concerns adult and teenage gay
males who may be involved in sexual situations. If it is illegal for
read such stories, or if you do not like to read such stories, please
copyright 2006 by the author who retains all rights.
is a work
of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents
either are the product of the author's imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is
This is my
third submission to Nifty. My
previous submissions can be found in the High School section under
Kiel’s Story. Any comments or questions are
welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
thank you goes out to all who
write. I appreciate knowing someone is actually reading this stuff,
like it or not. I try to answer all emails, even flames. (I’m a writer,
for rejection.) Although sometimes it takes a little time to get back
you, I do
try to answer. If I'm remiss in replying to yours, I apologize.
The Pastel Cowboy
by Carl Holiday
19 – Happy Birthday?
There weren’t a lot
at the birthday party. Paul decided early in the planning to turn
bedroom into the children’s room where they could watch DVDs, play
or whatever it was children do when not welcome with adults. The kids
birthday party weren’t unwelcome, though, but Paul figured they needed
from adult activity and the bedroom was the logical choice as it was
from the dining and living rooms, and had a lot of more space than the
by the kitchen that in a stick built home in the suburbs might be
into a swarm of friends, allowing Zach to sneak away to find something
in the kitchen. Sally was in there talking to the caterer. Their eyes
met for a
second. Zach turned away and headed for the refrigerator. He opened,
out the caterer had commandeered most of it for her use. He had better
when he tried the freezer.
“Can I help you,
the caterer asked. The voice was slightly condescending as someone with
little authority might speak to an underling who was straying beyond
“No, thank you, I
found something to my liking,” Zach said as he pulled out a frozen
entrée to be
zapped in the microwave.
“I’d like you to
“Wait, Zach? You
right?” Sally asked.
“Yeah, I’m Zach and
Sally, my cousin,” Zach said. Her pallid skin reminded him of a
once met. Her blond hair was cut in a pageboy, but was so light errant
seemed bent on forming a different style. “You haven’t changed that
the last picture I saw of you. Am I in the way, or something?”
“No, I didn’t know
family,” the caterer said. “Would you like me to make you a sandwich?”
“Sure, I thought we
having finger food,” Zach said. A sandwich might be good, he thought.
“Yes, but, I made a
allowances for children and teenagers.”
“Zach, can I talk
Sally asked. She had that serious look people get when they’ve got bad
tell or they think you have bad news to tell them. The eyes dart away
try to establish contact. The corner of the mouth twitches slightly as
they’re trying to smile, but can’t quite get the muscles coordinated.
“Not good,” Zach
pulled a root beer out of the refrigerator and sat down at the table
next to an
empty spot the caterer had yet to use. “But, something’s up. He’s
something and I don’t know what it is. He hugged me before we came in
me everything was going to be okay. You don’t think he’d try to do
“The one thing I
my father is that once he sets his mind on something, he will do it no
what. But, enough of him, how’re you doing?”
“I don’t know,
think of your
most embarrassing moment in life and then compound it ten thousand
might come close to what’s going on in my life right now.”
“I hear you had a
problem down in Texas,” Sally said. The caterer set the sandwich
of him while Sally pulled up another chair. She was close, almost too
“Not so bad if you
looking Death in the face,” Zach said. He felt a chill run through his
looked up at the doorway to the dining room half expecting to see Conan
hightailing it for the door, but all he saw was Paul talking to a young
looked incredibly cute. Then he thought of Jeremy and wondered if
going to remember his birthday. He’d certainly left enough hints around.
“Are you okay?”
Her hand was on Zach knee. It could’ve been there simply as a familial
but she was a woman and he wasn’t all that certain first cousins were
to touch each other like that.
“No,” Zach mumbled
the bite of sandwich he was chewing.
“Anything I can do
Sally asked. She’d taken her hand away, but she was still too close to
“No, I don’t think
Zach said. Her warm hand was on his shoulder.
“Come on, Zach, do
“Didn’t you have a
“Yeah,” Zach said
tits flashed across his memory only to be quickly replace by Sara’s. He
to shrug away from the hand that was softly massaging his shoulder, but
didn’t and he didn’t know why.
“Well, I’m safe and
taken,” Sally said. “Go on, finish your sandwich. If you want to talk,
She got up and left
wonder what that was all about. Had Paul, or heaven forbid David, tell
was a gay teen gone wrong? Did Paul tell her he had a cute ass and
shove it in the face of every guy who walked by? Did David tell her he
slut who nearly got killed when he went looking for a mouthful of cum,
found the boot of a crazy, homophobic Texan?
“Are you going to
help with the kids?” a voice behind him asked. It sounded sort of like
but a little bit higher. “Where’d you get that sandwich? All we got was
“She made it for
said as he pointed the sandwich at the caterer.
“Well, come to your
when you’re done,” the voice said.
“Wait a sec’,
Willy,” Zach said. He turned to look the face as if that might help,
but it was
still Bruce’s face looking back at him.
“Willy, the boy I
here. I thought he was going to watch the kids.”
“Come on, Zach,
what kind of
game are you playing?”
“I don’t know, you
changing the rules,” Zach said. He put down the remnants of the
got up. The caterer looked at them, but Zach ignored her. “Okay, let’s
it, uh, what did you say your name was?”
She seemed a
taking care of the younger children leaving Zach responsible for a ten
girl and Miles’ oldest son Paul. They were watching an obnoxious Disney
DVD when Zach got to the bedroom and sitting
close enough to each other
that Zach figured his only requirement would be to keep them apart. The
ones, a six year old Franny and five year old twin boys who were
the girl, were playing some kind of child’s board game with Patty.
Bruce’s body and
realized it wasn’t moving quite as he remembered his friend. There were
differences, but the most striking thing was Patty seemed to be
while Bruce was ambidextrous, favoring his right side. She smiled more
broad, full teeth smile, while Bruce was fairly tight lipped with just
of smile at the corners of his mouth. Carlotta was smiled like Patty.
with his perpetual apologies, hardly ever broke his sour face for even
faintest of grins. Lance smiled, too, but his seemed forced as if he’d
somber countenance portraying his supposed dominance over the other
personalities, who seemed to be able to push him out of the way when
wanted to expose themselves.
Zach sat down next
and the boy glared at him.
“Get away from me
Zach stared at him
said, “I’m gonna tell Mommy you said a naughty word.”
“No you won’t,”
Paul said. He
jumped up and had the collar of his brother’s t-shirt wadded up in his
a flash. The other fist was inches from the face of a surprisingly calm
boy. “I’ll pound you if you say anything.”
“No you won’t,”
“’Cuz you know Daddy’ll whip you.”
“I’ll report him,”
“Go ahead! You know
said. He said if you want to go to a foster home he’ll pack your bag.”
“Hey! You two stop
said. She grabbed Paul’s shirt in the middle of his back and pulled the
his brother. She set him down beside her and stared at him.
Zach wasn’t certain
going to happen, after all Patty supposedly was a sadist. At least
she initially approached him and the others seemed to think she was
so with her holding Paul so that he couldn’t move any more than flop
and legs about, made Zach a little nervous.
“Is everything okay
Miles asked at the door. Paul immediately went limp.
“Yes, sir,” Patty
boys were discussing Paul’s incorrect choice of words. We’ll take care
“Okay,” Miles said.
at Zach and their eyes met for a second before Zach broke contact.
as if he knew something, but Zach wasn’t certain what that was, nor was
that interested in finding out. Miles turned and shut the door.
Paul was sitting
“Well, young man,
what are we
going to do with you?” Patty asked. Her hand was on Paul’s shoulder.
a particularly offensive word in this home. You know that?”
“Why?” Paul asked.
“You don’t know?”
“No, why should I,”
said. “Zach’s the faggot here.”
and David,” Patty said.
“Uh? What do you
“What’s a faggot?”
“It’s a guy,” Paul
“You’re a guy,”
“I’m not no
“So, what’s a
“It’s a guy does
guys,” Paul whispered.
“What kind of
“You know, things.”
“No, I don’t know,
and I don’t
think you know, either. Do you?”
“He got beat up
to do things with a guy,” Paul said. He pointed at Zach.
“What kind of
asked. She wasn’t going to let this end. “Did anyone say what Zach
wanted to do
with the other guy?”
“No, but he’s a
faggot and he
wanted to do faggot things with that guy, but that guy didn’t want to
so he beat him up.”
“You don’t have any
you’re talking about, do you?” Patty asked. “A friend of yours told
he? He said Zach was a faggot, but he didn’t know either, did he?”
whispered. “I mean
yes, no, no.”
He scrunched he
face up and
then stared at the floor. She’d caught him and there wasn’t anything he
do to free the snare from his legs. All Patty had to do was string the
by his ankles and she could do anything she wanted.
“Do you know what
it means to
be gay?” Patty asked.
“Uh, huh, Uncle
Paul are gay because they live together and sleep in the same bed,”
His eyes were glued to the floor. “I’ve seen them kiss on the lips.”
“Does that bother
asked. She’d begun to lightly massage the boy’s neck with her hand.
“No, ’cuz they love
other,” Paul said. He was totally defeated and he knew it.
“Do you know Zach
and I kiss
sometimes,” Patty said. Her index finger was softly rubbing the side of
“You do? You’re
“Yes, and Zach is,
“But, Ronny said
Zach was a
“Paul, faggot is a
Patty said. Her whole hand was now rubbing his back. “We don’t like
“Oh, but Zach got
Paul said. He looked over toward Zach, but their eyes didn’t meet. He
“Yeah, I got beat
I was stupid,” Zach said. “I was trying to nice, but I was with a
didn’t know he didn’t like gays.”
“Were you going to
Paul asked. His face showed he was trying to figure out things with his
knowledge of sex.
“We might’ve gotten
Zach said. He’d come over to them and knelt down beside Paul.
“You were going to
weren’t you?” Paul asked. He stared at the floor, too embarrassed to
wasn’t too certain what things actually entailed.
“Yeah, I thought he
do gay things because some guys like to do gay things with other guys.
make it bad, if both of you want to do it. I thought that’s what he
all he wanted to do was kill me.”
“Kill you?” Paul
looked up into Zach’s eyes and horror washed down across his face.
“Yeah, that’s what
going to do, but the police showed up before he was able to do too much
“Were you nervous
was too close to you?” Zach asked.
“Uh, huh,” Paul
tear dribbled down his cheek.
“But you could’ve
without using that word, right?”
Zach said. Paul turned and wrapped his arms around Zach. He was softly
“It’s okay, Paul, you just didn’t know. Come let’s go in the bathroom
“We’ll be back in a
Zach said to Patty.
“You know, Zach,
constantly amaze us,” Carlotta said.
“I wish you guys
that,” Zach said, but he smiled knowing they might not be able to stop
themselves from playing their little game of dominance.
birthday cake,” Sally said at the door. The little kids were gone in a
leaving Carlotta and Zach to accompany Sally. “I want you to know
wonders with Missy and her brothers, Harry and Larry. Usually they’re
“No, I don’t have
children, yet,” Sally said as they walked toward the dining room.
“I didn’t know you
married,” Zach said. There wasn’t a ringer on Sally’s finger, not that
was necessarily required to indicate a woman was married or engaged.
Sally wasn’t a traditionalist.
“My partner and I
decided if we’re going to pursue the possibility of having children,”
said. She seemed to be talking more to Carlotta than Zach, but he
picked up on
the code word and practically tripped on the polished hardwood floor.
“No, actually I’m
said. He stared at Sally, but she only indignantly stared back.
“You have a
asked. Zach couldn’t tell if she was angry about what he suspected, or
“No, I don’t think
said. “I just didn’t suspect I wasn’t the only one.”
“What are you two
about,” Carlotta said. They were in the back of the dining room which
filled with all the other guests. Neither Paul nor David were anywhere
“I’m living with
woman,” Sally said.
“Oh, oh! Then
“Yes, I am,” Sally
you’re what? What is the correct term? Trans something?”
“They have MPD,”
“but all of them are gay, except maybe Donny because he’s too young.”
Carlotta glared at
didn’t say anything.
“MPD?” Sally asked.
that called dissociative identity disorder now?”
“Well, yeah, I
said. “This is Carlotta. Patty was with the kids earlier. I don’t know
here when you arrived. They tend to come and go rather unexpectedly.”
“Ah, I had a friend
college who might have had that,” Sally said. “She went to a
went home. I never heard from her again. So, uh, Carlotta? Are you
“Yes, we go to the
psychiatrist as Zach,” Carlotta said.
“Has anyone seen
asked as he walking into the dining room.
A weird feeling
Zach’s gut like a sharp knife slicing through the belly of a young goat
was being butchered.
“Zach? Could you go
the garage and see if his car is there?” Paul asked. People were
talk, as most probably knew of David’s struggle with depression.
“Sure, I’m be right
Zach said. He turned and headed toward the front door.
“I’m coming with
“What about the
“They’re with their
They didn’t talk as
walked out the door, across the vestibule to the elevator, as the
descended to the basement, or as they walked out across brushed
parking stall 38, which was empty. Paul’s BMW was there, but David’s
was gone. Unable to stop himself, Zach sank to his knees, but did not
cry. His eyes were too shocked at the implications to what might be
at that moment. He felt a hand on his shoulder. He knew it wasn’t
might not have been Carlotta, either, but he accepted the offer of
got back up.
“He’s dead,” Zach
“You don’t know
“No, he talked
earlier,” Zach said as he felt himself being pulled into a hug. “He
it, but he meant it when we talked. When they find him, he’ll be dead.”
“Don’t talk like
Carlotta said, “you’re scaring me.”
“Well, it’s true,
so we might
as well go tell Paul.”
Most of the guests
or leaving when Zach and Carlotta returned to the condo. Paul was on
to someone and Sally was thanking people at the door. She looked at
she knew he didn’t have good news.
Zach went over to
and sat down. Miles and his son Paul were at the other end. His wife
was in the
side chair holding Franny in her lap. No one expected good news.
over to Paul and stood close enough for anyone with eyes to know that
he belonged. Sally definitely caught the insinuation by suddenly
Zach. He shrugged his shoulders not admitting the truth, but not
“I have a friend on
police force,” Paul said as he flipped his phone closed. “He’s going to
few calls and maybe the can get a patrol car up around the south end of
Aurora Bridge. That’s where David went before. I don’t
else he’d try it.”
“I take it by your
David’s car is gone?” Paul asked. He looked at Zach.
“Yeah, it’s gone,”
said. “Zach said the David was implying he was going to do something,
don’t think Zach expected it to happen tonight.”
“He could be
including the I-5 bridge,” Paul said. “Any ideas, Zach?”
“No, I don’t where
Zach was trying to think of something other than Uncle David jumping
railing of some bridge and falling to his death. It was a conscious
Zach didn’t want to think was possible. He’d almost done it, but to
that Uncle David actually meant to do it. This wasn’t a spur of the
decision made while driving across a bridge, standing at the railing of
balcony at the condo, or leaning through an open window at the
was getting in your car and driving to some pre-selected place, parking
car, walking out onto the bridge, climbing over the railing, and then
go, knowing that for the next few seconds you don’t have a chance in
hell of surviving
the fall and wondering if you’ll feel any pain for those few seconds
hitting the ground.
Zach wanted to be
other than on that sofa waiting for the inevitable news that the police
found a body and the identification said the deceased lived in an
condominium on Pill Hill is Seattle, Washington. He wanted to be able
to zone out like he’d
to do only a few weeks ago, but that was not to be and, so, he sat
waiting with Paul, Carlotta, Sally, Miles and his wife, little Paul and
brother Franny, and two men Zach had never met, but who seemed to know
David intimately, at least intimately enough to participate in the
for his former uncle David Brandon.
He couldn’t take
second of the waiting and got to his feet. He walked back to his old
He needed to be alone, but he, also, needed some comfort, which no one
other room could give him. He dialed Jeremy’s number.
“How you doin’?”
“Okay. Are you
“I love you.”
“Zach? Are you
asked at the door.
“Just a minute,
said. “I’m, uh, talking to my boyfriend.”
“How? Who told you?”
“Dad, the last time
to him,” Sally said. She came in and sat beside him. “This is
“Jeremy? I’ll have
“I love you. I’ll
soon as I can.” He pushed the END button before Jeremy had a chance to
“Here, this is for
Sally said. She held a white business envelope with Zach’s name on it.
just got a call from the police. Dad’s dead. Dad wanted you to have
Zach opened the
took out another envelope and a letter. He began to read:
could have been better, but I let my own problems cloud my decisions
past few months. You know I have not been doing well and I apologize
whatever I’ve done that has contributed to your own difficulties. I
might have loved you as much as I loved my own son, but that was not to
As soon as you
can, I want
you to take the enclosed envelope and give it to Charles McDonald.
Also, I have
Paul to take my ashes and cast them upon the Salt Fork of the Arkansas
River north of Alva, Oklahoma. I want you
to accompany him. Please do it.
will not rest if you’re not there.
Finally, I want
have a full and happy life.
looked up from
letter, but Sally was gone. He was alone. He thought of calling Jeremy,
needed something more than hearing his boyfriend’s voice.
He stood up and
the room that had been his for the briefest of moments in his life. He
would never set foot in this room for the rest of his life. He hoped
sometime in the future, maybe when he was old and gray, he could recall
room and all that occurred here.
He walked out into
and Sally was waiting for him.
“Do you want me to
to Jeremy?” Sally asked.
“Is that okay?”
whispered, not certain whether his absence at this time was appropriate.
“Yes, it’s okay.
is comforting Paul. Miles will take care of things here until I get
“Are you okay?”
He felt Sally should be grieving a little more, after all David was her
“I was ready for
this day the
first time he tried this and that was three years ago,” Sally said.
home and have my cry with Mona. You need to be with someone you love.”
Zach and Sally
didn’t talk at
all as she drove north on I-5 to the One Hundred Forty-fifth exit and
the north end of Foundry Ridge Boulevard. She seemed to know where they
going, even to the point of turning into the McDonald estate. She
pushed the gate
button and said something Zach couldn’t hear. The gates swung open and
lights of the house lit up the night. Bud and Jeremy were waiting at
“I’ll call you
Sally said when she stopped the car. “Dad had everything arranged. He’s
planning this for weeks.”
“I’m sorry,” Zach
“Don’t be sorry,
Dad had all
this figured out to the last detail. I know what’s in that letter to
McDonald. Dad loved you very, very much. He just didn’t know how to
Go on, I’m talk to you tomorrow.”
Zach got out of the
watched it pull away. He felt arms on his shoulders and looked into
“Sir? Bud? This is
Zach said as he held out the envelope.
“Do you know what’s
“I haven’t the
and quite frankly I don’t really want to know right now,” Zach said. He
trying very hard to keep the tears away, but knew he had to get into
and up to Jeremy’s bedroom right now.
“We’ll talk in the
Bud said. “Go on you two.”
“Thank you,” Zach
Sorry for the
short chapter, but there’s only so much you can do for a character who
such a dramatic exit. We are now no more than three chapters from THE