Jack Scribe


Spike still didn't know what to make of Mr. Smith - a.k.a. Lou Gallian. As he drove home, facing the bright, early-morning sun, the thought of being a paid companion for the hot hunk was confusing to his moral balance. Even though they had discussed that Spike might put the money aside for some charity, the idea of being bought by a guy he'd rather have as a friend was unsettling.

He had no problem being an escort for male visitors who passed through Las Vegas and the past two years had been profitable. Being part of an exclusive organization that provided these pricey services to a well-heeled clientele made his 'work' palatable. He tried not to think about the boys who hustled for 'johns' on the streets and in fleabag motels away from The Strip. They were all a variation of the world's oldest profession. Spike considered the range of emotional experiences that were the results of his 'part-time job': fantasy, boredom, excitement, stimulation, disgust, arousal. Fat, short, tall, muscular, old, older, sweaty, tiny weenies, huge hogs, smooth, bear hair...he'd seen it all.  But now there was Lou...the forbidden fruit. 'Fruit, indeed,' he thought with a smile, 'ripe and plucked.'

The company of the handsome scion and 'date' had been a welcome surprise. 'What's not to like?' he considered as he turned the corner to his street. 'Charming, intelligent, sense of humor, GQ handsome, a body crafted by private trainers and equipment that he knows how to use. I'm going to be sitting down rather carefully today. But then so is he.' Spike chuckled as he pulled into the driveway. 'His confidence that he'll always get what he wants puts me off a little. But that attitude is probably part of being in that financial circle.' He shook his head at the comparison of Spike the Valley pauper and Lou the Social Register prince. "Don't get emotionally sucked in," he advised himself out loud, "to an oil and water relationship."

He stopped the Honda in the nearest parking space, eyed the pool and smiled. 'Mmmm, it's a nice, warm morning and I could use a little time in the Jacuzzi to soak my butt. It's only seven and I deserve a little reward for being a good boy.' Spike got out of his car and smiled as he inhaled the dry, desert air. 'Fuck, is life good or what?' he thought. It was the 'or what' that caused him to have an odd moment of uncertainty.

Off came the shirt as he made his way to the pool area. At the nearest table, Spike toed off his shoes and took off his pants. Last to be removed were his socks and briefs. He arranged all the clothes in a neat pile, grabbed a towel and walked over to the Jacuzzi. After he set the timing control, he scratched his nuts and walked down the Jacuzzi steps. 'Ah, yes,' he thought as he tossed the towel aside, 'just what I need.' Spike submerged his tired body in the hot water and leaned back into one of the water jets. 'Must let Mario know who Mr. Smith is, so he hears it first from me. Let him figure out how to resolve the dilemma.' The dilemma, of course, was that Lou wanted a rematch on Thursday. Spike wasn't sure how Mario was going to want to handle the situation. Sure it was Mr. Gallian, Jr., but he was also a paying client. 'I guess some of the money would recycle back to the family so it's profitable for everyone,' he thought with a cynical chuckle.

"Hi, Spike," Cray said. "You just get back?"

"Hey." Spike opened his eyes a little and blocked the sun with his hand. He smiled at the image of his teen friend standing on the ledge, wearing just a pair of shorts. "You getting ready for school?"

"Was just about to when I heard your car. Thought I should tell you about the excitement here last night."

"Good or bad?" Spike's curiosity was aroused. Generally, the house was pretty quiet.

"Bad...but it turned out okay."

"Then tell me what went down. Better still; get in the Jacuzzi so I don't strain my neck trying to look at you. You've got time, right?"  He watched as Cray pulled off his shorts and got in the water. 'Damn,' he thought, 'that boy is certainly no boy.' He admired Cray's improved body tone and everything else that was revealed. "There ya go. Now, what happened?"

"This is just you and me talking. Okay? It got really crazy and I think I heard some things that I probably shouldn't know about," Cray said as he sat down on the ledge in the water near Spike.

"I'm cool with that. My lips are sealed." Spike took Cray's hand and squeezed it. He watched Cray take a deep breath and swallow.

"I was talking to Mario last night when Brad showed up all bloody and roughed up. I mean, he looked like death warmed over."

"Brad? Holy shit, what happened?" Spike sat up and moved closer to Cray.

Cray gave an accounting of what he observed and overheard from the time that Brad came into the kitchen to Mr. Ed's taking Brad to the clinic. Spike raised his eyebrow when Cray said he had overheard Mario talking on the phone with a 'Johnny' and that they were going to meet at a bar and investigate. Cray finished the story by adding that Mario had come back later and seemed to now be okay with what had happened. He added that Mario's right hand was red and seemed a little swollen.

"Buddy, I think you're right not to mention this to anyone else." Spike put his arm around Cray's shoulder and held him.

"I couldn't help but think that you might come home like that sometime...with all your late night work." Cray leaned in, rested his head on Spike's chest and innocently snuggled in.

"No way," Spike replied as he took his free hand and ruffled Cray's hair. He pulled the teen closer and continued, "Our clients are well-screened before hand. Brad just got unlucky running into an asshole at that bar. Could have happened to anyone." He kissed Cray on the forehead and looked into his worried eyes. "Just so you know, I'm very seriously thinking about retiring next spring even if it would mean a big hit to the bank account."

Cray twisted around and, while slopping water, gave Spike a big hug. "That is great news. I really wish you would." He squeezed a little harder, released and moved back to his former sitting position. "There's more personal news. I got a chance to get to know my friend, Michael, a little better last night. I took your advice and we ended up back here. Over by the tree, as a matter of fact," he said with a snicker. "It was...great."

"Ha. I'm not going to ask you what happened cuz I assume that you both figured out how things work."

"Let's just say that I put to use what I learned when your brother visited," Cray said with a laugh. "Well, almost everything."

"Ewww, TMI." Spike joined in the laughter and splashed his friend. "If you have any questions down the road, just ask. I'm glad you found someone in school who might become a boyfriend. But, if this gets serious, you two need to decide how you handle it with your friends. You've already found out how imbecilic some guys can be."

"Good point and thanks for the offer. If things go much further, I may have some other questions about, you know..."

"Yeah, I know. In the meantime, let's jump in the pool. I need to cool off and you probably should get ready for school." Spike stood up, climbed out of the Jacuzzi, ran to the pool and propelled himself into a rolling cannonball. "Ummmph," he growled as hit the water and submerged. 'Feels good,' he thought as he swam underwater to the edge. A water shockwave behind him announced that Cray had just taken the plunge. He was happy that Cray felt safe in confiding in him: revealing private moments that were part of a young man maturing. Spike wasn't ready, however, to reciprocate with details about his experience with Lou. 'Gotta get Mario's read on this, first.' He eased up to the surface and continued to the ladder. Suddenly, he felt hands on his shoulders and a quick shove dunked him below the water. 'That little shit,' he thought with a smile as he looked around underwater. 'I'd love to play but he has to go to school and I need my rest.' He swam away from Cray and pulled himself up on the ladder.

"You quitting so soon?" Cray said as he treaded water.

"School time for you, buddy, and I'm ready to crash. We can play dick-tag another time. Although I'm at a disadvantage cuz you're so small and it's hard to find." Spike stuck out his tongue and winked.

"Right. Like you've got a donkey-dong."

"No complaints so far. Come up here and say 'goodbye'." He watched Cray climb up the ladder, jump a little to shake off water and walk up to him. 'Man, if he was only four or five years older,' Spike thought with a smile, 'he would definitely be a keeper.' He opened his arms and invited Cray into a hug.

"Thanks for listening to me. Um, not about Brad's ordeal or my life...but that I'm concerned about you." Cray stepped close to Spike, wrapped his arms around the older guys torso and squeezed firmly while their wet bodies tenderly touched - everywhere. Cray smiled and released himself. "Gotta go, big brother," he said as he turned, winked and trotted over to pick up his shorts.

"See ya for dinner tonight?"

"Absolutely - about five. Then I've got to do some serious studying. Bye." Cray waved and walked back to his room.

Spike waved back and decided to swim some laps after all. The conversation had brought him back to the realities of life and the need to work off a bit of nervous energy that had been stirred moments earlier. Some of his best thinking occurred when he swam back and forth in a steady rhythm. He walked down the steps in the shallow end and pushed off. 'Gotta make a list,' he thought. 'Talk to Mario, do some errands and study this afternoon. Better check the office and see if I have anything going on later.' He remembered a booking for a 'quickie' at The Sahara around ten that night. Spike frowned about going to a hotel that wasn't considered quality. 'Probably some closeted government guy from Sacramento,' he decided with a laugh, 'over here on a cheesy per diem.'

Fifteen minutes later, Spike took a shower at the outside stall by the Jacuzzi, wrapped a towel around his middle, grabbed his clothes and walked to the house. He was surprised to see Mario, making coffee, fully dressed.

"Morning, boss. Kinda early for you," Spike said as he entered the kitchen.

"Rough night and I got things to do this morning."

"I heard. Cray told me. How's Brad doing? Any change?" Spike set down his bundle of clothes on the floor.

"He'll be okay," Mario replied as he poured a cup of coffee. He asked, "You want some java or are you going to bed?"

"Coffee would be appreciated." Spike watched Mario retrieve an extra cup and fill it. "I need to talk with you. Can you spare a few"

"Yeah, that's doable although I want to get over to the clinic in about a half hour. Let's move outside and enjoy the morning."

"Great. I'll put on some shorts and join you in a sec." Spike took a sip before setting his cup down next to Mario's.

"Don't worry about your cup. I'll bring it out." Mario grabbed both cups and left the kitchen.

Spike picked up his bundle of clothes and walked quickly to his bedroom. Without making much noise so as not to wake up his roomie, Spike retrieved a pair of shorts and slipped on his flops. 'I'll organize and pick up everything when I get back,' he thought as he went through the house and out to the pool. He noticed Mario was sprawled out on a chair and seemed intent on soaking up the morning sun.

"You need any help with Brad? I don't have much on my plate right now," Spike asked as he sat down at the umbrella-shaded table.

"Naw. I appreciate the offer but it's better if I handle this. When he gets back, however, you might want to be helpful for a while. I think he's more sore than anything else." Mario sat up, raised his cup and asked, "What's on your mind?" He breathed in the aroma before bringing the cup to his lips.

"It's about this gig I had. Mr. Smith at the Four Seasons."

"Oh, yeah. Twelve friggin' hours. Hope your dick didn't fall off," Mario said with a laugh.

"No...although we tried." Spike rolled his eyes and added, "Turns out we know this man." He wondered if Mario would pick up on his use of the term, 'we'.

"Buddy, you'll have to be more specific. Repeat business isn't unusual and neither is a name like Smith."

"Turned out Mr. Smith is really...Lou Gallian, Jr. You gotta believe I didn't know that until I met him in his hotel room." Spike sipped his coffee and watched Mario for any change of facial expression. 'None,' he judged. 'I'd hate to be in a poker game with this guy.'

"Hmmm, that is interesting. Maybe we should give him a staff discount," Mario said without a smile. "And you haven't spoken with him since we had our conversation?"

"Didn't return his phone calls or anything. Nada. This came out of the blue and I need some guidance on how to handle it. Lou is perfectly content with using our services to be with me and is going to book me for tomorrow night. What do I do?"

"I should be getting seriously pissed off - really pissed. But at who? You? I don't think so. With Mr. Gallian? Irritated, for sure...but I'm not a dummy. Buried underneath the guy's signature who signs my paycheck, several layers away, is his family." Mario leaned back in his chair and stared out to the pool for a few moments. "Tomorrow night. Same deal?"

"I've got to check the booker later but Lou plans on me being there for another 12-hour gig. I'm conflicted because you don't want me to be with him. But it goes further. I kinda like the guy and feel funny taking money for something..."

"You'd give away for free?" Mario said with a chuckle.

"I don't think of it that way. There's a friendship developing and ya just don't...I mean...look, Mario, I want to see the guy as a friend." Spike looked directly into Mario's eyes and wondered if he had gone too far. "I'm asking you to reconsider the ban. No disrespect intended." He toyed with his cup and thought, 'I hope I'm not walking off a plank like in Johnny Depp's pirate movies.'

"You're intent on not making my life easy, aren't you?" Mario sat up and rested his arms on the table.

"Believe me, I didn't plan on this happening. And I'm also not na´ve enough to think this is Mr. Right. The whole class difference thing is pretty heavy. But I do think we could be friends." Spike hoped that Mario was taking this as well as it appeared on the surface.

"Here's what I think. First, I appreciate you came to me at the earliest opportunity to tell me. Loyalty is a big deal for me.  However, number two, providing the big guy's son with services and charging for them is unacceptable." He paused and put his hand on Spike's forearm. "Therefore, understand that I'm making a bad short-term business decision but a wise long-term career move. As we used to say in the Corps, I'm canceling orders."

"Oh, Christ," Spike said as he jerked up straight, "That's super. You've taken a lot of weight off my shoulders. Seriously, although I don't have any illusions about anything more than being a friend, not 'working' when I'm with Lou is important." He grabbed Mario's hand and kissed it.

"That's all I get?" Mario asked with a grin. "Gimme a hug. I think we both need one." He stood up and added, "And maybe a peck on the lips. But no tongue."

"Yes, sir." Spike joined Mario, grabbed him firmly and lightly kissed him. "Thanks." He smiled and thought to himself, 'Christ, it's not even eight in the morning and I've already had two hugs.'

"A couple of things. First, your working schedule comes first. Second, don't talk about this with the other guys. You two need to be fairly discrete. Understand?"

"Completely. You wanna meet him sometime? He's really cool."

"That's probably something I shouldn't do," Mario replied. "Keep everything off the radar...the less I'm involved, the better. Trust me, it's the best way to play this."

"Do you mind if I confide in Cray? He's the one who introduced us and was a little bummed out when I didn't return any of Lou's calls." Spike wanted to share this good news with his honorary little brother but didn't want anything to come back and bite his ass.

"As long as he understands that it's a secret that he's not to tell anyone...I don't mind."

"You know that won't be a problem. This really makes me feel good."

"Okay, bud. I gotta run. We're agreed how you're going to handle this so don't disappoint me." Mario put his arm around Spike and added, "I'm going over to see Brad. Chances are Doc will release him and I'll bring him back to mend."

"Say 'hi' and let him know I'll be happy to help him when he gets back." Spike smiled as he watched Mario walk back to the garage. 'I'm going to call Lou on his cell right now,' he decided as he grabbed the cups and returned to the kitchen.


The noise of the garage door opening alerted Cray that Mario was leaving. He finished dressing for school and went over to the deserted kitchen for his breakfast. He noticed coffee had been made and decided to have a half-cup while he munched down some cereal. 'Plenty of time to get to school,' he decided as he noticed the clock on the stove. 'Probably won't see Michael until lunch,' he decided,' but it's time to leave.'

High schools everywhere were the same in the final few minutes before the first buzzer announced it was time to be in homeroom. Cray was at his locker stowing his bag and pulling out the books he'd need for the morning when Tim Woods walked up.

"Hey, Cray, how they hangin'?"

"Didn't notice...guess they're still there." Cray closed his locker door and twirled the combination. "How are you doing?" He grinned at his friend as they walked down the crowded corridor.

"Turned in a heap of stories for the newspaper and didn't get much done last night. You?"

"Michael took me to his Tai Chi school. It was pretty cool and I think I'll do this on Tuesdays for a while. The master is a good teacher and has a solid handle on Chinese martial arts."

"He wanted me to go once but I had too much going on with the newspaper deadline and covering sports. So you do a little kick-ass in addition to all the meditation moves?"

"Fortunately I haven't had to use kung fu other than for the sport of it. But I figure it's good to know, just in case." Cray didn't want to brag but decided that Tim should know he could take care of himself in a pinch.

"Guess you're pretty lethal?" Tim asked as they turned the corner and walked closer to their homeroom.

"I don't know about lethal," Cray replied with a snort. "I know how to do what's needed...if it ever comes to that. Why do you ask?"

"Just that I've noticed Vince's buddies watch you closely when you're around them. Nothing hostile, ya understand. It's like they're trying to figure you out."

"Funny you should mention that. One of the posse, Glenn I think his name is, came up to me a couple of days ago and asked if I wanted to go with them to a movie this weekend. I told him that I had a part-time job but said maybe we could get together on a Sunday, sometime. Glenn seemed pretty nice."

"Glenn Gould's his name. When he's not in cretin-mode, Glenn can be okay. He and one of the other guys are on the track team."

"So there's a little group of gangster jocks at school? What do they do, hold up the other guys in the locker room for their nut cups?" Cray said with a laugh. He slowed down at the door to homeroom and walked in just as the buzzer went off.

"Saved by the bell...and your bad jokes. See ya later." Tim 'hi-five'd' Cray and added, "Probably at lunch."

While Mr. Blankenship completed his attendance and made the morning announcements, Cray became more curious about Gould. He knew from being in one class with Glenn, that he was pretty bright. To find out that he was also an athlete was something of a surprise. 'Maybe there is something more to the guy than just being a leaderless 'goomba' with no one to bully?' he wondered. 'I should initiate something with him. A larger friend base wouldn't hurt.' Cray smiled as he thought of Michael.

The morning sped by and Cray's scurry to the cafeteria was hastened by the anticipation of seeing his Tai Chi buddy. 'Must be cool,' he thought as he got in the food line, and calmed down a bit. 'Don't want to appear all horned up to the other guys.' Five minutes and a chilidog purchase later, he wandered over to the area of 'their' table. He smiled and nodded when he saw Tim, Chris...and Michael. As he approached, he noted that they all must have just arrived because the food had hardly been touched.

"Hey," Cray said as he sat down in the chair next to Michael.

"You get lost?" Michael said with a smile. "We decided to start without you."

"Yeah, yeah...gimme a break. I had a pop-quiz at the end of calc class and needed every minute to finish it." Cray returned the smile and rolled his eyes. "Think I did okay." He looked around and noticed that Chris and Tim were busy feeding their faces. He took the opportunity to press his leg on Michael's and hold it for a moment. 'Might as well make sure we're still in the same orbit,' Cray decided. 'Oh, yeah.' He smiled when Michael's leg moved up and down before pulling away. 'Makes two of us horned up.'

"So, I understand that your karate class is pretty good?" Tim asked Michael. "Cray said he enjoyed it."

"Kung fu, doofus. Karate is Japanese," Michael said with a raised eyebrow.

"Whereas kung fu comes from China. But both can be pretty effective," Cray added. "The kung fu movies and Bruce Lee kinda exaggerate the forms but you get the idea..."

"Of kicking butt. I want you guys on my side if there's any problems." Tim turned his thumb up and continued to eat.

"How you been?" Cray asked quietly to Michael. He brought his leg close to Michael's leg until the two bare knees were touching.

"Got in a good workout last night," Michael replied with a straight face. "You wanna practice what we learned tomorrow after school?"

"Some practice would be a good idea. You wanna come over to my place? We could either workout by the pool or in my room." Cray almost cracked up at the way they were talking in code and the guys at the table had no idea what they were really planning.

"That'd be great except I don't have wheels. How about coming over to my place? Dad has to work at night with all the training classes they're conducting to get the casino ready to open."

"You're sure that'll be alright?"

"No problem. We can 'practice', have dinner and study. He gets home around 10:00 p.m. and then I can take you home in his truck. We can put your bike in the back."

"That works for me. I'll leave a note tomorrow where I'll be, and your telephone number, so that no one gets worried about me not being home." Cray felt a little ashamed that he was skirting the truth but decided these little deviations were necessary until his family status was worked out. He pressed his bare leg into Michael again and asked, "By the way, when do the guys usually start wearing jeans to school?"

"I dunno," Chris replied. "Usually around Thanksgiving it starts getting a little cool. 'Bout then, I guess."

"That's good to know. Back in Provo, all the guys are in jeans by this time of the year. Probably won't need a heavy coat?"

"Naw. Just a lightweight jacket," Tim said as he looked up from his plate. "If we hit an odd cold day, we do a layered thing with a sweater."

"Or sweatshirt," Michael added. "Maybe we can take a drive to the outlet mall some weekend and look for some clothes. It's just south of town and they have Hilfiger, Nike, Reebok...stores like that...with good prices."

"Let me save up and maybe we could all go in a couple of weeks?" Cray looked at his growing core of friends and felt good. 'What a difference two months makes,' he thought with satisfaction.

The rest of the lunch hour was spent with the guys gossiping, bitching about their teachers, joking and saying 'hi' to other students. Tim gave a 'practice bench' analysis of that weekend's football game. They finished, bused their trays to the dirty dish area and waved goodbye to each other. Cray was going the opposite direction from his lunch companions.

The clock showed that he had five minutes before class so he didn't take frantic strides down the corridor, just sauntered along and smiled as he thought about Michael and their next session.

"Hey, Gamble. Wait up."

Cray turned around and saw Glenn Gould approaching. "Hi, Glenn. Whazzup?" He sized up the guy and decided this was looking like a friendly encounter. They were both the same height but Gould had a slender, wiry build that made sense now that Cray knew the guy was a runner.

"Saw you at lunch with the other guys. I'm heading to our English class and thought I would join you rather than walking by myself...if that's alright?"

"You should have come over to the table. There was plenty of room." Cray looked at Glenn and noticed a frown come over the narrow, long face. 'His big brown eyes and long lashes make him look kinda sexy - in a jock way,' he considered.

"I didn't think I'd be welcome. When Vince was around, I pulled some stupid shit with him and the other guys - stuff I'm embarrassed about now. Anyway, you're new and I hoped maybe I could, um, make friends with someone who wasn't so down on me."

"Glenn, sounds like you're more down on yourself than anyone else. In fact, Tim told me you're on the track team and could be a pretty decent guy."

"He said that?"

"Yeah. You and another member of Vince',"

"Goombas? I've heard that before," Glenn said with a shrug.

"Well, if the foo shits," Cray added with a laugh. "Seriously, I don't see all you guys together much, anymore."

"Me and Benny - my track teammate - are pretty tight. The other guys just sort of faded into the woodwork. Vince was a mean fuck and some sort of bad glue. I just moved here a year ago and got sucked in. When Vince transferred, I - and Benny - decided to shake off the other guys and move on. You don't mind if we're seen together?"

"Naw." Cray purposely put his hand on Glenn's shoulder and squeezed it for a moment. "My problem was with Vince...and that was resolved. So you and Benny are good friends?"

"We hang out but he's not as serious about studying. Benny coasts by. Gets gentlemen 'C's' and spends a lot of time playing games on his PlayStation. He's cool to be with most of the time, though."

"But you're pretty smart. From the way you pick up things in class, I'd say that you are serious about school." Cray noticed that they were almost in front of the classroom door and slowed down. 'Still have a few minutes,' he thought 'and I want to know more about Glenn.' He stopped walking and Glenn pulled up beside him.

"Got a 3.5 G.P.A.," Glenn said with a shrug. "I need a scholarship to help out with college expenses and it has to be through academics. I'm okay in track but no superstar. Benny's got rich parents and doesn't have too many worries. He'll probably go to UNLV, get a business degree and end up selling cars with his dad at their Lexus dealership."

"Lexus, huh? They sell pretty well. No wonder Benny wanted to practice his 'goomba' techniques. By the time he joins his dad, he'll be able to rob the public blind," Cray said with a laugh.

"That is kinda funny." Glenn joined in the laughter and added, "Actually, their dealership has a good reputation...but I see your point."

"You mentioned college and I've been thinking about that as well. We've got the SAT's to face, and this is coming up real soon. I transferred in with a 3.2 and will probably need scholarship help, too. Maybe we could form a study group for the SAT tests? There's a test the end of January so registration is due in December."

"Hey, that'd be cool. Who all would want to do this?" Glenn perked up and seemed to become more animated.

"This is just something I've been kicking around. Michael, Tim...for sure. Chris? Probably?" Cray was proud of himself for thinking up the idea.

"And you'd let me be a part of the study group?"

"Why not? It seems like this whole 'goomba' thing is something you want to forget about. Listen, we better get in for class. Um, I have to work on weekends - Friday and Saturday nights - you wanna get together on Saturday during the day? We could go to the mall or workout at 24 Hour Fitness. My only limitation is having to be at work by 5:00 p.m." Cray turned and looked directly into Glenn's eyes. "You seem nice enough and we got off on the wrong foot. Oh, I don't have wheels so getting around is a drag."

"24 Hour Fitness would be good. I've got a gym membership but don't go there very often. When Vince was around, it was more about just being with him and going where he wanted to go. Exercise was not high in his priorities."

"That's all part of the past and if we take care of our bodies now, it'll payoff later on," Cray replied. He was happy that there was a chance to make friends with the guy. 'Nothing sexual,' he thought, 'just someone to hang with.'

"It would be a good idea to get a little more serious about getting into shape before track season. But I'm looking for a little payoff right now. There are a couple of gals I want to get friendly with, and this could be part of my new image."

"There ya go. Think of it as a on Oprah." Cray snickered and lightly patted Glenn's shoulder.

"Fuck you, Gamble," Glenn replied and then joined the laughter. "We could go to the gym and cruise over to the mall afterwards. Don't worry about transportation. I can borrow one of the 'rents' cars."

"Then it's a done deal. We can work out the particulars in a couple of days." Cray pointed to the classroom and said, "It's time for Shakespeare."

"Email me all your contact numbers." Glenn waited for Cray to enter and followed close behind.

"No 'puter yet. It didn't make the move. I'll write down everything for you." Cray decided it was too complicated to admit that he'd never had a computer. He clenched his teeth when he thought of 'mommy and step-daddy dearest'.

"You wanna grab a couple of seats over by the window?"

"Sure. I'd just as soon avoid the front. You always get called on." Cray didn't add that in this class, he had noticed the English teacher discretely checking out his crotch more than once. 'The teacher would be kinda interesting...if I was 20 years older,' he thought with a chuckle. He sat down behind Glenn in the row of seats by the window, leaned forward and said into Glenn's ear, "I'm glad we had this conversation. Another friend is a good thing."

Glenn turned and replied, "Yeah. A good thing."


A special acknowledgement to Drew for encouraging me to tell a better story through his edits and suggestions. And a big thanks to Brad for his patient proofreading and editing. Finally, a shout-out to Trab for the final tweaks to get the story 'just right.'

I enjoy receiving email comments. Give me a 'shout out' at My other stories can be found in Nifty's Prolific Authors listings and at