Let The World Go By
This is a story that involves sex between males. If such a story is offensive, or illegal for you to read where you live, then do not continue, go and surf elsewhere.
This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. If there is any similarity to any real persons or events it is entirely coincidental.
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Fire In Winter
When James woke the sun was streaming in his window. He quickly looked at the clock nearby. It was eleven-thirty. He jumped out of bed and went to the bathroom. He had time, but none to spare. He didn't want to have to call and say that he'd be late. Since Jim had said about noon, he felt he could be up to fifteen minutes late without calling.
The day was going to be bright and sunny. Already it was beginning to be warm, as he could feel the heat from the sun through the window as he drove to Jim's house. It was barely thirty-five minutes from his awakening before he was pulling off the highway onto the street to reach Jim's place. He turned and pulled up the hill, parking in front of the house.
The grass had begun to green with the warmer weather and the ice and snow had retreated as it melted, leaving small spots of accumulated dirt and grime that had accumulated through the winter.
He walked leisurely up the front walk in shirtsleeves. He was dressed in neatly pressed slacks and long sleeved dress shirt open at the collar. He didn't have to ring the bell as Jim opened the door when he mounted the last step.
"Come in, James," Jim said smiling.
"Good morning, Jim," James said stepping inside.
"I'll get my jacket and we'll be off," Jim said as he closed the door.
James waited standing on the rug by the door. Jim hurried up the stairway and came back with his jacket, a dark blazer with brass buttons. He wore gray slacks, white shirt and blue striped tie.
"I knew I should have worn a tie," James said as Jim approached.
"Not at all," Jim said. "I just returned from church, which is why I have on a tie. You look just fine."
"Thanks," James smiled. They walked down the steps after Jim pulled the door shut behind them. Jim gave James directions as they drove back to the downtown area. The restaurant was only a short distance from The Hour. Parking was easy as it was Sunday.
The building had been recently renovated, and the entrance was on the side street. It had originally been some sort of office building and all floors. But as the new expensive towers had been built, the building had become mostly empty. A developer had seen the opportunity to create something new and different from the old building, and had gutted the lower two floors building a restaurant in the center of the main floor, and a series of small shops surrounding it. Stairways to the second level were put at either end of the open room which looked up to the second level and the shops that were built along the walls similar to the first level.
The restaurant was fittingly called The Garden. James had known that it was there, but never had the chance eat there. It wasn't open at night, as the kitchen wasn't designed for that extensive of food preparation. It served as a place for shoppers and office workers to have lunch or a snack during the day. It closed at six each day except Monday when it was open until eight, and Saturday and Sunday when it closed at three. Brunch was served only on Sundays, and was served buffet style.
Jim like it because of its out-of-doors atmosphere, and the fact that they served a large selection of pastries. Although he was restricted somewhat on what he should eat, he indulged his appetite occasionally with sweets.
They were shown to a table near on corner where they could observe the incoming crowd. The waiter brought them juice and coffee, and they sat drinking the juice and talking.
"I hope you're hungry," Jim said. "It's all you can eat for the same price."
"I'm starved," James smiled. Indeed he was, he hadn't realized it until he saw the food, and instantly he was famished.
They walked to the buffet and began selecting their food. A large variety of fresh fruit, salads, pastry, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage were available from heated or ice-filled serving pans. When they returned to their table the waiter returned and refilled their juice glasses.
Jim was telling James about the church choir in which he sang. It was there that he met Lyle who lived at the house with him. Lyle was the director-organist for the Episcopal Church located not far from where James lived. It was the first congregation in the territory that served the Church of England members who settled along the Mississippi in the 1800s. It had been rebuilt after the fire in 1873 which destroyed the original wooden building, and was now the Gothic stone structure which rose from the aging area of just off from downtown.
"Lyle's okay, a bit of a woman, though," Jim said. "He's a good organist, but as a director, he lacks the temperament to deal with an all volunteer choir. Several of the members are paid to sing in the choir, however, which makes the choir seem more balanced. The congregation is quite wealthy, or at least has been in the past, and can easily afford the luxury of a paid choir.
"Lyle, I think would prefer that the choir were all paid members, but the congregation members had decided that since some parishioners wanted to sing in it, he had to let them join.
"Soon they will be beginning work on installing the new organ. It's being built in Italy and shipped over to be installed. It's supposed to be ready by Easter next year. Lyle and I were instrumental in getting the project underway. Lyle by insisting that the old one won't make it another season, and I by contributing as substantial amount to start off the fund raising.
"It's surprising how long it takes to get a project like that underway and to get an instrument like the one that was chosen to be built."
"I suppose," James responded to the lull.
They sat and sipped coffee as Jim expounded on the virtues of the organ, and then went on to tell James other bits of information on various members of the congregation, who were in The Club, more than one of whom were married.
"Listen to me going on!" Jim said as the waiter refilled their cups for the fourth time. "You've got to just start talking, if you want me to stop, otherwise I'll go on for days."
They laughed and finished their coffee and finally left. It was nearly two when they stepped outside.
"Would you like to go for a drive?" James asked.
"Yes, I'd enjoy that," Jim said as they climbed into the car. James looked at the gas gauge and decided that there was enough gas for the drive he had in mind. He pulled out and headed for the freeway toward St. Paul. The freeway wound its way through the downtown area, then through a short detour and then up and out of the valley on onto the plains of Wisconsin.
As they drove Jim gave James several chapters of his life.
Born August 26, 1908 in Chestershire, England, to William Charles Bacon and Miriam Louise Hydon, the second child born to the family. His sister Louise was two years older than he, and lived in Providence, Rhodes Island part of the year and Martha's Vineyard during rest.
When Jim was one year old the family moved to the United States, settling in Hackensack, New Jersey, in early 1910. In 1911 an aunt, Lillian Hydon moved in with them for a short stay, which lasted from 1911 until 1930. When Jim was 5 his father took him to England to visit relatives and to have his birth records updated. The records showed that his name was Hydon James Bacon. William was determined that his son would be called James after his own father, James Arthur Bacon. Miriam never forgave him for that action and always called Jim, Hydon, or J. Hydon. Soon after their return from the ocean trip, William was struck and killed by an automobile, the first such fatal accident in Hackensack.
Jim grew up from his 5th year on in a house run by three women. Perhaps Lillian was his model, but Miriam tried to influence him the most. She spoiled him in a certain sense, but dominated him whenever she could. He both loved her and hated her for it.
Aunt Lil, as he called Lillian, was independent and strong willed, two characteristics that little J. Hydon admired very much. She came and went when she liked, did whatever she wanted, no matter how much her sister protested. When Jim was 10 Aunt Lil ran off and lived with a traveling salesman for a year, never married him, or at least never took his name. When she returned she was only slightly changed. She was heart broken, because he had left her for a younger woman after only a year. She never talked about him, and only Miriam perhaps knew much about him. After that she showered her attentions on Jim, as she started to call him.
Jim was a good student, but not bright. He worked hard to get the grade he got. In 1926 he graduated from high school. Two years later he worked at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. In 1929 after that fateful day in October, he moved to New York where he began to study voice. Aunt Lil kept house for him. Miriam had managed to consolidate her finances, holding both property, gold, and precious objects, so that during the recovery period she always had money.
During this period James occasionally dated Susan Mellon whose father had nearly been ruined when most banks failed. For a while there was even talk of Jim and Susan getting married. Harry Mellon did not like Jim's mother however, and would not give his permission. As time went by Jim was to discover that he really didn't care for Susan that way any way, and so when Susan told him that she was going to marry someone else, he really wasn't all the disappointed or surprised. Susan was a wild girl, and more than once had tried to get Jim to make her pregnant. Jim wasn't keen on becoming a father and wasn't convinced that it would do any good with her father anyway, so he found many excuses for not engaging that endeavor.
In 1942 Jim enlisted in the Navy at the age of 33. He wanted to serve his country, and to see the world. While he did get in, he served only in the States and only at the naval training station in New Jersey. He was greatly disappointed and was glad when the war was over and he could get out.
At the age of 37, really without many skills, but with an enthusiasm for living which impressed most people, he moved away from the East Coast. Miriam, his mother had died the year before leaving most of her property to his sister, who was now married to a minister and had two small children. To Jim she left an amount of money that he was able to have access to with his sister's permission. Louise had a need for cash to run the household because her husband being a minister had very little salary and no money of his own, and because he drank heavily with what little money he did earn. Louise used what cash there was to support herself and her family during that period shortly after their mother's death. Jim was angry because he really wanted to have the money at that point in his life, feeling that it was the right time for him to start a business of his own. He never did know what that might be, but he felt it was the right time.
Jim moved to Minneapolis with Aunt Lil, who still had some money left from her mother and father. There shared an apartment just off from downtown. Jim got a job working for a manufacturing company which made had war materials during the war, and which now had converted its operation to civilian products.
During his stay in the military, he enjoyed the comradeship of many lonely sailors. He had a good tolerance for alcohol and took advantage of it. When he moved west to Minneapolis he continued his adventures with men. Living with his aunt as he did, it meant that he would never bring anyone to his home, and never really had a steady lover. There was a period in 1950 when he and a friend did live together. Jim would go home each morning, and many evenings for dinner, leaving when Aunt Lil went to bed. Aunt Lil was seventy-five now, and barely able to take care of herself. Jim found that she needed more medical treatment than either she nor he could provide. But as long as he lived with her, the county and state would not help, so it left nothing for him to do, but move out.
He was glad for the freedom which it gave him, but sad because she had come to depend on him; and he wasn't able to do everything for her anymore. The state did provide the medical treatment she needed, now. But her condition worsened and in 1955 she died.
What few possession she had, since Jim was her only relative really, were his. When he cleaned out her apartment he discovered that Lil had two savings accounts. Each of them had five thousand dollars showing as a balance, in them. His name was also on the accounts' registrations and therefore there were no problems in his removing the money from them. He was greatly surprised when instead of receiving the ten thousand dollars that the accounts showed, he received nearly twenty thousand dollars. He had not seen that the accounts had not updated in several years.
While twenty thousand dollars was not a fortune, to Jim it the beginning of one. He now had the chance to do the two things he'd always wanted to do: travel and invest. He divided the money into two equal parts and proceeded on his adventures. It was 1956 and he found himself a nicer apartment, and with the furniture that he had taken from Lil's place; and with some of his new wealth, he furnished the apartment with some of the finer pieces from the used furniture down the street.
Jim was popular now at the bar he frequented, The Happy Hour. He was fun to be with, and he had the money. He continued with his job, until he was laid off when the plant closed, about the same time as he received the money. When that happened he saw his chance to take some time off to travel, before beginning his investment career.
A recent college graduate, Charles Lange, twenty-one, tall blonde, handsome by most standards, and amply endowed, had become his most recent companion. After graduation Charles had moved in with Jim. Jim had not gotten the money at that time, but knew that he was getting it. Charles, graduated with a degree in sociology, and had not found a job. When Jim was laid off, and had decided to travel, he invited Charles to join him. Charles readily accepted the invitation and the two of them made plans went shopping for clothes. Then with three thousand dollars in cash, safely in traveler's checks, they set sail from New York on the recently refurbished Queen Elisabeth II.
They were gone for six months, touring England and Europe. They bought a small car and drove all over Europe. Upon their return, Charles began looking for a job, and Jim began investing in the Over-The-Counter stock market. So as not to use up his money for living, Jim to a job working for the county in the court system as a clerk. The pay was adequate; the hours steady, and work not too taxing.
In the period of the next two years, Jim had changed the ten thousand dollars set aside for investing, into stock worth three hundred thousand dollars. He was on his way. He sold the stock and made the down payment on his house, and had it redecorated to his tastes, bought himself a new car, and a pure bred sheepdog, named Duke. The balance of the money, two hundred-twenty thousand dollars, he reinvested in some promising stock.
During the next two years his investments grew double again. He was half way to his goal of one million dollars. After consulting with his broker, he selected one stock that looked particularly promising. Saving out a small amount for a vacation in Europe again, he did something which knew was wrong; he put all the remainder into this one stock. He was going for broke; the stock was selling at ninety cents and moving slowly upward. All it had to do was move to two dollars, and he would reach his goal. He'd sell and put his million dollars in a secure savings account and retire from the market.
He and Charles took a second trip to Europe, three weeks this time, as they both had jobs to think about. They had a marvelous time on their trip and upon their return; Jim found his stock had risen to a dollar-eighty. They were jubilant, and threw a gala New Years party at the house to welcome in the new year of 1962.
In March, Jim's accountant completed his income taxes, and informed him that his tax due was eighty thousand dollars. Jim was panicky, he went to his bank and got a loan for the thirty thousand dollars he was short. Now he only had his stock, worth over nine hundred thousand dollars, but still short of his goal. But his debits were increased from forty-six thousand that he owed on the house to seventy-six thousand with the new tax loan.
At his age, now going on fifty-four, it was more debt than he wanted. Jim decided that he was close enough to his goal, and he would liquidate and reduce his debt. A call to his broker brought the devastating news that he couldn't sell his stock. It seems that overnight the company had been declared insolvent due to a loan of two million dollars that they had been unable to pay on time. The litigation that followed declared that the stockholders in the company would get nothing from the sale of the company to a private investor.
Two months later Charles returned on night to find Jim lying on the floor. He was breathing, but his color was white, and his pulse erratic. A trip to the hospital revealed that he had suffered a heart attack induced by stress. Six weeks later Jim was back at work. He'd recovered and feeling fine again.
As 1962 ended, Jim found himself alone. Charles, it seems had found himself a girl friend. She and Charles were getting married. Jim was saddened by this turn of events, but undaunted, he struggled to go on. In early 1963 Jim received a letter from his sister Louise in Providence. Enclosed was a check for twenty-five thousand dollars. She had sold some property, and was paying her debt to him. Louise wrote that she hoped that he would forgive her for having used his money like she had, and that they would become friends again.
Jim, who really never had held a grudge against her for it, was delighted with the turn-of-events. He reduced his debt on the bank loan, and now was confident that he would be okay. He was still in the hole, but he felt he could make it work out all right. He had ten years before his retirement to arrange for a new loan on the house by 1975 when the note that he had with the owners came due.
In 1972 Jim had a second, but milder heart attack. His doctor warned him about his diet, and suggested that he retire early from his job. But Jim couldn't yet; he needed a couple more years to get organized.
It was dark when James pulled in the driveway in back of Jim's house. They had stopped for dinner on the way back from their outing. Jim had invited James in, but he declined saying that he had to do laundry, and needed to have it the morning. James waited while Jim walked the short distance to the house. Jim waved as he went in, and James drove off.
To be continued
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