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 57

By: Tim Keppler

"Homosexuals" have been much reviled over the years, accused of all kinds of heinousness ranging from immorality to unnatural acts, from sodomy to crimes against nature. The accusation I've always found most absurd, though, is promiscuity. It's just laughable when you think about it. So let's do that. Let's think about it for a minute. Have gay men been promiscuous in the past? You bet! More promiscuous than straight men? Arguably! Why? Well, let's see... When you have a sexual minority whose "practices" are supposedly so objectionable to society that you're going to criminalize them, what's the likely result? You force them to hide from you. You force them to do what's natural for them...but to do it furtively. You force them into a closet. They can't establish stable, committed relationships, because if they do, they're immediately identifiable for what they are -- faggots. Faggots you persecute. Faggots you incarcerate. So, what do faggots do? They have short clandestine relationships anonymously in hidden places, because to do anything else is dangerous. And who are these faggots? How can we identify them? If you were a bachelor over 30 in the 1950s and before, you were a faggot. You had outed yourself. That's why Rock Hudson married Phyllis Gates, his agent's secretary. It wasn't love. It was the need to fly under the radar. She was his "beard".

So, you could be incarcerated for having sex with other men, and publicly humiliated. That always confused me a little, because in order to be humiliated, you have to be complicit in the humiliation, you have to agree that you are disgusting. Then you could -- and still can -- be fired from your job. So, if you were gay back in the `50s, destined to remain a bachelor for your entire life because you were unable to fake a relationship with a woman, what career would you pursue? Where could you find a job where your persistent bachelorhood wouldn't be an immediate confession of faggotry? Only one place: the catholic church.

When the revelations of sexual abuse by priest began to surface, organizations such as The Human Rights Campaign argued that the offending priests weren't gay, they were predatory. They were perverted rather than gay. What a load of shit! They were gay! They might also have been perverted, but they were certainly gay. When you set up a culture in which being gay is an `abomination,' and casually identify gay men by who they're linked with, you've established a legislative structure for abuse. When you set up a church in which women aren't welcome, in which the entire ministry is male, who do you think you're going to attract? It's the only place in the world where it's okay to be an unattached man, the only place where being unattached doesn't mean you're a fag -- where it actually means you're holy, holier than thou. Are there fags in the catholic church? You bet your ass. There are hoards of them, of us.

But still the catholics and their ilk fight endlessly against same-sex marriage! Why? Hatred, pure and simple. If we can marry, if we can establish meaningful relationships, then promiscuity goes down, and we become just another segment of society. Trouble is, the hatred of faggots fuels church donations. So, their message is clear: if it wasn't for the church, faggotry would run rampant. If it wasn't for the church, your father would have been fucking your uncle, and you would never have been born. What utter claptrap! Heterosexuals are always going to be in the majority, and they will always be overpopulating the earth. Fags will always be a minority, and always fighting for our rights -- the "homosexual agenda," which is equal rights. Always. That's why I took the job with Youth Renewed as their managing director, and it's been a joy. I get no salary. I refused the $40 thousand the board offered me. I don't really need it, and they do...desperately. My remuneration is being able to talk to a lot of people about the state of gay rights, and being able to help a lot of kids, ranging in age from thirteen to twenty. I have a number of skills that I bring to this job, but what I'd never anticipated would help me here is my background in gaming.

Gay guys are huge consumers of electronic games. I knew that, but it never really registered. It did register with the PR guy responsible for our messaging, though. My background was a prominent part of the press release he put out announcing my new role as managing director. He even listed the games I'd written. I'd been a little confused by the press release, frankly, and had questioned him about it. "Shouldn't we be emphasizing the role of the organization more? I mean, yeah, I can see where donors would be interested in my background, sort of, but not this much..."

"Trust me," he'd replied. "This will cause some major interest."

And god knows, he was right. Monetary donations spiked by 20% in the first month, and the number of volunteers burgeoned, volunteers we could use as speakers, as clerical workers, and as coordinators for various programs the staff had been longing to pull together. The Center's primary mission is to help young men and women in the process of coming out, and to support them when and if they find that their families or friends won't, but that support had been spotty at best. We have a hotline, but it isn't always manned by skilled staff. We have a number of classes and outreach programs, but these aren't really staffed either. And classes just aren't possible, despite proof from programs in L.A., San Francisco, and elsewhere that they're highly effective in helping boys and girls face the task of planning how best to approach the subject of their sexuality with family and friends. With hoards of new volunteers, we can begin to staff these programs. And one of those new volunteers is...Peter.

Given his background, my inclination is to put him on the hotline that responds to gay kids in crisis. We don't provide any in-house training for these positions, but I'm required by law to insure that anyone on a hotline is trained and certified, so we've been using an outside agency for this. Unfortunately, that outside agency provides purely generic suicide prevention training. No mention is made of gay kids. No information is provided about their concerns or...points of anguish. This training is about how to get the gun, or the handful of pills, out of the hands of the caller. It's utterly irrelevant to us, and probably to everyone. But I have to send Peter to this anyway. He has to be certified. And, in a week, he is.

"How was it?" I asked him.

"Generally pretty boring. Nothing I didn't know already. It's not like I hadn't thought about most of what they taught. But, maybe I'm a little...unique."

Maybe! And it's that uniqueness that make him incredible effective on the phone, so effective, in fact, that I also assign him to a youth support group, a "class" we've wanted to kick-off for years, apparently, but haven't had anyone to lead. He's perfect. At 22, he's nearly the age of most of the attendees, and he has a history, a history he can use to help these kids come to terms with themselves. There, too, he's just amazing. One boy, probably 14, describes Peter as "life-saving."

"I know that sound dramatic," he tells me after one of the class meetings, "but I was really close to what he did," he says, holding up his hands, his wrists facing me. "I was so depressed! My parents hate me. They hate who I am, who I've become. There was just no one I could talk to. I'm probably alive because of him."

Fuck! I just don't know what to say. The pain in this boy's eyes is manifest. But he's alive. He's still alive. The suicide rate among gay kids is something like 30% higher than among straight kids. This is Peter's calling, at least for the moment, and that leads me to another conclusion, a niggling notion that's been lodged in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks. I'm just not sure I can bear it, and I'm honestly not sure what he wants. It's time for a chat.

So, after dinner one night, I get Kenny to bathe the boys and put them to bed, and I take Peter to my office. He plunks down in one of the leather chairs in front of my desk, and waits.

"You are really good at the Center, really good. One kid told me he was alive because of you. And the phone banks have been so much more effective since you joined. That's hard to measure. About the only way to do it is with after-call anonymous surveys. The results of those surveys, in your case, are amazing. You've been averaging a 92% positive response. No other responder has gotten above 60%. You have a story to tell, and that story resonates. You're not just making these kids feel better about themselves, you're saving their lives."

He nods. He's teary-eyed. "I'm glad to be able to... I'm glad I can turn my pain, my stupid choices, into something constructive. I'm glad to...umm...help."

I stare at him pensively. "So now it's time to ask what you want to be when you grow up, and I can't tell you what anguish that question causes me. I hired you as a nanny, and you've been superb. I've trusted you with my kids, and you've come through on every occasion. But, you're also an accomplished musician from what Jason tells me, and he should know. I like to listen to you play, but am not in a position to evaluate you critically. Jason is, and if he says you're good, you are. And then, you're a really compassionate counselor, someone who's known pain, and has figured out how to use that to his advantage -- to save others. I want to use you more fully at the Center, but you need to tell me what you want to do, not just at the Center but in life. Which of your current activities do you value?"

He looks at me silently for maybe thirty seconds, a long and pensive look. "Are you asking me for trade offs?"


"I don't want to do that. When you say the question causes you anguish, I assume it's because you think I'm going to say that I should spend less time with Kevin and Kai, that you should get another nanny. That's not something I want. Kevin and Kai have sort of replaced the love I felt for my brothers before my parents cut me out of their lives. I know this sounds a little...weird, but I think the boys love me in their own way, and...umm...their love is really important to me, important to my emotional life. I...umm...really want to continue to...provide for them. And I want to continue working at the Center. It's so rewarding. A lot of those kids are so fucked up. They need someone to intervene. They need someone to tell them what...beautiful and valuable creatures they are. I want to be that someone. If I have to give something up, let me drop out of San Jose State. Jason is a much better music teacher anyway than anyone at school, and seems willing to teach me. I don't want to be a musicologist. I want to be a musician. I want to play the violin. I don't think I'll ever be able to compose like Jason, but if I can play half as well, I'll be happy, and nothing I'm doing at San Jose State is getting me to that goal. So, that's what I'd give up."

I give him another long look. "Okay. What I want you to do for the Center is go back and get certified as a trainer, as a suicide-prevention trainer. I've been really disappointed with the agency we've been using for training. They have no skill in gay issues. They have no background or interest in why gay kids want to die 30% more often than straight kids. You do. I want you to take on the role of training our support-center staff. If that means leaving San Jose State, then that's what you should do. By the way...musicians make a lot more money than musicologists, a lot more money. Stick with Jason."

Certification is what he needs before he can train our staff, and it takes him another two weeks of training. "Useless," he tells me when he's completed the program, "but there are a lot of useless things. This particular useless thing only took two weeks. As useless things go, that isn't bad. I spent nearly four years in high school."

He's right. After I got my BA, I decided I wanted to be a teacher, and enrolled in a credential program. Big mistake! I spent nearly nine months learning nothing of value. They taught me about Bloom's Taxonomy. Bloom's Fucking Taxonomy. They taught me about "confluent education". They taught me about DRTAs (Directed Reading Teaching Activities). What they did not teach me was how to manage a classroom full of kids. Why? Because they didn't know. Mostly the professors had never taught anyone younger than 21 before. I lasted a year. What a waste! But, two weeks of waste is better than two years of waste, and when Peter's done, when he's certified, he is fucking stellar with new volunteers. We find from our after-call surveys that our new volunteers are scoring 20 points higher than volunteers who have been doing this for years. It's all about empathy, I think. It's all about listening and trying to really understand the problem the caller is describing. "It's not mysterious," Peter says to me one day. "You just have to plug into the callers. You have to hear them. Because, maybe no one ever has before." He is wise beyond his years. He'd make a very good psychologist, I suspect.

So, after a couple of months of results, I decree that our existing volunteers will be retrained. This is not a popular decision. I didn't expect it to be. If you're 45 or 55, being trained to do a job that you've been doing for several years by a 22 year old, is not likely to sit very well with you. I try to sell it as art -- if Picasso comes along and offers you pointers on your paintings, wouldn't you be a fool not to be thankful, even if he was very young? That analogy helps a little, but there's still considerable pushback. Ultimately, though, we get every single volunteer through Peter's training, and every one improves given the measures we're using. Some improve a lot, and some improve a little, but every one improves on the after-call surveys. Thankfully, I'm not running a public school, where you're not allowed to evaluate your teachers on the basis of...merit. Thankfully, here, results can matter. Thankfully, here, if I have a phone counselor who isn't effective, I can ask him or her to leave without getting slapped with a lawsuit. There are no unions because there's no pay. It's pure ego that I have to deal with, and that's a lot easier than a fucking union. We lose a total of three counselors, and the rest remain. They're a little...steamed for a while, but they get over it, and they become a lot better at what they do. What we've done, it occurs to me, is made a silk purse of a pig's tail, as Mrs. Fernandez, Alejandro's Aunt, would have said, mangling the metaphor. From Peter's red and swollen scars have come countless successes, countless boys who are still alive because Peter was able to connect with them. And this is certainly good for those boys, but it's also good for Peter, who feels useful, who feels...heroic. And that's what he is. He's heroic.

He's also stubborn. After he's trained our volunteers, and successfully led our youth support group for several months, I conclude that we should be using him in more leadership roles -- coordinating a whole range of programs designed to reach out to troubled gay kids. "And so," I say, pitching this idea to him, "I think you should leave the phone bank and start really planning our strategy for future programs."

He looks at me skeptically, and I immediately know that I haven't sold this. But he hasn't figured out how to tell me that. Finally, he says, "I know you need someone to do that, but I don't think I'm that someone. That's sort of a back-office role. But, there's little or no contact with the kids. What I think I'm good at, and what I enjoy, is interacting with the kids. I want to help people, not plan to help people. Please don't `promote' me, Tim. Just let me keep doing what I'm doing. It's what I find most rewarding, and it's something I'm pretty good at, right?"

I give him a long look.

When I worked at IBM, management, at least lower management, was made up of their best programmers. They'd take their best "individual contributors" (which is a highfalutin way of saying "someone who actually does work") and "re-purpose" them. They'd send them to a one-week management school, and they'd come back as highly effective management professionals. NOT. The trouble was that people who write great code don't necessarily make good managers. In fact, I'd argue that they almost never do. People who write great code are an introspective lot (which is a highfalutin way of saying that they're mostly anti-social). But managers, in order to be effective, need to be very social. They need to be able to communicate effortlessly. They need to not use words like "sub-optimal" and "orthogonal," words that came out of my first manager's mouth almost daily as he sat at his desk talking to me while staring at the wall behind my left ear.

Peter has a point, in other words. He's a superb communicator. Why would I pull him out of that role? I want him to save lives, not "coordinate" the saving of lives. I want him to teach others to save lives, not plan for the future of the Center. Most of all, I want him to be fulfilled (which is a highfalutin way of saying he should be happy by connecting with kids like he was once, kids who really need someone to tell them they're okay).

I nod. "You're right. You're too valuable doing what you're doing. Can you take on another support group, though? Do you have time?"

"Oh, yeah. That's no problem."

So, Peter's days are full, and that seems to be the way he likes them. He gets up at 8am and works the phone bank for three hours. Phones can be anywhere, right? I have another land-line installed in the house, and that's the phone bank. At 11am he showers, makes the boys' lunches, gets them ready for school, and delivers them there by 12:30. Then he goes to the center, or to one or more speaking engagements -- he's been talking to a lot of middle-school assemblies lately. He's actually being requested. He's that good. Then, long about 4:30pm, he picks the boys up from school. He plays with them until around 7pm, when we have dinner, and by 8pm, he's back at the Center for one of his support groups. Most nights, he gets back at around 9:30pm. This schedule would drive me crazy, but he seems to thrive on it, and isn't willing to give up any piece of it. I've coaxed and cajoled him, but he continues to tell me that he needs all of these activities to be happy. And, when he gets home at 9:30, he and Jason usually have a music lesson, after which he practices whatever piece they're working on until midnight or later. It's a very full day.

But, as busy as he is, he's still able to make time for friends, although on weekdays he has to sort of fit them in where he can. Luckily, most of his friends are other Center employees or volunteers, so he sees them there. One in particular, Erich, has been to the house several times and had dinner with us. He, too, is a musician -- oboe and piano -- and maybe that was the initial draw. His first love, though, seems to be poetry. He's going to Stanford. He's part of their College of Creative Studies, a very difficult program to get into, and I find him...amazing. He seems to have memorized most of the great poetry from the last 500 years. He appears to do with poetry what Jason does with music. He reads a poem once, maybe twice, and he can then recite it flawlessly. And it's not just the popular stuff. He can recite Ben Johnson, Andrew Marvel, e.e. cummings, Gerard Manly Hopkins, Thomas Wyatt. Just about everybody. He seems to have a photographic memory for verse. The second time I met him, I asked him who his favorite poets are. "Wallace Stevens is pretty great," he'd said, "and of course cummings."

"Both modernists."

"Yeah. They're just so complex. I mean, they seem really simple, but the more you look at the poems, the more complex and interesting they become. Stevens' Sunday Morning, for example. I've read that poem hundreds of times, and each time I read it again, I discover something new. And cummings' Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town is a masterpiece. It's both simple, and the most complex piece I've ever read. He sort of deconstructs language in that poem. The main characters in the poem are named `Anyone' and `Someone.' He uses indefinite pronouns as proper names. It's really interesting."

"And, what have you written?"

"I self-published a small anthology a year ago. You can't really get a publisher to produce a book of poetry these days unless you're really well known. I've had a couple of pieces published in journals, though, one in Poetry Magazine, and one in the Antioch Review."

"How old are you?" I ask.

"I'm 21."

Wow! "How long have you been writing poetry?"

"Since I was 15. No, that's not true. I've been writing since I was very young. I got my first poem published when I was 15. It was in a school journal that got distributed in our English classes. That poem actually caused me a fair amount of trouble. It was about...love."

I look confused, I guess.

"I was in love with someone at the time. He didn't know it. It was sort of a...crush. I didn't name names, but it was clear the poem was about a guy from the pronouns I used. Everyone sort of figured out who it was. So I basically outed myself with that poem, and got this guy I was in love with really mad at me. It was pretty awkward for a while."

"Was he gay?"

He looks puzzled for several seconds. "I don't know," he says, slowly. "I don't think I ever thought about that. I just wanted him to love me."

I think that's probably how love works, especially for adolescents, and especially for gay adolescents. That first crush is really powerful. It was for me. I fell in love with Dana Burgess when I was 14. He was in eighth grade and I was in seventh. He was sort of petit, shorter than I was at any rate. He had wavy shoulder-length brown hair, and the warmest brown eyes. A girl friend and I would work at getting seats close to him in the lunch room. She knew I liked him. But he had a girlfriend, and had absolutely no clue that I existed. I didn't write him a poem. I was way too introverted for that. I admire Erich for doing that, though, for exposing his affection. That took guts!

We begin to see Erich fairly regularly. He'll either join us for dinner, or he'll drop by for lunch with Peter and the boys before heading off to work or to school. He's crazy about Kevin and Kai, and really physical with them -- wrestling, tickling, chasing them around the back yard. They all giggle furiously together. I ask Peter later whether he has siblings, and he said no. He's an only child, apparently, and has a great relationship with his parents, unlike a lot of the gay kids we deal with every day. "He says he told them he was gay when he was sixteen. His mother laughed, he said. `Yes, dear. We know. And...?' That was apparently all there was to it. She hugged him and went back to cooking dinner." How refreshing!

"How does he support himself, or do his parents support him?"

"No. He supports himself. He's a model."

"Really? Well, he has the looks for it. What kind of modeling?"

"Commercial mostly. He's never done runway work, from what he says. He's modeled for Macy's, for Nordstrom's, and for DKNY. And, some other stuff..."

He says that "other stuff" just too casually, so casually that I feel my eyes narrow. "What other stuff?"

Peter giggles as he looks into my eyes, knowing he's been caught. "He's really cute, don't you think?"

"Umm...yeah. What other stuff?"

Peter smiles. "Two years ago he did some work with Sean Cody."

I'm confused. "Who the hell is Sean Cody?"

"Umm...Sean Cody makes movies. Short movies."

"Okay. And...?"

"They're sort of low budget Bel Ami movies. They're a lot shorter, maybe 20 minutes max, but really good quality. It was a solo movie. Sean wanted to match him up with another model, but he wouldn't. He's...umm...never been with anyone. He said he didn't want his first time to be on camera. But he did do a solo video, and pose for a lot of photos...umm...naked."

I'm repressing giggles. "And when you say `solo' you mean what?"

"Well...I haven't actually seen it, but when he described it to me, it sounded like he...jerked off."

Now I am giggling. "But he hasn't been with anyone?"

"That's what he says. I believe him. He's very sweet. He wouldn't lie to me about that."

Suddenly my paternal instincts kick in. Suddenly I'm totally alert. "Is he still a virgin?"


I've no idea how to get to what I want to know without sounding blunt and insensitive. This has to sound like parental concern, which is really what it is. I'm not his parents, god knows, and thank god. But I need to know what he's thinking, what his intentions are with regard to Erich. "So, I'm sorry if this sounds a little...personal. When you came to us, I asked you to get tested for HIV. I ask anyone who comes into our world to get tested for HIV. It's not because I think any of us are going to have sex with you, it's because HIV can be transmitted in a lot of ways, and if you had it, we needed to make provisions about how you'd interact with the boys."

Peter nods, confused.

"You seem to be getting really close to Erich. Are you hoping for a relationship?"

Now he understands. He nods. "Yes. I really like him."

"He seems very sweet, very kind. I like him, too. He's certainly very smart. He has the same uncanny ability with poetry that Jason has with music -- they both just...absorb it. I would love to see the two of you in a relationship, because it looks like you're really compatible, and if that relationship happens, and he wants to move in with you here, he's welcome. The boys seem to love having him around, they seem to enjoy him as a new playmate."

He smiles and nods.

"But, it's not time to trust him with your life! He tells you that he's never been with anyone. I'm inclined to believe him. But, he needs to be tested, and you need to be careful until you're...sure, really sure."

He nods, and then leans forward and kisses my cheek. "I know," he says. "We're not to that point yet, but if we get there, I will be careful. In the meantime, I'll suggest that he get tested. We can do that at the Center, can't we?"

"Do it with Cohen. I'll pay. If he's going to be around the boys, I want someone I really trust to tell me his status."

He nods.

Roughly a month later, Peter comes to me one afternoon with Erich in tow. He knock on the office door, and comes in, plunking down in one of the chairs. Erich drops into the other. "Would it be okay if Erich stays the night?"

The question is both surprising, and not surprising at all. It's surprising because I told him when I hired him that he could have overnight guests. He doesn't need to ask. It's not surprising because these two planets have been moving ever closer to each other for quite some time. It's pretty clear to me that they've fallen in love. On several occasions I've seen them talking and kissing on the back patio after dinner. "Sure," I say with a snort. "Should I get Kenny to make up the guest bedroom for him?"

Peter looks momentarily confused, and then realizes that he's being played with. "Umm...no...that won't be necessary," he says with a smile.

"Great! No extra work... Of course he can stay! We're delighted to have him!" And then, suddenly, it comes to me, something I haven't asked. It's an absolutely critical question, something so important I feel suddenly so stupid. "What's your ancestry, Erich? Where are your people from?"

He looks very surprised by the question. "Umm...my Mom is from Utrecht in Holland, and my Dad's from Mainz. He's German. They met at a parade in Paris. They were..."

I interrupt him abruptly. "Can you cook?"

By now he is completely lost, but Peter isn't. Peter knows exactly what I'm asking.

"He wants to know if your Mom taught you to cook...umm...'national dishes.' He wants to know if you can cook for us."

"Oh, yeah, sure. She's actually a really good cook, and taught me a lot. Yeah, I'd love to cook for you all."

Peter is giggling, and so am I. Poor Erich is looking confused again. I have to explain. "Food is the purest form of love in our house, second only to fucking. Jason is a world-class Chinese chef, Kenny is outstanding with Mexican, Italian, Sicilian and French. Dihn is amazing at Vietnamese, one of my favorite cuisines. This one," I say, nodding toward Peter with a smile, "he isn't much good at anything, though the boys love his egg salad and tuna sandwiches. German food has been my purview, and I'm not much better than Peter. We're both semi-pathetic. If you can cook, you're always welcome. Just find out whose night it is and swap with them. I love German food, and especially Dutch food. I had this rabbit ragout in Amsterdam once that was..."

Peter cuts me off with a snort. "He's about to wax poetic. It's time for us to figure out how to get out of this office quickly." He grabs Erich's hand, and drags him out of the office.

"Wait...wait!" I call to them, giggling furiously. "I haven't told you about the rabbit ragout, yet..."


Three months after that first overnight stay, Erich is living with us. Well...more specifically, he's living with Peter. They're sharing Peter's room. From my perspective, he's a great addition to the family. Kai and Kevin love him, and he really likes to play with them. Essentially, he becomes a second nanny, taking over some of Peter's responsibilities, which allows Peter to spend more time at the Center. Erich initially refused the hourly wage I offered to pay him for his work with the boys. I told him that if I couldn't pay him for his time with the boys, he'd have to leave. He looked really hurt initially, but came back to me in an hour and apologized. "I'm sorry. I don't want to leave. It's just...they're so much fun. It's not really like work. But...I can really use the money. So, okay."

He's continued to model, and I've begun to notice him in print ads. When I don't know someone, I don't really notice them, even if they're really good looking. How do I explain that? Marcus Schenkenberg was one of the early male supermodels, and I'm sure I saw dozens of photos of him, and each time I probably thought "Jesus, he's cute!" But I never put any of those photos together in my mind. I never realized they were the same guy. And then Kenny brought home a sort of photo memoir that Schenkenberg'd assembled, New Rules. He'd found it at the library. Suddenly Schenkenburg was recognizable, and I started to notice his images everywhere. Once you know them, it's as if you start to look for them. The same thing is happening with Erich. I recognize him in print ads for Nordstrom's, for Gap, and for Diesel. And then it happens. He comes home one evening, and draws Peter and me into the office. "I need to talk to you guys," he says. He looks pensive, and a little worried. We all sit down. "Umm...I've had a modeling offer that will pay for the rest of my Stanford tuition. All of it."

Peter's eyes light up. "Really? The full year?"

"No -- all of it. It'll pay for the next two years, and will let me pay off my student loans. All of it."

"Jesus," Peter says. "Who's it for?"

"A&F -- Abercrombie and Fitch."

"Jesus Christ," Peter and I say, almost in unison.

"I was recruited," Erich relates. "Bruce Weber saw one of my photos in a copy of the San Francisco Magazine. It was a Gap ad. I'm not really his type. I mean, I'm not muscular, not buffed. But he liked the photo, and he has a micro-campaign for men's scarves that he's been hired to do. He's looking for a ...softer image. Someone less athletic. They found me through my agency, and called. I met with him this afternoon. He wants me for the campaign."

Neither Peter nor I know what to say.

"There is a catch," he says. There's always a fucking catch, isn't there?

"The catch became really clear in the interview. You guys have seen Weber's stuff, right?"

We both nod.

"So you know that his models are usually half..."

"Naked," I offer.

"Right. In this case, what he wants is fully naked. I spent half an hour talking to Bruce Weber...naked. There won't be any full-frontal nudity in the photos, but he plans to shoot every other angle. What should I do?"

Peter and I look at each other, and I wink, smiling.

"Where will it be shot?" Peter asks.

"Locally," Erich responds. "He mentioned Stanford. He always uses outdoor settings."

"You should do it," Peter says.

"You'd be okay with it?" Erich asks.

"Yeah. The thing I was worried about, actually, wasn't the nudity. The thing I was worried about was that you'd be...umm...away for a while. I'd miss you."

Erich instantly goes teary-eyed. He nods.

"Are they looking for other models," I ask, "or is it just you?"

"They are. They're looking for one other guy. They apparently do placements in gay publications, which I didn't realize, and are looking for someone to be coupled with me."

I give Peter a look, and then I look back at Erich. "Did Peter ever tell you about his Watergarden experience?"

"Umm...no. What's Watergarden?"

"It's a bath house," I respond, bringing his photos up on my computer. I motion Erich over to take a look, and scroll through the shots.

"Wow! These are really good." And then he understands what I've been driving at. "Could we print these out? Can I show them to Weber? Maybe it can be you, Peter. Maybe you can be the other guy." He's very excited all of a sudden.

"I'll burn these onto a CD. You can take it to him. It's worth a try, right?" I ask, looking at Peter.

He nods, slowly. "I'm not a model. But, if he knows that..."

"He never works with models," Erich says. "All his models are college students, cute college students. You qualify. You're cute!"

Apparent, Weber agrees. After seeing the pictures on the CD, he asks to see Peter, and an interview is arranged. Two days after the interview, Peter has a contract.

This'll take him off the phone bank for a week or so, but not for much longer than that, and Dinh and I can cover Peter and Erich's nanny duties for that period. The good news is that this will make both of them a lot of money, and it'll get them noticed. I'm not at all convinced that Peter has any interest in a long-term modeling career, but Erich has been at this a long time. This is quite a break if this is what he wants to do, although he seems more interested in poetry than in modeling. Still, poetry isn't ultimately going to pay the bills, so modeling can't hurt as a sideline.

The boys are distraught. Kevin and Kai miss their playmates. They want them back, and badger them unmercifully in the evenings to play with them the next day. They wind up in bed with Peter and Erich nearly every night, all huddled together. It's really so cute. After a week and a half, the photo shoot is complete. "What was it like?" I ask them over dinner.

"We'll tell you later," Peter says, glancing at the boys.

Once Kai and Kevin are put away for the night, we reconvene in the living room, and they give us the rundown over tea. "It was interesting," Peter says. "We were naked most of the time, frolicking near Lake Lagunita on the Stanford campus. We went swimming in the lake. We were spotted by any number of students and passersby. We drew quite a crowd. We got to make out in the woods, which was pretty hot. Bruce actually wanted me to fuck him," he says, nodding toward Erich. "I asked him how he'd use those photos, and he said he probably wouldn't. It sounded like he just wanted to watch...to see us. But our model releases would cover those photos, so he could basically do anything he wanted with them -- publish them anywhere he wanted. We refused. I don't know. The guy takes very good photos, as you'll see from the CD he gave us, but I find him...creepy."

Erich nods. "He comes with this entourage of groupies who have no function except to admire him, and honestly, there's not much to admire besides his work. Creepy is the right word. I think I felt more naked than I've ever felt before. I don't think he'll hire us again, and that's okay with me. We're honestly not his body type anyway. He likes them muscular, really built. And tall. He likes them to look really...straight, really...butch. Neither of us really fits his mold."

"Well, that's fine," I say. "You made some money, had some fun, and missed a week and a half of the wild Indians. That's not so bad."

"Actually, we missed the wild Indians a lot," says Peter, fondly. "It's going to be so great to play with them tomorrow afternoon. We were actually thinking we might take them to Rancho San Antonio tomorrow for a hike after school. Is that okay?"

"Are you kidding? They'll love it. Take a frisbee. They have some serious energy to work off after a week and a half without you guys."

Rancho San Antonio is a state park in Cupertino, about twenty minutes from our house. The boys love it. They can go pretty much wild there. There's also a small farm with chickens, sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks, and pigs. Kai likes to talk to the sheep, while Kevin gets suddenly contemplative and likes to sit for hours watching the rabbits. One day last year when Jason and I took them, Kevin sat for so long in front of the rabbit pen that one of the rangers actually let him in to play with the rabbits. He was very gentle. He just sat down on the ground and waited for them to come to him, and they did. He petted them, and they hopped around him, doing a move the ranger called a "helicopter" where they jump into the air and swish their ears back and forth. "They only do that when they're really happy," she told Kevin. "I think they must really like you." He's never forgotten that. So, now, any time we go to Rancho, we have to go visit the rabbits.

An hour later, Erich and Peter turn in, and I'm left with Kenny, Jason and Dinh. The house is quiet. We're sipping our tea. Only Thumper the cat is prowling. He's looking for mice because he actually caught one yesterday, something that completely freaked Erich.

"Guys," I say. "Now that `the children are nestled all snug in their beds / While visions of sugar plums dance in their heads,' could you...umm...take off your clothes and...show me your own sugar plums?"

Kenny snorts with a huge smile on his face, and Jason starts to giggle. Dinh looks confused until Jason cuffs him. "He wants us naked, silly. He wants us the way we used to be." They all do it, and we sit sipping our tea, and it's just so nice to see them like this. It's so nice to admire them. After maybe five minutes, I get out of my chair and shuck my own clothes, which is not especially typical. And as I do, they all become erect. It's really nice to be wanted! I've been erect for several minutes, and as I get out of my underwear, my hard-on pops up.

Sometimes, not often, but sometimes I long to be fucked. Kenny is the guy for this job, because he knows how to play me. He's not especially gentle, because I usually don't like it gentle. When I'm in this mood, I like to be taken -- abruptly. And, I like to be a little...abused. Kenny knows this. I'm teary-eyed by now. I'm just so happy. My family -- my life -- is perfect. I have two beautiful boys, and three beautiful husbands. I'm blessed. "Umm...I'd like to propose that we adjourn to the bedroom. I'd like to propose... Oh, Christ... Kenny, I'd like you to fuck me. Will you?" He nods, enthusiastically. "And while he does that, I'd like to fuck Dinh. Can I?"

"You are so stupid," Dinh says with a snort. "You can do anything you want to me, anything that pleases you."

"And, while Kenny is fucking me, and I'm fucking Dinh, I think Jason should suck Dinh off while Dinh gives him a hand job. Can we do all that."

Everyone giggles and nods.

"But..." I pause, dramatically, "Before we do all that, I'd like us to kiss. I'd like this to take a good long time."

By now I'm dripping, and so is Kenny. I've been making this up on the fly. Now that the boys are with us, it's not every day I get to see my guys all naked at the same time except at bedtime. I am very excited. We're all excited. I get up from my chair first, and grab Dinh's hand, pulling him up and into a kiss. After maybe a minute, he pulls Jason out of his seat and begins to kiss him while I nibble on the back of Dinh's neck. Finally, Jason pulls Kenny out of his chair and they begin to kiss while Dinh returns to me. Dinh is just so delicious. His body and his mouth, have a taste that I just can't describe. It's musky. Is it pheromones? I've never really believed in pheromones, or I've never really believed that humans detect them. Animals do, but I've never been convinced that humans do. But, any time I get near these three guys, I usually go...just...rampant. So, honestly, I don't know whether it's the taste of Dinh or the smell of him. Whatever it is, it's intoxicating, and judging from his reactions, he must have a similar response to me. We move slowly to the bedroom, each of us unwilling to stop the particular kiss we're currently engaged in. On the way, I caught sight of something in the hall out of the corner of my eye, something that was moving. Looking to the side I realize it's Erich, probably coming back from the bathroom. He's dressed in a robe, and scurries off when he catches sight of us.

When we get to the bedroom, we fling ourselves onto the bed, and continue to kiss wildly. I find myself kissing Kenny, whose taste is very different from Dinh's, and then Jason, whose taste is very different from Kenny's. And then I have this wild urge to lick, and aim for the first ass I find, which turns out to be Dinh's. I lick around the pucker for several seconds, up and down the crack. The instant my tongue actually makes contact with ass lips, he nearly jumps out of his skin. "Oh, my god," he says loudly, thrashing his head from side to side. I'm nearly beside myself with...lust. Pheromones must exist! Why else would I go nearly mad in and around these three guys? Next I find myself biting Kenny's nipples, and he is thrashing and moaning, and finally I find myself biting Jason's ass while Kenny is pinching my nipples, something I just can't stand...for long.

Finally, we position ourselves on the bed, Kenny behind me, and Dinh in front of me. Lotion. And then I enter Dinh and Kenny enters me at nearly the same moment. It just feels so good! It feels so good to have Kenny inside me right now! I've no idea why. And Dinh lets out an urgent groan as I begin to slide in and out of him, and as Jason begins to suck him. Jason, too, is moaning as Dinh strokes him. I turn my head, and find Kenny's lips. We begin to kiss, and we kiss, and we kiss, and we kiss. I am just dying. I am just completely...gone. I want these lips more than I want life. I want Kenny more than I've ever wanted anything before!

Dinh is first, spasming around my dick oh, so tightly. I'm next. I've been pretty close for a while, but then Kenny reaches around and pinches both my nipples, really pinches them, and this sends me over the moon. I'm followed by Kenny, and Jason is right behind him -- figuratively speaking, anyway. By the end of it, we're all sobbing. All of us. Even Kenny. We're all sobbing, and it takes us a good 45 minutes to recover. By that time we're at it again, this time with me inside Kenny, and Kenny inside Jason. Dinh is kissing Jason passionately while they stroke each other off.

By about 3am, we've each had three orgasms, and we're all exhausted. We fall sound asleep, wrapped around each other, sleeping until 11am, when the small voice of Kai wakes us. "Umm...what's sticky?" he asks, having climbed into bed with us at some point.

Jason has the wherewithal to answer, albeit nearly choking on laughter. "It's lotion, baby. I was giving Tim a massage. He was sore."

"Okay," he says, quietly.



For our first meal from Erich, he takes no chances. We're starting out with an Ochsenschwanz Suppe, followed by Rouladen with Kartoffelklöse and Rotkohl. This sounds like a very Bavarian menu to me, although I don't know enough about German regional cuisine to know that. I know I love Oxtail Soup, but I've only had it from a Chinese chef, from my Jason. Rouladen is almost always delicious, and, of course, Potato Pancakes will do much to cut the sweet-and-sourness of the Red Cabbage. This is going to be one hearty meal, and it should all be delicious. And to ensure that it is, to ensure that our first impressions are good, Erich had brought a secret ingredient, something he feels will seal his success. He's brought his mother.

He's brought his father, too, but his Mom is the secret sauce in this menu. Mother and Son labor in the kitchen. They initially banished all the rest of us to the living room, but soon call Jason back in for a consultation. He comes out with a big grin. "They couldn't find a saucepan. I told them we never use saucepans. I gave them a wok. They're a little disoriented cooking red cabbage in a wok, but I'm sure they'll be fine," he says, giggling. In the meantime, Dad, Peter and I sip some of the excellent dry Riesling the parents have brought with them. I've found that when it comes to food and drink, most countries export the stuff they hate. The Australians send us Orange Roughie because they hate it. And the Germans ship us Riesling that is so sweet it's undrinkable -- Blue Nun is a brand that comes to mind. Simply horrible! This is why when I found myself in Munich one evening, the second leg of a business trip, I was very reluctant to order a Riesling, preferring instead a White Bordeaux from France. "Nonsense," said my host. "You must try our Riesling." I remember sighing, and nodding. One has to be polite. The waiter brought the bottle of Riesling, opened it, and poured it out. I tasted it, already prepared to keep from wrinkling my nose at all costs, and it was...wonderful! It was amazing. I'd just assumed that the sweet bilge we take for Riesling was what the Germans liked. Not true. That's merely the stuff they send to us.

The father tells us a little of Erich's home life. I knew he was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands, his mother's home town, and then moved to the U.S. when he was six. His father was -- is -- an electrical engineer and had always wanted to live in the U.S., although god knows why. Life can be pretty pleasant in Europe, especially in Holland. But ultimately they did move. "Does he still speak the language," I asked. Were you able to preserve his contact with the culture?"

"Ja. He is fluent in Dutch, in German, and in French, besides English, of course." I spoke to him only in German, and Gisla, my wife, spoke to him only in Dutch. Our housekeeper was from Montréal and spoke to him only in French. And he got his English from playmates and from school."

"How interesting," I reply. "We've done the same thing with our kids. I speak to them in English, Kenny in Cantonese, and Jason in Mandarin. Dinh hasn't really started working with them on Vietnamese, but I'd like him to. He usually speaks to them either in English or Cantonese. I'm told they're fluent for their age in all three languages, though. I know they're fluent in English."

"They're fluent in all three," Kenny says with assurance.

"I think Erich said that he came out to you and your wife when he was sixteen. Was that a problem for you?"

"No. Not at all. We were both pretty sure he was gay. You do not pry into these things, so we waited for him to come to us, which he did. We had discussed how we would respond if he did tell us about his sexuality. It was not an issue for either of us."

I tell him a little about what I do to help gay youth. "Ja," he says. "Americans seem to be more primitive in their views of sexuality than most Europeans. Only the Italians and the Eastern Europeans are so backward. We have work to do as well, but not as much as the Americans."

At this moment, the door to the kitchen opens, and the first aromas of German cooking waft through the air as the dishes are brought out and set on the dining table. The boys are very curious, and run to the table to look and smell. I mean, I've cooked German food before, but nothing like this. Kevin heads straight for the red cabbage, and Kai goes for the potato pancakes. "Are we having breakfast?" Kai asks Gisla.

"No," she says with a laugh. "These are dinner pancakes. Have you never had dinner pancakes?"

He shakes his head.

"I think you'll like them," she says with a smile.

The boys are adventurous eaters. We've trained them to be -- carefully. I have a friend whose mother forced him to eat what was on his plate whether he liked it or not. If he didn't eat it at dinner, he'd get it for breakfast. If he didn't eat it then, he'd get it for lunch. As a result, he's a very finicky eater as an adult. You have to seduce kids into trying new foods, and you have to allow them to make their own decisions. If they don't like it, don't force them to eat it. Give them something else -- within reason, of course. My Mom and Dad used to love this foul eggplant and clam casserole when I was growing up. It was dreadful. I tried it, and spit it out, and that first night, I ended up with a tuna sandwich for dinner. Thereafter, when she made that awful concoction, she had something else for me, something simple like mac and cheese, or a frozen pot pie. As a result of that training, I like nearly everything -- except that fucking awful eggplant and clam casserole.

We all sit down, and Gisla dishes up for the boys. Then we all dig in. This meal is wonderful. Often, when you think of German food, you think of very strong and often sour flavors. This is nothing like that. The red cabbage, which she says she makes herself, is amazing, almost buttery. The pancakes are chunky. The Oxtail soup is really complex, and I have no idea how she's flavored it. And, of course, the Rouladen is stellar, with shallots and parsley rolled up inside the beef rolls that have been simmering on the stove top for over an hour. Kevin, predictably, can't get enough of the red cabbage. He's a veggie hound. He loves all veggies, and he sure as hell loves this! Kai picks at the potato pancakes initially, and then decides he really does like them, asking for more halfway through the meal.

At the end of the meal, I look across at Erich. "I'd say you pulled this one off pretty well. We love food here," I say to Gisla. "When Peter asked if Erich could move in with us, I asked if his Mom had taught him to cook. It's sort of a prerequisite for entry into our home. He said you were a great cook, that you'd taught him a lot, and that he'd prove it to us. He has. But I don't think anyone's every actually brought us their Mom before. You're going to have to come for dinner more often," I say, grinning.

She laughs. "Yes, but next time Erich will be on his own."

Fair enough.

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