The usual disclaimers apply, so if you are under 18, you shouldn't be here! This is the first story I ever wrote, about my "first love". Please take special notice of how different life was then for gay teenagers. Think of how it is now, and think of how you can make life better for gay teens, now and tomorrow. This is a novel length book, and I warn you now that it contains numerous depictions of gay sex between teenage boys. If you would be offended, don't read this. If you're not offended by the subject matter, please read on. I'd like to hear from you and to read your comments. Reach me at:

Hope you enjoy!

The Prince of Main Street

by Andrew Simon van Ryan

Alex Hoffrin, editing

copyright 1999
all rights reserved

Chapter Three

     It was after two when we finally dragged out of

bed. Jesse began getting dressed, and asked, “You

wanna bike down to Burger Basket?” It was our

Sunday ritual to eat at the Burger Basket downtown,

so I automatically replied, “Sure!” We dressed alike

in jeans, T-shirts and desert boots. Setting off on

our bikes, we raced the mile and a half to the old

downtown section. Pulling up to the bike racks,

Jesse remarked, “I can’t wait ‘til you’re sixteen. Then

we won’t have to ride these fuckin’ bikes anymore.”

“If I pass the test!” I said. “Ha! you’ve been driving

since you were ten! Why wouldn’t you pass?” he

snorted back at me. “I mean the written test. You

know I always choke on written tests,” came my


“Hey, Faggots!” a voice shouted from behind. Panic

struck me immediately, and my brain screamed,

“who told?” inside of my ears. I spun around to see

Eric Olsen, my brother’s best friend standing in the

doorway to the Burger Basket. “What’re you queer

boys doing downtown?” Jesse glanced over, and

saw my horrified expression. “Fuck you, Olsen!

You’re the queer boy!” Jesse shot back. “Oh, yeah?

Well come over here, and suck my dick, homo,” Eric

snarled. “Suck yourself, Olsen,” Jess growled back.

“What’s wrong, van Ryan? Truth hurt?” Eric said

as his attention turned my way. Jess pivoted, and

saw that I was red in the face and about to cry again.

“No, Eric. It’s just that you’re such a mean shit.

Someday you’re gonna’ have your ass kicked for

the crap you say,” I blurted out. “By who? You? Faggy

boy.” Eric was now acting like he was ready for a

fight. “All right Olsen! I told you to watch your mouth

in here!” a husky voice shouted. It was Ray, the

owner of Burger basket. “Now get outta’ here! I don’t

want to see you in here for a month. Go! And I’m

calling your dad!” Ray was coming out from behind

the counter as he was shouting, a baseball bat in

his hand. Eric freaked at seeing this, and ran like

hell. “Come on in, boys. Don’t let that boy bully you.

I’d love to clean his clock one of these days. His

dad’s, too.” It was no secret Ray hated Eric’s dad,


Larry had moved to town, and opened a Real

Estate office a few years earlier, catering to the

“Space Race” workers who were taking away the

country-like charm of the town as developer after

developer built housing tract after housing tract. “Do

you think he knows?” I whispered to Jesse. “Who,

Eric? No, but if you keep reacting like that he might

figure it out. He just said that ‘cause he calls

everyone ‘faggot’.” “Oh, Jess, I’m sorry! I just didn’t

know what to say to him,” I replied, feeling dejected.

“Don’t say anything. Just ignore him. C’mon! Let’s

order.” Jess turned, and looked up at the menu. “Hey,

Andy!” Ray said, returning behind the counter. “Don’t

pay any attention to that Olsen kid. He’s a prick.”

“Yeah, but he’s my brother’s friend, and I have to

see him at my house,” I replied.

“Oh, by the way. Your brother was in here ten

minutes ago. He told me you’re living at the

Dahlingers’ now. Is that true?” Ray questioned. “Only

on the weekends, Ray. Jesse’s Mom doesn’t want

him to stay home by himself so she arranged it with

my parents,” I answered. “Wait a minute, your dad

let you live at Jesse’s? Without his mom being

there?” Ray was shocked. “Uh, yeah,” I replied. “Well

if that don’t beat all! I wouldn’t ever guess he’d let

you do anything like that! Your dad is pretty damn

strict, usually. Why’d he let you do that?” Ray acted

surprised. “Cause then he doesn’t have to deal with

me. I’m not in his way. He doesn’t really like me

much,” I said, beginning to look at the ground.

“Hey, Andy, C’mon now. Your dad loves you. He

just doesn’t understand why you’re not like your

brother. I’ve heard him say it. It’s probably cause

your dad’s not a very understanding kind o’ guy.

Say, are you happy living at Jesse’s?” Ray

continued. “Oh, yeah! I like staying there a lot!” I

smiled now. “See! He probably knows it, and figures

if you’re happy there, why not let you!” Ray smiled.

“Maybe,” I said, as a slight smile creased my face

as I glanced at Jesse. “Okay, then! What’ll you boys

have? Two burgers and shakes? It’s on me today!”

“Wow, cool!” said Jesse. “Okay, Ray! Thanks!” I said.

“Just be sure and tell your granny I want to talk

with her, okay, Andy?” Ray winked, and started the

burgers. “That was cool,” Jesse said. “It must be

cool having everyone in town know who you are.”

“They don’t call me the Prince of Main Street for

nothing, Jesse!” I proclaimed, now feeling a bit

proud. “Maybe that’s why your dad is so cold to you.

He’s jealous, Andy! He’s jealous of you!” Jesse

declared, thinking out loud. “You got that right, Jesse

boy!” Ray called from the kitchen. “See! That’s it!”

Jesse cried out looking straight at me. “I don’t know,

Jesse. It doesn’t seem like he’s jealous to me.”

After our lunch we biked over to Main Street where

a few years earlier the merchants had known me

as the Little Prince of Main Street. My grandmother

had her little clothes shop, and my mom had worked

at the Five and Dime. As a preschooler I had

wandered from shop to shop, visiting with all the

people working there. I knew them all, and they

knew me. If I were hungry I’d go to Marie’s cafe,

order a burger and say, “Put it on my tab!” before

running off to my next stop. I had no idea what a tab

was, but I knew I could get lunch anytime by saying

that! My grandmother would recall years later with

my white-blonde hair and my funny, little, Prince act,

I had all the women on Main Street under my spell!

But that was then, and now it was today. Many of

the old shop owners had retired or closed their

shops. Dave at the Hardware store was still there

as was Teddy at the Signal Gas station. Most all the

other shops had new people in them. It amazed

Jesse everyone on Main Street still knew me by

name, even after so much change. I didn’t know

many of them by name, but it didn’t matter. The few

older ones would tell the newcomers to downtown,

“See that boy? That’s the Prince of Main Street. If

he wants something you give it to him. He’s good

for the money, and if he doesn’t like your shop, you’re

cursed. You’ll be out of business in six months time

if you make him angry!”

Good thing I didn’t know this fact until I was in my

late twenties, or I could have done some real

damage! My mother couldn’t recall who had first

started the rumor downtown, but it had begun when

I was no more than five years old. Superstitions are

a strange thing. I’ve never believed any myself, but

somehow the town became superstitious about me.

I was “the Boy Prince” and if I liked you and your

shop, you were successful. If I didn’t like someone,

or became angry with him or her, his or her business

soon went under. So, whether by coincidence or by

some unseen force working without my knowledge,

the reputation began to grow. A business flourished

or died all due to my powers, or so it was said.

Eric’s dad had first opened a grocery store in town.

I had liked it until meeting Eric. Eric began harassing

me, and soon I wouldn’t set foot in the place. Larry

went under in short order. He next opened his Real

Estate office and had even hired my dad, hoping to

break the curse. He went so far as to find a location

just beyond the old downtown section where I never

bothered to go. That way, I never came into his

office. He figured the curse wouldn’t apply to him if

I didn’t come there!

Being the town’s Golden Boy had its down side

too. If I was seen downtown, my parents knew all

the details of who I was with, what shops I’d been

in, and what I’d been given by the store owners long

before I got home. Mom would pay my tabs around

town, and do her best to dispel any rumors of my

strange powers. Yet the rumors persisted. Jesse

loved the attention we drew on Main Street. A new

rumor had even started to circulate that Jess had

the same power that I had. Therefore we got kissed

up to, looked after and protected by the

shopkeepers. Like the way Ray had chased Eric off

and then given us lunch on the house. No one on

Main Street wanted to bring the shadow of double trouble

on them. We had become Andy and Jesse,

the two-headed monster of Downtown.

As I stepped off my bike, a little voice in my head said "I am

he, and he is me", letting the transformation take place.

Andy melted away, and His Highness, the Boy Prince of

Main Street took form. Confidence was my middle

name, and my royal attitude was my Crown.

I stepped into the Main Street Market, and Bess

looked up from the register. “Well hello, Andy!

Where’s your friend Jesse?” she asked. I turned

without answering, and using both hands, gestured

towards the doorway, like a magician who had just

performed his best trick. Jesse bounced through

the open door and shouted “Ta - da!!” I took a bow.

“You boys are so strange!” Bess said laughing.

“How’s your grandma, Andy?” “She’s fine,” I said,

replying in the Prince’s thoughtful voice, while

glancing over the junk food and candy bars. “How

are you Bess?” “Oh, Andy, you’re such a sweetheart!

I’m doing just fine, but thank you for asking. I saw

your mom yesterday morning. She was asking if

you’d been seen down on the Street. She also told

me you’re staying at Jesse’s on the weekends now,

so that Jess isn’t home alone.” “Yes, that’s right!

We’re the Lords of the Manor on weekends!” I


“Well, Your Highness, if you boys run out of

anything, you let me know. You just come over here,

and we’ll get you two whatever you need.” Jesse

and I looked at each other a moment, then in unison

cried, “Eggs!” Bess laughed, and said, “Go grab a

dozen and I’ll bag ‘em up for you!” We picked out

the eggs, grabbed some snack foods and carried

them to the counter. Bess looked them over, bagged

them up, and said, “There you go Your Lordship!

That should keep you until the next trip to the Street.”

“Thank you, Kind Lady!” I said, bowing deeply at

the waist. “Likewise!” Jesse added, as he too bowed.

“Okay, you two! Come back here anytime you need

something. I mean it! Oh, Andy. Tell your Granny

hello for me. Jesse will you remind him if he forgets?”

Bess smiled. “Oh. No! I can’t tell Andy what to do!”

Jesse blurted out, “Andy’s the Prince of Main Street!”

“Yes, I am! Don’t you forget it, Jesse!” I said, sticking

my nose in the air. “Well, you’re both little princes to

me!” laughed Bess. “Have fun, boys!” We hurried

out to our bikes, and began the trek home to Jesse’s

house. “Bess seemed really happy to see us today.

I’m glad she’s smiling and laughing again,” I said to

Jess as we started up the slight hill leading towards

home. “She hasn’t seemed this happy since Jamie


Her son, Jamie, was killed in Vietnam, the first

casualty from our small town. After his death the

old-timers in town began to question if it was right

to be sending boys as young as Jamie to fight in

the war. My Dad of course, gave the standard, My

Country, Right or Wrong, speech to anyone who

would listen to it. Yet I remember at Jamie’s funeral

he didn’t say a word. He wore his dark glasses,

and I knew that deep inside it hurt him badly. After

all, Jamie had been a Boy Scout while my Dad was

adult leader of their Troop. He’d seen Jamie grow

up. He had been there to save his life when Jamie

wrecked his first car two days after getting his


My father was on the Volunteer Fire Department

in town, and he’d been on the first truck responding

to the accident. Jamie had hit a telephone pole, and

would have bled to death if my father hadn’t known

how to stop his bleeding. Dad rode with him all the

way to the hospital. He’d been the one who called

Bess in the middle of the night to tell her about the

accident. He even stayed at the hospital until he

knew Jamie would recover. After the funeral, father

informed my brother and I, “Boys, if this war is still

going in a few years, and they draft you, I don’t want

you to go. We’ll send you to Canada or something,

but I don’t want you to go.”

“Hey, Andy!” someone shouted. I looked back to

see my brother and Eric in Moms’ car. “You wanna

get your ass kicked? Don’t try to pick a fight with

Eric!” he snapped as they slowly drove past us.

“Fuck you, Leslie… “I said, knowing it would piss

him off. “My name is Les, you faggot! Don’t you

ever call me Leslie!” he shouted back, applying the

brakes. “You’re the faggot with the girl’s name!”

Jesse roared back at him. With that, my brother

slammed the car to a stop and jumped out.

Incredibly, I watched as Jesse aimed his bike

straight at Les, and started pedaling hard as he

could. Les’ eyes bugged out of his head, and he

had to jump to keep from getting hit. I made the

turn into the long driveway leading through the

groves and accelerated. Jesse pedaled fast, closing

in behind. “Fuck you! You little faggots!” I heard Eric

roaring far behind us. We made the long ‘S’ curve

down through the orange trees, and up the

straightaway like a shot into the garage. Jesse

smacked the garage door opener with his hand, and

it slid shut behind us closing with a bang!

We looked at each other and collapsed on the

floor in gales of laughter. “Did you see their faces?

What a couple of dicks!” Jesse blurted out between

laughs. “You mean no-dicks!” I corrected him, while

holding my aching sides “C’mon, let’s get inside!”

Winded from our escape, I collapsed on the sofa

as Jesse put the eggs and snacks in the fridge.

“Jesse, are you sure we don’t seem faggy?” I said

over the back of the sofa at him. “Yeah, why?” he

replied. “Cause Les and Eric keep calling us faggots.

It worries me.” “Look, Eric calls everyone a faggot,

and your brother does it because of the way you

talk,” he said, sliding onto the sofa beside me.

“What’s wrong with the way I talk?!” I snapped back

at him. “You know. Your lisp. It sounds queer so he

calls you a faggot to make fun of your lisp,” Jesse

explained. “No one has ever called me a faggot

because of it! They’ve called me, Sylvester the Cat,

but never a faggot,” I whined. “Well you’re not a little

boy anymore, so you’d better lose it, or get used to

being called a faggot ‘cause I’ve heard guys at

school say you sound like a faggot,” Jesse advised

me. “That’s it!” I shouted, and jumped up from the

sofa. “What are you doing?” he asked. I didn’t answer

him. I walked straight to the phone, and dialed home.

“Mom? Hi, it’s Andy!” I began. “Yeah, we’re fine, but

listen. I want to go ahead, and start with speech

therapy, Okay? Huh?... I know, but I changed my

mind. Well… Jesse changed my mind. Yeah he’s

here. Okay...she wants to talk to you,” I said, and

held the phone out to him. “She does?” he said,

looking puzzled. “Hello?” “Hi, Jesse. It’s Mrs. van

Ryan. How in the world did you persuade Andy to

take the Speech Therapy classes?” my mom

inquired. “Oh, well, actually I told him if he didn’t

lose his lisp, everyone would start to think he was a

faggot!” Jesse replied.

“UUUurrr!” I squeaked as my eyes bugged out.

There was a slight pause before Mom continued,

“Well Jesse, I wouldn’t have said it to him that way,

but I’m glad you did! I guess I should have said it

like that, but perhaps it means more coming from

his friend. I want to thank you, Jesse, dear! I’ve been

so worried the other boys in school would start

making fun of him, and calling him… well, what you

said.” “Faggot?” Jesse asked. “Uuuurrrrrhhhhhh!” I

choked and collapsed on the sofa. “Yes, Jesse. That

word. I’m so glad you talked to him about it. Andy’s

very lucky to have a friend like you,” Mom said. “I’m

lucky to have Andy as my friend, Mrs. van Ryan,”

Jesse replied, winking at me. “I’m so glad he’s

staying with you. You’re a good influence on him

Jesse. Now you boys take care, and I’ll see you

tomorrow night,” Mom said.

“Okay. Oh! By the way. Today I saw Les and him

slam your car into park when it was still moving,” he

grinned. “Oh he did?! Thank you for telling me, Jess.

He won’t be driving my car around for awhile!” Moms

voice sounded really angry. “Please don’t tell him I

told you, okay? He might beat me up!” Jesse said

putting the icing on the cake. “Don’t worry, hon’. I

won’t even tell him why he can’t drive it. You boys

will be safe! Good-bye now, and thank you Jesse!”

Then she hung up.

“You fucker! You practically told her!” I howled.

“She’ll figure it out! Why did you say that?!” “Relax,

Andy boy! She said she’s happy I said it to you.

She’s happy your going to therapy. She doesn’t want

people to think you’re a faggot, either! And she even

thanked me, and told me she’s happy you’re staying

here. She said I’m a good influence on you!” “Why

you little faggot!” I yelled. Jesse bounded over the

sofa and jumped on me, knocking me over onto my

back. “Yes, and you love it,” he sneered before

planting a long soulful kiss on me.

After foolin’ around some, we ate a little junk food,

watched TV, and then decided it was time for some

playing. We ran through the songs we played the

night before, and they sounded better and even

tighter than the last time we played them. “We have

got to find a bass player!” I said to him as we finished.

“No doubt! I bet with a bass player we could get

gigs at the school dances,” he remarked. “Lets go

take a shower!” he winked. “Okay,” I smiled, “but first

I gotta call my mom. Remember?” I ran to the phone

and dialed home. “Hello?” Father answered. “Hi, Dad

it’s Andy!” I said. “I can tell it’s you, Son. Tell me,

have you seen Les?” he asked, flatly. “Uuhh, not

since early this afternoon...” I said cautiously. “Well,”

Father continued, “he’s been all over town today

with your mother’s car, and we heard he’s hotrodding

it.” “Really? Who told you that?” I asked. “I

heard it from Ray, Bess and Teddy. He’s with that

damn Eric Olsen, and Larry just called, looking for

them about twenty minutes ago. They’re in big

trouble with him. It seems Larry found some drugs

in Eric’s room. Have you or Jess ever seen those

two smoking pot?” he asked me. “What?! I cried,

“Les is on drugs?” My jaw dropped open. “I didn’t

say that, Andy. We don’t know for sure. We only

know that Eric had some in his room, and they’ve

been acting strangely around town today. That

reminds me. Ray said Eric was giving you and Jesse

a hard time at the Burger Basket today. Is that true?”

“Uh,... yeah, he was calling me names. Called Jesse

some too,” I replied. “Yes I heard. Son, Jesse did

the right thing persuading you to start speech

therapy classes. Mother and I are so relieved that

you’re going. I’ve worried the other boys would start

to call you names if you didn’t lose that lisp, Son. Is

Jesse going to help you work at it?” Dad asked

sounding a bit more lighthearted. Then an idea

struck me. “Yeah, but I have to study with him on

Thursday nights so I’ll need to stay here one extra

night a week,” I said. Jesse was hearing only my

side of the conversation. He looked on with a

puzzled expression. “Oh, that would be fine, Son!

As long as Mary doesn’t mind having you there, it’s

fine with your Mother and I.”

“Okay, Dad!” I was excited, and wanted to tell

Jesse. Father said, “Okay, stay close by the phone

boys. If Les and Eric don’t show up within the hour,

we’re going to start looking for them. I may want

you to ride around the area on your bikes to try

spotting Mom’s car.” “Okay, Father! We’ll stay right

here. I’ll talk to you soon! Bye!” I said and hung up.

“What’s up?” Jesse questioned. “Les and Eric are

going to get their asses kicked! Larry found drugs

in Eric’s room, and they’re still out racing around in

Mom’s car. Only that’s not the good part! I told Dad

that you were going to help me lose my lisp but I

have to stay here one more night every week. He

said it’s okay!! Can you believe it!” I started jumping

up and down while holding Jesse’s hands. “No Way!

That’s too cool! Oh, I can’t believe it! Four nights a

week? Oh, Yeah!!” He started shouting, and jumping

up and down like a madman. “Oh, shit!! If they only

knew how happy we are!” I cried. “We’re almost living

together full time!” We celebrated by drinking orange

juice and vodka, and then putting the ice cubes

down each other’s trousers!

I was just about to give up waiting, and suggest

we head for the shower when the phone rang.

“Hello?” Jesse answered. “Yes, sir! He’s right here!”

Holding the phone out he mouthed, “your Dad.” I

took it, and asked, “Yes, Dad?” “Hello Andy, We

found Leslie and Eric.” I cringed. When Father used

Les’ full name it meant his ass was in big trouble.

“Where?” I asked. “They’re in Fullerton. Les was

racing someone, and they had an accident, Andy.”

Hearing the word accident, I got seriously worried.

“Accident?! What happened?” I yelped into the

phone. Jesse’s face went ashen. “Don’t worry, no

one got hurt,” he said in a relieving tone, then added.

“However, Les wrecked the passenger side of your

mother’s car. She’s very angry. Be glad you’re at

Jesse’s, ‘cause there’s going to be a lot of yelling

when Larry gets here with them. That brings me to

another subject, Andy. Put Jesse on the phone,

please.” My heart skipped a little. I nervously replied,

“Uh, sure, okay.” I related Fathers directive to Jesse.

“He wants to talk to you...”

Jesse gave a quick frown and took the phone. I

listened as he spoke. “Yes, Mr. van Ryan? Oh, no

problem! I don’t even have to ask her. Mom will be

glad to... Sure, I’ll make sure he does. Your welcome!

You need to talk to Andy again? Okay, I’ll tell him!

Bye!” Jesse hung up, and leaned his back against

the wall. Looking toward the ceiling, he began

laughing and slipping down toward the floor.

“What?!” I demanded. “He wanted to know if you

could stay here all this week! They’re going to be

busy, and they wondered if you could stay here ‘til

next week!!” “Ahhhhhhhhh!!” our screams echoed

through the house. I couldn’t believe our good

fortune. Les was in deep trouble. I knew Dad was

going to make it Hell Week for him. I figured Eric

wouldn’t be off restriction for a year at least! Jesse

and I thought with Les and Eric drawing the parental

attention, no questions about us would get asked.

As we showered that night we didn’t fool around. It

was seven-thirty as we started our homework.

Sunday, the dreaded night for teenagers in school.

We commenced on our bookwork, and by a little

past nine o’clock had finished not only our

homework but also half of the remaining Vodka.

“Crap!” Jesse declared, stretching his arms over

his head. “I’m really tired!” “You’re tired? It’s about

time you started to wearing out!” I yawned. “Hmmm.

Lets watch Ed Sullivan then call it a night.” “Who’s

on Sullivan tonight?” Jess asked, crossing the room

to snap the TV on. “The Doors,” I replied. “Hope

they’re better than when my sister and I saw ‘em”

Lazily we watched the show ‘til Ed finally introduced

the Doors. I was surprised how much better they

were on TV. Afterward, Jesse remarked how Ed

Sullivan didn’t seem very impressed. I quipped, “Not

like he was with the Rolling Stones!” They sounded

okay to me I decided. Exhausted, I said, “C’mon,

lets go to bed. Six o’clock comes pretty early!”

Once in bed we spent time talking over how cool

things were going. We contemplated how to spend

the coming week together. We devised dozens of

plans as we chattered on. It was late when we

snuggled up together, and stared longingly into each

other’s eyes. Making love once more, we ended up

a tangle of arms and legs fast asleep. The alarm

clock screamed at me just inches away from my

face. Both eyes spun open with a start, and I

smacked at the clock. I shut it off on the fourth try.

“Time to get up, Jesse.” I yawned. No answer. I

rolled over to find him missing! “When did he get

up?” I wondered. Crawling out from under the

covers, I pulled on my discarded sweatpants from

the night before. I stepped into the hallway, and

heard Jesse’s voice talking in the living room. I went

to investigate and overheard him say, “So he’s going

to be with us the whole week, okay? Great, Mom! I

knew you wouldn’t mind, but I wanted to be sure.

Okay. We’ll see you after school. We love you, too!

Bye!” He turned to hang the phone up, and I was

standing there. “Oh,... hey, Andy! I didn’t hear you

get up. You hungry?” “Uh, huh,” I managed sleepily.

“That your Mom?” I asked. “Our Mom, according to

her!” he grinned. “C’mon! I made you pancakes with

blueberry jam.” “Ooohh!” I accented my anticipation

of breakfast. “How long have you been up?” I asked

him. “Two hours. I spent the first hour watching you

sleep. Do you know you put your finger against

your lips like you’re going, “Shhhh” when you sleep?”

he said while he gazed at me. I felt my face

reddening. I snapped my embarrassed explanation,

saying, “Yes! It’s a hold over from childhood.” “Well,

I love it! You look cute doing it,” he giggled.

“What do you think school’s going to be like?” I

asked, changing the subject on him. “What’dya

mean,” he responded. “You know, what’s it going to

be like. I wonder if anyone will figure it out.” The last

words were almost interrupted by blueberry

pancakes. “Not that again! Will you stop worrying!

It’s won’t be any different than any other school day,

unless your make it different.” Jesse couldn’t have

been more wrong! Catching the bus meant a

twenty-minute ride to school. A total drag! We arrived

to find a crowd of my brother’s friends waiting for

me. “Andy! Les and Eric ran away from Home!” I

heard someone shout as we stepped off the bus.

They began to surround us. It seemed like all were

talking at once. “What?!” My jaw dropped open.

“When?” Jesse demanded. “This morning! They

took off about an hour and a half’an hour ago,”

Gilbert, the drummer from Les’ band reported.

“Where’d they go?” I asked. “San Fran,”one said,

as another claimed, “New York City.” “Shit! Do my

parents know?” I asked. “No!” was the unanimous

reply of the crowd. “We’re waiting for you to call ‘em,”

someone explained. “Oh, they’re goin’ta shit!” Jesse

remarked. “Thanks a lot for making me tell on ‘em!

Les is going to think I ratted him out!” I protested.

“No, he won’t. I’ll set him straight,” Gilbert stated.

“First they gotta find him.”

I thought of Ronnie Guest. Ronnie was my age.

He’d run away last April. No one had heard a thing

from him since. “Shit, man. I’d better call my folks!”

I said, and handed Gilbert my books. I ran for the

phones with Jesse at my heels. “What’re you going

to tell them?” he panted, as we ran. “Not much! I’ll

tell ‘em he ran away, then put Gilbert on the phone.”

I puffed back. I seized the first phone, and fumbled

a coin into it. I spun the dial, and waited. On the

first ring it clicked, and Dad answered “Hello?” “Dad!

It’s Andy!” I spluttered. “Les ran away! He and Eric

did,...this morning! Gilbert just told me they’re gone!”

“I know, Andy.” Dad replied calmly. “Wh...wh...what?

I stammered to a halt. “We know. Larry called about

fifteen minutes ago. Eric left him a note. He has

already called the Police and they’re on their way

over.” “The Police?!” I howled to the phone. “Yes,

Andy. They may want to talk to you concerning what

you saw those two doing yesterday in your mother’s

car. I want you to go straight to Jesse’s house after

school and wait there! Do not go anywhere else,

not even to your scout meeting, you hear me?”

“Jesse’s house,” I repeated. “Okay. What about

Mom?” I asked, while nodding my head to no one.

“She’s very upset, and very angry, Andy. I don’t

think you want to talk to her right now. I’ll call you at

Jesse’s house this afternoon. I’ll let you know what’s

going on then. Ask Jesse’s mother if you can spend

the night.” “I already did, remember?” I remarked,

thinking of the night before. “You did? Oh! Right,

right. Andy, the police are here now, and I’ve got to

go. I’ll call you this afternoon,” he said, and hung up

abruptly. I stared at the phone’s mouthpiece a

moment. “Okay,” I said to the dial tone, and then

calmly and slowly hung the phone up.

“They know, and the cops are there already. Les

and Eric are completely fucked now!” I said, turning

to the crowd gathering around the phone box. Forty

or fifty people had assembled as word spread

across the campus.

Suddenly, they started shouting, with fifty questions

exploded from their mouths, all talking at once and

becoming increasingly louder every second. I shook

my head a few moments, as I started to feel trapped.

Then, I started to panic. I was scared, and couldn’t think

as the crowd began pushing forward, pushing my

back against the phone booth. I opened my mouth

to scream.

    As I did, I heard a distant, tiny voice inside my

head say "I am he...", and “he” took over. My shoulders

pulled back. I stood as tall as my body would allow.

I glared at them, held up one hand and... The Prince


    “Now stop!” he snapped, and their shouting

ceased. Eyeing the silenced crowd, he reprimanded

them firmly, “You know as much as I do, and I am

not here to be shouted at by any of you! Now, go to

your classes. If anything changes, I will let you all

know at lunchtime!… Go!” he commanded, and

pointed towards the buildings. Jesse watched in

complete shock as the crowd turned and walked

away, quietly muttering to themselves.

“What did you just do?” Jesse said as he turned

to me. “What?” said the Prince. “What just

happened? How did you do that, Andy?” Hearing

my own name brought me back to reality and the

Prince let go his hold. “Huh? Do what?” I remember

saying while watching the students walking away.

“You just silenced fifty shouting seniors, sent them

off to class, and they totally obeyed you! How did

you do that?” Jesse demanded to know, studying

me with his eyes. “I didn’t. He did” I replied quietly.

“Huh? What?” Jesse quizzed, leaning in close to

hear me. “He did it. The Prince. He did it.” I

whispered. I was stunned by what The Prince had

just done, using my body and his voice. “That came

out of me?!” I thought over and over

“Whoa... That was like very, very strange Andy.

You say it was the Prince that did it? I thought he

only came out on Main Street, and uh well, and at

my house yesterday.” “That never happened

before...” I wondered to myself. “I was panicking

and... he just kinda stepped in to protect me...” I

mumbled in a daze. “Andy, are you going to be

okay?” Jesse asked taking hold of my arm. “I wanna

go home Jesse. Let’s go home to our house,” I was

whispering now. Looking directly at my eyes he saw

confusion and fright. “Stay here. I’ll find a ride,” he

ordered. With that he was off, running across the

campus. I stood there silently. A few stragglers

glanced over as they hurried past. The bell rang

and I remained standing there.

One of the gym coaches came shuffling out of

the office and passed me. He stopped, looked at

me, and said, “What are you doing?” “I’m going

home,” the Prince droned back glaring with

contempt. “Oh, okay...” the coach replied, sounding

dazed. He turned, and went on his way to class as

if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened.

“Hey, Andy! Over here!” Jesse called out, “Doug’s

going to drive us.” Doug Stein and I had known each

other since the first grade. He was one of perhaps

three boys who had considered me their friend at

the time. Doug had to repeat the first grade. He was

allergic to bees and spent most of the first year

hospitalized from a bad reaction. So being older,

the other kids made him an outsider, too. We made

friends, one outsider to another.

    Not only did Doug have his license,

he also owned a brand new 1967 Firebird.

The hottest model, too! The 400R. “I’ll take

you guys home, and be back before they know I’m

gone! C’mon, let’s race,” he said. Jesse pulled me

along by the arm. “You okay, van Ryan? You’re kinda

quiet,” Doug continued. “Don’t worry about Les. He’ll

come home after he gets sick of that asshole, Eric.

That shouldn’t him take more than a day!”

I was still silent. As Jesse led me along, he

whispered to Doug, “Just get us there, quick!” The

trip home seemed to take only seconds. Doug drove

like a racing pro at Le Mans. He pulled up at the

edge of the grove, and said, “I gotta’ fly! Call me if

you need anything or want a ride someplace!” We

stepped out, and Doug smoked the tires as he went

squealing away. Jesse led me down the long drive

toward the house. “How are we supposed to call

him at school?” I wondered out loud. Once inside,

Jesse examined me, saying, “Are you okay, Andy?”

“Take off my clothes and put me to bed. I don’t feel

very good,” I sighed. “Okay,” he agreed. He

undressed me where I was standing in the hallway.

I let my books fall as he undid my trousers. I left the

books piled there with my clothes. Once he

had me naked, Jess took my hand, gently pulling

me down the hallway to the bedroom. He tucked

me in under the blankets, and asked how I felt. “I’m

cold,” I said dully. Putting a huge, feather comforter

over me, he said, “I’m going to go call your folks

and let them know we’re here.” “Call my

grandmother, instead. Mom and Dad aren’t home,”

the Prince intoned. Jesse looked at me really

puzzled. “Okay, I’ll call her. Be right back.” He left

the room.

In the short time he was on the phone, I fell fast

asleep. Returning to find me lying there with eyes

closed, Jesse studied me, then whispered, “Andy?”

Receiving no reply, he decided enough had

happened that morning. He slipped away so I could


        I found myself walking down a dirt roadway

alongside a small lake. As I looked toward the lake,

I noticed I was looking above the tops of cattails

growing on the swampy shoreline. I walked along,

looking to my left, where an old dock came into view.

I turned and continued out onto the rickety

structure, right up to the end. Cattails grew

everywhere in riot. I stood and looked down at the old

rotten board beneath my feet. Suddenly, there was

a loud crack, and the board broke dropping me into

the slimy water. I started thrashing my legs and arms,

churning the water. I looked at my legs, and there it

was. An Alligator with its jaws open lurched forward,

it snapped, catching hold of me as I struggled

and began tearing flesh from my legs. I opened my

mouth and screamed. “Aahhhhhh!!!!!!!” I wailed. I

thrashed the water to white foam as I struggled to

get away. White water was all I could see.

    “Andy! What’s wrong! What are you doing?!”

Jesse’s voice snapped me out of my nightmare.


“Ahh!!... Ahh!!!... My screams tailed off as I realized

where I was. I yanked the white sheets from over

my head, and searched around the room with wide

eyes. “Andy. What’s wrong?” Jesse stared at me.

“Having a nightmare... That same fuckin’ nightmare,”

I panted. “Alligators?” he asked. I nodded yes. “You

okay now?” he asked. “No! Hold me!” I whimpered.

He jumped onto the bed, and enclosed me in his

arms. I shivered and nestled to him. “Stay close to

me for a while, and hold me.” I begged. “It’s going to

be okay, Andy,” he reassured me. “I got a hold of

your grandmother, and you were right. Your mom

and dad aren’t home. They drove up to the summer

house in Skyforest to check if Les and Eric went there.”

Jesse paused for a while then cautiously continued.

”Andy, don’t freak out, but I think your grandma knows.”

“Knows what?” I was asking, but as the words left

my lips I realized what he was talking about.

“What?!!” My jaw dropped open. “Listen to me. She

said something kind of strange,” he said while he

examined my face. “She told me, “I know why you

boys are so close Jesse. And don’t you worry about

it. I love Andy and I love you, no matter what. Andy’s

dad doesn’t suspect anything, and that’s the way

it’s got to stay, you understand? Don’t tell him

nothing. If he asks, just keep it to yourselves. It’s

nobody’s business what the two of you do. Always

remember, if someone asks, don’t tell ‘em anything,

okay, Jesse? It would sure break my heart if

anything bad ever happened to one of you boys.

You understand me, don’t you?”

“How?” I wondered out loud. “How did you answer

her?” I asked. “I only said, ‘I think I know what you

mean’. She answered back, saying, ‘I’m sure you

know what I mean, Jesse, Dear. Don’t be scared.

Just be careful! I’m on your side, Jess, but don’t

tell Andy I know your secret. I don’t want him

frightened.’ Then she just changed the subject,” he


    “It sure does sound like she knows. But,

Shit! How?” I sank into a puzzled trance… “I don’t

know, but she did say she’s on our side, and she

loves you and me! So, we’re safe, I guess.”

“Yeah, I think she would try to protect us no matter

what. Did she sound mad at all?” I asked. “No, a

little concerned, but still cheerful. Like my mom did

when she asked if I liked you.” Jesse spoke

thoughtfully. “Hey, that’s it! We’ll ask your mom

whether my grandma knows about us! It is okay to

ask her, isn’t it?” I blurted. “Of course it’s okay! We

can ask her tonight. Feeling better now, Andy?” He

peered at me, questioningly. “Yeah… Hey, Jesse?

You want to get in bed with me?” I tempted him with

my shy question. “I was hoping you felt like having

me in bed with you!” He smiled. “Cause I want to

make love to you now.” He stripped off his school

clothes and crawled into bed. I laid him on his back,

and got on top. We kissed. I gazed into his eyes

and asked, “Why do people think it’s wrong for us

to love each other? We’re so happy! Why would they

hate someone for being happy?” I asked. “Cause

they don’t have love in their own hearts, Andy. Some

people only know how to hate. They hate ‘cause it’s

easy. Any idiot can hate. Hate requires no talent at


         To Be Continued.....