Important Note: I will be leaving until April 15, 2004. I will not have access to my email while I am away. Please do not email me between now and April 15, 2004. I promise I will continue to post episodes when I return. The story is far from over.
CONTROL and KAOS
Seth and Theo sat opposite each other, glue-washing a flat. One of Seth's scenes had just been blocked, but he still had to stay for the reruns at the end of the rehearsal. It was Friday, and that was a good thing. Nothing beat the feeling you got when a week of school was over as far as Seth was concerned, except, maybe, when a year of school was over. Theo was being unusually quiet. They had hardly talked during band and at lunch all they had discussed was Seth's Great Plan for getting an extension on his French project, which included being good and pleading with an option of throwing a tantrum.
Seth was complaining about his English homework as they painted.
"It's absurd. We have to read three short stories this weekend alone. Not just one, three. That's almost a book."
"Which short stories?" Theo asked. "Maybe I've read them."
"I dunno. Something by Wilma Cather and Summertime Mom and some other dude."
"I think that's Willa."
"Willa Cather," Theo said, dipping his brush back in the vat of glue-wash.
"What kind of a name is Willa? I really think it's Wilma."
Theo shook his head. "It's Willa."
"No," Seth said, patiently explaining, "Theodore, Thelma. Dog, Dogma. William, Wilma." He punctuated his connections with the paintbrush on the flat.
Theo laughed. "I don't even know where to begin with that one."
"Like William Defoe and Wilma Flintstone."
"It's Willem," Theo said.
"Oh, don't start."
It was a regular game they played. One of the first tricks Seth had ever learned was to play dumb, and he had raised it to an artform. Many people actually believed it. Theo knew better.
Grinning at each other, they finished the flat, carefully tilted it up against the wall to dry and readied the next one for the glue-wash.
"So did EJ invite you to the game?" Theo asked.
"Not exactly," Seth replied absently, beginning to brush the muslin like he was applying make up. "We didn't really have time to talk about it." The very first thing Seth had done when he had gotten home that night had been to IM Theo. There followed a gloriously flowery account of most of what had happened.
"I'm going to surprise him there," he continued. "He'll be delighted. Have you talked to Mr. Yummy since? Are you going to do it again?" Theo smiled enigmatically. Seth stopped painting and looked at him. "You did already, didn't you?!" Theo nodded. "You Absolute Shit! Why didn't you tell me?! Was it Fabulous?" Theo nodded again, trying not to giggle. "That's so cool. What's he like? Did he propose?"
Theo rolled his eyes. "It's not like that. We just like each other. I don't know what it is. It's okay. Kind of fun slowly seeing where it goes, you know? Like being in a curvy tunnel. You don't know where you're going to end up until you end up there."
"I'd hate that," Seth said, thinking about it. "I want to know where it's going from the start."
"But you don't. You can't."
"But I do. I have a Plan," Seth intoned gravely.
"So what's he like?"
Theo reflected a bit, trying to pick the right words. "He's careful."
"Do I mean caring?" Theo asked.
"I don't know. Do you?"
Theo shrugged. "He was about to cum and he stopped because I wasn't ready yet."
"No, it's true. And he kept asking me what I wanted."
"EJ asked me what I wanted, but it seemed like it was more to hear what he wanted."
Theo thought about that for a while. "I don't think it was like that."
"What did you tell him?" Seth asked.
"I said I didn't know."
"Why not just tell him?"
"'Cause I didn't know."
This time it was Seth who rolled his eyes. They glue-washed in silence for a bit.
"Can I ask a question?" Theo began quietly and without much conviction.
"Should we lower the cone of silence?"
"Serious," Theo said. "You gotta promise not to go all nuts on me when I ask."
Seth looked at Theo, then returned to painting the flat. A clever answer was not in order. He nodded.
"When you're deep throating, how do you get it in and keep from gagging?"
The question didn't phase Seth at all. "But you can already deep throat," he said. Theo waited for him to get it. It only took a beat. "Oh. Okay. Big?"
"As big as..."
"No," Theo cut him off. But bigger than...well, than I'm used to."
Seth didn't take it as an insult. He just considered the question. "Okay. A couple of things," he began, matter-of-factly. "Try not to eat anything beforehand, 'cause that's just disgusting, you know?" Theo nodded. "Do it upside down, 'cause the angle's better."
"You mean, like, standing on my head?"
"No," Seth said, "like that time at the campground on the picnic table. You remember?"
Theo nodded. "With my head hanging back?"
"Yeah," Seth illustrated the position in a small glue-wash portrait. "Breathe before you start 'cause you can't breathe when you're down on it. Oh yeah, and breathe through your nose. But it's going to get all runny. That's okay." Theo nodded again, trying to take it all in. "And your eyes are going to water. That's okay too."
"All this happened to you?"
Seth rolled his eyes and nodded. Theo frowned.
"Look," Seth said, "you asked!"
"Yeah. Sorry. Why can't I stop gagging?"
"You have to swallow."
"I can't," Theo said. "I'm gagging."
"You're gagging," Seth explained, "because you're not swallowing."
Seth patted his knee. "I may not know anything about Sunset Mom, but I know about this."
"Somerset Maughaum, actually," Theo said.
"Get a life."
"So Cooledge is sitting there reading the paper like he always does, right?" Topher reported animatedly, "and he looks up and sees that fucking Uzi is in the back sound asleep at his desk. Mouth wide open like this." Topher slid his head back a little and went slack-jawed. EJ nodded. "So Cooledge takes a piece of chalk from the board, right? And throws it at Uzi. Tried to get it in his mouth. But Uzi wakes up right when the chalk is in the air and it hits him right in the fucking eye. It was fucking priceless."
"Serious?" EJ asked, wide-eyed. Topher nodded.
"And Cooledge was like, "I was aiming for your mouth!" and "don't sue me!""
"Was Uzi pissed?"
"Naw. He laughed. You can't get pissed at Cooledge, you know? He's so pathetic. I mean, what's the point?"
They laughed over the scene for a while. Topher finally stopped when he noticed EJ looking at him.
"What?" he asked defensively.
"Nothing," EJ said. "Just I haven't seen you laugh like that in a while."
"It was fucking funny!"
"No, it's good." EJ said. "Just you've been kind of down since...well, you know. It's good to see you back."
Topher cocked a sideways grin and nodded. "Yeah, I've been an asshole."
"No you haven't."
"Yuh I have."
"Well I'd'a been pissed too. Just good to see the old Topher again." He held up his hand and they bumped.
Topher returned to the chore of taking his uniform out of his gym bag and stuffing it back into his locker. Thursdays were when all the dirty clothes came home to get washed. On Fridays they returned, ready for the night's game.
"So what happened?" EJ asked, having finished his own transfer a few moments before. Topher looked around the team room. There were a few other boys, but mostly it was like it was every Friday after school -- deserted until they had to return for the game. He shrugged noncommittally.
"You want to get out of here?" EJ asked.
Topher shoved the last pieces of his uniform into his locker and flung it shut. He nodded. Soon, they were back in the empty hallway of the school, heading nowhere in particular.
"Can I ask you a question?"
EJ looked over at his friend. Topher hadn't asked if he could ask a question in years. When he had a question, he just asked it. He didn't ask if he could ask one unless...
After a long silence, Topher cleared his throat. "When you're fucking, doesn't it like...like hurt them?"
EJ worked hard to suppress a grin. The question still might not mean what he thought it meant. "Well," he began in a voice he usually reserved for tutoring or talking with adults, "it doesn't have to hurt them if you don't want it to. You can get around it. But it can hurt a little at first. Especially the first time."
They walked a few steps in silence, EJ giving Topher the room to ask his next question. It finally came.
"How do you get around it?"
The grin won. EJ punched Topher playfully on the shoulder. "Dawg!"
"Don't go all ape-shit on me," Topher moaned.
"Sorry," EJ said, sounding completely unconvincing. "Who is it?"
"What if it was no one?" Topher answered. "What if I was just curious?"
EJ thought a moment. "You know, Seth told me something at Candler's that I forgot to tell you."
"He said his friend had the hots for you." Topher brightened visibly. "Dawg!!" EJ exclaimed.
"All right, all right," Topher said, waving his friend down. "Yeah. So Theo and I kind of hooked up a couple of times."
"What'd I tell you, dude? You like it?"
"Yeah," Topher answered with simplistic honesty. "I did. It was different, but it was good."
EJ nodded. "And now you want to fuck him?"
Topher nodded. "And I think he wants me to."
EJ laughed. "Well, if you think he wants you to, he must be fucking dying for it."
Topher cuffed him on the back of the head. As if on cue, they both dropped their bags and play-sparred in the hall. Topher got in a couple of good mock slaps. They laughed.
"So serious, dude. I don't want to hurt him."
"'Kay, 'kay" EJ said. They picked up their bags and continued ambling down the hall. Despite their being alone, he talked in a low voice. "The first big thing is guys don't make their own juice, so you have to get something like KY."
"It's his first time?"
Topher nodded again.
"Okay. You'll want to loosen him up a lot first. So you eat him out good. Then start sticking your fingers up there. One at a time, then when he gets used to it, two. Spit on them first -- get 'em wet so they'll slide in and out, you know? About two knuckles in, you'll feel this little bump. Aim for it. It's his prostate. He'll go fucking nuts when you press hard on it."
Topher nodded. "Eat, fingers, spit, bump."
"Eat, spit, fingers, bump, actually, but you got the idea. There's really two parts that hurt -- there's like his actual ass ring. So that gets stretched, and it hurts, you know?" Topher nodded. "That's what you can work on. Try to get it loosened up first."
"What's the other part?"
"The inside," EJ answered. "That has to stretch out too. Can't really do anything about that. Just use a lot of goop, go slow, and let him get used to it. Tell him to push out like he was shitting. That helps them."
"Does it gotta hurt?"
"It hurts with girls the first time too, you know."
"That's true," said Topher, considering it. "I guess it's supposed to."
"I guess," EJ echoed. "And you know," he added tentatively, "sometimes if it hurts a little, that's not so bad."
"How do you figure?"
EJ shrugged, carefully choosing the words into which he put the thought. "Sometimes if it hurts a little, you know they know you're there." Topher looked at him blankly. "The Rabbit used to like it when I just put it to him sometimes. Like diving in cold water after you take a sauna, you know? Little shock to the system. Lets you know you're alive. And when I would do it, he'd look so...you know how when you look at someone's face when they're cumming, you can't really tell if they're feeling pleasure or pain? I mean, you know it's feeling good, but it's the same look as they'd have if they hurt. You know?"
"Kind of," Topher answered. The thought was a new one to him.
"Sometimes," continued EJ, "there's not such a big line between what hurts and what feels good." He could see Topher trying to turn the concept over in his mind. "It's like football," he added. "Love the game, but it fucking hurts when you get hit. But you don't think about that part of it, right? Just part of the game."
"So fucking guys is like football?" Topher asked incredulously.
"Hands to the face still a penalty?"
EJ laughed. "Nope. And you can't be called for having too many men on the field."
They found themselves in front of the auditorium. Neither of them had steered there, it had just appeared before them. EJ gave Topher a grin and they walked in.
The rehearsal was in progress, which meant a couple of kids were on stage reading from books and there was a teacher in the front of the audience who, all at the same time, was paying attention to them, talking to a kid who was standing next to him, and yelling to a kid who was standing on top of a long ladder fiddling with a big light that was attached to a steel bar that hung from the ceiling. One side of the stage had some scenery on it, but neither EJ nor Topher could discern what it was supposed to be. It looked all curtainy, even though it was only painted. A group of kids were messing with it -- some with paint brushes, one with a power drill in her hands, one with a glue gun. In another portion, off to the right, two kids sat talking as they pulled at threads on long strips of material. On the other side of the back of the stage, Seth and Theo sat across from each other with a piece of scenery on the floor between them. They were painting it white. EJ motioned to the back of the auditorium. They walked up the aisle and took seats.
Seth was talking, though they couldn't hear what he was saying. Periodically, he'd smile, and the dimples would twinkle. He sat resting on a hip, his legs extending off to the side, propping himself up on one hand, using the other to paint and for emphasis when he talked. In that position, EJ could see where his jersey fell from where it smoothly covered his chest to where it gathered on his rib cage and side. He squinted a bit, trying to see if he could catch a glimpse of nipple poking through the shirt, but he was too far away. He could see the crease in Seth's pants between his thighs and his ass, though. It was a small, tight ass, like the rest of him. EJ shifted in his seat.
"He's cute," Topher said.
"Which one?" EJ asked.
"Yours. He has a cute smile."
"Yeah," EJ answered, "he does. I brought him to the glade, you know. Totally made him scream. It was sweet."
"Like squeal? Lise used to do that."
EJ looked at his friend. But the reference to the bitch wasn't followed by the usual darkening of spirit. He was really over it. EJ smiled.
"What?" Topher asked.
"Nothing," EJ said. "No, not squeeling. I made him scream."
Topher nodded in the knowing way that EJ knew meant he didn't understand what he was saying.
"It's like what we were talking about before. I like them to know I've been there. They like it too. You know what I'm talking about," EJ said when Topher replied with a long silence. "Girls are the same way. Yeah they like it slow and smooth too, but when you come right down to it, they just want you to take over and give it to them like there's no tomorrow."
"Oh, okay," Topher said. "So it's the same as girls."
There was something about the way he said it that made EJ wonder if he was getting it at all. He let it pass, and shifted his gaze to Theo.
Theo sat on one ankle, the other leg bent so that his chin rested on his knee as he painted. His back made a long, slender curve from the floor to his neck. His hair radiated out from a point at the top of his head. On the sides, it curled up just a bit over his ears before ending. In the front, it bushed up a little, with patches slanting left or right or up as they wished. As he was relaxed, his upper lip was in its resting position -- pulled back and up at an angle. EJ could see his front teeth all the way from the back of the audience. Every once in a while, he'd add a word or two to the conversation, but mostly he just listened. At one point, Seth began painting a diagram in white on the white. Theo watched carefully, tilting his head down so that he was kissing his own knee. The calf was long and slender. Theo was going to be tall, EJ thought.
"Yours is cute too," EJ said.
"You think?" Topher asked hopefully. It was odd. He had never asked for EJ's approval with a girl. This was still new to him, and he was unsure of himself.
"Yeah, dude. He's totally cute. You want to talk to him?"
"I could say hi," Topher answered nonchalantly. EJ smirked. Topher looked at him. "Don't make me fucking hit you," he warned. EJ laughed, causing Topher to laugh too.
"Why are you painting it white?" a voice said from behind Theo. "Is it like a cloud or something?"
The boys turned. Theo brightened. "It's glue-wash," he said. "You have to cover new flats with this stuff. It makes the cloth stiff so you can paint on it. It's like primer."
"Okay," Topher answered.
"What are you doing here?" Seth asked. "Don't you have rehearsal?"
"Practice," Topher said, a little annoyed. "It's called "practice", not "rehearsal". Game's tonight. We don't practice on the afternoon of games. Just go home, eat and stuff. You coming?" he asked Theo.
Theo nodded happily.
"Go over and talk to EJ," Topher said to Seth while pointing to the audience, "he's over there." Seth spotted EJ, dropped the brush, sprang to his feet and tripped merrily to the back of the house.
"That was kind of rude, don't you think?" Theo said after Seth had gone.
"You could have said "please" or something."
"He's a sophomore," dismissed Topher.
"So am I," Theo said.
Topher considered this. "Yeah, I see your point," he said genuinely. "Okay. Next time, please." He crossed to the other side of the flat, sat down, and picked up the brush Seth had abandoned. "Just paint it like regular?" Theo nodded. He dipped the brush in the bucket of glue-wash and began applying it to the flat in broad, straight strokes.
"I know nothing about football you know," Theo warned.
"It's easy," Topher began. "See, you get points by getting the ball into the other guy's end-zone."
"Yeah," Topher said, "end-zone. The field is a hundred yards long. On either side is an "end-zone"." Theo nodded. "If you do, it's a touchdown, and it's six points."
"Anyway, then you get an option for an extra point. You line up on the two-yard line. If you throw the ball in or run it in, it's called a conversion and you get two more points..."
"Then shouldn't it be called extra points?"
Topher blinked at him. "No, because you can kick it through the two posts at the end of the field. That's only worth one point..."
"Then it's extra point and/or points."
Topher looked at him blankly for a moment, but let it pass. "So you get four chances to get a touchdown. Those are called downs. If you can move the ball forward ten yards in the four downs, you get another four."
"Is that like a hoe-down?"
"I don't know. I thought, like, down, touchdown, hoe-down?"
Topher pursed his lips. This wasn't going anything like it was supposed to.
"No, not like that. It goes first down, second down, third down, fourth down, then back to first down again."
"Okay," Theo shrugged, adding, "I guess."
When you have the ball, you're on offense. I'm on the offensive line. So you'll see me when we have the ball."
"Which number are you?"
"I'm number four."
"Oh," Theo said, a little disappointed, "who's number one?"
"It doesn't work that way," Topher said beginning to get irked. "We'll line up where the ball is -- that's called, the line of scrimmage -- and the center -- he's going to be the guy in the middle of the line of scrimmage..."
"That's why they call him the center?"
"Yes," Topher said, "the center will give me the ball..."
"You're in the center too?"
"I'm the quarterback."
"Is that why you're number four?"
"Four quarters in a dollar? Is there a dollarback? Is he number one?"
Topher squinted at him. "Are you fucking serious?"
"Guess not then."
Topher tried one last time. "Anyway, I'll call a play, the center will snap me the ball, then I'll either hand it off to someone who will try to run it down the field, or pass it to someone."
"Do you squat before or after all this? Tell me about the squatting. There seemed to be a lot of squatting when we watched."
Topher fell into stunned silence, staring blankly at Theo. Theo did his best, but the merest trace of a grin at the corners of his mouth betrayed him.
Topher's eyebrows raised. "Have you been fucking playing with me?" Little patches of color appeared on Theo's cheeks in response. His grin grew more pronounced. "Oh, you little shit!" Topher chuckled. "I'm going to kick your ass in."
Meanwhile, Seth had bounced over to where EJ sat. When he got there, he flopped dramatically into his lap, threw his arms around his shoulders and started to give him a big, wet kiss. EJ pulled him out of the kiss, but not out of his lap.
"Whoa, there," he said. "You sure you want to be doing that in front of your friends?"
"Absolutely!" Seth answered, moving in to kiss him again.
EJ laughed. "Slow down there, pah-dner," he said in his best Cowboy. "Plenty o' time for them there things." EJ turned him around so they were facing in the same direction. Seth leaned back, fitting comfortably into EJ's lap. He rested his head on the larger boy's shoulder.
"I'm coming to the game tonight," he said. "You going to hit a homerun for me?"
EJ laughed. "That's baseball. This is football."
"Okay. You going to kick a homerun?"
EJ cuffed the back of his head playfully. Seth giggled. EJ talked into his ear. "I want to fuck you right now so bad." He slid his hands onto Seth's thighs, pointing his fingers down and in.
Seth moaned. "I got a busy schedule," he said, "but I could probably fit you in. Suggestive wink."
"You fit me in pretty well yesterday, babe."
"Yeah," Seth said without guile, "that was intense."
"Just the beginning." His fingers massaged Seth's inner thighs, moving upward with each stroke. Seth all but purred.
"Once you get a taste of the J, all you want is more."
Seth thought about this a moment. It was surely the most ridiculously pompous thing he had ever heard. But it had been said with a completely honest conviction, and, Seth allowed, it was true.
"C'mon, babe. Let's go for a quickie. You know you're itching for it." He jerked his hips, giving Seth a little grind.
"Jesus. Now look what you've done," Seth said. The front of his pants were tented in obvious semaphore. "How am I supposed to go back to rehearsal like this?"
EJ clasped a hand onto the end of the tent-pole, and roughly rubbed the material around on it. Seth squirmed.
"Gee, I don't know. Guess you'll have to skip out and we can go do it now."
Seth sighed. "I can't. I'm going to be called back on stage in a sec. After he blocks the scenes, we run through them a couple of times at the end of the rehearsal."
"You sure?" EJ whispered into his ear in a syrupy sotto voce. His other hand found Seth's balls and squeezed. Were it not for the back of the seat in front of them, the actors on stage would be getting quite a show themselves. "You'll love it, babe. I'm feeling like a tiger." Seth moaned again, losing all resolve. "I'm going to touch places you didn't even know you had."
"Mmm..." Seth answered. But the call hadn't come from behind.
"SETH." It was the director.
Seth snapped upright. "I gotta go," he said, pulling his shirt out in front, trying to cover. "Can't you stay 'till the end of rehearsal?"
"Got a game tonight." EJ answered, resenting the interruption. His magic had been working. He had been so close.
"Seth!" The director was losing patience. The other actors milled about the stage, trying not to be visibly amazed that EJ had had Seth in his lap, and the quarterback of the football team himself was glue-washing flats with Theo.
"Some other time, then" EJ said, not letting Seth go until he was ready.
"Okay," Seth whispered pulling trying to break from EJ's grasp. "I can't wait."
"Good, babe." EJ freed him and he flew down the aisle toward the stage.