The yellowed envelope appeared in our mailbox in Radnor on August 19, 1987. It appeared to have been written sometime earlier. The envelope was crumpled, one corner was marked with a coffee stain and its $0.25 stamp had been augmented with another $0.04 stamp. When I arrived home from New Orleans Martha handed me the letter with a quizzical look but did not say more. I held it looking at the return New York address which I knew well — the letter was from Todd. He and Melody had a home in Westchester but he kept his original rent-controlled apartment in New York City for special reasons.
I hesitated before opening the letter, carrying it with me into our wood paneled den. I sat down in my well-worn, comfortable leather reading chair. I took my reading glasses from my coat pocket and adjusted them on my noise. They were essential for my sixty-three-year-old eyes. I switched on the lamp and put my head back before opening the soiled envelope. I slipped my finger inside the flap which quickly released as if the glue was ready to expose its contents. I recognized the script as Todd’s messy handwriting.
April 12, 1987
You may have heard that I passed away after fighting colon cancer for the past couple of years. This letter is an invitation to celebrate life, mine and those of our special friends. My funeral took place several months ago and by my directions my body was cremated. For all I know you may have attended the funeral. This is an invitation to a party not a wake.
As you may remember our family has a summer home on Lake Pleasant on the site where an original Mohawk camp stood centuries ago. The directions to the lodge will follow. It is easiest to fly to Syracuse and drive or be driven on to the lodge. That is your choice. The specifics of the event are as follows:
Friday, September 18, 1987 (handwritten)
6pm — Cocktails and Dinner — informal
8:30pm — Introductions
Saturday, September 19, 1987
Activities of your choice — all old accessories will be provided
Noon — Picnic on the lawn (weather permitting)
6pm — Cocktails and Dinner — formal
8:30pm — Sharing stories
Sunday, September 20, 1987
10am — Final skinny dip
11am — Spreading my ashes
Noon — Major event (please plan to stay)
RSVP to my Executor, Harold Lester — EMpire7-8550 212-367-8550 (handwritten)
I hope you can return to our fishing camp one more time. The tuxedos and leathers are there if your size hasn’t changed. Know I will be there in spirit.
I held the letter, remembering the time so many years ago that Todd and I first experienced man love on Captiva Island. Martha entered the room and gently asked, “What was the letter about?”
I hesitated but got out, “Todd Hudson died.”
“Didn’t we know that?”
“Yes, it happened while we were in Florence this spring.”
“So why the letter?” she quizzed.
“The letter is an invitation to the guys’ fishing group to come to the camp in upstate New York to celebrate his life and our many fun times together.”
Skeptically she asked, “When is it? Are you going? Sounds rather strange to me.”
“I will if my schedule permits.”
She asked no more questions and walked away.
Our “fishing group” started in the 1950’s when Todd invited me and two other friends to join him for a weekend at the camp in the Adirondacks. I remember The house was a sprawling log lodge that sat on the shores of Lake Pleasant near Lake George. The wooden and stone structure with a cedar shingled roof had been built by Todd’s grandfather in the early 1900’s. A massive fireplace dominated the living room which was filled with rough hewn wood furniture. The dining room was baronial in its proportions with a prairie-style dining table that could easily accommodate twelve. Over the dining table an antler chandelier of thirty lights hung menacingly on its heavy chain. There were many bedrooms with bathrooms set up like a club with one for men and one for women. I was never there when there were any women so both bathrooms were available. Showering in the men’s room was open and communal. For our purposes that was perfect.
My first trip to Hudson’s camp fortunately coincided with a weekend Martha had a wedding of a college classmate that I did not know. We had been married only a short time but I was able to convince her that she would have more fun without me. She reluctantly agreed. I did not know what to expect because Todd and I were uninspired fisherman based on our trips to Captiva. His letter describing the fishing trip suggested bringing a jacket for the cool evenings and stated that everything else would be provided. When I arrived I found Todd and his friends swimming without suits which was a custom we started in Florida. After introductions Todd startled me by coming up to me and kissing me on the lips. The two guys laughed at my reaction but proceeded to follow our lead. The weekend had nothing to do with fishing. It had to do with Todd introducing me to his sex toys and leather outfits. He arranged for each of us to have a Harley-Davidson bike to ride. I had ridden smaller machines but nothing as powerful as one of those ‘Hogs’. On Saturday we rode a hundred miles through scenic upstate New York before returning to the lodge and being ridden until my butt could take no more.
That was my introduction to Todd’s version of fishing. We had two-way, three-way and foursome sex and always with an audience. Todd loved everything about it. I liked it best when he and I slept together and quietly had sex. It didn’t matter to me whether I was the top or the bottom. I was with Todd. The weekend ended with the admonition that we should get together regularly, at least twice a year.
That began a tradition that was regular for about twenty years but our numbers grew. As wives got more suspicious and children got older the frequency of the fishing trips was less and ended in the early 1970’s. Martha and I loved each other but we were never passionate like Todd and I were. I am sure in a different time Todd and I would have been partners. However, I wondered if I could have satisfied his insatiable desire for sex. He kept himself physically fit and always had his blond hair perfectly cut. He was vain when it came to wearing his glasses which he definitely needed. I regularly shared my glasses with him when we went to a restaurant. He dressed impeccably when hiking, motorcycle riding or dining.
After a few years the fishing trips developed some rituals. For example, the Saturday night dinner was a formal affair. To avoid unnecessary explanations we each kept formal attire in a special locked pine-lined closet in the boathouse. Because the group had grown in size to as many as eight at various times there were as many as twelve tuxedos as our sizes changed over the years. It became tradition that every two or three years we would do something different. One year we flew to a remote island in Alaska and another year we chartered a sailboat in the Caribbean. We sailed ourselves and came home with total tans which took some explaining.
Through all the years Martha didn’t complain because she had plenty of family and social obligations to occupy her. She could have guessed what was going on if she had wanted to. My desire for sex after a trip was limited and took concentration for about the first two weeks after I returned home. The first time Martha and I had sex after one of the trips I had to visualize Todd or I couldn’t keep hard enough to complete the act. I am sure she wondered but never said anything.
To Todd’s invitation I sent my RSVP confirming my attendance and correcting my address. When a second letter arrived at my office in New Orleans in early September my curiosity was heightened. I didn’t want Martha asking more questions. I opened the letter which contained two sheets: instructions on how to drive to the camp which I already knew and a typed list of expected attendees with handwritten notes following each name. There were eight names with “yes” handwritten after the name. I recognized four names and was surprised to see the name of Mike Cosgrove who had attended only one of the getaways that I attended. I was pleased to see the name of Carlos Mantia from Costa Rica who participated in the event. There were three names with “No response.” After the final name — Richard Hastings was scrawled, “I won’t attend to celebrate the life of such a perverted soul.” I didn’t know the person.
I held the list looking at the names. I wondered how a simple kiss so many years ago had led to a celebration of Todd’s love of male sex. In the early years of the fishing trip Todd spoke often of the other love of his life, Melody Hargrave, whom he married in 1953. I wondered how she tolerated Todd’s insatiable quest for sex in new and different settings with men and, I speculated, women. My life was centered on work that I loved and my family: Martha and my three wonderful children — Robert, Gretchen and Peter. My only sexual dalliance was my attendance at the fishing trips with Todd and his friends. I loved the sex but more loved being with Todd who was so alive.
Todd traveled the world, accumulated significant wealth from his law practice, and he and Melody became socially prominent in New York. His secret life was never publically revealed. From the first day that he met Melody on Captiva in the 1940’s he knew he was going to marry her. I smiled thinking of what his initial attraction to her was: her sizeable, perfectly formed chest pieces. When Martha and I were with Todd and Melody on different occasions, they were always loving and warm.
Todd’s disappointment was not having children. He pulled me aside at one of the earlier fishing trips and told me that Melody was not able to have children. She’d developed cancer of the uterus which had required a hysterectomy. I suggested adopting children but he rejected the idea outright. It was cancer of the breast that took Melody’s life five years ago. Martha and I attended the funeral at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. The sanctuary was packed with mourners. Following the service there was no burial since Melody’s ashes were to be spread on Lake Pleasant. Following the service there was an elaborate celebration dinner at the Waldorf. Todd rose to make a champagne toast to Melody. I saw his eyes sparkle with emotion for the woman he truly loved.
On that occasion I met Harold Lester whose name appeared on the invitation. He was thirty and dressed in a tuxedo with military precision. I stared at his perfectly sculpted blond hair and piercing blue eyes until he caught my obvious glance. He wore a large, tasteful diamond on his ring finger. More pronounced than the ring was the bulge that pushed out from below his belt. He stayed a respectful distance from Todd but watched him intently throughout the celebration. I suspected that Harold was more than Todd’s friendly acquaintance. Other than a couple of Christmas cards I did not see or hear from Todd again until the invitation arrived. I was not aware of his illness.
Martha and I did not say more about the September weekend until she announced that she was flying to Italy with our daughter, Gretchen, who was going to be studying in Milan for the year. Martha said she wanted to make sure Gretchen was safely settled. From Milan she and her friend Marjorie were going to meet in Florence and enjoy fall in the Tuscan hills. She would be gone three weeks which fit my schedule. After Todd’s event in New York I was scheduled to fly to Costa Rica to meet a new coffee supplier. I generally left such meetings to my buyers but this meeting was arranged by the Costa Rican Minister of Agriculture.
A limousine picked us up in Radnor for our trip to Kennedy Airport in New York. Neither Martha nor Gretchen wanted to take a small plane to Kennedy and switch terminals for their international flight to Italy. I went along to see them off and then reserved a car to drive into upstate New York. I could have flown to Syracuse but I was looking forward to the alone time. The limousine driver dropped me at the Avis Rental Car lot where I had rented a Mustang convertible. As I got out of the car I saw a distinguished but older Carlos Mantia getting off of the rental car bus. I didn’t rush to him but waited until our eyes met. He paused before calling, “Bucky?”
“Yes, Carlos it is me.”
“Why are you here in New York?”
“I will tell you but first come and greet me properly.” He approached with his right hand extended and I pulled him into a full body hug with a kiss on first his right cheek and then his left. He warmly returned my greeting. “Do you want to ride with me to Todd’s event?” I asked him.
“Graci, you know how much I do not like to drive.”
“And I know how badly you drive.” He punched my arm and laughed.
“Where are you staying tonight? We aren’t expected at the lake until tomorrow.”
He hesitated momentarily, “Well, I planned to go to the Townhouse after dinner. I have reservations at the Marriott Marquis near Grand Central Station.”
“Why are you getting a car now? The parking will cost a fortune and besides you have to drive through Manhattan. You surely are kidding.”
“OK, asshole, you drive and I pay for parking.” We both laughed. I drove to 58th and Lexington and miraculously found a parking garage with space where I could park the car overnight. I told Carlos we were taking taxis. We told the attendant not to bury our car so deeply that we couldn’t retrieve out luggage. For a twenty dollar bill, he agreed.
A quick two-block walk brought us to the steps of the Townhouse where I had come many times to listen to pianists like Michael Ferrera and others. I could admire the boys on the prowl and converse in a totally gay venue. Carlos and I had a quick drink but decided that we had too much to discuss to stay in the noisy place. We walked a couple of blocks to McCormick and Schmidt’s to eat before catching a taxi to the Marriott. Without even asking me Carlos requested a king room. Once in the room we showered and got into bed together as if we did this every night. We snuggled and kissed passionately until I could no longer keep my eyes open. We slept with me spooning Carlos with my dick firmly planned in Carlos’ hairy crack which tickled. As the dim light of sunrise was seeping into the room I got up to pee, something which had become a regular occurrence at my age. Soon Carlos was there beside me peeing. We were laughing like teenagers as we peed together. I kissed him as the last of his piss dipped onto my foot.
Returning to the bedroom I noticed it was 6:30am. I suggested that we get dressed and beat the traffic out of the city. By 10:30 we were well on our way toward Lake George, arriving at the fishing lodge shortly after 1pm. While I had been with Carlos at several of Todd’s events over the years we had never had the conversation that our driving together permitted. He retraced his life since we left Captiva in 1946. He finished his degree at Loyola in Baltimore and started a masters degree at Tulane University but did not finish because his father died and he had to return to Costa Rica to manage the family estates. I knew he was wealthy but I did not appreciate just how much property he had until this trip. He married for business reasons several years later but neither he nor his wife were particularly interested in each other. At the strong objections of her family they had the marriage annulled because he couldn’t and didn’t want to consummate the marriage. He was embarrassed when questioned but since he had already had a sexual encounter with the priest he didn’t worry.
“From that point forward the priest, Ramon, and I maintained a quiet liaison for four or five years. You and I saw each other at my first trip to the fishing camp about the time he and I were ending our relationship. That is the main reason I accepted Todd’s invitation but I didn’t tell anyone. I just decided to enjoy myself which I definitely did.”
“You came to camp, at least, one other time that I remember. I missed a few times myself.”
“I came only one other time. I found the rough sex which was fun the first time was too much for me. You know me and my reluctance to be the bottom.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“After Ramon I was alone for more than five years. Do you know that one of my companies, Corrigidone Ltd, is a major supplier of the Chandler Company in New Orleans?”
I was so surprised it took time to say, “I did not know. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I thought you were happily married, raising your kids and I didn’t want to cause trouble. After seeing you my second fishing trip I knew I wanted to be in your life. I presumed you came to Todd’s to play and then return to your normal life. Also, I wasn’t sure if you and Todd had a liaison going. Those are the reasons I didn’t return. But last night tells me you I feel the same way I do.”
I felt tears in my eyes and pulled into a rest area to regain my composure. “I had no idea I had that effect on you. I can be so blind. I hope I didn’t hurt you.”
“No, no. You were always courteous and respectful of me just like last night when you didn’t push me. I respect you and your life and I would never want to cause you problems.”
“Carlos, you do not cause me problems. I have been told so many times by my wife that I miss signals. Often she tells me that is my greatest fault. Well, truthfully, she tells me there are several others. I have been afraid to come out for fear she will divisively cut me off from my children and now grandchildren. She and I have a marriage of convenience but neither dislike the other enough to do anything about it. Someday, maybe.”
After lunch we drove onto the trail that meanders through the giant oaks and evergreens that camouflage the dark timbered façade of the main house. We came to a stop in the parking area to find two vehicles — one a utility van and the other a black Lexus 550. “Something is different. There is so much space around the house. They have cleared away all the shrubbery.”
Carlos said, “I don’t remember it that well. When were you here last?”
“Nineteen seventy, I think. Todd stopped hosting the fishing trips about that time. Martha and I did see Todd and Melody several times a year, usually at a major charity event in New York City. On our fiftieth birthdays the four of us rented a sailing yacht in the Caribbean and sailed bare boat for a week. We sailed naked most of the time and our wives tolerated us. Melody explained to Martha how the whole naked swimming thing got started in Captiva when Todd and I were pre-teenagers. They just smiled and let the boys hang out. Our wives were not close. The children were a barrier between us. I was always sad because Todd would have been a wonderful father. As I said yesterday I never was sure why they didn’t adopt children. They could have afforded the very best.”
As I stepped out of the Mustang I saw Harold Lester stepped off the front porch. He was dressed right out of the Hugo Boss catalog. He wore white linen Bermuda shorts topped with a finely stripped pink and ivory shirt unbuttoned to show off a gold medallion. His canvas tope Espadrilles completed the outfit but it did nothing to distract from his disarming handsomeness. He was more beautiful than he had been at Melody’s funeral.
Harold walked toward us, “Hi, boys.”
Carlos replied coolly. “Hello, I am Carlos. I understand that you know Bucky.”
“Can’t say that I remember but ‘Hello’ again.” I thought this guy was going to make for an interesting couple of days. He invited us into the house by way of the back door. As instructed we had brought only small bags that included jackets and caps which were not needed on the day we arrived. Harold led the way into the house and said, “I can show you your bedrooms but seeing that you arrived together I can rearrange the sleeping so you are together.”
“Sounds good to me,” I said.
“Me, too,” Carlos said.
“Follow me.” The room he showed us had one large queen size bed with a rough-hewn bed head. Wild boars and stags with massive antlers covered the drapes which framed the full expanse of the lake. “You probably remember the bathroom is down the hall on your right.” He left as another we could hear another car approaching.
Carlos and I stood in front of the spectacular scenic view. “What are you expecting to happen?” Carlos whispered.
“I don’t know. Why don’t we walk down to lake and wait to be told?” We passed through the massive living room and out the double-paned French doors onto the veranda that stretched across the entire facade. We climbed down the steps onto the manicured lawn and crossed to the boat jetty. We opened the door and looked in on the antique Chris Craft motor launch. “I was sure that it had been here since the 1960’s but appears to be new.” Inside we found a canoe and small sailing shift sitting across from the sauna. Opening the door allowed a stale, cedar smell to escape suggesting the room had not been used in quite a while. Only the soft slosh of the ripples disturbed the quietness of the space.
We walked to the end of the jetty and sat on a bench shaded by a slatted wooden cover. We didn’t speak as we enjoyed the brisk fall air and watched the yellow leaves settle onto the surface of the water. Shortly we were joined by three fellows who were followed by Harold. One was Mike Cosgrove. I was surprised because he was much heavier than I remembered. Harold said, “Well, I think we are all here for now. I expect Barkley later tonight and I am not sure about Jerry and Favio. What is your pleasure? We can start cocktails early.”
I said, “I thought there were eight names plus your own on the acceptance list.”
“There were but Jerry had an emergency medical procedure and Favio wanted to stay with him. He said they would try to get here if Jerry felt up to it.”
“Are Jerry and Favio together?”
“Yes, I understood from Todd that they have been partners for twelve years.”
“They met the last time Todd had his gathering in 1972.”
“There is no reason to wait for Barkley. I am sure you are all wondering why Todd decided to have you here. Follow me into the house and we will get the cocktails working. Then I will fill you in.”
We entered the house and were greeted by two extraordinarily handsome young men. One was about six feet tall and wore a tight black tee shirt with the words “At Your Service” written in script across his sculpted chest. His black jeans left nothing to one’s imagination. The other was more of a boy. He was slightly shorter but was equally handsome and wore an orange muscle shirt adorned with metallic lips in sequins. His black short shorts covered only a small portion of his long slender legs which were covered in silvery blond hair. Harold, detecting our interest, started introductions, “Let me introduce Jeremy on the left who is our chef, and his helper, Randy. They will be cooks and waiters and they will help you any way that they can.” The boys were interested and engaged which surprised me considering our age difference.
We were each served our favorite drink without having to tell Randy what we preferred. Todd must have remembered which surprised me since I was the one who remembered details and he wasn’t. We were seated in the main room in front of the fire place. Harold stepped before the group. “Gentlemen, might I ask you to put your drinks down. The boys will serve you a flute of champagne to toast my partner and lover, Todd Hudson. I am sure he is with us in spirit. We had five magnificent years together before he succumbed. I miss him tremendously. I want to hear your stories of Todd because he and I had so little time together.”
We raised our glasses and gave a joint, “Here, here.”
When sips were taken Harold smiled. “I know what went on when you guys gathered. Todd’s sexual desires did not abate until the very end of his life. I have made sure that “the closet” is unlocked and the toys are available. I hope you will put your favorite leathers on for our informal dinner tonight. The playroom in the basement has been reassembled.”
“I suspect that my favorite outfit will not fit my current body,” Mike conjectured.
“Don’t worry; we expanded on the leather selection some,” Harold smiled.
After a few drinks the atmosphere became more relaxed and joyful. After a few minutes of quiet cocktail conversation Harold interrupted. “Let me give you more of the weekend’s plans. Tomorrow you can sleep as late as you want to because I don’t know what you will be doing tonight. I know what I will be doing because I have a new friend who I heard drive in.” He paused and continued, “I don’t want you to think that I am disrespecting Todd. He insisted that I find someone. I know it will take time to replace Todd but I will never forget our wonderful memories.” He left the room and returned to introduce a handsome man who looked remarkably like Todd did ten years ago.
“Anyway, let me continue,” Harold said returning to his spot in front of the roaring fire. “Early tomorrow afternoon we will gather on the lawn for a picnic. Todd specifically asked that the group come naked to commemorate something that he and Bucky started more than fifty years ago.” He looked my direction and said, “I hope you will tell us how the naked swimming tradition got started.”
I laughed. “I will be happy to. Hope it is not too cool tomorrow. I have a problem at my age with shrinkage.” There was polite laughter.
“It is supposed to be in the mid-80’s tomorrow. After free time we will gather for a formal dinner. Tuxedos of varying sizes are in your respective closets. Cocktails will begin at 6:00pm even though the bar will always be open.” Harold paused, “The final event will begin about noon on Sunday. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic but it will be spectacular and, I suspect, difficult to understand. But you know Todd.” The shadows of sunset were filling the room as one-by-one we stepped down into the basement that was barely tall enough to stand in. The light in the closet was dim but the leather outfits were visible. I had forgotten that I actually had two outfits both of which I retrieved. Carlos took one of the outfits which was not labeled. We didn’t bother to close the door since modesty was not important at these parties.
I undressed and looked at myself in the full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door. I What I saw pleased me because I saw only a few unwanted sagging spots. With Carlos’ help I put on my chest harness and slipped the cock ring over my dick squeezing my balls in gently. “It has been many years since I did this.” Carlos smiled.
The harness he chose was more complicated but left his sizeable balls and penis to go through the ring. After my attempts at manipulating them he said to stop, that it was too painful. I went back to the basement to find a bigger ring. I got several catcalls as I trooped down the hall. Once Carlos was set I pulled up my leather chaps which left my bare ass exposed. I wasn’t sure if the chaps would fasten but they did without undo effort. Carlos tried several pair of leathers without success so we concluded a kilt would be the best he could do. He found a natty Scotish Tam O’Shanter that set off his seductive outfit. He patted my butt regularly giving me encouragement for our night together. By dinner Barkley Jefferson-Grant had arrived to don his sky blue spandex accompanied by two naked slave boys. At dinner the boys’ bodies were chained to their silver collars and lay at his feet licking his boots. That was disconcerting initially. He allowed them to eat their meals sitting on the floor. Midway through dinner the backdoor opened and in walked Jerry and Favio. We all rose to greet them making our group ten not counting the nameless slaves.
After dinner Harold invited us to join him in front of the gigantic stone fireplace which was glowing and warm. We were seated except for the slave boys who were sprawling on a polar bear rug. Harold asked Barkley if he would tell us how and where he met Todd. He jerked the chains to get the boy’s attention. The boys had luminescent white skin, sported dark brown eyes, red lips and fat flaccid dicks. One boy was blond and the other had orange-red hair which was repeated lushly in a deeper hue down in his pubic area. Neither had any body fat to make their bodies unattractive.
Barkley started, “Well, Todd and I met at Todd’s fetish party on Long Island in the 1960’s. As everyone knows Todd had a completely engaging personality. God, I was so young and in much better shape. I was Todd’s slave. He wanted every kind of sex in every available orifice. His body was fit and well-toned. He was a real exhibitionist -- we would have sex in front of one or ten people.
“I remained Todd’s on-again, off-again slave for several years. The fetish parties ended and we grew apart as more of our friends got sick with the strange cancer. After me Todd had a slave named Rodney who died of AIDS. It is amazing Todd never was infected because he certainly had plenty of opportunities. He was definitely not into what we call safe sex.”
Harold commented that he knew of Todd’s exploits so he had insisted that the two of them get tested regularly. “I want you to know that Todd died of cancer not AIDS.”
Barkley continued, “I have always wondered how some people get AIDS and others who constantly put themselves in harm’s way don’t.” By this time the slaves had totally undressed Barkley and proceeded to lick his entire body until they got to his penis which they stimulated to full erection and finally ejaculation. We watched enviously but said little. He left with the slaves crawling after him.
Carlos and I, feeling a bit uncomfortable with our dicks swollen in our leathers, sauntered off to bed about 11:00pm having had enough of Barkley and the slaves. Once we had showered we got into the oversized bed under plush down comforters. Carlos tried to lock the door but found no lock so he left the door wide open. Propped up on four oversized pillows Carlos rested his head, covered with curly black hair with a tint of gray, on my hairy chest. He looked into my eyes and smiled. He murmured, “Can I tell you again that I fell in love with you on Captiva in the late 1940’s?”
“Sure, tell me again, I smiled.”
“Oh, I was so in denial about myself I would never have admitted it to you, Bill or anyone for that matter. I suspected you were interested in Todd by the way you looked at him.”
“Todd was my best friend and even though he and I had fooled around once or twice it never crossed my mind that I might be interested in him beyond friendship.”
Sadly Carlos whispered, “I knew you and Todd were not interested in me. I did mention to Peter’s partner, CeCe, that I might be gay. He encouraged me to keep it to myself because Latin America was not ready for a gay revolution. I presume CeCe isn’t alive. And what about your Uncle Peter?”
“You would have had no way of knowing, but they were both killed in a fiery automobile accident in Central America in 1947. They were on a trip buying coffee in Costa Rica, I think.”
Carlos gasped, “Oh my god. I remember that because I saw the burned out car near my grandfather’s house not far from San Jose. Anyway, I finished school in Baltimore and started to get a Masters degree at Tulane but didn’t finish as I mentioned. After a short time at home getting my family’s affairs settled. I went off to Spain to a course for police training which my father insisted that I do. Did you remember that he was police chief of Costa Rica? He wanted me to follow him in that job but I did not want to. I studied in Spain for about two years and perfected my Castilian Spanish. I returned to Costa Rica to manage my family’s properties. I traveled to the US frequently and had friends in Miami but never found a partner. To be honest I never tried hard because I knew it would never work in Costa Rica. I am one of the wealthier men in the country but play a low profile in politics and government. I am sure you knew I was Catholic going to Loyola University. At home I am a major benefactor of the Catedral de Metropolitana of San Jose.
“My main contribution beyond money is keeping the young priests out of trouble with the altar boys. Too many of the young priests are attracted to boys or men. My confessor, Father Ramon Cavallo, who died recently, was a priest who I would trust with my life. When he was a young priest he suspected that I might be gay and approached me. We had a liaison that lasted several years but we felt people were becoming suspicious so we mutually agreed it was best that we stop. You probably didn’t notice but the Catholic Church in Costa Rica has not had a sex scandal like the US church has had. I saved the Costa Rican church from much trouble. Ramon would frequently ask me to intervene with a young priest he suspected was gay. I would counsel them and sometimes find appropriate sex partners for them, keeping everything highly confidential. Our avoiding scandal did not happen by accident. That may sound like a strange contribution but it is what I did.”
He snuggled closer and I switched off the light over the canopy. We both fell into deep sleep. Morning came early because we had not closed the curtains. I rose to use the toilet only to be followed by Carlos who stood with me naked as we peed together like little boys. We returned to bed first for gentle kissing and stroking. Eventually he penetrated me with a sweetness and gentleness that was his nature. His fully engorged massive manhood slipped into me. I smiled when he said, “Bucky, I am not always the top!” I laughed at his sweet naiveté. I loved every moment of our lovemaking and wondered how much I had missed in my life.
Saturday morning was a cool, crystal clear day that is special to the Adirondacks. The sky was cloudless so the reds, yellows and oranges of the leaves seemed freshly painted. The musty, mossy aroma of the falling leaves and dying vegetation was an elixir stronger than champagne. In light jackets Carlos and I followed a wooded path holding hands and speaking little except about the wonder and fragrance of the forest. When we returned the air warmer and the lawn was set up for a picnic with blankets spread over the ground enough for everyone. The barbeque grill was smoking attended by the Jeremy and Randy dressed only in simple aprons embossed with “Kiss the Cook”. When they saw the two of us coming they looked up and smiled. Randy, said, “Time to get undressed for the picnic.”
Jokingly I returned, “Do I have to wear my white gloves?”
Missing my humor he responded, “No, the dress code is undressed.”
We met no one when we climbed the stairs and went into our room. With only towels wrapped around our middles we returned to the lawn. We were the first two to arrive. Randy served a flute of pink champagne. Carlos and I having discarded out towels toasted each other followed by glasses lifted toward the servers. Within thirty minutes Harold and his friend had joined us as well as Barkley and his boys. The boys no longer had their collars on and were talking and joking with us. Mike Cosgrove stood quietly to the side speaking only when a question was asked. The rest of the group talked and mingled until the burgers and hot dogs were cooked. Randy proclaimed that lunch is ready. We gathered around the picnic table not only for the meat but a platter of cut fresh fruit, pasta salad and chips. At the far end there two plates of chocolate brownies--one had a small note card in front that said “With” and the other said “Without.”
I said to Carlos, “Watch out for the brownies marked ‘With’.”
“Those are filled with marijuana. That was one of Todd’s favorite foods — marijuana laced brownies. He would get totally crazy after a couple of those. They are delicious but they definitely pack and unexpected punch.”
“OK, I will stay away. I get high enough on the champagne.” Promptly at noon Harold asked us to be seated and directed his remarks to Carlos and me. “Bucky, you knew Todd longer than anyone else. Will you tell us how you and Todd met? When did you first have sex with him?”
I scrunched up my forehead because I didn’t know where to start. First, I clarified Harold’s question: “Harold and everyone, let me tell you there are too many stories and in ten minutes you will get totally bored. I will condense a great deal of history.
“I met Todd and his sister, Peggy, for the first time in 1932 when they came to Captiva for a spring holiday. We quickly became fast friends but sadly Mrs. Hudson, who was very ill with cancer, died so our time together was short. The first time we were naked together occurred on that trip. Please stop me if this gets too long.”
Harold looked around, nodded and motioned for me to continue.
“On the day before Peggy and Todd were going to return to New York for their mother’s memorial service we convinced our parents that we could hike to a place on Captiva Island that was out of sight of our respective cabins. Our parents reluctantly agreed to let us go. Well, anyway, we hiked all day and were returning in the late afternoon. We had taken off our shoes and socks and started running up and down the glorious stretch of sand and shells. I remember that Todd ran into the water and began kicking water and sand toward his sister. She chased him and pushed him into the water and got his cuffs wet. He angrily yelled at her. She started splashing more water and I joined her. Todd got crazy and pelted us with sand and shells. Throwing up my hands up I called a truce.
“I have to digress for a moment and tell you that one our favorite activities on Captiva was watching the dolphins that swam up and down the coastline. I said to Peggy and Todd, ‘The dolphins are watching us.’ We sat down and whistled at the dolphins. Their playfully jumping and splashing intensified. Something came over me. I stood up and dropped my knapsack by my shoes. I shed my shirt, my shorts and finally my underpants. I ran toward the surf. I dove into the water intent of getting a dolphin ride. I could hear my father’s stern words ‘No swimming’. All this time Peggy and Todd sat on the beach watching and laughing. When I could see they were not joining me I walked into the shallow water making sure my lower half didn’t show. I yelled at Todd to bring my shorts.
“He didn’t. Instead he looked at Peggy and must have said, ‘Lets go.’ As fast as me they undressed and ran into the water. I can’t remember whether I was scared or happy or what. I couldn’t help eyeing Peggy’s breasts and thinking they were as flat as mine but they were different. I noticed that my dick was stiff as was Todd’s.”
There were a few smiles and I got up to get some wine. I noticed that Mike Cosgrove was not smiling and started walking toward the lake. I was surprised that he’d attended this event. I’d tried to make small talk with him about his life and career the night before. I had little success. Harold called out to him, “Mike, wait. We haven’t heard about Bucky and Carlos’ first sex with Todd.”
Almost snarling he said, “I know, sorry.” His response puzzled me even more.
Harold said, “OK, Bucky, tell us the good stuff.”
“Well, this part is really isn’t too interesting because many boys have similar experiences. We were ten years old for my first story. While we had been together in the intervening years my first sex with Todd was when we were eighteen and happened on Captiva Island. We were on spring break during the war. We were able to come together on Captiva one last time before marriage and careers interrupted. The group included me, Todd, Carlos, Mike’s brother — Bill, my uncle Peter and his partner, CeCe. ” Looking toward Mike I said, “Mike you weren’t with us. As I remember something was happening at school.” From Mike there was just a grunt.
“It all started with a kiss — really a playful, sloppy kiss that Todd gave me while we were swimming. I was immediately hard and felt Todd’s stiff dick brush my butt. I grabbed hold of his dick momentarily. That night literally with my uncle in bed with us we gave each other a hand job. While that could have been end of it, it wasn’t. A couple of years later Todd called and suggested a fishing trip here. That was when the sex got started seriously. I am sorry the first time wasn’t more exciting.”
Carlos jumped in, “Bucky you forgot the swimming with the dolphins. Let me tell. We did swim naked many times but the best time was the first time we took the girls to swim with the dolphins. Peggy, Todd’s sister, Melody, Todd’s wife but then girlfriend, came to Captiva with another friend Gretchen and we all swam naked with the dolphins. I was so embarrassed. My dick was so hard I wouldn’t take my swimming suit off until Todd finally pulled my suit off of me. I was pretty big compared to the other guys.”
“You still are!” Harold laughed and directed his next remark to Mike, “What about you?”
Mike’s mood was surly, “I don’t know why I came up here, Harold. My memories of sex with Todd were not happy memories. On the trip to Captiva that Bucky described I didn’t attend because I was so jealous of what I assumed, until now, was secret sex between Todd and Bucky. I am a couple of years younger than Todd and Bucky. When I was twelve and Todd would have been fourteen Todd took me to a hideaway down the beach from our cabin. We were tickling and wrestling around and Todd pulled off my swimming suit. I did the same to him. Our dicks were hard as rocks. Todd grabbed my head and forced me to take his dick in my mouth. I gagged and almost threw up. I sucked on him until he came. That was only the first time that trip he made my suck him. Bucky, you were totally oblivious, to our sex. The next year it happened again and the more we did the more I fell for Todd. For him I was just an instrument.
“I thought I was in love with him. I obsessed about him. When I was in college I would get together with him usually in New York. It was always to service him any way that he wanted me to. He abruptly stopped calling. Several years later I got my first invitation to the fishing trip. Bucky that was the only time that you and I attended together. I felt he loved you and not me. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t love me. After that trip I decided to rid myself of Todd and started therapy. Do you remember ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’? Well, that seemed to work even though I have never been able to keep a relationship going — with a man or a woman. I blame Todd but really it is me that let the bastard screw up my life.” There was an uncomfortable pause.
Mike’s story had sobered us. Harold said, “Time for a swim.” The warming sun’s rays were streaming through the tree branches. Uninhibited we walked toward the crystal lake. We could see two girls canoeing but no one was concerned. The two girls flashed their boobs while hooting. Jeremy and Randy dropped their aprons and kissed passionately for the girls who quickly paddled off. I tried to speak to Mike but he brushed me off. I figured that Mike’s history was his own and certainly didn’t affect me.
Harold climbed onto the pier and solicited our attention before speaking, “Per Todd’s instructions we are supposed to spread his ashes on the lake tomorrow. But this seems like a much better time.” He wrapped a towel around himself and went into the house. He was gone for a few minutes and returned with a small square box containing Todd’s remains. He dropped his towel revealing his hard pole and siad, “You guys can see just how much I miss Todd.” There was polite laughter. Our naked band stood with Harold on the pier. With the wind gently blowing away from us he opened the plastic bag inside the box and let the contents carry Todd’s remains onto the sparkling surface of the lake. We silently watched and then applauded as the ashes dispersed. Breaking the spell I called, “Todd, I am going to be in you one more time.” I jumped into the water further dispersing Todd’s ashes as everyone laughed. We paddled and floated around for thirty minutes before retreating to our rooms to sleep, shower and dress for our formal dinner.
The dining room table was splendidly set with sparkling crystal, expensive China and eight pieces of silverware around each place. The light from the giant antler chandelier cast artistic shadows across the room. We looked ravishing in various tuxedo styles and Jerry in his Stewart kilt and sporran. Jeremy and Randy outdid themselves. The meal was preceded by chicken liver pate on toast points and a savory Boston lettuce salad with gorgonzola dressing. After a brief interlude to taste our third type of wine we were ready for the Chateaubriand grilled to perfection, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli florets and tomato garish. There were constant compliments directed toward our chefs.
During dinner Jerry described how he and Favio met in the sauna at Todd’s last fishing party twelve years earlier. He said they became partners shortly thereafter and gave up the wild sex for a sedate life in Ft. Lauderdale where Favio sells high end real estate and Jerry is a wealth advisor at JPMorgan Chase. We retreated to the living room in front of a warming fire where brandy was served.
After we were settled Jerry persuaded Harold to tell how he and Todd came to be together. Seeming embarrassed Harold admitted that he and Todd met under the docks on the west side of Manhattan.” Harold said, “I’d just broken off a bad relationship and was cruising at a notoriously dangerous place. I met Todd’s horse-sized penis before I saw his face.
To which I added, “It wasn’t that big!”
Harold continued, “Well maybe I was high on something at the time. My memory may not be that clear.” After clearing his throat he described the fantastic five years they had together. After Harold’s comments and a time of quiet smoking and sipping, we gathered on the porch to marvel at a full moon. There was a magical quality to the night. I held Carlos around his waist and sadly realized that our time together was going to end. At midnight we retired.
Sunday food was coffee, juice and Danish put out in bottles and original packages. It was a startling comparison to the evening prior. Shortly after ten o’clock Harold asked everyone to join him in the living room. “I promised you all a spectacular ending so here is what is about to happen. First, you are invited to take anything in this house that you would like to have as a memento. I strongly recommend taking your favorite leather outfit.
Favio questioned, “What do you mean ‘memento’?“
“Seriously, I mean take anything that you want because promptly at eleven movers will arrive to remove the furniture including light fixtures and the deer antler chandelier, unless one of you men want it.” There was universal shaking of heads. “Finally, at approximately one o’clock you will see firefighting equipment arrive. I have arranged per Todd’s wishes that the house be burned down. The volunteer firemen will use managing the fire as a training exercise.”
Jerry asked, “What about the boat in the boathouse?”
“That isn’t going to be destroyed and has already been sold to the developer.” He went on to describe that he sold Todd’s fourteen acres plus the several other parcels on both sides of Todd’s cabin to a developer who is planning a major resort on the property.
“Why not salvage the beautiful wood and fixtures?”
Harold face was sullen. “Neither Peggy or Nora, Todd’s half sister, care to have anything to do with the cabin. Peggy lives in Santa Barbara and wants out from under the exorbitant New York taxes. Nora lives in New York City and is only interested in the money the property will bring. For Todd’s own reasons he wanted the place that brought so much joy, both good and naughty, to be gone. I am not sure I totally understand his reasons but they are Todd’s own. I am only doing what he asked me to do.”
“Do they get all of Todd and Melody’s money?” I interrupted, then felt a blush. “I am sorry that is none of my business.”
“Well, it is your business. As you know Melody and Todd have no children. Todd’s sisters will get a share of the money but the remainder will go into a trust to create the Captiva Endowment. At Todd’s request I would like to ask Bucky and Barkley to join me as the first board of advisors of the trust. Todd wants to distribute the majority of his money to organizations that have stellar reputations serving the gay community. He is particularly interested in HRC and the work they are doing getting gay and lesbians elected to public office. He is also interested in pushing the idea of gay marriage which is decades away but he wants to be in the vanguard of trying. Finally, he wants to provide college scholarship money for gays and lesbians who have demonstrated innovation and creativity in their early lives. Will you two serve with me?”
We both respond affirmatively. “Next I would like each of you to join Todd and me in enlarging the corpus of the endowment. My estimate of Todd and Melody’s contribution will be $20 million.” There was a hushed moment. “There is no expectation but when you start bigger you can do more good.”
Carlos, who had not said much throughout the weekend, said, “I will contribute $10 million now and more when I die if I can attend the meetings and be part of the discussion.” Harold looked at Barkley and me and we nodded our heads. Harold said, “Well, why don’t we have, at least, one board meeting in person someplace exotic, paid for by the trust every year.” I liked the idea because that wouldn’t cause too much concern with Martha.
After Carlos spoke there was silence until Jerry and Favio after quiet consultation volunteered that they could donate $1,000,000 if they could pay it over a couple of years. My turn came and I said, “I believe in what Todd was trying to do. But I need to work with my financial advisors since so much of what I have is tied up in commercial real estate and in the Chandler business and its subsidiaries. I suspect I can be counted on for a million but not right now.” Barkley gave a somewhat non-committal answer probably to avoid disclosing his financial situation to his slaves for fear of inviting blackmail. He simply told Harold that they should speak in the next several weeks.
The discussion ended with Harold telling everyone to gather their personal belongings, leathers and mementos and load the cars. I stood looking at the massive wooden structure that had provided me with exciting but naughty memories of Todd. As Carlos and I turned he said, “Do you want anything?”
“I will take my leather harness and pants if you will keep them for me. I don’t know how I would explain them to Martha.”
“OK, Harold said get the leathers first because the servers have been promised everything that is left over.” Walking through the living room I spied a picture of Todd, Peggy and I at age twelve that I picked up. Harold told us that all the furniture was purchased by the developer for use in a special lounge to remind visitors of the gracious, rustic old days. A half an hour later six beefy guys arrived in a scratched moving van. Two men carefully dismantled the dining room table followed by the lowering of the chandelier. The others wrapped the furniture for storage. All the rooms except the kitchen were empty before two o’clock. The servers were feverishly packing china, crystal, everyday dishes and cooking utensils per Harold’s instructions. Movers carried the heavy kitchen boxes to the caterer’s van. There was still a considerable supply of wine and liquor that was shuttled to the van.
Promptly at two o’clock three fire engines pulled onto the lawn followed by a Caterpillar earth mover on a lowboy trailer. The volunteer firemen started the pumps by the lake and laid out the hoses. Inside two men were setting small fires with highly flammable substances. Everyone remained to watch except for Mike. He did a cursory wave and drove away before the fire got going.
The fire suddenly erupted with smoke billowing from under the eaves and out of every window. Water from the hoses cooled the grass and trees around the house. Sparks from the fire started several small fires in the freshly fallen leaves which were quickly doused. We stood watching quietly with police and sheriff’s deputies who had arrived with sirens screaming. They stood watching as did curious occupants in a variety of canoes and motor boats floating off shore. The house burned surprising quickly as the Caterpillar gingerly pushed the edges of the remands of the structure toward the towering fireplace. The massive beams would smolder for several days. By five o’clock we were ready to leave the pile of ashes with only the chimney sadly standing alone. One fire vehicle and four men remained as the other law enforcement officers and firefighters pulled out.
The special event, as Harold had promised, had ended. We stood around wondering what to do next. Barkley smiled and quipped, “Harold, what do you have planned for us?”
“That is all I have. You guys are on your own. But since it is too late to drive back to Syracuse or New York I suggest we go to Happy Sunshine Resort for the Sunday evening pasta buffet. This time of year I am sure there are rooms for the night.” We did as he suggested.
Martha would not arrive back from Italy for at least two weeks. Carlos spent several days with me and I changed my reservations as did Carlos so we could stop in New Orleans before flying to San Jose. Our stay in New Orleans was brief but required flying to Miami to catch the plane to Costa Rica. We were like little boys as we joked and poked each other. I wouldn’t let myself think of going home to Pennsylvania. While we were careful at Carlos’ hacienda we did sleep together each night even though we carefully messed up the bed where I was supposed to sleep. If his staff was suspicious it was difficult to tell except for Rosa who had a warm, motherly smile on her face every time she looked at the two of us. Even though we did not discuss the ‘what’s next’, I knew a wonderful ‘what’s next’ was waiting for us.
Author’s Note: This story was found among my grandfather’s effects after his death in 1997. It has not been altered and any grammatical errors are his own. I chose not to include this in the novel Private Property because it did not directly relate to the cabin on Captiva Island, FL that was the main focus of my story. The content of his story is totally owned by me who inherited my grandfather’s papers. The contents cannot be duplicated or shared without my written permission.