STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!
Copyright 2000 by archer.
Permission is granted to Nifty Archives to post one copy. No part
may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another
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Matt had just picked up Brian for their third weekend together, and was berating himself for not communicating better with him. Brian was upset that he had to go to camp for the first session, and Matt was angry with himself for not dealing with the subject up front.
Im sorry I didnt discuss it with you before. I meant to. Matt had a sinking feeling that this was going to be a repeat of Tims not knowing about Brian. I wanted to you stay for the summer, but Im single and I just couldnt find a way to arrange it. Youll be back the second half, and you can come to my house every weekend for the rest of the summer. Ill take a week of vacation in August and well go somewhere. How does that sound?
Good, he replied without enthusiasm.
Youll like camp. Your friend Mike is going too, isnt he?
You know I was the nature counselor there.
I signed up to be the nature assistant.
Really? I hope the nature counselor is a good one.
Matt pulled into Aurelios on Western Avenue to pick up the pizza he had ordered before he left to pick up Brian. The short ride to Matts house was strained. God, I hope hes going to snap out of this mood.
They consumed the pizza in silence. Matt tried to think of a way to bridge the quiet as he put the leftovers away and Brian loaded the dishwasher. Brian took his gym bag up to the room that he had adopted as his own.
Do you have clothes for camp? Matt asked when the boy came back down.
Not...no, not much.
Do you have shorts?
Just what Im wearing.
And youll probably need a new pair of swimming trunks. Maybe we should go to the mall tomorrow. The laundry at the camp is a little better than campus. Its still like a black hole. Clothes disappear never to be seen again.
Brian managed a chuckle. Whats it like?
Yeah. I mean - what do you do?
Matt went to the kitchen to get a Diet Pepsi. He pondered for a moment, then set the can down on the coffee table. I have an photo album here somewhere.
Taking the stairs two at a time to the basement, Matt went to the bookshelves. He picked a green album and opened the first page to checked to see if he had the right one. He returned to the living room, sat near the boy on the couch and draped his left arm over the back of the couch.
The album began with pictures of various buildings and landmarks. There were pictures of the Lodge, the dining Hall, the Directors Cabin, the Dining Hall and the Program Directors cabin. There were pictures of the archery range, the Campfire and the waterfront.
Thats the Circle, Matt pointed to a picture of a low stone wall, about eight inches high, filled in with soil and grass. In the center were a flagpole and a totem pole.
Its where everyone gathers for meals and for special events. Some senior campers dont have to, like cooks helpers and kitchen helpers, but you will, if youre the nature assistant.
What kind of animals do they have?
It was different from year to year. Most years we had rabbits, ducks and goats. We had a kitten all the years I was there, too. One year we had a pig. A couple years we had doves. There were turtles and frogs and snakes that the kids caught.
Where did the animals come from?
An animal shelter near Park Falls. We just borrowed them for the summer and returned them at the end of camp.
What did you teach in the classes?
How to take care and handle the animals. Every day , the kids would help feed them. It taught them respect for the animals. Theres a picture of the Nature Lodge. It looked like a prefab garage, except there was no garage door. Instead, there was a large deck, and cages for the animals.
This is another picture of it, Matt continued. Next to it is the Arts and Crafts building. On the other side is the Indian Lore Lodge. Across the road are the Library, the Campcraft Lodge and the Gym. The Woodworking Building is a little further down the road. Matt pointed to another picture of a road under a leafy canopy. The road leads to the archery range. In the opposite direction, it goes back to camp. Matts arm was becoming stiff, and he allowed it to land on Brians shoulders. Brian leaned closer to Matt.
The next part of the album had pictures of people. Brian spotted Bill, but that was about the only person he recognized.
Theres a lot of pictures of this boy. Who is he?
Thats Eric. He was one of my favorites.
Matt allowed Brian to flip through the pictures at his own pace.
Theres three units, the Indians, the Juniors and the Seniors, Matt continued. Theyre arranged around a grassy area called a quad. Each unit has its own leader and a gazebo where the counselor does O. D.
Whats O. D?
On Duty. Once a week, each counselor is on duty after lights out at 9:30. The counselors are free until eleven, unless they have a day off. They can go to the counselors lounge, or get ready for the next day or have meetings or plan trips. The O. D. counselor makes sure theres no uproar.
Which was your cabin?
The first year I was in Chippewa. Thats an Indian cabin. All the other years I was in Calumet. I liked the juniors better. Lower maintenance.
Brian chuckled. Whats the day like?
Well, you get up at 7:30. Bill rings the bell. Sometimes, when its raining, its hard to hear in some of the cabins. Everyone comes down for breakfast. After breakfast is clean-up. That lasts an hour. I always hated clean-up time.
Because no kid wants to clean. I used to bribe the campers heavily, Matt confessed.
Bribe is such an ugly word. Incentive is better. Then, you have classes. All Indians have to take all classes. Juniors have some choice, but they still have to take swim lessons. The seniors can sign up for anything. Or course, if youre the nature assistant, you have to be there for classes.
All of them?
No, your counselor will have one of the four periods off, and so will you. If you want to take a class such as sailing or pottery, sometimes you can arrange it with the nature counselor. I did that quite a few times.
When is the fourth class?
Right after lunch and the rest period.
Right after lunch, for about 45 minutes, theres a quite period. Then theres the fourth class, and a free swim and a short free period before dinner. After dinner, theres a longer free time. Sometimes, theres an evening activity like Campfire or New Games and them its bedtime. Thats how the day goes.
Sounds like fun, Brian sounded convinced.
I think youll like it. I think every kid should go to camp at least once. Im sorry that I didnt talk to you about it before and explain why you couldnt stay here all summer. I think things are going pretty well.
I think so, too, Brian mumbled.
Matt breathed a sigh of relief and managed a smile. And youll be having so much fun, you wont realize how fast time is going. Ill write you as often as I can. OK?
This time Brian smiled. OK. He felt relieved, too. A certain uneasiness had been mitigated. Matt did want to resume weekend visits. He wasnt rejecting him, and he wasnt using camp as a means to get rid of him. Matt wanted him to come back--as cautious and tentative as that might be.
Cmon, Matt said, slapping the boys knee. We have toast to make.
For the movie. Its part of the participation. We have to other things together, too.
When is the show?
Midnight. Martys coming here at eleven. The theaters in Gary.
What are we going to do with this stuff?
It was almost 2 AM, and Brian sat breathing deeply in the theater seat. He stared, slack-jawed at the blank theater screen. Something had happened, but he didnt know what. Around his white athletic shoes was a sticky mess of toast, playing cards, toilet paper and rice. He felt emotionally and physically spent.
Are you OK? Matt touched his shoulder.
Brian could only nod.
Come on, sweetheart, Marty called.
The lobby and parking lot were still filled with bizarre people of all description. There were those who had participated in the floor show dressed as their favorite characters. There were amateur Brads and Janets, Magentas and Columbias. Into this mix were punkers, with numerous body piercings and garbed mostly in black. Their hair colors where not found in nature, but in a box of Crayola crayons. There were a few typical suburban kids looking a bit uncomfortable in their jeans and T-shirts. Matt guessed that he and Marty were the oldest in the audience.
Brian was still silent. He was taking it all in. But he wasnt uncomfortable. Rather, he felt accepted. The open sexuality of the movie attracted an alternative crowd. Never did he hear a disparaging remark -- not once did he hear someone mutter faggot or queer. Brian thought he spotted several guys his own age who had the same inclinations as he.
The former audience still whooped, danced and shouted to each other as they retreated to their cars. Brian sat in the back seat perspiring lightly. The adrenalin was flowing and his heart was beating quickly. Brian continued to watch the crowd was they proceed down the street to the expressway. Then it struck him. This was his tribe. He belonged here. He felt comfortable. And, most importantly, he was not alone.
As they started their journey home on the Tri-State Tollway, Marty turned to Matt and mentioned that he was hungry. They planned on stopping at a White Castle in Calumet City. The entire exchange between the two men reminded him of his parents.
Brian sat in the middle of the back seat and leaned foreword so that his face was between the front seats.
Did you like the movie, cupcake? Marty asked tousling his hair.
It was awesome.
Matt said, Im glad you liked it. I thought you would. Please do me a favor, though, and dont mention to Bill that I took you to see Rocky Horror Picture Show.
These shirts are adorable, Brian. Marty said to him. They were in Carson Pirie Scotts in Lincoln Mall the next afternoon. Marty stayed on the couch the previous night. Marty had always been Matts ultimate fashion consultant, and he was always right. Besides, shopping was Martys favorite hobby, and he had the credit card bills to prove it.
I like the black ones, Brian said timidly.
Oh, no, no, sweetheart. Black is for hoodlums and Johnny Cash. And for heavy people. Its very slimming. You certainly dont have to worry about that.
But, black is more, um, masculine.
Honey, youre plenty butch. You should stick to blues and aqua. Maybe gray. They set off your eyes and hair. And you should stay away from bright, primary colors. Look, he said, as he grabbed five polo shirts, identical except for their color. come over to this mirror.
Brian sighed loudly and rolled his eyes, but followed Marty to the mirror.
Marty stood behind the boy, unfolded a black shirt with a flick of his wrist and held it under the boys chin. Theres the black one. OK? Not bad. But look.... Marty held a navy blue one under his chin, see how much better this one looks. This dusty blue one looks even better. And this aqua one is stunning.
Youre right, Brian agreed with a smile.
Now, Matt could wear the primary colors like black, red, white or even yellow because of his dark hair and eyes.
They continued through Carsons, picked out shirts, socks and underwear. Brian wanted a baseball cap.
Hats just mess up your hair, Marty advised.
Still, I want one - that is if Matt will buy it.
Whatever you want, Brian.
Brian chose a navy blue one with a gray visor. Matt thought he looked cute in it.
Well buy some denim shorts at the Gap. Oh, I just remembered. You need a new pair of swimming trunks.
With Martys help, he selected a boxer-type pair in blue. They were sheer nylon and slit up the legs to reveal the thighs.
I think you should try them on, Matt said.
OK, he sighed again and headed toward the dressing rooms.
Inside the cubicle, Brian slipped off his jeans and underwear in one smooth motion. He pulled on the sheer shorts. They fit well, but the sheer sensual material presented another problem. He became erect.
Brian? Matt called into the dressing area. Brian?
Yeah, he answered, beads of perspiration forming on his upper lip. Not again. Please, God. The fucking thing has a mind of its own. He tried to make his erection go away, to no avail.
Come on out so we can see.
Shit. He tried to think of something that would make his erection go away. No luck.
Come on out, Brian.
Brian took a deep breath, pushed his erect dick down the left leg of the shorts, opened the door and stood in the hallway.
Matt and Martys eyes told the whole story. Matt almost started to laugh, but covered his mouth to muffle it.
Brian, sweetie, Marty managed to say, Everything you own is showing.
Brian ran back into the cubicle.
Poor kid, Matt said as he began to laugh.
Matt loved June mornings. They always smelled sweet and clean with the promise of summer ahead.
Matt even had to let his windshield wipers swat the condensation on the glass before he started to St. Lukes. It was 5:30 and Matt thought he was crazy to be up this early. Brian was leaving for camp this morning; Matt had promised to see him off. He had the day off since it was Thursday, and he consoled himself with the thought that he could go back to bed when he returned.
Matt listened to Steve and Garry as he drove. He loved to listen to their antics. They lampooned and satirized everything - politicians, Chicago media, national events, even their own families. They had even done a send-up of the Gay Pride parade. There were those Politically Correct community leaders who were outraged, but Matt thought it was screamingly funny.
He pulled onto campus and immediately spotted the busses. They were chartered coaches like the ones Greyhound used.
He saw Debbie McIlvain first.
Hi, Matt. Early enough?
Have you seen the kid?
Hes over there. She pointed to a group of trees.
Are you ready go get out of here? Matt asked her.
God, yes. I need a vacation.
Going anywhere in particular?
No plans - yet. Im sure well visit my in laws in Milwaukee.
Im going to catch up with Brian. Have a great summer, Debbie.
Brian stood under a huge oak tree talking to Mike. He was wearing a pair of denim shorts and a blue polo shirt that Marty had picked out for him. He was wearing his baseball cap backwards and tufts of his blond hair poked out from under the cap. Matt thought he looked so cute. Brian spotted Matt approaching. His eyes lit up and he excused himself from the other boy.
Im glad youre here, he said privately when he got close enough to the man to lower his voice.
I brought you some things. Matt handed the blond a Best Buy bag. Brian peered inside and saw a Walkman and two tapes. The first was a Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack.
Whats this other tape?
Its just a custom mix. Various artists. They all have something in common. See if you can figure out what they have in common. I think you might want to listen to it first, before you let someone else listen. Matt handed the boy a manila envelope. Inside were a writing tablet, some postcards and stamps. Like I said, Matt continued, Ill write you as often as I can. Try to write back. And you should drop a postcard to your brothers and sister.
Why? Theyve never written to me.
Still, just a postcard would be nice. You can do it. Prove to them that you are bigger than they are.
Bill blew a whistle. OK, lets get on the bus.
Matt didnt dare hug him. Not here, in front of all the other boys. Brian would never live it down.
Good bye. Tears were threatening in Brians eyes.
Have fun. And be good to yourself.
The man and the boy looked each
other in the eyes, hugging each other visually.
When he pulled into the parking lot behind his townhouse, he saw Leah sitting on her porch.
Hi, Matt. Glad I caught you. Why dont you grab a cup of coffee and sit out here with me for a bit. Ive been meaning to talk to you.
Thanks again to Richard for proofreading and editing!
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