Kyle, Part 3

Chapter 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

--Brew Maxwell

(Rick's Perspective)

The party with our friends the night after Christmas was a whole lot of fun.  The meal part was in the house, but the real party, after we ate, was in the clubhouse.  It was all about pool and ping pong, and some of the guys wanted to play HORSE at the basketball goal, too.  Justin, Chad, and Gage got a bunch of guys up and dancing, too. 

"Did you ever imagine that combination," Sam asked.

"What do you mean," I asked.

"Big macho Justin with Chad and Gage," Sam said.  "Look at 'em.  It's almost like the three of them are partners, or something."

"They are partners in having fun, Sam," I said.

"I know, and I'm so grateful to Jus for having accepted those guys," Sam said.

"Justin loves to dance, and you have no idea how many times in the last week or two he's told people that his friends Chad and Gage taught him how to dance," I said.


"Yeah, really," I said.  "He still alludes occasionally to the fact that Chad was wearing makeup the first night he met him, but he loves those guys, Sam.  Believe me on this.  And he and Kyle will do serious damage to anybody who fucks with them, of that I am convinced."

Sam just laughed and drifted away, but I was sure that was true.

Kyle, ever the entrepreneur, set up a table to sell CD's he had made with pictures of everyone who was there, plus some X-rated photos and videos he had gotten from the Internet.  He made a sign explaining that the CD's were $5 a piece and that the money would go to the Empty Stocking Fund.  He set out the stack of CD's, the sign, and a little wooden box for the money.  It was strictly on the honor system. 

Next to his wares he had set up a laptop with a copy of the CD in it so the purchasers could check out his product before they bought it.  Several times I noticed two or three guys standing at the machine looking at the pictures.

"Kyle, those pictures are excellent," Jerry told him.  The three of us were standing around talking.

"Thanks.  Did you see the naked ones," he asked devilishly.

"Not yet.  Did you take those, too," Jerry asked.

"Oh, no sir.  Those are from the Internet.  Next year I've already decided I'm going to have a ton more pictures of all of us.  In fact, I might produce two different CD's, one of us and one of just Internet boys," he said.

"I think the first one sounds great, but I don't like the idea of the second one," I said. 

"Why not?"

"Well, it's pornography, Bubba.  What you did for us this year is fine, I think, but these are just for our friends here tonight, right?  I mean, you're not going to be selling them at school or anything, right?"

"I wouldn't do that, Rick."  He thought for a few minutes.  "Okay, I won't do the second kind.  I wouldn't have put those pictures on this one except that I didn't have enough of just us to make it worthwhile.  Now I'm kind of worried."

"From the reaction, I think the guys appreciate those, too," Jerry said.  "There's nothing to worry about, Kyle."

"Phew!  That's a relief," Kyle said.

We drifted away after that to find other people to talk with.   By the end of the evening, the Empty Stocking Fund for next year was already $100 richer.

We got up around nine the next morning, and everybody drifted down to the den for coffee and coffee cake that I had made.  We would be leaving for Sarasota to see my mom in a little while.

"Is everybody packed for Christmas Road Trip, Part Two," Kevin asked.

They said they were.

"Brian, were you born in Tampa," I asked him.

"No.  I was born in New York.  We moved there when I was four.  I don't really remember New York, though," Brian said.

"I was born in New Jersey," Jeff said.  "We moved to Ft. Lauderdale when I was eight."

"Kyle, it looks like you and I are the only native crackers here," I said.

"Yeah.  I'm a nut cracker.  How about you?  Do you need your nuts cracked?"

"You're certainly a nut.  No question.  And, since you were born in Florida, you're a cracker, too.  So, yeah, I guess you are a nut cracker," I said.

"I can sure crack a nut," Kyle said.  "Right, Tim?"

"You guys are confusing me," Tim said.

"Tim, there are so many layers of puns going on right now, I'm a little confused myself," Kevin said.

"Do y'all want me to explain it," Kyle asked.

"No, just sit there, shut up, and look cute," Justin said.  "I get it."

"Guys, we need to get going," I said.

"Are you excited about this trip, Babe," Kevin asked me.

"I am very excited.  I haven't seen my mom in way too long, and I can't wait for her to meet all of these guys," I said.  "It's not every day you get to take a full family home to meet your mother for the first time."

"Do you think she'll like us," Tim asked.

"Is the pope a Catholic, Tim," I asked.  "She is going to love you guys.  It's a different kind of lifestyle there than in New Orleans, but I guarantee you she is going to have a fit when she meets you boys."

"Do we need to take our suits," Jeff asked.

I thought for a few seconds.  "Good question, Jeff, but nah.  You won't need 'em.  Go get your stuff now, so we can leave."

We were on the road in fifteen minutes.


"Did anybody here see the tattoos Philip and Ryan got for Christmas," Kyle asked.

"I didn't see 'em," Jus said.  What did they get?"

"I didn't either," I said.  "Where was I?"

"I don't know where you were, Rick, because they both specifically said they wanted you to see 'em," Kyle said.

"I saw 'em," Kevin said.  "They're small and tasteful and colorful.  They're on their left biceps."

"Didn't you think they were kick-ass," Kyle asked.

"Kyle, in my opinion, no tattoo can be kick-ass, man.  I know a lot of people of our generation have 'em, but I don't want one, and most that I've seen have been pretty grotesque to me," Kevin said.

"Rick's got one," Kyle said.

"I know, Kyle.  I don't disrespect people who have them.  Rick's says 'Ironman 2000,' and I actually encouraged him to get that.  Finishing that race was a lifetime achievement, and I think that's fitting."

"Where the hell is it?  I've never seen it," Justin said.

"Yeah, 'cause you've been too busy looking at his dick," Kyle said.  "It's about an inch above his pubic hair, and it's very small.  Very small."

"His dick is small, but it ain't all that small," Justin said.

I shot Justin the finger, and they all laughed.

"Stop talking about my dick," I said.

"I've seen what you're talking about, but, seriously, I thought it was a vein sticking out.  He's got all those big veins all over," Jus said.

"Kyle, if you decide to get a tattoo, please make it tasteful and please make it easily hidden, okay," Kevin said.

"Did you think I wouldn't do that, Kevin," Kyle asked.

"No, not really.  What do you want?  Do you know yet," I asked.

"Yep.  I want my little monkey on me," Kyle said.  "About two inches big, and I want it where Rick has his.  I want it to show when I'm in my briefs or a Speedo."

"That won't be bad, little brother," I said.  "Do you want one, too, Tim?"

"Yes," Tim said with a blush.

"What do you want, dude," I asked.

"I want a banana, on the side opposite Kyle's monkey," he said.

"Oh, I see.  So the monkey can eat the banana," Justin said.  "Under certain circumstances, of course.  The monkey likes to eat the banana, doesn't he?"

We laughed at Justin.

"Shut up, Justin," Tim said.  Tim was blushing furiously.

"Tim, there's nobody in this car who doesn't like to eat the banana, Bubba," Jus said.  "In fact, if we pass a fruit stand, let's buy us some bananas.  I can always eat a fruit, especially a banana."

I started laughing so hard at Justin that I almost lost control of the car.


After we calmed down from the hilarity of the tattoos and the bananas, I felt like I needed to speak up.

"Guys, there is something you all need to know.  My step-father is not exactly fond of homosexuals," I said.

I saw Kyle look at Tim and then turn back to look at Justin.  

"Kyle, before you get your underwear in a wad and start mobilizing your boys, just know this.  He's not going to insult you or make fun of you or anything like that.  At the worst, he's going to be cool to you.  He'll probably go do something by himself while the rest of us do stuff together.  He's not a bad man, but I just wanted to warn you," I said.  

"What's he going to do while we're off doing stuff," Kyle asked.

"He'll probably go fishing," I said.

"Do you think we can fish together," Kyle asked

"Yeah, probably.  If you want to," I said.

"Y'all just let me go out with him," Kyle said.

We made a pit stop right about then, and then we went to a fast-food place to get burgers and fries.  Kyle and Justin each ordered four cheese burgers and two large fries.  I just got three and one.  Where did they put all that food, I wondered.

Back on the road, I wanted to explore why Kyle would want to go fishing with my step-father.

"Kyle, were you serious about wanting to go fishing with Arnold," I asked.

"With who?"

"With Arnold.  That's my step-father's name," I said.

"Yeah.  Do you think that would be all right," Kyle asked.  "He probably doesn't know any normal gay guys, since the only one he knows is you."

"Very funny," I said sarcastically.  The rest of them thought it was hilarious, though, and everybody laughed at what Kyle had said.

"You know, Kyle might be right," Kevin said.  "Not about you, Babe, but about not really knowing any gay men or boys.  I mean, the best way to destroy stereotypes is by being exposed to the opposite of the stereotype, isn't it?"

"I'll go fishing with you guys, too," Justin said.  "If somebody teaches me how to fish."

"It's easy, Jus.  You just stick your worm in the water and wait for a fish to bite," Kyle said.

"I might let a monkey eat my banana, but I ain't letting no fish get to my worm," Justin said.

More laughter.

"Babe, it might not be a bad idea," Kevin said.  "Are there charter boats in Sarasota?  Maybe we could all go on a deep sea fishing trip.  Have you guys ever done that?"

Kyle and Jeff had, but the others had not.

"Of course they have charter boats.  A lot of 'em, too, but I don't know about this time of year, Kev," I said.  

"That would be so much fun," Kyle said.  "As far south as it is, I'll bet they go out now.  Don't they have a lot of visitors in the winter?"

"Mostly starting around February 1st," I said.  "They might go out.  We can check.  In fact, somebody look in my small bag.  There's a book about Sarasota attractions in there.  Look and see if there's anything about deep sea fishing."

Jeff was closest to the bag, and he got the book.  He found the reference and read aloud to us.  "This is what it says," Jeff said.  "'Winter season is December, January, and February.  Winter grouper and snapper fishing is outstanding and occasionally we run into hog snapper. Grouper and snapper can be found inside of 12 miles, usually in the same locations. They are suckers for shrimp or live pinfish and will punish the unsuspecting angler. Amberjack are extremely cooperative on the deeper reefs, 30 miles or more. They school heavily over the reefs, and it's not uncommon to see several following up the unlucky one you have just hooked. Just drop a bait to one and hang on!'"

"Are there boats listed," I asked.

"Yeah.  A bunch of them, in fact," Jeff said.  "There are phone numbers, too."

"Let's call one," Kyle said.

"Not so fast, mister," I said.  "What day do you think we should go, assuming we can get a reservation?"

"What does your mom have planned," I asked.

"The only definite things are a night at the Asolo and a trip to the Ringling Circus Museum.  After the New Orleans museum pig-a-thon I told her we'd save the historical stuff till next time," I said.

"Do you think we could go fishing on Monday," Kevin asked.

"Somebody give me a phone.  Let me call my mom and see what she says.  Kev, dial it for me, please," I said.

I recited the number, and Kevin got Mom on the phone.  He handed the phone to me after they had exchanged greetings and the usual pleasantries.

"Hi, Mom.  Are you ready for us?"

"You know I am.  I can't wait to see you boys.  All of you boys," she said.

"We've been talking about what we might like to do while we're there, and we thought about a deep sea fishing trip.  How does that sound?"

"That sounds like fun.  Arnold might even like to do that," she said.

"Well, we hope he does.  It was actually Kyle's idea to have Arnold spend some time with them doing typical guy things.  Kyle said he thought that maybe Arnie had the wrong idea about gay men because he'd only been around me, never any normal ones."

She howled.  "Let me ask him.  He's right here."

There was silence for a few minutes.

"I told him what you said, and he got a big kick out of it.  I can't wait to meet that Kyle.  And he said he'd love to join you," she said.

"You, too.  We're not leaving you home," I said.

"Well, in that case, we'd both love to join you.  Monday might be a good day for that.  You're leaving Tuesday, aren't you?"

"Yes, ma'am," I said.

"That'll be perfect.  Do you want me to call and make a reservation?"

"No, ma'am, we'll do it.  We have a list of boats and their numbers.  We'll just call from the car.  It'll give us something to do," I said.  "We're about halfway there.  We'll see you around four or 4:30.  And we're excited."

"Not as excited as I am," she said.  "Well, let me let you go so you can call the boat."

We said goodbye and hung up.

"She said Arnold got a kick out of what you said about me, Kyle," I said.

"See?  He knows the truth," Kyle said.

I handed Kyle his phone back.  "Call and make reservations," I said.

Kyle was Johnny-on-the-spot with that chore.  The first boat he called was already booked for Monday, but the second one took our reservation.  Kyle pulled out his credit card and gave them the number.

"We're all set.  We have to be there at seven o'clock, and we get back at five or 5:30.  He asked me if we wanted fried chicken or deli sandwiches from Publix, and I said we wanted both.  Also soft drinks for Rick and beer for the rest of us."

"How much is it," I asked.

"None of your business," Kyle said.

"Kyle, don't start," Kevin said.  "How much is it?"

"It's $610, and I put it on the company credit card," he said.

"We're paying for this, Kyle," I said.

"Fine with me.  Just work it out with Mister Gene when we get back.  Knowing what a skin flint he is, he'll probably charge you double interest," Kyle said.

Kevin and I both laughed, knowing full well we'd never pay a dime for that fishing trip under those circumstances.

"Kyle, and all of you, I want to talk about Kyle's comment just now about beer for the rest of us.  Things have been pretty loose during the holidays.  I know you've all been drinking, and you've handled yourselves very responsibly about that," I said.  "The culture in New Orleans sort of blinks at young guys drinking, and Tim and Kyle, your parents obviously don't mind if you have a drink at a party or something like that.  I'm going to ask you guys to stay away from the booze in Sarasota, though."

"I was just teasing before, Kevin," Kyle said.

"I know you were, Bubba, but I'm not teasing now," Kevin said.

"What if they offer us a drink, say at home on even on that boat," Justin asked.

"At home is one thing, don't you think, Babe?  Are they likely to offer them a drink?"

"Frankly, Babe, they probably will.  There was always beer and liquor in the house when I was growing up, and I'd have a drink or two on special occasions when I was as old as Kyle and Jus, and certainly when I was Jeff's age.  Or maybe a glass of wine with a special dinner," I said.

"It'll be illegal on the boat, though, won't it," Kevin asked.

"Not after we're in international waters, it won't," Jeff said.  

"Well, like I said, Rick and I have not been at all disappointed in the way you've handled drinking so far.  Let's just play it by ear on the boat, then, okay guys," I said.  "And Brian, I think you're definitely too young, legal or not legal."

"I don't think Brian has had a single drink since the holidays started," Jus said.

"Have you, Brian?"

"No, sir.  I've had a few sips out of Justin's a couple of times, but I haven't had a whole drink just for me," Bri said.

"Kevin, if it makes you nervous, we don't have to drink," Kyle said.  "We don't need to drink to have fun.  You know that."

"I appreciate that, Kyle," Kevin said.  "Now you know how I feel about it, though.  I trust you.  All of you."

"This was kind of like a group 'private talk with Kevin,' wasn't it," Justin said.

That made everybody laugh, and we were back to joking around in no time.

The traffic started getting heavy north of Tampa, and it was awful going through the city.

"That's the school I used to go to," Brian said as we were passing a middle school.  It didn't face the Interstate, so all we saw was the back of it.

"Cool," Tim said.

"Do you wish you still went there," Kevin asked him really gently.  I knew Kevin worried about the kids, and I knew he was thinking Brian was probably having some emotional reactions right about then.

"Hell, no," Brian said.

"You don't," I asked.  I was a little surprised.

"No.  It's a middle school.  I'm in high school now," Bri said.

We all laughed.

"I'm telling you guys," Jus said.  "This boy's a stud."

"Well, you should know," Kyle said.

"I can't believe how open you guys all are about sex," Jeff said.  "It just seems so natural and so healthy to me."

"It is healthy for you," Jus said.  "Kyle's worked him up quite a nice pair of biceps from all those push-ups he does."

We all laughed.

"You know what I mean," Jeff said, after everybody was finished laughing.

"Yeah, we do know what you mean, Jeff," I said, "and I think you're right."

"Do you miss having sex, Jeff," Tim asked.

"Timmy, that's sort of personal, don't you think," Kevin asked.

"That's okay, Kev.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't, Tim.  It was something very special for us, but Clay was my soul mate, not just my bed mate," Jeff said.  

"Are you feeling any better, Jeff," I asked.

"Yeah, I am, Rick.  Little Clay caused a turning point Christmas morning," Jeff said.  

"Little Clay," Brian asked.

"Kyle, Bri.  You never met Clay.  None of you knew him very well, except Kyle.  For one thing, they look a tremendous amount alike," Jeff said.

"Clay was ugly," Justin shot out instantly.

"No, he looked like me, not like you," Kyle said.

"And he had an incredible sense of humor, just like Kyle has," Jeff said.  "Clay was a lot of fun.  When Kyle named his boat The Clay, he said that we were all going to have fun on the boat and we would have had fun with Clay, too.  He was absolutely right.  Kyle, if I misspeak and call you Clay sometimes, please don't get upset, okay?"

"Jeff, I'd be proud to bear my brother's name.  You all didn't see this, but I got big tears in my eyes a few minutes ago when he called me Little Clay.  If I ever have a son, his name is going to be Clay Goodson the second," Kyle said.

"Who knows, son, maybe one of these days the people of Florida will wake up and let us adopt children," Kevin said.

"If you adopt one in another state and bring it here, can you keep it," Kyle asked.

"Sure, but you have to live in another state in order to adopt in that state," I said.

"If we go to college and Tim goes to medical school in Louisiana, couldn't we adopt a baby or a little kid there and bring him here," Kyle asked.

"It could happen.  It certainly could happen," Kevin said.  "And I know some people in Louisiana who would bend over backwards to make that happen."

"Timmy, we've got a lot to look forward to, Babe," Kyle said.  "A lot."

"It would be just your luck you'd get a girl," Jus said.

"If we do, we'll name it Justin," Kyle said, "after her sweetie-pie uncle."

Justin was laughing so hard he could hardly speak.  "I'm gonna get you, you little shitass," he said.

"The perfect note on which to end this trip," I said.  "Here we are, guys.  The hotel."

"We're not going to your house," Kyle asked.

"Of course we are, but this is where we're staying," Kevin said.  "You knew we were staying in a hotel."

"Kevin and I want a little time to talk to my mom and Arnold before they meet you guys," I said.  "We're going to check in and Kev and I are going to my house.  Then we'll come back for you all."

"How many rooms did you get," Kyle asked.

"Four," Kevin said.

"Kevin, we don't need four rooms.  We just need two.  The kids can all sleep together," Kyle said.  "It'll be more fun if we're all together, man.  Come on."

"It'll be a hell of a lot cheaper, too.  You can give the extra money to us," Jus said.

"Are you sure, guys," Kevin asked.

"There isn't anything we haven't all seen a million times.  You guys want us to be brothers.  Well, hell, we are," Kyle said.

"Jeff, are you okay with everybody in the same room," Kevin asked him.

"Kevin, the people in this truck are the most important people in my life.  Really, the only people in my life," he said.  "I'm just glad to be here.  Besides, I think it would be fun, too."

"We'll see if they have a fold-up bed they can bring in," I said.

"We don't need that, Rick," Kyle said.  "Jeff can take turns sleeping with us.  Just get two king size beds."

"No, we're getting a fold-up," I said.  "If you choose not to use it, that's your business, but we're getting one."

I had made the reservations, and I had been tempted to get non-smoking rooms.  Then I thought, Why be a prick? and got smoking rooms.  I had quit smoking by choice, and I didn't think it was right to force my decision, however temporarily, on my husband and two of my sons.  Besides, they smoked so little it probably wouldn't be an issue for me or for the three boys who weren't smokers.


When we got to my house, my mom's house, really, she was overjoyed to see us.

"Where are the boys," she asked immediately.

"They're at the hotel.  We'll get them in a few minutes.  We wanted to talk to you and Arnie alone first," I said.

"I understand, Rick, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by his attitude," she said.  "He and I have had many long talks about homosexuality, and he's done a lot of reading and thinking about the subject.  He was on the phone a minute ago.  Let me see if he's through."

Arnie came into the room wearing a smile.  That, in itself, was a surprise.  I didn't ever remember seeing the man smile before.

"Hi, guys," he said, extending his hand.

We shook hands.  I thought about the warm hugs, and kisses even, we always got from Kevin's dad and brother, but I wasn't ready to hug him yet.

"We've been excited about seeing you.  Can I offer you a holiday cocktail," he asked.

"I'll have a diet soda, Arnie," I said.

"I'll have whatever you're having," Kevin said.

"Me, too," Mom put in.

"Is scotch okay," Arnie asked.

"That's fine," Kevin said.

Once we were settled down with our drinks, Arnie began the conversation.

"The first thing I want to say is that I'm glad you're here.  Both of you.  Sarah and I have talked a lot about the two of you and about your relationship in the last year.  She was terribly upset that the two of you got married without her being there, and I know that was my fault.  And Kevin, when you didn't come home with Rick last year after Christmas, it just about broke her heart.  But that was my fault, not yours or Rick's."

"I don't know what to say," Rick said.  "We're here now, though, and we've got a pack of boys with us who are just as queer as Kevin and I are.  Those are our sons.  They're our family, and we love them.  Can you handle that?"

"I can, Rick.  I'm looking forward to meeting them," Arnie said.

"There are some things you need to know about them before you meet them," I said.  "First, you would never know they're gay to look at them or to talk to them.  They don't fit any of the media stereotypes of gay men.  We have friends who do, but these boys don't."

"You guys don't, either," Arnie said.

"Well, we'd be proud of them if they did, though, Arnie.  It just so happens this bunch doesn't," I said.

"Any athletes in the group?  Like you?"

"None of them is playing an organized sport right now, but at least two of them have been on school sports teams, and a third one, Jus, hasn't really had the opportunity," Kevin said.  "But Tim, Kyle, and Justin are very athletic types."

"All five of them are very intelligent.  Kyle and Justin are particularly quick witted, and they're liable to come out with a pun or a joke that might be a little off-color.  They tried really hard to watch their language when we were in New Orleans around Kev's mother, sister-in-law, and Kyle's mother, and they were pretty successful at that.  I wanted to warn you, though," I said.

"Son, you're talking to two secondary school educators.  Together Arnie and I have over fifty years of experience working with adolescents.  We know what boys are like, don't we, Dear?"

"I'll say," Arnie said.  "I'm no prude, Rick, and neither is your mother.  We've both got thick skins, I can assure you."

"Well, they won't be vulgar or coarse toward the two of you, that's for sure, but you might overhear a comment made to one another that might shock you a bit," Kevin said.

"I doubt it, son," Mom said.

"Good," I replied.

"Why don't we cut this bullshit and you go get those boys," Arnie said.

"What's on tap for tonight," I asked.

"Well, first we'll eat, and then we were thinking they might like to go on the Christmas Walk," Mom said.

"More lights," Kevin asked.

"More lights," I said.

"Will they like doing that," Mom asked.

"They loved it in New Orleans.  There's no reason they won't love it here, too," I said.

"Kevin, let us freshen your drink, and Rick, you go get your boys," Mom said.

"Okay, and, Babe, try to be upright when we get here, okay?"

"You assh. . ." Kevin said.  And then he caught himself.

"Kevin, when he acts like an asshole, call him an asshole," my own mother said.  

We all laughed at what she said, and I felt like I was on a cloud, it was so good.  I hauled my butt back to that hotel as fast as I could to get those kids.  They were all ready.  They had showered and put on nicer clothes than they had worn on the trip down.  The ones who had needed to shave had actually done so, and it was a mighty good looking bunch I hauled back to my mom's house.

My mother went apeshit over those kids, and so did Arnie, in a less effusive way.  The dinner was pretty informal--basically lasagna and salad, but there was lots of it.  The dessert was chocolate mousse that my mom had bought somewhere, but it was excellent.

The boys' table manners were impeccable, without being put-on or out of character.  There was lots of cheerful banter at the table, and one time I thought Tim and Kyle were going to have to give Arnie mouth-to-mouth, he was laughing so hard.  They told about school, about their friends, about the gifts they had gotten for Christmas, about the trip to New Orleans.  The adults, including Jeff, were offered wine, but the boys got cokes.  It was like we had scripted the whole thing.  Kyle, Jus, and Tim even cleaned up the kitchen, over my mother's protest.

"It's our job, Grandma," Kyle said.

Huge tears came to her eyes when he said that.

"Let 'em do it, Mom.  They know what they're doing," I said.

She just nodded, afraid to talk for fear she would break down.

We went to see the Christmas lights.  About 11:30 I finally said, "We'll see everybody tomorrow, guys, but it's late.  We need to go.  Mom, what Mass do you go to?"

"The ten o'clock.  You mean. . ."

"Oh, yeah.  We'll see you there.  Tell everybody good night, guys," I said, and they did.

My mom grabbed Kevin and me on the way out.

"Rick, they are unbelievable, son," she said.

"I would never have thought those boys are gay," Arnie said.

"Oh, yeah.  They're all gay.  On the way to New Orleans, Kyle and Justin got into an argument about which one was queerer," Kevin said.  "It was hilarious."

"Well, I don't care what they are.  Those are some great kids, son," Arnie said to me.  That was the first endearment of any kind he had ever used toward me, and it wasn't lost on my mother.  "Thanks for coming guys.  Kyle was right, Rick."

"What do you mean," I asked.

"I did just need to be around some normal gay people," he said with a grin.

"I'm out of here," I said, laughing.