I'm back from my vacation. Hope you've all had a lovely month -- I sure did. The story continues. Please feel free again to email me, input is always appreciated. I reply to them all. If you would like to contact me, you may email me at email@example.com. Please be sure to put "CONTROL and KAOS" in the subject line, or your email will be mistaken for spam. Constructive criticism is always welcomed.
CONTROL and KAOS
The stands were full, the sidelines more so. Lights shone on the field even though, at 7:00 p.m., it was still dusk. The pep-band was arrayed in the stands behind the home bench, wearing the black and orange, as did many on their side of the field. Theo and Seth sat next to Jen, who was warming up her flute.
The PA system blared a feedback screech, out of which the voice of a neighbor of Theo's could be heard introducing himself as the evening's play-by-play announcer. The voice introduced the opposing team, which was met by cheers from the green-and-white-clad fans on the other side of the field. The stands in which they sat were far smaller than the ones for the home team. Very unfair, Theo thought.
The pep-band struck up the school's fight song as the announcer introduced the home team players one by one, number and name. Despite feeling ovine, Theo found himself cheering for his classmates along with the rest of the fans. Seth whooped along with him, going shrill when number 32 was introduced. Topher was the last individual called before the rest of the team ran onto the field en masse. Theo wondered if this was honor or insult. Either way, he cheered extra loud, wondering if Topher could ever possibly spot him in the throng.
The pep-band offered a slightly atonal rendition of the national anthem, to which everybody sang along. The boys on the field dutifully held their helmets over their hearts and faced the flag. Theo scanned the field for number four. The blond hair caught his eye. He was toward the middle of the line of players. Like many of them, he had big black streaks painted across his cheeks like a pair of Groucho glasses worn upside down. Theo smiled with pride. Topher looked fearsome.
When the song was over, everyone sat and the boys ran off the field to be replaced by another set of boys who lined up, putting the ball in a thing-a-ma-jig that held it upright in the middle of the grass.
Theo leaned over to Jen. "Do you understand this game?"
"Sure," she said. "Why?"
"Can you explain it as we go along? I'm kind of new to it."
Jen nodded. For the rest of the game, when she wasn't playing flute for the pep band and when he wasn't fielding completely offhand remarks from Seth, she explained the intricacies of football, from lateral passes to onside kicks. Theo absorbed it as best he could, always keeping an eye on the field. He was delighted to learn that Topher had the lead role, though he was explicitly warned not to call it that. He threw some long passes, a variety of which were caught -- almost all of the time by players who went to their school. EJ played well too -- there were times he had the ball when he would head toward a massive and densely packed crowd of kids and still be able to find an invisible passageway through them. The way he darted and dodged reminded Theo of a ferret. The top and bottom of his body weren't always heading in the same direction. And he only dropped the ball once.
Three or four of the opposing players had no other job, it seemed, except to try to maul Topher. Theo found this idea both complimentary and alarming. Luckily, a similar number of schoolmates had the job of protecting him. Theo would have liked that job, except those that had it seemed to be at least twice as large as he was in pretty much every direction possible (and a few which were impossible). He more saw himself doing it with a sword and armor, anyway. And the truth of it was that Topher probably didn't need much protection off the field.
It wasn't a close game. Jen explained that they were playing one of the worst teams in the league. There were really only one or two teams that offered any competition on a yearly basis, she said. On good years, they had one loss. On bad years, two or three. So far, they had a perfect record, and -- if the odds-layers had anything to say about it -- would continue to do so for at least another two weeks.
The end of the game came with a whimper. Twenty-one points ahead, The home team got the ball with under a minute to go, and everyone erupted into cheers. Topher's squad -- the offensive line, Theo corrected himself -- took the field and just stood around pretending to play. They'd start the game...snap the ball -- he must get used to the new lingo -- everyone would move in slow-motion, and Topher would kneel on one knee as if proposing to the ass of the kid in front of him. People started leaving. A gun went off.
Jen had packed up the flute and was about to head down to the sidelines.
"What happens now?" Theo asked before she could get moving.
"That's the end of the game," Jen said.
"Right, but what happens?"
"Nothing," She answered. "Everyone goes home."
Theo pursed his lips. The team was heading back toward the school as the stands emptied. He and Topher hadn't discussed what was going to happen after the game. They remained in their seats uncertainly as the crowd thinned. Soon they were fairly alone. Theo chewed on his upper lip.
"Should we go try to find them?" he finally asked.
"I don't know," Seth answered with uncharacteristic uncertainty. "We don't know where they are. Have you ever been down there where the teams go? It's like a maze. What if we miss them?"
"We can ask someone," Theo suggested.
They looked around. The stands were deserted.
"I'm getting cold."
They were half way home when the blue shitbox pulled up next to them and slowed to a walking-pace. The window on the passenger side rolled down. A concerned Topher leaned out.
"Where the fuck have you been?"
"We watched the game," Theo said, confused.
The door swung open. Theo and Seth hopped up, Seth climbing awkwardly over Topher to sit between him and EJ, Theo squishing himself next to the door. EJ nodded peevishly from the driver's seat and pulled back out onto the road.
Topher stared at Theo. Theo got the impression that he had done something wrong. "Great game!" he said hopefully.
"We sucked," EJ answered dismissively.
"You won 35-14!"
"They sucked more," EJ said. There was no joy in Mudville.
"Well I thought you looked great. It was cool," Seth added.
"How come you didn't wait for us?" Topher asked.
Theo sputtered. "I didn't know we were supposed to."
"Sure. Why wouldn't you?"
"We looked for you for like, a fucking half hour," EJ added without turning his gaze from the road.
"We thought you left or something."
EJ was clearly pissed. But Topher wasn't angry, Theo realized. He was hurt.
"I'm sorry," he said, putting his hand on Topher's shoulder and looking into his eyes. "It was our first game. We didn't know what we were supposed to do or where we were supposed to go. We stayed 'till the end. We stayed past it. Tell me where to be next Friday, and I'll be there."
Topher weighed the answer. His features softened a bit. "So you liked it?"
"Yeah!" Theo gushed. "You were so good! The center of everything!"
"I threw two interceptions."
"You also threw for one hundred fifty yards, including six third down conversions..." Theo answered. Topher's eyebrows and jaw went in opposite directions. Theo grinned. "Or so I'm told, anyway."
"He's hustling you, dude," EJ said. "He knows more about football than you do. Watch. By Thanksgiving, he's going to be quarterback."
"I had someone explain it to me while the game was going on."
Topher put his arm around Theo's shoulder. "That's my boy," he told EJ.
"How about you? What's a nickel defense?" EJ asked Seth across the length of the cab.
"I wasn't paying attention to the explanations," Seth said. I kept getting distracted by this cute guy on the field with an incredible ass."
"Yeah," EJ asked, his voice softening in turn. "Couldn't keep your eyes off it, huh?"
"Very tight end," said Seth, smiling.
"I'm a running back, babe."
"Who said I was talking about you?"
EJ laughed as he reached over behind Seth and cuffed the back of his head.
The pickup eventually stopped behind a line of cars in front of a house. The boys spilled out. Topher explained that after home games, a bunch of guys usually went to an after-game party. They walked around the back of the house and let themselves in the basement door.
Inside was a very large, dimly lit basement playroom. Loud music played from a corner. There were about 20 guys there, two-thirds with dates. Some were making out, some were just talking. Others clustered in groups about the room. Conversation dropped off as they entered.
"They're with us," Topher said as Theo realized, to his horror, that everyone was looking at him. Topher draped an arm about his shoulder. Conversation seemed to resume, if slowly. "It's only 'cause you're new," Topher whispered into his ear. He didn't have to add and a sophomore.
EJ led Seth off to get a drink. Topher led Theo to an unoccupied couch in a corner.
"So you really liked it?"
Theo nodded. "I kept thinking it was like this medieval battle. Like dungeons and dragons or that kind of thing. And you were the prince." Topher smiled in response. "How come you didn't tell me you were in charge of the team?"
"I'm not. Well, I kind of am," Topher said. "Most people in the school already know, anyway."
This got a laugh. "Kind of." Topher's arm was extended along the back of the couch behind Theo's head. He tickled his far shoulder. Theo looked around the room uncomfortably. Of the couples, a little under half were boy-boy, the rest boy-girl. All were in relatively intimate poses. He and Seth were clearly the youngest people at the party, but since they had sat down, no one was paying particular attention to him. Except Topher. He sighed and nestled closer. Topher draped his hand around his neck down the front side of his chest.
"I think," he whispered so that only Topher could hear, "if we try it again, I'll be better at it."
"I don't know," Topher whispered back, "I thought it was pretty good already."
Theo smiled and his cheeks flushed. "No, I mean...you know...I think I know how to get the hang of it."
"The hang of it?"
Theo rolled his eyes.
EJ stood talking with Candler and Uzi, both single except for a beer. Seth stood behind EJ, sipping his beer and trying to follow the conversation. After ten minutes of listening to endless talk about the game -- they seemed to want to discuss every play in minute detail -- Seth excused himself to go to the bathroom. Three sets of eyes watched his ass as it disappeared across the room.
"This town is too fucking small." It was the anthem of the unattached. This time it was voiced by Uzi. By the time you were a senior, you'd done pretty much everyone you wanted to do. Options became limited: relationship or celibacy. "I can't wait to get out of this fucking little hole." The other two nodded.
"We should go down to the city some time. Maybe Christmas or something. Get a trip together," Candler said. "We could all go in on a room." This, too, was a common motif. A trip to the city was always being planned by some group or another, whether it be to sneak into a club or to get some action. In Candler's case, it would be for both. Some kids actually got excited about it until the reality of their parents or economics intervened.
"People are too fucked up about sex," EJ said. The others nodded, knowing what he meant and agreeing with him. To those for whom sex was merely a fun recreation, the idea that it should be inalterably tied to intimacy was absurd. A useless vestige of the bad old days, like wisdom teeth or an appendix. Sure, there were times when you wanted sex to be intimate. But there were times when you didn't, too. Sometimes a good fuck was just a good fuck.
"At least you had the Rabbit," Uzi said. "He was one-of-a-kind, huh?"
EJ smiled. "Probably a good thing. I don't know if the world could deal with more than one Rabbit."
"He was a fun one," Candler agreed.
EJ knew that the Rabbit had done most of the team. He was an active little boy before they had met and that hadn't changed once they had started going out. It didn't bother EJ in the least. For the Rabbit, it was more from curiosity than anything else. He wanted to experience as many dicks as he could. But he kept coming back to EJ.
"I did Spencer the other night," he'd say. "Never seen such a bent dick in my life. The guy has a permanent left-turn signal going. I kept wanting to spin clockwise while he fucked me. Felt like I was being reamed by a corkscrew..." or, "I met a kid yesterday. Hung like a horse but had absolutely no idea what to do with it. I actually considered going for a slice of pizza in the middle of it. Such a waste..."
He rarely did a guy twice. Once he had satisfied his curiosity, his interest flagged and it was on to the next. EJ was the exception. There was a je ne sait quoi about EJ, except that the Rabbit sait-ed exactly quoi. EJ was special.
A side-effect of their openness with each other was that EJ had a relatively detailed description of what most of his teammates looked like hard and how well or defectively they had sex. It was the Rabbit, in fact who had given Uzi his nickname. His review of Candler was somewhat less flattering. Despite dashing good looks, Candler, it seems, was on the small side of average in both size and imagination.
"Is he coming back for Thanksgiving?" Candler asked.
EJ shrugged. "Don't know. Haven't talked with him."
EJ shrugged again. "Got the poker in a different fire anyway."
"Yeah?" Uzi asked dubiously. "That one?" He pointed toward the stairs that led up to the first floor where the bathroom was. EJ nodded. "Cute little fucker," Uzi said. "Kinda young, though, isn't he?"
"Young enough not to know better, huh?" Candler said with a grin.
"There ain't no better, dude," EJ said without bravado. "He's starting at the top." The other boys laughed.
The kisses were playful and airy. They kept breaking apart to chat. They had little in common, they discovered, save for a love of the water. Topher had defined himself almost completely by sports, and Theo's expertise in that subject was limited to spectating -- and then only in sports in which the tightest clothes were worn.
Theo, on the other hand, described himself as being interested in everything and nothing at the same time. When Topher responded to this with a blank stare, Theo explained by saying that he was a curious but lazy insomniac. So he never really learned anything because it was too much work, but he learned about things because there was nothing else to do in the middle of the night except surf the internet.
They also discovered that they didn't particularly care that they were so different. Theo said, between two kisses, he expected that people were either compatible or they weren't, and that it had nothing to do with what they did or knew. Maybe the two of them just were. Topher said he didn't know. His explanation, between two different kisses, was offered more simply.
Theo frowned. "Isn't that a bad thing?"
"I mean it's easy being with you."
"Oh," Theo said, nodding. "That's different." He kissed Topher on the nose.
They stroked each other but kept it light and above the waist. No one else in the room seemed to be petting that heavily.
"You should see it when we play good," Topher said when Theo had brought it up. "Winning makes us horny."
"But you did win," Theo said , confused.
"Yeah, but...you don't feel as good when you don't play your best, you know? We slacked off because they sucked so bad. We shouldn't'a. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you know?"
Theo nodded. He traced Topher's cheeks where the black paint had been. "That stuff made you look scary."
"It's to cut down on the glare from the lights."
"It was kind of hot," Theo said. Color came into his cheeks.
Theo nodded. "Yeah. Ferocious."
"Yeah," he said, adding, "I liked it." Topher set his face to ferocious. Theo smiled. "You ever get to take the uniform home?" he whispered.
"Those tight lace-up pants too?"
"Good." Theo grinned evilly.
Uzi was telling the sad and tragic tale of his last sexual encounter. The other two boys were in stitches. "So she's like, "if you don't get that thing out of my face, I'm going to bite it off.""
"And?" EJ prompted.
"She wasn't fucking lying. Dude. I think I still have a scar."
Beer sprayed from Candler's nose.
"Dude," EJ said when he regained his composure. "We'll go to the mall. I'll get you someone."
Uzi laughed. "I can get my own ass for myself, fuck you very much."
They bumped knuckles jovially.
"What's with Topher?" Candler asked. They looked across the room to the couch in the corner where Theo was sitting in the big blond's lap. Topher rested his hand on the kid's knee. The two were talking quietly, and it almost looked as if Topher was actually giggling.
"Yeah," EJ said, "Toph' found himself a new toy."
"Really?" Uzi asked.
"Picked him out himself and everything," EJ said. "Just like a grown up." The other two laughed. "Finally, you know?"
"No shit," Candler said. "Did you see him at my party? Fuck."
"Yeah, that was bad. That's where he met the kid though," EJ answered. "And it's good, you know? Look at him." The three watched as the two kissed.
"Yeah, he's cute." Uzi said.
"No, I mean look at Topher," EJ said.
"He's cute too, I guess," Uzi said.
EJ looked at him dumbly until Uzi cracked a grin. The two broke up.
"So what, now you guys are raiding the Sophomore class?" Candler asked, turning back to the other two.
EJ shrugged again. "Done all the upper classmen I want to. Small fucking town, you know?"
"Ain't that the truth," Uzi added.
"Besides, he is a cute little fucker, isn't he? And the mouth on that boy. Like getting blown by a fucking Hoover."
"Nice," Candler said. "Sweet ass, too."
"You know it, dude," EJ said, taking a swig of his beer.
"And he's popular," Uzi said, looking past EJ.
EJ turned to follow his gaze. Seth was leaning with his back against the wall at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the kitchen and bathroom. Tyler was next to him standing very close and talking into his ear.
It was getting difficult to keep the petting light, even if it had been a bad game. The more time Topher spent with Theo, the hotter he got for him.
Funny, but he would never have picked him out of a crowd before they met. To begin with, despite EJ's advice, he hadn't really considered doing a boy. But Theo was easy. It was easy to talk with him, it was easy to be with him. Topher, for the first time in his life, could expect what was coming. When he threatened to beat the kid up, the kid just knew he was joking. He didn't have to spend twenty minutes listening to a lecture on violence. He didn't always have to talk about how he felt about things, which was a good thing because most of the time he himself had no fucking clue. Theo had never once used that phrase that Topher had come to hate more than any other: what'cha thinkin'? It was always a trap and he could never seem to find a way out of it. Topher was bad at lying, and the truth was always the worst choice. "I'm thinking about whether or not I want mustard on my sandwich for when we're done," "I'm wondering if I could finally afford a car if I stopped paying for all these stupid movies," "See how I'm just kind of staring at the corner of the room? I'm thinking about the corner of the room," or the worst answer of all because it was the most true: "nothing."
Learning his way around a boy's body was something new, but it was certainly fun when he had had to learn his way around a girl's, and this exploration was proving to be just as pleasurable. A little easier, to be honest, as he already had a pretty good working understanding of what things did and how things felt.
Theo was funny and easy-going. He was also smart, but in different ways than EJ. A couple of times he had said just the right thing to make Topher feel better. And he was feeling better since he met him. So much better, in fact, that he hardly took notice of MacReady and Lise who had been lip-locked since their arrival. It didn't make him sad anymore. That was a relief. It made him angry instead, but angry was something he could focus out of himself. One of the many benefits of football: angry got heaped on whatever opponent was unlucky enough to find himself opposite you that game.
Theo was also getting cuter by the day. At first, he was just kind of anonymous. But then parts started standing out in his mind. His chest -- smooth, tan, lean, defined but undeveloped. The little hollow where his neck met his trapeziums and the way the gold chain holding the weird cross would sometimes get stuck there. The big brown rings around his little nipples. The way his hair in front never seemed to know where it wanted to be. The way his upper lip stuck out when he was relaxed and the way he chewed on it when he was thinking or nervous. His eyes had become a big draw. They were deep and playful and...Topher had difficulty finding a word for what he saw there. It was different, certainly, than what he saw in Lise's eyes -- or, in fact, in the eyes of his past few girlfriends. He wondered about it.
Lately it had been Theo's ass. His legs were slender and his ass was high and tight. It was smaller than he was used to -- narrower than a girl's. But he liked the look of it, both when the kid was laid out flat and when he had had the kid bent over himself for the rimming. Perhaps that's one of the reasons he didn't play so well today. Against all better judgment, he had jerked off before the game. It was the first time he had ever fantasized about fucking a boy while masturbating. Visions of that tight little ass had made him waste a mighty amount of seed. Maybe that explained the two interceptions.
Why was it so easy with him, Topher wondered? Theo was like a bud. But that didn't seem to capture it either. Topher sighed, chalking it up to another concept he couldn't wrap his head around.
Theo looked up upon hearing the sigh. He didn't say, "what'cha thinkin'?" Topher punched him on the far shoulder, drew him in closer, and smiled.