This story concerns adult and teenage gay males who may be involved in sexual situations. If it is illegal for you to read such stories, or if you do not like to read such stories, please leave now.

This story is copyright 2006 by the author who retains all rights.

This 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 entirely coincidental.

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:

A warm thank you goes out to all who write. I appreciate knowing someone is actually reading this stuff, whether you like it or not. I try to answer all emails, even flames. (I’m a writer, I live for rejection.) Although sometimes it takes a little time to get back to you, I do try to answer. If I'm remiss in replying to yours, I apologize.

The Pastel Cowboy

by Carl Holiday

Chapter 2 – Does This Mean I’m Gay?

When Zach came back from the cafeteria Sunday morning with a growing bubble of gas in his stomach, he knew Nopaco’s definition of edible food was not the same as his. He was either going to have to find a new place to eat, or start buying groceries and eat them in his room. When he came to the little rhododendron grove outside Boyle Hall he knew he wasn’t going to make it up to his room. He stepped inside the shady glade and immediately noticed quite a few lumpy puddles of puke, the odor of which was more than enough to entice whatever it was that his stomach didn’t like to make a hasty retreat. He thought it was nice the college planted the big, leafy rhododendrons just so students could vomit the college’s vile dietary offerings.

Back in his room, after rinsing out the disgusting taste of partially digested greasy bacon and whatever the watery yellow stuff that was supposed to be eggs from his mouth, Zach fired up the laptop and headed for Google. He typed in “gay teen advice” and clicked the first offering. There was a lot of information, but not a lot about what he wanted to know. After spending a couple hours bouncing around the links, he finally decided being gay was just another facet of his personality, a major facet, one that a lot of people would start to notice. He’d just have to learn to live with it, but he still wanted to know why Bruce had to be René and why Steven had to be a little kid. He knew, though, that the true answers were going to have to come from Bruce and Steven. It seemed to be their choice to be those strange characters.

Then he looked at the URL Paul gave him and typed in, He headed for the High School section first and opened the first story. After counting ten misspellings in the first three sentences, he closed that one and opened the next story. Three hours later, while listening to an old Asleep at the Wheel CD, his cell phone rang. His cock was hard and demanding attention, again, but his phone was ringing. Choices! Then, again, it might be Steven.


“Is this Zachary Alexander?” Zach heard a tinge of Texas in the voice and hoped to god it was the Steven from the corner.


“This is Steven O’Brien. David Brandon, who I believe is your uncle, hired me to show you around town. Do you have any wheels?”


“I suppose it would be better for you to come and pick me up, than for me to come to you. Do you know Seattle at all?”

“Never been here before. Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure, kiddo, what?”

“Yesterday afternoon while I was waiting for my uncle’s boyfriend to pick me up, I met a guy named Steven out front of Boyle Hall.”

“Ohmigod! You’re the cowboy? With the . . .”

“Big dick, yeah.”

“Ohmigod! You’re the cowboy!”

“Can I ask you another question?”

“Sure, kiddo, what do you want to know?”

“Is there something physically wrong with you or are you forcing yourself to look thirteen?”

“Wow! You certainly aren’t subtle, are you?”

“I just don’t understand, that’s all.”

“Understand what?”

“This queer shit. I mean when I was back home it was easy. I was the only one and everyone hated me. Now, up here it’s so confusing. First it’s René, then you, then Paul, then Uncle David, and then in the restaurant last night I go into the john and some fuckin’ gray haired pervert shows me his cock and asks me if I’d like to suck it.”

“Sounds like you need a lot more than a tour of the city.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be like this, but I’m so fuckin’ confused. I mean last summer after the shit hit the fan and . . .” And, Zach told Steven all about being ostracized in Carruthers.

Less than an hour later, Zach left the interstate at Boylston and headed down the hill toward the Ship Canal, following Steven’s directions. Steven was waiting for him at the garage entrance and directed him to an empty stall.

“It’s supposed to be mine, but I don’t drive,” Steven said. He was wearing red and green plaid pajama bottoms and a George Straight t-shirt that was too big for his tiny frame. “I never learned how.”

“Hi,” Zach said. He was nervous. Steven asked him to come down to his apartment so they could talk. He was scared to death something more was going to happen, not that he didn’t, deep down, want that to occur. He was just scared he’d fuck it up somehow.

“Ohmigod! The great big quarterback cowboy is scared of little ol’ Steven? Come on kiddo, let’s go have fun.”

Zach just about crapped his pants. Fun? What did Steven have in mind for fun? But, he followed the little boy butt through the parking garage to the elevator.

“You know I was thinking,” Steven said as the numbers above the elevator flashed their way down to the garage level. “David was rather insistent I was only supposed to escort you around town. I think he said something like show you the highlights and let you dig deeper if you wanted. Now, I know he knows my policy on extras. If you don’t pay, you don’t get. Now, I’ll do extra if I’m expecting a big tip, but I usually don’t lay on the best stuff until I kind of get an idea what your level of remuneration is.”

“What are you talking about?” Zach asked.

“Sex, my dear virgin.”


“Oh, don’t worry, it’s all so easy once you get the hang of it. We’ll go slow. After all, David is paying for a month’s worth of services. A whole month. Can you imagine how much that is?”

“No, I don’t have any idea what you charge.”

The elevator door opened and a young woman with a tiny waist and oversized breasts got off.

“Oh, hi, Steven, new friend?”

“Hi, Charlene, no just business.”

“He’s kind of cute. Does he have a name? Does it talk?”

“I’m Zach.”

“You’re from the South, too!”


“That’s still South.”

“Yeah, kinda.”

“See you ’round Steven! Oh, and Zach? Make sure he uses a condom. You don’t want to know where that thing of his has been.”

“Fuck off, Charlene! Come on, Zach, don’t worry about her.”

Zach knew about condoms. They were not condoned by his church. They prevented babies. They encouraged illicit, pleasurable sex, when sex was given by God for procreation, not enjoyment. They weren’t even mentioned in all his health ed classes at school. The school board made sure of that. Condoms were not worn by true Christians.

Then this morning he learned a lot more about condoms, a lot more. He learned they had another purpose, a more important purpose. Yeah, Steven was definitely going to use a condom and so was he, if it came to that.

They got off on the fifth floor and walked down a dimly lit carpeted hallway. At Apartment C Steven put a key in both deadbolts and a key in the doorknob. The door opened to a small living room with a futon, a low table, a small television on a smaller low table, and a view across the Ship Canal toward houses. On the distant horizon, tall mountains, a few of which still had snow on them, stood against the blue sky. What stuck Zach the most was the lack of carpeting. The floor was white vinyl tile. The whole apartment was tiled.

“Do you want something to drink first, or do you want to just start fucking?”

Zach’s face dropped.

“Just kidding. Come on, Zach, cool down a bit. Come here, let’s sit down for a bit. Come on, sit on the futon. Coke or water? Don’t have anything else.”

Steven walked over to the refrigerator and opened it. “Oops! Sorry, no Coke. Guess I’d better get to the market. The pantry’s bare.”

Zach looked around the apartment. There wasn’t any other furniture. An open door led to the bathroom. Two others were closed. There was a painting, though, on the wall above the fireplace. Two young men were having sex. Well, it appeared they were doing some sort of sexual activity, but there weren’t any dicks. Zach knew the dicks were there and were being used, but he had no idea what they were being used for.

“Like the painting?”

“Yeah, it’s distracting.”

“Paul did it. He gave it to me. He said I’d probably get five thousand for it, more if he died. I doubt that, though. He has a fairly restricted niche.”

“Paul paints that stuff”

“Yeah, he’s good, real good. I wish I could be half as good.”

Zach didn’t say anything. He knew now was not the time to say what Paul told him about Steven’s painting skills.


“Fuck yes.”

“No, we’re not going to fuck. That doesn’t come until lesson four, or was it five? It doesn’t matter because if you don’t want me to fuck you, we don’t have to. But, I’ll tell you right now, if you want to fuck me, I’ll slip a condom over that big dick of yours and slip my ass right down on top of you.”

Zach look at Steven, then looked away.

“Come on, Zach, calm down. Ohmigod! You’re crying. Fuck!”

Steven snuggled up beside Zach and put a hand on the cowboy’s tight abdomen and gently rubbed his fingers across the rippled muscles. “Come on, Zach, it’s okay. I’m just excited, too excited, really. Do you know how much any one of my clients would pay to be here right now where I am? Thousands! You’re a virgin!”


“Yeah, chicken, too, but mostly virgin. You seem a little naïve to know about chicken.”

“I was reading an online story when you called,” Zach said, thinking about the high school kid whose life was the total shits until he was discovered by a more popular student. It certainly didn’t apply to his life. He was the most popular student and that didn’t help him one bit.

“How many times did you come?”

“Three, if you hadn’t called, probably another one was on the way.”

“Then you’re gay.”

“Well, at least when I read the stories I get hard.” Zach wondered if that’s all it meant to be gay, getting hard when your mind was filled with gay thoughts. Hell, he got hard looking at a horse’s ass, but then he was a cowboy and appreciated good horse flesh. Maybe he was just young.

“You’re hard now.”

“The painting.”

“Not me?”

“Yeah, you, too.” There he admitted it. Being close to Steven made him hard. Having Steven touch him the way was doing right then was making him hard.

“Thanks. You know, you have muscles in all the right places.”


“Just relax, this isn’t going to hurt a bit.”

Steven got up on his knees and then straddled Zach, sitting down, pressing his small ass into Zach’s crotch. His face sank slowly toward Zach, as his hands and fingers caressed the cowboy’s chest, arms, neck, face, and head, placing his lips against the boy’s. Zach opened his mouth slightly and felt Steven’s tongue tentatively explore the inner edges of his lips.

Zach’s own hands, still at his sides gradually reached out to where his fingers could lightly touch Steven’s legs. They were so skinny he could almost grasp a thigh in one hand. Steven’s tongue was inviting his to join it back in its home. He accepted the invitation and felt Steven’s bony ass press against his cock.

He couldn’t help himself. The feelings were so intense. He grabbed the tiny hips on top of him and pressed the skinny body against his cock. He shuddered as the orgasm took over, flooding his pants with come. He kept going and going. It was like he couldn’t stop shooting. He ran his hands up Steven’s back and pulled the smaller body into his, then broke their kiss.

“Ohmigod! You came! That’ll be a hundred bucks, kiddo. No, just kidding. Uncle David is paying for this. Wait right there, I’ll get something to clean you up.”

Zach watched Steven’s little butt scamper into the bathroom. The sound of running water did little to comfort him. He knew Steven was going pull his pants down and touch him down there. This was getting out of hand, but he didn’t know what he could do to stop it, or if he even wanted to stop it. He was so overwhelmed.

Zach stared at the ceiling while Steven removed his jeans and underwear. Tears were uncontrollably dribbling down his cheeks as the warm washcloth rubbed against his skin. He never imagined it would be like this. All the times he’d made out with Amy back before he’d been branded as gay, he’d never come; and, she’d done exactly what Steven had. She’d sat on his hard cock many times, but he’d never come, never. He was queer, no doubt about it.

“Your tightee-whitees need to be washed,” Steven said as he walked away with them.

In a moment he was back, naked. Zach looked at Steven’s skinny body then removed his own shirt and helped Steven lower the futon. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

“Come on cowboy, lie down beside little Steven and I’ll cover us with the blanket. Are you still crying?”

“I can’t help it. I don’t know what to do.”

“You don’t have to do anything. I’m the one who’s been hired to do things. Come on Zachy, lie down beside me.”

“Don’t call me Zachy. If you want to get cute, use my middle name, David.”



“Davey, I like that. Comfy?”

“A little.”

“You’re a good kisser.”


“Here let me have your hand. Put it right there.”

Zach felt Steven’s soft cock. He’d never touch another boy down there. His fingers seemed to have a mind of their own as they began to explore the soft, hairless skin in Steven’s crotch. There was only a small powder puff of hair above his dick. Zach’s fingers began to play with the foreskin, like he often did with his own. He felt the cock stiffen.

“You certainly know how to make a guy feel good,” Steven whispered as one of his fingers began to play with Zach’s right nipple, stiffening it quickly.

Zach felt himself getting hard again when another of Steven’s fingers joined its companion at Zach’s erect nipple. He couldn’t believe what he was feeling. It was almost like there was a nerve connection between the nipple and his dick. He looked into Steven’s soft blue eyes.

“Didn’t know about these, did you?” Steven whispered.


“Most guys don’t. Lay back and I’ll suck it.”

Zach placed his hand on the back of Steven’s head as the other’s lips and tongue began to excite and, at the same time, relax him. He wondered if this was what a mother felt when her baby suckled at her breast.

“Hey, kiddo, you fell asleep,” Steven said, nudging Zach back to reality.

“Huh, oh, sorry,” Zach mumbled. He thought of the dream he’d been having. A little dream, meaningless mostly, except for the dick in his mouth. It was Steven’s dick.

“Want to go to the zoo?”


“The zoo, come on let’s get dressed. Your tightee-whitees should be dry by now.”

Zach sat up and looked at Steven’s soft cock nestling under that small puff of golden hair. He wondered if he’d ever be able to put that thing in his mouth, but it really wasn’t the putting in the mouth that troubled him, it was the surprise at the end. Swallowing come would definitely make him gay. Could he do it?

“Come on, Davey, let’s go to the zoo,” Steven said, rolling away from Zach and getting to his feet.

“Did you come, too?” Zach asked. He got to his feet and walked over to the dryer. He came up behind Steven and pulled the small body into a hug. “Did you?”

“Don’t bother yourself with me, I’m the one being paid in this deal,” Steven said, pulling out of Zach’s embrace. “Here put these on. You know we should go to the store and get you some boxers and boxer briefs. You need them if you’re going to wear those tight jeans all the time.”


“No panty lines,” Steven said, patting Zach’s right cheek a couple times before resting his hand on the taut muscle allowing his fingers to sink into the divide.

“That’s bad?” Zach pulled away from Steven’s hand because it was making him stiffen a little. It made him imagine lying under Steven being fucked, one more step on defining him as being definitely gay. Yeah, taking it up the ass would be a definite sign he was gay.

“Just distracting, a smooth ass is an exciting ass,” Steven said, grabbing Zach’s ass. “It invites attention.”

“Do I want attention?”

“You’re the one who was advertising the dick yesterday.”

“Okay, you win,” Zach said. He reached out and took hold of Steven’s half-hard cock. Steven slapped his hand away. “I’ll get rid of the Jacques C’penés.”

“Don’t knock Jacques, we’ll probably go there.”

“Or, Sears?” Zach asked, taking hold of Steven’s shoulders and pulling the small body against his. He nuzzled Steven’s neck, smelling the scent of his body.

“No, not Sears, not Nordstroms either, they’re too straight for me,” Steven said, reaching around Zach to caress those two muscular melons. Then, suddenly, pushing the boy away from him. “You know, you’re distracting. Macys is good.”

“I wouldn’t know. We only had Jacques and Sears in Hannaford. You had to go miles to get anything fancy and you don’t need fancy clothes to fall in cow shit. Should I go commando?”

“With that thing of yours? It needs control.”

“Then why get boxers?”

“Because some clients want their boys in boxers.”



“What are you thinking?”

“How we can make a lot of money.”

“With me having sex with your clients? I’m still practically a virgin.”

“Oh, quit worrying, Davey, and you’re still a virgin. Now, put these on and get dressed. We’re going to the zoo.”

Zach was surprised at the way Steven practically bubbled with excitement at nearly every exhibit. He was, also, surprised how much it cost to get in, plus having to pay for parking, but he had a good time, too. Mostly, though, he kept getting these strange warm feelings every time Steven got close to him, or called him “Davey.”

It was quite a jaunt through the whole zoo and Zach wasn’t too certain they’d seen all the exhibits. They’d be standing someplace and he’d look not recognizing half the other exhibits. The paths seemed to meander almost senselessly across the grounds. He did like the farm animals, though. Steven kidded him when he put out his hand and scratched the cow’s nose.

“You’ll make her shit doing that,” Steven said.

“No I won’t,” Zach replied. “This makes them pee.”

And, surprisingly, the cow got that contented look as a stream of piss exited the back end.

“See, I know my cows,” Zach said patting the cows head.

“And, you sent them to slaughter, too,” Steven said, disgust dripping from his voice.

“Not the cows, we kept them. They made the babies. It was the babies who didn’t have a chance. They were the ones headed for the supermarket.”

Afterwards, Zach stopped at a restaurant down on the Ship Canal that looked interesting. From their table at the window, which Zach got by having to give the maitre d’ a fifty, he could see Steven’s apartment building. He thought of what had happened a few hours earlier and smiled when he remember how he felt with Steven sucking on his nipple.

“What are you thinking of?” Steven asked as he looked at the menu.


“Oh, is that good?”

“Yeah, I suppose you’re good. You took me to the zoo. You did exactly what Uncle David hired you for.”

“Would either of you gentlemen care for a cocktail?” The bar waitress asked. She was dressed in one of those skimpy, tight black dresses that emphasized her little breasts and hips that were built for baby making.

“I’ll have soda water with some lime,” Steven said.

“Coke,” Zach said.

“We have Pepsi.”

“I guess I’ll have soda water with lime, too,” Zach said.

“Didn’t want to try something harder?” Steven asked.

“She’d have carded me,” Zach said. “She looks the type.”

They ordered their meals and settled down to relaxing after their vigorous walk through the zoo. Zach was still trying to get used to being in a big city with houses everywhere he looked, plus tall buildings, yachts passing in the Ship Canal, and people, people everywhere. This was not Carruthers where you could go into town on some days and not see more than ten people. Wherever he looked there was something new and different. It was almost overwhelming, almost as overwhelming as being with the young man sitting across from him.

Just after finishing his meal, Steven excused himself and went into the restroom. Zach watched him go and kept his eyes directed to where Steven left the dining room. When he caught sight of his friend returning, he thought he figured something out about Steven. It troubled him to think such thoughts about someone, but he knew he had to confront Steven if they were going to become friends and Zach was, at that moment, very interested in becoming a very good friend of Steven.

When they arrived back at Steven’s apartment building, Zach drove around back and entered the parking garage. After turning off the engine, he turned to Steven, who looked back like he been caught stealing candy at the corner market.


“Are you bulimic or anorexic?”

Steven turned his head and stared out the windshield.

“There was a girl who used to live in Carruthers who was skinny, skinny like you,” Zach said. “She’d stuff herself like you did at dinner. Then she’d go to the restroom and force herself to vomit. She died a little before Easter a couple years ago. Her parents thought God was testing her and didn’t do anything to help her. I think you’re starving yourself to look young. I don’t expect any answers, now. I just wanted to let you know I know what you’re doing to yourself and if we become good friends, which I’d like very much, I will do everything I can to keep you alive. Okay?”

As Steven continued to stare out the window; after a few minutes, he sighed, then said, “A few years after I came up here from Texas, my Aunt Jennie suspected the same thing and sent me to a psychiatric hospital that deals with eating disorders. I was in there six months and when I came out I was a lot better. Everyone in my family is small statured. We’re not little people, just short and naturally slender. It worked for a number of years. I didn’t have to do anything to keep looking thirteen. Around when I hit twenty, I noticed my body changing, so I went on a diet. I guess things have gotten out of hand, again. Only, I need the money.”

“I’ll do whatever I can to help you,” Zach said. He immediately thought of the recently diminished fifty thousand he had in the bank, but wasn’t too certain he was willing to part with his money, either. He had four years of college to get through and his herd of cows were now back in his father’s herd. He couldn’t think of any way he could increase his pot of gold without going to work. Maybe selling himself wasn’t that bad an idea. It’s not like he had to do it forever.

“Thanks, I appreciate this. I really do.”

“Good, now, let’s go upstairs so I can suck your dick,” Zach said, opening his door and getting out. He went around to the other side and opened the door. “You don’t look too excited about getting a blowjob.”

“What’s happened to you?” Steven asked, getting out of the pickup and standing up. “This morning you were so nervous you were crying. And, now, you’re practically pulling me up to my apartment so you can suck my dick.”

“This morning when I fell asleep, I dreamt of sucking you,” Zach said, walking ahead of Steven, then stopping to wait for him to catch up. “I don’t want to let it go by. I’ve got the chance to do it and I want to do it tonight. Okay?”

“Do it here.”

“No, I want you naked. I want to touch your body. Come on, let’s go before I chicken out.”

“You’re going to have to swallow my come, you know. You won’t be a real gay boy unless you swallow come. Does my Davey want some come?”

“Yes, little Stevie, right now I want you to come in my mouth. Right now, but if you don’t hurry I might talk myself out of it, so come on.”

The next morning when his alarm went off Zach’s mind immediately went back to the moment when Steven filled his mouth with his seed. He’d been expecting something vile, disgusting, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t candy. It was simply Steven, everything he expected from the young man with whom he was falling in love. Gay lovers swallowed come and he’d done it. He was definitely gay, now.

Steven congratulated Zach by giving him half a shot of brandy, which certainly knocked out the taste in his mouth. What Zach noticed, though, was the bottle. It had never been opened, yet it was dusty like it had been on Steven’s shelf for years. That was good. Steven wasn’t into drinking.

He had classes to get through this morning. Zach sat up and felt the crusty remains of a wet dream in a new pair of boxers he’d worn to bed. He couldn’t remember the dream. He ran his mind back, but there wasn’t anything. He always remembered them; except this time. Was it because he’d swallowed? Was it because he was, now, truly gay? Was it because he was falling for Steven? Did lovers stop remembering wet dreams? Whatever the reason, he needed a shower, food, clean shitkickers, and a pair of the jeans Uncle David bought him, no advertising today.

Zach’s first class was calculus. There were thirty students packed into a room designed for twenty-five. The instructor handed out a ten question exam. She checked the answers as each student handed in their test. She looked at Zach, who finished second, and said, “Return to your seat. You get to stay.” He’d gotten all the answers right. A lot of the kids didn’t. They got the chance to go back to the Registrar and pick a different class for the eight to ten o’clock class period.

Zach’s next class was English 101, Freshman Composition, which he definitely was looking forward to getting out of the way early. The instructor had been listed as Richard C. Jeffers, Professor Emeritus, BA MA PhD DDiv DLit. Zach expected an old man, but the man sitting behind the desk when he walked in couldn’t have been much over sixty, if that. He was old, yet didn’t look too much older than Uncle David and he wasn’t far past fifty. He had a short, maybe a half inch, crew cut of white hair, watery brown eyes, a Roman nose, sharp pointed chin, and a welcoming smile. He watched every student as they came in and sat down.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I am Doctor Jeffers. This is Freshman English. If you’re not supposed to be in Freshman English, I suggest you leave now as the blood letting will begin shortly.”

Ah, humor, thought Zach. Maybe this wasn’t going to be too bad.

“I have one rule for my class. Each and every one of you will respect me and the rest of the class. No respect, no grade. If at any time it becomes apparent any one of you decides you do not wish to follow that rule, you will be asked to leave and I will notify the authorities you are persona non grata in this classroom and will be graded accordingly. Any questions?”

“Does that mean we can’t question what you say?” asked a slender, small breasted, blonde, fresh faced girl sitting in the second row, three seats from the left.

“Ah, yes, Sara McDonald. Nice to see you, Sara.”

“Do I know you?”

“I know your grandfather. We play golf together.”


“Any other questions? Good.”

Doctor Jeffers then went on to explain the required texts and went over the schedule of the class. They were stuffing eighteen weeks of class into a little over eight. There wouldn’t be a mid-term, but there would be a paper every week and the first one was due Wednesday.

“Fifteen hundred to five thousand words, no more, no less,” Doctor Jeffers said as he walked about the room. He kept moving, never standing in one spot for more than a minute or two. “The subject is the most significant event in your life to date. For some of you, it might be your moment of conception. Don’t laugh, it’s been done and a few received “A’s.” For others, it may be something more recent.”

Zach thought, yeah, like last year, a couple weeks from now, to be exact. He was already planning the paper from the introduction to the conclusion, and brief epilogue. He’d just do the trip down the Buffalo because that was the determining event. He’d have to examine the reasons, but that was easy, too.

“Now, since there are only twelve of us,” Doctor Jeffers continued, “I’d like to get to know a little about each of you. I don’t want name, rank, and serial number. I do want name, age, home town, why you chose Nopaco, yes I use the vile acronym, too, and maybe a little more, whatever you decide. I think we’ll begin with this gentleman right here.”

Zach felt the hand on his shoulder, the gentle squeeze, the fleeting caress. God, he knows, thought Zach. They all know. Is there any end to this?

“Sir? Were you listening?”

“Yes, sir, my name is Zachary David Alexander, Zach for short.”

“And, he’s from the South!” Sara exclaimed in a horrible imitation of a Southern accent.

“Sara? Were you listening earlier?”

“Why yes, sir, I was,” she said, continuing to use the accent.

“You think you’re protected because your grandfather is a trustee of this fine institution, but you’re wrong about that, too. We’ve already discussed your presence in my class. One call and you’re out of here. One more disparaging remark about, uh, Zach, and you’re out of here. Questions?”

“No, sir,” she said, meekly.

“Good, continue sir.”

“Yeah, like I said, my friends call me Zach. I’m from a small town in Eastern Oklahoma you haven’t heard of, and you haven’t been to. Nobody in their right mind intentionally goes to Carruthers, Oklahoma. I’m seventeen, be eighteen in October. I chose North Park because it has a summer entry program for freshman. And, yes, I know how to castrate calves, where to shoot a horse if it has to be put down, and I’ve eaten prairie oysters.”

“And, you’re gay, too,” Sara said, resuming her disgusting Southern accent. “We know all about you, faggot.”

“That’s it, Sara, pack up your stuff and leave this room,” Doctor Jeffers said.

“I don’t have to,” forgetting she didn’t have to use the accent on him.

“We thought you’d say that,” he said, taking out his cell phone and pressing a few keys.

“Hello, Bud? . . . Yeah, this is Dick. . . . Yeah, she did it. . . . Sure, no problem. Here, Sara, your grandfather wants to talk to you.”

She took the phone and walked out into the hall.

“Zach, I want to apologize for what just happened,” Doctor Jeffers said. “It seems your parents notified this school, a few its trustees, and some others of your status in their church, or, rather, not in their church. An abomination? That’s quite an accomplishment for such a young man. I congratulate you.”

“You don’t have to apologize for her behavior,” Zach said. “She isn’t any worse than that town full of homophobic bastards I never have to see again. I’ve heard worse. Actually, she’s rather pathetic. Reminds me what I’d think of if somebody told me she was daddy’s little princess.”

“Grandfather’s, actually.”

Sara walked back in. She’d been crying. She handed the phone to Doctor Jeffers and said, “I want to apologize to everyone in this class for my inappropriate behavior. I had no right to say what I did. Zach? I’m sorry for outing you.”

She continued sniffling as she picked up her things.

“Doctor Jeffers, if it’s all the same to you, I’d appreciate it if you’d let her stay,” Zach said. “I accept her apology. It doesn’t matter to me if everyone knows I’m gay. Yes, I’m really gay. The town was right in their assumption. Of course, they didn’t follow the Bible when they expelled me from their presence, but they’ll have to answer to a higher authority for their error.”

“Thank you,” Sara said, practically whispering.

“Okay, then, I guess you’re next Sara.”

She stared at him as if he was Death himself, then said. “I’m Sara McDonald. Yeah, I’m spoiled, just a little. . . .”

Zach sat in his seat listening to Sara and the others as they went through their spiels wondering if anything had changed by his public admission of being gay. He knew it was a big step, at least that’s what he read in a lot of the online stories. He’d spent practically a whole year being gay without actually acknowledging it to himself, but a whole town knew, even if they might have had questions about the truth. He was falling in love with a guy, which was certainly reason enough to think of yourself as being gay.

After class, and another apology from Sara, Zach walked over to the Union to get a hamburger, or what he hoped would be hamburger. He imagined all sorts of texturized vegetable proteins flavored with all sorts of chemicals to give it the correct taste of ground up dead beef and almost decided to get a piece of pizza.

Most of the tables were either full or almost, except for one back in an empty corner. There was only one guy sitting there.

“Mind if I join you?” Zach asked, looking at the guy and suddenly feeling he’d seen him some place before.

“No, go ahead sit down,” he said. “How’s your first day at classes?”

“You’re Bruce!” Zach said. “Oh, my god, so that’s what you look like under the disguise.”

Only what did Bruce look like? On closer examination, Zach wasn’t too certain whether he was looking at a boy or a girl.

“Androgyny,” Bruce said. “It runs in the family. You’d have to look at what’s between my legs to tell for sure. So, how is your first day?”

“I was outed in English,” Zach said.

“So, it’s true.”

“You know about the letter, too?”

“Zach, everybody knows about the letter. Besides me, you’re probably the only definite gay student here. Welcome to hell.”


Author’s Comments

Remember when you first realized you were gay? Remember how you felt? Did you try to think maybe you were wrong and it would go away when you turned twenty-one or when you got married and started making babies?

It doesn’t go away, no matter how hard you try. You learn to live with it, or it will destroy you. Trust me, I know. The day I came out to myself was the best day of my life. I couldn’t have been happier. The shit hit the fan afterwards, but I was happy and that’s all that mattered.