Mike and Danny Go to College
OK, don't ask me why I'm doing this. Mike has these ideas about what we owe to other people, and I guess that makes him a better man than I am. It burns me up sometimes. I don't like coming up short in a better man's estimation. So here I go, off to do a favor for Bobby, who has been nothing but a pain in the ass to me and a moocher.
Actually, that's not all true, though it ended up that way. He wanted to be a friend when I already had plenty of them, and you know how that goes. I pretty much ignored him, except when there was no one else around for company. And pissed off as I was, dumping him on the road 100 miles from anywhere waslet's fact itshabby.
And when I told Mike about it that rainy Saturday when we got to swapping stories on a blanket in the hayloft, he pegged the situation pretty good. Made me feel like the jerk I'd actually been. He has radar for that kind of stuff.
So when I saw Bobby come running after us outside the dorms, I was less than happy to see him. Not because he's a pain in the ass but with Mike right there I knew one way or another I was going to have to make amends. No getting around it.
So here I am back at the dorms, looking for a place to park Mike's truck and wait for Bobby to make an appearance, which he does pretty shortly since he's been watching for me. He's already coming out of Bronc Hall as I'm backing into a spot at the curb behind an ancient Plymouth coupe. And he's jogged up to the door before I can get out.
He's all smiles, eyeing the empty truck bed. I'm wondering how much furniture he's got to haul.
"Where's the stuff?" I ask him.
"Up there," he says, nodding toward the upper floors of the dorm, his fists shoved deep in his pants pockets. I figure he means in his room. And we head inside.
The sidewalks are glistening with melted ice and snow under the bright sun, but the air is still cold. I'm looking up at the dorm and counting windows until I find the room I once had on the third floor. On the glass, someone has sprayed the word HORNY with what looks like shaving cream.
I follow Bobby through the entrance door, past the mailboxes and catch myself checking my old box, like I'm going to find something there. I'm having to fight the memories of living here, and I'm getting all these gut feelings I'd forgotten about. Like trying to mix work and too much play and doing a lousy job of it. And, oh yeah, being queer and wondering if I'd ever find anybody else like myself.
My wet boot soles squeak on the shiny floor as we walk down the hall. There's the noise of a stereo turned up playing the Rolling Stones, some guys I don't recognize are sprawled on the furniture in a TV room watching a game, and there's shouting and laughter coming from the head.
I'm aware of the cups of Ted's coffee I've poured down myself, and realize I have to make a pit stop. I push through the door into the can and make a straight line to the urinals. The shouting and laughing are coming from the showers, where through the steam pouring out I can see two naked guys horsing around in the hot spray. One's ducking his head under the water, which flows over his shoulders, and with one hand he's grabbing and splashing between his legs. He turns and a sheet of water rolls down his back, sending a tide of shampoo suds down over the cheeks of his butt.
Bobby parks himself at the urinal beside me and whips out his dick. I glance at him and see that he's peeking over at the showers himself. There's a look on his face that, as they say, speaks volumes. Although if it's anything like the relief I'm feeling, as I pee what seems like quarts, it could be no more than just that.
Finally I'm shaking off the last drops, stuffing my dick back in my levi's and buttoning my fly. I'm done before Bobby and wonder if he's still peeing or just taking the extra time for another glance or two over at the showers. I lean against the row of sinks and count the times he looks againonce, twiceand then he's zipping up. When he turns and sees me watching him, he starts to blush. I pretend not to notice.
Then it's up a flight of stairs, and we're at Bobby's door. He pulls a key out of his pocket and unlocks it. The door opens only partway, and to get in we have to squeeze past a broken-down couch piled high with old dining room chairs, and an upside down table with one leg missing.
"Where'd all this come from?" I ask.
"Around," Bobby says, like it's supposed to be a big secret. And he closes the door.
I figure now is as good a time as any, so before we start lugging out the furniture I do the decent thingthe Mike thingand apologize for what I did, leaving him on the road. He just laughs, like it was nothing. And I'm noticing again what I saw when I first met him, that he has dimples and gets embarrassed easily. And it comes back to me that for a while I used to think he was cute, which he still is in a way, though he's starting to outgrow it.
"No, really," I insist. "It was crummy."
And we argue about that for a while, until he finally gives in and agrees with me. I can see him now as Mike probably would see him, just an inexperienced kid, a boy in a man's body. With no doubt an aching heart and a hardon in his shorts for somebody or something beyond his reach. I'm amazed at how much older and wiser I feel at this moment of insight and bask in a glow of self-satisfaction.
I reach for a table leg, about to swing into action, and Bobby says, "No, wait." And I see that he's got this stricken look, like something has come over him.
"What?" I say.
"I need your help," he says. "I don't have anyone else to talk to."
And he just stands there, looking long-faced, tears almost coming to his eyes. "I'm in love with my roommate."
I get the idea right away that his roommate isn't aware of his feelings and certainly isn't responding in kind. "Who's your roommate?" I say, trying to strike an even tone.
He points to something behind me, and when I turn there's a dresser and on top a display of photographs in frames. The largest of them is of a couple, one of those prom night pictures taken when the evening is still young and people's faces are still fresh and hopeful. The girl is pretty, all blonde curls and smiling like she couldn't be happier, and maybe she can't. The guy she's with is a handsome devil, square-shouldered, round face with a wide grin, his blond hair cut into a dead-level flat top.
"This him?" I say.
"Uh-huh," Bobby says, sighing. "Wesley."
On either side of the big picture are smaller graduation photographs of the same two. In this shot, the guy has a more thoughtful look, but I'd guess if there were any thoughts going through his head, they're about the next game, because right behind is another one of him in white football jerseys. He poses reaching up with the ball, about to make a pass, the jersey pulled tight over his pads, the front of his pants showing a well packed cup.
"Quarterback," I observe.
"Uh-huh," Bobby sighs again.
"Don't the jocks usually room together?" I ask.
"He doesn't play anymore. He's got a bad knee." And Bobby gives me a breathless account of injuries and surgeries and the grim prognosis of specialists in Omaha. He is obviously in love with every detail of his roommate's sad farewell to athletics. And he is starry-eyed with the honor of sharing his dorm room with a fallen hero, his crew-cut presence alive with the memories of past glories. I get the impression that Bobby would gladly give up one of his own good knees so his roommate Wesley could play again.
Meanwhile, having known some jocks, I figure they pretty much deserve the knees they've got and should probably keep them. I'm willing to bet this one is no different.
"What's been going on?" I ask Bobby, thinking he'll tell me something I can use to help him see this guy for what he appears to be in his picturesa smug little prick.
"He's got a girlfriend," Bobby says, nodding at the picture. And I note that there's not a bit of jealousy or bitterness in his voice. He's apparently willing to share, and I'm giving him credit for that.
"She here at State?" I ask. And he tells me she's at a private school back East, her parents, I'm guessing, hoping she'll make a better match with an aspiring doctor or lawyer from some Ivy League college. So far this high school romance has stood the test of time, however long that's been. "But I don't think he's really and truly happy," Bobby says.
I suddenly wonder if Bobby had a sick spell as a kid and spent too much time home from school watching afternoon soap operas.
He's standing in front of Wesley's dresser now and reaches into a leather shaving kit that's sitting crossways on one corner, unzipped and yawning open. He fingers the contents, touching the Mennen deodorant and a wrinkled tube of Colgate and taking out a long-handled razor, the blade flecked with dried shaving cream. Digging further down he finds Ben-Gay balm, mouthwash, and a box of Trojans.
"Think he uses these?" I ask.
"Yeah, a couple every weekend," he says.
"You keep track?"
"Have you ever heard of privacy?" I ask and glance at the girl in the photograph. "I wonder if she has any idea what he's up to."
Bobby shrugs again. Then he pulls open the bottom drawer of the dresser and takes out a bright green letter sweater. He buries his face in it and inhales. "I love the way he smells," he says. Then he holds it out for me, and I just look at him like he may be a little crazy.
Bobby lovingly folds the sweater and sets it back in the drawer.
"Isn't that sort of a give-away," I say. "It wasn't folded when you took it out."
"He should take better care of it," Bobby says and pats it into place.
Another drawer is full of underwear, gym gear, and a crawling tangle of worn jock straps. How many jocks does a guy need, I'm wondering. Bobby takes one with a sweat-stained pouch and holds it by the rumpled elastic waistband, running his thumbs over the Bike label. "He kinda lives in these," he says.
"Brings back all those locker room memories, I suppose," I say. But Bobby doesn't get the irony. Then, I'm thinking, would he even know irony?
"What am I gonna do?" Bobby says, sounding pitiful now.
"You better not let him catch you going through his drawers," I say.
"He's down in the TV room watching a game," he says. I try to remember the moon-faced guys downstairs when we came in, glued to the tube, but recall only bodies in jeans and sweatshirts, slumped in the furniture and on the floor, elbows out, knees up, legs spread apart.
He reaches for a pair of sweatpants, and as it occurs to me that we might be starting into Wesley's entire wardrobe, I push the drawer shut with my foot and make a show of checking my watch.
"I told Mike I'd be right back," I say.
Bobby looks at me, his eyes full of yearning, and while I'm thinking he's getting downright pathetic, at the same time I kind of feel sorry for him.
"Should I tell him?" he asks me.
"Tell him what?"
"You know, how I feel."
"I don't think that's a good idea," I say.
And then he starts pleading with me and wanting to know why not. He can't live a day longer, an hour longer, with all these feelings inside him. He'll just bust if he can't let them out. And he has this idea that if he does, Wesley will confess that he secretly has feelings for Bobby, too. All this stuff with girls is just a front that the real Wesley hides behind. And on and on.
Now I'm sure he's been watching soap operas.
"And if you're wrong," I say, finally interrupting him, and point out he'd be lucky not to get his teeth bashed in. Even at the least, Wesley would take no time to move out, or make Bobby move out. And this little arrangementsleeping in the same room, breathing the same airwould be over just like that.
"I know," Bobby whines. He has clearly considered this possibility.
"Let's get this furniture out of here," I say. "Then I'll think of something."
So Bobby agrees, and we carry the furniture down to the truck. I'm curious about seeing the famous Wesley as we go by the TV lounge, maybe even get an introduction, but I decide to forego that honor, and we sneak the stuff out a side door, propping it open with a chair.
The sofa is the last to go, and it's heavy. We get hung up for a while on the stairs, and at least three jerks squeeze by us without offering to help. "The game must be over," Bobby says when they're gone. "Those are Wesley's friends."
Out in the pickup, Bobby is emptying snow from his loafers, and I'm revving up the engine and adjusting the side mirror since the furniture is piled too high to see out the rear window. I back up until I feel the bumper thump against the car behind me, and then pull out into the street.
"What's Wesley do when the game's over?" I ask Bobby. The heater is blowing out cold air again, and he's hunched forward, fists shoved into his crotch, between his legs.
"Takes a nap."
"So he'll be in the room when we get back?"
"Good," I say. "I've got a way to find out if you should be telling him anything."
And I don't say anything more, even though Bobby begs me until I have to tell him to shut up. And we drive to a maintenance shed not far from the bonfire, where I watch as two guys in ski jackets and yellow sunglasses help Bobby unload the furniture and carry it inside.
I want maybe twenty or thirty minutes before heading back to the dorm, and we walk over to the bonfire, where we can watch the skaters, and I'm thinking of Mike and wondering what he has made of all thiscollege kids, naked paintings that cause an uproar and get taken down, meeting an artist who wants to draw him. And I think about Bobby, the poor guy, miserable and heartsick, huddled in his sweater beside me, shivering.
I put my arm over his shoulder for just a second or two, before I start drawing attention, and then pat him on the back. "You'll be fine," I say, trying to sound confident. "Trust me."
Which I think he does, though Mike would be shaking his head if he could hear me. He knows when I'm sounding all sure of myself that I'm probably not.
We drive back to the dorm, and I park down the street. I leave the engine running and the heater blowing and tell Bobby to stay put. I'll be back in a little while.
"Give me your room key in case I need it," I say before I get out. He shoves a hand into his pocket and pulls out a key ring.
"It's this one," he says, his fingers around one of them, and hands the key ring to me.
I take it and am out the door, slamming it shut and heading for the dorm without looking back.
Inside, I glance into the TV lounge as I pass by. The TV is on, but the room is empty. As I go up the stairs, I'm pulling off my gloves and shoving them partway into my back pocket, like Mike does. I realize again how many of his habits I've picked up.
I stop at Bobby's room to test the doorknob. It's locked. I'm checking up and down the hall and a guy in underwear, whistling something loud and tuneless, crosses barefoot from one room to the other and disappears. Then I slip the key into the lock and quietly open the door.
Just as Bobby said, there's Wesley sacked out in his bunk. He's lying on his side with his back to the door, wearingget thisa bright green letter jacket, a pair of sweat socks, and one of his jock straps. That is all.
This is too good to be true. And it's substantiating a theory I've got going about him. Mike, of course, if he were here would still be shaking his head.
I step inside quietly and close the door behind me, shoving Bobby's key ring into my pocket. I wait for a moment, eyes fixed on Wesley, to see if I can pick up a sign of how far asleep he is. He makes not a move, and I can see his shoulder rise and fall, slowly and evenly inside his jacket as he breathes. And after the sound of clicking footsteps passing by under the window fades away, I can hear his breath, too. He's on full snooze, all right, or doing a good job of faking it.
I cross the room, hearing the soles of my boots make little kissing sounds on the tile. I pause beside the bed, and I can see the side of his face now, his eyes closed, mouth ajar. There's a bit of acne on his chin, the nick of a razor on his cheek, and I'm noticing how blond his hair is, almost white. His mom would probably see only angelic sweetness in the expression on his face, but even sound asleep he's got the look of somebody I wouldn't trust any farther than I could pick him up and throw him. Which wouldn't be far.
OK, you want to hear about the rest of him. So I'll say that from what I can see, he's got one of those bodies that no amount of workouts will get you if you don't already have one. The Greeks made naked statues with butts like Wesley's got. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go to the library and check out a book. You'll find them right there in the card catalogue under "Greek butts."
But as butts go, Wesley's got a perfect one, and I'm guessing he knows it, because here it is on display for all the world to admire. More specifically, anyone who happens to walk in the room. Since the door was locked, that would narrow it down toBobby. Are you following all this?
The straps of his jock are smoothed out nicely over the curvature of the muscle and sneak down to disappear between his legs, making hardly the slightest dent in the skin over the whole route. This guy has one firm ass. And it's a full one; his crack runs right up under the waistband.
I ease down, keeping my mission in mind. My intention is to find out if there's the remotest chance that Bobby is right about this guy. That this attraction to girls is a pretense, and he secretly yearns for the love and affection of someone more along the lines of Bobby.
His body sinks toward me a little as I put my full weight on the edge of the bed. I pause for just a moment and then put my hand on his butt.
He doesn't move; just keeps breathing.
So I start stroking it, cupping my hand over each full cheek, letting my fingers travel along the crack between them. They're covered in soft white fuzz, not a pimple, scratch, or mark anywhere. Not even a goose bump. And I just keep stroking.
Then I hear him sigh and sense him stirring inside his jacket, his arm in one leather sleeve shifting against his side. I'm poised to make a run for the door, but I don't take my hand off his butt.
When I'm sure from the sound of his breath that he's at least half awake, I slip a couple fingertips as far as they'll go between his legs, and they come against the knot of elastic where the straps of his jock join together.
With that, his legs spread apart, and I can slide on through to touch the backside of his balls. They're warm and ample, held snug in his crotch. I kind of stroke them with my fingernails. And meanwhile, I'm watching his face, waiting for his eyes to pop open. But instead there's a little smile creeping across his lips. Whether he's dreaming or awake, he's enjoying this.
He rolls a little farther forward, and I can now reach all the way to his dick, which is fat at the bottom and getting fatter. The fucker seems to be generously endowed here, as well. I shove my hand all the way into the pouch of his jock, my wrist pressed against the short hairs in his crack, and I wrap my fingers around what is rapidly turning into a stiff hardon.
His eyes are still closed, but I know he's awake now. He squirms a bit under me, pressing his dick into my hand. And then he grins wide and says, "I knew you were a little cocksucker, Bobby. I just knew it."
I freeze and then pull my hand away.
"Hey, don't stop. Finish the job," he says and rolls onto his back. When he sees me, the grin disappears like that, and he's staring at me wide-eyed. "Who the fuck are you?" he says. And I'm already on my feet and headed for the door.
If he comes after me, I figure I've got at least twenty seconds on him while he stops to put on a pair of pants. If he doesn't, all I have to do is get out of the building. He's not going to run after me with his bare ass hanging out. No matter how much he may want the world to admire it.
When I get to the pickup and look back, he's just coming out the door and looking every direction for me. "Get your head down," I say to Bobby, and I throw the truck into gear, pulling away from the curb into a U-turn so I can make tracks in the opposite direction.
"What happened?" Bobby keeps saying, his head between his knees.
And as I turn the first corner where I can disappear behind the school's big, hulking gymnasium, I'm thinking what a fine thing I've done for Bobby, springing that trap for him like a wily coyote. If he'd ever made a move on Wesley, he'd have been at his roommate's mercy. Not dealing with a black eye or split lip, but finding himself a sex slave or some fucked-up thing like that.
Which might have been OK with Bobbywho knows?but I'm deciding it's probably not such a great idea.
"You can sit up now," I tell Bobby. "I just didn't want your roommate to see you with me."
"What happened?" he says, pleading now.
"Wesley isn't interested in boys," I tell him. "Believe it." And I make up a story, explaining how I made a pass at Wesley, and he took a swing at me. Wanted to beat the shit out of me and said so in no uncertain terms. I had to run like hell. Barely escaped with my life. "The guy's dangerous," I say. "I recommend you get the hell away from him. Find a new roommate. Fast"
He's looking at me in disbelief. This can't be the Wesley he knows and loves. He's so dumbstruck, he can't even speak. (Yeah, I know, that's what dumbstruck means.)
"You're just damn lucky it was me and not you," I tell him. "Damn lucky."
Mike, if he was here, would still be shaking his head.
And if you're interested in other Danny stories, you can find two in the nifty.org Gay/College section: "Blue Paint Special" (posted 8/19/03) and "Friday Night Football" (posted 8/21/03).
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