“What’s gotten into Henry?” Rob asked as he drove up Harvell Drive. “I’ve never seen him so excited about anything in his life – besides sex, anyways.” We were on our way to Joseph A. Bank to buy me a new suit and dress clothes. The men’s store was located on the west side of town but about as far from where we lived as one could get in Omaha, yet it would only take a little over a half hour to get there. “Speaking of sex, I actually had to remind him that Darren was coming over.”
Laughing, I explained, “Henry’s a bright kid.”
“Yeah, I know,” Rob interrupted. “He gets straight A’s, but what does that have to do with anything?”
“I used to tutor kids in middle school when I was in high school,” I went on to explain, “so I offered to help Henry with his homework. He had stuff to do in Spanish; at least someone in your family is learning the language of his ancestors,” I could almost feel Rob roll his eyes, “as well as English and math. He didn’t need any help with Spanish, and he certainly speaks it better than I do —”
“Which wouldn’t take much,” Rob interrupted, to which I responded with my middle finger.
“In English, he was reading Great Expectations, one of my least-favorite Dickens books. He didn’t really need my help with that, either. He didn’t exactly need my help with math, but it was obvious the math he’s taking was beneath him, so I introduced him to a little differential calculus as an alternative way to solve the problems he was doing.”
“Wouldn’t that be too hard for him?” Rob asked. “I barely got through it as a high school senior. He’s only in the fuckin’ seventh grade and just starting to take algebra, I think.”
“He took to it like a fish takes to water,” I countered. “He derived the expression for the derivative of a polynomial in a matter of seconds. Even I couldn’t do that.”
“You seem to think rather highly of yourself, don’t you?” Rob chided me.
“You know I have my GED at sixteen,” I countered.
“I’m just joshing with you, J.J.,” Rob interjected. “I’m sure you know that.”
“Yeah, I do,” I replied. “I was just rubbing it in.” Rob responded to that with his middle finger. “Anyway, Henry’s a math genius. I gave him some links, including some sites that are designed for what you might call math whizzes. He was already solving trig problems when Darren arrived.”
“Shit, I didn’t take that until I was a junior,” Rob exclaimed. “That was like, two years ago. How the hell did Henry manage that?”
“To be honest, he skipped over a fair bit of material the school curriculum considers essential,” I explained. “He’ll have to go back and learn more geometry, for example, but he’ll be in a much better position to get though all the theorems by the time he has advanced math under his belt. Trig is a special case, though. The way you learned it, the way it’s taught in high school, you start with a unit circle, plop a right triangle down in it and define the trig functions in terms of the lengths of the sides of the triangle. That makes it easy to solve problems involving right triangles, which is great if you want to be an architect, but you then have to prove all those relationships and identities that don’t make much sense.”
“Yeah, I hated that,” Rob interrupted.
“The thing is, if you’re an engineer or a scientist or a physicist, that’s not how you use trigonometry,” I explained. “In just about any other field besides architecture, the trig functions are the fundamental basis of waves. Anything that’s periodic or otherwise behaves as a wave can be written in terms of the trig functions. If you start with logarithms and exponential functions and then throw in imaginary numbers as arguments, the trig functions fall right out. Alternatively, if you start with infinite series based on the ratios of power expressions to factorials, the exponential and the trig functions drop right out. All of the stuff that seemed so cryptic to you becomes trivial, and you can still apply the trig functions to right triangles.”
“Everything you just said sounds cryptic to me,” Rob replied, “but if Henry gets it, more power to him. How is it gonna help him with school though?” Rob asked. “It’s not like he can skip through the middle- and high-school curriculum at his own pace.”
“Actually, he can,” I replied. “There are two ways he can do that. He can either challenge the final exams in all of the courses he would have taken – I don’t doubt he could do that by the end of the summer – or he can pay a fee and test out of college-level math courses for college credit. The fee depends on the awarding institution, which doesn’t matter much so long as he goes on to college. We’re gonna talk to your dad about it this evening,” I concluded.
“But if he tests out of all his math, what will he do with all that time in school?” Rob asked. “Take more electives? Take extra study halls? Get out early?”
“He could do any of those,” I replied, “but he’s capable of much more. Like I said, he’s a math genius, but he’s very smart overall. I hate to do it to him and to all of you in a sense, but I think he should start high school next year and finish it in three years, so he’ll graduate when he’s sixteen and be ready to start college.”
“Jesus!” Rob exclaimed. “What would that do to his relationship with Darren?”
“Hopefully, save it,” I replied. “I don’t know how smart Darren is, but at least by keeping Henry in high school until the age of sixteen, we can keep the two boys together. If Henry then commutes to the University of Nebraska, Omaha campus, they can still be together until Darren graduates. Henry’s capable of going to college next year, but it wouldn’t be fair to thrust him into the adult world when he’s still a kid, particularly when he has a boyfriend.”
“What if Henry stays where he is right now and doesn’t do any of those things?” Rob asked.
“He’ll become increasingly bored, drop out and become an Applazon stock boy,” I replied.
“Jerk!” Rob answered me as he used his middle finger. “And here we are,” he added as he pulled into a parking space.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’d never in my life bought a suit before. The closest thing I ever had to one was the school uniform at the Hill Top School, outside of Kansas City. I figured it wasn’t like going to Target and picking stuff off of a rack, but I didn’t think it would be like things I’d read, where a team of professionals descends around you with samples of fabrics and hand-makes a suit from scratch.
No sooner did we enter the store than a gentleman, in every sense of the word, came up to us and asked if he could help us. Rob explained that I needed a new suit and dress clothes, and that I needed them for an interview tomorrow. I half expected the man to either tell us it was impossible to have something ready by then or to go into a tizzy trying to sell me something no matter how well if fit. Fortunately, neither of those things happened. The gentleman took it all in stride, saying, “Of course, we can do that. You appear to be a rapidly growing young man, so we wouldn’t want to spend a lot on a tailored suit you’d probably outgrow in a matter of months. If you prefer, I could sell you a suit that’s too long for you that could be let out later, but having it ready in time would be a challenge, and it wouldn’t look good on you now when your need it most. That’s not the way we like to do things.”
He proceeded to take extensive measurements of just about every body part – well, not that one, although he did get up close and personal when measuring my inseam length, which he did on both sides. “Did you know you’re six feet tall, young man? A half-inch more than that, actually, and you’re clearly not done growing.”
“I had no idea,” I answered earnestly. “Last time I checked, I was five-foot nine.”
“Well congratulations, you’ve crossed the six-foot milestone.” Next, he took us to a rack of suit separates and showed us a variety of different styles in different fabrics. A jacket fit me perfectly. According to the gentleman, the sleeves were a quarter inch too long on one side and a quarter inch too short on the other, but it wasn’t enough for me to notice. He recommended a navy fabric with a subtle gold stripe to complement my blond buzz cut. When I looked in the mirror, I had to admit that it looked fantastic on me. We found matching slacks in a trim fit that were perfect on me.
We needed a dress shirt to go with the suit, and they had a wrinkle-free dress shirt on sale at three for the price of one. They still seemed pretty expensive to me, but they looked a lot nicer than any shirts I’d ever owned. The clerk even took one out of the package and had me try it on. I thought that once you opened the package, you’d essentially bought it, but that wasn’t the case here, as he put it back when the trim fit was too tight in the chest. An athletic-fit shirt fit me perfectly. Indeed, the shirt was free of any wrinkles and looked freshly ironed, even though it had been folded up in a package. I bought two white shirts and a light-blue shirt, even though I might only wear one of them before I outgrew them all.
I needed a tie and bought two that were on sale, two for the price of one. I bought a red tie and a navy one, both with a subtle stripe. I needed dress socks and ended up with a package of three thin, wool socks that cost more than all my other socks combined. Finally, I needed a belt and shoes. The gentleman explained that the two should always match and that my suit would go well with either a brown belt and shoes or a black belt and shoes. Apparently, dress belts and shoes didn’t come in navy. He recommended black for an interview, and so I went with the black.
I would’ve never thought of it had he not pointed it out, but I needed a dress coat that was at least as long as the suit jacket, which my winter coat was not. He showed me a tan cashmere coat with sleeves that were five inches too long. Jeez, even on sale, it cost hundreds of dollars, but he offered to shorten the sleeves on the spot at no charge and to lengthen them up to six inches in the future to accommodate my growth. I took the man’s card ’cause he was the nicest store clerk I’d ever met. He probably ended up with a much bigger sale than all the high-pressure salespeople I’d ever met before combined. He earned my trust, and I’d reward him in the future by buying new dress clothes from him as I needed them and as I grew.
I was ready to check out, but Rob suggested that we first look at the casual clothes on sale, which he said were often a better deal than what I’d find at Target or Walmart. He was right, I picked up two pair of khakis to replace the worn, smallish ones hanging in my closet and several polo shirts that, even on sale, were more expensive than what I’d usually pay, but way nicer. Finally, Rob suggested I buy a sweater, ’cause it gets chilly in the evenings in Omaha, even in the summer sometimes, and it’s good to have something dressy to wear out to a restaurant and the like. I was surprised that some of the sweaters were as expensive as the suit. Cashmere was softest, but out of my league. Even some of the fancier wool sweaters were over two hundred dollars, though. I ended up getting a red, merino, V-neck pullover that looked good on me and was on sale.
Even with the sale prices and the military discount, the total came to well over a thousand dollars, which was a major chunk of what I’d saved from working for Papi, and we weren’t done shopping by a long shot.
After shopping for dress clothes, we stopped at Scheels, which was a sporting goods store in the same mall as Joseph A. Bank, Target, Walmart, and a discount store I’d never heard of called Menards. In between shopping at the different stores, we stopped at Panera Bread for lunch. By the time we finished, I had an entirely new wardrobe and had spent over two-and-a-half grand of my precious savings. Unfortunately, I’d probably have to repeat the whole endeavor in a matter of months as I started to outgrow some of those things. Still, in spite of what Henry said that morning, I couldn’t exactly go around the house in the nude.
On the way home, I mentioned to Rob that I needed to temporarily change my address for everything from Social Security to my bank. I also mentioned that I needed to open a local checking account at my nearest bank branch, but Rob suggested I wait to see if I got the job at Applazon first. If so, I could open an account at their credit union, which not only paid better rates – their checking accounts actually paid interest – but counted savings accounts toward building credit. That way, I could qualify for a loan with the credit union when I wanted to buy a car or eventually take out a mortgage.
When we got home, we spent the rest of the afternoon entering my personal data, preparing my résumé and uploading my birth certificate and Social Security card. By the time we finished, I was starved. Fortunately, Fran had supper ready in no time. Actually, they called it dinner. We had Sloppy Joes made with ground turkey on hamburger buns, with mashed potatoes, green beans and lemon cake for dessert. It was a simple meal, but way better than the food I used to get back home in Indiana.
While we were eating, Jerry asked, “When I went to tell Sammy and Henry to get ready for dinner, I found my youngest son was busy plotting the trajectory for a manned mission to Mars. What’s up with that?”
“It’s not that difficult, Dad,” Henry countered. “It’s just an application of Newton’s Second Law, which is an ordinary differential equation. Of course, you do have to correct for earth’s rotation, earth’s velocity and the relative positions of earth, Mars and the sun, and the changing mass of the ship. Also, you have to account for the solar wind. Mostly, it’s just plain algebra.”
Rob leaned over and whispered into my ear, “You’re right.”
In the meantime, Jerry countered, “You can’t tell me they teach that in seventh grade, and you can’t tell me they teach differential equations, either. That’s rocket science. Kids go to Colorado Springs to learn that stuff.” Colorado Springs, I knew, was the location of the Air Force Academy.
“This morning, J.J. showed me how to use differential calculus to solve my math homework problems more easily,” Henry explained. “Afterwards, he showed me some links to websites for self-study in math. They were pretty easy, and I think I can finish them up in a few days. The mission to Mars is one of the advanced problems to solve on one of the websites, but frankly, to me it’s one of the easier problems.”
“Rocket science is easy?” Jerry asked in surprise.
“Actually, yeah,” I replied. “It’s just a matter of force and velocity and linear and angular momentum. Solving Maxwell’s Equations is far more difficult.”
“Not really,” Henry interrupted. Jeez, I’d created a monster.
“So, my youngest son, who’s in the seventh grade is doing college-level math?” Jerry asked.
“He’s more than ready for it,” I explained. “He’s been sitting in class this year bored to tears, and the only reason he’s getting A’s is because of the good study habits you instilled in him. He’s a true math genius, yet he’s as likely to drop out of high school before he graduates as he is to go on to college. That’s what happened to Edward Snowden, by the way, and then the CIA took advantage of his genius.”
“Edward Snowden is a traitor who sold out his country,” Jerry interjected.
“According to the New York Times, he’s a patriot,” I countered. “Personally, I think he’s a little of both; he had the right idea but the wrong solution, and he should’ve faced the music rather than seek asylum in a country that violates everything this country stands for – or at least used to. The bottom line, pardon my language, is that he’s one fucked-up genius, and he didn’t have to be.”
“So, you took it upon yourself to teach Henry math outside the school curriculum?” Jerry responded with obvious anger in his voice.
“What would you have done, held him back and watched him become another Edward Snowden?” I asked incredulously.
“I would have spoken to his teachers at school,” Jerry countered.
“So why didn’t you?” I asked. “Henry didn’t realize there were alternatives. It wasn’t up to him to tell you. The only way I knew he was a genius was my suspicion in watching him do his homework, my recognition of his hidden talent and the willingness to explore it. I used to tutor middle-school students and was good at it, but it shouldn’t have even been my responsibility to figure it out. The school has been testing Henry since he was in kindergarten. They should have come to you, those teachers you wanted to speak to, but they didn’t. Schools don’t like kids like Henry. They don’t fit their neat little categories.” Even as I spoke, I saw Jerry getting redder and redder in the face, but he needed to hear the truth. As a commander, he probably wasn’t used to anyone talking back to him. In going behind his back, I’d violated the chain of command.
“J.J., go to your room!” Jerry shouted at me. “We have a lot to talk about. You too, Henry.”
Henry and I headed down the stairs to the lower level, and he headed into his room and I into mine. I didn’t bother to close the door, hoping to catch bits and pieces of whatever was said. Regardless, I fully expected to be sent away. Maybe I should take the advice I’d given to Jerry about Edward Snowden and face the music. Maybe I should go back to Indiana and turn myself in.
The shouting began almost as soon as we left the great room, but there was so much speaking over each other that it was difficult to hear a word of what was being said. At one point I did hear Rob say, “Let Henry decide!”, which made me smile. At least there was one voice of sanity.
After perhaps five minutes, Henry knocked on my open door and asked, “Can I come in?”
“Of course, you can, Henry,” I replied.
He entered the room and plopped down on the bed next to me, where I was lying back with my knees bent and up in the air and my feet flat on the bed. Henry assumed the same position, but whereas I was still wearing a t-shirt and shorts, he was wearing only a pair of boxers. Out of curiosity, I asked, “Why did you take your clothes off?”
“When I get nervous, I take all my clothes off and jerk off,” he replied. “So, the correct question is why I’m wearing boxers, and the answer is that after what happened in the bathroom this morning, I didn’t want you to freak out.”
“What happened was nothing compared to what Sammy did to me in the bathroom,” I responded.
“What did he do?” Henry asked.
“He grabbed my dick and recited a line from a nursery rhyme,” I answered. “I think it was ‘this little piggy went home’. He tried to convince me it was a game of dick tag you all played and that I had to grab someone’s dick and recite a verse of my own.”
“Yeah, we’ve been playin’ that game for years,” Henry replied. Then he pulled out his dick through the fly in his boxers and said, “Now’s your chance. Now you can tag me and be done with it until the next time.”
Laughing, I responded, “Rob did just about the same thing when I told him about it this morning. What’s with you guys trying to embarrass the new guy. I think you just want me to grab your dick.”
“The thought did cross my mind,” Henry replied. “I do have some stuff to talk to you about though,” he added. “about my relationship and sex with Darren.”
“You can put that thing away, you know,” I pointed out.
Shrugging his shoulders, he asked, “Why? It doesn’t embarrass you having my dick sticking out? Does it?”
“Not enough there to be embarrassed by,” I responded. Actually, he was bigger than me, but it was all the spirit of the boys’ trash-talking.
Henry answered me by flipping himself on top of me, his outstretched arms and hands on my shoulders and his legs straddling my thighs, with his dick still sticking out of his fly. “Are you accusing me of not being big enough for you, runt?” he asked.
“Who are you calling a runt?” I replied as I tried unsuccessfully to displace his hands from my shoulders. When that didn’t work, I tried lifting my hips off the bed, but that only pushed my groin into his, causing our dicks to collide. As I kept bucking my hips, we both became hard, so I stopped.
“Why’d you stop?” Henry asked.
“Because if I kept it up, we’d have cum,” I replied. “Don’t get me wrong; you’re cute and you’re sexy, but you have a loving boyfriend, and I’m not about to do something when he’s not here.”
“Are you saying you’re up for a three-way with Darren and me?” Henry teased, I think.
Rather than answer that I wasn’t at all – group sex didn’t interest me in the least – I turned it around and asked, “Are you?”
“Well, no,” Henry answered. “Don’t get me wrong, ’cause you’re sexy, too, but I love Darren. I mean, I’m hard, I’m lyin’ right on top of you, but I’ve no desire to do anything further.”
“I think it’s sweet that you love him so much that you’ve lost all interest in sex with anyone else,” I responded.
“Not sex with anyone else,” Henry chided, “sex with you.”
“Jerk,” I replied, and then noticing his guard was down, I reached up with my hands and started tickling him under the arms. I was merciless, but he deserved it.
Finally, when he couldn’t seem to take it anymore, he flipped himself over, flopping back on the bed. “Oh god, I haven’t had a good tickling like that for ages. Ever since Sammy peed himself, we’ve kinda had an unofficial truce. That was fun!”
“Well, if you enjoyed it so much, maybe we could have another go at it,” I suggested as I climbed on top of him.
“That’s okay,” he replied. “I’d frankly rather not pee my pants, either.”
I climbed back off of him and resumed my previous posture, lying on my back with my knees in the air and my feet flat on the bed.
“J.J., could I talk to you about sex?” Henry asked.
“You mean about sex between you and Darren?” I asked for clarification. He nodded his head, and I continued, “What exactly have you guys done?”
“Well, we’ve been foolin’ around since I was nine, almost ten,” Henry explained. “But we never went any farther than that before today.”
“What exactly do you mean by ‘foolin around’?” I asked. “To a lot of guys, it means jerking off together or maybe jerking each other off.”
“Well, of course we do that,” Henry answered, “and more. We trade blowjobs; we do the numbers, all that stuff.” Jeez, maybe I should be going to him for advice on sex.
Out of curiosity, I asked, “Can I ask if you swallow?”
“Are you kidding?” Henry responded. “Is the sky blue? Of course, we swallow, but it’s also fun to cover each other with our spunk, you know?” I was almost afraid to ask about fetishes or kinky stuff.
“Are you sure you guys are only twelve?” I exclaimed more than asked.
“Darren’s thirteen, almost fourteen,” Henry corrected me. That sure changed the dynamics of their relationship.
“Really! I thought you guys were in the same grade.” I responded. “If anything, he looks like he’s twelve and you look fourteen.”
“I know, but that’s kinda how we met,” Henry explained. “In Europe, I played a lot of soccer; they call it football over there. We all played. It’s way more popular over there, even professionally – the World Cup and all that.”
“I know about the World Cup and about soccer,” I replied. “It’s the world’s most popular sport. I never played it outside of gym class, but I always enjoyed it. I’m not that athletic, but even a klutz can handle soccer.”
“Not the way they play it in Europe,” Henry countered. “It’s more like Little League over there. World Series; serious stuff. Anyway, we moved here in the spring at the end of fourth grade. I was nine and Darren was eleven and in fifth grade and ready to begin middle school in the fall. Of course, I wanted to join a soccer league right away, but it was the end of the season and the best I could do was to join a new league in the summer. I was still nine, but I looked more like ten or eleven and played above my age level. Darren, however, was eleven and very small for his age, so they put us both on the team with the ten-year-olds. We hit it off right away and by the end of the summer, we were foolin’ around all the time.
“Anyway, I always figured I’m more of a top, and it seems Darren’s a total bottom.” I couldn’t help but smile at that, causing Henry to ask, “What? Did I say something?”
“No, it’s just that I’m a total bottom, too, but an aggressive one. I like to dominate, but definitely prefer taking it up the ass.”
“You like to ride your partner?” Henry asked, and I nodded my head and grinned. “That is totally hot,” Henry replied, but his enthusiasm was born out when his dick got hard as a flagpole. For some reason, it was still sticking out the fly in his boxers.
“You said you tried ass play this morning?” I asked.
“Yeah, and it was fun,” Henry answered. “We didn’t have any lube, which is something we wanted to ask you about.”
“You’d like me to get you some?” I asked.
“Definitely,” Henry responded. “Actually, we were hoping you already had some, but I didn’t find any in the medicine cabinet or in the night table or in any of your drawers.”
“You searched my things for lube?” I asked.
“Of course, we did,” Henry replied, “and I’m not gonna apologize for it, either. We were two horny teens.”
“You’re not a teen yet,” I replied.
“I look more like a teen than you do!” he countered.
“You may have the start of a mustache,” I challenged, “but I’m over six feet tall. Just don’t go rummaging through my things again. I can’t have you finding my stash of crystal meth.”
“Well, if I do, you’ve gotta share it,” Henry replied.
“You do know I was joking, don’t you?” I responded. “I’ve never even smoked pot, let alone used anything stronger.”
“I’ve used pot,” Henry announced, much to my surprise. “I think it’s overrated, but it’s easier to come by than booze in this household. If you’d like some, I can get it for you.”
“No, thanks,” I responded. “I’ve never had the desire to try it. Before I came here, I’d never even tried beer. I’ll admit that Coors is nice, but I’ve no desire for more than an occasional one at that.”
“I prefer to sneak one of Rob’s Heinekens,” Henry replied. At first, I thought he was joshing, but it soon became apparent he was entirely serious.
“Do you do that very often?” I asked, then I had another thought. “Does Darren use anything?”
“I can’t sneak a Heineken – or Coors or Bud, for that matter – without someone noticing,” Henry answered, “so no, I don’t do it very often, and then I share it with Darren. Darren doesn’t like drugs at all, but he likes sharing a beer.”
Taking a deep breath, I said, “You really need to talk to your dad about this, Henry. You need to do it soon. You need to tell him about your beer drinking and even the pot. Right now he’s upstairs, talking about your future. He wants to fit you into his idea of what a perfect kid should be. He doesn’t mind that you’re gay, but he needs to know that you’re not one of his subordinates. He needs to know what he’s up against, and that includes alcohol and drugs. He’s probably gonna send me away because of you, but that’s okay. I’ve been through worse, and I’ll come out okay in the end. I know you don’t believe in god, but I can’t help but feel there’s a reason I’m here in this house at this time.
“Tell me I’m wrong to worry, Henry,” I continued. “Tell me you haven’t thought about killing yourself.”
The look of shock on Henry’s face was impossible to miss. “No one knows about that. How’d you know?”
“Because I’ve been there, Henry. I’ve been much closer than you could ever imagine.” Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, I continued, “I’m fourteen, not sixteen. You can’t tell anyone because I went to a lot of trouble to get this ID. And there’s worse. I killed my father. He was a mean SOB who abused me physically, emotionally and sexually ever since I can remember, but even that was no excuse. The night I left, it came either to him or me. He literally had his hands around my throat, and I kicked him in the nuts and ran for his gun.”
“Are you serious, J.J.?” Henry asked.
“Dead serious,” I replied.
“Why are you telling me this?” Henry asked. “You must know you’re taking a hell of a risk in telling me.”
“I wouldn’t have gotten this far without being a good judge of character,” I replied, “but it’s much more than that. I know you won’t tell anyone, but even if you do, it will be worth it if telling you ends up saving your life.”
It started with a single tear running down Henry’s cheek and then another and another, and soon he was crying his eyes out. I scooped him up into my arms and held him tightly. His sobs continued for the longest time until he’d cried his eyes out. Finally, he pulled away from me and looked right into my eyes.
“You know what killing yourself would do to Darren, don’t you?” I reminded Henry.
“I might as well kill him myself,” Henry acknowledged. “It would be incredibly selfish to do that to him.”
“Are you ready to go upstairs?” I asked. “You might want to put your dick away, though,” I added. Laughing, he stuffed it back into his boxers. “Did you want to get dressed first?” I asked.
“Nah,” he replied, “they’ve all seen me this way before.”
“Why don’t you wash your face first, though?” I suggested.
“Good idea,” Henry agreed as he detoured to the bathroom. When he came out, I motioned for him to go first and followed him upstairs.
Disclaimer: This story is purely fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals is unintentional. Although it takes place in actual locations, in no way are any official policies, opinions or events inferred. Some characters may be underage and at times engage in homosexual acts. Anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of material where they live. The author retains full copyright and permission must be obtained prior to duplication in any form.