Two Boys

Rocco Paperiello


This story 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 buns.

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.

Rocco Paperiello


PART III -- Confrontation and Resolve

Chapter 68 -- Things Get Back to Normal (or As Normal as They Can Get)

I was so happy and excited when I got that message from Jade, that my Mom probably thought I had gone bonkers. And beyond that I was starting to realize how fearful I had actually been about the possibility of Jade moving, not only into a group home that would be terrible for him, but also far enough away that we would hardly see each other. Now I was ecstatic. I couldn't keep still. I was trying to figure out how to get to see Jade the next morning since I still had five more days of being grounded. At least I had an excuse tomorrow morning; I had an official appointment with Dr. Krazenski. My parents were arguing that evening about it. My father thought that it was a bunch of nonsense. I was in the living room, watching an episode of Have Gun Will Travel, but they could be clearly heard from the kitchen.

I was trying to decide if I should try to add my own two cents when my father remarked: "This is what I don't understand, how come he let himself get drawn into something that he clearly should have stayed out of? And he keeps letting that colored kid take advantage of him all the time, going over there at all hours. I wish you would have let me put more backbone in him."

"Oh Carl, they're good friends. And that's what good friends do is help each other."

"And another thing, how come the kid allowed his uncle do that sick stuff with him for so long? You answer me that. For all we know he's just as sick and perverted as his uncle."

I was getting hot as I listened. Mom answered: "I'm sure that Jade never wanted it to happen. Did you see what that man did to his back? And besides, do you know that Dr. Krazenski has temporarily taken Jade in? In fact, he was here today and said that Jade was a good kid and remarkable to so well have gotten through all the tragic things he has gone through. That boy's had a very difficult life."

A typical argument. My parents never actually answered or addressed what the other was saying. They could almost have been in two separate rooms. I was determined that Jade and I would never let that happen. And what Dad was saying about Jade was getting me upset. And he was determined to keep up his string of objections. Just like with me, whatever happened to Jade had to be his own fault.

Dad complained: "And now, on top of all the hospital bills Rocco's cost us, we have to shell out more for these sessions just so someone can hold his hand and tell him not to cry. Well good luck; he cries all the time. I don't think he'll ever grow up."

I walked into the kitchen and Mom finally noticed me. I was not happy; actually I was really angry. I couldn't keep my mouth shut. (A month ago I wouldn't have been able to open it). "I'm not crying now Dad. And for your information, both of us were forced into those situations. And you guys would never really listen to what happened to me. Why don't I describe it to you?"

Mom looked over and tried to intervene. "Look, Rocco, there's no need to rehash all that. We're just glad you're all right now."

"No need for me, or no need for you? Hay Dad, do you want to hear how I was so scared that I peed my pants? Do you want to hear how he threatened to kill me? Do you even care that I'm still alive?" By this time I was yelling and almost crying. I hadn't realized just how badly I was still so bothered by the whole thing.

Dad gave me his typical type of response. "If you had any real backbone you would have known how to have taken care of yourself, and if you had any smarts you wouldn't have gotten yourself in that situation to begin with. As I see it you probably got what you asked for."

I went white. Dad had never gone that far before. I was livid. And I almost became my usual reckless self. But the most important thing was the "almost." I finally at the last second realized I didn't want to be grounded for life. And even more so I didn't want things to get worse for my Mom. So instead of saying what I had originally intended, I shifted gears: "Tell you what Dad. How about you put all the hospital bills and doctor bills in my room, and I'll pay for them? How's that?"

And then my father did another usual thing. He didn't even answer me; he just left the room shaking his head. Mom was also near tears, she came over to me and just held me a moment and said: "Thanks for not provoking him more. And don't worry about the bills. Most of it is covered by insurance, and Krazenski said he wasn't charging for the sessions with him."

After a while we both calmed down and started talking about mostly inconsequential things. But finally my Mom said: "I am sorry this had to happen to you. And I need to know. How are you really doing?"

I had a hard time answering, because I wasn't quite sure myself. "Mom, I think OK. Sure it still bothers me a lot and I keep expecting to start feeling horrible. That's how everyone says I should be feeling. I don't know why, but I don't. I actually feel much worse about Jade than for me. In fact, as it was happening, and after we got away, all I could think about was how hurt HE was."

"Are you sure? That man hurt you pretty badly."

"Well sure, but the worst part for myself was not the actual things that he did to me, but what I thought he might do. I was really worried he might kill one of us. (I wasn't about to talk about the sex stuff). That's what frightened me so much." By this time I was shaking just remembering.

My Mom saw it and just hugged me again. "Well, Dr. Krazenski told me that he thought you should recover pretty well, but that you still needed to talk it out with him." She paused, and finally remarked with passion. "I just hope that that sick pervert burns in hell."

"Mom, please, . . ." I couldn't get the rest out. But I knew for myself I wouldn't be able to finally put everything behind me unless somehow I forgave the bastard. And it's what he had been doing to Jade that was the hardest to forgive. But I never mentioned this to Mom.

But I couldn't stay upset. Jade was going to be OK. And we had a glorious summer ahead of us. I wanted to go over to the doctor's place early and Mom put up almost no resistance when I asked to do just that. Maybe what Krazenski said about Jade changed her mind. I was hoping. As for Dad, I didn't really care anymore. I was just going to ignore him. As long as Mom let Jade and me be together as usual, I didn't care what Dad said. Summer Camp was coming up, and Dad wasn't going to be there this year. Our family instead was going to take a full three weeks vacation down through the Skyline Drive in Virginia, onto the Great Smokies via the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then through Kentucky. I REALLY LOVED these trips. It would be perfect if Jade could come with us. A forlorn hope.

The next morning I biked over to Jade's place, (it's going to take getting used to thinking that way, since it was also our family doctor's place) and Jade had to show me his room. The first thing he did when we got there was he turned on the TV set.

"There's nothing good on this time of day." I remarked.

"Yeah, well just watch!" The Price is Right came on, and holy smoke, it was in color! He not only had a TV set in his bedroom, it was a color set!" And more than just the fact that Jade had a nice room, and was situated with a nice family, but it was our moods. For once in a long while we were out from under a nearly unbearable tension. We finally felt free. We talked about our plans for the summer. We also had to find out from Jimmy or someone just when this big "World Championship Half-ball Game" was taking place. I also had to mention that my Mom had given in some.

"Good news Jade. I think what Dr. Krazenski said to my Mom has changed her opinion some. Notice I'm here. And in spite of supposed to be grounded. My father's a hopeless case. I came awfully close to losing my temper with him last night. He usually don't say too much to me but last night he laid it on heavy." And I explained to Jade what he all said.

We talked about what I might expect my father to do. We agreed that it would be best to just avoid any confrontation. I couldn't win. Hopefully my Dad would just go back into his ignore-mode.

Jade added: "Of course, I may as well stay out of his way as much as possible. But now we can just as easily work over here. I can't believe how fantastic things have turned out. Maybe God don't completely hate me after all." And he smiled.

I smiled with him. "We also got a call for another TV this afternoon. And that reminds me. Last night I started drawing up another circular. We need to expand. I need you to look at it, and see what you think."

And we talked about this a while. And Jade moaned when I showed him the new book I got from the library on the new solid state electronics. "The new TV's have a lot of diodes and transistors now instead of tubes. And there was a set I looked at the other day that even had circuit boards. And that's the bad news for another reason. They don't have all the tubes that generated heat that older sets do. They even had the power rectifiers that were all solid state. That means less going wrong. Pretty soon, most of the TV repair men will be out of business."

We also talked about the upcoming Mercury space shot which was scheduled a week from now, next Friday the 21st. And we talked excitedly about Kennedy's plan to put a man on the moon this decade. And THIS time we intended to see the actual flight as it was happening.

Eventually, after making a number of tentative plans, Jade mentioned that a few things of his were still at his old house. "My bike, my Mama's bible, my electric can opener, my collections, and a few odds and ends. How could you say you brought all my stuff to your basement and forget my bike and can opener?"

I looked at Jade and shuddered a bit. I started to relive the moment when I was forced into that horrible room. I had banged into his bike, knocking it over. "I didn't forget your bike. I just couldn't make myself go down those basement steps."

We just looked at each other, both with our own thoughts. Almost as if of a single mind, we grabbed each other in a hard embrace. After a moment I said: "Just remember Jade, we will always have each other." One thing that seemed to have grown just recently between us, probably in good part because of the shared trauma with his uncle, was the unspoken confidence we had in each other. We implicitly knew we would always be there for the other. It was something we no longer had to either discuss or even doubt. And it gave each of us a remarkable peace as we embraced each other. In the bible it says that it was not good for man to be alone. That was only half of it. It should be added how great it was for two people to love each other.

And at the very moment we held each other I was finally totally confident in the love we had for each other. And again it brought to mind my intent of a few days ago: "Remember when we talked about that Unitarian pastor?"

"Sure. That's another thing I need to get. I had a cigar box full of notes and letters and even photos that I need to retrieve. The name and address of that church is in that box. Do you remember seeing this box in my closet?"

"Yes, but I was concentrating on clothes at the time."

After informing the doctor's wife, we were on our way to Jade's old house. We brought a couple cloth bags with us to help with all the small items. I had never seen these particular cloth bags before and found that Nestor had brought them and had left them behind. I fleetingly wondered how he was doing. We got back just in time to meet with the doctor.

We all went into his upstairs office. I was pretty nervous. Now that Jade was not going to some boys' home or juvenile hall, or whatever, I had a lot less motivation to talk about something still so embarrassing to me. I guess the most embarrassing thing was to admit I was sexually aroused by being fastened to that table. But Dr. Krazenski was able to calm our worries and we were eventually talking about some pretty personal stuff. We didn't get into a lot of detail about our ordeal, but more into about how we felt then and how we felt now.

Eventually we got onto the topic of the relationship Jade and I now had. He asked: "Would you like to talk about how you feel now about each other? This is new territory for me. I've never been in a discussion before about the romantic involvement of two boys. Do you actually look at your relationship that way?"

Jade and I looked at each other. I was the one that answered. "Well, we really don't think we are much different than any other couple who met, and eventually fell in love with each other. Except perhaps that we realize that our involvement with each other will be hated or despised by a lot of people."

Dr. Krazenski seemed a bit surprised. "I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but it takes a lot getting used to the idea that two boys can fall in love with each other. Most of the things being written even today, indicate that the individuals suffer from such neurosis that normal human relationships are virtually impossible. Even that new report from the Temple University Psychiatric Ward."

And what Dr. Krazenski mentioned about what they were still doing there made both Jade and I almost sick.

I had to interrupt. "It seems to me that if the poor guys weren't mentally unstable before, they would be certainly after therapy. And they consider a 34% success rate good?" This success rate was the percentage of so-called homosexuals that were "converted" to heterosexual orientation. I told the doctor I didn't believe the results. I suspected that these "successes" were either bisexuals, or people that have momentarily deluded themselves, or just lying for a variety of reasons.

The doctor then mentioned something about a few older reports written by a woman psychologist, Evelyn Hooker. The doctor said that she was convinced that being a homosexual was just as "normal" as being heterosexual and didn't necessarily carry any neurotic behavior along with it. He stated: "That was when I first started wondering if homosexuality wasn't something different from a mental illness. It was Nestor's coming here that prompted my interest. I eventually discovered a couple other therapists that had similar beliefs. But very few other doctors give it that much credence at this time. And seeing you two, and how you seem to have a genuine relationship has really gotten me intrigued."

I looked at Jade to see if he wanted to add anything. He said: "Just one thing, just like my Mama talked about. We both had to get over the hurdle of believing that our relationship was wrong or immoral. Rocco had an especially difficult time being raised as such a strict Catholic."

Dr. Krazenski remarked: "I have that difficulty myself I must confess. It's what the Catholic Church, and most other religions teach."

I answered with some vehemence: "Well they're wrong." And that got us in a discussion about God's plan for homosexuals, and about two people loving each other. It was difficult to explain exactly how I was so sure of this. I finally stated: "You know I was in quite a turmoil for a while. I tried to reason through all the stuff the church teaches and the stuff in the bible, and see if there could be another interpretation. Jade's Mama seemed to believe there was. But in the final analysis, it really wasn't that so much that really got me convinced that being in a homosexual relationship wasn't immoral."

I really had the doctor's attention now. And even Jade's. I hadn't even mentioned this to him yet since it was a very recent understanding I had come to. The doctor rebutted: "Well I have always been convinced that the church's teaching and the bible have been pretty conclusive on this issue."

Now I got very emotional. "And why? I say the bible doesn't really talk about our situation. How could someone comment on something they didn't even understand or know existed?" And I explained to the doctor all the reasoning I had gone through. "But it was something that Jade's Mama had said all along that has finally convinced me." I looked at Jade and we smiled at each other.

Dr. Krazenski looked at us and saw our exchange; "And what was that?"

It was Jade that answered; "My Mama said that real love couldn't be wrong!"

And I took it from there. "And I wanted to believe that so much I kept trying to believe it to be true. And I was even successful on a sort of intellectual level. But as for my real belief, it was still difficult to counteract years of what the Church had preached. But all that suddenly changed when I realized that I really was in love with Jade. But it is more than just that. It was when we finally really realized deep in our hearts that we weren't just IN love with each other, but we truly loved each other. And that has a much deeper meaning. His Mama was right. Real love is NOT wrong!"

Jade smiled and impulsively reached over and we hugged. We didn't have to say anything to each other. We knew!

Dr. Krazenski looked truly unsure for the first time I had ever noticed. "You both truly believe that don't you?"

We looked at each other and both smiled. Jade answered simply: "Yes."

And I looked at Jade and then the doctor. "So doctor, do you see two people suffering from some deep neurosis or immature psychological development, or just two normal people that happen to love each other?"

It seemed that the doctor still wasn't totally convinced that homosexuality was "normal," at least for us. "You two have certainly given me something more to consider." Then he asked if we were "sexually active."

Jade jumped in: "What teenage boy isn't?"

The doctor saw the slight puzzled look on my face and then got more specific: "I mean are you having sex with each other? Because as a doctor I must warn you of certain dangers and problems particular to homosexual sex."

I was still abdicating to Jade. He had no trouble in answering: "Actually we really haven't tried a lot of stuff. Only mutual masturbation, . . ." And he looked at me with a smile as he added: ". . .and frottage." I knew what the smile was about.

Dr. Krazenski looked from him to me, and finally asked: "Where in the world did you come up with that old fashioned term?" We told him.

The doctor continued: "You know you boys are awfully young. And morality and religion aside, just from the stand point of human psychology, having sex with another involves very strong emotions, and without a strong mutual commitment, I would strongly try to encourage you not to become too involved. One or both of you could be really hurt."

We looked at each other and smiled. The doctor kept watching our apparent private communication and this time with a frown. But Jade clearly wanted me to handle the answer.

"I think your concern for us is hardly warranted. We are fully committed to each other. Just this morning we were talking about how we might find someone who would agree to marry us."

The doctor, for the second time I had seen, showed real surprise: "Marriage? That's not what marriage is."

I rebutted: "Just why can't we get married? Are you saying we can't love each other as much as a boy and girl can?"

Dr. Krazenski seemed not to be able to answer me. Then he finally said: "You sure are full of surprises. That was one I never really gave serious thought to. Not even any thought to. But you mentioned about everybody being against you. Well, that's nothing compared to how most people will react to the idea that two boys can get married and have a family. Of course you can't have kids. You can't really have a family."

I retorted: "Look, I also read all that bullshit the shrinks wrote in all their fancy books about how homosexuals inherently aren't capable of making that kind of commitment to each other. Well, that's obviously crap. Jade and I are as committed as you can get. And why shouldn't we be allowed to be married? And now that you bring it up, why can't we have a family? Who says we can't? What do married people do when they get married and find they can't have kids? Jade well knows that was one of the things I most despaired about when I found out I was homosexual, was not having kids." And I added with some vehemence: "And I always wanted kids."

The doctor commented: "Well no one in our society today will ever allow that." And for once I was not so intimidated by the fact that he was our family doctor. We argued these points back and forth. I even felt my own resolve grow as the issues were discussed.

Jade seemed to just sit back and enjoy seeing us argue. We talked some more but then the doctor said he needed to get lunch, and that he had office hours that afternoon. The doctor just made one last comment. "I would just like to point out one more thing. I have a twelve year old daughter in the house. I would really not want to have to explain to her how come two boys are kissing . . ., or anything else for that matter."

We agreed to be circumspect.

"And Rocco, sometime we need to talk about how your parents might react to your relationship with Jade. It's inevitable that they will find out. You'll have to face it someday."

"Well, hopefully, only after I've left home."

That afternoon, we had a small setback. We'll maybe that's not quite the right way to say it. We had a TV repair appointment down the street from my house with a family that just moved in from the south part of the city. The Rinaldi's. They had two young boys who greeted us at the door. Pretty neat kids probably about 10 and 12, or there abouts. Typically asking a million questions.

"You guys gonna fix our TV? It's been broken forever?"

The older boy said: "Mike always exaggerates. Actually only two days, but we missed The Real McCoy`s last night."

We asked if their Mom was in and the younger boy ran off to get her. He said she was downstairs doing the wash. He came running back and was soon followed by a young woman with dark hair, pleasant features, and a bright smile. "Well, I'm sure glad. . ." Then abruptly stopped. She suddenly seemed to become all business. "Rudy and Mike, how about going out to play a while?"

The two boys whined and moaned, saying they wanted to watch. "Aaahh Mom, we never get to do anything neat." Etc.

Mrs. Rinaldi, however, was quietly insistent, and they finally left through the front door. She looked at us and said: "Apparently there's been some mistake. I don't really need your services. My husband already arranged for someone else to fix the set."

To Jade and I, though, her words were more like: "I don't need any Negro in my house!" She started to say she was sorry to have put us out. I started smoldering. Jade, who was standing behind me, however, came around me and started to grab me and turn me around. He knew what I was about to say. Well at least the gist of it. I was still intent on Mrs. Rinaldi. But the feel of Jade hooks on my arm jogged me into realizing we had to be polite. We sure didn't need any trouble.

"Thanks, Mrs. Rinaldi. . ." I started, and then she suddenly broke out of her stern business mode. Her eyes got wide and I realized that she had probably not noticed Jade's hooks `til then. She now seemed quite flustered.

I suddenly had an evil thought. I was going to prey on her conscience. Or try. "Thanks Mrs. Rinaldi. We understand." We sure did. By this time Jade was picking up our equipment, making it quite evident that both his hands had prosthetics. "We're trying to make enough money for Jade here to get his prosthetics adjusted and some new parts. It costs a lot of money. We already have a good part of it." And I tried to give her my most innocent smile.

It worked enough to get her all flustered. She started to say something a couple times and finally did say: "I'll. . . I'll see you to the door. Sorry I can't use your help." She said this last with an attempt at a smile that failed.

Jade, however, was burning holes through me. I think I went too far. I was going to get it.

Out of the house and on our way to my house, I did get it. I won't record Jade's first sentences. They contained quite a high percentage of bad words and were a bit incoherent anyway. He finished with: "You know, someday, Rocco, your quick wit is going to end in your quick death. I feel like marching you back there and making you apologize." He finally started to simmer down.

I, however, was not. But I was feeling pretty remorseful. "Sorry Jade, I just didn't think things through. I just was thinking that was a neat way to try to make her feel guilty."

"But you also made me feel embarrassed, plus really annoyed at the way you can just lie like that. You gotta stop doing that."

I also knew he was thinking a lot of other stuff he was holding back. And then he smiled at me. And this made me even feel more guilty. "Not fair smiling! You suddenly get all forgiving and nice and everything just to make me feel even worse. I'm pretty sure that's some kind of mortal sin. I'll look in the Baltimore Catechism latter today to find out." But by then I couldn't help smiling either. We then started talking about what had happened.

"She was all smiles and even started to greet us until I stepped from behind you."

"Yeah, it was pretty obvious. Damn, Jade I'm really sorry. It hurts. I felt like I was the one who was the Negro, and it really cuts into you. I can't see how you can just take that stuff all the time.

But Jade just smiled, though only a sardonic one: "Just wait `til everyone finds out we're a couple! We haven't seen anything yet!"

"I'm hoping we can keep it hidden. I thought we'd just get separate houses at two ends of the city and just meet on Friday evenings, and Monday mornings." My joke fell like a lead balloon.

"You know we have to really start worrying about it sometime."

"Well, we sure have plenty of time. We got two more years of high school." And we talked a bit about the coming school year and classes we expected to get and other stuff. By this time we were sitting on my front porch steps.

Several minutes later, my Mom came out of the house and found us sitting there. "Rocco, a Mrs. Rinaldi was just on the phone. She asked me if I knew where you boys were. I didn't know you we're out here."

We both looked up a little surprised and also a bit anxious. I was hoping we weren't in any trouble. That's all we needed. I started promising God I would try to stop lying like that. Jade and I looked at each other and he ESP'd me to answer. "Mom, what did she want?"

"She seemed a little upset, but she said something about a big mix-up. That she still needed you guys to fix her set."

We were both quite surprised. On the way back I mentioned to Jade that she was doing it just to get even with me, and make me even feel more guilty than her. We were a bit reluctant when we got to the door. Fortunately her two boys opened the door right away and we felt more at ease. Mrs. Rinaldi came into the living room and said that there was a misunderstanding. And that she wanted us to see what we could do: "It's an old set, I'm afraid. I hope you can fix it. I'm surprised you are so young. But Mrs. Baxter assured me you two really knew what you were doing. The Baxters again. They were some of our best advertisers.

The set was an older RCA, but not that old. RCA's were easy to work on. The chassis were big and there was a lot of room. We also had the schematics if we needed them. There was no sound or picture. That meant it was something as simple as some main power tube or something that could give us an all day headache. The two boys kept asking a billion questions, but they were pretty astute ones. The younger boy especially. Fairly soon we had the power section opened up and tubes out. Jade started testing them as we let Mike, the younger boy hold the tube for him. He was just as fascinated about how Jade could use his hooks.

We both knew it was only a matter of time and he finally did ask: "How'd you lose your hands?" A ten year old knew no tact.

I saw Jade was getting uncomfortable so I butted in. "He really doesn't like to talk about it." I turned to Jade. "What's the verdict?"

"We got lucky again. The filament won't even light up." We had eventually rigged a small tube tester of our own that could accommodate a few of the more common tubes. "We do the usual?"

"Why not." And I started gathering some of the other tubes. We usually took them into the store to test them all just in case. They had a big tube tester just set up for customers. And all the clerks knew us well by then and even let us now get all our own stuff. Even Mr. Don't Like Negroes. I guess a good customer outweighed bigotry in some cases. I even wrangled a discount, after talking to the boss just a few days ago. I told Jade about it as we were on the way to the store. We had all the tubes wrapped up carefully in their own small boxes, and in Jade's small book bag we converted just for this type of thing. Last week I broke a tube and had to pay for it myself.

The boys wanted to go with us but we were going to pick up our bikes at my house and their mother told them to stop bothering us. She was now somewhat friendly. I was feeling even more guilty. I talked to Jade about what had caused her to change her mind.

He smiled, and lifted one of his hooks from the handlebars of his bike and said: "Your lie worked obviously. You made her feel guilty. And I think you need to tell her the truth."

Damn. I didn't know if I could. But I finally realized that if Jade insisted, I'd do it. But damn! This is exactly what I was so much a coward about!

He kept at it. "I really wished you wouldn't lie so easily. You have a bad habit that way."

"I know. It's just sometime people deserve it, or it's just too much fun, like that store clerk."

Jade looked over. "But sometimes you do it to get out of trouble you really deserve to get into. And speaking of trouble, and getting into it, my heart still skips a beat every time I think of the bomb we exploded."

"That was just a big firework."


"Small firework!"

"Big bomb!"

I then had another evil idea. "Tiny firework. Especially compared with the one I'm making now." I put on my most sincere, innocent expression.

Jade suddenly came to a stop. I halted just past him and looked back. He started to say something, but then smiled. "Almost got me. But I'm too smart for you."

Only the one tube was bad, as expected. We got back and were greeted by two excited boys who were hoping to see another of their favorite shows that night. We got it all put back and going. The boys hopped when it started working.

Mrs. Rinaldi came into the room as we were finishing up. She seemed to watch intently as Jade put all the screws in that held the back on. She said to me as I walked up to her: "I never expected he could do something like that."

"He's had lots of practice. Lost them years ago." Now I was getting embarrassed. Jade finished and walked up behind me and placed a hook on my shoulder, and prodded me in the back with the other. I had agreed to tell Mrs. Rinaldi the truth and it was mighty hard. "Mrs. Rinaldi, . . ." And I couldn't get the rest out. Jade dug his hook hard into my back and Mrs. Rinaldi obviously knew something was going on. "Mrs. Rinaldi, I need to apologize. I lied about needing the money for Jade's prosthetics. The state actually pays for all that. I'm really sorry." I looked back at Jade. I could never have admitted that without help from Jade.

She looked a bit surprised, then emotions seemed to wave over her face. From puzzlement, to anger, and to then to something I couldn't read: "Well, thank you for telling me the truth. I'm sure that had to be difficult." (The understatement of the year, or at least the month). Then she looked at Jade who still had his hook on my shoulder. He was smiling. She talked to him for the first time. "Was it you who coaxed him to tell me this?"

Jade now stammered a bit and finally said: "Well, we talked about it and I told him I was mad about it, but we decided together to tell you."

But I think she realized it was still mostly his doing. "Well, thank you boys for being so honest. And also for fixing the TV set. My boys are very pleased. I was a bit wondering when you seemed so young." She paused a bit and added: "How much do I owe you."

We asked our usual five dollars and cost of the tube and she smiled as she gave it to me. "You know that other TV repairmen charge at least ten dollars just to come out. My husband and I agreed that they were almost as bad as plumbers. Thank you again." She then looked at Jade and said: "And thank you. Maybe I need to do some thinking."

We were really surprised at that. Maybe there's hope for the world after all. The boys were making quite a fuss over what show to watch.

Their Mom said: "Look boys, it's a beautiful day. Go outside and play and maybe find some other kids to play with. This neighborhood is full of them."

When we got outside I told Jade: "It IS a beautiful day. I can't figure out how I can get any happier!" And we had one of THOSE moments as we looked at each other. Damn! Why can't we do just like other couples? But the world was unfair.

Jade read my mind: "How about we get lunch and then bike to the park. Remember that small glade next to the small falls? And maybe we can even take some of our books."

"Great. And let's take some specimen jars for the microscope. I'd like to investigate all those hypotrichs we were seeing last time. Gees, it seems like ages ago."

And that's just what we did. My Mom was standing by the door as we got there. She must have seen us coming. "I got your lunches ready upstairs next to the window." That only meant one thing. My brother and sisters were eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. I was so sensitive, I had to eat next to an open window in my bedroom. Jade was always amazed that I couldn't even get in the same room with an open jar of peanut butter. Upstairs suited us fine. As soon as we got into the room, I closed the door. It had been ages. I was hard as a rock and Jade was just as bad. Or just as good.

We kissed. And we couldn't stop squirming around each other. Finally I stepped back. "Damn Jade, I wished we could but my family's all in the kitchen and we're right on top of them."

"How about in the park later?" He asked. We were both on the same wave length. We ate in record time and I finally ran down the stairs and outside while holding my breath. I looked back expecting to see Jade right behind me but it was quite a few minutes later when he showed.

I asked: "What took you so long?"

"Your Mom asked a million questions. But we have permission to be out `til five. She said you had to be home before you father got home from work."

I unfortunately knew what that was all about but was still grateful to my Mom. She was apparently letting Jade and me get back to normal. But Dad still didn't want me together with Jade. I had already grabbed some specimen jars from my room and we put them in Jade's small pack. Jade and I biked the long distance to the area we wanted. It was gorgeous. The flowers were at their peak, and the falls was always mesmerizing to me.

Jade looked at me and smiled. "It IS beautiful, isn't it?" And then he looked around. "Is it just me, or does this place feel even better than before?"

I knew what he meant. I felt unusually good and was really feeling like the whole world was a little brighter and more captivating. Everything was a bit more interesting, and wonderful. We looked at each other and couldn't help laughing. We got a bad case of the giggles. We could read each other's minds so easily. Jade took off his small pack which I had stuffed a small ground cloth we used under our two man tent. We were on the ground wrapped around each other. After a while we had to come up for air.

I said: "I don't think I want to have to clean up my pants. And if we keep this up I will have to."

But Jade had other ideas. He got up and had me undo his hooks. I knew I was going to mess my pants after all. We were back on the ground and Jade grabbed me harder and rolled me on top of him. He had his arms under my shirt and I had my hand and arms inside his. They were pretty much pinned there. I just let him do what he wanted. I was so excited that I could only think about how much I wanted him never to stop. He must have been really geared up himself. This was the first time we both came at the same time.

Later we were just laying there on our backs next to each other, after we had cleaned up. Fortunately Jade had put in the pack a roll of toilet paper. He eventually said: "White-boy, I was just thinking. Remember when Dr. Krazenski asked about what we were doing together? Well, I was thinking. Do you want to try something else?"

I was suddenly aroused again. Just the idea of his "something else" got me all excited. I really wanted to, but this also brought on thoughts about finally making some formal commitment. I guess you can't completely take the "Catholic" out of someone raised Catholic. We talked about this a while, and decided that we were going to look up this Unitarian pastor his Mama had talked about. We also decided to put off these "other things" for the time being.

"Jade, I have one more idea. If the pastor won't marry us, maybe we can have our own ceremony just ourselves. You know what I believe about marriage. As far as I'm concerned it's two people that marry each other."

Jade smiled his best smile. "I agree, OK, but let's try to call that pastor as soon as we get home. I mean to the doctor's place. I have the information there."

We eventually got around to getting the flower books out of the pack. It had been so stuffed, it couldn't close all the way. "Jade, I was just thinking. Why don't we get a couple more small packs like these? Where did you get this one?"

"My Mama made it. It was her idea. This is actually the third one she made for me. It's getting holes in it now."

"Well, maybe we can call up some stores and find out if they make these small packs. All I've ever seen are the large overnight camping things, like we have in the scouts, or those big rucksacks. Dolores and I used to have these canvas bags for our books and stuff in grade school. The straps could be buckled on each side to carry as a pack, but in high school nobody uses anything like them. And my old grip is falling apart. And I was also thinking. That is sure was a great idea your Mama had to carry your books. I wonder why nobody in school now does it that way. I think if we can get two of them, maybe even a bit bigger, we can share carrying everything on our trips and then use them for school next year. I'm so used to getting stares at the weird things I do in school, a few more stares won't matter."

I laughed about this. It's amazing how even things that used to annoy me, we now just found funny.

After using the new flower key to key out several flowers, we then filled the jars with water from the creek and a few large swampy places on the other side of the creek. It was taking us a lot of time to figure out how to use the plant key since a lot of the words were so weird. "Leaves palmate and glabrous." Even using the glossary in the back, it took us a few minutes just to figure out what that really meant.

A while later, we had taken off our shoes and socks and walked across the top of the falls where the water was shallower. Unfortunately, on the way back the force of the water swept me off my feet and down I went. I made quite a splash. When I stood up, with the water running past my thighs, Jade was laughing so hard I thought he would lose his balance too.

"Thanks a lot. Just proves what I've said all along. Negroes just can't stay loyal. Even boyfriend Negroes. But don't worry, I'll get even." And I already started to think about how.

"Sho nuf, honky, us niggers sho do loves to see a dumb white boy stumble roun' like a three legged critter. Jus not athletic like us uns."

"Shut up before someone arrest you for impersonating someone smart." We were both laughing. As I said, everything seemed funny. "How about helping me out of here? The bottom is slimy. And the bank is steep." I was trying to get out but the bank was slippery, and I didn't want to fall backwards. Jade got across and reached out a hook. I took hold and he easily pulled me right out.

"Damn, White-boy. Ain't you ever going to grow?"

"Tell me about it. I feel like a midget at school with everyone in my class towering over me. It's getting frustrating. I'm still only five two. It's not fair. And you must be near five ten by now."

"A bit more I think. But remember, I'm more than a year older than you. Don't worry, you'll start to grow. And even if you don't I like you that size. So much easier to handle." And the way he said the last sentence, I knew he was mostly talking about when we are doing sex stuff. I smiled and blushed at the same time. I really LIKED "being handled."

I eventually wrung all my clothes out, while Jade kept a lookout so nobody saw me like this. I got dressed and we packed up and left, getting on our bikes that we left on the trail above. We had gotten combination locks so we didn't have to worry about losing keys anymore. As we rode home, the air made me feel nice and cool. Nature's air conditioning. We talked about a lot of stuff and were quickly at his new home. It felt funny always being at our family doctor's house.

"Eeeew. You stink!" That was Cher greeting us at the door. I was quite a mess. I was pretty muddy and I realized it must have smelled some.

Jade said: "You better take off your sneakers and socks and take a fast shower. I'll bike to your house quick and get some clothes."

So that was what I did. Fortunately it was Dolores who answered when Jade called and arranged to get clothes from my room. I had moved everything back a while ago. Jade made it fast and was back by the time I was back in his bedroom. I tried to rinse out my clothes as best I could. Even my sneakers. Jade keep looking at me in my birthday suit. I still felt a bit self conscious naked in front of him like that.

When I was finished dressing I looked at him and smiled: "I sure know what you were thinking about. You better calm down that boner before we go down stairs." Then I quickly looked over to make sure the door was tight shut. We had better be really careful.

Downstairs Jade asked Cher where everybody else was. She was watching The Three Stooges on TV.

"Mom is still down in Dad's office. There were no more patients this afternoon, and I snuck down a while ago and saw them smooching."

I thought it must be in the air. Or maybe our mood was catching. Jade and I looked at each other and smiled. It was nice to see our ESP working so well. The show was pretty stupid but I still enjoyed watching it. Rocco claimed it was a high form of humor. He was laughing louder than Cher. Eventually the doctor and his wife could be heard coming up the back stairs. When he got into the living room he greeted me with a smile. "I see you're doing well. You and Jade have a good day?"

"Great. We fixed another TV this morning and then went down to the park this afternoon. I sort of fell in the creek, so I used your shower and cleaned up. Jade got me some clothes from home. I'm hoping I can sneak my stuff into the washer so Mom won't find out."

He chucked, and then his wife said: "You think. Mom's always have a way of finding out those things. You would do better just to own up to it from the start. As a Mom, I know."

We then got talking about the problem we first had at Mrs. Rinaldi's house. After a few remarks back and forth Cher looked up from the TV and asked: "How come she did that? Why does it matter that Jade is a Negro?" And that started a whole other discussion. Eventually I looked at the clock. I had to get home.

Just as I was leaving Jade asked the doctor: "We were just wondering Dr. Krazenski. . ." Jade looked over at me. "We were wondering earlier how come Rocco isn't growing."

I looked back in surprise. But Jade was now only looking at the doctor. He looked at me and motioned for me to stop.

"Rocco, I didn't realize you were so worried about this. Come on and let's talk about it."

I looked at the clock again and said I had only a few minutes. "Actually, I wasn't really worried. Frustrated would be more like it."

"Look Rocco. I gave you a complete physical when I last examined you in the hospital. You are in good health and are completely normal. Just small. But your growth is still normal for your developmental age. What I mean by that is that some people physically mature when they're older. But you're still within the range of what is considered normal. Just the very top range. And remember. Your parents are only a couple inches taller. You might never grow more than a few more inches. You should be prepared for that."

"I know, but I always feel like a shrimp all the time." I really wasn't upset. "Look, I know all that, and I'm not really too upset. It would just be easier if I could grow some more."

"Just give it time. You're not quite 16 yet. Some people are still growing when they're 18 or 19."

I finally got home. I used the pack to carry my clothes. Mrs. Krazenski put them in some of that fancy Saran Wrap. I also carried the ground cloth. I got home and went right down stairs. I put all the clothes into the washer. I also saw some of my other dirty clothes there and put them in with.

My Mom must have heard me and came down the stairs. "What's going on? You doing a load of wash?"

"Yeah." And remembering what Mrs. Krazenski said I added: "I fell in the creek and my clothes were a mess. So I'm washing them. Sorry about not being more careful."

Mom smiled. "As long as you're all right. And I'm glad that you didn't try to hide it. I'd find out anyway you know. How about coming up and shucking some corn. The huckster just brought around the first of his crop. And we have some fresh lettuce too."

I went upstairs with her and washed my hands. As I was doing the corn I was wondering: "Mom, how come we don't grow some things ourselves. I know some things are pretty easy like tomatoes, or beans, and even leaf lettuce. Maybe me and Jade can buy some seeds. Would it be too late to start?"

Mom looked at me like I just grew another head. I couldn't figure out why. "I think that would be very good. You can ask the people at the nursery to find out about what can still be grown and even pick up some small seedling tomato plants. I will even give you the money for it. Just don't hurt my gladiolas."

We talked some more about the garden and Dolores came in. "Did you tell Mom yet about falling in the creek?"

I looked up in surprise, and realized my Mom had already known.

Dolores then asked: "Mom, did you get that material yet for your new dress?"

Now I was in the dark, and of course curious. "What new dress? For what?" My Mom only made really fancy dresses for something special, like weddings and stuff.

"For Georgie's wedding. We just got an invitation. He's finally settling down."

I was surprised. Georgie was in and out of reform school, and even in jail once for a few months. I couldn't believe it. "I don't believe it. Georgie just got out of jail."

"Well, it seems like he's finally fallen in love. It can really change people you know. He's going downtown to that night school, and even got a job working at Sears. His father's friend got him in. I think he really means it this time. And I just remembered, he will be here this weekend with Theresa.

"Theresa? Who's Theresa?" I thought his girlfriend was named Margie or something.

"That's his new girl. They met right before he went to jail at the courthouse. She was there because her own brother was arraigned that same day."

"Holy smoke." (I think I'm using that expression almost as much as Jade now). "That was sure fast!"

"Well. It can be like that way sometimes. And to hear him on the phone when I called him, he's fallen hard. All he can talk about is Theresa this and Theresa that."

Dolores looked at me and smiled. "You mean how Rocco keeps talking about Jade?"

I was suddenly scared stiff. I looked at her pleading. "Please, you can't say anything more," I thought. I tried to pretend it was just a joke. "Actually, he keeps telling me it's Melva he likes. Remember how she keeps flirting with him?"

Mom said while still getting dinner ready. "Look you two, stop sniping at each other. And Dolores, how about getting the salad ready? Everything is almost done and your father should be here any minute."

I was relieved that Mom probably didn't even think anything about me and Jade. But I decided that I had to be more careful when Mom was around. But just thinking of Jade brought a smile to me. I even helped Dolores with the salad. I whispered to her: "I'll think of something to get even. And please, don't say anything like that again to Mom. I can't have her even suspect."

"Don't worry. She doesn't."

When Dad came home, Mom showed something we got delivered today. It seemed pretty important and I wondered what it could be. She even said she had to sign for it. What in the world?

After dinner Mom and Dad said they needed to talk to me. Damn! I was instantly frightened. What the hell could this be now? I couldn't figure how I could have gotten into trouble again. I kept trying to think what I'd done lately.

"Your mother just showed me this before dinner. I think you should read it yourself."

I took the letter REALLY wondering. But I should have known. How in the world could I have forgotten already that this had to happen? It was called a summons, and said that I was needed as a witness at the hearing of Jade's uncle. My parents were also supposed to arrange a meeting with me and some assistant district attorney. It seems that Jade's uncle pleaded not guilty and was going to trial. Damn.

I look up a little scared. "How can he possibly think that he can get off? He can't get off can he?" I was getting more scared as I thought about it. "I mean, he can't get out and hurt Jade again, can he?"

My Mom saw that I was quite upset. Dad just sat like it was my fault that he had to make time to go downtown with me. "Look. I'm sure that's not possible. He didn't even get bail. Just do what the attorney says and I'm sure everything will be OK."

But I couldn't stop worrying, at least a little. Just when everything was going so well. And then I just realized that Jade had to testify too. I called him up. And he said that the doctor just told him just about the same thing. We tried to see if we could go together to see this assistant district attorney. He said that the doctor had already called and arranged for Jade to see him the next Monday right after lunch. Wow, that was fast. I thought trial stuff took months.

When I told my parents what I just found out from Jade, my Dad said: "Well I'm not going to lose any work over this if I can help it. Maybe you and your mother can go with Jade next Monday and take care of everything."

Mom said she'd call the first thing in the morning.

Journal of Rocco P.

July 14, 1961
I can't believe how fortunate I am. And mostly thanks to Jade. He is now part of my very soul. I can't believe how he said yes when I asked him to be friends. (OK, I was even pleading inside). Thank you God. And thank you for Dr. Krazenski. I doubt there is a more understanding man on the planet. I can't believe how happy I am. I didn't think it was possible. I didn't tell Jade yet, but I suddenly got another idea. God, can you help here? It involves that Unitarian Church. Jade needs foster parents, and I thought I'd just give it a little help.

And God, I promise I'll try to be a better person. I'll try to be more like Jade. He is so naturally a good person he doesn't even realize it. Thanks so much for helping him. And I'm sorry for lying so much. I'll try to stop. I will. (Now just to make myself believe it. And how about the need to pretend to be heterosexual? It seems I have to keep lying just to survive).

And only one more thing. How come Dad doesn't seem to care? I really try. And I can't believe Carl. He hasn't tried to blackmail me for ages. Or even been too mean. And thanks for giving me such a nice twin sister. I promise to try and be nicer to her too. Most the time I just get so caught up in what I'm doing I forget other people. I'll try better.

I hope Jade is not all upset by this hearing and having to see this assistant district attorney. (What a mouth full. Maybe I'll just call him the ADA. I wonder if he has a sense of humor). I wished I could have talked to Jade more, but my Dad was right there.

Copyright 2006 by Rocco Paperiello