Let The World Go By

By Richard

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.

The work is copyrighted by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.

Once again I want to thank all of you who have sent me comments about the story. I know that I have not answered all of the e-mails please forgive me.

Part Three

Fire In Winter

Chapter 18

The minutes passed slowly. Ben had recovered his composure and was sitting silently smoking a cigarette.

"Thank you," James said.

He got up and Ben started to follow. The nurse put her hand on his arm and shook her head. He bowed his head and went back and sat down.

James walk quickly down the hallway after the nurse. She held the door open for him, and he went inside. Jim lay on the bed his eyes closed. His chest moved slowly as he breathed. Tubes were in his nose and two in his arms, and a third coming out from under the blanket covering him.

"James?" Jim opened his eyes. "Is that you?"

"Yes, Jim, it's me," James then realized that without his glasses Jim would have trouble seeing anyone.

"Strange," he said. "Like I'm far away. I can barely hear you."

James moved closer and sat on the edge of the bed. He put his hand on Jim's shoulder.

"I'm here, Jim, right here."

"I've got to go, James. Tell the nurse I've got to go." Jim said impatiently.

"It's okay, Jim, it's okay." Jim's eyes closed for a moment.

"You know where everything is, don't you?"

"Don't forget to pick up my check tomorrow. We need to get the money into the bank."

"I won't forget, Jim. You just rest now." James said. The nurse appeared in the doorway and motioned to James. James leaned over and kissed him on the forehead.

"I'll be back in a little while, Jim. The nurse wants to look at you again," he whispered. "I love you."

Jim looked up at him; his eyes were clouded and red. "I love you too, James," his voice trailed off and he closed his eyes.

James stood up and walked to the door. "You can come back a little later," she said. "The doctor's on his way up now."

"How's Jim?" Ben asked anxiously.

"He's resting," James said, then added, "He asked me to say hello to you," James lied. What could it hurt?

"He did?"

"That's good," Ben sat down again and picked up a magazine. He turned a few pages without looking at them and put it down again.

Father Eliasons walked into the room. James and Ben stood up and shook hands with him. James went to the nurses' station and told her that Jim's pastor was here. She nodded and said she'd take care of it.

James went back to the waiting room. Ben and Father Eliasons were talking in soft voices.

"Father Eliasons," the nurse said coming in.

The priest followed her down the hallway and went into the room.

James and Ben sat down again. A few minutes later Father Eliasons returned. He smiled and sat down in the chair next to them.

"The doctors are going to wait until morning and see how he's doing. Maybe then they'll have more news. But for now, all they can do it wait," he explained.

"Thank you for coming, Father," James said.

"I'm glad I could come. I've got to call my wife and let her know I'm here. I'll be back in a minute or so." He got up and walked down the hall.

They started at the sound of an alarm bell ringing in the hall. They watched as the nurse behind the counter jumped up and hurried off down the hall.

"Code six, Stat!" came a voice over the address system.

They waited. Father Eliasons came into the room a few minutes later.

"James," he said, "They're going to do surgery on Jim. Try to install a pacemaker to stabilize him. He's had another attack."

"It'll take a couple of hours, so why don't you go home and get some rest."

"You have our number," James said.

"I'll call," he answered.

James put his hand on Ben's arm and they left. Once back at the house, Ben fixed himself a drink. James asked if he wanted anything to eat. He shook his head. James cleared the table and threw out the food. It wouldn't do any good to save it. He rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher.

James went into the living room where Ben was sitting sipping his drink and staring into the cold dark fireplace. James looked at his watch, it was ten-fifteen. He walked out to the sun-porch and turned on the stereo. Soft music began playing. He adjusted volume so that it was barely audible. Music was okay, he thought, but no talking.

Then he walked back to the living room and joined Ben on the sofa. Neither of them said anything. James leaned back and closed his eyes. He suddenly felt drained.

At twelve-thirty the phone rang. James opened his eyes and reached to pick it up.

"Can you come back to the hospital?" It was Father Eliasons.

"We'll be right over," James hung up the phone. He looked at Ben and said, "We can go back now."

Minutes later Ben pulled the car into a parking space near the front entrance. They hurried inside and down the hallway. As they approached the nursing station at the end of the hall, Father Eliasons walked out of the waiting room.

He didn't speak as he saw them approach. James' eyes desperately searched his face for a sign. The priest slowly shook his head.

James stopped. He closed his eyes and clenched his fists.

It was over! Tears welled in his eyes and he began to sob. Two strong arms held him as he wept.

"It's okay, James," a voice said. "It's okay." James opened his eyes, and wiped them with his hands. Father Eliasons stood in front of him, his eyes glistened too. His voice was soft and slow.

"They tried the surgery, but he had another attack. They couldn't revive him."

James looked down and closed his eyes again. Then he looked over at Ben. He was sitting in a chair weeping, his hand covered his face.

"Call me in the morning, then," the priest said softly.

"I'm sorry James, so sorry. Jim was good man, a very good man. Remember how much he cared for you, and call on that memory when you need strength. He'll be there for you."

"Thank you, Father. Thanks for everything." James answered. They shook hands. Father Eliasons watched as James went over to Ben who was sobbing silently now, despair in his eyes.

"Let's go home, Ben." James said. He helped Ben to his feet and led him from the hospital. James drove the big golden convertible back to Jim's house. He pulled the car into the alley and slowly down to the garage. He got out and opened the door for Ben. Slowly they walked through the cold night air up to the darkened house.

James unlocked the door and followed Ben into the house after re-locking the back door. James went to the counter where the half empty bottle of bourbon stood from earlier. He poured a little into a glass and gave it to Ben.

Ben sat down on the sofa staring into the fireplace. James went up stairs and got some linen and blankets. He went back down and out onto the sun-porch. He pulled the sofa into it bed position and spread the linen and blankets on it.

"Ben," he called. Ben got up and walked out to where James was standing.

"You can sleep here tonight." James said. Ben drank that last of the brown liquid and put the glass down on the coffee table. Then he took off his shoes and undressed. He climbed under the linens and James adjusted the blanket so that he was covered. Then James pulled the draperies closed covering the wide windows that went around the room.

"Thanks, James," he said and he closed his eyes.

James went slowly up the stairs. He went into the bedroom. Everything was as they left it. James stripped the bed and put the linen in the laundry hamper in the corner. He straightened the spread and turned off the light. He left the door open and walked across the hall.

The bed in his original bedroom was made; he could sleep there tonight. He sat on the edge of the bed and took off his shoes. He undressed and climbed into bed after switching off the light, leaving only the hall light on. He pulled the covers up tightly around himself and closed his eyes.

A voice called out his name, he opened his eyes. It was dark.

"James!" the voice called again. He couldn't move. He lay still and listened. He looked but it was dark. He felt someone in the room. But he couldn't see anyone. He watched and listened. He heard only his own heart beating. It was dark. He felt someone climb into bed with him. He listened. Silence. He felt warm. The sensation of someone touching his body. It was dark. It was quiet. Someone was making love to him. He lay still. He listened and heard only the sound of heavy breathing, it was his own. He body was responding to the lips on him. It was dark. He listened. It was quiet. "Ohhh!" came a cry. It was his own voice. He closed his eyes. It was dark. It was silent.

James opened his eyes, light poured into the windows. He felt movement next to him. It was Ben. He eased himself out of the bed and went to the bathroom.

Was it all a dream? When he finished, he walked to Jim's bed and turned back the spread. It wasn't a dream. He was gone!

James stood a moment next to the bed. He readjusted the spread and walked back across the hall. Ben lay asleep, his mouth slightly open breathing slowly. Had that been a dream? James looked at the clock on the dresser in the bedroom. It was seven o'clock.

What was first? He needed to call Jim's sister. It was eight o'clock there now. He'd do that first.

He walked to the closet and put on his robe and slippers, he was suddenly chilled. He walked down stairs and put on some coffee water. Then he went to the counter and looked up the number. Slowly he dialed it.

"Mrs. Wilson?" he asked when the woman's voice answered sleepily.


"This is James Arneson," he started. How did one tell someone that their brother has just died?

"Oh, James," the voice said. "I'm so sorry." She knew.

"You know?" he asked.

"Yes, one of his friends called last night. A Dorothy Simmons?"

"I'm sorry," James said, "She shouldn't have."

"That's all right," Louise said. "Are you okay?" It seemed strange that this woman, whom he only talked to on the phone two times, was concerned about him.

"I'm fine. How are you?" James asked.

"Oh, okay, I guess."

"You'll be getting some other calls today, probably from the hospital," James said.

"I'm sure," she said. "Well, the kids and I have reservations, and will be arriving tomorrow afternoon at four-fifteen on United Airlines. Can someone meet us?" James wrote down the time and airlines.

"Yes, someone will be there," James said, but wondered who.

"Okay then, we'll see you then. Jim said you know what to do?" She asked.

"Yes. He told me everything he wanted." James said softly.

It was true, in spite of the disinclination of either of them to talk about it, they had discussed the possibilities. Jim had written up a later, he said. And he showed James where it was. Now it was time to do these things.

"Goodbye, then," she said and hung up.

"Yes, goodbye." James put the phone down and walked back up stairs. He walked into the bedroom and over to the desk. He pulled opened the side drawer and leafed through the folders. There was one folder marked Will, he reached down into it and pulled out the envelope. Clipped to it was a single page letter folded around the envelope. He took the letter off and put the envelope back. He closed the drawer and then taking the key from the center drawer, locked the desk. He put the key in his pocket and went back down stairs.

The water was boiling noisily on the stove. He turned off the burner and made a cup of strong instant coffee, setting it aside to cool. Then he went to the phone again, and dialed his work number. Someone should be there now. It rang four times before someone picked it up. He left a message saying that he wouldn't be in today, but he'd call later in the morning.

He was taking a sip of coffee when Ben came down the stairs in his shorts.

"Good morning, Ben," James said. "Want some coffee?"

"Yeah, I need it," he rubbed his eyes and stretched. Then he said. "I couldn't sleep last night, I hope you didn't mind my coming up with you."

"No, that's okay," James said. He fixed another cup of coffee, and handed Ben the one he'd made earlier for himself. "This one's been cooling a while."

"Thanks," he said.

James sat down at the kitchen table and unfolded the letter he'd taken from Jim's desk.

"What's that?" Ben asked.

"The instructions."

"Jim wrote them?"

"Yes," James answered.

August 28, 1974."

Be advised that James Arneson, dear friend of mine, is hereby empowered to make all necessary arrangements that may be required in case of my death."

The following are my requests: 1) Funeral arrangements to be handled by Sunrise Mortuary, Minneapolis, 2) Funeral mass at Grace Episcopal Church by Father Eliasons, 3) Choir to sing whatever Father Eliasons thinks is appropriate, 4) Burial on Hackensack, New Jersey."

My last will and testament is attached, and will be read on the day of the funeral by my attorney, William Best, in the presence of the following: James Arneson, Louise Wilson (if possible), Dorothy Simmons, Rachel Ellery, Charles Litton, and Stephen Epson."

James Hydon Bacon"

City of Minneapolis"


Ben had been reading over his shoulder.

"Where's the will?" he asked.

"In his desk."

"Oh," Ben said. "Have you seen it? I mean do you know what's in it?"

"I've not read it, but Jim told me some of what was in it." James answered without going into details.

"Can you pick up Jim's sister tomorrow at the airport? They're coming in at four-fifteen on United."

"Sure," Ben said softly. He noticed James' tone when he asked about the will, and decided not to ask any more questions.

"I'll call and make arrangement with the church about the funeral. I think Saturday will be best, don't you?" Let him help as much as possible, James thought, he was Jim's friend.

"I suppose." Ben answered.

James made the required phone calls, the church, the mortuary, the hospital. He called his supervisor at work and explained the situation. He said that he needed time off to handle the arrangements. He was told that he could have as much as he needed, up to five days, with pay. He'd handle the details.

James fixed another cup of coffee and walked up stairs. Ben was just getting out of the shower when he walked up to the door.

"Be finished in a minute," he said as he started to dry himself. James tried not to notice the pendulous cock and balls.

"Thanks," James said and walked into the bedroom. He laid out clean underwear for himself.

"I need to borrow some clean underwear," Ben said as he came into the bedroom.

"Sure," James said. He walked back to the chest and took out another set. "Socks too?"

"If it's okay," Ben said.

James took out a pair of dark blue socks and put them with the rest and handed them to Ben.


James went to the bathroom and undressed. He climbed into the shower and turned on the water. The hot spray, needle-sharp played over his body, soothing his aching muscles. He hadn't realized how tense he was until now. He shampooed his hair and soaped his body. Then he rinsed his hair and re-lathered. The he scrubbed himself and rinsed the soap from his body. He stood for a moment longer letting the spray relax him before shutting it off and climbing out.

Ben was coming up the stairs dressed once again as he strode naked from the bathroom.

"Car started fine," Ben said as he looked at James walking through the hallway. No wonder Jim was pleased, he said to himself, He's really something!

James noticed the look but ignored it as he hurriedly dressed. He pulled on dress slacks and long sleeved shirt. He'd rather worn jeans, but he couldn't wear jeans to the mortuary, which was his next stop.

James went down stairs and looked in the refrigerator. He needed to get some things at the store. But what?

"Do you cook?" James asked Ben.

"Some," Ben answered.

"Can you shop for a roast and vegetables for a dinner?"

"Sure, how many?"

"Well, Jim's sister and the kids, she said, will be coming. That's tomorrow night. We'll need some breakfast things, bacon, eggs, and bread. Things like that."

"I'll take care of it. I'll check the refrigerator and cupboards before I go. Don't worry about it. What kind of roast? Beef or pork?"

"Beef would be best."


"You'll be here?"

"Yeah, I don't have to work until tomorrow, at least," Ben answered. "I'll be here."

"Thanks, Ben. I appreciate it." James smiled.

"I'm glad I was here when you needed me," Ben said. He put his hand on James' shoulder.

"Me too," James said. Maybe, he's not so bad after all, he thought, turning aside his thoughts of earlier.

To be continued

If you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to Richard at ashvguy4u@yahoo.com



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