Chapter 13

Dave had gone to the sporting goods store and picked up a self-supporting tent, three air mattresses and three sleeping bags. In a clear area at the back of the penthouse he had set up the tent and pumped up the mattresses.

He wasn't sure how Mary felt about having her sons around their gay uncle so he took no chance. The tent was right outside Mary's bedroom window. He didn't say anything about it figuring she would discover it for herself. When bed time came he explained to the boys that the guest half bath off the den could be used for night time relief. And that the boys could use the other guest bedroom to dress in and that bathroom there could be shared by the three for showering etc.

The day had started smoothly until Dave and Joe returned from their early morning run. As they ascended to the Eyrie, Joe wrapped Dave in a sweaty hug.

"You know, Babe, I really do enjoy these runs now I've built up enough stamina to keep up with you. It really is invigorating."

"Told ya." Dave replied returning the hug.

Joe smooched him on the lips just as the elevator door opened. Gary was standing there staring with his mouth open.

Dave blanched. Joe took it right in stride, he stepped out and ruffled the boy's hair.

"Hey, Gary, how is the worlds greatest kid this morning?

Gary looked up at him grinning.

"I saw you and Uncle Dave kissing."

Dave was still in the elevator. Joe squatted down in front of the kid.

"Yeah? So what? He's my boy friend and I can kiss him anytime I want. What's the big deal?"

"My daddy says only faggots do things like that."

Joe stood up.

"Well, I say your daddy is wrong. Let's go get a glass of O.J. and discuss this, okay?"

Gary grinned up at him.

"Okay." He replied.

Joe ushered him into the kitchen. Dave followed and stopped just outside the door. As he watched Joe get the orange juice out of the fridge David and Max came in through the patio door, drying themselves.

"Hi, Uncle Dave, we went for a swim. Man it's great to just get out of bed and jump into the pool. Could we have a glass of juice?"

Dave jerked himself out of his double shock and smiled at his to near naked nephews. He couldn't help but notice how David was maturing, but didn't let his thought show.

"Sure, guys, Joe and Gary are getting some now. Why don't we join them. Joe get out three more glasses. Sit down, Joe and Gary were just going to have a chat. I think we should all join in."

Everyone sat around the breakfast table. David and Max looked expectantly at Joe.

"So what's up?" David asked.

"I saw Uncle Joe and Uncle Dave kissing on the elevator. And we are going to have a discussion about it. He's going to tell me what a faggot is." Gary piped up.

"No way." Max said. " You guys really kiss each other?"

Dave blushed, but Joe looked Max right in the eye.

"If what Gary told me is true you already know we do. But the way your dad told you is wrong. I want to set the record straight."

Dave and his three nephews were sitting around the table watching Joe.

" David, would you call a black man a nigger." Joe was getting out cereal bowls, milk and several varieties of dry cereal.

"Absolutely no way, I'd get my mouth washed out and get grounded for a month."

"Why?" He passed each boy a bowl and set the boxes in the middle of the table where they could grab which ever they wanted. Dave had gotten up to get coffee for himself and Joe.

"'Cause it's a nasty offensive word. No one should use."

"Right. Now, there are two words that seem to be in you fellows' vocabulary that are as nasty and offensive as the "N" word. Queer and Faggot." He placed his hands on the table and leaned forward looking at each boy in turn. "I'm sure none of you use either of those two words in front of your mother, do you?"

All three boys vigorously shook there heads. No one realized that Mary was standing in the doorway.

"Am I right in assuming that your dad uses these words?'

All three boys looked back and forth at each other. Gary nodded. The other two stared at the table top.

"I'm sorry to hear that. From what I've seen of you guys, you're fine upstanding young men. I think you dad must be a fine man too. But as I said those two words are as bad as the "N" word. Next question." He sat down next to Dave. " Max, would you choose to be gay?"

"Gosh. Now way. Why would I want to be picked on or beaten up?" Max exclaimed around a mouth full of Cherios.

"Do you think gay kids choose to be that way when they could choose to be straight and not get picked on and beaten up?"

"I never thought about it. I guess it would be kinda dumb, wouldn't it?" David said.

"Well, guys, there is no choice for people that are born gay. Nor is there any choice for the ones that are born straight. God made all of us just like he made some people black and some white, yellow or brown."

"So why were you kissing Uncle Dave?"

Mary stepped forward.

"Joe, I would like to answer that if you will allow me to."

Joe looked surprised, but nodded okay.

"You've got the floor, Mary." He said. Dave got up and poured her some coffee.

"First off, boys, I want to tell you that your dad is going to school while we are down here. He is learning the same things that Joe has been talking about. I can promise you that the words that Joe told you were bad, will not be tolerated by your dad when we get home. You've missed a lot of years of not having your uncle and his partner in your lives because your dad was prejudice against gays. Prejudice is caused by ignorance. Ignorance is a lack of learning. Your dad is learning that there is no reason to be prejudice. Just as you three are learning today.

"Gary, your father and I are partners. We are married. Dave and Joe are partners also. Our government and religions do not allow them to marry legally. But they are as much bonded together as Lloyd and I are. Dave and Joe love each other as much as I love your father. Gary, my little man, what you saw on the elevator was Joe expressing his love for Dave. Just like you've seen me and your dad express our love for each other. It's not wrong. It is just different."

"So if it's not wrong why do people ridicule them?" Max asked.

"Like I said ,honey, it is out of ignorance that people do things like that."

"Well, it's just not fair. It's not right." Max was indignant, almost angry.

Dave and Joe exchange looks. It didn't go unnoticed by Mary.

"No, Max, there is nothing right or fair about it. All we can do is try to educate people, help them open up their minds to new thoughts and ideas."

"I'd just like to say that I am sorry I missed out having you in my life while I was growing up, Uncle Dave. I think you and Joe are really cool guys. I hope I get to know you both better while I'm going to school here."

Dave smiled at his oldest nephew.

"Thanks, David, I feel the same way. And we definitely will spend time together while you are here. I'd really like to get to know you and get to play uncle."

"Joe, may I call you uncle, too? I mean if Uncle Dave were married to a woman she'd be my aunt so you're really my uncle." David grinned at Joe.

"Hey kiddo, I'd be delighted to be your uncle."

"Wow, first we never had an uncle and now we got two at once. This is way cool, Mom." Max piped up.

"Well, he's my uncle first 'cause I've called Joe uncle from the beginning." Gary said.

"All right guys, rinse out your dishes and put them into the dish washer. I want you to get showered and dressed. David and I are going to tour the university and Joe and Dave are going to take you two over to the bookstore until lunch." She pointed at her two younger boys.

"Can we go to Gio Gio's for lunch? I like him. He makes good food." Max said.

"Well how does everybody else feel?"

The other two boys eagerly agreed and Joe and Dave nodded when she looked at them.

"You boys are going to turn into a dago like me if you keep eating so much Italian food." Joe said as they were all leaving the kitchen.

"Yeah, Max you little Dago." David said punching him on the arm.

"Stop right there." Dave raised his voice to be heard.

"That is another word that is not to be used by you boys."

"What? Dago? I don't even know what it means." Max said.

"Uncle Joe just used it." Gary injected.

"I know he did. What you guys have got to understand is that it is acceptable for Joe to use the word because it is a derogatory word that refers to him and he is Italian. It's Okay for a black person to use the 'N' word and its alright for a gay person to use the two words we talked about. But it is wrong for anybody else to use them. Do you understand?"

"Yeah, Uncle Dave, it's okay to put yourself down but wrong for someone else to put you down." David said.

"You got it." He wrapped his arm around his oldest nephew's neck and hugged him. David grinned. He liked his Uncle Dave,

When Mary and David left on their investigation. Dave asked Joe to take the two boys somewhere and entertain them; he had some things he had to take care of.

Joe knew what was on Dave's mind without any discussion on the subject. He was sure that Dave didn't need help in taking care of the matter. He took the boys downtown to the site where another tower that he had designed was being built. He gave them each a bright yellow hard hat and took them up to the top on the heavy duty elevator attached to the Steel beam framework. He let them look around without getting off and then they descended back to ground level. He introduced them to the foreman as his nephews. Both boys grinned at that. They'd never been nephews before. It was a big deal to them both to have an uncle like Joe. Uncle Dave was great but Joe was their new hero.

Dave called Clyde and discussed bribing the Children's Hospital in California to take Gary right away.

" It would be an acceptable thing to do if it was done in a clandestine manner. How much are you thinking of offering them, Dave?"

"A new wing for research into childhood diseases?"

"I'm sure they would accept that, especially if there was a large grant to finance such research. Let me make some discreet calls and put out some feelers."

"I knew I could count on you Clyde. Let me know what you find. I'd like to get the kid straighten out asap."

Clyde called Dave back two hours later.

"Dave, luck is with us. They badly need a new research facility. I discussed how big, etc, with the hospital administrator. I've work up some basic figures for you to look at. If you approve them we will go ahead with the offer."

"I'll be in your office in half an hour. Thanks, Clyde for moving so fast."

"That's why you pay me so much, Dave."


Throughout dinner at Joe's parent's home Dave was antsy. Joe knew that Dave was working on Gary's problem and ignored it. Mary asked him before they got there if something was bothering him.

"I've just got some unresolved problems I'm working on. I'm okay."

"Well, you have a big sister if you need to talk about it."

Dave smiled at her. It was good to have her back in his life.


Mary's boys were made to feel right at home in the Paolini household. Suddenly they had an aunt Angie and another older uncle Joe, and another uncle that looked just like Joe, uncle Johnny, and an Uncle Tim. Eve told everyone straight out that she was too young to an aunt. Tim seconded the motion. He was only three years older that David.

During desert, Dave's cell started playing "O Solo Mio."

"An Italian telephone you have, Dave?" Angie asked.

"A gift from a friend." Angie noted that he glared at Joe before he moved into the living room to take the call. It was Clyde.

"Dave, sorry to interrupt your evening. The West Coast is on a different time than we are. I got the go ahead from the Hospital Administrator. Gary has an appointment next Wednesday morning with the specialists at CHOC."

"Yes." Dave shouted. Clyde ignored the outburst and continued.

"Your sister will need a place to stay while there. I took the liberty of reserving a suite at Hotel America in Anaheim for her. Also I have rented a car for her that will be waiting at John Wayne Airport. Her plane reservations are for Tuesday morning on United. Is there anything else I missed?"

"Damn, Clyde, your becoming indispensable. I can't think of a thing at the moment."

"Like the saying goes, You get what you pay for. And in your case you pay for what you get."

"Well, you're proving to be worth every cent, Clyde. Thanks, and good night."

Dave walked back into the dining room all smiles.

"What's the good word Dave?" Joe asked.

"It's a go all the way." He turned to Mary. "I hate to see you leave so soon after coming back into my life, Sis, but...." He hesitated. Mary looked startled and then concerned. "But," Dave continued. "You have an appointment with Gary in Orange, California next Wednesday morning."

"What?" Mary squawked. She grabbed her brother around the neck nearly chocking him.

"I pulled a few strings and got the appointment moved up to next Wednesday."

Of course Angie and Joe Sr. had to be filled in on the whole story.

"So Dave," Joe Sr. asked, "how did you swing it? A hospital usually won't budge on something like this unless its life threatening."

"I just called my handy man, Clyde, and asked him to fix it."

"Some handy man."

End of Chapter 13