My Belovèd is mine, and I am his.
Song of Songs 2:16
Kevin awakened before Cam did the morning
after their adventures getting Casey back. The boy felt rested,
not having awakened during the night even when his partner got up to
give the baby a bottle. With Casey back in their hands, life was good, Kevin realized.
Great, actually. Feeling the early morning chill in the air, he
pulled the blanket up to his chin, making sure Cam was covered as
well. He smiled to himself and snuggled up to his lover.
His lover. Recalling the previous evening before they had fallen
asleep completely sated, Kevin reveled in the memory of how Cam had
felt inside his body, fucking him slowly at first and then faster, bringing and maintaining ecstasy after long, long minutes
of preparation and anticipation and stimulation. Kevin
continued fantasizing about their sexual
intensity, remembering it with satisfaction. He wanted to relive
it yet again, how Cam had made love to him as the boy's salty sweat had
rained down on Kevin's chest and
point in their relationship, both of them had long since perfected
to give and receive the ultimate in love and pleasure when they had
They pleased one another
totally. Good skills, Kevin thought, smiling again.
When you've got 'em, you got 'em. And Cam had those skills in
He was an uninhibited sex partner in bed, and yet gentle to his core
gentleness was called for. He was persevering and perceptive and gentle in bringing his
partner to the pinnacle of sexual enjoyment and release. No
prudery there at all, but still lots of
consideration for his lover, thank God.
Kevin could feel himself starting to
get hard yet again, and gave his dick a stroke. Maybe they had time... He was just about to nestle his head into the crook of Cam's neck
and nuzzle his face and kiss his neck and see what developed from that point when there was a soft knock at their
bedroom door. It broke his train of thought.
"Yeah?" he inquired softly.
The door opened slowly, and Father Mason, already dressed in his running clothes, stepped inside.
"You two gonna run this morning?" the priest asked. "Alex and
John and the rest of the guys will be over here in a couple of minutes."
Cam groaned right then and opened his eyes, rubbing them. "Oh,
man, did I ever sleep!" he croaked, then cleared his throat and raised
his head. "What time is it?"
"Ten to six," Father Jim said.
"Ohhhhh," Cam said, dropping his head back on to the pillow, then
swiveling a bit to look at Kevin. The boy's face made Cam smile,
even just out of
sleep. "Hey, dude," he said happily.
"You rang?" Kevin said.
"We gonna run?"
"I await your orders. But somebody has to stay with Casey."
"Yolanda is up," the priest said. "She says she wants to watch him this morning."
"Cool. Thanks, Father. Get up, then," Cam said to
Kevin. He waited until
the priest had gone and shut the door behind him to throw back the
leaving Kevin and himself stark naked and covered with the copious
the previous night's lovemaking. He scooted down in bed and
Kevin's abs, which were still covered in dried spunk, and then gave him
a lick. Yep, it was Kevin's splooge, all right! He knew
that taste. He ran a
hand gently over Kevin's torso, then cupping and gently squeezing the
boy's package before letting his hand journey up to his
pecs, where he rolled the nipples between his thumb and forefinger
before moving on to his face. As usual, Kevin's
face wore its sexy blue-black mask, the stubble he sported every
morning before he used his razor. Cam touched the boy's face
gently, and then kissed his cheek.
Kevin exhaled loudly, and then for the moment gave
himself over to the sweet touch of the boy he loved more than life
itself. If only they had more time...
"Don't get me all fired up, now," Kevin finally had to warn as Cam continued to caress him. "I know, I was hoping..." he admitted.
"I know exactly exactly what you were hoping, horndog. Not gonna happen, unfortunately. Not right now."
Kevin laughed, grabbing Cam's head, pulling him to his face and
long, soft kiss on his lips, and then giving his body a squeeze.
know," he said, loving Cam, body, soul and spirit, so much so that
he had butterflies in his stomach. He had been lucky in love, and
he knew it. More than lucky.
Grunting, Kevin rolled to the edge of the bed, put his feet to the floor and headed for the
Cam right behind him. Cam admired the T-shape of Kevin's beautiful physique as he
tried to get hold of that perfectly rounded, muscular ass.
"Don't get grabby," Kevin said, swiveling his hips to avoid his partner's hands.
"You've never complained before, you wiener," Cam responded to his partner as they got ready to relieve themselves.
They shared the toilet, their streams of urine crossing and uncrossing until
they finished. Afterward they ran warm, damp wash cloths over their
bodies so the
other guys wouldn't smell sex on them. They knew they'd never hear the end
of it if their stink confirmed what they'd been up to.
Cam studied his own face in the mirror.
"Yeah, your skin is perfect. Like always," Kevin scoffed at his partner as he rubbed his own stubble.
Cam pretended to scowl at him. "Shut up."
They went back into the bedroom, where they put on jocks, running
shorts, warm-ups, T's and sweatshirts, and finally socks and running
shoes. After he was dressed, Kevin walked over to the crib,
looking down on a sleeping Casey. His exhilaration at having the
baby back where he belonged was only increased by what, for him, was
understanding: no matter how many the total hours and minutes
may be, sometimes we only have those we love for what seems like a few
time. And then they, and frequently we ourselves, are gone.
We have to live in the moment, and make the most of it, Kevin thought
Loving that little boy, he bent down and
gently caressed the baby's head. "Boychick," Kevin whispered to
him. No response. If anyone had told him a year ago that he could
love a baby as much as he loved Casey, he would have said the person was
Kevin turned to Cam. "Did you give him
his bottle last night?" he asked.
"Well, yeah!" Cam said. "Somebody has to be responsible."
Kevin chuckled but didn't rise to the bait. "Thanks," he said. "From Casey and me both."
A door slammed in another part of the house, and then they heard a cacophony of male voices down the hall toward the kitchen.
"Ready?" Cam asked.
The two of them joined the others, milling around in the kitchen. Kevin spotted Yolanda.
"Casey's still sleeping," he told her. "Thanks for watching him."
"I sit with him, and feed him when he wake up," Yolanda said,
smiling. Kevin went over to her and gave a hug and a kiss on the
cheek. The world was good. Yolanda and Rosa, who was still back at the MacKenzie
house in San Rafael, were the salt of the earth as far as he was
Alex, John, Ian, Mary, Catherine, Father Mason and the two dogs followed
the young guys outside and down the road the short distance to the stairs to
the beach. Once down on the sand, everyone commenced their stretches.
"Dad, I'm gonna speed it up today," Mark Carson told Ian, who looked at him doubtfully.
"You sure?" Ian asked.
"How about three-quarters of the distance at speed, and then turn around and fast walk
until we catch back up with you, and then finish fast?" Ian was in
negotiating mode. Always the lawyer! And a good one.
Mark smiled, taking what he could get. "OK," he said, adjusting
the leather helmet where it touched his still healing wound.
"I'll run and walk with you, Mark," Father Mason said.
"Thanks, Father," the boy said.
There was a cold wind off the Pacific, and those who had worn warm-ups
left them on. William set his pedometer, and the group took off down the beach. Alice and Samantha led
the way, as usual, playing in the surf at the shoreline as they went. Carl Emrick stuck with Cam and Kevin, and the
three of them ran in silence for a few minutes.
Carl finally broke the silence. "It must have been nice for you to sleep
in bed together for a change. You two look really relaxed this morning," he
said, pointedly not looking at them.
Cam gave Kevin a quick look, grinning, but said nothing.
"Thanks," Kevin said. "Something you wanna know about our evening?"
"Something you wanna tell me?" Carl asked.
"You're way more curious than you should be," Kevin told him, laughing.
"There shouldn't be any secrets among friends," Carl shot back.
No response from Cam or Kevin.
"When are you taking me into San Francisco to hook up?" Carl asked.
"You're not horny, are ya?" Kevin asked him.
"Whaddaya think?" Carl asked. "Fuck yes, I'm horny!"
"Why don't we wait 'til you have a chance to scope out the guys in the
St. Andrew's youth group who are going to New Orleans with us?" Cam suggested.
"There may be somebody who's good looking and on the hunt for a boyfriend."
"No fucking way! I don't want to hear that word 'wait' anymore," Carl said.
"Waiting is good for your character," Kevin said.
"In that case, no more sex for you two until I get laid," Carl said. "That should
speed things up. We'll be sleeping three to a bed, with me in the
middle." Carl looked pleased about that thought as they all hit
their stride and started sweating despite the cold wind off the
water. "A three-way sounds pretty good to me."
"You gotta be fucking kidding," Cam said, dismissing Carl's three-way thought as Kevin grinned.
"Not entirely," Carl said.
"You know that Kevin and I have sex out of love for each other, doncha?" Cam didn't look thrilled with this conversation.
"Yeah. But don't you guys love me?" Carl asked.
"Yes. But not the same way we love each other," Cam said.
"All right," Carl said, smiling broadly. "It never hurts to ask."
"Why is getting you laid our job?" Kevin demanded. "Let me give
you the word of the day. COMPUTER! C-o-m-p-u-t-e-r!
Get your ass busy on your laptop and develop a profile, choose a
picture that shows the real you, and for starters get on Men4Men or
Craigslist. There are more. Or go on gay.com and do a little chatting. Who
knows what that could lead to?"
Having delivered himself of that advice, Kevin broke stride and hopped forward on one foot to give Carl a little kick in the
butt before the three of them
speeded up to catch the others. Carl grinned and brushed off the seat of his warm-ups.
But thereafter the hunky little
trying to sleep between Cam and Kevin when the gang all slept on the
floor at Alex's cabin. And if Cam and Kevin didn't get their sleeping
bags zipped together promptly enough, sometimes they let him.
William and Berto laughed their asses off as they observed Carl's
dogged, unsubtle campaign to have sex with something other than his hand.
* * *
"Father, have you been to New Orleans before?" Mark asked the priest as they ran along beside each other on the beach.
"Yes, I have," Jim Mason said. "I went down there for Carnival several times when I was in college."
"It's the two week celebration before Ash Wednesday," the priest explained.
"Most people call the whole deal 'Mardi Gras.' But technically, 'Mardi
Gras' is 'Fat Tuesday,' the day before Ash Wednesday, and it's only one day."
"Oh," Mark said. "Anyway, how was it?"
"I was with a bunch of raunchy fraternity brothers, and we had a great time," Mason
said. "Awesome, to be truthful."
"I hope I'll get to do some fun stuff," the boy said a little wistfully.
Mason looked over at his running companion and grinned. "Are the
family ties feeling a little snug right now?" he asked kindly.
"Yeah," Mark said. "I can hardly use the bathroom without somebody checking to see if I'm all right."
"Who's doing that?"
"Mom and Dad and Kevin are the worst."
"You understand why that is, don't you?" the priest asked.
"No, I don't. What's the big deal?"
"Get a clue!" Mason suggested. "Don't you know how much everybody
loves you, and how afraid they were for you when you got shot? That
doesn't go away overnight, y'know."
"Look at those people running ahead of us," the priest said.
"There isn't one of them who wouldn't go down fighting for you if he or
she had to. They care about you. Be thankful."
"I guess. I'd just like to be able to do some fun stuff
without everybody getting all bent outta shape and hovering over me,"
"You'll be able to do that, and it won't be all that far off. I
think we'll all be
able to have some fun down in New Orleans." Mason paused, and
looked over at Mark again. "Of course, along with the fun, we still have
to be in good physical shape and psychologically ready for the
destruction we'll see when we go to work. The French Quarter was untouched by
flooding, and a lot of Uptown wasn't damaged, or so I understand. But areas nearest
Lake Ponchartrain and the drainage canals were either submerged
altogether or badly damaged. That's where we'll be working. It's going to be hard work."
"I need to look at a map."
"We're going to have an orientation meeting for the whole youth group in a couple of weeks, and
I'll have big maps of the city to look at," the priest promised.
"Where are people who used to live in New Orleans living now?" Mark asked.
"A lot of people are living in Houston and Dallas and
Atlanta. Smaller populations are scattered around the
country. Those who have returned, if their houses were destroyed,
are living in FEMA trailers. It's been incredibly difficult for
people, especially for youngsters, because so many schools were flooded
and haven't re-opened. And the older people have been feeling pretty down about their losses."
"How big was the population of New Orleans before Katrina?"
"Probably four fifty or four hundred seventy-five thousand,"
Mason said. "Now it's probably around two hundred thousand. Maybe a little less."
Mark looked at the priest. "I didn't know we were talking about that many people still being away from home."
"Unfortunately, yes. Some people have relocated elsewhere
permanently. Others want desperately to go back to New Orleans."
"Somebody on television the other day said that they didn't see why
Federal taxes should pay for the broken levees and damaged houses,"
"I'm not surprised," Jim Mason said. "The fact is, though, that
the levees were constructed by the Federal government and belong to
them. The Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for them. And it seems that
during the original construction, they cut some corners they shouldn't
have. The Feds haven't been that eager to pay up, and even the
money that's been appropriated by Congress for rebuilding homes isn't getting
into the hands of individual citizens very fast. That's why what
we're going to do down there to help homeowners is so important."
"I'm looking forward to it," Mark said. "I think all the guys are."
"I think it's going to be a good experience for all of us." Mason
looked over at Mark. "Now, not to go back to a sore subject, but how is your head healing up?"
"Good," Mark said. "Kevin and my dad and mom check it out
every couple days. They say it looks good. When I look at
it in the mirror, the wound looks pretty gross to me. But Dad says its
gonna heal up fine, and that if I need it, I can have a little plastic
surgery on it at some point."
"So Kevin's kind of taken you under his wing?"
"Yeah," Mark said. "To look at him, you'd think he'd be just the
typical bad-ass jock. But...well, he's really a
very loving person, like you were saying before. Even so, I'd never want to get him mad at
me. He can really handle himself. He's been good to
me, though, and I appreciate it."
The priest filed that information away for future reference. "I'm
just thankful you're all right," Mason said. "We all
are." He smiled. "There's only one Mark Carson, and we need
you alive and kicking."
Mark laughed. "That's the way I prefer it, believe me!"
They ran in silence for a few minutes. Jim Mason looked over at his running companion.
"Uh, Mark, can I ask you something?"
"You may not be able to answer this off the top of your head. Or you may not
want to answer it at all. I was just wondering, what are your
life dreams now that you're gonna be starting college in a couple of years?"
"Oh, man..." Mark didn't know what to say. "I'll have to get back to ya on that."
"Let me tell you why I'm asking," the priest said. "All the time I was growing up, nobody ever asked
me what my dreams were. Not my parents, not my teachers,
not even my counselors, nobody. My parents, especially my dad,
kind of took for granted what my employment dream would be--to work in
and take over for him when the time was right--but no one ever
asked. So I never faced the question until later in my life than
I should have. I know it may seem like I'm being nosy, but when I
have a chance, I try to ask the kids I
come in contact with at St. Andrew's what their dreams are. Their
goals, if you
want to put it that way. It's not even important that you know
the answer right now. It's just important at your age that you
keep asking yourself the question, because our dreams are so powerful. And sometimes fragile."
"You blow me away sometimes with your questions, Father," the boy said. "I know I
don't have a solid answer to that particular question right now. There are
things that I think I might like to do in life, but they keep changing."
"That's perfectly normal at your age," Mason said. "You're still being
exposed to a lot of things, and sometimes it doesn't pay to make a
final career decision too early. But it's always smart to be
aware of the question. There are a lot of people out there making
a livelihood doing things that don't mean a thing to them because they
fell into something lucrative, and for financial reasons they can't get
out. They hate it, though. Life's too short for that."
"Sometime I'd like to sit down and talk to you more about this," Mark said. "Maybe when we go to New Orleans."
"Sounds good to me," Father Mason said.
The priest returned to San Rafael the following day, twenty-four hours later
than he had originally planned, but he and Mark Carson didn't have a
chance to talk alone again before he left. Mark didn't forget the
question or the discussion, though.
* * *
The next two weeks flew by. The daytime temperatures in the Big
Sur kept rising as spring advanced, and on one uncharacteristically warm day down on the
beach, the boys just stripped off their clothes after a touch football game and went skinny-dipping
in the ocean. Carl Emrick, especially, was in heaven, getting a chance
to look at his naked "brothers" all at one time. Cam and Kevin didn't turn their eyes
away, either, but they had been having sex regularly in the shower, in bed, or in the cave, and weren't so horny
that they felt compelled to stare.
Carl liked what he saw.
Carson and Berto Hernandez were really hung, and got a lot of his
attention. There wasn't one boy there that Carl would have kicked out of his bed except for Dan (for family reasons),
he knew that. The guys were totally wet dream and jackoff
material, and the sight of them naked enriched his well developed fantasy life yet again.
He couldn't help but notice how much Kevin's weight training back at
the MacKenzie house in San Rafael had buffed the guys up, including
Dan, the most reluctant warrior in the gym. It seemed as if
Kevin was never satisfied with anybody's performance on the weights, including Carl's
own, but the truth was that Kevin was just good at squeezing the maximum effort out of
everybody who exercised under his direction.
The final day in the Big Sur finally came. It was time to go back to San Rafael for their
orientation meeting at San Andrew's for the New Orleans trip.
The family packed up, and drove back up to Marin County. Cam,
Kevin, Alex and John rode in the Camaro with Casey well secured in his
travel seat, and the rest of the boys in Ian's Navigator with Carl at
the wheel. Alex and John were going to stay with friends in
Sausalito until they all left for New Orleans. They rented a car when they reached San Rafael.
Ian, in consultation with
Captain Ridenour, had decided that it was unlikely the Carsons' condo
in San Francisco would still be under surveillance by Alejandro
Hernandez, so Mary and Ian and Yolanda, riding along with Catherine in her car, decided to
visit the Carsons' burned out apartment on the way home to San Rafael. Just in case, before he
met them there, Ridenour had the SFPD do a sweep of the immediate
neighborhood for any sign of a stakeout by Alejandro Hernandez or one
of his minions. The officers found nothing, and Ian had Catherine
drive her car into the underground parking garage. They rode the elevator
up to the penthouse, with Mary already dreading what she would find.
The condo was in worse shape than they had expected,
unfortunately. The windows were boarded up, and it was
dark. But a contractor had jury-rigged some makeshift
lighting, allowing them to see the extent of the damage. Mary's
antique furniture and original art work had all been
destroyed. The contractor had pulled up the carpet, as it
couldn't be cleaned or repaired, and it now rested in rolls against the
room of the apartment. The exposed hard wood floors had warped
from the water used to combat the flames, and they would all have to be
replaced. Mary wept and then composed herself as she and Ian
inspected all the rooms with Catherine and Tom Ridenour. The
place was a total
loss, as even the insurance company adjuster had admitted, wanting to
settle the Carsons' claim.
Before they left, Mary found some suitcases which were in good shape except
for smoke damage to the outside, and with Yolanda's and Catherine's help, packed some clothes which had escaped the flames for
Yolanda and the boys and for Ian and herself. The two men carried
the bags downstairs and added them to the suitcases already in the
Lincoln's commodious trunk. Ian and Tom Ridenour told one another that they'd be in touch.
When the rest of the family arrived back in San Rafael, a mailed
flyer was there from St. Andrew's, confirming the upcoming Sunday
afternoon at 3 p.m. for a meeting with everyone who would be
going to New
Orleans. Alex and John, by then settled in Sausalito, had been
eating some of their evening
meals with the family in San Rafael, but Cam called them just to make
sure they knew the date and time of the meeting so they could come over.
On Sunday morning, Catherine, Mary and Ian were relentless in
getting the boys up and showered and dressed in time for church.
Alex and John drove over from Sausalito to attend Mass with the
family. Kevin reluctantly put Casey in the church nursery after
they arrived, and when they were seated for Mass, the family occupied an entire
pew and a half on the gospel side toward the rear of the nave.
Father Blackburn was the celebrant at Mass, and Father Mason preached that morning on
how Christians can and should deal with personal losses in
"Losing the people and the things that we love inevitably hurts," he
said. "We can feel terribly insecure, more insecure than we
should ever feel as Christians, unless we reaffirm to ourselves that as
children, we are never and will never be deserted by him. God is
always taking the negatives in our lives and will make them positives
if we persevere in seeking his help through prayer and good
works. The materialities of life are just 'stuff.' They
shouldn't be despised, because God made them. But they aren't
all-important, either. We need to remember that God's love for us
our life in him are more important than any loss of material things we
But we do have an obligation to offer help and comfort to those who have sustained
loss in their lives, and that's why the youth group is going to New
Taking the losses sustained in New Orleans as a concrete example, Mason
spoke at length then about the upcoming trip there with the parish
youth, outlining the conditions in south Louisiana after Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita. He said that their group's objective, along
with the monetary gifts that St. Andrew's had already sent to several
of the hardest hit churches in New Orleans, was to offer aid and to
comfort the citizens who were fighting so hard to survive. The
priest said that their work there would be in fulfillment of the words
of the prophet Isaiah: "Comfort, comfort my people, says your
God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare
is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the
Lord's hand double for all her sins."
Mary Carson seemed especially buoyed up by the homily as she considered
the loss of her own home in San Francisco. She reflected
thankfully about Mark's recovery from injury as she watched her boy
the Mass. At the passing of the Peace, she caressed Mark's
face in gratitude as she kissed him, realizing yet again that his
recovery was much more important than the loss of their
apartment. During the passing of the Peace, Cam kissed Kevin
cheek, and Kevin responded in kind. No stones came flying at
them, so Cam guessed he hadn't been too out of line in a parish with
affirmative values like St. Andrew's.
After Mass, Ian took the whole crew to an IHOP, and the adults and boys
ordered themselves buckwheat pancakes and potato pancakes with sour
cream, bacon and eggs, and anything else on the menu that looked good
Kevin eyed the boys with a grin as everybody gorged himself.
"I'm going to make you gluttons suffer in the gym for eating all
this food," he told them with an evil grin, taking a big swig of orange
juice. "Your abs are gonna cry for mercy when I'm done!"
"What about you, dufus?" William shot back. "You're as big a pig as the rest of us. Soo-eee!"
"Shut up, man! My body's under perfect control," Kevin said.
"You don't see any fat deposits or sagging muscles on me, do ya?"
"You're a fat man waiting to happen, dude," Berto told him, and the family roared.
"Good one!" William said. Berto and William high-fived.
Mary had just finished feeding Casey, who snorted right then, and the baby gave a happy little wail and flailed his arms.
"Even Casey liked that one," William observed.
The heckling continued as the comestibles on the tables disappeared and
the pace of eating eventually slowed. They were finally finished,
and went out to their cars while Ian paid the bill and Alex left a
hefty tip on the table.
They went home, and the boys snoozed on the pool deck in the sun for a
they had changed into T's and swim suits. Cam went upstairs and took his turn changing
Casey's diaper, and then brought him downstairs and put him in his
carrier on the deck in the shade of the pool house. The adults
quietly in a circle and talked about the upcoming trip. After the
boys woke up, they played some volleyball in the pool before
going upstairs to change into Levi's and polo shirts for the big
meeting at church.
There must have been over a hundred kids and adults in the parish house
by the time the MacKenzie-Carson contingent arrived a few minutes
before the meeting was to start. Not all the adults in the room were going to
News Orleans, but many of the parents wanted to hear about the goals
and itinerary for the trip. The women's guild was serving snacks
and soft drinks over to one side of the huge room, and kids, especially the boys, were
scoffing down food like they hadn't eaten yet that day.
Carl Emrick used the time to wander through the crowd, scoping out the
guys. There were some good looking boys in the crowd, and Carl
was especially taken with one boy who looked something like Cam in
height and build. From
circling around, Carl could see the kid had a good chest, a nice ass,
and an impressive bulge in the crotch of his 501's. He also had
big feet clad in Doc Martens slipons and a really cute face, framed by
curly, shoulder length, bronze colored hair. The boy
was talking animatedly to a bunch of his peers, but didn't seem to have
girl hanging on his arm or monopolizing his attention.
When Carl had a chance, he introduced himself to the boy as a new parishioner of St. Andrew's who would be going to New Orleans.
"Hey, man," the kid responded, and his blue eyes pierced Carl's soul as they
rendered each other a slip and slide handshake, concluding with a dap. "Andy
Helder. How ya
When Andy touched his hand, Carl's legs felt weak. "I'm good,"
Carl said. "I didn't know this many kids would be going on the
"Yeah," the boy laughed, showing a mouthful of even, white teeth.
"It's a chance to get away from home for some fun," he
said. "Not that we don't want to help out down in New Orleans,
but most of us are ready to spend some time outta town, if ya know what I
"I hear that!" Carl said.
"You said you're new here at St. Andrew's," Andy said. "Do you live here in town?"
"Yeah. My brother Dan and I moved here from Seaside. We
live with our foster mom and dad right now at Dr. MacKenzie's house."
"Cam MacKenzie's mother?"
"Yeah," Carl said. "Do you know him?"
"Yeah. I was on the soccer team with him when we graduated from
San Rafael High. He and his buddy
Kevin Stoltz were the nucleus of our team," Andy said. "I spent a
ton of time over at the MacKenzies' after some assholes here in town
beat Kevin up a while back. Broke his arm and leg, among other
things. Members of our team used to trade off going over to eat
supper at the house and study with him and Cam."
"I heard about that," Carl said. "That wasn't too long before I moved in."
Andy nodded and studied him. "You look like a jock yourself. Lemme guess. A wrestler?"
"Good guess," Carl admitted with a grin.
"Let's grab some drinks and some chips," Andy suggested, and they
walked over to the long tables against the side of the room together and did
just that as they continued to talk.
Meanwhile, William Carson was like a bird dog on the hunt, scoping out
all the pretty girls in the room, of which there were several. He
introduced himself to a couple of them in a clump of girls, and they
all struck up a
conversation. He concentrated on one brunette named
Allison Wright, with nice tits. Unbeknownst to him, she had graduated with Kevin and
Kevin watched William's machinations, and poked Cam in the ribs.
"Check out Mackdaddy at work!" Kevin whispered to his partner.
"It's a good thing he's straight. He's so smooth that if he was
gay, he'd probably talk you right into his bed."
Cam laughed. "Not without you, buddy!" he said in a low voice. "Yours is the only hand I want touching my ass."
"I'll try to keep that in mind," Kevin said, chuckling. "If I forget, remind me, willya?"
The young people and adults continued to talk up
until Father Blackburn called for order at 3 p.m., thanked
everyone for being there, and turned the meeting over to Father
Mason. They all found chairs, and Kevin saw that Carl
had managed to grab a seat next to Andy when everybody sat down. Kevin poked Cam again and nodded over
at Carl and his new
friend, and Cam smiled approvingly. Both of them knew and liked
Andy. There had never been even the slightest hint that Andy was
gay, and he probably wasn't, but who knew for sure? Maybe, unlike
the two of them, Carl had an improved version of gaydar going for him.
Father Mason turned on a slide projector, and after echoing the
Rector's greetings, began by showing huge maps of New Orleans on a big
screen. Red arrows pinpointed the levee failures in the city, with
the flooded areas tinted blue. A big orange arrow indicated the
small hotel in the French Quarter which St. Andrew's had rented out in
its entirety for two weeks, and a green arrow designated the parish
church not far out of the French Quarter that would be their spiritual
home during their stay, and where they would take at least some of
their meals. Several buses would pick them up early each morning and
take them to their work sites, and then pick them up again in the early afternoon
when the temperature would make it too hot to work. A noon meal
would be catered at the work sites.
The priest provided packets with handouts which were chock full of information
about the trip. One laid out in detail
the group's schedule
for the two weeks they would be in New Orleans, and another broke
down the entire youth group into work
crews, each with at least one adult crew leader. Cam noticed that
he and Kevin and Mark would be working in Father Mason's crew.
The kind of clothing needed for work in the field was specified on another sheet.
set forth the rules the kids were expected to follow while in the
Crescent City. That handout said explicitly that none of the
were ever to walk around the city without at least one companion from
their group, and
never without the permission of their adult crew leader. The
boys and girls were never to be in one another's rooms at the hotel
after their ten o'clock curfew on weekdays, or midnight on
weekends. Failure to obey that last rule was cause for being sent
back to San Rafael immediately. Curfews would be enforced, and there would be bed checks.
There was to be no alcohol or drug use, but the paper didn't say you'd
automatically be sent home if you didn't follow that rule.
Mason spoke at length about the kind of work everyone would be expected
to do, and the health precautions everyone would need to take. He
said specifically that anyone who suffered from an allergy to mold
should see him for special instructions before leaving the
meeting. He told them that at the close of the meeting, everyone
would have an opportunity to sign up for a roommate, same sex, two
people to a
Cam and Kevin grinned at each other. No problem
there. Yolanda would have Casey in her room. The two guys
knew they would be horny, as usual, and were looking forward to some good sex.
The meeting closed with a prayer and a blessing from Father Mason, and
then young people flocked to the sign-up sheets for a roommate.
Carl followed closely behind Andy.
"Are you gonna room with anybody special?" Carl asked him.
"Not really," Andy said. "You wanna...?"
"Cool," Carl said. He was seriously pumped, and had butterflies in his stomach.
Mary Carson talked with Father Mason about her allergy to mold, and
said that she would receive a shot from her doctor for the problem
before leaving town. After the signup was finally completed,
everyone was feeling good
about the trip and what they would accomplish in Louisiana as they
filed out of the parish hall. Carl watched Andy Helder as he
walked out of the building with his parents just ahead of the
MacKenzie-Carson family, and the Helders got into their car. The
kid turned him on.
"I see you met Andy Helder," Cam said to Carl as they slid into the
Camaro and then waited in a line of cars to pull out of the parking lot.
"Yep," Carl confirmed. "He said he was on the San Rafael High soccer team with you guys."
"Yeah," Kevin said. "He played forward, and was fast on his feet. Nice guy, and a good athlete."
"Uh, do you know if he's dating anybody special?" Carl asked.
"He wasn't when we graduated," Cam said. "Not that I knew of,
anyway. I don't know if he's tight with anyone now or not."
"Straight or gay?" Carl asked, not beating around the bush.
"As far as I know, straight," Cam said. "I never got any vibes from him, did you, Kevin?"
"Nope." Kevin looked into the back seat at Carl. "How about you?"
"Maybe. I'm not sure. But he's easy to talk to, not
standoffish with someone he just met. In fact, we're gonna room
together in New Orleans."
"Way ta go, dude!" Kevin said approvingly. "Showing some initiative! I like that."
"Had to," Carl said. "I knew if I waited on you guys to help me
out, my dick would shrivel up and fall off from lack of use."
"Why?" Cam said, grinning. "Is your right hand broken?"
"Funny man!" Carl said, scowling, but then he broke into laughter.
* * *
The days before leaving for New Orleans flew by. They
were marked for the boys
and adults alike by Kevin-imposed agony in their makeshift gym so that
everyone would be prepared for long workdays in the heat and humidity
of the Gulf Coast. Endurance would be the name of the game.
Kevin made everybody work hard, even Catherine and Mary. He was
merciless with the boys.
After an early breakfast on the Saturday morning of their departure,
stretch limos arranged for by Ian pulled into Catherine's driveway at 7
a.m. The family loaded their baggage and themselves into the cars
for the trip to San Francisco International airport. Alice and
Samantha were disconsolate at being left behind, but Rosa said she'd
care of them.
A few of the
boys fell back to sleep as they rode along. They drove to a
private hangar at the airport, where they would be catching a charter
for New Orleans. Father Mason and the other planners for this
trip had decided a charter would be better than going commercial
because most flights to New Orleans, particularly from the west,
included a stop and change of
planes in Houston. That would have been a hassle with this large
Screening for charter flight was minimal, although the Transportation
department employees who were examining the carry on luggage pulled out
the bottles of formula for Casey that Kevin was carrying, and examined
them. Eventually they were satisfied that Kevin was not trying to
blow up the plane. The group boarded what proved to be a
turboprop with an engine on each wing and one in the tail. It was
an older plane, but appeared to have been well maintained.
They were in the air by 10:00 that morning, bound for New Orleans. The
girls in the group almost immediately started singing some stupid camp songs while most of
the boys remained disdainfully silent. The singing stopped when
"Dumb and Dumber" starting showing on the video screens on the back of
each seat. It wasn't a great movie, but watchable. Most of
the kids had seen it before, but gave it their attention again.
Catherine had purchased his own seat on the plane for Casey, who was
strapped in his
carrier to the back side of the middle seat in front of Cam
and Kevin. The child
was sound asleep with a pacifier in his mouth and a little knitted cap on his head. Kevin snagged two
blankets and pillows from the overhead compartment, and moved over to sit next
to Cam, with Casey suspended in the carrier right in front of him. Unfolding the
blankets, he covered Cam's and his own laps. Undercover, he put a
hand in Cam's crotch, and gently flexed his fingers. Cam
grinned and placed one of his own hands over Kevin's. Heads
together on their pillows, the two of them promptly fell asleep.
The group arrived in New Orleans in
mid-afternoon. After disembarking, they claimed their luggage at the
foot of a conveyer, and several buses were waiting for them in front of the charter hanger.
Everyone immediately noticed the change in temperature and humidity
from the San Francisco area. It was hot and humid, a foretaste of
what they would experience during their stay. Cam secured his bag
over one shoulder and carried Casey in his carrier, the little boy's
eyes wide open and
The buses wound their way out of the airport and on to Interstate 10 going east.
The traffic was light compared to the San Francisco area, and thirty
minutes later they were at their hotel in the French Quarter. The
hotel staff and Father Mason were well organized, and checking in the
group only took 15 minutes. Kevin's and Cam's room was nice,
on the third floor with a flat screen TV and a work table for their laptops. The room had two double beds, of which only one would be needed in their case. French doors
led to a balcony with two lawn chairs, facing a back courtyard complete
spraying fountain and vegetation. Carl and Andy Helder were next
door to Cam and Kevin on one side, and Yolanda Vega's room was on the other
side. The latter was handy because she would be caring for Casey
a lot of the time.
Cam and Kevin lay down on one of the beds, intertwined for a nap
supper. When they woke up, they changed into cargo shorts and T's
and went downstairs. The evening meal was served in the hotel's
cafeteria style. There wasn't much food left when that crowd
finished eating. They started off with a delicious chicken and
sausage gumbo--the real thing, New Orleans style--followed by a
fish called drum, seared and served in butter sauce and with steamed
vegetables. The dessert was Crème
Brûlée. Kevin and Cam had two desserts each, and
split a third.
and Kevin and Carl asked Father Mason for permission to walk around the
French Quarter, and he gave permission with a reminder to be back no later
than midnight so they could get up in time to make the 10:30 Mass the next day.
"Where's Andy?" Kevin asked Carl.
"I don't know," Carl said. "He kinda disappeared after
supper. It's just as well. He might not appreciate where we could
The two guys had finally
succumbed to Carl's unrelenting pressure to experience a little gay
night life, and without volunteering any information about where they
were going to anyone, they walked over to Bourbon Street.
They started walking down Bourbon a block off Canal Street, strolling
through crowds of people as they walked deeper into the Quarter.
Using their fake ID's, the bars they walked into first were definitely
hetero. One of the places had female dancers on the stage in
various degrees of undress, and the girls weren't bad looking. The
guys on the door of these establishments hardly gave the boys' fake
California driver's licenses a second look.
The guys limited themselves to only one beer per establishment as they
worked their way down Bourbon Street until, after an hour, they finally
hit a gay bar. They showed their ID's at the door and sat at a
table. A good looking young guy waited on them, and pushed a
local beer on draft named Abita, which he said was made on the other
side of Lake Ponchartrain. The boys agreed, and soon had bottles
in their hands. The three of them drew lots of attention from the
clientele, mostly in their mid to late twenties.
When the waiter came back, Kevin asked if there were any gay bars
with dancers within walking distance. There were, and he got
directions to the nearest one, which was further down Bourbon Street a
few blocks. They finished their beers and took off.
When the boys reached their destination, a burly guy at the door
wearing a cowboy hat, a leather vest over a bare, hairy chest, and
501's with cowboy boots, checked their ID's. His smirk told them
he knew that their ID's were probably fake, but he passed them through
without a word.
The place was crowded. There were a lot of men in their early
twenties who were out for a good time standing three deep at the
circular bar, which featured a sinewy blond, long haired young guy, clad in a
black jock strap and a pierced eyebrow and nothing else, dancing on a
raised platform right in the middle of the bar. The
kid's jock had money sticking out the sides, placed there by
appreciative customers as he gyrated. A live band was playing
over in one corner, and the featured dancer at the bar was grinding to
their beat. A small dance floor for customers fronted the bandstand.
Finding the only
vacant table, the three boys perched on stools there and ordered a pitcher of Abita beer from
a cute waiter who, like them, looked younger than most.
"I'm in love," Carl said as he watched the young waiter's ass as he
retreated to the bar to get their beer.
The band was good, and Cam and Kevin
eventually danced together on the dance floor to one song, and a little
later, Carl danced with both of them. The three boys were
definitely digging the opportunity to be in a place where everybody was
gay. If you liked the
look of somebody, there was no need to wonder about
the guy's orientation.
Before long, a second dancer, also in a black jock, joined the first
dancer on the platform in the middle of the circular bar. This
second guy, with black hair in a crew cut and no visible body hair, was really built, with a tattoo
of a guy on a motorcycle at the top of his left arm and a diamond stud
in his right ear. The two dancers ran their hands over one
another as they danced, exciting the crowd around the bar and
increasing the tips placed in their jocks.
"That's pretty hot," Cam whispered into Kevin's ear after they had watched for a while.
"Hey, guys, I'm gonna go take a leak and look around," Carl told Cam and Kevin after they had put a dent in the pitcher of beer. Carl had a little buzz going for him.
"All right," Kevin said, speaking into the boy's ear. "Just watch
yourself! Be a little cautious, because we don't know anybody
here or what the fuck's going on."
Carl nodded, slipped off his stool and started walking toward the back of the place, followed
by many admiring eyes in the crowd. A handsome, muscular guy with long,
blond hair, standing a head taller than Carl, began to follow the boy
as he checked out the bar area and the band. When Carl ordered
a bottle of beer at the bar, the husky young man, wearing a silver chain
with big links around his neck, an embroidered cowboy shirt, and Levi's
stood beside him and wanted to pay for his beer. Carl mistakenly let him,
and they tried to talk over the band.
The young man extended his hand. "Duke," he said, shaking with
Carl, holding on to Carl's hand too long. "I haven't seen you
"First time," Carl admitted.
"You live here in town?" Duke asked.
Carl shook his head. "No, in California, north of San
Francisco." Feeling a really strong, predatory vibe from this
guy, and remembering Kevin's words, he stepped back from the man.
"Excuse me, I gotta hit the john."
Carl started to walk away, but the man followed right behind him.
Carl found the bathroom and went in. The place was dimly lighted,
stank of urine and disinfectant, and seemed more like a corridor with
people constantly moving through it than just a restroom. He
sidled up to a urinal, setting down his beer on it as he opened his
fly and started to pee. Carl could feel the heat of the Duke's body as the guy stood
right behind him.
"You need some help with that?" the man whispered in Carl's ear as the
boy started to relieve himself. The guy's breath was warm and smelled
"Fuck, no!" Carl said loudly so he could be heard over a speaker playing the band music from the main room.
The forceful response apparently gave the guy pause, because he moved
back a step. When Carl was finished at the urinal, he buttoned up
and brushed by the man, taking his beer with him, and went to a sink to
wash his hands.
Drying his hands and ignoring Duke, who was still hovering, he noticed
that many men seemed to be walking toward the end of the bathroom,
where there was a swinging door with an exit sign over it. He
killed his beer and discarded the bottle, and leaving Duke behind,
Carl walked to the mystery door and went into another sizable
room. Men in twosomes and an occasional threesome were going into
booths which lined the walls, each with a door that would close and
Carl sensed someone behind him, and started to look around when Duke's
arms went around him and held him from the back. He could feel
Duke's swollen crotch cozy up to his ass.
"Let's get a booth," Duke said.
"Get the fuck off me," Carl said, struggling a little to get away without being too violent.
"I don't like your attitude," Duke said, trying to muscle Carl toward
an empty booth. "I bought you a beer!" A sharp elbow from
Carl into the man's gut freed him, and Carl turned angrily to face the
"Get the fuck away from me," Carl demanded. Guys were starting to stop and look at them.
Duke reached out and slapped Carl's face, openhanded, and grabbed Carl
and clasped him to himself while the boy was still stunned. Carl
spun away, and fell into the arms of someone who was passing
by. The newcomer and Carl stared at one another in disbelief.
It was Andy Helder.
©2007 Don Hanratty
My thanks to Dan, Craig K and Mike G for their excellent proofreading of this chapter.