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RichEisbrouch

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About RichEisbrouch

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  • Age in Years
    69
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    Male
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    Gay
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    Los Angeles, California
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    writing, research, staying in touch with friends, work and volunteer work, walking our dogs...

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  1. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 26

    I suspect there are far more serious things to get anxious about than worrying about having sex with someone other than the person you've been steadily seeing. But it's fun to watch Brian sweat.
  2. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 26

    “I’m kind of torn about this,” Brian said. We were driving to the car shop near Guildford Center – to get a final bid on the paint job. But he wasn’t talking about his car. “In one way, seeing Laura should be fun – something we’ll enjoy then easily be able to forget. In another, I don’t like lying to Julie.” “I understand.” “It’s not like me – at least, I don’t think it is. And it makes me feel lousy.” “Have you done it before?” “What?” “Lie.” “No.” “You made it sound...” “No – not about something like this. I’ve lied a little... very little. When I wanted to do something like go back to my room and watch a game – or even play one.” “You don’t have to be on top of each other all the time.” “You understand that. But I should be able to tell Julie.” “What would she think?” He quickly smiled. “She likes having me around... And I like being around... But sometimes...” “It’s not like you were seeing someone else – that you’ve mentioned.” “Absolutely – at least, not after the beginning. And I really don’t want to. If I could just hold Laura to dancing – and talking – I think that would be fair. For the summer.” “And flirting?” He grinned. “Well, that’s part of talking and dancing.” We laughed as he pulled into the parking lot. As with the first time, I followed him into the shop and listened while he talked. “I don’t mean to be cheating you on this,” he told the guy behind the counter. “But I’m only a student...” The guy grinned. “A student with his dad’s credit card.” Brian had shown it to him. “Mom’s actually – it’s her account. You’ll have to call her to verify...” “Don’t think I won’t.” They both laughed. “But it’s a deal, otherwise?” Brian went on. “Just sign the paperwork, and I’ll make the call.” Brian glanced at the time. “I told you it’s overseas. Now wouldn’t be good.” “When?” “To make it easiest – on you – tomorrow – between 8 and 10 in the morning. We’re seven hours earlier.” The guy wrote that down. “And if you can’t get through to Mom, call my dad. He’s on the same account.” The guy looked at his notes. “That’s your mom’s number?” “And that’s my dad’s.” Brian pointed. “And that’s mine.” “I’ll call one of them tomorrow and get back to you.” “Great. Then I can drop off the car.” “Will you need a ride back?” “Nah, it’s just a couple of miles. I’ll bring my sidekick,” – he thumbed toward me – “and we’ll hike. But thanks.” The guy laughed. “You’re a lot less lazy than some of the kids at that camp.” “They’re pretty athletic,” Brian defended. “Then not as soft.” “Thanks,” Brian repeated. We both knew we’d been gently insulted, but Nate had warned us. Besides, from what Brian had told me, the guy’s work checked out, and he was offering a good price. That was most important. Driving back to camp, we went back to talking about Laura. “The thing is that in almost every way, she’s terrific,” Brian said. “But I still can’t shake the feeling she wants me out of my clothes.” “It’s not just something you’re hoping for?” “I’m not that stupid.” “Then why? Especially if you’ve agreed...” “Kind of... “Not to do that.” “I know.” I waited, but he didn’t go on. “So?” I had to ask. “He shook his head. “I haven’t figured that out – I mean, there are plenty of other guys around – guys who are probably more interested.” “Maybe you’re a challenge.” “The more I resist, the more she’ll try?” “Or maybe she’s bored. Or surprised.” “Any normal guy would jump?” “You are normal.” “Thanks.” Then he considered. “I’d love to just talk with her about it,” he went on. “But whenever I try, she turns it into a joke.” “Like Nate.” “In a way – yeah. Joke about what you can’t get – so you’re not disappointed.” “Maybe she’ll give up?” “That would be great. Then we could just dance – she’s good at that.” “I’ve noticed.” “And I’ve seen you dancing with her.” “Why not?” “You just can’t let her body get against yours – at least, I can’t. I’ve got more control of myself when we’re just talking.” “Nothing’s gonna happen,” I assured him. “We’re all right there. “Then keep a hose ready.” “That bad?” He laughed. “Enough so I’ve imagined it.” I laughed “I shouldn’t’ve told you,” he admitted. This time, I simply smiled. “I’m glad she’s not interested in me,” I said. He disagreed. “You’d know what to do.” “I might. But I wouldn’t bet I’d do it. I’m a lot weaker than you.” He didn’t need to know I’d slipped within hours on the train. “But you love Katie...” “Maybe not as much as you love Julie. And I can’t see the future.” “Rob, the fortune teller.” He grinned. “What do you see for me?” “I just think you should talk with Laura – try to. Though it’d be good to know what Julie thinks, too.” “She dump me the second she found out.” “Then there’s you answer.” “I know... But...” And we pulled into camp. “What if Julie dated some guy this summer?” I asked carefully. “More than dated.” “She wouldn’t,” he insisted. “She almost couldn’t. She’s in a tiny town in northern Michigan. Living with her family and working in their coffee shop ten hours a day.” “And no guys drink coffee?” “She knows every one in town – she was raised with them. That’s why her parents sent her to prep school. They want her in a better university.” “Nothing wrong with the U of M.” “That’s where her parents met. They want her a step up.” I laughed. “It’d be really awful if you were both at the same school next year and had broken up.” “It’s a huge university. Though – for a while, at least – we’d be in the same dorm.” “At least, not the same suite.” “It doesn’t matter. We’re not breaking up over Laura.” “You’re sure?” “Yes.” “Then stop flirting with her.” He shook his head. “That’s probably a good idea.” And he tried that night. He kept dancing with other girls and let other guys dance with Laura. But finally, I watched her pull him aside, and they went outside to talk. I could see them through a window, sitting on a bench. “What did she say?” I asked, back in the bunk. “She’s really great,” he admitted. “I like her more in every way.” “That’s not good.” “I know.” Then he seemed to consider. “She didn’t flatter me or anything,” he went on. “She just said that if there was one guy in camp she’d like to stay friends with after the summer, it would be me.” “That’s not flattery?” I joked. “Not the way she said it. It was honest.” “I’m not sure.” “I’m not being manipulated – I know how that feels. And this isn’t it.” “Would she say the same things in front of Julie?” He just looked at me. “You’re really riding me on this.” “I don’t want you kidding yourself.” “There is that.” Then he was quiet. And he settled into bed before he spoke again. “I told you. I’m really torn.”
  3. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 25

    “Got another Nate story for you,” Andy told me one afternoon. “When did this happen?” “Last night, after you left.” “Still hot news,” I joked. “Yeah – if anything about Nate is hot.” “You must think so.” “Nah – it’s what I said on the train – he’s interesting. Other guys’re hot.” He just looked at me and didn’t offer a compliment. But I knew he was playing. “Tell me your story,” I said. “You make it sound like punishment.” “Oh, please, Andy. Tell me your funny story.” And we both laughed. “He is hot, in a way,” he admitted. “He caught my attention with just a nod toward the woods as we were all dancing. A couple minutes later, he left as if to go to the bathroom, and I doubt anyone else noticed. Then I let him wait for ten minutes – as if I wasn’t going to show up. Then I simply said I was gonna knock off for the night and went after him.” “How late was it?” “I don’t know – I don’t keep track. When other people leave, I do, too.” “There’s a big clock on the wall.” “Why look at it?” I grinned. “Yeah – when there are so many other things to see.” Andy admitted that. “Anyway, when I got to the bench, he was waiting. And prepped.” “Probably always is.” “Let’s say he’d been helping.” “Maybe he figured you weren’t coming and didn’t want to be disappointed.” “He wasn’t.” “So you say,” “I have a way of telling.” And we laughed again. “Anyway, we got a little further than we did the last time.” “How?” “Well, when his attention was focused one place, I slipped my hands under his T-shirt. It was hanging loose.” “And?” “And he wiggled a bit – especially when I was feeling for sensitive places.” “They shouldn’t’ve been hard to find.” “Yeah – but there are a couple of places he really likes. And when I glanced up, he was smiling.” “Not howling?” “He has more control than that.” “I’m surprised.” “He has a lot of control, actually.” Andy hesitated. “And we weren’t that far into the woods. You can see the lights from Linden’s house.” “I’m amazed the place isn’t patrolled.” “There are usually parents around. And who else but Nate would take the risk?” “Almost any two people?” He grinned. “There is that.” Then he paused – as if to find his place in the story. “Anyway, as I explored, he responded – even if he didn’t intend to. And when I finished – when he was leaning back, head loose, arms spread across the top of the bench – I kneeled on either side of his legs – my knees on the seat – and kissed him.” “He was okay with that?” Andy made me wait. Then he whistled. “The way to that guy’s body is through his mouth.” “So he kissed back?” “Oh – yeah! He’s one of the best kissers I’ve known.” Again, I waited. And I knew Andy didn’t mean to insult me. But he wasn’t thinking about me, and I shouldn’t have been, either. “If we ever get further,” he went on. “That’s how it’s gonna start.” I tried to picture Nate and Andy on the bench. “So you didn’t push?” I asked. “There wasn’t time. He had to get back to his bunk, or there’d be explaining to do.” “I don’t think the guys really care. They expect him to roam.” “With men, too?” “I don’t know. They say a lot of things to each other. Nothing’s off limits when it’s good for a joke. But that might be too private.” “Interesting.” And he tilted my chair back and kissed me. “You still there, Rob?” he finally had to ask. “Yeah,” I said. Then he managed to make me forget. Sex with Andy was kind of casual. Though I didn’t depend on it because I knew he liked to roam, too – occasionally. And who was I to say “No?” Or completely want to. Was I jealous of the other guys? I wasn’t sure how many there were. But I knew it was more than Nate because Andy had told me about at least one counselor. “Easy picking,” Andy described. “He’d been after me on bunk watch. So we finally slipped into the shadows, and I let him play.” “And?” “No experience. Little technique. Hardly worth explaining.” I laughed. Which was both what he wanted, and rude – but what the hell? “You know I’m not interested in other guys,” I told him. “At least, not this summer.” “I knew that.” “And that’s okay?” He seemed to consider. “As long as you’re not really in love.” “Andy – I aced AP bio. I know which one’s my heart.” He laughed at that – as I intended. But what I didn’t tell him was how much I was learning from him and Nate.
  4. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 24

    Canuk -- yeah, well, Dan's actually a little hot. I suspect all the guys are in the readers' minds. And ObicanDecko -- thanks for the compliments. As I've mentioned, this almost complete rewrite of the first novel I wrote, in 1982, was specifically tailored for this site -- the first time I've done that.
  5. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 24

    The thing Dan found in the Norwich junkyard, that he figured might be a lot of fun to play with, was a pair of old police handcuffs. The first time he showed them to the guys, and used them when some of us were playing cards, Paul suddenly found one of his wrists attached to his chair. “Now how am I supposed to play my hand?” he asked. “You’ll figure it out.” “Did you do this ‘cause I was winning?” “Nah. You were the closest.” The handcuffs soon came off and were passed around with their keys. Everyone inspected them, and made jokes, then they were locked back in Dan’s trunk at the foot of his bed. After that, they appeared occasionally, usually when Dan was bored. Jim woke up one morning with one of his wrists cuffed to his bed rail. Steve’s ankle was grabbed and fastened to a pipe while he was taking a shower. Paul got it again when he was working on Brian’s car and unwillingly became part of the steering wheel. Every time, the prank didn’t last very long because we had a meal to serve, or general swim, or were headed to Rec and the Canteen. And the jokes didn’t include Nate, Brian, Greg, and me. Dan especially asked Greg not to mention the cuffs in the weekend shows, “‘Cause Linden might take them away.” “And give us a boring lecture,” Jim added. “I’d almost rather be chained to my bed than listen to another of those.” “That can be arranged,” Dan replied. And the guys quickly helped cuff Jim to his chair, hands behind his back. “Now I can’t play at all,” Jim calmly pointed out. “We’ll spread your cards in front of you and play the ones you want,” Paul suggested. “Or we’ll choose. You might even win that way.” “You never do otherwise.” “That’s right – pick on me.” The only one of the four who hadn’t been cuffed was Dan – mostly because he kept his toy carefully locked up. “The thing we have to do,” Paul plotted, “is trick him into using the cuffs when there’s plenty of time. Then grab them, cuff him, and leave him stuck there.” “Sounds goods to me,” Jim agreed. “Now we just have to outsmart him.” “That shouldn’t be hard.” “He’s not stupid,” Steve pointed out. “And he knows how to protect himself.” “Oh, yeah.” “What if I pretend to take a nap some afternoon?” Jim volunteered. “Seeing I’m his usual victim.” “You do get it more than us.” “For years and years. But I get other things, too.” “Like?” “The girls.” “Oh, yeah – cute Jim.” “Maybe Dan’s jealous.” “Nah – it’s ‘cause you take it so well.” “You make fun of me ‘cause you like me?” “Something like that.” “You’re all weird.” “Well, let’s see if this works.” It took a couple of times, but finally Dan realized Jim was taking a nap sometimes before general swim. “So I can stay up later.” And Dan slipped out the cuffs. And Jim pretended to wake up, partway through, and pretended to fight back. Then he resigned himself to it, rolled over, and said, “Wake me five minutes before dinner. So I can change.” “That’s no fun,” Dan said, after a waiting a bit. And he got out his keys. As soon as he did, his friends ganged up, half-dragged, half-carried him out to the basketball court, and cuffed his wrists to a bracket on one of the backboard posts. Almost as an afterthought, they yanked down his shorts. “Hey! No fair!” Dan yelped. “I never did anything like that.” “You left me dripping in the shower,” Steve reminded him. “While you all stood there laughing.” “You had a curtain. And you were inside,” Dan protested. “No one could see.” “You pulled back the curtain and tied it around the rod.” “So what? By then, you were sitting on the floor.” “And you wouldn’t even give me a towel.” “Oh, come on – you liked it. You’re always showing off.” “I am not.” “Then when do you dress so well? You want everyone to look.” “I wear the same things you do.” “Nah. We all wear knocks-offs. You wear the real thing.” “Well, right now, your knock-offs are down around your knock knees.” That made everyone laugh. “Real funny,” Dan replied. “Now give me the keys.” “You couldn’t use them if we did.” “What do you mean?” “Handcuffs are designed so they can’t be unlocked by the people wearing them.” “Says who?” “It’s something I read.” “Tell that to magicians.” “Those are fake.” “Give me the keys.” “I don’t have them.” “Either do I.” “Keys. Keys. Who’s got the keys?” “I don’t,” Paul repeated. “Me, either,” said Jim. “And I don’t,” Steve finished. Dan looked at me. I’d just come back from the girls’ camp and figured Greg, Nate, and Brian were at the waterfront. “Why would I have them?” I asked, staying neutral. “Well, one of you does.” “Maybe they’re in the bunk.” “Maybe they’re locked in your trunk.” “You wouldn’t dare.” “Anything’s possible.” “Will you give them to me?” “How can we?” “What do you want for them?” “He’s bargaining now.” “Negotiating.” “Sounds more like a bribe.” “Let’s make him beg.” “I won’t,” Dan said flatly. “No begging,” Steve interceded. “Just give him the keys, Jim.” But by then, it was too late. Because suddenly Linden was standing behind us. All our backs had been turned. “You seem to have dropped something, Dan,” he started. “Oh, damn,” Dan said. The other guys laughed. “Or did you have an accident?” Dan decided to play along. “Yeah. I was halfway through a jump shot, and my drawstring broke.” Fortunately, there was always a basketball on the court. “And then,” he went on. “Trying to grab my shorts and to land without hurting myself, I got my wrist tangled on this bracket.” It was right at eye level. “Now, I can’t even bend down.” Linden inspected the cuffs as if he’d never seen a pair. “Fancy bracelets.” he observed. “A present?” “Nah – I bought them myself.” “A little chunky.” “I like them that way.” Linden shrugged. “Your taste.” Dan seemed to agree, then admitted, “But it’s tough when the clasp snags.” “How do you usually get them off?” Linden asked. “We’ll there’s a key – because they’re expensive, and you don’t want to lose them. So they lock.” “Where is it? The key? Or did you drop that, too?” The guys laughed again. “One of my friends has the key – for safekeeping.” “A close friend?” “He use to be.” Linden smiled. “You might pick more dependable friends.” “I’m learning that.” “Maybe not provoke them, either,” Linden poked. “I didn’t provoke them!” “I suspect,” the camp owner slowly observed, “that you might not be in this... tangle... if you’d been nice.” “I’m always nice.” And the guys laughed. “Well, what fun would that be?” Dan admitted, grinning. “Fun’s a funny thing,” Linden went on. “It can sometimes bite you.” “I’m learning then.” Then Linden stared in Dan’s eyes – as if trying not to laugh. “Well, I can’t exactly leave you that way...” Dan looked hopeful. “But I don’t have the key, either. And I could cut your bracelets... But they’re kinda pretty.” “I really wouldn’t complain,” Dan offered. “And if you could just pull up my shorts...” Linden looked again at Dan’s face. Then down at his shorts. “You know... I’m afraid I’m not allowed to get that close to campers anymore.” And it wasn’t lost on anyone that Dan’s status had just been slashed. “Maybe one of your friends...” Linden went on. None of the guys moved. “Or not,” Linden admitted. “But you know, it’s also funny... sometimes things appear as soon as you’ve stop looking for them. So I’ll bet... if I just walked away, and you don’t think about it...” And Linden walked up to our bunk and seemed to inspect a perfectly good piece of molding on one of the windows. As soon as he did, Jim tossed the keys to Dan’s feet. Hearing the sound, Linden turned. “Well, would you look at that,” he marveled. “It seems you do have friends.” Steve quickly retrieved the keys and unlocked Dan – who immediately yanked up his shorts. “Better?” Linden asked. “Yes.” “A little cold?” Dan nodded. Though he was clearly sweating. “I’d be more careful about wearing fancy jewelry while playing basketball,” Linden began to lecture, and Paul just sighed. Then Linden walked away. “One fast question,” Steve quickly called after him. Linden turned. “How’d you get here so fast?” The camp owner chuckled. “Well, I happened to be in the Boys’ Mess Hall, checking a repair in the kitchen, when one of the girls’ parents was driving to the girls’ camp. And I guess she saw a bit more of Dan than she felt was appropriate and reported it to the Girls’ HQ. Then they called me.” Dan looked at the basketball court and then at the camp road. “I was facing away all the time,” he insisted. “She couldn’t’ve seen much. No more than you can on TV.” Linden looked at the road and then at the basketball court. “Maybe she doesn’t watch much TV,” he said, nonchalantly. “But she does have two young daughters...” “Boy, are they gonna be over protected,” Dan observed. Linden thought about that then simply nodded. “Could be,” he agreed.
  6. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 23

    Thanks. I figure there's no reason to spend time writing about people no one likes or wants to hear about. Of course, the guys in the Alan Damshroeder books and some of the men Harry dates in GWM are no great samples of mental balance. But that writing is more extreme comedy of bad manners. Still, I think younger gay men are better balanced, perhaps from growing up in a more accepting world.
  7. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 23

    “Now that we’ve done it against a tree, what next?” Andy asked. We’d finished up teaching and were walking back to the boys’ camp. “We could take advantage of my plans.” He laughed. “Oh, yeah – your plans.” “You underestimate them.” “I don’t underestimate anything. I certainly didn’t with you.” “I’ll simply say ‘Thanks.’ That would be the polite thing.” “And you’re a polite thing.” “Quit making fun of me.” “Why? It’s fun to watch you squirm.” “I don’t do that.” “Never?” “Not that way. Not that I know of. Why would I?” “What would embarrass you?” “Possibly nothing. I been naked in locker rooms all the time – in front of my team, and other teams, and coaches, and refs. I don’t even think about it.” “Do they really make kids do that?” “This isn’t to make weight for wrestling – we’re in shorts for that. If we even need to go that far – most of us stay in pretty good shape. This is just normal locker room stuff.” “It’s a good thing we’re walking right now. And that it’s still light out. You give me too many ideas.” “Now we’re even.” “I may be a little bit more even.” I knew if I looked, I’d be giving in, so I simply asked, “How about tonight?” He considered. “That would work – I’m not on bunk duty. And it’s been a couple of nights since we defiled nature.” “It recovered.” He laughed. “Me, too. I’m one of those instant recoverers. Rat-a-tat Andy.” “And almost as fast.” “Low blow.” I grinned. “But I’ll take it as a compliment,” he went on. “Though in another way, you’re probably the longest I’ve ever waited for a guy. What? – almost three weeks? I can’t believe I was that patient.” “Three weeks isn’t that long,” I protested. But when he didn’t answer, I added, “Is it?” “Let’s just say it’s not normal – for me.” “Well, since half the time I don’t know what I’m doing, I go slow.” “You don’t seem inexperienced.” “Thanks. I learn more every time.” “Who you gonna learn from next?” I looked at him. “I’m in no hurry to move on.” “That was quick.” “What?” “Conversion.” “From what?” “Your girlfriend.” “Nothing’s changed there.” “You’d go back to her?” “I haven’t left.” I hesitated. “I hope that doesn’t hurt your feelings.” He stopped to look at me “No,” he admitted. “It’s honest. I’m just a little confused.” “About what?” “I’m not used to it. I mostly hang out with men.” I thought for a moment. “You said you liked women. On the train.” “I do.” “Then you’ve been with them?” “Some. But I like guys better.” “Why?” He just laughed. “They’re easier. At least, at our age. We only want one thing.” “Sometimes that’s all they want.” “I haven’t seen much of that.” “Maybe they’re not so obvious.” He laughed. “You’ve never been in love?” I asked. “Oh, jeez, Rob. I’m nineteen.” “I love Katie.” “And you can say it that easily?” “Yeah.” “I hope you don’t love me.” I grinned. “I do in a way. It’s hard to be naked with anyone without a little of that. At least, for me.” He didn’t reply, and we started to walk again. “And I like all the things you know,” I went on. “And your confidence. The fun you manage to have.” “You never have?” “Oh, sure – but you seem to know so much more.” “Not just about computers?” “No.” “How much do you know?” I hesitated. “It’s only been a couple of times.” “How many?” It was a hard question, but I didn’t need to think. “Four,” I said. “Including you.” “The others were from school?” “Never.” “Why not?” “Too close. Too much to explain. Too much risk.” “Vermont?” “No – for the same reasons.” “Then where?” “The city... New York.” “You’re too young to go to bars.” “I can pass – with a four-day beard and a fake ID. My parents were riding me for the beard, but it was over Christmas, and I didn’t have to shave.” “Do they really make you do that for school?” “No. But I like to look clean.” “So you took your fake ID and your four-day beard, and what did you find?” “The usual guy in his thirties.” “Thirties! Wow! Are you sure you don’t have a thing for your dad?” “It’s nothing like that. The first guy happened to be that age. And the second – probably by coincidence. Then I thought I could learn more from guys like that.” “Hot?” “Not especially. And the first time was kind of a surprise I let happen.” He waited. I looked at him. We’d stopped again, slightly short of the boys’ camp. “The short version was I was in the city for a play. I was supposed to go with a girl, but she got sick at the last minute, and I was doing a report, so I had to go. But I couldn’t find anyone else who was free, so I went alone and turned in the ticket.” “Sophisticated boy.” “Maybe – it wasn’t the first time I’d done something like that. And my parents trust me in the city. They don’t like me there... But they let me go to the Garden and Yankee Stadium, and the museums and...” “Broadway.” “Off-Broadway, actually. I hate musicals. They’re dumb.” “You’re not my idea of a jock.” “Except when I’m diving?” “Yeah – a nerd with a hot body.” “It’s not that great.” “Leave out ‘not.’” “Thanks.” “Anyway, you met this guy...” “The first time? Yeah – he kinda picked me up – no, not even. He was sitting next to me in a small theater – like three hundred seats – he got the ticket I sold back. And there wasn’t much of a lobby, so I stayed put during intermission – it’s usually a pain to use the bathrooms anyway. But he went out and came back, and for a couple of minutes, we started talking.” “You did?” “He did. He kind of bumped into me coming back and apologized.” “Bumped?” “Yeah. You know – narrow aisles – tiny seats. Sometimes people face you as they pass, and sometimes they face away – like at a game.” “I usually face away.” “This guy didn’t, and I had a feeling he wanted to look at me. Going out, he’d faced away.” “And you wanted to look?” I wasn’t even thinking about him. I was trying to figure out the play. It didn’t make a lot of sense.” “So you asked about it?” “Not then. But we talked a little before the second act, and I mentioned he had my girlfriend’s ticket.” “Girlfriend?” “Yeah – this girl and I were kinda going together.” “But not your present girlfriend?” “No – not Katie.” “You get around.” “Oh, yeah. Big stud.” He laughed. “Anyway, after the play was over, we were waiting to leave. As I said – small theater – crowded aisles. And because I had this report to write and still didn’t understand what I’d seen... And because I didn’t know where I was gonna find any information – this was a new play, not even reviewed. So I asked him what he thought it meant.” “And he told you?” “He started to – but then we were out on the street – and still talking. And he said there was a bar on the corner. And I wasn’t gonna tell him I was sixteen.” “Because you were interested?” “Because I had to write a report.” I hesitated then grinned. “And because something was happening, and I’d always been curious.” “Always?” “No... But maybe since I was ten.” “Got you beat by a couple years.” I waited. “Another time,” he said. “Go on.” “So we went to the bar. And even though I had a fake ID, I didn’t want to use it, so I had a coke. He had something stronger, and we talked for maybe a half hour. Then I told him I had to catch a train.” “Did you miss it?” “Kind of. He said it was too bad we didn’t have more time. And he asked how often I was in the city. By that point, I realized I was missing a chance I didn’t want to, and I said there was a later train.” “Wouldn’t your parents worry?” They don’t stay up – they both teach early. And they have to drive.” “I thought this was Christmas.” “No, that was two years later. This was the first time.” “That’s right – you were sixteen.” “Almost.” “Fifteen! With a thirty-year old!” “Probably closer to thirty-five.” “Didn’t he know you were a minor?” “You’ve never done that?” “No! Except when I was one.” “So you have.” “The guys were my age.” “Then. But you said you hang out with older guys now.” “I do.” “And you’re still not twenty-one.” “No – but I’m not a minor. And you’re getting way off track.” I laughed. “Yeah, I am. Though there’s not much more to tell.” “Sometimes, there isn’t.” “No – that part was fine. And I’d had sex before. With a couple of girls. Two. And not at the same time. And this was different. But not that different. A lot was the same. And that’s what I’d been curious about.” “And you had to catch a train.” “Actually, I missed it.” “And caught the next one?” “Way too late – he drove me home. It’s only twenty-five minutes with no traffic. And we were flying.” “I’ll bet you were.” I laughed again. “It was great.” Andy hesitated. “And your parents?” he went on. “He dropped me a couple of blocks from our house. I slipped in, and no one ever knew – my bedroom’s far enough from theirs. Even Princie slept through everything.” “Princie?” “Our dog.” “I should’ve guessed.” “He sleeps on the living room couch.” “Did you ever see the guy again?” “You’re not interested in dogs?” I joked. “Did you?” “Yeah – a couple of times.” “So that’s the ‘couple of guys?’” “No – those were other men.” He whistled. “You do get around.” And now – if I was the kind of guy who squirmed – I might have. “I don’t get around,” I assured him. “I’ve seen a couple of guys, a couple of times. And I’ve had a handful of girlfriends.” “And slept with them all?” “Three of them – including Katie.” “Who I’ll never ask you about.” “Good.” “But I will ask you one thing.” “What?” “How soon can you be in the computer shack after dinner?”
  8. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 22

    Yeah, well, he's an eighteen-year-old boy, trying to do his best.
  9. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 22

    “What was that about?” Nate asked, the moment Brian walked into the bunk. “You’ve been waiting up?” Brian said, smiling. “You weren’t in the Canteen.” “We were for a little while. It got loud.” “And?” “There’s no rule against taking a walk.” “Where?” “I walked Laura back to the girls’ camp.” “All the way?” “To the edge. Maybe a little past.” “That’s all?” “Yeah.” “And?” “That was it.” Brian was laughing, and he was in a very good mood. “No,” Nate insisted. “Yeah. C’mon – you know me well enough by now. I’ve got a girlfriend.” Nate just shook his head. “I don’t understand those things – don’t see the point to limits.” Brian laughed again. “Does Laura?” Nate asked. “There’s nothing going on there.” “I wouldn’t bet on that.” “Then ask Rob.” “I really don’t know,” I had to admit. “I’ve told you enough about Julie. And you’ve told me enough about Katie.” “Great,” Nate interrupted. “The two of you know a lot about each other – and much more than I do. But what did you say to Laura?” “Do you really know nothing about her?” “I know this is her first year here. And I know I’ve never seen her before. And I know that if I were her age – or in college – or maybe even were you – I might have a chance with her. But at this point, I’m not even sure I’d ask her to dance.” “I’m disappointed,” Brian said. “Why?” “Because I thought you’d do anything.” Nate laughed. “She’s not interested in me,” he simply dismissed. “She’s been hanging out with the counselors – the girls as her friends and the guys as...” “As what?” Brian asked, when Nate didn’t finish. “I don’t know yet,” he admitted. “This is the first move she’s made. And it sure wasn’t what I expected.” “Which was?” Nate thought for a moment, then shrugged. By this point, our talking must have woken Greg, because he sat up and looked at us. Nate had been sitting on his own bed, Brian was kind of walking, and I’d pulled up one of the card table chairs. “Sorry,” Brian told Greg. “Sorry,” I repeated. Nate just nodded, and Greg flopped back on his bed and turned away. Brian grabbed another chair and brought it close to Nate. I dragged mine in, too. “That’s exactly how I feel about her,” Brian quietly told Nate. “I don’t know anything.” “You think she’s too much of a risk?” Brian nodded. “At least, you’re in college.” “Starting. She’s two years ahead.” “So?” “There’s so much I don’t know, either.” “Good time to learn.” “Not interested.” “Oh, come on.” Brian thought for a moment, then waffled. “As I told Rob... I’m interested. But I’m not.” “I believe that – more.” “Yeah,” Brian admitted. And he seemed to think about that. “What did she want to say?” Nate went on. Brian grinned. “She honestly did want to know where I learned to dance.” Nate started to laugh. Then he put his hand over his mouth while glancing at Greg. “Now there’s a line.” Brian agreed. “But that’s what she asked.” “What did you tell her?” “Some from my sister. Some from Julie.” “How did she react to that?” “She asked who Julie was.” “Did you tell her?” “Of course – otherwise, I wouldn’t have brought her up.” “So you’re hiding behind her?” “No!” And he looked at Greg. “No,” he repeated, almost mouthing it. “How did that go over?” Nate asked. “She said I had good teachers.” “And didn’t offer to be your next?” Brian grinned. “See that’s why you’re still in high school.” Nate laughed at himself. “I’m in high school – stuck there – for a lot of reasons. And I’m sorry about all of them.” Brian and I laughed, too. Then Brian went on. “After that, we just talked about stuff.” “Stuff?” “Yeah.” Nate didn’t believe him. “For an hour before you got back?” “We were walking slowly.” “It’s a five minute walk – normally. I’ll give you ten.” “It’s a nice night. And for a while, we sat on the Mess Hall rails.” “The well worn rails.” “And that’s it. Really.” Nate seemed to consider. “What did you learn?” “About what?” “Her?” Brian tried to remember. “That she heard of this place from a friend – someone who’d gone here before.” “Who?” “I don’t recall – she’s probably older than we are anyway.” “Just ‘cause I don’t take chances doesn’t mean I don’t look.” Brian thought. But he still couldn’t remember. “It doesn’t matter,” Nate said. “What else?” “I told you – dumb stuff. Where she’s from. Where she goes to school. What’s she majors in. How she feels about that. What she wants to do...” “You’re right – things I wouldn’t even think to ask.” He looked at Brian. “Did you really?” “Yes,” Brian admitted. “You should be sitting in eighth grade with your finger up your nose.” Brian and I quietly cracked up. Then Nate turned to me. “What do you think?” I moved my finger towards my nose. “And you have a girlfriend, too – jeez.” “We’re not getting married.” “Married!” Nate nearly yelped but quickly quieted himself, looking towards Greg. “I sure hope he’s sleeping. If this all ends up in Saturday Night Camp” this weekend...” “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Brian insisted. “No? He and his friends can turn the most innocent remark into a camp-wide joke.” “Laura’s really nice,” Brian went on. “And we’ll obviously see each other again – the Canteen’s too small. But we’ll probably just dance.” “Who’s gonna teach?” Brian smiled. “Who knows?” And he got up and moved his chair back to the middle of the room. “And you’re happy about that?” Nate went on. “Look... I don’t know what’s gonna happen. Though you’re right – I’ve kind of covered myself – left myself open in a very limited way.” “So you don’t mess up?” “I don’t want to lose Julie.” “This could be better.” “There’s just no way.”
  10. As mentioned above, and as I knew as I was writing the book, "This is the throw the book across the room chapter." Or as one of my friends said, "Where it all drops off into metaphor." Except she's a straight woman, and the rest of the book may not seem metaphor if you're a gay man.
  11. Keep reading. Then you can reply, "WTF?" again.
  12. As they reportedly used to say in the carnivals, "Close, but no cigar." And not even close. Don would have recognized his son.
  13. Is Katy Perry still in her rebellious phase? Interesting perspective. Thanks.
  14. RichEisbrouch

    Chapter 21

    Yep, it's always been my strength. Thanks. I'm weaker at plotting though because that's less the focus of comedy, and that's my larger interest.
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