The following may contain scenes of sexual
activity between males. If it is illegal for you to read this in your
jurisdiction or if you feel you may be offended by doing so, please
read no further. The characters portrayed in this story may engage in
behaviors that would today be considered unwise and unsafe. The author
does not condone such behaviors nor does he encourage the violation of
any laws. Please respect yourself and your partners. Please do not copy
or distribute this story without the written permission and knowledge
of the author.
This story contains some elements of an earlier work
entitled The Secrets of Waldo.
If you would like to read other works by me, go to the Nifty Home Page
and click the FreeThinker link under Prolific Authors.
I am also
writing another story entitled A
Curious Set of Misfits in the Nifty Young Friends section, which
has not yet been included in my listing under Prolific Writers, but
which you can find by clicking
Note: the Russian composers mentioned in
Dmitri and Alexander Koronov, as well as the playwright Alexei Koronov,
are completely fictional, as are the numerous compositions alluded to,
for reasons that will become apparent later in the story. There is no
Austin Evening Reporter. All
characters in the story are fictional and
any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Use of the word "gook" is not intended to be offensive in any way, but
it used to show the state of mind of the character using it. The author
rejects all forms of bigotry and racism.
I would like to know what you think. If you
comments or suggestions, please email them to my address: chriswriter@ operamail.com,
(this is not a hyperlink). Thank you so much for reading my story and
for the wonderful support you have given me over the last three years.
Courage and Passion
school-boy, above all others, is not the simple being the world
imagines. In that young bosom are often stirring passions as strong as
our own, desires not less violent, a volition not less supreme. In that
young bosom, what burning love, what intense ambition, what avarice,
what lust of power, envy that fiends might emulate, hate that men might
Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime
Minister and novelist, Coningsby, 1844
The brutal Texas sun stood high in the afternoon sky
as Robby and his friends furiously pedaled their bikes along the dusty
winding road leading to Mt. Bonnell, their sense of excitement
heightened by the knowledge of the danger and the certainty of severe
punishment should they be caught by their parents. Robby’s had
expressly forbidden him from ever crossing the MoPac railroad tracks,
but the temptation of climbing the highest point in Austin was just too
great for a ten year old boy egged on by his friends.
Robby took the lead as they rounded the last bend,
racing to reach the parking lot at the foot of mountain, his red hair
falling across a freckled face tanned from a summer of exposure to the
sun. He raised his arms in triumph as his green Schwinn Stingray
skidded to a halt beneath the cedars lining the parking lot. The others
blew raspberries at him as he grinned. The parking lot was empty and
the boys didn't bother to lock their bikes as they left them unattended
under one of the cedars and began the arduous climb up the precipitous
This was not the first time Robby had climbed Mt.
Bonnell. He had done so frequently with both his Cub Scout pack and his
dad. He loved to sit on the numerous large, flat boulders at the top
and gaze out at the spectacular scene below as his dad sat in thought,
smoking one of his Pall Malls. In fact, if he had to choose, Mt.
Bonnell was probably his favorite place in town, even more so than
swimming in Barton Springs.
As on the bikes, Robby took the lead as the boys
climbed, stopping only once along the way to catch his breath. It was a
sign of the endless competition among the boys that they stopped only
once, none wanting to show any sign of fatigue to the others; and, once
again, it was Robby who raised his arms in triumph as they reached the
top. He strolled to a point overlooking the rolling Texas Hill Country
to the west of town and let out a whoop over the narrow, twisting
Colorado River below.
As the others horsed around on the boulders and
concrete benches, Robby and his best friend, JT, circled around to the
south, where they could see the city spread out below. Robby sat down,
his arms wrapped around his knees, and gazed out at the Austin skyline
dominated by the dome of the Texas State Capitol, (the biggest in the
country, naturally), and the tower of the library at the University of
Texas. JT sat beside him and looked up as a 727 roared overhead to the
west from the airport by I-35.
“Braniff,” JT declared authoritatively, squinting as
he watched it pass.
“Uh uh,” Robby objected. “Continental. Remember?
‘The proud Bird with the Golden Tail.’ Braniffs are all weird colors
like orange and turquoise and stuff.”
They turned their attention back to the city below.
“So, when’s your Dad coming home?” JT asked, his
eyes looking toward Barton Springs and Clarkesville.
“Another week. He’ll be through in Saigon tomorrow
and then he’s going to the Philippines to interview the pilots at the
Air Force Base there. Then he’ll come home.”
“It must be pretty exciting being a newspaper
It was Robby’s turn to nod.
“Yeah. And, if this story turns out good, Dad says
he might have a shot at getting’ on with some really big paper like The
New York Times or one of the TV networks, like CBS.”
“Doesn’t he want to stay in Austin?”
“I guess he wants to be the best reporter he can, so
if we have to move to New York, I guess we have to.
There was a hint of melancholy in Robby’s voice,
which was not lost on JT.
“You don’t want to move, do ya?”
Robby grinned at his friend.
“Are you crazy? I love Austin. It’s the coolest
place in America. Janice Joplin’s from Austin. Heck. President
Johnson’s from Austin.”
“Yeah,” his friend replied. “I seen his plane once
when he was here.”
“Yeah? Well, I saw him at that barbecue place on
12th St. once. And, he even shook my hand!”
Unable to surpass that, JT fell into silence again
as the other boys threw rocks over the western side. Another 727
approached from the east, but curved to the north before passing
“TWA,” said JT. Robby nodded.
“So, aren’t ya afraid ‘bout your Dad goin’ to
Robby looked out across the city, his face taking on
a thoughtful expression. After a moment, he replied, “Naw. I mean, I
wish he was home, but he’s staying in Saigon and he’s not goin’ out
where all the fightin’ is.”
He paused for a moment, and then added quietly,
“He’ll be OK.”
However, before the conversation could proceed
further, one of the boys from behind called, “Hey, let’s take-off. I
JT turned around and yelled out, “Wussie,” but Robby
stood suddenly and said, “Yeah, I’m ready.”
He stood and looked out to the east toward Anderson
Rd. He never could see his house from up there, but he always tried.
“I gotta piss bad,” one of the boys declared.
“Me, too,” said JT. The boys gathered near a cedar
and unzipped their pants. Robby joined them and in a moment, several
streams were pouring down into the dirt and needles. A couple
intersected and after a few seconds, the boys laughing and crying out
in mock pain, a swordfight with the streams ensued With their bladders
depleted, the boys zipped up and descended the “mountain.”
It was mid-afternoon when, after each of the boys
had split off from the group and he was shouting his good-byes to JT
that Robby noticed a ‘68 Volare pull up in front of his house as he
approached. He recognized it as belonging to his father’s editor at the
Austin Evening Reporter. Robby
pedaled over to the side of the car as
an older man with a wrinkled shirt, his tie undone and his thinning
hair uncombed, wearily climbed from the car.
“Hey, Mr. Sternbeck!” Robby said as the man closed
the car door, it seemed with great pain. Robby had always liked his
father’s boss, a funny man who did the most hilarious impressions of
Richard Nixon and President Johnson, John Wayne and Elvis. However, it
was clear that Mr. Sternbeck was in no mood for impressions. Robby
stopped and a funny, tight feeling grew in his chest.
“What’s wrong, Mr. Sternbeck?”
The man looked in the boy’s eyes, his own red and
“No,” said the boy softly.
“Son, is your Mama home?”
Robby glanced toward the driveway and saw the wood
paneled Country Squire station wagon and nodded. The man sighed and
began to walk toward the front of the car. As he passed Robby, he
placed a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder.
Robby sat on his bike for a moment as Mr. Sternbeck
slowly trudged across the lawn. As he heard the muffled doorbell from
inside, Robby slowly rode into the driveway and dropped his bike on the
lawn. When he heard his mother’s scream from inside, he dropped to the
grass and buried his head in his hands.
Zhenya sat in the ancient chair, his feet wrapped
around the scarred and battered legs, and gazed out the window at the
surging crowds on the Narodny. He wished he were among them. They
seemed so happy, so joyful, so full of purpose as they made their way
through the streets of Prague toward Wenceslas Square. He saw in their
faces something he never saw at home in Moscow. He saw expectation, he
saw dreams fulfilled. He saw freedom.
His chest seemed about to burst as he searched
through the throngs of young people for Stefan. He had to know what was
happening and Stefan could tell him. For more than half a year, since
his father had taken his position at the Charles University of Prague
to teach Russian Literature, Stefan, a student of his father’s, had
been his violin tutor, his confidant, his friend. It was Stefan who had
whispered of the changes coming to his country, how Czechoslovakia was
gradually cracking open the shell of oppression that Zhenya’s homeland
had imposed on them, how Dubcek was leading them out of the egg and
into life. That was how Stefan had phrased it and, listening to him
describe it, Zhenya could feel the joy in his friend’s voice and he
wanted to be part of this rebirth.
However, he knew it was not possible for the son of
Hero of the Soviet Union and one of the greatest playwrights of the
Twentieth Century. Even more, he was the grandson of Alexander Koronov,
one of Stalin’s favorite composers. He was slo the great-great nephew
Dmitri Koronov, one of the giants of nineteenth century music, composer
of the great Christmas ballet, The
Ice Prince, and the moving and
beautiful St. Petersburg Symphony.
He was as trapped in his world by
who he was as by where he was.
He looked down at his lap at the two most precious
items in his life,
the century-old violin that had once belonged to his famous great-great
uncle and the leather bound book, its cover faded and torn. There were
secrets in that book, secrets the Soviet authorities would kill to
suppress. The secrets were precious and he wanted to share them with
Stefan for someone must know them. He feared telling his father. After
all, he was revered by The People. He dined with Brezhnev! They lived
in the finest area of Moscow and he attended a special school reserved
for the children of the elite. Would his father ever risk that
He sighed as he looked out across the roofs and
steeples of Prague.
Such a beautiful city; and, about to be such a free city.
The knock on the door startled the boy. He nearly
dropped his his book and his precious
violin as he jumped. He looked fearfully at the door, as
all Russians did when one was not expecting a knock.
“Zhenya! It’s me!”
The boy carefully placed his precious artifacts on
the table beside him
and ran to the door. He flung it open, revealing the smiling face of
his beloved Stefan. He threw his arms around the young man.
“Stefan! What news?”
The tall figure guided the boy back into the room
and gently closed the
door. He placed a cautionary finger to his lips and pointed toward the
couch under the picture of Chairman Brezhnev. The two sat down and
Stefan wrapped his arms around the boy, who snuggled in close. Zhenya
thought Stefan the most handsome man in the world with his American
blue jeans and tight, white t-shirt. His thick dark curls hung over his
ears and down his neck. He reminded Zhenya of pictures of those English
poets, Shelley and Byron, decadent poets forbidden by the
authorities but given to him by Stefan, who wanted him to know of the
beauty and joy of the world outside the chains of the Soviet empire.
“My sweet ice prince,” Stefan whispered as he ran
his fingers though
the blond hair atop the boy. He kissed Zhenya’s forehead and the boy
opened his eyes.
“Please, Stefan! Tell me! What’s the news?”
Stefan closed his eyes and Zhenya became alarmed as
he saw the new and sudden pain in the young man’s eyes.
“Why, sweet Zhenya. You and your father are leaving
The boy pulled back in horror.
“Stefan! We can’t leave! It’s not true! I… can’t
leave you! I… I love you.”
“And, I you, my sweet prince. But, we have received
fearful news, news of danger. Your father must leave this city and he
must leave it tonight. And, he must take you.”
There were tears in Stefan’s eyes as he spoke.
Zhenya’s suddenly filled with tears, as well.
“No! I can’t leave you! I can’t go back to Moscow!
I’ll die if I have to go back!”
Stefan held the boy tightly and whispered in his
ear, “You’re not going back to Moscow.”
Stefan breathed in the sweet smell of Zhenya’s hair
as his tears fell to the boy’s head.
“To freedom. To America.”
Zhenya pulled back in shock, his eyes wide. America?
How was this possible? It couldn’t be. Not he. Not his father. Not
Alexei Alexandrovich Koronov! He would never leave the Revolution!
Besides, the authorities would never allow it!
“We must pack your things now. Come.”
“But, Stefan! What about you! Are you coming with
Stefan froze for a moment before standing. Without
looking at the boy, he softly said, “No, my little Zhenya. I must stay
here and defend my homeland. I must fight for the freedom of my people.”
“I will stay and fight with you!”
Stefan saw the defiance in the young boy’s eyes and
felt the tears form in his own again.
“No, sweet prince. You must go with your father.”
He wrapped his arms around the boy again and added,
“Tonight, the tanks will come and we must be prepared to fight for
Dubcek, for freedom, for Czechoslovakia.”
“From Poland and East Germany and Hungary. That is
why you and your father must leave immediately, while you still have
the chance. The arraignments have been made. Your father is attending
the final preparations as we speak. Now hurry. Where is the book?”
Zhenya’s poor mind was in a whirl. With confusion,
he asked, “The book? What book?”
“You know what book, Zhenya. Please. Where is it?”
Zhenya pointed to the table by the window.
“But, how do you know of the book?”
“Come. This is a treasure and it must make it to
America. As you must. As your father must. Come.”
As Stefan carried the violin and the book to the
bedroom as if he were holding sacred relics, the door opened and
Zhenya’s father entered the room with a pleasant looking man, tall and
dark-haired, with a comfortable smile on his face.
“Papa!” Zhenya asked fearfully. “Is it true?”
“Yes, my son. Now hurry. Stefan has much to do.”
The man beside him grinned at Zhenya and said in a
strongly Americanized Russian, “Yevgeny Alexeivich. I’ve heard great
things about you! You’re going to have a wonderful life when you get to
America! You’re going to be a famous man some day.”
“This is Mr. Bennett from the American Embassy,” his
father said as he strode past to the bedroom. Stefan followed with the
violin and the book. To Stefan he said, “The car is outside. We have
very little time. You must meet the others.”
Moments later, they emerged from the room with two
suitcases and a violin case. They stood at the door. Zhenya still in a
state of confusion looked in agony at Stefan. The young man avoided the
boy’s eyes, looking instead at those of the boy’s father.
“Good Stefan. Do not call me ‘Comrade.’ I hope never
to be called ‘Comrade’ again!”
They smiled at each other. Suddenly, Zhenya ran to
Stefan and threw his arms around him. The two held each other as
Zhenya’s father and the man from the American Embassy waited, the
American checking his watch.
“My little ice prince,” Stefan whispered. “You will
be a great man in America someday. You will accomplish great things.
Remember your Stefan.”
Zhenya cried into the young man’s t-shirt. Stefan
pulled him away and knelt before him, their faces just inches apart.
“You must be brave, my Zhenya. You must have
courage. You and I will both face great danger tonight. But, you will
soon be in Germany. And, from there you will fly to America. I shall
stay here and fight the Soviet tanks and my friends and I will build a
true socialist democracy here, free of the oppression of the Soviets.
And, someday, when you are a man, you will come and play your violin in
a free Prague and I will be there to lead the bravos!”
The American touched his father’s arm and nodded
toward the door. His father gently pulled the boy to the door. Zhenya
fought the tears as they stepped outside.
“Good luck, Professor,” said Stefan from inside.
“And, to you, my boy. And, to you.”
“The whole world is watching! The whole world is
The surging crowds moved forward, chanting their
refrain, anger and defiance in their faces as the police stood their
ground, their nightsticks at the ready. From two blocks away, Ethan
stood beside his parents, watching in awe and horror. His parents held
his hands tightly and he could feel the anger in their hearts
translated through their grip and it added to his concern and fear.
Across the street, a film crew was setting up their camera, but the
reporter kept looking fearfully up the street. Ethan watched as the
cameraman spoke to the reporter. The reporter’s eyes roamed around the
until they fell on Ethan and his parents huddled in the doorway of a
shoe store. Their eyes met as the man looked at Ethan in shock. The
boy nudged his father and pointed to the man, who held out his hands in
a gesture of amazement before pointing at the demonstrators down the
street about to confront the police of Chicago. Ethan's father turned.
"Emily, this may not have been a good idea."
"And, just what was the tip-off, Morgan? The
thousands of protestors screaming obsenities or the hundreds of
policemen armed with billyclubs and mace?"
Ethan watched his father sigh as he looked around.
"I just didn't think. I thought it would be
instructive for Ethan to see the fascists in their natural habitat. I
thought we would be safe here on the fringes.”
Ethan’s mother rolled her eyes.
“Morgan, we’ve been on the fringe since we met.
That’s the problem. You’re always on the fringe.”
“Emily, is this really the best time to recount your
laundry list of recriminations? We need to get Ethan back to the
“Not now, son. You know, Emily, every time we face a
crisis, you never have the grace to wait until after the crisis…”
“Not now, Ethan! Can’t you see we’re trying to
figure out what to do?”
“Dad, look over there. I think there the police are
coming from behind.”
Ethan’s parents both looked up the street in the
direction opposite of the police and protestors they had been watching.
There, turning a corner was another phalanx of police in riot gear and
they did not seem to be in a forgiving mood.
Holding Ethan’s hand, his mother took off in a
furious walk toward the line of police, Ethan dragging his father
“Someone has to wear the damn pants in this family,”
she was muttering. “This is what happens when you let poets make
As they approached the line of marching police
officers, Ethan became even more afraid. From behind the line of
police, several small objects flew through the air, arcing over the
police and flying past Ethan and his parents. When they hit the street,
they exploded into clouds of white smoke and mist. Almost immediately,
Ethan’s eyes began to burn. A second later, he began to cough and,
then, to choke.
“Mom! It’s tear gas!”
Even as he spoke, his mother stopped and watched in
horror as the line of police in front began to charge, their shields
before them and their nightsticks in the air. Ethan's father muttered,
"Oh, my God," as he took hold of his wife and son and through them
against the nearest wall. He pushed them down and covered them with his
body as the police rushed.
Ethan was choking from the tear gas as he held his
arm over his face. He felt his parents holding him against the concrete
of the wall and sidewalk. He heard yelling and screaming, profanities
and insults as the police rushed by. Suddenly, he father cried out in
pain and was pulled away from him. In horror, he saw his father
sprawled on the sidewalk, desperately covering his face as two
policemen kicked him and beat him with their nightsticks.
"Stop!" he screamed, jumping up and attacking one of
the officers. The man roughly shoved him aside as he continued to kick
Ethan's prone father.
Suddenly another policeman shoved the other two away
and stood between them and Ethan's family. The first two cursed and ran
on, joining their brothers up the street in their attacks. The new
comer, when he saw it was relatively safe, turned and knelt beside the
prone figure of Ethan's father.
"What in the Hell are you people doing?" his mother
screamed as she, too, knelt beside her husband. The police said
nothing, but took a handkerchief from his pocket and began to wipe the
blood on Ethan's father's face.
“Ethan! Ethan! Are you OK?”
“I’m OK, Dad!” the boy cried as he tried to hug his
"My God," he muttered. "I have a ten year-old son!
What's the matter with you people?"
"Why would you bring him down here?" the policeman
demanded as he continued to wipe the blood away. "Didn't you know it
"Well, I didn't expect the police to go on a
rampage!" He tried to sit up. From up the street, there were screams of
pain and anger, of hatred and fear as the police and demonstrators
"Come on," the policeman said, trying to help
Ethan's father stand. "We've got to get you out of here. Can you stand?"
His father nodded uncertainly and proceeded to
stand. More policemen were rushing up, but when they saw Ethan, they
veered off toward the melee up the street. The wind was blowing the
tear gas away, but Ethan was still coughing and his eyes burned
terribly. He hugged his father and his mother wrapped one her husband’s
arms around her shoulder to help support him. They began to walk away
from the pandemonium.
“I will make sure you people pay for this,” she spat
at the policeman.
“Mom, he’s helping us,” Ethan admonished.
“Good luck finding a lawyer,” the policeman said
“I have one,” she replied. “Me.”
The policeman looked at her as if she were crazy.
“You? You’re a lawyer? A woman?”
Ethan could hear his mother getting ready for her
usual speech about how women were just as intelligent and mature and
emotionally stable as men and that there was no reason why a woman
could not do any job a man could do. To head her off before it started,
he pointed toward a truck with a large red cross on it and yelled,
“Help! We need a doctor!”
Two men and a nurse came running toward them and as
they led his mother and father away, the policeman tapped Ethan on the
“What the Hell were you doing down here?”
“My father wanted me to see this. He wanted me to
The policeman shook his head and sighed.
“You should be home fishing or playing baseball, not
protesting the war and betraying your country.”
Ethan stood up proudly before the policeman and
declared, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good
men to do nothing. My father taught me this.”
The policeman looked at the boy with amazement.
“How old are you?”
The policeman shook his head.
“God help us when you grow up.”
Brooks of Sheffield
who's this shaver?' said one of the gentlemen, taking hold of me.
'That's Davy,' returned Mr.
'Davy who?' said the
'Copperfield,' said Mr.
'What! Bewitching Mrs.
Copperfield's encumbrance?' cried the gentleman. 'The pretty little
said Mr. Murdstone, 'take care, if you please. Somebody's sharp.'
'Who is?' asked the
gentleman, laughing. I looked up, quickly; being curious to know.
'Only Brooks of Sheffield,'
said Mr. Murdstone.
I was quite relieved to find
that it was only Brooks of Sheffield; for, at first, I really thought
it was I.”
Dickens, David Copperfield,
"'You’ll never take me alive Brooks! By this time
tomorrow, I’ll be sipping champagne on the Riviera!’
‘Not so fast, Porkov! You forget the champagne at
dinner tonight! I anticipated your betrayal and took precautions!’
‘What? No! You… didn’t!’
‘That’s right, you Commie! The CIA always gets its
man. When you weren’t looking, I put sleeping powder in your glass! Any
moment now, you should…’”
“Robby! Get your ass down here! Now!”
Robby McDonnell slumped in his chair and sighed. Why
did she have to yell at him at this particular moment? He was right at
the climax! One more page and his story would be complete and Brooks of
Sheffield would once again have gotten his man.
He placed his black Flair pen neatly in the center
of his spiral
notebook and looked out the window in front of his desk. From his room
on the second floor of the large, old twenties-era house, he could see
his younger brother and sister playing some incomprehensible game with
several neighbor-children under the giant maple tree. He knew why his
mother was yelling for him. She wanted him to go outside and stop
“hibernating” in his cave. She wanted him to leave his beloved reading
and writing, his only solace in the difficult world into which he had
been thrown this dreadful and painful year, and “act like a normal
kid,” which meant not writing his stories. She might as well ask him to
cut off his right arm.
“Robby! I know you can hear me! Get your ass out of
that room now,
before I come up there and drag you out!”
“I’m coming!” he replied. He closed his eyes with
distaste at his
mother’s foul-mouth. She had always used profanity and coarse language,
but it had grown significantly worse in the last year. With a sigh, he
pushed back his chair and gave a wistful look about the room, his
refuge from the turbulence of his family life. He gazed at the National
Geographic map of the world above his bed, at the framed copy of the
Austin Evening Reporter with
the first front page story his father had
written for the paper. He looked at the shelves of his beloved books,
stand and his violin, at the neatly organized desk with his father’s
college dictionary and thesaurus and… the framed picture of his father
standing in front of the historic front entrance to the Austin Evening
Reporter offices. He quickly sniffed and turned as his mother
“Robby! God damn it! Get down here! NOW!”
As he descended the stairs to the foyer, he heard a
woman singing on
the television in the living room, strange in that his mother usually
watched her soap operas in the afternoon as she did her housework. As
he entered the living room, his mother was removing magazines and
knickknacks from the coffee table. The Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon
blared from the television; that explained why As the World Turns was
“I want you outside,” his mother barked as she sprayed lemon Pledge on
the coffee table. “You’ve spent the whole damn summer holed up in
your room and as you’re white as a sheet. I don’t want you going to
school tomorrow looking sick and pale. Now get out there and get some
Robby knew better than to argue with his mother. She
instantly and it could get very ugly. Wordlessly, he turned toward the
“And, turn the damn TV off. I can’t stand Joey
Robby turned the volume knob on the old Zenith until he heard and felt
the click and the picture dissolved into a dark green.
"And, don’t sulk!” he heard as he turned the corner.
Go to Hell, he thought angrily to himself as he opened the front door
and stepped outside from the air-conditioned comfort of the house into
the late summer heat. Of course, he would never have actually
verbalized those sentiments. No, Robby McDonnell kept his feelings to
himself. That’s what you were supposed to do. Stay in control. Never
let your feelings out.
As he stood on the front porch, one of Brian’s
friends tossed a
football at him. His little brother always seemed to have friends at
the house. So unlike, Robby, Brian was always cheerful and jovial.
Their father’s death didn’t seem to affect him nearly as much as it had
Robby. Brian always rolled with the punches and came out laughing.
Robby suppressed a momentary sense of resentment at his brother as he
reached out and missed the ball. It wasn’t right that he should feel
resentment toward his brother for something that was just his nature.
Besides, would his father have wanted Brian to be as morbid as Robby?
The football crashed into the glass of the screen
door. The boys
laughed at Robby as he quickly picked up the ball and lamely threw it
back in their direction. Quickly, Robby sprinted off the porch and
across the yard before his mother could appear to vent more anger.
“Hey, Brainiac!” his brother called out to him,
holding the football.
“Naw,” he replied. “Thanks, anyway.”
“Aw, come on. You never wanna do anything ‘cept
write your stories and
Robby smiled at his brother and shrugged before
turning and walking on
toward the sidewalk. Brian shrugged and tossed the ball to Megan, their
He had to admit that it actually was a beautiful
day. It was like
Austin. It reminded him of his "childhood,” or what he thought of as
childhood, the time before he lost his father. The heat felt good as he
walked down the sidewalk toward the school at the end of the block. He
didn’t know where he was going, but a walk was probably the best way to
get some sun and escape from the rigors of his family.
Most of the houses along Sycamore Street were
similar to his family’s,
old, large, red brick with wide porches, small yards, and huge trees
looming protectively over them. Roots from the trees had pushed up the
sidewalk in places, making it dangerous to stroll down them if one
didn’t pay attention, which Robby wasn’t. He tripped over one of the
broken slabs of concrete that was sticking up a few inches, tearing the
front of his right sneaker. Well, he thought ruefully, yet another
reason for his mother to yell at him.
As he recovered his balance, he saw, out the corner
of his eye, a
bicycle passing by on the street. Great, he thought. I always have to
have an audience when I make a dork of myself. However, the guy riding
the bike, a teenager, probably fourteen or fifteen years old, just gave
a good-natured grin. His longish strawberry-blond hair blew in the
breeze across his forehead and Robby felt a strange feeling. He blushed
and smiled and then looked down at the concrete as he walked on. The
teenager rode onward then turned east at the corner.
Robby looked to the south at the long red edifice of Ralph Waldo
Emerson Middle School. The following morning, his summer vacation would
end. He would enter the sixth grade and join nine hundred other
students lamenting the end of their freedom. Actually, Robby was almost
looking forward to the start of school. It would be an escape from home
and a stimulation to his mind.
As he approached, he saw a boy sitting on one of the
in front of the school that circled a small flowerbed in the middle of
which stood the school’s flagpole. The boy was just slightly chubby, in
Bermuda shorts much like his own, and a yellow pullover similar to his
own green shirt. His thick hair hung to the top of his ears and swept
across his forehead. It was almost as impossibly blond and his skin was
pale. He held a thin paperback, but he wasn’t reading it. He was
staring off into space, possibly gazing at the dogwood across the
street. Robby fought an urge to say hi and introduce himself. He could
count the number of times in the three months since his family had left
Austin and moved to Sheffield that he had ventured out of the house,
and not once during those few forays into the outside world had he met
anyone his age. He knew no one. It was such a change from the previous
summer. He had to admit that it would be nice to have a friend, but
something stopped him from waving at the boy. Perhaps, it was the way
the boy seemed oblivious of his existence.
Robby turned onto 18th Street and started walking
west, unprotected by
any trees and, thus, in full exposure to the blinding sun. He knew very
little about the neighborhood to which they had moved. Indeed, he knew
very little about Sheffield, other than what he had picked up on his
family’s few trips to visit his grandparents here. They lived a mile to
the west, in the hoity-toity part of the city.
ahead, a couple of blocks away, was Providence Avenue. Perhaps there
was something interesting there.
As he approached the corner at Richmond Avenue, he heard a violin. It
wasn’t a recording. He could tell it was live and it was very good.
Robby loved the violin and had played it for several years, ever since
their neighbor in Austin, Mr. St. Charles, had introduced him to
it in Kindergarten. He paused at the corner and leaned his seat against
the red fire hydrant, listening to… what? It was cheerful and… Russian
sounding. Well, that was a contradiction in terms, cheerful and
Russian. It had to be something by Dmitri Koronov, his favorite
composer and creator of one of his favorite works, the Dance of the Ice
Prince, a beautiful ballet he had once seen performed on the PBS
channel back home.
This was something new, something with which he was
unfamiliar, yet the
style was unmistakable. Who was playing this? He guessed it was someone
fairly young as there were a few mistakes, minor and probably not
noticeable to someone who didn’t themselves play. The music stopped and
then repeated. Yes. Someone was practicing. Robby wished, suddenly,
that he were in his bedroom, playing his own violin. There was
something soothing about getting lost in the music, in concentrating on
the playing, in working on the style, in trying to imagine what the
composer was saying and how you could express it in your own way.
The same piece started over a third time and Robby
decided to continue
on with his walk. He would remember the house, though. Perhaps, there
was a boy living here who could be his friend, who would understand him
and sympathize with him, who could share his love of music and
beautiful things. Or, maybe it was just a girl.
He came to Providence Avenue and looked up and down the busy
thoroughfare, waiting for a break in the traffic so he could run
across. Up the street, six blocks to the north, he could see the huge
looming hulk of Sheffield Central High School, where he would probably
be going in three years. To the south, at 24th St. rose the towers of
St. Luke’s Hospital and the Sheffield National Bank. He could see
several firemen in the intersection, probably collecting money from the
people stuck at the lights for the Telethon. A helicopter whoop-whooped
overhead, flying toward the hospital.
He waited, the heat of the sun on
his pale skin, a few strands of red hair blowing across his forehead
and tickling his skin. When a break opened in the traffic, he sprinted
across the street to Lake Windermere, a park consisting of a green
both ends and a small lake, a couple of blocks long and one block wide,
in the middle. A chain-link fence surrounded the lake, which was lined
with a number of old-fashioned light-poles. A large fountain in the
center of the lake threw several streams of water into the air as
dozens and dozens of ducks circled around, lorded over by two
magnificent, regal swans. The houses around the park were even bigger
and fancier than those in Robby’s neighborhood on the other side of
Providence Avenue. The boy walked over to the fence and watched as
several ducks, all different in coloring and size, swan toward him and
quacked expectantly, waiting for Robby to toss them the bread he hadn’t
brought with him. Robby grinned and quacked back at them, doing his
best to imitate Donald Duck.
He became lost in thought as the ducks circled
around before him.
Realizing there was no food to be had from the strange boy by the
fence, a number paddled away, quacking irritably at each other as they
returned to the fountain in the center. Robby watched several turtles
sunning themselves on the large, flat boulders that lined the lake. A
fish jumping in he water several yards away awoke him from his reverie
as an ambulance roared past behind him on Providence.
Slowly, he strolled along the walkway that lined the
fence and the
lake, gazing at the huge, fancy homes across the street. As he ambled
on along the walk, his mind began to imagine what might be happening
inside those respectable mansions, what types of people would live
there, what kinds of challenges they would face, what joys they would
have, what tragedies they would endure, what stories they could tell.
Perhaps, he could find a plot for his next story in this setting, a
story about the banker in the colonial house who murdered his wife and
dumped her body in the lake, or the woman in the art deco house who
embezzled money from the charity she ran, or...
Robby stopped as he came to the western end of the
lake. There was a
large green space here. A moving van was parked in front of a house
opposite, but that is not what caught his attention. In the very center
of the green space, between two large oaks, sat a boy about his age.
That, in itself, was not cause for attention, but the fact that his
thick blond hair was long and that he seemed to be meditating was.
The boy was wearing only what appeared to be
cut-offs. No shirt or
shoes. Well, it was summer, for another day, at least. His body seemed
tanned and built, not overly muscled, but he wasn’t exactly skinny,
either. His thin eyes were closed and his puffy pink lips formed a
slight smile as he sat with his legs crossed in what must have been an
uncomfortable position. The feet were inverted upward, rather than the
normal downward. He was sitting up, his back straight, arms outward
with his hands on his knees. Very strange.
He was obviously a hippy. A little young to be a
hippy, but he was
definitely a hippy. Probably one of those jerks who protested against
the war every Saturday over at the college.
Robby suddenly hated him. He looked at the boy with
sitting there with his long hair and his hippy shorts and meditating.
Probably some weird Eastern religion, instead of being a good
Suddenly, the boy seemed to relax. He slumped down
just a bit and
opened his eyes. He looked up at the clear, blue sky and smiled before
looking around. His eyes fell on Robby, standing by the chain-link
fence surrounding the lake. He cocked his head slightly and a toothy
grin appeared on his face.
Robby quickly turned away and faced the lake,
leaning on the metal bar
along the top of the chain-link fence. He suddenly felt funny, strange,
angry. The boy was one of those hippy kids, probably from the area over
by the college where all the students and the teachers and the hippies
lived. He probably did drugs, too. He hated him.
And, his dick was hard as steel.
Robby clenched his fists and gave a last, furious
look at the boy. He
saw an expression of shock come over his face, but it didn’t matter. To
heck with him. Robby strode away along the fence as the walkway curved
back to the east and toward his home.
Why was his dick getting hard all the time, Robby
And, why would it get hard looking at the darn hippy kid? Why would it
get hard when he was feeling such anger and rage?
He stormed up the sidewalk toward Providence Avenue,
his mood ruined,
his peace and serenity destroyed. He hated the war, the war that had
taken his father; but, he hated the hippies even more. His grandparents
told him the hippies were helping the Communists who killed his father.
Robby was so full of anger at that moment that, as
Providence Avenue, he was completely unaware of any traffic as he
stepped off the curb. A horn and the screech of braking tires brought
him back to reality. He looked in shock at the approaching Ford
Fairlane and, when he realized what was happening, he jumped back up on
the curb. The driver, an older man with gray hair, shook his fist
angrily at Robby as he passed. The boy simply looked downward in
embarrassment and shock. Waiting for a break in the traffic and for his
breathing to return to normal, Robby consciously tried to calm down
until he was able to cross the street.
Robby sat on the edge of his bed, the only light in
his room coming
from the small lamp on his nightstand. It was a warm night and
there was no breeze from the open window beyond his desk. Even with
short sleeves and shorts, his pajamas were almost too warm. He looked
down at his bare arms and frowned. The skin was a little pink, but not
tanned. He shrugged. Well, at least he wouldn’t be completely
ghost-like when he started school in the morning.
He used to have great tans when he went back to school when he lived in
Austin. Everyone had a great tan in Austin. It was always beautiful
weather and everyone was always outside. Well, almost always. It got
cool sometimes in January or February, but not like it would in
Robby sighed. He missed Austin so much. He missed
his buddies, riding
his bike to forbidden places around town, eating at Threadgill’s,
swimming in Barton Springs, watching the bats come out from under the
Congress Avenue bridge in the evening. He missed JT and his bluff and
bluster, the way he was always trying to sound more impressive than
everyone else. He missed the way people spoke in Texas. He missed his
Dad. He missed his old life. Things were happy then. Things were the
way they were supposed to be. They weren’t supposed to live in a fancy
house in Sheffield; they were supposed to be in their old, average
house in Austin. His mother wasn’t supposed to be going out to bars and
meeting men two or three nights a week; she was supposed to be at home,
taking care of him and the kids, like normal mothers. This wasn’t the
way life was supposed to be and every time he thought about it, his
heart ached and his stomach felt tight and he wanted cry; but he
didn’t. Boys didn’t cry. He kept it in.
But, there was something else, though. Every time he
felt angry or
depressed or lonely, his dick got hard. Well, not every time. But,
often enough that he noticed a pattern. And, when it did, he
would hide in his bedroom or in the bathroom and pull it out and rub it
until he got the jerking. And, then, he would feel better. It was a
great way to get rid of the stress of life with his family the way it
was now. Anytime things got rough or he started feeling badly, he could
just rub his dick and, then, he’d be OK.
Speaking of which, Robby looked down. He could feel
pleasant urgent sensation deep inside him as his dick started swelling
and lengthening. He saw the cone peeking out the fly of his green
pajama shorts. It was fascinating, (and exciting), to watch his dick
get hard. It was start off as this kind of short, thick stub between
his legs and then it would start getting long, the wrinkled skin behind
the cone smoothing out as it started to get longer and fatter. The
thickening would start at the bottom of his dick where it met his lower
tummy, them push outward until his dick was straight and stiff as one
of those fat crayons he used to have in Kindergarten. Even now, as he
watched, it was rising out of the fly of his shorts, getting stiffer
and longer and thicker. His heart started beating faster and felt a
sense of anticipation.
Robby leaned back against his pillow and stretched
out on top of his
sheets, his dick poking rigidly up from his pajamas. It was pointing
directly at his face, making him grin. This was his friend, the only
friend he had. He had to take care of his friend and let him know how
much he appreciated him.
He reached up and turned the switch on his lamp,
plunging the room into
darkness. With only the faint glow from the few yard lights and porch
lights along the block, Robby reached down and unsnapped his shorts.
His dick pulsed as the top flap fell back, revealing his dick in all
its glorious stiffness. He could feel a gentle, warm breeze from the
window caress the taut skin of his dick and it sent a thrill through
his young body. His breath was jagged as he opened his mouth and gazed
downward at his rigid boyhood.
He reached down with his right hand and extended his
index finger. His whole body jerked with the shock of the first contact
of his finger with the sensitive tip of of his dick. Quietly, he moaned
as his finger traced downward across the sensitive area behind the head
of his dick toward the tight, smooth sack around his marble-sized
balls. He moved the finger all over his balls, noticing that they
seemed more sensitive now than they had a few before when he had first
discovered the joys and escape of playing with himself. With a sigh, he
cupped his hand around his balls and gently rubbed them.
"Nnng," he moaned as he sqirmed on top of his bed.
He replaced his right hand with his left, gently rubbing and squeezing
his balls, as he wrapped his right hand around his boyhood. Unable to
wait any longer, he began rubbing his erection, twisting his fist back
and forth as he pumped it up and down. Gasping with the feeling, he was
twisting and bucking on top of his sheets as he pumped, letting the
feeling build, revelling in the joy of making himself feel good.
His mind began to wander as the feeling built and
began find himself lost in the experience. He thought of that
goofy-looking guy on the bike that afternoon. That longish red hair was
kinda good looking. And, that kinda chubby blond kid in front of school
was kinda cute, too. He remembered listening to the violin outside that
house down the street from the school and wondering if, perhaps, there
was a boy in there who might want to be his friend. Maybe...
Gradually, all the images that paraded past his
mind's eye began to morph into one image, an image that irritated him
and made him angry.
Darn it! Why did that hippy kid but his way into his
thoughts? Here he was, laying on his bed, his dick hard as a rock,
rubbing away and having a perfectly good time making his dick feel
super good and that freak suddenly shows up, with his long, blond hair
and those slender arms and that straight, slim torso, and that
peaceful, pretty, almost angelic smile. He was sure pretty, almost like
a girl, yet there was something totally boy about him. Robby wondered
if maybe his dick ever got
hard and whether he rubbed it to make it feel good. What did he think about when he rubbed? Did
he think about good-looking boys? Did he, maybe...
Darn! Stop thinking about that! Robby released his
dick and pounded the bed in frustration. Why was that freaky hippy boy
Well, he was
kkinda cute. Maybe, he did get
hard like Robby, Maybe he did rub
his dick like Robby did. He wondered what the kid looked like when he
rubbed it. What did his dick look like? The boy looked like he might be
a little taller than Robby. Maybe his dick was longer, too. And,
Robby wrapped his hand around his dick again as
visions of Hippykid circled around in his mind, of the tanned, smooth
skin, the long blond hair, that toothy grin. Oh, man. That grin was
hot. That really made his
dick hard. Robby rubbed faster and harder, his dick feeling so darn
stiff and so darn good. He closed his eyes as he squeezed and rubbed
his balls more and his hand pumped his stiff dick faster. The feelings
were growing and Robby was panting, trying desperately not to moan as
he pumped his dick.
Suddenly, the feeling seemed to jump and, throwing
his head back, his whole body seemed to explode. He began to buck and
writhe about on his bed as his dick pulsed and pumped in his hand.
And, then, just as suddenly as it started, the
For a moment, Robby felt the sense of depression,
the let down, that it was over. But, after a moment, that was replaced
with a relaxed and serene sense of calm. He smiled and closed his eyes,
enjoying the wonderful feeling he got after a good rub. Maybe tomorrow,
after a day of school, he would see lots of other boys that he could
think about the next time he rubbed, so he wouldn't have to think
about Hippykid. Maybe, he'd meet a friend. Maybe the Violin Kid would
be cool. Maybe that blond kid would be...
So ends the Prologue and First Chapter of Courage and Passion. If you enjoyed
this or would like to comment, please send an email to: chriswriter@ operamail.com. I
look forward to your comments! Thank you for reading my story!