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 41

By: Tim Keppler

 "He wants to do what?"

Kenny and I are sitting in the living room sipping our coffee. It's Friday morning, a beautiful, sunny day. Kevin and Kai are out with Dinh, riding their bikes. Kenny and I would have gone with them, but we're exhausted, having helped Dinh move in. Dinh's departure was a surprise to his five room mates, apparently, but their economic situations are better than his, I guess, and the loss of his contribution to the rent didn't have a big impact. He actually borrowed money from Kenny to pay what he owed in past rent, a little under $200. I really feel sorry for this boy. He's had a pretty rough ride for quite a long time.

"Kevin says he wants to go to Sunday school," Kenny repeats.

I look at him, incredulous. "No fucking way. No son of mine..." And then I remember my own parents, and my own life. When I was eight, in the second grade, not far from where Kevin is now, I'd taken it into my head to go the Sunday school. A classmate of mine had raved about how much fun it was. He'd gone to a church directly across the street from my house, a church that one bright Sunday morning had witnessed the assassination of a particularly obnoxious gopher at the murderous hands of my father. It was to this church that I asked to be sent -- to Sunday school. My mother's reaction was calm, measured. My mother hated organized religion as much as my father, but she was very pragmatic. She knew this would pass, and that its passing would have far greater impact on me if she let the church alienate me rather than doing the job herself. My father was apoplectic, and his reaction had been exactly the same as mine: "No fucking way. No son of mine..." But, where I'd stopped in my tracks, thinking of Dad, my father had continued, ranting and raving for days. Mom ultimately prevailed and enrolled me in the very next Sunday school session. On that day, she dressed me and delivered me to the church at precisely 8:30 with a kiss and an admonition to "be good."

And I was good. I was quiet and well behaved, and put my quarter into the light house when it was passed around. The blue-haired lady talked about Jesus, about how virtuous he was, and about how he'd died for my sins. I raised my hand, I remember, and asked what sins I'd committed. I didn't know. She didn't either. "We are all sinners, Timothy. We are all born into evil." I remember being confused by that, and going home and asking Mom (instinctively knowing that this was a Mom question, and not a Dad question) what sins I'd committed. She knew what she was supposed to say, and knew she couldn't say it, and so she mentioned my messy room, thinking she could parlay this opportunity into something positive. It didn't work. My room stayed just as messy as it had always been, and I think she was secretly relieved. It had been a miraculous conversion -- for her, not for me. My messy room was now a triumph, and she didn't pester me about it until months later.

It took me four weeks, four weeks of utter confusion. In class we talked about Adam and Eve, something about immaculate conception (which was a hoot because I didn't even know what non-immaculate conception was), about the parting of the red sea, about the ten commandments and about the crucifixion. It was mind-numbing, completely incomprehensible. Each Sunday, I'd come home from school and ask my Mom for an explanation, and she'd shrug. "Some people believe that, Timmy. I think you have to have faith." But, what was faith, and how did it make this stuff more...rational.

Finally, in desperation, I asked my father, and he was surprisingly calm, having deduced, I imagine, that my tenure with the church was nearly at an end and that he didn't need to let his blood pressure get the better of him. "My mother used to take me to Sunday school, too, and I never understood it either, baby. I don't think she did either. At least she could never explain it to me. Do you know how babies are normally made?" he'd asked, with a smile. I shook my head, and he reached out and hugged me. "That's okay. You will later."

That was it. The following Saturday, I told Mom that I wanted to sleep in tomorrow. I didn't want to go to Sunday school. I didn't want to endure another inexplicable rant from the blue-haired lady. My Dad and I went on a bike ride on Sunday morning instead, which was way more fun. And that was the end of my religious training. Amen.

So, Kevin wants to go to Sunday school, and like me, he's been seduced into this by a school mate who goes to a local church -- methodist. If it had been catholic, I'd have put my foot down. There are just way too many perverts in the catholic church. But methodist is fine, I guess. Kenny calls and enrolls him. On Sunday, I get him up and dressed, and take him to the church. There I'm greeted by a guy at the high end of fifty who looks starched but friendly. Shy little Kev is holding onto my leg, but is ultimately coaxed out from behind me by this fellow and led into a room with probably twenty other boys and girls his age. And, then they begin the "sermon" and I have to get out of there because I simply can't put up with this medievalism. It isn't in me. I know there are some who will find my intolerance...well...intolerant. I know there are some who embrace this claptrap. I can't do it. I sit in the waiting room reading a book, glancing in every now and then to make sure Kevin is okay. At the end of the hour, Kevin wanders out looking...confused. "How was it?" I ask him.

He looks at me, dazed. He says not a word, not a single word. I lead him to the car, and strap him into the front seat. I hug him. Not a word.

And then I get in and begin to drive, and he begins to cry. I am seriously freaked. I pull over to the curb, and park, popping his safety belt, and lifting him onto my lap. "What's wrong, baby?" He cries for another ten minutes, but can't articulate what it is that's causing him to feel so bad. Finally, he's cried out. I give him one last hug, and set him back in his seat, strapping him in. I don't know about this Sunday school shit. What can that guy, Mr. Grummond, have said to get Kevin so wound up.

And that's what I ask Mr. Grummond when I get him on the phone an hour later. "What did you talk about in your class today?"

He's a little put off. I mean, I'm certain he knows who he's dealing with, here. My body-language alone must have told him that I'm a non-believer. So, he chooses his words carefully. "Umm...we discussed the life of...Jesus."

"Christ!" I says, in exasperation.

"Yes, exactly."

"No, I mean... Forget it. And, what did you tell them about Jesus?"

"Well...umm...that he was wise, the son of God, that he was oppressed, and that he died...for our sins."

"And...umm...did you provide details of his...death."

"Well, yes."

"And, was that toward the end of your...class."


"And, that was all you discussed?"

"Yes. Well, I mean, we had introductions for the new...students. But the life of Jesus was the `content'."

"I see. Okay. Thanks."

"Will Kevin be back next week, Mr. Jensen?"

I pause for several seconds. "I'm not sure, Mr. Grummond. That'll probably depend on Kevin."

Next I call Sylvia Immer, the mother of the boy, Sean, who talked Kevin into going to this thing in the first place, and we chat about Sean's experiences. "He's a little intense," she says of Grummond. "He seems to be very good at the graphic details of his...umm...stories, very good at making them real. Verisimilitude. If I'd know how good, I'm not sure I'd have let Sean go in the first place. But, he was...drawn into it by another boy in his class who goes."

And now I see the reality of this Sunday school scam. It's a giant pyramid scheme. Some boy seduces Sylvia's son, who seduces Kevin. Who will Kevin seduce? Endless recruitment. Harvey Milk, the first gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, used to begin speeches with "I'm Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you." It was a signature line that capitalized on the Religious Right's propensity for characterizing gay people as recruiters of their children to the "gay lifestyle", whatever the hell that is. I never understood this posturing as anything more than a message to middle-America that your child could be next. Nobody really believes that recruitment is actually going on, do they? Yet, here I am thinking about Kevin in the same terms. He's been recruited into this christian cult horseshit, and I've no idea what to do. Do I put my foot down early, minimizing the damage, but limiting his exposure to other beliefs? Or, do I let the exposure continue, trusting that Kevin will have the good sense to sort out what's true based on what we've already taught him? It's an agonizing question, a question that suddenly gives me a much better insight into how "Red Staters" think.

Soon after Massachusetts approved same-sex marriage, the anti-gay bigots started bringing law suits against school boards state-wide for having the temerity to acknowledge that couples of the same sex could marry in Massachusetts. This meant, in their cosmology, that the schools were "teaching gay marriage". Sigh... But, here I am wrestling with the option of forbidding Kevin to go to Sunday school because I don't want him internalizing this silly mythology. Aphrodite was not born from the severed genitals of her father, Uranus; Narcissus did not die staring at his own reflection in the river; and Jesus Christ was not the son of god. Still, while I understand that I am an anti-christian bigot, do I have the right to impose my views on Kevin as the anti-gay bigots in Massachusetts (and California, for that matter) would impose their views on their children? Remembering the patient wisdom of my mother, I conclude that it's not my right. We'll do what Kevin wants, and comfort him along the way, as required.

And, what Kevin wants, on the second Sunday of his religious conversion, is to go to Sunday school, and that's where we find ourselves, bright and early Sunday morning. As much as I detest the religious propaganda spewed in these places, I decide that this time, I'll sit in the back of the room and observe, if only to be sure that I'm in a position to comfort Kevin if Grummond's homilies get too intense. And, honestly, they are pretty intense. He talks about Lot, whose wife turns to a pillar of salt, about Cain and Able, and about god's instruction to Abraham that he kill his only son. Again, Kevin emerges dazed, lost. He doesn't cry this time, but he is very, very quiet for most of the rest of the day. Not even Kai is successful at drawing him out of himself. Kenny is ready to pull him from this program, but I still can't quite bring myself to intervene. This is some scary shit, I'll grant you, especially for a six year old, but I think it still has to be Kevin's choice.

On the third Sunday, we arrive right on time. Once again, I sit in the back of the room, this time with two other parents whom I don't know. Grummond starts out with the story of Solomon (Kings 3:16-28) who suggests to two women that they cut a child in two to determine the true mother. As he pursues this story (with graphic detail) you can sense the anxiety building in the room. The children begin to squirm, some sniffing. After Solomon, he moves to Sodom and Gomorrah, outlining the story and expounding on its moral tenets. He talks about sin, and begins to delve, albeit obliquely, into the area of gay relationships, painting same-sex unions as dishonorable, as sinful, as hell-bound. I'm absolutely astonished, both at the subject matter and at the level of detail he pursues. He talks about "wickedness", and "abomination". He asks if anyone knows what abomination means, and entertains several definitions from the children. About half way through his exposition, his diatribe, on the sin of homosexuality, Kevin begins to cry, and then to sob. He gets up from his seat, and runs to me, throwing himself into my lap. I hug him, dazed for a moment, and then I find myself more furious than I think I've ever been in my life. I stand, a tearful Kevin in my arms, and maneuver my way down the line of metal chairs. A silent Grummond follows me with his eyes, as astonished, I think, as I am. When I get to the end of the row, I stare at him, still furious. "You, sir, are a pervert. The worst kind of child-molester. We will not be back." The room is absolutely still, and everyone watches as we leave.

As I bundle Kevin into the car, strapping him into his seat, I notice the two other parents sitting next to me emerge, one carrying a little boy, and one herding two girls and a boy out of the church. I hear from Sylvia Immer, five weeks later at a PTA meeting, that this particular Sunday school class has been disbanded, and that Grummond is no longer teaching Sunday school. I lodged a complaint with the church, but took it no further than that. They apparently heard from others, and concluded that it was probably best to cut their losses.

Was it the class, or the religion? Each of us will probably have a different answer to that. The bible is full of some pretty sick shit, but there are a lot of other scary books out there: Dante's Divine Comedy, Boccaccio's Decameron, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, even Shakespeare. But these we don't feed to six-year-olds. These come with at least an R-rating. With the bible, we feel compelled to packaged it up in bite-sized pieces and force it on the innocent. I honestly would have gone out and found another Sunday school class for Kevin, had he wanted it. I would've been a hell of a lot more careful about screening the classes than I was in the case of Grummond's, but I would have gone and found him one. He was adamant, however, that he would never go to Sunday school again, and Kenny was equally adamant. What Sunday school had tried to teach him was how to be a bigot. Kevin had confronted that with such anguish that it had left an indelible mark on him, and in this, I must confess, I took secret satisfaction. Like my mother before me, I'd left it to the church to alienate Kevin rather than doing the job myself, and they'd come through for me in spades. Amen!


About a week after his last Sunday school class, Kevin asks if we can invite Diane and her mommy and daddy to dinner. "That's a terrific idea, Kev. You've sure chowed down with them often enough. I think we'd all like to get to know them better."

The truth is, Kevin and Diane have become pretty tight, and Kevin has spent a lot of time at her house, which is closer to school than ours. I'd met Diane's parents at a back-to-school gathering, and was really impressed. We want Kevin to understand "family" from as many perspectives as possible, and the Mazurs strike me as ideal heterosexual role models for him. They don't seem judgmental, and clearly adore each other and their daughter. Given that there's a better than 90% chance that Kevin will turn out to be heterosexual, he needs exposure to heterosexual families, and the Mazurs are almost made to order. But, in truth, we don't know them very well. My meeting with them at school is the limit of our face time, and while I've talked to Shelly, Diane's Mom, on the phone several times, neither Kenny nor Jason has ever spoken to either of them. Dinner is a wonderful idea; I call immediately to set it up.

I reach Shelly, and she's excited about the idea. "I've mentioned to Paul (her husband) that we should invite you guys over, but you've beaten me to it. We'd love to come. When would you like us?"

"What works for you? Any evening this week would be good for us. Oops. Wait. Any evening except Thursday or Friday. Jason, my husband, will be working those evenings." We agree on Wednesday, two days from today.

"What does your husband do?" she asks, curious.

"He's a violinist with the San Francisco Symphony," I respond. I realize this vastly minimizes his role with the Symphony, but when you say "Concertmaster" to someone who doesn't know much about symphony hierarchy, they tend to be confused. "Violinist" is much simpler, something a neophyte can latch onto.

"Really? How wonderful! We're subscribers to the Symphony. We attend pretty much every program. What's his name?"

"Jason Leong."

There's a pause of several seconds. "Oh, my god. He's not just a violinist. He's the first violinist, the Concertmaster." So much for my theory. "And, he's an amazing pianist as well. We saw him play, what was it...Beethoven. The first piano concerto, and a sonata. He's your husband?"

"I'm afraid he is," I confide with a giggle.

"Oh, my god. We'd love to meet him." And then she giggles. "And, of course, we'll look forward to seeing you as well."

I can't help it. I just start to laugh, and then she starts to laugh. "I'm flattered," I say, and she giggles. "Wednesday, then?"

"Wednesday. Bye until then."

This should be fun. Technically, Wednesday is Dinh's night to cook, but I want Jason to take this one. Dinh is a wonderful cook, don't get me wrong, but I don't think he's ever done a dinner party, and this'll give Jason, already a celebrity in the Mazurs' eyes, an opportunity to show off. I tell him what's happening as soon as he gets home, and he looks worried for just a minute. Then he smiles. "That'll work if you can go shop for me tomorrow. I won't have time. I can rearrange rehearsals on Wednesday so I can get home early, but I won't have time to do the shopping."

"I can do that," I smile. "Make me a list."

He nods. This is going to be a fun evening.

And a fun evening is what it turns out to be. The Mazurs arrive at 6:30 with a bottle of Grgich Hills Chardonnay and a bottle of David Bruce Pinot Noir, both exceptional wines. Shelly has also made strudel for dessert, which is amazing to me. I've never known anyone to make their own strudel. Not knowing the Mazurs at all, and therefore having no idea about what they like, Jason decides to err on the side of conservative and makes an Egg-drop Soup, Dry-fried four-season beans, Stir-fried scallops in oyster sauce, Asparagus with crab meat, Paper-wrapped chicken, and Stir-fried broccoli and Chinese mushrooms. It's a very safe menu intended for people you don't know. Delicious, but very safe. And, there's no pork. The Mazurs are Jewish. We know that. So, Jason decides to avoid pork. By the time the Mazurs arrive, the house is filled with the fragrances of Chinese cooking, and Shelly, who apparently loves Chinese cuisine, is beside herself, and amazes me by naming pretty much everything we're going to eat. She isn't naming the dishes, but the ingredients...from smell alone. She's quite remarkable.

Kevin has by now appeared, and is quite the little gentleman, shaking hands with both Shelly and Paul, Diane's parents, and welcoming them to our house. "So, I think you said that you'd heard the `Three Daddies' story when Kev and Diane were in Kindergarten, right?" I ask.

They both nod, smiling.

"Great. So, I don't have to go into the gory details of our relationships, wondering how that story will play. This is Kenny," I say, motioning him forward so he can shake hands with Shelly and Paul. "And the little imp attached to Kenny's leg is Kai, Kevin's brother. Kevin you know." Shelly is much taken with Kai -- as everyone is -- and plays peek-a-boo with him as he continues to hide behind Kenny, shifting his stance to avoid being seen, but giggling non-stop. "Kenny is the brother of Kevin and Kai's mom, who died a couple years ago after a struggle with cancer. He's also Jason's cousin. You'll meet Jason in a few minutes, once he gets the Hoisin sauce washed off his hands."

"Actually, there isn't any Hoisin in this meal," Jason says, coming in from the kitchen. "Oyster sauce, yes, but no Hoisin. I'm Jason," he says, extending his hand to Shelly, and then to Paul. And then, kneeling down next to Paul, to whose leg Diane is attached, he extends his hand to Diane. "Hi. You must be Diane. I'm Jason. I'm one of Kevin's three daddies." Diane giggles, and extends her hand, and they shake. "You're much prettier than Kevin told us," he says, with a smile. "I think he was trying to keep you all to himself." Kevin is, by now, three shades of red, and Diane is giggling once again. She moves so she's now fortified on both sides, between mom and dad. Jason rises, and signals me with a shake of the head that he has to get back to the kitchen.

"We're not especially formal here, so if you don't mind, why don't we adjourn to the kitchen so Jason can finish up on dinner and we can open one of these excellent bottles of wine?"

That's how the evening begins, and it just keeps getting better. The wine is a wonderful lubricant for conversation, and we start that conversation in the kitchen, and then move to the dining room once the meal is ready. The food is, of course, sensational, and just right for the Mazurs. Shelly raves about everything, and I rave about her strudel, which is just delicious, and I'm not sure why. "What is it about this stuff?" I ask her. "It's very different from any strudel I've ever had. The flavor is just very different."

"I've added almond flour, which isn't typical or traditional, and blond raisins, and a lot more nutmeg."

"It's wonderful. Really. But...isn't there anise in here, too?"

"Yes!" she says. "I forgot. There are two stars of anise as well. I got the idea for anise from a woman at the Unitarian Church. I think she's Taiwanese. She'd never had strudel before, and when she tasted it, she thought anise might be a good additional taste. She was so right."

"So, do you go to the Unitarian Church, the one in San Jose?"

"Yeah. We're pretty regular," Shelly replies. "We're ethnically Jewish, both of us, but it didn't...resonate. I'd gone to a Unitarian Church in Chicago when I lived there while I was going to school, and I loved the people. It's sort of non-denominational, a church for the disaffected. The San Jose church is very multi-cultural, even more than it was in Chicago. We have a lot of Hispanics, and a pretty fair number of Asians, a bunch of Russians, and a lot of Jews. We do regular pot-lucks, and you just would not believe the food. Last weekend a bunch of Mexican women got together and brought in tamales, enchiladas, flautas, and stuffed chilis. Do you like spicy food?"

This question earns a snaugh from Jason. "Tim's taste in food has been described as `nuclear'," he says. "He goes well beyond Kenny and me. He's been known to request hot sauce at Thai restaurants in Bangkok."

Shelly looks momentarily surprised, and then laughs. "Well, you have to come the next time the Mexican ladies do the pot-luck. My god it was fierce. We loved it, but some of the folks were begging for relief."

"We had a commitment ceremony, the three of us, several years ago" I confide. "It was a Unitarian minister we hired to conduct it. It's the only organized religion I trust. They don't talk about god. They don't talk about christ. They don't give you a lot of bullshit about the creation of the universe, or a lot of moral crap about how you should live your life. They just talk about the..."

"...spirit. The goodness of man," Paul completes my sentence.

"Exactly. My best friend years ago was a Unitarian. It was only later, when I got over my religiophobia that I realized why. I find them very welcoming and non-judgmental. And in our case, believe me, they have to be both."

Both Shelly and Paul laugh. "Yeah, the people are there for exactly the right reasons," he says. "And, their programs for kids are really nice. Diane goes to a session after the standard Sunday service. It's all discussion because it's so multi-denominational and multi-cultural that no two people believe the same things. So, they just talk, just exchange ideas. It's run by volunteers, a different set of volunteers every week. It's made her think about issues she'd never have approached without it."

By this time, Kenny has put the boys to bed, and Diane is asleep on my bed, a wool throw covering her. I give Kenny a look. "Maybe we should see if Kev wants to go," I say. He looks dubious, but nods slowly.

"We can try it," he says, "but I'm going for the first couple of sessions."

We fill them in on the Sunday school debacle as we clear the dishes, and then make our way out to the living room for coffee. Jason, taking his place at the piano, starts to play the Janáček piano sonata, and all conversation ends. Shelly is completely engaged, and unconsciously reaches for Paul's hand, holding it tightly as she listens, her eyes closed. It is a lovely piece. It reminds me of Beethoven in the simplicity of the melody, which is stark, but pure, and is juxtaposed with a series of staccato variations that are nearly atonal but are relieved by occasional restatements of the initial melody played almost as an echo. It's the echo effect that I think must be a challenge for the pianist, but Jason has it down perfectly, touching the keys so lightly, so deftly. I leave the room half-way through the piece. When he's completed it, he switches to Bach, playing one of the Partitas. It's far more complex than the Janáček, and more rapid. But it's less affecting, ultimately, less emotionally fulfilling. Finally, finishing the Partita, he swivels around on his bench and smiles. Shelly is breathless, and close to tears. "Lovely," she breathes.


Paul smiles. "Shelly gets very emotional when she listens music," he giggles.


Jason giggles. "You haven't seen emotional," he says. "Tim is out there somewhere in tears," he says, motioning with his head toward the kitchen. "He is one of the strongest, most controlled people I've ever met, but music destroys him. We always get tickets in the second balcony so he can cry without too much attention. There's just something cathartic about it for him. For me, music is very...precise, very mathematical. For Tim, it's a direct line to his heart."


It's at this moment that I return to the room carrying a glass of water, and Kenny snaughs. Shelly smiles at me glassy-eyed. "Sorry," I say, "I needed something to drink."


Four days later, Sunday morning, Kenny and I take Kevin to the Sunday service at the Unitarian Church. We're dressed in jeans and polo shirts. Kevin is in shorts and a t-shirt. He seriously did not want to come, but we sit with Diane and her parents, and he gets progressively calmer. The service is not a moral tract, but rather the musings of a fellow traveler in the midst of moral dilemmas. He's not here to instruct us, but to wonder, to ask us the questions we all ask ourselves. Why are we here? What does life mean? What can we offer each other? How can we make life better for our children? And, after this discussion, we hustle Kevin off to the children's area, where Kenny sits quietly in the back, watching the proceedings. Me? I go to the Peet's around the corner for a cup of coffee. Fifty minutes later, I return to the church, and Kevin and Kenny are just getting out, Kevin holding Diane's hand, all giggles and whispers, and Kenny is beaming. "They talked about the death of one little boy's pet chicken, and then they moved on to what love means -- love for a chicken, or love for a human. Kev talked about you," Kenny tells me. "He talked about how much he loves you, his adoptive father, and how you explained to him what love is. It had something to do with bananas and breakfast," he giggles. "I'm not real clear on the details. I am clear that he wants to come back next week, though. He only had to tell me that sixteen times."

No biblical verses. No bogus stories. No mythology. No fire and brimstone. No christ or god. No homophobia. No bullshit. And, at the end, Kevin walks out hand-in-hand with the love of his short life, a shy little Jewish girl who couldn't be more different from him -- or more the same. How great is that?

Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/