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 88

By: Tim Keppler

 Edited by: Bob Leahy


Dinh is completely immobile. He's lying on the table in the basement naked with his ankles and knees bound together with soft but very strong nylon rope. His hands and elbows are bound to his sides. He's holding his feet about eighteen inches above the table. He has to hold them there because I've tied a rope from his ankles to a pulley attached to the ceiling and then back down to the parachute ball stretcher attached to his balls. If he lowers his legs, he jerks on his balls. He's been like this for half an hour, and you can see the pain dripping from his body. His abdominal muscles have got to be on fire. But it gets worse. I've also gagged and blindfolded him. He can't scream, and he can't see anything. He probably couldn't see anything even if he wasn't blindfolded because he's been crying for about 25 minutes from the pain.

You can't really hold your legs like this very long. Ultimately (and it doesn't take long) you have to choose the pain you can best endure. For a while he keeps his legs up in the air, but after a few minutes, the pain to his abs is so intense that he has to lower them to give his abs some relief. But, it doesn't take long before his balls are screaming with pain, forcing him to lift his legs again. This becomes a rhythm, an ongoing negotiation between his abs and his balls to relieve whichever of them aches the most.

But, it gets worse. Because his eyes are covered, he has no idea what's happening around him, and no idea what I may be planning for him next. For example, I have something called a Wartenburg Wheel. It's a medical device for neurological use that was originally designed to test nerve reactions as it glided across the skin. It's made of stainless steel with a handle that's maybe seven inches long. A wheel is mounted in the handle of this device and rotates as it's dragged across the skin. The wheel has evenly-spaced sharp needles that prick as the wheel is rolled along. The needles are so sharp that if I were to apply any pressure as I roll the wheel across his skin, it would certainly draw blood. I've enjoyed rolling this along the soles of Dinh's feet, which causes him instinctively to pull his feet away, jerking on his balls. I've also concentrated a lot of attention on the underside of his dick, which has remained erect throughout this whole ordeal. This undoubtedly hurts a lot more than his feet, and makes him drop his legs as he screams, causing him exquisite pain. We spend probably twenty minutes at this, by which time his balls have taken quite a lot of punishment. Then I begin to suck his dick. He begins to moan. It feels so good, apparently, that he forgets about his dilemma. He forgets about the position he's in and drops his legs, causing...well, you know.

All of this is very painful, but it gets worse. I've also inserted the bi-polar stainless-steel bullet up his ass and connected it to the T.E.N.S. unit. It's been delivering some significant jolts of electricity to his prostate every second or so. When it does, he screams, and more often than not loses control of his feet, with the anticipated result. So, between the Wartenburg Wheel, the electrified anal bullet, the nipple clamps (which I forgot to mention), and my adeptness as a cock sucker, Dinh is in absolute agony. He's screaming, crying, and generally carrying on.

After half an hour, I kiss him. "How would you like to get off today, Dinh?" I ask, rolling the needles of the wheel over the areolas of his nipples. He scream and mumbles something incoherent even to himself, I'd guess.

"Ahh," I respond, giggling, and pretending that I understood what he said. "Well, I can do that, but if I do, I'm going to increase the electrical charges flowing into your ass, and I'm going to be tempted, probably very tempted, to apply the wheel liberally to your nipples. On the other hand, if I were to fuck you, I'd probably be preoccupied with that. At least the electric dick that's inside you right now causing you such anguish would be replaced by my own warm and witty, ever-gregarious dick. Waddya think?"

He tries to nod vigorously. He tries to beg me to fuck him, mumbling urgently into the gag. I think he wants me to turn off the anal bullet. I think he wants me to reduce the pain. This surprises me, frankly. That's not like Dinh. I remove his blindfold and stand where he can see me, slowly taking off my clothes while the bullet continues to fire in his ass and he continues to scream. He watches me through his tears, his dick drooling liberally. Finally, I move to the T.E.N.S. unit and shut it off, to his instant relief, pulling the bullet out of his ass. But, while his relief is instant, I suspect it'll be short-lived. Yes, the pain in his ass has stopped, but this only focuses his attention on the pain to his nipples, and to the infernal wheel of needles that I keep rolling seemingly everywhere, but especially along his dick. He's so cute. Every time I approach him with the wheel, he screams well before I've even touched him because he's anticipating the pain. Finally, I untie the rope that connects his feet to his balls, enabling him to lie flat on the table, and then I untie his ankles and knees. I spread his legs, attaching soft leather cuffs to his ankles. These I attach to cables from the ceiling, winching them up until he's bent double with his legs pulled up and back – over his head, completely exposing his ass. I think he thinks he knows what's coming. I think he thinks that I'm going to spank him before I fuck him. At least I'm hoping that's what he thinks, because it'll make what I'm actually planning to do that much more...delicious. I walk to the wall, and take down the razor strop, and walk back to the table. I take my place at the side of the table, ready for the first stroke, but instead of swinging the razor strop, I drop it, and an instant later, I run the wheel of needles from the base of his balls, along his perineum, and right across his pucker. You cannot imagine how wide his eyes get. I think he nearly passes out, not so much from the pain, although it must be intensely painful, but more from the shock that anyone would do this to him, that anyone could conceive of anything so...evil. He screams...and screams...and screams, sobbing all the while. Then I kiss him. "Do you know how much pre-cum you've pumped out since we started this?" I whisper. "You could feed all of Bolivia for a week on the sweet sap you've been dripping...well...maybe not all of Bolivia." Then I giggle again, and run the wheel down his shaft, earning more screams from Dinh. Finally, I enter him suddenly, as he likes to be entered, and he groans – with pleasure and with pain – as I pull on his nipple clamps.

Dinh is absolutely out of control, and is nearly incoherent. He's awash in sweat, tears, and snot, and his dick is twitching. I think it's on my third thrust inside me that he cums. He'd asked me to stroke him while I fucked him, but I never got the chance. He came with no provocation, and it was a very voluminous orgasm. Cum seem to rain from the heavens, and plasters both of us. It lands on his face, his chest, his belly, and everywhere else. It took me a little longer to cum. After maybe ten minutes of fucking him, I too cum. I usually try to time things so that we cum at the same time, but I didn't have a prayer of that today. I managed to get him so keyed up that he couldn't hold off. This orgasm gives premature ejaculation a whole new dimension.

Once I've recovered a bit, I release his legs so that he's lying flat on his back on the table. I remove the gag, untie his arms, and carry him to the chair in the corner. He's still tearful, but recovering. We sit and hug. After a few minutes, he sits back and looks into my eyes. "They're a very light blue right now," he says, and then reaches forward, kissing me passionately. My eyes apparently change color reflecting my emotions. I know that sounds strange, but it's a fact. When I'm sad, angry or otherwise agitated, they change to a very dark blue. When I'm comfortable or happy, they're light blue, and I'm happy when I feel the love, as I do now.

Dinh leans forward and kisses me again. "Sometimes, like now, I have an intense feeling of love wash over me," Dinh says. "It's not a sexual feeling. It's a feeling of closeness. It feels like I am so important to someone else that they're willing to do anything for me. I have that feeling now."

Dinh told me a while ago that he thinks that the secret to our success as a family is my willingness to try to understand what each of my husbands needs from me...psychologically and sexually. Sexually, Dinh is very different from Jason and Kenny. He's far more...adventurous. I thought he was saying that he appreciated my willingness to do things with him that were sort of outside my comfort zone. But that's not what he meant. It's not that I cause him pain because he wants me to. He appreciates that, he said. "It's the ultimate embrace – to do something you don't want to do to someone because you love them." But that wasn't the point. "You've grown to enjoy it," he said. "You started out wanting to hurt me because I wanted you to. Now you've come to enjoy it, knowing that I enjoy it. You long to hurt me as much as I want to be hurt. That's why I love you so, not because you do what I want, but because you want to do what I love."

I lean in and kiss him again, and then he slides off my lap. He pushes my knees apart, and kneels on the floor between them, pulling me forward so my ass is hanging over the edge of the chair. Then he goes down on me, sucking my dick into the back of his throat, and then swallowing. As my balls move up toward my body, he backs off and sucks on my balls. Then he moves to my ass, and starts to lick along my crack while avoiding the pucker. This is the same technique that I've used on him for years. He brings me to the edge, and leaves me dangling while he moves on to another area of interest. He does this to me maybe ten times until, as he moves off my dick, I start to whimper, and to pant as he finally licks right across my hole. Finally, he takes me back into his mouth, swallowing me, and he keeps swallowing me. I groan, thrashing my head back and forth against the back of the chair, and then I cum like a geyser. When he crawls back onto my lap, my light-blue eyes are teary. He kisses me. "Thank you, baby!" I whisper as I get up out the chair and carry him up to bed.


Today is my birthday. I'm about to turn forty-four. Yeah, I know, that "about to" is pretty funny. I'll turn forty-four in an hour and fourteen minutes, and will face the tragedy of that then. Right now I'm still in denial. Jason, Kenny and I have been together for six years, and Dinh has been with us for a little more than two. Kenny has reached the ripe old age of thirty-three, Jason by now is twenty-five, and Dinh, my little Dinh, is twenty-two. Jesus Fucking Christ, I think to myself, I'm so lucky! I look younger than I am due to good genes, and a really-good brand of exfoliant and moisturizer. I'm in pretty good shape.

Kenny asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, and I said that just a quiet evening at home would be fine. I don't want anything special. I'd like to spend my birthday with my family. I should have known from the sheer quantity of veggies that both Kenny and Nathan were slicing, though, that my desire for a quiet evening was not in the cards. And, if that didn't give it away, the call from Jeffrey next door at about 6 P.M. asking me to come over and see their "High Sierra" room, a new theme guest room in the Bed & Breakfast they run in the house next door should have tipped me off. It didn't. I traipsed over, carrying Thim, and we spent half an hour admiring the nuances of the decoration. Finally (thankfully) we are released and make our way back to our house. But, when I open the door, there's a split second when I think I must be at the wrong house. I turn and survey the garden, spying my favorite Japanese Maple over under the oak tree. This is the right house. I turn back, gazing in the front door. The living room, dining room, and entry hall are full of people. They're people I know, I suddenly realize. Teddy and Ty are here, and Ben from next door, Norma and Becky are here, and Christophe and Vijay. Brandon and Tyler, and Chris and Bob, all friends of Kenny from Stanford are here as well. They've been over for dinner several times and we've become good friends. Even Jan and Harry, from three doors down, are here. Everyone has a glass of champagne in hand, and the moment I set foot in the entry hall, so do I, placed there by Dinh. I have a baby in my left hand, and a champagne flute in my right. That strikes me as an ideal combination! They'd planned to shout "SURPRISE!" when I came in, Dinh later tells me, but he was concerned that it would scare Thim. So everyone is very tranquil, but they swarm anyway. Thim gets passed around from person to person, drinking in the attention, but not the champagne.

In the last six months, Thim has turned into quite the little charmer. He doesn't laugh exactly, but he smiles a lot! I've forgotten most of what I once knew about development psychology. I don't remember whether it was Maslow, Piaget, or someone else who suggested that the first months of life involved "establishing a sense of trust in your environment." I thought that phrase was a bit highfalutin when I read it, lo these many moons ago, but now I understand what it means. When you're fresh out of the womb, you don't know that you have parents, and you can't see them very well anyway because your vision hasn't quite developed yet. You don't know that there's anyone to protect you. "Trust in the environment" means: will anything happen if I cry? If I'm scared, will anyone come to reassure me? If I'm hungry, will anyone come to feed me? If I wake up in a dark room with nobody to cling to, will someone come, or am I here in this void forever? It took Thim about a month and a half to get past his fears of the universe. Dr. Spock (the real Dr. Spock, not the silly Vulcan) used to counsel mothers not to spoil their babies by coming to their rescue every time they cry out, and there's some wisdom in that. But, babies need to be nurtured. They need to come to trust that the universe will provide – a very Zen concept. Thim trusts in the universe, and is very social...as long as he sees Jason, Kenny, Dinh, Evan, Nathan or me nearby. If he can't find one of us, he gets a little weepy, but if he can, he's pretty sure it's okay to enjoy himself. It's sort of like a shy husband and his wife at a party of socialites – stick to the wife and hope she can protect you from the onslaught, if there is one.

Tonight is to be a Jason-orchestrated "potluck". Kenny, Dinh, Nathan, and Jason himself are each contributing dishes on a pan-Asian theme. Jason is making Stuffed Bitter Melon, and Clay Pot Eggplant. Dinh is making Sour Catfish Soup, and is hand-rolling Spring Rolls. Kenny is making Mongolian Beef, and Hot and Sour Soup. And Nathan is making Ginger Crab (YES!), and On Choi with Fermented Tofu and Garlic. And for dessert? We have Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Milk, and we have Sesame Balls. They knew instinctively that if they made a cake and put forty-four candles in it, they'd not only have a fire hazard, but the reddest and sorest of asses – I'd skin them alive!

The dinner is sumptuous, and afterwards, over tea, Jason picks up his violin, and plays some Paganini, his Caprice in A-minor. It's a piece that is so complex and so fast, that it's become sort of a rite of passage for young violinists. Paganini, after all, was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. Jason tends to use this piece when he auditions new violinists for the San Francisco Symphony. He tells me that it gives him a sense of how the applicant will handle stress. It's a showcase piece, beautifully complex, and Jason plays it...serenely. His eyes are closed as he caresses the violin, but the music itself is electric. We are all mesmerized and I am, predictably, weepy, and pacing along the living-room wall as I listen. It's just beautiful!

Long about 9 P.M. the party breaks up and everyone goes home. The boys should be in bed, but everyone is just too excited. It's time for presents, and what a load of them there are. Quan has made me a picture with finger paints. It's a muddle of colors swirled together until the final product is something of a uniform brown. My mother used to call this "baby-shit" brown. Okay, so maybe we won't frame it, but it's going up on the kitchen wall anyway. "Beautiful," I scream, opening my arms. Quan jumps onto my lap, and I hug him. Tan's gift is a little book of crayon pictures, stapled together, showing family scenes. There's the inevitable family portrait, and then little vignettes. One shows Thim crawling after the cat; another shows Tan with four others, his brothers I assume, and maybe Kai. These are actually quite good for a four and a half year old. "So beautiful," I say, looking at Tan, who is four feet away. He runs over and we hug. "So creative!" I tell him. Feng has made a collage, or decoupage in the current parlance, consisting of magazine pictures he's cut out and assembled into something that's meaningful to him. These things are studies in the psyche. They tell so much about the artist based on their choice of images and how they choose to assemble them. I haven't got time to analyze this now, but I stare at it anyway. "Oh, Feng, this is wonderful! I love this!" Feng beams, hopping into my lap and hugging me.

Kevin and Kai have collaborated on a gift, and it's big. It looks to be about two feet high, by a foot wide, and a foot deep. It's wrapped in newspaper. I tear off the wrapping, and find a little table inside. It has four legs, and a top with a little shelf about a foot up from the ground both for storage and to give the legs stability. It's painted orange, my favorite color. "It's for your chair," Kai blurts. My favorite living room chair is far enough from the coffee table that if I have a cup of tea, I have to hold it in my lap. What the boys have done is make me an end table, somewhere to set my cup. It's a little jarring color-wise, but is just such a thoughtful gift. It's exactly what I need. "Yes!" I scream. "It's perfect. Thanks, guys!" Kai launches himself into my lap, and Kevin comes to stand next to my chair. I hug them both, kissing Kai. I'm starting to feel a little awkward about kissing Kevin, picking up on his awkwardness. He's growing up. He's getting too old for kisses from his daddy. If I dwell on this, it'll make me cry, so I squeeze him again, looking into his shy eyes, and we move along.

From Evan and Joaquin I get a book on T'ai Chi Ch'uan, a Chinese stretching exercise that I've become interested in. From Nathan and Thao I get a really-beautiful knitted afghan that is just so soft, and comfy. "Did you knit this?" I ask Nathan. He nods. I get up out of my chair, walk across the room, and hug him. "Thank you, baby," I whisper. "It's really beautiful!" Walking back to my chair, I open Dinh's gift. It's a portrait, a photo, of the entire family. It's framed. Everyone's in it. Even Thim's in it. He's sitting in the foreground, propped up between Evan and Joaquin. He has the most radiant smile. The minute I see this picture, I tear up. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing particularly "artsy" about this photo. It's just your basic family photo. But...

...this is my family. These are the people I belong to, and who belong to me. These are the people I love most in the world, the people I couldn't live without. Anyone who thinks gay relationships are somehow less valid than straight relationships should see this photo. Kenny, Jason and Dinh are lined up across the back, with Tan, Feng, Kevin, and Kai and Quan in the middle row. In the front are Evan and Joaquin, sitting, and between them is Thim. My family. Staring at this, I'm very pensive, very teary-eyed. Finally, I look up a Dinh. "Do you have the image file for this, the .jpg or whatever?" He nods. "Because one copy of this isn't going to be enough," I choke. He runs over and hugs me. "This is such a wonderful gift, baby. Thanks for reminding me of what's important."

Finally I come to a gift from Kenny and Jason. It's a package of about a foot wide by maybe eighteen inches long, by maybe two inches think. It bends. It's books. Picture books? I tear off the wrapping paper, and am confused by what I'm looking at. There are two books here. The first is professionally printed. The title reads, The Merry Wives of Windsor: The Musical. The second book is quite thick, and as I open the cover, an envelope falls out. I pick it up and set it aside as I flip through the pages. This is a musical score, and the pages are all hand-written and, in some cases, smudged with penciled-in corrections. I'm lost. I look up at Jason. He smiles. "This is our latest, Tim."

"Your latest what?"

"Our latest musical. You remember about a couple years ago when Nadia from the Symphony invited me to go with her to the Berkeley Reparatory Theater's production of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor? She said she had four tickets and wanted to waste as few of them as possible because the people she'd bought these tickets for had bailed on her. I asked if Kenny could go, too. Kenny'd never seen the play before. I dunno, had you ever seen Shakespeare performed?" he asks, looking at Kenny.

Kenny shakes his head.

"I was really impressed by the staging and the quality of the acting. They made Shakespeare very accessible. But Kenny...Kenny was blown away."

Kenny nods. "Merry Wives is a comedy, and it's really funny," Kenny says, picking up the narrative from Jason. "The Berkeley production really did make it accessible. A couple days after we'd seen it, I went out and bought the play, and the two other plays that Falstaff is in. Falstaff is the main comic character. He's a fat, old lush with delusions of grandeur. He's hysterical. As I read the play, I realized that it would make a very good musical. I talked to Jason about it, and he agreed, especially after he'd actually read the play. This is the musical," he says, gesturing to the books in my hand. "The book and song lyrics are mine. The music is Jason's."

I stare down at the books, bemused, and then pick up the envelope that fell out of the score, and open it up. Inside is an eTicket confirmation for five seats on American Airlines to New York City in a week's time, and five tickets to the Winter Garden Theater on Broadway at 51st. And, there's a note from Patrick O'Casey, Jason's favorite Irish pianist, and a good friend of mine, inviting us to stay with him and William, his partner, for as long as we like. He lives permanently in New York now. I'm lost again. I look up at Jason, utterly lost.

"It's being staged, Tim. Merry Wives was tested with audiences in Williamstown three months ago. They liked it. It's been picked up. Stephen Daldry is directing. He directed Billy Elliot. He's really good. Those are tickets for opening night. We want you to come. We want you and Dinh to bring Kevin, Kai, and Feng. We think they'll enjoy it."

I have really mixed feelings right now, and it probably shows as I stare at Jason. I'm sure he knows. I can almost feel my eyes getting darker.

On the one hand, I'm happy they've collaborated on something that sounds likely to be a great success. Kenny's right. Merry Wives is a perfect vehicle for a musical treatment. It's funny and thoroughly captivating. It's already been made into an opera, but that's in German. A musical will be more accessible.

On the other hand, I feel rather irrelevant right now. How come, with all this writing and all this testing, I'm just hearing about this now? They've been working on this musical for more than a year, and yet never thought to mention it to me. I mean, I could assume that they were hiding it from me, but that doesn't make any sense. What's to hide? They could say, I suppose, that they were saving this for my birthday, but it's not like they wrote this thing for me. They wrote it because it's a way for them to exercise their creativity. They wrote it because it was fun. Clearly I had no need to know, but with something this major, this important, wouldn't you think they'd have told me at some point before this? It's not that I feel irrelevant to this project. I am irrelevant to this project. It's that I feel irrelevant to their lives, to them. I feel shut out. This isn't like when Jason failed to tell me that he could play the violin and piano. This is more essential. This is like saying you play no part in my existence. I'm very hurt.

"Tim, what's wrong?"

Jason's question brings me out of my reverie. I blink a couple of times as thought waking up from sleep, and then look away. Finally, I set the books on the ottoman. "Come on guys," I say to the boys. "Time for bed." The boys pad off toward their bedroom, and I follow, leaving Jason and Kenny looking at each other nervously.

Getting the boys to bed is easy these days, although we typically get them to take baths just before they go to bed so we don't have to worry about that in the morning. Tonight, though, with the party, it's well past their bedtime. We'll handle the baths tomorrow. Kevin supervises, getting everyone out of their street clothes and into pajamas before herding them all into bed. The bunks in the corner by now are irrelevant. We don't even pretend that they'll be slept in any more. All five of them sleep in Kevin's king-sized bed, and always have. No need for them to sleepwalk one by one in the middle of the night from the bunks to the Kevin's bed. Once everyone is in bed, I kiss them all good night, head out into the hall, turn off their light, and close the door. "Good night," I call into the living room. Then I make my way into our bedroom, take off my clothes, and crawl into bed. I'm really rather depressed. I feel like a fifth wheel in our lives together. Despite these feelings, though, I fall asleep quickly

I don't usually dream, but tonight I do. I dream that I'm on a train...alone. I was here with...umm...others, but now I'm alone. Where are the others, I wonder? They must have gotten off at the last stop. And, where are my kids? They're not here either. In fact, looking around the train car, I realize that it's empty. There's no one here. No one but me. I stare across the aisle, and see graffiti. It reads "'malone", and reminds me of the Beckett novel Malone Dies. I start to sob, falling into my seat as the train lurches forward. And then I wake up.

I'm drenched in sweat, and Kenny is attached to my back. It's 3:40 A.M. I stretch a little, and try to get back to sleep, but have no luck. I'm very sad. The days of the "houseboys" are over, and it's not as if I want to intrude in their lives, but...umm...their lives are my life. Wouldn't you think they'd have told me?

I slide out of bed, careful not to wake anyone, and make my way to the kitchen for some chamomile tea, a concoction that usually helps me to sleep. Jason has beat me there, though. He's sitting at the table with a cup. His eyes are red. He looks up, smiles wanly, and then looks back down at his cup. I put the kettle on, get a cup for myself, and a chamomile tea bag. And then we wait in awkward silence for the water to boil. After several minutes, it does. I pour it into my cup, and move to a chair at the table...across from Jason.


"I'm sorry," he whispers.

"For what?" I ask softly.

"For...umm...taking you for granted. No...that's not it. For ignoring you. We should have told you."

I give him a long look. "You shouldn't feel obligated to tell me anything, Jason. You don't need to report in. What hurts is that you didn't want to tell me badly enough to remember to do it."

This is pretty harsh, I realize, but he's hurt me. He needs to know that. And, by the look of it, he does because he starts to cry just as Kenny wanders into the room, sitting down in a chair between Jason and me. He looks unhappy, and depressed. He doesn't look sleepy. I wonder if he's slept at all.

"I'm sorry," Kenny says, softly.

"We've covered that ground already, Kenny. You don't owe me anything." This is another low blow. Now they're both crying, and I'm very close to tears myself. "Did Dinh know?"

Kenny nods.

"Did you work with Bob (my attorney) to negotiate the royalties?"

Jason nods.

"So, I'm the last to know?"

Jason looks up at me, and I see pain in his eyes. "Yes," he chokes.

I nod, slowly. I don't know what to say. "I'm going back to bed," I say, finally, leaving the room. I think I can sleep now.

The next couple of days are tense. I spend a lot of time sleeping, something I do when I'm truly depressed. I basically get up for my shift with Thim, and then go back to bed. I sleep probably sixteen hours a day for two days. Finally, I'm slept out. On the morning of the third day, at around 10 A.M., I drag myself out of bed and head for the shower, trying to wash away the sleep. Finally, I meander through the house and find Tan and Quan in the kitchen playing with hand puppets. "Hewwo," Quan says, in a silly voice supposed to be that of the piggy puppet he has on his right hand.

"Hello," I say, running to him and hoisting him into the air.

"Where you go?" he asks.

"I been shleeepin," I respond, nuzzling him. "Very tired." Quan nods sagely to indicate that he understands. Setting him back down with his brother, I go to the fridge for a couple of eggs, grab a pan from the cupboard, and prepare to cook myself some breakfast. At that moment Jason and Kenny walk into the room.

"I'll do that," Jason says with authority. I look up at him in surprise. His eyes are baggy, but other than that, he looks fine. Kenny is grey. Not his hair; his very being. This is a Thursday, so Kenny doesn't have any classes. He's home. And Jason must not have any rehearsals for upcoming concerts. So, here they are in the kitchen...naked. I guess what surprises me is that neither Tan nor Quan is surprised, so this must not be especially unusual, at least not in the past couple of days. I hand Jason the eggs.

"So, what's with the nakedness?" I ask Kenny.

"It was my idea," he replies. "We needed to remember humility."

"And this reminds you of humility?"

"We need to go back to the old rules for a while," he says. "We haven't treated you very well. We need to remember to cherish you, as you cherish us. This and the spankings will remind us."

Neither Jason nor Kenny has been spanked in a while. They haven't asked to be spanked, and our relationships have morphed enough that I haven't pushed it. For houseboys, spankings are not optional. For husbands, they're strictly voluntary. "I don't know if I want to spank..."

"We need to be spanked," Jason says from the stove, sliding a spatula under the eggs and gently flipping them. "We both feel really bad about not sharing our plans with you, about cutting you out of our lives. We're both so sorry," he chokes. "We're not asking to be spanked to prove that to you. We're asking to be spanked as penance, as a means of dealing with our guilt. We want you to spank us, Tim. We need you to do this." Jason is very close to tears.

I look at them both. They both look miserable. "You understand that it wasn't the not knowing that hurt me, it was not being told. It was being forgotten." They both nod. "And, you realize that I'm over this now, so if I spank you it'll be for you, and not for me. I don't need to spank you to forgive you. I love you, both of you." They both nod, sniffing. "Okay. But, I need to eat first. I need my energy if I'm going to lay into you," I say, giggling, and actually draw a small smile from each of them. Jason delivers my eggs, along with toast, and a plate of fruit – strawberries, pineapple, mango, and lychee. I haven't eaten much in the last two days, so I'm ravenous. I basically inhale everything that's placed before me, and then go digging in the fridge for a pickle for dessert. Don't ask! I'm a pickle addict. We probably go through a jar and a half of pickles a week. I can't leave them alone. I eat so many of them, and am so picky about my pickles, that Jason has taken to making them for me, canning them himself. He really is mostly a very thoughtful guy.

After my breakfast, Jason rinses the dishes and pops them into the dishwasher. I play with Quan and Tan. Their hand puppets don't really fit me, so I use just my hand as a talking instrument. As a kid, I saw a ventriloquist once when I was maybe nine years old. He fascinated me, so I went to the library and got a couple of books on ventriloquism. I learned to do it, and still can. Tan is mesmerized. He has no idea how I can talk without moving my lips, and no idea why it sounds like the voices I create are coming from Quan. "Can you teach me?" he asks urgently.

"Sure, baby, but not today. Let's do it tomorrow. I'll teach you tomorrow. Okay?" Tan looks a little sad until I reach out and tickle him, and then he's rolling on the floor, giggling non-stop.

"Tomowwow...tomowwow, I'll love you tomowwow...," he sings. We've been playing the video of Annie for the boys, and Tan has managed to learn all the songs, and sings them endlessly. He's really cute as he tries to hold that final note, but runs out of breath, mostly because I sneak up behind him and tickle him at the last moment and he dissolves into laughter. Tan has finally started to outgrow his pensiveness. I don't know whether the memories of his real father are fading, or that he's just really flourishing with us, but his moods have begun to stabilize. He seems to me more like Quan now, perky and giggly. He seems to enjoy life, to milk it for all it's worth. Now Feng is the serious one, although he's never pensive. Feng is my little angel – so responsible and so considerate. He reminds me a lot of Kevin when he was Feng's age, although even Kevin wasn't quite as affectionate or as caring as Feng.

Once the dishes are out of the way, Kenny and Jason stand to the side of the room, waiting. I'm initially a little self-conscious, but then remember that they've both requested punishment. "Now?" I ask. They both nod. "Who's first?"

Kenny and Jason look at each other, and Jason nods. "I am," Kenny says. "I'd like to be first." I nod.

"Where do you want to do this?" I ask him.

"Downstairs," he replies. "I want you to strap me down."

"Why?" I'm confused because Kenny has a fairly-high tolerance for pain. He's always been able to take what I dish out.

"Umm...because I don't intend for this to be pleasurable. This is penance. It's penance I'm paying to myself."

Okaaaay! "And what should I spank you with?"

"The tawse," he says, without a pause. "I want twenty with the tawse." The tawse is an evil instrument. I'm sorry I own one. It has two "tongues," so for every stroke, the receiver actually gets two strokes. When that second stroke hits, it forms a nasty wheal where the two tongues pinch the flesh, a wheal that often bleeds.

"No! I'm not giving you twenty with the tawse. If you want twenty, it'll be with the razor strop. If you insist on the tawse, I'm quitting at six."

Kenny thinks. "Okay, twenty with the razor strop...and nine with the cane in my crack."

"Kenny, you don't have to do this. I don't want you to do this."

"I need to do this," he suddenly sobs. "I need to feel better about myself. And...I need to...remember."

"Remember what?"

"I need to remember you. I want to remember you. I don't ever want to hurt you again."

"But, Ken..."

"It's twenty with the razor strop and nine with the cane. Okay?"

"Six with the cane."

"Okay," he agrees.

We move down to the basement, and he lays himself out along the length of the table. I attach the restraints. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this. I know what Kenny wants. He wants a lot of pain. I'm not willing to give him all of what he wants. What I think I'll do is try to fake him out. I'll start out really hard, and then soften up as we go. If I do it right, he won't realize that I've softened up. I retrieve the razor strop from the wall, and apply five strokes fast and really hard. He's crying softly by the fifth stroke. I back off just a little for the next five, but by the tenth stroke, he's sobbing. I deliver the next five strokes just as fast, but lighten up considerably, and, thankfully, he doesn't notice. The last five strokes are very light, but his ass by now is hurting so much that I'm sure they're really painful. But they're not bruising. In fact, there's very little bruising at all. I've succeed in giving him what he wants with no damage. I plan to use the same strategy for his caning. I release his arms and tell him to pull his ass cheeks apart, and then I land two really-hard blows directly onto his pucker. He screams with each stroke, and then I lighten up. Once again the residual pain is so intense that he doesn't notice how soft my strokes are. By the time we get through the six strokes of the cane, he is sobbing inconsolably, but is undamaged. I return the cane to the wall, unfasten the restraints, lift him off the table, and carry him to the chair in the corner where he cries for half an hour, draped over my shoulder. "I'm sorry, Tim. We didn't think. We forgot about you. I'm so sorry!"

Once he winds down, I give him a last hug and stare into his eyes. "Wanna get off."

"No," he says, "I don't deserve it."

"Maybe not," I say with a snort, "but I do." He laughs.

"Yes, you do. Wait until you've spanked Jason, and then the three of us can make love. Maybe Dinh can join us." I nod reluctantly.

The deal I made with Jason and Kenny is that, once spanked, they'll put on some clothes. I don't want the boys to see their fathers with crimson asses, and Kenny's ass is crimson. It's not bruised, but it is a very angry red. So, before we go back upstairs, he puts on a pair of pants and a t-shirt. We hug, and I kiss him, and then we make our way upstairs. Jason, it turns out, has been waiting all this time in the kitchen, waiting anxiously for his turn. It's not my custom to give two spankings in a single day. It takes too much energy. But, that's what Jason and Kenny want. They want some serious punishment, and they want it now. When Jason and I get downstairs, he tells me that he wants just what Kenny got. I refuse. Jason has a much lower threshold for pain than Kenny, and he bruises more easily. So we bargain. What we finally agree to is fifteen strokes of the razor strop and four with the cane. I apply these strokes just as I did for Kenny, really hard initially, but reducing the intensity as we progress. By twelve, Jason is sobbing, and by fifteen, he's choking on tears. I release his hands, tell him to spread his ass cheeks, and deliver two stinging blows directly to his asshole. He screams, and continues to scream for the remaining two strokes. And then we're done. As we cuddle in the big chair in the corner, he tells me how sorry he is, how ashamed he is for having failed me. He tells me how much he loves me, and hopes I can forgive his stupidity and insensitivity. I think he's spreading it a little thick, but he's sincere. He's not trying to accomplish anything by this confession. He's just trying to communicate how he feels.

Once he's calmer, he leans back and looks into my eyes. "Please, Tim, please come to New York. It's not just that we want you to see the show, it's...umm...that I...don't like to travel without you. Please, will you come?"

Ever since a foray to the mid-west several years ago, a trip in which he was gay-bashed, Jason has not wanted to travel by himself. When he travels with the symphony, Nadia, his second violinist, looks after him. When he travels for other reasons, such as a Broadway opening, he works very hard to get me to go with him. I remember a teary conversation I had with him from London when he begged me to cross the pond to take care of him. He was so unhappy there by himself that I capitulated and flew over with Kevin and Kai, and stayed nearly a month. Tonight he is equally plaintive. "Please come. I can't do this alone. I don't want to do it without you." And then he hugs me, and won't let go. I agree, and there are tears in his eyes. "Thank you!" he breathes. "I thought you might refuse. I'm so happy, so grateful." He hugs me again, and we kiss.

So, we're going to New York. But, with an infant, this takes some planning, and we don't have much time. Thim is the issue. Jason's answer is simply to dole out the responsibilities, but to whom? He and Kenny will be in New York. They're leaving tomorrow so they can attend the final dress rehearsals and "approve" the production. I've no idea what would happen if they didn't approve it, but their contract with the producer specifies a right of "final approval for production readiness." Then Dinh and I will leave next week. Who's left to care for Thim? "Evan can do it," Jason says. But, Evan's back in school. He's at Stanford working on a degree in Spanish, and in Mexican literature. He can certainly help, but we can't depend on him entirely. It's too disruptive to his life. It's Nathan who saves us.

"You're only planning to be gone for three days. I can take care of Thim, Than and Quan for three days." Nathan is the perfect answer. He's part of the family, so he's someone we all trust. The boys adore him, and he works from home, so he's always available for Thim. Nathan has a very small catering business. Specifically, he cooks for several small guest houses and bed and breakfasts. He has about five regular clients, including Ben and Jeffrey's B&B next door to us, whose guests have come to expect superb meals as part of their stay. He does all this, of course, from our kitchen, so I suppose you could say that we've become one of his clients, because most nights, it's his cooking we eat – the leftovers. Yum!

"Are you sure he won't be too much for you to manage?" Nathan gives me a look.

"I won't be doing this alone. Thao is here, and Evan, and Joaquin. We'll manage. And Thim is a very cooperative baby, isn't he?"

Nathan's right about Thim. He's an amazingly-agreeable baby. Once we established a feeding schedule that didn't leave him hungry, we rarely heard him wail. He's a smiler rather than a cryer. He likes to be tickled, cuddled, rocked, and petted. At eight months, he's crawling a mile a minute, and we've sort of baby-proofed the house to let him do that. During the day, when he's awake, he has free reign of the living room, dining room, and hallway. I'm not big on the idea of play pens, of confining infants to a four-foot by four-foot cage where they learn to be incarcerated, so we just let him roam, and quite often find him curled up asleep under the table in the entry way. He's also managed to avoid acquiring a many of the phobias that kids develop at this point in their young lives. I had an enduring fear of doctors throughout my childhood, something my mother tells me started very early. Thim doesn't have that. In fact, he sort of relishes going to the doctor, mostly because Gloria, Dr. Cohen's nurse, insists on regular "snuggle exams" that Thim seems to thrive on. The only time Thim became skittish with a doctor was during an exam by a pediatric specialist for what Dr. Cohen thought was some kind of intestinal impaction. The pediatrician felt around, did an x-ray, and concluded that Thim was fine. "Are you going to have him circumcised?" the doctor asked in passing. "It's better for cleanliness."

I felt my eyes narrow. "Pardon? I didn't...quite hear you. Did you ask me if I was going to have him castrated?" The doctor backed out of the room faster than you can believe, leaving me to get Thim's diaper back on him. He knew he'd tapped into something visceral and had better make himself scarce. Americans in the 1950s, 60s and 70s had a mania for snipping away bits of little boys' dicks. They did this to little boys who had no say in the matter, to little boys who weren't anesthetized for this procedure, and who cried piteously throughout their disfigurement. I was "skinned". My father was not. I've never forgiven him for allowing that to happen to me. Cleanliness my ass! It's another chargeable procedure from which doctors derive income, and something your father should protect you from. It's his responsibility, because your mother's going to listen to the doctor, isn't she? She's going to do what the doctor says. It's your father's job to say, "Hell No!"

So, we're going to New York, and we're going in four days. The boys are frantic with excitement. "Have I ever been to New York?" Feng asks me.

"Nope. Never. Your brothers haven't been there either."

"What's it like?"

"You remember the Batman video?"

He nods.

"Gotham City is actually New York."

"Wow!" he says. He's just so cute, so ebullient. I pat my lap, and he jumps up. We hug.

When we arrive in New York two days later, Patrick and William are there to meet us. I'd planned to take the bus into Manhattan which, honestly, would have been a pain in the ass. The M60 takes you right to 125th Street, which is really convenient as a hopping off point, but schlepping the luggage for five of us would have been a mess. "How'd you know our arrival time?" I ask Patrick.

"I din'na, but Jason did. He's been tracking your arrival time all day. He's back at the flat...pining. There was no room in the car for the five of you and him. And who have we here?" he asks, surveying the boys.

"Well, this is Kevin and this is Kai. You remember them, right?"

"Oh, aye. But you're both so big. I remember you when you were tykes," he says, ruffling Kai's hair.

"And this is Feng."

"Hello, mi lad," Patrick says with a snort. "And how are you?"

"Fine," Feng says, smiling, reaching out to shake Patrick's hand. Patrick takes his hand, and draws him into a hug.

"Right, then. Let's get under way. I'm parked in the hourly lot and it's costing me $100 a minute," Patrick says, laughing. "Let's get on with it."

The drive from Queens into Manhattan is uneventful, although once we hit Manhattan proper, Patrick becomes a very aggressive driver. "So, what are your plans?" he asks as he navigates the streets of Manhattan.

"Well, we don't have many. Well, maybe we do have many. I'd like to take the boys to the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) and the Cloisters (the Metropolitan Museum's medieval art collection). I'd also like to take them to the Frick Museum, my favorite little museum in New York. Oh, yeah, and the High Line. We have to see the High Line."

The High Line is a brand-new park just opened in New York City. Formerly a railway bridge, it's now a garden. New Yorkers are so starved for garden space that they make gardens out of anything they can find. This railway bridge was an eyesore in the middle of the meatpacking district of Manhattan. Thanks to the tenacity of a couple of locals, it is now a spectacular garden with grasses, flowers, and fountains. It was designed by Piet Oudolf, a Dutch landscape architect whose other gardens have been amazing. I've heard that the High Line will take your breath away, and I want to see it. New Yorkers are very creative when it comes to the use of space. I want to see how they've turned a railway bridge into a garden.

"And then, if we can find someone to sit with the boys, I'd like to go to Splash for their Broadway Monday sing along, and to Ouch! with Dinh."

Patrick gives me a look and a smile. Ouch! is a bar and club on Christopher Street. Its clientele is mostly leather daddies, but it caters to a younger crowd as well. You can rent rooms there, although there are no doors on the rooms. Whatever you do in the rooms is "open to the public." Splash is a gay dance club, but on Mondays there's no dancing. On Mondays they play videos of Broadway shows tunes and it becomes a de-facto karaoke night as everyone sings along – lots of Judy Garland, lots of Barbara Streisand, and everything in between, the gayer the better.

"You don't need a baby sitter," Patrick tells me. "William and I will look after the tykes. Feng is new to the family, isn't he?"

"Yeah, and there are two more like him. My son, Ian, and his then-partner adopted three children from China. When they broke up no one wanted the kids, no one except me. They'd been living with us mostly anyway, so it wasn't a traumatic transition. Feng is the most amazing little gentleman. He reminds me a lot of Kevin. All of us have specific expectations of what our children should do. I want them to be emotionally honest, and open to life's possibilities. Kenny wants them to be studious and well educated. Dinh wants them to be well-behaved but to have fun, to actually have a childhood. And Jason wants them to be responsible. He wants them to take responsibility for each other. So far, I guess we've been pretty successful at drumming our messages into them, although they pick them up to varying degrees. Kevin and Feng are the responsible ones, and Kai and Quan – whom you haven't met – are the fun-loving ones. They're all emotionally honest, do well in school, and are all well behaved. Oh, did I say that I adore them all so you shouldn't listen to any of the bullshit I'm spewing now because it's the mumblings of a proud father – something less than objective?" I laugh, and so does Patrick.

"Well, I'll let you know at the end of your visit if you tried to hoodwink me. Right now, though, they seem pretty self-contained." And, in fact, they do, but mostly because it's past their bedtime. The only one awake is Kevin, who's sitting up straight in the back seat watching the city go by as we drive. Kai has collapsed in Kevin's lap and is sound asleep, and Feng has collapsed in Kai's lap and is also out. Dinh is nodding. He has his hand on Feng's hip and looks like he'd like to keel over and fall asleep, like the boys.

"So, how many kids do you have now?" Patrick asks.

"Eight, although Ian, my oldest, doesn't live with us anymore."

"Eight. Why so many?"

"Is eight `so many'?" I ask, laughing. "I dunno. I like kids. Gary, a good friend of mine, used to accuse me of collecting strays. He was thinking of Jason, Kenny, Andrew, Dinh and Vijay. He was thinking of men. I used to collect men. Now I collect kids, and I'm happier. We have a baby, did you know?"

Patrick shakes his head.

"Dinh is even crazier about kids than I am. He wanted a baby. Little Thim is his biological child. He's eight months old, and is just adorable. I've never been big on infants – until this one."

"Well, he's named after you, isn't he? You're bound to be fond of him."

"I suppose. It's the Vietnamese spelling, though. It's T-H-I-M. Is that the same name? I don't know. It's pronounced the same."

"Dinh named him?"


"And who do you think he was thinking of when he did?"

I nod. Patrick is right. The baby is named after me.

Patrick's flat is at 81st and Broadway. You couldn't ask for a better location. It's almost directly across from Central Park, and from the Natural History Museum, and a ten-minute stroll from the Metropolitan Museum. When we get there, I carry Kevin up, who by now is fast asleep, Dinh carries Kai, and William, Patrick's partner, carries Feng. It's 10:30 P.M., way past their bed time. It's time to get them into bed. Thankfully, there are two guest rooms, one with a queen-sized bed, just the right size for three boys, and one with a king, just the right size for Jason, Kenny, Dinh and me. We get the boys' clothes off and pile them into bed, and then make our way to the living room for tea. The minute I sit down, I have Jason in my lap. "I've missed you," he says, giggling.

"I've missed you too, baby," I reply, kissing him. This is a little ritualistic, I have to admit. Jason only left San Jose a couple of days ago. Still, I adore him, and don't like to be away from him, and I know he doesn't like to be away from me. Business travel scares him. He doesn't like it. It's better traveling with Kenny, he's told me, but he really prefers it if I'm around. He feels more secure, he says. That's very sweet. Hoisting himself off of my lap, Jason crosses to the baby grand piano in the corner of the room and starts to...what? I've never heard this piece before. Seeing my confusion, Kenny comes to the rescue. "This is the overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor." Suddenly I'm fascinated. This isn't typical of Jason. Jason's music is typically...what? Edgy. Jason's music usually floats right on the margins of atonality. It's a little jarring. That's not to say that it isn't beautiful. It is. But it gets your attention. It's very...modern. But, this overture is closer to Rossini than to Shφnberg. It's very melodic, full of arpeggios. It's almost florid. I like it. But...it's just so...different. I look across the room, and find Patrick watching me.

"It's a pity that little Jason hates to travel so much. He's a very gifted pianist," Patrick says. "He'd have made a spectacular soloist. It's a shame to deprive the public of his gifts."

I giggle. "It's true," I reply. "But, if he were traveling, I'd be deprived of his other obvious charms. The `public' be damned. I like him just as he is, thank you."

Patrick nods, smiling.

We start the next day at the restaurant in the Fairway Market at 74th and Broadway. They have, bar none, the best Corned Beef Hash and Eggs on the planet, and their Lox and Bagels are also spectacular. They'll put absolutely anything on your bagel. I'm not very Jewish, I guess. I love a slice of Mόnster cheese on top of the lox, some capers, and sliced cucumber. They've got it all, and the bagel itself is the freshest I think I've ever had. It's like it was baked an hour ago. Delicious. Feng has never had smoked salmon. He's a smoked-fish virgin, but orders what I order anyway. He's adventurous. He was going to get an Asiago bagel, but I advised against it. "It's got too much flavor, sweetie. It'll detract from the taste of the fish." He got sesame instead. "Mmmmmmm!. Yummy."

From Fairway, we make our way to the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). Art is hugely important to a culture. It identifies us – well, some of us. George W. Bush was the most prosaic and lackluster president we've ever had, the most ignorant human being we've ever elected to any office higher than dog catcher. After eight years of him, we need to concentrate on our identity as a nation. The way to do that is through art. The MOMA has a spectacular collection of David Hockney, the gay pop artist whose works are eerily realistic and life sized. They also have a credible collection of Picasso, Matisse, Degas, and Motherwell. I want the boys to be imbued with art, all kinds of art – painting, sculpture, theater, music. What will they do with a Kandinsky painting? Who cares? They'll see it. They'll take it in. Maybe they'll remember it, and maybe they won't. My job is to present it to them. How they process it is not my responsibility. I want them culturally literate, and the way you become culturally literate is by looking at the world and what the world produces. The world produces art.

Feng, it turns out, is captivated by the paintings of Van Gogh. What does he like, I wonder? The primary colors, or the flowers? I've no idea, but as we peruse the collection, he seems to pick out Van Gogh over and over again. "Wow! That one's cool." What's he seeing? What's he picking up on? Who knows? Who cares? He's sipping from the pool of cultural expression, as pretentious as that sounds. Maybe he'll be an artist some day. Kevin, on the other hand, is fascinated by expressionism. He likes Goya, Picasso, Franz Marc, el Greco, de Kooning, Jespers, and Sidney Nolan. Kai, my little finger-painter, likes things a little more representational. He loves Hockney, and he's crazy for Keith Haring. He likes that almost cartoon-like quality that Haring achieves. Me? I like it all. I'm no fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat, of which the MOMA has quite an extensive collection, but even he is interesting. He's a cultural icon, and therefore "required reading" if one is to have a thorough knowledge of popular culture. And then there's Miguel Rogriguez. Who the hell is Miguel Rodriguez? The only reason this artist catches my eye is because of the brush work and the use of light. His paintings just look so much like Alejandro's. The similarities are uncanny. It's not so much in the content as in the presentation. I make a note to look him up later.

All told, we spend four hours in the MOMA. You'd expect that to be extreme with children, but it isn't. Kevin, Feng and Kai have been fascinated and have thoroughly enjoyed themselves, but rather than going on to another museum, which was originally my plan, I take them instead to the Central Park Zoo. I love this zoo. It has polar bears, and pigs, and tigers. It has everything, and the boys are nearly frantic to see it all. Many of the animals they can pet, so they get a sense of how their coats really feel. Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!

And, once we're done at the zoo, I take them to the angel, also in Central Park, the statue of the angel off Fifth Avenue that's the inspiration for Angels in America, a sculpture that nearly always makes me cry. I never saw Tony Kushner's play on Broadway, but I did see the movie. Directed by Mike Nichols, it was among the five or six best movies I've ever seen in my life. I had to watch it several times because I kept dissolving into tears. It's just so...breathtakingly...astonishingly...brilliant! Is that a sufficient accolade? Every time I see this angel in Central Park I tear up, because I remember the movie. If we're talking fine art, this is about as fine as it gets. Kevin has seen it, but it was way above his head. Angels is not a children's movie. Angels is hard for adults. You have to work at it. But, oh, my god, it's worth it!

After Central Park I take the boys back to Patrick's. It's nap time. Kevin complains. He doesn't need a nap, he says. I give him a look, a look he knows well. It's a look that says, "Don't fuck with me." He doesn't. He lies down and is soon asleep, along with his brothers. The play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, starts right at his bed time, at 8 P.M. He needs this nap if he's going to make it through the play.

And the play is seriously worth making it through. It is just so good. Michael Gambon is playing Falstaff, and my god, can he sing. The sets are magnificent. The actors are fabulous. And the music... Jason has this knack for taking a very simple melody and enveloping it in lush orchestration. He reminds me of Mahler, or if you're not a classical-music person, he reminds me of Richard Marx. You remember that 1980s song "Right Here Waiting"? The melody is very simple, but the orchestration is tremendous. The song is puerile. It's sappy. But, oh my god, the orchestration is amazing. It's one of my favorite songs from the 1980s. The music for Merry Wives is so good, and the book and lyrics, well... They get a standing ovation for this, their first performance, and they deserve it. It's superb. SUPERB! The Times agrees. "Typically, new productions grow into themselves over time. First performances are a little `rough' and become better as they mature. I don't see how this production can become better. The cast, the acting, and the show itself are just so good. A must see for this theater season!" Jason, dressed in his tux and a pristine white bow tie, fresh from the encores on stage, is elated. Yes, the show had been tested in Williamstown, but that's no guarantee. Tonight is a guarantee. It's a hit.

"Can we come again?" Feng asks.

"Nope," I reply. "They're sold out for weeks and weeks, honey. But, I think there's a CD that..." Just as I say this, Jason pulls the CD out of his jacket and hands it to Feng, who is ecstatic.

The next day, we head out to the Frick, and play Frisbee in Central Park. We draw quite a crowd of Frisbeers, and have the best time. We play with dogs, other guys, and with children. We play with everyone. It's a blast. And then, that evening, Dinh and I leave the boys with Patrick and William, and go out on our own. We go to a little diner over in Chelsea for dinner, and then to Ouch!, a gay club. Ouch! Is aimed at the S/M crowd, of which Dinh and I are honorary members. You can rent rooms at Ouch!, but you can't rent doors. That means that anything you do in one of their rooms is open to the public – anyone who wants to watch can do that. Dinh doesn't know this. He knows he's going to get punished here, but he doesn't know that he'll have an audience, and that's the delicious part of this, because Dinh isn't big on public displays of anything. He's going to become big on them tonight.

When we get there, we each have a beer. We sit. We chat. Dinh basks in the number of guys who are ogling him. Then we check in and get our room number. Almost too good to be true, it turns out to be a room on the way to the elevator. You have to pass our room to go virtually anywhere else. Everyone will pass our room. Everyone will see. "Strip!" I say, once we arrive at our room.

"But, everyone..."

"Strip!" I repeat.

Dinh gives me a long, plaintive look. "Umm..."

"Strip!" I repeat again.

He looks at me for a long moment, and then begins to take off his clothes.

By the time he's naked, I position him right in the doorway so that he's visible to anyone who walks by. "You know the rules, Dinh." All this time he's had his hands over his genitals. He drops them now and stands with his arms at his sides, completely exposed to anyone who walks by. He gets a lot of attention. Dinh is very beautiful, after all. He has an adorable dick, and a pair of low-hanging balls. Standing as he is, he's an invitation. My job is to fend off those who would like to feel him up. He's mine. I have no problem with those who would like to look, but touching is not an option. After half an hour on display, I get him mounted in a sling and begin his spanking. After fifteen strokes of my razor strop, he's sobbing. I lower the sling so that he's approximately waist level and take off my own clothes. We have quite an audience now. I lube myself with lotion and enter him in one slow thrust. He turns his head, and we kiss as I fuck him. I can hear the moaning of probably twenty guys who stand at the doorway and watch. After maybe ten minutes, Dinh starts to cum, and so do I. He fires across the room and I fire inside him, hugging him oh, so tight. And then the crowd is gone. The show's over. I release him from the sling, hug him fondly, and kiss him. "You did very well, sweetie."

He nods. This was not his choice, I think. I don't think he'd volunteer for this, but he did it. I enjoyed it, and he did it. I'm a bit more of an exhibitionist than Dinh is. It's always fun to find the shy ones. They're such fun to bring out. I'm proud of him.

The next evening, Monday, we get the boys to bed, and then Dinh, Jason, Kenny and I make our way to Splash (on 17th between 5th and 6th Avenues). We're there to sing show tunes, and you just can't know how much fun this is. First off, the place is packed. There isn't a spare seat in the house. We end up standing for the first half hour until a table near us becomes available, and just as we sit down, the Barbara Streisand video of "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl comes on. The place goes absolutely wild. Everyone's singing along, and everyone's dancing. I've never seen anything like it. I'm not a big Streisand fan, frankly. She's okay, and clearly has a beautiful voice, but she's just not my cup of tea. But anyone who can make this many gay men this happy has my endorsement. And, they are happy, let me assure you. The floor is vibrating with everyone dancing. And, they follow up with a medley by Streisand, Judy Garland and Ethyl Merman of "There's No Business Like Show Business." Pandemonium!

I love New York, I have to admit. I wouldn't want to live here because it's just too frenetic, but I love to visit. There's so much to do, and so much to see. On our last night, we see a new play by Jon Marans called The Temperamentals. It's basically a biography of Harry Hay, arguably the first gay activist in the U.S. and founder of the Mattachine Society, the equivalent of today's Human Rights Campaign, except the Mattachine Society actually got stuff done. The only thing the Human Rights Campaign gets done is the taking of your money. Well, that's not true. They also throw lavish parties for the beautiful people that they finance with the money they've extracted from you. The Mattachines were quite remarkable. I mean, imagine being gay in 1950. Now, imagine being openly gay in 1950. Harry Hay was rather extraordinary.

By day four I'm ready to go home. New York City will wear you out. It wears me out anyway. Yes, there's a lot to do, and a lot to see, but you have to work at it. New York is a city for walking. You walk everywhere. It's not like you can drive in this city, not unless you're crazy. You walk everywhere. But, it's not really that I want to escape the city, it's that I miss my home. Yeah...yeah...yeah, I know, I'm probably stuck in my routines, but that's not it either. Jason crystallizes it for me. "It's been fun," he says, "but I want to go home."

"Why?" I ask.

"`Cuz I miss Thim."

Exactly! It's just so much fun watching Thim grow day by day. It's so much fun seeing the wonder in his eyes as he has his first taste of ice cream, or sees a pussycat for the first time. I miss him. I love him. Four days is too much of a sacrifice being away from him, even in New York.


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