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 59

By: Tim Keppler


 We're going to London! All of us. The whole mishpocha. Well, not quite the whole mishpocha. We couldn't spare Peter from the Youth Renewed hotline, or from his outreach activities, and Erich has classes that he really can't miss. So, it'll just be me, Kenny, Dinh, and the boys. Jason is already there. He's been there for several weeks, and he's nearly frantic for us to join him. He's so lonely, and, I suspect, so frightened. Jason doesn't travel well on his own. He's okay with overnighters, especially if he's traveling with the orchestra, because then there's a project manager, or Tilson Thomas, to take care of...things. (By which I really mean to take care of him.) But, he's been in London for three weeks...on his own. At the beginning of this trip, he called me once a day, every evening, but lately it's been more like twice and sometimes even three times a day. Once, he got his times mixed up and called at 4am. He sounds so forlorn, and occasionally almost weepy, begging me to come.

The musical of the Canterbury Tales didn't do well in Connecticut, neither in middle English nor in Modern English. "It's just too cerebral," the producer concluded, as he withdrew his support. But (and this surprised me) London producers routinely send scouts to regional theaters in places like Connecticut, Williamstown, and even Ashland, to look for new material. Three of these scouts saw the piece and liked it. Two of them saw both versions, one in Middle English, and the other in modern English. They all called in glowing reports to the producers they represent, and someone had to fly over to pitch it. Kenny was in the middle of the semester at San Jose State. He couldn't go. Jason, on the other hand, was right at the end of the Symphony's season. He talked Tilson Thomas, who agreed that this would be a great reflection on the symphony and its Concertmaster, into allowing him to turn over the last two weeks of performances to Nadia, his Associate. He flew over to pitch the concept. He was a better choice than Kenny anyway, because while Kenny wrote the book and lyrics, Jason wrote the music and could play it for them.

All three loved the concept. All three flipped over the music. All three thought that the London audiences would be extremely receptive to the literary background of the piece, because apparently more than ten people in the city have actually read Chaucer. A bidding war ensued for the rights to produce the piece and one Neville Jarvis won out. He won both because his monetary offer was the best – and I'm not even going to tell you how much Jason and Kenny will make on this very lucrative deal – but also because he had a production team already lined up. The director will be a fellow named Simon Lindon, whom I've never heard of, but who is a former protégé of Trevor Nunn, one of the great avant-garde directors of his generation. The set design and costume design is covered, and he even has a theater lined up.

So, Jason, who thought he'd be in London for a couple of days, pitching the show. Instead he's been there for three weeks working with the director on alterations that he believes are necessary to make the show a success. From what Jason's told me, this guy really knows his stuff. He wants to combine modern and Middle English, sometimes within a single song, which confused Kenny for a few days, until he figures out what the guy is trying to do. And when he gets it, it's as if a light goes on. It's an "Ah-ha moment". Lindon is looking to modernize the Middle English, to make it more understandable without losing the Middle English feel to it. This has Kenny scurrying on this side of the pond to find someone in Stanford's School of Creative Studies (Erich's suggestion) to help him do this. Ultimately he finds a classicist who relishes the challenge, and they begin working on the problem, chatting daily with the director over Skype.

Jason is working on musical alterations, and is trying to keep up with changes to the lyrics. He's also acting basically as an agent for himself and Kenny, insuring that the show retains the spirit that they intended. But by the end of these three weeks, he is just so depressed. "I never knew it would be like this," he sobs, one afternoon. "I never thought I'd be...away this long. Please...can't you come?"

The issue is timing. My initial plan had been to wait until Kenny and Dinh had finished classes in mid-June. But when I talk to the airlines, I realize that I'll never find a single flight with five seats available for frequent-flyer passengers. We'll inevitably have to take two flights. If we're going to take two flights, then there's no reason that they have to be on the same day, or even the same week. I can get coverage at the Center for a month, so I decide that the boys and I will leave in the next day or two, and Kenny and Dinh will leave two days after classes end. So, I call the airline and am able to get three coach tickets to London for June 6th for Kevin, Kai and me, and two coach tickets for June 15th for Kenny and Dinh. I'd had the sense to get the boys passports as soon as their adoption was complete, so we're all set. I am so looking forward to this!

How many times have I been to London? I can't count that high. I worked remotely for a UK database company for several years, which required almost monthly trips to their home office. When you compound that with the gaming conventions there, and the two trips I took with my Mom before she died, it's probably close to 20 trips. I know how to get around in London better than any other city in the world, even San Francisco, which is an hour away from where I live. It's a city with history, a city with fantastic architecture, a city with music, and a city with books.

The books I mention because the last few times I've been there, I've had to bring an empty bag from San Jose to London so I can fill it with all the books I buy when I'm there. If you walk along the Strand from Charring Cross to Leister Square, you're right in the heart of the richest array of specialty book shops on earth. Yeah, Blackwell's is there, but they're the generic brand. There are specialty shops for mystery books, photography books, gardening books, antiquarian books, and music books. I remember nearly missing a flight home because I needed to get to one of the music book shops to pick up a copy of Elizabeth Wilson's Shostakovich: A Life Remembered. It hadn't yet been published in the US, and I'd be goddamned if I was going to miss the opportunity to pick up a copy. I'd sooner miss the fucking flight. People in the UK still read. Rather than having a coffee shop on every block (or two coffee shops, if you happen to be in Seattle), they have a book store on every block. I am absolutely convinced that you gauge the level of civilization of any community – or country for that matter – not by the number of Starbucks, but by the number of bookstores. (Extra points given for no-name bookstores. Three blocks from me is a bookstore called "Recycled Books." 10 points!)


I love London! The Brits, though, are a little depressive, and I guess that's understandable. I mean it's foggy, and rainy. But sometimes it's fucking miraculous. I was there in June one year, and it was 94º fucking Fahrenheit. The whole town was lying nearly naked in St. James Park – and that's not necessarily something you want to see. They were panting nearly as fast as their doggies. And here I was in a suit and tie, feeling...pretty good. On the other hand, I took my Mom to Britain in January one year, the first time she'd ever been out of the U.S., and it was snowing. We took a walking tour of "Dickens' London," and at the end of the tour, we stopped at a public loo to pee. I know I have I easy. I just whip it out and pee fast so I can get it back into my pants before it freezes. My Mom wasn't so fortunate. "Jesus Fucking Christ," said my saintly little 79-year-old blue-haired mother, emerging from the women's loo. "It's colder than a well-digger's ass in there. I thought my ass was going to stick to the fucking toilet seat." Mom was so demure.


The reason I know London so well is because they have the best public transit system in the world. (I can hear you Brits kvetching. Come to San Jose and try to get anywhere from anywhere, and then bemoan the state of the London Underground!) Tokyo may actually be better. I don't know. I've heard it's really good, but it's one of the few places I haven't been. I put London on a par with Munich and Paris, which are also good, but more difficult to use. San Jose is also developing a rapid transit system, but it currently doesn't take you anywhere you want to go. We call it "rapid transit". It rapidly transports you to nowhere. In San Jose, it does this because the transit authority bought the land for their tracks where they could get it cheap. So they take you from West Bumfuck to East Bumfuck and back again. Round fucking trip. But, the trick is, they buy up all the land around that West Bumfuck station and contract with developers to build high-density housing there. They give the tenants no parking, thereby "encouraging" them to give up their lucrative jobs in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale or San Jose, and to take jobs in East Bumfuck, where there are no jobs, but where the light rail will take them. Guess how many units have sold in these high-density monstrosities? And guess what the ridership is on the trains. Municipal planning at its best.


I can't tell you how much I long to see Jason, but I'll bet it's only a fraction of how much he longs to see me. He sounds so sad – almost desperate – when I talk to him on the phone. He has never been away from me for this long. "How's it going?" I ask when he calls.


"Okay," he inevitably replies.


"How's the music com..."


"Tim, can you come please?" he interrupts. "Please come. Please, can you come?" he begs, breaking into tears.


So, when I call him, he's surprised. I catch him at a rehearsal of the orchestra, an orchestra the producer had also pulled together before the deal was actually signed. I catch him on his cell phone. Kenny, Dinh and I are probably the only callers he'd respond to in the middle of a rehearsal. He answers on the second ring. "We'll be there day after tomorrow. It'll just be Kev, Kai and me. Kenny and Dinh have to come later, after school is out."


"Yes!" he shrieks, just elated, and I can almost see him jumping up and down like Kevin does when he's winning at marbles. "Thank you, baby! I love you so much! I am so happy!" Then I think he realizes where he is, or he gets some strange looks, or something, because it's as though he covers the mouthpiece. I hear the word "husband," and then there's clapping, and then he's back. "I am so happy. I am so fucking happy." He's near to tears. "I have to go now. I'm in rehearsal. I'll call you later, okay? Thank you, Tim. I love you!"


Erich helps me get the boys packed and takes us to the airport the next day. This is going to be one long ordeal with these squirmy little boys, so I'm carrying puzzles, a couple of Kai's favorite picture books, and fruit. On the way to the airport, we stop at a Vietnamese deli downtown where I pick up some sandwiches and a couple of desserts. Vietnamese sandwiches are amazing. Take an eight-inch-long sweet baguette roll and cut it in half. Cover it with cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, a generous helping of raw, sliced jalapeños, and then the major proteinaceous ingredient: Kevin likes sardines. Kai likes chicken. I like xiu mai, which is basically a spreadable meatball. I order six sandwiches for the trip, and stock up on green-bean-and-gelatin desserts. This is going to drive the other passengers crazy, because while they're eating the peanuts the airline gives you in those tiny little packets, or the cardboard turkey sandwiches they sell you for seven dollars, they're going to smell our delicious sandwiches and watching the boys tuck into them. I had a guy complain to a stewardess about me once. I was flying out of San Francisco, and I stopped on the way to the airport at one of my favorite Chinese restaurant for a selection of Dim Sum. Then, while the other first-class passengers were consuming their Kibbles-n-Bits, I was eating the most amazing dumplings, siu mai, fung jao, and soup they'd ever smelled, all spread out across my fold-out tray. This particular guy was very angry. Oh, well...


Kevin has been totally jazzed about the prospect of flying on an airplane. He vaguely remembers when we flew from Michigan to San Jose, when we brought him home, but he hasn't flown since. So he is bouncing off the walls, and up and down in his seat. He is really excited, and is...flirting...with the flight attendants, male and female, who all think he's adorable. And I guess he is. Kai, on the other hand, is petulant, and I think really scared. He doesn't remember ever having flown before, and I don't think he likes the idea of being up in the air. Kenny tried to explain that flying was fun, that it wasn't anything to be frightened of. Kai would have none of it. He just doesn't like the idea. So, Kevin has the window seat, Kai is in the middle, and I'm on the aisle, and we've folded up all the arm rests so we can all interact better. We're on our way to New York, JFK airport, where we'll have a layover of a couple of hours before boarding a flight for London.


The New York flight is actually not a big deal. Kevin is just so excited as he watches the plane take off from his window seat. Kai bursts into tears mid-ascent, and all I can do is hold him, hug him. He calms down once we're truly airborne. I give him a picture book and he flips through the pages. Kai loves animals, and especially his cat, Thumper, and the book I give him is about a cat that looks very much like Thumper, and a rabbit. They live together. He's looked at this book hundreds of times, but it never ceases to fascinate him. After a while, he looks up at me and asks, "Do you think Thumper will be okay?"


"Yeah, sweetie, he'll be fine. Peter thinks Thumper is cute. He'll take good care of him."


He smiles, and goes back to flipping through the pages. About two hours later, after we've had our lunch and the movie has started, he falls asleep, leaning against me. I tuck a blanket around him, and he sleeps through to New York City.


JFK airport is a zoo, as always. I have two bags, which I checked, and two boys. But, when you fly international you have to transfer your own bags from the domestic flight to the international check-in. Thankfully, Kevin is pretty good at rolling the suitcase, and we're able to get to the next flight with time to burn. Kai is fatigued, you can tell, and a little grumpy, but he's doing pretty well for a six-year-old. Once we're on the flight and in our seats, it's a carbon copy of the New York experience, only it happens faster this time. Kai is asleep within an hour, stretched out on my lap hugging me, and Kevin is right behind him, stretched out against Kai, hugging him. The waitress stops by and asks if I'd like anything to drink. "How?" I ask. There's no way to put the fold-out tray down without hitting Kai in the head. She smiles and nods, and brings me a bottle of water that she waits for me to drink, taking the bottle away the minute I'm done. And then I'm out. We must all sleep for six hours...soundly. When I awake, we're in our final descent. The boys are still asleep and I have to roust them. Kevin, once again, is bouncing off the walls because he is just so excited! Kai is a little slower. He likes to cuddle when he first wakes up, and that's what we do. I whisper to him about where we are, and what he'll see, and slowly he comes to life. It's interesting to me how similar the boys are, and how different. Kevin has a lot more energy than Kai, and Kai is much more contemplative and more sensitive. Kai actually reminds me more of Jason, and Kevin more of Kenny. But, they're still inseparable, and I have the sense that Kevin feels intensely protective of his little brother, watching out for him and insuring that he's safe.


If JFK is a zoo, Heathrow airport is utter madness – Bedlam. We make it through customs, get our passports stamped, and then the real madness begins. Once you emerge from baggage claim and the customs area, you find yourself in the midst of a gauntlet of people all watching for that one person they're there to meet. Kevin is fine with this, but Kai is very nervous, instinctively reaching for my hand. I hoist him into the air and carry him, which I sense gives him considerable relief. And then I see a streak out of the corner of my eye, a guy sprinting from probably thirty feet back, banging into other people waiting for passengers to emerge. And suddenly this guy is right in front of me. It's Jason! He's jumping up and down like Kevin when he's winning at marbles. He grabs me and Kai together and hugs us nearly to death. Then he grabs Kevin, lifts him off the floor, and hugs him. "I'm so happy to see you guys!" he screams, while Kevin giggles almost uncontrollably. There are tears in Jason's eyes.


Jason decided several years ago that he didn't want to be a concert soloist because he didn't want to be away from us for very long. The Joshua Bells and Izaak Perlmans of this world travel almost non-stop. Jason didn't want that, first because he doesn't like to take care of himself, and second because it's a very lonely life. While he's at least as good a musician as Bell, and certainly competitive with Perlman, being alone terrifies him. It's not a life he would survive. So, after being mugged after a Cleveland concert, he began to look for something...local. Thankfully, the San Francisco Symphony position fell into his lap, and he's been happy ever since. But, right now, while he's elated to see us, he looks weary and a little...haggard, a little grey. That makes me so sad! When he finally puts Kevin back down, I put Kai down, move to him, and we kiss, and this is no peck-on-the-cheek kiss. This is a real, honest-to-god kiss. I'm sure it draws attention, but I don't really give a flying fuck. He just looks so tired, so distraught. I'm so sad for him, for what he's had to go through. Finally, I break the kiss. "Hi, sweetie," I say. "How're you?" He starts to cry.


"I'm just so glad you're here! I can't...umm...do this by myself. I don't know how. Thanks for coming...early."


We hug again, and then begin to walk, Kai holding Jason's hand and Kevin holding mine. "How'd you get here?" I ask. "You weren't supposed to come."


"I couldn't not come," Jason replies. "I needed to see you. I needed to touch you." He leans over and kisses me as we continue to walk.


"So, you came on the tube?"


He nods.

"Is it pretty direct?"

"Completely. We're on the Piccadilly line. That goes directly to South Kensington, where I'm staying. It's a flat. It's actually pretty nice. A very nice neighborhood. There's no good food around, though. I've been living on pub food. It's pretty awful. Can we go to Chinatown tonight?"


"Baby, we can go anywhere you want tonight but, umm, right now... How many rooms do we have?"


"Just one until Kenny and Dinh arrive. Then I've booked a second, but we can decide whether we want to stay there, or go somewhere else. Where do you usually stay?"


"I've usually stayed over near Trafalgar, the Royal Horseguards Thistle. But that'll be a little pricey for all of us, and probably not big enough. I've also stayed in a flat near Harrods, off Brompton Road. Let's see how your place looks first. Just one room?"


"Yeah. Is that a problem?"


"It is right now, because I really...umm...want to fuck you. We have muchkins."


"Ohhh," he says. "I've made arrangements for that. The landlady is a very sweet Indian lady with two boys the same age as Kai and Kevin. I told her about us. She was very excited. Kensington is pretty ritzy as neighborhoods in London go. The people are pretty...snooty. She was excited for her boys to meet Americans, and to meet people who weren't conscious of their...class. She'll baby-sit, she says, any time we want."


"Yes!" I say, leaning over and kissing him.


We contain our enthusiasm on the tube. You sort of have to because you never know who you're going to meet or what their reaction to you will be. I mean, they don't call this "mass transit" for nothing. It's the masses who ride the tube, absolutely everyone. That's why you have to be careful. I once rode from Heathrow to central London and found myself gazing absently at a black woman and her son. I'd been on a plane for nine hours. I was tired. "I guess the gentleman has never seen black folks," she said to her son, aggressively. She woke me up, brought me out of my daze. I looked up at her, and she was angry. "Lady," I said, in my flat American accent, "I know more black folks than you do." Thankfully, when she realized I wasn't British, she backed off and said not one word more. Had I been in my right mind, had I been rested, I would not have responded like that. She caught me off guard. Luckily, I made it out of that skirmish unscathed. So, now I'm careful on the tube. It's okay for Kevin and Kai to romp a little, as long as I can see them, but it's not okay to have any public displays of affection between Jason and me. That will have to wait for the hotel.


When we do finally get to the flat, Jason takes us to the office to retrieve the key. Mrs. Patel is there, and is captivated by the boys. Kevin, the more outgoing, greets her politely, shaking her hand, while Kai hides behind Jason. She's very good, though, this woman. She coaxes him out with sweets, and then tickles him. He is all giggles when she introduces him to her youngest son, Shirish, who is just Kai's age, and is being taught to play darts by his older brother. "Would you like to learn?" Mrs. Patel asks. Kevin's eyes light up and he talks Kai into it in a very fast conversation in Cantonese, of all things. I think they must be following Jason and Kenny's pattern. When they confide in each other or are otherwise intimate, when it's just them in discussion, Jason and Kenny always speak in Cantonese. The boys do the same thing.


"May we leave them, Mrs. Patel?" Jason asks.


"Yes, of course," she says, with a laugh as the boys begin to throw darts. "I do not think you would be successful prying them away right now."


Jason tells Kevin that we'll be back in an hour or so to pick them up, and he nods absently, watching as Mrs. Patel's eldest son, Azeem, prepares to throw his set of darts. "Okay," he says, preoccupied. Boys just want to have fun...


We roll our suitcases to our room, open the door, stow them in the closet, and the minute I turn around, Jason attaches himself to me. "I've missed you so!" he says, sealing his lips to mine. Somehow we make our way to the bed, still inseparably attached, and sit. We kiss for what seems like forever. We kiss passionately. We kiss until my tongue is sore, and then we kiss some more. I love Jason so much, and have missed him so much. But, I've had Kenny and Dinh to help mitigate my loneliness. Jason has had no one. This is the longest, wildest kiss I've ever shared with him.


"Get out of your clothes!" he finally orders, breaking the kiss. He's aggressive, domineering. I do as I'm told, but apparently not fast enough because he ultimately tears off my shirt, popping several buttons onto the floor. Miraculously, he is already naked – and hard. This should be a nice afternoon's interlude!


The instant I'm naked, he pushes me back against the mattress and goes down on me, and he is not kidding! I had a straight friend who once told me that his girlfriend could suck a golf ball through a garden hose. Jason isn't far behind her. He's so good, in fact, so enthusiastic, that I have to push him away after just a few minutes. "What do you want us to do here, babe. If you just want to get me off, you can go back to what you were doing."


Jason looks stricken, nearly frantic. "I want you to fuck me," he says, huskily, diving down and kissing me. "I want you to fuck me...thoroughly," he says giggling.


I push him off of me, and he lands on his back next to me on the mattress. I flip over on top of him and begin to kiss him again, pushing his legs up over my shoulders. Then I break the kiss, realizing that we have a problem. "We don't have any lotion..."


He's way ahead of me, handing me a tube that looks like toothpaste with a label that says "Cetaphil". I've no idea what this stuff is, but if that's what he wants me to use, I'll do it. I squirt some onto my dick, and onto his asshole, and begin to carefully enter him. He doesn't want the "carefully" part. "Do it, Tim. Just do it. Come inside!" He is so desperate, and I understand why, suddenly. If he's been playing by the rules – and Jason always plays by the rules – he hasn't cum since he left home three and a half weeks ago. He's voracious. It's not that he wants me to fuck him. He needs me to fuck him, to fuck him thoroughly. I enter him quickly, abruptly, and begin to pound his ass the instant I'm inside him. He throws his head back and moans, and then begins to thrash. He seems more like Dinh than like Jason. He's just so into it. I've made sure that my angle of penetration is massaging his prostate, and that with every thrust my belly strokes his dick. He continues to groan. After maybe ten minutes of this, Jason does something he's never done before (which, in itself, is remarkable). He reaches up and pinches my nipples, really pinches them. For an instant I wonder if he and Kenny have been talking, but I don't have time to ponder that because the second the pain to my nipples gets sufficiently intense, I start to cum, and so does he. I lean down and begin to kiss him, and we kiss non-stop as we cum together. Oh, my god I've missed him! How could I let him go for so long? How could I leave him here on his own? This is the ultimate cruelty.


Finally, when we've come down, when we've stopped panting, I grab a towel to wipe us down. His spunk is everywhere. Mine is pretty much contained, but his has sprayed all over him and smeared all over me. He's even got cum in his hair, for god's sake. That's a trick. Once I've gotten us cleaned up a bit, I crawl into bed next to him, and we cuddle as he tells me what he's been doing. The show is coming along, he whispers, but there have been some major changes. Kenny has been feeding them rewrites, and a number of these have changed the rhythm of the poetry, necessitating changes to the music. The director is very happy with the progress they're making, but is also very demanding. Jason will need to be here for another three weeks at least, and, please will I stay with him? He is just so plaintive, his longing so palpable. "Yeah, honey. I took a month off." When he hears that, he flips over, facing me, and hugs me, his lips sealed to mine. Never have you seen a happier guy.


We continue to chat for another ten minutes until we realize that we're late picking up the boys. We dress hurriedly, and rush downstairs to find Kevin and Kai playing...marbles with Azeem and Shirish. Mrs. Patel is amused by our appearance – hair ruffled, my shirt improperly buttoned. "I trust you had a nice...nap?" She asks. We nod, sheepishly, and she smiles. "Well, the boys have had a wonderful time together. Any time you want to leave them, feel free. They keep my boys busy, which keeps them out of my way. I can actually get some work done."


"We'll try not to inconvenience you too much," I say, politely.


"No. It is no inconvenience. Whether I have four here, or two, it is no different, and they seem to like each other very much. It is sometimes difficult for us to find...playmates for our boys. This neighborhood is very..." She tapers off.


"White?" Jason offers.


She laughs. "Yes. White and rather exclusive."


We all nod, giggling. We ask for a restaurant recommendation. "Indian," Kevin screams, and I nod. "We love Indian food, but back home we have trouble finding it spicy enough for our tastes. The UK is full of Indian restaurants. We're looking for the real thing." She smiles, and gives us names and address for three restaurants, outlining the kind of food each serves. Notably, none of them is in this neighborhood. Just as we're leaving, just as we're walking out the door, Kevin turns around. "Can we come back tomorrow?" he asks.


"Of course," she says with a smile, "you can come back any time your fathers will allow it."


"Cool!" he says, taking my hand, and I drag him out of there before he make any further demands.


By now, I'm famished. In the last ten hours, I've had two Vietnamese sandwiches, and a raft of Vietnamese desserts, and that just isn't enough. So, we walk to the tube station and take the train to the second of the three restaurants Mrs. Patel recommended, a restaurant that specializes in Southern Indian cuisine. It's all of ten minutes away, but, of course, it's about 5:30, rush hour, and the train is very crowded. Jason and I find places to stand, holding onto the overhead rails, and the boys hold onto us. Kevin is very chatty today, and starts a conversation with a middle-aged woman sitting in the seat across from us. She's looking at a magazine that has pictures of this years Chelsea flower show. Kevin likes flowers, and is much taken with the displays, and before I know it, he's on her lap as she explains the kinds of flowers pictured. "Kevin," I say, a little exasperated. "You can't just go sit on someone's lap. You're being a pest."


"No. It's quite alright," she says. "He clearly has an interest in horticulture, quite surprising for one so young. I'm happy to have someone to share my interest with," she says, giving him a hug. He giggles, and they return to their studies.


When we finally reach our stop, though, I have to drag him away. "Come on, Kev. We have to go. Thank the nice lady for putting up with you all this time." He smiles and thanks her, and then he kisses her on the cheek. Then he hops off her lap and takes my hand. "Bye," he says, and she waves. She's touched.


The restaurant is every bit as good as Mrs. Patel said it would be. We order Gosht Madras (Hot beef curry), Lamb Korma, Madras Anday (hot egg curry), Gobi Dal (lentils with cauliflower), and Rajma Chenna Salat (mixed chick-pea salad). Kevin and I share an addiction for chick peas, so that last choice is mostly for us. How spicy do we want it, the waiter asks, staring at his order pad. I wait until I can make eye contact with him, until he looks up. And then I say, "As spicy as you can make it, and I'm not kidding. Make it the way you'd like to eat it." He smiles and nods. The food is really good – fragrant, delicious, and fiercely hot. We order two mango lassis to share to help cut the heat, but by the end of the meal we're all on fire, and all loving it. "My lips are really burning, Daddy!" Kai says, a little amazed I think.


"Is that good or bad?" I ask him.


"Good!" he says lustily, giggling.


"So, what would you like to do tonight?" Jason asks me. It's by now 9:00pm, past the boys' bedtime, and we're standing in front of the restaurant.


"You decide, baby. What do you want to do?"


"What I want to do we can't do. We have munchkins," Jason says.


"Well, that's probably true. We can't do all of what you want to do, but we can do some of it, once sleep happens. Some is better than none, right?"


He nods smiling, leaning forward and kissing me. We make our way back to the flat, and when we open the door and turn on the light we find a roll-away bed, opened and made up, sitting in the middle of the floor. It's a standard twin-sized bed with a feather pillow and a down comforter. Perfect for the boys, especially given their tendency to cling to each other when they sleep. Mrs. Patel has come through for us. We get the boys bathed, get their teeth brushed, and bundle them into bed where they fall almost instantly to sleep. Kai, I noticed at dinner, was getting a little grumpy. I think he's got a bit of jet lag, despite having slept for most of both flights. It happens to everyone, I guess. I know it happens to me. Jason and I strip and crawl into bed. We snuggle for a while, and kiss. Then I crawl under the cover and start to suck him, not realizing that I've put myself in the 69 position until I feel the warm wetness of his mouth envelop my dick. Jason can really suck dick, and it doesn't take long, maybe 10 minute. Then I explode, and maybe fifteen seconds later, he follows me. I come up from under the covers so that we're now lying face to face. I kiss him again. "I love you baby," I whisper. "I've missed you so!"


"Me too," he whimpers. "I'm so glad you're here. Please...umm...don't leave me here alone."


"I won't. I don't think I can bear to be without you any more. I love you too much."


We kiss again, and then I'm out, responding to my own jet lag.




The next two weeks are a whirlwind of activity, for Jason and for me. Jason is pretty much consumed with work on the musical. Its title has come to be Confessions of the Canterbury Pilgrims. Book by Geoffrey Chaucer and Kenny Hsia. Music by Jason Leong. Directed by Simon Lindon. The boys and I sit in on several rehearsals, and the collaboration between Simon and Jason fascinates me. I mean, I have no idea how theater is typically created, but this is just so collaborative, and even Kenny is in on the act, watching rehearsals over Skype and making suggestions for blocking, characterization and even scenery based on what he can see from his computer. Jason is rewriting the music on an almost-daily basis given the ranges of the actors, and Kenny is altering both lyrics and dialogue based on suggestions from both the director and the actors. Is this how it usually works, I wonder.


The summer after I completed my undergraduate degree, my parents sent me to Europe as a graduation present. One of the shows I saw in both Paris and in London was Martin Guerre by the composer and lyricist of Les Misérables. I loved it! Based on the story of the historical figure of Martin Guerre, it was about a boy who is unable or unwilling to consummate his arranged marriage with a girl to whom he's being married in order to produce a Roman catholic heir for their family to ensure land will not pass to protestant huguenots. Sounds pretty dismal, I know, but the music was breathtaking, the lyrics were stirring, and the story was...different. It was written in French, as was Les Misérables, and later translated to English. The thing I noticed, though, was how different the French version was from the English version. I found out later that the producer of the English version, Cameron Mackintosh, required significant changes to be made to make it "palatable" to a British audience. And, I understand they worked very much as Kenny, Jason and Simon are working, although in the case of Martin Guerre, the lyricist was also holed-up in London. What a difference technology makes. Kenny gets to finish his semester at San Jose State while Skyp'ing into rehearsals and meetings.


Confessions of the Canterbury Pilgrims is like nothing I've ever seen or heard before, and is very exciting. Kenny and his Stanford collaborator have been able to modernize the Middle English just enough to make it understandable to modern audiences without losing the flavor of the Middle English, and the music is just spectacular, and fascinating. I'm not convinced this will ever make it to the states. I'm not sure we're literate enough to understand it, but I love it anyway, and I especially love revisiting the Canterbury Tales, which I haven't read in nearly twenty years. Jason is clearly in his element and, Simon tells me, "so much happier since you've arrived. He's been quite depressed for the last several days. I'm glad you could join us. It has lifted his spirits."


When we're not watching the musical take shape, the boys and I make the tour of London. We go to Saint James Park and Trafalgar Square daily so Kai can feed the birds, and to the Tower of London, where the tours are quite dramatic (actually, maybe too dramatic for Kai, who I end up carrying and hugging though most of it). We go on a cruise of the Thames, and I take them to lunch at the crypt of St. Martin in the Field church and to the daily free lunch concerts. I'm not sure either of them recognizes the difference between classical and popular music. Kevin likes both. He'll dance to Madonna, and, like Jason, lean back and absorb the classics. I'm not sure Kai is especially musical. He sort of spaces to any music, ultimately falling asleep if it goes on very long. Chaque un à son gôut. Whatever floats his boat. It's not my job to tell him what he likes. It's my job to expose him to everything – well, anything I can stand. He's not going to get much of an education in country music or rap from me, but maybe he can find someone else to help him with that. Mrs. Patel is a dream come fucking true! She and her boys are just crazy about Kai and Kevin, and she takes them every afternoon long about the time Jason gets home until roughly dinner time, and about three or four times, she's kept them overnight. They can't wait to get home from our travels so they can go play with Azeem and Shirish. And, of course, she cooks for them, which they also love. In us, she knows exactly what she's dealing with. "I am happy to take them," she says, "Shirish and Azeem very much enjoy playing with them, and it gives you time as a couple to be together. Very important for a solid relationship." I try to pay her, but she won't take anything. "No," she says. "My boys are enjoying their company. That is payment enough."

After two weeks of leisurely sightseeing, a lot of concerts, a couple of plays, lots of bird feedings, and one hell of a lot of love making, the day comes for Dinh and Kenny to arrive. We've talked to them on the phone every day, of course, and lately it's been more often, as our separation has led to loneliness. Finally, the day comes, and Jason and I make our way to Heathrow, having arranged with Mrs. Patel to take the boys in the morning. Flights from the states tend to get into Heathrow at either 6am or 10am. The flight I was able to get on frequent-flyer miles is scheduled for 10:10am. This is good. It'll give Kenny and Dinh less time to have to stay awake before bedding down for the night. The trick is to stay awake that first day until you would normally go to bed. If you don't, if you succumb to your weariness too early, your sleep patterns will be fucked up for days or longer.

We wait outside the customs exit of Terminal 3 for maybe 10 minutes, and then, with the last rush of departing passengers, we see them and they see us. We rush at each other, Jason attaching himself to Kenny, wrapping his arms and legs around him, and Dinh attaching himself to me in basically the same configuration. We kiss like crazy, drawing quite a lot of attention as we make our way to the seating area where Kenny and I are able to fall into seats so we can continue kissing. After a few minutes of this, we break our kisses, and changed partners, Kenny with me and Dinh with Jason. We kiss some more. Finally, we're kissed out. Kenny jumps off my lap, and Dinh off Jason's, and we prepare to leave, gathering our belongings. Just as we begin walking toward the stairs to the lower level where you catch the tube, a very aggressive American calls to us: "Yo, faggots! You done now? You don't want to fuck each other right here?"

We stop, and turn to face our assailant. Initially, I'm confused. This is one guy. There are four of us. What can he be thinking? "No," I say in a really icy tone, "we'll leave the fucking for when we get back to the hotel. Wanna join us?"

The best thing for him to do would be to turn around and walk away. It's four against one, and while none of us is a big as he is, it's still four against one. Instead of walking away, he charges us, running like crazy across the hall, and as I see him run, I realize he's drunk, too much of that airline booze. Just as he gets to us, Jason and I move apart, and we have this "Three Stooges" moment. We move apart, and he runs right past us, right through us, and right into an airport constable, knocking him about ten feet forward and onto the floor. The constable's partner is on top of this guy in a split second, and has him cuffed in an instant. They pull him up off the floor. He is cursing a blue streak, calling us things I've never heard before. One of the things he calls us, though, is "fudge-packers." and I have to admit that I find this one of the most offensive phrases in the English language. It really pushes my buttons. I take two steps toward the guy before Kenny puts his hand on my shoulder and pulls me back. "No, Tim! He's a moron, a drunken moron. He's also about to be an incarcerated drunken moron. Let him go."

Right. Let him go. Kenny is very wise. I take his hand, and we walk downstairs to the tube station and make our way back to South Kensington to pick up the boys. I have an outing in mind.

The Tate Modern is one of London's newer museums. The building in which the collection is housed was formerly a power station build in 1947 with additions made in 1963. The exterior façade is austere. It looks very...municipal. Bricks and mortar. It's actually quite ugly. But when you get inside, it is just amazing. The first time I came here, there was an exhibit in the main entry hall by Olafur Eliasson, The Weather Project. You need to understand that the entry hall is probably the size of four football fields. The ceiling was done entirely of mirrors, and a setting sun was projected on the far wall, which was reflected off the ceiling. And then fog was produced from various portals in the ceiling. It was absolutely spectacular. It made you feel as though you were in a swamp somewhere. It was so breathtaking that lots of people would come just for this exhibit. They would lie on the floor, or on a bridge that crossed the room about forty feet up, and just stare at the sunset in the mirrors. I was one of those people. I probably stayed with that exhibit for forty minutes to an hour. I couldn't get enough of it. The current visiting exhibition, at least the one in Turbine Hall on the first level, is by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, a French artist working in video and installations. It's less spectacular than the Eliasson exhibition was, but is something I've read about and have wanted to see. But, that's not all there is here. Their permanent exhibitions are also amazing. They have a good collection of Rothko, of Motherwell, of Keith Haring, and of David Hockney. And they have other visiting exhibitions. This month, for example, they have an exhibition by a contemporary Mexican artist, a neo-realist. This month they're showing a collection of works by Alejandro Rodriguez – my Alejandro. Ian's Alejandro. I just can't wait to see it!


The Tate is a world-class venue. What the Pergamon is to Hellenistic antiquities, what the Metropolitan is to classical painting and sculpture, what the Louvre is to the European masters, the Tate is to modern art. That gives them a lot of clout in staging exhibitions, and this exhibition is spectacular. They have everything from the San Francisco exhibition, plus about twenty additional paintings. They've arranged them chronologically, so you can see the development of Alejandro's style, and they have sketches that he did, preparing for his paintings, that are just so revealing about how his mind worked. I've propelled us here circuitously, through the Hockneys, a few Picassos, a Modigliani. And when we reach the exhibition hall for Alejandro's work, the first image you see is the last image he painted, that self-portrait of himself, emaciated and dying. The instant Jason sees it, he tears up. He goes to Kenny and takes his hand, and they hold hands throughout the rest of the exhibition, hugging occasionally. This is clearly very emotional for them.


At the end of the exhibition, we're met by the curator. I'd told her we were coming, and I'd told her roughly when, and what to look for. She greets us and talks a little about how Alejandro's works fits into the continuum of Mexican masterpieces, and into the modernist movement as a whole. "He was so anachronistic," she says. "He was reaching back to an earlier time, and making it his own, making it modern, making it Mexican. His use of color, of texture was very much his own, very cultural, but his technique was...classical. That's what makes him so interesting. He just combines so many influences." At the end of her discussion, she hands us each a copy of a portfolio of the works included in the exhibition. This is clearly a very limited edition brochure, because the glossy photos of the paintings are glued onto pages of commentary. Just stunning! My name is everywhere in the brochure, of course, because I own the largest collection of Alejandro's paintings in the world. (Well, Ian owns them, but he doesn't want them, doesn't even want to see them, can't look at them without bursting into tears. So, I guess they're mine. But, if they're ever sold, the money will go to Ian. [I need to make sure that's true when we get home. I need to chat with Bob Titus, my attorney – get him to amend my will.])


We have lunch in the Tate restaurant, which has a spectacular view of the Thames and metropolitan London. It is seriously expensive, but they have a deal where kids eat for free if they're with adults who are buying meals, so it's not as expensive as it could be. And, they're loaded with seafood, good seafood.


Finally, we leave the museum, making our way back to the flat slowly. We stop at St. James park so Kai can feed the ducks, and then basically walk to South Kensington. It's a long walk, but gives us the opportunity to talk and catch up on what's been going on in our respective lives. Dinh has now graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science. He didn't go to his graduation. I didn't go to mine, either. Waste of time. He's already been accepted into the master's program, so he'll start those classes in the fall. He's happy. Kenny has now moved from Associate Professor to full Professor by virtue of his latest game and a book he wrote on user interface design. I congratulate him heartily, but I honestly don't have the sense that he cares much. I think Kenny is moving in other directions. Like I did, I think he's moving away from programming and toward something else, but I'm not sure he's defined what that "something else" is, yet.


Once we get back to the flat, long about 3pm, the boys are anxious to go play with Shirish and Azeem, and Jason takes them downstairs, asking whether it's okay if they stay the night. "Yes, of course," says Mrs. Patel, smiling. "Did your companions arrive comfortably?" she asks.


"Yes. They're here, and very tired. I think we'll take a nap."


She nods. "Will you be needing the key to your second room?"


"Not yet," he replies. "I'll pick it up from you tomorrow morning, when I pick up Kevin and Kai."


What he's effectively just told her is that we're all going to sleep together tonight, and her broad smile affirms receipt of that message. It also affirms that she doesn't give a damn. Is it the UK I like, or the Indian population of the UK, or Mrs. Patel? "All generalizations are false," my wise father used to tell me with a snaugh. I guess I have to assume that it's Mrs. Patel. Still, it is heartening (and also disheartening) that the only harassment we've had to endure here was from another American, that drunken idiot at Heathrow. But, if all generalizations are false, I can't generalize about the Brits, either, I suppose. There are, after all, an awful lot of muslim fundamentalists in this country, and they hate us almost as much as their christian brethren. And, of course, we have Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Although I wouldn't expect him to personally pummel me with a cricket bat, I think he would stand by and watch it happen – for the unity of the church and the amusement of the African prelates. We still need to be careful.

When Jason gets back to the room, the rest of us are already in bed. It's Kenny, followed by me, followed by Dinh. Jason takes off his clothes, and begins to slide in behind Dinh. "No," says Kenny. "You need to be in front of me. I...umm...want you next to me."

"Okay," Jason says, a little confused. This isn't his usual position. Isn't it strange how we establish specific places in bed? To sleep, I mean. When we're fucking, there's no telling where we'll be. But when we're sleeping, Jason and Dinh are always on my left. Kenny is always on my right. What's that about? With previous boyfriends, it's also been this way. We're always in the same position in bed. Is it just routine, or do we instinctively need to know where we are? Maybe we feel uncomfortable when we wake up, not knowing where our partner is. Maybe sleep is an essentially-conservative act. We need to do it the same way every time. Orientation is everything. All I know is that I feel vaguely uncomfortable with Jason in front of Kenny, but, hey, Kenny hasn't seen him for two weeks. I guess I can live with it.

Jason moves to the far left of the bed, and slides in beside Kenny, turning so the two of them are facing each other. "Better?" he asks.

"Yeah," Kenny replies. "Tim has had you exclusively for two weeks. It's my turn." Then Jason and Kenny begin to kiss, and I realize that their jet lag isn't quite as bad as I thought. I flip over on my other side, facing Dinh.

"So, you aren't tired, either?"

"Well, sort of. But...I've got...stamina," he says, giggling.

"And is this a green-marble day?" I ask with a snort.

When I left, I put Kenny in charge of the marbles. Kenny is not especially dominant, though, so he sort of sloughed off his "responsibilities". That was probably wise. He's not built to administer authority. So, he and Dinh have been fucking whenever the mood has struck them. "We can start drawing marbles tomorrow, Tim. Tonight, I just want you to fuck me."

Fair enough. The Brits aren't known for king-sized beds in their hotel rooms, and especially not in flats, which is what we're in. Typically in flats you get two twins, like you saw in I Love Lucy. It's almost as if nobody told them about fucking. So it's amazing to me that we have a king-size bed here. We have plenty of room to move around, which is good, because we all are. After twenty minutes or so of kissing, Kenny nudges me. "Umm...Tim...," he whispers, "can I...?" and then he motions with his head toward Jason. I smile, and nod. This is very unusual for Kenny and Jason, but they've been apart for a long two weeks, while Skyping each other endlessly. It's natural they should want to...reconnect.


We start out at 3:30pm, and by about 10:30pm pretty much everyone has fucked everyone else. Well, within the limits of their preferences. Dinh and Jason have not fucked anyone, but pretty much every other configuration has been explored. This has been a "fuck and snooze" evening. We've made love and then napped, and then made love and then napped. By 10:30 we're hungry, which is inconvenient, except that I know a 24-hour noodle shop over near Earls Court, and that's where we go...foraging. By the time we get back, Kenny and Dinh are walking dead, so tired. Jet lag. It's not that they're low-res; they're no-res. Their batteries are have run down, and they've shut down. The second they hit the bed, they're out. They're closely followed by my little Jason, who has been working so hard.

Have you ever found yourself in bed lying next to someone you really love, and felt that love just wash over you? I'm a little sleepy tonight, yes, and I'm lulled by the soft snoring of these three guys, by the warm glow they give me in the pit of my soul. But I'm not anxious to fall asleep. The feeling I have right now is just too delicious. Sometimes I wake up at 3:00am, and find Jason wrapped around me. I find myself close to tears, as I am right now. And then Jason, with whom I have a symbiotic connection, wakes, as he does now, and snuggles closer.

"Shhhh," he says. "Sleep."

I scrunch my eyes shut to contain my tears, and pass into oblivion.

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