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 60

By: Tim Keppler

Edited by: Bob Leahy

It's only a week and a half before the opening of Canterbury Pilgrims, believe it or not, and life is absolutely frantic. Kai and Kev are spending more of their days with the Patels. I have begged and pleaded with Mrs. Patel, Ashwina, to pay her for baby sitting Kai and Kevin, but she won't take a farthing. "No," she says. "They are a joy for me, and Shirish and Azeem very much enjoy their company. They bring us more than we give to them. Do not trouble yourselves," she says, a statement I find intensely troubling. Still, she takes such good care of them at a time when we're all so frazzled. She knows what we're going through. She knows that Kenny and Jason are mounting a major West End musical. I mean, money is not an issue. If we'd found ourselves in this situation under any other circumstances, we'd have just hired a nanny. But the boys seem to love her so, and she certainly loves them, and, of course, her boys are so much like ours – same age, racially different from the majority population. How could it be better?

So, every morning Kenny and Jason go to the theater at around 8am. Dinh and I sleep in until 9am, and then gather the boys from Mrs. Patel. We've rented a second room from her, but we're not really using it, because the boys stay with her almost every night, sleeping with Azeem and Shirish. We gather them together each morning, and go sightseeing. We've been to countless concerts, to the National Portrait Gallery, to the London Zoo (such as it is), to Buckingham Palace, to St. Paul's Cathedral, to Tower Bridge and to Westminster Abbey. We've had lunch at the noodle shop just off Piccadilly Circus, at St. Martin's, at a vegetarian place that Kevin loves off Portobello Road, and another café on Old Compton Street. And, we've had some amazing dinners.

The Brits are much maligned for their "cuisine," and I have to admit that if you don't know where to eat, the food can be pretty...dreadful. But, isn't that true everywhere? Americans certainly have no call to complain because we don't have any "cuisine" anyway. Mc Donald's is our cuisine. "Yukkie!" as Kevin would say. With the advent of chefs like Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, though, Britain is coming into its own. (Anyone out there waiting for me to include Gordon Ramsey in that list will wait a very long time. I think he's an asshole, and I think his food is sub-standard. It's pub food. Go to any pub and order mushy peas. What you get is a little piece of Gordon Ramsey. Yukkie!) On the other hand, I have to confess...with some embarrassment...to a certain passion...for...Steak-and-Kidney Pie. This, too, is pub food. It's a dish that probably every British schoolboy had for lunch in his cafeteria. And, I'm just crazy about it. Combine cheap cuts of beef steak with chunks of lamb or beef kidney, onions, potatoes, leeks, and broth. Pour the resulting stew into a pie dish, roll a crust over the top of it, and bake it for an hour or so. It's heaven. It's nearly impossible to get in the states because Americans are very squeamish about organ meat, aren't we? The idea of actually eating a kidney is apparently revolting. But, as you've probably surmised by now, I'm an adventurous eater. I've eaten goat brain and loved it, and chicken feet are one of my favorite Dim Sum dishes. I'll try just about anything at least once – well, short of insects. I'm not big on cockroaches or ants. Steak and Kidney Pie is the purest form of bliss. And where do you get good Steak and Kidney Pie in London? At Rules of course.

Rules is a restaurant on Maiden Lane, off the Strand about a quarter mile from Charring Cross Station. They are, in my humble opinion, the arbiters of fine British cooking. They've been in business since 1798. Dickens ate there. So did Thackeray. Like many of the best restaurants in the world, they have their own "preserve," an estate that supplies them with homegrown veggies and, just as important, with game. It's a sort of farm. But it also supplies partridges, quail, venison, duck, rabbit, and chicken, with every meat and fowl imaginable. Of course, they do this in a very British way. I will never forget going to Rules with a colleague of mine. I ordered their Steak and Kidney Pie, and she ordered partridge. Both entrees were delicious, although I did find it a bit disheartening to see my colleague picking the buckshot out of her teeth throughout the meal. I guess you don't think about these things when you order game. I would have thought that a single .22 caliber bullet might have been a more efficacious means of assassinating that partridge, certainly more convenient from the consumer's perspective, but what the hell do I know? I've never killed anything in my life. I've come close a couple of times, but it wasn't a game bird, and my weapon of choice wasn't a gun.

So, at Rules, I order my standard, the "Steak, Kidney and Ale Pie," and Kai orders the same thing. Kai likes things a little exotic, and I guess this sounds exotic. Jason orders the Dover Sole, the fish of the day. Kenny orders the "Roe Deer `Osso Buco'". Dinh orders the "Roast Saddle of Lincolnshire Rabbit," and I can't stop myself from asking the waiter whether Lincolnshire rabbit tastes different from Oxfordshire rabbit. He looks at me blankly for a moment, and then the gears click into place, and he begins to expound on the sweetness of the meat and the succulent texture. I nod and smile, so close to laughter that I'm not ultimately sure how I repress it. Finally, Kevin orders the "Breast of Telmara Farm Duck". Where the hell is "Telmara Farm," I wonder? But, I've already had my fun with this waiter. I really shouldn't ask him this.

The meal is spectacular, although I think Kai is a little underwhelmed. Kai is very much like me. He likes his food fiercely spicy, hot to the point of painful. I suggested that he get the curry, but curry didn't seem very interesting, I guess. So, he opted for what I got, thinking it would be good because I like it. I think he thought it was okay, but nothing special. After the first couple of bites, he did something that still has me laughing when I think about it. He motioned to the waiter, and when he came over, Kai whispered something in his ear. The guy looked surprised, and then mildly disgusted. He glanced over at me with a look of revulsion, and then he walked away, returning after a couple of minutes with a bottle of...Tabasco sauce. When I saw the bottle, I had just taken a sip of wine, and I damned near spit it across the table. I had to swallow fast, because I knew that laughter was going to overtake me. How very American of our little Kai. It wasn't quite as bad as asking for ketchup, but it was damned close. Kai apparently thought he was in a diner, and Jason, Kenny and I nearly died of laughter as Kai doused his steak and kidney pie liberally with the Tabasco. This drew glances from the tables around us as the smell of the Tabasco permeated our immediate vicinity. Kids are just hysterical sometimes.

We finish up with two desserts that we share, a "Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce" and a "Spotted Dick". Spotted dick actually is quite delicious. It's very molassesey, but not too sweet. I've always liked dick whether spotted or not, so this is a nice finish to the meal, and sets my imagination aglow about what the rest of the evening might bring.

After dinner, we amble back toward Charring Cross station. I carry Kevin and Kenny carries Kai. The Strand at night is a little...scary. There are a lot of homeless people who camp out in doorways here. They're not by themselves scary, but there are just so many of them, and all of them, it seems, are asking for money. Kevin and Kai are both inclined to talk to anyone who says hello to them. We don't need that kind of interaction. Better to carry them back to the station. We get back to the flat at around 9:30, and tonight we're going to use our extra room. The second room is connected to ours by an interior door, something I've never seen before outside of the U.S. We can actually move between the two rooms without going outside. Dinh gets the boys bathed and their teeth brushed, and Kenny puts them to bed, reading them a story as they fall asleep. Kenny is the most amazing father. He's nurturing and loving, but at the same time firm. When Kenny's in charge, the boys don't get away with anything, which is almost sad. He's very detail-oriented, which isn't surprising, I suppose. He's trained as a programmer, after all. But, what surprises me is his story-telling ability. Tonight he reads from My Father's Dragon, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett back in 1947 or something. It's one of their favorite books. I think it's probably a little over Kai's head, but Kevin loves it, so Kai does too. What fascinates me are his characterizations. Kenny is quite the actor when he reads to the boys. He has different voices for each character, and effortlessly moves between characters. He's actually very entertaining, so much so, in fact, that I like to sit in and listen, as I do tonight. He's just so cute with them, and they respond so well. When they were a couple of years younger, he'd tell them the story of Little Red Riding Hood. He had to back off on the characterizations because the Big Bad Wolf used to scare them to death. Now, they have the concept of "a story". They're not so frightened by the fantasy, so he can be more dramatic, and he is. He's in his element, and maybe this is why he's been so successful as a game writer. It's his ability to visualize and "personalize" characters, to create believable places and situations, and to build stories from these creations. He's certainly done that with the musical. Canterbury Pilgrims is very much his concept, his brainchild. He wrote the book. I sometimes feel guilty because I think I give Jason more credit for these creative flights of fancy than I give Kenny. Yes, the music is spectacular, but there would be nothing to write music for without Kenny. This was his idea. I don't pay him enough tribute, I think.


Once the boys are tucked up and asleep, Kenny and I return to the other room where Dinh and Jason are chatting about the musical. Dinh is already in bed, and Jason is sitting in a chair across the room. I lie down on the bed, on top of the covers, and snuggle up to Dinh, who's under them. "Is it a green-marble day," I ask, teasing him.


"Please, can we make love?" he asks, nuzzling me.


"I guess that means it's not, hunh?"




I smile, and kiss him. It's a long kiss, and by the time we break that kiss, I'm hard and probably dripping. "Come on, guys," I say to Kenny and Jason, "let's get to bed." We all strip, and as I hang my clothes in the closet, Kenny walks past me coming from the bathroom. He notices my hard-on, and grabs it, maneuvering me to the bed by pulling me by my dick. Once we're in bed, we sort of self-configure, although I'm not sure how or why. It appears that I'm going to fuck Kenny, and he's going to fuck Jason, and Jason and Dinh are going to...do something. And that's more or less how it turns out. I so love the feel of Kenny, the softness of his skin, and the beefiness of his body. But when I disappear, when my consciousness vanishes, I tend to get a little...feisty. I tend to bite his ear lobes, to bite them harder than he...likes. His only recourse is to kiss me, to kiss me in self-defense. Kissing keeps my mouth...occupied. That's what he does tonight. He turns his head, and we begin to kiss, which, of course, drives me nearly mad. Kenny is a great kisser. There are some who distinguish between "regular" kissing and "French" kissing. We don't. What Kenny does is way beyond "French" kissing. Kenny basically licks me. He licks my face, my eye lids, my lips, and my neck. What he does drives me flat-out insane. We lock lips, finally, and I just forget about my dick. It's inside him, and I am fucking him...rhythmically, and it feels really good. He's fucking Jason, but I'm totally focused on my mouth, and on my tongue. I am totally focused on kissing him, on the shape of his nose, on the feel of his skin as I stroke his belly, and on his nipples. And then I just space. I leave my body as I cum with one massive groan. Then the dominoes start to fall. Kenny follows me, and Jason, who has had Dinh attached to him, follows him.


At the end of our collective orgasm, Kenny, Jason and I all realize that Dinh has not gotten off. We circle him on the bed, leering, each of us with an evil smirk. "Dick," Jason says.


Kenny and I nod. "Ass," I say. More nods.


"Tits," Kenny says.


And then it begins – the feeding frenzy. Jason goes down on Dinh, sucking him for dear life, while I begin to lick his ass. Kenny begins to nibble on his nipples, and then to pinch them gently while he kisses him. Dinh is nearly incoherent. "Oh...oh...ohhhhhh," he screams. "Oh, fuck!" he finally shrieks, as he starts to cum, and it's a long, long orgasm. You'd think he hadn't cum in weeks. You'd think that he'd had to endure weeks of red-marble days.


And then...we fall asleep, intertwined and spent. And also very sticky.


When I wake up the next morning, Kenny and Jason are gone. Dinh is still asleep, snoring softly, his body wrapped around mine. And Kevin and Kai are both in bed with us. No big surprise. They're sound asleep. I flip over and begin kissing Dinh while stroking his hard-on. Most men, it turns out, get between six and twenty erections in the course of a night's sleep. I find that statistic interesting, and I would love to have been on the team of statisticians who made that discovery. Men also apparently think about sex every fifteen minutes when they're awake. That particular statistic was made of heterosexual men. I wonder if the results vary when you study gay men. I think it must. I don't think I've ever waited a full fifteen minutes between thoughts of sex, but I haven't made a study of this. Dinh, like most Asian men, is uncut, which makes jerking him off pretty easy. His dickhead is more sensitive than circumcised men, and it's just a matter of sliding his foreskin back and forth. No lube is required. So, being careful not to make too much noise or jostle the bed, thereby waking the boys, I continue to kiss Dinh. I part his lips with my tongue, while increasing the speed at which I stroke him. He moans contentedly, but doesn't wake up immediately. After maybe ten minutes, his eyes suddenly fly open as he fills my hand with cream, groaning lustily, a groan that ultimately does wake the boys. "Morning, guys! Is everyone ready to get a start on the day?" I ask, chirpy. Dinh has a dazed look in his eyes, battling the effects of the endorphins, but nods slowly. The boys, of course, can't wait to get started.


"Why don't you guys go get dressed," I say to Kevin and Kai. "Dinh and I need a shower."


Dinh and I shower together, and I honestly just can't keep my hands off of him. We kiss for maybe five minutes as the warm water pours over us. I didn't get off this morning, so I'm randy. But, sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes sexual urgency makes you feel amorous. It makes you more...loving. That's how I feel now. I really want to kiss, and I realize consciously that I wouldn't feel quite this passionate if I'd cum a half an hour ago, when I jerked Dinh off. I like this feeling. There's some desperation to it, yes. But, it also keeps me focused. It reminds me how much I love Dinh. The fact that I haven't had him today reminds me how much I want him. Does that sound crazy? Basically, I'm manipulating my own desires. I really want him right now. I really want to fuck him. But, I'm not going to because, if I put that off, if I postpone the fulfillment of those desires, I get to walk around awash in those feelings. When I do take him, the...release will be...amazing. This takes will power, and I'm not always able to postpone self-gratification like this. When I can, though, the rewards are always huge. You concentrate on just how in love you are; you concentrate on your longing. By the end of the day you're nearly frantic, and your fulfillment is ecstatic.


So, we shower and we kiss, we dry off and we dress. We kiss some more. I am really desperate. Then we collect the boys, and make our way out to breakfast at a café around the corner from us. We share some eggs and a couple of scones, a cup of very strong coffee, and we make our way to the Victoria and Albert Museum.


I think the V&A is one of the best museums in the world. I'm not sure what it is about the place. It's not that they're avant-garde, exactly. They're no more avant-garde than the de Young in San Francisco. I think it's that they're fearless. They simply mount exhibitions that no one else would think of. The current exhibition is of works by Aubrey Beardsley, and it's magnificent. Beardsley illustrated Oscar Wilde's play Salomé and produced extensive illustrations for books and magazines such as a deluxe edition of Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. He also worked for magazines like The Savoy and The Studio. Beardsley also wrote Under the Hill, an unfinished erotic tale based loosely on the legend of Tannhäuser. He was a caricaturist, a political cartoonist, and mirrored in art Wilde's irreverent wit. His work reflected the decadence of his era and his influence was enormous, clearly visible in the work of the French Symbolists, and Art Nouveau artists like Pape and Clarke. His one aim, he said, was the grotesque. "If I am not grotesque I am nothing." Although Beardsley was aligned with a gay clique that included Oscar Wilde and other English aesthetes, the details of his sexuality remain in question. He was generally regarded as asexual – which isn't really surprising, considering his chronic illness and his devotion to his work.


I love Beardsley, and the opportunity to see an exhibition of this magnitude is just too good to be missed. I expected to have to drag the boys through it, but Kevin is just captivated. What is it in Beardsley, I wonder, that he sees? Is it his playfulness? Is it his humor? Or is it the grace of the drawings? "What do you like about him, Kev?" I ask him.


"I don't know. He's really different. His drawings remind me of flowers."


This response stops me in my tracks. How are Beardsley's drawings like flowers? And then I look at The Peacock Skirt, and countless other drawings, with their extremely stylized Art Nouveau characterizations, and I realize that they do look sort of like flowers. They're round and feathery – floral. He's right. He's hit it. Very good!


We spend three hours at the V&A before wandering over to Harrod's for lunch. Harrod's is hugely overpriced, but it's an experience. The food courts are amazing, and the book store is also very nice. I can't remember who runs the bookstore anymore. It used to be Dalton's, but I think they've been bought up by Saintsbury's. It doesn't matter. I just love bookstores. I can get lost in a bookstore for hours, and London has the best bookstores in the world. My mind has just gotten lost in the bookstore when what I intended to talk about was the fucking food court. Goddamn it!


Let me start again. The food courts are amazing. They go on for several rooms, and when I stay in a flat with a kitchen, I quite often will shop at the Harrod's food courts. But, they also have restaurants in the food courts, and those restaurants are really good. There's a sushi bar, a seafood bar, a sandwich bar, and any number of other specialty food bars along the way. I want a salt-beef sandwich. Salt beef is what the Brits call corned-beef. Harrod's is especially good. I've been dreaming of one of these sandwiches since we arrived. Today's the day. We order two, one for Dinh and I to share, and one for the boys. You really don't need any more than that. Well, you do. You need a Newcastle Brown Ale to wash it down with, and we order one of those as well. The boys want apple juice and, to my surprise, the restaurant has it. I have high expectations for this meal, and they are not disappointed. The sandwiches are divine. Salt beef on Jewish rye with unbelievably-fierce horseradish mustard. Pickles. Cole slaw. Delicious! After three weeks away from home, it warms the cockles of my American heart. Dinh isn't real crazy about it, but I'll make it up to him tonight because tonight we're going for Chinese food...well, sort of.


London has the smallest Chinatown of any large metropolitan area I've ever been to. Even Manchester has a larger Chinese urban center. London's is pretty pathetic. That's the bad news. The good news is that there are some decent Chinese restaurants there. Not many, but a few, and while they're not great, they're decent. The bad news, according to Jason, is that the Chinese spoken there is so heavily accented that it's almost outside the realm of comprehension. He describes it as Mandarins or Cantonese with a cockney accent. It's easier to speak to them in English, he says. The good news is – and this is really good news for tonight – that Chinatown is actually pretty close to the gay section of town. It's within walking distance of Old Compton Street. Today is Friday. It's the end of the week. I think it's time for Kenny and my little Jason to have some fun.


I've arranged with Mrs. Patel to take the boys for the night. When we get back to the flat, they're nearly frantic to go play with Azeem and Shirish, and so I trundle them downstairs and drop them off. The minute the door is open, they run inside. "Stop!" I command. They both freeze. They know my irritated voice, and know enough not to mess with me when they hear it. I motion them back, and they come. "Say `Hello' to Mrs. Patel."


"Hello, Mrs. Patel," they say dutifully, in unison.


"You're going to stay here tonight. Mrs. Patel has been kind enough to offer a sleep-over. You mind her. If she tells you to do something, you do it. Understand?"


They nod, clearly anxious to go find Azeem and Shirish. "And you walk in her house. No running around like lunatics." They nod again. "Okay. Go find your friends." The instant I say that, they're gone. It's like a movie in which the characters have just been edited out of the scene. There's a void in the room where, six nanoseconds before, two little boys stood.


Mrs. Patel laughs. "They are all the same. So exuberant! Mine are no different. Have a pleasant evening, Mr. Jensen. They will be fine." She really is a lovely woman.


It's 4:30pm. We have two and a half hours to kill, roughly, before Jason and Kenny get home. I'm thinking we'll take a walk. Kensington really is a very nice neighborhood, although a bit suburban. Still, there are shops and markets. Dinh clearly has other ideas, though. When I get back to the flat, he is naked, and spread out on the bed. He's lying on his belly. He's waiting to be spanked, I realize.


Moving to the bed, I sit next to him and stroke his back. "Do you have demons to exorcise, baby?" I ask him. He nods. I haven't given much attention to his emotional needs, I realize. And he has emotional needs. I wonder how thick these walls are. Dinh can get very vocal when you spank him. Still, we're both consenting adults. Let people think what they want. Rummaging in the suitcase, I find the razor strop and begin to spank him. Sure enough, he begins to scream with each stroke. After seven strokes he's crying softly, after fifteen he's sort of choking on his tears. At seventeen he's sobbing. I drop the razor strop on the bed, and carry him to the couch where we sit and nuzzle as he recovers. "You better?" I ask him, finally. He nods.


"Thank you," he chokes. "Could we...umm..."

"Make love?"


He nods.


I carry him back to the bed, strip off my clothes, and crawl in beside him. I'd deferred a rather intense desire to fuck him this morning when we woke up, so I am seriously ready for this. We kiss, and as we kiss, Dinh becomes increasingly frantic. Sex with Dinh is really interesting. No, that's the wrong word. He's just not like anyone I've ever had sex with before. He's totally instinctual, which is what you want, but rarely achieve. Dinh achieves it every time. His conscious self just disappears and he becomes...urgent. He has this tendency to nudge me with his leg, as he's doing now, driving his knee into the back of my scrotum. It's not painful. It's just...urgent. It's almost as if he's flailing. And he's very "mouthy". One moment he's kissing me. The next moment he has my dick in his mouth, sucking for dear life. The next moment he's biting my nipples, and I don't mean "nibbling". Dinh does not nibble when he gets like this. When he bites you, you know you've been bitten. He doesn't draw blood, but he'll sometimes draw a shriek, a shriek that doesn't faze him in the least, because he's not in there. Mr. Hyde is in there. Dr. Jekyll is off doing other things, conscious things, logical things. This probably sounds pretty...awful. But it's not. It's actually really, really exciting. You just have to know what you're getting into. There's a really interesting continuum with my three guys. Jason is very passive. He wants you to make love to him. Kenny is much more active, active and creative...and versatile. And, then there's Dinh, a confirmed bottom, but the most aggressive bottom I've ever met. They continually remind me of that old Microsoft tag line – "Where do you want to go today?" What mood am I in? All three are delicious. It just depends on what flavor you're craving at the moment.


We spend the next hour making love and, when we're sated, we hop into the shower and hose off, and there's a fair amount to be hosed. We dress, and just as we're picking up the dirty clothes, Kenny and Jason walk in. Kenny sniffs, and starts to giggle. "Had a restful afternoon, have we?" he asks.


Dinh flushes and nods. "Yeah, restful," he dead-pans, which sends me into gales of laughter.


"Restful, yeah," I respond, still giggling furiously.


Once we stop laughing, I explain my plan for the evening. We're going to start out at the London China Town Restaurant, which I admit is about the most generic name I've ever heard, but their food is pretty good. It's on Gerrard Street between Wardour and Dean. Jason will be disappointed with the food, I know. It's not up to his standards. However, he is so starved for Asian food right now that I'm pretty sure he won't complain. And, honestly, it's not too bad. It's a little greasy, but not awful. In the US it's pretty easy to weed out awful Chinese restaurants without having to eat at them. You look on the menu for Chop Sui and / or Egg Foo Young. If you find either, you stay away because neither is authentically Chinese. They were created by Americans to appeal to the American palate and, in the case of Chop Sui, to make use of large quantities of cheap celery, a veggie that's hardly ever used in Chinese cooking. In the UK it's not quite so easy to differentiate between good and bad Chinese restaurants. Usually the best way, as with all ethnic cuisine, is to see who's eating at the restaurant you're considering. The trouble is, there aren't a lot of Asians in London. I guess I need to clarify that statement. The Brits differentiate between "Asians," by which they mean South Asians – Indians – and "Orientals," by which they mean pretty much every other Asian culture – Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and everyone in between. Asians in the U.S. find the term "Oriental" to be vaguely insulting, especially on the west coast. In California, it's a term that was applied to them by westerners who expected them to build their railroads while they passed laws that were overtly discriminatory. There are a lot of "Asians" in London, but not that many "Orientals," so finding a restaurant full of them, thereby suggesting that the food might be good, is improbable. I found the London China Town Restaurant through a Chinese friend of mine who had lived here for several years. "Not great," he'd said, "but probably the best you'll find here."


Having eaten, we'll take a walk, tour what little of Chinatown there is here, and then head over to Old Compton Street a couple of blocks away to take in the gay scene. One of the big venues in London is G-A-Y. It's a bar and dance club, and while it caters to a predominantly gay crowd of twenty-somethings, it also draws a pretty mixed audience, especially a lot of hetero women – fag hags mostly. And, because it's a large venue, and popular, it's able to attract some significant talent. Cindi Lauper has performed there, as have any number of British bands. And it was here that Enrique Iglesias was filmed a couple years ago singing his hit "Hero" to a guy. He asked the audience whether they wanted him to sing to a girl, or a guy, and the overwhelming response – as you'd expect at a gay club – was to a guy. "I can be your hero, baby / I can kiss away the pain / I will stand by you forever / You can take my breath away." And he actually kissed the guy he sang to, kissed him and hugged him. I have to confess that I'd never been a big Iglesias fan before, but I also have to confess that straight guys who are that secure with their sexuality are just...fucking...hot!! I bought his greatest hits album from Amazon the day after I saw the video on YouTube. It was very touching.


Kenny and Jason are excited. They've both been working really hard to get their musical audience-ready. They both need a break. Tonight should be fun.


South Kensington is on the Piccadilly line, so getting to the restaurant is a snap. We get off at Piccadilly Circus, and walk to Gerrard Street. Surprisingly, the place is loaded, but they find us a table upstairs. I usually leave the ordering of food in a Chinese restaurant to Jason and Kenny. They know what I like, and they know how to weigh their options. I've always found it interesting about the Chinese that they don't find it rude if you stare at their food. Jason and Kenny do this all the time. The waiter seats us, and then the guys go walkabout, inspecting the dishes on each table to decide what they wants to order. Caucasian Americans find this intrusive, but not the Chinese. They have no problem with it. Of course, only about 10% of the guests tonight are Chinese, and they do get some strange looks. But, soon they're back, motioning for the waiter to come take our order. I want Beef Chow Fun, and whisper my preference to Jason. He shakes his head. "Too greasy here," he whispers, and proceeds to order Hot and Sour Soup, Crab in Black Bean Sauce, Poached Sea Bass, Prawns in Lobster Sauce, and Mongolian Beef. That and steamed rice should make a very nice meal.


And it is good. Leave it to Kenny and Jason to scope out what's good at a mediocre restaurant. Ironically, only the rice is not up to par, but I'm spoiled when it comes to rice. If it's not Jasmine rice, I'm not fond of it, and this is not Jasmine. It's too sticky. Everything else, though, is...good.


After dinner we make our way toward Old Compton Street by way of Wardour Street. Jason needs some Kwan Loong oil, he says. He's having tummy aches, probably the result of the stress he's feeling about the musical. Kwan Loong oil smells intensely of Eucalyptus. When his stomach is upset, he smears the oil around his belly button. When I first saw him do this, years ago, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever seen. Then one day, I had a tummy ache, and he insisted on doing it to me. I felt better within half an hour. I don't know what to say. I'm hard-pressed to believe that the body absorbs this stuff. Maybe it's the scent. Who knows? We find an herbalist who has it, and then make our way to Old Compton Street.


You know you're nearly at G-A-Y about a block before you get there. The driving beat of the music is intense, and I wonder if this is why the club has such odd hours. They're open between noon and 12am. What gay club in the US closes at 12am? Usually things don't even get started until around 11pm. But, here the club closes at midnight, but a sister club – G-A-Y Late – over in Goslett Yard is open until 5am. I don't understand, but it's not a big deal. I'm not convinced we're going to be here later than midnight anyway.


When we arrive and make our way inside, I'm surprised to see Steven Gately on stage. Formerly a member of the British boy-band Boyzone, he's apparently been pursuing a solo career for the last several years. Based in Dublin, his home town, he's now married (or "civilly partnered") to some internet entrepreneur. All this I get from Wikipedia after the fact. I didn't even know he was still performing. He has a nice sound, but he's a bit long in the tooth for the kind of music he's performing. Still, it's danceable, and that's what we're here for, and what we do for about 45 minutes before finally taking a break and going off to get something to drink. At the bar we find a group of seven guys in red jerseys with a logo that reads "Stonewall Football Club". There's the silhouette of a lion in the center of the logo. I don't know shit about soccer, which I assume is what this is about. To the Brits, soccer is "football". I have to admit that I actually coached third-team soccer years ago for the single year I taught at a private high school. I was perfectly matched to my team. They couldn't play to save their lives, and I couldn't coach them because I didn't know how the game was played. I was out there on the field with my team five days a week, running along the side lines with a rule book trying to figure out what the hell they should be doing. And if a player ever got good, despite my inept tutelage, he was stolen by the second team, which was probably a relief for that player because he got instruction from someone who actually knew how to play soccer. I was a mess, and you just cannot know how happy I was to quit that job.


I still don't understand much about the game. I mean, yes, I sort of know the rules, but I have no clue about strategy, and I have no idea how "leagues" work. I have no idea about how teams compete against each other. I'm intrigued about the "Stonewall" moniker, though, and sort of insinuate myself into their group. At a lull in their conversation, I ask them about the logo. They explain that the Stonewall Football Club is a community football club made up of gay and gay-friendly players. 60 to 70% of the players are gay, I'm told, and the rest are straight. All are passionate about football. It was formed in 1991 by an amateur footballer living in London. He put an ad in a gay publication asking for guys interested in football to contact him. He wasn't expecting a lot of responses, I guess, but he got loads – all from guys looking for a safe and welcoming place for gay guys and their friends to just play football. That's how the Stonewall Football Club was born. It was the first gay-friendly football club in the UK. They now play against straight teams in the Middlesex County Football League (whatever the hell that is) and are the current British, European, World and Gay Olympic Champions.


"Who gives a shit?" I hear you cry. The answer is...Kevin, my little ballerina. He is much taken with soccer. He's been playing for nearly a year, and I guess he's pretty good, at least that's what his coach tells me. Thankfully, his coach seems to know more about this than I did – or do. I've never really cared what the boys are good at. You try to give them the broadest range of experiences you can provide, and let them tell you what they like. Kevin loves soccer and ballet, and both are very good exercise for him. In the case of soccer, he likes the camaraderie with his teammates, I think, and loves the competition. We go out every week or so to his games and cheer him on, and he makes a lot of goals, which I gather is important. I'm impressed with his ability to butt the ball with his head and get it to go in the direction of the opposition's goal. Maybe I'm just easily impressed. I never gave a damn about sports. It seemed a little...childish to me. (I know, this is blasphemous to those who are hooked on this stuff.) I never was. I was a member of the chess club when I was in junior high and high school, and the Young Democrats club, and even a club for young would-be entrepreneurs – Junior Achievement I think it was called. The only sport I ever played semi-competitively was badminton. Yeah, I know – only Asian guys and faggots play badminton, but I really loved it. Kevin loves soccer, so I'm interested in this gay-friendly club.


It turns out that these guys have been all over the world. Last year saw the Gay World Championship hosted by Buenos Aires, but they've played in Barcelona, Chicago, Munich, Copenhagen, Sydney, and of course all over the UK. This year the Stonewall Lions entered Division 1 (whatever the hell that means) and while they didn't win the championship, they apparently played very well. This year, the championship will be played in London one week from today at Leyton Orient Matchroom Stadium in East London.


"My son is crazy about soccer...umm...football. How can I get tickets?" I ask the players.


"Well, at this point you probably can't. They're probably all sold. How many do you need?"


"Six. There are six of us."


He looks around at his teammates. They nod, and each of them takes out an identical envelope. "We just got our comps today, but we don't all use all of them. We all get four free tickets, but I'll only be using two of mine. Lads?"


One by one they ante up, and before I know it I have six tickets in my hand. I'm stunned, absolutely shocked. "Please, can I pay you for these?"


Another guy answers. "You can pay me what I paid for that ticket. Exactly nothing."


I honestly don't know what to say. I thank them cordially, effusively. We hug and I thank them again. One of them finally cuffs me, laughing. "Enjoy `em, mate. We hope you and yours have a great time." And then they start to talk about their last game, and I wander back to Kenny, Jason and Dinh. I hold up the tickets in a fan, and Kenny twists his head so he can read the printing. And then his eyes light up. "There's a gay football league?" he asks, incredulous.


"Apparently. They're gay and gay-friendly, and we're going to the championship game, the world cup final. Kev is going to crawl out of his skin."


And he does. He is nearly frantic with excitement. When I tell him, he just goes nuts, jumping up and down. But, maybe his reaction isn't the best part. Maybe the best part is...


...when I ask Mrs. Patel whether her boys like football. She laughs. "Yes," she says. "They are avid."


"I have six tickets to a world championship game between a UK-based team and a team from Argentina. Do you think they'd like to go? They play in East London next Saturday."


"Yes, I think they probably would," she says with a snort. "We must not tell them that you have these tickets. I believe your life would be in danger," she says, laughing.


Jason and Dinh have no interest in this match, so it'll be Kenny, Kevin, Kai, Azeem, Shirish, and me. It should be a blast, and it's the least we can do for Mrs. Patel and her sons, who have been so cordial to us.



One week later, on Saturday afternoon, Kenny, the boys and I make our way to the stadium and it is a fucking mob scene. Who'd have thought that a bunch of gay guys kicking a ball around would be this popular? They are, though. There are hecklers outside, but there are a lot more fans than hecklers. Once again it's the Stonewall Lions vs. Argentina for the championship, and what's worse than a fag? An Argentine. I have to say that the only thing more divisive than religion is nationalism. It's absolutely destructive. Am I proud to be an American? Not especially. I'm proud to be a citizen of the Earth. I'm proud of my planet, but is my country better than any other? Better than Britain? Better than France? Don't get me wrong – I don't hate the U.S., as many did after the Vietnam war, after Watergate, as many do today after eight years of George W. Bush. Bush was (and is) an asshole, but that's not enough of a reason to hate the whole country. But, I don't pledge my allegiance predominantly to the United States of America. I pledge my allegiance to this world and everyone in it. Planet first, country second. That's why it was so important to defeat the republicans in the last election.


So, I'm not taking sides in this match. Azeem is, naturally, and, because his brother is, so is Shirish, but I'm proud to find that Kev is not, despite his allegiance to his friends. I have the sense that what Kevin wants is to see is a really good game. I think that's what we're all hoping for.


When we get to our seats, Kevin and Azeem's enthusiasm has peaked. They are both just so excited to be here and are jumping out of their seats at lightening speed. I ask Azeem if he's ever been to a football match before, and he says that he has. He went with his uncle once, a comment that leads me once again to wonder where his father is. Is he dead, or merely absent? In my experience, it's unusual for Asian families with kids to separate, which suggests to me that he died, but that's only my speculation. I am curious, though, so I ask surreptitiously, "What's your Dad do, Azeem?"


Suddenly he becomes very subdued, staring at his feet. "I don't know," he says quietly. "He doesn't live with us any more." I don't know what to say. I nod, feeling guilty for having broached what is clearly a painful subject. I reach across and squeeze the back of his neck as he looks up at me and smiles bleakly. Then, thankfully, there's the kickoff and the game begins.


As I've said, I know next to nothing about soccer (football), so I'm not a good commentator on this game. I do know quite a lot about...umm...men, though, and a number of the players on both teams are...seriously cute. I suppose I could wax poetic here and talk about the virtues of English and Argentine ass, the muscularity of the mounds, and of one ass in particular that got partially exposed to us through a mishap on the field. I could comment on the really-shapely legs that we get to see, and bemoan the fact that most of these guys are overdressed. I could wish that they'd take their shirts off and show us a bit more of themselves. Yes, I could wax poetic, but I won't. My natural modesty prevents me from publicly exploring these topics.


The game is really fast moving, and both teams seem just amazing. The competition between them is fierce. I've honestly never seen soccer played like this, and begin to understand why the game is so popular. The players are so aggressive – both offensively and defensively – that I'm honestly surprised there are no injuries. Kevin and Azeem, like the rest of the fans, are up and down in their seats, cheering as goals are made or averted. I am frankly just mesmerized by the play, and by how much precision the players have in controlling a ball they cannot touch with their hands. The footwork is spectacular, and that's the comment I make to Kevin. "That's called dribbling, Daddy." I didn't know you dribbled in soccer. I thought you only did that in basketball. Most of all, though, I'm amazed at the head action. In one incredible play, one of the Brits butts the ball to a team member who, in turn butts it to another team member. The ball lands on the ground directly in front of that third player, and he kicks it into the Argentine's goal with such force and exactitude that I think it's going to rip right through the netting on the goal. The whole stadium erupts on this play, cheering wildly, and I have to admit that it even has me out of my seat. In total, the game lasts a little more than 90 minutes and results in a 5-0 victory for the Lions. The Argentines didn't score a single goal, and when the last goal is made, the crowd goes nearly insane.


It's interesting. I've read horror stories over the years about the violence that apparently often ensues at football matches in Britain. The crowd becomes enraged for whatever reason and fights break out in the stands and even on the field. Here, though, everyone is very...civilized. The fans are exuberant, god knows, and noisy, and seriously energetic. But I don't hear any cursing or see any confrontations. Overall, what I sense is pure joy. The spectators are here to enjoy the game, and, yes, of course, many here are rooting for the British team. They're elated that their team has won, but everyone is...contained. Perhaps they're taking their lead from the players themselves, who are cordial and welcoming. After that final goal, everyone seems to be hugging everyone else down there on the field, Argentines and Brits together. It doesn't really seem to matter to any of them who won and who lost. They just seem to have enjoyed themselves and are immediately reconciled to the outcome of the competition. This is very much the spirit of sportsmanship that I'd hoped Kevin would see. This is how I want him to think people interact. Calmly and cordially. Hell, this is how I want to think people interact.


After the game is over, I ask the boys if they'd like to go out for fish and chips. "Yeah!" they all scream. Kenny has researched restaurants with friends from the orchestra that's working on the musical. He asked them where to go for the best fish and chips, and it turns out that the place that got the greatest number of votes isn't far from the stadium. We decide to walk. When we get there, what we find is a rather inconspicuous building surrounded on three sides by taxis. I have to laugh. If you want good fish and chips, figure out where the cabbies go. The place is filled with them, all chatting amiably as they suck down oceans of fish. Notably, the place doesn't reek of grease, and the fish we see on the tables doesn't look especially greasy. What you smell mostly is malt vinegar. They have four different kinds of fish to choose from: pike, pilchard, haddock, and cod. I have no idea what to order, so I ask a couple of the cabbies, who both tell me that the pike is best. That's what I order. I know I said before that there aren't many "Orientals" in London, but a fair percentage of those few apparently work at this restaurant. I'm confused by their accent, unable to place it, and finally ask the cashier where she's from. Thailand, she tells me. I find this hysterical. The best fish and chips in town, according both to Kenny's musician friends and every damned cabbie around, is produced by a family of first-generation Thai immigrants rather than by native-born Brits. It's just too funny.


Once we've eaten, we ask for directions to the nearest tube station and head back to the flat. I've almost never had problems on the tube. I mean you occasionally run into homeless guys who make their way from car to car asking for money, but they aren't aggressive and usually pass through quickly. Today is the exception. The guy sitting across from us initially appears to be asleep when we board the train. Once it start to move, he comes to life, opening his eyes and staring across at us. What he sees, of course, are two Indian boys, two Asian boys, one Asian adult, and me. "Oh, Christ," he says, slurring his speech, clearly pretty drunk. "You're a fucking collection, aren't you? Pollution! Why don't you people go back to where you came from!" Then he gets up out of his seat, albeit unsteadily, and lunges toward Shirish, who is clearly very frightened. Kenny is instantly on his feet. He steps in front of Shirish just as the drunk reaches us. Kenny grabs him by the shoulders and gives him a mighty shove, propelling him abruptly back across the aisle and into his seat. Then he moves aggressively toward him, looming over him. "Stay the hell away from us, dickhead!" he says venomously. "Come near us again and I will fucking kill you!" The drunk is shocked. I don't think he was expecting this kind of violent reaction from an Asian guy. He curses as he rearranges himself in his seat, but heeds the warning. Kenny then moves back to his seat and lifts Shirish onto his lap, giving him a hug. Kenny is shaking, I notice. Adrenaline. There's nowhere else on this train to sit, or we'd move. Instead, Kenny holds Shirish protectively for the two more stops it takes us to get to our station, and we depart, carrying Kai and Shirish while Kevin and Azeem cling to us. There are idiots everywhere, I guess. You have to be vigilant.


Two hours after we get back to the flat, having returned Azeem and Shirish to their mother, Mrs. Patel is at our door. "Thank you so much for protecting my boys," she says to Kenny, teary-eyed, when he answers the door. She has apparently gotten the story of the drunk from her sons. "This country is generally tolerant, but there are still undercurrents of racism that one comes in contact with. I am glad the boys were with you!" Then she leans forward and hugs him.


Kenny smiles. "I'm happy we were there to look out for them," he says. All in a day's work.




Three days later Canterbury Pilgrims opens to generally positive reviews. Benedict Nightingale of The Times raves that it's one of the most original pieces of musical theatre he's seen in many years. He loves the music, and the book, commenting that the modernized Middle English script is "enlightening and miraculous." Mark Cook of The Guardian also is very positive, although less effusive than Nightingale. He likes the concept, and loves the music, but is concerned that the poetry may be a bit beyond its audience. He does say that the production is "masterful," and is extremely impressed with the minimalist settings. Finally, Allison Vale of The British Theatre Guide is fascinated by the script and the process whereby it was modernized just enough to maintain "the flavor, the illusion of the Middle English" while still making the poetry "accessible to a modern audience." She also comments on the "austerity of the musical rendering," suggesting "connections with Berg and Stravinsky." "How remarkable," she says, "that this extremely innovative piece was developed by a composer and lyricist with no previous experience in musical theater, or in theater at all, for that matter."


Dinh and I see it on opening night, keeping Kenny and Jason company in the back of the theater as they fret about the audience's reaction. It's a full house, and the audience seems to really enjoy it, I think because Chaucer is just so funny, so ironic. I see it again the next night, and, once again the house is full and the laughter plentiful. Simon Lindon has done a really-good job coaxing remarkable performance out of the players. In some spots, the performances seem a little over the top, but the audiences are not put off at all. All in all, I think he's done remarkably well at helping Kenny and Jason create something that really appeals to a London audience. They would not have been able to do that without him.

Three days later, having seen two more performances of the show that played to equally-enthusiastic audiences, we begin to prepare for our departure back to the U.S. Jason thinks we're leaving on June 23rd, but I've actually pushed out our departure date by two days. We'll leave on the 25th. Why? Because June 27th is Jason's birthday, and Kenny has an early birthday present for him.

Jason is very fit. He's got a lot of upper-body strength, as well as some of the most muscular calves I've ever seen. (He also has a really-nice ass, I should just add, in passing. I know that because I fuck him frequently, and because I just can't resist squeezing his ass cheeks any time they're presented to me, which I try to ensure is often.) His fitness regimen is pretty simple. He doesn't go to the gym, doesn't run much, and rarely bicycles more than a mile at a time. What he does do is martial arts – both because it provides a really good work out, and because, being petit, he felt he needed to be able to defend himself. He also plays one hell of a lot of tennis, with Kenny, with other friends, and with me. He loves tennis. He loves to play it, and he loves to watch it. Through Neville Jarvis, the producer of Canterbury Pilgrims, Kenny has managed to score six tickets for the third day at Wimbledon.

Jason is initially confused when Kenny presents him with a birthday card containing these tickets. "But we'll be gone then," he says, sadly.

"No," Kenny replies. "Tim changed our departure date. We'll still be here."

Jason stares at him blankly until this news sinks in, and then he does something very Kevin-like. He begins to jump up and down. He is just ecstatic! He throws himself at Kenny, wrapping his arms around his neck and his legs around his waist. He is nearly beside himself. He's said for years that he'd like to go, but tickets are hard to get, and it's not like he had time this trip to pursue any tickets. These have just fallen into his lap. "Thank you, Kenny!" he says. "This is so sweet!"

We end of seeing Lleyton Hewitt of Australia play Marc Gicquel of France, Andy Murray play Richard Gasquet, and one women's match between two players whose names I didn't recognize and don't remember. I'm not especially avid when it comes to tennis. I've never followed the matches on TV, or even in the newspaper. I like to play, but I'm not a groupie. Jason is! By the time the day is done, he is just so happy, talking non-stop about the scores, about Federer's swing, about how the players compare to Björn Borg, and Pete Sampras, on and on and on. Finally, I swat him on the ass, as I do Kevin and Kai from time to time, and say, with mock irritation, "Enough, for Christ's sake!" Jason looks surprised, and Kenny starts to laugh. Then Jason starts to laugh, and peace is restored. Sports fanatics make me a little nuts. It's like religious nut cases. They're just too zealous. Still, Jason's enthusiasm is cute, a little extreme, but cute.

Two days later, at 7am, we make our way downstairs, suitcases in hand, to Mrs. Patel's flat. We return the keys to our rooms, and give her a vase of two-dozen long-stemmed roses. Kevin gives Azeem a brand-new soccer ball signed by the members of the Stonewall Lions, and Kai gives Shirish a copy of the last of the Harry Potter series signed by J.K. Rowling, the author, another gift that Neville Jarvis was able to secure for us. There are tears. There a hugs. There are heartfelt thanks. There are promises to keep in touch, which I imagine we won't keep for long, but you always hope. The Patels are a delightful family. They're sincere, and just so...kind. Our boys, I imagine, will miss them all.

And then, we're on our way back to San Jose. As much as I've enjoyed our stay in London, I'm so looking forward to getting back. I miss my normal life, my routine. I miss my colleagues at Youth Renewed. And, frankly, I miss Peter and Erich, whom we've talked to occasionally on the phone, but not for a couple weeks. And Kai misses being chased around the house and then snuggling with that silly Thumper-cat. We're all just looking forward to getting home!

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