is about relationships between and among teenagers. This includes intimate
relationships between young males. If you don't approve or are offended, then
how come you're reading this? Go to some other Internet Site. (Of course some
people actually cultivate being offended; if that's the case, read right on). As
far as detailed descriptive sex acts, I think you may find some good ones in
other stories right here on Nifty, but as of now I do not envision a lot of
explicit detail in this one.
If, for some legal reason, you are not allowed to read this in your area of the world because of illogical laws, again I will not condone (publicly) anyone breaking the law, so either move or read sentence four. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our bums.
Please, this story is sort of my property, so if you ever want to quote some of it (whatever for I wouldn't know), please e-mail me and also give proper attribution. As of now no one has permission to put this story on another Internet Site.
This story is almost entirely fictional, and autobiographical ONLY in the sense that many of the incidents in the story really happened, but in some cases to different people and under different circumstances. In other words I've simply adapted things that happened in my life to a fictional story. In fact, some aspects of both main characters are in part modeled from my own experiences. Some of my family members are also in this story, and perhaps (definitely) distorted a bit (a lot) at times and sometimes approaching caricature, but since I really don't expect them to sue, I'm taking the chance. All other characters are fictional, except as noted).
I welcome any feedback. Constructive criticism appreciated.
Chapter 57 -- Good News and Bad News
"When will you expect to be home?" Mom was in full Mom-mode. Jade and I were ready to leave for St. Joseph`s College library.
"Pretty late. Dinner at 6 PM as usual for Sunday?"
"Yes. Don't be late. You know how your father gets. And call when you are ready to leave the library. I still don't know why you have to go all the way out there. There are plenty of libraries much closer."
I didn't really want to lie. So I just ignored the implied question. "I got to hurry. I'm meeting Jade." I've starting to realize the least said the better.
"Please be careful. Do you have enough money? You can't use student tokens on a Sunday."
"Don't worry. And I have these sandwiches for lunch. And there's phones everywhere."
Finally I got away.
On the long bus ride to the library, we talked about all kinds of things, but never once mentioned what we were on this trip to find out. We were surrounded by people and such a conversation would have been impossible. Unless you had some suicidal tendencies. One topic of conversation was the amazing news of Russia putting an astronaut, or cosmonaut as they called him, into space. On Jade's birthday, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into orbit in the capsule called Vostok I. I remember hearing the special news flash while I was baking a special cake for Jade's real birthday. And I always thought of Jade at the person that could keep me from getting too crazy. But he kept putting his hook into the icing as I was finishing the cake and trying to stuff it in one of our mouths. He then did the same thing with the cake. It was a big mess by the time we had our fill. It was a real fun time. That was another thing we talked about. We decided that we just needed to have fun sometime, and forget about our possible future problems.
We had to hurry cleaning up before his uncle got home. The very next day the US announced our own future Apollo Program. And that our own astronaut should be put into space in a couple weeks. But it wasn't even an orbital shot.
It took us a lot of looking when we finally got to the library just to find the card catalogue. Why did they put in on the second floor? We finally did find a couple interesting books. And I had a fantasy involving a certain librarian and one of them.
I was trying to find something that could possibly be interesting that I found in the card catalogue, something about a report by a guy in England, a Sir John Wolfenden. But I never did find it. It was just some legal thing so after a big commotion by Jade, I never did go back looking for it.
"OK, what's so exciting?" I asked.
Jade showed me a book we had been looking for. I totally lost interest in everything else I got so excited. He had the book by Sherwin Bailey, Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition. Jade was excited as I was. "Listen to this: `homosexuality is a condition characterized by an emotional and physico-sexual attraction towards others of the same sex'."
"I'm sure glad that someone understands us. That's the first one we've seen that doesn't call us sick or deviants."
"Mark that page. Here, I have a bunch of paper strips."
I barely got started when Jade yelled again: "Holy smoke. You HAVE to read this! According to this guy the sin of Sodom wasn't homosexuality at all!"
"You have to be misreading it. Let me see." And I started reading where Jade pointed. I could hardly believe what I was reading. I couldn't understand everything this guy was saying but didn't have to. "Jade! This is amazing. I never heard of this before. We've been taught forever that God destroyed Sodom because of homosexuality. And this guy says that's all wrong! He even points to other scripture that agrees with this. We need to find a Bible."
"OK. I'll go back to the catalogue." Jade looked up. "And people are looking. We better try to be quiet."
People seeing us must have thought we were crazy. I hoped no one asks us to leave. I ran over to the stacks while Jade went downstairs.
I had no luck. Jade finally found me. "There's supposed to be a billion of them. Well at least twenty or so."
"Holy smoke. Look here. It looks like an encyclopedia!" We found one bible that was actually many different volumes. Each book of the bible was translated in the very front. And 98% of the book was an explanation for the translation and notes. Look for Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Wisdom, and Ecclesiastes. And Luke." Finally one I recognized.
We looked up all the texts.
"These are all referring to the sin of Sodom and not a single one says anything about homosexuality. Listen here: `Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughter lived in pride, plenty, and thoughtless ease; they supported not the poor and needy; they grew haughty and committed abominations before me; so I have swept them away, . . .' That's from Ezekiel."
"This guy says at the worst, the people of Sodom were guilty of rape if there was a sex crime at all."
We got back to our chairs and I looked through the Bailey book again. I said: "I wish we could check this out."
Jade looked at the thick book. "I guess trying to take photos of all the pages would be too difficult?"
"Damn. Why can't someone invent an easy way to copy pages out of a book?" I was frustrated that I couldn't read more of the book later.
I finally went back to look for the other book. But it was checked out. A couple other books were the same old psychiatrist mumbo-jumbo. And not very complimentary. And no wonder most of the gay people studied came off looking so bad -- and how come these guys can't study normal people. Just like in the book by Allen, almost all of the people were picked either from lists of psychiatric patients to begin with, or people in prison.
Jade then asked about how we could find the other Bible passages. "I found four of them marked in Mama's bible but didn't bring the information with me. I didn't know we would need it. It never occurred to me that translations from one bible to another could be so different."
"Well, that big encyclopedia type bible we saw had a whole bunch of them in its notes at times." I never realized that there were so many problems involved in just translating these old manuscripts, let alone on how to interpret them. "Jade, what was that big set of books called?"
"It was called the Anchor Bible I think, or Anchor something."
"I hadn't noticed. Well, we'll just have to come back. I'm pretty excited about what we found out today. You know, I think my religion book I have at home right now says Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality. I got to check when I get back."
We wanted to investigate more but we simply ran out of time. "Next time we need to be more prepared." I thought.
A normal week. Actually not. It seemed that Jade and I couldn't stop hugging and kissing. There was one time I came right in my pants. I wanted to get married!
I think for the hundredth time in a row we skipped the scout meeting. I think both of us were getting somewhat frustrated that they didn't seem to do any real "scout" stuff. School was as usual the following week. Jade complimented me for not being sent to Jug for an entire four weeks. I told him that I was learning a new martial arts discipline, and when I had learned enough he was in trouble.
"OK, I'll bite. Just what's it called?" Jade had this condescending look.
I replied: "That look you're giving me right now is one more reason why you'll be in trouble soon as I get enough training. It's too new to have a formal name yet, but includes learning how to use machine guns, hand grenades, and monkey wrenches." I am certain that I was able to keep a perfectly straight face.
Jade talked with Consuelo a few times and found out what she meant by her ulterior motives. "She wants us to meet and talk with her brother. She said that when she suspected us, her first thought was that maybe her brother could finally have someone to talk to."
"You mean he doesn't know any other homosexuals?"
"Well, I guess he went to some bar downtown a couple times in spite of his age, but said he didn't like the type of people who went there anyway. Either too weird or just looking for sex."
"What do you mean a bar?" This was too weird.
"Well, Consuelo said there was a bar downtown where homosexuals meet."
"How would you know if someone there was a homosexual?"
"Well, I guess the whole place is filled with them."
"Wow. Never knew there were places like that. How do you find out about places like that?" I suddenly wondered if such a place could be nearby.
"Haven't the faintest."
That Thursday, our school had only a half day of school because of some teacher`s meeting, and Jade was busy working on something with Consuelo and Marx for his school newspaper. So I got home early and just moped about for a bit. While later watching TV, I heard the evening newspaper hit the porch. I went to get it to read the comics.
But an article that made the front page riveted my attention. There was even a photo. The article was about the city police raiding a bar frequented by "perverted" homosexuals seeking "illegal liaisons." We just learned about such a place, and now here it is in the news.
I wondered if it were the same one. This triggered my renewed determination to at least see what my parents reaction might be if I went to them about my "secret." I soon almost had the article memorized. It wasn't nice. Quite a few people had "resisted arrest" and were now in the hospital. And the article used the word "gay" instead of homosexual a few times. I was wondering where that word came from.
Well, anyway, I though it was worth the shot. That evening, right before dinner, I casually brought the article to my parents' attention and as innocently as possible asked what a homosexual was. After their tirades simmered down, it was all I could do to finish my dinner. As soon as possible I went to my room. I could not stop shaking and crying for quite some time. My parents' words kept reverberating through my head. My father made some remark about not ever allowing any queer faggot near him. And my mother went on for a few minutes stating how sick and perverted these poor people were and that their parents should have put them in institutions to be cured before it had become too late. The idea of being institutionalized terrified me so much that for the next hour I could think of almost nothing else. So much for getting help from my parents.
Jade and I met as usual to deliver the circulars that evening. Jade immediately knew something was very wrong. "White-boy, what's the matter?"
I looked at him and gave a very big sigh. "You know, in spite of suspecting that I'd never be able to tell my parents about us, or about me being a homosexual, I guess I still held out a little hope that just maybe it could work out." I stopped. I was trying to halt the tears. The memory hurt so much. My own mother. I knew she loved me. But which me?
Jade looked at me with some anxiety, and then concern. "Please, White-boy, what happened?"
"Well, I found out this afternoon that I can never really tell my parents about us. Did you see the Bulletin yet?"
"Just read the comics. Little Abner is running a series of episodes on Lower Slobobia." He stopped. He realized I wasn't in the mood to hear about comics.
"Well when you get back home look at the front page. There is a story about this bar down town that was raided by the police. I wondered if it were the same one Dan had gone to. There was even a picture. On the spur of the moment I saw an opportunity to see if I could find out about my parent's attitude on homosexuals. It wasn't good. In fact it was worse than I had imagined it could be."
And I explained to Jade what happened.
"Sorry. You kept saying your Mom really cares for you. Maybe she could change her opinion."
"I guess there's always hope, but the biggest problem is that I just can't bear to hurt her."
"I still can't believe Mama had been so good about it. I wish she could be here for both of us." Now we both had tears showing. I wanted to hug him but couldn't. And that brought a conflicting emotion of anger. If one of us were a girl we could hug and cry and most people would merely sympathize. Well, my tears stopped. We looked at each other and we suddenly smiled. We were thinking the same thing, and found it humorous. But don't ask me why.
The next day on our way home from school, Jade mentioned that Consuelo settled on a date: "It's this Sunday. Consuelo is manipulating people again. Especially us. We're supposed to meet her brother."
"Actually, that may be interesting. Just think, of the ten million or more homosexuals in the country, we already know three." At the time it seemed humorous.
We then started talking again about how my parents reacted to that newspaper article and Jade reminded me that my Mom was the type that read a lot and was pretty smart. "Well, maybe she can find out enough to understand what being a homosexual is really all about."
"But that's just the problem and why I'm so scared. Look at all that psychological junk out there. That's what she believes. And it's so totally condemned by our Church; I don't think she would just accept it. Especially after hearing what she said yesterday. I'm just plain scared what she'd do."
I was getting pretty emotional again. We were on our way down the big hill next to the park with nobody in sight. Jade and I by that time had stopped walking and he had his arm over my shoulder. We stopped and we hugged. About five steps later we heard a honk from behind.
Jade turned. "Look at that fancy Caddy." That's all Jade got out before it stopped. The window whisked down.
"Hay, you guys want a ride?"
We got in the car. Jade was fascinated. "Never been in one of these before. You white boys are sure rich."
If Frank was offended he didn't seem to notice. "Wrong! This white boy's father-in-law is rich. You guys never did come around again. How you two doing?"
"Great actually. How about Cindy and your little girl?" I asked. I was embarrassed I couldn't remember her name.
"Really good. I can hardly believe it myself, but I love being a daddy. Ellie is 14 months now and walking around. She's turning into a little person. It's so amazing. But we have to be careful; everything she sees is both a toy and food. Not necessarily in that order."
I could tell he really loved his little girl. I was very happy right now with Jade and all, but I couldn't help it. Thoughts of the kids I won't have almost got to me. Jade was looking and noticed.
"Hay Rocco, we going to my place or yours?"
"Mine. I need to avenge myself. I can't believe that I let you win last time." I was talking about Jade finally winning a game of Tactics II. I was trying a new strategy and it didn't work. "We can at least get a good start, and we have the weekend to finish." I turned back to Frank. "We're both going to my house, and thanks for the ride. Maybe soon we can come over and see the baby."
Frank went a bit red. "I'd love that. But maybe I could bring Cindy and little Ellie to your house instead. Sorry Jade, but my father-in-law, well, he's really a nice guy, but sorry I couldn't bring you into his house."
Now was my turn to go red. "Why do people have to be like that? Sorry Frank, but I doubt my parents, would like you at our house either."
Frank looked at me for a second. "Shit. That's two years ago and still people around here can't stop judging us. Sorry, but it's just so damn frustrating. Well, maybe someday." And Frank seemed to remember something. "And yeah, Pop, I mean my father-in-law, won't be at the shop tomorrow after 12. How about coming bye, the pizza's on me?"
Frank was just pulling up at our house. "The hell with it," I thought. "Hay Frank there's a parking spot right there. Why not come in for a minute. My sisters are probably home, and my Mom. I'd like to introduce you. If you want to chance it I mean."
Frank looked at me a bit, and finally smiled. "Be glad to. No beer I guess?" And laughed.
I wasn't really sure if he wasn't serious.
We all piled out and went inside. Mom and Dolores were in the kitchen, apparently talking about Charlie. Mom stopped talking abruptly when she saw us.
"Frank, this is my Mom and you know my sister Dolores. This is Frank -- the guy who gave me rides to school when I had the broken foot. He and Cindy have a beautiful one year old girl. I was telling him they'd be welcome to come over some time. And there's no such thing as a one year old that's not cute."
My Mom looked at me saying I'd be in trouble later, but wasn't about to say something to Frank. She smiled. "I'm sure that'd be fine. Just give us some warning. And what's your girl's name?"
That got out his wallet and this started a baby-subject conversation. I thought I could hook my Mom on this. Dolores kept looking at me for some reason but I wasn't sure why. Then he brought out a picture of the pizza shop with him and his wife and little baby in front. "And come over anytime for some pizza. If I'm there it's on the house."
My Mom gave me another one of her "looks." There was some more polite conversation and finally he left. My Mom was starting to look embarrassed. Jade and I were starting to leave the kitchen, when Mom said to me. "Rocco, I need to see you a moment. Why don't Dolores keep Jade company in the living room a while."
I kept telling myself I did nothing wrong.
"Rocco, just why did you bring that boy into our house? You know I don't approve of either him or that hangout."
"You seemed to like him fine when you were talking about his little girl. Wasn't she cute?"
"You're changing the subject. I don't want him here again."
I tried to stop myself. Come on self, you are now the new mature model. I compromised. I answered, but tried to be tactful. "And I can't understand why not. He's one of the nicest and hardest working kids in my class. And he was nice enough to stop every morning to take me to school when I was on crutches. He and his wife go to church every Sunday and are good Catholics. So why not?"
"You know exactly why not. He got that girl pregnant in the eighth grade and had to get married. And he works in that disgusting hangout."
I looked at my Mom and suddenly got angry. But only for a moment. That was my fast temper trying to get hold of me. But as I thought a bit more I got more scared than angry. Mostly I wondered how she would eventually judge me. Her words about those perverted and disgusting homosexuals were still loud in my memory. And I finally wound up replying: "His father-in-law owns that place. Besides, Mom, I think that's not only unfair, but un-Christian. I sincerely hope that you don't judge me that harshly anytime soon." For a moment my Mom looked at me like I was a stranger or something. With her not answering right away I turned and left. Well started leaving. I turned at the door and asked: "Please Mom, this is important to me."
"I don't understand what this boy is to you. He's not even one of your usual friends. Why is it so hard just not to associate with him?"
"Mom, you said that you'd try to listen to me. Please, this has nothing to do about whether he is a friend or not. It has to do with what's right or wrong. It's not right to judge him the way you're doing."
"It is certainly my duty to protect my family."
I wanted to say: "It's also your duty to teach us to be good Christians." I only thought it though. I didn't have the nerve to actually say it. What I finally said instead was: "I was just trying to be nice to someone who was nice to me."
When I got to the living room, the TV was on and both Dolores and Jade were discussing the show they were watching American Bandstand. I interrupted them. "Jade, keep watching that show and you'll numb your brain. Want to start that game?"
Jade turned and said: "There just was this bulletin about something happening in Montgomery, Alabama today. Doesn`t sound good. They said the National Guard was to be called in."
"Have to watch the news tonight. Want to start the game?" Sure a lot of bad news lately I thought. It was hard watching it day after day and not be able to do anything about it.
"OK. Just don't start crying this time when I slaughter you." Jade had to make sure I didn't forget the last game we played.
"Last game was an anomaly. Let's set it up in the basement in case we can't finish today. Oh, and here!" I handed him the dictionary.
"Funny. Nice try. You're crying over losing has just begun. It`s not a one time event." And Jade smiled as he continued. "Your hegemony with this game has ended!"
I looked at him and sighed. He handed back the dictionary and laughed. He had it open to the he's. "I give. I haven't the faintest idea."
"Heard the word in history class. Sovereignty, dominance, in power. And it was no way an anomaly; it will soon become the norm." And his gleeful smile got even bigger. "And I'm six ahead now."
We were about to set up the game on the ping pong table and I got the old chairs. But we could barely hear ourselves think.
Jade looked around. "What's that horrible screeching?"
I got up and walked toward the noise. It was coming from the wash machine. Wow. I knew the thing was going on the fritz, but this was ridiculous. I went back to the table. "Maybe we can do something outside until dinner. Your uncle home tonight?"
"Just for dinner. Why?"
"Well, just thought I'd come over for whatever. And, by the way, after the bank tomorrow, maybe we can go to the electronics store to see about prices of multimeters. Also, I was just thinking. I think I saw some in the Heathkit catalogue."
Jade looked up curious, as we were exiting the yard. "What's that?"
By some mutual ESP we were headed down the drive. I was wondering if Jimmy were home. "I showed it to you a while back. It's a catalogue of a whole bunch of kits to make different electronics equipment. My brother's VFR and transmitter were both kits. A lot cheaper than put together ones."
"How about his receiver?"
"No, that's store bought. A Hallicrafters. A receiver's a whole lot harder, especially to adjust all the coils and everything."
We got to Jimmy's house just as his dad got home. "Hi, boys! Come on in." We went in the back door. His dad took off his suit coat and reached into the refrigerator. "Would either of you like some soda?"
Wow, we rarely had soda at home. Just at times on Summer Saturday evenings. We usually bought Booth's quart bottles along with some Byrer's ice cream. "Thanks."
I was drinking a chocolate Yoho when Jimmy came into the kitchen. "Yuk! How can you drink that stuff?"
Jade and I looked at each other and laughed -- both for different reasons. One time when I mentioned to Jade that it was almost impossible not to care for chocolate he said he was dark enough. I said I sure liked it, and I realized it had a double meaning, which I mentioned to Jade.
To Jimmy I admitted: "This the first time I've ever had it. Saw it at that store near camp last summer, and wondered how it tasted. I think it's good."
Jimmy was about to take out something himself and his mother's intuition engaged. From the next room we heard: "Jimmy, don't spoil your dinner."
After a few words we went to the back yard. Jimmy snuck out with a Pepsi. "Don't drink this so often now it went up to a dime a bottle."
We finally got into a talk about our TV repair business-to-be. Jimmy mentioned their old TV set in the basement. "We didn't bother getting it fixed. My dad wanted to get one of the new color one's anyway."
I was suddenly excited: "You have a color set? The only color show I've seen was for about five minutes in a store window a good while back."
We went upstairs to check it out. I knew his father made pretty good money but a color set was hugely expensive. One price I'd heard was 500 dollars! As much as our first car. He turned it on, but the show that came on was in black and white. "It's not in color." I was hugely disappointed.
"Only some of the shows are broadcast in color so far. So far only a few of the network ones. And none of the non-network shows."
Now Jade and I knew what we were going to be doing this evening. They had a TV Guide, and it showed which shows were in color -- which weren't many.
We eventually went back downstairs to look at the old set. In five minutes we had the back off and were checking it out. It turned on pretty well, but suddenly we heard a snapping sound and the screen went blank.
I said: "That sounds like a short. If we had our meter I bet we could find it easy." I wasn't quite as sure as I made it sound.
But Jade looked closer. "It looks a bit discolored right here, and he touched one of the large metal covered capacitors with his hook.
I reached out and suddenly was knocked on my butt. I had a small burn on my finger where I touched the side of Jade's hook. "Holy smoke!" I was a bit dazed yet. "That could have been bad. I guess we found out what is wrong. This capacitor is shorting out." I wasn't sure how I sounded. I was really groggy.
Jimmy laughed: "That's fantastic Mr. Wizard, when's your next show?"
I was annoyed, but more with Jade. I turned to him: "Not fair! I just touched your hook. How come you didn't get zapped?"
He lifted his hook. And smiled. "Insulated!" He then looked back to us. "And who's this Mr. Wizard guy?"
Now it was me and Jimmy's turn to look at each other and laugh. "Jade hasn't watched much TV." I turned to Jade. "There's this guy that has a science show for kids on Saturday mornings. He's called Mr. Wizard on the show. It's pretty good. He does experiments and shows how science can explain things."
Jimmy then said: "Too many important things to do with my Saturdays, like baseball, or football, or basketball." Then suddenly looked embarrassed.
"Don't worry," Jade said. "I'm used to it. But how about a half-ball challenge now the weather's improving?"
We finally called Stan. Jade then called Joey and Teague. A tournament was on! I said I wanted to go look at multimeters earlier in the afternoon. We arranged it for 3 PM behind my house. I wondered if I could talk Joey or Teague to come into my house for refreshments.
We never did get back to Jimmy's house that evening. Just after Jade and I got back to my house, Jimmy called back and said they had unexpected company. Well we'd try to see the color TV later. Jimmy invited us to come over tomorrow evening.
Chapter 58 -- A Duck, a Window, and an Untimely Chirp
When Rocco and I got to the electronics store we were both in a great mood. We were all exited about starting our own small business, even if on a very small basis. We asked to see their multimeters.
"This one's just as good as the other two but the cheapest. It's 35 dollars."
I wasn't quite as happy as when I entered the store. But Rocco thought that was a good price. As we left the store, I asked Rocco why he had asked about the prices of some tubes.
"Well, there are about two or three tubes that are the most common and go bad the most. So I was wondering if we could maybe keep them on hand. So I wanted to know their prices. The 12AU7 and the 6AU6 weren't too expensive."
Fortunately by then I knew what he was talking about. I added: "And we really don't need that circuit tester, you can just touch something with your finger!" I easily ducked his feeble attempt at a blow.
"Look! It's still burnt!" And Rocco showed me his finger. Damned if it wasn't.
"You could have Mommy kiss it and make it all better." I easily ducked his second feeble attempt.
"I'd rather have you kiss it and maybe a few other parts. That'd make ME all better."
Rocco didn't see the guy right behind us. What a nasty look he gave us! Soon we were walking past a pet store and we looked into the window. They had a box full of baby ducks for sale. Easter was a while back and the few ducks remaining were almost on a "give away" sale. I stopped. "Wow, they're really cute."
"Not as cute as . . ." Rocco then stopped as a woman and a kid stopped directly behind us.
Rocco grabbed me and dragged me into the store. We walked out with a chirping baby duck. "Isn't Critter enough? And how about your mom?"
"But I couldn't resist. He's so cute. Besides I'll just hide him in my closet."
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. You can't keep the poor thing in a closet its entire life."
"Well, just a couple days. I have to pick just the right moment to let my Mom know. Think I'll call it Charlie."
"Charlie?" I asked puzzled.
"Yeah, after Dolores' boyfriend." We both thought that hilariously funny. You had to be there. (Or were we just so happy lately with each other's company, that we were finding a lot of stuff funny lately)?
We got back in plenty of time for the half-ball tournament. Instead of a round robin like usual, we just split the teams into white kids vs. black kids. Teague was really good, but they had the edge with Jimmy and Stan. I was determined to make the difference. We won two games and lost two games so far. Not too bad considering. But in the next game, all tied in the sixth inning, I hadn't gotten a single hit yet. So far my best shots were a pop up and two sharply hit grounders. But Rocco had the fastest feet in the east. He stopped both sharply hit shots bouncing along the ground just before they could pass the single line -- with his feet. This time I was determined it would be different. It was. Unfortunately NOT the "different" I had in mind. Crack, smash! The bat had flown out of my hooks and soared through the branches of the big cherry tree in Rocco's back yard and went right through an upstairs window, ripping through the screen and the bottom glass of the inside window.
"Hay Jade, far enough for a double but slightly foul." That was Teague. But Rocco went white. OK, white-er.
And that's what led to the famous chirp that saved the day.
"Oh shit. My back window. I hope my Dad don't get too mad. Maybe we can fix everything before he finds out."
Everybody went home while Rocco and I quickly ran in to investigate.
"Woah, slow down. I heard a crash. What happened?" That was his Mom.
"We accidentally broke a window in my bedroom; we're going to take a look."
Before Rocco could take another step, his Mom asked: "How'd it happen?"
I was ready to answer, but Rocco jumped in: "A bat flew out of a person's hands accidentally and went through the window. We'll clean it up and go the hardware store and replace the window. It shouldn't cost more than 50 cents or so."
I was ready to tell her it was my fault but Rocco pushed me out of the room. His Mom brought up the rear. She remarked: "I better make sure the glass gets cleaned up all right. Don't want anybody getting cut. And Rocco, we need to talk about this later. I don't know what your father will have to say about this." She didn't look too happy. Rocco looked even less happy.
Not much glass. But there was also a hole through the screen on the storm window. Rocco said placatingly: "We'll get some new screening too. Have it fixed in a couple hours."
"Dinner will be ready soon." But Rocco assured her he could be back in time. His Mom wasn't going to let us go but just then we heard just one tiny, but very distinct chirp coming from the closet. "What in the name of tarnation was that?" Colorful language. And she walked toward the closet. Rocco didn't look well.
"Oh how cute!" Rocco's mom had opened the door, seen the box and looked inside. She now had the duck in her lap, sitting on a bed. "When did you get this, and when were you going to tell us?"
This reaction Rocco clearly didn't envision. But something about not looking too closely at gift horses. "Earlier this afternoon, and it's a gift for Mariann. They`re were a couple leftover since Easter." Rocco was definitely the quickest thinking liar in the neighborhood. We'd have a talk about this later. But eventually, his Mom was so taken by the duck that we were on the way to the store -- running.
Huffing and puffing as we got there. Damn, could he run! He had to stop a couple times for me to catch up. "You should run track!" That took me three breaths to get out. "Why didn't we take our bikes?"
"Actually I was thinking cross-country. Starts next week and I thought I'd try out. I run everywhere and can go miles without slowing down. As to the bikes, do you want carry a big pane of glass on a bike?"
We got the new piece of glass and the screening. I noted: "Eighty-five cents. At this rate we'll start our repair business just in time for our retirement party."
We got back -- running again. Well, half running. The piece of glass slowed us down. We had cleaned out the window frame. Rocco was pretty good at this type of thing. In no time the window was put back and we had the screen window out of the frame. He was putting in the new screening. I asked: "You have a knife to trim the excess?"
"No sweat. I'll just borrow my brother's hobby knife." Rocco was fearless when his brother wasn't there. "I will also show you the Heathkit catalogue while I'm at it."
Fifteen minutes later, we were on his bed looking at the book. "There you are. Just nineteen ninety-five. What do you think?"
"Need any fancy stuff to calibrate it or so?"
"No. And it's easy to put together -- just a bunch of capacitors and resistors and a transformer, and hardware. Piece of cake."
"OK. We should have the money in about two weeks. But I'm starting to feel like I'm here just for the ride." I almost NEVER complained about my hooks that way, and White-boy looked over at me very anxiously.
"Hay, look. I don't care if it takes forever; you WILL learn to use pliers and a soldering gun before the project's completed. Besides, doing it with you makes it twenty times better." And without any conscious thought or deliberate action, we leaned into each other and kissed.
"Damn it Rocco!"
Both of us jumped a hundred feet into the air. We looked up as we did. There was Carl in the doorway. OH SHIT, DAMN! This was NOT good! My heart was racing a million miles a minute and Rocco was now REALLY white. All the blood had drained from his face. Neither of us could say anything. BUSTED! I wasn't too worried for myself, but what about his parents when Carl told them about us kissing? But my brain couldn't function very well. Rocco REALLY looked like he was going to pass out. He eventually stammered: "What?"
His brother walked into the room. "I can't believe what I just saw!"
Rocco looked about to keel over. I was trying to think of how to save him. Maybe just saying it was me and not Rocco. But then my thoughts were interrupted.
His brother continued. "How many times have I told you NEVER go to into my drawers!? Put the catalogue on my desk. If you do it again I will make sure you get into trouble."
Rocco finally stammered out. "Sorry, won't do it again. Anything else?"
"I heard you have a duck. Could I see it?"
Where we in the Twilight Zone or something? What was happening here? We both looked at each other and made a fast instant communication. "Rocco has it in a box."
Ten minutes later, Carl had the duck in his lap and was feeding it. "He IS cute."
Rocco and Carl were called to dinner and I left for home, wondering what exactly what was happening. Carl never did make any mention of us kissing. An hour later I called Rocco to see if we were still on for tonight at Jimmy's house. With the duck incident, the window thing, and whatever, I wondered.
"See you at Jimmy's at 7 PM. Explain there, but all is OK." He hung up without another word.
What WAS going on? Was there a friendly God up there after all, taking pity on us for once? Was Carl blind? Did we really kiss? Was I still black? I looked into the mirror. Yep. And I looked again. And as ugly as ever. OK, not ugly. White-boy said I was never to think of myself that way. As his official boyfriend, he said only HE had to right to decide how I looked. "To me you're the best looking boy in the world. And I'm not just saying that. I really do like how you look. And I think black is sexy! I'm the one who's ugly."
"I think you look great." I then said things that Consuelo would claim were mushy.
"But look how skinny I am! I'm up to 5' 2" and still weigh barely 80 pounds! (OK, it depends on how you define `barely`). And my ears stick out."
"Your ears don't stick out, and besides, I like you weighing that much."
"What!? How come?"
"I can easily pick you up, force you onto my bed, and do nasty things to you. And you love all of them. Last time you barely struggled at all."
Rocco went red. Then he asked: "Do you mind, Jade? I mean, for some reason, I just like you sort of taking charge, like that. When you grabbed me like that and forced yourself on top of me I almost came right there in my pants I was so worked up. How do you feel about it?"
"Well, if you must know, I like taking control of you like that. You always seemed to like it. Please, let me know if I do anything wrong or that you don't like."
"Don't worry, and I do like it that way, really. I know it sounds weird, but it just gets me so sexy feeling. I wonder if we're really strange that way. Wish we could find out."
When I first got to Rocco's house that evening I immediately asked him: "Now tell me. How did you get out of that mess, and how come Carl never said anything?"
"OK, it was the duck. That's all Carl was thinking about when he came into the room. He then brought it down and just when everyone was sitting down for dinner, my Mom heard it chirping on Carl's lap. Can you believe it, Carl actually was nicer to the duck then he is with me sometimes. Anyway, Mom said it was Mariann's present from me. And eventually, that's all we talked about for a while. Mariann was ecstatic. Then I told Mom the things in my room were all taken care of. She then said. `Good, no need to talk about it any further.' And she just left it there. I told you that sometimes Mom's at her best when she DOESN'T say things. My Dad never found out.
"But Carl! How about Carl? What did he say about us kissing?"
"That's just it. He never did. You know, I think it just never registered! He just saw we had his precious catalogue, and we had to have been in his drawer, he just didn't notice anything else."
"Holy smoke. We got lucky. We better be much more careful. But how about Carl complaining about us being in his things?"
"I think after the duck, he forgot all about it!"
A bit later that evening, at Jimmy's house, we were watching the news. Jimmy was all excited. Warren Spahn pitched a no hitter. But Mr. Alexander was really upset listening to the news of the horrible disaster with the attempted invasion of Cuba.
Jade said: "What'd I say?" He was alluding to his opinion that any invasion would not work.
I remarked: "You should have been Kennedy's advisor. I don't understand how it could have gone so bad."
We were disappointed that only one show all night was in color and it was one I never liked. It was really amazing, though the colors looked a little, well, I don't know, just not exact. We were talking about that when Mr. Alexander came into the room. "I see you're all excited about the new color TV set. I have someone coming out Monday to adjust the color. It's not quite right yet. There are three adjustments inside in the back -- blue, yellow, and red. For the money that thing cost, it should look better than real life." He smiled at his own joke.
Rocco whispered in my ear. "He even jokes like he's in front of a committee."
Jimmy heard him and punched his arm. Hard. "Dad, Rocco just said you tell a joke as if you're in front of some committee."
Rocco went red. Holy smoke. Amazingly, Mr. Alexander smiled even bigger, and said. "That's good. I'll have to use that joke at work."
The Twilight Zone was on later. A weird story about someone betting that he could keep silent for a year. We never watched the end; Rocco had to get home. And I really couldn't get that interested in the story.
On our way to my house Rocco commented. "It really wasn't a good joke and I can't believe he just told his father right out. I could have died."
"And Mr. Alexander just smiled! He's nice but strange."
Rocco looked sad for a second, looking at the ground. "I wish my Dad and I could talk to each other like that. Jimmy has to be one of the luckiest kids around. His mother's real nice too. We walked a bit further when Rocco finally said: "You know, I've been over to his house lots of times. Much more before, now that I'm with you all the time. And even with his brother and sister, I've hardly ever heard even a cross word spoken. How come some families can get that lucky and the rest of us have so many problems?"
"I suspect it's not luck, but some really genuinely nice people that work hard at being nice to each other. I want us to be like that."
Rocco looked at me with a few tears. "You know it's strange. I can't remember either of us even getting mad at each other."
I looked at my White-boy. "I remember getting mad once when you said something about how I couldn't do something with my hooks to your sister. Remember, I told you about it afterwards?"
"Yeah, I remember now. Sorry. I wouldn't have said anything if I had known it would be taken the way you did."
"Well, we talked about it. That was the important thing. We must always make sure we can talk about things." Rocco was quite impulsive at times. But that's sometimes what I like about him. Often enough it's to do something nice for someone.
"Well, you know. I do realize that I'm pretty impulsive sometimes. I'll try to think things through more."
Rocco must have just read my mind. We got to my house. My uncle was back, so Rocco didn't come in.
We kissed quickly at the door -- so much for being careful -- and Rocco went home.
The next morning I met Joey and his parents at Church. (I wasn't even coerced into going by Joey's mom this time). I think maybe my White-boy was rubbing off on me a little. He keeps going to his Church, and Mama, although she didn't go to church much, still thought being a good Christian was important, so I decided what the heck. I was walking out of the Church as the pastor was shaking hands with everyone. I was able to avoid him last February when I went. He reached out and to preclude any embarrassment, I placed my lower arm in his hand and deliberately started the greeting: "Hello, thank you pastor, this is the first time I've been to church in quite some time. My name's Jade Brown."
"Well, good morning young man, I'm very glad you decided to come. We are having a small brunch the good Sisters have prepared especially for this Sunday. It's in the hall next door. We would be happy to see you there."
"Thank-you. I think I'll take you up on that."
And I followed quite a few others going in that direction. I wasn't too sure I was going to come back next Sunday, however. Although almost everybody I knew was Baptist, I just didn't hanker to all the emphasis in church to the big emotional pitch. When you sifted out all the "halleluiah's" and "amen's," the message seemed to just say that if you don't have Christ in your life, you can't be Christian. Perhaps I was used to more of the type of thing White-boy and I sometimes got into. Actually trying to follow some thread through the Bible to see what it was really trying to say. I already knew all the platitudes. I guess I was looking for more substance.
I was also thinking about something else at the service this morning. I was wondering about just what all these people would think about me, or Rocco, if they realized we were boyfriends. Rocco said a number of times that one of the really depressing things about being a homosexual was that, if discovered, society then tried to take your God and your religion away from you just when you needed it most.
"Hello Noel, . . . I was very happy when Joey said you were here at church without me pressuring you into it." I turned toward the voice and there was Joey's Mom. Joey and his oldest sister were right behind.
I was precariously holding onto a piece of butter cake, trying not to squish it. There seemed to be no plates to use. "Hello Mrs. Whittenger, I only came for the cake." She smiled.
"We haven't seen you since you were hurt. How are you doing?" Knowing Mrs. Whittenger, I believed that she was being sincere.
"Great, everything's OK." I turned toward Joey. "Hi Joey, how was your Mom able to get YOU here?"
"Very funny, I always go to Church. Besides, it's you who seemed to be church-a-phobic." He then leaned closer and whispered. "Also my sister's girlfriend, Gina, is here. And I'm hoping to ask her on a date."
I smiled knowingly. Joey has suddenly found girls and was making up for lost time. "I haven't seen you around much this last month except at the party. And what happened to Rosa?"
His sister piped in. "Rosa's two girlfriends back. He's now trying to get my best friend to go out with him, but I already told him he hasn't a chance. I've already clued her in too much."
I could tell by Joey's smile that this was just friendly banter between brother and sister. They actually got along pretty well. Just didn't do a lot together.
"Well Noel, . . . oh that's right, you're using Jade now . . ., well Jade, are you still dating that girl you work on the newspaper with? Joey said that she really likes you."
I was really not into lying like Rocco. He doesn't seem to think an innocent lie here or there is so important. But Mama always said that it was not getting into the habit that was important. So I tried to answer truthfully, yet not embarrass myself. "Actually we are really good friends, and in fact I will be going to her place later today, but I don't think our get together could be called dating. I just like her a whole lot."
"Well Jade, you better be careful. That's what my own husband kept saying the first couple years we knew each other. We were just good friends. But I always tell my children, that the person you marry should also be your best friend."
Holy smoke, I really liked that. I never thought of a boyfriend and girlfriend that way before, but it seemed to make sense suddenly. "Now you say it, that seems to really make sense."
She turned to her son. "You see Joey, even Jade thinks I'm right!"
"Gees Mom, I don't want to live my life with her, I just want to date her."
Just then the pastor came up to us. "Hello, Mrs. Whittenger. I'm glad to see you and your children here. Where is Mr. Whittenger?"
"Sorry pastor, the day I can haul him into a church is the day it closes for the second coming. But he's a real good man reverend. And a real good father."
"I'm sure. Perhaps I can come by and chat some time."
While they stood talking about the salvation of Mr. Whittenger's soul, I went with Joey over to Gina and her folks. I didn't know them well but was introduced. It seemed to me after hearing snippets of conversation here and there, the people here were awfully interested in everyone else's business. Joey was smiling when we left the church several minutes later.
I looked at Joey and smiled. "I don't believe that you actually got her interested in a conversation about basketball."
"Well, my sister didn't just clue Gina in on me. It turns out she's a great fan of the Warriors. Especially since they got a Negro on the team, who came right from this city, and who also happens to be the best player in the league. There aren't that many black players."
"Oh, you mean Wilt the Stilt? When I watch him play he always seems not to be hustling enough."
"Well, that not-so-hustling player is the leading scorer and rebounder in the league, and if they can figure out how to beat the Celtics, he'll lead the Warriors to a championship."
"Well, don't hold your breath. They ended the season this year more than ten games behind them, and then lost in the playoffs to the Nationals of all teams."
We talked basketball most the way home. Then we talked about Gina a bit.
"Really Jade, I really like her a lot. She's been over our house with my sister plenty of times and I've really gotten to know her pretty well. I know my sister will tease me a lot, but Gina's maybe even someone I could really get serious with. I really wish there could be someone there for you. I really thought that Consuelo liked you a whole lot. Don't you think you and she could really make a go of it?"
I was automatically adding up the "really's."
Holy smoke. Now what do I say? No Rocco to help me out here. He has one of the quickest minds I've ever seen for thinking up fast lies. Of course that's got him into trouble as well. "Really Joey, right now I need to concentrate on other things." I lifted my hooks. "There's a lot of things I really can't do. But Rocco's convinced me I can get through college, and it would sure make it easier to find a career." I pantomimed shooting a basketball, and smiled. "Really don't think I could make it in the NBA, for example." That word was lodged in my brain.
"Gees, sorry Jade. Didn't mean to harp on basketball so much. You used to. . ." Then Joey abruptly stopped, realizing what he was about to say.
"Don't worry Joey. You were going to say I used to be pretty good at the game. That's OK. And we did have great fun playing together."
Joey none-the-less changed the subject. "So you're going to Consuelo's house later?"
"Well, to her brother's place." Oh shit. As White-boy says a lot, I forgot to use enough of my brain cells. I hope Joey will just let that remark pass. I REALLY wished I was as good as Rocco in thinking fast. I tried to immediately change the subject. "Rocco's going with, and we're planning on maybe watching the sculling races on the Schuylkill River this afternoon. Temple University is racing along with a few other colleges."
It didn't work. "Consuelo has a brother! That's news to me. How come nobody knows?"
"Subject just never came up I guess. He's older and working his way through college. He's going to Temple part time right now. And you know how interested Rocco gets in everything. Suddenly he just HAS to see a race close up." Fortunately Joey seemed OK with that answer.
"And what actually IS it ?"
I gave him the simple explanation, and didn't actually get into the various types of races there were.
As we got to my door, Rocco was already there waiting.
"Hi Rocco, how come so early?" I asked.
But Rocco asked at the same time: "Holy smoke Jade, YOU actually went to Church!?"
And at the same time Joey also asked a question of Rocco: "So you going with Consuelo and her brother to some races on the Schuylkill?"
Rocco fortunately right then proved he was a fast thinker. The races were an afterthought of the real reason for our trip. Dan had merely suggested it as a possible nice place to go while we were talking about other more important things. Rocco looked at Joey for a second, then at me with a little apprehension. I just lifted my arms a bit as a type of shrug and he got the message instantly.
"Oh yeah, the races there on the Schuylkill are famous. So when Consuelo told us about her brother going there to watch his team, I got one of my brilliant ideas." Rocco then looked at me to see if that was the right answer.
"Hay Joey, how about you coming?" I knew he couldn't since his Mom had already told me the family had relatives visiting. But Rocco didn't know that. Fortunately he kept quiet.
"Sorry, but we're having company this afternoon. Besides, until 5 minutes ago, I didn't even know what skulking racing was."
Rocco and I both laughed. It was Rocco who replied. "Sculling, not skulking. And if we're going to get there on time, we better move. We have to take the bus out to the `Shore-kill Express.' It's all the way out near the zoo."
Joey replied: "The `Shore-kill'. That's pretty good. I'll have to remember that." Rocco was making fun of the name Schuylkill Expressway. Apparently because of horrible design, there have been lots of bad accidents on it since it's been built.
Several minutes later Rocco was in my room watching me change out of my good clothes. He asked: "OK, what's the occasion? Is hell freezing over right now?"
"Funny. Can't I go to church if I want? And before you ask, I'm sorry. I told Joey about Consuelo having a brother before thinking."
Rocco thought a second. "Probably don't really matter. How will they ever really meet? We just need to warn Consuelo just in case Joey talks to her and brings up about her brother. They don't even travel in the same circles anyway. I have to admit though, that for a second I was a bit surprised about the boat racing on the Schuylkill. Are we actually going?"
"Well, I used that to try and divert Joey's attention away from the subject of Consuelo's brother. It sort of worked. And besides, Dan did happen to mention that being a possible place to go the afternoon."
"Actually, I think I might like to go over to the river. It should be beautiful there this time of the year with all the blooming trees." Rocco then stared at me. And added: "Damn Jade, don't you have any better clothes than that? That shirt has more holes than the cheese I ate yesterday."
I looked at the shirt I was just about to put on. I tossed it onto the bed and went to the dresser. The front of the drawer came off as I pulled on it. "Damn!" Rocco grabbed the broken front of the drawer as it was falling to the floor. "Quick reflexes." I looked for another shirt. I only had about 4 or 5 not counting the good one I just took off. Rocco grabbed them from me, almost spearing his hand. He looked through them.
"Holy holes! Don't you have anything else?"
I was embarrassed. "No."
"Well, you need to have your uncle get you some. He should be able to afford it."
"Just find the best one there and let me get dressed."
But he didn't let it go. After staring at me, or trying to since I turned away, he asked: "Trouble with your uncle that bad you can't ask?"
"I'm just afraid to. He's been REALLY grouchy lately. Let's just go." By that time I put on a shirt that had only one small hole. I always wore long sleeve shirts. I always left the buttons buttoned and just pulled them on like a polo.
Rocco didn't bring up my shirts again but I saw him going through the rest of my clothes as I came back from the bathroom.
After a long ride on the PTC, and having to pay the full fare of 20 cents because no school tokens could be used on Sundays, we finally reached Dan's apartment. It wasn't too far from the Schuylkill after all. Consuelo and Dan were outside on his porch waiting. There was also another guy waiting. Introductions were made. It turned out that the guy was Dan's roommate. They both were part time students at Temple. He didn't stay around. I wondered if he were either homosexual, or if not, knew his roommate was. No to both as we learned shortly.
On the way there, Rocco explained that his family were all taking a ride out to Valley Forge for the day and they too were going to picnic there. I've never been all the way out there, but Rocco said that it's in the country and really pretty out that way. He said it took his best pleading to get his Mom to let him come with me today. I suspect he told a couple good lies. I will have to talk to him about that. I didn't like it.
Rocco then said: "The first time I remember going there was in the forth grade. Dolores had a cast on her leg, and Mariann was still a baby. That was before we got our first car. I loved the trip in spite of the fact we spent half the time on public transportation. Another place we used to go was the Morris Arboretum. You'd love it. All kinds of different trees are planted there."
"You mean we owned a car before your family did?"
"Only if you can claim a Henry J is actually a car! Ours was a 1950 Ford. We got it just the next year."
Dan explained that today's races were just a warm up for the big Dad Vail Regatta coming upon Mothers Day. The weather was beautiful for it. Twenty minutes later we were in a beautiful park along south side of the Schuylkill River across the river from Boathouse Row, awaiting the first race to start. And helping ourselves to a great picnic lunch Dan and Consuelo had the foresight to make. Dan had done some major bribing and had borrowed his roommate's car. It was one of those VW Beetles and barely fit the four of us. What an uncomfortable car to ride in. I suspected they would never catch on real big. Americans wanted their comfort and their big cars.
We had been mentioning everything except what we came over for. Dan was all excited about the new president and what he might do. "Kennedy recently announced the start of what he`s calling `The Peace Corps.' It's for young people to be sent overseas to help educate the people, improve agriculture, and living standards."
Consuelo then mentioned how about improving living standards right here.
Dan countered: "Well, Kennedy IS talking about raising the minimum wage to $1.15 an hour."
I mentioned that we better hope that he doesn't re-institute the draft with him sending all those additional "advisors" over to Viet Nam. Rocco gave me a dirty look. He thinks I'm not being patriotic enough.
Dan answered: "Look, Kennedy's too smart to get us too involved over there. And besides, Ho Chi Minh is a friend of Senator Mansfield, and Mansfield won't let the senate get us too involved."
Consuelo couldn't let that go. "But it's not officially a war and the senate can't do much about what Kennedy decides to do. Besides, the military is aching to get over there and test out all their new toys."
Rocco mentioned that we needed to stop the spread of Communism, and I couldn't let that go. "Yeah, and look at all the people he's sent so far. A disproportionate number of them are Negroes to be used as cannon fodder."
We spent a few more minutes on the possibility of the U S getting more involved over there before Rocco changed the subject: "Hay, how about the Russians putting a man into orbit a couple weeks ago. It was on Jade's birthday. They called him a cosmonaut. I can't remember his name. Yuri something. We don't even have any planned orbit try yet."
Dan looked back at us even though he was driving. "But we're scheduled to send some astronaut into space in a couple weeks. I intend to watch it on TV."
"It's to be only a quick up and down. No orbits at all." Rocco objected.
Dan continued: "But if all goes well, we will probably put someone into orbit this summer."
Up `til then the subject of homosexuality hadn't even been broached. I thought Consuelo orchestrated this trip for her brother to meet us -- two boys like him. But the conversation did wander into more personal stuff. Dan was a Math Major at Temple in his second year but just finishing up his first year courses. He also had to work; he had two part time jobs. One at The White Castle, and another in the library at Temple. That topic perked up Rocco's interest. But before he could follow it up, we noticed some boats warming up right across from us.
"What direction do they come from?" I asked Dan. We were sitting on a bench near the river's edge. The moving water was mesmerizing. I loved the flowers and trees. There were quite a few blooming Dogwoods, and even some blooming Apple and Cherry trees. It seemed that half the city got the same idea. There was quite a crowd.
"From up there," Dan pointed. "You can see the different teams on the opposite bank. That big building there is the main boat house." We were on the south bank. Dan thought it would be less crowded.
We talked about the different teams, different races, and eventually got back to the college itself.