkas from the previous evening.

He returned to the bedroom and dug around in the piles of clothes strewn across the floor for a blue oxford cloth shirt that might possibly pass the sniff test and a pair of khakis that would not seem too overly wrinkled beneath his waiter's apron. Finding choices that might not elicit too harsh a rebuke from the owner's wife, the Untamed Shrew, he struggled into the fake preppy uniform of his fake preppy restaurant with its fake preppy clientele, grabbed a tie hanging off his television antenna, found his waiter's apron on the couch, removed his American Express ticket book from underneath the coach, and exited.

As he walked out the front door of the run-down, twenties-era building just down the street from the campus of the University of Scottsburg, he stepped over a homeless person passed-out on the front steps, an empty bottle of Thunderbird by his head and a can of gold spray-paint in his hand. He walked to the alley and started to unlock the door to his early sixties Volkswagen when he froze. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the roof of the Beetle in resignation. The driver's side window was open and, inside, his eight-track player and each of his tapes were missing.

The Bohemian Scandal was in the center of a neighborhood of trendy boutiques and clubs about a mile from campus called Bohemia. Once David had negotiated the slow window shoppers inching through the neighborhood, he found himself walking into the backdoor of the restaurant with only one minute before his shift was to begin. The Shrew was standing in the door of the office as he walked past, her ill-fitting pants-suit barely able to contain her girth, her puffy red face with its malevolent black eyes following him as he went to the front.

Just as he thought he would escape the usual morning sarcasm, however, the Untamed Shrew sneered, "Glad you could join us, David. Did you sleep in your uniform?" He closed his eyes and, without comment or acknowledgement, passed through the door.

The hostess, an anorexic bimbo too easily confused by the intricacies of addition and subtraction to make it as a waitress, was seating two parties in David's section even as he emerged into the dining room. Quickly tying his apron and downing a glass of V-8 which the bartender already had prepared for him, he quickly scanned the specials, picked up his tickets and sighed to the bartender, "It's Showtime."

The lunch rush was no different than any other Monday. Tables of pretentious bitches who wanted the staff to know they were condescending to slum in the Scandal, business men who, after their third bourbon, suddenly found it necessary to use the courtesy phones on the bar to loudly bark at subordinates at the office or negotiate deals with clients, all in loud booming voices, and college kids who thought it hilarious to run the staff ragged and then leave three pennies under a glass of water as a tip.

At one point during the peak of the rush, The Shrew was standing by the bar watching the dining room but doing nothing to help. David rushed past to place a drink order with the service bartender when she commented, "You could show a little more hustle, David."

He cringed and it was all he could do not to respond. The image of Matt's pained face, needing advice and support, kept him from just walking out at that moment. He dropped the ticket on the bar and hurried on to the kitchen.

As the lunch rush came to an end, most of the wait staff was released, leaving David and one other waiter to take care of whatever afternoon business might come in. It was not until the first evening waiters and waitresses came in at four that David was finally released. His side work and checkout complete by four-thirty, David was walking out the back door when he was treated with one final dose of Shrew.

"You will be on time tonight? Not that anyone really comes to hear you sing. But, it would be nice to have you show up at the advertised time."

David ignored her, exited the back door, and sat in his Volkswagen.

This was not what his life was supposed to be. He was not supposed to be twenty-four and waiting tables. He was supposed to be graduating from law school this year. He was supposed to be respected. He was supposed to be straight.

That last rueful thought brought an unwelcome sensation deep inside. He glanced at his watch, (four-thirty five), and plotted an agenda. He desperately needed a shower and dinner. He had to be back by seven o'clock. He had time; and, with a sense of self-loathing that he quickly buried underneath a growing excitement, he pulled out of the alley behind Bohemia and drove toward campus.

In a seedy area on the other side of campus from both Bohemia and his apartment, he parked near a rundown building marked only by a small neon sign reading, "Bookstore." The glass on the front door was blacked out and a notice beside it read, "18 and older only" He looked around the area before getting out of his Beetle and then walked quickly to the door.

When he entered, he was greeted with several stale odors as well as an acrid, solvent-like smell. There were several rows of magazines to his left and several counters of nick-knacks and paraphernalia to his right. A number of men, some of them unshaven and dirty, a few in respectable suits, stood around pretending to be studying the merchandise as they glanced surreptitiously at each other. All eyes turned to David as he entered and he noticed that several watched him as he proceeded to the back of the store. There, in a raised booth, an obese man sat smoking behind the counter. David handed him five dollars and received, in return, a number of brass tokens. To the right of the booth was a doorway guarded by a black curtain. He passed through the curtain, feeling his breath quicken and his chest tighten.

Inside the door, he found a long cavernous hall, dark with a number of doors on either side and small red light bulbs above each. Some of the bulbs were lit, though most weren't. Standing along the walls were several other men as well as a few college age guys. All seemed to watch as David walked slowly down the hall. One or two suggestively rubbed their crotches as he passed. He paid no attention to anyone until he came to a booth at the end above which the bulb was unlit. He slipped into the door and locked it.

The booth was disgusting and exciting. He sat on a wooden bench and three feet in front of him was a plastic screen looking like an imitation television. Beside it was a coin slot. He dropped four of the brass tokens in and suddenly the screen lit up with a scene of two men engaged in anal sex as the sound of a movie projector whirred behind the wall. David ignored the screen and, instead, leaned over to look through a waist high hole in the wall to his left. Seeing no one on the other side, he stood up, opened his pants, and inserted his erection through the hole.

It was only a few seconds before he heard the door in the neighboring booth open and close and then a few more seconds before he felt fingers caressing his penis. He sighed and withdrew a small brown bottle from his pocket. He unscrewed the cap and then breathed in the fumes from the liquid inside before replacing the cap and dropping the bottle back in his pocket. He moaned as the effects of the inhalant took hold just as he felt the moist warmth of a mouth envelope his penis.

Suddenly, David was no longer the twenty-four year-old loser he saw himself as. No longer was he an alcoholic doomed to wait tables to survive. He was now a boy again, sitting behind the garage with his best friend, hugging him, kissing him, feeling him. He was young and pretty and loved. He was happy.



Matt McAllister tried to understand the algebraic equation the teacher was writing on the green chalkboard, but he was completely mystified, and it frustrated him. He wanted to understand it and he knew he could if someone would try to help him. He wasn't stupid. Its just that he had never been in any one school long enough to pick up the basics. Just as he was about settle in and get accustomed to where he was, something happened and, once again, he found himself uprooted.

A couple of boys behind him started chuckling and the teacher turned and looked at Matt.

"McAllister, you want to share what's so funny?" he barked.

Matt held his hands open and shook his head.

"It wasn't me, Mr. Hatten. I swear."

The teacher sighed and turned back to the board to resume writing his equations. Matt shook his head. People always assumed that because of the tough image and demeanor he affected, (carefully developed over several years as a defense mechanism), he was a trouble maker. He truly wasn't; bit when others tried to start something with him and ignoring them didn't work, he often had no choice but to give the what they asked for. The result was his reputation as bad news.

One of the guys behind him lightly punched his shoulder and whispered, "Pussy." Matt clenched his fists, but said nothing. However, as the kid repeated his actions, the door to the classroom opened and one of the office assistants, a girl who needed a blow-off hour for an easy "A" because she could barely pass her other courses, entered and walked to Mr. Hatten. As she left, the teacher turned and, with a sneer, announced to the class, "They want you in the office again, McAllister."

Matt closed his eyes and sighed. What reason could they have for calling him in this time? He wracked his brain, but couldn't come up with anything that he might have done to warrant this. Slowly, feeling all eyes in the class watching him, he stood up and marched out the room.

He took his time walking down the empty has, as did the moronic office assistant who ducked into the girls room as she pulled a cigarette out of her pocket. He shook his head with disgust. He hated cigarettes. He hated booze. He hated drugs.

As he opened the door to the office, he froze. On the floor in front of the counter behind which sat the school's office staff, was a familiar sight, a brown cardboard U-Haul box, torn and bent. It was his box and he knew what was inside it: everything he owned in the world.

"No," he said softly as his heart sank. "No. Please not again."

"Well, Matty-boy. Looks like ya struck out again!"

Sitting in a wooden armchair to the right of the counter was a slovenly man in high water brown slacks and a blue short-sleeve office shirt with a pocket protector. The shirt was too small and the ample belly overhanging the belt showed through between the buttons. White socks, black work shoes, and a scraggly mustache under a balding head with a pathetically failed comb-over finished the ensemble with which Matt had become all too familiar over the years.

"What happened?" he asked pitifully.

"What always happens, man. You messed up. You're a fag. Nobody wants a fag."

Matt felt the anger growing inside.

"They knew before they took me! They knew!"

The man grinned.

"Maybe they just didn't realize how much of a fag you were."

Tears were forming in his eyes, but Matt fought them back. I would not give Cletus Murdoch the satisfaction of seeing him cry.

"They didn't even tell me." He looked at the box containing his life. "They couldn't even face me."

"They probably can't stand to look at ya. I can hardly stand to look at ya, myself."

As Matt looked up, an expression of near utter defeat on his face, the door to the principal's office opened and a man emerged holding a manila folder. He handed it Murdoch and, without even looking at Matt, said, "Well, that's it. You can go now."

Murdoch heaved himself up and out of the chair and, with a sick grin, pointed the box.

"Come on, Matty. Get your stuff. Its back to Pushitaw!"



Chapter One. Thank you for reading my story. Chapter Two can be expected next week. Please send any comments to . Thanks!