The following contains scenes of sexual activity between males. If it is illegal for you to read this in your area or if you feel you may be offended by doing so, please do not continue. This story is complete fiction and any similarities between the story and reality are purely coincidental. There is no Madison, Oklahoma. Some of the characters in this story may engage in behavior which could be construed as illegal or unsafe. This is not an endorsement of such behavior. The author does not condone the violation of any law, not does he encourage unsafe behavior. Please do not copy or post this story without the knowledge or consent of the author.

Please send any comments to my new address, chriswriter @ Thank you for reading my story. If you like it, please let others know about it.

A Curious Set of Misfits

by FreeThinker

"Sitting on the side. Waiting for a sign. Hoping that my luck will change.

Reaching for a hand that can understand someone who feels the same.

When you live in a cookie cutter world being different is a sin.

So you don't stand out and you don't fit in. Weird."

Hanson. Copyright 1997, Jam 'N Bread Music

Chapter Eight

Michael Griffin's mind was not on the Lord. The Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ were not, unfortunately, at the center of his thoughts. As he sat in the pew between his parents and grandparents, watching Eric and Daniel and the other altar boys going about their duties, his thoughts centered more on the secular and profane rather than the sacred.

Eric Robbins, tall, slender, handsome, looked so perfect as he stood beside Father McNeil and performed his duties with precision and devotion. Daniel Llewellyn, standing at the side, gazed almost rapturously toward the altar, looking as if he were of the celestial host of angels praising the Lord. Yet, Michael knew it was Eric who was the object of his adoration.

In the four days since he had seen the two sitting on the banks of the river, hugging, possibly kissing, though he couldn't really tell, he had, with the guidance and encouragement of Trevor, overcome his initial shock and disappointment at the discovery of the boys' relationship. Because of the wisdom and compassion of his water brother, the friend he loved, he had come to realize that what Eric and Daniel had was just as special, just as beautiful, just as "pure," the word Michael had used to describe his relationship with Trevor, as that very relationship with Trevor.

He smiled as Father McNeil delivered the benediction. Daniel looked so cute, his dark hair combed so neatly, yet falling across his forehead, freckles sprinkled across his nose and cheeks, a wholesome smile and eyes of joy. And, as he proceeded up the nave bearing his taper at Eric's side as his friend carried the Crucifix, Michael could see what had so captivated the older boy.

If only, he could talk to Eric and Daniel about it.

On Friday afternoon, Michael and Trevor had been riding their bikes along a country lane to the northwest of town as Ricky sat home watching a broadcast from the Apollo 11 crew, then just a day away from entering lunar orbit. It was a typically hot summer afternoon with not a cloud to mare the perfect blue of the Oklahoma sky. The boys had stopped to get a drink of water from a creek feeding downstream into the Cherokee River. Laying under the shade of a pecan tree, they had debated whether to mention to either Daniel or Eric what they suspected. They didn't want to be the only water brothers in town and Michael desperately wanted to share the joy he had found in his relationship with Trevor. However, Trevor warned that the two might not be ready to admit anything to anyone.

"You don't understand a lot about sex," Trevor had announced authoritatively.

"Well, Dr.Sex Expert," he had replied indignantly, "what makes you such a genius about sex?"

Trevor was silent and thoughtful before replying, "A lot of people are uncomfortable about this sort of thing and scared of others finding out. You don't want everyone to know how much you like kissing me, do you?"

"Well, of course not. But, I just think that maybe if Eric and Daniel knew they weren't alone that maybe they wouldn't be so afraid and that we could all be friends."

"We are friends," Trevor countered.

"But, we could be better friends."

"You mean you want to be water brothers with them?"

Trevor looked curiously at his own water brother. Michael blushed.

"No. That's not what I meant. In the book, it wasn't until the end when things got really weird that the water brothers all started having sex. Being a water brother for you and me is a lot more than just messing around, though..." he added with a sly grin, "I have to admit that I kinda like it."

"Kinda? Dude, you're a maniac about messing around!"

Michael grinned and blushed and looked down at the field grass in which they lay.

"Yeah, I guess I am. I just can't help it, though. You're so cute!"

Trevor chuckled.

"Well, maybe we can talk Ricky into letting Eric and Daniel spend the night tonight, too!"

"Oh, I don't think that's a good idea."

But, now as the congregation stood and the procession moved on, Michael looked out of the corner of his eye and saw Eric and Daniel pass. His heart filled with admiration and respect for them, as well as a longing to hug sweet Daniel and to be hugged by handsome and good Eric.

It was later, as many in the congregation were gathering in the social hall, that Michael approached Daniel as he stood next to his parents. The Llewellyns were a scary set of adults. Mr. Llewellyn wore a black suit with a black tie while Mrs. Llewellyn wore a severe dress with severe white gloves and a severe hat. Daniel looked nervously from the side and but tried to smile.

How do you do, Mrs. Llewellyn, Mr. Llewellyn?" Michael said, feeling he should be as polite as possible with the fearsome duo.

"Very well, Michael," Daniel's father replied as he sipped Kool-Aide.

"Um, Daniel," you want to come over to Ricky's after while and watch the moon landing? Maybe sleepover and watch the moonwalk tonight?"

Daniel looked thrilled for a second before his face clouded. He looked up at his father, but the stern look on his face immediately destroyed his hopes.

"Daniel will be going with us to his grandparents for Sunday dinner. As for the moonwalk tonight, I'm afraid Daniel will be in bed. It is rather late."

Michael was stunned. How could anyone sleep when men were about to walk on the moon? Good grief! It was like Columbus discovering America, the Wright Brothers, Lindbergh all rolled into one!"

"But, its history!" Michael protested. Immediately, he regretted doing so as Mr. Llewellyn's face became suddenly hard and cold.

"Good bye, Michael. Please say hello to your grandfather for us."

Michael swallowed, blushing fiercely. He glanced quickly at Daniel and saw the pain and embarrassment in his eyes. He fought an urge to grab him and hug him, but, instead, he simply replied, "Yes, sir. Good bye."


"Hey, man! What's with the long face?"

Eric Robbins was sitting in his backyard, his back against a young maple, holding a torn paperback copy of Catch-22. His left hand holding the book, however, lay in his lap and his eyes were gazing off into the distance as a tall, lanky, strawberry-blond kid approached from around the corner of the Robbins house, a red-brick clone of every other house in Western Hills.

"Hey, Brad," Eric replied lethargically. "What's up?"

The newcomer dropped onto the grass beside Eric, his cut-off shorts revealing his white thighs and his t-shirt exposing his long, slender, freckled arms. Before he could reply, however, Eric looked down at the tattered Converse sneakers and remarked, "Man, when are you gonna replace those? They're disgusting."

Brad grinned.

"Man, they're just getting' broken in."

Eric smiled wanly and looked off again, dropping the book to his side.

"Come on, Eric. What's bothering you?"

"Nothing important."

Brad raised an eyebrow.

"Don't gimme that shit. You and me been friends since Kindergarten. We kicked JT Tharp's ass in the third grade. I taught ya how to jack-off. Shit. You cum in my mouth more than in your hand. Now, tell me what's up?"

Eric smiled weakly, but remained silent.

"It's Daniel, isn't it?" Brad asked softly.

Eric barely nodded. He took a deep breath and looked as if he were going to cry.

"It's getting rough, isn't it?"

"Oh, God, I love him so much and his parents are so cruel to him. He just can't do anything right. They're dumping on him so bad that sometimes, I just don't think he can take it."

Brad frowned and reached out. He took Eric's hand and squeezed it.

"Man, you can't save the world. You can't let this shit tear ya apart."

Dammit, Brad! Don't you understand? I LOVE Daniel. I'm sick. I love a boy whose four years younger than me. For God's sake, he probably hasn't even gone through puberty yet and all I can think about is how much I want to love him and hold him and kiss him. Every time he comes to me crying about how his parents have insulted him or dumped on him or something, it just breaks my heart and I just want to hold him and love him and tell him it's OK."

"Why don't ya?"

The pain on Eric's face was almost more than Brad could take.

"I almost did the other day. We were fishing over by the Hanfield place and Daniel started telling me about how hard they make him study. It's summer, for Pete's sake. But, they've got him reading the Encyclopedia all the time and he hardly gets to spend any time with his friends. The only friends his parents approve of are me and the new kid, Michael Griffin."

Brad nodded.

"Anyway, he started crying and I just wrapped my arms around him and held him and then, all of a sudden, he crawled into my lap and put his arms around me and we just sat there holding each other for hours, him crying in my shoulder and me holding him and loving him. It was so beautiful. It was so beautiful."

"You got it bad, man."

There were tears in Eric's eyes.

"One of these days, I'm not going to be able to stop and I'm going to kiss him."

"So? You idiot. He wants you to kiss him. He loves you. There's nothing wrong with two people loving each other."

"But, he's so young!"

"He's almost twelve. You're only fifteen. Criminy! He's desperate for love. You're in love with him. He needs you. You don't have to go the whole nine yards. Just love him, man."

Eric sighed and brushed a strand of his blond hair from across his forehead.

"Yeah, I guess."

The two teenagers sat for a longtime and looked around the yard, at the gnats hovering above the yellowing grass, at the hummingbird darting about the feeder handing from the dogwood tree beside the patio, at the Big Wheel Eric's younger brothers had left in the corner of the yard.

"You gonna watch the moon landing?" Brad asked.

"Yeah, I guess. You want to?"

"Sure. But, I think you need something before we go in."

Brad grinned at Eric, who smirked sadly.

"Dude, that's you answer to everything."

Brad grinned even more, his freckled face almost laughing.

"Hey, it's the best way I know of to let off steam."

Eric sat for a moment, but Brad could see a rise growing in his friend's cut-offs. He stood, his own boner pushing out the frayed fabric of his tight cut-offs just a couple of feet from Eric's face. Brad reached down and squeezed himself, sighing with the good feelings blasting though his horny, teenaged body.

He put his right hand out to help Eric stand. Eric finally, reluctantly grinned and stood.

"You can think about Daniel while I'm doing ya," he said.

"I usually do," Eric said with a grin as they walked toward the tool shed.


Eric unlocked the door and then glanced around to insure no one was watching; then the two quickly entered.

"Where is everyone?" Brad whispered as he stood in front of Eric, his right hand squeezing the lump in his friend's cut-offs.

"There all inside watching the TV," as he reciprocated, finally getting into the spirit of the moment. For a few seconds, the two boys rubbed and fondled each other through their shorts before Brad unsnapped Eric's shorts, pulled the zipper down, hooked his thumbs over the elastic band of the briefs and pulled both the shorts and the underwear down. They slid down Eric's legs to the concrete floor covered with grass and oil. He stepped out of them and whipped his tee-shirt up and over his head, leaving himself naked and hard, except for the tennis shoes on his feet.

Brad stared down at the rigid seven inches of teenage cock. His eyes roamed over the upward curving shaft, at the wide angrily red head, at the fat tight balls and the silky blond hair around the balls and the base of his friend's cock. He had loved feeling Eric's dick since third grade, loved sucking it since fourth. There had been other boys around town, even a few older guys over at the campus of Eastern State College. But, none of them were like Eric, his best friend, his best pal, the most decent guy he had ever known, a bud who would never hurt anyone and who would die before breaking his word or his trust.

Brad's eyes roamed up his buddy's slim body to his face and saw a trusting smile.

"You really love sucking me, don't you?" he asked. Brad smiled and without a word, whipped off his tee-shirt and dropped his shorts, sans underwear. His own eight inches stood up throbbing from a nest of crisp red hair. Eric reached out and wrapped his hand around the cock that had been so familiar to him for half a decade, eliciting a groan from his best friend. Brad reached across with both hands and began fondling his friend's cock. Together, they felt each other off, stroking and caressing their cock and balls, running their fingers through each other's pubic hair, squeezing the rigid shafts and doing whatever they could to make the other feel good.

"Oh, yeah," Brad whispered as Eric breathed heavily in the stifling air that smelled of cut grass and gasoline. Suddenly, Brad dropped to his knees, his cock and balls slipping from Eric's loving grasp. His face was just inches from Eric's dripping boner and his eyes watched as it twitched and pulsed to the rhythm of Eric's heart and the flow of hormones through his body. Below, Brad watched as Eric's balls slowly churned in the tight sack below his cock.

The eyes of the two fifteen year-olds met, the blond Eric gazing down at the freckled strawberry-blond face of his best friend.

"Oh, man," he breathed. "Do it."

Brad smiled and raised his hands, placing them on the front of Eric's hips, moving them around, feeling the trembles of lust through his friend's body. He caressed all around his turgid cock as his face moved forward and down, underneath Eric's cock.

Brad's lips reached the underside of Eric's balls and he kissed them, causing Eric to moan. Eric could feel Brad's hot moist breath on his balls and he fought the urge to grab his cock and start beating. Instead, he placed his hands on his hips and spread his feel wide, giving Brad lots of room to work in and maneuver around.

Brad kissed Eric's balls all over before slipping his tongue out and bathing the sensitive balls with his spit. Eric involuntarily thrust his hips out and gasped at the incredible feeling of the hot tongue on his balls.

Brad ran his tongue all over the sack and through the smooth area between Eric's balls and his thighs. It sent chills though Eric's body and he shuddered with delight, making Brad grin.

The sound of children yelling down the street seeped through the cracks in the wooden wall as Eric moaned. Brad reached down with his right hand and began slowly to fondle himself as his mouth moved up to the shaft of Eric's rigid cock.

"Oh, do it, please," Eric whispered. "I can't wait. Please."

Brad ran his tongue along the underside of Eric's cock, pausing over the sensitive area behind the head, making his friend groan with joy and frustration.

"Suck me, Brad. Please. I can't wait. I need it."

Slowly, Brad brought his mouth to the tip of Eric's cock, breathing on it, making it pulse with passion. He extended his tongue to the tip and licked the hanging drop of precum. Eric took Brad's head in his hands and slowly guided his friend's mouth over his desperate cock.

"Uhhhhh," he moaned as his cock was enveloped in the moist heat of Brad's mouth. Drawing it in as far as he could, Brad held Eric's cock, his tongue slowly working around the underside, until Eric began to slowly work his hips back and forth, moving his cock in and out of the worshipful mouth.

Brad was moaning quietly as he stroked his cock and sucked. Eric had closed his eyes and his head was slowly rolling with the gentle thrusts of his hips.

"Oh, yes. Oh, yes," he whispered; but it was not to Brad he was speaking. In his mind, he saw not the redheaded boy on his knees before him, the friend with whom he had shared his childhood and adolescence, but the sweet and sad eleven year-old, the angel who had brought love to his heart like none other. In his mind's eye, he was laying in the vines along the banks of the Cherokee River, in the shade of the oaks and cottonwoods above, his sweet angel in his arms, his head resting on Eric's shoulder. Slowly, Eric caressed Daniel's face, lovingly running his fingers along the smooth, perfect skin as he gazed at the serene expression of love on the boy's face. As Brad's mouth worked faster and sucked harder, as he felt the ragged breath of his best friend against his abdomen as he fucked the hungry mouth harder and harder, the image in his mind was not of hot and horny sex in a stifling tool shed, but of laying in the peace and coolness of an Eden-like paradise, holding the boy he loved, his arms wrapped protectively around him. His dream was simply to hold Daniel, to love him, to protect him. And, as Brad sucked harder and faster, bringing him closer and closer, the vision of his sweet Daniel grew more beautiful until Eric cried out and thrust hard into Brad's sucking mouth, his body shuddering with the power of his love for the boy.

"Oh, Daniel. Oh, Daniel. Oh, God, I love you. I love you. I love you."

As Brad swallowed Eric's ejaculate, he released on the floor between his friend's feet, holding Eric's cock in his mouth as he brought himself to climax. When he was able to catch his breath, he looked up at his friend and saw the tears in his eyes as he gazed off at the opposite wall. It was not the rakes and shovels hanging on the wall, Brad knew, that Eric was seeing, but the face of the boy he loved and he felt a sudden affection and sympathy for the boy who had been his friend and confidant since Kindergarten.

"You OK, Eric?" he whispered.

Eric simply stood, his breath slowing, his eyes looking toward something Brad could not see, as pain and love and need all fought in his face. Brad stood up and put a hand on friend's shoulder.

"It'll be OK, man. It'll be OK."

Eric nodded and sighed.

"I know. I know."


Ricky Patterson was on the floor of his living room, nervously clutching his knees as he watched the look of concern on Walter Cronkite's face. Michael looked over at his friend and saw a hint of fear on his friend's face.

"Sixty seconds."

"Light's on. Down two and a half."

Ricky bit his lower lip.

"What's wrong?" Michael whispered.

"That's the warning light. They have less than a minute of fuel left. He can't find any place to land."

On the TV, Wally Schirra, the astronaut who was assisting Cronkite in covering the moon landing, had a look of concern, as well.

"Are they going to make it?" Michael whispered.

Ricky swallowed, but said nothing.

"Three feet down, two and a half. Picking up some dust. Three feet, two and a half down. Faint shadow."

Michael looked around the living room. His mother, as well as Ricky's, were both sitting on the edge of the couch, clutching handkerchiefs. Michael's father crossed himself as he silently whispered a prayer. Trevor's mother was in an easy chair to the side, her husband behind the chair, his hand squeezing her shoulder. Ricky's mother was in another chair, his Dad on the floor beside her. Everyone looked concerned. He felt scared. Instinctively, he and Trevor both reached out and held hands, nervously seeking strength from the other as Eagle desperately searched for some place smooth to touch down. If they couldn't find a spot in the next few seconds, Armstrong would have to abort the landing, drop the descent stage and fire the engine of the ascent stage to fly back up to Columbia.

"Four forward. Four forward, drifting to the right a little."

It was Buzz Aldrin, standing to Neil Armstrong's side in the Lunar Module reading out the statistics of speed and altitude. On the TV, the unflappable Cronkite was clutching his hands during the final seconds of the descent, showing just how serious the situation was.

"Thirty seconds," Houston called out.

"Thirty seconds of fuel," Ricky whispered. "They have to land."

An ominous silence came from Eagle, only the static of radio signals from two hundred thirty-eight thousand miles away. Ricky was holding his breath. Trevor's hand squeezed Michael's tighter. Almost painfully.

And, then...

"Contact light."

"YES!" Ricky screamed.

From around the living room came cries of relief and joy.

"OK. Engine stop. ACA out of descent. Mode control both auto, engine command override off. Engine arm off. Four-thirteen is in."

"We copy you down, Eagle."

On the TV, Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra were almost laughing. Cronkite removed his glasses and wiped his eyes.

"Boy, oh, boy," he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

And, then, the voice of Neil Armstrong, commander of the first mission of human beings to the moon announced from a quarter million miles away, " Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Everyone in the Patterson living room was cheering. Ricky ran to his Dad and the two hugged. The mothers were crying. Michael and Trevor grinned at each other.

"Roger, Twang... Tranquility. We copy ya on the ground. You got a buncha guys about to turn blue here. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot."

On the television, the words "Man on the Moon," flashed across the bottom of the screen, but everyone in the Patterson living room was too busy expressing relief and wonder and joy to notice.


Michael stood in the middle of the street in the dark, gazing to the west. Trevor stood on his left, Ricky to his right. The only sounds that could be heard were the crickets and tree frogs singing in the night and the sound of a truck on the road to Tulsa.

Ricky raised his arm and pointed toward the quarter-moon, setting in the western sky.

"OK. You see where the shadow starts and where the lit area ends?"

"Yeah," Michael replied.

"OK. Look at the middle of where the shadow starts."


"That's the equator. OK. Now look just above that. See that big darker area.?


"That's the Sea of Tranquility. Now look just above the equator at the bottom of the Sea of Tranquility."


"That's where they are."


The three boys stood there for several minutes staring at the setting moon in wonder at the thought there were actually two men up there.

Ricky turned.

"You know, you two are the only friends I have who get it."

"What do you mean?" Michael asked.

Ricky thought for a moment and then replied, "Well, Kenny and Ronnie think it's cool that we're going to the moon, but they don't really get excited about it. But, you two really see how super cool it really is. You get it and I think that's really neat."

Michael grinned. Trevor caught his eye and looked as if to say, "See? I told you so."

Michael reached out and patted Ricky on the shoulder. Trevor stepped forward and wrapped his arm around Ricky's shoulder. At first, Ricky stiffened in surprise and curiosity at the strange gesture. But, after a second, he relaxed and smiled back at Trevor.

"Thanks, guys."

"For what?" Michael asked.

But, this seemed to be more emotion than Ricky could express without sounding weird in his mind. He shrugged and grinned and punched them both in the shoulder.

"Come on," he said, turning toward the house. "We got half an hour before the moonwalk starts."


The ghostly white image of Neil Armstrong descending the ladder, those famous words spoken as he planted the first human foot in the soil of another celestial body, the raising of the American flag on the surface of the moon, President Nixon congratulating the astronauts, Armstrong and Aldrin loping about the surface in the one-sixth gravity of the moon, setting up their experiments and collecting rocks and soil samples, and finally, their reluctant ascent back up the ladder and into Eagle.

There was no way Ricky could fall asleep on such a night. Michael and Trevor had placed their sleeping bags on the floor beside Ricky's bed, but the three of them were sitting on the open sleeping bags, Ricky and Trevor in their Fruit-of-the-Looms, Michael in his pajama shorts. Ricky couldn't stop whispering about what they had just witnessed, men walking on the moon.

"Yeah, in twenty years," he said, " you're gonna see me sticking the American flag into the ground on Mars! That's gonna be me in a spacesuit walking around on Mars, picking up rocks and soil samples and talking to the President. Man, I can't wait."

Trevor grinned at Michael.

"You're so cool, Ricky," Michael whispered.

The only light in the room slipped through the curtains from the gas yard light in front of the Patterson house. The three could just barely make out the shapes of each other, but Michael could see the grin on Ricky's face. The boy said nothing, embarrassed that his friend would say something like that, but pleased all the same.

For once, the three boys were silent, sitting on the sleeping bags, contemplating the momentous events of the day. Michael glanced over at Trevor. The boy's slim legs were crossed and his hands were resting on his thighs. As he watched, he could barely see the front of Trevor's underwear start to expand as his penis began to grow hard. Michael felt a sudden surge of feeling and his own penis quickly began to grow. The front of his pajama shorts was pushed out and suddenly, his stiff boner popped free of the fabric and stood rigidly perpendicular through the fly of his shorts.

Ricky noticed and grinned.

"Looks like you two need a little relief before you go to sleep."

Michael giggled.

"You know," Ricky continued, "a little beatin'-off really. Y'all want to do it before we go to sleep?"

Michael grinned at Trevor, who grinned back.


"Hey," Ricky said conspiratorially, "I got this really neat centerfold that BJ gave me. She's really hot! Big ol' boobies and you can even see her pussy! You want me to get it?"

Trevor shook his head before Michael had a chance to object.

"Nah, we don't need it. Besides, the light might look a little suspicious, if you know what I mean."

Ricky nodded and grinned as he pulled his boner out through the fly of his shorts. Trevor slipped his shorts off, causing a look of surprise on Ricky's face.

"Well, I guess you really are ready!" Ricky said with a grin. Trevor responded with a grin of his own as he wrapped his right hand around his rigid boyhood. Ricky shrugged and, with a grin of his own, slipped his briefs off. Michael paused for a moment until Trevor reached over with his left hand and squeezed his right arm reassuringly. Michael smiled and slipped his shorts off.

The three boys sat naked on the sleeping bags. Ricky started rubbing his penis and closed his eyes.

"Oh, yeah," he whispered. "This is just what I need to go to sleep!"

Michael watched with fascination as Ricky's hand flew up and down his boner. Trevor was just feeling his, not really masturbating, just watching Ricky and slowly fondling his own.

"You know, Ricky," he said softly, "Michael and I think you're really cool."

"Yeah," Michael replied. "I think it's neat the way you look at things so different from other kids."

Ricky opened his eyes.

"Guys, I'm trying to beat-off. Can we talk about this in a minute?"

Trevor frowned, but persevered. He scooted over next to Ricky and signaled for Michael to do the same. Ricky had closed his eyes and resumed his masturbating, but when Michael's knee accidentally bumped his as he moved over, Ricky opened his eyes again. He looked strangely at the two naked boys on either side of him.

Trevor put his right arm around Ricky's shoulder and placed his left hand on his thigh. Michael simply leaned against him and laid his head on Ricky's shoulder.

"Ricky, Trevor and I think you're a super special friend and we want to show you how special we think you are."

Ricky's eyes suddenly grew wide with horror and his body stiffened. He looked at Michael with shock and then at Trevor. Instinctively, Michael withdrew in uncertainty. Trevor froze.

"What the heck are you two doin'?" he demanded a bit too loudly.

Michael's confusion led Trevor to try to take control of the situation.

"Ricky, Michael and I are what you call water brothers. That's the kind of friend where you can tell each other the biggest secrets you have and the other will always keep it. It's when you trust your water brother with your life and would never ever do anything to hurt him. You're like the best friends you can possibly be. We want you to be a water brother, too."

Ricky looked at him in wonder and then with disgust.

"Oh, jeez! You're fags!"

Trevor's face flinched as if he had been slapped. He instinctively moved backward as Michael looked on in horror.

"BJ's right!" Ricky spat. "You're fags! And, you're tryin' to moe me! Get off me!"

Ricky roughly pushed both boys away from him and jumped up. He stood naked, looking down in contempt at the two. Michael's face fell, looking down at the floor in horrified shame.

Trevor slowly stood and with all the dignity he could call upon, looked at Ricky directly, their eyes meeting, and said evenly, "Being a water brother is the greatest honor a friend can give another."

"I don't wanna be no... no water brother faggot. What kinda crap is that?"

Trevor paused, but remained stoic in the face of Ricky's outrage.

"We just wanted to show you how much we respect you and how much we think you're special. I'm sorry if it wasn't the way we should have done it."

"It sure as heck wasn't. Get out! Get dressed and get outta here. I'm not gonna have no moes sleeping in my room! You'll probably try to moe me while I'm asleep! Get dressed and get out. And, don't wake my folks, either."

Michael was paralyzed with shock and shame, looking down at the sleeping bag on which he was still sitting. Trevor saw his state and slowly walked over to him. He leaned down and placed his hand on Michael's shoulder.

"Come on, Michael," he said softly. "Let's go."

With agonizing embarrassment, Michael slowly stood and the two boys slowly dressed themselves. Ricky, in the meantime, had slipped back into his briefs and was standing at the door waiting for them. When the two were fully dressed, Ricky pointed to the sleeping bags and they leaned down and rolled them up. Quietly, Ricky opened the door and Michael and Trevor, carrying their sleeping bags, tip-toes out into the hallway.

Ricky led them to the front door and quietly opened it. Michael and Trevor stepped outside onto the front porch and Ricky followed. As the two stepped down to the walkway at the bottom of the steps, the anger in Ricky's face mellowed to a heartbreaking pain.

"You guys just ruined the best night of my life," he said.

Trevor felt his heart break at the pain in Ricky's voice.

"I thought... I thought you were cool," Ricky continued. "When BJ said you were fairies, I took up for ya. I guess I was wrong."

"No, Ricky. You weren't wrong. We're..."

"Go away," Ricky interrupted. "Just go home."

With that, Ricky turned and closed the front door. The two boys stood at the foot of the steps, Michael unable to look up, Trevor maintaining his dignity and strength.

"Come on, Michael. We'll sleep out in our special place. It'll be OK."

Michael said nothing. Numbly, he followed Trevor across the lawn and toward the street light at the corner.

Even the "children of the night," as Tad had referred to the usual night noises, seemed subdued as the boys trudged through the dark and deserted streets to Trevor's house. The moon had long set and the dark sky, though filled with a multitude of stars and the glorious Milky Way, offered little comfort as they sadly walked through the Renfields' lawn. Halfway across, Michael began to cry and as they reached the driveway, his sobs became almost uncontrollable. Trevor dropped his sleeping bag and wrapped his arms around his water brother, holding him as Michael's head fell to Trevor's shoulder.

"Boys?" said a man's voice from across the chain-link fence that lined the Renfields' driveway. "Is anything the matter? Are you alright?"

Trevor looked up and smiled sadly.

"Hi, Mr. Tracy."

The man was dressed in dark slacks and a plaid short-sleeve shirt. His kind face was framed with short blond hair and black-framed glasses. He clutched the metal bar that ran along the top of the fence and the look of concern on his face reassured Trevor.

"What happened? Have you been hurt?"

"No, we're fine. Thanks."

Michael looked up and sniffed, wiping the tears from his eyes and trying, through his embarrassment, to control himself in front of the stranger.

Mr. Tracy stood uncertainly for a moment before asking, "Is there anything I can do?"

"No, thanks. We're just going to set up our sleeping bags behind the garage and try to get some sleep."

Trevor was warmed by the concern in his neighbor's voice. Mr. Tracy nodded and uncertainly turned away. After a few steps, he turned back.

"Trevor, um, if you ever need to talk... "

He left the sentence unfinished as he looked downward, seeming to regret the words.

"Thanks, Mr. Tracy," said the boy.

As the man walked back toward the lawn chair in which he had been sitting, Trevor led Michael up the driveway and toward the back yard.

"What's your neighbor doing sitting in the front yard at three in the morning?" he asked as they tramped across the grass toward the back of the garage.

"He works nights at the hotel downtown and this is his night off. He sits out there a lot and looks at the stars and sometimes reads or listens to the radio. Mostly he sits in the back at night."

"He looks awfully lonely."

As they dropped their sleeping bags, Trevor nodded.

"He is. I don't think he has any friends."

Michael sniffed.

"I know how he feels."

"Hey!" said Trevor forcefully. He took Michael in his arms again and whispered, "We're water brothers. We'll be water brothers for ever."

Michael wrapped his arms around Trevor and whispered, "Yes. I love you, Trevor."

"I love you, Michael."

And, so, painfully, ends Chapter Eight. Please let me know what you think by emailing chriswriter @ Thank you!