Alan Stroup









All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.











Book Synopsis


Richie Adler is a precocious adolescent with a tendency toward rebellion and individual temerity. He is also gay. Discovering that a sex offender has recently moved into the community, the young Adler is more intrigued than fearful of having a convicted felon living close to his home. The teenager becomes a molester's worst nightmare, a determined stalker who will challenge every ounce of a sex offender's coping skills to sustain his commitment to abstinence.

AGE OF DISSENSION is a fictional novel based on historical fact. Randy Sumter is the author's alter ego, a past educator, coach and father who has violated society's trust by having sexual relationships with its most cherished possessions--children. Consequently, he is punished, given therapy, and cast out as a black sheep to a den of wolves, via a community that is hardly indifferent to its newest pariah, one who comes with a scarlet letter.

Examined from various points of view, the book's characters challenge debatable biases, prejudices, paradoxes of love, and societal restrictions regarding sexual relationships with minors under the age of consent. Whether an adult truly has all the power in such a choice becomes a questionable theme in this comical, though authentic, coming of age. Society's expectations have hardly convinced one very determined teenager from exploiting his adult target, a target that is far more vulnerable than this boy considers himself.








I'M a trifle young to be doing my memoirs, but I've experienced quite an adolescence for being a few days from my twentieth birthday. Like a wide-eye young buck caught in headlights I have been fortunate that this beam of light hasn't been an oncoming car, only a bright strobe asking, who are you, kid?

I was once a rich spoiled brat, with emphasis on spoiled, like really spoiled, so doing an autobiography at nineteen is oddly outrageous and highly pretentious. An adult would likely tell me that life has yet to be lived--everything is beginning, nothing has been decided, with the ecstasy of love awaiting my heart. Contraire, my dear elders! I have in a few short years experienced the magnitude and freedom of desire as few boys my age have.

But first a few words about my roots. I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where I lived in an expensive home on the outskirts of town, thanks to my father who was a self-made man. Self-made in this case means he used ingenuous methods to make a buck--more than a few, actually. Though this is embarrassing, my father served prison time for his creative means to give us a life of ease, but that's something I'll get into eventually.

Being the middle of seven children, I always felt odd-boy out. I have twin brothers, Trent and Tracy, two years younger, who are the epitome of maleness. That's coming from a gay kid who scrutinizes the male body like picking choice grapes for fine wine. Though I've never admitted this to anyone, I've been envious of my younger brothers' relationship all my life--all nineteen years, and two of these my brothers never existed. Figure that one out. I should admit I was ecstatic as a toddler of having a younger brother; twins were a godsend.

There were clearly bonds within this virile family--the attractions, tensions and divisions were quite evident. There was also a hierarchy, the leaders were plain to see, confidently charismatic, as were the minor characters, the cliques and more innocent, submissive types, like me. Yet orders can be reversed in these games of power, prestige, desire and love, and the dominant, predatory ones may be replaced by their victims--that was me, as well.

A most moderate sibling was in the likeness of Marcy, my surreptitious little sister, a year younger than the twins. She related to them and treated me as a distant cousin. Marcy was equivalent to a house-mouse, one who breezed with a twitching nose through every room, inspecting and taking notes to increase her knowledge of humanity and the dysfunctional American family. Through her early childhood she despised boys, finding us gross, rude, and oddly shaped. Wanting nothing to do with us for the first ten years of her life she became the quintessential tomboy from that point on, and only then did she want to know why we ignored her incessant disruptions into our daily lives.

My closest confidant was and is Janice, a celebrating twenty-one year old as I write and the person who knows me best from a female stand point. Usually it's the gay boy's mother who is forever the unconditional love of his life; in my case, it's Janice. Moving up the family chain, Rob and Jared are my two older brothers who used me as a punching bag in their earlier years and considered me more like a neighborhood kid who just happened to be seen around the house as often as an abandoned pet. When I was seen, I was punched.

I'm not sure how memoirs work, but this is about as good a place as anywhere to tell you who I am, minus the strobe. My father named me Richard Bernard Adler, after my grandfather and his father, both Barneys. Not like I had anything to do with this. Around five, Janice renamed me Wiggle, because, well, I liked to wiggle my wiggle at her as a child. I think she encouraged this to my memory, though she denies it with a snide smirk. That nickname survived well into my teenage years; actually, Janice still calls me this to humor my deflated ego.

I prefer Richie, a name I caressed after the most important man in my life asked me what I wanted to be called. Before this question emerged, I was called Dick by my teachers and an occasional coach, Richard by my peers and assorted friends, Rick by my siblings, Kid by my father, and Honey bunny by my mother; whereupon, the bunny part was eliminated around twelve, then she switched to Richard, because she was pissed at me most of the time through my adolescence.

Not to offer excuses for my father, I suppose remembering seven of his children's names was less important than keeping track of his stock options on a daily basis or who owed him money. He was pretty good at recalling his eldest sons' names, but the twins were "Boys", while I was stuck with "Kid."

I suppose I might have liked Rich, except the kids at school were very aware that we were brought to school in a black Mercedes limo, with a chauffeur, no less. The nations' criminals have nothing on children in their cruelty to the human race, especially to their classmates when they stand out from the norm. My peers made it so natural to mock me, one has to wonder if every school should come with a clinic of psychologists; though, like my teachers, I would have challenged their sanity.

It did not help when my parents had me skip third grade. Teachers complained that I destroyed the fine educational balance of their classroom because I blurted out the answers all the time. School was boring and easy, I admit this, so my challenge was to be smarter than my teachers. This competitive contest seemed logical at the time.

Naturally I've been called a few derogatory monikers that go with my geekiness and sexual orientation, but these were from brothers who should have known better. Children had called me gay before I even wanted to be gay. I had managed to avoid this reputation while in high school. We had the type of high school where homosexual behavior was tolerated so long as it was never named or allowed to evolve into a gay label. Act gay and watch how swiftly quiet tolerance turned into hostile ostracizing, once the lovers decided to expose their relationship. I learned to act as asexual as I could. One's mode of sexual behavior is not always consistent with one's inner and conscious desires. My best friends were girls, smart girls who didn't mind platonic relationships and knew what the word meant.

As a thirteen-year old I'd labeled myself as pure homosexual. Psycho-emotional eroticizing of boys by a boy, whether acted upon or not, is a homosexual orientation, regardless of the bisexual euphemism that I read about in my sister's teen magazines. As television shows go, Zach and Cody were my personal litmus test.

Being a boy genius was weird. I knew I was different than other boys, but I didn't know why they couldn't analyze and memorize facts like I could. I observed the world with logic, like religion. Though my parents were not regular church goers, as a six-year old I'd already figured that being a Christian was a test, a trial, per se. I got the impression it was to see if we are worthy of being with an ego-filled God who requires attention, adoration, appreciation, and affection. By the words of the Bible, the impression I received was that He was a vengeful God, jealous in His love, wrathful in His anger.

In school I'd read a book in two days, so the whole Bible challenged me for a week. By this, and with seven-year old logic, I discovered faith, which to me meant opportunity, a process of discovery. We are worthy and always have been because God is without ego or need, but the source of all things and the seat of wisdom and love. I personally found Him peaceful, joyous, and passionate. I just knew that Jesus wouldn't have beaten me up for being gay.

Then there was sex. Since the twins and I bathed or showered together for so many years, it wasn't uncommon for us to explore our arousals in combination with soap and water. Though our mother warned us of impending doom for being curious boys, I quickly came to the conclusion that guilt is often used in an attempt to make me feel bad about something I felt good about.

I once did a report in seventh grade that the teacher swore I plagiarized from some academia thesis. In my conclusion to religious dogma, I wrote that wisdom which comes from within is not nearly so easily discarded as wisdom which comes from another. One tends to envelop in one's life that which one has created than to that which one has been told. My own limited experiences in life were far more meaningful in establishing truths than what others were telling me. My teacher wasn't so sure that was a wise philosophy for a twelve-year old.

Consequently, I believed then as I do now that when you have discovered God, and when you have found truth, it is not necessary to talk about it. It is self-evident. If you are talking a lot about God, it is probably because you are still searching. That's okay if you're doing that. Sort of like people talking about sex all the time; maybe they're not real comfortable in their own skin.

As a precocious boy, I wanted God to come at any second. I longed to see the faces of my teachers, my peers, my parents, and my two oldest brothers. See, the irony is, what is the one thing we fear about our first meeting with God? I mean, we have to be afraid that the ruse is up, the game is over, the tap dance is finished, the shadow boxing is done, the ninth inning is here, and the long, long trail of deceits, big and small, have come to, quite literally, a dead end. No more picking on little brother, if you get my drift.

My upbringing and travel to various countries gave me a different inference to class distinctions, physical reticence, and rigid notions of propriety. Try spending a few weeks in Monte Carlo, then returning to the sticks of Pennsylvania. I'm being prudish saying this, though I'd much prefer the Pennsylvania ambience compared to snobbery of the rich and famous.

My hobbies included toy soldiers, a fascination that hasn't escaped me to this day. A battlefield is like life, decisions have to be made on a moment's notice and retreat is out of the question, though this has often got me into trouble. I dare say my presence on a battlefield would be to preserve, more than kill, and any good looking soldier would likely be seductively imprisoned for an extensive period of time.

Compared to my twin brothers, who are blond and gorgeous, I'm drab and mundane: brown hair, brown eyes, and way too skinny. That's unless you listen to my sisters who think I am handsome and witty, and a significant other who finds me adorable. Needless to say this person is overly bias.

On my sister's perception, witty means camp, which is what I used for years to cover up my insecurities. The essence of camp is its love of the unnatural. It changes the "natural" and "normal" into style and artifice. It exaggerates and therefore diffuses real threats. By exaggerating, stylizing, and remaking what is usually thought to be average or normal, camp created for me a world in which the real became unreal, the threatening, unthreatening. Camp was a product of my imagination. On some level, it was my way to obtain power in my own life. My sister Janice simply called it wit.

My older brothers are mere shells of human specimens, so says my contempt for them. Due to an individual, to be named later, I'm working on this resentment as I write. I'm supposed to forgive them, but not their behavior. You can take a horse to water, but you can't make me find forgiveness. Wait! I'm working on this, remember, so I'm flexible.

So now you know my name, though I think I've wasted a whole chapter in telling you these facts. I just knew I should have read a few autobiographies to get the hang of this.







I grew up physically at 24112 Fallen Oak Drive; emotionally, that happened few miles away from home. Maybe that's more than I should reveal, but it's the truth. Anyway, our residence was a five-thousand square foot home, built in wood and river rock with a ridiculous intention of being a glass house.

Our house touched the earth lightly, appearing practically suspended in the midst of the forest around it. In the early mornings and late afternoons the sunlight shone through my bedroom, brightening the walls with a shimmer as if tinged with fire. I've heard that, when people die, there's this shining light guiding them upward. That's how my bedroom was, a daily invitation to heaven. Though God would often shine his spotlight upon my golden torso I never felt He was calling me for some higher deed. My young eyes loved to follow upward that sunlit beam and I just knew that eternity lied in wait for me, ready to seize my body in its jaws and devour my existence. Maybe I just never fully listened to that beautiful serenity.

Given this amount of space you're probably guessing that I had a room to my own, and you're right. My twin brothers shared a room, which I've always been jealous of--the twins, not the room. Our rooms had bucolic forest views from treetop elevations. To me there was this invisible presence within the woods to the rear of our home. The forest gave the illusion of monstrous shapes, faces peered at me through the foliage, and masculine faces with phallic limbs. A gay boy's imagination.

I'm thinking that this forest is an authentic setting for my journey, as epic as anything I could wish for. I relate to wood, its magnificence as a crude and polished totem, swelling in the center and tapering towards the ends. Sure, this is rather erotic, but there's a harmony between a boy's torso, his gleaming pectoral muscles and tense stomach and the texture of beautiful pale brown wood. It is as if they had both emerged from a painting of God's choosing.

Not having anyone to share my space can be quite boring. Privacy amongst boys isn't all that important. How can a kid really know if he's normal if he doesn't have another male to talk about his daily experiences with? Every time I saw my younger brothers smiling in the hallway I had to wonder if they had just experienced some comical event or shared something really sexual together. So is the mind-set of a gay boy, constant paranoia and feeling like I'm being left out on all the fun.

I should note that Trent and Tracy are not gay; they just do gay things. How can you not when you live in the same room and have the same body? That's so cool, though this envy is another thing I've never said to them. They are a constant education to me. A theory I developed as an eleven-year old: Sexuality is a form of communication as much as it is of procreation. Most of the sexual acts I was aware of were at least in part communicative. I can get rather brainy about this, considering who I hang with, but sex is a way of communicating complex ideas and deep feelings. Biology didn't come first; the consciousness was the first part of sex, and exploring that consciousness with another person is one of its purposes.

Playing with the twins I realized that most of what passes for sex is really a way of proving something, a way of being competitive, a way of rationalizing fears, a means of control, a device used for exploitation, and a technique for not being left out of things that appear more fun than what I was doing, so that it's essentially removed from love, affection, or desire. Sorry about being so cerebral and the run-on sentence.

My older brothers were so popular in school and in athletics, kids just naturally thought I would be just as cool and athletic. It allowed me to stay in the shadows under their cape of good looks, sports prowess and charisma. Even the twins, three grades lower, given their success in bed with each other and, I'm knowing, with a few girls, this book would have more appeal if I wrote about them. Of course that wouldn't be an autobiography, and they are way too young to be given a biography by a brother.

Back to our house. Only after leaving home, not necessarily by my own choice, can I reflect back with appreciation on an environment I took for granted all my life. It amazes me how the architect made our home blend in to the neighborhood-- neighborhood meaning the forest. We do have neighbors an acre apart behind wrought iron fences and brick walls. Their mortgages could get a man elected to a political office. Actually, most of them know this and have major clout in the community.

My parents wanted an open ambience, rather than enclosed rooms and the utmost privacy. Even our showers were glass enclosed to exhibit our nudity to the wonders of nature. Only in my senior year did I discover that the wonders of nature included curious girls at school who became avid hikers in an attempt to peer at my twin brothers in their glass enclosed bedroom. Given the fact that our rooms were separated by only a bath area, my exposure wasn't exempted from their voyeuristic tendencies.

This glass box had taken into consideration the rising sun, the direction of prevailing winds, and the peripheral scenery to capture views of the hills and forest, only to miss the potential curiosity of adolescent girls. I can assume that my sister had male animal admirers, as well.

The one aspect I enjoyed most in my own bedroom was my loft. Slightly askew from the circular glass that shaped the contours of this second story area, I spent much of my time on this elevated sanctuary where I enjoyed reading, studying, and boyish pursuits. It would have taken a pair of binoculars to capture this boy in this particular space. Damn if those girls didn't have those, too.

Such intrusions into teenagers' lives were never revealed to my mother, though she often expected us to reveal our inner most secrets. What teenager is going to tell their mother what's going on in their lives? My father had much the same lack of respect as his children's friends. In prison, guards got to watch him shower and monitor his private moments without the glass enclosures.

Mom was pleased to have this house of her dreams, minus the man of her dreams. A woman's haven is a functional kitchen, a place for our family that went well beyond an incubator for memorable meals. Our kitchen was often the birthplace for countless events that shaped our lives. Though we had a rather glamorous dining area, our kitchen had this massive island with captain chairs. An elaborate lazy Susan formed the core of this circular island, where dishes were spun to the convenience of our culinary desires.

Though our family room shared the same fireplace as the kitchen, most often the firewood was on the kitchen side for Mom's comfort. Back by the pantry there was this cool, spiral wooden slide that corkscrewed from the twins' bedroom, like a firemen's slide. Not to be left out, I used that second floor exit as often as I could, even when my mother said I was too old. Since when does age have anything to do with having fun?

I'm embarrassed to say we had an indoor pool--glass enclosed, naturally. Skinny dipping was not unheard of, though I had to be sure no one was home when I took the plunge, which was rare. Mom and Dad did it often at night after sending us to bed. As little kids, the twins and I crept down the stairs to verify this rumor that we had heard from our older brothers. Quite often, hidden in the darken shadows a few feet away, were my sisters giggling.

Given the Pennsylvania winters, Mom had a garden for five months that turned into a petrified rock garden for the other seven months. My father's hobby was cars. He once had five vehicles, three of these were sport cars that rarely saw the butts of his kids. Mom said he had a heavy foot and didn't trust having us in the car with him. I once received a healthy whipping when I ran my finger across the hood of his forest green Porsche. It left an impression that he treated his cars better than his children. Touching his Ferrari might have gotten me the death penalty.

As I mentioned before, we didn't go to church very often unless my father was home. If God was center stage, my father made sure the congregation knew he was God's manager. When the offering plate passed our family, Dad presented an envelope like he was baptizing this golden dish for the thousand eyes glued on his generosity. It wasn't uncommon for my father to gratuitously build a new wing on the church or contribute for the construction of the new gymnasium.

I once, after church, went in pursuit of my father, only to find him in the choir loft with our preacher's wife in his arms, one hand on her rear and their lips barely an inch apart. When they saw me they giggled, collapsed apart, and Dad verified that whatever was in Mrs. Wilson's eye had completely disappeared. How convenient. And here I thought Porsches were his first love.

Before my father hit the big house we traveled quite a bit, even during the school year. Going to a private school allowed us to keep up on our school work through the Internet. My favorite trip was to Costa Rica, where I got to "fly" across the rainforest canopy treetops on a zip line. We also went white water rafting amidst waterfalls, monkeys, and toucans.

Most often my two older brothers were treated like adults, even though they were fourteen and fifteen, respectfully. Janice could have partaken in this adult circle, but she enjoyed our company instead. Trips to northern Patagonia were interesting with more hiking and white water rafting down the Fu, one of the world's most beautiful rivers. We got to use the hot tub when the adults finished spilling their liquor in it.

There's something odd about when my parents wanted to be teenagers again. I'd rather see my parents confused by us, rather than be confused with their children. It was like a horror film watching your mother and father turn into teenagers with skimpy bikinis and Speedo briefs. My mother has had her attempts at plastic surgery, so the only way I can tell my mother's hands from Janice's is, Janice's are the ones that are often in my mother's purse. This wasn't such a bad thing, since my mother would tell Janice to fix dinner because she was invited out. If I didn't want to cook pasta, pizza was the standard order.

My oldest brother once told me that our father had a penis enlargement surgery. I personally think that the males in our household all have normal development, but Dad wanted more growth to match his greed for money. Wearing his white Speedo, we got to see this circumcised hose in his crotch with these heavy balls pushing the engorged member tightly against Lycra. I was impressed because I'm gay, but there's something wrong about parts that match the personality. Not that I called him a dick, at least not to his face.

As a young boy I believed I was immortal, while I saw older people as being part of God's hit list for doing stupid things. When I was five, after having my butt ripped by my father's belt, I wrote God a letter stating that my father should be on His list of people not deserving heaven. I sent it to our church. Boy! was that a mistake. Compared to Santa Claus, preachers were a major disappointment.

My father liked to tell us kids that youth is a gift of nature; age is a work of art. As far as I could tell, his only art was created by a scalpel. He wanted his penis to be the focus, as if to distract attention away that he couldn't complete a sentence without using profanity or sending English grammar back to the Stone Age.

Our trips didn't stop after our father was convicted and was then running the prison system, according to him. Though we kids loved warmer climates, Mom had this thing for the cold and took us to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Sure, I found the Magellanic penguins, nesting gentoos and rock hopper penguins cute, but icebergs can get monotonous and chattering penguins remind me too much of girls.

When I turned thirteen we traveled to the Island Kingdom of Tonga, a paradise of lush topical landscapes, miles of white sand beaches, reef-filled lagoons, and groves of hibiscus and frangipani. This was the first year we went on vacation without my older brothers. They were too busy with girls and getting ready for college.

I learned how to kayak in the sea and snorkel in spectacular underwater reefs. On the uninhabited island of Ovalau, the twins and I ran naked down the beach and found a lagoon to go skinny dipping in. I had just reached puberty and offered my seed to every island. Trent and Tracy thought it was funny. I should mention that I learned the art of masturbation from Jared. As younger brothers are prone to do, I blazed into his room one snowy morning to announce that school had been cancelled. Jared was at the apex of orgasm, groans and all, so I was enthralled with my first visual encounter of male delight.

Only after his spasms and multiple ejaculations did he notice my presence by the side of his bed. Instant replay has nothing on how my visual cortex had forever imprinted this beautiful male act of manipulated art. The words, "That's the coolest thing I've ever seen," formed at my lips, but that was just before he pounced out of bed and leaped on me like a fatherly lion would do to his cub. His torrent of abuse and knuckles to my chest had me crying and sobbing for reprieve. He stripped me of my pajamas before he forced me to walk naked back to my room. Worse yet, Jared saw my erection with the removal of my bottoms. Tears had failed to extinguish my arousal as I paraded back to my room with this memory of maleness forever imprinted on my gay conscience.

"You little faggot!" were my brother's words to my rear. I retreated emotionally with this label and later had to promise never to come into his bedroom again.

Upon departing with water in my eyes and fingers over my penis I called him an asshole in retreat; the first swear words that would depart my lips. It felt so good to tell my brother what I thought of him that this new vocabulary became a bad habit.

When we were kayaking on this vacation our kayak tipped over and Tracy took a major face plant in the water. I was quick to his side, though he was wearing a life vest. He was stunned to say the least and was glad my arm surrounded his waist while he regained his senses. That night the twins and I shared the same tent, as Tracy snuggled up to my chest and we were soon compressed body to body.

"I love you, Rick," Tracy whispered in my ear.

Whether he was first or I was, we were soon grinding our erections into each other. Like we were feinting sleep and being sexual, Tracy rolled off and turned his back to me. I thought I had offended him until he peeled down his underwear bottoms and stuck his rear into my groin. I had to make a quick decision in a matter of seconds.

I smacked Tracy's rear and put my lips to his ear. "I love you too much to make love to you." Tracy pressed my hands to his waist and we were soon asleep--me, as his surrogate twin.

The following year we talked Mom out of the Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms and convinced her to go to Europe. She wasn't in to crowded places, but we brought forward brochures of snowshoeing in the Alps and hiking in Slovenia. The tour agent talked her into London, Paris, Italy and Greece.

I'd done a book report in ninth grade on Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant of scientists of the twentieth century. Anyway, Alan became a hero to me, a mathematician who had invented the computer and saved millions of lives by breaking the German code during the war, while working for England. Now what I liked about this man, he was gay, inventive, and loved math, like me. What was sad, Englishmen could not enjoy their sexuality in their own country. Like so many gay men before him: Lord Byron, Symonds, Edington, and Wilde--just to name a few--they had to travel throughout Europe to gain respite from the aura of worry and guilt.

In 1952, Alan fell for a lucky 19-year old boy who was enjoying the body and mind of this brilliant man--even at fourteen I was envious of this teen having what I would have loved. The police arrested Mr. Turing for gross indecency with another male. They gave him a choice of prison or female estrogens. England emasculated a world hero, not only chemically, but they emasculated him morally, by robbing him of his freedom to wander and his freedom to feel. I was so pissed I refused to enjoy the sights of London or spend one red cent of my own money when we vacationed there. London could go screw itself for how they treated this man. Alan committed suicide in 1954. England sucks!

Paris was okay, but too many boys smoked. I'd garner a cute boy's eye and he'd offer me a fag. What a turn-off. We traveled south to Monaco, where my mother played the hussy and shagged a tycoon with a 164-foot Benetti Alibella yacht docked in Monaco's Port Hercule. The lecher had a sixteen year old son, Johan, and two older daughters. If there was a wife, she was nowhere to be found.

I romanced Johan; he romanced Marcy--a freakin' twelve year old! While the twins and I played with the jet skis, my mother got boozed and fucked, while Marcy got finger banged by Johan. She confessed this to the twins, like it was the first stage of love. I acted the livid older brother as the protectorate of my sister's virginity--or what was left.

Janice went shopping with our mother's credit card and two other teenage girls. Mom said she could have erased France's foreign debt with what Janice bought in clothes.

Thank God we sailed to Rome the next day and disembarked when Mom was sober enough. I put Marcy on room arrest because she was sure she was in love, and I was pissed that Johan didn't want to finger fuck me. I certainly saved Marcy from pregnancy, yet she wouldn't talk to me for three days. Go figure.

My favorite place was Zagoria and Mt. Olympus, though Santorini had my closest call yet to actual sex. Mom had rented a flat-roofed house on this volcano-island, where villages are built atop the caldera's rim. While she enjoyed wine tasting and exploring the magnificent capital, Thira, perched on a cliff over the blue sea, the twins, Janice, Marcy and I hiked the still active volcano on the islet of Nea Kameni.

Mom had given each of us a hundred dollars to buy what we wanted. I had purchased a powder blue European cut swimsuit, which most of the boys wore on the beach. While my brothers wore regular swim trunks that swept down to their knees, I wore the ball huggers to look like a non-tourist. Later on in the evening I walked alone down the barren stone streets in just this tiny garment and sandals when a handsome middle-aged man whistled me over. He winked and said I was the most beautiful boy on the island. With a motion of his salt and pepper head I sensed he wanted me to follow him. I concurred. We were almost inside his front door when he brought out his wallet to offer me money. This aspect seemed to cheapen my euphoria of someone actually wanting to have sex with me for being cute and all--his words. I didn't want to sell myself, nor did I have need of money. Having second thoughts, I walked off feeling like a boy prostitute. I certainly did not want my first time to be a paid adventure.

My mother should have been an adventurer or worked for National Geographic. Off we flew to Serengeti the next year, the year my twin brothers dissected me from their clique. Seeing wildlife we had never truly witnessed up close brought us together again like brothers. It was probably out of fear, I'm thinking; plus, the power-in-numbers sort of thing for safety against nature's beasts. It's my story, run with it. Anyway, giraffe, buffalo, topi, hartebeest, waterbuck, impala, bushbuck, hippopotamus, crocodile, and diverse bird life were just a part of our travels. Lion and leopards intrigued us the most; plus, the interactions with the Masai. This was something my father would have enjoyed, a safari. Maybe a lion would have eaten that sausage between his legs.

Zanzibar was where we snorkeled, beachcombed on miles of white-sand beach and gorgeous Indian Ocean sunsets. Dad could have exposed himself and blended right in with the natives. Many of them had these thick, long dongs like his, though theirs were all genetic. Marcy and Janice got to see more dick than at a nudist camp, and all the twins got to see were sacking tits. At least we got to stay in an actual tree house at night.

Sadly, to tell your peers at school about all that happened on a vacation is asking for faces of envy and boredom. Why bother? I did have one good friend at school--a girl. As bad as I wanted a boyfriend, a girl was as close as I came. Teresa Bookman loved to hear about my vacations.

I should verify that Teresa is a lesbian, so no one reading this contrives the notion that there was some attraction here. I tried the boyfriend route, but, between the conversation of the Pirates versus the Phillies, or the Steelers versus the Eagles, I just couldn't take sports talk. Kids don't relate to geeks. I think they are scared that we'll break out with mathematical formulas, or discuss the physics of baseball. Okay, maybe I would do that one.

Anyway, there was Teresa who I recanted my excursions to other countries with. Not that we mentioned our sexual orientation--that subject was a tacit barrier that wasn't breached. Teresa was like the star volleyball player at six-one. Built like a human rail--like me--she had no bumps, no hips, and no sex. Totally naive and the typical wallflower, she once dragged me back to this corridor between the boys' and girls' locker areas. Alone, she grabbed the front of my khaki shorts and yanked them forward with my underwear to scan my genitals.

"Do you mind?" she asked after the fact.

"No, go right ahead, make your day," I replied. She did. Teresa fondled my balls, then my penis for substance and pliability. "Are you that desperate?" I asked.

She snapped my underwear back into place. "All the girls on the team have seen a boy naked, or worse. I had to have the experience."

"I'm glad your life is complete now," I said without the slightest arousal.

Telling me to wait, she marched into the girls' locker area, while I contemplated detention for missing economics. She knocked on the door from the inside, so I opened it and saw her naked but for a towel around her torso. This also was opened up to reveal her pink nude frame, which reminded me of a movie about the Holocaust that I'd seen once. Those poor decrepit souls marching naked to the gas chamber were just skin and bones. Why God could not have made women more attractive is beyond me.

Then she had the nerve to say, "If you touch, I'll spike you like a ten-set at the three-meter line."

"Not today, nor does tomorrow look good," I replied. "Now I know why you went out for volleyball; it has mathematics." I guess she felt she owed me this, but I didn't dare tell her about my treasure hunt games with Janice. In seconds the towel was closed and she shooed me from the locker room, like this was all my idea.

Teresa thought that we should date once in awhile, like to a movie or something, so we could develop a "reputation." I declined. "Well then, who do you want to go out with?" she asked me.

"The boys' water polo team. But only if they try to shed my clothes like they do their opponents in the pool. That would be so cool."

She gave me this look of complete annoyance. Teresa eventually found the elusive lesbian pairing, while I discovered my man. I thought we both came out winners.

Back to our yearly excursions, Mom wanted us to go to Iceland the following summer. She hinted to me that the most beautiful women in the world came from Iceland. In my mind I was sure the boys must be just as beautiful, though I didn't tell her that. Within the next ten months I had managed to make family vacations a nostalgic memory for me.








Once a quarter our family was expected to visit Dad in prison. This was a difficult time at first, but then we gradually knew what to expect and it became routine. We each took our few minutes with our father, telling him about our school work and friends.

The visitor's room was equipped with several vending machines, which were in constant use, given seven children. Games were abundant and several other kids were always in attendance. While Mom and Dad sat at a metal table, where she snitched off each of her children like a quarterly financial report, we four younger kids sat at another table and played monopoly or scrabble.

At first there was a lot of anxiety about looking at criminals, the mere fear we might be attacked or peered at like some type of hors d'oeuvre. There wasn't any of that, only a bunch of men like my father with wives and children.

Occasionally we'd spot a couple who had their hands underneath the table. Trent was the first to discover this when he dropped a scrabble block, only to come up smiling and whispering to Tracy and me. "Check out that table to our left."

I dropped a wooden chip and peeked under the table to see this woman jacking off this guy. His dick was all exposed and her hand was going a mile a minute. We giggled and took turns getting our jollies. It wasn't like the twins hadn't seen this from yours truly. At least I didn't pounce on them or call them names. Their voyeurism was much appreciated along with my instruction, mostly nonverbal. Anyway, Tracy saw the return pleasure when the guy fingered his girl between the legs. We didn't exactly see the entry, only the guy's arm moving in rhythm to the finger fuck.

During the warmer months we got to play outside in a small playground. Over on a picnic table a group of guys and gals would sit around this picnic table, while another pair was in the middle in full intercourse. I could stand on the slide and peer down into this group to watch the guy's dick slamming home. Whether the guards were oblivious to this was another question. They appeared not to be invested in a guy wanting to get his rocks off, as long as it didn't infringe on the rights of others. Actually, it educated us that women must really like sex with criminals. Prison visits became a sex education class.

My older brothers stopped going eventually, while the rest of us were expected to entertain our father on these quarterly trips. The best thing, Dad couldn't exactly whale off and hit us for doing something wrong, like at home, though we'd get a lecture that, if he wasn't in prison, we would have our butts beaten to a pulp for the infractions that Mom had reported with regularity.

Being so young I never quite understood why my father was put in prison, until I reached adolescence and listened more intently to the arguments they would have during our visits. My father sounded like one of those Mafia figures, but I think he was small potatoes to those who really pushed the buttons. I've heard the words extortion and heavy-handed enough times to figure this had something to do with my father's sentence. He was a power and control freak, now that I can reflect back on his behavior. As a young boy I heard quite often my father's words, "He who has the gold, makes the rules." He would preach to us that our bikes and clothes were a result of his hard work and ingenuity--mostly ingenuity, I'm guessing.

Though we never could go on the prison grounds, I could see tennis courts and outdoor basketball, with single concrete walls that men bounced blue balls us against. I had to wonder if it was like television movies, where gangsters controlled other inmates and made the younger ones be the passive partners. I guessed my father would be a top and have a boy to his own. That was sort of a fantasy. With all the horniness we saw in the visitation room, they obviously weren't getting a lot of sex in their dorms, not to mention that my father must have been real popular with his long dong.

While my mother was inquisitive, my father was intrusive. When he did have time to walk with me around the visiting room he noticed how my voice had changed and if I had a girlfriend yet. I politely said I hadn't. He told me to keep spanking the monkey until I found the right girl.

"Dad, we don't have a monkey," I replied in my naiveté as a young teenager.

My father stopped to give this annoyed stare. "Kid, for as smart boy, you sure can be really retarded."

I felt embarrassed and ashamed for not knowing what my father meant. Jared explained all this monkey lingo to me when I asked him that night. He said I was pretty lame, too. How was a kid to learn about all this unless I asked?

Not that I didn't know by this time what this spanking the monkey business was all about. I had this routine of matching my soldiers against each other on my bedroom floor; sometimes it would be Napoleon's army against the Russians, or Wellington's against Napoleon's. I'd do this a lot of times in the nude, having my own general between my legs. Of course it would be at attention to mow down the opposition as I crawled on my hands and toes across the battlefield to knock down the enemy from their position.

That night I made sure my father was this nefarious general on the other side of the battlefield. With three direct squirts he was covered with white goo by the time I was finished with him. If I remember right my words were, "Spank this, jail bird!" Thankfully my bedroom floor was polished oak and easy to clean up.

I'm not sure if autobiographies are supposed to be this revealing, but my friends and lover told me to be transparent, so don't blame me!







My sister and best friend is the one who encouraged this autobiography. I doubt if she thought this through, because a lot of my life story is about her. She did say to be honest and forthright, so here goes.

My fondest memories of my sister start when I was five and my twin brothers, three. Often Mom and Dad would go on trips and leave my older brothers in charge. This would have been a complete mistake except for a seven-year old girl who knew how to be a mother and big sister at the same time. She bathed us, made our food, and told my brothers what to do--my big brothers, that is. Not that they listened to her, but they were afraid she'd tell Dad.

The bathtub was where I picked up my nickname, Wiggle. Standing up in the tub I'd wiggle my penis, which always got my twin brothers laughing and gave my sister a most perturbed look. Not like she would bathe with us, but she made sure we were clean every night after play.

Through the years Janice would come into my room on rainy or snowy nights; sometimes on Christmas Eves, so we could bundle together and tell each other how excited we were. This happened quite often and, though she said it was to protect me against the thunder and lightning, I think she liked my company on such scary nights.

Around nine-years old--Janice was eleven--she invented this game called Treasure. We each took turns laying out flat in our pajamas, which were gradually removed to discover where the treasure was hidden. One had to slide their finger along the body, inch by inch, until you got a tickle or made the person squirm. In that case they'd have to give directions, like, south or north. Originally the treasure would be between toes or behind the kneecap. Then things got more sexual. Almost always we'd end up naked, discovering how wonderful being touched was between the legs. I loved this game, but always waited for her to suggest it. Once when I was twelve I did admit I wanted to play Treasure, but all Janice did was grab my penis right off and I had to admit that that was where the treasure was. When she wasn't in the mood, she wasn't in the mood.

Janice had given me clues through the years that nothing was sacred between us. Her mood determined this assumption. She had this favorite album called, Grease, and since I was a little kid I'd love to dance to music. Most often my penis would flip out of my pajamas to her amusement, but that enhanced my frolics. If I was in a sour mood or after being scolded by one of my parents, Janice would put that music on and invite me to her room. "Dance for me, Wiggle," she would say, knowing I couldn't resist being loony for her.

This cozy-comfy union, which is what Janice called these nights, went on until I turned thirteen and she was fifteen. I loved my sister and saw no reason to hide secrets. She had filled out like an adult with a nubile charm. Janice taught me all about a female body and how to please her. With my new discovery of masturbation, I was quick to show Janice this male thing. Her motivation in helping me was obvious as I ejaculated into a Kleenex. It felt really cool to have someone else's hand on my erection. She left my room early that night, never again did lightning or thunder or Christmas Eves cause Janice to run to my room.

Janice admitted to me several years later that she thought we were getting too close and temptation was a second away. I think this was more about her than me, because I was quite happy to stick with just this mutual masturbation. This was all before my revelation that I was far more attracted to my own sex than a female.

A night of television when I was fourteen had me copy one of my sister's favorite expressions when she sees a great looking guy on TV. When Zac Eflon came on, I said, "Hubba-hubba!"

"I knew it!" she yelled, nearly scaring me to death. "You're gay, aren't you?"

The subject had never been brought up between us, and the mere mention of the word was like a slap in the face. I ran from the room with my sister in hot pursuit.

"I'm sorry, Wiggle!" she called after me as I ran into my bedroom.

"Don't call me Wiggle! I'm not even sure I like you anymore."

Janice grabbed me by the shoulders, shaking me from the wrath I felt for her judgment. "Okay, listen to me. You're my brother and I love you. I've known for years that you aren't like other boys. It's Got that? Doesn't mean a thing." She took me into her arms for several minutes.

Janice's words calmed me enough to stop my jitters. "How did you guess I'm gay?"

"Look, kiddo, how many times have we played Treasure, and you've never got a boner when you were pleasuring my body? Other boys drool over me at school, so I know I'm not all that bad."

"Now you're going to tell everyone," I said with certainty.

"Wrong! We've protected each other since we were little kids. That's not going to change."

So my life as a gay teenager was revealed and officially made my sister privy to all my experiences. Within weeks I had officially begun stalking my first male partner. It's only interesting to note, the male was over twenty years older than me. I have this reputation of not doing anything halfway.







Trent and Tracy were the best brothers a kid could have. I say were because, when they turned thirteen, weirdness crept in.

Though I was but two years older they looked upon me as their guardian, mentor, and entertainer through most of their childhood. I taught them how to skateboard, hunt, swim, and ride a bike. I saved Trent from drowning when he hit his head on the diving board, clowning around. I was the comedian who made them laugh; the brother who often spent more time on their homework than my own. I'd romp in bed with them, wrestling these two to submission with my tickles and pins. They learned how to masturbate, copying the same techniques as I did, rubbing the penis like starting a fire, except it wasn't smoke that came out. Three-way jerking off was fantastic for a year. The same abuse my older brothers vented on me, I made sure I never was that mean-spirited to Trent and Tracy.

Because our father disappeared from our lives when the twins were eight, I introduced them to the birds and bees with my book knowledge of sexual intercourse and the female anatomy. My puberty was part of their lives, a real live kid who eliminated the scare factor from boys who now knew what to expect when they rubbed their hard-ons. We often showered three at a time with constant humor from start to finish.

Then Trent and Tracy hit thirteen and quietly squeezed my presence from their daily existence. They began to hide their bodies from me, like I would be shocked if I knew they did it together or separately. It didn't make sense. I wanted to blame Janice for telling them that they had a gay brother, but she said that she had never violated this secret.

When they started getting phone calls from girls, I offered my professional counseling assistance, only to be ignored. My eventual rebuke was to ignore them, which proved to garner a rare glimpse of sympathy.

"Something wrong?" Trent asked me in the bathroom.

"Why would anything be wrong?" I asked with my hurt pride intact. Playing the wounded victim, I did my potty business in the basement bathroom. No more Mr. Nice Guy! Then Trent asked me to help him with his homework that evening.

"I find it interesting that you two have kept me from your lives, except when you need my help."

"Why would we keep you from our lives? You've been like a junior dad to Tracy and me. We just thought you were getting too mature to mess around with us."

"First of all, I'll never be too mature for my younger brothers." Trent laughed, then gave me a hug that he still loved me. I sort of knew that these two had come into their own and didn't need my advice anymore. There was some gratification that my math skills were above their own.

I was nearly six feet tall at the time, though shorter than my two older brothers and my dad. Trent and Tracy had sprung up quickly and were both 5'8" tall. Still Trent raised up on his toes and kissed me on the cheek.

"I might be gay," I suggested with a smile.

"We thought about that, but then you didn't fuck Tracy a couple years back," Trent said which shocked me.

"You knew about that?"

"Tracy tells me everything. Kids tease us at school that our brother is queer, but you must like girls if you didn't like Tracy."

"I love Tracy! Look, just because I didn't take advantage of my brother doesn't mean I'm straight. With my weapon I might have hurt the little guy."

Trent laughed this time. "We do it all the time, though we're straight. It doesn't matter to us if you're gay. You're our brother."

"I am gay, Trent."

Trent thought about this. "Tracy and I have done things with each other since we were little kids, so I guess I shouldn't judge boys who want to do it with their own kind."

His comment really pissed me off. "Amazing! You guys have had more sex than I have, and you're straight! What am I doing wrong?"

"Kids at school think you're too nice to everyone. Sitting in the front row of the bleachers for gymnastic and swim meets is giving yourself away, especially without a girl sitting next to you. The guy you sit with, Brandon Hayes, gives blow jobs to varsity basketball players."

"He does?" Not that I found this hard to believe, but he had never offered me one. "If you tell anyone, I'll do your homework so you both flunk."

"How do you know you're gay, Rick?" Trent asked me all quizzical. "I mean, you gave up Tracy's ass, and that's one sweet piece."

"Nothing like complimenting your own butt, dude. I just know, that's all. This guy in Greece almost had my body if he hadn't offered me money. I was hard in seconds with anticipation, a hyper feeling, like Christmas was coming. He even had his erection straining against his pants, which practically made me come in my swimsuit."

"That wasn't a swimsuit; it was a Band-Aid. Mom thought you were advertising, so she thinks you're slanting homo."

"Don't use those words, Trent. Look, no one but you two and Janice knows about this, so don't go running your mouth. I'm still not doing Tracy, though I guess you two have been going at it."

"Used to. We're into girls now. Find your own stud."







I'm convinced that things happen in life that are meant to happen. A few weeks after this encounter with Trent, I overheard my mother talking on the phone to one of her women club members--one of those groups that gossip about what's wrong with everyone else's family and marriage, while sipping tea or boozing on vodka. Someone my mother associated with had checked something known as the Megan Law website and discovered that a sex offender was living close by. All I heard my mother say was, "Oh, God, a sex offender?"

This intrigued me so much I sat down on the stairs and listened to the entire conversation. Solving a one-sided dialogue--my mother's--was like putting a math puzzle together. To me, a sex offender sounded like a person who either raped women or waited by a bus stop to snag a kid. Either way I'd have to keep an eye on Janice or Marcy. My role of big brother at home had just improved to bodyguard.

"What can we do?" I heard my mother ask, then a bunch of "Uh-uhs" and "Tsks!" "Does it say what he did?" she continued. Silence had my bladder filling by the second, but then she said the magical words, "Boys, huh? Thankfully, mine are educated and old enough to know better."

When the topic switched I raced up the steps to my own computer. I misspelled Megan once before I got it right. There were pictures and explanations and warnings that these people weren't to be harassed or threatened, which didn't make much sense since that was the logical reason for putting this on notice to begin with, to harass the poor soul, I was thinking. Retaliation seemed like a logical reaction from concerned citizens.

I checked our community and discovered a whole list of over a hundred sex offenders within a twenty-five-mile radius. I was ready to lock our front door when I saw that. Scanning the street names I spotted a country road that I had ridden my bicycle down when I was hunting with my bow and arrow. A lone address stood out, then the name, Randy Sumter, age 38, pedophile: Lewd and lascivious acts on minors, under fourteen. Pretty sure of what those words meant, I reached for my dictionary to verify the possibilities: indecent, obscene, wanton, excited lust. That didn't sound like anything I hadn't done a hundred times. The picture of the guy was a typical mug shot, not exactly capturing the personality or the character, other than he didn't look like someone who would kidnap a kid. More like an Indiana Jones type of guy. The guy had no tattoos or aliases. Since he was the only sex offender living close by, I figured this was the guy.

No better time to begin an exercise program, I decided, though it was barely September and fall was just around the corner. I'd never been one to stress my body by going out for school sports. I was a pretty good swimmer, bicycle rider and hunter. If masturbation could be included, I was an expert at that.

Waiting for Saturday morning, I put on my best jogging shoes, which just so happened to be my school shoes, as well. Mom would have had a fit if she had known I'd be getting these sneakers dirty.

In just a pair of blue gym shorts with no shirt, I began my two-plus mile jog toward this address I had memorized in my head. A quarter of a mile later I decided a short walk might be easier, but I regained my breath to continue a loping jog for the last half-mile. The house number wasn't very revealing. Actually, it would have been if someone hadn't taken a baseball bat to the mailbox. Leading back into the forest was another dirt road, preceded by a Private Property sign, which I'm sure was just meant for salesmen and bill collectors, not fifteen-year old, curious teenagers.

I knew I could pretend to have gotten lost if I was confronted. Back another quarter of a mile was this log cabin, built up from a base of a mixture of stone and logs, multiple roof lines, arched windows, and heavy timber truss work. If I expected a shack, this wasn't it. Totally bizarre, my penis became more excited than my mind and pulsated in my shorts in contemplation of being the guy's wanton sex object--a gay fifteen-year olds libido at work. Usually scared to death of horror movies, the suspense intrigued me to no end.

I hadn't exactly planned on what to do next. My plans also hadn't included finding a home without an owner sitting on the porch, asking me who I was and why I was there. Not that I could have answered the second question, but curiosity might excuse my trespassing. I waited, for what, I'm not sure. No lights or visible signs of life, until I traipsed around the side and saw a blue Chevy truck parked near the rear.

Panic swept through my mind: What if he had a gun aimed on me right at that moment? What if he was eyeing me as a sexual target, getting an erection and prepared to run me down before I could escape? What if he was calling the cops and reporting this strange kid in his front lawn, with barely any clothes on? Would he be like Jared and pound on me before ripping my shorts off and forcing me to leave naked?

"Fuck it!" I said with shrugged shoulders, turned and ran right into a wall. Not exactly a wall, but a strong guy a little shorter than I was, but a whole lot better built than my skinny rail for a body. He just stood there like a cop who had caught someone with their hand in the tilt.

Beads of water hung motionless on his muscular pects, reminding me of a Pepsi commercial that made me want to lick the drops before I drank the liquid. His symmetry was solid, showing all the signs of harmonious, controlled strength. Yet his expressive face breathed a purified, ethereal love. My eyes froze on this man's pure and dominating statue, his lungs moving with a rhythm of a conditioned athlete. Pillars of deltoids, rippled arms and perfect hands balanced his torso with an image of gilded ceramic. I instantly loved his defiance, his touch of arrogance and annoyance with me, this brash teenager on his private property. If he expected me to dart and run he didn't know how he had mesmerized my focus with his near nudity.

A smile almost creased from my lips because I was humored he was dressed nearly identical to me--blue shorts. I could see the marks of his groin between which the stomach would stretch, narrowing towards the genitals. His V to the treasure of my choice had my vision locked.

"Can I help you, young man?"

" was just running around. I mean, like, getting in shape. I thought this dirt road might be a new trail or something." Not one of my more eloquent diatribes. It occurred to me then that the front of my gym shorts was sticking straight out with the grandest of erections. My body had betrayed me unconsciously. Like a scolded puppy my eyes dropped, only to see at the apex of my erection the word ME. The ADE ACADEMY was slanted downhill. I didn't exactly need my gym shorts to remind me of my orientation. It might have been funny if I wasn't in front of a total stranger.

Near panic my hand shot into a pocket that wasn't to be. At least at school I wore underwear with a band I could flatten my erection under. I crossed my hands across the front of my groin. My regret in putting myself in such vulnerable position might be an understatement.

"Probably more like something," he said to distract my attention of self-refinement. I nodded, giving that scheme up and in prayer that he would keep his eyes upward, since I was taller than he was.

"Guess I sorta got lost," I lied.

"Look, youngster, you seem like a nice kid who's not out for trouble, but this is private property."

"Right, sir. I'm sorry for bothering you." I was caught off guard when he simply stepped aside and offered me an exit. I moved past him and felt safe, then stopped and turned around with one hand still over my erection. He was eyeing me with suspicion, like I was hiding a gun in my running shorts. Without considering my predicament I removed my hand to reveal a near flaccid night stick to the left and making MEADE ACADEMY appear like a stretched banner. There was this fleeting thought that he might think I was well endowed, now that all imminent fear had left my body with this permission to leave. If he noticed this angled obtrusion in my shorts he didn't react with uncontrolled licentiousness.

Now I've seen most of Robert Redford's movies when the guy was younger, and this man was a smitten image. For whatever reason I was convinced that this sex offender wasn't dangerous.

"Mr. Sumter, I live down the road away, but my mother said you were a sex offender. What's all that mean?"

His countenance hardened with the knowledge that I knew his name and his secret. "Did you come all this way to throw a stone through my window, or to see if I had any boys tied up on the porch?"

"No sir! That's not me. Mom says I'm too curious, so maybe I should leave."

"That's probably a good idea," he told me without any explanation on my previous question.

I turned, took a few steps, and swung back again. "May I run with you sometime?"

He gave me this most perturbed stare that I'd overextended my welcome. "What makes you think I run?"

"You're all sweaty in running gear, and you're in real good shape."

He cracked a grin, which was sort of cute for an older guy. The tough dude routine wasn't his nature. My eyes went to his fingers, which held a UCLA tank top, then my focus retraced his bronze torso. Sweat glistened off his neck and bare arms. Most of his abdominal was bare with a delicate whisper of fur that went south into his running shorts. His legs were especially strong, light blond hairs like a beach person. I didn't dare look at his groin, which was defined with moisture. Okay, I did look--nice bulge.

"Better ask your mother, youngster. I doubt if she would approve."

"Yes, sir." I waved like he was an old friend and jogged off, trying to look as cool as I could.

During my steady jog back home I felt rather proud of myself. If that guy was a sex offender, my brother was a murderer--my oldest one, that is. Rob never had a kind word to say to me, so he was an asshole, not a murderer. I suppose there are worse things in life than stalking a sex offender, but the guy rocked with a Clint Eastwood in-your-face persona. Consequently, I gave myself a justification for all this that I could use it for a class project, like a, 'What did you do during the fall?' assignment.

It was perfect when my father called that night, so I asked my mother if I could speak to him. This took them both by surprise.

"Hey, Kid, what's happening?" my father asked. I didn't expect he would call me by my actual name.

"Oh, hi, Dad. I'm taking up running. You know, maybe cross country, track, and things like that. There's this older guy down the way who jogs, so maybe I can learn something from him. What t' ya think?"

"Like discipline," my father said rather directly.

"Sure, like discipline, workouts, how to be a winner."

"Like your old man."

"Right, Dad, just like you."

"Don't see why not. Just let your mother know where you are."


Perfect! I got permission from a parent to run with Mr. Sumter. Boy would he be surprised.







I planned my run the next day an hour before I ran the previous day. My calves were tight and my thighs sore from my new training regimen. In reality my body was in protest. As a precaution I wore an athletic jock I hadn't used since junior high, when we had a physical education teacher who, on a daily basis, required everyone to snap their strap to prove we were wearing these ball huggers. The thing was snug, but at least no boner would escape its grasp.

Not quite at Mr. Sumter's home my eyes caught someone on a ridge, running alongside the forest. Instantly I knew this was my target.

Across the field I sprinted until I was on the man's heels. He noticed my presence a second later, twirled and was prepared to knock me to the earth with an irritated frown.

"Look.....what's your name, son?"

"It's me, Richard....Richie Adler! I saw you running and just wanted to tell you I got permission by my father to run with you." That was so cool I'd called myself Richie.

His aggressive stance subsided, yet I could tell he was perturbed with my appearance. "Check this out, Richard-Richie, I'm not calling you a liar, but I find it hard to believe your father gave you permission to run with me."

"But he did, sir, I swear. You said."

He gave me this look of wonderment, but conceded for the moment without comment and proceeded to dash off. I took this as a tacit acceptance for me to join him. He hadn't exactly said I couldn't. We jogged around this valley, at least he did. I did everything but fall on my face, finally stopping, putting my hands on my knees and throwing up. He laughed.

"You're torturing yourself, young man. Mr. Adler, why are you doing this?"

I wiped my mouth with wadded up strands of grass. "I wanted to meet you."

"Why? I'm a sex offender. A pariah of the neighborhood, just ask the police, the newspaper, and the low life who keeps busting my mailbox."

"It's just that you don't act like one of those. You know, someone who would nab a kid and molest them against their will."


"Richie, sir."

"Richie, there are many types of sex offenders, and I'm not that type, but that doesn't excuse my behavior."

"Can you tell me what you did?"

"For a teenager, you're very nosey."

"My mom tells me the same thing. Actually she thinks I ought to mind my own business."

"Your mother is a smart woman." He pointed down the hill to the main intersection into my community. "I can't wait for you every quarter of a mile to catch your breath and rest. You better take off."

I knew I was slowing him up and was humiliated by my lack of being in shape. "I want to train to be a triathlete. Will you help me?"

"How'd you know I was a coach?"

"I didn't. You just told me." I laughed, which got a smile out of him.

"Tell you what, build your endurance up and then, and only then, will I think about it. How old are you?"

"Sixteen," I lied and felt terrible for doing it. "Fifteen," I relented. "I'm not a very good liar."

"Good. Then we have something in common. Get your butt out of here before somebody thinks I'm kidnapping you and taking you to the dark depths of the Never-ending forest."

"That's almost poetic," I said.

"Almost, but true." Once again he sprinted off, as I watched his butt with total fascination--bubbly, tight and perfect. My first sports hero and he's the community's most loathed citizen. How cool is that?

I was more determined than ever to be accepted as a conditioned athlete. Motivation to exceed in any athletic endeavor had never crossed my mind. Now I wanted to be a runner like Mr. Sumter, a conditioned athlete whose heart beat strongly, the blood coursing through my maze of arteries. Randy was both the combined athlete and dove. He radiated love. Desire was not his primary impulse. This razor sharp perception was from my adolescent psychoanalytical mind. That's really lame, I know.

It wasn't like I was fat or overweight, so I began to train every single day for an hour. Soon I was running a mile without stopping, then pushing myself to two miles, which was like a marathon. Janice was proud of me and put her fingers around my biceps.

"Better stick to running, kiddo. You're born to compete with the Africans. Already you have the arms."

"Thanks. Did I tell you my coach is a sex offender?"

Janice laughed, but then she saw the seriousness on my face. "Wiggles, you're kidding?"

"I'm Richie Adler, not Wiggles. My penis is reserved for the man I love." Okay, that's when I laughed.

"I can't let you do this, Richie. God! That sounds so strange to call you that. My dear little brother, a sex offender will just use you, stick their whatever in your cute little bum and then kick you to the curb. You can't be that desperate for sex."

"Sis, he's not using me; actually, he doesn't even want anything to do with me. I'm the one who is pursuing him. Don't ask me why, but he's someone I like."

"You like," she said rhetorically with a sardonic mock. "I like Brad Pitt, but I'm not out asking him for a date. He's married, which is even above being a sex offender. Almost anything is above a sex offender."

"If you met Randy, you wouldn't think that way."

"Freakish, you even know his name. Kiddo, you are smitten. Don't come crying to me when you get your heart broken or you're walking funny."

"That can't be much worse than training to be a distance runner, right?"







It was late October when I could run three miles without stopping. On Halloween night I left my twin brothers on their own, as if they wanted to be hang out with me anyway. In my Batman outfit I ran the mile out to Randy's house, only to find the lights completely out. I checked to see if his truck was in back. It was.

I knocked on the front door with no answer. "Mr. Sumter, it's me, Richie!" I yelled. I waited and knocked again--no answer. "Come on, Mr. Sumter, I know you're in there. It's only me, Richie. Trick or treat."

The door opened to pitch darkness and a flashlight shone right in my face. "Richie, why are you here? And please take off that mask."

I removed my black mask. "It's Halloween and you need someone you can give treats to. Don' suppose Robin is here?" I smiled; he didn't.

"That's too lame, even for a fifteen year old. Get in here before someone sees you."

I walked in as Randy lit a candle to give me a view of a western interior and motif. "This is cool," I spoke and didn't get a reply.

"Are you really Batman?" he asked.

"Nah, not really. Robin doesn't interest me. He talks funny and is way too corny. I just borrowed the costume from the real one. Why don't you have your lights on?"

"If you've noticed my mailbox, you might get the idea I'm not real well liked. Last thing I need is some kids showing up and accusing me of flashing them or giving them poisoned candy."

"You wouldn't do that," I spoke like the innocent, naive kid that I was. As if it was destined to happen, the sound of a truck driving up the road startled us both. Randy blew out the candle and told me to stay down. Sure enough the truck stopped at the opening of the driveway to the front lawn, but that's when Randy turned on the flood lights, which lit up that truck like it was on showroom display.

"Pervert!" someone shouted from the truck, before it began to back off to return to the main road.

"See what I mean?" Mr. Sumter said to me and relit the candle.

"I'm sorry about that. I can find out who was in that truck if you want me to. Probably some teenagers at school, but not at our school."

"What do you mean?"

I explained that my family had money and sent us to a private school an hour away.

"ME ACADEMY?" he asked with a straight face but he couldn't hold the laugh.

"Sorry about that," I humbly apologized.

"That happens at the strangest of times," Randy said to put me at ease.

"Yeah, my timing sucks." I'm glad he laughed. While I explained my life, somewhat downplaying the spoiled child routine, Randy started up the fireplace. In the middle of the room was an antler chandelier.

"Faux antlers made from resin," Randy explained. "I can't afford the real thing."

I chuckled. "Not too many moose in these parts."

We talked for an hour, but not all about me. Finally he confessed what he'd done, which was kind of funny, but for being labeled a sex offender and a felon for doing it. While coaching at this school, the boys had an initiation of sticking their penis in this tube with a sponge inside. Kind of elementary to me, except the revealing of this became a licentious intent from the teacher for being in charge.

"That's not all, Richie. I'd like to tell you it was all a big mistake and I got the shaft, but that's not true. Sure the parents wanted my scalp, maybe my head, too. I coached for many years and had boys that I had sex with. There was never force or violence, but a minor can't give consent until he's of age."

"Sure they can. I would have loved to have had sex, like when I was thirteen. I'd never tell."

"That's easy for you to say, but wouldn't it be better if you discovered sex with someone you really liked who was your age? There's nothing like experimentation and the thrill of not knowing what you're doing."

"Easy for you to say," I reiterated his minimization of my views. "There's not exactly a line of gay boys wanting to experiment. Oops! I kinda gave that one up. Forget I said that. Personally I think boys my age should have a teacher who can tell us the correct way of doing things without all the guessing and fumbling around. Then there's the guilt and shame of liking guys. I talk like I've been through this, but I'm still a stinking virgin at fifteen."

"Let's say you were gay, Richie, why the rush? Sex is a big step in life, so why not wait until the right boy comes along?"

"Mr. Sumter, I'm a dummy for a barely-seven-inch, pulsating ventriloquist. Sometimes it hypnotizes me by just watching it rise and fall. I see a guy's chest, a supreme icon, an archetype for all gay boys, and my body goes bonkers. I mean your body is like a bronzed colossus of wood, smoothed and subtly polished by the sun on its curved sides."

Randy laughed so loud I think he was starting to like me. "A young Hemmingway. Are you sure about the seven?"

"I'm not very good with numbers, but it could be six to eight."

His demeanor turned to one of seriousness. "Shit! I'm talking sex with a minor. What has come over me? Listen, kid, it's time to leave until you grow up, like really grow up."

I grew a frown, followed by a temper I rarely saw in myself. "My dad calls me that, and I don't appreciate it. My name is Richie. I'm sorry you think I'm a child." I got up and started toward the door.

"What's your favorite subject, Richie?" The question came as my hand gripped the doorknob.

Though his voice surprised me, I froze and answered, "Math, history and science, but math definitely."

"Hmmm, I taught history and science. How about the Civil War?"

"My favorite," I said not quite honestly, before turning around.

"Would there be any resistance if I asked to take you ohm?"

I laughed and the tears that had been swelling up totally disappeared. "I'd appreciate that. You know, I've had my ion you."

"Cute," he said and whipped us both out the door to his truck. He ran back in to retrieve a bag of candy bars from the kitchen. It gave my bag an almost full look.

Randy dropped me off a block from my house. He offered his hand. "I'm sorry if I insulted you. I didn't mean to."

"That's something General Sherman would never have said." I received the smile that I wanted and closed the truck's door. He even waved back after I waved. I'm not real good with rejection, so I pretended that Mr. Sumter really liked me.







I couldn't wait until weekends so I could run out to Randy's home. We set a time and began to train together, though, train to him was an inoperable word. Running was his hobby and a way to keep his mind clear and his body in shape. Even when it was painful I ran his pace and stayed on his heels most of the way. My lungs burned, my eyes watered and my thighs ached with every stride. Sometimes we'd end up on a hill overlooking the valley, where we'd stop and Randy would meditate silently. I was curious on why it was always this spot.

Randy must have sensed my puzzlement. He spread his arms as if painting the valley below us. "When I was in prison I dreamt about this opportunity to see God's land in all its glory without iron bars or barbwire. I come here sometimes in the evening to watch the sunsets. It brings happiness to a tired mind and body."

"You're not tired and you're not old," I said.

"Compared to you, I'm Methuselah," he replied and knuckled me in the head, almost affectionately.

"Can a forty-year old still get it up?" I asked and regretted it a second later.

"That's something a fifteen-year old will never find out."

"You're torturing me. Is that a crime?"

"Any judge knows that a fifteen-year olds best friend is his hand."

"You have a point there. I might have to ejaculate on that for a second."

"Richie, behave yourself!"

"Okay, but you're definitely the man of my REM phase." I couldn't resist watching Randy squirm with my comments, though I felt safe in his presence. I even peeked when he took a leak, but I wasn't sure if he returned the eavesdropping.

Randy and I walked for awhile in silence, before he spoke out of the blue, "What do you think would have happened if General Grant looked over at General Lee taking a leak?"

I smiled. "I don't know."

"Why he would have seen that the Confederates had longer guns and could shoot twice as far."

He got me giggling. "Do you think I would have made a good soldier?"

"You're too poetic and pretentious to be hostile."

"So you do like me? Maybe we can become, like, close friends." My confidence was growing by the second and the loss of virginity was near. We stopped as he glared at me eye to eye. I was hoping he would kiss me.

"Richie, allow me to be blunt. You are no doubt the most precocious and assertive boy I've ever met. We can contribute that to being spoiled and having everything at your fingertips. Everything but love, that is. To label someone is to put expectations on the person you labeled and on yourself for the perceptions you should have about that person. What are your expectations of a sex offender? Am I supposed to be easy? Stupid, maybe? How about deranged, out of control? Do you want me to find boys like yourself irresistible? A bit shallow, don't you think? Even for you, the unworthy gay boy no one understands because, how could anyone be as gay as you? So why try? Just find someone who is already labeled a pervert and you're sure to get your rocks off."

"Enough! I hope you feel better now," I blurted with tears beginning to flow. "You try growing up without a father and a mother who treats me like a stranger."

"From a cocky teen to a feel-sorry-for-me child, because no one has hugged you lately. That's a little beneath you, don't you think?"

"Fuck you! And who are you? A fucking child molester!" I was bawling and just wanted to hurt him like he had hurt me. I began to beat on his chest with an anger toward humanities' rejection of what I represented for all gay boys. His arms cradled me with all the comfort I would ever need or want. Guilt and shame surfaced over what I had said and his true revealing on who I was. I broke away from his arms to sprint as fast as my legs could run away from him. And here I thought he might kiss me. I was such an idiot to think an adult might like me when none of my peers even did.






The first snowfall swept in around Thanksgiving. I rolled out of bed in my pajama bottoms and stood in front of whiteness through my plate glass wall. Barely visible was my ocean of trees, silent in their acceptance of being blanketed by heavenly cotton. Marcy hated the snow, but I loved the Pennsylvania winters because it shared with me the same cold, isolated longing of a gay boy's heart.

Randy Sumter wouldn't leave my mind. His words, his wisdom and humor during our short-lived conversations were now biblical verses that weighed heavily on my memory. He loved Pennsylvania, as well, with his subtle bits of trivial that most teenagers would find boring. Personally I found it interesting that there are two counties in Pennsylvania that do not have any traffic lights.

My hands gravitated inside my bottoms to stretch my dick and scratch my balls. Out came my erection to share with this relationship I had with my army of trees below me. I knew I could never conquer the forest, but only seduce it, embracing the secret forces of its movement--dance with it, become part of its web of muscles, its cadence, acceleration, outpourings and sudden restlessness. To some it may seem dead with the last of its brown leaves abandoning the naked branches. I knew my forest was always alive, representing both combat and loving embrace, demanding from me the participation of every part of my body, from my neck to my loins. My ejaculation on the glass was with the vision of Randy's arms holding me because I needed held.

I hadn't run for a few days. My mind and body protested from all the rest, questioning why I had survived pain, this prerequisite of getting in shape, to sacrifice it all over resentment and my pity party. Strange body, one time complaining of all the exercise, the next time my muscles were reminding me it wasn't getting enough. 'What the fuck are you doin', Adler? Quit screwin' with our high!' I'm pretty sure that's what my body was telling me. Once I decided to run again my brain cleared and I knew that my metabolism craved this freedom of expression.

During my stupor I hadn't talk to anyone, stayed in my room, and was rude to everyone I could think of. When I was in town a few days earlier I spotted the truck that had pulled into Randy's driveway, only because I got a good glimpse of a bumper sticker when the flood lights went on that night. Seeing a glass container in a trash container, I broke the bottle until I had a good ragged edge, then walked across the street, knelt down and proceeded to puncture all four tires. With my school Magic Marker I left them a note on his windshield: MIND YOUR OWN FUCKIN' BUSINESS! With the mood I was in I had begun to swear a whole lot, which really pissed off Janice.

It was Thanksgiving Day when the thought of Randy eating alone crept into my head, like I'm supposed to feel sorry for this guy who rejected me. My grandparents, on my father's side, showed up, which was like being scrutinized by General Patton. My grandfather was more a control freak than my father and expected absolute perfection. I barely said a word and let the twins impress our visitors, which they were very good at.

I waited until everyone ate, then, when they had all departed the table, totally stuffed and ready to watch football on TV, I grabbed whatever turkey there was left and jammed it in a plastic bag. Fifteen minutes later I could hear my mother in the kitchen.

"What happened to the rest of the turkey?"

I yelled from the family room, "The dog ate it!"

There was a momentary pause, even had my twin brothers looking at me in amazement. "We don't have a dog," Tracy said.

"Must have been the cat," I replied, though the closest thing we had to an animal was Marcy's turtle, a leaf eating reptile.

Right after dessert, though a piece of pumpkin pie was also swiped by my professional scheming, I placed everything in my school duffel bag and headed toward Randy's house. Janice knew the score and made sure I was dressed in bush twill pants and a Shoshone shirt. She patted my cheeks with after shave, though I'd yet to have my first shave.

I think he was surprised that I'd ever show up again, but our expressions were a relief to see each other. He eyed for a second, took a whiff of my face and invited me in.

"You get lost?" Randy asked me as he swung the front door closed.

That could have meant he had missed me, so I said what I had come to say. "I'm sorry for the way I acted. Being pretentious is one of my many flaws."

He almost broke a smile. "Interesting word for a fifteen-year old, but you have many interesting words." He shook my hand. "I wasn't exactly on my best behavior," Randy admitted, which I assumed was like an apology for making me feel worse than a sex offender, which is nearly impossible.

"Here, I brought you something. I'm guessing you aren't having a community picnic or a family reunion."

He chuckled. "With the price of turkeys these days I've settled for my best gourmet meal, hamburger in bake beans. Care for some?"

"This is much better for you, and far more appetizing."

Randy looked in the duffel bag and jolted his head back with the aroma of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. When he took it all out, the food was in the shape of a basketball. We both laughed.

"Doesn't matter. This is how it would end up in the stomach. Thank you, Richie. Sit." He peeled off my parka with an examination of my shirt. "Nice taste," is all he said.

"Thank you. I'll stay only if you're able to tolerate the fickleness of a hormonal fifteen-year old."

Randy reached to take the stocking cap off my head. "Fickle it is. I'd love your company."

By the time I had got accustomed to his roaring fireplace, I was down to socks, pants and a T-shirt. Every other garment was draped over a chair. While I watched him eat, more like devouring, I brought out of my jacket a leather pouch that contained my finest war soldiers. Randy was impressed when I spread them all out on the floor and told him to pick sides.

"Which battle are we fighting? Then I'll know what mistakes to make if I choose the South, or how to avoid fighting if I'm General McClellan."

"The first Bull Run," I suggested.

"Good choice. Pretty much a draw because the South didn't pursue," Randy said.

While he finished his meal we dropped pillows on the floor for cover, plants for the woods, and some small figurines for the civilians who showed up from Washington to watch this annihilation of the South, which wasn't to be.

We sat up our armies, me on the North by the sofa, and Randy taking the South near the fireplace. He put on this record with this guy, Rob Thomas, singing, COME ON OVER! with this jazz beat that had him dancing and me laughing hysterically. How does one fight a war with music that would have cracked even those soldiers up?

I watched as he put several figures of drummer boys near the front lines. He told me their names and their reputation.

"This one is Willie Johnson, from Vermont. Only thirteen, he was the youngest Medal of Honor recipient ever. This boy is John McLaughlin, a native of Indiana and enlisted when he was ten. The boy took a wound in his leg at Perryville, but later re-enlisted as a bugler in the Regular Army. This young'un is a Kentucky lad of about eleven who enlisted in the Confederacy's famed Orphan Brigade. At Shiloh the boy is credited with stemming a rout by grabbing the colors and rallying elements of the brigade which were in danger of breaking under a Federal assault."

"Two of those boys are mine," I protested.

"True, but there was something about a sex offender they couldn't resist."

I hadn't laughed in weeks, so it felt good. "Check this out, General. You can't keep kidnapping every drummer boy of mine who you think is hot. We have to have a colloquium here to iron this out."

Randy had this slap-in-the-face expression. "Where do you get these words?! And I don't necessarily agree that they're all hot."

"They're sleeping in your tent, General. A little vocabulary wouldn't hurt you. Actually I find you quite callipygous."

Randy ran to his bedroom and came back with a dictionary. I looked for a place to hide because it was too late to get dressed. "Great ass!" he read, but that wasn't what it really said. More like attractive buttocks.

I was quicker than my Confederate counterpart and barely escaped the first futile attempts to snag me. Once cornered, I faked right and dove between his legs. My twill pants were caught by the cuffs, but, when he didn't pull, I crawled until my underwear slid down.

"Now that's a cute butt!" Randy said and had us both busting up. My bare cheeks got a good swat.

I pulled up my pants, while he roared with laughter. "Now I know what my drummer boys are doing when they're not practicing."

"Eat your heart out, General!" Randy replied.

In front of a blazing fireplace we had a blast positioning our soldiers and parroting the actual battle as it went down in history. I learned so many things from Randy, who is a true expert on the Civil War. What was surprising were the little tidbits of information concerning the generals of the war, like when my soldiers were near General Jackson, who was protecting this hill.

"There's Jackson again, acting like a stone wall and afraid to advance," Randy said.

"I thought he was named Stonewall Jackson because he wouldn't budge in retreat," I said.

"Tis a rumor, Matey. The first general who called him that meant the man was stagnant more than he was mobile, but others took Stonewall to mean something else and history has forever recorded this mistake."

In the end I retreated back to Washington, which was just behind the sofa. We agreed to a truce and to fight again another day. I'd never had so much fun with all my miniature soldiers. Randy sat back against a chair, examining the battlefield, which was strewn out over the room. He motioned me over, so I walked on my hands and knees and sat between his legs with my back to his chest. His nose went into my hair and identified my sister's strawberry shampoo. Janice still thinks that Marcy takes this shampoo every time it's missing.

"Ever heard of John Clem?" he asked me.


"Johnny was the most famous drummer boy of the Civil War. At the age of ten little Johnny ran away from home in Newark, Ohio, and tried to enlist in various regiments. The 24th Ohio took him on. He served at Shiloh, earning the nickname "Johnny Shiloh" for his steadiness. Clem drummed the long roll at Chickamauga, too, where he acquired the nickname "The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga." The boy gained quite notoriety and attempted to win an appointment to West Point after the war, but wasn't very academically inclined. President Grant, whose army the boy had drummed at Shiloh, gave the boy a direct commission into the army as a second lieutenant in 1871. The man retired 45 years later as a major general, the last Civil War veteran on active duty."

"Cool! That's an awesome story," I admitted and held Randy's elbows tightly. Tracy had once done the same thing to me.

"I suppose a world traveler like yourself has been to Gettysburg several times," Randy said into my hair.

"Mom isn't into battlefields," I admitted.

"Okay, then plan this weekend on exploring the fields of Gettysburg with me. Don't bother with the game pieces."

I grinned with this invitation. We sat all quiet for a few minutes, allowing the heat from the fire and our closeness to be what it was. I wanted him to hold me for hours in his arms because no one had ever won my heart like Randy had at that moment. "What's prison like?" I asked out of the blue.

"Whatever one wishes to make it, I'd say. Not for the young, though. It's no place to acquire a daddy. Men abuse the younger males, sometimes in gang rapes or saying they will protect them in exchange for sexual favors. Most likely a person like this is used like a slave, then sold off for a couple cartons of cigarettes or pruno."

"What's pruno?"

"A makeshift beverage that is like moonshine, made from oranges or some other fruit and fermented. You have to be desperate."

"Were you one of these daddies?"

"No. I kept to myself and protected what was mine. There are different cliques of men that one should avoid. I helped out a few gangsters with their G.E.D., so they respected my abilities. They all thought I was in there for computer fraud."

"Good. I sure wouldn't have wanted you hurt. I'd just beat them all up."

Randy chuckled with my temerity, wrestled me to the floor and pinned me in seconds. Found out he was on his high school wrestling team. I didn't dare admit he could be my daddy if we went to prison together. His swat on my rear end meant the fun was over.

"Better get your tail home, before your mother comes looking for you," he told me.

"She doesn't care," my reply was somber.

Randy pushed upward while messing with my hair. "Bet your friends have a blast playing war games with you."

I crawled to pick up my toy soldiers, only to hide the tears that were forming. He couldn't know that I had no friends, so I swallowed this sorrow and took a deep breath.

"Want to run tomorrow? It's another school holiday." I received a nod of acceptance and wiped a couple of tears from my eyes. I said the smoke from the fire made my eyes burn. Inside my heart joy had never felt this wonderful.







Our run in the crisp fall air was a new beginning in our friendship. Mittens and a hooded sweatshirt meant our movement was constant with little conversation. I had gained such an endurance level I even passed Randy a few times to take the lead, while he watched my butt instead of me watching his. We returned after an hour-and-a-half to the sight of a patrol car in the driveway. The officer just stayed in his seat until we came to the steps of the porch. I knew this man as the sheriff in town and a good friend of my father's. Needless to say he was startled by my appearance.

Slowly the sheriff stepped from his car and eyed both of us. He adjusted his black ammunition belt around a rather thick girth that had missed few meals. As the ground somewhat trembled with his approach the sheriff bore into me with drilling eyes. "Young Adler, what the hell are you doing with this man?"

"He's a friend. My dad says it's okay."

"He did, did he? Doesn't sound like something Tom would consent to." His sight moved to Randy's stature. "Let me get to the point, I've received a report of a truck with four slashed tires. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you, Sumter?"

I glanced over at Randy and pretended innocence, while his facial expression showed confusion on what this was all about. "Why would I know anything about a guy's truck?"

"Who said it was a guy's?" the sheriff countered.

"My assumption," Randy replied.

This pompous excuse for the law reached up and peeled back a pencil length shiver of wood from a beam holding up the porch. He stuck it between his teeth. "Check this out, Sumter, the owner said he accidentally drove into your driveway a few nights ago. He said you hit him with a variety of floodlights, then swore at him to get his ass off your property. He also thought he saw a gun in your hands."

"I don't own a weapon," Randy verified. "Don't suppose you want to hear the correct version?"

"There is one? There was also a message put on the truck's windshield, something to the effect to mind his own business. Don't suppose that is the correct version either."

"You're climbing up the wrong tree, Sheriff," Randy said.

My body sort of stepped forward. "I did it!" Don't ask. I have no idea where that honesty came from, outside of not wanting to see Randy getting blamed for something I did.

The sheriff spun and gave me this annoyed stare that a child might receive for acting silly.

"Stay out of this, Adler! You're aching to have your butt fucked by sticking around this pervert."

"I did. I was here that night and those guys lied. They yelled cruel words and sped off. I think they're the same guys who keep destroying Mr. Sumter's mailbox in front. So I saw their truck and did what Randy couldn't do."

"You're first names with this guy? Get in the car, Adler." The sheriff grabbed my shoulder and all but pushed me to his squad car.

I looked back at Randy for assistance, but he nodded that I had to obey. Inside the police car the sheriff asked me several embarrassing questions: Had Mr. Sumter ever touched me inappropriately? Do I know about his background? Do I know what child molesters do to kids? What would my mother say? Has Sumter bought me anything or made promises?

My answers weren't what he wanted, so he sighed and told me to get out. The sheriff waddled up to Randy and stuck a finger in his face. "You aren't welcome around here, but I'm, unfortunately, obligated under law to protect your kind. I'm going to tell the owner of this truck that you were out of town. As for your new boy toy here, his father and I have been tight for many years, so I'm going to overlook this incident. If I hear that you have even looked cross-eyed at this kid, I might shoot first before asking questions. This young man here isn't your type; he's smart, well bred, but too naive to know how dangerous a person like you can be. If you're smart, send the boy home and find an older pervert to hang out with. Do we understand each other?"

Randy stayed silent and refused to be intimidated. I saw the sheriff's face get redder, beyond what the chill of the wind was already doing to our skin. He spun his robust size to the slow motion of a planet's rotation, bumped me shoulder to shoulder and re-entered his vehicle. Using snow and ice he spun his vehicle in a full one-eighty to exit this one-way dirt road.

There are parental looks, and then there are Randy looks. To me they are both the same. I gulped. We waited until only the faint squawk of a crow could be heard in the distance.

"Young man, ten years ago I would've spanked your butt until you promised me you would be an angel the rest of your life. Those days are behind me. Richie, I don't need teenagers fighting my battles. If those tires were anything like mine, it'll cost a thousand dollars to replace them. That's hardly a get back for the words baby rapist."

"I'm sorry."

"Yes, you seem to be saying that a lot lately."

The spoiled child within me wanted to pout, to take revenge for the criticism. Instead I took a deep breath that I'd learned was good coping skill. "You're right. I didn't think, but I can do better."

"Thank you. A little maturity at times won't hurt either one of us."

A change of subjects was my solution. I asked Randy if he wanted to go hunting with me. He reluctantly declined, unless a pea shooter could bring down a deer. I didn't know much about felons not being allowed guns and figured he wasn't much of a hunter, though I offered him one of our guns.

Randy gripped my shoulders. "Richie, you present temptations that have a life sentence written all over them. I know you're just being friendly, but respect my position of vulnerability, okay?"

"Gotcha! I just think a guy has to be loyal to his best friend."

Randy sighed.






Even though I was scolded, I wasn't rejected, nor was the Gettysburg trip cancelled. On the way home my mind contemplated the day's events. The price of tires amazed me, though it didn't hamper my spirits. I weighed the price of a mail box, emotional harassment, and being scared shitless of what a gang of ignorant delinquents could do in numbers. Four tires didn't come to the value of human dignity.

Into my room I stripped my clothes off and stood in front of my curved glass window to the great outdoors. Beyond the field in the snow covered backyard lay a forest, a forest where an abundance of deer awaited me in less than a week. Every year hunting season lasted two weeks to thin the herd out before winter kicked in and thousands of deer were killed by starvation or being struck by cars or trucks.

What I thought of most was Randy, his darling face when he vented his anger on me for protecting his privacy, his hands clutching my shoulders to bring us virtually nose to nose. He liked me, he had to, according to my analysis. My hand went to my groin as I masturbated to the thoughts of being with him. He was the sexiest guy I had ever met, and I was madly in love with him. It had to be love because I'd never experienced such attraction for another human being. While I enjoyed the slow stroking of my erection, my other hand swept over my nipples and chest, eyes closed to make believe it was Randy's hand exploring my body. I ejaculated in my hand after raising up on my toes for the entire forest to see. Such an intense orgasm I barely kept my balance with the sequential jolts of pleasure.


The word shocked me from my orgasm, before I glanced up to the loft where the word announced. "Marcy! Get your ass down here! Damn it, I'm going to tell Mom." With a handful of cum I just stood there as an older sibling with few options.

Marcy slid down the ladder like I did, not bothering with the steps, but putting her hands and feet on the rails and allowing gravity to take over. In the meantime I wiped my hand off with a tissue next to my bed. She walked right over to examine her naked brother.

"Go ahead and tell. What are you going to say, that I was rubbing my penis to traumatize all the poor impressionable animals in the forest?"

"It's not something you should be watching, that's all. What if someone did it to you?"

"I don't exactly have a penis, but I'd tell. It's not like I haven't spied on Tracy and Trent. Gee, boys get so uptight when you invade their fantasies. What were you thinking, male or female?"

"None of your business. What are you doing in my room?"

"Looking for Ken. Barbie isn't pleased when you use her boyfriend to make goo-goo with G.I. Joe. Considering the weather, Ken needs more than a Speedo."

"If I remember right, Aunt Ruth bought me Ken when I was six. Please leave." I put a T-shirt around my waist, before taking one of those deep breaths Randy told me about.

She held on to the doll. "I also wanted to tell you that Mom knows about Randy."

My panic didn't show on my face because I turned to my drawers to pull out clean underwear. "So what? I've told her about him. What did she say?"

Marcy had picked up the soggy Kleenex with two fingers and was smelling the contents. "Whew! Smells like ammonia." She flipped it in my trash can. "Nothing, really. Just that she wants to meet him. For you to take food to the kid must mean he's either poor, a runaway, or you're madly in love with him."

I was encouraged by her stupidity, thinking Mom might be as unknowledgeable, as well. "He's my friend, so maybe I'll bring him home." I wiped my groin with the T-shirt and slipped on my underwear.

Marcy's eyes never left my nudity. "That's so cool, how your penis deflates in seconds. How quickly can you get it hard again?"

"Wait to you get a boyfriend and ask him. Haven't you had enough of sex education for one day?"

She shrugged her shoulders, tucked Ken in my bed and slipped off his Speedo. "You both need the practice. That would be advisable, bringing him home. Mom's concerned, that's all. You have a nice ass for a boy. The orgasm was a bit over-acted. Can I watch when you get it on with your boyfriend?"

I chased her from my bedroom and managed one swat to here fanny. With that she giggled, turned and kissed me a quick one--the way-to-wise twelve-year old house-mouse who thought privacy was for her domicile only.

At dinner there was no conversation about trucks or tires. Mom brought up the expected. "Richard, would you like to invite Randy for dinner sometime?"

My eyes met Janice, and she wasn't exactly supportive or smiling. Marcy just glanced up, already planning where her best viewpoint would be.

"I'd love to do that, Mom, just say when."

"I should call his mother to make arrangements. Have you put his number in the key pad?"

"Not yet, because we never call each other. I think he prefers face to face visits." Janice started to crack up, then Mom wanted to know what that was all about.

Janice played rescuer, while the twins kept stuffing their faces. "Mother, you're always complaining that we spend too much time on the phone when we see our friends almost every day. Boys don't usually talk all that much."

Mom bought it. "I see. Well, I'd still like to call his mother and get to know their family."

I nodded, which has a tendency to stop the conversation.

Before even my mother awoke, I was up at dawn and out the door. Randy said seven, but I arrived at six-thirty, which was good timing because I got a sweet roll, orange juice and two sunny side up eggs when I admitted I hadn't had breakfast.

Approaching his truck Randy held me at arm's length. I sensed he had second thoughts about all this and was going to lower the boom that this wasn't such a good idea after all. I held my breath.

"Richie, I've been meaning to tell you how pleased I am with your dedication to running and how improved your conditioning has become. I've known few athletes to be this motivated. I just hope you've done this for your sake and not mine."

My senses were stunned. Never in my life had anyone given me praise. This doesn't include a younger sister saying I had a nice ass. In kindergarten I was the John Tesh for information, from good health or what we should eat. Even as a five-year old I recognized sarcasm, as our teacher often said, "Thank you, Richard Adler." At first I wasn't sure how to act, then I said, "Thank you for the compliment," which had all the kids busting up. On the playground when one of us did something spectacular with a ball, we'd say, 'Thank you for the compliment.' It got to be a funny thing. So now those words came to mind.

"Thank you for the compliment."

Randy grinned. "You're welcome. It's most deserving. May I also say you're a sharp dresser?"

I couldn't exactly admit that Janice selected these clothes, combed my hair, and tabbed collogue on my neck. My brown San Marino cord trousers with a green and red plaid shirt were matching for a change, thanks to female taste.

"Thanks. I like your jeans, especially how they define your groin and butt," I said without reservation. I got bopped on the head.

It was like riding in a tractor as I sat shotgun in that big Chevy truck. Randy took the Lincoln Highway through York and Route 30 into Gettysburg. He switched on a radio station to old time rock and roll. No more had my hand touched the dial to change the station, then a resounding smack sent my fingers in retreat.

"When you buy your own vehicle you may switch radio stations as often as you like. In my truck the driver listens to what he wants. Got it?"

"Gee, don't have to get all persnickety." I rubbed the back of my hand and was glad my butt hadn't taken the same kind of hit. The guy was strong. "Who's this?"

"The Bee Gees."

"Never heard of them. Girls?"

"Very funny. I happen to like them, so sit there and sulk."

"Bet you dance to this, too."

"Take the wheel and I'll show you my best disco."

"I barely keep a bicycle on the road. Show me later. What other groups do you like?"

"Journey, America, Foreigner, Rod Stewart, and Billy Joel."

"You truly were in the Civil War, weren't you?" I crowded the truck door, but his hand caught my knee and had me begging for reprieve. I would have taken him if we weren't going sixty-five miles an hour. We laughed and I was at my happiest just sitting there next to this person I knew I was in love with.

All my boyhood dreams and playing with toy soldiers came to life with this first glimpse of the Gettysburg National Military Park. My knowledge of this battle in 1863 was more than most high school kids were exposed to. Whatever I knew, Randy was an encyclopedia of information for all the missing pieces.

Randy drew his finger to where different battles were fought. He knew the facts of how the battle unfolded, the decisions, both right and wrong, and who made them. How General Longstreet did not want to frontally assault the stronger enemy positions of the North. Lee made the ultimate choice to attack, and lose.

When he noticed my arms batting each other to keep warm Randy took off his range coat and slid it over me. Unzipping the set-in hood, he soon had my head as warm as my body. I hugged him as a thank-you, not caring one bit if someone saw us. We walked through the park, enjoying the crisp air, fall leaves, and the aroma of a battlefield that was at rest. He told me about his great-great-great grandfather who fought here in the orchard as a boy my age. I was impressed, but only later would the story come to live in a book.

We stood on Cemetery Ridge, where Randy explained how General Pickett had made the charge across open farm land to an absolute massacre of men. With my eyes glued and my fantasies running amok, he told me of an incident that happened on July 3rd, 1913 at this same location.

"It was the 50th anniversary reunion, Richie, which many survivors of the Pickett charge met here with those of Alexander Webb's Philadelphia Brigade, which had received and repulsed their attack. Those Pickett veterans started walking up the ridge there once more, giving forth emphesymic versions of the famed "Rebel Yell." This annoyed many of the aged Philadelphians atop the Ridge, who yelled out, 'We didn't let you up here in '63, so we ain't gonna let you up now!' After a whole bunch of pushing, shoving, and shouting, a few walking sticks caught those geriatric soldiers across their bodies from those Union seniors. Once again the Confederates were left a little short of their destination."

That had me balled up in laughter, for I could envision a bunch of old men whacking each other with their canes. I saw that Randy was battling the cold, so I pushed and shoved him in play and, in seconds, we were two pals wrestling to the warmth it gave our bodies. He picked me up, swung me around his shoulders and carried me down the hill at a steady jaunt. It was so much fun.

Randy took us for a great lunch in town and bought me several souvenirs, though I promised I'd pay him back. Six hours later we were on our return home, very much satisfied with our excursion. Whether I intruded on his space, not a word was said with me sitting next to him in the truck. I even rested my head on his shoulder.

I was tempted to go running with Randy, but discretion was the better part of protecting my ass from being gone all day. I'd pushed the envelope of closeness, always with the fear of rejection or words that I better watch my behavior. Randy, always the gentleman, allowed me to legally love another human being without the censure.

My quiet attempt to enter the house was successful, until Tracy spotted me and said that Mom was taking us to the movies that evening. I hustled upstairs to shower and change, but then Trent and Tracy came to my room after I was ready for a night out with the family.

"Come on, Rick, it's get back time," Trent said, which confused me until I ran after them to Marcy's room.

Up to the loft we hustled, which was filled with more stuffed animals than a Winnie the Pooh store. Somehow Ken had been kidnapped and was sitting with his tux on next to Barbie. I'd rescue him later.

I had a dozen questions, but Trent kept putting his finger to his lips. Sure enough out came Marcy from the bathroom with just her towel around her body. This was going to be a real flub, I thought, until she went over to her vanity table and dropped the towel to reveal a body I hadn't really seen in many years. She had small breasts, but breasts nonetheless. Her hands went to cup them like I'd seen Janice do, which almost cost us royally when Tracy nearly broke up laughing.

If Marcy hadn't spied on me I might have closed my eyes. She raised a leg on a stool and inserted a tampon in her crotch, then examined her body for the umpteenth time in the mirror. I couldn't see what a girl would want to admire without something as admirable as a penis and a set of balls. A bra, way too big for her size, was snapped on, but then she took a pair of socks, wadded up each one and stuffed them inside. Trent looked at me with wide eyes, covered his mouth and cracked up.

After her panties were slid on, then the blouse and skirt, Trent stood up in the loft and began to applaud. Tracy and I followed his lead. Boy was she pissed.

"Jerks! I'm telling Mom!" she shouted and started toward the door.

Trent practically jumped down from the ladder. "Do and we'll tell her you wear falsies."

Marcy paused, pure fury from her eyes were worse than anything I'd seen from a girl. She opened her bedroom door, shot her arm sideways and said, "Out!"

We marched as three proud brothers who had accomplished an important mission of revenge. The house-mouse was tamed.

By the way, the movie was a chick flick--gag, but I sat as far away from my mother so she wouldn't ask me about my day. It worked. Marcy eyed us through most of the movie; her lips mouthed hatred. Eventually I caught her looking at me in the dark. My face begged for forgiveness, but then she shook her head and smiled with the recognition that even boys are not immune from being sneaky.







Deer season! Though the twins weren't as enthusiastic about hunting as I was, the second school was out I couldn't wait to get home so I could spend the last hour of daylight in the woods. The season officially had begun on Monday, but I didn't get my buck until Saturday, late-afternoon. I was a patient hunter with wary bucks who look for places where they can feed and also bed without being disturbed, unlike my house. Locating these hidey holes and figuring out how to hunt them often spells the difference between success and failure.

A half-hour before dark, the buck entered the field with a group of does and fed to within 80 yards of my stand. I flattened the largest buck of my limited hunting career with a single shot. On purpose that Saturday I had deliberately moved toward Randy's house during the morning hours, stopping every few yards to take note of my surroundings. I had used a tree stand for a few years; other years I would watch from the roads. Often a deer would come to a dirt road, stop to inspect each direction, then walk across. To be out in the open woods was not the best way to see a deer. Most deer would see you before you saw them.

I was lucky on this day, having decided to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I'd savored since noon. I heard the rustle of feet before I saw the buck just moseying in the field. With my 30-30 on my shoulder I downed the eight-pointer with a clean shot to the chest.

It wasn't like my family needed the meat, nor did my mother especially like having a deer hung up in the backyard. I made a makeshift cart out of branches, then lugged that deer about a half-mile to Randy's house. Hauling that 200 pound buck up on a large tree limb wasn't as easy as it sounded. It didn't help that Randy wasn't home. I waited for an hour, but with his truck gone I figured he had more important things to do, so I departed for home.

Remembering Randy's account, he arrived home around six-thirty, not really noticing he had a buck hanging from a tree a mere forty feet from the front door. That is until he heard a car drive up and it was the sheriff. Randy never did tell me why the sheriff decided to visit him, but that old fart saw the buck and knew he had a bust.

I can pretty much fill in the conversation as it probably happened.

"Where'd you get the buck?"

Randy looked where the sheriff pointed and rocked back on his heels. "I have no idea, Sheriff."

The sheriff walked over to that animal and examined the bullet hole. "Nice shot. Care to show me your gun?"

"I don't have a gun, Sheriff."

"Mind if I look around your home? Maybe the deer committed suicide and died after stringing himself up."

That was about as much as I remember when Randy retold the debate, as if I was at fault here. I think he convinced the sheriff to call me, so I ran over in a foot of snow, which wasn't all that easy considering I still had my Bowie knife attached to my belt. The two men were waiting for me outside, even though there were snow flurries chilling the evening air.

Randy didn't let the sheriff have the first words. "Richie! What goes here?"

"A surprise. I shot it for you; figured you could use the meat. Why? What's the problem?"

Sheriff Wallenberg was getting real unfriendly, apparently forgetting that my father was their quarterback in high school. "Adler, you're starting to piss me off. First the truck, now the deer. Are you tempting me to put you in juvenile hall?"

"The boy's done nothing wrong, Sheriff. If Richie has a license, then what's the problem?" Randy was getting to stand up for himself, which pleased me to no end.

That sheriff lowered the deer to inspect the tag I'd left on the antler, then strolled right back to his car to drive off. A person could see puffs of air flare from the sheriff's nostrils like a pissed off bull.

"What's with him?" I had to ask with my jerked thumb at the patrol car.

Randy held up his arms and gave me that perturbed look that turned me on. "Do you know how to dress that thing out?"

"I can't make your moccasins or deerskin jacket until tomorrow, but we can have some venison tonight."

Gee, what did I do? He went in the house and came back with an apron. Did Daniel Boone wear an apron?

"It's snowing, hurry up," he told me. Obviously he didn't know my hunting skills.

An hour later I brought in the deer's penis and balls first. "We can mount these on the wall like a warning to anyone who comes to burglarize the house." He didn't see my humor.

"You're this close to getting your own mounted." His fingers were an inch apart.

I put my hands a good seven inches apart. "I'm this long, but only when I'm not yelled at." I didn't even know I could move that fast, but he sure was quick. Removing all the snow off my body after that snow drift got in my way, I brought in a whole lot of meat and skin.

"You're lucky I don't remember being thrown into the snow, or we'd be tangling!" I said. Of course I was backing up at the time.

It was bad enough I had to kill the thing, now I had to prepare the venison for us to eat. I kept glancing over to where he was sitting in the rocker by the fireplace, reading the newspaper. Occasionally Randy would give me this eye of suspicion, but he couldn't hold the frown and cracked into a smile.

"Of all the places I could have bought property and built a home, I chose next to a fifteen-year old who thrives on making adults crazy."

"Only because you deserve the best. You're lucky I'm a good cook," I replied and brought a rack of hind quarters to roast over the fire. We watched the meat cook, breathed the aroma together and knew we were in for a fine meal.

It was nearly nine o'clock when Randy dropped me off near my house, though Mom had her sights on me from the moment she knew I had returned.

"Richard! There is still no number for your friend, Randy. I'm beginning to think the boy doesn't exist."

"He's coming for Christmas dinner, Mom. His family is going out of town," I said to dispel this investigation.

"What family would just vacation on Christmas and leave their children at home? Outrageous! I'm not sure I want to meet these parents. I might have a few words for them. Maybe the boy would like to come over the night before so he can celebrate Christmas with you children."

"Cool idea, Mom, but I don't think his family is leaving until Christmas morning. I'll check and see if he likes sleep overs."

Janice collared me and suggested I come clean. A girl's logic just didn't make sense, so I considered confessing that my new friend wasn't exactly my age--sort of much older, but that shouldn't exclude him from sleeping over. My mother might not find the humor.

In truth, my conscience had all ready formulated my mother's potential words, just waiting to ruin my life: "Richard, you are NEVER to be in the company of that man again!"

If I could hold out until I was eighteen to tell her, I could suggest to my mother where to stick her judgments of others.







Christmas vacation was upon us before I had a chance to win another battle against my Confederate nemesis. To make this a Christmas our family might not ever forget, I invited Randy to Christmas dinner. After all, Mom did give permission to bring him.

Though it was the dead of winter to me, I ran every day in my sweats and long johns. Randy wasn't even as daring as I was, so I'd coax him to hit the trails with me, where we often spent more time sliding on our butts than running.

On one of my own excursions I was on the outskirts of town when I saw that same truck parked at a roadside rest stop. I came to a stop as the guy was filling his tank with gas, a pimply faced punk who probably worked pumping gas for a living.

"What are you looking at?!" he barked at me as I was staring to see if he walked on two legs or all fours.

"Just admiring the new wheels," I said because it was all I could think of.

"Yeah, man. I thought this pervert sliced my tires, but I guess he didn't. So he comes into this place where I work and asked if a guy had recently bought four tires for this type of truck. Man that was me. So he wants to pay the bill, see, and I got the tires fifty percent off, but I charged him full price for a brand better than the ones I put on the truck. He said he knew the person who sliced my tires, but the guy had over-extended his boundaries. Whatever that meant. Man, I got a thousand-plus from the dude. Serves him right, fucking pervert!"

"You're slick," I said and gave him a ponderous moment that he must be really smart. I saw him go in the station to pay his tab, so I sort of, accidentally, scraped my house key across his custom paint job from the rear to the front. The wave added a nice touch.

The knowledge that Randy had paid for my damage practically sickened me. He wasn't exactly rich and was saving up to complete his kitchen area with a dining room table. We had to eat on the battlefield most of the time, like we were truly bivouacking, if there's such an expression in a living room.

Just before Christmas we visited our father. I personally asked if I could have one of his Rolex watches in his drawer. My timing was right in the middle of a heated discussion he was having with my mother, so he said to get rid of me, "Sure, right, kid. I'm talking here, get lost!"

"Thanks, Dad," I replied and hi-tailed it out of there. I sold that twelve thousand dollar watch on eBay for five-thousand. I slipped Janice two hundred because she laughed at my entrepreneurship.

I just know it was Sheriff Wallenberg who gave me up. Just like him to get his usual donation from my mother for the policemen's Christmas Ball. Twas the night before the night before Christmas that Mom came into my room.

"Richard, you are to tell your friend that he is not invited for Christmas dinner, and you are not EVER to be seen with that man again! Our club president saw you running with that child molester. What are you trying to do, ruin me?"

"You don't even know him, Mom."

"Nor do I want to! He's a child molester, for Christ's sake, Richard! Do you know what child molesters do?"

"They suck boys' dicks," I said quite directly.

"I didn't mean for you to answer that."

"Mom, I suck boys' dicks. I mean, I want to. If you're worried that Randy is a daddy to me, you're looking down the wrong underwear. He's a far better mentor than anyone you have yet to offer me."

Her eyes were like daggers. "You're incorrigible! Wait till I tell your father!" She stormed out of my room and, for some reason, I thought she might return all my Christmas gifts.

Janice tried to speak to my mother about this relationship with a thirty-eight-year old man. Mom's reply was from the viewpoint of how it would look to her women's clubs if they knew her son was friends with a convicted sex offender. She didn't consider how it would affect me if my peers knew that my mother fucked her way through Europe.

"Is there an award for working with minorities or felons?" I asked Janice.

"There is, but the exception might be for sex offenders," she answered and added, "One is charity and the other would get you a Michael Jackson Humanitarian Award for offering your body for sexual experimentation."

"It's not nice to talk about the deceased that way," I said.

"Why? You'd be beating it with him if you had known Michael."

"Okay, I'll give you that one. Do you think his son would have joined us?"


"Then I'll just accept the Nobel Prize for Human Rights and be done with it."

Mom and I were on no-speaking terms, like two world powers who fretted on petty differences. I'd come out to her, in a matter of speaking, but this too hadn't received an encouraging word or a beloved support of affection. If worse came to worse, I'd blame her, because it was a mother's gene that determined my orientation. How ironic, I loved boys because of a female. God does have a sense of humor.

On the 24th I ran over to Randy's in an effort to get him out of the house. His Christmas tree was a mere banzai plant, compared to the one we had at our house. I threatened to burn the tree if he didn't take me into town so we could buy something better. I offered to buy the tree--actually, I demanded, as a present from me, to appease the Three Wise Men.

When we returned it was snowing like a freakin' blizzard. I was worried my plan had been detoured by the weather. As we walked in, my eyes lit up like his did. A beautiful oak dining room table with chairs flashed before our eyes. New furniture abounded everywhere, and several new appliances gleamed where the old ones were removed.

"What the......?" He explained and gave me that cute "I'm-going-to-strangle-you" look again. It usually gave me an erection. I'd arranged it with the furniture store to the precise time and where to find the house key.

"I came into some money. I'm a successful businessman; what more can I say?"

"Richie!" He chased me around the room, or battlefield, as we had gotten to know it. I loved it when he would wrap my body in his arms, wrestle me down, and discover I had an erection. He'd shriek and jump up, then I'd laugh to his shock. "Get that rocket down!"

"It's my Little Big Horn."

Randy shook his head in bewilderment. "It's Little Round Top, and, for you, it's Long Round Top."

"Then for you it must be Big Round Top."

"Cute, but I'm not surrendering!"

I sulked.

We had a great dinner after I unfroze the pizza. At seven o'clock there was no way I could go home, driven or not. I called home and crossed my fingers. Marcy answered.

"Hi, sweet thing, it's your third favorite brother."

"Fifth favorite," she reminded me. "What do you want?"

"I live there, you know. Look, I'm staying the night at a friend's. I'll be home before the first gift is opened."

"Mom will be pissed."

"Like this is a surprise. Bye!"

There was some hesitancy about me sleeping in the same bed with Randy--his reluctance, not mine. I promised to keep my hands to myself. It wasn't easy, believe me. To see this man in his underwear had me rock hard. We both rode up on our knees and stared out the bedroom window behind the bed to watch the snow fall. He kept lifting my chin from eyeing his cute ball huggers to look out the ice-coated window.

"My truck used to be parked right there," Randy amused me by pointing at this major snow mound.

"It's still there; it's just pretending to be a snow truck under all that snow."

We sat back against the backboard, shoulder to shoulder, in total awe of our eight-foot tree with the same number of ornaments that covered the pigmy plant that used to be there. It was beautiful, nonetheless.

"Would kissing you increase global warming and damage the Arctic irreversibly, or is it just enough to break the ice?" I asked.

Randy laughed and brought me to his chest in a squeeze that reminded me of my grandmother who squeezed us kids so hard we could barely breathe. He kinda was bent at the waist to keep his butt back from feeling my boner. "Why couldn't you be born a few years earlier?"

"If this was Japan or China, I'd be...well, almost old enough. Pretend I'm on the Taiwanese Little League team, then I'd be eighteen."

"I.......really like you, Richie Adler."

That's all it took. I laid one on his lips that lasted till I came in my underwear. No kidding, I actually shot my load without even touching it! Randy said he could feel my lips quiver from the orgasm. He cracks me up. My first kiss and we laughed till we cried. I ran to the bathroom to clean up and wore a towel to climb back in bed. I didn't want to traumatize a sex offender. Now there's a joke. The best thing, I got to sleep naked, and every few minutes I'd touch my erection to his leg to make him jump. He even fell out of bed once.

"Richie, you promised to behave yourself!"

"Oh, lighten up. I'm with the Sex Offender Task Force and this is just a test."

Randy rolled toward me until we were nose to nose. "Where do you learn all these things?"

"I'm an Internet junkie, and I'm studying up on sex offenders. I think I've found a cure--love. I might even do a class assignment on it; probably in sex education class, because algebra can't use 69 all the time."

"You are incorrigible!"

"You and my mother must compare notes."

We did kiss one more time, before I promised to go to sleep--as if that was going to happen. I reclined on my back, hands propped behind my head and listened to the soft purrs of our community's pariah next to me. The blanket and sheet had this cool tent pole in the middle, like I was the pervert. Whatever! All I knew for sure, this was the best Christmas Eve ever!







I woke up to the smell of eggs and bacon. Actually Randy was standing beside the bed in ramrod attention, saluting my woody and whistling Reverie.

"Is the flag up, Sergeant?"

"It's up, Colonel. Want to inspect the pole?"

"Uh, maybe another time." Then he pounced on me. "Merry Christmas, Richie! Santa came last night."

I sprang up....I mean the rest of me jumped up. Sure enough there were presents under the tree and the truck had been swept clean of snow when I glanced out the back window. Even the tires had chains on them. How, after such a glorious awakening, could I have realized that the next 24 hours would be a nightmare?

"You could have driven me home last night," I stated seeing the snow and ice studs on the rear tires.

"I must have forgotten I'd put them on."

"Thank the Good Lord for senior moments. I dreamt last night that I kissed this prince. NASA would have been proud of me. You should have seen the launch."

"I smelled it," Randy said and smacked me on my bare bottom, then kissed my lips. "Brush your teeth and get a pair of my underwear out of the drawer."

"As if they will fit."

"That boner will keep anything up."

I shocked him when I opened the front door and felt the near freezing temperature chill my warm body. Stark naked I dared myself to run in the snow like a Finlander after a sauna. Off and sprinting I ran all the way to the mailbox to retrieve the morning newspaper, then dashed back. Randy was waiting for me with open arms, only to fling me over his lap and spank my chilled ass a good one. His aggression actually warmed me back up. Up and over his shoulder he carried me to the shower, where hot water was the reward.

I found these atrocious plain white boxers laid out for me. I brushed my teeth with Randy's toothbrush, took a leak, and returned to the kitchen, wearing these droopy shorts down over my butt, with an erection through the fly to keep the things from falling to my ankles. I was buying this man a set of briefs next time I was at the store.

Randy turned, put his fingers to the bridge of his nose and couldn't hold a straight face. "You're a sex offender's nightmare."

"Thanks, I've never been anything to anybody before. Let's eat."

I shoved food in my mouth and went right to the Christmas tree. Three presents, all addressed to me. My erection subsided and down went the shorts, but the gifts were more important; all from Santa Claus. I had always suspected Santa was gay because the bow was purple. Randy didn't get the joke. If Sheriff Wallenberg walked in I could say Santa's not used to buying underwear for gay teens, unless he intended them to drop to the floor.

The first box contained running shoes, not just any running shoes, but Adidas trail shoes, like the best, Supernova Riot. Another gift had new sweats, running gloves and face protection.

"Good idea. No one will know you run with a virginous teenager," I told him.

Randy chuckled. "Unless Rudolph caves in, you're staying that way."

"Rudolph has Blitzson, I have Pope Randy the guardian of all virginous gay boys," I said with a pout and gave him a pose of an innocent boy's rear with a twist. I almost cracked his abstinence, but he broke his stare, wiped his forehead and ran for the kitchen--I assume for ice.

The third box was small, really small. I would have wrapped it in a larger box, really large, then let the person keep opening boxes until they came to this tiny one. Randy is far more practical. Inside was a note: YOU WOULD LOOK SEXY WEARING THIS. Sounded way too familiar.

Under a piece of cotton was my birth stone, shaped into an earring. I thought it was beautiful. Randy wanted to play doctor, though I'm not much into pain. A little ice, antiseptic, and I had a hole in my ear with a stud. Best thing, while he's doing all this, I'm naked. Took me four months to befriend a sex offender and be naked in his arms. Okay, maybe not quite in his arms, but we were close and he had my ear in his fingers. To me that was a real turn-on.

I admired my new adornment through the bottom of a frying pan, while Randy stood behind me, his chin on my shoulder. "You are sexy," I said at the reflection.

"Don't get conceited," Randy said.

"I meant you, silly. When is it your turn?"

"I'll consider it," he said, smacked me on the rear end again, like there was a sign there: SPANK HERE! So far it was the closest I was getting to being felt up.

I turned around and held him around the waist. If I'd pushed my groin forward I would have lost my concentration. "Thanks, Randy. I'm sorry there wasn't a present under there for you."

He smiled and swept his hand around the room at all the new furniture and decorations.

"I don't know why you came into my life, Richie, and I don't deserve to have a boy, naked to boot, standing in front of me. Especially one that every gay boy in the world would give their right arm to hold in their arms."

The embarrassment made my face go all red. "Mr. Sumter, I love you more than you know, and a human heart sees far more than the eyes can ever acknowledge or a mind can comprehend. I read that on a T-shirt. The last part, I mean. The, I love you, was all my thinking."

His laugh was contagious and made me get a hard-on. He squeezed me in spite of the boner, then kissed my lips. Boy can that guy kiss. Even my bare toes tingled. I'm glad that God has such a sense of humor that, when your dick just feels like it wants to explode, it does. If that doesn't label me one-hundred percent gay, what does?

Randy dropped me off at my house, but this time I made sure it was right in front. Parked in the driveway was my brother's car, a new Camaro that or father had bought him for graduation. Even from prison my father had pull.

Entering the house, all these faces glared at me with a Christmas tree as their guiding light. "Who are you?" That's not exactly what was said, just what was implied.

"Hi!" I remarked and waved to my supportive siblings.

"Where'd you get the shoes?" My mother asked.


Rob just sat there all smug with his Princeton sweatshirt on. He couldn't wait to take sides with Mom. "Our mother asked you a question."

"And I gave her my answer. It's my story, stick with it."

"Still a smart ass," he said.

"Still a control freak," I countered. This, he said, I said, could have takin' up most of the morning. "It's Christmas morning, guys. Come on, this is no time for an inquisition." That's when Marcy shrieked. She saw the stud in my ear, so this wasn't exactly the transition to the presents I had hoped.

"What the hell were you thinking?" Mom thought it was her turn again.

"I'm almost sixteen. Kids at school have everything from nipple rings to, well, down there. Who cares, it's my ear."

"You're truly the family misfit," Rob told me.

"Your attempts at psychoanalysis doesn't fit your psychopathy," I responded. "Shouldn't you be abusing animals, or something?"

"You're lucky this is Christmas, punk." He was getting rather melodramatic. Rob can be so prissy when he gets hot.

"Or what? Hit me like you did when I was younger? Big man gets his rocks off picking on younger brothers. I can't believe the Ivy League hasn't figured you out yet, or are they still investigating the series of date rapes on campus."

Rob stood up, which allowed Jared to play the rescuer. He quickly got between Rob and me to say, "He's not worth ruining our Christmas over."

"Thank you, Dr. Phil," I replied.

"Enough of this!" Mom was near frantic, if not stressed out. "We don't need our family torn apart by you boys fighting! Your father wouldn't stand for this."

I felt like saying that Dad would use me as a scapegoat to protect his favorite son. I'd be picking myself off the floor if he was here. When Rob sat down, though his eyes still bore 'you're dead' toward me, I moved over to sit next to Janice. She played the neutral part, but examined my ear when no one was looking.

Marcy saved the morning by scampering to the tree and began to pass out presents. There was embarrassment and a tinge of shame when I was given a present by someone. I knew I was the pariah of the family, a boy who didn't fit in and nobody really knew me, except, maybe, Janice. Even she failed to notice I was totally in love with a thirty-eight-year old male. Why couldn't I express that I was on top of the world every time my eyes saw Randy? What a great feeling, but I couldn't tell anyone. That sucked!

With every present, another shirt or sweater appeared before me. The twins opened up Speedo MP3 players for underwater use in the pool. Jared got golf clubs, while Rob opened to two new tennis racquets. Janice received a wireless keyboard, while Marcy was overwhelmed with all the cosmetics and jewelry she had hoped for. Myself, more clothes, then finally a CD I had been wanting from Janice.

When the gifts were passed out I didn't want to believe I hadn't received anything from Rob or Jared. I had bought them DVD movies that had just been released. A smile came from Jared with a "Thanks." Rob paid me no mind. Marcy had bought me a Penn State pullover cap. I had to wonder what dollar store she picked this up. I tossed it to Tracy, who liked the school.

I stayed upbeat because I would have cried if I hadn't faked being pleased. Usually I'd be crawling over to the twins to play their new video games, or compare some electronic gadget. They didn't invite, so I pretended indifference.

An hour later wrapping paper was all swooped up and the room was as tidy as if Christmas never existed. By this time I went to my room to put away clothes that I might not ever wear. I wasn't about to hide out of fear, so I moved slowly downstairs and saw everyone moving to and fro but my older brothers. I can't say what gave me the feeling, but even my mother appeared to ignore my existence. Her expression was one of someone hiding a secret, like coming into a room and everyone shuts up.

Out of curiosity I looked out the dining room window and saw my brothers' car gone. I sprang to get my sweat top on, then my gloves and wool cap.

Within seconds I was running toward Randy's home, slipping and sliding in the slush and giving my new shoes far more usage than I wanted. The best thing, the grip and traction amazed me, which helped my momentum stay steady.

Halfway there I saw this vehicle coming around a curve way down the road. I leaped a barbwire fence to hide behind a tree with snow up to my thighs. When the car sped by, it was my brother's. Anger began to build up in my gut, followed by fear and panic. Faster and faster I ran until I turned into Randy's entrance and saw the car tracks of the Camaro.

The front door was wide open when I sprinted upon the porch. Inside, Randy had his right arm bent across his chest, holding his shoulder. The place had been smashed, including the moose's antlers.

"Those assholes!" I shouted.

"Richie! You know I don't like that type of language under my roof."

"God, Randy, when are you going to grow some balls and fight back against these bastards who call you names? They are not going to disrespect my friend or me!" By this time I'm hustling all over, getting aspirin and two pillow cases. The kids in eighth grade used to call me Mr. Nurse in first aid class because I took it so seriously.

Randy was trying to hide the pain when I examined his arm. With my version of a sling, I managed to immobilize his arm. We both knew it was broken. "How'd they get to you?"

"They stormed right in and the one with the crewcut swung right into my arm. While he threatened me with the bat cocked, the other went around smashing the furniture. Their departing remark was, if they ever found out I was around you again, they'd finish the job."

I ran for a glass of water and made sure he took two aspirin. Too pissed to even talk, my eyes scanned the room again to see his speaker system smashed to bits. Randy loved his music and it saddened me that my own brothers had done this to another person. This was no less than a declaration of war.

"I'll be back," is all I said and departed for the front door. Though I heard Randy call my name twice, I didn't want to hear a forgiveness speech. I was glad I glanced to the rear of the house because the truck had its front window crushed in. General Pickett would not have attacked if he'd seen my eyes.

My inclination was to race home, but the first time I slipped on the ice it was time to settle my stride while the anger built like an over-heated volcano. Running up the driveway I stopped alongside the Camaro. The baseball bat was in the back seat. Feeling this weapon that my brother had used to hurt Randy was no less than having a submachine gun in my hands. First went the front window, then the rear. A two for one special.

No more than four major hits to each, I admired my work as both my brothers came sprinting out of the house. Just seeing Rob, I swung and, if he hadn't stopped dead in his tracks and swung his hips back, he would have gotten the barrel right in the groin. Jared tried to be sneaky and approach me from the rear. Three back and forth swings had him backing up until he tumbled in the snow.

"You're fucking crazy!" Rob yelled at me, circumventing my intent to do battle to inspect his car. He cussed a blue streak and swore that every dollar was coming out of my ass.

I screamed, "You assholes! You fuck with my friend, you fuck with me!" They both looked scared because I was truly a maniac with an agenda. Jared whipped out my underwear from his pocket.

"Don't pretend these aren't yours! Twenty-eight-thirty," he read the waistband and held the stained garment for my mother to see, as she stood like a frozen statue by the front door.

Too pissed to respond, I walked right by my mother, only pausing for a second to vent. "I swear on your mother's grave that he never touched me sexually." Mom knows how much I loved my grandmother.

Tracy patted my shoulder on my way inside. He was always intimidated by our older brothers, though he stayed supportive to me.

First stop, Rob's room. I picked up his alarm clock and hit a solid shot across the room. "Home run!" I shouted. One swing about chest high took out six swimming and football trophies. I lifted his graduation picture, the one he took with his girlfriend, tossed them both up in the air and made perfect contact, sending glass every which way. His favorite baseball, signed by Mark McGuire, I hit through his window out into the front yard. "Home run, baby! You cheated anyway, McGuire!" I was glad the ball flew out of its plastic container.

I almost shattered his Bose speakers, but these would replace Randy's, so I grabbed them to put them in the closet across the hall. I went back and finished demolishing whatever confronted my tastes. Across the bathroom, I entered Jared's room. Over a hundred CDs and DVDs went flying; each one picked up individually to give me batting practice. Framed glass pictures of our trips were cemented into the walls to blend in with the new holes, thanks to a 34-30 Louisville Slugger. After opening the window I tossed two thousand baseball cards into the air, each landing on the snow-covered back lawn, like late remnants of fall leaves; some of these cards were as old as the 1960s.

Janice was at the doorway when I turned. "They left," is all she said. I told her what happened at Randy's.

This bit of information that my brothers had simply hi-tailed it in retreat disappointed me, because I wanted to see the pain on their faces with their own personal items destroyed. Much like General Meade should have sprinted after Robert E. Lee to kick his ass. Having this satisfaction dismissed, I dropped the bat and went to my room. No one bothered me for hours, our Christmas dinner long forgotten. If they did eat I wasn't invited. When the anger subsided I shook, not knowing where that super strength came from, nor the total loss of self-control.

I waited until early evening to return to Randy's. He was gone and the house was locked up tighter than Ft Knox. I was privy to where an extra key was hid and prayed he didn't deny me this. It would mean he had given up on me. Under a board in the rocker swing on the porch I found the house key.

Inside nothing had been cleaned up, so I made myself a peanut butter and banana sandwich, before my cleanup began. It was well beyond dark when I finished, but Randy had yet to return. With glue, tape, and ingenuity, I fixed as much as I could. In my dad's military duffel bag I took out the speakers and threw out the old ones. Just to remind me of Randy, I put on the Bee Gees and knew the words to a few songs after two hours.

Not thinking about the flue, black smoke was everywhere when I lit the fireplace. This took another hour to clean. By ten I had a roaring fire and lay naked on this brown bear rug in front of the fireplace. Returning to my house was not an option that night.

I realize many boys and girls have worse Christmases than I did. Maybe not so violent or confrontational, but depressing Christmases, nonetheless. By midnight I crawled in Randy's bed and smelled his pillow. My nose picked up his body odors and I wished I was in his arms. When the sun rose I was still alone in that warm bed.







The cabin's air was so cold the blankets cracked when I moved. With one quick sprint I darted toward the fireplace to start some kindling for a fire. Snow had accumulated on top of the grate. Being way too adventurous and daring I ran outside with nothing on but a face of determination. Out to the wood pile alongside the house I gathered three logs to carry them inside.

My penis had even ducked for cover, but then I jumped up and down during the placement of each log in position. When the ice melted, the logs began to sizzle and burn. The rush of warm air heated my body, while my hands kept brushing over my arms, the pinkness finally replacing the white flakes on my torso.

Jumping back into bed, there was an awesome sense of accomplishment to heat the house for Randy's return. When I woke back up it was ten o'clock and no Randy. I humped the bed with a fantasy that Randy was on top. Thankfully he didn't return while the blankets were rolled back to dry the sheet.

Breakfast was easy because I liked to cook. I swept on one of Randy's Poplin shirts, lumpy around the shoulders and chest, yet long enough to droop to my thighs. I discovered sweaters and wintry duds to do my outdoor chores. First thing I did on this cold crisp, blue-skied day was break the ice on the steps. I had almost done a full somersault when I went to retrieve the wood; my body had sunk into three feet of snow. Second job was to repair the mailbox. I figured Randy didn't get mail anyway, but inside were three letters and his newspaper.

Back to the house I took the hatchet and split more firewood to add to the cord below this makeshift overhang. With all the newspapers stacked up, the shelves all got cleaned with a new cover, in addition to re-stacking the plates, cups, bowls and saucers where they were more reachable for the cook--that's me. Inside one of the drawers I saw my Bowie knife and remembered that I had left it here the day I'd shot the deer. For the time being it was safe to just leave this in the kitchen.

The stove was next, immaculately free of grease when my elbow rubbing was done with it. The refrigerator had an overall from dishes I didn't recognize and possible organic mold that wasn't there for a science project.

I still had five hundred dollars left, so his shelves would be reloaded, along with this refrigerator. Why the guy didn't have Lucky Charms is beyond me.

By mid-afternoon I was tired of waiting for him, so I went on a run. The trails were beautiful and easy to jog in the warm sun. My shower was hot and soothing, finally giving in to my desire to orgasm. I was rather proud of myself, considering that this jerk off session was only my second one of the day.

The pizza man didn't make me wait too long by the mailbox. I paid him for the large pizza with a five-dollar tip, figuring he didn't much appreciate coming way out in the boonies on this delivery. I ate slowly, only half-a pizza in case Randy came home. I put the rest in the freezer.

Bored and restless, part of my genetic traits Marcy and I shared, my inquisitiveness surfaced--we're snoops. Immediately I found a few scrapbooks, then my eyes got wider. Randy had been married with two boys, both were now a year or two older than me. Inside this scrapbook were pictures of his parents and three older sisters. This sounds stupid, but I never considered Randy having parents or siblings. Maybe I thought everyone hated him like our community. It was a sad way to think when I gave it a second of contemplation. His boys were really handsome, just like their dad, as they were standing on a large boulder with a mountain range around them. I wondered if Randy had taken the picture.

A photo of him in a military uniform was kind of funny, since he must have been eighteen when it was taken. I slid this in my duffel bag, then cancelled that decision. I had my faults, but I wasn't a thief. By putting the math together, Randy married at nineteen and had his first child a few months later. This had me worried and embarrassed--I've been hitting on a straight guy? How pathetic can that be?

He had his college diploma slid in between the pages. A Bachelor of Science degree from Slippery Rock University. I'd heard of it, though kids called it Slimy Pebble. His Honorable discharge from the United States Air Force was on the following page.

This was truly an invasion of privacy, so I placed the book back in the drawer, but grabbed another. The contents were even more personal because it contained pictures of his athletic career and coaching. There were photos with boys as young as eleven and twelve on a wrestling team in these singlet. I scanned the faces of so many bright smiling faces, scanning their expressions for a boy who appeared distressed, defeated, bothered, and desperate. Boy for boy their faces were of the morning sun, bright and cheerful. Coach Sumter stood in the back row with his arm around one cherry youngster, as gorgeous as my twin brothers. The boy beamed like he was next to his father, yet I knew this was one of those who Randy had found sexually appealing. Hell, I'd even given the kid a blow job.

An honest perception crossed my mind; Randy cared for this boy beyond the sexual attraction. I could see it in his eyes. This attention was about goals, dreams, a love between man and boy that most adults could not even fathom. Their relationship was one this young man would cherish into adulthood.

In eighth grade I did this book report on Greek culture, though my teacher thought that I shouldn't read it in class. I read it anyway and quoted Socrates: "Intense Eros was experienced more often in homosexuality than in heterosexuality, and it's taken absolutely for granted that close contact with a beautiful, grateful, admiring young male was a virtually irresistible temptation." One boy in class threw a paper wad at me and threatened me with close contact with his fist.

Even Plato's words would have agreed with Randy: "Spiritual stage of love: here the older man loves the younger because his comeliness is a symbol and reminder of pure and eternal beauty, and the younger loves the older because his wisdom opens a way to understanding and honor."

There were other pictures, singular shots and pairings of Randy with a boy, but every athlete fell under my scrutiny of ones Randy might choose. I was being the selector, the licentious voyeur. Toward the rear of the book I had my laughs, Randy as a twelve-year old Little Leaguer. He had just pitched a no-hitter and had his arm shooting up in the air. The blossoming fourteen-year old in his track uniform, then a prom picture next to a very pretty girl. I'd never kid him, but his pose was gay--just the stance, that's all. He had no interest in this girl, I told myself. Why couldn't I have been born twenty-two years earlier?

In the closet were several boxes. I pulled out two and put them by the fireplace. Inside were the remnants of being arrested, tried and convicted of a crime that made people cringe. Why? I wasn't sure, unless you were abducted or forced to do something against your will. That was how I saw it. No one could convince me that any of the boys in those pictures were abused. It wasn't so--couldn't be.

I read a few pages of transcripts; a couple of boys who testified that Randy had given them oral copulation against their will. "Fuckin' liars!" I swore out loud after reading the cross examination. Anyone could tell they were lying. A copout to save face, to appease their parents that they didn't like getting their cocks sucked. Bullshit! I'd do the same thing if I was twelve--blame the adult and play victim. 'He told me to do it!' or 'I said no, but he sucked it anyway. I don't know how it got hard, then he told me not to tell.' Other boys admitted to frivolous play that they didn't think was sexual or serious. A few witnesses said they never told the investigator things that the prosecutor drilled them with. When I finished the whole scene it reminded me of our locker room at school. Our phys. ed. teacher could clown with the best of us and had more sexual jokes than a senior.

Taking my foot, I shoved the box aside and reached for the second one. What I wanted to do was burn the first one, but that wasn't going to happen. The first letter I pulled out of an envelope gave me second thoughts.

Dear Sumter:

I've waited many years to write this because of the embarrassment you caused me. I trusted you as my baseball coach, even thinking you liked me. The sex we had was all new to me, but it was exciting and I felt accepted. As the years went by I actually thought I was gay, even having many relationships with other males. For years I thought it was my fault. I looked forward to the attention, even pursuing you. I was as sick as you are.

Fortunately a man found me and convinced me otherwise. Thank God for moral men. I'm now married with a child. I hate gays and everything they stand for. My son will never be alone with a coach. It's too bad you didn't get a life sentence!

Your victim

The letter got my dander up. I've heard about this conversion therapy. It sucked, and a teacher at school said it was unethical. How dare he write such a letter to Randy! I almost didn't pick up the next envelope.


Thanks for sending that recommendation for grad school. I finally graduated with honors, but there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of you. It's just so unfair you being in there. You've never hurt a boy in your life, as my own life has been blessed by your love and direction when I was a boy.

I can't imagine how low my self-esteem was until I met you. I knew you had other boys, but every boy you coached you treated as if they were your own son. You should have never gotten married; a discussion we had a few times in bed. I know the reasons why, which reflects on our society's warped expectations.

I would like to visit you when I have the chance. Know that there will always be a place in my heart for you, and I'm sorry you have to endure a very unfair punishment.


Love you always, Ryder


Temptation wanted me to throw one letter in the fire, and it wasn't Ryder's. Shuffling through the box, most of the stuff was prison paperwork or therapy junk.

I lugged out another box and discovered a collection of gay material. Hubba-hubba! Renewed determination shot threw my veins. Randy was officially gay! The various books and magazines had more explicit photos than I had ever seen, even tweens like myself. I put these aside for later viewing, then dragged out the last box which was heavier than the rest. Inside were numerous manuscripts, as I inspected the titles and author--all the same, Alan Stroup. Most of these appeared to be gay novels, so I read a few pages and knew this would be a project for future use.

I was on a roll. My eyes caught sight of Randy's laptop on his nightstand. Wouldn't you know it, I had to have a password. That's what teenagers are good at, so I ran back in by the fire and pulled out one of the scrapbooks. Inside I found his sons' picture and remembered the names. I typed in Bryce first--no luck. Lance was the lucky code. Instantly another manuscript came up, one that wasn't finished--Richie. Hey, that's me! This was way too much, but also way too short. The most interesting thing, the author was Alan Stroup. Randy was using a pseudonym to author his books. How cool!

My fingers searched through the files, too obsessed with being nosey than protecting someone's privacy. I saw something resembling a diary, but Randy called it his journals. Apparently he had had some form of therapy in prison. I stuck my finger in my throat with the mere thought of such boredom of someone doing an autopsy on my mind.

Slowly I read the comments to the realization that I was involved almost daily in his thoughts and feelings. I had found the key into the man's mind and heart, the most invasive thing I've ever done and felt tremendous guilt for doing it. So I read on.

Each journal started with an event, like, (I met this boy today in the woods.) Then an assortment of high risks, like Jumping to Conclusions and Being around Children. That one ticked me off and, if he would have been there, I'd kicked him in the shins. I wasn't a child!

Following these, he had to put his thoughts. (I can't figure this boy out. He's either a scout from a parent or a plant for the police.)

Really! This is what he wrote. Like I'm some kind of CIA agent to get in his pants. Okay, I admit, it's the type of job I'd take, but they would have to give me three targets a day and wait for the orgasm before they'd arrest the guy.

If you ever want a slap in the face, just read what someone thinks about you. Gee, am I really that rotten of a person? In successive days I'm shallow, insecure, aggressive, naive, and anal retentive. With all that I'm surprised I'm not in a mental institute. Randy went on and said I have this narcissistic rage when criticized, which goes in part to my low self-esteem. Well, at least I have an esteem!

How dare he say I react to criticism! That's when the lights went on. Not in the house, but in my head. Everything Randy was putting down was right on target. He wasn't being judgmental, but examining me so I could change myself. In slow and non-judgmental ways he had been trying to help me. I just hadn't been letting him get into my life, like I wanted into his. Then he had this column called Challenges. The other remarks were in Thoughts.

CHALLENGE: (Richie is a good kid. No different than when I was young, facing a world hostile to boys like me who are afraid of rejection. The boy is struggling to find his identity, to create a new person that someone will like. Sometimes he tries too hard. Until the boy lovingly embraces his own existence, he has no context in which to love another person or the world or indeed life itself.)

I thought hard about what he wrote. Truth never avoids us, we avoid it. Certain phases stuck to my senses, though they were more for Randy's thinking than mine. 'A good teacher discourages dependency. He empowers the boy, not himself.' 'Teenagers' shame is limitless. Even those who choose to rebel can't escape the feeling that something is wrong with them.'

He wrote on a journal in October that I lacked empathy. I had no idea what it was like being a sex offender. D'oh! But then I read his challenge. (Of course the boy, or anyone else, can't comprehend what that label entails. Labels are meant to categorize, to put people in small groups to compare oneself to another. He's very brave for his lack of censure of my past.)

I really liked the one on Christmas Eve. THOUGHTS: (This boy is absolutely beautiful, my own Hyacinth, like virtue, symmetry, and order. My attempts to hide with my guilt and shame, only to discover a work of art as a living creature, with head, trunk, and limbs all vitalized and unified by one idea. To even glimpse at this youth is against everything I've put into abstinence. It shows I'm weak and vulnerable to my desires. One kiss and I'm hopelessly in love for maybe the first time in my life.)

If I was as narcissistic as Randy thought I'd be jumping for joy. I did stand up and twirl around. First of all, I'm not beautiful and hardly a piece of art. My penis is pretty artistic, but that's because I can still mold it on a daily basis. I sensed that Randy was questioning whether he could love me, love any boy or man for what he had done. His challenge made me smile.

CHALLENGE: (Loving others is a profound way to add love to our lives--and, equally important, make anger, hostility and stress disappear. Loving not only brightens each day and makes me feel good about myself, it also makes others naturally want to return that love to me.)

"That's so true," I agreed after giving it a moment of consideration. His last journal log was on Christmas day. I was shocked at the lack of resentment and anger.

(Compassion shows genuine caring while preserving the person's self-esteem. An angry person is again angry with himself when he returns to reason. I have much to teach Richie if I can reach his heart.)

I was taken aback by this and shut down the computer. My actions were a real flaw in my way of thinking. I reflected back on what Randy said were issues with me: I knew I was unbalanced; I felt weak; I feared that others might be better than me; when I'm annoyed, irritable, or hostile, I hope that by showing my anger others will back off and leave me alone. In a way I was much more a problem child than he was a sex offender. Then something I read hit my brain two hours after I saw it in his legal box. It just occurred to me what solutions I did have.

Racing back in front of the fireplace, I opened the first box again. There it was under the listing of all those penal codes. Age of consent in Pennsylvania was 16. Sixteen! Like 36 days away! I scanned the punishment if Randy would have given into my seduction--LIFE SENTENCE, because of his prior conviction.

"You're stupid, Richie Adler. I deserve to be kicked in the ass for acting like that." I realized then the responsibility of consenting for a sexual act. It was liberating, but carried all forms of accountability. Those words I got from Randy's writing. It was like he was speaking to me without him being here.

The clock said 1:35 in the morning. That's a good teenager time, so I checked the stack of books on the mantel above the fireplace. All those manuscripts were actual books. This was so cool. I picked A BLUE AND GRAY PERSPECTIVE, BY A BOY SOLDIER. Only Randy could have written that. I read until five and couldn't wait to wake up to read about Jeremy Stroup in 1861. Naturally I kept my S.O.P (Standard Operating Procedures) by masturbating for the third time in 24 hours. It's important to stay consistent.

On the third day, with tears in my eyes after finishing this novel, I called home. Janice answered, so I told her to tell Mom I was fine, getting my head straight, and roughing it out on my own. Janice said that Mom wanted to speak with me upon my return, so all I could think of was I'd be at some boys' school for juveniles by the end of the week. Janice made sure to imply that Mom wished to apologize for my brothers' actions. I told her I had my own apologies ready.

Every day, more like all day, I did a great falsetto of Barry Gibb. I had the words down pat.

Before I departed I left Randy a note: [To my best friend: I won't apologize for being loyal and sticking up for your rights and mine. You've taught me that friendship is about mutual respect and compensating for each other's weaknesses. I appreciate your patience with me. At first my love for you was about lust, but now I love you because of who you are and how you make me feel when I'm around you. I'm not sad because you're my only friend, but I thank God on a daily basis because you accept me into your life. I miss you. Richie]

I locked the cabin tight and returned for New Years. Mom and I did have that talk, a meeting of hearts you could say. I admitted I'd been out of control, a son who lacked respect for my parent, and I was very sorry. Mom said she had asked Rob and Jared to talk to Mr. Sumter on what his intentions were with this friendship, but never in a million years did she expect violence and unquestionable brutality. She had told my older brothers to leave that day. Though she didn't condone this friendship, there would be a lull for me to figure out that this was unhealthy for a teenager to be infatuated with a man of 38.

Janice was cool with driving me to the grocery store, where I bought a whole cart of food for Randy's refrigerator. When we arrived, Randy still hadn't returned home. Janice was impressed with my decorative sense and liked the idea that we do a karaoke for Randy on the Bee Gees.

I pulled out from my pocket a picture of Randy in his military uniform.

"Richie! He's younger than you are," she joked, but he did look really young.

"Yeah, for thirty-eight, he keeps looking younger every year." I laughed, which gave that one up. I did show her a current picture of him with one of his sisters. Janice thought he looked brutally handsome and she might be interested. Yeah, like that's going to happen.

At home I did my single of Heartbreaker, and Janice and I did Island in the Sun together. Marcy and the twins were soon in the room wanting to make this a family album. We weren't exactly the Osmond's, but close. It's when we were finished, and only Janice and I remained, did she give me a hug.

"I loved my old brother, but this one is really improved. What happened?"

"Cupid, I think."







Every day I ran over to Randy's to assure that the house was secure. I left another note with a self-addressed return envelope, with stamp, so he could reply. It simply said: My heart is like a runner at the starting line in wait of your smile. You'll like the revised me. Happy New Years. P.S. With your permission, I'd like to run with you.

With the start of the school year, every day I checked the mail box. My face got longer as days went by, but I kept running and training, waiting for his reply. If he didn't want me to bother him, I'd respect his wishes. On Friday the letter came. I ripped it open to two handwritten words: PERMISSION GRANTED. One mile away and this letter took two days.

I, I ran to his house. Randy had opened the door before my knock. His arm was in a plastic sleeve, but his left wrapped me up.

"Get your butt in here! I want you to hear my new album," he told me as my hand slipped into his.





Part 2



Randy smiled as he put the disc in that Janice and I made. Practically in tears from the start I couldn't help but lose it when I sang along, "Why do you have to be a heartbreaker? Is there a lesson I never knew?" My father said crying was weakness, but I don't think so. Maybe I just wanted held and to realize that all my worries were gone now that he had returned. Randy was just glad I liked the Bee Gees, not fathoming how much I'd fallen in love with him.

We were like buds again, but then he mouthed in my ear, "Thanks for taking care of the refrigerator, the wood pile, the fireplace, the boxes in the closet, and the computer."

I gulped. "Ah, right. Are you mad?"

"Learn anything?"

"You're more than just a sex offender."

"Nice try. I remember when I was a teen, I'd have the house to myself and pretty much did the same thing."

"Your dad had porn?"

One sweep over his knee and I didn't mind the spanking. When I sat up, things were a little bit more serious with me, so I asked him what I wanted to know. "Would you ever do it again?"

Randy knew what I meant. "No, I wouldn't, Richie. I thought I was giving them an education into sexuality, if not the attention a boy often desires. Did you see the two letters I received in prison?"

"Yes, but I wanted to throw one of them in the fire."

"I keep them because it's a reminder. I never had a boy complain or tell, so harm was never considered. I didn't consider that they were too young to understand the repercussions or the consequences when it was found out. They couldn't consent to begin with. Most boys aren't emotionally ready to distinguish the good pleasure from the confusion on why an adult would choose them for sex. Did I harm every boy? Not hardly, but is it worth the crap shoot that some boys will take it as an event that just happened in life, while others may be harmed mentally, emotionally, even spiritually from mere touching?"

"I don't get it, Randy. My dad has beaten me to where I had a black eye, but no one considers that abuse, nor is my father called a child beater and has to register. It's not fair. Hit me or touch my penis, I'll take the sex part any day. As far as I'm concerned, you were a good person who made mistakes, if they were mistakes at all. See, I've been studying, and Xenophon describes in the cyropaedia about the education of Cyrus the Great that a man should concentrate upon making a boy a healthy, able, and honorable man; the youth learns the virile sports, the art of war, the habit of silent obedience, how to love another man, and the capacity for effective and persuasive command over subordinates. Cyrus grew up to be an outstanding citizen, so that proves his education was successful."

"Spoken like a true mathematician. You're kinda young to be a lawyer, but I could've have used you in court. I'm afraid you're talking cultures, Richie, a time when men and boys were permitted to indulge in love without prejudice of gender for obedience and affection. Women have since voiced their possession of their children, a dynamic that has created children as these angelic, innocent creatures. Females are very much different than males. If girls had the same libido as boys, there are not enough prisons to hold offenders. Sadly, no one understands that my relationships with boys resulted in positive behaviors; notwithstanding, great improvement in school, happiness, non-violence, respect, and massive success in sports."

"Makes sense to me. How did you get caught if no one told on you?"

"A mother overheard her son talking about an initiation at school, six months after it happened and I'd left the school. That doesn't make the act anymore right, but there were a few lies. The boys had no fault with what happened; it was getting caught that was embarrassing."

"I knew it! Kids lie; they do all the time at school," I admitted.

"My fault, though. I put them in a position where they thought they had to lie. What boy wants others to think he likes getting his penis sucked or jacked off? Except you."

"Even telling someone doesn't seem to get the job accomplished. When do people get the message?"

"Don't be in such a hurry."

"Easy for you to say. Sixteen years went by like this. (Snap) Two times sixteen equals thirty-two; two times thirty-two is sixty-four. See I'm practically a senior citizen and I'm still a virgin."

"I'm glad you haven't lost your sense of humor. I'd go running with you tomorrow but I have a lecture in Philadelphia."

"Can I go with you?"

"Richie, it'll be boring. A group of therapists, scholars, and educators."

"What's your part?"

"I lecture, they listen."

"I'm going....uh, with your permission."

"Prepare to get really antsy."

"Antsy is having constant erections and no one cares that this boy is being driven insane with passion."

"You're so poetic and intellectual you're scary."

We went running and then I made dinner. That man cannot cook to save his life. While he made the salad I checked his wallet in his pants to find out his birthday. Two weeks behind mine. That was so radical.

One of my few talents is my ability to put together a great meal. I had already prepared double mushroom and Marsala cream fettuccine, salmon fillets with dill couscous and spicy kale for Randy. Now he was getting my special succotash frittata. He humored me by bowing and saying he wasn't worthy of my food. Forget getting to his heart through his stomach, I wanted his whole body!

Sitting at the table I was quite daring in asking him if his sons ever came to visit, and how about his wife? Found out he was divorced and his sons talked to him once in a while, but had yet to visit. Each time I reached for his wine glass he slapped my hand.

"I've had wine before," I admitted from having parents who didn't care.

"Not in my house you haven't. That's all I need is for you to go home a bit tipsy."

"Who said I had to go home?" Fortunately I received a kiss from his lips. It was as close to alcohol that I was going to get.

"They would like you, my boys, that is," Randy changed the subject, but I could see the pause. He wiped his mouth and gave me a thumbs up for the food. "Both my boys are straight, so this gay thing isn't something they're real comfortable with. My youngest boy is more liberal, but having a friend as young as you are would likely cause speculation."

"Why, I'm practically legal. In two years my country would like to put a gun in my hands to hunt the Taliban, if I allow them. People are hypocrites. If I was a gorgeous girl dating an older guy, they'd think I was real mature."

"I'd still be labeled a dirty old man."

"You're not dirty or old, just sexy. Let them eat dirt."

"You're quite the debater, young man."

"Whew! I thought you said masturbator there for a second. You'd be right with that one, also." Having a string bean put over my nose wasn't all that bad. I decided to pry further because I cared about the guy.

"Randy, I know it's none of my business, but why were you gone so long? I really missed you."

"You're right, it's none of your business," he replied, but then he glanced at me and softened his nature. I realized I was the first to intrude on this private side of his life that was off-limits until I snooped. Maybe because he saw me as a kid that I was able to get away with this intrusiveness. He put his hand on my shoulder and allowed me the last sip of his wine.

"I'm sorry for snapping at you, Richie. I was invited to my parents' home in Massachusetts for the holidays." He paused in deep thought, and I thought the explanation was enough. There was much more on his mind. "You have no idea what it is like being the black sleep of the family and having to go to family functions. At first I wasn't going to go, afraid of being judged, given advice, or just being this person everyone felt sorry for. I was supposed to leave on the twenty-fourth, but, and don't you dare laugh, I was hoping you'd come over. I admit, you've grown on me, like a pimple on my butt."

I punched him; yet, his words meant something to me. It helped relieve my guilt of being this stalker to someone actually invited into his life.

"Guess my delay in leaving caused us both a lot of problems, but I enjoyed our Christmas Eve together," Randy stated with a feeling that presented another side of him that I adored. Mania came to his eyes and he humorously began to strangle me.

"Richie Adler, you have no idea what you put me through. We used to have hypotheticals during therapy group in prison. Never did they suggest that a gorgeous naked fifteen-year old would climb into bed and want to be loved. All I can say is, you're a sex offender's version of the worst possible scenario, young man. You are the eighth event of a chain only designed for seven. I'm afraid I am not that strong of a man to resist another night of the smell of a boy and an erect penis poking me in the leg."

I laughed, but his hands went tighter around my neck until he finally kissed me. Randy can be so romantic when he's mad at me.

"I just wanted to make your Christmas something special. It wasn't any easier for me with the smell of the man of my dreams next to me. It's not like you didn't have a hard-on when you fell out of bed."

"You weren't supposed to notice that."

"My gaydar is like a cat scan when it comes to heartbeat, blood pressure, and boners. You're lucky I'm such an obedient son, or I'd been in your shorts before you could have said, 'Oh, Richie, don't....stop.....don't stop.'"

Randy cracked up. "I wish your older brothers were as obedient and gay appreciative."

"That's why you need me around, to protect you against homophobic retards, like my brothers."

"Good point, but I can't put you in harms way. After you ran off on Christmas day, I knew the holidays would be stressful enough for both of us if I stuck around. I stopped by the hospital to have my arm checked and put in an air splint, then drove on to my parent's home. I didn't mean to cause you worry by not leaving a note. I have this thirteen-year old nephew who thinks I have something to do with the Earth's rotation and the sun coming up. I conveyed to him that I run with a most gorgeous teenager two years older than him. Naturally, he had no problem with this and wants me to bring you next time I come." He brushed his hand alongside my cheek. No one had ever made me feel so special.

I leaned forward and hugged him. "Your nephew is very wise." I kissed him around the ear and had him melt in my arms. "I'm kind of new to all this, but I love you a whole lot, Randy Sumter."

Though it took a few seconds my words caused a smile to seep from his lips and for him to blush. I admit we grinded erections for several minutes, fully clothed, mind you. He dashed for the bathroom a minute later to finish what was ready to explode in his sweat bottoms. I know, I jacked off in the living room at the same time. Even this didn't lessen our passion for one another when we found each other's lips again. For some reason my confession was the best Christmas gift I ever gave to someone or myself.






My weekends were usually saved for my fun time. This was part of my New Year's resolution, to sacrifice my time to enjoy another's company.

Empathy, the ability to put myself in another person's position, vicariously, for better or worse, was something I was trying to improve on. Only when we were amidst a hundred suited professionals, who all looked like Freud, did I realize I was a (close) sixteen year-old with a convicted sex offender. They either scanned me like eye candy, or that I was there to plug NAMBLA, a word I learned from Randy. He said this association's membership usually end up with prison numbers. No way was I going to be responsible for sending a man to prison.

Randy's lecture was titled, MISPLACED ATTRACTION. His point was that most child molesters, exclusively boys, were homosexuals. To paraphrase his comments, which I'm sure he thought I wasn't paying attention to, most sex-crimes are motivated or brought on by a need for reassurance regarding an impaired masculinity. The isolated homosexual consciousness resorts to dreams and fantasies to reduce the stress and anxiety in his social vilification. He might be able to engage in periodic sexual encounters with minors, but he frequently does this in secrecy, keeping his isolated identity intact. Gay men can adopt a fatalism by having sex with minors; thus, he is worthy of his suffering. He is taking his personal deficiency and manifesting it in a self-destructive exploitation.

Randy said it was human nature to capture the poignancy of desire for one's beautiful "object," as well as one's dissolution into failure and personal destruction. Such celebration is centered upon a visibly fading reference; the beauty of the male as phallic idea. Moment to moment worship of masculine perfection, I believe he asserted. I wished he hadn't glanced at me when he said that. Normal human behavior then is not natural but rather habitual behavior that over a period of time has become typical in a particular society.

Later when I repeated all this to Randy in the car he thought I had brought a tape recorder. My mind has this knack of visually recording a page on a book or a lecture. Students at school find this totally weird.

I wasn't bored, to say the least. I thought of myself as a minor for another three weeks. By the end of the month I would be one of these guys who could determine when and where and with whom I would let my pecker stand up for. I didn't think Randy was making excuses for his offenses, as if blaming being a homosexual. He married to camouflage his true feelings, even hoping that a woman would change his preference.

The goal Randy lectured on was to improve sex offender therapy programs, to include possibilities of healthy adult relationships induced through attraction to their own sex through same-sex therapy. To assist the offender, he has to improve his self-esteem of who he is with respect to his sexual orientation. That's what I got out of it.

After another three lecturers, there was a break. Doctors, social workers, and other types of mental health workers found my hand to welcome me and find out why I was there. I said I was sixteen to protect Randy, but I reinforced Randy's message because I was a homosexual who clung to the invisibility conformity allowed me in school. Terrified of being exposed as different, an outsider to be ridiculed or ostracized by peers, gay boys like myself often stop thinking and stop feeling. They simply go along. Men raised their eyes wider, asking where I planned on attending college. I told them I was thinking Harvard or U. of Pennsylvania, to be close to Randy, but I didn't tell them that part. Several passed me their cards, as Randy stood to the side and wondered if I had given the lecture and not him.

A rather astute gentleman took me aside and handed me his business card. As his hand grabbed mine he slid his thumb across the back of my palm, like a cheap feel. I'm not a stupid kid. I knew what a wink meant.

"What's your take on all this, young man?"

"I'm just a guest of Mr. Sumter's," I admitted and examined this fifty-year old lecher with a Colonel Sander's white goatee. He wasn't effeminate, just overbearing with an air of executive privilege.

"Yes, yes, so you are. I heard you tell a few of my colleagues that you are gay. Do you have your own viewpoints on adolescent sexuality, say, versus adult?"

"Is there a difference?" My question surprised him and his head actually retreated a few inches.

"Well, yes. We could start with age."

"Your question is a discreet way of asking me about man/boy sex. Given that I'm an adolescent, our equipment is basically the same, versus, say, a young boy versus a man."

"Yes, yes, so it is. Equipment is hardly a prerequisite for a sexual relationship, don't you think?"

"Yes, yes, so it is," I mimicked him. "But it's a start, especially combined with the same needs and desires. Now if I played golf or a musical instrument, I could play with and discover that our techniques might vary, but our talents are equal. Maybe I have more enthusiasm and vitality, why you may have control and experience in rendition. You brought up sex, which is just another activity that we might both enjoy. Though I have seven inches, you might have five. Should that exempt us from having sex, though you might have other attributes, like money?" I knew I was setting him up, and I couldn't help but notice that Randy had his ear perked on this conversation.

"Wow! You're quite outspoken for a teenager," Dr. Hancock stated. "Mr. Sumter has had great influence on you."

"Actually, I think for myself, compared to a boy who might fall under persuasion with an adult. I know boys like sex, but should they have it with adults? They are hardly playing with the same set of cards. One is coming from experience and power, while the other is impressionable, while lacking the knowledge of its consequences or the adult's motives. The boy might have the stronger hand because he's figured out the power is his; after all, who is the real sex object here? What's next? You could offer me a baseball bat as a means to groom and persuade my cooperation. Maybe pat me on the shoulder and ask me out for a sundae, before placing your hand on my knee and suggesting your place." I said it loud enough he was becoming very uncomfortable.

"Uh, well, I didn't mean to infer...."

"Is this where I pretend to play dumb and help you save face?"

Randy hustled over with a smile. "Dr. Hancock, I see you've met Richie. One of those gifted students you'd rather not have show up for class. Richie, Dr. Hancock is a psychology professor at Princeton."

"Oh. I have a brother who goes there; I'd appreciate it if you would flunk him." The fellow laughed, but I held a straight face.

The shrink felt saved by a colleague, as he brought out a handkerchief to wipe his brow. "Quite a student you have here, Mr. Sumter. The boy has a subversive compulsion to think. He is, in fact, so intelligent, he's dangerous. Your protégé?"

I was thinking, 'Good dig, when he has another adult here to save him.' My comeback was cut off by Randy.

"Just a neighborhood boy who's interested in nuclear physics. He wanted to come, but I told him he would likely be totally bored. Richie insisted under the pretense that the most impressive spectacle in life is the sight of a virtuous adolescent steadily pursuing his course in the midst of vicious and licentious people." Randy chuckled, ruffled my hair, and I pretended to tease this old fart by melting to Randy's touch.

Just as my mouth began to move, Randy cut me off again. "Richie attends ME ACADEMY."

"I've never heard of it," Dr. Hancock stated.

I love it when Randy tries to get over on me. My head twisted to return serve. "Randy, it's MEADE ACADEMY now, after I had our school stencil our name vertically on our shorts instead of horizontal."

Randy had trouble keeping a straight face, while this psychologist was totally confused. Randy held up his palm to stop the doctor's inquisition.

"It's a long story, Dr. Hancock," he said and had me cracking up.

I put my head practically on my man's shoulder. "We should adjourn so we can continue on that Riemann hypothesis," I told Randy with my best lascivious eyes.

Randy played along and put his arm around my shoulders. "Yes, of course. Excuse us, Dr. Hancock. My boy here is but a lithe morbid youth of unwholesome proclivities with an insatiable appetite for the extreme and the sensational."

"Lucky you," Dr. Hancock said and shook Randy's hand, before he spun and got the hell out of there. Randy put his finger in his throat, and I copied. "The man is lascivious, Richie. I've known him for years; once worked at John Hopkins and questioned his patients about every niche of their sexuality."

"Probably had his hands in his lap the whole time," I said and received a smile.

We were still laughing when we got in the car. "Riemann hypothesis?"

"It's a theorem yet unsolved. One of my heroes, next to you, is Alan Turing. A great mathematician, he invented the computer, though another jerk tried to take credit for it. He busted the German code in World War II, saved millions of lives, but then the English arrested him in the fifties for homosexuality with a teenager. Jerks! Alan committed suicide after they tried forcing him to take female estrogens. I hate fish and chips and everything English because of what they did to the man."

"You really thrive on interesting positions, my boy."

"So do you, like tonight. Your words were all true. Just like me, when you're a kid with a total disregard for self, an almost overwhelming sense of being less than fully human, this condition becomes endemic to gay lives."

"Those were my precise words." He glanced my way, even though it was dark on the expressway, but traffic was light. "What's your IQ?"

I sighed. "One-fifty-four. It's why teachers hate me, because I can't keep my mouth shut and I yell out the answer while they are still putting the problem on the board."

"We'll have to work with that behavior."

"Is it narcissism?"

"To a degree, but we all possess that in various ways. It's about how we get along with others, how our behavior affects them for the positive or negative. It's putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about how you would feel if someone did that to you. Envious? Jealous? 'That boy is a real know-it-all. I can't stand to be around him.' This is probably what they say behind your back.

"It's one reason why you're always trying to impress, because you don't understand that just being yourself is enough. I love Richie, the silly, yet brilliant fifteen-year old, not the boy who is arrogant or obnoxious. You have gifts, my boy, but any awareness of differences between yourself and others inevitably translates into a devalued comparison: first, you are devalued by others, then you devalue yourself. Just be you."

I sat there and contemplated the words. "You're smart."

"My IQ is like forty points shy of a fifteen-year old's. Sijeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait."

I let out a smile and put my hand on his knee, more affection than a grooming tool. "If youth only knew, if age only could. I didn't know you spoke French."

"I don't. It's a regret."

"You could change another boy's future by helping me know. My ears heard that one psychologist say that hebephilia is not a deviancy and is quite normal for both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Guess who's a hebe?"

"Only when you qualify under the political definition of readiness. Yes, I'm attracted to you and don't feel a bit guilty for it. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has its own requirements for a sexual relationship."

"What a scrooge!" I started to sing HEARTBREAKER in French, and then he joined in for a duet. Randy said it was the sexiest combo he had ever heard. My narcissism would have told him I spoke three other languages besides English. I kept my mouth shut for a change.

"So, what I hear you saying, if I spoke French in your ear, you would....." I hustled closer to him and used my index finger to circle his earlobe. This I knew totally turned him on.

Randy only chuckled, which was what I expected. He grabbed my finger to gnaw on it, but did a seductive suck before releasing my slurpy index.

"I'll never wash it," I teased. My first goal in life was to protect his future, which meant no more convictions. He finally broke his smile, a prelude to questioning if I'd be interested in those old fogies back there.

"Half those shrinks wanted to get in your pants."

"That's so sick. Let's go back," I suggested and received that adorable stare.

"Sick meaning bad or good?" Randy asked.

"Sick as in cool. Maybe they don't know the age of consent in Pennsylvania."

"Great, you're already cheating on me."

"Wrong! My loyalty isn't to be questioned." I kissed the side of his face all over, with my fingers sliding up the inside of his thigh. There wasn't much he could do about it at sixty-five miles per hour.




There was no question that Randy knew when my birthday was. I hinted it every few days. By this time I was his proof reader, the on-the-spot corrector that he never had. It drove him crazy. Mostly I was right, but my precociousness was also an asset.

My birthday was on a Friday, which meant I had dinner and cake at home, then made my way to Randy's for a double dip. This was the only time my mother appeared to accept this friendship. "Make sure you shower before you go, Richie. Janice will drive you over." We'd come a long way; she was even calling me Richie by my choice, not her's.

With all the antics and stalling I could think of, I managed to extend my visit to where Randy wouldn't possibly send me home this late. It worked. We played soldiers, laughed, wrestled, and traded kisses. In bed I was the perfect gentleman, cuddling up to Randy's shoulder and thanking him for a sumptuous chocolate cake and an enjoyable evening.

"Ever play Treasure Hunt?" I asked out of the blue. "My sis....friend and I used to play it all the time."

"Not that I can remember," he answered. I explained the rules and I went first. Always starting at the top of the head, I slowly worked downward and found his squirming spot near the armpit. I was glad he sent me south. Nipples were fun and got the result I wanted--the sheet was now a tent pole. When my finger touched his belly-button, he blurted out, "You found it!"

"Your belly button?!" I protested.

"Sure. There's some lint in there somewhere that needs discovered."

Some guys just have no imagination. He went next and was in no hurry. If he was any better I was almost put to sleep. When he slid his finger around my nipple and down toward my waist, my boner nearly jumped out of my underwear. "South!" I said with surety.

South he went, to my toes, but the blanket and sheet came off. Inside my thighs was too torturing, but he squeezed the tip of my erection to qualm its explosion just in time. When my underwear was peeled off, the world was balanced forever. Three times he had to put a stop to the impending orgasm, instructing me each time to relax my butt cheeks and breathe. My penis throbbed with anticipation. When he touched my anus, it was the final point.

"It's in there somewhere," I said humorously.

"Are you sure, Richie, that you want to do this?"

"If you want me to beg, I'll do it. I'm legal, I'm in love, and I'm yours."

He positioned himself between my legs, drawing my knees toward my chest and tongued the entry. My hips levitated and all sexual components in my body went into rapid spasm. Rimming had moved to the top of my list for enjoyment, which was an easy replacement for number one--masturbation. Randy came to his knees, bent forward and kissed me passionately, a dream come to life. Down again, saliva coated this entrance to Nirvana, a tease that had me mumbling indelible pleas, then he entered. It was the bliss of my life. I instantly gave myself a white bath which had my whole body shaking. The first squirt shot so far it looked like an icicle on the pane of glass behind the bed. I pleaded with him not to pull out.

Randy put his hand on my heart. "I've always known where the treasure is. Right here."

"True, but the lock was down there," I replied and got tickled. "It's always been yours; you simply had to ask."

His hips momentarily stopped their pumping. "I've never had a boy talk that way."

I grabbed the sides of his face to kiss him. "I'm not a boy, Mr. Sumter, but a consenting adult. Perhaps that's the difference."

He was speechless, though I think I turned him on. Never losing my erection, the urge rushed back within five minutes. We rocked together, Randy backward and me forward, as he rolled onto his back. I sat on his hips and controlled the rhythm, while his hands fondled my knobs of spongy nipples. He was definitively my other half.

Two-and-a-half hours of raw, uninhibited sex. Naked, sweating bodies of pure maleness grinding into each other with animal instincts that kept desiring more. His sex was the sampling of exotic foods, a delightful taste that never quite filled my appetite, yet prompted each successive dish. My first taste of sperm only heightened the taste buds. Like my favorite conchiglie pasta I couldn't get enough of his sex.

I loved to bottom, but was an excellent top, according to Randy. To be in love was wonderful, but I discovered that a penis was absolute nectar. Why a boy has to wait sixteen years to do this seemed silly. We showered together and knew it was too late to ever admit that what we did was a mistake. Back in bed we kissed for several minutes, admitting our love for each other that wasn't based on an impending orgasm, but in deep-seated emotions we felt for each other. Our world would never be the same for either one of us.

I rested my head on his chest, wondering how any boy could possibly find fault with loving this man. I admitted the truth. "Randy, I am still young and want to experience love from and to you. Teach me to live, to be patient and caring. My goofiness will subside, give me time."

"We will have struggles ahead, Richie. Let your heart guide you, despite the misgivings of others. The penis part, I'll take care of." He reached down and discovered my erection for the sixth time that night. Randy chuckled, but then made love with his lips to my member for ten minutes until my juices found his throat. I fell asleep in his arms minutes later.

Two weeks later I made a spread fit for a king. I gave him a card that said, 'Of all the adults I've ever heard who said they were thirty-nine, you're the only one who truly is. To me your body is nineteen, so that's all that counts.' He laughed.

Janice arrived at the cabin to share a sumptuous chocolate cake with Randy's present in tow, a charcoal gray and white collie puppy. We went back and forth on who would name this bouncing bundle of joy, so we each put a name on a sheet of paper. Like Randy and I were one and the same, we each wrote down, Rebel.

Not like this puppy was potty trained, I'd put the newspaper on his side of the battlefield, but then Randy would switch it behind the couch. As part of our Civil War game we had devised a set of cards, like a real game of chance. One of the cards I'd made months earlier was an opportunity to catch a prisoner of war. I had hoped that Randy would pick this eventually and he would be forced to be under my torture. Wouldn't you know it I picked this card a month later. Randy tied me up, totally naked, put peanut butter on my balls and penis, and then called Rebel over. I just knew that our new puppy was gay, and now I personally had verification. I swore that our next pet would be a German shepherd and I'd call him Yankee.

"You just wait until I capture you, Randy Sumter!" I swore.





The next four months were total bliss. Even my teachers liked me. No more was I trying to get attention or trying to impress my peers. My mind raced through the day with thoughts of Randy, our bodies together, his beautiful penis and butt, me in his arms and us being one. When I scanned the classroom I knew what few boys were lucky to make-out with a girl, maybe once. Love made life so much easier, like each new day started with a bright sun, a future of happiness, and knowing that another person cared for me beyond approach.

Randy would surprise me with roses or cards that brought a smile to my lips. A hundred times a day we confessed our love with touch-and-go kisses. I wouldn't masturbate in wait of receiving my man's attention. When he was inside of me the world was balanced. Leaning back into his front side in the shower I received my first shave at Randy's guiding hands; it was so romantic.

My learning to drive was a challenge Randy would never want to repeat with another boy. That mailbox I fixed, I wiped that thing completely out when my tires slid in the slush. He thought I considered his truck a tank, but it was that lousy stick shift that was a whole lot harder than putting my hand around other things hard. Soon he was letting me drive him into town or on another book signing in Pittsburgh. That was so cool with all those men getting Randy's autograph, while I sat next to him, knowing I was the luckiest guy in the world. Out of all those gay guys, Randy was the handsomest, and he was mine.

On weekends we planned our schedule around his, but our evenings around me. He told me that it took all week for him to save up the strength to endure three orgasms for a night of love. I was like that 24\7. Rebel grew bigger and followed me everywhere. As much intimacy as he had had with me, I would think so. He was a good watch dog when I approached the house. He'd whirl around, bark, get all prancy and then leap on me when I entered the door. His tongue gave me a bath with major kisses. For a dog he was really, really smart.

I think Randy was glad to drop me off at home every Sunday afternoon to give his loins a rest and drop his food intake because I loved to feed him. Rebel liked my special dishes I made for him, as well.

While he wrote his latest book, I was preparing a design on a new home of timber. Randy was amazed with my accuracy and skills in design, but architecture was all new to me and it fit my fascination for wood and geometrical designs, with solar and other environmental upgrades. Randy took one look at my drawings and said, "Boy, you're a born architect."

We still ran daily, though when the weather was atrocious I'd stay around our neighborhood. Punxsutawney Phil was wrong that it was going to be a short winter. Though I liked my well-used shoes, Randy said we needed new trends every four months, so he bought me the same brand, saying it was Boys' Day in Japan. Who am I to argue?

Near the last days of school the seniors ran around like lame duck politicians, totally useless and aggravating. I was looking forward to being called a senior. Kids were talking about summer vacation, going to various camps, or staying around their neighborhood.

This bully in our class and a linebacker on the football team came to school with a hangover. I had avoided him like the plague for the whole year, since his favorite words were fag or queer. It was at our outdoor lunch area when he and one of his lackeys came up to me. "Hey, Adler, they find the body yet?" As usual anyone who was in the vicinity laughed. This was an old joke, which was getting older.

I responded as not to look weak and got punched. The rest of the day was spent with my head down in a daze and tolerating a headache with a sore eye. If any of the other students noticed, they weren't giving me sympathy. The puncher had been seen by a counselor and escorted to the headmaster. I was glad the guy vanished for the rest of the day.

Instead of walking directly into my house when I returned from school, I took off for Randy's. I'm real good with other people's injuries, just not my own. I had tears in my eyes when Randy grabbed my face, then put an ice bag on my eye.

"Tell me what happened."

So I did, minus a few details.

"What's this about a body?"

I hesitated in speaking about my father, only because I had never wanted to know the truth. "There's rumor that a witness in my father's case disappeared. Kids have teased me about this for years." I pressed the ice bag to my face, which allowed me to cry and not have Randy know how embarrassing it was to talk about this.

"Why don't you just ignore them, Richie?"

"It bothers me, especially when it comes from someone I don't like, like Jerry Filini."

"You can't spend your life fighting windmills, or life will be a constant fight. With your sense of humor you could have said, 'They found the guy in your refrigerator"

"I sort of did. I mean, I said, "Didn't you hear, they found the guy in your basement with your old man's sperm in his rectum."

"Richie! You didn't?!"

"I'm assuming that is rhetorical. Filini replied, 'Yeah, that's true, but your father's lipstick stains were on the guy's anus after he went down on my father.' And I said, 'I bet your old man doesn't have the balls to say that to my father.' And he said his old man was with the Italian Special Forces as a young man and could kick my father's ass. And I said, 'I believe I saw your father's gun in the Italian War Museum. The sign read: Dropped once, never fired. Typical of Italian coward-ness.' Then he punched me."

Randy subdued a laugh, only because I was the one holding my eye. "I want you to remember something, young man, never put a value on something you can do without."

I thought about this and it wasn't mathematical enough for me to grasp. "Okay, you've got me."

"What I mean is, you don't need this guy's friendship. You don't need any person who says mean or cruel things. There are things in life that you can ignore because they have no value. Things that do have value are people you love or care about, important beliefs that define your character, and family members who you would defend with your life. Material things, pride, jobs, even people can be ignored because they don't serve your needs to be closer to God."

"Why don't I get that?"

"Because you have a lot of anger in you that needs to be let go. I love you, you know that, and I'm here for you because I value your existence. Your personality quirks that aren't in your best interest won't go away until you recognize them."

It all made sense, but I had trouble putting all this in my mind when revenge seemed logical. "Randy, can we go to the library sometime so I can check something out?"

He grinned and brought my waist to his chest, as he was sitting down and I was standing up. This wasn't sexual as much as caring about me. "You want to check old newspapers, don't you? Will knowing about your father's case ease your mind?"

"I think it will. Maybe knowing the truth I can let him be who he is and understand more why he left me. I know he treated us all rotten, but he is still my father."

"I understand, believe me."

I held his head in my hands. "Randy, how do you make a fist? I've never hit anyone."

School wasn't a lot of fun to return to the next day. I had a major black eye and everyone knew how I reacted to a kid teasing me about my father. I decided to ignore the taunts and bit my lip. That was real difficult for me. For the last four months I paraded proudly with my earring, only to have girls ask why it was in my right ear, or maybe the other dropped out. Boys teased because it was purple, which automatically meant I was gay, besides being in the right ear. It was a way of being out without telling anyone verbally.

One bit of bright news, my SAT scores were almost perfect, except for one essay. I wanted to be perfect, but Randy said I was, at least to him, already the perfect love machine and best friend. Then he told me to forget the perfect part because it would reinforce my narcissism. I felt the same way about him, the friendship part, I mean, and he made me moan.

For the last few days of school guys on the football team gave me the evil eye. I'd spent all year avoiding the most feared names of fag and queer. Over this time period they became the only names I was called, if people even spoke to me at all. Filini had been given three days suspension and missed the prom. Usually I would have gloated that that was exactly what the guy deserved, but I actually felt bad for the bully.





Because I couldn't see leaving Randy for a month, I didn't go on vacation with the family to Iceland. Against my mother's wishes I stayed at Randy's during this period. She didn't ask, but I wasn't going to deny that I was being sexually active.

Using the same equipment that Randy had built his cabin with, I began making furniture, at least designs. My first few were not suitable for human compatibility, but then I did an awesome rocker to keep peace with Randy; he was overly concerned with me around machinery. While shopping I spotted a block of Brazilian Rosewood, and spent most of the money my mother had given me to survive the summer. It wasn't like I needed the extra cash.

Wood carving intrigued me, especially using mathematics to plan out my cuts and the final design. This would become a summer project, in between my other chores. I would also keep this one secret from Randy, because I wanted to make it a special gift.

Love wasn't easy, not that we fought or quarreled, but that I learned to cooperate, think about the other person, be empathic, share, and be flexible. Living with someone this close was not all about lollipops and ginger snaps. I learned quickly that I was worthy, and I have unique gifts that no one else can duplicate. I admired Randy's talents, often taking the time to encourage me or to share opinions. He was amazed that I could read a chapter and have total comprehension.

"I have a pornographic mind," I teased and he'd chase me into the woods.

With someone in life, I was amazed at Randy's way of staying happy. He taught me to take control, not to leave things to fate. I was taking responsibility for my behavior and how that affected others. Before, all I wanted was to play, analyze everything to its fullest capacity, like solving a mathematical formula. Randy wasn't there to wait on me or cook my food or tell me to clean up the room. This was a mutual effort. Sexually I was always ready, the key was to recognize Randy's libido and when to act the fool. Cleanliness, like enemas, shaving, keeping nails trimmed, and using lubrication were required daily necessities of two gay males in love.

Every day we did something for each other, an unspoken ritual that went unsaid. Randy would be sitting in his chair, reading the newspaper, and I'd pull up a stool, before lowering his shorts. Best thing, he never panicked. With precision I trimmed his pubic hair to parallel my own. Finished with this fun, I smoothly ran the razor down his thighs, then his calves. In the hour I had shaved his legs, while cracking up every minute.

Randy sat the paper down, examined his new smoothness, and said, "I'm not dressing in drag; I don't have the tits."

"Neither does my sister, but she uses falsies." I love when he pulverizes me. Randy is surprised when I'll actually rest for a second, reading a chapter of one of his books or sewing a rip in his shorts. He would sit down in front of me, take off my shoes and socks to give me the best ever foot and toe massage. He knows it gives me a hard-on, but almost anything does. His scalp massage makes me super spastic with a raging boner.

On a hot humid day it was my idea to forgo our shorts during our run. We stayed on trails deep in the woods, rarely ever seeing another living soul. Our runs were getting longer, often times going five miles out, then returning. It was hard to be believe that a year earlier I barely jogged a quarter of a mile before running out of breath. Now running was part of my life, my body yearned for this release each time we ran.

So there we were, running in the buff on this beautiful day. After the first ten minutes, being nude wasn't even on my mind. Randy was pushing new distances and paths. Out about seven miles, we came out of the woods, scanned the morning sun for direction, and began running down this dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Up and over this rise, an Amish family was coming from the other side of this ridge in their buggy. Parents and five children--boy, you should have seen their faces! The father, a darkened beard under a black, brimmed hat, smiled when he saw us. The mother had this panicked expression; while in the wagon, all five faces were in awe of two naked males with bubble bee colored Nikes on. The boys wore these straw hats, while the two girls had bonnets on--all dressed in black. We waved, the kids waved, then their mother began turning the younger ones' faces straight ahead instead of watching our departure.

Randy and I traded giggles, turned back in the woods to return toward our part of the county. Randy would later tell me that the Amish would appreciate us because we were non-violent and very much a part of nature. I agreed.

I was the inquisitive one between us, always asking questions. I wanted to know why Randy moved out here. He said that prison had given him a new perspective, life was too short to play by the rules of the establishment in just making money by doing things that he didn't enjoy. He had begun writing in prison, coming to grips to relearn what was so critically important to him as a child: the love and security of being part of a family and playing. The family part was one he knew he had sacrificed with his decision to be a gay man, but not the part of being happy again in play and doing what he loved to do best.

"Men are boys at heart, Richie. I'm just a modern Peter Pan, with a childlike grin and a sparkle in my eyes. To live; now, that would be an adventure!"

I smiled, because that was me, too. My father's viewpoint was to get ahead and have it all. Even if he achieved that desire, in the end he lost himself and that exhilarated innocence. I never wanted to lose that prime motivating element that makes life possible to begin with. Happy thoughts, like when I was with Randy, were so far the happiest times of my life. Love was beautiful, and I'm not talking just about the sex. Daily life was foreplay to this part.

Randy agreed with me that living like this might be an attempt to escape life, to put the past behind you by disappearing. But wouldn't that be lonely, eventually? He thought I had great insight, and life wasn't meant to live alone. Randy said he didn't deserve having me come into his life, but I thought differently. God had never been a big part of my existence, but my soul was truly my conscience. This was God's plan, a way for two screwed up guys to find each other, regardless of our age differences. I had my family to answer to, while Randy had an establishment to abide by their rules with a duty to notify the self-righteous that he had given sexual pleasure to a boy. In the end, we were both out to beat a hypocritical system.





At the start of summer I was real worried that Randy would see me as a punk kid or always under his feet. We'd grate on each other's nerves and I'd have to sleep outside in wait for my family to return from Iceland. That wasn't the case. When my family did return, Randy and I talked about this in practical terms. It wasn't like he could adopt me, or if my mother would even consider me moving in with him. It would start a scandal in the community. I returned home with a smile on my face and a whole lot more mature.

While my mother reunited with her gossiping generation of affluent mothers and wives, my brothers couldn't wait to see what their girlfriends were up to. Janice was between boyfriends, which was okay, considering she was off to Yale in a couple of weeks. I'd miss her terribly, like part of my heart was being taken away from me.

Janice was the only one besides Randy that I could tell everything to, including my sex life. She had admitted to me when she lost her virginity during her senior year. Naturally I wanted all the details, like, how long was his penis? How quick did he come? Did he find the hole the first time? Answers: inch shorter than me; 20 seconds; and, no--he was close to sodomizing her. Janice hit me when I laughed.

For months she had jacked the boy off to appease his horniness, but her desires had escalated to want more than just satisfying the male body. Intercourse wasn't the mind-blowing experience the first time for her, but it had gotten better in time. Janice was now looking for a boy who had a sense of humor, like mine, she said, who would enjoy playing Treasure Hunt, before thinking that love was just fucking.

I humored her with Randy's treasure--lint in his belly button. I didn't find any lint, but I eventually taught him the rules and how to hide a treasure. Our love had progressed beyond bellybuttons and armpits. I confessed that my love techniques were so unique, masturbation was an afterthought. I'd learned that the tongue can have enough fuel to propel the space shuttle into space. Who would have thought that the anus was a delicacy that would make me act all silly and beg to be entered, and to think I loved returning this pleasure. Janice thought that was hilarious. She was amazed that a guy could come and not even have to touch himself there. I gave her some pointers that she could do with her boyfriend if there was a dildo handy.

"You stalked that man for all those months, Richie," Janice told me with a grin. "But that's so romantic."

"I pursued him until I captured his heart. There's a difference, you know. Why should age matter anyway?"

Janice agreed, though she might well be the exception. We sat on her bed and discussed clothes, sewing patterns, and recipes. All of which were important to me because I liked to dress Randy, sew our clothes, and cooked almost all our meals. He admitted I was a much better cook than his wife had been and twice as good in bed, maybe ten times better.

Both my sister and I loved to dance. We had practiced together since little kids, so when she put on her iPod to Stayin' Alive, by the Bee Gees, I dropped my shorts to my underwear and showed her my disco moves on top of her bed that Randy had taught me. Janice roared with laughter and sat back in her beanbag chair. I'd missed these crazy times, the freedom of being around a girl that I had no interest in sexually, but one with whom I could act sexual. Janice would change clothes in front of me and even did a Brazilian cut while we talked. A vagina had no appeal to me.

When I finished I leaped down on her shag rug, where she kissed me. "You're the perfect boyfriend. Why do you have to be gay and my brother?"

"So men like Randy could find the perfect mate," I said.

"Do you really have enough in common?" she asked me.

"He's a great mentor and tolerates my nuances. I think he keeps me because he likes my cooking. My ass isn't bad either."

Janice agreed with both talents, and then put on Heartbreaker to hear me sing. I showed off my technique of sounding like Barry Gibb, a voice that Randy really appreciated and admired. Janice loved Barbara Streisand, so we sang these duets as Gibb and Streisand. Tears were in our eyes when she suggested she should begin packing in preparation to move into her dorm at Yale. There was no way that Marcy could replace her.

My run the next morning was by myself, at least part way. Randy was in Ohio, visiting one of his sisters. Kids on the cross country team were also preparing for their coming season that morning, so I blended in with them. They were surprised I ran with ease in keeping pace, even asking me if I'd like to be on their team that season. I told them that competition really didn't interest me. At least they didn't call me names. I arrived home to a quiet house, stepped into the shower and felt refreshed after a ten mile jog.

Upon drying off I heard voices in my twin brothers' room. I tiptoed over and peeked through the slants of the door. My brothers were having a foursome with two girls from school. Giggling and trading partners, it was about as sexual of a scene as I'd ever seen. I was concerned that there weren't any condoms, but so many girls were on birth control. Trent and Tracy were now fourteen, almost as tall as I was and super good looking. Months ago I'd been really envious; now I felt, good for them because I had my own stud any time I wanted. My brothers soon came to orgasm, and then they laid together, like it was a recess.

I was ready to traipse back to my room when one of the girls said my name. "I feel sorry for your brother. We watched him beat off in the shower the other night. He must be real lonely. Is he gay?"

"My brother has a lover, but the guy's a man," Trent said. I was shocked that my own brother had said this. He was going to make my senior year total hell.

"Oh God, that is so weird!" the girl spoke. "What does your mom say?"

"She doesn't like it, but Rich does his own thing. She thinks he needs to see a psychologist," Trent added.

"Shut up, Trent!" Tracy yelled and rode up on his knees. I'd never seen my brother so pissed. "Richie is gay, so what? He doesn't need a psychologist, and you have no right to tell these girls who his boyfriend is!" Tracy turned his eyes on the girls. "I know we live in a glass house, but you guys can't camp in the woods and spy on my family. That's not right. Boys jerk off, get over it! It doesn't mean we're lonely or rejected."

One of the girls brought the sheet up to cover her nudity. "Fuck, Tracy, it's not like we're perverts," she said.

"If you say anything to anyone about this you can find a new boyfriend," Tracy told her.

His girl crawled over and grabbed his dick. "Come on, baby boy, I've forgotten what was said already. Don't get mad."

Tracy was a sucker for having his cock grabbed and soon melted into a kiss. Trent wasn't one to be left behind. I shivered in fear, but had a new pride for Tracy. It was Trent that I was mad with, but I couldn't exactly show my anger; they'd know I had snooped.

That night I had crawled in bed when Tracy and Trent came to my room. Though I sensed what they might be there for, I pretended to be surprised. Trent had a defeated look, like I'd hate him for sure. Tracy took the lead.

"Richie, dufus here made a mistake today. He let it slip that you were seeing an older guy. We're sorry, but we told them not to tell."

"Sorry, man. I didn't think." Trent had started to cry, which was the empathy Randy had talked about. He knew I'd never survive the school year if that got out.

"Guys, we each deserve to be happy without harming someone else. I appreciate you coming to tell me this, though it's human nature to gossip, especially when such information is juicy. I'm not embarrassed that Randy is much older than I am. I still love him. If other kids can't handle it, so be it. We're not breaking any laws, and I can take a punch."

They smiled, though this isn't what they wanted to see. I asked if they were wearing protection, but their girlfriends were on the pill and no one had had sex before. That wasn't a big guarantee, so I educated them on precaution and not to take other people's words for their sexual habits.

"What makes you think we're having sex?" Trent asked.

"Because, while I was showering, your girlfriends' voices were rather obvious."

"You're not going to tell Mom, are you?" Trent wondered.

"Oh, please. When have you known me to squeal on you guys? If I was a girl I'd be in your pants, too."

Tracy pushed me and chuckled. I grabbed his arm and threw him on me. Trent tossed the blankets off and excitedly discovered his surprise. "You're naked!"

"When you grow up you'll find pajama bottoms are for squirts," I said to tease them.

"Oh, yeah?" Tracy whipped into me and the battle was on. I quickly had him on his back, as I peeled his pajama bottoms over his butt. Trent jumped in, but I twisted and sent him half over the other side of the bed. I managed to snag the cuffs of his pajamas, and, as he fell to the floor, his bottoms were peeled right off him.

These two weren't twelve-year olds anymore. Even though I almost had them both under me at one time, they eventually got the best of my arms and pinned my body under the weight of their own. Our laughing and nudity and wrestling had disintegrated my well-kept bed. Sweating had also disrupted our readiness for sleep, so we hit the shower and were three brothers soaping each other's back, like we had done for so many years. They found my pubic trim amusing, but admitted their girlfriends were hairless. To them, boys' physical education classes in 9th grade wouldn't be conducive to a shaved crotch.

There's a time, they say, when a boy has to defeat the father to grow into manhood. Though they beat me as a team, it was important to them that they had finally defeated me.

As we dried off they hinted to me that they'd seen kids in the woods behind our house, so I was to be careful about where I jerked off.

"It's pretty bad when you can't be yourself in your own house. Let them see that the Adler's are studs."

"We are, aren't we?!" Tracy said and we did a high five.

I thought the night was finished when I finally remade my bed and climbed in for a good night's sleep. Then the twins came back, not quite ready to go commando, as they wore their bottoms again. They climbed in bed with me with an olive branch.

"We're worried what you're going to do when Dad comes home next year," Trent said.

"If I have to keep harmony in the family, I can survive for a couple of months until I head off for college. Even though I'll still be only seventeen, I'm out of this house, and Dad shouldn't have anything to say about what I do or who I date."

Tracy rode up on his elbow, staring down on me in the dark. He had no reserve shooting his left knee over my groin. "Don't you get it? Dad has a college fund for each of us. We do what he wants, or he pulls the money."

"Yeah, Richie, go out for track, get a scholarship. I've heard other boys talk about how good of a runner you are."

"Trent, you have to be really, really good to get a track scholarship. My feelings about jocks aren't conducive to being one."

Tracy had no qualms resting his chest on mine. "Look, dude, you are one. Jocks are athletes. We all do sports; you love running, Trent and I are tennis players. What's the dif?"

"Guys, I run because it makes me feel good, my body thrives on it, and there's this nature part that's tough to explain. College isn't all that big of a deal, anyway. Randy says I have some interesting talents."

"I bet he does," Trent said rather sarcastically. "Gee, Richie, you're a genius. Geniuses don't live in the woods and fuck all day."

"They can," I countered. "You have no idea what it's like to have my butt on his thighs, my legs dangling over his shoulders, while he is on his knees. Both his hands cup my waist as he moves me like a piston into that powerful cock. Being fucked practically upside down is a total trip."

"You're getting a hard-on, dude." Tracy popped me on the forehead. "Do what you want, but Dad will run your life like he does our older brothers."

"Not mine, he won't," I insisted.

"We are talking about the same father, right?" Tracy asked. "He'll kill the guy."

"Don't say that, Tracy. Dad doesn't kill people."

"No, he has them killed," Trent spoke.

This wasn't a subject I wanted to debate with my twin brothers. "The one thing I will do, he will know I'm gay. I'm different than he is, so he'll have to accept it."

"Let's put a GPS on your ankle so we'll know where he buries you," Trent kidded.

"That's not funny."

"Sorry." I felt my brothers' arms collapse on my chest as if to protect me. I couldn't remember the last time I deserved this. I got the impression these two knew more than I did about my future.





I didn't know what to expect upon my return to school. No one teased me about my earring, or what had happened toward the end of school three months earlier. Jerry Filini wasn't one to forget and kept giving me the evil eye. For days on end he'd bump into me, or wait on the playground, like I was going to be crazy enough to fight him.

Thankfully, football season was underway and he couldn't get into trouble by beating me up, or he'd miss games. There was more harmony amongst the senior class; though I was but sixteen and most of the kids were either seventeen or eighteen. My trig teacher hinted that they were looking at me as the valedictorian. For whatever reason I was already embarrassed that I might stand out from the rest of the class.

I hunted pheasant during the early fall weather. Wanting Randy to join me, he did accompany me without a gun. Some stupid law about felons and firearms. I had retrieved my knife from the kitchen drawer in Randy's kitchen, so I could clean the birds for cooking.

There was no Batman costume to use for Halloween; Tracy wore it. I stayed home with my mother and Marcy to pass out candy. It was on this night when my mother asked me if I'd like to invite Randy for Thanksgiving. So ecstatic, I hustled over to Randy's later that night to invite him. This was going to be so cool. He was disappointed that I hadn't dressed up. Instead I said I was a stripper and dressed down. He was super horny.

Football season was over, though our school ended with a losing season. I went to three games with Marcy, as a way of showing allegiance to a school that had little challenge to me. The following week the pushing and shoving from Filini continued. I couldn't even make it to our car when school was out without being threatened. It was Randy who saw a tinge of unhappiness, then squeezed the truth from me.

The next day at school, instead of leaving by the front entrance, I exited across the soccer field, outside the fence area and across the street where Randy was parked. He said he wasn't going to be caught on school grounds. Trouble was, Filini saw my jog across the soccer field and sprinted after me. I barely made it to Randy's truck.

Jerry Filini ran right up to the passenger side and pressed his fist against the windshield, like he had just missed out on killing me. That's all Randy needed to see. He stepped out as Filini began to walk away.

"Hey, punk, you got a problem?! You think you can touch my truck without permission? Come back, tough guy, so we can talk about this!"

Filini didn't come back, he actually ran away. The following day Filini waited again, only to follow me, but then when I was near the truck Randy stepped out and started toward my pursuer. Filini ran, so did Randy. I knew who would win this race. It was like fifteen minutes later when my man came walking back.

From that point on I never had a problem again with this bully. Whatever Randy had learned in prison, he was a great role player when I needed a bodyguard.

Thanksgiving came and all of us kids held our breath. Randy showed up with a bouquet of flowers for the dining room table and a bottle of wine. As I introduced him to my siblings, he met Marcy first and said the right thing. "And this must be your oldest sister." Marcy beamed with the compliment. She had her bra stuffed to the fullest.

The twins were more reserved with courteous handshakes and keeping their distance in observation. Janice, home for four days, was Miss Charming, telling Randy that he was her brother's knight in shining armor. My mother was respectful, but warm.

With two hours to go before the turkey was ready, the conversation got around to tennis. Officially, I suck at the sport, though Randy had tried to teach me a few times. My brothers are going out for the high school team, as they practice almost every day.

Down the block the Ketchum's were away for Thanksgiving, and their home has a tennis court with a pool in the backyard. Trent suggested the competition, and though this fall day was brisk, yet sunny and clear, the challenge was on.

I volunteered to run upstairs and find a pair of sweats for Randy. Forget my room and the twins', I dashed into my father's closet and found a colorful sweat outfit. Since Randy had the same size of feet as mine, that part was easy.

While I watched, my brothers and Randy played cut throat, basically two against one with one of them rotating after every game. My man held his own and had quite the serve with a great topspin forehand. Finally they asked me to play doubles with Randy, but I felt like odd man out. My brothers didn't pick on me; most often they would keep the rally going by returning to Randy. Occasionally I'd do something right and get a chest bump from Randy or a pat on the ass. Both were highly accepted. Sure we lost, but we had fun. When I kissed Randy as a thank you, the twins didn't mind; they actually smiled.

"You two make a handsome couple," Tracy said to be nice.

"How does anyone tell you two apart?" Randy asked.

"They don't," Trent replied. "We switch up all the time to screw with teachers' minds. Even our girlfriends have trouble, but Tracy trimmed his pubic hair, so that doesn't help if he wants to switch girls."

Randy laughed and admitted that I was more than enough without having a twin.

I had no qualms about showering with Randy in my home, but then Trent and Tracy strolled in the bathroom without a second thought. I didn't want to put Randy on the spot because my brothers were only fourteen, but Trent and Tracy weren't shy about this gay thing and stepped in with the two of us. Cool! You should have seen his eyes when these two naked blonds slid up against him. One hour of tennis and my brothers adopted my lover. It was humorous to see Randy grit his teeth in an attempt not to get a hard-on. With the soap in my hands, he wasn't successful. I totally embarrassed him, yet it was fun to show off my man's eight inches with a lot of girth.

Trent and Tracy do everything together with emphasis in sharing, including soaping and shampooing. It's like they came in pairs just to assist the other. Our shower has four sprays, so we all had plenty of water. I soaped Randy's front, and my brothers took his rear.

"Let me guess, your brothers are your assistants on this task force," he said.

The Adler boys knew how to entertain our guests. We were a recovered sex offender's top three risks.

It was real silent for the first few minutes of our meal, then Mom and Randy began discussing his sons, and soon they were like two parents trading off stories of child raising. I think Mom temporarily forgot that Randy was the neighborhood pariah.

My mother began with her little deception, so I knew immediately that this was the reason she had invited Randy for dinner. It revolved around Christmas and my older brothers; she didn't want a repeat of last year's debacle. Would Randy mind if I spent the day at his house? I was literally being kicked out of my own home. Instead, self-righteousness crept in my mind. Right then and there I could have made our Thanksgiving meal just like Christmas. We might even have had a food fight. My deep breath came in handy.

Randy explained that he had planned his Christmas in Massachusetts with his parents. Of course he could make arrangements to take me.

"Oh, that's too much trouble," my mother began the obvious ploy.

"It's no trouble at all," Randy countered with his polite interlude.

"I wouldn't think of intruding on your vacation," my mother played her role out, holding her breath that she hadn't overplayed her hand.

I kept my mouth closed, though I was real close to pulling her covers.

"Actually, I wanted to take Richie with me, but I was a little hesitant on asking. I realize this relationship has raised a few eyebrows."

Bingo! My lover played his ace over my mother's trick.

"Really?" Mom gave off these puppy dog eyes of being surprised. "Well, I certainly see no reason why he can't go, but only if you're really serious about this, Randy."

"It would be no trouble, ma'am." Randy winked at me, so I winked back. Whatever game was just played, I know Randy and I made out the better. I just hoped he wasn't mad at me for having to take a sixteen-year old to visit his parents.

That evening as I walked Randy to his truck, I offered an out.

"Look, Randy, you don't have to take me. I can stay in the cabin until you get back."

"Richie, I wasn't lying in there. I want to take you, but I didn't give it a ghost of a chance until your mother brought Christmas up."

"Really?" I asked. He kissed me a long one right there in front of God and our snobbish neighbors.





By the third day of hunting season I had my biggest buck ever. This was assisted by some previous planning and site selection. Randy and I had spent that previous Sunday evening before the season officially started by driving around and putting a spotlight on the fields. Sparkling deer eyes would look up from feeding and just stare at the bright light. At one point we had a game warden pull up next to us to make sure we didn't have weapons in the car. People poached deer using the same methods of freezing the deer and then shooting an animal who didn't have a chance.

Anyway, there was a real trophy winner in this herd. I'd never actually tracked a deer like this in my three years of hunting by myself. If you listen closely, blue jays can help you keep tabs on a deer by squawking its whereabouts. This buck was smart, circling around me until we were both tired of this game. The twelve-point beauty had actually backtracked itself. After unraveling the mystery, I soon discovered where it had jumped off the trail and struck out in a new direction. I looked up just in time to catch a glimpse of this beautiful rack crashing through the trees. The deer had been watching me from a safe distance until it knew I'd figured out his game.

My approach was to try to keep pace with the buck. I trotted when it trotted, walked when it walked, inched ahead when it lollygagged along. I played my own little game of zigzagging, finally catching up to the buck as it strolled casually through some open pines.

I had dragged that deer all the way to Randy's house by using a makeshift sled, arriving about seven-thirty in the evening, cold and worn out. The snow was a foot thick and Randy hadn't even expected me. He wanted me to leave the deer till the morning, but there were other creatures in the woods who might have found a way to reach that deer's carcass. By nine I had finished dressing it out. Randy insisted I shower and to stay the night. A quick call home was all it took. Mom didn't dare want to piss off her Christmas plans in getting rid of me, so she relented.

Warm and in bed with a hot body next to me, I faked sleep when the alarm clock went off at seven. Randy let me sleep in and called my school to let them know I didn't feel well. From nine to ten we romped in bed and had sex education, college edition. That man knows how to make love. We never dressed for six hours and, between meals in bed, we made love until neither one of us could achieve an erection. What a day!

Janice promised to take care of Rebel while we were gone. She was the only female I'd allow our dog to associate with. We began our trek to the Northeast on the 23rd of December, arriving on Christmas Eve morning.

Our conversation in the truck was totally different than what we usually talked about. All sorts of jokes were passed back and forth. Randy had the best one: At the gates of heaven St. Peter had an errand to do so he asked Jesus to fill in for a minute. Jesus said He'd never done this before, but St. Peter replied, "It's really easy. Simply stand here and when people show up, ask their name and find them in the Book of Life, then let them in."

So Jesus was sitting there enjoying the music and reading one of Randy's books when this old man shows up. Jesus asked the man his name, but the old man says, "I don't remember my name." Jesus said, "Then where are you from?" The old man says, "I don't really remember that either." So Jesus is a little frustrated and replied, "Sir, you're going to have to remember something, so I can look you up in the Book of Life. Is there anything you do remember?"

The old man thought for a second, "Guess I was a carpenter, and I know I had a son who was known and loved throughout the world from the time he was born." Jesus looked at this gentle creature and tears began to flow from his eyes. He says to the old man, "Father?" And the old man says, "Pinocchio?"

I told Randy about a true story when I was much younger and my twin brothers were ten. We were playing truth and dare with Marcy, while my mother was away for the evening. Trent had to dress in his sister's bra and panties as a dare, but then the doorbell rang. We spun the bottle to see who had to answer. Trent lost. There at the front door was a Fed Ex delivery man. "Are your parents home?" the guy asked as he ran his eyes down my brother's female undergarments.

Trent gave the guy this strange expression, undid the bra strap and said, "What do you think?"

"There was a time when my mother took me to see The Nutcracker when I was thirteen. Afterwards, I couldn't get an erection for three days," I said with a straight face. When Randy cracked up, I couldn't hold my laughter. We had a lot of fun together, keeping our minds off of the impending inquisition of his parents, bringing a sixteen-year old with him for Christmas.

"My parents will love you. Don't panic," he told me. Easy for him to say.

Randy's parents live about a hundred miles west of Boston. A middle class home in a residential community, they walked out onto the porch when we drove up the driveway to the crunching of snow beneath the truck's tires. I gulped.

Mr. and Mrs. Sumter were in their mid-sixties, grandparent types with the comfy-cozy personality that made you feel safe. Mrs. Sumter gave me this big hug and welcomed me to her home. Mr. Sumter was less enthusiastic, but shook my hand with enough strength to feel my character. Inside my chest my heart beat quickened when Randy's two sons came out of the family room at a quick pace. Their smiles were for their father; their curiosity and five-second inspection were for me.

I took in the smell of Christmas: the tree, the ornaments, freshly baked goodies, mistletoe, and plenty of greenery. Christmas music was playing ever so softly in the background, while assorted twinkling lights enlightened my spirit that Santa was but a day away. Surely he would not find me here. Childhood memories will forever be a part of this boy's consciousness.

We had idle chit chat about our trip, as my hip was nearly glued to Randy. But then he told me to go find his sons and see what they were up to. In my mind it was like searching for the Filini boy to beat me up. I meandered in the family room and saw Lance doing a few dance moves to a rock song. In pantomime I began to copy his movements as he performed them. I'm glad he didn't stop, but enjoyed the support as I took the beat with my own improvisations. He was just as quickly trying to copy my antics.

To the right of Lance, Bryce was doing his college work at a roll-up desk. "You're good," Lance complimented me, so I glanced over at Bryce's work, a freshman at Boston College. It was my in physics, but I hesitated in becoming too involved. Bryce ignored me at first, but then slammed his hand down because a problem didn't make any sense to him. He repeated his confusion with Kepler's third law, as an attempt to impress his brother and me with the difficulty of college courses.

Traipsing to his rear to eye his homework I offered to appease his angst. "Bryce, the analysis indicates that the centrifugal forces acting on the moon were inversely proportional to the square of distance from the center of its motion. If gravity also varied as the square of the distance between objects, the two forces controlling the orbit of the moon would be in alignment. The moon's alignment is left unperturbed through the skies because its tendency to recede from the earth is canceled by its tendency to converge toward its center. You will discover that the ratio of teretrail and lunar gravitational acceleration should be 1 to 3,600; thus, the moon is roughly sixty earth radii in distance from the earth."

I saw his eyes widen because I had just answered the problem for him. "That's it! How did you know that off the top of your head?"

"I understand lunar motion," I replied. "Simplify your thinking. Imagine being able to make a shimmering crystalline model, small enough to hold in your closed fist. Now open your hand and see the entire universe soar out; glowing into full existence. You will soon be able to describe this in but a handful of equations."

Bryce finally looked me in the eye. "How old are you?" He asked in an incredulous way, as if a kid my age couldn't possibly understand physics. The only question racing in my mind was, is this about my intelligence, or about being with their father?

Now Randy and I had discussed this. I thought it best if I said seventeen or eighteen. Randy was totally against this. No substitute for the truth, he ranted, then there wouldn't be any necessity to clean up a lie in the future. What's a 39-year old know about teenage deception? I paused. "Sixteen," I said softly.

"Sixteen! And you study this in school?" Bryce asked.

"Not exactly. Instead of taking study hall, I'm a student teacher for juniors taking physics and chemistry."

His stare up at me was incredulous. "Never heard of a high school student being a student teacher," Lance spoke up.

"I go to a private school, so they do some creative things," I replied.

"How are you at math?" Lance asked. I gave him an increased circumference of my eye socket. For some obvious reason, that magnified my interest. He hustled over to his backpack to pull out his calculus book. In minutes I had given him some ingenuous ways to understand how integrals can best be discovered.

I was used to kids who wanted me to do their work, so when this came close to touching on being used, I backed off a little.

"How do you know our father?" Bryce asked to save me from his brother. I knew this was coming, but there was no easy answer. I said I'm a runner and we met on the trail, which was true. There was no way I wanted to give the impression that their father hit on me or began to groom my desire to visit him. For the immediate goal of being real, I added, "I asked your father for some advice, because I knew I was gay. My own father doesn't live at home. When I needed adult advice on a very delicate subject, your father has given me the most mature advice I could possibly want. You might say, I'm enamored with your father, so he tolerates me."

"Are you aware of his past?" Lance asked with some reservation.

"Of course. Your dad was honest with me from the first minute. In Pennsylvania I'm considered legal; in other words, I can consent. This was not my goal or your father's."

"Do you guys....?" Lance started to ask.

"Shut up, dude!" Bryce spoke out. "That's none of your business."

"Yeah, sorry about that," Lance apologized.

"That's okay," I said.

"Ever seen The Graduate?" Bryce asked rhetorically, I thought. "I wouldn't turn down a Mrs. Robinson. You can learn a lot from an older person."

"Maybe I've been looking up the wrong tree," Lance said with an amusing giggle. "I've gotten to third base, but they want you to spend a fortune on them before they put out."

"Who can blame them, you're a dork," Bryce told his brother. It started to sound like our house.

Lance's face turned to red from embarrassment of this put-down. "My brother thinks he's smart because he watches Star Trek," Lance said.

"It's our future, man. The writers were way ahead of their time," Bryce tried to convince me.

"Great show, but not practical," I stated. I saw an older brother bullying a younger, which touched a nerve. "Physics becomes full of impossibilities if super light speed is allowed. Not least among the problems is that because objects get more massive as they approach the speed of light, it takes progressively more and more energy to accelerate them by a smaller and smaller amount. As in the myth of the Greek hero Sysyphus, who was condemned to push a boulder uphill for all eternity only to be continually thwarted near the very top, all the energy in the universe would not be sufficient to allow us to push even a speck of dust, much less a starship, past this ultimate speed limit." I had their attention.

"To give you another example, forget the light, all mass-less radiation must travel at the speed of light. This means that all those types of beings of "pure energy" encountered by the Enterprise and Voyager can't exist. They couldn't even sit still. Light cannot be slowed down, let alone stopped in empty space. In addition, any form of intelligent energy being (such as the "photonic" energy beings in the Voyager series; the energy beings in the Beta Renna cloud, in The Next Generation; the Zetarians, in the original series; and the Dal'Rok, in Deep Space Nine), which is constrained to travel at the speed of light, would have clocks that are infinitely slowed compared to our own. The entire history of the universe would pass by in a single instant. If energy beings could experience anything, they would experience everything at once. As for your starship, every time the Enterprise accelerates to half the speed of light, it would have to burn 81 times its entire mass in hydrogen fuel. Now to bring the ship to a stop at its destination would require the same factor of 81 times its mass of fuel. This means that just to go somewhere at half-light speed and stop again would require fuel in the amount of 81 x 81 = 6571 times the entire ship's mass."

"Hey! How are you guys getting along?" Randy asked from the entrance.

"You brought along a genius, Dad. What's your name? Oh, yeah, Richie. Richie is one of those gifted nerds who end up as billionaires, and we have to work for them," Bryce said with a grin.

I was intimidated of Bryce because he was, after all, a freshman in college. Regardless of his limited academic success, he was bigger than me around the shoulders. My smile showed him I didn't take any label personally. As compared to fag or queer, nerd had a nice ring to it.

"You should see the kid run," their father replied and put his arm around my shoulders. "Grandma is making lunch, so don't go anywhere."

"I'll help her," I said because the kitchen was always a safe haven for me. Soup and BLTs were already made when I entered. Mrs. Sumter thought I wanted food, but I told her if she needed any help, to just yell for me. She wasn't used to a male offering themselves in this way.

After lunch Randy wanted to drive into Boston. My butt hadn't recovered from the long trip, and here he wanted to travel again. Away we went for the hour and a-half trip. Little did I know our initial stop was M.I.T., in Cambridge. Randy couldn't hold a serious look if he had to, so I slapped him on the shoulder that he would surprise me like this and I hadn't even seen it coming. That was unlike me.

We went to this building that appeared vacant, what with this being Christmas Eve. I couldn't help but notice that Randy was carrying this tube and a box in his hands, so I was highly suspicious. Another one of these tricks to toy with a sixteen-year old, Professor Winegarden was waiting our arrival. He was the department head for the school of architecture. Polite introductions, when Randy pulled out a set of plans I'd drawn up for a home, plus my model that had been placed in a box.

Professor Winegarden studied my novice attempt at architecture, lit his pipe, smacked his lips, and then glanced up. "Typical underclassman mistakes, but, otherwise, brilliant. Excellent function, appearance, and durability. I'd have to have an engineer check out the loads, but this is fascinating work by someone so young. You had no help on this?"

Randy had a tendency to answer for me. "Sir, I live out in the boonies, so I can guarantee you there's not an architect within miles. The boy had no help whatsoever."

"What's your level of math, young man?"

"I'm currently studying differential equations, probability, and numerical analysis."

"That's college material, young man, I'm impressed. Come, let me show you gentlemen around."

The campus had a uniqueness to it, being next to the Charles River, though the water was cold and forlorn for this time of the year. I appreciated him spending so much time with us, discussing my interests in math and science.

The professor place his hand on my shoulder. His words were more like thoughts not meant for my ears. "Yet you are considering being an architect. We should be so lucky to have you. Obviously we haven't made our final selections, but we appreciate your visit."

From M.I.T. to Harvard, we hastily walked to an engineering building, but our appointment with the dean was apparently forgotten by someone. Instead we toured around the campus by ourselves. In the Behavioral Sciences' building a man came right up to us.

"Mr. Sumter! I'm surprised to see you. I'm Dr. Frank; I had the pleasure of hearing your lecture on Sex Offending last year. Well researched and insightful, if I don't say so myself."

"Thank you, Doctor. My friend, Richie Adler. Richie is considering Harvard for next fall."

We shook hands before he escorted us to his office. The conversation centered around these yearly seminars on human sexuality. Toronto was hosting the next seminar in March. "I don't suppose this interest you, young man?" Dr. Frank addressed my patience.

"On the contrary, sir, I love to hear Randy speak about the subject. I give him as much practical application as I can to help him with his research," I teased.

Randy gave me this look, the one where he will annihilate me when we're alone. "Richie would have been Dr. Kinsey's biggest challenge, I'm afraid."

Dr. Frank laughed. "I like the boy's spirit," the professor said with his best smile, examining me to determine my seriousness. "So you think adolescents should be given more reign in sexual issues."

It wasn't a question, but I accepted the floor. "Unless someone invents a better virtual reality, another human is better than a holodeck of fantasies."

"Ah, a Trekkie! And what would your holodeck involve?"

"One where the attraction to a world of direct sensual experience does not have negative consequences. I like the inventive tack: one that puts me inside the scene by inventive use of holography and in part by replication, as compared to the devices that one can strap on and influences your vision and sensory input, like virtual reality, which puts the scene inside you. A holodeck would give off a three-dimensional holographic image, one that we could view from all sides."

"We need more students with the capacity to dream," Dr. Frank told me.

"I dreamed for fifteen years, so now I'm living my dreams," I admitted. I glanced at Randy, as if the love for him was not my imagination. He was my holodeck.

"Don't suppose you would consider psychotherapy?" the dean suggested.

"The mental health field has too much of a political base," I said after drawing conclusions from being at a few of Randy's lectures. "I'm not sure if one or two people could change humanity to the intellectual level it deserves. I think God has other plans for me."

"So you come from a religious base," he surmised.

"Not really. My beliefs come from example, like Randy's. I believe in God, based on mathematics." I watched his eyebrows rise. "Based on all our experiences in science, nature rarely produces a phenomenon just once. We are a test case for God. As a matter of fact, I concur with Randy, we are God. The fact that we exist proves that the formation of life is possible. God didn't create other planets with life, but ours, so He could experience life in each of us. Only God could have created the perfection it takes to form our Galaxy. It is why we must experience life to its fullest, not delay gratification, but enhance it. Was it necessary for me to wait sixteen years to have sex? Not hardly. Our society is a disgrace."

Dr. Frank was taken back, while he eyed Randy. "Very profound. How would you like to speak at our next symbolism? Say, on adolescent sexual desires?"

I considered the possibilities. "Only if I don't have to talk about plumbing or studying sex habits of pubescent boys. I want to chart the unknown of possibilities of existence if society would allow teenagers the right to express themselves with whomever they want."

Dr. Frank nodded. "It might wake up those who come purely for the camaraderie of their colleagues. Who's to say you might not intrigue the hard-headed?"

While this psychiatrist put a call to the engineering department and found the man who we were supposed to meet, Randy put his arm around me. I wasn't sure if he wanted to torture me or if he was proud of my off-hand remarks. Our appointment person was on his way to a party, so it wasn't all that important. Instead, Dr. Frank showed me a dorm, Lowell, a coed dorm that didn't really impress me. Older teenagers intimidated me because I was still fearful they wouldn't accept me for who I was. Randy would say this was an issue we needed to work on incessantly. We partook of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology, then Hollis and Harvard Hall. Finally we toured the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

As we walked back to our parking space it was getting dark. College students were hurriedly leaving to go to some party or home for Christmas. I couldn't imagine me being one of these kids. My hand swept around Randy's waist, a feeling of security and comfort. Leaving him would be harder than leaving home. For the time being I wasn't ready to do this.

We detoured to a shopping center, packed with so many cars we were lucky to find a parking spot. Randy had some knickknack buying, as he put it, while I shopped for CDs or movies for his sons. Dinner was at a Chinese restaurant, one of my favorite meals. By the time we arrived back at his parents' house it was nearly nine o'clock. Though I didn't need to know everyone who was coming, Randy's sister, Lisa, arrived with her husband and four children, seven to fourteen years of age, three boys and one girl. If there was scrutiny before, I was under the microscope now.

My body wasn't ready for rest, but it yearned for a run. My plea didn't go unanswered, so we threw on our sweats and prepared to jog around the neighborhood. One problem, Lisa's fourteen-year old son, Luke, wanted to run with us. All I could think of was, this boy will be stopping every minute and we won't get a workout. It wasn't my place to say no, nor did Randy wish to be the bearer of bad news to his nephew.

Off we went with Luke hot on our heels. I had heard he was a member of a junior ice hockey league, but that didn't mean much to me. I saw in any peer a boy who would reject me, not capable in seeing that I was just as masculine as they were. Sure, Luke was a half-foot shorter than I was, always had a smile on his face, and appeared humble when around his uncle or me. That would all change if he thought of me as a faggot. To avoid disappointment I kept my distance.

Randy knew the streets like the back of his hand, so this alone told me he'd grown up here. After the first mile, Luke hadn't complained or faltered in his pace. I was beginning to be impressed. This boy was an athlete. My glance back caught his smile that even invigorated me. If I confessed to being gay, would that smile completely disappear?

Running through slush and snow was challenging, but Randy didn't show any mercy on his nephew in how far we ran before we headed back. I figure five miles, given the time. Luke was definitely one tired boy when we jogged into the driveway.

"Uncle Randy, that was tougher than a hockey game," Luke said when he raised up from resting his hands on his knees. He threw a snowball right between his uncle's shoulder blades in playful spirit. The splat even shocked Randy and had me laughing.

Randy grabbed his nephew by the hooded sweatshirt and, with one swoop of a foot inside the boy's calf, Luke went sailing up in the air onto a three-foot snow bank by the driveway.

"Bully!" I yelled and hit Randy with a snowball in the arm. I got heaved on top of this giggling youngster. The two of us scrambled up to tug and pull on that man until we buried him in all that snow. By the time we were finished we each looked like a snowman.

Off with our shoes and shaking the snow from our bodies, we hustled up the steps and into the bathroom. Randy suggested that Luke could take a shower before us. He declined, but nevertheless began to strip off his clothes. I hesitated to disrobe, but then Randy shrugged his shoulders and soon the two of us were under the stream of a hot shower.

'Uh-oh! This can't be good,' I was thinking when Luke stepped in the shower. The boy was way too giddy with his antics to get us in the shower first. I accepted my twin brothers because, well, they just knew the ground rules when Randy was around. Luke took one look at our groins, did a military about first, and stayed that way for the next ten minutes while Randy and I soaped up. Silence prevailed; the whole time I was feeling sorry for Randy's abstinence that there's this naked fourteen-year old two feet from where he was standing naked. In a month's time Randy had accidently been confronted with a taste of hebephilic heaven, as if he needed the temptation. I did a quick adjustment to why I was thinking all this and came to the conclusion that Randy wasn't this person who had no volitional control. So what if he found a fourteen year old attractive; I thought the kid had an awesome body, too. All Randy did was lean forward to kiss me on the lips because I was his world and he wanted to let me know it. I had opened my eyes for a split second as Randy devoured my mouth to see Luke's head twisted around to watch us kiss. His smile didn't express dissatisfaction. I gripped Randy's ass and brought us groin to groin. Screw it! If the boy wanted to think badly of me, I was used to it.

We both allowed the water to direct its spray onto Luke's back, but he just stayed with his head down and his hands crossed over his groin. I was sure he had somehow become embarrassed or had second thoughts about all this. Even when Randy and I rinsed off and told Luke to get under the shower, he simply shuffled backwards to protect his genitals. I didn't look--well, okay, maybe at his cute bubble butt.

After we had dried off, Randy held up a towel for his nephew, as the boy stepped out and covered himself around the waist. The funniest part was that his towel poked straight out from his groin. Luke looked down, grinned a silly curl with his upper lip and said, "I think that way is North Pole. Santa's coming tonight. Right, guys?"

"Santa sounds good," I said and saw all those perfect teeth in Luke's mouth. So that was what he was hiding the whole time. For a teenage sprout he was pretty cool with that whole thing. Maybe he wanted to humor two gay guys, I was thinking. A psychologist would have surmised that the boy was looking for acceptance and validity. Sounds familiar.

We traipsed downstairs to a party of hot chocolate, eggnog, and plenty of cookies. If Luke's mom saw her son's wet head, she didn't question who showered with whom. Around the fireplace the conversation soon gravitated on me. Randy's brother-in-law was a lawyer, so he was impressed that I was thinking about M.I.T. or Harvard. I had to wonder, if Randy hadn't been arrested for child molestation, what would they be thinking about a 39-year old man running around with a sixteen year old? It mattered not to me. He represented a human being with a gay orientation. Whether I was sixteen, twenty-six, or thirty-six, what difference did it make?

Lisa suggested Christmas songs, so everyone gathered around the piano. I found out that she gave private piano lessons to children. As a sixteen-year old rebel, per se, Christmas songs sounded rather dorky, sort of like singing in church and feeling like you're on the deck of the Titanic. All I could think of was that we'd be singing Silent Night and Noel and hoping this family chorus would be over quickly. Luke and his younger brothers and sister were excited, so maybe they knew something I didn't. Bryce and Lance looked about as forlorn and enthusiastic as I did about this singing thing.

Instead, Lisa wasn't much for any song which dragged, but fast beat melodies and fun songs. For a boy who kept his distance in the shower, Luke leaned up against me and even held my brushed his fingers against mine through a couple of songs. At church we did the same thing, like Christian brothers knowing we had this special connection to God. This sounds really pervertish, but on occasions I wished the man holding my hand in church would have the hots for me.

We both cracked up over Santa Baby, and Lisa often blurted out the words so we could follow along. One of the lines said, 'And there are still fellas I have yet to kiss.' Bryce kept his mouth shut, but Randy, Lance, Luke and I sang those words with wide smiles and plenty of laughter. Lance was totally straight, yet he knew how to have a good time and wasn't as uptight as his brother. Luke's seven and nine-year old brother and twelve-year old sister sat on the piano bench with their mother and went with the flow.

There was, Do You See What I See and Let it Snow, amidst other songs that were fun to sing. With Luke leaning against me, I had my head on Randy's right shoulder, while Lance held on to his father's left arm. No one cared and there were plenty of sharing and loving around the piano that night. I was intimidated by Bryce, as he acted like a big man on campus. Later on, Randy told me that Bryce was intimidated by me because of my intelligence. That was rather odd, but so was my reluctance to warm up to Bryce.

I liked, All I Want for Christmas is You, with my eyes glued on Randy. I caught Luke staring at me, but so did his mother. I had no idea at the time. Lisa swung into I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, but she also changed the lyrics at one time to: I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus. Even Bryce thought that was funny and teased his father.

Leave it to Randy to embarrass me when he said I did a great Barry Gibb. His sister was also a big Bee Gees' fan and asked me what I wanted to sing, so I choose one of Randy's favorites, Immortality. Luke cracked up when I hit my falsetto of squeakiness, but then got all serious as the song continued. I couldn't take my eyes off of Randy, since this was my first solo ever. Those words, For all my love for you and what else we may do, we don't say goodbye, I really meant them and had tears in my eyes. When I finished, Lisa said I sounded just like the Bee Gees; Lance hugged me, and Luke was as teary-eyed as I was. The boy had a heart bigger than that room, yet I was wondering if he was home-schooled and had yet to witness a world who could hurt such happiness in a second.

Outside of my twin brothers I've never had a real close friend. Girls were more likely to take a liking to me than a boy. Secrets are kept behind my eyes that aren't really secrets, like diamonds behind glass enclosures that anyone can peer in and see the clarity. I'm not real good at hiding my foibles. So as I stared into Luke's eyes I saw a boy who had yet to learn to padlock his thoughts, put a vault around his heart, or know that there are certain things in life that only he should have the combination to. We had something in common to begin with.

I felt like telling him that fourteen-year olds have a thousand questions but are too afraid to ask anyone because they don't want to be seen as weak or an idiot. Sixteen-year olds have had two extra years to hear their peers distort, lie, or create answers to a hundred of these curiosities about life and have only 900 questions left to how they fit in to this civilization. Eighteen-year olds have finally figured out that no adult is going to answer these puzzles, so they might as well see themselves as screwed up as the rest of humanity and get on with life.

This kid was too happy, too bright-eyed to realize that we shouldn't be having this much fun, sharing all this love and laughter, and where in hell is the judgment of each other?! A year earlier I would have succumbed to this staring contest out of shame, just knowing Luke was analyzing my thoughts and jotting down to memory all the secrets my eyes told.

Grandfather Sumter snuck up behind us to wrap us both in his arms to distract my intellectualizing of this new friendship. He was real pleased with my singing voice, as was Mrs. Sumter, though I'd never be a Barry Gibb. Luke nudged up to me and whispered, "I'll never say goodbye to you." That was something for a teenager to say to another. Those words broke through my resistance to see him for who he really was. I immediately apologized for being a jerk. He gave me this confused look that he had no idea what I was talking about.

We did end with I'll Be Home for Christmas, which gave me some regret that I was imposing on their family time, but then Lisa gave me this big squeeze and kiss and told me that their home was my home. That was very nice of her to say.

As the group broke up, Lance showed me he could play piano, so we broke into a three-way rendition of Heartbreaker. Lance hit the right chords and I knew the words. Luke just hung in there with the laughter and hilarious expressions we did to each other. Bryce felt a little left out and was soon to our rear, since we had occupied the entire piano bench. He joined in and found that we wanted him as part of this quartet of funniness. Though he wanted to appear all mature and beyond us, he was just a kid at heart.

Luke's sister, Wendy, twelve, was like a little lady out to please all members of the family. She had on this really pretty green and red skirt with a white cotton sweater. Janice would have loved the ensemble. I wondered when the sibling rivalry would start, the competitive nature for attention that was genuinely inbred in all of us. These kids were too perfect. I would have been satisfied to see Wendy give me the evil eye and lay judgment on me that I was corrupting her uncle. Wasn't to be.

For an hour my hand was held by Luke everywhere I walked. Lisa told her son to give me some space, but Luke just moved at arm's length and kept his hand in mind. His mother finally gave up. It was sort of cute and I didn't mind. The boy was funnier than a fawn learning to walk. Being with Luke gave Randy time to be with his sons.

Luke asked me what the difference was between a black kid and a gay one? I was afraid this was the start of gay jokes that were demeaning, but I went along. He told me that a black kid doesn't have to tell his mom he's black. I laughed because it was so true, and then I knew--Luke felt that his passion was for boys. I'd never known another gay boy, or at least wanted to; I was speechless. I was stuck between crying and smiling. My immense smile surprised both of us.

Randy showed his sister and brother-in-law my architectural plans, and it certainly evoked an emotional reaction from his sister, Lisa. Mr. Winegarden had received my permission to make a copy to submit it for a contest. Lisa, like the man at M.I.T., thought the building's proportion, scale, and harmony were consistent with the use of materials. I'd used a new technology called nanotechnology, in combination with mathematics, which made many of the structures' components free standing, as if they were supported purely by air.

Mrs. Sumter treated me like her own grandson. Ever so pleasant, I helped her anyway I could. I even stayed up late and made a special pastry I did for my family on Christmas morning--butter horns. Luke helped me the best he could, but with his first yawn I sent him to bed. I did ask him if this was a fake show of togetherness that only a pre-planning of family members could devise. He looked at me with surprise that all families must certainly act this way.

"We respect each other," Luke simply replied. He went on and told me that once a week his family plans a night when there are no games, meetings, friends over, or other obligations, so that everyone arrives at their parents' bedroom in their robes. On this night they each get a haircut, nails trimmed, or any other necessity of grooming, before they take a bath in this huge Jacuzzi bathtub in the master bathroom. From there, back into their bathrobes, they spread out on their parents' huge bed to watch a movie. If someone has a birthday, they get to choose the movie, as long as it's not horror or exceptionally violent.

"Too cool," I replied in deep contemplation whether that would work in my family. "You get nude in front of each other?" I asked, but that sounded rather prudish.

"We've done this since I was three, so we're used to seeing each other. It's no big deal, and on our birthday we get a massage from everyone. Wendy likes to move her fingernails inside my thigh so she can laugh at my balls gyrating."

I laughed at this. Sounded way too much like Janice. "Man, I'd get a boner in seconds," I admitted.

"So do I. With five pairs of hands sweeping over your body, certain things don't have a chance. It's not like we do things sexually on these birthday massages, but body functions aren't these great secrets to us and we treat sex as a God given gift."

"Way too cool. Any movie?" I asked.

"On my fourteenth, I asked for The Bus, because I had read about it in this movie catalog. We have sex education in our home schooling, but nothing like that. Bruce giggled through the whole movie."

"Your family is from another planet," I teased with a tinge of jealousy and envy. I could envision why they were the way they were when Luke said they each were responsible for each other during school lessons; he helped Bruce and Wendy assist Billy, the youngest boy. I had trouble imagining being in the same class with my siblings.

"I can see myself in my parents' bathtub: 'Dad, you're hanging well tonight after your penile implant.'" Luke and I roared in laughter with my family secret.

Luke revealed more of their family night together. "We each have to read a book a week, so we each take turns talking about the contents during bath. Mom never said we couldn't talk about our birthday massages, so I can tell you that when it's my dad's birthday, Mom's pretty good with her fingernails, as well."

Our laughter had their grandmother checking on us and shaking her head with a delightful smile. I implied, after she left, "My father would use me as a punching bag if I caught him in a private moment."

Luke had this amazed stare on his face. "My parents don't hit us. We lose privileges, like our computers. It's no fun doing homework by hand. Last week I missed out on our family movie. That was a bummer."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"I lied about what I spent my allowance on. I should have known better. My lack of integrity created a position where my mom didn't trust me. I didn't want that. I like when my parents trust me, when they know I'm telling the truth."

I didn't want to pry about his lie, yet I stood there awestruck at his honesty with me. The next second I saw the yawn and sent him on his way.

Randy and I were relegated to the sofas in the living room, which was fine with me. Only after everyone went to bed, did Randy crawl over to lay beside me, as we admired this glorious Christmas tree, its blinking lights with a few presents underneath. Such ambience was second only to being with Randy. He held me in his arms, bent forward and kissed me on the lips.

"You're quite the gentleman for holding up under all this," he told me. I knew what he meant; a well-adjusted family is bewildered on why a thirty-nine year old man, their son, brother, and father, would bring home a sixteen-year old.

My weight rested upon my elbow. "When you were growing up, did you have family nights?" I asked.

Randy chuckled. "Ah, you're learning about my sister's family. She's into keeping the family bond: meals together, baths, movie nights, meditation, and counseling--I can't say I've witnessed a less dysfunctional family. The world should take note."

"Let's say two guys got married.......would adopting kids be a cool idea?"

"And having a family night, I presume?" Randy teased me, so I nodded. "If you don't want to lose your children by lack of communication, then have family nights. Sort of like we're doing right now. My sister is unique in her ways, but one can't find fault with her kids' behavior."

I swept open my blanket and showed him my arousal. He was ready to climb in when Luke strolled into the room, like a toddler with pillow and blanket in tow. In only pajama bottoms, barely held up by those bubble cheeks, he flopped down next to me on the shag carpet and was ready for sleep the next second.

"Hi, guys! Don't mind me; I just wanted to be with my favorite runners."

Maybe I should have been pissed, but I mellowed out. Randy kissed us both on the cheek and started back toward the sofa. Aggressive is the relevant word, because I caught his foot and made him fall between Luke and me. We pulverized him with short slugs and tickles. Though Luke saw that I was naked, he didn't much panic.

Randy gave up and brought our heads to his chest. He said we had to be quiet or Santa wouldn't come.

"I'll make him come," Luke blurted out with a straight face, but he couldn't hold it.

Randy and I started to laugh, which rarely ceased because one of us would crack up again, and then the others couldn't stop. Luke started hiccupping, which was even funnier. "And how would you do this?" Randy asked his nephew.

Luke thought about this for a second and said, "I'd leave the porch light on with a note to come on in."

Either we were being tricked or Luke was totally naive. But then Luke gave us this devilish grin and said. "Or I'd play with his tallywacker." We cracked up again.

Luke was a movie buff and began asking us if we'd seen this and that. He had all his favorites down pat, especially those with cute boys or guys, like Alexander or The Last Legion. I admitted my own favorite. As a point of humor a few weeks earlier, I brought home a movie I'd rented at the store: Vitus. As I watched this movie, it sent a shrill down my back. Too many similarities on my behavior on not wanting to fit in to the expectations of my mother, school, or the community. I knew what I wanted, to be loved, cared for, and treated as just another teenager.

Luke possessed a unique insight for a boy his age, even watery eyes were evident. He hugged his uncle and said he was the saddest boy on earth when Randy had to go to prison. That had quite an impact on us both. Randy would tell me later that his nephew wrote him often in prison, then, when he was a ten-year old, Luke admitted he was like his uncle and loved boys. Luke cherished his uncle like a god who could do no wrong. We had a similar affection for this man.

Randy said it was getting late and we should get to sleep. Luke raised up on his elbow to say, "It's okay with me if you two want to sleep together and do whatever."

Randy kissed his nephew on the forehead and replied, "I have a feeling that that whatever would have us getting the hiccups again." Luke giggled with the thought and whispered something in his uncle's ear. They both chuckled, which, sure enough, had Luke catch the hiccups. Randy hustled to retrieve a glass of water, as I saw Luke whip off his bottoms to sleep like I did. His hiccups were almost gone when I couldn't resist asking him why he was disciplined at home. Luke told me he had purchased a subscription to Playgirl, and, since he was the one who brought in the mail daily, he figured he could get away with this. His mother found the brown paper wrapper in the trash and asked Luke what was in it. When he told the truth it wasn't the gay issue, but the hiding of the magazine.

"I had to write Playgirl and admit I wasn't really eighteen. Mom said she would expect to find a girlie magazine under my pillow or, in my case, a boyie magazine. She didn't see it as objectifying a person as much as wanting to get my rocks off. She's so cool. Anyway, Playgirl didn't stop my subscription, but sent me a renewal notice for another year. I'm still getting my issues."

The two of us started to giggle, then the hiccups came back. Randy was fit to be tied with us. This was just like camp where the mere thought of laughter had everyone in stitches. Luke and I were now best buds, two teenagers who appeared to have known each other for years.

After Randy turned off the Christmas lights, but for the blue star on top, he shared the cookies and milk left for Santa with Luke and me. He put his nephew asleep with a back rub and a finger slide down the spine that had Luke purring.

Assured he'd put Luke asleep, Randy ran to the closet to gather and place all the other presents under the tree. Luke's brothers still believed in Santa Claus.

In just his briefs he came over to me and made love to my mouth. I had the means to turn him on by tonguing his earlobes, so he wasn't escaping my wish. "I know how to make Santa come," I said and swept down his briefs.

Randy eyed Luke to verify sleep and positioned himself behind me in a spoon position. Ever so slowly he ran his fingernails down my naked torso to my missile. He knows what drives me wild. A little foreplay before he plunged deeply to fulfill my goal.

Biting my lip with the pleasure, I glanced to my left, while Randy's mouth did touch-and-go nibbles on my neck. Luke winked at me on his side, taking this all in; his left hand doing rapid strokes under his blanket. We intertwined fingers, my left, and his right. When his grip became more pronounced in combination to Randy's breathing and my own, I slid Luke his uncle's briefs to come in. Luke came instantaneous, then gave me back the soiled garment just in time to catch my own, thanks to Randy's hand.

"Where's my underwear?" Randy whispered in my ear when he pulled out. Good luck with that idea. I lifted it from underneath the sheet. The underwear had an aroma of pure maleness. When I chuckled, so did Luke.

Randy glanced over at his nephew and tried to hypnotize him in humor. "This was all a dream, got it?" Randy reached over to pinch his Luke on the nose to make the point.

I couldn't help but bust up. This fourteen-year old leaned forward and went nose to nose with his idol. "Sure, Santa. Thanks for the Christmas present." With that said Luke rolled back under his cover. Randy was too shocked to respond. He did smell his briefs and figured these weren't conducive to sleep in.

"No wonder Santa only does this once a year," Randy said and started the laughter all over again. We never would get to sleep at this point. He kissed me again before we tried to think of sleep.

Luke's eyes bore into mine from two feet away. "That was so cool," he whispered to me. I was beginning to really like this kid. To think I had to travel to another state to discover a boy like me.

On Christmas morning my body wanted to sleep in. Randy shook us both awake, our verbal resistance was ignored. Luke sat up, slipped on his pajamas and headed upstairs with his hard-on swinging inside his jams. I hoped no one noticed in a house of roaming bodies. Randy swung a faded blue robe from his teenage days around my body. He confessed that his adolescent wish had now come true; another naked teenager was inside his robe.

Lisa and Mrs. Sumter were up early, having the first butterhorns and deciding they wouldn't last long when all the males woke up. I'm not a naive kid, so I sensed the wariness of Lisa, how she watched me around her children and Randy's. I felt like I was the convicted admirer of youthful bodies, but didn't take it personally. Randy told me later that his sister found me the perfect role model for her sons and Randy's. That was embarrassing because I never saw myself as someone to look up to.

Luke came down again in a few minutes, still dressed in those loose pajamas. We were like best friends now. He caught his stocking, stuffed to the max, when I tossed it to him. He quickly ran to my side, only because one of his gifts was a Rubic's Cube, something I could do in a matter of seconds. The boy's pajamas were flimsy enough that his penis was exposed, as if he cared. I'd seen it in the dark, but now I saw it as past puberty and between a boy's and a man's genitals. Luke didn't care, contrary to his hiding this in the shower; I sensed he was aware of flaunting this sexual tease because we both knew each other was gay.

My libido sprang with such temptation and realized firsthand how a beautiful boy could persuade an older man to fall for this bubbly nature, whose sweetness went beyond candy. Such an innocent sensuousness intrigued me to no end. His brown eyes smiled with every gesture, a boy's spontaneity with life to have fun. The rest of the family was gathering in the dining room to enjoy breakfast before all the presents were opened.

Luke's penis, very visible near my face, appeared to be in the first stages of increased blood flow and, though Luke had a Christmas stocking in his hand, the boy was offering me a full view to see my reaction. I poked him in his exposed bellybutton and received no less than the same type of giggle the Pillsbury Dough Boy would give.

Luke's penis sprang straight up, then vibrated like a spring at full extension with a physical presence which pleaded to be touched. Hypnotizing, at first, I imagined how that pink, helmeted head might have a mind of its own. This exposure was so blatant, my mouth seductively opened subconsciously to wish the boy's hips to jut forward and place his sex between my lips. Instead, he pounced down beside me, then wrapped my arm in his to snuggle shoulder to shoulder. I was putty to his charm and what he had done to me.

Luke simply stared at me, knowing my absence of breath amidst the rapid rate of my heart, which had already dictated he had won. He knew I saw it; I knew that he knew I'd seen it. Fortunately he brought his knees upward and huddled them to his chest, as if to continue this seduction without being blatant.

He just kept his eyes on me with the most adorable look of desire and a, 'What do ya think?' glance when his knees separated to reveal a bead of liquid at the apex of his urethra. His game was totally sexual, which intrigued me because it wasn't my idea for a change.

"I see you've found an admirer, Richie," Luke's mom said from the kitchen door, which had me jerk from my focus. I'd never been so startled in all my life. She brought forward a plate of my butterhorns.

Though his mother had interrupted a tense moment, Luke calmly closed his knees together in combination with a grin that never left his face. To his satisfaction he had won those few minutes by exhibiting the power of a young teenager over someone attracted to his own sex. Luke just squeezed my arm even tighter, as if to show his mother that I was his possession and he was in control.

Mrs. Tomlinson rested the platter on her lap after she had sat down on the foot stool in front of us. Luke's mother obtained my hand. "My brother and son are both smitten with your charisma. You have quite the gift."

"Thank you, ma'am," I replied and dropped my other hand to my lap upon the realization of my own reaction. Luke giggled, which went over the head of his mother. "I'm the one who feels honored for being allowed to accompany Randy."

Lisa smiled, tweaked us both on the cheek and stuffed a pastry in each of our mouths. She told her son, "Luke, go upstairs and change into your nice shirt and pants for Grandma."

I glanced down between his legs and saw that his erection had hardly subsided, but neither had mine. Actually his fingers were fingering his arousal. Thinking of a stall, I asked the two of them if they knew the secret recipe for my butterhorns. That took five minutes and got a wink from Luke, as a thank you. When he straightened his legs, he draped his red stocking in front of his exposed genitals, and then withdrew the cover to tell-all to his mother. I panicked inside. He tugged on my sleeve for me to come upstairs with him. It occurred to me never to judge an older male with a younger one until you are in their shoes. Lisa made the decision for me.

"Sweetie, I want to talk to Richie for a second." She had to notice his arousal but didn't blink.

Luke bounced off the sofa, his penis glistened with pre-come. He didn't much care if his mother saw his groin, or not. His butt got a swat with a departing remark from his mother. "And make sure you put on some underwear!" She turned to me, though I was sweatin' it.

"That boy is way too comfortable in his own skin." She grinned which put me at ease. "Richie, we're pleased you could accompany Randy here for Christmas. I've never seen my brother as happy as he is now. His arrest was quite a traumatic event for him and our family. Whatever it takes to make him bounce back, I'm all for it, as long as it's legal."

I nodded in agreement, yet still in shock of what had just transpired.

Lisa patted me on the knee, but my anticipation of something bad or cruel being said hadn't diminished.

"As long as I have you in front of me, I can pick your brain, if that's okay?" she asked.

"Yes, ma'am. I hope I haven't done anything wrong."

She giggled with the freshness of someone embarrassed. "Hardly. I'm afraid even my son has fallen in love with you. You're the first gay boy he's ever known, though he knows he has a gay uncle, who he adores. As you might have guessed, this is about Luke. His father and I are quite aware that he's very attracted to his own sex. Were you like this at his age?"

My muscles relaxed; this was so great. "Ma'am, I knew I was gay when I was eight or nine, though I didn't label this as gay or homosexual. Don't be concerned; be encouraged and happy for your son. Luke exemplifies the beauty and joy of life, though he isn't fully aware of the suffering that befalls such an orientation." I chuckled with a hundred memories that were best left unsaid. "You can see it in your son's eyes. If you crush that spirit, you will destroy that joy for many years. I know, as millions of other gay boys before me. So what if his penis stands up for other males, he's still the loveable son you've always known, and he will really need your acceptance if he's going to adjust to a society which isn't always tolerant. If you question his sexuality, your son will shut you out of his life, keep secrets, and you'll never know his emotions or feelings about those he cares for. You're talking to a teenager who has struggled with his own parents. What I would have given to be able to go to my mother and tell her how my heart feels, what tingly sensations love can do to one's body and how wonderful loving someone can make the world a blessing. Judge him and you will lose that great opportunity."

Lisa was practically in tears. She moved forward and kissed me on the forehead. "Where in the world did my brother find you?"

"I found him, ma'am."

"Thank God"

Luke's mom grabbed my wrist in an affectionate touch. The daintiest uplifting of her mouth communicated that she now knew she had interrupted a non-verbal event between two gay boys.

"I teach a boy protégé in the piano. You guys are scary, you realize that? You're actually the perfect challenge to my brother, who is far more heart than he is cerebral."

It was my turn to smile, even with my gayness revealed in front of a woman I barely knew. "We're the perfect combination, ma'am. Randy makes me come alive and think out of the box; that is something all my brain power seems to dismiss."

She raised my hand to kiss it. My robe raised like a miniature tent pole, but that secret was up anyway. Her simple kiss had Lisa's eyes go from my crotch to my face.

"I will take your advice seriously, because it is honest and extremely uplifting." We both chuckled with her reference. Her glance back to my groin preceded a departing remark. "I see that my brother's robe looks good on you. He hasn't been shortchanged in his selection of maleness."

I laughed as she traipsed to the kitchen with pride over her final touché. I struggled with whether to go upstairs and see Luke. Was I endorsing restraint based on some moral prescription? I was but two years older; my own memory of being fourteen wasn't that far removed; actually, it felt like yesterday. Discovery, pleasure, testing the limits, these were all part of the fun of this hormonal beginning. Randy's words swept through my mind: Empathy was as much about feeling another person's pleasure, as well as pain. My conclusion, I might be Luke's friend, but I was more Randy's lover. All I knew, I needed to masturbate.

Luke trotted down the steps a few minutes later and went right to the piano. I sat there tying my sash in a way to immobilize my erection. A comical effort so I could at least have breakfast.

In amazement I heard Luke play Oh Christmas Tree with a jazz tempo, like this was the easiest thing to do. Way too spectacular, I moved to where the family was having breakfast and said, "You know, that's not a recording in there; the boy belongs in Carnegie Hall."

Lisa and her family laughed. "You should hear his brothers and sister," she told me. I was quickly envious of the amount of talent before me.

My return to shove pieces of bacon into Luke's mouth started his singing All I Want for Christmas Is You. That boy sure can make me turn all sorts of red.

I didn't expect any presents--okay, maybe from Randy. By the time the morning was done, I'd received six. My eyes bugged open when this huge box was carted out from behind the couch. Inside were all these new tools for my woodwork, even a set for doing wood sculptures. I was so stoked! I'd bought Randy all the newest software for helping him as a writer. Mr. & Mrs. Sumter gifted me with a Blackberry, the same gift they gave to Randy's sons. Even Lisa's family bought me a running watch with all sorts of gadgets to register my heart beat. Bryce and Lance had combined and given me this radical set of eyeglasses that I could watch a movie on, like it was surround sound and a gigantic TV. I think Randy helped with the expense of this one.

My gifts to the family centered on my woodwork: a glass wooden table I made for Randy's parents; re-curve bows for Lance and Bryce; Video games for Luke and his brothers; plus, CDs for Lisa and her husband. My Christmas money was well spent. Luke's brothers, Bruce and Billy, were the happiest of youngsters with all their presents from Santa. They had been afraid that Santa wouldn't know they were at Grandma's house.

Presents delivered, everyone went around the room with hugs and thank-you's. My emotions were up and down; one second wanting to believe I was a part of this great family; the next second I felt like an outsider, someone who had infringed on this Christmas that was meant for biological and genetic relationships only. Luke came up to me and kissed me right on the lips when he was sure no one was looking.

Overwhelmed with such a house full, I made the omelets, while Mrs. Sumter prepared her turkey for dinner. Luke wanted to be my constant assistant. My security blanket was in the kitchen, so I received permission to make a banana nut cake. All the ingredients I gathered and, what I didn't have, I sent Randy to the store. Lisa smiled at my presence in this woman's domain and said this was why Randy had discovered me--he was a lousy cook and a worse husband. To find a boy who could take care of him was a godsend.

In finishing my cake, I made icing and put banana slices between layers. Luke came in before his mother had a chance to chase him out. I managed to have him lick the pan. A friend for life.

Most everyone adjourned to the family room to watch parades or football games. Luke followed me around the house until I forgot about the mistletoe. His grip around my waist was followed by a kiss, much like one would give their parent. I glanced both ways, loosened his jaw and laid one on him. No way was he taking no for an answer this time. Upstairs we flew, his hand not letting go of my own. I swear it was for demonstration purposes only. We showered together after our show and play Christmas party. I was worried that Luke's cousins were on to our rendezvous.

"Lance and I played around last year. He's cool. No one is going to trip," Luke told me in the shower.

I was stumped for words. "Sex is a big secret in our house, at least from our parents."

"My parents expect total honesty. I tell them everything. I got to keep my subscription to Playgirl, didn't I?"

He had a point there. "Everything? Like last night?"

"Unless it could harm someone. Dad has a motto, do no harm. I don't snitch if I think it will get someone in trouble. Dad says that one of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. Would my betraying another person build my trust in you?"

"You're right. I never thought about it like that. You're pretty smart for a twink."

A most fantastic Christmas dinner, after which Lisa and her family prepared to head back to Vermont. Luke pleaded for another day, maybe ten. Unfortunately they were due at his father's parents. Often I misjudge people, and Lisa was one of these. It's easy to think that others are eyeing me to elevate their esteem and belittle mine. This was not the case. It was like, Lisa was the mother I always wanted, someone who could look into my eyes and tell me everything that was going on, then give me this gigantic hug before saying that all was okay. Her husband was just glad that Lisa ran the family and seemed above any pettiness like sexual nature. Laid back and totally focused on law, his balance amazed me with his love for each of his children. I felt that he accepted Luke as his gay son, the hockey player. Needless to say, there wasn't a week that went by that I didn't get a letter from Luke, by way of Randy's address.

Luke even told his grandmother after dinner that he was officially gay, as he put it. She was already given a heads up by her daughter on this one, so Mrs. Sumter didn't blink and said she found this most admirable in a young man to know who he was. She also stated that the family needed more gay men if they were as nice as Randy, Luke and me. That was totally cool. Of course, Luke wanted to take me home, like I was a gift. I told him, with his smile and new knowledge, there were a dozen boys at school waiting for his love. He promised never to say goodbye to anyone, especially me.

No sixteen-year old wants to admit that a younger kid influenced him. Luke had done that to me; he had humbled my narcissism. Though his words were his parents', he had memorized them to where he followed their principles. He was right, it is one thing to make a mistake, quite another not to admit it. People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, mistakes of judgment. But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, those with ill motives.

I watched their departure with sorrow. Luke whispered something into his uncle's ear that had them both laughing. Randy took Luke's head and nuzzled it against his shoulder. Their love for each other was absolutely amazing. I'd have given another year's allowance to have an uncle like Randy, but, come to think of it, he's far more than just an uncle to me. Later on Randy told me that, the night before, Luke said he wanted a boy for Christmas. In some ways he had received that one wish. The other whisper was, 'Richie has convinced me that my whole body is gay.'" My new friend was always making me laugh with his views on life and love.

Lance called me to his bedroom shortly after his aunt and uncle left, a fear crept over me that he would question my relationship with his cousin, or even his dad.

"I just wanted to thank you for coming. If my dad has to be gay, then I'm glad he picked you." Lance shook my hand, and I didn't dare say that I pursued his father or that I knew that he and Luke had fooled around. Cousins were like that, like twin brothers.

By evening when a light snack was fitting, I made a split pea soup to allow Mrs. Sumter to relax after a taxing day. It was almost bedtime and Randy's parents had long retired when Lance and Bryce came in the living room.

"You two get the bed tonight, Dad," Bryce said.

"This is okay," Randy tried to be polite.

"No. Lance and I support you and Richie. He's the best thing that's ever happened to you, outside of us two."

Randy smiled, and I knew I'd have to tell Luke that we made love in the same bed that I did with his uncle. That one might be another fantasy fulfilled.






Randy once told me that what makes a book successful is not always what is inside, but what is left out. I found this especially true with the Sumter clan, a most beautiful and loving group of people I've had the pleasure of knowing in my young life.

A lot of this made sense when I stop to think about Randy's life, his arrest, the impact it had on his family and friends. Much of this was explained to me over the phone by my new lady in my life, Lisa. We had quickly become fast friends, and she even called me her tween-in-law. I always chuckled when she started a conversation with that.

Unlike my own mother, Luke and his mom were super close. Like, how weird can it be to show your mom your erection? What was cool, they had few barriers, few secrets and trusted each other. I'd flash my mother in a second to have all that. Then I remembered, that's why Janice and I were so close.

I quickly discovered that Lisa hadn't been wary of my intentions with any of her children, but careful that I wouldn't reject Luke for who he was, though I was gay, as well. She was very sensitive to his self-esteem and emotional balance. When I had told her how important it was for a parent to listen and have empathy for her son, I had acquired her confidence by saying the right thing.

I've learned many things since that little vacation to Massachusetts. Lisa and Randy are very tight, which means that Lisa took Randy's arrest extremely hard. She realized that the family had put unrealistic expectations on one of their own without realizing the secrets he kept about being gay. Lisa was determined not to drag her son through the same shame and turmoil.

Actually, Luke was the quintessential son, the type of boy who is honest to a fault. He tells his mother everything, save but a few to protect his biggest love, his uncle.

As months went on I became one of Lisa's boys. If I was at Randy's when Lisa called, she would ask for my opinion on how she should proceed.

"Luke has a boy over from school. He's so darling, Richie, I have to wonder why there aren't a dozen girls following his every footstep. But then I have to remember that he's enamored with my own son. Do you think I should buy my son condoms?"

I respected Lisa asking me these important questions, so I answered responsibly. "Boys perform for each other at this age, so communication isn't on their minds. You might sit down with both of them and explain that having sex with others put each other at risk. If they're both monogamous, then they will be safe from disease. I'm healthy, so Luke has no worry here. Chances are, the other boy is new at this, but this has to be verified."

"That makes sense," Lisa complimented me. "They're upstairs now, so I suppose I could walk in with a plate full of cookies. At least the boy will know that I'm not uptight with all this."

"If they're moaning, I'd give them a minute," I said with a giggle. She laughed.

"I tucked them both in bed the other night. They were so cute in each other's arms, body to body and naked to the skin. I couldn't help but kiss them while I threw a cover over their bodies. Then they both opened their eyes, and Kirk had the most scared look in his eyes. My son stroked his hair and said the most amazing thing, 'It's okay, it's my mom.' You have no idea what that meant to me."

"I think I do," I honestly admitted. I was sitting up in bed, watching Randy typing on his computer. He was very content on me talking to his sister, like two old friends. "I really like you," I said with great satisfaction to this new person in my life.

"My brother is lucky he found you first or my husband might be jealous," Lisa told me. "I'm all cozy under my covers on this snowy night. Brandon had to work late. So tell me more about this man/boy difference. I need turned on."

"It might turn me on," I replied.

"Good. Let's get hot together."

Only Janice would talk like that, but that's what is so cool about being gay, women feel more relaxed when we're around. "Okay. Well, let's see, I like men because of their smell, like autumn in the air compared to a boy's scent of spring. Men have an odor of a downpour, while a boy's body is dew, a leftover aroma of childhood. Don't get me wrong, a boy's perfection is gorgeous, elegant, utterly satisfying, but there's something about a grown man's musty smell, the taste of hardness and splendid textural.

"I just like men better, because they dominate, control, and make love like they drive their cars. Boys are too curious, excited, cautious, and into themselves. Not that Luke was like that; he wanted to give back to the sex of another person.

"A man has rhythm, a timing that coordinates with my body's rushes, the grip of my fingers on his nipples. He's patient with his power, a mnemonic tempo that a boy cannot fathom. Luke was a bunny, fast and furious without a sense of dynamics. But then, like he thought of music, he began to enjoy the moment and made love to me instead of the impending orgasm. In that split second he realized that sex didn't need to be the aim, but only the means. Knowing I wasn't going to run away, he explored this passion."

Lisa started to sing, 'You don't send me flowers anymore,' which had me busting up. She filled the void I desperately needed with Janice gone. I felt completely comfortable talking about my sexuality and about Randy, with the intention of desperately wanting Lisa to know that he was the greatest man in the world and not this monster people tried to make him out to be. She asked me what I saw in her brother. Now that was a most ponderous question, so I said I saw myself.






The holidays had obviously been successful. Even New Year's had been a night of bliss--me in Randy's bed, in a full blizzard that had us huddled up and having great sex under the blankets. The fireplace couldn't keep us warm that night, so Randy and I stayed as one body the whole time, chest to chest, groin to groin, toes to toes--yummmmm!!!

Within three days I received my first letter from Luke. He always signed them, Love, Luke. The questions he asked had Randy and I in stitches; always about how he should respond if a boy said this or that and what to look for so he could plant a kiss on the boy's lips. I wrote back in one letter that he should have more sleep-overs and tell the boy he always sleeps in the nude. If the boy lit up, he found a winner.

In combination with my friendship with Randy's sister, I felt more like a Sumter than an Adler. For our birthdays I got permission to take a day off school, so we traveled down to Virginia on Friday morning to visit the first battlefield of the Civil War, Bull Run. We stayed in a motel in Fairfax, and Randy said we couldn't have sex because I wasn't eighteen, given the infamous state of Virginia and their archaic laws. This was preposterous, so I masturbated next to him and watched Randy bite his lip.

As we toured the old battlefield of Bull Run, near Manassas, it didn't resemble the countryside of a hundred and fifty years earlier. The best part, we still found a mini ball encased in a tree, a souvenir to add to our collection. I just knew this 5,000-acre battlefield park still held unsolved mysteries. Randy explained the battle, as if he was there himself. How both armies began the battle by trying to turn the other's left flank, causing the whole battle to turn slowly. He pointed out Henry House Hill, where General Bee, before he was killed, said, "There is Jackson, standing like a stone wall," or something similar, according to Randy. He didn't think it was a compliment.

Randy found The Manassas Museum on Prince William Street. The museum had a restored earthwork fortification built by General Beauregard as part of his defense of Manassas Junction.

Randy conveyed the battle, as if he was the general in charge of McDowell's 30,000 man army, and Robert Patterson, a veteran of the War of 1812, and his 18,000 Federal troops. I could envision General Beauregard's 20,000 men along the stream, which was crossable only at a number of fords and one stone bridge. Personally, I would have faked the flank attack and driven a wedge right through their middle, and only when their sides came to protect the collapse, then I'd hit their flanks. Randy said I would have been a great general.

The second Bull Run wasn't any more successful. Fought in June of sixty-two, the battle involved General Jackson and Lee, against Pope and Porter, who was later court-martialed for failure to obey orders. Another debacle, the Union had 14,500 casualties to 9500 for the Confederates. Pope far outnumbered the South, only to have Jackson cut off his supply route. Confederate Captain Alexander used a new system called the wigwag telegraph to signal Captain Evans that his left flank was turned. The communication proved successful.

Into Washington we went to visit sights I had never seen. In the Willard Hotel, Randy told me how the Battle Hymn of the Republic was originally a campfire melody of the South, while Dixie was written by a Northerner. It first appeared in a performance in a New York City minstrel show in 1859. It was cool how each side adopted the other's music.

Up the coast we stopped at Valley Forge. Hardly similar to what it was in the 1780s, we had a great meal back in our own state, a place where I was allowed to get kinky with any man I wanted, which meant Randy. My favorite story was how America had welcomed this man named Frederick Von Steuben, a military man from Prussia, who had been ostracized for having sex with boys in Europe. He brought with him two fourteen-year old boys to America. The man helped establish discipline in Washington's army, military drill, and proper marching. Randy thought we might have lost the war but for the brilliance of tactical training given by this general. He would retire in New York with the two boys, who would be beneficiaries to his will and devoted love.

"Without this boy-lover we would likely be speaking bloody English and kissing ass to the Royal Family," Randy said and I cracked up.

"God forbid. That would be bloody awful, the way those blokes treat their boys," I said in my best English dialect.

This was my seventeenth birthday present. I'd take a trip like this for any birthday. For Randy's 40th, I bought him a smoothbore rifle, Civil War vintage, though not an antique. I read where felons can have black powder weapons because they're almost worthless. One would have to be a crack shot to hit anything over a hundred yards. It takes a lot of guts to fire at someone, then know that you have to lower your weapon to reload, which takes another thirty seconds, if you're good at it.

The salesman who sold me this old gun was nearly as ancient as the musket. He adopted me like I was his grandchild to instruct me on how to fire this relic. I had to smack the cartridge against my butt to settle the gunpowder in the cartridge. All the while I thought he was joshing me, but I tore the paper cartridge with my teeth and poured the powder down the barrel. The musket-ball was peeled from the wrapper and inserted in the muzzle, and then ramrodded all down the barrel. I removed the percussion cap from the cap pouch and placed it under the hammer.

"Hold on there, Whipper!" This feisty codger scolded me. "Ya'll forgot to pull out the ramrod."

"Right, sir, I was just checkin' if you were paying attention." Gramps pinched my cheek and said I would've been a handful in camp.

He walked me behind the shop and pointed at a tree in the woods. I pulled back the musket hammer, looked over the top of the barrel, and fired. Nearly knocking me on my ass, he had his jolly laugh for the day.

In addition to our new antique gun, which had no use but a display piece above the fireplace, I had set up in the middle of Randy's living room my finished sculpture in wood. Rather erotic, my profile was sitting on a pedestal, my hands backward for balance, one leg drooped down, while the other knee was raised up with my heel near my butt. My head was dropped forward as I viewed my erection staring up at me. Randy stopped dead in his tracks when he saw it.

"My God, you've been petrified!" He said it was the most beautiful piece of art he had ever seen. I think he lies just to impress me. "Men will be so jealous, knowing that I have loved the real thing."

He said the right thing to make me drop right to my knees.

I'd almost forgotten about this engagement in Toronto, until Randy reminded me. When I addressed this with my mother, she became quite belligerent.

"Do you think you can just take off school at your discretion and shack up with a pervert, even in Canada?! I was hoping maturity would have eclipsed this nonsense by now. I'd advise you to shape up before your father comes home."

I was livid, but I held my temper. Randy words dove through my consciousness: 'Don't put any value on something you can do without.' True, I didn't really need to go to this seminar, but I wanted to because they asked me to speak. I wouldn't win this argument if I turned it into me versus my mother. Mothers like to win.

"You make a good point about school. I do find it interesting how you encouraged me to vacate the premises so you could have a happy Christmas, then admonish this same gentleman that you used when the opportunity befits you. Is hypocrisy in your vocabulary?"

My mother glared at me. "Wait till your father comes home. Do what you want, you always do."

That was a copout, a way of playing victim when she knew she was wrong. "Actually, Mother, I don't do what I always want. I take into consideration your needs and desires, my siblings' needs and desires, and the consequences of my actions. It's why I asked your permission, so you knew I respected your opinion."

My mother laughed. "You're so full of bullshit, you sound like your father when we first dated. It's how I ended up pregnant with Rob. You're a loser, just like your father." She turned away before I could vent my hurt, and then held up her hand to stop my defense. "You're getting too old to fight with, Richard, so go on, get your rocks off in Toronto and see if I care."

"You mean testicles, and it's called an ejaculation. You're starting to sound way too much like my classmates." I walked out, having the last word and not feeling all that guilty for saying it.

Randy and I arrived in Toronto after a whole day of travel. Though it was March, Buffalo and all of Western New York had been hit by a snow storm off the lake. Crossing the border, Randy breathed a sigh of relief that we weren't stopped, but only to ask our destination and show our passports. He said that if he had had to reveal he was a felon, they wouldn't have let him in the country. I thought that was sort of pathetic for Canada, a country I used to respect.

So we're in Toronto with a night to spare and Randy wants to go see this H2O-escapade. This sounded way too much like an Ice Capades' show, which is like watching opera to me. His sales pitch followed on how I fought going to Mama Mia, only to enjoy the movie. I gave him that, but two in a row? Even I couldn't be wrong twice. I caved in after the leg lock and a monkey bite.

I expected synchronized swimming and girls who made themselves up to all look alike. Okay, I missed that assumption. Actually it was a water extravaganza featuring scenes from a lot of water movies, like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, assorted pirate scenes, which were cool, and other ways of keeping brats like me on the edge of their seats.

Canada isn't as uptight about nudity as America, since many of the girls didn't wear tops. It was sort of a Vegas show without saying that minors couldn't watch. Two young boys, eleven or so, dressed up like Nemo with their Speedos. They were the troublemakers, always pushing people in the pool or showing up at wrong moments. It was great for laughs. Other clowns, dressed as clown fish, were outdone by these two rogues. There were two pools, one a big 50-meter pool; the other a diving pool, so diving became one of the hi-lights. The two boys were always trying to climb up to the platform, but were caught and carried down. They would have their Speedos grabbed and lowered below their butts to bring laughter in capturing these two. Finally this head clown came out with both boys Speedos to convince the crowd that the solution had been had.

There were fireworks, ships on fire, pirates, and the good guys swinging from deck to deck. I'd never seen anything as good as what they could do with an indoor pool. A spotlight caught these two rascals running up the steps to the platform, stark naked. Together and as synchronized as Olympic champions, they dove off that platform with somersaults and twists to the amazement of us all. From the darkness, another blue floodlight awaited their surfacing, only to have them practically fly out of the water with their arms held high in celebration. Something below them had really propelled this boost. The security clowns dove in to capture these two, but then another spotlight caught this huge, rubberized, Great White shark climbing from the 50-meter pool with both boys in the shark's mouth, their butts and legs hanging out. It was so awesome and funny. I wished we had brought Luke.

In its finality, the actors all came out, then the two boys came running to the front, towels around their waists to take their bows. I figured what would happen; two of the showgirls grabbed those towels and sent the boys streaking to the locker room to the laughs and applause of the audience. In America some mother would have sued the show for traumatizing her kids. I didn't dare compliment Randy for his selection for at least an hour. A smile gave this up, so I admitted he was two for two.

The following evening I suggested we see the water show again and skip our lectures. There on the list of speakers was my name: Richie Adler--FREEDOM TO LOVE. Not the name I would have given to my topic, but then I thought about this title and loved it. I had done my research, but most of my words would be from the heart.

For a change I was in a suit, one that Randy helped pick out. I didn't dare ask my mother to purchase a suit for me, but Randy waved a credit card in front of my face and off we went to a haberdasher that afternoon. I was amused right from the start when this salesman came, literally, prancing toward us on his toes.

"Such handsome customers," he spoke in the most effeminate voice I'd ever heard. "Okay, now who can I help look like a new man?"

Randy pointed at me with a slight push on my butt to advance me forward. That salesman measured me from neck to waist, even lowering my shorts to get a full view of my hips. Now no male likes to keep changing in and out of clothes, but this men's store was more fun than a video arcade. I'd keep asking Randy to come back to the changing rooms, where I'd strip off a pair of pants, only to have an erection poking from my underwear. He'd go down on me, like he was the store clerk. I'd put on another pair of dress pants, then we'd laugh at the indentation of my arousal. It was more fun getting undressed than trying on various pants. I wouldn't dare venture out because my erection wouldn't go flaccid. Randy didn't help this aspect out.

A final selection and I wasn't completely soft when the salesman took my inseam to bring up the cuffs. The back of his hand rubbed the length of my cock, down the side of the thigh. Ever so gradually it hardened, though he tried his hardest to pretend it hadn't. I'd felt bad if I thought he was a straight guy. Randy could barely keep a straight face and kept turning to cough. I suppose I could have reached in and straightened it out upward, but it was more fun to have the pants sticking out.

The clerk turned me around, cupped my ass to assure the proper fit, and then swung me back again to put his fingers inside the waist. That's when my penis sprang upward and coated the tip of his fingers with pre-come. All in all I dare say I made his job very entertaining.

Randy gave his symposium on the deficiency of a healthy therapeutic approach for sex offenders in prison and in mental hospitals. I listened intently, even more so than Philadelphia. It all made sense, how men practically made themselves asexual when in therapy, only to hide their sexual interests and not confront their issues of their sexual orientation and identity. Being that 95% of the offenders did not use violence or abduct their victims, few could actually believe they did any harm. The truth being, the arrest, embarrassment, shame, and interrogation behind the adult-child sex does far more harm than the actual event.

There was no way Randy could discuss societal conventions on adult-child sex, so his information was valuable to those psychologists who made this field their specialty. Then it was my turn. One thing about being seventeen, no one expected me to be politically correct or accountable to an employer.

"I'm seventeen, and I'm a sexual being," I started and received a round of applause, like I'd actually said something startling. "My experience in life is less than half of those in the audience. It is interesting to hear about teenagers from those in their thirties upward, as if we're under a microscope of puritanical interest and there's some type of regret that men wished they would have had more sex at my age.

"First of all you should know that I'm gay. Have been all my life. My father left our house when I was ten, but he was rarely home, anyway. I have two younger brothers, twins, who are two years younger. Though I endured parental scrutiny of my sexual awareness as a young boy, I survived, nonetheless, in spite of having a mother who was given the role of pregnancy as her one allegiance to my father.

"By the age of four I understood sexuality as it related to the birds and bees, thanks to an older sister of six. I was soon thwarted by adult prohibitions; these prohibitions carried with them the threat of punishment for transgression, an inhibition that accompanied my development with the concept that it was wrong to express my discovery of pleasure. I believe this is the American way, repress the natural sexual senses of the young, which causes psychic stress and eventually manifests itself in neurotic symptoms.

"I read where nine percent of gay men had their first homosexual experience by age ten; nineteen percent by the age of twelve; thirty-five percent by the age of fourteen. I would have loved to have had an experience at all three age groups, but I lacked a willing partner. I could say I waited until I was sixteen, but the truth is, I was never lucky enough to find a willing partner before this time.

"My parents were free to fill all their children's minds with any prejudice or bigotry they liked without danger of societal scrutiny for corrupting a minor, assault on a child's mind, or anything else. Children are seen as fair game for the brainwashing of any religious belief or value system of the adult, particularly the parents. Mothers are more likely to impose sexual castration and taboos on children, not because they are aware of children's sexuality, but that they are ignorant on how to raise normal healthy children.

"The first sex joke I ever knew was told to me by my father. He said there was this ten-year old boy who walked in on his parents, catching them in hot, romantic sex. The boy turned and ran screaming from the room. The wife said, 'Honey, you better go and explain the birds and bees to our son.' So the father went in search of his son, but to no prevail. Finally he decided to try the bedroom where the boy's grandmother was staying. Opening the door, there was his son having sexual intercourse with a sixty-five year old woman. The boy reared back and said, "'It's not so funny when it's your mother, is it?'"

I waited until the laughter had diminished. I sort of thought the joke showed how parents hadn't prepared their son to except sex as healthy and enjoyable. These shrinks thought the joke was hilarious. I often wondered why my father told me that one, because he never was one to discuss sex or what it was like to grow into adolescence.

"I was ten when my father told me that joke, and I didn't laugh. I simply looked at him and asked why a ten-year old should be all upset at watching two people copulate? My father glared at me and said, "You're weird," and brought his newspaper in front of his face. It's part of being precocious, of having an intellect that scares most adults. Trying to look at things logically as a mathematical problem isn't necessarily the best way to grow up. Being loved by men like Randy has helped me accept myself and relax with the knowledge that I can be loved.

"At this same age when my brothers were eight, I felt an intense love and affection for the twins. This I knew reinforced my suspicion that I was gay. Affection and love are separate emotions, though often associated with sex but is not necessarily connected. Children do not always view the sexual act as distasteful and many children may gain considerable comfort from thinking themselves loved and wanted by an older sibling or an adult. In many ways I was the adult in my brothers' eyes. They even called me Dad, at times. Needless to say, I made sure my brothers felt comfortable with their sexuality, their ability to seek pleasure without ridicule, shame, or guilt. In my small world there was no social convention that being sissy and unmanly aren't conducive for boys. Boys really do need affection and respond to it naturally. My brothers loved to be cuddled and to feel the warmth of another body.

"Speculative insights into a child's mind, such as this, may or may not have some truth in them. It is highly significant that not a word is said tonight as to give the impression that a child, having discovered sexual pleasure, may, in addition to any 'political' factors involved, want sex simply for its own sake because they enjoy it.

"Freud observed that children are 'polymorphously' perverse, particularly when they are too young to have assimilated the restrictive sexual mores imposed upon them by their parents to repress the irrepressible, which makes neurotics and sexual cripples of us all. I've come to learn that sex only assumes importance to us as individuals because of the importance accorded to it, for whatever reason, by society.

"As I did my research for this opportunity to talk to you, it was interesting to read about different cultures; the Pukapukans of Polynesia, where children masturbate freely without parental rebuke. The Lepcha of India, where adults freely have sex with children. The Siwans of North African, where all men and boys engage in anal intercourse. The Aranda aborigines of Central Australia, where pederasty is a recognized custom. The Kiwai Island, in S.E. Coast, New Guinea, who practice sodomy for pleasure. These cultures are almost violence free, happy and content, compared to the violent cultures of America and England, two of the worst nations in the world for teenage pregnancies and problem children of all ages.

"Two positive aspects of early sexual expression are: one, being freed of the moral structure that has left many in our society incapable of complete fulfillment in their sexual lives. They just seem to be happier and more content; two, these children are spared much of the adolescent conflict between physical readiness and social prohibition. These children who were given free rein of their sexual pleasures demonstrated a high degree of maturity, self-confidence, and self-reliance. Lack of fear of unfamiliar people and confidence in their interpersonal relations were pronounced. Ability to cooperate with other children and to resolve conflicts without adult attention developed early. A general openness to express ideas and feelings freely, even when contradictory to adult opinion, was evident almost in all post-toddler children. There is no shortage of rape, murder and so on in many societies dominated by traditional sexually repressive values; yet, we allow the politically motivated to continue to instill age of consent laws and right wing agendas that weaken the very culture we think we are protecting--boys like me.

"As a twelve-year old I was well aware that a pre-adolescent has the capacity to achieve repeated orgasms in limited periods of time. This capacity definitely exceeds the capacity of teenage boys, who, in turn, are much more capable than any older males. Whether I am a twelve year old, or seventeen, I don't need a person in position of authority asking me if I was touched by an adult. If I didn't say no to the adult, then don't ask. I know the difference between pleasure and pain, and sex is about pleasure, no matter who it is with.

"I'm in love with a pedophile. That's a label I consider a joke. The great life experiences of an adult may be more beneficial to a child or teenager than a relationship with someone of his own age. In a union of man-boy love, some adults see children as "significant others" whose judgments and appreciation are crucial for the adult's self-concepts. Such an adult would not jeopardize their self-concepts by committing acts which would detract from the child's regard for them. The whole question of who seduces whom is largely irrelevant in many of these relationships. I know I'm speaking as a gay teenager, but I'm envious of those boys who came under my lover's tutelage. How lucky they were!

"There are arguments on both sides of the offense, so I won't be a martyr for the cause here. Even though the child's sexual behavior may not have been sexually motivated, this does not mean that he is totally unaware of his power to attract, which he may well have used to deliberately gain attention and affection. Adults' sincere fondness for the objects of their sexual desire sometimes leads them to quite striking acts of charity in efforts to further the child's happiness or future prospects. Sounds a lot like how adults groom their dates or even their mates.

"I'm under the impression, because I know a man extremely well, that people do not turn to pedophilia to avoid the responsibilities of an adult relationship, as some believe. It seems to me that the responsibilities of a relationship with a child are in many cases more onerous than one with an adult, not less. We are all born with an indefinite capacity for love and joy. I don't believe that love inside me should be repressed, crushed, or aborted. It is in me for a purpose. Adults have an opportunity to inspire children, beyond what parents are capable. They should be able to do this without first having to climb over those artificial barriers of fear and prohibition that divide generations from each other. Most boys do not grow up gay: they are Ariel spirits, happy for the moment to give and receive affection and sex play, but soon they run off to a girl and adulthood.

"If there's a bottom line, all children are interested in pleasure. It is a myth that a pleasurable experience will lead to a lifetime of consequences that the child doesn't know about. In most child molestation cases the children are harmed more by authority figures in the interrogation than the pleasurable event of the sexual act.

"My purpose for being here is a plea for society to treat their children and teenagers as human beings, with rights, including sexual rights, in which it is fully accepted that they are not mere chattels, at the arbitrary disposal of their parents. I believe there must be boundaries, but not on teenagers. We should have full self-determination to engage in consensual sexual activity with whomever we want. Until you stop alienating children from their bodies, by cruelly binding them in swaddling clothes of shame, they will be bound to grow up deformed, as surely as if you have delegated us to a life of questioning why we have a penis to begin with if it's not to play with at our disposal.

"It is time to stop demonizing boys like myself for what goes wrong and start supporting us to make positive choices. You, as adults, have given me confusing messages about my role, responsibility and position in society. You're the professionals who can advocate that every child feels valued and has their sexual rights respected.

Thanks for asking me to speak tonight."








That's what my father said when he opened the front door. The entire family, minus my oldest sister and two older brothers, moved steadily to the location of this voice. Dad shook my twin brothers' hands, then hugged them; Marcy dove into my father's grasp, and Mom got a squeeze and a kiss on the lips. He took a step toward me and punched me right square in the shoulder. It hurt, but I held my grimace.

"And where the hell were you in March?! Too good to visit your old man?"

"I was with a friend," I stated.

"Yes, of course. My queer son has a friend. Does your friend dress you in fine clothes? Give you a bed to sleep in? Does he see that you make school every day? How about a college trust fund? I expected to see my family once a quarter with no excuses."

I wanted to say that Randy does all these things for me. Where was my father the last six years of my life? Who held my hand through the visits to M.I.T. and Harvard? Who made me feel human by teaching me about my sexuality and learning to love? It sure wasn't my father. "I'm sorry."

"You're sorry," he said mockingly. "You cross me once more, kid, and you'll wish I was still in prison. Do we have an understanding?"

"Yes, sir," I said like the coward I was. He barked at me to get his bag from the car.

I knew Mom had snitched on me; I just didn't know how much Dad knew. From then on my absence from his line of sight was constant. Every time I ran he had to know with whom and where. I played the role of dutiful son, one who ran alone and kept to himself. Randy well knew why I was staying away. A mere month and graduation would be here. If I ran away from home, I'd be severing the knot forever. My decision to do this wasn't in stone, as yet.

Dad had changed, at least to the point that prison life had hardened any demonstration of love. He had trouble making choices for a while, deciding what to do with his regained freedom. Quick to temper, the twins were cuffed across the back of their heads for the merest of infractions. Marcy was gradually distancing herself after Dad would want her to sit on his lap, to the point she felt his erection beneath her bottom. He placed his hand on her thigh, sometimes sliding it up in reference that she had grown to be a woman now and he had to verify it. She stopped putting in falsies, because Dad didn't believe them the first time he saw her breasts. With two swoops of his hand, he went inside her bra and tossed the two pads in the fireplace. Marcy went crying to her room. Mom stayed silent, afraid of the repercussions.

My father made constant calls; many of these were heard throughout the house. Few of his friends wished to establish friendships again, while others never returned calls. Dad cussed out the men who disagreed or didn't accept his invitations for business meetings. He became antsy and even more ill-tempered.

We were eating dinner when my father was tired of my silence. He glared at me. So, you getting your dick sucked by this pervert?"

"He's not a pervert," I gave as a response.

It happened so fast I barely remember his words as he grabbed my T-shirt with his right hand. "That's not what I asked!" By this time my whole body was dragged forward onto the table, up, into, and over my full plate of food. Twisted slightly, I was slid through food, dishes, and glasses the entire length of the table until I was dumped on the floor. Sort of like slip-and-slide through mush. My siblings had scampered away from the table to avoid being splashed.

"Leave Richie alone!" Tracy had yelled when he stood up, but he darted from the room with our father in hot pursuit. Fortunately Tracy ran outside and, with his speed, he easily lost this pursuer.

Tracy spent two days at a friend's house a half-mile away. Finally my father told Trent to tell his brother to come home, all was forgiven. When Tracy walked in the door, my father grabbed him by the neck and shot a punch a mere quarter of an inch from my brother's mouth.

"Next time you run, you won't have a tooth left in your mouth!" My father then threw my brother up against the hall closet.

Tracy ran up to my room, bawling and shaking like I'd never seen him. I held him for almost an hour as he vented his hatred of our father. That was kinda sad to wish ill will to a parent.

Within days I'd received acceptance to M.I.T. and Harvard. I kept this news from my family, but not from Randy. That weekend we ran in the woods together and had sex in celebration. I had yet to make up my mind on which school and how I was going to proceed. That's when Randy helped make this decision easier. My back was against a tree, with my legs wrapped around Randy's waist; his full insertion was complimented with heavy kissing. His face drew back in a very serious tone.

"Richie, I love you more than anything in my life. Whatever you choose, I will fully support you. My father and mother think very highly of you and would love to have you stay with them if you want to work while going to college."

"If I don't use the money my father put aside, I might have to work a year to afford tuition," I said and knew that that was a great idea.

The plan was set. Upon graduation I was off on my own without my parents' support. Spring had sprung in more ways than one. I was in love and focused on making my life my own. No more threats or intimidation by adults, especially my father.

From a life of absolute harmony, my father had changed all that in a manner of weeks. In the meantime I sat by the pool and reflected on why I loved Randy so much. Our togetherness had moments that we would cherish forever.

Two weeks before my father had come home, I was spending my usual weekend at Randy's. On these mornings I'd put my gym shoes on and run down the dirt driveway the quarter mile with Rebel on my heels to retrieve the newspaper, stark naked. I'd never seen another living soul or a car, yet. Then on my way back, here came these two cubs out of the woods with their mother in quick pursuit. When she saw me, she raised upon her hind feet, like I'd challenged her to a fight. No one fired a starting gun but here she came right at me like an animal freight train. Rebel barked once, whimpered and hi-tailed it home. Some loyal pet he was!

Now someone will say drop down, play dead. For some reason the mind doesn't compute that in panic situations. I gave the quickest jerk to my left and went sprinting around the bear. She slid on the gravel, then eyed my bare ass.

"Randy! Help! Help!" I yelled. My life passed before my eyes and I knew I couldn't outrun a bear. Randy came dashing out of the house in only those dorky boxers, a response to Rebel barking at the door. Randy had a broom in his hand, not exactly expecting to confront a bear. He ran straight by me and shoved the handle right into the bear's face.

I made it to the porch, but Randy shouted for me to get in the house. That bear smacked his own face where the broom had hit him, before Randy made this big sweep with his arms, hoping to transcend himself into a monster. What was he doing? The smoothbore! I remembered and grabbed that gun from the mantel. I'd practiced loading that thing, but never under the fear of someone firing back or a bear in the vicinity. Thirty seconds later it was ready. Out to the front I ran ready to save my man, but Randy was coming toward me, with the bear doing this cute bound into the woods.

"How did you do that?" I asked.

"I told him joke. There's this one about the bear and a rabbit in the woods. They were both taking a crap when the bear asked the rabbit, 'Rabbit, does shit stick to your fur?' The rabbit answered that it didn't, so the bear wiped his ass with the rabbit. That bear thought it was funny."

I was still shaking and scared, but that stupid joke had me laughing. Randy picked me up, slammed the front door and took me to bed. I'm thinking it was to see if we could both get it up. Being on all fours with this guy pretending to be a bear made my morning. Randy said it was probably all that the bear wanted anyway. I got to play the cub, doing this in return to the big bad grizzly. Rebel got his play in by sticking his nose in our butts.

In hindsight, Randy was about the bravest person I'd ever seen. He admitted his only game was to make himself bigger than that bear and have her believe it. For that time, it worked. I think getting poked in the eye had a good start.

It's not like tit for tat, but Randy was out with a cold the following week, so I made sure to run over every day, fix him broth and wait on him hand and foot. I'd say penis, but he couldn't even get it up.

I was selected valedictorian of my class, a privilege that was simply icing on the cake for many years of hard work and never having received anything lower than an A. There would be no prom for me, but my brevity had me visiting Randy late at night when I could sneak out of the house after everyone went to bed.

On senior skip day I went to school until two in the afternoon. Fortunately a girl in my class was in one of those feel-sorry-for-geek moods and gave me a ride home. As I exited her car the mailman had just arrived, so I grabbed the letters from our mailbox. The top envelope was addressed to me from Dr. Winegarden at M.I.T.


Dear Richie Adler:

I am pleased to inform you that your entry into the Massachusetts Architectural Association Contest for this year won first prize for student entries. The association offers a scholarship for the winner. Please let me know how you would like to use this award. Again, congratulations on a job well done.


Dr. James Winegarden


I nearly dropped in my tracks. I didn't even know I'd entered a contest! My step picked up until I was practically running in the house. There's excitement that you tell everyone, but this secret had to wait for one special person. Regardless I heard my mother upstairs vacuuming my brothers' room. With complete composure I told her I'd be leaving after school to find a job. She didn't react, but told me to discuss it with my father when he got home.

"When will he be back?" I asked excitedly.

I read my mother like a book and something serious was on her mind. "He can tell you when he returns. I'd advise you to stick around."

My stomach churned, a gradual buildup of worry overcame my confidence. I fled the room, only to see my father's office door partly open. Maybe he'd already returned. When I opened the door my eyes shot right to the display case behind his desk. There for years was incased two pearl handled Colt .44s, original from the day they were made in 1892. They were gone. If logic would have been a part of my thinking I would have realized they were supposed to be. A dash to the end of the hallway and I saw the garage door open with the Porsche gone. Rarely did he leave the garage open unless he was returning quickly.

To my room I stripped so fast I lost my balance and fell to the floor. In seconds I was in my running gear, sprinting down the steps to the outdoors. It seemed I broke my record on numerous occasions to Randy's house. On that day I knew it was a record.

There beside the cabin was my father's Porsche. Ever so slowly I entered the screen door because the wooden door was already open. Voices came from the kitchen, so I eased my way to the entrance. With a snarl and gritted teeth, Rebel was impatiently waiting at the feet of Randy for the command to attack this stranger in his house. I saw Rebel's face turn toward me, but I gave him the hush sign across my lips.

"Mr. Sumter, you're a difficult man to reason with. We have both been through the school of hard knocks; though I'm sure you P.C.'d (Protective Custody) your way through prison. Gangsters don't much like your type."

"So you're a gangster, then?" I heard Randy ask.

"Don't get smart with me, Sumter. I've had men disappear for less. Let's get to the point. Here's fifty-thousand dollars to leave my son alone. No questions asked and it's yours, tax free."

I peeked around the corner and saw a stack of money several inches high being slid across the kitchen table. My heart dropped when Randy fingered the cash, but then he slid it back.

"Mr. Adler, there's not enough money in the world to buy me off. Your son is your son, but you don't own his heart. I'm sorry you had to come all the way over here to be disappointed."

My father rose from his seat, then strolled over to a kitchen drawer. I was surprised to see him lift my hunting knife from the drawer. "Ah, I see this is my son's. You know what this is, Sumter? Let me tell you, a life sentence. Felons can't have weapons, remember? The sheriff will love this one. We can stop this charade right now, Sumter. Take the money and I'll forget about finding this hunting knife."

"You're guiltier than I am, Mr. Adler. You are on parole and have a knife in your hand; plus, you've threatened a law abiding citizen."

I watched as my father came over to Randy and put the point of the blade to his neck. "I could kill you right now and no one would be the wiser. The sheriff would likely say it was one of your victims and not bother with an investigation. Matter of fact, I can guarantee the outcome. The sheriff and I just happen to be good friends."

Coolness swept over me like the protectiveness I've always had for my twin brothers. My eyes darted left for the smoothbore over the fireplace. Thirty seconds to load the crazy thing was too long, but a thought occurred that I had never unloaded the rifle since the bear incident. I marched straight into the kitchen with the stock underneath my right armpit and that long barrel sticking way out in front.

Randy was on the verge of defending himself while restraining Rebel at the same time. It was my time to act.

"Get away from him, Dad!" I shouted.

His shocked look gave me both fear and satisfaction. "Hey, it's your lover boy, Sumter. Listen, kid, this isn't any of your business. Get on home!"

I stood where I was, which increased the wrath in his eyes. "Get the fuck out of here! Now!" He stepped back away from Randy, keeping the knife in his right hand. Ever so slowly he began inching toward me. "Check this out, kiddo, I'm beginning to think you've lost respect for your old man. That really pisses me off! Take a look at your friend there, because he's not long for this world."

"Like Mr. Padowsky? Is that why they've never found him, because you made sure he wasn't long for this world?" I saw the shocked expression with a snide smile that his son knew his secret.

"Sometimes I think you inherited too many brains, boy." His pace quickened, but I backed up slowly. I wasn't going to shoot, but I cocked the hammer to scare him. Still he came within a foot of the barrel. Things happened quickly, though my mind never forgets dialogue or human behavior. His right arm rose with the knife, resembling something I'd only seen in a horror film. My father's eyes bore into me with a pleasure that he was in complete control and this was nothing but a game to him.

"You know I'm going to beat the living shit out of ya, don't ya, boy," my father said with delight and added, "It's your boyfriend I'm going to kill."

"Put the gun down, Richie. We'll talk this out," Randy said as he raised from his chair. Rebel kept barking to create more chaos.

A moment of panic made me step backward one more step. The step caused the stock to hit the door frame, jerking the gun to my left away from his chest. A half-second later the gun exploded, which gave my body a jolt that sent me stumbling backward to the floor. When I came up on my elbows, my father was on the floor with his left hand over his right shoulder, which was bleeding profusely.

"Dad?" I said and hustled upward. Randy was already at his side.

"Call emergency!" Randy shouted at me. "Shut up, Rebel!"

I was in a daze, wanting to believe this was a dream. My fingers hit 911, then relayed the urgency for an ambulance. Randy had ripped the table cloth from the table to stop the blood flow. I'd never seen such an injury; my father's arm was in shreds, a pool of blood had already accumulated on the floor. Mr. Nurse didn't function, only my mind to protect the man I loved and it wasn't my father. My father was swearing a blue streak, so I kept my distance.

With a quick sweep I grabbed the knife to slide it back in its case, then dumped it in the trash underneath the sink. I wrapped the cash in a dish towel and hid it in a soap bucket under the sink, as well. By then the sound of sirens were heard in the distance. Only when the paramedics rushed in did I step out of the kitchen and into the open air. Randy was quickly by my side, putting his arm around me as I shook.

"We simply tell the truth, Richie," he told me. "Rebel, come here, boy!" The three of us waited and watched this exodus of my father on a stretcher.

Sheriff Wallenberg had his deputies tape off the house, as he kept his eyes on us, like we were going to dash in the woods. He had one of his men put Randy and me in the police car, before he decided to travel with the paramedics, while my father was still conscious.

Randy and I must have been sitting in this interrogation room at the station for a couple of hours before the sheriff came in, a look of a serial killer had the same personality. He didn't waste any time, "Your father is dead. Why'd you kill him?"

Incredulously I looked at Randy, who was ready to defend our honor.

"He didn't kill his father. I find it hard to believe that you would attempt to intimidate us with such a ploy. If this is some type of scare tactic, it's in poor taste."

The sheriff slammed his fist on the table. "This isn't a game, Sumter! Before I charge you both with first degree murder, I want some answers!"






I cried most of the night, sure that I'd wake up and this would be all a dream. The previous day had been the ultimate nightmare, a boy's world gone mad.

They had split Randy and me immediately, afraid that we would hear each other's story and agree on everything. For a change Randy wasn't right when he whispered in my ear that this would be all over in a couple of hours.

I was interrogated by Wallenberg, and then two investigators in suits came in. One said this was as serious as it got; the other offered me a soda and assured me that things had just gotten out of hand. By telling the truth this misunderstanding would be all cleared up in no time. Two hours later I was taken to a holding cell, dark and damp. I sat on a concrete bench for, I'm not sure how long until a guard took me to this window where I was fingerprinted and booked.

Back to another holding cell, then to another window. I had my photograph taken from all sorts of angles. Back to a tank where three other juveniles waited. They all played cool, experienced punks at this routine. The questions started coming, what was I in there for? I told them I shot someone. There was instant respect amongst them, an acceptance that I had even gone beyond their immoral ventures. It was important to me not to show weakness, something Randy had told me about his prison time.

The other three teens were there for joy riding, so they said. Then two cops came in through the sliding metal door and told us to strip. Off came the clothes, which were put in a plastic bag. Though there were glances, I sort of kept a hand over my crotch, tugging on my penis to lengthen its wrinkled state. I had barely a glimpse of pubic hair, after shaving it for months. I didn't want them to think I hadn't even hit puberty. We had to lift our arms up, show the inside of our mouth, then lift our penis, testicles, like we could have hidden a weapon around any of these. Turn around, bend over, spread cheeks and cough.

One kid next to me was quick with his crouch and cough. "Again!" the cop shouted, but this time the officer stepped forward and, with his hands in rubber gloves, he stuck a finger up the boy's ass and pulled out what looked like a tampon. It was a rolled up wad of cigarette papers, two matches, and tobacco. I thought the boy was going to get beat-up or something, but the teenager laughed and the cop simply tossed the contraband out the door.

We were marched to the showers, given a towel and a bar of soap and instructed to go to another window, where they gave each of us a yellow jump suit, boxers, cheap gym shoes and socks. On the jump suit it said, LANCASTER JUVENILE. Taken to what they called a pod, I was soon in a cell with gray metal bunk beds, but I was the only person. The whole room was made out of metal: the beds, toilet, sink, even this little table with a stool. On the bed was a blanket, one sheet, a rolled up gray mat and a small paper bag. In the bag was a two-inch toothbrush, soap, and toothpaste.

The spongy mat was a mattress, a cushion about an inch in height, though I think when it was new it probably was more like three inches in thickness. There was this light on the ceiling that didn't seem like much until you tried to sleep. To me the cell was a torture chamber; the only thing missing was the drip, drip, drip of a sink, but that too was there when the ears began to tune in to the stark silence of isolation.

So I cried and made my bed, finding it difficult to sleep because there wasn't a pillow. I peeled off my jump suit, used to sleeping naked, and balled-up my clothing for a pillow. Waiting. Waiting for this metal door to slide open and hear that there was someone waiting for me. Randy would have his arms open as I stepped out into his caress. Then my mother came to mind. She wouldn't want her son behind bars because she knew it was all an accident. Shooting someone was something I wasn't capable of. The police had just pretended to scare me; my father wasn't dead, but recovering in the hospital of a wound to the shoulder.

Hours went by and, when my red eyes looked from my bed through this window slant in the door, another teenager, dressed only in his white skivvies was looking in at me on his way to the shower at the end of this tier. I waved. He flipped me the bird.

Slipping on my jump suit I stood by the door and saw a phone and TV in the dayroom. A newspaper was scattered around various metal tables. If I cranked my neck, I could see the boy in the shower. Probably my age, his body was lithe with a penis that looped like a flower from a full bush of black hair. His ass was less pronounced, more like a swimmer's. I didn't want to sexualize him, but this was the first bit of spark to my otherwise sad countenance.

There wasn't a clock. A person couldn't tell whether it was light or dark outside. When there was any sign of life I sprang out of my bed to investigate. This metal compartment below the rectangular window was shoved open by a cop, then a teenager with a yellow jumpsuit on slid a breakfast tray through the opening. One glance at the food and I wanted to throw up. I had to eat something, so I scooped some grits in my mouth, drank the milk and tried the powdered eggs. I wasn't a coffee drinker, but I managed to gulp a few sips of this warm liquid.

Finally falling to sleep, moments later I was awaken when this voice shouted through the speaker on my wall. "Adler! You want dayroom?"

"Yes sir!" I replied back and the click of the metal door gave me a profound sense of freedom to another space of incarceration.

I didn't know the perimeters, my responsibility to this system of control. I grabbed my towel and soap to head for the shower. Though it was grimy and I had to keep pressing this metal button to keep the shower going, I managed to clean myself. A boy about fourteen was watching me from his cell close to the shower. I could tell he had a roommate, but this time I didn't wave or acknowledge. Maybe that wasn't cool.

Down the iron stairs I breezed and headed right for the phone. I thought I was a smart kid, but Randy's phone number didn't register. Actually no numbers registered. "Relax, Richie," I told myself. "Get it together." Slowly the numbers came to me and I dialed before I forgot. Practically peeing in my jumpsuit with this first time ever in calling someone correct, my body relaxed when Randy accepted. I tried to speak and got one word out, "Randy?" I began to bawl, then collapsed down the wall so no one could see I was crying.

"Richie? I'm here, pal. Take a deep breath. Are you okay? I'm here for you, son." All these words were comfort to me, but I still felt alone.

"I'm sorry, Randy," I slobbered into the phone, wiped my eyes and attempted to say a sentence without losing it. "Why am I in here?"

There was a deep breath on the other end of the line. I was afraid the phone would go dead before Randy could talk. "Your father died of a heart attack on the way to the hospital. I presume it was because of blood loss. The D.A. doesn't buy our story, but we'll convince them what really happened. I'm here for you all the way."

My head was between my knees to hide my face from those kids who might have been looking out of their cells at this depressed boy. I held the phone like it was a link to Randy's heart. "What's next?" I managed to squeak out.

"You're going to have to endure the day, Richie. You will have an arraignment tomorrow, at which time they'll come up with a charge. I will make sure you have an attorney, so you won't be there alone. Do you understand this?"

"Yes. How about my mother?"

Another pause. Way too long. "I called her. She's devastated. Give her a few days to collect her wits and she'll come around."

"I want to come home," I said like a five-year old.

"I know, I know. Listen pal, you have to be brave and keep your mind together in there. It's only temporary, like a test of what you're made of inside. Don't take things personal, because everyone gets the same treatment. Can you do this?"

"I think so," I sobbed. "Will you come to see me?"

"Of course. I tried last night, but there's a problem with me having a record. I will get permission, though there are steps involved. Richie, I love you, and you must know..."

The phone went dead, then the speaker blared out, "Adler, your time is up. Get in your cell!"

I lifted the phone back to its carriage, a flash of anger of the cruelty in cutting my phone call off. I hoped Randy would know that it wasn't me. There was some relief in speaking to the person I loved the most. I no longer felt alone; my spirits picked up.

My only source of entertainment was the showers, as different boys came out for their one hour a day in the dayroom. Many watched television, the station that was selected by the officers, mostly game shows or soap operas to drive us batty. I pretended to look out and watch TV, but I always caught a glimpse of a boy in the shower.

He wasn't real cute, but I knew what he was doing with his front toward the spray and his elbow moving up and down. Every time he looked back I moved my body away from the window. I finally caught a glimpse of his erection and figured he'd just come because it was deflating by the second. This was pathetic; my only source of distraction was being a voyeur.

Lunch came, but it was a sack lunch. Not much of a way they could destroy this food, inside were packets of peanut butter and jelly, two hard cookies, and a carton of milk. I slept most of the afternoon, had liver for dinner, and became super restless toward evening. Then the news came on and my graduation picture was right there on the evening news. LOCAL BOY KILLS FATHER. The reporter embellished these headlines, as if sensationalizing the event would have people glued to their seats. He made my father out to be some kind of honored citizen in the community, not even mentioning that he'd just gotten out of prison. His report said my father had gone over to a sex offender's house to confront the man about seeing his son. I had showed up and shot my father in a rage of anger. Apparently a homosexual relationship had been going on for some time without his knowledge. I was the total bad guy, the ruthless killer. My heart sank when he said I was being arraigned tomorrow on first degree murder.

I'd cried so much, tears didn't even come, only the embarrassment that every boy in that pod knew I was gay and had an affair with an older man, a sex offender, to boot. Over the next few hours I had my door banged on when boys would go by on their way to the shower. I didn't dare look. Words like 'Fucking queer!' and 'Fag!' were nothing new. A boy yelled through my door, "Hey, kid, got any crack for sale?" Others laughed and beat on their doors. They thrived on having a victim to prey on.

Breakfast was at some ungodly hour, before they sprang my door and told me I'd be going to court. Thankfully most everyone had gone back to bed. Handcuffed, I was led away to a bus, which drove me and others to the courthouse. Girls and boys of all ages were on that same bus, many whispering because they had recognized me on the news the previous night. A girl sat next to me and started telling me that she could make me straight to the amusement of her slutty friends. But then the guard yelled at her to get back in her own seat. No one else wanted to sit next to me.

During court I felt overwhelmed. Finally I saw Randy come into the courtroom and wave. I raised my handcuffed hands upward and tried to smile, though tears again came to my eyes. A man resembling Danny DeVito approached me as I sat in this cage. He called out my name and I wiggled over in front of a few younger boys to answer his call.

"I'm Bill Rivers, your public defender. We're going to plead not guilty. This isn't a preliminary hearing or a trial, so don't make any harsh decisions or create a scene. Got it?"

"Yes sir."

"I'm going to ask for a reasonable bail. Does your family have money?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. It's better if you're able to fight this thing on the outside. Don't expect the judge to be on your side because the charges are very serious."

"Yes sir."

When my case was called I simply stood up. This attorney said he was there to represent me, but then this other man in a dark blue suit walked briskly into the courtroom and asked the judge if he could approach the bench.

"Your honor, I'm Henry Glasco, Mr. Adler's attorney. I've been asked to represent him by a friend of the defendant."

The public defender smiled and dismissed himself, seeming happy to rid himself of the case. This was all a surprise to me. I pled not guilty, then the judge said my bail was one million dollars. My jaw dropped. I was led downstairs where my attorney followed me and we spoke in a cage--me inside, him outside. I was almost positive that my mother hired an attorney.

"Good morning, Richard. Mr. Sumter has spoken to me, so we got our work cut out for us."

"I don't have a lot of money," I said. "Have you spoken with my mother?"

"Briefly. Mr. Sumter has paid me a retainer, so we can get started."

"How much, sir?"

"Ten thousand. I believe he sold his truck to arrange my services, so other means must be found to move forward."

"To you?"

He chuckled. "No, I can't accept vehicles in trade for my services. Do you have any other resources for money?"

"My mother will help," I assured him.

"Ummm, she doesn't appear to want to help for the moment. Mr. Sumter is making other arrangements."

This was like a punch to my stomach, so my answers were all in a fog as I tried to sort this out. I told him what had happened, but he seemed puzzled."

"There wasn't a knife at the scene of the crime," he told me.

"It's probably back in the drawer," I said.

"Let me get this right, you picked it up and replaced it? Why?"

My first instinct was to protect Randy. "I thought my father was just wounded, so I didn't want to give the impression he wanted to kill me, or anything."

"Young man, if we can't convince a jury that this was self-defense, we're looking at first degree murder, like you went there to kill your father."

"I wasn't going to kill him! The gun hit the doorway and went off. It was an accident!"

"Why did you even cock the gun?"

"I wanted to scare him. He was getting angry."

"I would imagine so. You were aiming a gun at him."

"Are you representing him or me?"

He gave me this sigh. "Look, Richard......"


"Okay, Richie. I have to be the devil's advocate because this is how a jury is going to look at it. Your story matches your friend's, but Mr. Sumter is a convicted sex offender, not the perfect witness to bring up in front of a jury. Did you have a sexual relationship with him?"

"Yes sir. But I'm legal," I pleaded.

"This might be true, but to men and women in this conservative community you were merely a pawn for a forty-year old man. We could plead mental duress, that you were simply brainwashed by this man that he liked you. We can get you in a mental hospital, where you'll stay for several years until found mentally competent."

"This can't be real," I stated in total disbelief. "I love Randy, he loves me. I'm not mentally incompetent and I knew what I was doing. My father came at me with a knife. He might not have stabbed me, but he would've beaten me to where I'd be in the hospital. The gun went off by accident."

"Settle down."

"Easy for you to say."

I returned to Juvenile Hall, defeated and with the reality that high school graduation wasn't going to happen for me. I would even miss my finals, my last two tomorrow. My own mother had rejected me.

Three days went by and Randy never answered my calls. Depression came and I slept almost all the time. At one point I didn't even vacate my cell for a shower. Other boys were no longer harassing me, and their nudity was only an occasional glimpse. I figured it was Sunday when my door clicked and they said I had a visit. My hair wasn't clean, but I combed the Alfalfa look to something presentable. Maybe my mother had a change of heart.

Through all sorts of doors there was a room separated by glass with many booths. On the other side of one was Randy. I moved quickly, not knowing if they'd stop this visit just as it began. Randy moved his hand up on the glass and I put mine across from it, but only the cold glass was felt. Once again tears started to flow.

"I made it, my boy," he said and couldn't hold his own flow of tears. "I'm sorry, Richie. I swore to myself to be strong."

"That's okay." I gained a moment of strength. "I'm surprised they let you visit me. Why haven't you answered your phone?"

"There's been trouble. My phone lines were cut, and then a Molotov cocktail was tossed at the cabin. Fortunately I heard the crash and put out the fire before it spread."

"Your truck, Randy!"

"It was for a better cause. Your father's Porsche was still parked in the driveway, so I drove it today."

I laughed through my crying. "Keep it."

"I have a feeling this is a one-time only drive. I expect your mother will retrieve it soon."

"She'll report it stolen, knowing her."

Randy wanted to know how I was holding up, telling me constantly that he was fighting for me every way he could. He hinted that these phones were tapped and anything we said was recorded. He made a motion like he was stabbing, then mouthed, "Where is it?"

"I threw it away under the sink," I mouthed.

"You didn't?!" His seriousness proved again that I'd done something very stupid. He made a motion like he was dealing cash.

"I hid it," I replied.

He sighed. "I know why you did what you did to protect me. You can't protect me and sacrifice yourself, Richie. I won't have it. You have to tell the truth about the knife. With our testimony the jury will know that your father threatened you and me."

"That's why he was there, Randy. People can figure that out. I only ran over there when I figured that was his ploy. He was a jerk, a man who had to have it his way. Wait till I tell people that he confessed to killing that other guy."

"Richie, that's your word against a dead man's. I'm not much of a help. No one thinks too highly of a sex offender who is having an affair with a boy under eighteen. You could be twenty-two and they'd still question me."

"Screw what other people think! There's no way I'm going to say something to put you back in jail."

"What is a jury going to think when you tell them you put a knife back, for whatever reason, to protect your father? It doesn't make sense. They have come in to my house and taken all my silverware. Do you think they're going to find fingerprints of your father's on any of those? Not hardly. How's a jury going to look at it when they find out you loaded the gun?"

"I didn't. I mean, I did, but back when that bear attacked us. I shouldn't have cocked that stupid thing. You're starting to sound just like that lawyer."

"I'm sorry. I want you to realize the predicament we're in. We stay above board on this, tell the truth, and let the chips fall. I'd be back in prison if I was still on parole. Any brush with the law and...."

"Will you testify for me?"

"Of course I will. My phone line will be fixed today, so call at any hour you get the chance. I'll be here every day."

That was great news. "There are a few cute boys where I'm staying," I teased to bring up better news.

"For the time being, youngster, stay in protective custody. Boys this age have several diseases if they've been out on the streets. I don't want you gang raped."

This I understood, because several of the teens had threatened me. Within seconds our phones went dead. We put our hands back on the glass to feel the chemistry of our love through this dumb barrier. I hated every part of that place.






I had expected Randy smiling through the glass in visitation, but instead there was Janice with Tracy and Trent. We'd been the best of friends all these years, all of us bent on success, and here I was in a yellow jumpsuit accused of murdering our father. One glance at my brothers and there was this look of apprehension at seeing me as a criminal. Me the one-time role model and now a big disappointment.

Everyone tried to stay upbeat, but then Tracy began to cry, which started my tears flowing. Trent tried to cheer up his brother, while Janice started bawling. God, what a scene. There were no great words of hope, only a brief description of the funeral, in which so many of our relatives and Dad's assorted associates had attended. Randy sent a bouquet of flowers, as if they'd come from me. On the card it simply said, (I'm so very sorry for our family's loss.)

Janice told me that our mother had hired a neighbor to retrieve the Porsche. I admitted that Randy had sold his truck to afford my lawyer. She shook her head in disbelief that the man loved me that much. There's no way of telling someone about what it was like living here without sounding like a baby or scaring your family. So I didn't.

Trent held up my diploma, for whatever it was worth. Guess my school decided to graduate me anyway so I couldn't return. Bonnie Swanson replaced me as valedictorian, though she was ill-prepared to give the commencement speech. This was something Tracy heard in the hallway.

Back from college, Janice had found a full-time job during the summer near Yale, but was taking a few days off to attend the funeral and see me. She gave me this upbeat enthusiasm that I would be out of here soon, but I knew she didn't believe it herself.

Within days I'd received my first roommate, a fifteen-year old who didn't scare me. Very quiet and a rookie to the system, just like me, he cried the first night. I so much wanted to comfort him, to tell him to stay strong because things would get better. I'd come across like other boys had fronted me, strong, this is no sweat, like a vacation, these cops can't break me. It was all a show; I knew it and so did they.

In the midst of his bawling I rose up and stood by the side of his top bunk. I put my hand on his shoulder to express empathy.

He jerked, then backed into the wall. "Get away from me! I'm not a fighter."

"Neither am I. I'm just trying to be nice," I said.

"Yeah, right. That's how it starts, but I'm not interested. Just leave me alone!"

I moved back down to my bunk and realized how wrong I was to come across all macho and that I had my act together. By the next afternoon his parents had bailed him out. Then I read in the paper where this fifteen-year old had molested two ten-year old boys and bailed out with $25,000 bail. That was my roommate. "You're an asshole, Adler," I yelled at myself. I was mad at myself for not relating to his pain and coming across as a total jerk. Not only that, but this was a chance to witness to another gay boy. Why did he choose ten-year olds? Because the messages he was receiving were insidious and seductive, often too overwhelming for a young ego, already frightened of being different. These messages were ones I knew; they attack, bash, discriminate, and reduce the healthy self-esteem of beautiful, creative, talented young people, perpetuating a self-fulfilling prophecy that being gay is bad. I had learned a lot from Randy's lectures.

Within days I received another youngster. Though he said he was fourteen, he looked twelve or thirteen. Only when his boxers flipped open did I see a patch of pubic hair. For a sprout he was confident, said he was picked up for shoplifting and his parents were giving him a lesson by having him stay in here.

When we went to the dayroom he took the entire time on the phone. That ticked me off, but I restrained myself because he was new. I asked for equal time the second day, and even then he went over by five minutes. The best thing he told jokes, made me feel comfortable, and watched me for a few seconds when I showered. Later he surprised me with his question.

"Are you gay?"

I said I was.

"I thought so. I have major gaydar." He chuckled.

That evening he started talking about sex, so I stood up and caught him with his boner in his hand. We traded hand jobs, though he admitted that he wasn't real experienced and he liked girls. The following night I went down on him, but he only masturbated me. This was worth the wait to have a compatible cellie.

There is one thing about this living arrangement, a lot of guys are real antsy about bathroom habits. Many wait until they think you're asleep, or they go to the dayroom just to go to the bathroom. I'm glad I had twin brothers that made bathroom habits like a sideshow.

I can't help but think this isn't what Brett's parents had in mind. The boy never missed a beat, nor cried himself to sleep. He was warned by the court the next day, then let off with a slap on the wrist. I had a feeling he would be back.

From play guy heaven to a horror flick, my cell door opened and in stepped this bruiser, tattooed and all. He simply took my mattress and tossed it up on the upper bunk. "Daddy's home!" is all he said. I pretended not to care which bunk I slept in, only that that night light was a killer when you had to sleep directly underneath it.

Dennis said he was seventeen, but he looked in his thirties, like right out of West Side Story. He told me his gang had gotten busted, so they caught him with weapons and stolen goods. I listened as if to be impressed, but I didn't brag that I was under arrest for murder. No more macho stuff for me. By morning he had patted me on the ass.

"Sweet Cheeks, those are tighter than my woman's," he said.

I swung around; my hands in a fist just like Randy had taught me. "I'm not your sweet cheeks. Keep your hands to yourself."

"Oooooh! Hey, precious, just seeing if you were into being my son. Don't get bent out of shape."

This was stressful, keeping my distance and worried that the guy was going to jump me at any second. By the afternoon of the next day the cops had come to get him. "Rider, you're eighteen today. We're taking you to the big boys' jail," the cop said.

Relieved, I asked a guard later what that guy was in jail for. They told me he was known as the Lawn Boy Rapist and was under investigation for numerous rapes in Harrisburg. Sometimes I thought these guards didn't like me and did that on purpose.

Randy had a surprise for me on his next visit. Janice had left her Honda with pink slip and registration in his driveway. She was the proud owner of Dad's Porsche. Yale men would be highly envious of this coed. We talked about whatever came to mind, especially my assorted cellies. While he rehashed the weirdos he had in prison, I compared the few I had to endure. Not to keep secrets, I told him about the sex I had with the younger boy.

"Males have needs," he told me, but he was remaining faithful. I figured there weren't too many lecherous teenagers running the woods around where Randy lived.

Religion, well, at least my devotion to God had become more pronounced in Juvenile Hall. I began to attend services on Sunday night where many of the boys in all the pods attended, from the real young to my age. In church was where I found out that my pod was like a PC unit and homosexual tank. It made sense when I heard this.

We even had one sixteen-year old, Jamie, who was a cross between a girl and a guy. She teased us all with her walk and voice, even shaving her legs in the shower. For some reason Jamie took a liking to me, stopping at my cell door and asking me if I wanted a candy bar. She often left goodies out in front of my cell.

In the shower she would flaunt her skinny body, which resembled a nubile girl. His-her penis was small, but she masturbated for me while licking her lips. Being that her cell was at the far end of the tier, I jacked off for her as she strained to look from her window. It was all kinky, but there wasn't a whole lot else to do.





My preliminary hearing was a joke. They had a gun, my statement that I was holding the weapon, and they had a deceased victim. Consequently, my trial started a month later. A day before the trial the prosecutor offered me a deal: Twenty-five years without the life top. Gee, what a bargain. My lawyer said I'd be out before I was forty with good behavior. I said no.

Lawyers are pretty much actors; that's what Randy says and I believe him. My own wasn't Colombo, but an overpaid prize fighter who had no idea he was stepping in the ring with a total bitch for a D.A. I could tell immediately that fairness, if that's a word for justice, is so sacred in a court of law that it must be protected by a bodyguard of lies. I wasn't sure if I was on trial or someone they suspected who was me. The jury could have played a game of Clue and had more accurate information.

Christmas was around the corner, and my lawyer all but guaranteed me I'd be sitting by the Christmas tree in a few weeks. Found out that Randy had taken a first mortgage on his house and paid another $40,000 to support this guarantee. What I couldn't figure out, and no one wanted to explain it to me, why was I being tried as an adult when they had juvenile laws for this so-called crime? Why wasn't Randy tried years earlier under the juvenile system for having sex with a minor?

I dressed in the suit Randy and I had enjoyed at the men's clothing store. He bought me assorted ties and light colored shirts, like peach and lavender, to color coordinate so the jury wouldn't see me as threatening. The courtroom had become a fashion show. Strange.

The district attorney called my mother as her first witness. I hadn't seen her for almost six months, and she pretended I didn't exist in that courtroom. It was the first time in my life I thought I might have been adopted. She was nervous, embarrassed, and gave the impression that she didn't really want to be there. My mother recalled the day I came home and said I was leaving after school was out. The D.A. made it sound like I had already pre-planned on murdering my father. Mom also snitched on me about destroying my brothers' rooms and breaking the car windows. She made me out to be a parents' bad apple of disrespect, even saying I went to Toronto without her permission.

Her comments about my sexual orientation were disrespectful when she thought that Mr. Sumter had pushed me to believe that I was a homosexual. I stared at the jury and shook my head.

My attorney kept objecting to the relevancy, but the D.A. wanted to prove my violent nature. Then came Sheriff Wallenberg, who volunteered the incident with the car tires and the number of times he was troubled by Mr. Sumter and my friendship with the man. He constantly made reference to this "odd" relationship and its peculiarities. I was beginning to think this was a trial about sexual relationships and age. He made reference that I was good with a gun, having killed animals with relative ease.

On cross, my lawyer asked the sheriff if my father was still conscious in the ambulance. He received an affirmative. Did he say anything?

"Mr. Adler said his son shot him," Wallenberg said as a matter of fact.

"In those words?"

"Probably not word for word, but similar."

"How similar?"

"Asked and answered," the district attorney protested. This female judge agreed.

"How many ways is there to say that someone shot you?" the judge asked my lawyer.

"Your honor, I'm only trying to ascertain if the deceased thought my defendant shot him on purpose."

"His thoughts are laid to rest, counselor. Let's move on."

My illustrious attorney paused, began to rebuff, and then decided against it. This for $50,000.

Then came the coroner's report, but this was where my lawyer managed to reveal that my father had had heart problems with a previous heart attack in prison. On re-cross, the D.A. settled this one.

"What in your opinion caused the heart attack?"

The coroner blurted out. "Mr. Adler might have had another heart attack at any time, but the loss of blood put an excessive strain on the heart, which it wasn't strong enough to endure."

There was an unnecessary report by a gun expert that the smoothbore was the weapon, and where the mini ball had entered and nearly blown off my father's arm.

The kitchen had become a courtyard stage, as the D.A. pretended she was there and walked the jury through the entire incident. She believed my father was leaving and I just walked in and shot him. There was no knife or money or threats. She emphasized that every kitchen knife was dusted for fingerprints and none of them had my father's prints, just Randy's or mine.

What really cooked my goose was when my older brothers showed up. They testified I was this raging teenager who had threatened their lives and was completely out of control. I wanted to flip them off, but that wouldn't have set well with the jury or Randy.

As the prosecution presented its case against me, even I was convinced that the person they were talking about did this crime with a most malicious intent. It was like being in a different courtroom and hearing a scenario that had no relevancy to my own. As any defendant we trust our lawyer to make the best decision on how the defense challenges this facade. What I assumed didn't come to pass: 1) Randy would come to my rescue and give testimony that was accurate and convincing; 2) That I would be allowed to give the events as they occurred; 3) That logic would impose itself on intelligent people.

First of all, as a bombshell, my attorney said he wasn't going to call Randy. The man was a forty-year old sex offender, in love with a seventeen-year old boy, and had all the reasons in the world to lie in order to protect me from prison. All which would inflame the jury. In my own words, "Screw the jury! The guy is a witness to an accidental shooting after my father physically came toward me with a knife after threatening and implying he would kill Randy for not accepting the money!"

This $50,000 lawyer shook his head. "The prosecutor will eat him for lunch."

My confidence increased when there was a presentation, without black powder or mini ball, that, when the smoothbore was cocked and the stock was struck against an immovable object, the hammer was jolted loose and fired. I just knew I never pulled the trigger. What a genius, a stroke of luck to figure this out. Even the jury was impressed.

Then my lawyer put me on the stand. I admitted aiming at my father's chest the whole time, but had no intention of firing. If I truly wanted to kill the guy I'd put the ball through his heart. Instead the gun was diverted from its aim by the door and, consequently, fired into his arm. I admitted to overhearing the conversation, the offering of money, and then watched my father retrieve my hunting knife from the drawer; a knife that I tossed in the trash because I had accidentally left it in the drawer after cleaning a deer months before. I knew Randy would get in trouble for having such a weapon in his house. I could say this now because they didn't have the evidence to convict him, but it was the truth. I explained how the gun was already loaded, and I would have absorbed a beating from my father because of aiming the gun at him, but I never would have shot him.

Then the prosecutor had her way with me. It was all about Randy and me, how we had become lovers and groomed me to do sexual favors. She treated me like I was seven, not seventeen.

"Did you sleep in Mr. Sumter's bed before the age of sixteen?"

I knew where she got this information from--my mother.

"Objection!" My lawyer stood up and protested. "This case isn't about molestation or child abuse, Your Honor."


Wow, this was the first time the judge protected me. She brought out a picture of my wood sculpture, which didn't seem right as evidence in a murder case. I had to explain that it was a gift to him by me, and it was legal. I watched as the jury examined the photo of my body and my erection. The prosecutor said the features were too young. Since when does a thirteen-year old have a boner that size staring at him? I didn't say it, though I wanted to.

This woman's whole approach wasn't to contradict my testimony, but to incense the jury that Randy and I were mad lovers, intent on beating my parents from control so we could run away forever.

She kept wanting me to be angry so I'd agree or retaliate. Instead, I said, "Ma'am, if your theory is correct, I'd have hoped that Mr. Sumter took my father's money so we could have a great head start on life because my allowance wasn't cutting it."

Members of the jury laughed, until the judge gave them her evil eye.

Four days a week of testimony and name calling. I would have to wait until 6:30 at night to return to Juvenile Hall, and then strip again so they could look up my butt and inspect my genitals. A great job for anyone who wanted to see naked boys and adolescents all day. By the time I was back in my cell it was eight, only to receive a cold sack lunch. A half hour to shower and speak on the phone, and it was almost nine. Try to get to sleep with all the day's events running through your mind. Up at 4:30 for breakfast and the day was off with waiting in a cold cell for the bus.

Many days I simply fell asleep in my chair, only to be nudged awake by my attorney. I didn't care about forensics or autopsy reports or the meticulous forethought of slicing four tires. Let me sleep!

In her closing argument the D.A. said that there never was a hunting knife, nor an offering of money. My father had gone to Mr. Sumter's to harmlessly discuss this inappropriate union of an adult sex offender and misguided son. How thoughtful. She emphasized that I had had my finger over the trigger and I'd shot him with the same cold-blooded manner of a deer in my sights. In my mind it wouldn't have been real if I'd grabbed the stock without any finger near the trigger. I think my dad would have figured that one out. She portrayed me as a violent youth who was selfish, rebellious and had no respect for anyone but myself. She rehashed statements of my speech in Toronto, a mind that was manipulated with pedophilic ideas from my mentor. In the end, she said that the mark on the stock wasn't from the door, but from routine use and the practice firing that Randy and I had done with the gun. Possibly it was my father's avoidance of the split second between the firing and the explosion of the ball that allowed him to avoid being hit in the chest. If the jury believed that they were called in from a mental hospital.

My lawyer did a presentable argument, stating that Mr. Sumter had lived a peaceful existence until he had met an inquisitive boy--which I didn't appreciate. I wasn't a boy, at least one who was looking for someone to give me a blow job. It was obvious it was an accident and that my father's history was questionable, to say the least: intimidation, violent, abusive, and domineering. The gun had malfunctioned, and the marks on the edge of the door and gun proved this contact. As a result of a wound that normally would not have been fatal, in combination with a weak heart, this alone caused death.

I went back to the holding cell, ankles sore from the leg irons that I had to wear all day. I began to ponder my future on this planet. Randy was disappointed that he wasn't called; actually, he was livid. The sheriff had been dishonest, Randy thought. Too close of friends with my father, his testimony was way too subjective and incriminating. My mother and older brothers had painted a distorted picture using deception and lies. Love between two consenting males was as much on trial as the murder.

Three days of deliberation and the verdict was presented--First degree murder--not guilty; Manslaughter--guilty. I cried in my chair and knew the world had gone mad. Randy stood up and yelled, "You can't do this!"

The judge went spastic. "One more word and I'll find you in contempt! Sit down!"

A minute later Randy tried to reach me, but the bailiff had other ideas. I was hustled from the courtroom. Randy was right, life is rarely fair.






On my eighteenth birthday I was taken to a reception center. I was in the company of men, felons who eyed me like they were at a candy store and I was a new flavor. Tested and given multiple examinations for dental and physical health, this was one step lower than military boot camp. Men here had no rights and little respect, outside of their own chain of command, of which I was the lowest common denominator. I was surrounded by bulls who recognized my ass as grass.

Because I had shown no remorse or responsibility for killing my father, the judge gave me a flat twenty years for manslaughter. I couldn't even fake regret when sentencing came. In my conscience I had rationalized my father's death as a godsend to my twin brothers whose safety was always at risk when he was alive.

My first cellie in the reception center was in his thirties, a hardened criminal who thought serving a nickel was a blade of honor. He ought to know, he was on his third. A heroin addict, his girlfriend would send his supply in as part of a greeting card, a colored heart would signify its location below the cardboard. No way was I touching the stuff, but I had to listen to his continuous chit chat for hours on end because the guy wouldn't shut up. What pissed me off was when I found his stash in my coat pocket. His excuse, it was the closest pocket to his bed. I saw it for the reality; if busted, it was my jacket.

Half the windows were missing in this decrepit building, so cold, snow and rain were as much a part of the interior as the great outdoors. We were marched into a large dining hall to eat, where you had fifteen minutes; that's fifteen minutes from the time the first person sat down. My cellie was a respected thug, a career criminal who knew the prison system like I knew math. Two Cubans sat down across from us, one of them a shot caller for his race.

I listened as the one Cuban explained to my cellie that there was a hit going down, another border brother who was an adversary. The guy pointed at me, as if questioning my ability to keep my mouth shut.

"He's cool," my cellie told them. I wasn't cool, nor was I one of them, but this was a new play, one that I was forced to participate in as a spectator.

My half of a grapefruit was my concentration. I couldn't believe I was listening to a guy who was about to stab another human being. As my plastic spoon pressed into an unforgiving fruit, a squirt of juice flew from the fruit and right into the Cuban's eye. Boy was he pissed.

"Oops, sorry," I said. Not like I'd done it on purpose, he called me something in Spanish that wasn't anything I hadn't heard in Juvenile Hall. His Cuban friend laughed, so I guess my life was safe for the time being.

The subject of this hit wasn't totally unaware of his predicament. Up the stairwell to the second tier, the guy swung and punched the first person who crowded his rear. The fight was on, but he avoided being stabbed or sliced in the neck.

Inmates sent kites back and forth, like this was a fishing vacation instead of an involuntary commitment to a mad house. All day I relayed messages back and forth, or watched strings being flung along the aisle to another cell that would snag it in. From cigarettes to drugs, it was a flea market of goods, as the tier tender raced from one cell to the next.

When the weather was warm there was a huge weight pile for those whose reputation was based on the size of their chest and biceps. I played softball, followed by an outdoor shower where men stood on the perimeter and eyed others' nudity or made connections for sexual rendezvous'. So many men wanted to make my acquaintance, I spoke French, like I was this foreigner who got caught up in criminal activity while visiting Pennsylvania. Difficult at first, I made a mistake once at scanning the longest penis I'd ever seen. Instant boner. The guy looked at me and smiled. I didn't dare bend over for anything.

Six weeks later I was bused to a maximum security prison near Williamsport, the location of the Little League World Series. Of course this wasn't an area we could visit. I'd seen a movie once where they took these guys on a plane, all shackled and handcuffed. That was how our bus was run, with shotguns pointed at us and so many guards who foamed at the mouth waiting for someone to rebel or delay their schedule for one second. And there I was, an eighteen-year old string bean who felt as lost as a Christian amidst lions at the Coliseum in Rome.

I hadn't talked to Randy in these six weeks, only letters that were like gold to me when I opened them. His instructions defined a roadmap to prison and what to be aware of. He was right on every account. At my new prison I was put in with another fish--that's a newcomer.

Men began offering me snacks, food, electrical appliances, all for the pure enjoyment of celling with them. I was a slave to be auctioned, a piece of meat that would be traded to the highest bidder after someone was tired of fucking the same piece of ass. I witnessed drug deals, sex acts in the shower, men intimidated from the products they'd just bought in the store, and even saw my first murder in prison when a sex offender had a shank stabbed in his rib cage over and over.

As easy as I cried, I couldn't. Not with 226 more months to do on my sentence. Between the gangsters fighting for who would get my ass, Paul Bunyan approached me. That wasn't his real name, just that he looked like Paul. The biggest man on the weight pile, I'd helped him at the canteen read the store list. We became instant friends.

"I'm losing my cellie, boy. Care to move in?"

I scanned this brute, all 300 pounds of muscle. David might not have killed this Goliath because of his soft blue eyes. This guy would pick up a wounded bird and protect the creature until he was healthy again. That was Jake Dulanny. My eyes scanned the many recalcitrant around me, those who still had drool on their mouths when they looked at me; not at me directly, but at my ass and crotch. I accepted.

Jake understood what being an eighteen-year old in prison was all about, an eighteen-year old who had never laid a hand on anyone in anger. A fragile distance runner who was used to having my ass heated up with care and love. A softie held in strong arms on snowy nights to put me asleep by a caring and loving man. A mere teenager who was reborn during our sex play and finally knew that sex is God's gift to love, if not a reward.

My new cellie was a Christian, a man who wanted me to read the Bible to him on a daily basis; someone who would appreciate me when I beat him at chess, so he could laugh about how stupid he was and what brilliant moves I made. He found it purely ingenuous how his king could get trapped over and over. He wasn't insane because he would attempt different moves, but with the same results. I liked the guy.

The other men respected Jake--okay, that's a wrong word. They feared him. He had killed a man in a bar fight, then chased the guy's buddy down and snapped him in his back. Obviously they had picked on the wrong guy. Inmates offered Jake riches for a night with me. He refused all offers. When I showered, it was an open invitation for a dozen lecherous souls to partake. Men casually stroked their dicks while smiling at me. Why couldn't this be high school? Jake often stayed at the entrance as my bodyguard.

A point of fact: when men face life in prison without the possibility of parole they create their own rules, goals, and agendas at the expense of others.

Jake knew one of my favorite hobbies was to jack off. As quiet as I tried to be, being on the top bunk I'd see this arm raise with a napkin in it as I approached ejaculation. He was helpful, just not a major contributor to my pleasure. He eyed me at times, because he thought my facial contortions were amusing. Every night we watched Jeopardy. Ninety percent of the time I beat the contestant to the answer. Jake would clap and swore to me that if he could write, Alex Trebeck would know I should be on the show.

Jake had strange habits. He was clean, maybe too clean. The metal sink had to be wiped down after every use. He washed his clothes in the toilet. He liked to watch kid shows, especially reruns of Home Improvement. Generous to a fault, he offered me food, constantly. Out of the blue, especially after I'd shown him where not to move in a chess game, he would pick me up, drop my boxers and give me a complete body massage. It was sexual without being sexual. My glutes would be massaged to putty, and often times I'd fall asleep, only to find myself in my bed under the covers when I woke. That's a strong man.

I think Jake was sexual, but he restrained this urge out of some belief to protect his morals and preserve my dignity. I dare say he thought he would crush me if he pounded those hips inside of me. For a big man with shoulders and a chest like one of those guys who wrestle on TV, he had a penis as thick as my wrist. My anus would have required a zipper if he wanted to use me for his woman. Other inmates probably thought Jake was the luckiest guy in prison, but he didn't play the role of daddy, only to the point of, "This is my boy. No one fucks with him!"

It took months for Randy to get permission to visit me. Off of parole a felon requires special permission to visit another felon in prison. He came every weekend. To not have me worry, he didn't always tell me of what new harassment the folks of our religious community did to him. I thanked him for his generosity, though he played it off that he had no idea what I meant. Jake had told me; Randy had sent him a hundred dollars a month as a thank you.

There was a weekend when Lisa and Luke came with Randy. A person knows when someone loves them because of their sorrow when they witness you at your worst moment. Such was the case in seeing these two special people. My role was to play upbeat, the man who can handle almost every adversity. The truth was, I was barely out of boyhood and just wanted Lisa to hold me and Luke to be by my side. They didn't disappoint me, but I felt like another black sheep of their family, and I wasn't even part of their family.

Luke held my hand throughout the entire visit, while Randy held his sister's, as if to say everything would be okay soon. I wanted to believe that. It was awesome when Luke said I'd always be his first love, the boy who had taught him how to make love to another boy. He was preparing for college, so we thought how cool it would be if we started our freshman years together. Randy would always be my partner and lover, but Luke would always be a friend for life.

When they departed I was used to the tears; every departure harder than the last and tormenting to the soul. Lisa kissed and held me as if I was hers. Luke wanted to stay, a volunteer so we could handle this prison together. His kiss would make any boy get a hard-on. I was near hysteria until Randy held me and made my strength come back. Sometimes visits make prison life extremely more difficult.

Though Jake had a TV already in the cell, which he allowed me to view anytime, Randy bought me an 18" color one. Within days, it was stolen. I cried, not for myself, but from knowing that Randy bought this for me with hard earned money. Jake said he would find out who took it. Next day there was a man badly battered in the cellie port, a punk and a thief for one of the wood gangs--that's white trash for short. Bottom line, Jake found the thief but not the merchandise.

Jake had a conscience with the money being sent to him from Randy. He bought me a radio, headphones, beanie, and script for the mini canteen. I was also now working in the clothing factory, due to Jake's input.

My body had deteriorated while at Juvenile Hall, as I was barely able to finish a mile run when I started again. Quickly I built my endurance up, running with other dedicated runners. Food in prison was so much better than at county.

With all these adjustments, Janice, my twin brothers, and Randy finally drove up on a weekend to pay me a visit. I all but leaped in Randy's arms. He restrained from letting those tears run, seeing me in such a predicament that I had gotten myself into. They wanted me to be optimistic, what with the appeal going forward.

Tracy and Trent had me in stitches with a story about the funeral for our father. After everyone had walked away from the grave site, Tracy stayed and peed on our father's casket. Our mother had glanced back and assumed correctly what her son was doing, only to have Trent grab her arm to restrain her from going back. Maybe with this final gesture our mother might fathom what we had to endure. Tracy said the man standing by the tractor to push the dirt in had a smile on his face and told Tracy it's never too late to express your feelings.

Luke wrote me constantly, sending me copies of his report cards or news clippings of his hockey games. He was captain of his hockey team, an open gay athlete who was highly respected. On the back of the pages were imprints in baby oil of his ass and erect crotch. I laughed with the boy's temerity. Luke believed in me, as did Randy.

The appeal was based on several factors, mostly the incompetence of my lawyer for not calling a witness to the crime; the prosecution's attack on my sexuality and Randy's; plus, the lack of evidence supporting the conviction of manslaughter. There was a surprise, my second oldest brother had his own conscience and had taken some of his college money he wasn't using and hired me a private investigator from Philadelphia. Now I didn't see what good an investigator was going to do, but then they said the guy had already discovered that my dad had taken out $50,000 cash from the bank a half-hour before the incident. Then there was the hunting knife that everyone in my family knew I possessed, but where was it?

Before my brothers left I told Tracy where the money was hidden, and I gave him instructions to take the cash to the bank and pay off Randy's mortgage. They thought it was a good idea. In a ruse to get Randy to the truck dealership, Trent had browsed through dresser drawers until he found the pink slip to the Honda. Like they were taking Randy to dinner, Tracy said he had to pick something up at this dealer, so they went there first.

"Pick one," Tracy said, pointing at the trucks in this Ford dealership. My brothers are Ford fanatics.

They all had to twist my man's arm to get him to cooperate. With the trade-in of the Honda and cash, this was a combination of money left and what my brothers put together, plus hocking my father's jewelry, Randy had a brand new truck--tricked out, mind you.

Then there was the matter of the award from the Massachusetts' Architectural Association, which I brought up. Randy and Janice hung their heads, so I knew this was bad news. The association had rescinded the award and had given it to someone else. When I asked why in disbelief, Janice mouthed, "Moral turpitude."

"Fuck!" I yelled, and then apologized to everyone around me, especially to Randy, because he didn't care for foul language.

The departure made reality that much more heartbreaking. I almost felt free when I was in that visitation room, but the walk back to my cell left me with an empty feeling of despair.






Summer disappeared with the fall weather. I quickly learned that the wheels of justice turn slowly. An appeal meant a long, arduous wait, without any input to me from an invisible appeals' attorney.

My brothers were in their senior year, unbelievable to the way time seemed to disappear, as everyday appeared like the next. At the reception center, getting on the phone meant signing up for a fifteen minute time slot. This time relied heavily on the previous person getting off. Most of the time when the man would see me waiting they would just continue talking through my time slot. I'd give a pleading stare and the guy would say, "You got a problem?" That meant you were ready to fight the guy if I said yes.

In prison they also had time slots of fifteen minutes, but the officer in the tower cut your call off at exactly fifteen minutes, whether you were in mid-sentence or not. I liked this, though I'd tell Randy ahead of time in a letter what time I was planning on. This was important because my brothers were training in building their endurance for tennis, so they'd run to Randy's in order to talk with me.

Randy was excited about the results of the appeal, hoping for a retrial, at worst. Word came that the court was handing down their decision in late November, so Randy came up a week ahead by himself. I didn't get my hopes up, but we discussed where I'd stay--naturally with him--and planned again for college. Dr. Winegarden was in my corner after talking with Randy, and was sending me study materials in prison. Money was scarce, and I never expected anything from my mother.

It amazed me when I followed Randy to the vending machines. I had lost the ability to make decisions for myself, so Randy chose for me. Almost at the end of our visit he was making something out of a white napkin, when he grabbed my hand and slid the handiwork over my finger.

"Richard B. Adler, will you marry me?"

I smiled at first, not believing he was serious. Tears started to well up, but I couldn't put Randy on hold like this, not with the appeal and nineteen more years to go. I explained all this, but Randy said it didn't matter. He would wait for me into his senior years. I still refused to answer; it wasn't fair to do this to him or me.

When other couples were prepared to leave, they hugged and kissed. We had never had a problem before with homophobic guards, but there's always the exception. Randy took me in his arms and laid one on my lips. Obviously, I didn't mind, but the cop came up to Randy and said, "We don't allow that stuff here. I'll make sure it won't happen again."

"Try it, pal," Randy said as only a free person can. He took the officer's name and said he'd be in touch. I kept a low profile because officers have a way of giving an inmate a tough time when they want to.

A group of us adjourned to a back room where we had to strip naked to have our bodies checked for drugs or other contraband. This same officer who gave Randy problems saw my paper ring and ripped it off my finger. Raise arms, open mouth, wiggle ears, lift up penis and balls, bend over, stretch butt cheeks, cough, raise one foot, then the other; finally, get dressed. I picked my ring off the floor when the officer wasn't looking and put it back on my finger.

Within the week Randy had his visitation privileges rescinded. The correctional officer implied in his report to deceive the prison that Randy intentionally defied a direct order about physical contact. He seemed not to mention that it was at the end of the visit when we could hug and kiss. Randy was not amused and promised a quick rebuttal.

The whole incident grieved me even more with Christmas coming up. Janice arrived a week before Christmas, since Randy had taken off for Massachusetts to visit his family. They all sent me Christmas cards and letters of goodwill.

Janice wasn't upbeat, so I knew the answer before she spoke. "The appeal was denied, wasn't it?"

She nodded and my heart and hopes sank. The Appeals' Court said there wasn't enough evidence for self-defense, and our other points were harmless error.

I believe that most people in prison, especially with long sentences, contemplate their value to the world and if the endurance is worth the wait. Christmas made such a decision difficult, what with the loneliness and despair of few remedies. If Randy had abandoned me I wouldn't have been long for the world.

Every time I was at my lowest I'd receive a letter from Randy, Lisa, Janice or Luke. A package filled with magazines and a tape of the Bee Gees cheered me up. Then I'd sing like Barry Gibb for Jake, and he'd be all busted up, which had us both laughing. He would wrap me in his powerful arms and call me his little buddy.

The New Year wasn't anything to celebrate about. Winter made it tough to run, then the fights or stupid disputes between factions of so-called human beings caused lockdowns.

At work I was responsible for the constant storage and folding of clothes, T-shirts, underwear, socks, towels, wash clothes--you name it. I worked by myself most of the time, which gave me too much time to think. For one dollar an hour, it was slave labor.

The day was like any other day, except the shuffling of bodies that came in my small nook of clothing racks. I knew the faces and their voices, the same men who had harassed me for months with sexual advances and innuendo. But that's when one of them got to my rear and put me in a headlock. Down I went, face first, as another sat on my back and pulled my head back. My pants were yanked down, then my underwear. Any second I expected to be raped, as my teeth gritted and I tried hard to relax beyond that.

There was the pressure of the first hardened member against my ass, while the other four found humor, waiting their chance to get their rocks off. Then I heard a whomp!!! The weight on the back of my legs disappeared as this rapist was lifted up. Jake proceeded to kick ass, tossing a guy into the racks, punching two others. One of them scrambled out the door.

With one swoop he picked me up, raised my pants up and said, "You okay, little buddy?" He stayed within eye range for several days.

Shaken and wary, I had to wonder how I'd survive without this brute of a man. There were other young men there, almost all of them celled up with a daddy or were involved in a gang of some sort. The weak gave up their bodies and self-respect to survive. It's not like I didn't enjoy sex, but not when it's taken forcibly or on demand. Then you're pawned off on the next person for drugs or a stolen TV.

Alas, Jake was attacked. Coming back from chow, I was in conversation with an older gentleman about the economy. Men began to veer off to the left, voices got real quiet, but that's when I saw this big man huddled on the floor of the cellie port, the most dangerous area in the block because it wasn't visible from the tower. I ran and saw where Jake had received a razor blade across the throat. One carotid artery had been sliced and he was bleeding profusely.

"Man down!" I yelled and pressed my hand across the artery to stop the blood flow. Slowly, but responsive, Jake was soon carted away to the infirmary.

Pissed, heartbroken, in fear, my safety had been eliminated. Within days I knew how the system worked within administration and bed moves, which were run by inmates. I'd have a new cellie, a thug who had paid the clerk a carton of cigarettes to move in.

By the next day I knew who had cowardly ambushed my friend and from whom the assignment had come from. Shot callers are the true fanatics, duplicates of Hitler mentality who use other men for their dirty deeds. Whether they were tough or not wasn't the issue, they didn't value human life and found ways to acquire drugs. That was their sense of power and control.

My body was one thing, but Jake's life was quite another. He lived, but would never return to this yard. In front of the cops was the only way I'd survive my plan. I approached this low life, tattooed freak of nature, the creep who had simply given orders to others to take the life of a human being. I told him what I thought of him, then kicked him in the balls. With but a few seconds to defend myself, I ducked a punch, an alarm sounded, a voice rang out, "Get down!" before the cops came swooping in.

Off to administrative segregation I went. Already packed up, I had protected Jake's valuables, as well. I figured I had 30 days of life left. If they put me back on the yard, it was just a matter of time before the decision of staying alive was no longer in my hands.






I'd deliberately put my paper ring in my pants pocket so, when I had to strip to put on the red AD. SEG. jumpsuit, they didn't notice that I had my ring wadded up in my hand. In the cell where I would spend 23 hours a day in confinement, I put the ring on my finger because it represented sanity and love.

I celebrated my 19th birthday in that tank. How do you celebrate a birthday in solitary confinement? you may ask. Well, first of all, the view through my cell window was out into this valley. Deer congregated there in the morning and night, so this was almost heaven to my senses. I stayed naked most of the day, alternating reading a paperback, designing a new home, masturbating, and staring out the window. My one hour of exercise was running circles around this small courtyard of concrete in my boxers. At first my penis flipped out, so I reversed the boxers. Figuring about eighty laps per mile, I ran three miles before dizziness overcame me.

During this time Randy had sued the Department of Corrections, which meant this prison and one officer for invidious discrimination. My man can get creative. A public relations person from this prison called Randy and actually admitted his grievance had merit. What did they want the prison to do?

Randy isn't a vindictive person, so he suggested that the officer never work visitation again; he wanted his visitation rights back again, maybe a class for prison employees on equal rights for tolerance of all sexual orientations, and ten thousand dollars to make up for the lost Christmas visit that meant a lot to him and me. They actually agreed to his demands. Randy said if he'd known how easy that was he would have asked for a hundred grand.

I learned all this when he came to visit me through glass again, thanks to solitary confinement. Bummer!

Things happened quickly over the next week. God will forever amuse, frighten, and astound me. His way is fun with mathematics, a solution that has unique variables with the most sophisticated of theories.

Randy returned home that day to the surprise of four guys attempting to break into his cabin; the same four freaks who had a history of smashing his mailbox and harassing his life. Randy had even given more than enough money to one of them for the tire escapade.

Randy grabbed a tire iron from the bed of the truck and it was on. These punks had baseball bats, at least two of them did. Randy gave more than he got, but received a clunk to the head that made him unconscious. What shook him awake was of God's doing and Rebel's lick to his face. Randy heard the sizzle of a fuse, wobbled over and threw the stick of dynamite from the porch into the front yard before it exploded in the air. Randy took quite a hit from the explosion, mostly a flash burn. He managed to call the paramedics before he lost consciousness again.

On his way to the hospital he had once again regained his senses. The young man taking his vitals and applying the I.V. was the same guy that had wheeled my father to the paramedic truck.

"Hi, again," this fellow spoke to Randy. "You're going to be okay. We'll have the doctor in the Emergency Room check you out."

"Thanks," Randy had told him. "Didn't want to impose on you guys again."

"Sorry to hear about what happened to Richie Adler. I'm surprised that the jury didn't find that whole mess self-defense."

"What do you mean?" Randy had asked.

"Didn't the sheriff recant what Mr. Adler told us in this vehicle?"

"Not exactly. You mean about him saying his son shot him."

"Sort of, but there was more. I was taking the man's vitals and giving him an I.V., when he was talking to the sheriff. He said something like, 'It was my fault, Ralph'--that's the sheriff's name. Guess they're old friends."

"Yes, yes, go on."

"Well, then he said, 'I guess I scared the boy when I came at him with a knife. I wasn't going to stab 'im, Ralph, just scare the living shit out of him.' 'What in hell were you doing there, Tom?' the sheriff had asked him. 'Offered Sumter a little money to leave the boy alone; got a bit rough with him to make him think, but that's when my kid came in. He wasn't going to shoot, Ralph; I saw it in his eyes, but I backed him up when the butt of his gun hit the door frame. I froze when I saw that gun jerk. Do you know there's a hesitation between the firing and that powder going off? I'd've killed that pervert, Ralph.' Then Mr. Adler started to cough, went into spasms, before I gave him CPR, until we arrived at the hospital. He was D.O.A., I'm afraid."

Randy told me he would have leaped from that ambulance but he had all those needles in him and wires around him. From his hospital bed he called the investigator, then Janice. The investigator apparently went in search of the sheriff, only to patiently wait until the man was off duty. In a local tavern the investigator pretended to be more than doused from a few beers. Randy had a copy of the recording, which he played for me.

"You're Sheriff Wallenberg, aren't you? My nephew Brian, you know Brian Nash, don't you? He speaks highly of you."

"Nope. Never heard of him."

"He knows you. He's a paramedic, says you rode in the same ambulance once. Says you lost a close friend that day."

"Oh, yeah, I remember the kid. Nice guy. Haven't seen you around here before. What's your name?"

"Just call me Steve. Can I buy you a beer, maybe six?"

"Hell, yeah! Make it gin and seven--double."

"Guess you and my nephew had a quite a time of it that day. He says you lost the guy on the way to the hospital."

"Yeah, Tom Sumter. Good old boy. His son shot him."

"Brian said it was an accident, though. The guy confessed all that in the ambulance."

"Yeah, something like that, but the faggot got his just reward. Tell your nephew to keep that to himself. No use in stirring up the past."

"Damn right! Fruits, ferries, why are they allowing these freaks guns to begin with?"

"I tell you.....what's your name again?"

"Steve, Steve Jones. Here, have another and pretend it's a mike. You're recording for all those faggots."

"Yeah, okay, if I had a fag for a son I'd knife him by cutting off his balls first. Maybe a dozen times. Adler was too nice. It ended up costing him his life."

"Then there was the pervert, huh?"

"Not for long, I tell you. Tom would have added another Jimmy Hoffa to the great mysteries of the world. You could say that my friend was in the concrete business."

Steve laughed along with the sheriff. "You two were obviously tight."

"Tight enough to take his secrets to the grave. I'd've killed my old man, too, if he'd've come at me with a knife. What a fool to protect his lover by tossing the blade."

"But the kid had no intention of killin', according to Brian."

"Fuckin' door did it for 'im. You're sure fuckin' interested in all this."

"Yeah, I'm writing a book."

"You're funny. Just keep buyin', jokester."

"Got to spin."

"How about those other drinks you promised?"

"My nephew needs a good talking to."

"Good idea. Let him know that it's important sometimes to have a short-term memory."

The investigator didn't have a short-term memory but took the tape to the district attorney and sent one to the Attorney General. With a deposition from Brain Nash, the Grand Jury handed down an indictment of withholding evidence and perjury against Sheriff Wallenberg within the week.

With ten days to go in AD SEG, Janice and Randy showed up in visitation. Knowing that I was being put back on the same yard, I had a razor ready. No way was I going to be a pin cushion for white trash. Whatever remorse and appreciation I had for the two people I loved the most, this was the last time I could express my love.

Then Randy gave me the news. He had contacted a psychologist that he'd met in Philadelphia. The man was a friend of our governor, a representative in the Department of Mental Health. With a mere phone call this doctor had the governor call the warden, who promised I would not be released from Protective Custody until this matter was resolved. It was a temporary reprieve.

Sheriff Wallenberg had resigned, confessed that he had withheld evidence, but had not perjured himself. At the time it was all that he had remembered. Janice and Randy had filed a lawsuit against the sheriff and the city, as well. For some logical reason, the city's attorney wanted to settle out of court, immediately.

The following week I was to be transported back to county for a hearing. Janice said the D.A. was not contesting the motion to dismiss based on new evidence, though the final decision was up to the judge. She could ignore any or all of the findings.

I wanted to be optimistic, to know this was the end of the pain. Janice walked out because she couldn't hold back the tears. Randy put his hand to the glass, and I stuck my hand up against his.

"How would you like to build that house you designed in Massachusetts? You know I sold my home. Enough is enough. They arrested those guys, but I doubt if they'll get much time, if any. My sister and her husband were so impressed with your work, they want to hire you to design their home. Full architect's pay, mind you. I also have a seventeen-year old nephew who thinks you're bigger than the Stanley Cup. My sister says Luke even has a picture of you from our Christmas together. By the way, she still thanks you for her relationship with her son. He tells her everything about his boyfriends, sometimes two at a time, she said. Those sleep overs worked. What did you do to that boy?"

"I poked him in the bellybutton."

"Uh, yes, that'll do it every time. Great! Now I have competition when we return to Massachusetts."

"He has your eyes and he's much more aggressive in bed. You take after your nephew, once I captured your heart. That architecture work, what if I have to do it in here?"

Randy's mind would not go there. "Look, Richie, I won't tolerate anything but a reprieve. I'll contact every magazine, every news reporter in the country to bring notoriety to any injustice. I can only offer you myself, a love that believes in you as the special person you are. I'm sorry I'm not nineteen or twenty, or even thirty."

A smile creased through teared eyes. "I don't want you to be nineteen or thirty. I want you to be you. Do you remember that question you asked me?" I raised up my hand with that crazy paper ring around my finger. "The answer is yes, if you still want me. But there's still a possibility that that judge will ignore all this."

"I accept your answer, in sickness, in health, in solitary confinement, no matter what happens. I'm yours for life. Got that? I know you, Richie Adler. For four years my love for you as grown to a level I've never known existed. I'll never abandon you, so we're one forever, soul mates. Why do you have to be such a heartbreaker?"

When I put my hand to the glass to match his, there wasn't the coldness, but a warm pulse of our love for each other.

"My mother wasn't right, I'm not a loser like my father. I've always felt like a winner when I'm with you." Our eyes found the depths of each other's thoughts. "Randy, God created a word called love. I've tried to think of another word more powerful for how I feel about you, but I've come to the conclusion that love is a perfect word. So, whatever happens, my beautiful prince, thank you for loving me. Death will be easier than returning to that prison yard."

If Randy could have leaped through that glass, he would have. "Listen here, young man! You're not taking the easy way out, not with me you're not! I once told you not to put value on something you could do without. There's also a responsibility you have to those who love you, whether that person is me, Janice, your twin brothers, Luke, my sister, even my own parents. My nephew worships the ground you walk on. People won't remember what you have said, or even what you did. They will always remember how you made them feel. Why do you think Luke is proud to be a gay teenager? My sister is ecstatic with having a gay son, one who doesn't mind telling her what it's like being in love with another boy. She finds it far more appealing to hear how two boys go goo-goo over each other than the games of boy-girl dates.

"I well remember a Christmas when you sang to me my favorite Bee Gee song, Immortality. I took you for your word because you've never lied to me. 'So this is who I am, and this is all I choose to live, for all that I can give. For all my love for you and what else we may do, we don't say goodbye.' Richie, for four years we haven't said goodbye; let's don't start now."

I apologized--something I'm good at. He was right, I'm a survivor, a competitor; we can beat this thing. Without seeming to intellectually grandstand, I'm a pretty smart kid when it comes to technical mathematics. I can even design a really cool custom home. When it comes to love, I'm really a bungling beginner. What I've learned from another human being who truly loves me, to make life work it takes two hearts over one mind. Working together we can solve almost any problem. If I hadn't learned this, this might well be a biography instead of an autobiography.

It's far more exciting singing my Barry Gibb falsetto about secret loves and heartbreakers, while my lover is holding me tight in his arms, wondering why he ever introduced me to the Bee Gees. What I've really learned, Randy Sumter was never a sex offender, but a gift from God to boys like myself to explore the human heart and discover that life is a lot more fun if we have someone to hold hands with. Possibly the Good Lord meant me to give that same gift to Luke; yet, I had to experience love first before I could share it with someone else.

Before Randy departed he reminded me that God is far superior and more creative in mathematics than I was. My role was to look upon this experience as one in building character and enduring tremendous suffering in order to experience His miracles. Easy for Randy to say, but then I remembered that my lover had spent far more time in prison than I had.





On Friday, a week before my twentieth birthday, I shuffled into the courtroom in shackles and handcuffs. Wearing nothing but a red jumpsuit, my apparel while in Administrative Segregation, people glared at me like I was a serial killer brought to justice. In the courtroom were an assortment of reporters, former peers from high school, curious bystanders and, of all people, my mother. Sitting to the rear of her were my siblings, except for my older brother, Rob, whose Rolex was programmed to never give me a second of his time.

I attempted a smile until the bailiff pushed me down into my seat, then handcuffed my right wrist to the chair arm. Much like my trial, it was a bit of overkill.

"Rise! The Honorable Judy Crespi presiding."

The judge had appeared to age since I'd last seen her. Personally, I believe it was excessive alcohol. In that black robe she would have made an excellent addition to a horror film. Her reading glasses were halfway down her nose, as she glared at me with a scowl that said, "You again! I thought I'd seen the last of you!" The bailiff had ordered that the courtroom come to order, but the honorable old bag simply examined the papers before her, like this was all a surprise to her why I was there.

"Ms. Granifi, you have no objection to this motion, I see," the judge spoke her first words to the prosecution.

The District Attorney rose from her chair, did a quick glance at my attorney, and remarked, "Correct, Your Honor. Given the new evidence, it appears to be self-defense. The People wish to leave it to the court's discretion for final disposition."

The first glimmer of hope created a Fourth of July fireworks in my brain.

"I do have a problem with this," that pedantic old bat spoke from the bench. "Is Mr. Steven Jones in the courtroom?"

Our investigator stood up from the second row. We caught eyes and he winked at me. There are winks that say, 'I'm in your corner, kid.' Then there are winks that say, 'Your place or mine?' I think this was one of those latter winks, though, unlike Randy, I doubt if the guy had the stamina to keep up with me in bed. Aside from his flirtatious gesture, I liked the guy and wanted to thank him for his ingenuity. Unfortunately the judge wasn't as appreciative as I was. He was waved forward by the scrawny index finger of this power-hungry official for the State of Pennsylvania. Why they would allow women on the bench is beyond me.

My confident investigator was directed to the witness stand. She kept him momentarily confused while her beady eyes scanned the paperwork one more time.

"Mr. Jones, did you inform Mr. Wallenberg that he was being tape recorded?"

I wasn't up on recording someone else's conversation with or without their permission. In my family, snooping was a practiced skill. It's why we never knew when our private moments might make it on Funniest Home Videos.

"Sort of, Your Honor," Mr. Jones answered.

"Either you did, or didn't, Mr. Jones. Sort of is not a viable option in my court of law."

"I told the sheriff to talk into the beer bottle because he was being recorded by a Clydesdale."

The fifty or so spectators laughed, which was rudely interrupted when Judge Judy slammed her gavel down.

"Another outbreak like that and I'll have you all held in contempt!" Boy did that courtroom get silent.

"I simply meant it was a Budweiser," my investigator added, for whatever reason.

The judge glared down at this brave soul who appeared to challenge her omnipotence.

"This is not a comedy club, Mr. Jones. I find it detestable anyone who takes advantage of another person's civil rights."

"Isn't that what has happened to Mr. Adler, Your Honor? His civil rights to fair and impartial testimony was hampered by a man who wished to deceive the jury."

"I don't need to be lectured to, Mr. Jones. I find you in contempt. That will be five-hundred dollars or five days. Do you wish to continue your diatribe?"

My investigator sighed and refused to answer. I liked him.

"If I may you think, Mr. Jones, that Sheriff Wallenberg would have continued relating his inner most secrets if he'd truly known he was being recorded for posterity?"

I wanted our investigator to say yes, but he pondered this question and disappointed those of us who would have loved for him to lie. "Not likely, Your Honor."

"Exactly, Mr. Jones. I consider your means of interrogation just above torture and holding a gun to the sheriff's head. Under the influence of alcohol a person says things they don't mean or remember. Thank you for your time, Mr. Jones, you may return to your seat. You may pay the bailiff on the way out or report for booking."

My investigator kept his countenance as he approached the gallery. His smug look showed the same contempt I felt for the broad. Again he winked at me and, with one glance toward the bench, I saw the judge looking downward so I smiled back. I'd spent two years around men, so my gaydar was sharp. This man wanted inside my pants. It wasn't that I had this terrific charm or was a pretty boy, but I knew the power of a young gay male on an older gentleman. The only thing, I wasn't available because I had an older gentleman who loved me a whole lot.

Judge "Creepy" lifted her chin and almost caught this interaction between my investigator and me. She didn't waste any time driving another thorn into my side. "The evidence of this taped confession by Steven Jones on former Sheriff Wallenberg is hereby dismissed and stricken from the record."

My heart sank and I hated this woman more than all those thugs in prison. Torture would be having this woman as your mother-in-law. Why couldn't Lisa be a judge? My attorney stood up.

"Your Honor, there is the sober statement by Brian Nash."

This old fart glared at my lawyer like he was a complete imbecile. "Mr. Glasco, I'm quite aware of Mr. Nash's deposition. Do you find it necessary to interrupt the proceedings to question whether I've read your motion, or not?"

"No, Your Honor. My apologies to the court."

"I believe you owe your client an apology, as well, Mr. Glasco. Where was Mr. Nash during the defendant's trial? Was the man even questioned at all as to what went on in the ambulance? I am a breath away at finding your representation ineffective assistance of counsel." The judge shifted her stare to the D.A.

"Ms. Granifi, have you thoroughly deposed Mr. Nash and Mr. Wallenberg on behalf of the People?"

"Yes, Your Honor. We are satisfied after Mr. Nash's polygraph that he is telling the truth. I can also assure the court that Mr. Wallenberg's confession was taken without coercion and with total compliance. The People believe that Mr. Wallenberg did not necessarily commit perjury, but he did withhold evidence. Obviously, he has been relieved of duty. The People believe that Richard Adler acted in self-defense. Given Mr. Adler's father's criminal record, it's highly likely that Richard Adler preserved the health and safety, not only for himself, but for Mr. Sumter, as well."

"Ms. Granifi, a polygraph is not admissible evidence in this court of law, but I will take your conclusions under advisement. Is Randy Sumter in the courtroom?"

My head jerked back with this surprise question. Randy rose to identify himself and was asked to approach the witness stand. This was too bizarre. The judge leaned forward to make her point quite clear to the attorneys present.

"This is not a trial, but I feel it necessary to hear from a witness to this killing. It was the counsel's decision not to put Mr. Sumter on the stand to face an interrogation of his past crimes and relationship with the accused, but since there is not a jury present to rest judgment on this man again, I'd like to hear his story."

Randy was sworn in and appeared far calmer than I would have. He rehashed the events of that day, the offering of money, and then the threat of death in so many words. Randy felt that my father was so incensed after his refusal of the bribe, he knew his life was at risk if he didn't react. He had well expected a fight to the death until I intervened.

There was such accuracy in Randy's account, my emotions and memory went right back to those few moments. He was right when he said my father could have easily grabbed that barrel, he was that close. Instead, he mocked me with threatening words while raising the knife.

"Why didn't you, Mr. Sumter, tackle the man?" the judge asked.

"It was not the time for violence, but for cooler heads to prevail. If Richie's father would have attacked him, my intervention was a certainty. Richie Adler had no intention of firing that weapon to hurt his father or anyone else. That's not what the young man is made of."

"And of course you know what the boy is made of," the judge replied very accusatory.

Randy wasn't backing down and twisted in his chair to be more direct to this woman in black towering over him. "I assume your caustic remark is in reference to my relationship with Richie Adler."

All right! I sat up straighter, just knowing another contempt charge was coming. The judge held her tongue, but not her demonic stare to this witness's backbone.

Randy swung his head to the assembly, back to the judge. "I've made mistakes in my past that I regret," Randy admitted. "But Richie Adler has not been one of these mistakes. He is a highly intelligent, precocious, quixotic, and callipygous young man. It is exactly why our state has an age of consent law of sixteen, because most teens this age are quite capable of deciding who touches their body."

There was a dead silence in the courtroom, though I wanted to verbally agree and define callipygous. My guess, only two people in that courtroom knew what it meant.

This time Randy faced the gathering behind the lawyers. "Richie Adler is my significant other, a man whose sexuality was tainted, demeaned, and exploited, all because he is gay and attracted to an older male. He didn't deserve that in contrast to a father who physically and emotionally abused his son because he was different. If you cannot trust your father in general, then you can't trust him as a masculine role model. Possibly, Your Honor, that is what Richie found in me, a man who loved him for who he is without judgment."

"I'm allowing your diatribe, Mr. Sumter, to understand how a pedophile thinks about his actions. I realize that Richard Adler is not a child, but do you really think he comprehends the power differential between you two?"

Randy sighed. His frustration was felt by me for those who didn't want to understand.

"Sometimes, Your Honor, a relationship with a younger person is far more onerous than with an adult. I have to question who has the power. If Richie was an American soldier overseas, taking commands from men my age or older, he would far more likely by the subservient and minion to an older male. His choice is not to die, but, if he did, you'd call him a hero or a man of honor, not a boy. You wouldn't mock his sexuality or play god with his choice of partner. I wouldn't recommend for any gay teenager to fight for this country, for the rights of a majority who tyrannize those in the minority, like gay men and women.

"Is it logical that two people can disagree and that both can be right? You see a boy; I see a brilliant young man. We're both looking at the same person, and both of us are right. But we interpret them differently because we've been conditioned to interpret them differently based on biases and experience. We'll never transcend that difference if we don't take the time to understand each other. Sadly, your power is greater than mine in this courtroom, but that doesn't lessen the truth or how Richie Adler and I feel about each other."

The judge dismissed Randy without punishing his admonishment of these court proceedings. This banter was confusing me, no less a horrendous ping pong match with my ass as the ball. I felt like a five-year old when the witch swung back at me.

"Mr. Adler, please stand up."

I stood, but my knees were weak and I was prepared to call her a bitch if she mocked me one more time.

"Mr. Adler, I despise being part of a system that puts innocent men and women in prison for crimes they didn't commit. You, young man, committed a very stupid act by pointing a loaded gun at another human being. Whatever differences you had with your father could have been settled without the use of a firearm. Mr. Sumter and I do agree on some facts. I dare say any father would be concerned if they knew their seventeen year old son was having an affair with a forty-year old sex offender. I'm appalled at the thought with four grown children of my own and six grandchildren. Your lack of scruples utterly frustrates me."

That's because you're a homophobic old cow! I wanted to say that to her, but I just gave her my best adolescent "whatever" stare. Randy would have taken me over his knee.

"I believe the evidence presented at your trial was sufficient to convict you to state prison. I also believe the jury voted correctly the verdict of manslaughter."

I started to cry because my world was once again crushing every ounce of sensibility I wanted to give to fairness and justice. All the hatred and bad words I thought of for this woman was drowned by my sorrow. My knees felt like Jell-O, but my attorney had sense enough to put his hand around my waist to keep me upright.

This pedantic woman raised her voice to stifle my sniffles. "However, in light of this new evidence and....." She glanced to where Randy was sitting. "I thank Mr. Sumter for his time, for I believe that was the most honest rendition of what actually happened. If you two are truly in love, God help you Mr. Sumter to keep up with someone his age." The courtroom laughed, until that judge smacked her gavel down. She faked the wicked witch part because she had said a funny and was quite proud of herself.

"This, ladies and gentlemen, was an embarrassment to our community, our justice system, and to proper representation by legal counsel. I hereby order that the verdict of manslaughter is hereby rescinded, and I order the defendant released immediately. Bailiff, get those restraints off Mr. Adler, immediately! Richard Adler, you're free to go. Case dismissed!" She slammed her gavel down again and retreated to her chambers before anyone had a chance to rise, breathe, or clap--all of which happened after I fainted.

I was told I was this unconscious red blotch for a few minutes, but I was lifted up and was surprised that I could move my hands and feet more than just a few inches. My attorney was trying to get me to sip his glass of water, but then these big arms engulfed me, water splashed on my face, followed by this enormous kiss, which I well recognized as Randy's. My face went into the crease in his neck.

"I knew this had to be a dream," I mumbled and never wanted to let go of my man. There were all sorts of commotion in the courtroom as more people hustled near me. Janice, Marcy, and the twins wrapped their arms around me wherever they could find a body part to squeeze. Jared caught my eye and rubbed my hair, while he smiled a sigh of relief. My investigator was on the peripheral, trying his best to touch me or make his move. When Randy kept kissing me, I think Mr. Jones finally saw the futility of his efforts.

I wish my loved ones hadn't separated and given room for that District Attorney to come right up to me. "Mr. Adler, I wish you the best of luck in the future. I hope you have learned a valuable lesson."

Yeah, right! You people are homophobic crooks, and this was nothing but a play so you could get your jollies by screwing with a gay kid who was telling the truth! That's what I thought of saying. Instead, Randy looked at me and pleaded to be polite. "Thanks," I replied. As she spun away I might have brought my arm up to give her the bird, but Randy grabbed my wrist. He reads my mind really well.

"She is late for her R.I.B. with the judge," Randy said loud enough for the D.A. to hear. I cracked up and was glad he said it and not me. Our E-mails know that R.I.B. means, Romp in Bed.

There were cameras flashing, a few reporters trying to poke their mikes in my face. My eyes went around the gallery until I saw my mother with one foot out the door. Why she resisted joining the family is something I might not ever know. Seconds went by, then she smiled, nodded, and departed, just like that. Randy swung his arm around me and brought me close again, before whispering in my ear.

"Life isn't always fair and wounds take time to heal. Give her time."

I nodded. "Let's go home," I said.

"Not in that red outfit!" Janice spoke up and shoved a new set clothes in my chest.

"You can change in the back room," the bailiff told me.

"That's close to the judge's chambers, right?" I asked.

He gave me this curious expression, but agreed. I whipped off that red jump suit and stood there stark naked to the flashing of a few camera bulbs. I didn't mind one bit facing an indecent exposure charge to the alternative of being too close to that witch again.

Gaydar is so cool; while my brothers roared with laughter, our investigator moved like a hockey goalie to get the best view. Randy and Janice got me dressed as quickly as possible, as Marcy gave me a pat on my bare ass, so I was back in her good graces. Thankfully, the bailiff had a sense of humor. In the midst of all this, Jared paid the $500 to keep Steve from doing five days in the Little House.

We hustled from the courtroom before anyone snitched me off to the judge. I was a real happy camper to be in the arms of those I loved. Randy was sure right about that miracle.





I'm finishing this autobiography in my dorm room at the University of Massachusetts. Randy and I were married a few weeks ago in a rather small ceremony for the two new pariahs in the community.

I prepared for the big occasion at Grandma Sumter's house. I'd come to call her Mom, and Lisa was Mom now, too. Lisa said gay boys will always need a woman in their life to convey certain emotions. I think she's right.

So I'm showering when Luke surprises me by coming in. Two gay boys in the same shower has endless possibilities. In stomps Lisa.

"Oh no you don't! Randy deserves all your energy tonight. Both of you out!"

We laughed and Luke tried to explain how we're at our peak in sexual awareness and recovery is instantaneous. As if a woman is going to listen. Lisa dried us both off, which might have been real embarrassing but for my new mom liking gay boys. I've been envious of Luke's and his mother's relationship for years.

Luke had done a great job picking out my tux, then he and his mother dressed me before the big ceremony. Boy was I nervous and excited.

This new woman in my life, with the assistance of her eldest son, sat me down and adjusted my bow tie and kissed me on the nose. Luke bent forward and laid one on my lips. They knew this was a big moment for a twenty-year old.

"So, gorgeous, you never did tell me how you and my brother found each other," Lisa said as a means to relax me.

"I stalked him," I admitted and had them both cracking up. "That's the truth; I saw his picture on this website and knew I had to meet him."

"How could you be attracted to a mug shot?" Lisa asked in humor.

"I just was, like in a previous life we knew each other. That sounds so crazy, but Randy and I believe that we've met before. Our chemistry is amazing. I've never told Randy this, but he was the movie star, the superstar athlete that kids dream about being, and the male icon I wanted on my wall. He became all the fantasy material I needed."

"Like when you jerked off," Luke kidded.

I smiled. "Every minute I'd have a thought about him, and I'd fantasize by touching my anus and wishing it was Randy fondling me. The first time we did it, it wasn't his penis that entered me, but his heart, which meant love. Lisa, I've thought hard about why I fell for your brother, but I was sick of hiding, pretending, being scared. I invested a lot of time and energy to discover who I was, and Randy supplied the answers. His rejection would have devastated me."

Luke nodded and Lisa put her hand on my shoulder with that look of admiration that I could be so transparent with her.

"Randy told me you're a male Bo Derek," she told me.


"Remember the time you two watched Bolero? She married a much older man who loved beautiful, attractive young women. People thought of her as a gold digger, but I think her husband was really fortunate to find someone who liked older men. Men were all envious, that's for sure. Richie, don't let anyone's opinions get you down. If this is what you want, go for it. Heterosexual marriages are screwed to the hilt, so gay guys deserve to bring their own love into the picture."

"Thanks, Mom. Randy's lucky to have such a great sister, and I'm lucky your son has been such a terrific friend."

"I can go on the honeymoon with you guys, right?" Luke asked in tease, but received a bop on the head for his remark.

"You'll get your chance, young man," Lisa told her son.

"This saves me the time in searching, Mom. I like older guys, too, and they already like me."

"If you ask me, you were doing a pretty good job with boys your own age," Lisa lectured Luke.

"Yeah, but their names weren't Richie and Randy."

While Luke handled all my nervous needs, Randy's sons were his best men, while the twins were mine. Tracy and Trent brought their girlfriends from Bucknell--twins, mind you. They admitted swapping. Janice was both the flower girl and the ring bearer, while Marcy pleaded to be the wedding planner. She was terrific with the help of her girlfriend. Yeah, we're thinking the same thing. They're hot together.

The reception was a blast. Luke got to kiss both grooms, really laying one on his uncle and me, while I found myself in the arms of an admirer, an investigator who drove up for the wedding. I thanked Steve for all his efforts, despite the ridicule from Judge what's-her-name.

Rebel was on hand, adopted by my twin brothers while Randy and I were busy on our honeymoon. He was no longer fearful of strangers, having given up his role as our protector. Everything just seemed to happen around him. I did whisper to Rebel, with Luke petting him, "Boy, we have to capture Luke in our Civil War game so we can torture him." Rebel barked and got real feisty, like he truly understood me. Maybe he did.

The cake in the face and the rice in the hair were hi-lights to the dancing and getting a little shit-faced from too much wine. That was a first. I didn't much remember Luke and me stripping to our underwear when a disco number was played. Steve Jones said it was the best wedding he had ever been to, as he hit on Luke most of the evening.

We honeymooned in St. Barts, in the Caribbean. It was a blast to spend our days naked on the beach and watching so many adults in either total shock or envy of my significant other. I guess it didn't help that I couldn't keep my hands off of him. Randy never knew when I wanted to play movie director and start filming our exploits. He'd chase me from our bungalow to the beach. The ocean was thirty yards from our porch.

"Richie Sumter! You can't run out there with a boner!" he'd say at first without the balls of his young lover--that's me.

I'd stand there with my hands on my hips, gyrating a little hip movement. "Sure I can. We have two gay guys from Atlanta as our neighbors on the right and an Italian family who never wears clothes on our left. Who cares?"

He thought about it for a second and came whipping after me, till he tackled my body in the shallow surf. We'd make love right then and there in a foot of water that felt as warm as a bathtub. This was the happiest time of my young life, being in love and frolicking on these sanguine beaches of pure alabaster sand. Randy said, if we were really rich, we should never return to society. I liked that idea.

It was Lisa who gave us a digital movie camera for a wedding gift, then, when we returned, she wanted to frame all our vacation photos, some more risqué than others. I got a little carried away with the bedroom shots, though one particular nephew loved them. Luke would twist his head in wonderment of why the camera was tossed on a chair and all he saw were my bare buns sprinting away, followed by a larger pair. He and Lisa roared with laughter. They thought our all-over tan was very European.

Our new home in the country is a work in progress, between my architectural planning for Lisa and her husband and my creative furniture designs. The successful lawsuits have made life a whole lot easier for an aspiring writer and a young man who is finding his niche in life.

My adorable college roommate is peeking over my shoulder at my final notations. Dressed in only a hockey jersey that doesn't quite cover his cute ass, he had the good fortune of getting a scholarship to a very lucky university who is beneficiary to a talented hockey player and a gifted musician. If I didn't mention it, his name is Luke, my travel agent, tux designer, best pal, brother-in-law, man-in-waiting and concierge on our stays at his home or his grandma's. About the only thing Randy and I didn't do was take him on vacation with us--though he pleaded. Next year, Randy told Luke he could go to Brazil with us. Luke has been ecstatic with this invitation ever since and is already packed. That could be really kinky.

Luke entertains me constantly with romantic tunes. I asked him the other day to play a song by Johnny Mathis. "Who?" he asked. Youngsters!

By the week's end he sings me, Chances are. I knew my chances were really good with Luke. With Christmas coming up he doesn't sing what he wants for Christmas because he's been successful with that one. Now he sings something about an adult's wish list. That boy keeps me in stitches.

By the way, Luke's uncle and my husband gave his blessing for this roommate thing, as long as I always come home to his arms. Given my attraction for older men, that's a given.







The author welcomes comments from the reader on any of his books. The following is a short list of Alan Stroup books:



Kings Academy

The Hyacinthus Project

The Art of Loyalty


The President's Boy

The President's Boy The Crusade

Bring the Heat

The Huckleberry Pirates

Whispers In An Italian Restaurant

The Last Castrati

A Blue & Gray Perspective By a Boy Soldier

The Tennis Kouros

Boy Falcon

The '39 DiMaggio

The Neurokid

On Second Thought

Director's Cut

Time Bomb


The author also welcomes any individuals who are interested in making an independent movie based on this book to contact the author. You may sponsor a youth of your acquaintance or yourself as an actor or as part of the filming crew.

Independent movies can be done at minimal cost with tremendous satisfaction. To promote a gay theme to thousands of youth and adults who may benefit from its message is inspiring.