This story 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 jurisdiction, please do not do so. The author does not condone the violation of any laws.
This story is based on an idea I have contemplated for many years but never had the courage to write. Some elements of this story have appeared in previous stories I have written, as I did not think at the time I would ever write or publish Brother Jonathan. Please forgive any redundance.
The story may seem rather dark, but it deals with several difficult subjects. I can assure you that it will have a good ending. Beyond that, I say nothing more. I am grateful for those readers who understand and appreciate what I am doing here and who have written me. I encourage you, even if you disapprove of what I am writing, to let me know what you think at free7thinker (at) operamail.com. Thank you very much!
by Free Thinker
"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
Wednesday, March 17, 1982
"David, Matt, this Kevin Berkeley. He serves with me in the House. He's my most trusted colleague in politics. Anything you say to me, you can say to him. Kevin, this is David Hathaway, a childhood friend of mine, and Matt McAllister, who is a former co-worker of David's at The Bohemian Scandal."
Kevin was standing in the doorway of Jonathan's townhouse. David and Matt were in the kitchen seated on the bar stools, so as not to cast shadows across the curtains.
"Is the spook still out there?" David asked.
"No, he drove off. He seemed to be offended when I walked over and took down his tag number. Which reminds me," Kevin said as he picked up the Trimline phone on the bar, "where are you parked now?"
As Kevin punched in a number, David replied, "I drove home and walked back over. I live only a few blocks away. I came back in the back door."
"Roy, Kevin Berkeley. Fine, thanks. Listen, I need a favor. Can you run a tag for me? Thanks. Tom Charlie David 246. Yeah. Uh, huh. Blue Granada. I'm guessing 76. Really? You know him?"
Kevin looked at Jonathan and raised an eyebrow. Jonathan sipped his sherry and paced nervously.
"Thanks, Roy. I owe you. Listen, how `bout I set you up with the cutest intern you've ever seen? Yeah, she...
Jonathan was giving Kevin a withering look of contempt.
"Yeah, listen, let's talk later. OK. By."
Jonathan narrowed his eyes, only halfway in jest, and in a fairly decent impression of Sylvester the Cat, declared, "You're despicable."
"Hey," said Kevin grinning. "Its interns now. It used to be Catholic schoolgirls! I love those plaid skirts!"
David and Matt looked at each other warily as Jonathan cried, "Kevin!"
His friend laughed.
"Relax. It was when I was at St. Pius. I was supposed to be into Catholic schoolgirls then."
Jonathan rolled his eyes as David and Matt grinned.
"So, what did your contact say?"
"Well, the car is registered to a James L. Jackson of Clear Creek. And, he seems to know him. Mr. Jackson is a frequent guest of the city and the county and the Rapture Tabernacle seems to take umbrage that the city and the county so often invite him to take advantage of their facilities."
"Rapture?" Jon repeated with surprise. "Stillman's church?"
"How much rapture can one city stand?"
"He didn't elaborate, but I suspect that Mr. Jackson is probably employed by our esteemed colleague, The Gentleman from District 42."
Matt looked at David.
"What does he mean?"
"He means that the spook works for Eddie Stillman."
"The evangelist guy?"
The men all nodded.
"That's weird, `cause that Stillman guy used to come around the Home a lot. He was trying to save the guys, he said."
"I know about that," he mumbled. Jonathan and Kevin looked at each other.
"How often did you see him?" Jonathan asked.
"Well, I'd live with a foster family a few months and then get sent back for a few months, so I wasn't always there. But, I guess I'd see him there like every two or three weeks."
Kevin and Jonathan looked at each other again before Kevin asked, "Did Stillman ever do anything to the boys?"
"I don't think so. I don't know. I never heard anyone talk about it. I remember one guy used to joke that `it was time to get saved again' when Stillman came by once."
Jonathan walked back over to his chair by the fire and sat. He sipped his sherry and then his eyes widened.
"I knew that name was familiar."
"Who?" Kevin and David asked simultaneously.
Jonathan looked at his childhood friend with excitement.
"Davy, Jimmy Lee Jackson. From Pushitaw. Remember?"
David thought for a moment and then nodded.
"Yeah. Yeah, I remember. Real obnoxious asshole."
"How do we know it's the same one?"
Jonathan paused and then his eyes widened again.
"Wait. I remember. He was Daniel Webster Franklin's nephew."
Kevin and David both had curious looks on their faces.
"Why would Franklin's nephew work for Eddie Stillman?" Kevin asked. "Franklin and Stillman hate each other's guts."
"Well, for that matter, we're back to the old question we've been asking since Monday. Why is Stillman so opposed to investigating Pushitaw? He's obviously got some connection to the place. He's involved somehow."
Kevin shook his head.
"If that were so, though, Franklin would know. Why would Franklin tolerate a political enemy being involved in his fiefdom? There's got to be some quid pro quo there."
David and Matt, not privy to the events in which Jonathan and David had been involved over the last few days, simply watched quietly. Jonathan looked down at his nearly empty sherry glass. Kevin watched the jumping lines on the equalizer on Jonathan's stereo as one of Bach's Brandenburg Concerti came on.
David turned to Matt and softly asked, "Did you see Jackson last night when you came in? Was the Granada out there?"
Matt thought for a moment and said, "I don't know. I don't remember. I wasn't really paying attention. It was dark. Did you see it Jonathan?"
Jonathan, however, was frozen, his face turning bright red. Kevin looked between Matt and Jonathan.
"Am I missing something? I thought David just brought Matt here tonight? Do you two already know each other?"
David opened his eyes in horror as he realized what he had just done. Matt, knowing from past experience when to keep silent, simply looked down at the counter. Jonathan said nothing.
"Oh, my God," said Kevin softly. He backed up and began to look around in confusion and shock and, yes, disgust.
"Oh, my God," he repeated.
Jonathan looked up with pleading eyes.
"Its not what you think," he said to Kevin.
"No! It's not! Really!" Matt said heatedly, desperate to defend his benefactor.
As Kevin backed up in revulsion and stupefaction, Jonathan looked at him in pleading desperation.
"Kevin, I'm... I'm gay."
"I've tried to deny it and to suppress it and to fight it with all my strength all these years, ever since I lost Davy. Last night, I was sitting on a bench at Indian Creek Park..."
"Oh, shit," Kevin as he turned away. "I don't want to hear this."
"Kevin," Jonathan said firmly, "listen."
Kevin closed his eyes and breathed in, defiant, but silent.
"I wasn't cruising. I just wanted to get away. When I was a kid, I used to sit on that same bench and read and watch the water flow by."
Kevin remained silent, though he was shaking his head.
"Matt was walking by and carrying a copy of Anthem by Ayn Rand."
Jonathan turned to Matt.
"By the way, you left it here this morning. Its on my night stand."
Matt looked downward in embarrassment. Jonathan continued.
"We started talking about the book and I just assumed he was a college kid."
He sighed and in that sigh was years of pain.
"Kevin, I've been alone so long. My parents are dead, my grandparents are gone. I have no one really close to me, no one to share my life with, no one to share my dreams and my fears and my hopes. My love. I felt so alone last night and I needed to be with someone. And, thank God it was someone as sweet and kind and compassionate as Matt."
Unaccustomed to such emotion, Matt turned his head, not knowing what to say or how to respond, let alone what to feel. David put his arm around the boy.
"And, then, tonight, my sweet Davy, the love of my life, the light of my childhood, whom I thought I had lost forever, has come back into my life."
Now, David turned away, the emotion in Jonathan's voice too much for him. Kevin was looking at the floor. After a moment, Jonathan continued.
"Kevin, I swear neither of us knew that we had Matt in common."
Kevin looked at David.
"You aren't doing him, are you?"
David's eyes shot anger Kevin and he said nothing.
"No," said Matt. "David and Jonathan are the most decent guys in the world. `Course everyone at the Scandal thinks me and David are boyfriends."
"Well, everyone else there treated me like a slave. David was the only person there who treated me with respect. When I had to go back to Pushitaw Monday, David was so upset he quit his job."
David looked away.
"Well, there was more to it than that, but, yes, that was the catalyst."
Kevin stood silently, then looked around. He walked over to the chair in which David had earlier sat. He collapsed, shook his head, and then looked at Jonathan.
Jonathan looked at him blankly. Kevin shook his head again.
"Its all over. You're never going to be Governor."
Jonathan snorted and held his hands out.
"You really think I would have taken Stillman up on his offer?"
"Its not that. Even if you had told him no, you could have fought for the nomination and won. My God, Jon, you were everything this party needed. You ran in one of the most Democratic districts in the state, full of liberals from the university and blue collar union people. And, you beat one of the most powerful old-guard Democrats in the state. The people love you. You're the perfect image. But, there's no way now."
"Who has to know?"
Don't be a fool! Has there ever been anyone else?"
Jonathan looked up at David.
"There was one in high school and one in college."
Kevin shook his head.
"There you go."
"No. The one in college never knew who I was. It was a one-time thing. The one in high school..."
"It's over. Besides, what about David? Are you willing to give up David?"
And, in that moment, Jonathan realized the truth, saw the rest of his life, and knew he had lost a part of himself, yet saved his soul. He smiled at David.
"Jonny," David objected. "You can't give that up. Everything you've done has been for that. You could be President."
Jonathan continued to shake his head.
"No. I lost you once. I won't lose you again."
Tears came to David's eyes, as well as Matt's as he watched. Even Kevin seemed moved.
"But, we have a more immediate concern now," said Kevin. "What do we do about Stillman and Franklin and Pushitaw. We have someone here who can open the entire can of worms of child abuse there. There are other boys who can corroborate what he says. But, he is compromised, as are both of you."
Jonathan nodded. David looked confused.
"What do you mean?"
Kevin took a breath before answering.
"You ran away. Jonathan harbored a runaway. Jonathan had sex with a minor boy. You're not sixteen yet, so its even worse. Plus, you were seen. David, you have aided a runaway. Hell, even I'm compromised now. I have a legal obligation to report this. If I don't, I, too, can be charged. Jonathan, my career is over, as well."
Kevin exhaled, and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and holding his hands together.
No one spoke. On the radio, Mozart's Requiem Mass began. Jonathan stood, strode to the stereo, and turned it off.
"We have to salvage this."
Kevin looked up.
"We go to the police."
"How do you explain Matt being here last night as opposed to David bringing him here tonight?"
Jonathan looked around desperately.
"He saw me at the park last night and recognized me and came to me for help."
Kevin looked contemptuously at Jon.
"No one will buy that."
Kevin turned to Matt.
"Have you ever sold yourself?"
Matt looked shocked, as if he had been slapped. David was outraged and started to protest when Matt stood. Proudly, he looked Kevin in the eye.
Kevin turned back to Jonathan.
"A boy whore picks up a queer politician in one of the most notorious gay cruising spots in the city."
"Kevin!" Jonathan cried.
Kevin help up a calming hand.
"That's how its going to be portrayed. There isn't a newspaper or television station or Democrat or Republican in this state who will say anything else."
Jonathan stumbled toward the counter and looked at David and Matt sitting in the kitchen on the other side. Suddenly, he spun around.
"The D.A. Twenty years ago they merged Pushitaw into the Scottsburg judicial district. The Scottsburg D.A. is responsible for Pushitaw now. Tomorrow we go to the D.A. and hope that this will be enough to convince him to investigate."
Kevin sat and stared at the fire.
"I'm going home. I will consider the situation. I suggest you two stay here tonight as the spook saw you both leave and didn't see you return. Don't go anywhere! At least six people are dead because of this thing; David's parents, Jonathan's parents, that boy at Pushitaw, and now Bill Bransted. I don't know if we can trust the police. I don't know if they were involved in Bransted's death or not. They had no interest in investigating. But, we can't take a chance until we have something so solid that it can't be ignored."
"Jonathan, I'll see you in my office at eight. And, both of you try to keep your hands off Matt tonight."
Jonathan looked at Kevin in such shock and with such anger that Kevin froze. He sighed and looked downward in shame.
"I'm.. I'm sorry. I.. This has all been such a... such a shock. I... don't mean to... hurt you. Jonathan, you're the only politician I've ever truly respected. I had such hopes for you. I'm just..."
They looked at each other.
"I'm sorry, Kevin."
"Good night, Jon."
As Kevin closed the door, Jonathan turned toward the counter. David's arm was around Matt, whose eyes were red and watering.
"You were gonna run for Governor?" he asked softly.
Jonathan smiled sadly.
"Who knows what would have happened in six years. In politics, that's an eternity." Jonathan walked into his bedroom and then emerged a moment later with sheets and a blanket.
"You're going to need to get some rest, Matt," he said as he prepared the couch. "Tomorrow may be a difficult day."
As Matt stood and walked around the counter into the living room, he said, "You know, you don't have to do this. I can take care of myself. I just want to get Kyle outta there and then we can get outta here and y'all don't have to worry about us ever again."
Jon put his arms around Matt and held him tightly. Matt closed his eyes and held Jon. A moment later, David approached and wrapped his arms around them both.
Jon took a deep breath and pulled away. He and David finished preparing the couch for Matt and then Jon looked at David, said nothing as his eyes met his love's. He held his hand out and, taking David's, led him to the bedroom.
A spring evening, 1972
The members of the House of Representatives were getting restless. It was a rare session that lasted into the evening. The debate was over a spending bill and members were busy adding amendments to the Omnibus General Appropriation Act of 1972 packed with small and large pork barrel spending projects for their home district. Members were in fowl moods and both tempers and nostrils were flaring in the overheated chamber. Most of the legislators had loosened their ties, a few had their feet propped up on their desks, one was passed out cold in the corner and was snoring quite melodiously.
Jon was sitting on the leather-covered couch in the front of the chamber with the other pages. Only two of the pages seemed to be paying any attention to the proceeding, Jon and an older page, Brian Harcourt. Brian was probably two or three years older than Jon. He was a veteran page, having served twice before. To Jon, he seemed to know everything about the rules and procedures of the House. Often, throughout the debate, he would lean over and explain some arcane bit of parliamentary maneuvering to the rapt boy and Jon would gaze at both Brian and the chamber in amazement and fascination.
It was nearly eight o'clock when debate finally ended and the bell rang for the vote to begin. It would take fifteen minutes for all members to come to their desks and vote by pushing one of the buttons on their voting machine. Their votes would then be tallied on a giant scoreboard above the Speaker of the House. It was the duty of the pages to walk through the halls of the House wing of the Capitol announcing, "House Roll Call! House Roll Call!," so that any errant members not already on the floor could rush to the chamber to cast their votes. Jon and Brian were responsible for the two hallways on the fifth floor. They scampered out of the chamber and ran up the marble stairs, with Brian parting to run across to the Democratic side while Jon took the Republican side.
The hallway was deserted. All but one of the offices was closed and locked. Jon felt silly calling out "House Roll Call" to the empty hallway and as he walked past the one open office, he peaked in. It was halfway up the hallway. The anteroom was deserted and the door to the inner office was open. Slowly, carefully, reverently, he entered and approached the inner office.
It was decorated much as the other offices were, with a state flag and an American flag, framed pictures on the wall of the representative with various famous political figures, and law books on the shelves. The window looked northward along Capitol Boulevard.
Jon looked about the office as if he were in a sacred place. Slowly, he walked around the desk and ran his hands along the leather of the chair. Slowly, he sat down and pulled up to the desk. He set his arms across the blotter and looked about.
One of these days, he thought, I will sit in an office just like this. Maybe I'll sit in this very office. Maybe this will be my desk. State Representative Jonathan Holbrook. The fourteen year-old smiled as he repeated the title over to himself.
Jon jumped. Brian was peaking through the door, a grin on his face. The younger boy felt his face burn with embarrassment.
"You're looking' good, there. I think that desk fits you," said Brian.
Jon grinned sheepishly.
"Yeah, well. I was just thinking."
"I know. You know, you and I are gonna be running things someday. I bet you'll probably be in this very office at that very desk in another ten or fifteen years."
"Well, this hall is where they put all the first-term Republicans. You'll probably have one of these offices."
Jon looked around, trying to imagine himself in this office as a member of the State House of Representatives.
"What about you?" he asked Brian, who snorted dismissively.
"I got my sights set higher. I'm going to Stanford for my econ degree and then Harvard Law. Then I'm going to DC. The real power isn't in being an elected official. Its in being one of the brokers behind the scenes. That's gonna be me."
Jon looked admiringly at his mentor. Brian was so cool. He was intelligent. He knew all about the ways the legislature worked. He knew how politics worked. He was amazing.
And, he was really good looking.
Jonathan had struggled for the last month to keep those kinds of feelings out of his mind, ever since that awful letter from Davy's aunt. But, Brian was just so good looking. He was taller than Jon and had thick dark blond curls around his head. His eyes seemed to be laughing at you and his smile was so cocky and confident. And, he was so intelligent. He knew so much about politics and history. Jon read everything he could find about politics and history, but Brian knew so much more. He was incredible.
Suddenly, Jon realized they had been quiet for quite some time and Brian was giving him a strange smile, one that seemed to say, "I know what you're thinking." Jon looked away quickly, blushing and confused. He stood.
"Um, well, we probably need to get back down to the floor. The roll call's probably almost over."
Brian was still smiling as Jon walked past him. He put his hand on the boy's shoulder and squeezed it through the navy wool blazer Jon's grandparents had purchased at Brooks Brothers just for this week. His touch sent a thrill through the boy and Jon felt a glorious, though unwelcome, surge throughout his body and, particularly below his belt.
When they returned to the floor of the House, the vote was almost over. The other pages were sitting on the benches looking anxiously at the clocks so they could get back to the Holiday Inn for the evening's fun and games. There was a definite air of expectation among the members and the staff that this marathon session was about over. The many members looked definitely ready to leave.
Brian leaned over to Jon as they sat down.
"Man, these guys look like they seriously need a drink. They really look impatient! I'll bet half of them have hookers waiting for them!"
Brian chuckled. Jon was shocked, though he still felt an illicit thrill deep within. He smiled politely at Brian.
Suddenly, showing far more vigor than he had at anytime since gaveling the House to order that afternoon, the Speaker announced the vote, declared the Act had passed, entertained a motion to adjourn and before he could say, "Allinfavoraye, allopposedno, theayeshaveit, the House is adjourned," the hundred and one members of the House of Representatives were almost running for the doors, as were the pages.
Brian put his arm around Jon's shoulder as they left the chamber. They stopped to check out with the Head Page in the lobby and then as they crossed the balcony overlooking the Rotunda and skipped down the marble stairs, Brian said, with a conspiratorial tone, "Hey, let's skip dinner in the coffee shop. I've got my car at the motel. Let's go out a grab a burger or something and go for a ride." He paused, then added, "Just the two of us."
As the came to the second floor, Jon stopped and looked up at Brian.
"Sure!" said Brian.
Jon wanted to. He wanted to desperately. But...
"But, we have a curfew. We're not allowed out. We can't leave. It's against the rules."
Brian laughed out loud as they began to descended more stairs.
"Jon, rules are made to be broken. We aren't the kind of people who have to follow rules. One of these days, you and I are gonna be the men who make the rules."
He skipped down ahead of Jon and reached the ground floor as Jon was just still halfway down the flight. He grinned at Jon and said, "Get some balls, man. We are the champions!"
Jon paused at the foot of the stairs. He was breathing heavily from exertion, from fear, from the thrill. He knew he was gong to do it. He just needed to convince himself.
"You're gonna do it."
They ran down the ground floor hallway toward the east entrance and across the parking lot reserved for the members of the House, then down the sloping lawn and past the hackberry and cottonwood trees to Fourth Street. The two blocks between the Capitol and the Holiday Inn consisted of office buildings, some owned by the state, some private and the boys were laughing as they ran past the glowing, well-lit lobbies and the few people exiting the building for their own evening's relaxation.
The other pages were crossing the parking lot into the lobby of the Holiday Inn as Jon and Brian crossed the street. They checked in with the chaperone of the pages and then Brian whispered to Jon, "I have to go do something. I'll meet you outside the south door. Meet me by the white Mustang."
As he hurried out of the lobby and down the hallway, Jon couldn't believe he was being so bold. He was scared, but he was also excited. He had never broken rules so flagrantly. He almost felt like other boys.
He stopped in his room and removed his blazer and tie and picked up his Izod windbreaker. His roommate was probably down at the coffee shop, so that eliminated one source of trouble. Nervously, he looked up and down the hallway as he stepped out of the room and locked the door. There was no one within view, so he hurried to the exit.
The March night air was chilly as he hurried across the south parking lot. He found the white Mustang. It was sweet, a new 1972 model, white with a blue interior. Was this really Brian's car? The guy must be rich. Guiltily ignoring his grandparents' teachings about virtue and hard-work, as well as his own father's lectures on not needing to keep up with the Joneses, Jon thought about what it must be like to be Brian, so smart, so confident, so good-looking, so rich. He shook his head, realizing he was acting almost like the simpering girls at school whenever they talked about some really hot guy.
Brian emerged from around the corner, walking casually and comfortably from the front of the motel, his hands in the pockets of his khaki slacks, his blue and red rep tie carelessly loose. He looked so cool as the breeze tossed his dark blond curls across his forehead. Jon couldn't help it; he felt himself getting hard.
"So, you like it?"
"This is really yours?" Jon asked as Brian pulled his keys out of his pocket.
"My folks gave it to me for Christmas."
Brian climbed in and then reached across to unlock the passenger door. As Jon climbed in and slid across the blue leather, he was totally amazed with the situation.
"This is too cool," he almost whispered as Brian started the car. The rumble of the powerful engine sent a thrill through Jon as he connected the seat belt. Brian grinned as he gunned the engine and whipped the car out of the parking place before burning rubber and roaring out of the lot.
With Led Zeppelin blaring from the stereo, Brian raced down the street, thrilling and frightening his younger friend. They passed other cars, darting in and out of slower moving traffic until they came to a McDonalds on Indian Creek Parkway. Laughing as he cut in front of two oncoming cars, who both honked angrily, Brian turned into the parking lot and slammed into an empty space near the door.
Jon didn't know if he was embarrassed for Brian's driving, frightened by his mentor's behavior, or admiring of his cocky spirit.
"Come on!" Brian called as he jumped out of the car and slammed the door. "My treat."
Jon stood shyly behind Brian in line, bashfully looking down at his gray slacks and Weejuns as his friend flirted with the girl behind the counter. And, when they walked toward the door with their Cokes and Big Mac's, Brian turned around, looked back at the girl behind the counter, and provocatively licked his lips. Jon felt dizzy.
Brian whipped the car out of the parking space, roared around the building, and cut across traffic on Indian Creek Parkway, once again eliciting angry honks from other drivers, and pulled into Indian Creek Park. Grabbing their food, Brian once again slammed the door to the Mustang.
"Come on," he ordered. Obediently, Jon followed. The trees along the pathway were just starting to bud and a couple of dogwoods were in full bloom as they made their way toward a bench overlooking the creek. Behind them, Jon could see the towers of downtown and hear the muffled sound of traffic on the parkway. A couple of men, one older, probably retired, another in his thirties, slowly walked past and look at the boys with interest. Jon blushed as he pulled his Big Mac out of the bag. Brian chuckled and when the men were out of earshot, he whispered, "They're gay. They like us."
Jon was shocked, but, once again, felt a wicked surge within.
Brian raised an eyebrow and grinned.
"You don't seem to upset with that."
Jon was not certain how to answer that. He was confused. Brian was really cool and he seemed to be taking a really strong interest in him. Was Brian gay? But, could a guy so cool be gay? Maybe he wasn't gay, but just liked to fool around. Was he trying to set something up? Jon didn't know how to answer.
Safely, he merely shrugged and took a bite.
They talked. For an hour they sat on the bench, watching the creek flow past, watching the pigeons swoop past and strut across the path, shivering in the chilled breeze. They shared. Actually, Jon shared, and Brian listened, the older boy coaxing and encouraging the younger to reveal his life, his hopes, his fears, his pain. Jon spoke of Davy, of their years of friendship, of the tragedy of the fire, of his own parents deaths, of Davy's suicide. Tears formed as he spoke of that horrible letter just weeks before. Brian put his arm around Jon and the younger boy broke down and cried.
When Jon regained his composure, Brian withdrew his arm. Jon had felt so warm and safe with the arm around him. He was about to lean into the older boy when the arm was withdrawn. Brian leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.
"You really loved Davy, didn't you?" he asked softly.
It was a momentous act for Jon to admit that. Never had he said so to anyone before. For the first time, he had openly spoken of his love for Davy. Brian nodded, waited a moment, looked at his watch, then said, "Let's head back to the motel."
The way he smiled at Jon led the boy to believe that they would continue to share their intimacy once they returned. Jon smiled and silent stood. As they walked slowly back toward the car, Jon tossed the remains of their dinner in the trash can as Brian winked at the two older men, who were now leaning against a brick wall overlooking the creek.
Brian drove more sedately as they returned to the Holiday Inn Capitol. As they entered the lobby, Brian turned to Jon.
"Wait hear a moment. I want to make sure we can be alone for awhile."
Jon was almost breathless. He stumbled over to an overstuffed chair and sat down, his hands trembling. He could barely breath. Should he do this? Was it really possible that he was going to do this?
He clenched his hands nervously, watching the college guy behind the counter reading something, watching a businessman and a strikingly beautiful woman weave uncertainly passed and into the north hallway, watching the blades of the antique ceiling fan in front of the coffee shop slowly turn.
It seemed an eternity before Brian returned. He stood at the corner of the south hallway, out of view of the counter, and waved for Jon to come. Uncertainly, the boy stood, jamming his hands into the pockets of his gray wool slacks, as much to keep them from trembling as to hide the rise near his zipper.
Silently, he followed the older boy down the hall to Brian's room. Brian turned and smiled as he inserted the key. The room was dark. As he closed the door, Brian walked over to the nightstand between the two beds and turned on the lamp. He motioned for Jon to approach.
As the boy slowly, nervously, stepped forward, Brian slipped his blue blazer off and carelessly tossed it onto a chair. He pulled off the tie and did the same with it. And, with a strange smile, one that both aroused and instilled fear in the thirteen year-old, Brian reached up and slipped the tan windbreaker off Jon's shoulders and allowed it to fall to the floor. Jon was staring up at Brian's eyes. Brian was still smiling in that strange, alluring, frightening way.
The older boy kicked off his shoes, Jon slipped off his loafers. Brian climbed onto the bed closest to the bathroom door, and held out his right arm to Jon.
"I'm yours," he said. "You can do anything you want."
This wasn't exactly what Jon wanted. He had expected Brian to be the way he was at the park, putting his arm around him and holding him. He wanted Brian to kiss him and love him. But, still...
Trembling, Jon climbed onto the bed. He crawled up next to Brian, slipped his left arm under and around the older boy's neck, lay his head on Brian's right shoulder, and snuggled up to him. He rested his right arm across the older boy's chest and sighed.
This was what he wanted. No, this was part of what he wanted. But, it was wonderful. It felt so incredible to hold another guy again, to hold such a good-looking guy, such a cool intelligent, incredible guy.
Jon looked up at Brian's face. A wild grin suddenly disappeared and was replaced with a careful smile. It seemed strange to Jon, but he gazed at Brian's handsome face, at the dark blond curls, the pink cheeks, those powerful eyes. Jon sighed and leaned down again.
He could see down Brian's body. The rise in Brian's slacks was huge.
There was Brian's penis, his erection, hidden beneath the cloth, waiting for Jon to liberate it, to love it.
"Feel me," Brian whispered.
And, Jon did.
"Oh, my God, he really is a fag!"
"Oh, shit! Look at that!"
"Jesus! What a pervert!"
Jon jumped in horror and feel backward. As he struggled to stand up between the two beds, four other pages, all boys who Jon had watched over the days they had served, horsing around and not really taking seriously the events in which they were engaged, jumped out of the bathroom, laughing and pointing at him.
"Fuck, Harcourt, you were right! He really is a faggot."
Brian was laughing hysterically as he sat up on the bed.
"I told ya, Wilson! Man, he's been staring at me all week like some love sick girl."
Jon didn't know what to do. He could only stand in confusion and horror and shame. His eyes darted from boy to boy, seeing only their laughter, their scorn, their derision, their laughter. Their laughter.
They were laughing at him. They were laughing at him.
He looked at Brian and their eyes met. The older boy was guffawing scornfully at him.
"But, you... you hugged me at the park. You... said you were my friend."
"Jesus," Brian choked between spasms of laughter. "You are such a dork."
Jon's eyes filled with tears as he looked into Brian's. Jon swallowed.
Brian stopped laughing and, for a brief, fleeting moment, Jon thought he could see remorse cross the older boy's face. But, it was gone in an instant, and suddenly, Brian angrily barked, "Get out, faggot. Get out!"
The other boys continued to laugh and make disparaging comments. Slowly, Jon slipped on his loafers and picking up a windbreaker which now felt as if it weighed a ton, he stepped toward the door, dragging the windbreaker on the floor.
He could still hear the echoes of their laughter as he trudged down the hall to the exit at the end. Before he realized it, he was outside, in the cold night air. Automatically, with no thought, he crossed turned and crossed not only the parking lot, but the street as well, paying no attention to the few cars on the street at that hour.
My God, he thought. Oh, my God. How I could I be so stupid? How could I be so sick?
He had never felt such a sense of overwhelming, infinite shame and embarrassment. The laughter kept playing over and over in his mind as he stumbled mindlessly past the office buildings. His face was burning, his chest was tight, his stomach was pained, he could barely breath.
This just didn't happen. This didn't happen.
But, it had.
Jon came to the end of Fourth Street and the west end of the Capitol rose before him. Another cold wind whipped around the corner of the West Capitol Office Building. He donned his windbreaker and walked across the street.
A Capitol Police car cruised slowly through the parking lot, its search light aimed at the doors and windows on the ground floor of the edifice. Jon walked among the trees and shrubbery on the periphery of the grounds until he came to a fountain on the southwest corner. He sat down on the concrete base, his back against the pool, his knees in front of him. He rested his arms on his knees and looked before him.
The floodlit Capitol rose before him, the plaza before it lined with various flags, two large statues guarding the steps leading up to it. Jon leaned his head down on his arms. He was unable to cry. The pain was too deep, too intense.
How could this happen to him? Why would this happen to him? He was so stupid, so incredibly stupid. And, so sick. How could he let himself feel those feelings, desire those desires, want those wants?
He was sick. Since that afternoon with the creep in the park in Pushitaw, Jon had known he was sick on the inside.
The laughter kept coming back. The laughter wouldn't end.
I can't take it, he thought. It's over. I'll never be a great politician. I'll never make my grandparents proud. I'll never be anything. Never. Its over.
And as the laughter continued to play in his head, he kept repeating to himself, over and over, "Its over."
A hot summer afternoon
Davy was covered with dirt, grass, and sweat as he pulled the lawn mower across the newly cut grass in front of the church. It was the hottest day of the year, easily over a hundred, and he was exhausted. He sat down on the blisteringly hot concrete step in front of the cinder-block structure and wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his right hand. He wore only cut-off shorts and a ragged pair of dirty and grass-stained sneakers. His skin was darkened from a summer of outside work, his red hair bleached from the sun. He gazed across the wide expanse of grass before him and sighed. He had done a good job. He was proud.
The roar of a big rig on the highway outside of town wafted over the trees to the south of the church. He scratched some chigger bites on his calves. An old, Chevy Impala, belching smoke, chugged up the street.
"Good job, there, Davy."
The boy turned around to find Pastor Stringfellow standing behind him. The man wore his usual navy blue slacks and light blue plaid short-sleeve shirt. His brown hair was cut short and his face was dominated by those black, square-rimmed glasses that made him look like the father on Dennis the Menace. He was smiling at Davy.
The man looked around and nodded.
"You done a great job, boy. `Specially over there by the crepe myrtle. Nobody ever gets under there like that. You done good!"
Pastor was the only person anymore who ever said anything positive or encouraging to Davy. It was like water to a thirsty man.
"Thank you. I try to do the best I can."
"I know you do, son, and I appreciate it. And, the Lord appreciates it, too. Its good to have the house of the Lord look respectable and you do a mighty good job, Davy! I think you've earned a free RC!"
Davy hated RC, but it was all anyone drank in Barton, and he was dying of thirst, so he smiled and said with feeling, "Thank you!"
Pastor turned around toward the glass door and said, "Come on in and cool off."
The cool air on his hot and sweaty body caused the boy to shiver, but the feeling was absolutely delicious. He wiped the sweat once again from his brow and smiled. He followed Pastor down the hallway away from the sanctuary until they came to the giant community room. There was a pop machine next to the door to the kitchen. He dropped a quarter in, opened the long vertical door, and extracted a bottle of RC. Using the bottle opener to the left of the door, he popped the lid off and handed it the boy before dropping another quarter in and repeating the process for himself.
"I do love RC. Nothin' like the feeling of a good gulp of cold RC stinging your tongue and sliding down your throat."
He gave Davy a big grin, which the boy returned.
"No, sir! Nothin' like it!"
Pastor started toward the hallway and said, "Davy boy, come on over to the office. Let's have a talk son. Tell me how life's treatin' ya."
Davy was not, however, pleased with that invitation, but it would be rude to decline.
The boy followed the man of God into his office. Pastor closed the door and then walked around the cheap looking desk, papers strewn across the top, and plopped down in the cheap fake leather chair behind. Davy gingerly sat down on the icy cold plastic chair in front. He looked around at the cheap paneling on the walls and the framed needlepoint Scripture verses on the wall and the framed photographs. Next to the picture of Pastor Stringfellow and Oral Roberts was his diploma from Pushitaw Bible College. Davy had never noticed that.
"You went to Pushitaw Bible College?"
"Yes, I did. Back in the mid-sixties. I graduated from there in 1967. I never told you this, but I knew your father."
Davy was surprised.
Pastor smiled and nodded.
"Yes. A fine man. Dedicated to his faith and helping his congregation. Of course, he was Episcopalian so he didn't completely understand Scripture, but he was a good man."
Davy didn't want to be rude and dispute that his father misunderstood Scripture. He simply nodded and took another drink of cola. The plastic chair was still cold against his bare back and the freezing air caused him to shiver. It created goose bumps on his bare skin. He noticed that Pastor was looking rather intently at him.
"So, Davy, how have we been doing with our problem?"
The boy took a deep breath as his stomach seemed to constrict.
"Just fine, Pastor. Just fine. I haven't had any impure thoughts about boys or men in weeks. Every time I start to feel sinful, I just start praying and God takes the impure thoughts right out of my head."
Pastor smiled and shook his head.
"That's wonderful, Davy. Just wonderful. I'm so glad to hear that. The Lord can truly work wonders. Of course, the Lord knows these things take time. Sin can be a difficult thing to fight. Satan is always there, lurking in the secret places of your mind, ready to make you feel your old feelings, ready to put those thoughts back into your mind, those thoughts about men and boys and sex. The devil wants you to be a homosexual, Davy. He wants you to think about men and boys. He wants you to think about men and boys when their naked. He wants you to feel those feelings you feel when you think about men and boys when their naked, Davy."
If the goal was for Davy not to feel those feelings about men and boys, this conversation was definitely not helping.
"He wants your body to respond to those feelings, Davy," Pastor continued in a soft voice.
"He wants you to want those feelings. I know you feel those feelings, Davy. All boys have those feelings and the Devil makes them come to you for boys and men instead of beautiful girls and women. You don't feel those feelings for heavenly breasts and the glorious place where we create life, do you Davy? You feel those feelings for penises, don't you Davy? For the male's hard and erect penis. You still feel those feelings for men and boys, don't you Davy?"
Suddenly, everything was clear to Davy. This wasn't pastoral counseling. Stringfellow was deliberately speaking this way, deliberately trying to get him to feel sexual, aroused, horny. He was just like Eddie Joe. Shit! Was everyone at Pushitaw Bible College like this?
Davy was disgusted. Yet, the man's conversation was getting to him. He could feel himself starting to get hard. No! He couldn't. Not here. Not with Pastor. Yet, it was happening.
"Sometimes, Davy, no matter how hard we try and how much we want to be good, sometimes the Devil wins and we have to give in to his temptations."
Davy knew exactly where this was going. He knew he had to get up and leave. This was gross. This was disgusting. He didn't want to be queer and he certainly didn't want to be queer with Pastor. But, he was hard. Oh, God, he was hard. He was so hard. He was breathing hard as well. He was so hard, so horny. It was wrong. No. No. he couldn't give in. He had to leave. He had to leave.
"Davy, sometimes when the Devil is so strong, its better to fight him with someone who knows what your feeling so that you can go out into the world again and be free of the Devil and those feelings. Sometimes, you need to give in for a brief moment so that you can be free later. God understands this Davy. God doesn't expect you to be perfect, Davy. God just wants you to try, Davy, to seeks his love and perfection. But, God knows you aren't perfect, Davy. God, knows you're human. He knows the Devil is strong and that temptation is strong. He knows the feelings are strong. He knows the feelings feel good. They feel so good. He doesn't expect to fight them all the time. He knows you're human, Davy. He knows you're going to give in, Davy. He understands, Davy."
Davy's emotions were a jumble. He didn't want to give in. It was wrong. It was a sin. Why was Pastor doing this to him? Why? Oh, he wanted to do it. Oh, he wanted it so badly. He was so hard. He was so hard. He was breathing so hard. His hands were squeezing the plastic of the chair so tightly. He closed his eyes.
Pastor was standing up. He was walking around the desk. Davy was trembling with both lust and shame. And, as Pastor knelt between his legs, he cried.
The night of Wednesday, March 17, 1982
Jonathan brushed the hair from David's forehead as the two lay embraced in his bed. Jonathan was on his back, David lay partially on top, his head resting next to Jonathan's. Their arms were wrapped lovingly around each other.
"Its unbelievable what they did to you," Jonathan whispered. "How they made you deny and pretend all those years while all the time the Pastor was molesting you."
David kissed Jonathan's cheek.
"It wasn't all the Pastor's fault. I wanted it. I hated him for his hypocrisy, but I wanted it all the same."
"It doesn't matter," Jonathan replied bitterly. "He used you. He used you and then threw you away."
David closed his eyes and squeezed Jonathan.
"I think that what happened to you was even worse. I can't imagine what it felt like, the pain and the embarrassment."
"It was the laughter that was the worst. That awful, horrible laughter. I will never forget it."
He paused and then sighed.
"And, what's so bad is, its going to happen again and there's not a damn thing I can do to stop it."
They were silent for several minutes until David whispered, "You don't have to do it."
Jonathan was silent and then whispered, "Yes. Yes, I do. I can't live with myself if I don't."
David crawled on top of Jonathan and looked down into his lover's eyes.
"Jon, you're the finest man I've ever known. You're not sick. You're not a pervert. You are a good and decent and compassionate and dedicated man. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks. You are a great man."
Jonathan couldn't look into David's eyes. He closed his and turned his head.
"My grandparents tried to get me to talk for days after that awful night, but I never told them what happened. This is the first time I have ever told anyone about it. I've never spoken of it."
David rested his head on Jon's shoulder as he continued.
"One day, it was a Saturday, I had ridden my bike to Indian Creek and came upon that bench. I sat there for hours and it was then that decided I would never, ever do anything stupid like that again. I vowed I would be the boy everyone wanted me to be. I would be good and work hard and go to church and be what everyone expected the perfect boy to be. I would be a great success and everyone would be proud of me. And, I've done it. By God, I've done. It has been so hard, but I've done it. I was a champion debater, I was Student Council President, I was President of the Teenage Republicans, I was President of the College Republicans, I was an acolyte at church, I've had my picture taken with President Ford and President Reagan. I'm the youngest member of the State Legislature and everyone in Scottsburg loves me."
He paused and David spoke.
"You'll get through this, Jon. We'll get through this."
"I know. Its just the laughter. I can't bear the laughter."
And, so ends Chapter 10. This has been one of the most difficult things I've ever written. Please let me know what you think at free7thinker (at) operamail.com. Thank you so much for your support.