STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!

Copyright 2001 by Nick Archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives, ASSGM, and gaywritings, to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.


Pocketful of Stars

By Nick Archer

Chapter 7

I have to tell you about the Fourth of July! What a day! There were all sorts of fireworks that day. And not all of them were in the sky.

From the minute I woke up I could hear bangs, pops and cracks coming from all over the neighborhood. They were the sounds of illegal fireworks all over town. Fireworks are illegal in Illinois. On paper, at least. The cops will take them from you if they catch you with them. But actually, they’re pretty easy to get. You can jump across the border to Missouri or Indiana to get them. And lots of people do.

The weather was perfect, sunny and not too hot. Right there I figured something was up. Because it’s either freaking freezing or hotter than hell and not much in between.

I had to finish packing to go to my dad’s house in Lake Geneva. My mom had sent most of my clothes up by UPS a few days ago. I was supposed to pack just what I needed for the trip, which meant a change of clothes, and other essentials like my Walkman. Believe me, I consider my Walkman to be an essential item.

Carrie stood at the door to my bedroom watching me pack. She was licking a Popsicle and it was dripping from her rat-like lips. Her tongue was red.

"What do you want?" I demanded. "And don’t let that thing drip in my bedroom."

"Nothing," she mumbled. "I wish you were staying here."

Without looking at her, I snorted. "Why? So you and Cindy can get me in trouble all summer?"

She didn’t answer for a long time, and I finally looked at her. Red Popsicle juice was dripping from her fangs.

"No, it’s not that. It’s just..." She seemed to be at a loss for words. "I guess I’ll miss you."

Now, you have to understand something about Carrie and me. She is my sister. Nothing more than that. We never sit around talking about how we feel about each other or share our feelings. I hate that term. Sharing. As in the sentence: I thought we had a sharing. It makes me ill. Josh’s dad uses it a lot. Anyway, she can really be a pest sometimes. She is always trying to do stuff with Josh and me. But out of my two sisters, I’m closer to Carrie.

I put down the pile of tapes I had been gathering and looked at her. I decided I was being a jerk, so I toned it down. "You’ll have fun with Mom. Besides you and Cindy are going to Grandma and Grandpa’s in Arkansas. That’s fun! You’ll get to swim every day." My grandparents live on Lake Hamilton outside Hot Springs.

"I guess." She disappeared for a second and came back with a paper towel for the popsicle. "It’s fun having you around," she said quietly.

I stopped packing, sat down on the edge of my bed and looked at her. I smiled. "Thanks, Carrie. That’s a nice thing to say. I take back all the mean things I said to you. Well, most of them."

She laughed. "See? That’s what I mean. You always say funny things." I smiled agreement as I packed my Walkman and more tapes into my backpack.

"Ooh!" she exclaimed. "When did you buy the new Sheryl Crow tape?" She was referring to Tuesday Night Supper Club with the song All I Wanna Do.

"Last week. Paul took me to the mall." I had an idea. I handed her the tape. "Here, you can borrow it."

Her eyes widened as she took the tape. She touched it like it was made of gold. "Really? You mean it?"

"Sure. But take care of it. And give it back to me when I get home from Wisconsin."

She crossed the room and hugged me. She tried to kiss me, but I pushed her away.

"Ewww. Don’t kiss me. You have red lips."

She giggled and tried even harder to plant a smooch on my cheek. I ran around the other side of the bed.

I wasn’t about to let the rat lips touch me!


A little while later, my mom sent me up to Paul’s apartment to remind him about the party at Aunt Lynda’s later that day.

"Come in," he shouted when I knocked. He was in the kitchenette. The apartment is a long space with sloping ceilings. The only door is in back of the house. The kitchenette is on the right side of the room. It’s a galley-style layout. All the appliances are on one wall and cabinets on the other wall under the sloping ceiling. He was washing dishes. I could see him through the pass-through. That’s what my mom called a rectangular hole in the wall of the kitchenette about the size of a window.

I stood by the bookshelves. "You remember that you’re invited to my Aunt Lynda’s tonight? It starts about eight-thirty."

He smiled. "I wouldn’t miss it for the world. You can ride over in my car, if you want."

"OK." I picked up the photo of Paul and the kid. I was dying to know about him and yet I didn’t. I tried to think of a sneaky way to bring up the subject.

"I see you got a new frame for this picture. I like it." Very cool, I told myself.

"Yeah, I got it at Target the other day."

"I like the frames they have there. I like almost everything they have there." I returned the picture to the shelf. "How old is the kid?"

"In the picture he’s your age – about thirteen or fourteen. He’s....umm...let me think...sixteen or seventeen now."

"What’s his name?"

"Tyler. I always called him Ty-Bo."

"Was he your friend?"

"You’re a very inquisitive boy – I mean young man – you know that?" I raised my eyebrows when he called me a boy, then smiled when he corrected himself. Paul knows I hate to be called a boy.

"He was my Little Brother. I was a Big Brother."

"You were?" I was surprised. This was information I didn’t know. "I had a Big Brother. His name was Dave. He went to ISU. He’s a camp counselor in Wisconsin, now. Why aren’t you his Big Brother anymore?"

Paul turned off the water and looked at me through the pass-through. He had a hurt look on his face. I had asked him too many questions. I think I hurt his feelings.

Finally, he smiled sadly. "Because I’m going to ISU, now."

But there was more to it. I knew it, Paul knew it and he knew I knew.

"I’ll yell out when we’re ready to go," I said, letting myself out of the apartment.


We went to see the city parade. I loved it. It’s one of the rituals of the day. All parades in Bloomington start at Miller Park and then work their way downtown.

Downtown Bloomington is sort of sad. It’s like a gap-toothed kid, with buildings and parking lots, more buildings and parking lots. The State Farm building is the only skyscraper. Lots of the storefronts are empty. I can never remember a time when it was a busy, bustling place. Neither can my parents. The first mall was built in 1963, and a lot of the stores followed. They tried to revitalize many times. A lot of the empty department stores, Sears and Berger’s, were torn down and replaced with ugly buildings in the groovy sixties.

Bloomington is not known for its architecture.

My parents do remember Montgomery Wards and the Castle Theater and a few other places that are long gone. We were on the east edge of downtown near Second Presbyterian Church and the old Post Office. We heard the bands and sirens long before the parade arrived.

It was a stream of color and life against the drab brick buildings, the boarded-up storefronts, and dead office buildings.

There were marching bands from Normal Community High School and Olympia High School and the school I’ll attend in the fall – Bloomington High School. Fire engines sounded their sirens and my sisters covered their ears. Some businesses and churches had put together floats. They looked amateurish, but who cares? This isn’t Pasadena, and the parade isn’t on TV. It’s kind of like a parade they put on and invited the family and the neighborhood kids.

What surprised me was the Twin Cities Gay and Lesbian Coalition. Nobody booed them. Here they came right down the middle of East Street with their banner, and their rainbow flags and holding hands. There was an older woman, about the age of my grandma. She was holding a sign that said "My son is gay and I’m proud." I almost wanted to join them. I did want to join them.

I found I wanted to be part of the parade. Does that sound corny, or what? I mean, I’m not into all this patriotic shit, but I wanted to be part of it.

Then I realized, I was. I was the parade and the parade was me. The whole downtown was me; ugly buildings, parking lots, dusty storefronts and all. I had walked the streets to go the Old Courthouse Museum and Common Ground, my mom’s favorite. Maybe I didn’t remember when they made a fresh batch of popcorn at Ward’s and you could smell it through the whole store. Maybe I didn’t remember the fancy restaurant in the Garland Building. Maybe I didn’t remember the twinkling lights on the ceiling of the Castle Theater. But it was mine just the same.

The parade was my life, including the amateur floats. And I didn’t want it to pass me by. I wanted to be a part of it.


At about eight-thirty Mom gathered us up to go to Aunt Lynda’s. Josh, of course, rode with me and Paul. I got to ride shotgun this time. Josh sat in the middle of the back seat and leaned forward. I guess he was afraid he’d miss something.

Paul looked good, too. His hair was gelled, and he was wearing those big, nylon shorts that are like mesh material. What surprised me is that he wasn’t wearing any underwear! Or maybe it was a dark color, because I couldn’t see any white. And he smelled good, too.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m a thirteen-year-old boy – oops! – guy -- who’s horny and thinks about sex a lot.

"Hi, Paul! Hi, Josh! Glad you could come!"

"Thanks for inviting me, ma’am."

"Ok," she raised her voice slightly, "Everybody gets to carry something out." She went around placing bowls of food in our hands. "Mindy, you carry the plates and forks and knives. Drew, you carry the potato salad. Here, Cindy, you can carry the cole slaw. Boys – I mean, Joe and Josh, you two carry the cooler. Paul, you have the honor of carrying the chicken. I fried enough to feed half of Bloomington."

The cooler was heavy! It was full of ice and pop. There was no beer because we would be on park property and alcohol is forbidden in the public parks. Plus, as Aunt Lynda put it, "Bloomington’s finest are going to be out in force."

Across the parking lot we carried the food to two picnic tables under a tree in Holiday Park. The pool, which was just another fifty yards or so, was closed for the evening. There were a few early-birds who pulled into the parking lot by the pool to see the show. A few other people know about our fireworks viewing place, I guess.

As we ate, Aunt Lynda asked Paul, "So how is summer school going?"

"Fine, ma’am. I’m just taking Planetary Physics this summer."

"Just Planetary Physics!" my cousin Drew repeated. "That’s one of the hardest classes at ISU."

"It’s challenging," Paul admitted.

"Any special person in your life?" Aunt Lynda asked. "There’s some very charming girls on campus." She glanced at me for a millisecond. I knew she had asked the question for my benefit.

"No, ma’am," he answered.

Everything was so delicious! I ate and ate until I was stuffed. When we were done, we carried most of the food back into her house, except the cooler and a watermelon and some jello creations.

Mom had brought some blankets and spread them on the ground. Cindy and Carrie made a nest of one. Paul and Josh and me claimed the other one.

Josh drummed his chest like a gorilla and shouted, "I’m king of the mat!"

"Oh, no, you’re not," I said diving for his ankles. We wrestled around on the blanket. Then, Josh grabbed my crotch.

For a moment I was startled. I lay on my back, breathing hard, trying to think if I had imagined it, or if he had actually done it. Josh sat on my belly and held my arms down.

"Give up?" he asked.

"No way, Jose," I said as I pushed him off.

We rolled around some more when Josh grabbed me again! That time I didn’t imagine it! He had really tried to grab my stuff! What the hell is he thinking?

"That’s enough," I said, as I pushed him away from me.

"Yes, that is enough," my mom repeated. "Settle down now, both of you."

Paul came over to the blanket and sat up with his legs crossed at the ankles and his upper body propped up by his arms.

"How ya doing, Paul," Josh tackled him. It really looked like more of a hug to me.

I was jealous. After all, Paul was mine. I mean, he lived at my house. And he’s never even hugged me.

"That’s all, Josh," Paul pushed him away. But he smiled as he did it.

I lay on my back next to him and Josh was next to me. As it got darker, Aunt Lynda brought out some sparklers. Kid stuff, I thought. My heart started to beat faster for two reasons; one, I was excited about the fireworks about to start, and two, thinking about being on the blanket between my best friend and the hottest guy in town!

"OOOH! AAAAH!" The fireworks started with a bang! Four Seasons Country Club is right across the street, and while their works may not be the biggest, they are right overhead. It was so awesome! I love the smell of gunpowder and sulfur, the loud bangs, and even the mosquitoes. About midway through the show, I had a bright idea.

I put my head on Paul’s thigh as if it were a pillow. I looked up at Paul’s face, but he was watching the fireworks.

The rain started just as the fireworks ended. We hurried to get the rest of the food into Aunt Lynda’s house, said goodbye and left for home.

It was now raining seriously, and the temperature dropped. I was actually kind of cold. When you’re used to 90-degree weather, 55 degrees feels like freezing! Of course we couldn’t sleep in the tent or light off the rest of the fireworks. Josh and I decided to crash in the living room. We could watch TV and the sofa turns into a bed. We put on a video of The Breakfast Club, one of my favorite movies. I love most John Hughes movies. I even like Pretty in Pink. I often wonder why he didn’t make a movie about a gay kid in high school. I mean, he tackled just about every other topic.

Mom came in the living room to make her final speech of the night. "Don’t stay up too late, Joe. I’m going to wake you up at 6:30."

"Aww, Mom! Why so early?"

"The train leaves at 7:35."

"OK," I sighed.

We were both huddled under a blanket. We both had on only our boxer shorts. It was very sexy.

"Oh! I forgot to tell you! You know John Stevens?"

"Of course I do. Total geek."

"He came over to my house the other day."


"We played strip poker."

Why is he telling me this? "So, who won?"

"We made a deal. Whoever lost had to give the winner a blow job."

"Get out of here!"

"Of course I won. I made sure of it." He lowered his voice. "I stacked the deck."

Josh is like my brother, but we have never, ever talked about sex like this. Why is he bringing it up? Why did he grab my crotch earlier? Does he have feelings for me? Or is he just horny?

"Come on," I changed the subject, "help me pull the bed out." I noticed his boxer shorts were tented out in front.

I had a moment of panic when I realized we would have to share a blanket. Mom had put all the other blankets away for the summer. I was excited, but scared at the same time.

On the TV, the other kids in Saturday detention were badgering Claire about answering the question if she was a virgin.

"Just answer the question, Claire.
"We want to know."

"Tell us the truth, Claire."


"Did you ever do it?" Josh whispered to me.

"Well, I..."

"You haven’t, have you? I knew it."

"I didn’t say that," I whispered fiercely.

Josh took my wrist and pulled it toward his crotch. I couldn’t see what was going on because the blanket covered everything from our shoulders on down. My palm brushed up against his erect dick.

I pulled my hand away. "What are you trying to do?"

"I can’t help it. I’m horny. Pull your dick out. I’ll jack you off if you jack me."

I couldn’t. I was scared. Suddenly, all his strange behaviors fell into place. It all made sense. He was horny. He wanted to mess around. A battle was starting in my head.

ME: Come on, pull your cock out. He’s going to touch it!

CONSCIENCE: He’s your best friend!

ME: Chicken shit! You want this to happen! You are always trying to get a look at his dick.

CONSCIENCE: True, but I can’t.

I won Round One. His cock was steel encased in velvet. It felt about the same size as mine. His hand was on mine, gently pulling on the skin. No one else has ever touched my cock. Well, OK, maybe my mom accidentally touched it when she was changing my diaper.

We were facing each other on the bed. Our faces were just inches apart.

"Do you want to put your mouth on it?"

ME: Yes, yes, YES!

CONSCIENCE: You’ll destroy your friendship with him.

ME: I’ll be gone for the rest of the summer. Maybe he’ll forget.

CONSCIENCE: Yeah, right. He’s gonna forget about the same time pigs fly.

ME: That’s what best friends are for.

CONSCIENCE: He won’t be your friend if you do. Your friendship will never be the same.

My Conscience won Round Two. "I think I’ll pass."

He increased the speed on my dick, and I increased the speed on his.

"That feels so good," he whispered to me.

It did feel good. I increased the pressure and speed on his dick. The blanket worked it’s way down, and soon it was down by our knees. Just the sight of his hand on my dick was enough to send me over the edge. He moved even closer to me and the tip of his dick touched mine.

It was like a spark from a battery when you’re trying to jump your car with jumper cables. His breath was on my cheek in fast, short bursts.

I shot first, and he shot right after me. We were both grunting and panting.

"Oh, God, that was so good."

I scooted into the bathroom, washed up and brought out a wet wash cloth for him.

We settled in bed again, with our backs toward each other.

"That was good," he said.

"Go to sleep," I mumbled.

"You know that story about John Stevens? I lied."

"You bastard!"

"Dear Mr. Vernon. We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out was that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, a princess, a basket case and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely, The Breakfast Club."


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. I read and respond to all email (even if it takes a few days) Just click on one of the links below. And don't forget to check out my website (Chapters are always posted there earlier than here) and my other stories here on Nifty, Paternal Instincts and Family Instincts, in the College and Relationships sections.


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