The following is fiction. It contains some scenes involving gay sex. If reading such material is against the law, please do not read this story.
I have been enormously gratified by my readers’ response to my first two stories, 8th Grade and Prom. Your comments to me have been exceedingly generous and deeply appreciated.
I have had several requests asking for the location of my two previous stories. They can be found as follows:
8th Grade: Nifty Archives, Gay Male, Young Friends, April 1, 2005
Prom: Nifty Archives, Gay Male, High School, May 15, 2005
What explicit sex is included in this story is intended to further the story; I do not write gratuitous sex scenes. The story is not principally about sex, and if your interest lies principally in reading about sexual activity, you will find this story disappointing and uninteresting in the extreme.
Those of you that have read my first two stories know that I like writing romantic tales of young teens learning who they are. This story has a somewhat darker and more troubling theme, and may have a message that is objectionable to some. I think the majority of you will enjoy it, but I’ve been known to be wrong in the past. Please be forewarned.
This story is copyrighted by the author. His permission must be secured before any copying or use of this story is permitted.
I love hearing from readers. It’s the reward I get for writing these stories. Any comments will reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
T I M
We had lived in Lakeshore, Ohio, ever since I was born. My parents had actually been married there. Lakeshore was a small town with a population of around 9,000 people. The name makes you think the town was situated on a lake, maybe even Lake Erie if you know anything about Ohio, but in fact it was located well away from it in the southeastern part of the state, much closer to the Ohio River than the Great Lake. I’m not sure where the name came from, but there were several small and medium sized lakes in the vicinity, as there are throughout Ohio, and that may have contributed to the name. I guess I was never curious enough to look it up or ask anyone. There were no really big lakes anywhere around that I knew about.
The town was located in the rolling hills that make up that part of the state, pretty country much like western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Small towns are different from big cities. People tend to know each other. There aren’t as many people coming to live there or leaving to live somewhere else in a small town, or at least there weren’t in our stable little town. The major business there was Clendenon Brothers, a company that made china dishes for diners and coffee shops––the sturdy, beige-colored plates and cups and saucers that everyone recognizes as belonging in low cost establishments that serve breakfast all day long and hamburgers and fries and coffee, lots of coffee, and frequently are open 24 hours a day.
The china plant had at least a thousand employees and was by far the largest employer in the city. There was one main street and a lesser thoroughfare running parallel to it in the downtown area. There was one large school property which held two buildings. All the lower grades from kindergarten through 8th were situated in one building and the high school grades were located in the other building. The younger kids were broken up, too, so the elementary kids were separated from the middle school kids, even though they shared the same building.
I was just an ordinary kid growing up, nothing special or remarkable, doing the ordinary things. I met Jed, who was to become my best friend, when they moved next door to us when I was 6. He was also 6, and while I was outgoing, precocious and mischievous, he was shy and quiet. I watched as the large moving van pulled up to the vacant house next door to ours that summer morning. I liked big trucks, but never had been this close to one. Seeing it stop next door, that was exciting!
Shortly after stopping, shortly after the men in the truck swung open the large side doors on the van and placed a ramp so they could walk up into it, a car pulled into the driveway. A tall man wearing a tee shirt and blue jeans got out first and looked around, surveying the neighborhood. He saw me standing on my porch watching and gave me a friendly wave. I returned it. A woman about my mother’s age got out of her side of the car and opened the back door. A boy who looked about my age, though he was a little larger than I was, got out. He had blond hair that needed cutting as it fell almost across his eyes and he now brushed it to the side with the back of his hand. I was to grow accustomed to, even fond of, that gesture. While I was studying this boy, a girl older by probably a couple years got out of the other side of the car. She slammed her door, then said to her father, loud enough for me to easily hear her, “I get to pick my room before Jed, you said so.”
There was an unpleasant ring to her voice. She sounded cross. I decided I didn’t like her. Of course, I was 6. I didn’t like any girls. Her mother, however, spoke to her nicely, with no sign of noticing the girl’s grating tone of voice. “Sure you can, Missy. Why don’t you go with your father right now?”
The men were beginning to bring some large boxes out of the truck and setting them on the lawn. One of the men walked up and spoke to the man beside the car, and then the two of them walked up to the front door of the house. I decided it would be much better if I were over there where all this interesting stuff was happening instead of standing on my porch. So that’s where I went.
When I reached the car, the boy and his mother were still standing there. The girl had gone into the house with her father. I approached the woman and boy.
“Hello, are you moving in here?” I asked.
“Well, hello,” said the woman amusedly. “Yes we are. I’m Mrs. Tuckman and this is Jed. What’s your name?”
“I’m Tim. Is Jed 6?” I’m not sure why I asked her instead of him. It might have been because he had turned when I’d approached them and had his face pressed tightly against her skirt.
“Yes he is!” said a pleased Mrs. Tuckman. “You look like you are, too. Is that right?”
“Yep. I’m 6 and I live right there with my parents and my brother Shawn. He’s 9. My father is a painter, and my mother teaches school. Not my class. Another class. I’m going to be in 2th grade next year. Is Jed in 2nd grade?”
Mrs. Tuckman laughed. “Yes, he’ll be going into 2nd grade too. Maybe you can help him. He’s a little shy. Aren’t you, Jeddy?”
Jeddy didn’t say anything, just pressed a little harder into his mother’s skirt. At this point I became a little frustrated with him. Maybe when you’re 6 you don’t have all that much patience, maybe that was part of the problem, but I didn’t understand shy or hiding in my mother’s skirt and I wanted to see this kid and get to know him and play with him.
“Why is he shy? Is there something wrong with him?” I asked, looking up at her.
Mrs. Tuckman laughed again. I kind of liked her laugh. It made me want to laugh too. It made me think there wasn’t any reason to get mad or frustrated about anything. “No, he’s bashful. Did you see the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?” I nodded my head. “Well, he’s like the dwarf named Bashful. Until he gets to know somebody, he acts likes this. When he knows you, he’ll like you. You’ll have fun with him. I’m glad we moved next to you, Tim. You two are going to be good friends. I just know it.”
That made me smile. I liked her pretty good right now. I just had reservations about Jeddy, but she was all right. I was glad they’d moved in next door too.
Just then my mother came out of the house onto our front porch. She looked over at the truck, then saw me talking to Mrs. Tuckman. She walked over, smiling. The two of them introduced themselves and began chatting. I stood impatiently waiting for Jeddy to stop being shy so we could play. He would stand there, then peek away from his mother’s skirt. When he saw me looking, he would quickly pull back and again bury his head.
I’m not dumb now, and wasn’t at 6. After he did this twice, I’d figured out I had to not look at him if he was ever going to stop being bashful. So, I went and got my trike out of our garage and rode it out to where our mothers were talking. Then I began riding it up and down the sidewalk where Jeddy could see me. That did the trick. Almost immediately he was watching me, and as I wasn’t looking at him, he turned all the way around so his back was leaning against his mother and his front was toward me. He still wasn’t as brave as I’d have liked. He reached over to where one of his mother’s arms was hanging at her side and pulled it across him so it was draped over his front, and held it there. From the way he was standing there, her arm across him, him leaning into her, I was pretty sure if I looked at him, I’d be seeing a lot of his back again pretty quickly.
What I wanted to happen was to have him ride my trike. I figured if I could get him on it, I might be able to talk to him. But how could I do that? I thought on that briefly.
“Mom,” I called, not looking in that direction, “could you ask Mrs. Tuckman to ask Jeddy if he wants to ride my trike?”
I couldn’t look, but I could almost feel my mother smile. Then, I could hear Mrs. Tuckman speaking to Jeddy. A second later, my mother called me over, and I peddled over to them.
I got off my trike and pushed it over next to Jeddy, all the while being careful not to make eye contact. Then I stepped back over to my mother, and turned my back on the others.
My mother looked down and me and broke into a chuckle. Her lips said, “pretty smart, Tim,” while her voice said nothing at all.
Then I heard my trike clattering down the sidewalk, and turning, I saw Jeddy’s back again, this time as he rode away from us. Mrs. Tuckman then thanked me, too. “You are clever, aren’t you, Tim, and very nice, too.”
“I just want to play with him. I thought it would be quicker this way,” I replied, and watched as Jeddy got farther away from us. I then took off running after him. I figured that without his mother to hide against, now he’d have to talk to me.
And to no one’s great surprise, it worked out even better than him just talking to me. By the end of 2nd grade we were pretty much together all the time. Jed—he’d pretty quickly asked me to stop calling him Jeddy—remained shy, but I more than made up for that, and we just fit together. We did the things young boys did, playing together with action figures, playing hide and go seek and tag with other boys in the neighborhood, walking to school together, eating dinner and spending nights together, just quickly becoming a major part of each other’s world. Jed, being quiet by nature and not very outgoing, let me be the leader of the two of us, and so most of what we did was my idea, which worked out well for both of us.
We were usually in the same grade in school. We were put in separate classes in 4th grade, but Jed made quite a fuss about that and surprisingly, his mother talked the school into switching him, so after two weeks, we were back together again. The school didn’t bother to try to separate us after that.
It was the next year, when Jed and I were 10, that my mother told my father at dinner one night that there was a new church in town.
“It’s called the Christian Evangelist Church. It’s on the corner of 3rd Street and Evergreen, where the 1st Presbyterian Church used to be. I guess that congregation sort of broke up when, Dr. Ainsford, their minister for years and years, passed away. It didn’t have a lot of people as members anyway, and I guess the church fathers decided not to send anyone to replace him. Anyway, the building has been taken over by this new church that’s just starting up here. And they have a new pastor who I heard is named Reverend Horace Ellison, who just moved here. I was thinking we could all go to their first service this Sunday.”
She looked at my father and smiled, her eyes seeking approval of the idea.
We weren’t a religious family. We didn’t go to church on Sunday, we didn’t say grace before meals, we didn’t say our prayers at night. Religion just wasn’t part of our family’s way of doing things. So, when Mom said this, I looked at my father, curious as to what his reaction would be.
He looked back at her without speaking for a minute. Then he said, “What’s bringing this on, Marge? We’ve never gone to church. Is there some reason you’re feeling we should now?”
“Oh, no real reason. I just think it would be fun and interesting. A lot of families do go every week, and we’d be more like them. Also, Tim is getting to an age where I think it would be good to introduce him to going to church, and Shawn hasn’t been either. I just think it’s a normal thing to do, and they should do it so when they’re older they can decide if they like it or not, and they’ll have learned about the Bible and gotten some religious foundation in their lives.”
My father looked at her some more, thinking about it, I guess. Then he said, “That sounds reasonable enough. However, you know how I feel about religion. But I think if you want to go and take the boys and see what it’s like, that’s fine. I don’t mind anyone going if they want to. I’ll stay home, though.”
“OK, that’s great. The rest of us will go this Sunday. They have services at 9 and 11. I think we should go to the 11 o’clock service. It’ll give us more time for breakfast and getting ready.”
Sunday I was a little excited. This was something new. Shawn seemed excited too, although, at 13, he didn’t show his emotions as much as he used to. He was a big kid now and he made it pretty clear, especially if anyone was around, that I was a little kid and didn’t run with his crowd any longer. He was still friendly at home, but outside home, he didn’t seem to want anything to do with me. I found that strange at first and was even a little upset by it, but there wasn’t much I could do about it, and besides, I’d been closer to Jed than Shawn for a long time now. Shawn had his own friends, his own interests, and I wasn’t a big factor in his life and hadn’t been for a few years now.
Mom made us put on our best clothes, clothes we almost never wore. I had to wear dress pants, and white button-up shirt and a tie, my dress shoes and even my dress-up jacket. Shawn had to dress like that too. Mom had made sure we’d both had showers, and then she made sure our hair was combed just right. When we were all ready, we got in the car and Mom drove us to the church.
There was a small crowd there when we parked in the church parking lot at 10:45 that morning. They were standing in small groups in the parking lot and on the large porch in front of the church, dressed nicely as we were and talking and waiting for the doors to open. Just after we’d left the car and were walking towards the front steps leading up the porch, the doors swung open. A tall, heavy-set man with a reddish face and snow white, long curly hair and wearing a long black robe stood by the open doors, smiling at everyone and saying, “Welcome, welcome, welcome everyone, please come inside, welcome, everyone.”
We joined everyone walking inside. It was cool, cooler than outside, and after walking through a small entry hall, we entered a large room filled with long pews. A small stage was in the front of the room. A lady was playing an organ off to the side in the front. The stage was empty except for a speaker’s stand.
We found a seat in the middle. The crowd wasn’t large enough to nearly fill the available seats. They spread out a lot, so there were people here and there in the pews and the room looked like it was, not very full.
The white haired man eventually walked down the center aisle, stepped up onto the stage, the music stopped, and he began speaking to us. He told us his name was Reverend Ellison, this was the first weekend of services in Lakeshore and we were all welcome. He said his church was a fundamentalist Christian church, that he believed in the Bible absolutely, the Bible was the true word of God, every word in it was a word of truth and divinely inspired, those that followed the teachings of the Bible and were born again in their belief in Jesus Christ as our savior would be blessed and go to heaven and all other people would not. He said our belief, not our actions, would save us. Then he smiled at us and said he was chosen to guide us along the path to heaven, and since we had come to his church, we were well on the way to salvation, and that together, and with faith in Jesus, salvation was ahead for us all.
After that, he started talking about the church, how we should have a choir, we should have various committees, and we would need to volunteer and at that point I think I might have fallen asleep. This was all pretty dull stuff, talking about committees and volunteering and all, and to start it off he’d been talking about believing and salvation and paths and I didn’t have the foggiest idea what any of that meant and besides, I was hot in my tie and jacket and the back of my right heel hurt from the stiff shoe I didn’t wear very often.
I’d been sleeping for awhile, I guess, when my mother gently shook me and I woke up. Everyone else was standing up and leaving. I stood up, too, and when it was our pew’s turn, sidled to the aisle and turned to the back of the church. The line of people ahead of us was moving slowly, very slowly, to the doors, and when we neared them I saw why. Reverend Ellison was standing there, shaking everyone’s hand as they left and speaking to them all.
When we reached the Reverend, my mother shook his hand and introduced herself, then Shawn and me. Reverend Ellison looked both of us in the eye and took both our hands. Being 10, I didn’t shake a lot of hands, and felt a little uncomfortable doing it with this guy because he seemed to hold onto my hand much longer than he needed to. He did this to Shawn, too, and looked into his eyes longer that he needed to, also. I was happy when my turn was over and he finally let go.
He told my mother how happy he was we were all here and hoped we’d be back again next week and after that, too, and really hoped we’d join the church. My mother said we’d be there, the Reverend smiled broadly, said that was very good, he wanted to get to know all of us better, then looked beyond us to the next people in line.
When we got home, Dad was watching the Browns pregame show on TV. I ran over to join him, glad the game hadn’t started already and I’d missed it. Watching the Browns on TV with my dad was one of the highpoints of the week.
“So, buddy, how was church?” he asked.
I giggled. “I think I slept through most of it,” I confessed.
“Nothing wrong with that. Lots of people do that. Did your mother get mad?”
“No, she just woke me up at the end.”
“Hey, I might even go if that’s all it is.” He laughed, and I joined in.
The next weekend, mother was talking about church all day Saturday. She’d had a call from Reverend Ellison during the week, and he’d asked her to be on the Greeting Committee. On Sunday she was supposed to be at the church early and stand by the front doors with two other women and greet people as they entered. One of the ladies was supposed to write down the attendees’ names so a record of everyone who attended was kept. Mom was excited about greeting all the people who showed up and chatted nervously about it to Dad at dinner. Dad didn’t respond much and seemed generally uninterested in her chatter. When we were alone, I asked him about that.
you’re mother is happy with the
church, that’s great. I went to church
when I was your age, and in fact until I left home and got my own
after high school. My father was a
strict Christian, and everyone in the family had to go.
I listened to the sermons every week. I
didn’t like them much. I tried not going
once or twice, but that
just wasn’t acceptable, no matter what the reason.
So, I went to church. But
when it was finally my choice of whether to go or not, it was an easy
for me to make.
“But everyone’s different. If your mother wants to go, if church fills some need she has, that’s fine. I think we have to watch her though. For some people, church and religion become like a narcotic. And some people get mesmerized by the preaching and eventually allow the church to do their thinking for them. But that isn’t very likely.”
I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, and it made me wonder. I decided, when I went to church, I was going to listen to what was said and pay attention, then think about it. Dad sounded very serious. Maybe church was more important than just a social activity, just a way to spend an hour or so a week. Maybe there was more to it that that.