Keith Morrisette

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This excerpt is a heavily revised and rewritten version of my first effort at net writing and was done at a time when I didn't even know how to use my Word program (hey, I'm old, okay?). Although I received a lot of encouragement from people who read the original back then, I can't think why. Yeah, I look back and consider it that bad and I shudder whenever I see that old file... and if I'm real lucky, no one else will ever see that mess again.
At the request of the management here at AD, the following is an except from my novel The Boyfriend, © 2003 by Keith Morrisette and published through iUniverse. It is available at online booksellers. Ordering details are available at
We sat there in the dark, when Jamie's hand came under the armrest-again-and I edged away and pushed it off.
"Not now," I hissed.
He folded his arms and slumped back into his seat, muttering. "All I wanna do is hold your hand. Jesus, Chris, there's only three people in the whole theatre, and they're all on the other end. Who's gonna know?"
I'll know, that's who. And I'm pissed off at you, and I ain't in the mood. But that's not what I said. "Later okay? You know how I am about stuff in public."
Jamie grunted and sat back, his head propped up on his hand now, leaning on the other arm rest. He had a point. The theatre really was almost empty. That was a commentary on the movie, too-another Bruce Willis flick. Jamie's turn to pick, and he liked the guy for some reason. I sighed, checked my watch. I figured another fifteen or twenty minutes left. I stole a look at my boyfriend. Great, now you've got him pissed off, too. This just gets better and better.
The movie staggered to its obvious end, even though they billed it as a chiller, another Sixth Sense. Uh-huh. Yawn.
The lights came up slowly, and I pulled on my new leather coat and we moved into the tiny lobby. The Salem Tri Cinema was never a fancy place, even when it was new. Mostly it got movies wrapping up their run from the big Showcase Cinema in Lawrence, or disasters no one wanted to see. Well, this flick lasted a week at the Showcase, so I guess that said a lot for it.
We looked out the windows, at the almost-empty parking lot. The mild drizzle had gotten worse, and the temperature must have dropped like a rock. It was sleeting now, badly.
I sighed. November. Cold, wet, and miserable November. Everything was just dead, not even snow to pretty it up. And now, just to make it worse, a sleet storm.
"I'll get the car," Jamie said, eyeing my new leather jacket. Then we argued about that, too, but I gave up and always the hero, he charged into the cold and wet. I decided I needed the men's room.
Jamie didn't know it, but he and I were headed for some big problems, if I could ever get up the balls to start talking.
Huh. There's a thought. Like I ever had a hard time talking
I always thought of myself as the romantic.
See, with both parents working, my sister and I got farmed out to my gran's after school and in the summer. Granny Irene was pretty cool, but she was addicted to old movies-and with all the cable stations, we got to see a lot of old Hollywood potboilers when the weather sucked, and I decided love was pretty cool. I liked the idea of life on a twenty-five inch screen, watching MGM's film library; maybe there was a lot of crap leading up to it, but everything ended with sunshine, sweetness, and lollipops forever. I wanted to grow up faster so I could be in love.
Then I'd go out and meet up with Toby Weston and a bunch of the guys and I'd put that stuff into the back of my mind. Toby said stuff like that was faggy, so we'd have mud-ball fights or something in the woods. At least, we did until they built houses there. So life was easy-until I hit thirteen.
That's when one morning the hormones took over and I woke up with sticky sheets, and things began to take on a little edge. It was helped along when I found my Dad's magazine collection in the garage (in the loft, behind the pile of old cedar shingles at the bottom of the tool box with the broken lock). Dad didn't waste his time on Playboy or even Hustler; he went right for the gold when he bought porn. Lots of action shots in there. I showed all my friends, and they thought it was great. But the funny thing was, they kept talking about all the chicks. I kept looking at all those guys, and actually kinda found myself envying the chicks.
Hmm. They had a name for guys like that at my school. Lots of names, in fact; so I figured it was good idea not to mention that I paid more attention to the dicks than the tits. And now that I started to understand what it meant, I got a little nervous when Toby Weston called me a cocksucker. Of course, he'd been calling me and everyone else a cocksucker since he was five, so after thinking it over I decided not to take it too personal.
Besides, Toby had his uses. He explained you didn't have to wait to crust up the sheets, and taught me how to do a `pre-emptive strike', as they say in the military. I liked those. I took to launching pre-emptive strikes about four times a day until I found out too much of a good thing could make the payload scarce and the canon pretty sore, so I learned about limits too.
I also learned about keeping my mouth shut about what I was thinking when I pre-empted things. Toby Weston wasn't too bright and he may not have been right about most stuff, but it looked like he was right about me. Especially since the more I heard convinced me I had most of the `signs'.
Take sports.
I was never any good at them, and it bored the hell out of me to watch. I mean, I can play baseball and basketball thanks to gym class, I just never gave a damn about them. And forget football. I'm the scrawny type, and now that the last of my growth spurts are long past I still don't measure up much beyond five feet six inches (with my shoes on and standing at attention), and weigh in at about one-twenty-five. I never could understand why some guys thought having some slob twice your size tackling you was supposed to be cool.
Well, yeah, actually I could see that, but just not with all that equipment or clothing. And certainly not with anyone else watching.
Then there were the girls themselves.
Not only wasn't I interested in their bodacious tatas (yeah, Toby again), but every last one of 'em treated me like I was just another friend. Melanie Malloy always told me I was the `safe' type-she didn't have to worry about me grabbing something I shouldn't be grabbing when we went out on dates. We started dating when I thought (briefly) I could re-program myself for mainstream if I worked at it; but the one time I made a play for something, she just looked at me in shock and said, "Since when?"
There's one for the ego.
I mean, maybe I wasn't that interested-but there's still that part of me deep down that likes to think I'm a little bit dangerous.
Well, that's what was starting anyway, and the short version was that I gave up trying to re-track myself and let my fantasies spin off the way I wanted them to. I was what I was, there was no way to get around it. But I wasn't suicidal, so I was gonna be damn careful about anyone finding out before I was ready to announce. I figured the day after I finished college and moved to California or something would be the best time to talk about it.
Well, it may be safer that way, but it doesn't make it suck any less.
Day in, day out, I watched the kids I grew up with pairing off, hanging on each other, being couples… And all I could do was sit, try not to get caught checking out the boys, and pretty much be by myself, because if anyone got too close, I'd be dead meat. Haverhill, Mass., ain't a politically correct town. Around here, you were a homo if they felt like being polite, and a lot of other words if they weren't. Life can suck.
And I still wanted the romance. I really did want to do the dumb stuff like hold hands and cuddle.
Yeah, I wanted all the hot stuff I heard about, but I wanted the "sweet" stuff, too, but everything I heard and saw seemed against it.
Television, magazines and what you heard all said guys like me only wanted one thing. A lot of church leaders did too. And when I got my first computer, the evidence seemed all over the net. All those pictures on web sites told me all I really needed was sex. I found gay chat-rooms for kids, and all they talked about was sex. And I became a champion one-hand typist thanks to chat room cyber. But the chats told me about other sites, and that helped.
You see, I found a treasure trove. I found the Neato Archive.
Tens of thousands of stories. Gay stories. Stories about sex, romance and sex, adventure and sex, boy-bands and sex, history and sex, and science fiction stories. With sex.
Some of them were even good.
And did I mention they had sex in them?
The Neato became my net home as I prowled through the index, reading about how guy after guy met the true love of his life by age fifteen, fell hopelessly in love, faced the school goon squad together fearlessly, and had wonderful adventures. They lived happily ever after, usually with one moving in with the other kid's understanding family so the boys could be together.
I liked the idea of happily ever after, with that One Special Guy. My parents buying into me having a live-in lover seemed like a different story.
Ah, well. So at age fourteen after I found the Archive, I figured all I had to do was wait a year, maybe two, and then the boy of my dreams would find me. Afternoons of sweet hand-holding and telling each other how much we loved the other-and nights of lust where we outdid porn stars. I knew some of it had to be exaggerated a little, because unless there was something wrong with me there was just no way you could do it six times in a row and not take a rest.
So I waited. And, yeah, I bumped into a few guys at school in the hallway who were new just like in about ninety-percent of those stories, but if any of them had any interest in me they had a damn good way of hiding it.
Okay. Mrs. St. Jacques' only son Chris may be a bit slow sometimes, but eventually he figured out that life wasn't exactly like the stories on the net. So, my nights were passed cuddled up with my hand and my days were filled with stray random fantasies as I made my way through high school, living a full, rich fantasy life if not much of a real one. My time would come, I told myself. Give it a chance.
Then it was the summer before my senior year at Haverhill High, and I figured I'd given it enough time. If I couldn't have romance and lust, well I knew you could do something about the lust part. Before school started that fall, I was going to get laid.
And if I couldn't do it with a lover... well, at this point, anything would do. I had all the basic necessities to make it work.
I kept my ears open and heard things. And I continued to study at the Neato Archive, but now more in the Encounters section.
Bar pick-ups were out. There was only one in my area, and God knows I didn't have the balls to go there even if I could get in, which was doubtful. I might have an adult sex drive but my ID still said I was seventeen and my face and size said less. Bars don't let you in unless you're twenty-one and can buy a drink, preferably lots of drinks.
Other things were out too. I didn't buy the bit about all those long, lonely camping trips where you find someone in the woods and you do it on the banks of a mountain stream, especially since my idea of roughing it was basic cable at the motel. The city parks were way too well patrolled thanks to the drug dealers and the punks, so they were out. And again, it was all a bit too close to home.
But I could drive. And those Neato stories were big on public places as cruise areas. There were plenty of beaches nearby, there was the Rockingham Park Mall (uh, and the only mall for thirty miles), and there were rest areas. And besides, I'd heard first hand stories going around school that these places were real. There must have been at least twenty guys claiming they'd been approached at one time or another (and all of them swearing they'd punched the guys lights out after he made the offer). I knew there was a lot of imagination working there, but I also figured there had to be something in it.
So I came up with a plan which was very simple, very basic, and completely in character with everything I'd read, heard and watched.
I had a driver's license, a rusting Toyota, and trusting parents who went away a lot. Add in an older sister who'd finally married and moved off. I even had a job to finance my cruising-I got a spot at Barrier Books up at The Loop in Methuen. Now, I know working at a book store doesn't sound all that cool, but Barrier's also has a great music section (can you say discount on CDs?), a small but trendy clothing section (ok, accessories and caps), and a reputation for a great gay magazine and literary section.
That meant plenty of gay guys, right? And some of them had to be young. Maybe not as young as me, but close enough. Besides, I'd be eighteen in the fall anyway. Why couldn't I hook up with some cool college stud who dropped by for the latest issue of XY or Genre? It was an option, and like I said, I'd already decided this summer I was going to explore all my options. Barrier's was one step in my master plan of Getting Laid.
With a mix of days and evenings, I could maximize my opportunities. I figured if I had a day shift, I could use the time in the evening to hit the big mall up in Salem and do a little looking around there. An evening shift gave me time to hit the beaches in Salisbury or Hampton, and I had a modest selection of Speedos to attract attention as I strutted my stuff. I may be short and slender-wow, that does sound better than skinny-but I'm toned. And I may suck at most sports but I do like to run, and that's always kept me tight and given me a reasonably good ass and great legs to show off in a Speedo. And as for the front-well, I won't have a career in porn, but there's enough to show off. Besides, I love the beach. Short and skinny yeah, but at least I'm one of those guys that actually bronzes nice with only a mild sunscreen, and my normally dull, light brown hair gets great natural golden highlights running through it.
So each day I combed the beach, hanging out at the pavilion at the state reservation-notorious in popular myth for what I was after-and checking out the Rock Barrier Reef that protected the mouth of the Merrimack River. I spent hours sunning myself in those tight little suits and trying to look sexy.
Lots of chicks around and looking, but not much else. The attention was nice but the gender was wrong, and I wondered where all the gay men were that supposedly came here looking for young guys. If they were here, they didn't seem to notice me much. The closest I ever got to a pick-up was an invite for volleyball. Aside from that, about the only male attention I got was from Officer Paul Cayman, who'd seen me three days a week for the month of July. He never seemed to pay any attention to me, so I figured it was safe to ignore him.
Uh-huh. Never a good idea to ignore a cop, especially when you're on the prowl. And when he sort of wandered over to me one afternoon, I wasn't paying much attention as I searched the passing faces to see if anyone was interested.
"Go easy, kid."
That pulled my attention away from a passing well-rounded one and I noted the black shoes and socks, followed up a pair of muscular legs to the navy shorts and then the built rest of him until I looked into the non-committal glare of his sunglasses.
He stared down, thumbs hooked around his belt buckle, his mouth twitching like Clint Eastwood. "Just a word of warning here, kid-go easy. If you're selling, move on. If you're giving it away, that's cool, just don't get caught in the wrong place-like a public one. Because if you get caught, I promise you the lock-up and a call to your parents."
I know I turned red, and I started to protest, but he just turned and walked off. Yeah, and call me stupid too, but there I was with the crap just scared out of me and I still took the time to check out his backside. Which was worth the time.
I took his word to heart though, and decided to spend some extra time up in Hampton, not just that afternoon but a few other afternoons as well. There were a lot of guys up that way too. But every now and again I'd still go to Salisbury-hoping-and avoiding Officer Cayman. I was a little more cautious of showing up in the same places too regular after that.
Just over the New Hampshire border at the Rockingham Park Mall in Salem became one of my favorite stops, too. How many stories had I read about pickups at malls? You dressed cool, shopped, hung out on the benches or played in the arcade and sooner or later some hot stud moves on you and the two of you head off to his place. That's one of the rules, right? Someone always notices you.
Yeah, well, I was finding out there were a lot more myths than there were rules about cruising and stuff.
A couple of times I did sense some eye contact and flirting from a distance, but damned if I didn't start running into almost everyone I knew when that happened. Timing was everything, and mine sucked.
Well, my three-pronged assault on losing my virginity seemed to fizzle. I saw a lot of copies of gay magazines and books pass over the counter at Barrier's, but mostly the guys were either too old or just plain not interested. Most of them were too embarrassed to do anything but stare at the counter while I rang up the sale and acted like I didn't exist. Or maybe they hoped I didn't exist so no one would know what they'd just bought.
The only bright spots at Barrier turned out to be Karen, an assistant manager who was just plain cool, and Dave Sciuoto. Now, I've known Dave since grade school when we both did time with the nuns at All Heavenly Souls School, just not well. He was a good-looking guy with black hair and eyes almost as dark. Dave was short but still taller than me, and a slender build without dropping into my range of skinny, but it all seemed to go together a lot different with him. David had one of those bodies that clothes hung on just right, whether they came from Macy's or Wal-Mart. His features were fine and even, his eyes twinkled, and you always knew when he was in a good mood, which was most of the time. Not that he was the annoying `sees some good in everything' type, but he was really a sweet guy. I was surprised when he turned up at Haverhill High; his family had money. Not heaping piles of corporate cash, but his father was a lawyer and they lived in a way better part of town than I did. I'd just assumed he'd be one of the kids that split to one of the private schools in the area-Austin, Lawrence Catholic, or maybe even Brooks.
Anyway, Dave was a sweetheart with a stunner smile exposing teeth that never needed an orthodontist and an even better laugh. He was Italian (like Sciuoto could be anything else, right?) with that slightly olive skin. Years of high school gym classes and showers told me he was almost hairless, way different from the other Italian kids in the school who were already turning into hair rugs by the time we were freshmen. Oh and hey, I know what you're thinking here, and yeah, I do look around in the locker room. And I've caught more than one other straight(?) kid checking to see how he compares. The difference between them and me is they don't have to give the cold water an extra twist in the shower.
Dave also had something else that was terrific. Dave had the best ass I'd ever seen.
I mean, it was the perfect picture of young male butthood. It rode high, curved where it should, and whenever I saw it I thought-well, never mind what I thought. His ass could have been carved in marble by Michelangelo. And it was my appreciation of that perfection of natural growth that betrayed me to Karen.
In retrospect, how the hell could she miss me checking? I stared at it whenever he walked by forgetting about whatever I was supposed to be doing, so I guess it was just a matter of time before she said something. One afternoon I was supposed to be going over some order lists at the main counter while Dave worked on a display, bent over and just fifteen feet away. I must have had that dazed stare I sometimes get when I'm outside of reality. And reality had very little to do with the fantasy I was having.
Sure enough, Karen not only saw me but she busted me for it, just like she never missed a chance to bust something else on me. I was worried for awhile because she loves to tease but I knew she'd keep her mouth shut.
She slammed a handful of magazines down and I jumped. "For God's sake, why don't you just ask him out?"
That required a witty answer on my part, of course.
Karen let out a sound of exasperation and leaned close to me, careful to keep her voice low. "I said, `ask him out'. What have you got to lose?"
My mouth got small and my eyes grew wide. "You mean Dave's-"
She laughed. "I have no idea, but what the hell? He's cute. He's nice. And like I said, what have you got to lose?"
I slumped down and looked up at her. "How long have you been out of high school, Karen?"
She didn't answer of course, just narrowed her eyes and gave me That Look some women use when their age comes up, but I wasn't letting it go. "Okay, try and think way, way back to your one-room school house days. What happened to the gay kid when you went to school?"
She did that Dana Scully thing with her lips then let out a breath, shaking her head sadly. "He got the shit kicked out of him."
I nodded. "I go to school with Dave, Karen. He might be like me, but if he isn't, when I go back this September and he drops the `g' word, I spend nine months in hell."
Like that would stop a woman who envies a lawyer the ability to argue anything. "Massachusetts has laws, Chris. Schools are declared safe havens for gay youth."
I snorted and looked her over coolly. "Did they have laws against criminal assault when you were my age?"
"......" sort of approximates the look on her face and the sounds in her mouth, so I kept going. "Make no mistake about it, Karen. Some things don't change just because the governor signs a bill-and a teacher or guidance counselor can still use the term `gay youth' in front of an assembly and make it sound like `fuckin' faggot'."
She sighed, scowling. "I guess some things never change. High School still sucks, I guess."
I leaned forward on the counter and nodded my agreement. She rubbed the back of my neck, and her voice had that low, soothing sound some women do. "Your time will come, Chris. You're cute and cool, sweet and nice. One day, if you play your cards right, it will come."
I leaned my jaw down into my hand, propped up on the counter. "Oh, I play my cards often enough, and it comes all right. It's just my right hand is getting worn out playin' solitaire."
She laughed, and swatted me. "There's a new shipment loaded with stuff for the Gay Studies and Literature section, and I saw this really hot looking pair of college boys browsing over there a few minutes ago. Why don't you go over and do some stock?"
My eyebrows shot up.
"Just remember though, take `em into the back room for the orgy, okay? That's new carpeting over there and I don't want stains all over everything."
I was very mature, and stuck my tongue out at her.
She grabbed my arm before I left and leaned in again. "And Chris? You're right. Dave's is great," she said, and took my place leaning on the counter pretending to go over the order sheets while Dave was still bent over his display. I sniggered as I went off and busied myself unpacking a box of stuff while the two college guys looked everything over with interest except me, but all they did was giggle and leave.
And that's where things stood all that summer-me looking and wishing, hanging out and peeking. And the best I could do was day-dream about David Sciuoto.
Plus my level of frustration wasn't getting any help from my hormones. Summer heightens the need for sex. Hot air outside stirs up heat inside.
Then one Friday I just couldn't take it any more.
I woke up with a pounder, took care of it, but before I finished my shower it was tapping against the glass slider. I got to work and it was a steamer, and I swore every guy that came into or walked by the store had on less clothing than the one before. And you looked at these guys and you just knew there was some guy-model show in town. I toted a half-rock in my Dockers all day at work, and every move I made just seemed to make it worse. Then about an hour before my shift ended I decided I was going to do more than just hang at the mall or wander aimlessly at Hampton that night. I mean, I really couldn't take it any more, I had to do something, and it was a perfect opportunity.
My parents were gone for the weekend and I was on my own, so I had a perfect situation going for me if I could just find someone else to share it with. I knew this time my hand and the few improvised `toys' I'd acquired weren't going to cut it. I at least had to try something different, or I was gonna go out of my mind. Thank God Dave was off that day or I probably would've jumped him in the stock room the first time he bent over.
I raced home in my beat up Tercel and threw my clothes off as I made my way up the stairs, headed for the shower which I immediately cranked up to cold hoping to take the edge off things. It worked for a while, but after slipping on a pair of shorts and a tee and some flip flops, I could feel it stirring by the time I got down to the kitchen. I managed half a bologna sandwich when I just said, "Screw it!" and hoped I'd remembered to lock the door and my parents hadn't suddenly made a U-turn on the highway.
My guy business didn't take long.
Early evening on Route 3 North. And here I was, taking my last desperate chance.
The dumbest chance, too, because it’s the one that put me at risk—and not just the risk of being outed. I’d avoided this because of the physical danger involved. Why? Because if something went wrong... well, I already told you, there isn’t that much of me.
The August sun finally slid down, and it was gradually beginning to darken and I was sitting in a rest area. It was one of the old style ones, just a sharp ramp off the highway with plenty of woods around it. Picnic tables and a big map, but no ‘facilities’ as they call them except for a quick step-off to the side and behind some trees.
It was a Friday evening, and the highway itself was packed with vacation travelers headed for the mountains of New Hampshire and shoppers for the ‘bargains’ in the no-sales-tax state, where prices were 5-10% higher than what these same people would have paid in Massachusetts.
I sat in the car and looked around me, the woods blocking the sight and a lot of the sounds of the highway. It was just that hour they call twilight, when the shadows begin and things start becoming a little less distinct.
I took it all in. There were half a dozen cars in here already, including my own.
One guy who was maybe forty walked slowly up and down the cracked asphalt sidewalk, thumbs hooked on his pockets, casually checking each car over and presumably the occupant as well. According to the website that led me here, this rest area was one of the crusiest spots in northern Middlesex County. I don’t know how they polled it, but they guaranteed that ninety percent of those stopping would be gay men looking for—companionship.
Companionship sounded good to me.
And I was tired of being in the minority every place I went, so it was nice having someone else be the ten-percenter for a change. Anyway, the old dude was checking things out and taking his time. Eventually it was my turn to be checked—I’d taken the first spot I saw when I came in, which made me the last in line. That way I figured I could keep a better eye on things.
It was my turn, all right. He paused, looked straight at me, and smiled.
I froze in my seat with my head aimed straight ahead, shaking more than a bit and desperate not to show it. Shit, what if he started to hit on me? What was I going to say? Yeah, yeah, I thought I might be approached by some older guys; but somehow when I thought of ‘older’ I pictured some guy in his twenties, not someone almost my Dad’s age. I mean, he wasn’t bad to look at really, no gut or anything, and he was dressed nice and all, but damn I didn’t want my first time to be with someone who could have been a friends’ father. Bisexuality exists, right? The potential was there. If I had to meet a bi-guy, I’d rather he was out of the Daddy Danger Zone.
I heard a quiet laugh and saw him move back up the row. He approached one of the other cars, and leaned forward to talk to someone. Just the way he stood and talked told me they knew one another.
First the walker looked back at me, and then a head stuck out the window and this other not-so-older guy looked my way, and I could see them both pointing, hear them both laughing.
Great. Now even the other queers thought I was a joke.
I sat there, fuming. Just what was so damned funny? Were they so old they couldn’t remember what it was like the first time? Weren’t they ever seventeen and so horny they didn’t know what else to do? Or maybe they did remember, and it was the memory of their own nervousness that triggered their laughter. I smiled then, and shook my head.
I checked the face and hair in the mirror. First strike was the nose—long and pointed. Not deformed but—well, if I had to get something from my father, I’d rather have his nose than his hairline. Great tan, I thought, and those highlights in my normally dishwater hair were sweet. I’d worn a white A&F polo (not too baggy, and not too long I hoped; I had enough problems trying to look over fifteen) and I had spent some time picking out a pair of shorts that were just right. Not the long, baggy, shapeless cargo shorts everybody wore; these were a pair of red running shorts, cut a bit high and snug in just the right places.
I’d skipped underwear, but these had a nice jock in the crotch to keep the goods from flopping around too much, and still loose enough to allow for easy access if The Moment ever came. Cotton, too. That silky, synthetic stuff manufacturers use looks good and feels nice, and lets things hang right in all the best places just the right way, but God damn they hold in the heat and sweat. I didn’t want someone to catch a whiff and gag on me. Well, yeah, gagging was okay maybe, but I didn’t want them doing it because of the smell. Sandals sounded like a cool idea and looked good, until I thought about the woods and stumbling around in the dark. I dug out a pair of plain white Nikes.
I rehearsed my "casual" act in front of the full-length mirror at home, leaning and standing different ways, trying out different expressions that would make me look cool and sexy: everything from Aguilar Sultry Sex Pot to Brendan Behr naiveté.
Yeah, well, better to look ridiculous at home with no one looking. If nothing else, I knew what not to do.
I’d tried out a sock in the crotch thinking that might help, but that just made me look ridiculous and deformed. In the end I decided it was pointless trying these things out, so I just settled for what I thought would make me look kind of hot—just how I was now—and aside from a pair of small, silver hoop earrings (I won’t get into the parental bitching when I came home with those on the first time), left everything the way it was. I figured if I could walk and talk and not trip over my tongue, I would do just fine.
Except, I wasn’t doing just fine.
The only thing in sight were those two old farts, and they were laughing at me. Well, the hell with ’em. They were as close to me now as they were ever going to get.
The twilight turned to night, and the cars came and went at a steady stream but the place filled up. I heard doors slam and I could see shadows slipping into the woods. A few times I heard someone let out a deep moan not more than a few feet from me. I could see guys walking, leaning against the hoods of cars, sitting on picnic tables. Sometimes they paired up and talked and moved into the woods. Sometimes they got into each of their cars and drove off. A few just got into the car of one or the other and then you’d see a head disappear. Others drifted into the woods, while some came out hurriedly and drove off. Me, I sat in my cramped Tercel trying to get up the nerve to open the door and step into the night. I’d been thinking of doing that for over an hour now.
The two old farts met a third and they took over a picnic bench, pointing at my car and laughing again. I’m sure if they could have seen it they’d have shuddered at the look I gave them. Then something in me clicked and I jerked up the door handle.
Suddenly I was standing beside my car, kicking the door shut. One of my tormentors whistled, and the other two applauded. I responded in a single-digit salute that only made them laugh more, and I shuffled over to the front of my car and plopped myself down on the hood.
There must have been twenty-five cars in here now, all single occupancy, parked on either side and pulled up onto the grass when the strip narrowed down. I glanced at the woods, but decided I wasn’t that nuts—yet. Like I said, ninety percent of the guys in here were supposed to be gay. I didn’t much want to wind up running into one of the minority who thought it might be fun to beat up a small gay guy. Yes, I have heard of Matthew Shepherd, thank you. And while what I was doing wasn’t all that smart or all that safe, there were limits to just how dumb I was going to be. I wasn’t about to wander from my car. And no matter how horny I was (and believe me, I was) I was not running into those woods, or jump at the first guy who made a move. I had standards.
We’d talk first, get to know each other a little. Being friends first is important, right?
Oh, sure, I was looking for friendship. And out of the darkness my first friend showed.
A silhouette stepped out of the darkness; then some of the moonlight hit him, and I started to see some details. Strange build—muscular arms and chest, real narrow at the waist, but skinny legs. Tats and no shirt. Very small, snug cut offs that didn’t leave much to the imagination, and—work boots? His hair wasn’t much more than stubble on his head, but not because he was trying to hide a lack of growth.
Weird, but kind of cute. Not bad, I thought. Bigger than me, but who isn’t?
As he got closer I assumed once he got a better look, he’d just turn around and walk back, but he didn’t. I heard a little chuckle. He had a cocky walk and a deep voice to match it. "Hey, stud."
"Huh?" God, I’m quick with the conversation.
He stood in front of me, and I felt like a piece of meat in a window while his eyes raked over me before he spoke, but in a grating voice with a touch of contempt I didn’t much like.
"Jesus, baby face, you just out of grade school or somethin’?"
I stood on my principles and forgot to lie. "I’m not a baby. I’m seventeen!"
Just enough moonlight to see his lips twist into a sneer and followed by a second chuckle. "Uh, huh. Almost legal," he said, and a calloused hand brushed over my cheek. I jerked back, and I saw his lips twist. "Sweet little new boy, huh? Well, I like ’em young. Young, hung, and full of-"
His hand shot out and grabbed the full package. Right then if I were thinking, I could have pushed him off, rolled either way and gotten away clean.
But, um, well I wasn’t thinking. Instead of lunging and rolling to the side, I scampered back onto the hood of the car, my feet dangling. It was just what he wanted, and he leaned into me with his long arms, pushed me back hard and pinned me down, my feet off the ground, trapped. He’d managed to get in between my legs so I couldn’t even kick—or try to slide forward and get away.
I panicked, but all I could do was squirm. Maybe I should have yelled, I don’t know. He was all over me and his big hands had my wrists pinned to the hood, and he leaned down until we were almost face-to-face. He liked that I was scared, I know that now. He licked his lips, chuckling, his dark eyes burning down into mine. I could smell beer, sweat—and something else, something ugly. No, his face wasn’t ugly, not at all. But everything else about him was.
"C’mon baby," he cooed, mocking, when he felt me shaking. "Let’s go into them woods, okay? I can show you the best time you’ll ever have," he said, grinding himself into my crotch.
And me? I tried to struggle, but fighting was out—that already registered. I still didn’t know if I should scream like a wuss for help, or let myself get used for a plaything. I couldn’t think it through that far yet.
"Whassa matter, baby?" he said with a sneer, his face inches or less from mine. "Poor little chicky-boi afraid of the big, hung stud?"
He cut me off, leaning closer. I never saw such malice in anyone’s face. "Yeah, you’ll be saying please," he said, and took a swipe of my nose with his tongue: "Please sir, go deeper," nipping my chin. "Please sir, go harder," biting my lower lip. "Maybe I should take you home for a party, huh? I can call a few friends—and then it’ll be ‘Please sir, pass me to your friends’. So, how much real action are you up for, kid? Come on, chicken boy. Give your new Daddy a kiss."
I was scared, more scared than I’d ever been of anything else.
His face was suddenly out of mine, and my hands were free. He was gone.
Then I saw him. Airborne for a second, then slamming face first into a forty-gallon steel trash barrel.
I didn’t know how; I didn’t know why. I didn’t care either.
I rolled off the hood, stood shaking for all of two seconds and came to one of the few good decisions I’d made that night. I dove into my car and did what I could to make a Tercel leave rubber. Aside from a quick check to see if I’d wet myself, the only thing I did was drive the thirty odd miles back to Haverhill with my foot to the floor, screeching around the curve where Route 3 met the Interstate. Every muscle in my body was tense, and my right leg was rigid pushing to the floor boards. I had to remember when I took my exit to ease up, this was in-town driving and I could kill someone if I drove too fast. That’s when I realized how sore I felt, and I started to loosen up… and the shaking started, and didn’t ease up even as I drove too fast through town, ignoring the usual rule of fifteen over the twenty-mile speed limit. It’s a good thing it was late.
I screeched to a halt in the drive-way and hit the ground before the engine died and ran inside, fumbling the lock and looking over my shoulder.
Common sense told me the freak was still back on Route. 3, wondering what the hell hit him—kind of like I was starting to. But so far that night common sense hadn’t exactly been my companion, so why change then? Besides, another part of me wanted the safety of my house, of my bedroom, of my bed with the covers pulled up over my head.
I slammed and locked the front door behind me in one move, and leaned against it, panting. Then I staggered into the kitchen, shaking, and opened the fridge and grabbed a beer. I never did much care for the stuff—still don’t—but I wanted something that might give me a buzz and I didn’t have a clue about mixed drinks. Beer you just opened and swilled. I’d learned that from my friends behind the stadium when I was fourteen. Swilling got you buzzed fast and that was good.
I guzzled down one, eyed the dwindling supply and took another. Let my parents bitch.
I checked the clock on the wall and it wasn’t much past ten-thirty. A few hours ago I’d looked at that same clock and swore the next time I saw it I wasn’t going to be a virgin any more. Well that didn’t work. But right now I was thankful about not bleeding, so I sat and drank. I’d almost stopped shaking when I heard a gentle knock at the door behind me.
I froze.
Jesus, how the hell did he find me?