edited by Rob
contains details of a gay relationship. If you object to this, or it is
illegal for you to read such things, then it is best that you exit right
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There. That complies with the niceties, since if you're already here you already know about that, anyway.
Just don't get caught, okay?
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"Son of the Lost Weekend"
My God, the feeling was incredible...
Jamie was easing the speed up after he worked `Johan' deep inside me, and had found my most sensitive spot. What is it about having someone else doing it to you that made it so different? A matter of angle and your own position? I was going crazy... Still face down, my belly propped up on a pillow, I began to writhe on the bed, and was starting to loose control. Then Jamie hit the high speed and every muscle in my body tensed. I arched up and clamped down hard. I was riding a wave and heading for the coast and all that salty spray was about to be splashed across the shore. I could hear Jamie's breathing become heavy as he worked the toy inside me, and then... then...
Something was wrong. Very wrong. There was a completely different feeling now. Much deeper, too. "`Oops'?"
"Jamie, what did you do?"
". . . . ."
"Don't you dare jock out on me! What just happened?"
He crawled up beside me, so I knew something was really wrong, because Johan was still busy down below, vibrator set on high.
"C? Please don't be mad, ok hon? Umm... heh-heh... It slipped."
But that was Sunday night, and so far we've only covered the Friday Night Bitch Fest. I know I said it last time, but believe me, we really will be getting to toy time with Johan soon. After all, there was still all day Saturday and Sunday before sundown.
* * * * *
I sat out on the deck till I finished my coffee, then went back inside. My shorts and shirt were still in the living room so I slid these back on, not wanting to risk waking Jamie by going up to the bedroom. I found my Nike's and slipped them on since the kitchenette floor was tile and icy cold. I figured out how Paul's TV system worked, and kept the volume low as I checked out first the Weather Channel (sunny skies and warm weather for the week-end) then switched over to the news.
This was going to be my first presidential election, so I was following the progress of the candidates with as much interest as I could muster. I wasn't impressed. In my house, presidential politics were always a big deal with my dad, but he said this time around he just didn't see the point. He liked Slick Willy for no better reason than he hated Newt Gingrich, but they were gone from the scene. This year when he said "That asshole," it was a coin toss whether he was talking about the Vice President or the Governor of Texas. My mother said he missed the good old days of presidential politics, and that his favorite memory was picketing the White House and celebrating with the crowd when Richard Nixon resigned. You'd never know politics could be that much fun. `Indecision 2000' was stumbling to an end with just over a month of campaigning to go. My father said it would all be over by about nine o'clock election night, not like in 1968 when it took until noon the day after the election to announce the winner. I couldn't imagine it taking that long.
I watched CNN, listened to some sound bites, and then switched over to the Cartoon Channel to enjoy some vintage Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. At least they were interesting. After awhile I began prowling through the kitchen cabinets, taking inventory. I decided to make Jamie a good breakfast, no sugar feast like our first two mornings. I found some pancake mix, and checked the directions to make sure we had all the other stuff. I also spotted a pound of bacon and some orange juice. OK, I thought. A power brekkie for me and ma bay-bee! Even I could manage that. I was sure of it. I premixed the pancake batter and set it in the fridge, making only toast and some juice for myself to take the edge off the gnawing in my stomach. As soon as I heard noise upstairs I'd throw it all together and have things under-way when Jamie came down. I put two frying pans on the stove and decided it would be best to warm them up a little-just so there wouldn't be any delays.
Feeling proud of myself I went back to the living room and caught the beginning of a Tom and Jerry festival. I like those guys. I always hope Tom will pull it off one day and have a Jerry sandwich, much the same way I hoped that Sylvester would one day win a round with whatever he was battling. Of course I always wanted Porky to get shot by Elmer. Bugs was cool though; he was my kind of guy. The ultimate smart-ass who always pulled it off. Now, there was a role model.
I'm not sure how long I sat watching, but finally I heard the sound of Jamie lumbering around the bedroom when `The Flintstones' came on, and the telltale flush that marks most mornings. I buzzed into the kitchen and cranked up both burners from medium to high. I tossed the full pound of bacon in and jumped when I heard the grease start to spatter, but bacon always spatters, right? No matter. I grabbed the bowl of pancake mix and poured it into the other pan. It splattered back at me. Some of it caught me in the face and I staggered back into the counter, knocking something with my elbow before I slipped and slid down to the floor. I sat there thinking "what the f-" and almost made it to the `u' when the orange juice started pouring down on me. The acid blinded me, and then I could smell something I shouldn't have, and I don't mean salt marshes this time. I smelled smoke. Then I heard the smoke detectors.
I heard pounding across the floor, then Jamie swearing some more and the sound of running water then the banging of cabinets, and finally these swooshing sounds. I was blinking the orange juice out of my eyes when this jet of water hit me full in the face. Jamie was standing in front of me, looking very pissed and holding the sink sprayer.
"What the hell did you do?"
"Um, well, I thought I'd make breakfast."
"Breakfast? Before or after the fire department got here?"
"Yeah, you had a double alarm going. Flaming bacon in one pan and whatever the hell's in the other."
My eyes were clearing enough so I could see into the sink. My pancakes looked a tad over done. Well, more than a tad. They were black and charred. Then I looked at the stove. It was covered in white foam, and I couldn't really see the bacon, but I guess it was there somewhere. There were also some lovely scorch marks on the range hood and up the sides of the cabinets. I wrinkled my nose.
In a small voice, "Did I do that?"
"No. Louis and Lestat came in and spontaneously combusted. Who the hell else could've done it?"
I swallowed, and walked over to the pan in the sink. I jabbed at it with a spoon. It had the feel as well as the look and texture of charcoal. "Well, I guess pancakes are out."
"From now on, stick to cereal ok?"
The pan with the batter was a loss. How did I know you were supposed to grease it? We use Teflon at home, and this iron pan stuff was lost on me. And so ok, maybe letting them heat up for almost an hour wasn't the smartest thing in the world to do. The one with the bacon in it would be ok, and most of the scorch marks wiped off the cabinets. Well, a good part of them anyway.
Jamie was talkative. Whenever I'd try to speak he'd say, "Shut up." He muttered a lot though, and I really had a hard time making out much besides "dumb sonuvabitch" and "stupid twink." There were a few other words he must have picked up from his grandparents. They were in French Canadian, and sounded a lot like the things my grandfather said when he was ticked off. They must have been pretty good too, because my Nan used to yell at him when he said them in front of me.
After a subdued breakfast of shredded wheat and toast we cleaned up the rest of the mess in the kitchen, or rather Jamie did. He had calmed down quite a bit and was only cursing in English when I accidentally hit him with the mop. I turned and he stood there, leaning against the stove and holding his crotch, a pained expression on his face. He just said, "Get the fuck out," real calm like, and I took that as a good cue to exit. I slunk off to the bedroom and started picking things up until I heard him on the stairs. His face was still a grim mask when he entered. "I'm gonna take a shower. Try not to screw up anything else?"
"Hey, want company?" But the door slammed and I thought twice about going in and surprising him. I settled for folding up the leather goods and setting them aside. I did have one little brain flash though; Jamie had been eager to play with our "Johan Paulick," so I dug him out of the bottom of my night bag, inserted fresh batteries and set it on the night stand. Jamie had been fascinated with it since my birthday, but bad timing had kept us from indulging in any of his little fantasy trips and so far this weekend we had been trying out a few other things. I was pretty certain who was going to do the playing and who was going to be played with, but I resolved to play dumb when the time came. Then the water stopped, and I peeked into the bathroom. Jamie was shaving, just a towel thrown over his shoulder. Given my luck that morning, I really didn't want to irritate him while he had a razor in his hand. He did look in a better mood. I guess maybe our little Lucy/Ricky routine was over.
"So, what are we doing today?"
"Looking into added fire insurance for one thing. Just in case my brother ever really does ask us back."
"Ok, Jamie, I get the point. How about putting the knives away?" I said, standing in the doorway.
He just grunted and continued to shave. I began shucking my clothes, and I could see him watching in the mirror with this sly smile on his face. Well, at least he was thinking of sex again, which meant his mood really was improving. I wiggled my butt at him as often as I could, and did my best to give him a show. His eyes followed me in the mirror, so when I went to adjust the water in the shower I leaned in sideways on one leg facing him, giving him a great dangle shot. Once I had the water set to just the right side of barely warm I stepped in. I'm sensitive to heat, and always have to just ease it up as my body slowly adjusts.
"Sorry about being such a grouch about the fire," he said. "But on the other hand, think of this as payback for the shot in the balls."
It didn't click for a second, but then I heard the toilet flush.
* * * * *
I kept watching him from the corner of my eyes, seeing that smug, superior look on his face. I had let out one gawd-awful screech when the water went from barely warm to downright scalding. I couldn't hear him laughing in the bedroom, but I know he did. Ever since then he had this smirk on his face. I wasn't going to dignify him with any remarks about it, so I just decided to move on like nothing had ever happened. After all, revenge is a dish best served cold.
We were headed down 1-A now, that long highway of the `30's that skirts the coastline of New England. In tourist season it's a parking lot, but right now it was just this long stretch of road passing cottages and beach as the local terrain allowed. There was the drawbridge over the mouth of the Seabrook River, followed by a stretch of the salt marshes on our left and the Atlantic on our right as we ran north into Hampton Beach. Some time way back, Hampton had been regarded as a "family resort", and here and there you could see the remnants of what were once considered fine bed and breakfast type hotels. Somewhere along the line the clientele had shifted to a youth market, and the fancy family hotels gave way to crowded guesthouses. Like its sister city, Salisbury, across the Massachusetts border, Hampton had become a honky-tonk town. Salisbury was pitched to two markets; the first was a kid's paradise of carnival rides, fast food, and arcades. At night when the kids were gone, it was a nest of cheap bars. Paul Cayman was right when he said the town had a lot of cleaning up to do.
Hampton had captured the teen and young adult market. Yeah, there were still the arcades and fast food places, but there were a ton of different shops, some dealing with, um, paraphernalia that were banned in Massachusetts. But there were also `artist displays,' the paintings turned out by factories with a set amount of hand finishing on them so the law allows them to be sold as hand-painted. Next door to these were true galleries featuring the work of serious if not well-known artists. Every place sold tee shirts, novelties, and summer junk. Hampton also boasted the Hampton Beach Casino, which booked big acts throughout the summer. Not mega-stars, but good groups on their way up, sometimes on their way down. It was a good place to be in the summer, and lots to do. They did firework displays several times a week to keep the tourist trade flowing through. It was crowded, sometimes unkempt, but a friendly type of beach. The cops could be tough but then they had to be.
We pulled into a parking space on Ocean Blvd, right next to the public beach. This never happened in summer, and even if it did it was no bargain. You'd spend the day stuffing coins into the meter, and if you were late a cop was there writing a ticket. If he came back an hour later and the meter still hadn't been fed he radioed one of the fleet of tow trucks that stood by. This time of year there was no charge. We stepped out of the car and after less than ten seconds in the brisk sea breeze we were digging some sweats out of the trunk. Jamie's idea of course, since I had judged by the easy 70-degree weather and the bright sun inland at Paul's condo, and never thought of the cooler breeze from the Atlantic. Jamie settled for a gray hooded sweatshirt that zipped up the front. He wore a pair of shorts cut from the same material. I liked those shorts --- the soft cotton hugged his body beautifully, and you could see every ripple in the muscles of his butt when he walked. Other things tended to show nicely up front, too. For example, it was kind of obvious that Jamie wasn't wearing any underwear. Good thing the shorts were cut long. He didn't bother with the sweat pants, but I pulled on a pair anyway. There's a lot more of Jamie than there is of me and I suppose he just doesn't feel the cold as much as I do. I pulled out a white sweatshirt and hauled it on.
"Hey, gotta get the right look," he said and began fishing through a bag tucked in the corner of his trunk. "Got `em." He put a pair of sunglasses on my nose, plunked a hat on my head backwards. He came up with one of those white sailor caps with the brim turned down and a pair of Terminator wraparounds. "Cheap sunglasses and dumb hats. Just the kinda thing that says `tourist at the beach'."
I pulled the hat off and looked at it. "Fighting Cocks? Real appropriate!"
"Heh, just the thing for a South End QUIT! And the glasses give you that movie star look."
I looked into the side view mirror. "Tom Cruise in `Risky Business'?"
He was thoughtful. "No, with your nose more like Michael Imperioli in `The Sopranos'. They definitely got the Guido look. Make you look like a Jersey hit man."
"Bastard," I said and swatted him with the hat. "Leave my nose alone. It ain't that big. Besides, Imperioli doesn't have a chin." I stood back and looked at him. "You look like Moose Miller in the old Archie comics."
He opened his eyes wide and crossed them, twisting his mouth in an idiot grin and yelled "Duhhhhh!" He let his tongue loll to one side of his mouth. Drool ran down the corner. Then he swatted my ass, tweaked my nose and hopped the rail over the concrete breakwater and ran for the beach. I looked at the drop from the walk to the sand and charged for the stairs to chase him. He saw me and yelled "Wuss! Wuss! Wuss!" as he ran for the water line. He had the advantage of a head start and longer legs, but I was a runner so I caught up to him pretty quickly. It was low tide, so we fell into step walking along the wet hard pack near the water's edge for easier traction. We walked along quietly, occasionally bumping each other like a pair of little kids. When Jamie hip checked it was enough to send me flying, but he took it easy after the first few times and we both laughed. Every now and then he just put a hand on my shoulder as we talked about not much of anything, just enjoying the warmth of the sun on our faces and the feel of the cool ocean breeze wafting around us. We didn't get too close to the water line, but our trainers got wet and neither of us cared. I pulled the legs of my sweat pants up to keep them from getting too damp.
Every now and then he put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed it. We both knew we wanted to walk with an arm around the other, but we both knew we didn't want to start a shit storm. It may have been the end of the season and there weren't many people on the sand, but there were enough. We passed a few mixed couples walking along like us. Two couples passed within a few feet and one guy looked like he was going to say something, but took a look at Jamie and decided to shut up. They were almost out of earshot when we heard the girls giggle and the word "fags". Jamie tensed, but I grabbed his wrist.
"Forget it, babe. They don't matter."
He relaxed. "It does matter," he said quietly. I wasn't sure of the tone of his voice... whether it was hurt or anger that I heard there. Maybe both.
I needed a diversion.
"TAG! You're It!" I shouted and gave him a light kick with my foot on his backside and began sprinting down the beach. It was a different story this time; without his leap from the side walk and his head start Jamie didn't have a chance, even with those long legs of his. Jamie could run. But he only knew to pour it on for short distances. On the other hand, I knew how to pace myself. When he began to falter I'd slow down or turn back and dance around him. He'd grab at me but all he did was wind up falling on his face and getting himself soaked and caked with mud from the ebb tide beach. I let him catch up to me when we finally made it to the Black Rocks, an artificial barrier that helped keep the waters near the beach a bit calmer from the cross currents of the tides. When he was almost there, I scrambled up and over the rocks with him in pursuit. I taunted him to keep him moving. Then I scrambled into an opening between the rocks that led down to a small tidal pool. You couldn't see the opening from the shore; I had climbed this way a thousand times when my parents took my sister and me to the beach. He scrambled down and grabbed me.
"Now, YOU'RE It!" he shouted laughing and gave me a light smack on the back. Well, light for him anyway. I went sprawling and he sat on my chest, pinning me down by the edge of the water.
"Nope. This is Home. I get to call it `cuz I started the game. You lose and you gotta pay the price."
He let my shoulders go and rolled off, making a big deal sigh. "Ok, runt. What's the price?"
I reached over and grabbed him by the sweatshirt and pulled him down to my level and planted a big juicy kiss on him.
"Some price," he said smiling when we finished.
"That's a down payment," I said with a mock sneer. "You'll find out the real cost tonight!"
He nipped my nose. "Don't think I'll mind. My wallet's pretty full."
"I wasn't thinking of your big wallet," and I rubbed him where the true price would be paid.
"That's pretty full, too." We kissed again, and played a little tongue hockey until I finally started to squirm because the water had seeped through my sweat pants. When we got up I slipped out of them. My shorts were soaked through too but they stood a better chance of drying without the heavier cotton sweats. Jamie was standing there laughing at me. "Dude, you look like a five year old in your daddy's sweatshirt and nothing else. All I can see is that thing hanging to your knees and your head. Oh, and that beak of yours too."
"You wish it hung to my knees. And leave my nose alone."
"Pervert. All you ever think of is sex."
"Bullshit. Sometimes I think of food, too. I'm getting hungry. We can get some lunch soon?"
He rubbed a hand over my shoulders. "Yup yup, pretty soon. Let's check out the rocks, I haven't been here in years!"
We spent quite a bit of time just climbing along, checking out the small tidal pools, and watching the crabs burrow into the sand when we stirred the water. We saw a few starfish and sand dollars. The damn gulls were everywhere. They were getting impossible now that they were protected by the state. Ballsier too. No longer satisfied with stealing the scraps from beach goers, they were now swooping down on anything that registered as food, no matter how close people were. And they were mean. You couldn't just shoo them away anymore. Some people said it was like they were doing a re-make of The Birds. My father said they weren't much better than pigeons, which he classed as rats with wings. These were just white rats. They scavenged anything they could wrestle down their throats. I went to pee and Jamie told me to be careful or I might lose a little something when a couple gulls landed close to me. I didn't dignify the remark with an answer, just sent a little of the stream in his direction.
"Ok, smart ass. If you want a sword fight we can do that tonight. Excalibur vs. the Jackknife," he said grinning.
We were close to the end of the point and we just sat, looking out over the ocean. We'd have to head back soon since the tide was beginning to come in and soon this part of the rock barrier would be under water. But we just sat, looking out over the water and listening to the surf. Jamie slipped an arm around my waist, and I leaned into him. I felt his chin on the top of my head. He moved a little and I couldn't feel it because of the hat but I know he brushed me with his lips. I snuggled a little closer. We felt the warm sun on our backs and the cool breeze in our faces. Eventually the combination of sitting on cold damp rocks, salt spray and wet pants started to get to me and I began to shiver.
"Guess we should get back," he said. "We stay here much longer you'll be turning blue."
We began the long trek back along the rock barrier. It was more difficult this far out - the builders had known the rocks would be a magnet to kids, and the tops were flattened closer to the shore. When these barriers were built adults had a more hands-off attitude about things. Technically we weren't even supposed to be out here, and if this were high season in Hampton we would have been told to get off by a beach cop or lifeguard long before we got to the mid-point. They were gone for the season now, so we had been able to make our little trek. Funny, the return leg of a trip is always slower than the journey out. By the time we made it half way back and the rocks flattened out again, both of us were tired. We clambered down close to where we started and looked up the coastline. The surf was beginning to pound in and neither one of us wanted to get any wetter or colder, or negotiate the soft sand above the water line. We headed for the ramp that would lead up to the sidewalk of Ocean Blvd. The breeze from the water was a little gentler here and we had a better chance of drying off. Foot traffic was light, even for a beautiful October day. Again we passed more mixed couples. Some watched us; most paid no attention as we walked side by side. There was a slow stream of traffic along 1-A. We crossed the highway to get a little more protection from the wind.
We were way up the Boulevard, beyond the shops and arcades. Cottages were tucked in here but nicer than in Salisbury. They were close but not roof-line-to-roof-line the way they were in Salisbury. Most had the mark of seasonal rentals; the paint was peeling (something that happens fast this close to the water) and the small yards were messy and unkempt. Cheap shades hung pulled tight in the windows. But here and there you spotted a year-round resident. The houses were sided. Gardens were tended, and sometimes a brave soul even managed to keep a lawn this close to the shore. Torn shades gave way to mini blinds, and sometimes they were open and you could see the hint of nice, well kept homes. The closer you got to the business area these gave way to rentals and homes converted into retail. Here and there you could see the remnants of the old summer hotels, but instead of the suites my grandmother talked about from time to time you knew that these were Guest Houses packed with beds and short-term holiday trippers.
Finally we came to the real business area and the food stands started to sprout. Most were boarded up for the winter but we still managed to find one open and we got a couple of hot sandwiches. Jamie groused about having to drink a soda but the only alternative was either grape juice or V-8 and that interested him even less.
We were sitting on a bench facing the road when this new, silver Chrysler convertible drove by and we heard the breaks screech. The driver turned the car around in the middle of 1-A and headed back towards us. We could make out four people in the car, two guys and two girls, but that was all we were sure of. "Fuckin' homos!" someone yelled and something white was thrown. The car left rubber getting away. It would've hit me in the face but Jamie grabbed it out of the air just before it struck.
No worry though, it was just cloth, a tee shirt in fact. Jamie spread it out and his face was hard as a rock, his eyes slits. I looked, and didn't believe. It was a stenciled shirt. There was a knock-off of the Trix rabbit swinging a club, smashing a pink bowl filled with rainbow colored triangles. I read the logo: `Silly faggot! Dix are for Chix!'
"It's those jerks from the beach," Jamie said quietly.
"It doesn't matter, Jamie."
"Hell it doesn't. I know one of those guys," he said in a low voice.
I raised an eyebrow. "Didn't look like anyone from school. Is he from Haverhill? What's his name?"
"It's the one who called us fags, the one who gave us that look when we were walking along the beach. No idea what his name really is. I called him Jack but he thought mine was Rob." He looked at me, then at the ground. "I never said anything, but you know that wasn't my first trip to Rte. 3, didn't you?"
I always figured it wasn't, but never brought it up. Jamie was no angel, and I knew why I went there the night we met. If things had been very different, I might have gone there again, who knows? The motives didn't matter, so long as neither of us was going there anymore. "I met Jack there early last summer. I recognized him on the beach and I recognized that car."
I nodded. "Just a one-way thing while his girlfriend was gone?"
He made a face. "It was one-way alright, but that was his choice and he was the one doing all the work. I had no clue about the girlfriend. I met him there twice and both times were the same. We'd drive off somewhere else and he'd jump in my car and tell me to lean back."
I shook my head. "That makes no sense."
He shrugged, looking out to the sea across the highway. "We do it all the time, Chris. Just not as mean. We play the straight game at school. You never had a `cover date'? I've seen you at school things with Maria Callahan."
"Maria and I've been friends since kindergarten. She lives right down the street from me."
"Yeah, but she doesn't go to Haverhill High, and you let other people think the two of you go out sometimes to take the heat off. Plus, she likes going out with a nice lookin' guy who doesn't try getting her bra strap off all night. Just like Karen likes gay guys too - she can be out with good looking men who don't grab."
There was no sense in denying it. I did exactly that with Maria. "OK, but I don't run around making life miserable for someone else like this Jack. And you don't even do showcase dates, or if you do I never saw you."
He leaned back on the bench and took a large bite of his roast beef, chewed and swallowed before drinking his root beer. "I did, for awhile. But then I figured why bother, why lead some girl on. Same time, I didn't come out either. I didn't want the hassle. Plus if I met someone at school, I didn't want them to get hassled. Ever think what your life would be like if everyone knew about me?" I had. "It's like Paul said, no one was gonna get on my case, or touch anyone I was going with... as long as I was there. But we both know I can't always be around. I'm not putting you down, Chris, but it wouldn't take much to kick the hell out of you, and we both know guys in that school who'd do exactly that. I never made fag jokes but I never stopped anyone from making them. I just hid out and played it safe. Jack's doing the same thing, hiding out. He's just taking it to a different level so no one knows. And he's making sure no one guesses."
* * * * *
Jamie was silent for a long time as we walked up the business side of Ocean Blvd., listening to the surf as it made its way closer and closer. There was no chance of its making its way to the storm barricades, but when we looked back at the stone reef we could see that the point where we had sat not long before was under water.
A lot of the shops were closed for the season already but a few were still open. Most were loaded with junk, everyone just about sold tee shirts celebrating Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. There were a lot of other novelty tee shirts in there too. I bought one that read, `Your village called. Their idiot is missing.' Jamie scored one that read `Absolutä Asshole: Just add vodka.' For some reason Jamie hung onto the tee shirt Jack had thrown at us, stuffing it in his back pocket. We stopped in at the arcade that makes up the ground level of the Hampton Beach Casino. To Jamie it was a wonderland of old fashioned pinball machines and we spent a good half-hour on one. I was never any good at these but Jamie was an expert. He pulled away reluctantly with God knew how many free games chalked up on it. Two kids of about 13 jumped at it when he gave them the games. I laughed when they called him `Mister' when they thanked him. One asked me how much older my big brother was. The kid was a little taller than me.
For kicks we played at some of the old ski ball alleys and both of us scored tickets each game. Last time I played they were a quarter, now they were a half-buck a game. We checked the prizes, and if we could chalk up another hundred points we could get an imitation brass table lighter shaped like an old dueling pistol. Jamie estimated at the rate we were going it would only be another fifty bucks. The kids were still playing pinball on the machine and Jamie slipped them the tickets as we passed. I could have been wrong but one of them seemed to be checking Jamie out pretty carefully as we passed, and gave Jamie a big smile. His friend concentrated on the pinball.
"He's starting young," I said when I saw Jamie smiling. The boy had been a blip on both our gaydar arrays.
"Like you never used to look?"
"I looked, just hadn't figured out why yet. I know that smile. He's figured it out. Bet you're on his mind at lights out tonight." He swatted the back of my head and I laughed at him.
Vicky was only a short walk from the Casino and we hopped in, agreeing to head back to Paul's condo, and to pick up some things on the way back. We turned down a side street and came back onto Ocean Blvd and aimed for the drawbridge again, took a right shortly after onto one of the side roads that lead away from the shore. Jamie took us on a brief tour of some back roads I would never know and we found ourselves at a small plaza that featured a restaurant, video store, a small market and an Ace Hardware. I saw his eyes brighten when we circled the lot and saw a silver gray Chrysler convertible, parked across two spaces. The top was up, but Jamie had seen that car often enough or so he thought. Jack's car. It was blocked from the front by two vans, and had two big SUVs on either side. He sent me on to Kip's Video claiming he had to get something at the hardware store. I thought maybe it was something I had damaged in the kitchen so I didn't push for details.
Kip's looked pretty well stocked, and I was browsing through the latest releases but I didn't see anything. There was a guy at the counter with a tag that read `Kip' so using my brain I figured him for the owner. My height, which is always a plus for someone with me. Not skinny like me, but not fat by any means. Nice deep brown hair. When he looked up I could see he wore a neat little pair of roundish glasses. For some reason I thought of the pictures I'd seen of the character on those kid's books... Harry Potter. I continued browsing, and noticed a door at the rear marked "Adults Only: 21 or over." I was considering giving it a try when Kip/Harry just looked up at me over his glasses and shook his head firmly. Damn. The law says I'm an adult; I can get a credit card, vote, or buy my own car. It also won't let me buy a beer or even rent a porn vid. I went back to checking titles when I heard the door open and Jamie came in.
"Jamie! Hey, Paul said you might be in this weekend. Said I should just let you take out anything and use his account number."
"Yup, he said. I'm here with a friend for the weekend-over there." He pointed to me. Kip looked us both over and smiled.
Gaydar again. "I think I got some stuff you guys will like," he said and signaled Jamie to follow him. He got to a section called Adult Theme Drama and picked off three videos and handed them to us. "I'm pretty sure you boys'll enjoy these."
I looked at the titles. Oh yeah, he had Gaydar all right: Beautiful Thing, Get Real, and Torch Song Trilogy. I had seen them all at different times at Blockbuster and Sun Video, but I also knew the kids behind the counters at those places and didn't have the nerve to pick them up. Jamie raised his eyebrows and saw the eager look on my face. "I've seen Torch Song before but it's pretty good. We'll do it, ok C?"
I nodded, turning red but still smiling. Kip led us back to the front counter, scanned the tapes after pulling up Paul's account on his computer screen and handed us our change. "Be back tomorrow," Jamie said as we left.
Outside in the parking lot I could hear Jamie humming. I didn't know what finally got him in a good mood, but I didn't question it. He got into the car and pulled something out of his pocket and tossed it onto the dashboard. "What's with those?" I asked.
"Needed a pair. Bought `em at the hardware store."
"Jamie, there's a pair of those at your brother's house. You used them yesterday."
"Needle nose pliers have a lot of uses, Chris. Besides, I had to get these, didn't I?" He dropped four small metal things in my hand; each had a flattened top.
I looked at them, no idea what they were for. Just then he wheeled past the silver Chrysler. Jack and his friends were standing around the car, staring at it. "Jesus, he's got two flats," I said.
"Four, actually. The tires are missing their valve stems, I think." He pointed with his chin to my hand. "Those are valve stems, by the way."
I sat back and laughed. "They'll need a flat bed truck to haul that thing away," I said. "Expensive. Too bad they'll never know who did it."
He beeped and waved at them as we sped off, giving them this big smarmy smirk. Jack stood staring, a cell phone half way to his face. He knew the car. "They'll figure it out. Assumin' they ever get that fuckin' tee shirt out of the exhaust in one piece."
* * * * *
We got back to the condo and settled in. Jamie took a nap. I promised not to cook and watched some television. About five he came down and we threw some frozen French bread pizzas in the oven. Or at least Jamie did, I wasn't allowed to touch anything in the kitchen other than the sink tap and the refrigerator. Once they were done we settled in on the couch together and Jamie lay with his head in my lap like we did that first afternoon at my house. His legs still hung over the arms of the sofa. Beautiful Thing was first, and it was. Get Real wasn't all that real but we had fun watching it. I started to make a crack about "cottaging" but when I started Jamie never moved his head just said "Rest stop," and I shut my mouth. I loved the scene when the boys are at the dance, wrapped around their dates, and realize they are staring at each other. It flashed through my mind that I really wanted to dance with Jamie one day. A slow one, yeah, but other dances too.
Torch Song made me laugh, then cry, and then feel an inner peace. Maybe Stan and Todd were not our destinies after all.
It was near midnight when we went to bed. No sex, we just cuddled. Sun and surf is the best sleeping aid there is.
I woke before Jamie as usual, and again as usual found myself on the opposite side of the bed from where I started, clinging to the edge. Jamie was sprawled everywhere and was hogging most of the blankets, too. For a minute I debated waking him up in an unusual way, but then decided I would wait until Monday morning. That way he could start the school week real relaxed and comfortable.
I put on plenty of coffee for both, but limited breakfast to my normal toast, standing watch over both appliances the whole time. There was a new fire extinguisher standing by just in case. I wasn't about to risk another near-divorce because of a kitchen disaster. When my toast was ready and my coffee lightened, I settled in at the dining room table and picked up my book bag. I was way ahead in my readings, that was not a problem, and I had several papers near completion way ahead of the dead lines, but the work was sitting in my computer at home and backed up on floppies. But I did have some things to work out in calculus (easily my least favorite subject) and went quietly to work on them.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard Jamie moving about. He came down and saw me working and said nothing, just got himself a quick cup of coffee. He was in shorts again and a sweatshirt, much like yesterday. I was aware of him moving about. Once I looked up and he was just standing there with his coffee and smiling, then I saw him gathering up the vids and quietly slip out the door. At some point he came back and I saw him gather his own book bag and head up the stairs. I was sure he was in Paul Cayman's smaller front bedroom, where he had his computer set up. Jamie was working on some of his own things and had all his information on floppies. Paul had the necessary software Jamie needed, since Jamie had set up his brother's computer. About the time I finished up my own work, I heard the clatter of the small Epson printer working away upstairs. Paul had an old, cheap Epson 640, same as I did. They were slow and noisy, but they got the job done given enough time. Jamie came down the stairs about the same time I finished up my calculus assignment.
"I really can help you with that stuff," he said, sliding an arm around my chest and nuzzling my neck.
"'S ok. Only way I'll ever get the hang of it is doing it myself. So, what's up today?"
"Nice lunch in Newburyport, I figure. There's this really nice restaurant there; Paul took me a couple times last summer. If we're lucky and the weather holds we might get a chance to sit in the outdoor courtyard."
"Showers first, though. And I heard there was a fresh water alert," I said with a small smile.
"Guess we better double up in the shower. Can't waste water, you know."
"Just what I was thinking," I said, closing up my text and taking him by the arm as we headed for the stairs.
* * * * *
Newburyport is everything Hampton and Salisbury wished they could be. A dead fishing town, its brick buildings had lain empty for decades, becoming the haven for derelicts and rats. Offices of defunct shipping and fishing companies had been flophouses. Its center square village became as deserted as that of any tired, worn out city along the banks of the Merrimack River, not much different from my Haverhill or its sisters further north and west like Lawrence or Lowell. Filled with cheap bars, hookers, hustlers and drug sellers, it lay all but abandoned throughout the sixties and seventies. In the eighties its leaders looked around and started over. The town square today is filled with shops and restaurants living off the bounty of the tourist and day-tripper. Its small harbor, once filled with busy merchant freighters and fishing boats, lends itself to view as a busy private marina where the wealthy north of Boston store the sail boats and motor launches that seldom venture from their moorings, but in the evening serve as floating bars and party barges.
It was a cooler day and I had learned my lesson. I dressed in white cargo pants and a long sleeved maroon shirt. Jamie was in what I had begun to think of as his trademark button front jeans (and those buttons strained oh! So nicely) and a long sleeved Rugby shirt in black and green. We both wore white sneakers-- my size 8 1/2 Nike's, Jamie size 13 (triple wide) New Balance. I completed my look with the hit-man sunglasses doing my Michael Imperioli impersonation (and still thinking young Tom Cruise) while Jamie continued his Terminator look. He was reaching over to tap my nose when I said simply "Planning on dating your hand again?" and he thought twice.
Parking was easy, even though the town was busy. Newburyport doesn't depend on the sun and sand for its attractions; Newburyport depends on fat wallets and the public's hunger for collecting junk.
We began at the flea market, one of the few buildings near the town square that didn't quite fit in with the local building code, but who's presence was suffered since it was a money maker. Part old barn, part cinder block, add in the chaos of a `50's Quonset hut and a yard filled with rusting junk, the market boasts everything from true antiques worth thousands to convenience store junk. You could find treasures or trash sitting side by side. Everything was cash and carry. Jamie loved it, and took his time pouring over books so old the pages were falling out of their leather bindings, statuettes that almost looked like Dresden ware, tacky wall prints in the art deco of the twenties and the Chinese Modern of the fifties. Lava lamps were well represented in a display of seventies junk that was topped off by a poster for some movie called Saturday Night Fever with the picture of this really hot looking guy in an ugly white suit with big lapels. He filled the pants nicely, even if they did look to be spray painted on. It was amazing what some people will do to themselves to look stylish, I thought. Then I hiked up my underwear to just below my navel and pushed my pants down lower around my hips, so the cuffs would drag on the ground just the right way.
From there we moved up to the junk shops and galleries, and Jamie again pawed through everything. I drew the line at the candle shop; the second we passed through the door my sinuses closed solid from the perfumes. If I stayed more than a few minutes I'd have a headache for the rest of the day. He wanted a few things to take back to his mother. She loved scented candles.
I waited outside, leaning against the window, checking out the boys as they passed behind the safety of my sunglasses. Nice view, too. Sunglasses must have been invented by a gay man to check out the crowds in relative safety. I was eyeing a very hot looking guy with short spiked hair across the road. Cute, definitely; but his face was locked up in this scowl that seemed to look natural on him, and I detected just a touch of attitude when I read his tee shirt: `What part of NO don't you understand?' There was something slightly familiar about him, but I couldn't place it. He was at least a couple years older than me, so maybe he had been ahead of me at school. He was checking me out too I realized, and openly. Just for laughs I smiled and he smiled back, and his eyes went up and down my body and the scowl softened almost into a smile. It never fails, does it? When I was searching everywhere for a guy, I couldn't find anyone who would look twice. Now I had someone and a cutie like this wants to move in and claim the territory
He pushed off the wall and looked back into the store behind him, and I think he was going to cross over when another figure came out and called to him, taking him by the arm.
Dave. Dave was with my cruiser. And he was turning my way to see what the hunk was looking at and-
Dave grabbed the guy's arm, and the two of them were wading through the pedestrians and the traffic and headed for me. Dave was all smiles, like always. The hunk didn't like being grabbed or pulled along by the look of the scowl that had returned. But his eyes were back on me and his almost-smile looked to be coming back when he got a closer look at me. He had great sideburns, and the stubble on his face made me wonder for a moment how they would feel on the inside of my thighs...
Dave was bubbling over. "Great move yesterday, jerk. Thanks to you I had to work a shift with Prendegast last night."
"Oh gimme a break! You knew I was off for the weekend!"
"Yeah, but I didn't expect to have to close with the boss and Wynona. One or the other I can deal with, but both? She spent the night with her nose buried up his butt anyway so at least she wasn't on my case. Hey, this is a friend of mine, Jerry."
Jerry held out his hand and as we shook he smiled again and his eyes wandered over my body. His grip was almost a caress on my hand. Oh, man, to be free... "This is Chris St. Jacques, we work together at Borders. So you down here with Jay?"
"Yup. He's checking out the candles in there," I said jerking my thumb back at The Chandler Shoppe. "You know me with perfumes and stuff."
"Tell me about it. I still remember you almost passing out that time at Filenes' when some idiot doused you with cologne. You guys have a good weekend? Hey! Jamie!"
I turned and there he was, clutching a bag full of candles. His face brightened when he saw Dave, but it froze when he saw his companion. Jerry's smile slipped away, and while he didn't exactly return to his earlier scowl, he didn't look pleased.
"Hello, Jeremy." Jamie didn't sound any more pleased than Jerry-Jeremy-looked. Jamie's lips were pressed thin, and there were small wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. Jamie only gets that little squint when he's pissed at something.
I looked at the `ex' and he looked at me. We saw each other in a whole new light now. Never mind a few minutes before we looked each other over carefully and liked what we saw. I imagine Jeremy was asking himself the same question I was, "Now, what did Jamie see in him?"
Dave missed it all of course. "Kewl, you guys know each other! Hey, we were going to Ciro's for lunch. How about you guys joining us?"
"Sorry, Dave. Chris and I just ate."
Actually we hadn't, and Ciro's was where we were supposed to eat; Jamie had pointed it out earlier when we walked by. To make it worse, my stomach started to rumble and the truth was it was ready to crawl to the restaurant all by itself.
"Another time then," Jeremy said in his nasal voice.
"Yeah. Another time, Jeremy." The ice in Jamie's voice froze the air between them.
Dave's face betrayed what was running through his mind, and he caught on quickly that it was time to leave. "Well, sure. See you guys in school tomorrow." Then to me, "Looks like you and me should have a long talk."
We split in different directions, and I was anxious to get out of earshot.
"There's another place we can go for lunch. Not as nice, but a healthier atmosphere."
"What's going on between you two?"
He sighed. "Don't go there, Chris."
"That was your old boyfriend, right? The one I saw in the picture in your bedroom?"
There was a short silence, and Jamie was biting down on his lower lip. "Yeah, that's the same Jeremy. I don't know if you could call us boyfriends, but we were seeing each other for awhile."
I thought about Dave and Jeremy together. "So you think Dave's... you know. I mean, he and Jeremy might be just friends."
His mood hadn't improved much. "One thing about Jeremy--he doesn't have friends. He has future business contacts and fuck buddies."
I snorted. Dave wanted to study Marine Biology. That didn't leave much doubt about their relationship.
"It's not funny, Chris. Dave's gonna be in for some hurt."
Sight seeing got cut short and we picked up the car and found a place for lunch. It was more like one of those old fashioned diners you see in movies rather than the garden I was promised, but by that point all I cared about was shoving some food down my throat that didn't come out of a micro-wave package. It was a good dinner anyway, and Jamie's mood improved by the end of it. I had a thousand questions I wanted to ask him about Jeremy, but it was a killer knowing I would never be able to ask them. I was also worried about David. Jamie didn't hold grudges, but for Jeremy he was making an exception.
We were back in the car when Jamie looked at me with a leer. "So, ready for the three-way tonight?"
What had I missed here?
"You know. Just you, me and Johan..."
* * * * *
It was a little after 10pm when Jamie and I left the Emergency Room at Anna Jacques Hospital in Amesbury, the only hospital Jamie knew how to get to down along the coast. He faced ahead, with his eyes riveted to the ground. I also faced forward but looked straight ahead. Jamie's expression could best be described as `sheepish.' Mine could best be described as... miffed. Nice word, miffed. Miffed is a nice way of saying PISSED OFF TO THE MAX. Back in the Emergency Room was an old man who claimed he had heard some mysterious buzzing sound after he sat next to me, two giggling nurses, and a resident who had learned something new in the practice of ER medicine. They had presented Jamie with a small white plastic bag.
We got to the lot marked "ER Admissions" and Jamie opened my door and I slid into the passenger seat, slamming the door as hard as I could. I didn't bother to reach over and unlock his side, and he fumbled with the keys and eventually opened the door and slid in next to me. He placed a small white bag on the bench seat between us.
"You realize all three of them'll be telling this story at their retirement dinners, of course."
Jamie didn't say anything, and I was afraid if I looked I'd see the corners of his lips pulling up in a smile. If I saw that I really would kill him.
I looked at him anyway, and sure enough he was trying to hide a smile. "Did you have to tell them everything we did?"
Jamie shrugged. "Well, they had to know..." he began. "How did the doctor get it out?"
"Shut up." I had a flashback of the cute resident pulling on a pair of latex gloves and trying not to laugh when he said it might hurt a little.
There was a short silence. "You could have waited, babe. I mean it could have just, you know, worked its way out."
"Waited for what? Two hours on the john wasn't enough? Jesus, how am I gonna explain this when the insurance company sends the forms to my parents. At least they left it as `emergency extraction' on the claim forms. Thank God I'm 18 and they didn't need parental consent."
We drove in heavy silence, headed back to the condo in Seabrook. It was a good fifteen minutes before Jamie spoke again. "You know babe, I could put a safety grip on it for next time. You know, like a flange at the base so it doesn't slide-"
I reached down and picked up the white plastic bag, rolled down the window, and tossed `Johan Paulick' into the gutter.
"Next time? There is never gonna be a next time."
© 2001-2002 by Keith Mystery.
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