The Champ and His Dad

fiction by S. O'Malley

CHAPTER 13: So, What Happened to...? [Part 1]


The Park

Sean leaned over to Jeff and told him that they should go when he saw the 2 rednecks, steel clubs in hand, walking toward them. They stood up but it was too late, the men were already in front of them. They both looked Jeff and Sean over, picking their targets and then the short one, Rufus, put his face inches from Sean’s.

Rufus: So what you queer boys think yurr doin’?

The tall one, let’s call him Lester, laughed at “queer boys” baring his black and yellow tobacco-stained teeth.

Sean:Hey man, we don’t want any trouble
Lester:Well look at that…the queer boys don’t want no trubbel.

They each let out a sinister chuckle. Jeff, who was braver than he was smart, looked at Lester who towered over him by at least a foot.

Jeff: He said we don’t want any trouble. What are you an idiot?

Lightning fast, Lester made a fist and thrust it into Jeff’s face causing him to spin around once and then flop back on the bench. Lester took advantage of Jeff’s prostrate condition and leaned down, pressing the cold steel of his weapon against his neck. The force had bloodied Jeff’s nose and messed up his hearing forcing him to live in silence for a few moments. Sean went to help Jeff, but Rufus pushed him back into the bench and did the same steel-against-neck trick (rednecks only have so many to draw from). That's when Sean began to think these guys might actually kill them--just for sport. Neither boy could speak, as their throats were being crushed, and their two tormentors yelled slurs at them as saliva fell from their mouths, like two rabid dogs.

Jeff looked up at Lester as he spoke, but couldn’t hear a thing. He knew the redneck was asking him a question and the longer he didn’t answer, the greater the pressure on his neck. Suddenly, amidst his silent world, Jeff saw a bloody hole appear in Lester’s left thigh. Specks of blood and flesh flew onto Jeff’s face and clothes. Lester released his grip and dropped the crowbar as he grabbed his leg and starting screaming. Sean heard a second gunshot and saw Rufus’ right calf burst causing him to behave much the same as his partner. The boys couldn’t move, being in a state of shock, and they sat frozen as the two men whooped and jumped around on their one good leg.


Gabriel's place-- 5 minutes earlier

Gabriel’s body started to quake as he sat there on the cold wood floor, finger on the trigger, the metallic barrel between his lips. As hard as he tried to release the bullet from the chamber, he couldn’t do it. He slowly released the hammer and pulled the gun from his mouth, setting it next to him on the floor. His tears had lessened by this point, but a few strays still ran down his face. He again looked at his reflection in the window and thought about how he had ended up here—how he had lost everything.

As the depth of his vision increased, looking through his reflection, he saw something going on in the park across the street. He saw the backs of Rufus and Lester and caught glimpses of Sean and Jeff. He had met them once the previous summer when he was with Todd. He jumped to his feet and went to the window, watching as Rufus and Lester expressed their unique brand of Southern open-mindedness. He couldn’t figure out what was happening, but the glimpses he caught of Sean and Jeff’s faces looked pretty scary. He kept watching the scene until he saw Lester’s fist connect with Jeff’s head, and the subsequent spinning and falling of the boy.

Quickly, his sorrow transformed into anger, and then rage. He grabbed the gun from the floor and put it under the waistband of his jeans as he walked out of his apartment and crossed the street. At this point, he knew he had nothing to lose, and grabbed the gun dispatching a bullet into Lester’s leg. His marksmanship impressed even himself. He cocked the gun again and shot Rufus in the calf. Both men yelped and hopped around as they grabbed their wounds.

Gabriel: Get the fuck out of here….or do you assholes want another?

They clearly did not, and Gabriel, Jeff and Sean watched in mild amusement as the drooling idiots yelped and hobbled back to their ride with all the grace of Quasimoto. When they flipped him off as they drove away, Gabriel considered going for one of their heads, but thought that was a little severe and aimed between them, shooting and shattering the back window.

Sean and Jeff were sitting on the bench coughing and gagging a bit. The jarring force of his coughing caused Jeff’s hearing to fade back in. Gabriel walked over and crouched down in front of them.

Gabriel: Are you guys OK?

As he finished, he looked over at Jeff, whose face had quite a bit of blood on it from his broken nose and the splatter of Lester’s leg. Gabriel ripped off his t-shirt and gave it Jeff.

Gabriel: Here, hold this against your nose it’ll help stop the bleeding…and you gotta put some ice on that. I live across the street—I can get you some.

Both boys had purple abrasions across their necks and were still somewhat in shock as they stood and followed Gabriel. Jeff’s nose was throbbing pretty bad, but at least it wasn’t running down his face anymore. They went into Gabriel’s apartment and sat on the only piece of furniture he had, a futon that doubled as couch and bed. He went over to the kitchen and grabbed a towel, having done this for himself two days before, and held it under the cold water until it was saturated. He took a second towel and laid it on the counter as he grabbed about 5 cubes of ice. He formed the towel into a pack and walked over to Jeff.

Gabriel: OK, let me see it.

As he pulled the wadded up t-shirt away from his nose both Sean and Gabriel winced.

Jeff: Is it bad?….How bad??
Gabriel: You’ll be fine just put your head back.

Gabriel proceeded to wipe the blood and stuff from Jeff’s face much like a mother tending to a dirty child. When he had finished, he held the ice pack on Jeff’s nose lightly so as not to cause too much pain.

Sean: Thanks for saving us man.

Jeff leaned his head forward and mumbled something like “thanks”, then put his head back.

Gabriel: No problem. Who were those fuckers anyway? Do you know them?
Sean: No, just some random fuckers…from Texas of course.
Gabriel: Figures. They must have run out of guys to harass in Texas…had to come up here to do it.
Sean: I was scared man….they had that “crazy hillbilly” look in their eyes, you know like that movie.
Gabriel: Deliverance?
Sean: Yeah that’s it. I expected them to make me squeal like a pig any moment.
Gabriel: (laughing) That’s not good.

Sean rubbed his neck, feeling the course bruise that the pipe had left.

Sean: God, they fucked up my throat.
Gabriel: Sorry Sean, I should have gone over there a little earlier. Do you and Jeff want something to drink?
Sean: Man, don't beat yourself up. You saved our lives...hey, how do you know our names?
Gabriel: I didn’t think you remembered me. I met you both once last summer with Todd. I think it was at that July 4th thing they have on the river?
Sean: Oh, yeah, aren’t you his cousin?
Gabriel: Is that what he told you?
Sean: uh-huh.
Gabriel: Then I guess that’s who I am.
Sean: Wasn’t your hair longer before?
Gabriel: Yeah it was. I got tired of it and cut it all off.

Sean leaned forward and rubbed his hand on Gabriel’s spiky head.

Sean: Not all of it.

They exchanged one of those flirting looks (it was impossible not to) that Gabriel ended with a little laugh and turned away. Both boys were quite enamored with Gabriel after he had been so gallant.

Sean: Yeah, I’ll take a Coke.

Gabriel started to get up.

Sean: You don’t have to get up, I can get it.
Gabriel: There’s some in the refrigerator.

Sean got 3 bottles and brought them over to the couch. Gabriel and he each took a swig and Jeff leaned his head forward and asked for some too. Gabriel grabbed his bottle and brought it to Jeff’s lips, pouring some into his mouth as their eyes met. Jeff swallowed and managed as much of a smile as he could, which Gabriel returned in earnest. All of this commotion had given him a temporary reprieve from his overwhelming despair and he was thankful for the diversion.

They stayed there, talking, for about an hour. The swelling in Jeff’s nose had gone down considerably and it didn’t hurt as much. Gabriel asked them if they wanted to stay for dinner and Jeff said “Sure”. Sean said that he was sorry, but he had to go home to see his dad who had been gone for “an eternity”, as he put it. Sean stood up and leaned over, wrapping his arms around Gabriel, who was sitting on the floor. He thanked him again for saving them and again Gabriel said it wasn’t a big deal. He stood and walked Sean to the door where they said goodbye then went back into the main room where Jeff was on the couch.

Gabriel: So, what would you like for dinner?

Jeff thought for a millisecond and then looked at Gabriel with the cutest little smirk across his face.


Amman, Jordan

The Royal Guard dragged Nick out of the restaurant practically holding him off the ground with one hand. When they got outside Nick saw a massive black limousine with little red and white flags on each corner. The guard opened the door and threw him in, stepping in after him and slamming the door.

The limo had 2 long seats that faced each other with a large open area between. There was a bar on the right and a TV on the left. Only the lights over Nick’s seat were on and ahead, the rest of the limo faded into the blackness. As the car got up to cruising speed, one light on the other side came on and Nick saw someone sitting over there. Two more lights turned on and he recognized the guy sitting there, but couldn’t remember from where. He was around 20, Nick thought, and had beautiful caramel colored skin and black hair and eyes. He wore some sort of uniform with a red sash diagonally across his chest and 3 or 4 medals on the left side. His features were definitely Arabic which Nick had always found very sensual—although in his current situation he was more worried about the fact that he had just been kidnapped and that in a few hours he would be AWOL.

Once every light was on and the back was well lit, the guard turned to Nick and, and in his loud deep voice said:

Guard: May I present to you, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed Khalil Hamed Rasheed Al-Muhtadee Aziz.

Nick didn’t realize that the names had ended and forgot to do the customary bowing on his knees. The guard grabbed the back of his neck.

Guard: BOW!

With that, he pushed Nick to the floor where he was more than happy to bow if it would save his life. The Prince gestured at the guard, Omar, and uttered a few terse phrases in Arabic, at which point the guard responded sheepishly and pulled Nick back up to the seat. He leaned over and grabbed Nick’s hand in his.

Guard: Forgive me, my friend. I am Omar.

They greeted each other and Nick introduced himself.

Nick: Can I ask one question?

Nick glanced at the Prince and was distracted by his intense gaze, 2 large black eyes penetrating him.

Omar: Yes, you may.
Nick: May….what?
Omar: You had a question?

Nick snapped out of the Prince’s hypnotic stare and returned his eyes to the giant next to him.

Nick: Yeah. What are you going to do with me?

Omar just laughed and translated Nick’s question for the Prince who grinned widely.

Omar: Don’t worry my boy, you won’t be harmed.

The Prince and Omar exchanged a few quick looks at each other and Nick just forced a smile. Omar and the Prince started a conversation of which the only word Nick recognized was “Neek”, which he took to be his name. He looked out the window and allowed his thoughts to wondered back to Jeff as he watched the endless pitch blackness of the desert pass by.

Back at Gabriel’s

Gabriel returned Jeff’s smirk with one of his own, letting him know that he fully understood. He walked over and sat down, putting one leg up on the couch so he could sit facing Jeff. He watched as Jeff’s mouth started to make its way across the small space to his. With his index finger to Jeff’s lips, Gabriel stopped him half way. Jeff froze and just looked at Gabriel, somewhat confused. As their eyes focused on each other, Gabriel put his thumb on Jeff’s chin and brushed his other fingers against Jeff’s soft cheek. They spoke in quiet voices.

Gabriel: I’m sorry Jeff. I just can’t…I can’t.
Jeff: But……..
Gabriel: It’s not you……it’s DEFINITELY not you. I just need some time.

He fanned his fingers over Jeff’s cheek and under his chin in one perfectly choreographed movement, drinking in his innocent beauty. Jeff’s hormones got the best of him again and a crocodile tear dropped from each of his dark eyes. Gabriel’s look of admiration turned into one of pain.

Gabriel: Don’t cry…it’s not you…I swear…I know it sounds like a line but it truly isn't.

Gabriel smiled at Jeff and kept repeating, in his soft almost whisper voice, “it’s not you”. Jeff’s tears didn’t seem to be letting up.

Gabriel: Come here.

Jeff’s body slid against the back of the couch and his head ended up on Gabriel’s shoulder, who wrapped his arms around him. They sat like that for a few minutes as Jeff, who was just lonely and missing Nick, calmed down in Gabriel’s embrace. He wiped his tears away and sat back up.

Jeff: It’s just…I dunno…it’s…..I miss my brother.
Gabriel: What happened to him?
Jeff: He’s in the Navy and they left 2 days ago to go back to the Middle East somewhere.
Gabriel: I take it you guys are close?
Jeff: We never used to be, but while he was home we got a lot closer.
Gabriel: He’ll come back won’t he?
Jeff: Yeah, but not for a few months. I just miss him, you know?
Gabriel: Yeah, I know the feeling.

Jeff leaned over, faster this time, and gave Gabriel a little peck on the cheek.

Gabriel: What’s that for?
Jeff: Saving me and Sean from those guys. I thought they were gonna kill us for sure.
Gabriel: Really, it was you guys who saved me.
Jeff: What?
Gabriel: It’s hard to explain and I don’t think you want to hear it.
Jeff: Go ahead.

Gabriel went on to tell Jeff all about this relationship he had with this guy (he never mentioned Todd’s name) a year ago and how he ended it, rather badly, when he had to move to California. Then he told him about his divorce and how he lost his kids… It was a story that got much worse until he arrived at the present, and it started to look up.

Jeff: Jesus man, that is a horrible story.
Gabriel: Yeah, I know. Does it make sense now that I need some time to recover?
Jeff: It does.
Gabriel: Although, being with you makes me feel much better.
Jeff: I’m glad I can help.

They exchanged admiring looks and Gabriel brought his legs up onto the couch as he leaned over and rested the back of his head in Jeff’s lap. Jeff had the perfect view from above and let his hands begin to explore--tracing around his lips and the outline of his small nose—running his fingers through his eyebrows and down his cheeks. Gabriel finally felt peace returning to his chaotic life and all he could do was grin.

Somewhere in the Syrian Desert

Nick could see some lights in the desert as he stared out his window. The driver, using the intercom, told the Prince that they were almost there and brought the car to a stop.

Omar: I’m sorry my friend, but this is where we must blindfold you.
Nick: What the??? Am I a hostage now?

Again, Omar translated Nick’s words for the Prince and they shared a laugh.

Omar: No, my friend you are not a hostage.
Nick: Then what….
Omar: I said we would not hurt you. The blindfold is for your own protection.
Nick: I was supposed to be back at the base an hour ago. They’re gonna fuckin' throw me out of the Navy now. I’m so fucked!

Omar translated those sentences for the Prince and, as he got to the last part, they enjoyed their biggest laugh yet.

Omar: No you will not be thrown from the Navy. If you perform well, you may even get a promotion.
Nick: Perform?
Omar: You Americans and your endless questions. Just put the blindfold on.

Omar had a stern look on his face that seemed slightly threatening to Nick as they watched each other. Gradually, Omar’s face lost it’s severity as it became more of a pleading expression.

Omar: Please?

Nick thought about it for a second and said OK. Omar took the black cloth hood and pulled it over Nick’s head as the Prince knocked twice on the glass that separated him from the driver. The car started moving and in about 10 minutes reached its destination.

Omar grabbed Nick’s arm and guided him out of the car. He could hear the sound of jet engines starting up mixed with random yelling in Arabic. He figured this would be where they killed him, but instead Omar led him up a few steps and into a well appointed Lear jet. The three men, Omar, Nick and the Prince all sat and buckled their seat belts as the jet began to taxi to the runway.

After they had been in the air for 10 minutes or so, Omar removed Nick’s blindfold.

Omar: I’m sorry my friend, but it was necessary.

Omar handed him a warm towel and Nick used it to wipe away the sweat that had formed on his face in the hot wool sack.

Nick: So let me get this straight…You’re not gonna kill me, I’m not a hostage and everything is cool with the Navy?
Omar: Correct.
Nick: Then what’s happening?
Omar: All in good time my friend….all in good time.

The Prince and Omar shared one of those knowing glances. All Nick could do was wait and see what happened.

Back at Gabriel’s

Jeff, being 16 and therefore always horny, had let his hands wander off of Gabriel’s face and down his neck to his chest. Gabriel had never put a shirt on after giving his to Jeff and the sight of his well-defined hairy torso was too much for Jeff to resist. On the back of his head, Gabriel could feel Jeff’s erection, and the intense heat that radiated from it. From his vantage point, Jeff could see the outline of Gabriel’s hard-on in his jeans and it just made his penis rage that much more.

Slowly, and Jeff thought stealthily, his hands got closer and closer to the top of Gabriel’s jeans. Jeff looked down at his face and saw his closed eyes making him assume that he had dozed off. Jeff’s hand hovered above the top metal button. Then, with his finger and thumb, grabbed the flap and pulled it open, just as Gabriel’s hand clamped down on his wrist. It startled Jeff--he looked down and saw Gabriel, one eye open, looking up at him. He wasn’t mad or anything…it seemed more like he was impressed with Jeff’s determination.

Gabriel sat up and swung his legs to the floor. He put his hand on Jeff’s thigh and kind of squeezed it.

Gabriel: Why don’t we go out for dinner.
Jeff: Does my nose look OK to go out in public?
Gabriel: Yeah, it looks a lot better.
Jeff: OK..yeah, let’s go out.
Gabriel: Where do you want to go?
Jeff: ummm…I don’t know.
Gabriel: You think and I’ll go grab a shirt.

Gabriel leaned over and gave Jeff a kiss on his forehead. It was one of those “in between” kisses—not on the mouth which would let Jeff know he was interested, and not a “just friends” kiss on the cheek. It was more like a kiss goodnight, the kind his mother used to give him when he was a kid after she had tucked him in. After his stressful day, it felt good. Jeff had always taken care of himself, but lately, mostly after Nick left, he felt like he needed someone to hang on to.

Gabriel went into the other room, where his dresser was, and looked for a shirt to wear. Rummaging through the drawers, he discovered an old picture of Todd and himself. He had destroyed them all after their last encounter at the hotel, but he just couldn’t get rid of this one. This was the special photo—the one that his friend took of them in front of the new Visitor’s Center—the location of their first encounter (and second through fourth). For a moment he flashed back to his time with Todd, then turned and looked over at Jeff in the other room. His eyes came back to the photo then returned to Jeff who had turned his head and was looking over at him. He thought about it, then tore up the photo and let the pieces fall to the floor. He slipped on a shirt and grabbed his jacket.

Jeff: Ready?

Gabriel thought for a second.

Gabriel: Yeah….I think I am. Let’s go.

Doha, Qatar (the Capital City)

Nick felt someone grabbing and shaking his shoulder. As he opened his eyes he saw Omar hovering over him.

Omar: Wake up, my friend. We are here.

Nick slowly faded back into reality as he rubbed his eyes and yawned. He was pissed that Omar had woken him up right in the middle of a dream about Jeff. Looking out the window of the jet, he could see the bright lights of a city, in the middle of the desert, a few miles away. Omar, Nick and the Prince got into another limo that was waiting for them on the tarmac of the private airfield.

As the limo sped through the deserted early morning streets Nick could see the waters of the Persian Gulf out his window. Looking across the car, he saw the city--a modern tropical paradise, with hundreds of trimmed palm trees that seemed to dance in the reflective glass of the illuminated skyscrapers.

Nick: Where are we?
Omar: This is Doha…our capital.
Nick: Qatar?
Omar: Very good my friend. Most do not know us.

Omar put his hand on Nick’s shoulder.

Omar: Welcome. We are proud to have you as our guest.

“Guest”—Nick liked that and thankfully nodded at Omar and the Prince. After about 20 minutes the car stopped at a security gate, and out of his window Nick saw the Royal Palace, majestic and perfectly white, twinkling as if it were made of spun sugar. The gate opened and the limo proceeded up the steep hill that led to the main entrance.

As the car reached the front of the palace, 8 or 10 men dressed in long white linen tunics snapped to attention. Omar got out of the car, followed by Nick, and opened the other door for the Prince causing the men to fall to their knees (as is the custom). The 3 men entered the Palace and walked through the labyrinth of rooms and narrow passageways until they reached the elevator and took it to the third floor.

Exiting, the Prince said something to Omar, who responded, and then went down the hall to his bedroom. Omar led Nick the opposite way and took him into a large room.

Omar: This is where you will stay. You need some sleep, for tomorrow will be a busy day for you, my friend.

Omar crossed the room and opened the closet showing Nick his choice of traditional Arabic garments, then crossed back to the door.

Omar: Sleep well, Neek. I will wake you in the morning.

Nick looked around the large open room. Out his window he could see the wavy reflection of the moon in the waters of the gulf. It wasn’t so bad—not bad at all especially since he had been in the cramped quarters of the ship for the past few days. He hopped up on the high canopy bed and allowed himself to spread out as wide as he could. In no time he was back to exploring his “dream world” with his little bro.

to be continued...

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2001 | sean o'malley