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
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: Zlatazobo@att.net
The Prince of Main Street
by Andrew Simon van Ryan
Alex Hoffrin, editing
all rights reserved
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,
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
Suddenly, they started shouting, with fifty questions
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
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
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
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
Alligator with its jaws open lurched forward,
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
Skyforest to check if Les and Eric went
for a while then cautiously
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.....