Chapter 25

The following fictional narrative involves sexually-explicit erotic events between men.  If you shouldn't be reading this, please move on.

In the world of this story, the characters don't always use condoms.  In the real world, you should care enough about yourself and others to always practice safe sex.

The author retains all rights.  No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the author's consent.  

The town of Stafford, the Sunrise Arts Center, and the characters in this story are fictitious.

Special thanks to Mickey S. and Drew Hunt, who have provided inspiration, advice, and encouragement throughout the writing of this series.


Asa appeared Sunday evening at 6:00, his cheeks ruddy from the cold.  After he got inside he handed me the pizza and chianti so he could take off his snowy shoes and wipe the fog from his glasses.  I asked him to put his coat in the closet and come to the kitchen.

"I've got a salad made and the oven is warm.  Shall we eat now, or put the pizza in the oven while we have some wine?

"Oh, whatever you want.  I mean . . . ."  Characteristically, he seemed hesitant.  I'd noted that in a professional situation, like when he interviewed me, he seemed assured, confident, but otherwise he came across as almost timid.  That bastard Robert had really scarred him emotionally.

"Look, Asa, we need to talk.  But if you'll promise not to run away before we do, I suggest we eat this great-smelling pizza before it either cools or dries out in the oven."

He surprised me by flashing me a big smile.  "Yeah, let's eat.  The aroma coming off that pizza's been driving me crazy.  And I promise I won't run off until we've talked."

The table was already set.  I handed Asa the corkscrew and two glasses.  He opened the wine while I got the salad and dressing out of the fridge and put them on the table.  Once seated, we touched glasses.  "To good friends," I said.

He seemed to like that.  "To good friends."

We didn't talk much as we dug into the pizza.  It was so good I decided there and then I'd always get my pizza from Dino's.

"This is great!  I've only been to Dino's once.  I didn't know they had take-out."

He grinned and then wiped his mouth with his napkin.  "Officially they don't.  They don't have a printed take-out menu or anything.  But they'll fix up just about anything for me if I call ahead."

"Trying to stay on the good side of the town's star reporter, are they?" I asked, smiling at him.

His face went serious for a moment until he saw my smile.  Then he relaxed.  "No.  Actually, I think they'll do that for their regulars, but they don't want word to get around.  Carl says they just aren't set up for that.  Did you meet Carl when you were there?"

"Yeah.  Nice guy.  And they have great food.  Don't know why I haven't been back.  And you're a `regular'?"

"Oh my god, yes.  Most days I don't get home in time to fix any kind of decent supper, so I just go by Dino's."

I chuckled.  "I'm surprised you stay so thin."

"Metabolism, mostly.  And a lot of missed lunches.  Seems as if I'm on the run so much I often just don't have time for lunch."

I thought he looked as if he could do with a little more meat on his bones, but then I reminded myself that I wasn't his mother.  Nevertheless, I didn't have any qualms about serving him something from the supermarket called "Chocolate Overload" ice cream for dessert.

After dinner we took mugs of coffee to drink by the fire.

"Whitney -- "

"Asa -- "

We spoke simultaneously.  He immediately gestured for me to go ahead.

"I just wanted to apologize.  If I offended you the other night when you were here -- "

He held up his hand.  "Oh, no!  I want to apologize for running off like that.  You were being so nice.  It's just that . . . ."  He paused.

"You don't have to explain, Asa.  I took a liberty."

He gave me a little smile.  "It wasn't a liberty.  It was a welcome gesture.  Too welcome.  I hadn't had a hug from anybody since I moved to Stafford, and it was so good.  Sitting there with your arms around me I felt more relaxed than I've been in a long time. Comfortable, you know?  We were practically strangers, but I felt -- I don't know -- safe, I suppose.  Can you understand that?"

"After what your former partner did to you?  Of course I understand.  And you've been pretty much alone here in Stafford.  In fact, I hugged you that evening because I thought you looked as if you needed to be held."

He nodded.  "I realize that now.  It was, well, a sweet thing for you to do."

He stared at the fire for a while, apparently choosing his words.  Still looking at the fireplace, he said, "You didn't actually do anything.  You just were."

Before I could ask him what he meant by that, he turned to face me.  "As I said, when you held me, it was just such a comfortable feeling."

"Uh huh."  I remembered how natural and right it had felt.

"But as I sat there, leaning against you, enjoying your warmth, your arms around me, it changed.  I went from relaxed to horny."  He looked at me through his eyelashes.  "I have a confession to make.  You're a great-looking guy, Whitney.  You've turned me on since the first time I saw you that day in your office."

That revelation was a total surprise.  He hadn't given me any clue that he'd been attracted to me.  But then, knowing how tightly buttoned-up he was, the fact that he'd not let on wasn't surprising.

"This is so embarrassing," he said, biting his lower lip.

"You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to."

"Thanks, but I need to get this out."


"The longer you held me, the hornier I got.  I got an erection.  I knew you weren't coming on to me, and I didn't want you to think that I thought otherwise.  But I couldn't help the woodie.  And I didn't want to give you the idea I was repaying your gesture of kindness by coming on to you.  So I couldn't think of anything to do but get out of here."

He leaned back against the sofa, took a deep breath, and let it out -- as if he had finished doing a particularly unpleasant chore.

"I didn't notice your boner," I said.  "And if I had it wouldn't have mattered.  Now it's time for me to tell the truth, and I hope you won't be offended."

He looked at me with obvious interest to see what I was going to say.

"From that day in my office, I've wanted to hug you.  You impressed me with your intelligence, and I was already an admirer of your work at the paper.  But you seemed sad, almost haunted, and I just wanted to grab you and comfort you and tell you everything would be okay.  I hope you won't find that demeaning.  I certainly don't mean it to be.  I just liked you from the first, and I thought you must be hurting over something.  I felt this great urge to soothe you."

"No shit?"

I grinned.  "No shit.  Then when you told me about the bastard Robert, I couldn't help it.  Nobody deserves to be treated the way he treated you, especially not a great guy like you.  So when you told me about all that, as I say, I couldn't help myself.  I just wanted to reassure you."

"I feel so silly now.  But there was that boner."

"Forget the boner.  Just know that you've got a friend.  I've got hugs for you whenever you need them.  You don't need to feel quite so lonely anymore.  I'm here."

"Then could I have another hug?"

I opened my arms.  He scooted over closer to me, and put his head on my chest.  I put my arms around him, just as I had before.

"Wait a minute."  He sat up, took off his glasses, and put them on the table beside the sofa.  "Don't want those frames to get bent."  He put his head back on my chest.

He seemed content and I certainly was.  But his head was positioned so that when he exhaled his hot breath hit my nipple.  I don't think he knew that.  I tried to ignore it, but my body couldn't.  I began to get an erection.  I tried not to wiggle or do anything to call attention to it, hoping Asa wouldn't notice.  But his face was pointed toward my lap, and he obviously saw the growing bulge in my jeans, for he chuckled.  Then I felt his hand on my hard penis.

"Looks like I'm not the only one who's hard right now," he said, rubbing me through the fabric of my jeans and underwear.  "Did you really throw wood because of me?"

"Well, yeah."

He first sat up and then, pushing the coffee table out of the way, knelt on the floor between my legs.   Without his glasses he looked myopically up at me for permission.  When I smiled and nodded, he unfastened the button of my jeans and pulled down the zip.  Thinking the last thing Asa needed right then was anything that could be interpreted as rejection, I lifted my hips while he pulled off my jeans and boxers together.  Once freed, my cock slapped against my belly, flinging a drop of precum onto his face as it did so.  I leaned over and licked it off.

His laugh was almost a giggle.  Then he pushed me back on the sofa, grabbed my cock, and began licking the tip, sending shivers all over me.  Nice as it was, though, I wanted this to be a mutual pleasuring.  I leaned forward and grabbed his sweater at the waist, pulling it up.  He sat back on his heels and lifted his arms.  The tee he was wearing under the sweater came off at the same time.  

I was pleased to see that, though thin, Asa wasn't without muscles.  They weren't big, but they were well defined.  Obviously he spent some time at the gym.  He just had a thin build.  Between his small nipples was a patch of hair which ran down to and around his navel, disappearing into his jeans.  

"Whitney, are you sure you want to do this?  I mean, I'm not much to look at, and if you're just doing this to be kind, well, you don't have to."

God!  He was so adorable kneeling there I just wanted to eat him up.

"You can see how turned on I am, Asa.  But if you don't want this to go any further, say so."

He looked steadily into my eyes for a moment, took a deep breath and then leaned forward to grab my cock.

"Hold on just a second, little brother.  We can sixty-nine right here in front of the fire if you want.  But the lube and rubbers are in the bedroom.  If we're likely to need them, I suggest we relocate."

He licked more precum off my dick and then polished the head of it with his tongue.  

Looking back up at me, he said, "Whitney, I'd love to have this inside me.  Would you fuck me?"

"If that's what you really want."

He stood, put his glasses on, and held out his hand to me.  In his jeans I could see the outline of his hard cock pointing toward his right hip bone.  I took his hand and led him to the bedroom.

After pulling off my shirt, I knelt and unbuttoned his jeans, pulling them off along with his boxer briefs.  I stood up.  "Turn around, please, I want to see you."  He obediently did a slow 360.  Standing there, looking back at me shyly, was a 30 year old who had the body of a 15 year old.  Except for the little bit of hair on his chest.  He had a smallish cock and a beautiful boy's bubble butt.  

I pulled him toward me and put my lips to his.  After hesitating, he opened them, allowing me entry.  As we kissed I used one hand to pull back the covers on the bed.  Then we fell over onto the bed, still kissing, Asa on top of me, our hard cocks grinding together.

When we had to disengage our mouths in order to breathe, he said, "Please, Whitney, do me!  It's been a while, so I hope you'll take it easy, but I want you to fuck me."

He was right.  I think he was tighter than Louis, but then I'm pretty sure Louis had been using some toys to open himself up.  But with patience and a lot of lube, I eventually had him ready.  Once I was inside him and he'd adjusted to that, Asa became an enthusiastic partner.  He came before I did, but he continued to give me verbal encouragement and to shove his hot little ass up to meet my thrusts.

Later I persuaded him to spend the night, saying we could get up as early as he needed the next morning to get home and get ready for work.  I was a bit surprised when he agreed.

We went to sleep spooned, with his back to my front, my arm around him.  When I awoke,  we'd both turned over.  He had his arm over me, and his morning wood was pressed against my ass crack.  I wiggled a little, and that brought an answering push.

"You must be awake."

"Yeah, just lying here enjoying this."

"What time is it?"

"Six thirty."

"You want to shove that thing a little harder?"

"Oh, are you sure?  I wouldn't want to -- "

"Asa, let's go pee and then I want you to return the favor."

We did and he did.  When we were finished, he thanked me again.  

"Robert almost never let me top him.  And, to be honest, I think I'm basically a bottom.  But that was great!"  He kissed me gently.  Then he looked into my eyes.  "Whitney, I don't know how to thank you for all this.  I wasn't sure anybody would ever want me again.  This wasn't just a mercy fuck, was it?  I mean you really did want to?"

I kissed him gently.  Then, "Yes, I really wanted to.  And if we didn't both have to go to work, I might want a three-peat.  But we have places to go and things to do.  Now, scoot.  Use the shower while I get us some breakfast."

I showed him where the clean towels were and, putting on a robe, first relieved myself in the guest bathroom and then began to fix breakfast.  

As soon as he'd finished eating, he gave me a kiss, thanked me, said he'd call me, and left.

As I drove to Sunrise, I wondered just how I was going to explain all this to Stuart.  But I knew I had to.  I'd promised.  


When two men used to living alone decide to live together, you'd expect there'd be some friction.  After all, Frank and I had long since established our routines.  It was a pleasant surprise to find out how well we accommodated each other.  We'd only been living together about a month, and already we'd settled into a kind of comfortable domesticity.  Oh, he persisted in squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, and he had a habit of whistling as he puttered around the house, but I didn't say anything, knowing that he probably had to put up with much worse from me.  

On Saturday morning we went, as usual, to the gym and then to the supermarket, where I made sure to stick in the cart a pump dispenser of Colgate"s.  We came home, fixed and ate lunch together, and were sitting in the family room reading.  Murray Perahia was playing one of the Mozart piano concerti in the background.  I was reading a new mystery by my favorite gay detective story writer, Michael Craft.  Poor Frank was poring over an article on Whitman in the latest PMLA.*  

Much as I enjoyed reading about Mark Manning, his lover, and the gay sheriff of their town, I also took pleasure in being snug in my house on a snowy winter afternoon.  Most of all, however, I rejoiced that across from me was this fine man whom I'd come to love and who loved me.  He'd really loved me a lot the night before, I might add.

Frank, who was sitting by the phone, picked it up when it rang.  I went to the stereo to turn down the volume so he could hear.

"Oh, hi.  You're back in town, are you?"  Pause.  "Good.  Yes, he's here.  Just a moment."

He held the phone out to me.  "It's Burke."

I took the phone and sat where he'd been sitting.  He took the chair I'd been using, but he didn't return to his book.   Instead he listened to my end of the conversation.  Not surprising, since he'd become as interested in Burke and his problems as I was.

"Hello, Burke.  Welcome back to Stafford.  How are you?"

"Hi, Jon.  Physically I'm fine.  My doctor is pleased with my progress, and I'm okay.  Just under orders to watch my diet, take mild exercise and avoid stress.  The exercise part's okay, but the stress avoidance is nearly impossible."

"Damn, I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything Frank or I could do?"  I had no idea what that would be, but I thought I had to make the offer.  Perhaps bumping off his evil wife?  

"I feel so alone now that I'm back here.  I would really just like to see some friendly faces.  Are you and Frank into anything at the moment?  I know it's short notice, but could I come over?"

I covered the phone with my hand and said to Frank, "He wants to come over.  I think he needs some sympathetic ears.  Is that okay with you?"

"Sure, tell him to come on," he said, not looking too pleased.

"Yes, Burke.  We'll be here."

"Thanks, Jon.  See you guys shortly."

As we waited for Burke, I asked Frank, "Are you sure you're okay with this?  I know you felt a little insecure about Burke and me before he went away."  I purposely hadn't used the word jealous, but I feared that's what it was.

"Well, Jon, you and Burke have a long-standing relationship."

"We haven't had a `relationship' for fifty years.  I didn't see him again after we graduated from high school, and that was a half century ago.  I haven't been carrying a torch for Burke all that time.  I have had several men in my life, and one partner whom I devotedly loved for many years.  You know about them all.  Please don't feel threatened by Burke, Frank.  I love you."

He sighed and then smiled.  "I knew that, sweetheart, but it was good to hear you say it again.  And I realize that your old friend is having a shitty life right now, what with his crazy wife and all.  Do you want me to disappear while he's here?"

"Of course not.  I'm sure he expects to talk with both of us.  He knows we're a couple."

When he arrived, Burke was apologetic.  He said he just needed to unload, and we were the only gay guys he knew well enough to talk with about what was going on in his life.

"When I got back from my daughter's, I asked Marcy if she wanted a divorce.  She said that was unthinkable, that people `like us' simply didn't get divorced.  When I asked what she did want, she couldn't tell me.  She sputtered and said she wanted things to be like they were before.  When I pointed out that I hadn't changed, that I was the same guy I'd always been, always faithful to her, she started talking about my having had affairs with men, and especially with you now that you were back in town, Jonny."

I was hard put to find anything to say.  It seemed to me the woman was unhinged.  Certainly she was controlled by what must have been powerful jealousy.  

"And you've given her no reason to be jealous, Burke?"

He gave us a sad smile.  "None at all.  Looking back on it, I almost wish I had."

"So, Burke," Frank asked, "did you and your wife come to any sort of agreement?"

"Well, not an agreement exactly.  First I reminded her that I'd never been unfaithful to her with man or woman in all our years of marriage.  Whether she chose to believe it or not, that was the truth.  And then I told her my conditions for staying in our marriage."

Frank and I waited for him to continue.

"First of all, she was not to make accusations against me to our kids, whatever she chose in her twisted mind to believe.  Second, we were going to lead separate lives in the same house.  We'd have separate bedrooms.  We'd each be free to come and go as we pleased.  But we'd keep up the fašade of being married."

"Sounds like a modus vivendi, Burke, though not a very pleasant one."

"Well, I suppose I owe her that.  I've loved her all these years.  If she'll abide by my terms, I think we can stick it out."

"Good luck," Frank said.

"What about retirement?  When we last talked on the phone, you said you were considering it."

"I have been.  I think I've come up with a plan.  My practice has been pretty much a one-man show, but I've had an associate, Bill Stanley, who's been taking on a lot of the work over the past few years.  He's a good litigator, but he's not much of an administrator.  I've been looking for a guy who could do probate and estate work and also more or less run the firm.  And I think I've found just the guy."

"Anybody we'd know?"

"Well, he goes to Holy Trinity.  Bright, charming, talented, and well connected.  But I'd have to lure him away from Gates, Brownlee, and Estes, where he's pretty much the fair-haired boy."

"You don't mean Chave MacPherson?"

"The very same.  Handsome devil, too."

"He is that, for sure.  So you've talked with him?"

"Yeah, I talked with him a couple of times before the holidays, but that was before I had my heart attack, when I wasn't really thinking of retiring.  Now I'd really like to make him and Stanley partners.  I'd keep my name on the door and the letterhead, but I wouldn't be in the office much.  I'd be available for advice and consultation, but I'd leave most of the work to the younger guys."

"Davis, Stanley, and MacPherson," Frank said, obviously trying it to see how it sounded.

"No, it would be Davis, MacPherson, and Stanley.  Chave would be essentially running things.  As I said, Bill's good, but he's no administrator.  Chave is great with paper work and would be the administrator of the firm."

"Have you finalized things yet?"

"No, but he's coming to the office tomorrow morning, and I'm hoping to take my two new partners to lunch at Raintree afterward to celebrate."

"Well," I said, "congratulations!  I hope it all works out.  Even more, I hope things remain calm on the home front."

"Yeah, Burke, me too," Frank said.

"Thanks guys.  I appreciate having your support.  And if things don't stay calm at home, I think I'll have to move out.  I don't need any more shit in my life."

"You know we're here when you need us," Frank said, smiling.  I was so relieved.  I think he was finally becoming comfortable with Burke, realizing that Burke wasn't interested in me as a potential lover and having had my repeated assurances that he, Frank, was the only lover I wanted or needed.

"I must go soon, but as I've been sitting here watching you two, something's occurred to me," Burke said.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Now that you two are a couple, have you done anything about your wills?  Have you thought about a p.o.a. or a living will?"

"No," Frank said.  "We haven't.  And that's pretty important, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it is.  If one of you should be hospitalized, as things stand now, they wouldn't have to give the other any information.  It's not just a matter of something as drastic as pulling the plug.  You just don't have any rights where your partner is concerned in the eyes of the law until you get the proper instruments drawn up and signed."  He looked embarrassed.  "You know, I'm not trying to drum up business.  In fact, I'll be happy to see that all of this is taken care of for you.  You just need to talk about it together and then let me know, even by phone, what your wishes are.  I'll do the rest.  Compliments of the firm."

"Burke, thanks for the suggestion.  But we couldn't let you do this gratis," I said.

He stood up.  "Nonsense, Jonny, you're my oldest friend.  And you guys have both been great through all this trouble I'm having with Marcy.  It's the least I can do.  So, talk it over and call me, hear?"

We promised we would.  Then I realized we hadn't offered him anything to eat or drink, so I asked if he'd like either.

"No, thanks, both of you.  I appreciate having someone I can open up to.  I'll be on my way now, though, so you can have the rest of your Saturday afternoon."

We both hugged him.  As he was getting into his coat, he said, "You don't know of any lonely gay guys our age, do you?  I'm horny as a goat these days."

We told him we'd let him know if we thought of anyone.

"Is the sun over the yardarm yet?" Frank asked after he'd gone.

"It's a cloudy day, so let's just assume it is," I said, going toward the kitchen.  He followed me.  I poured us each a glass of semillon blanc while he dug out some jarlsburg and crackers.  We carried it back into the family room, started up the Mozart again, and relaxed.

"Salud, Mr. Cummings.  I want to tell you how much I love you and how lucky I am you came into my life."

He raised his glass and said, "Cheers, Dr. Baker.  But I know I'm the lucky one.  I hope your old buddy can find himself a good guy."

"I'll drink to that."


Three interesting things happened that week.

Judd called me after we'd gotten home from school on Monday saying Coach Wolfe, the head soccer coach at UNC, had called and left a message on the voice mail asking him to call back.

"Well, have you called him?"

"No, man, I wanted to tell you first.  What do you suppose he wants?"

"Well, duh!  There's only one thing he could want:  YOU.  Call the guy and then let me know what he said, okay?"

"Ya think?"

"Well, hello.  What else could it be, babe?  Coach Bradley has obviously gotten things straightened out about the Hilldale game, so now your ass is being recruited by the Tarheels!"

"I can't believe that."

"So get off the line and call him, babe.  And be sure you call me back, hear?"

"Okay, okay.  I'll get right back to you."

I paced around for fifteen minutes or so before the phone rang again.  It was Judd.

"Man, you won't believe it.  He wants to talk to me.  He's invited me to come to Chapel Hill for an interview and a tour of the campus."

"Did you set a date?"

"No, I told him I'd definitely want to do that, but I'd better talk with my folks first.  He said that was a good idea, but to get back in touch with him soon."

The really great thing is that in the next few days Judd began to get letters and phone calls from other schools around the state.  Judd read all the literature and talked with several coaches on the phone, but I could tell that he really wanted to go to UNC, especially because I had selected their art program as the one I was most interested in.

The second thing that week was a call from Whitney.

"Hi, Whitney.  What's up?"

"I need some help, something I think you and Judd might enjoy doing."

"And that would be?"

"You know the Sunrise black-tie gala is coming up on Valentine's Day."

"Yeah, I'd heard something about that.  But that's for you old folks, isn't it?  How does it have anything to do with Judd and me?"

"Watch your mouth, smartass."  He chuckled.  "We usually provide valet parking.  We need four guys, and I immediately thought of you and Judd.  You two don't have any trouble relating to us `old folks,' and you'd make a pretty decent amount of money on the tips.  What do you think?"

"Sounds cool.  But wait a sec.  That's Valentine's Day.  Judd and I hadn't planned anything in particular, but I just assumed we'd do something special together.  Let me talk to Judd and get back to you.  You said you needed four guys.  Have you picked the others yet?"

"No, but I was thinking maybe Allen Neal and Ned Beaumont would be good if they're willing.  They've been around Sunrise all their lives and might be willing to help out."

"Would you like me to talk to them?"

"That'd be great, Louis, if you would."

I told him I'd see them at school the next day.  He thanked me and hung up.

I called Judd and told him about Whitney's call.

"Damn, Louis, I thought you and I could do something alone together that night."  

"Well, lover, we'd get to park some pretty cool cars at that party.  And we could always use the tip money to do something special for ourselves another night."  I thought about the night Whitney had, at my insistence, taken my cherry.  My ass sort of tingled at the recollection.  "Besides, Whitney's been pretty good to us.  I mean he brought us together.  So I think we owe him."

"That's all true.  Okay, let's do it.  But only if the next Saturday we can have a private party of our own."

I gave him a leer, though of course he couldn't' see it.  "You got it, babe."

The next day at lunch Judd and I sat with Allen and Bo (his name was Ned but he'd been Bo as long as I'd known him).  Turned out those two had parked cars for the Sunrise gala the previous year and would be happy to do it again.

"What do we wear?"  Judd asked.

"Last year they rented tuxes for us.  It was chilly, but we were so busy we didn't have time to get cold," Allen explained.

"Cool!" Judd said.

"No, dude, it was cold," Bo said, chuckling.  "Let's hope it's warmer this year."

I wondered a little about Bo and Allen.  I'd have thought they'd want to do something that night with their girlfriends.  

The third big piece of news that week came to us at lunch on Thursday.  Kevin Ptacek came over to our table and set down his tray, obviously intending to eat with us.

"Where are the Albrights?" Judd asked him.

"That's a good question.  They were in school Monday, but they've been absent ever since.  I've tried to call both of them, but whoever answers the phone at either of their houses just says they're not available."

"Could the two families have gone on a trip together?"

"I suppose, but neither of the guys said anything to me about it."

"Oh, well, they'll probably turn up Monday."

Kevin shook his head.  "I dunno.  There's something strange about the way nobody would give me any information."

The next day Kevin sat with us again in the lunchroom.

"Hey, guys.  You know Julie Phillips, who helps out in the principal's office?"

Judd and I nodded our heads.  I didn't really know Julie, but I'd seen her around and knew she worked part-time in the office.

"What about her?" Judd asked.

"I heard her telling some other chick that both Jamie and Phil had withdrawn from school!"

"Why?" Judd asked.

"Have they transferred somewhere else?" I asked.

"Dunno, dudes.  Alls I know is they've dropped out of Stafford High.  What the fuck do you suppose is happenin' with them?"

(*PMLA = Publication of the Modern Language Association.  It contains scholarly articles about literary figures and their work. --Tim)

To be continued.