This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage wherever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional; the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.



Chapter 40

By: Tim Keppler

 How do you tell a six year old about the birds and the bees? The only reasonable answer to this question is "gently". We aren't going to talk about sex, at least not the mechanics of it. Instead, we'll talk about love, and what love means, what commitment means, and what "gay" means. It's important that he knows that before the taunting begins. It's important that he understands just how different we are before some bigot takes the opportunity to tell him.

It was Kenny who started this ball rolling by observing that Kevin is pretty close to putting together all the pieces of this puzzle called "gay family". He'll need help with the last few bits, like why it should be considered just as "natural" as any other family.

"We're going to need to come clean with Kevin pretty soon. He's putting it all together. The three of us, Patrick and William, Gary and Nathan, Ian and Alejandro, even Vijay and Christophe. He's got the outline of the picture already. And he knows it doesn't really match those of his school mates. Either we're going to help him color inside the lines, or his picture runs the risk of being pretty distorted -- by others."

That was a month ago. And in that time two things have happened. The first was parents' night at his school. Kenny was out of town at a gaming convention, and Jason had a performance, so I'd gone on my own. Parents' night is one of those "opportunities" that give me gas. It's an invitation to meet the parents of your child's schoolmates -- whether you want to or not. For extroverts and politicians, it's a golden opportunity to socialize and rub elbows with people just like you. For me, it's a horror. But, you can't not go. So, I went, and tried my best to be engaging.

To be fair, I met some very nice people. The Mazurs, a Jewish couple whose daughter Kevin is sweet on introduced themselves right away, and we laughed about the romance between our respective six-year-olds. In Kindergarten, Kev had made much of his "three daddies," and they'd picked up on this from their daughter. They knew what we were, and didn't seem to care -- I guess because our core values were much like theirs. We were interested in a good education for our kids, a moral positioning that that left our children honorable, but free to be themselves, and a social environment unencumbered by a lot of moral strictures, religious or otherwise. Despite their Jewish antecedents, they were basically secular humanists, just like Jason, Kenny and me. They didn't care how we chose to live our lives as long as we were dedicated to the well being of our kids. They were lovely people, and frankly, very refreshing in this very conservative day and age.

The Gaynors were something else again. Dale Gaynor, their son, is a big kid, certainly bigger than Kevin, who is small for his age anyway. Dale has a chip on his shoulder, it seems, or at least is threatened by things and people that don't reflect his world view. Kevin's Asian-ness was what he went for first, his appearance, and then, the three-daddies thing in Kindergarten galvanized his disaffection. One day about a month ago Kevin came home with a bloody nose, and I got a call from the school principal. He'd been attacked by Dale, who'd been suspended in rather worse shape than Kevin. Despite their disparity in size, Kevin had been the better fighter and Dale had ultimately run from the fight, crying. Kevin had immediately told his teacher what had happened, and the school's "zero tolerance" rule kicked in. Dale was suspended for a week

As the parents mingle, I find myself face to face with Dale's father. "You're the faggot whose son beat up my kid and then got him suspended, aren't you?" he asks, aggressively.

"No," I reply with a smile. "I'm the faggot whose son yours attacked, resulting in his justifiable suspension. I did hear that Kevin defended himself rather well, despite being about six inches shorter and twenty pounds lighter than your son. Hopefully, they won't have to go through this again. Good to meet you," I say, smiling again and moving on, leaving Mr. Gaynor flushed and angry.

The second precipitator of a bird-and-bees discussion with Kevin was a video left in the DVD-player in the living room. It's Bel Ami. Kevin has learned to turn on the DVD player, and the TV, and likes to watch the videos we've bought for him -- Bambi, Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins. The usual stuff. We'd watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the evening before, but after the boys had gone to bed, Kenny had put on Frisky Summer from Bel Ami, and we'd inadvertently left it in the player. Kev, having woken up early, had gone out to the living room expecting to find Gene Wilder on the screen when he turned on the DVD, but found instead Johan Paulik, the very hunky star of a large number of Bel Ami features. Who knows how long he watched, but Jason found him rapt when he came out to make breakfast. "What are they doing, Daddy?" he asks.

These kinds of surprises need never be traumatic for kids. The only time they become traumatic for kids is when they're traumatic for us, when we overreact, implying that there's somehow something wrong with sex. Thankfully, Bel Ami is pretty tame stuff, emphasizing both pleasure and affection. Rather than jumping forward and turning off the TV, Jason sits down next to Kevin and watches with him for a few minutes. "What do you think those guys are feeling?" he asks.

"I don't know," Kevin replies.

"Do you think they're mad at each other?"

"No," he says slowly, thinking through what he's seeing. "They must really like each other to do that. It's like Kai `n me. When he comes down from his bunk and we cuddle at night."

"Right," Jason says, giggling.

"But, why does that one guy have his wee-wee in that guy's butt?"

"Sometimes it feels good, Kev. Some guys like that. It's an adult thing, though. If you're little, it doesn't feel very good, so I wouldn't try it with your buddies."

"No," he says slowly, but emphatically. "I don't think I like anyone that much, yet."

Jason has to work to suppress a laugh, and reaches forward, finally, turning off the TV and DVD player. Then he stands and ruffles Kevin's hair. "Want some breakfast?"

"Yeah," Kevin says, jumping up from the floor, excited. "Banana."

Jason smiles, as they make their way toward the kitchen.

The last precipitating event leading to our birds-and-bees discussion is a simple question from Kevin when he gets home from school one afternoon. "What's `gay' mean?"

I'm in my office when he comes to find me to ask me this. "It has a bunch of meanings, Kev. How was it used?"

"Bobby said we're gay."

"Who's `we'?"

He looks confused.

"Do you think he was being nice, or mean?"

"Mean. He said my three daddies was gay."

The time has come. I pat my lap, and Kevin comes to me, perching on my right knee. "Well, technically, he's right, Kev, but mostly this is something someone says to you when they want to make you feel bad. But, it shouldn't make you feel bad. It's not bad to be gay, it's just...different. Think about your girlfriend, Diane."

"She's not my girlfriend," he giggles, flushed.

"But...you like her, right?"

"Yeah," he says, embarrassed.

"How is her family different from yours?"

He looks confused.

"Who makes her breakfast, do you think?"

"Her mommy?"

"Right. Who makes your breakfast?"


"And who's Jason," I ask with a smile.

"He's my daddy, silly!" he says, indignant at the stupid question.

I laugh. "Right. So how is Diane's family different from yours?"

"She has a mommy?"

"Right. And you have three daddies." Kevin nods. "Why do Diane's mommy and daddy live together, do you think?"

"Because they like each other? And because they have to take care of Diane?"

"Good. And why do Jason, Kenny and I live together?"

Long pause. This is a discovery. Something he's always known, but never known he's known. "Because...you like each other...and...and...because you have to take care of us...Kai and me."

"Right. Some families have a mommy and a daddy, and some families, like yours, have more than one daddy, or more than one mommy. Some families have just one daddy or mommy. There are lots of different kinds of families. Some boys and girls live with their grandparents. Uncle Gary grew up with his grandma. Did you know that?" Kevin shakes his head. "His mommy and daddy died, and his grandma loved him so much that she adopted him -- she let him live at her house and took care of him. She made his breakfast. He was like you -- his mommy and daddy loved him so much that they asked someone else to come and take care of their children when they couldn't. For Gary it was his grandma. For you, it was Kenny, Jason and me. What do you think love is, Kev? What's it mean?"

Kevin thinks. "It means hugs. It means kisses. It means bananas for breakfast," he screams. "You love me, don't you?" he asks, suddenly in earnest.

"Of course I love you," I say, giving him a hug. "Who else do you think I love?"

Kevin thinks. "Well, you love Kai, and Jason, and Kenny, and... Is there someone else?"

"Yeah, but those are the main ones. You, Kai, Kenny and Jason. I love the four of you most of all. And, what love means to me is that I want to take care of you, to make sure you have everything you need -- including bananas for breakfast," I laugh. "Your classmate who says we're `gay' is trying to make you feel bad because your family doesn't have a mommy. He wants to make you feel bad because your daddies love each other. You should ignore him, Kev. You should tell him he's a jerk. You should know that no one could love you more than Kenny, Jason and I. You and Kai are the most important things to us in the whole wide world. You're more important than the stars. You're more important than...music. You're more important than BANANAS!" I scream, tickling him.

He descends into paroxysm of laughter, and we hug fiercely.

Round one complete.


Soon after Kenny had finished his doctorate at Stanford, he began looking for a job, and found one almost immediately at San Jose State. The idea of a state school having the author of the Dark Angel game series on its staff appealed to the computer science department chairman. He saw it as a huge draw, and offered Kenny what is in academics a generous salary. I was a little confused, myself. I mean, what is in academics "generous" is paltry by comparison with what he could make by concentrating on the games themselves. But, at some level his move was understandable. Kenny is the most social of the three of us, and writing code is a very anti-social profession, designed for people who live predominantly in their own heads. Before I'd gone off on my own, before I'd taken control of my own schedule, I'd get into the office at 9am, close my door, start to work, and ten minutes later would emerge at 5:30pm. My concentration was so intense that I'd lose all sense of time. And, I would have no contact with anyone. Personally, I like that. But, then, I'm a serious introvert. So is Jason, and that was the early appeal of software development for him. That's also why he loves music so much. But Kenny, while he's still fairly introverted, is more social than either Jason or I. He likes meeting people more than we do. He's more easily able to establish new relationships, to "put himself out there," something I'm not good at, and Jason is terrible at. To his credit, Kenny knows this about himself, and so went looking for a job that would give him more interaction than what he'd been doing while still providing creative time to build the kind of games that he dreams of.

The result for us, for Jason and me, is that we get to meet a lot of nerdy grad students, Kenny's groupies. Gary accused me years ago of collecting "strays," guys who need some guidance. It was a fair evaluation. I have that tendency. But so does Kenny. That's how we met Andrew, a recovering consumer of recreational drugs who, ultimately, didn't recover. We all loved him mightily, but he took a big toll on our emotional well-being, and ultimately nearly tore my heart out. He curbed my interest in strays. Kenny has replaced me as the collector of strays, and brings a host of students home to meet us, all of them very smart, and very interested in meeting me based on the reputation of several games I've written in the past. And, in truth, I'm happy to meet them as well, to better understand where the industry is going based on their ideas. I am, I must admit, exceptionally careful with the boys following Kai's molestation. Kai and Kev are never out of my sight when we have guests. Kenny and Jason are equally vigilant, although none of the guys Kenny brings home seems in any way a threat to the boys. But then, would I have picked Charlie out of a crowd as a child molester? Probably not. Better to be safe...

One recurring guest is a Vietnamese guy who is functioning as Kenny's teaching assistant, and what's unusual about this is that he's an undergrad. Usually, TAs are grad students, but this kid is so bright, so quick to learn, and, frankly, so in need of a source of income to finance his education, that Kenny has been able to convince the university to employ him. It's worth mentioning that he's drop-dead gorgeous, worth mentioning because I'd swear I've seen him before. On his third or forth visit Kenny invites him to dinner, and somewhere in the middle of the meal I find myself staring at him. Kenny gives me a nudge, noticing my fixation, and I look away, but maybe half an hour later I'm staring once again. Finally, catching myself, I apologize. "I'm sorry," I say. "I know I've been staring all evening. I just have this really weird feeling that I've seen you somewhere before, but I don't know where on earth that would be. You must look like someone else I've seen." He smiles and nods, and we move on to dessert, after which I put the boys to bed and we all move to the living room for coffee.

We start to talk theory, and, frankly, Kenny and Dinh, Kenny's friend, are way better versed in this than I am by now. My academic experience is years old; theirs is current. Jason is playing the piano, and I'm sort of...spacing, once again staring at this boy, absently. And then it hits me. "Before you enrolled at San Jose, what'd you do?"

Dinh suddenly looks really uncomfortable. "Umm...I was an...actor...sort of. I lived in L.A."

Kenny looks surprised, and I giggle. "An actor...sort of," I repeat.

"Yeah...sort of."

"Were you in anything I might have seen?" I ask with a slight smile.

"I doubt it," he says, clearly nervous.

Kenny gives me a quizzical look, and I let it go...for now. At about 10pm, Dinh leaves, escorted out by Kenny. I go to the closet in the living room, sorting through the meager porn collection we have. I know exactly where I've seen this boy. The question is, do I own it, or did I see it with someone else. Finally, I find the disk I'm looking for, and pop it in the DVD player as Kenny returns to the living room. Pushing play, I advance through the disk until I find the scene I have in mind, and then I freeze the frame. There, on the screen, is Dinh, his dick in the mouth of another Asian guy. The video is called Asian Heat, and Dinh is billed as "Sum Yung Manh." How original. I turn to look at Kenny, whose eyes are glued to the screen, and I begin to laugh, and then he begins to laugh.

"This is just too damned funny," he says. "Oh, I am going to tease him..."

"No, you're not," I respond. "You can't get away with that. You'd freak him. He'd be too embarrassed to work for you...or with you. But...umm...I can mention it ...in passing. Next time he's here." Kenny nods, still giggling. This boy must have had some serious income issues. And, how old was he when he made this video? Judging by the copyright, it's five years old. I peg him at 21 or 22 now. In either case, he was under age. Pressing play, we watch the rest of the video. He is a very talented boy. Very talented! And, very attractive. Maybe, in this case, talent and attraction are the same.

Two days later, Dinh is back, helping Kenny with interface issues. I'm in the kitchen, helping Jason chop veggies and watching Kevin and Kai do their homework -- coloring a picture of the family with crayons. Dinh comes in for a glass of water, and I get him a glass from the cupboard, filling it from the tap. As I hand it to him, I whisper, "Sum Yung Manh, wasn't it?" He looks at me in terror, going absolutely white mid-sip. He's been found out. I grab him by the arm and maneuver him out of the kitchen into the entryway. "I'm right, aren't I?"

He looks at the floor and slowly nods.

"It doesn't matter. None of us cares. I have a video with you in it. I knew I'd seen you before, but couldn't place where until you'd gone home last time." Dinh looks really scared...really sick. "Have you ever been to N'Touch in San Francisco?"

Dinh nods.

"Next time you're here, remind me, and I'll show you a video of Kenny and Jason masquerading as go-go boys at N'Touch. They don't do a very good job at impersonation, though. You can tell right away that they're not real go-go boys...because they're naked."

With those last three words, Dinh's eyes get really big with amazement, and then he starts to laugh. And then he stops. "Does Kenny know...umm...about me?"

"Yeah, I know," says a smiling Kenny, who has quietly slipped in behind him from the living room. Reaching forward, he grasps the back of Dinh's neck and gives it a squeeze. "What's the big deal, Dinh? Tim thinks you have a cute ass, and I have to agree with him." Then he switches to Cantonese, and they begin an animated discussion with much laughter. I think they just bonded, which is probably a good thing for a professor and his TA.


"You know we do, Kev. You've seen us. "

Kevin has decided that he wants to talk about the mechanics of male-to-male sex, having watched enough of the Bel Ami video with Jason to get the idea. A year or so ago, when he walked in on us, he didn't care. Now he does. He's growing up, getting curious.

"But...umm...why. What's it mean?"

Slowly. Softly. "It means we really, really love each other. It means we've chosen each other and plan to spend our whole lives together."

"You mean like Diane's mommy and daddy?"

"Yup. Exactly the same."

He looks confused. "But, aren't you supposed to do that with...a lady?"

"You can. Lots of guys do live with ladies. But some guys prefer other guys. It just depends on how you're born. Some boys are born with an attraction to girls, and some are born with an attraction to boys."

"What's `attraction'?"

"It means who you fall in love with. I only ever fall in love with other boys, with Kenny and Jason. Diane's daddy falls in love with girls, with Diane's mommy."

"And...and when you're in love you do like in the video?"

I nod. "Sometimes. When you're in love you want to make the person you love feel good. You want to touch that person. That's what was happening in the video. They were touching each other, making each other feel good. It's really an adult thing though. You're probably too young to feel good that way."

"Umm...I like when Kai cuddles with me."

"That's because you love Kai, but it's a different kind of love from what Diane's mommy and daddy feel, or what Kenny, Jason and I feel. Someday you'll find someone who you'll love just like Diane's mommy and daddy love each other, just like Jason, Kenny and I love each other. It may be a boy or a girl. You won't be sure who you love for several more years, though."

"When will I know?"

"It's going to be a while, Kev. Maybe ten years. You have to grow up some more before you know. Don't worry about it, okay? You'll have plenty of time." I give him a hug, and then bounce him on my knee, something he seems never to tire of. Finally, he hears Kenny coming into the house, and races off to greet him.

Round two successfully concluded.


 Maybe a week after my revelation to Dinh that I'd finally figured out where I'd seen him before, Kenny comes into the office and plunks himself down in one of the leather chairs. "'Sup?" I ask.

He looks sheepish. "I'm almost afraid to start this conversation. Well, not afraid, exactly. I'm just not really sure how you'll...umm...take it."

I try to give him a reassuring smile, but with an intro like this, I'm a little apprehensive. "Just jump in, Kenny."

"Dinh is having trouble...umm...making ends meet."

The minute these words are out of his mouth, I know exactly where this is going. In fact, I've sort of been expecting this conversation and trying to figure out how I'd handle it. I don't have a clear-cut answer, so I wait for Kenny to present his case.

"He's surviving on a really limited budget. His parents aren't well-off and can't really help him with school, and they live in L.A., so it's not like he can live with them while he goes to school. He hasn't been...umm...eating very well because most of what he earns working for me goes either to rent or tuition. His options are pretty limited. He can quit school and get a job, which'll support him, but not very well because he won't have a college degree -- sort of like me when I was working at Nordstrom's. In his case, though, he'll know what he's missing out on. I didn't. Or, he can look for a second job to supplement his income as a TA. In both cases, I lose. If he quits school, I lose my TA, and if he gets a second job while still going to school and TAing for me, I lose a lot of his attention, and certainly a lot of the extra stuff he's been doing for me in building new games. That means that I won't be able to produce those games as quickly, and that has an impact on our collective income."

I have to smile. Kenny has truly grown up. He has basically presented me with a business case rather than a request based on emotional justifications. He has set this up so that Dinh's plight has a clearly perceivable impact on our family income. "And...?" I say, with just a hint of a smile playing out across my face.

"And...umm...could he move in with us? That'd save him the expense of rent, and ensure he has actual food to eat. I'm really concerned for him, Tim."

All of this I process as I stare aimless at Kenny. As I say, I've been expecting this conversation for a while, and wasn't really sure how I'd react. This is another stray. Still, we have the room, and I have the sense that Kenny really likes this guy -- likes him as an efficient and hardworking TA, of course, but likes him as a fellow human being as well. And why not? He seems like a very nice guy.

"How much does he know about us, Kenny?"

"He's got a pretty clear picture of us, I think."

"Is he gay?"

Kenny gives me a look. "Have you had your gaydar serviced recently? Of course he's gay."

I laugh. "Just checking. Have you talked to Jason about this?"

"Yeah. He's fine with it. He likes Dinh."


"Not that I can tell. I thought I'd leave that to you to ferret out."

I nod. "We're...umm...not exactly traditional, Kenny. We're not exactly your average gay...threesome. Does he know about our relationships.

"Actually, he...umm...does." I give him an amused, quizzical look. "We went to the gym together a couple weeks ago. I don't really think about my appearance all that much anymore, so after we'd worked out, I hit the shower, one of those two-man shower rooms. Dinh came in a few minutes later and was...surprised. It was the day after you'd spanked me," he says, giggling, "so, not only was I shaved, but I was red."

"Oh... And what was his reaction?"

"Well, it actually led to an interesting conversation. He apparently dated a fairly dominant guy...and liked it. I don't think Dinh really likes making decisions for himself, not even simple decisions. He reminds me a lot of Jason. And, it's interesting because, as a TA and an undergrad, he's basically in a position of power over peers. It's not like he has a diploma to justify why he can issue a C on an exam to some guy who's in the same French class as he's in. He has to exert authority based solely on character and strength of will. I don't think that's very comfortable for him. The good news is, he's so smart that he's rarely wrong in his judgments of others, and they know it. I had a number of conferences with disgruntled students early on who'd received a poor grade from him, and I've never found a justification to reverse him."

"So, what'll his roll be when he comes to us? Is he the junior houseboy?"

Kenny laughs. "You can try to sell that to him. I'm not sure how he'll react to that. He's pretty desperate for a way to stay in school, and, as I say, he's been a happy houseboy before, I think. It might fly."

"Okay. When's he coming over ne..."

At that moment the doorbell rings. "Now," Kenny replies, giggling as he gets up and moves to the entryway. They have a brief conversation in Cantonese, during which Dinh looks amazed, and then throws himself at Kenny, hugging him. Then he appears at my door, and I motion him in, telling him to close the door behind him. I point to the chair that Kenny was sitting in, and he sits down.

"So, Kenny tells me you could use some help."

He nods.

"We've had a number of guys live with us over the years, and Jase and Kenny tell me that my style on the first interview is a bit intense. They've told me that I need to tone it down, but I don't really get what I need to out of a toned-down interview. So, instead, I'll just warn you that this won't be light-weight."

He nods again.

"Are you gay?"

He nods.

"Because we are. Who are you out to?"

He laughs. "Everyone. How could I not..."

"Yeah. Kenny said the same thing," I say, interrupting him. "He asked me if the service plan on my gaydar had run out. I just want to be sure. What do you think you know about us, about how we live?"

"Kenny's told me a little. He and Jason are submissive to you, he says. You make most of the decisions and keep the house running, and you share responsibilities for cooking and cleaning. Money is pooled. Honestly, Mr. Jensen, I can't contribute much money, certainly not what the three of you contribute, but I can work. I cook -- mostly Vietnamese, but Kenny says you all love Vietnamese food. And I can help with the cleaning. And...if my performance isn't acceptable, you can...umm...punish me."

"It's Tim, by the way. Kenny mentioned that you'd been in a relationship with a dominant partner. How'd that go?"

Dinh goes beet red. "I...umm... guess I liked it. I loved him, but we didn't...last. We wanted different things." He looks really embarrassed.

"What did he want?"

"He wanted...umm...a plain-vanilla boyfriend."

"And you?"

He flushes more deeply crimson. "I...umm...I wanted someone more...forceful."

"What's that mean?"

I don't see how this boy can flush any redder than he is, but he does, and starts to look at his feet, to examine the carpet. "I...wanted...someone more...dominant."

"To do what?"

He looks up at me, almost anguished. "To...help me make decisions."

"About what?"


"Why are you so...sensitive about this?"

"I dunno. I guess I still feel a little weird about being...weak."

"Is submissiveness weakness? There are some who will tell you that the submissives are the strong ones. I don't know many people stronger than Jason. He's not especially good at making day-to-day decisions, like what clothes to buy or what movies to see, but he's especially good at leading the string section of a world-class symphony orchestra. Is that weakness? His strengths are simply different from mine, and mine are different from Kenny's, who's much better at meeting people and establishing relationships than either Jason or me. No one is weak, I think. We're just not strong in the same things." I don't think Dinh has ever thought about life this way. He looks very thoughtful.


"Do you take drugs?"


Dinh shakes his head.


"Have you ever taken drugs?"


He shakes his head again.


"Because if I ever find drugs here, they can only be yours, and I will kick your ass before I kick you out. I will not have drugs in the house. This is my baggage, I realize. They destroy people's lives, Dinh. They will not destroy mine." He nods. "Do you like kids?"


He looks at me blankly.


"We have two boys, Kevin and Kai. Have you met them?"


He nods, smiling. "Yeah, they're cute. Really cute."


"Anyone who lives with us is signing up to help protect them, to keep them safe. Okay?"


"Yes," he nods, smiling. "I'd do that anyway."


"Umm...last question. Have you been tested for HIV?"


He nods. "I get tested every six months." I look at him quizzically. "I know. That sounds like I'm really promiscuous. I'm not. I've had sex with...umm...three people so far. I'm pretty tame. I wanted to make testing a routine, something I do without thinking about it. AIDS is a part of our lives. Prevention should be a part of our lives, too. I get tested every six months."


"Can you show me the test results?"


He thinks. "I can show you the last ones, and maybe the others. I know where the last ones are. I'm not sure I kept the others."


"The last ones are fine. You seem very sweet. I don't see why you shouldn't move in with us. It's certainly a better option than quitting school. I'll expect you to participate as part of the family, to help Jason and Kenny with the cleaning, and definitely to cook regularly. I love Vietnamese food, and having a captive chef is a dream come true. And, I'll expect you to help out with Kev and Kai, taking them to school sometimes, playing with them. Being a friend to them. And, if you misbehave..."


"I'll expect to be punished."


A week later, Kev comes home with another bloody nose, and a black eye -- and a serious case of the giggles. This time I call the school, and ask to speak with the principal, and am transferred almost instantly. "What the heck is going on?" I ask. "Kevin is bloody and bruised...again. Is this another incident with Dale?"

"Yes," the principal says. "It was unprovoked as far as I can tell, although Dale tells a different story. But, nobody saw any provocation, and we've talked to most of Kevin's classmates. Dale has continued to tease Kevin, and from what I hear from their classmates, Dale simply tackled him and starting hitting him. Kevin didn't fight back. I've expelled Dale. He won't be back. This is over as far as I'm concerned."

I thank the principal and return to the bathroom, where Dinh is cleaning Kevin up. "Why the giggles, Kev?"

"I figured that if Dale thought he was being mean by always saying we're gay, he must think that's a pretty bad thing. So, I told Donnie, his best friend, that he's gay, and Donnie told him I said it. Dale chased me around the playground until I let him catch me, in front of Mrs. Caspar. He hit me, and I let him." There's a sparkle in his eye, black and bruised as it is. This is called entrapment, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it. He has figured out a non-violent way of dealing with his problem, but it's devious in the extreme. Still, it has kept him whole and solved a problem I wasn't sure how to handle. Mulling this over, I finally conclude that the best response is no response. Kevin gave Dale a taste of his own medicine, and Dale responded as Kevin had not. It didn't really matter whether the circumstances were manufactured or not. Dale responded as Kevin had not. I wasn't going to congratulate Kevin on his ingenuity, but neither was I going to punish him for figuring out a way to end the bullying. God knows, if I'd had to deal with this problem, the solution might not have been pretty either. Kevin had taken it on in his own way, and solved it expeditiously. I was secretly proud of him.

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