Kyle, Part 3
Disclaimer: This story is a continuation of the story of Kevin Foley, Rick Mashburn, and their "sons," Tim Murphy, Kyle Goodson, Justin Davis, and Brian Mathews that started in "Tim," continued in "Justin" and "Kyle," "Kyle, Part 2," and now continues in "Kyle, Part 3." It is about gay men and gay boys living and loving together as a family, and it contains descriptions of sex. The sex is never intergenerational, though. If you are offended by descriptions of gay sex, or if the law in your area forbids you to read them, please exit the story. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy it. I appreciate feedback, and you can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had flown on airplanes all my life, so I never thought about it that Justin and Brian hadn't. Jus was really cute when we hit a little pocket of turbulence right before we landed in Atlanta, and he looked like he was really scared. Turbulence was second nature to me, and I had been through some really bad storms a time or two. I watch the flight attendants when turbulence hits. I figure if anybody knows to be worried about it, they do. They deal with that shit day in and day out, so if something is out of the ordinary, it's going to register on their faces pretty quick. They didn't even flinch that day.
Our stay in New York was unbelievably fun. The four of us had already had plenty of fun on trips, but that was the first time we were on our own. My parents, and probably Doc, too, knew Tim and I could handle a trip that big on our own, but I knew Kevin and Rick had put a lot of trust in me by letting Justin and Brian go. I knew they expected me to be in charge and to make good decisions for the four of us, and I prayed to God I could live up to what they expected of me. I wasn't scared, and I knew I had three really smart guys behind me if I needed them, but I still felt it was pretty much on my shoulders.
Our best stroke of luck was making friends with Keith and Tony. God, were they nice guys! Keith was the concierge, and he made up an itinerary for us. Tony was the bell hop that we got by random shot when we checked in, and he and Keith were boyfriends. They took us out to Greenwich Village Saturday night, and we had a ball. We came upon this tattoo parlor, and we all wanted to get inked. I had wanted a tattoo for years, and I finally got one that night. It was a little grinning monkey right above the waist ban of my briefs on my left side. People would be able to see it when I wore a Speedo, and, of course, my brothers could see it when I was in just my briefs on Sunday mornings and other times. Naked, it was there for everybody.
For Sunday, Keith planned this for us:
10:15--Solemn Pontifical High Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral; be there by 9:30. He had asked if we were Catholics, and I told him we were. I wasn't officially one yet, but I considered myself one.
11:30--Lunch at a deli in Rockefeller Plaza
1:30--Visit The Cloisters, a medieval museum, followed by general touring around
8:30--Les Miserables, a play; supper after the play
Morning--UN Building tour
Morning--Statue of Liberty, shopping, general sightseeing on foot
Night--The Lion King, a play; supper after the play
Morning--Radio City Music Hall tour; MTV Network tour
Afternoon--American Museum of Natural History
Night--Dinner at 21
Early Morning--Today Show in Rockefeller Plaza; be there at 6:15
Morning--Metropolitan Museum of Art
Afternoon--Taping of David Letterman Show; Empire State Building
Night--Movie at Radio City Music Hall; supper after the show
All Day--Shopping and/or Bronx Zoo and/or South Street Seaport
Night--The Graduate, a play; supper after the play
Catch plane at 10:30; be there by 8:30.
I had been to a few of those places before, but I didn't remember them very good. That was my fifth trip to New York, but I had always come with my parents right after Christmas. My mom really liked to shop, and my dad and Clay and I had done mostly sports-related stuff during the day on those trips. I had skated on the rink in Rockefeller Plaza a whole lot, and I had sledded in Central Park a good bit, too. Two years we had rented horses and had ridden around in the park, and Dad had taken us to Coney Island once, but it was pretty much deserted. The last time I had been there was when I was fifteen and Clay was eighteen. They had let us go down to Times Square by ourselves, and we spent hours going into the arcades and shops and other places down there.
We followed Keith's plan for us pretty close. We all decided we wanted to go to all three things they had listed for Friday, and that was a great day.
Seeing Ground Zero was pretty emotional for all of us, and we all cried.
"Y'all realize we wouldn't be together if this hadn't happened, don't you," I said to them.
"Get out of here, Kyle," Justin said.
"I'm serious, man. If this hadn't happened, Doc would never have had to go on the ship. If he hadn't had to go on the ship, Tim would never have had to stay with Kevin and Rick. I would never have gotten to know them so good, and they would never have been able to take you in, Jus," I said. "It was their experience taking care of Tim that let the child welfare people know they could do it."
"Shit. You're right. And if they hadn't got me, they would never have got Brian," he said.
"That's right, Bubba. This whole Ground Zero thing is sad as hell, I know, but some good came out of it for us, at least," I said.
Those boys were pretty quiet right then. I knew they were sad about what had happened to cause Ground Zero, but they were also thinking about what I had just said. I knew it was a terrible thing for our country and for a lot of people, but it had worked out pretty damn good for us, even if we didn't realize it.
"Changing the subject a little bit, I once went to the top of one of those buildings that used to be here," I said.
"Nuh-uh," Justin said.
"Yup. I don't know which one, but there used to be a restaurant at the top of one of them, and we ate there one time. I was about thirteen, I guess."
"What was it like," Tim asked.
"Well, the ride up was awesome. It was an express elevator, and my stomach did a couple of flip-flops, it went so fast. Once up there, it was just a nice restaurant. You were supposed to be able to see for miles because the walls were all glass. Well, the night we went, it was all fog or clouds or something. All we could see was this gray mass that looked kind of like gray flannel," I said. "Just my luck."
"You've done a lot, haven't you," Brian said.
"Not that much," I said.
"Kyle, don't pretend with us, man. We know you've done a lot, and we know you're rich. The fact that you're just a regular, ordinary guy is one of the things that's so great about you. I'm pure white trash, and I know it. I ain't worth shit. But you still love me, and I'm still your brother and best friend even though you're somebody."
What he said really made me mad.
"Goddamn it, Justin, you are my brother and you are my best friend. And my best friend and my brother are not trash, ever. Don't you ever fucking say that about yourself again, you hear me? I mean it, Bubba. I won't put up with you putting yourself down like that any more. You are one of the finest people I've ever known, Justin, and I love you. Don't put yourself down anymore," I said.
He came toward me to hug me, with tears in his eyes.
"Stop. Don't hug me till you're ready to stop putting yourself down," I said.
"Kyle, you don't even know, do you," he said.
"The effect you have on people? How you lift people up?"
"Justin, I want to hug you bad right now, man, but I'm not going to do it until you say you won't put yourself down like that anymore," I said. I had to be firm, and I knew it.
"I won't do it, but you've got to help me with that, okay?"
"I'll always help you," I said. And then we hugged tight.
I couldn't believe we all got tattoos! In fact, I still can't believe it. Kyle and I had both talked about getting them, but I pretty much thought we'd never get around to it. We had decided we wanted to get our nipples pierced, and we waited months before we actually did it. I figured that something as permanent as a tattoo would take us years.
The guy had put bandages on them, and he said it was as much to protect our clothes from any ink that might seep out as anything. He told us we could take the bandages off before our showers the next morning. When we woke up, Kyle couldn't wait to get those bandages off. Brian and Justin were still asleep, and Kyle and I were naked in bed.
"Let's take 'em off," he whispered.
"Okay, but you go first," I whispered back.
He worked the tape on it a little bit, but then he just ripped it off. He made a face when he did it, like it hurt or something. I looked at it the same time he did, and it really did look pretty cute. It was a little monkey with a big grin on his face. It was just an outline in black ink, not all colored in or anything like that.
"Now you do it," he said.
I was more cautious taking my bandage off than he had been, and I was almost afraid to look at it. Mine was a little bunch of bananas for the monkey to eat. I knew the banana Kyle liked to eat, and he even had to peel it to get to the good stuff.
"Does yours hurt," I asked him.
He touched his gently.
"It's a little tender, but not bad. How about yours?"
I touched mine, too, and it hurt a little but not much.
"Let's don't tell Kevin and Rick about them until they see them for themselves, okay," he said.
"Okay. I wonder if they'll even notice them," I said.
"They will sooner or later. I didn't ask my parents if it was all right, did you?"
"I talked to my dad about it, and he said it was okay as long as he couldn't see it when I had my clothes on," I said.
"I don't think my folks will care. Of course, it's too late now, even if they do care."
"Is the monkey hungry," I asked.
He grinned real cute and chuckled a little.
"This monkey is always hungry for banana," he said.
He eased me down and eased himself on top of me. I loved to feel Kyle's skin next to mine, especially when it was all warm in bed like it was that morning. He didn't move around. He kissed me with so much passion that he almost made me come. He scraped his chin on my face real lightly, and the stubble sort of tickled. He did that every time we made love in the morning because he knew it really turned me on, for some reason.
"I love doing this with you," he said. "It's like you make me a whole person. Let's match up."
I knew what he meant by that because we had done it before. We got our arms, legs, chests, dicks, and everything else perfectly lined up with one another. Kyle and I were exactly the same size, although he had more muscle than I did and weighted about fifteen pounds more than I did, so it was pretty easy to do. Our breathing became the same, and I even think our heartbeats were the same. He licked my ear, and that always drove me crazy. I concentrated real hard on feeling every part of his body on top of mine, and it was like we melted into one another. Kyle entered me. Not with his penis, but with his whole body, his whole self. When we had done that before, he had said he had had the same sense of being one person with me.
We lay there a long time. I could feel the hair on Kyle's chest tickling me. The little loops in our nipples were touching one another, too, and my nipples were sending waves of sex energy through me. I hoped Kyle's were doing the same to him. I could feel his pubic hair on the underside of my dick, and that really felt good.
We lay there for a good while, not talking, not moving, just soaking each other up. The tension down below was building all the while we were like that, and, without warning, we both climaxed at the same second. Kyle whimpered a little, and I knew he was having a good one. Mine was spectacular.
The orgasm sort of broke the mood, but that was okay. He kissed me some more, working that tongue of his against mine. God, I loved him! I could have eaten him up to get him inside me.
"Let's get our shower before the others wake up," he said softly.
"Okay," I whispered back.
It was really rare that we showered together and didn't fool around if we had the time, but we didn't do it that morning. We were both pretty drained from what had just happened, so we just washed each other. I loved touching Kyle, and he let me do it any way I wanted to. He always said his body belonged to me, and it was at times like that that I really knew what he meant by that.
Justin came in to pee while we were still in the shower. He told us good morning, but he didn't make a crack about us being lovebirds or anything like that. Justin and Kyle loved to tease each other, but they had great respect for each other, and they never took it too far.
We dried off after our shower, and we went into the bedroom naked.
"Well, look at this. They really look good, y'all. They look terrific, in fact," Justin said.
"Thanks," we both said, grinning like fools.
"Let's see yours," Kyle said.
They hadn't taken their bandages off yet. They did it then, though, and theirs looked good, too. None of ours had any color. In fact, all four were just outlines. The guy in the shop said they wouldn't fade, but he also said the intricate ones with lots of color got to be really ugly after a long time because the ink all tended to run together. He said ours probably wouldn't do that, and they wouldn't look ugly if they did smear a little bit. He told us to make sure we didn't get fat because that would make them ugly, too.
"You guys were mighty quiet making love this morning," Jus said.
"Were you awake," Kyle asked.
"Come on, Brian. Let's get a shower," Jus said, and they went off to the bathroom. They were in there a pretty long time, and we heard them lock the door. We knew they were making love in the shower, and that meant all four of us had a good start to the day.
Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral was like no Mass I had ever been to. There was a cardinal, two bishops, three regular priests, and two deacons. The choir sounded like something on a CD, and the church itself was spectacular. I had been in Gothic cathedrals in Europe, and that one most reminded me of those. It wasn't as big as those, but it was big. The cardinal said a nice homily, but it was a little long. He introduced some celebrities, or people who were supposed to be celebrities, but I didn't recognize any of their names.
After Mass we ate lunch in a restaurant a couple of blocks down from the church. We all got Rubin sandwiches with French fries, and Kyle also got a bowl of black bean soup. Justin made fun of him and said he would be farting all afternoon. He didn't, though.
After we ate, we took a cab to The Cloisters. It was a long way from where we were. Keith had told us he thought we would like that museum because it was all about medieval times. I expected it to have a bunch of stuff about knights and dragons and the Round Table and stuff like that, but it turned out to be mostly religious. It had some beautiful things in it, and the building itself was pretty cool, too. We walked around a little bit inside the place and in the gardens. Then we went over and looked at the Hudson River. One of the things I liked best in the museum was a gold lion with a faucet in the middle of his chest. They said they used to use it to pour water over the priest's hands at Mass and when people wanted to wash up before dinner. There were a bunch of stained glass windows, and some of those were pretty spectacular. They had a bunch of rooms with tapestries in them. They were supposed to be treasures, but most of them were so faded looking that you could barely tell what the picture was.
"This better get better," Justin said at one point.
He made us all laugh.
"I think this is the kind of place Grandpa and Doc would eat up," Kyle said.
"If they ate this up, they'd get fed up for sure," Justin said.
That made all of us laugh loud, and some people sort of stared at us. We didn't stay more than about an hour at that place. I was glad we went, though, so I could tell my dad we did some culture stuff, plus we saw a lot more of the city on the cab ride up there.
Instead of going back to our hotel, we had the cab driver take us all the way down to Chinatown. It wasn't on the list Keith gave us, but we had passed it on the bus tour and Kyle knew about it, too. That was a lot more interesting to us, but it seemed really dirty. It was still a pretty awesome place, though, with lots of Chinese buildings and gates and temples and shrines and things like that.
There were a million shops and a whole lot of stuff to look at, but we really didn't buy much there. Kyle bought an NYPD cap, though. It was black with a design in gold on the front, and the bill was already arched in like he liked them. He put it right on, and that became his signature cap for that trip. He always looked real good in a baseball cap, and he wore that one the whole time we were there. That black against his skin looked great.
After we walked around in Chinatown for a while, we got to a neighborhood that was called Little Italy. There were a lot of restaurants and shops there, too, and they all had sort of an Italian theme. We got some pastries in an Italian bakery, and they were just about as good as any pastry I had ever eaten. In both Chinatown and Little Italy there were a whole lot of people on the street, walking and shopping. A bunch of restaurants had tables and chairs out on the sidewalk, but it was a little too cold to sit down for too long. We got cones of Italian ice cream, too, and it was soooooo good.
After that we went to a neighborhood called Soho, which I think stood for South of Houston, a street, not the city. In fact, they said it "House-ton" and not "Hews-ton." There were some really interesting shops in that neighborhood, and there were a bunch of art galleries, too. Kyle went bananas (hehehe!) when we went into one gallery that had photography. He ended up looking at every single picture like he was going to buy it or something. He talked to the lady who worked there, and he wanted to know everything about the people who had taken the pictures.
"See, this is what I want to be able to do some day," he said.
"Well, you're already on the right track, Flash," Justin said.
"Mine aren't this good, yet," he said.
"I don't know so much about that, Kyle," Jus said. "I mean, some of yours are mighty damn good, Bubba."
Kyle grinned, and it was pretty obvious that he liked what Justin had said.
The next gallery was photography, too. One whole wall was of nudes, and most of them were men. They were great pictures, and you really couldn't see the equipment on most of the guys.
"I'll bet the artist is gay," Kyle said.
"Do you think Kevin would let you take pictures of us like these," I asked him.
"I dunno, but I sure do want to try," he said. "I can't wait till you turn eighteen, Babe. There won't be any stopping me."
The guy working there was listening to what we were saying.
"I couldn't help overhearing you. Are you a photographer," he asked Kyle.
"Yes, sir, sort of. I'm just learning, though, really. I have a digital and a single lens reflex camera that I just got."
"I wish I could see some of your work," he said.
"Do you have a computer with an Internet connection," Kyle asked.
"Yes. Is your work on the Web?"
"Yes, sir. Would you like to see it?"
"Yes, I would. What's the URL?"
"Well, the site is password protected, but I'll show it to you, if you have time right now."
"It looks like your friends are ready to leave," he said. He was referring to Justin and Brian.
"Tim, tell them I'll meet them back at the hotel. Tell them to be there no later than 6:30, okay, Babe?"
"Sure. I'm staying with you, though," I said.
I went over to the others and told them what Kyle had said. They said they were cool with that, so they left that gallery and went off on their own.
Kyle opened the Web site for the guy.
"This is pretty impressive stuff," he said. "How old are you, if you don't mind my asking?"
"I'm seventeen," Kyle said. "We're from Florida, and we're here for Spring Break."
"Well, that's a switch," the guy said. "Coming north from Florida for Spring Break."
"Yeah, I know," Kyle replied.
The man continued looking at Kyle's pictures on the Web site.
"I heard you tell your friend that you can't wait until he turns eighteen," the man said. "Why is that?"
"It's pretty complicated, but I gave my word I wouldn't take any pictures of us naked except in natural settings like swimming or something like that. We're all under eighteen," Kyle said. "I want to do some nude pictures of all of us, but especially of him. By the way, my name is Kyle Goodson, and this is my boyfriend, Tim Murphy."
We shook hands, and he said his name was Chet Marston.
"Did you say your boyfriend? Are you gay?"
Kyle nodded like it was nothing to him.
"I heard you say that you wondered if the artist that took the nudes is gay, and, yes, I am," Chet said.
"Cool," Kyle said.
I could tell the man was surprised as hell that Kyle admitted being gay so freely and that it didn't seem to bother him to say it.
"Are you in college," Chet asked.
"No, sir. I'm a junior in high school," Kyle said, "and Tim's a sophomore."
"Are you thinking about majoring in photography," he asked.
"Can you major in that?"
"At some colleges you can," he said.
"I'm planning on taking business in college. Maybe I can take some photography courses, too, though," Kyle said.
"Well, you really should. Your work is quite perceptive, and with some instruction, it could be very, very good," he said.
"I've never thought of it as work before, but I know what you mean. Like a work of art, right?"
"Yes. Do you have any darkroom experience?"
"No, sir. Mostly I've been using my digital. His dad gave it to me for my birthday last November. I just got my Minolta a couple of weeks ago. Where would I learn how to do darkroom stuff," Kyle asked.
"You could take a course, or you could do what I did."
"What did you do?"
"I found a professional photographer who was willing to teach me, and I spent hours in the darkroom refining my skills," he said.
"Babe, I'll bet that guy who took our pictures might do that," I said.
"Maybe so. We had portraits made of us as Christmas gifts for our families. That's who he's talking about," Kyle said.
"So, you're out to your families?"
"Yes, sir," Kyle said.
I could tell the guy was impressed.
"How long have you two been together," he asked.
"It was a year in January, but we're thinking this is it for us for life," Kyle said.
"Oh, my," the man said. "Here's my card. It has my e-mail address on it. Please send me some of your pictures, and I'll try to evaluate them for you, if you want me to, that is."
"Oh, man, that would be fantastic," Kyle said. "Thanks so much for taking so much interest, but why are you doing that?"
"Kyle, I'll be honest with you. I see a great deal of talent in your work. When I was a young man, the photographer who got me started was gay, and he told me then that he expected me to help out other young gay photographers as payback to him when and if I could. That's what this is all about. Besides, one day I might be able to represent you."
"Thanks. What does that mean?"
"Hang you work in this gallery. Represent you as your sales outlet," he said.
I knew that guy, like everybody else who talked to him for more than two minutes, really liked Kyle. He laughed a little when Kyle said that.
Kyle gave him his e-mail address, too, and he promised to send some pictures as soon as we got back. We chatted another few minutes, and then we left.
"Can you believe that, Babe," he asked as soon as we were back on the street.
Kyle was as excited as he ever gets, and that's pretty excited.
The play that night was all singing, but it was really good. We ate at a place called Sardi's, which is famous, I think. There were gobs of pictures in the place, including a whole bunch of caricature drawings. I didn't get most of them. The food was real good, though.
Kyle was pretty quiet at first that night at dinner. Justin even asked him if he was sick or something, but Kyle just said he had a lot on his mind. I knew he was thinking about what that guy at the gallery had said that afternoon. He and Justin both ordered drinks before dinner, and the waiter brought them without even asking to see ID. I knew they both had good fake ID, but they didn't need to use them. He loosened up while he was having his drink, and he started talking to us and joking with us again. The three of us depended on him to have a good time, and if he wasn't in a mood to have a good time, then we didn't have a good time, either.
It was pretty late when we got in bed.
"Babe, I want to make love to you," he said, "if you aren't too tired."
"Let's wait until tomorrow morning, okay?"
"Are you real tired," he whispered to me.
"Yeah. Let's go to sleep," I whispered back, and we did.
That trip to New York was the best for me. I might have been born there, but I didn't know a thing about the place until then. I felt pretty safe with Kyle and Justin around, though.
The flight up there was a lot of fun. I had never been on a plane before, and that by itself was an adventure. When we got to the city, though, and saw all those people and all those incredibly big buildings, I felt like I was soaring or something. I loved Kyle to death, but sometimes I thought he might be a borderline redneck. That was before I saw him in action, though. He handled Sky Caps and flight attendants and cab drivers and the guy at the hotel desk and the bellhop like a grown man. I swear to God. Then he got the guy at the concierge desk to help us out, and he even got him to go out with us that night. He was unbelievable.
Justin and I got tattoos, and so did Tim and Kyle. I got a teddy bear, and it looked pretty good. The rest of them said they liked it, too. Jus got a frog with a big tongue opposite my teddy bear, and I guess that fit pretty well. It was small enough that a band-aide could hide it, if I wanted to hide it, so it was okay.
I had thought I was in love with Justin before the trip, but the more I was with him, the more I knew I loved him. He was so funny that he kept us all laughing, but he was also really nice to me all the time. He was nice to me at home, too, but on that trip it was almost like I was more important to him than he was to himself. He and Kyle were best friends, but I became his second best friend on that trip. I don't mean second as in "second best"; I mean it more like "other best friend." The four of us were like two couples, and he made sure everything was all right for me before anything else. I knew he loved me before we went, but I think it was on that trip that I realized he really loved me.
On Monday morning we went on a tour of the United Nations Building. That was a real highlight for me.
"I don't even know what this is all about," Jus said when we first got there.
"It's about the nations of the world coming together to try to make this world a better place," I said.
"Oh," Jus said. That wasn't really funny, but he was so cute the way he said it that I laughed.
We saw the Security Council chamber and the General Assembly in actual session. We saw all the art work that is everywhere in the building. Then we saw the pendulum that charts the rotation of the earth. It was hung from someplace really high in that building, and it traces little lines in a bed of sand. As we stood there we saw the lines moving to form a circle. Seeing that thing chart the rotation of the earth on its axis made me realize how the forces of the whole planet come together in that building, at least potentially, and that made me cry a little at how important that place was.
But the real tears were yet to come. That afternoon we went to Ground Zero. What happened there was bad enough for me emotionally, but then Kyle pointed out that we were all together basically because of what had happened there. That absolutely tore me up, and I cried openly and a lot. After my other family got rid of me, my Emerald Beach family took me in, loved me, cared for me, and gave me everything. None of that would have happened, except for my real family kicking me out, if September 11th hadn't taken place. I lost it completely.
Justin put his arm around my shoulders on my right side, and Kyle put his arm around me on my left. Kyle started massaging my throat, and his touch reassured me and made me know it was going to be okay for me. We stopped and hugged for a long time, and I slowly and gradually came back to normal. A lot of other people there were doing the same thing.
"Bri, take a walk with me, okay," Kyle said. He looked at Justin, and Justin nodded.
I didn't say anything, but I walked away from Justin and Tim with Kyle. He didn't say anything for a long time, either. He just held his arm around my shoulder, like he was supporting me or something. I started crying again very hard. It felt so good to have that strong boy there with me, propping me up, giving me support. I started reacting a little bit sexually to what he was doing, but it was in no way a sexual situation. I got embarrassed at what was happening to me. Kyle noticed and giggled.
"You know you're precious to us, don't you?"
I think I sort of nodded.
"Brian, we don't give you enough attention. I hog it all. I'm always too damn excited and too damn wanting to take charge of everything. Kevin and Rick love you, man, and I know Justin does. And you're the little brother I never had, and you're Tim's best friend. I know you need to cry right now, but we won't let you down, little Buddy."
That only made me cry more.
"Let it out, dude," he said. "This is a place for tears, man. Your tears are happy and sad, sort of, at the same time. We're your family, Brian. And a family sticks together."
I wanted to say something like, Kyle, you really don't get it. Justin was right. You lift people up, you make them whole, just like Jeff said. You heal us, and all you seem to care about is having fun. I didn't say that, though, and I also knew it wasn't true. He cared about us before anything else. I calmed down while he was holding me. He and I walked back to Jus and Tim, and Justin hugged me.
"I'm sorry I lost it like that," I said.
"Let's get the fuck out of this bad place," Kyle said. "Let's go have some fun."
That night we went to Times Square. I wasn't exactly sure why they called it that or anything, but we had a great time. There were a whole lot of people, and we went to a lot of arcades and shops and other stuff. Justin and I held hands on the street, and nobody seemed to care. I felt like I was somebody and nobody at the same time, and it was totally great. We got our pictures taken in several picture booths. Sometimes it was just me and Justin, and sometimes it was all four of us. We laughed and joked and teased and just had a great time.
On Tuesday, we went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I had learned a lot about both of those places in school, but actually being there really made me think, especially after having gone to the United Nations and Ground Zero the day before. I didn't have any idea about my ancestors or anything like that, but I was sure somebody in my family had come to the United States through Ellis Island a long time ago looking for freedom. It was another real emotional experience for me. I thought about the freedom of spirit Kevin and Rick, and Justin and Tim, and especially Kyle, gave me, and I cried some more.
That night we went to see The Lion King, and that was awesome.
We didn't eat very good Monday. We grabbed some food for lunch at the UN, but it was just a burger and fries, that kind of thing. I thought the UN Building was pretty cool, but the Ground Zero was pretty damn depressing. After that, I had to get those boys somewhere where we could have some fun, and quick. Our destination was Times Square.
We found some photo booths, and we got our pictures taken. We were all laughing and making faces and having fun. I knew I could scan those and put them on the Web site, and it was a blast doing that. That was just what we needed, too, after Ground Zero. Fun.
I love arcade stuff, but my favorite is pool. Tim and Brian wanted to play video-type games, but me and Justin wanted to shoot some pool. He had a pretty good eye, but Jus raised up every time before he finished his shot. I had noticed it at home, but I hadn't said anything before. That time, though, I told him about it.
"Don't raise up like that, man," I said.
"What are you talking about?"
I showed him what I was talking about.
"Keep that head down till the cue ball hits the one you're aiming at," I said. "If you raise your head before the shot is done, you move your mark on the cue ball. The only thing that's supposed to move is your right arm. Nothing else."
He tried it a few times, and he got to where he was doing it right.
"Damn, I see what you mean," he said.
I saw these two boys watching us. They had been playing at the table next to us, but they finished and turned in their balls. They watched us some more.
"Hey," one of them said as we finished a game. "You guys interested in a little team competition," he asked. They were a little older than we were, but not much.
"We might be, but we're not all that good," I said.
"This is friendly stuff, man," the one guy said. His name turned out to be Joe, and the other guy was named Eddie.
"Sure. Why not," I said.
Jus and I introduced ourselves to them.
We racked the balls and lagged for break. Eddie won the lag. We were playing Eight Ball, the game we played the most, and he sunk a stripe on the break. He missed on his second shot, and Jus shot next and sunk a solid. He went after the two-ball and didn't sink it. It was Joe's turn, and he missed. I sunk a solid and missed on the next ball. It was back and forth like that, and Justin and I ended up winning that game, but just barely.
"Damn, I can't believe I missed so fucking many shots," Joe said.
"I know," Eddie said. "Me, either."
"I play better when I got money on the game," Joe said.
"Yeah, me, too," Eddie agreed. "Let's each put up five bucks on this next one. Maybe that'll motivate us."
"I think we're being hustled," I said to Jus in private. "Let's take their asses. Keep that head down, okay," I said. "They'll let us win the first few until they think we're cocky and over confident, and then they'll try to run the table on us. Just stay cool, okay?"
My buddy was all about that, and he knew just exactly what I was talking about. They lost a few games, and we lost a couple, too. We were still breaking even more or less. Then Eddie said,
"Shit, I've got a date tomorrow night, and I need money. Can you guys put up $100 each?"
"Yeah," I said. "It's my break, right?"
"Right," Eddie said. "Shit, I forgot about that," he whispered to Joe, but I heard him.
Well, son, I broke and ran that fucking table. Nobody else got a shot. They paid up, but I could tell they damn sure didn't like it.
"Thanks for the games, guys," I said. "This has been great."
"Whoa, dude. You're just going to walk away? Let us buy you a beer and talk about this, man," Joe said.
"It's getting kind of late, you know? Where we come from down in Florida, it's a pretty late night," I said.
"Hell, it's only 9:30 man. The night is young," Eddie said.
Justin fished his pack of smokes out of the back pocket of his jeans. He lit one up and tossed the pack to me. I lit one up, too. Joe and Eddie had both been smoking, and they seemed a little surprised that we smoked.
"Come on, Kyle," Jus said. "We've got time to play a few more games."
"I guess," I said. "Same bet?"
"Let's double it," Eddie said. "I need money for tomorrow night."
"I guess we can do that," I said. "Still my break, right?"
They both nodded, but I could tell they didn't like the idea.
"Let's put the money on the table first, this time," I said. They put it up, but they watched it close.
I broke and ran the table again. Jus grabbed the money before they could go for it.
"I can't believe these lucky shots I've been getting," I said.
"Lucky, my ass," Joe said. "You guys have been hustling us." He was pissed.
"No way, dude," Jus said. "You guys wanted to play us for money. We've got a pool table at home, and we take it serious, you know?"
"I'm down three hundred bucks, man," Eddie said. "I need a piece of you, dude. I need some satisfaction."
"You've got a right hand. That ought to satisfy you."
That was Brian's voice. I spun around, and he and Tim were right behind us. I grinned at them. They had our backs.
"Let's get the fuck out of here," Eddie said. They turned and left. They stiffed the bar for their tab, too.