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Lenny Bruce

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36 A Little More Kick Ass

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  1. Paoletto entered my life at the moment Marco left. Marco had reached the age when you leave the Scouts’ Troop to become a Rover, Paoletto was of the age that allowed him to enter the Troop, leaving the Cubs. The two events coincided, something which left me little time to evolve from being the disciple to taking on the role of mentor. It just happened and was both fascinating and also appalling. Each year, in early autumn, when the activities of the Scout Group resumed, a special ceremony was celebrated. It literally was a rite of passage. There were always seven or eight eleven year old Cubs entering the Scouts’ Troop and as many fifteen year old boys leaving the Troop to become Rovers. For this celebration, as well as to mark getting together again after the summer break, on the last Sunday of September or the first Sunday of October, the whole group decamped to a wood not far from the city. There were boys and girls, from seven to thirty years old and even older. I already knew about Paoletto because of the oddity of his story. But although our families lived quite close to one another I had never met him. I don't remember ever seeing him, I only knew his family history. A tragedy had happened. It seemed that he lived with his grandmother, because his mother had died in childbirth and his father no longer wanted to take care of him, or that was what I recall hearing. That's the kind of story that circulates among families who know each other. Stories that get told and re-told, even if the events might be seven or eight years old since they actually happened. Everyone knew, remembered, and talked about it from time to time. However, Paoletto’s story was this. His mother died a few days after the birth and his father went to live in the house of his mother, Paoletto’s grandmother Luigia, who was already a widow. In the house also lived another son who was then little more than twenty years old, Uncle Giulio. For all purposes, Grandma Luigia became Paoletto’s mother. Three years later Paoletto's father decided to remarry, and Grandma Luigia understood she would soon lose the exclusive affection of her beloved grandson, of whom she was evidently very fond. An affection reciprocated by Paoletto, who despite being only three years old, did not want even to be touched by this other woman who was about to become his new mother. Even as a child, Paoletto always had a strong will. When, on the return from honeymoon, the time came to change homes and go to live with his father and stepmother, Paoletto fell ill. He was normally a healthy child, but the fever attacked him the night after the move to the new house and did not leave him even after a week had passed. Grandma Luigia decided to make a last desperate attempt to save her child and while she was alone in the new house, she wrapped Paoletto in a blanket and took him back to her home. She put him in the bed where he had always been used to sleeping and waited for the miracle that would certainly happen. She was so sure of it that she was not discouraged even when the child was taken back with the chills. She did not call the doctor. She waited for hours. She never left the cradle. She stared at that feverish little body and prayed. Uncle Giulio found them much later, when he returned home, both asleep. The grandmother was a little bit sore from the uncomfortable position and shivering from the cold since she had forgotten to turn on the heating. The grandson was peacefully dreaming without a fever anymore, with a healthy color absolutely unjustified considering how ill he had been that morning. Waking up his mother, Uncle Giulio got an incoherent explanation, but whatever it was, miracle or luck, Paoletto was definitely getting better. The youngster smiled happily, obviously content to be back home in a familiar bed, and undoubtably healthier having regained his appetite. Giulio noticed all these things, even if he was still only a medical student. That unexpected recovery by Paoletto, caused the family to reconsider the decision they had made about the child's fate. For the moment, during his convalescence, no longer than a couple of weeks, Paoletto would stay with his grandmother. Then he would go to live with his father and his new mother, whose care no one doubted. Seeing how he spent all the following years at his grandmother's house, one might easily have said that Paoletto was never really cured, because his grandmother never let him go. His father stopped asking for his son’s return and his stepmother simply didn't think about him anymore. Paoletto thus remained with his grandmother, who loved him so very much. His parents would gladly take him to lunch on a Sunday every now and then. However, as the little boy's parents were like strangers, those lunches became Paoletto's nightmare, until he was old enough to confess to his father and stepmother that he would have gladly done without them. Therefore, they also stopped, and the family gathered only for the holidays, until his father had to move to a city far enough away that they could hardly see each other anymore. During the years in which these events took place, my mother often talked about them with my father, as almost all the people who knew the story periodically did. My mother always blamed everything on Grandma Luigia, who could not accept being parted from her grandson, and so had contrived, who knew what sort of plot, to prevent his return to his parents. My father, on the other hand, who was the same age as Paoletto's father, and his schoolmate, then later, colleague at the University, had always leaned towards the belief that the arrangement suited his father. He remembered, in fact, Paoletto's father's uncanny ability to escape commitments and duties. Whatever the truth and despite the events which determined his childhood, Paoletto's life was spent peacefully living with Grandma Luigia. She always gave him a lot of attention, without spoiling him, and educated him with a necessary severity as was expected. Uncle Giulio took the place of his true father, until he got married when his nephew had just turned eleven. The day after the wedding, that first Sunday in October, was the celebration that inaugurated the activity of the Scout Group for that year. It was there that I met Paoletto for the first time. *** We were all eager to get acquainted with our new comrades, but they were staying apart, too grown up to be with the Cubs, but not yet comfortable to be with us. Paoletto was the tallest of them, but what struck me and made him standout from his companions, was his disheveled appearance. He had a large mop of blond hair that magnified his head. The Cub uniform, which he was wearing for the last time, was a little too small for him. But the thing about him which struck me the most, was his expression. His face reflected an air of extreme gravity, as if he had been hit by a disaster. I knew nothing about his uncle's marriage and had no idea about anything which might have happened to him. The fact was that he was the only one who was subdued in a group of noisy and cheerful kids. He was looking at the ground, his hands in his shorts pockets and his eyes reduced to squinting, although there was shade under the pine trees. He looked as if he were cross, that there was something he didn't want to see or that frightened him. When I realized he would be in my Patrol, I paid even more attention and studied him, finally recognizing who he was. Then his bizarre story came back to my mind. I thought that maybe all that sadness was due to not having a mother. I, who had a mother and loved her so much, was sure that never knowing your mother was a misfortune that brought unhappiness to every moment of one's life. When it was time to eat, we found ourselves in the Patrols and that was for the little ones the first contact with their new mates and something much more serious, like companions for adventures and life. Paoletto came to sit next to me and immediately began to devour a huge sandwich. Sometimes I looked at him curiously, and he always frowned at me without talking. We all joked and laughed, happy to have found each other, but Paoletto, always profoundly serious, only chewed his sandwich. "At least tell me what you're thinking about," I murmured to him, no longer tolerating that mute presence next to me. That year I was the Assistant Patrol Leader, the second in seniority in my Patrol. I had to take care, among other things, of the younger boys, make them comfortable, if possible. I immediately liked him, with that sad and disarming air. "So?" I insisted. "Nothing that could make you laugh!" he said without even looking at me. He had replied with impoliteness, but I decided not to give up. "We'll be in the same Patrol... We could even become friends, if you want, of course…" I tried to win him over. "I know you live not far from my house and so every night we'll go the same way to the Section. Maybe we will meet because we will be leaving at the same time. But walking with someone who never laughs and only munches sandwiches... Well! I don't know if it's worth it!" He was still frowning at me and then he realized I was joking, and he smiled. I still remember that smile. "This sandwich was made for me by my grandmother. She's always afraid I won't eat enough!" "She must be terribly anxious!" "Affirmative!" And finally, he laughed, his eyes lit up. When he smiled, two dimples were formed in the corners of his mouth, which gave his face a lively, intelligent, and somewhat mischievous expression. But his eyes were always cheerful, charming. "Can we really become friends?" he asked me, almost as if he didn't believe my offer, "Or were you just joking like you did about the sandwich?” "I live really close to your house" I replied, and then explained to him who I was and where I lived "Why can't we become friends? Don't you want to?" "I know who you are... And I agree. Friends!" he finally consented, then he concentrated on the sandwich, managing to eat it all, even as he laughed and chatted with the others. Then he turned to me to ask me if I played any instruments. "No, although we have a huge piano at home. My mother often plays it," I said "And you? You play something?" At that point he leaned over and started drumming with his fingers on my thigh. It seemed to me he was miming a pianist. Which he was. It turned out he wasn't simply miming, Paoletto was a pianist. "What are you doing?” "I'm playing… Its Mozart's Turkish March. From the piano sonata no. 11 - K 331," he replied, without stopping playing, that was, drumming on my thigh. "And can you really play it?" I asked, laughing. "Of course!" he replied, sounding offended. "Are you stupid? I've been studying the piano for five years! And I'm good at it!" He was a little angry then, but he immediately smiled at me again and continued for a few more minutes to make chords and scales on my thigh, while he hummed Mozart almost silently to himself. From as much as I could understand, he seemed good. After all he was playing on my leg and I recognized the tune of the Turkish March he was humming. I didn't interrupt but let that kind of massage end, which is maybe why he considered me worthy to become his friend. That evening we returned by train from the excursion to the countryside. When we boarded the carriage, he came and found me, convincing another guy to give up his seat so he could sit next to me. Tiredness overcame many of us and I was about to fall asleep myself when I heard him shake me gently. He was trying to capture my attention. "Do you believe in imprinting?" "What?" "Imprinting has something to do with ducks," he explained to me seriously. "A German scientist thinks that a newborn duck chooses for a parent the first living thing it sees, even if it is not his real mother. The guy says that's how it works!” "What's that got to do with me?" I inquired. "Guess!" he said, smiling and shaking his head. Then in an instant he fell asleep resting his head on my shoulder. He snuggled closer every time the train shook, until he was hugging me, holding me as if I were a pillow. I, on the other hand, never slept again, intrigued by his words whose meaning was completely obscure to me. Paoletto had chosen me. I understood this after I got back home. I asked my mother to enlighten me about Conrad Lorenz and Ethology. A subject that Paoletto seemed to know well, unlike me. It didn't take me long to understand, and I became for him what Marco had been to me. At first, it vexed me a little and I even felt embarrassed. I was not a person whom one should put their trust in. I was arrogant and unstable, prone to be hard headed. I could even say selfish, because I simply did not want a lap dog outside the gate every night at a quarter to seven. But the puppy insisted, proving himself to be much stronger, tyrannical, and more self-centered, than the master he had chosen. He bribed me with the licorice he chewed continuously and which he offered me without any hesitation. He won me over with the apparent docility with which he accepted my changes of program, so long as they did not exclude him. We were After all of different ages. He was eleven and I, fourteen. I had commitments that I could not share with him. We attended different schools. I was already in high school, he went to middle school. None of this stopped him from following me everywhere. We ended up being inseparable. I had no doubt that this was what Paoletto wanted. We had become friends because he had chosen to do so, it was all thanks to him. What was also certain was it was something I needed as much as he did. Thinking back, we were similar. I was an only child. He was an only nephew, as he said about himself, joking. He called himself that because Grandma Luigia and Uncle Giulio were his family, and like my mother they were very affectionate and very caring. We both lacked a father figure, although in a radically different way. Our fathers were not dead, but they were far away. His was physically far away, mine was invariably at work, which made me think he loved his work more than me. By the way, on this last matter, I was wrong. The loneliness we shared as children had produced a rather divergent couple who completed each other. His youth was tempered by an innate wisdom, a thoughtfulness of actions, which easily compensated for my extra three years of childish, impulsive, and selfish behavior. You might say we suited each other! It did not happen immediately, but over time we became firm friends, always within that larger organization that was the Scout Section, where we spent all our free time. In that world there were other groups of friends and as well as us, all with a carefree happiness that pervaded our days. That first year passed like a dream, the serenity of my fourteen years and his eleven was complete. After the camp I became the Panthers Patrol's Leader. Paoletto was in his second year in the Scouts and it would have been my last year, because afterwards I would have left to become a Rover. There were seven of us in the Patrol, and in the age range, Paoletto occupied the penultimate place. For me only he existed. But my happiness was upset, without completely dissolving, at the end of the summer. Although the real trouble happened on a gloomy Sunday in November. That Sunday we went on an excursion, just the Panthers Patrol. We left early in the morning despite it almost raining. We took the train and then walked until we reached a vast karstic depression, a place as impressive as it was huge. We settled on the edge of a large hollow. The intention was to try remote signaling methods, with sounds, lights, and flags. We divided into three groups. It was predictable and everyone expected that Paoletto and I would form one of the teams. It always happened like that. We moved away along the edge of the abyss and gained the opposite side, far enough away so that we almost lost sight of the figures in the distance, but we could distinguish the movement of the signal flags, hear the sound of a whistle, or still see the flashing of a light. *** How I felt about him had become complicated, something I could not easily understand or define. At times I hated him for the way he made me angry, for how rebellious he was and for how little attention he paid to those unimportant things that seemed important to me but were irrelevant to him. At other times it drove me crazy with joy to have him around, to smell his candy scent, to know I was the most important person in his life. He used to repeat it to me over and over again and, since our friendship was yet uncontaminated by malice, that was a statement that filled me with pride. Me, the most important person in his life. Knowing that every night I would inevitably find him in front of my home, gave me the strength to live my day at school, to study what little was necessary, not very hard, since I was doing well. It helped me to bear my father's absences and offer my mother some of that same joy. Paoletto was all this for me and I for him, given the commitment he put into making our relationship more and more alive. That feeling had begun to complicate one day, at the end of the summer, when I realized I wanted him in a different way. I mean sexually. We were at the beach. A dozen or so of us of various ages, intent on joking around. We were waiting for the summer to end, for school to start up and, above all, for the Section to reopen. I looked at Paoletto, and suddenly I desired him. Until a moment before he was a nonsexual angel whom I adored. Then, I closed my eyes and when I opened them again, he was a body to be desired. Suddenly, all I could think about was how he would look naked, without that heavenly costume that covered him so little. And I had an erection, difficult to hide, because I was in a swimsuit. To me, it was a reminder of the reality of things, of bodies, of the flesh. I didn't think about sex too much, taken as I was by so many ideas and activities. My first masturbation was a couple of years before. Then there was the experience with Marco. Knowing he didn't want, didn't like, me to remind him of those moments, had blocked me towards him and anyone else. So much so that I considered masturbating a very private, very secret, but necessary affair. In any case, in those years in the scouts and anywhere else, sex was unspoken about. As if it didn't exist. My sex life was at the time tied to some memories and pleasures I was giving myself with a certain regularity, thinking about who, what? It may seem strange, but my dreams were so vague that they were indistinct. Did I already have a precise objective and unconsciously made it indefinite? I could not say. I masturbated, as Marco had taught me, almost every night, in bed, with great speed, anxious to reach orgasm and then to calmly fall asleep. Thoughts were not supposed to be important, because I reached pleasure and sleep almost together. And I would forget them, dreaming of something else. It went like that until I looked at Paoletto with different eyes, as if they were no longer mine. That day on the beach I calmed down with some difficulty, but that evening I did not fall asleep. The pact with my private demon was over, and the thoughts I had were the best proof of it. I dreamed, fantasized, saw, with my eyes wide open, what I desired to do with him. I was more awake than if it had been morning. The excitement was so intense that I had no inhibitions in imagining every detail of the seduction I could attempt and then, from fantasy to fantasy, guessing the ways I would violate his innocence. I evoked the scenes that took place in my mind as if they were in front of my eyes. And I experienced all the sensations with my body up to an orgasm, something I lived with an upset, an emotion I had never before experienced. I had degraded him and that was it. The next day I was nervous that he would read in my eyes how dirty my thoughts were, but he was as always warm and friendly. Even that night I imagined seducing him and I did it so many other times, thinking about him night and day. And then I would wait for him by the front gate, so that we could go to the beach, or play football, or wherever our imagination invented for us to spend a couple of hours doing. I felt dirtier every day, and he finally realized something was different, but he could not understand the nature of my feelings. I would have died rather than reveal to him how corrupt I was. "You are acting weird… Why? What have I done to you? Did I do something?" he asked me suddenly, one morning on our way back from the beach. Perhaps that day I had looked at him for too long. I had stared at him, trying to take off his costume with my eyes. "What… why?" I pretended to be surprised. "You look at me... weird… I don’t know. You're getting strange!" I tickled him, grinning. It was our way of proving to each other that we were friends as always. The start of school helped me. The Section began to work again and so even though we continued to see each other regularly, to frequent each other with the usual affection, we had much more to think about. Above all, the opportunities to see him almost naked, and be forced to desire him, ended. *** Until that morning in November, when I attacked him. That day my hormones took over. I could say that is what happened and blame it on that. Then again, perhaps, it was not that at all. I am, however, certain that I didn't plan what I did. I only knew that I wanted to see and touch Paoletto in all those secret places. I dreamed of touching him. And then, I had the opportunity, and did so. As soon as we were far enough away from the others, I asked him. "Do you know how to jerk off?" I never had any doubts about why I did it, but one of the mysteries of my life is where I gathered the courage. My hormones again, I suppose. We had never spoken about it between ourselves. We discussed everything, but it was as if we didn't possess that part of our body. Our dicks seemed to be outside of our friendship, certainly because those talks did not represent for Paoletto the existential problem they had become for me. He was too young. Paoletto seemed not to have heard me. "So, do you know how to jerk off or not?" I insisted. "Eh?" "Do you know what I'm talking about?” "I know what you’re talking about. What do you think?" he said to me, impatient and apparently not at all embarrassed. "Well... and do you do it?" "Yes!" he finally admitted. So, he masturbated. A friend would have stopped there. Even if the real, special one, the best friend I was supposed to be, he would never have asked those questions. "And since when?" I continued instead. "And why do you want to know?" He wasn't annoyed. Perhaps he seemed intrigued by my questions. He wasn't embarrassed. He would have answered me in the same tone even if I had asked him if he had done his homework for the next day. A reddening of his cheeks would have stopped me. I am sure. A hesitation in answering would have perhaps made me reconsider what I was doing, but Paoletto didn't get upset and kept looking at me waiting for me to make the next move. My throat was dry. My heart was pounding in my chest, I could almost hear its beat. It was so strong I thought it would burst. I was afraid he knew it, understood my emotion, and was alarmed, instead he remained calm. "No reason," I said, trying to control my voice. "Only, of course, I do it too...” I tried to joke “And I thought it would be fun to do it together!" I had told him. All in one breath and without imagining the consequences for him, still a child. But what consequences? I wondered about it at that moment. "Yes, yes! Come on. Please, let's do it! Now? Here?" He was eager. "Only if you want to... Are you sure you want to do these things with me?" "But what things? Jerk off? With you? Sure, come on, let's do it. Where are we going to do it? Here? Back there?" He smiled happily, and his enthusiasm overwhelmed me, along with all the good intentions, if I ever had any. We had a few minutes before the others were ready to start the game, so we ran and hid behind a massive rock that was on the edge of the chasm. We stood in front of each other. Paoletto was waiting for me to move first. It frequently happened like that when there was something to do that, he imagined, I knew more about. And that was a field in which I was supposed to be more experienced than him, but my hands were shaking. Then the excitement took over. I opened my fly, and he immediately did the same. I pulled out my dick already hard enough to grip it. And so, did he. I don't recall what I was thinking at that moment. Nor, oddly, what I really saw. But I know, and it is an image that I have impressed on my memory, that the wind picked up and the clouds started running across the sky. It brought me back to reality, the feeling of cold on my groin. Paoletto was waiting for my moves. I caught only a glimpse of the object he held in his hand, that which I had so longed to observe. "Close your eyes," he said in a breath. "Why?" "I'm ashamed... I’m still so little..." I was too excited to understand or discuss this, so I obeyed him immediately. Then I started to move slowly. I put my forehead on his and with my hand I brushed the tip of his cock. I heard him sighing. Then I smelled the scent of his hair and the smell of the wind bringing rain. Before long, a lot of water would fall, but I didn't care. We moved simultaneously with eagerness. From the way he reacted before and from the way he was doing it, I finally understood that it had to be his very first time. He was imitating and exaggerating my movements. He was thrilled, but also awkward. His breath immediately became labored and then it happened. He sighed, I felt him contract, and then he felt what was perhaps his first orgasm. I heard him moan and immediately I added my own climax to his spasms. We ended up hugging and clinging to each other, until our breathing returned to normal. Only then I saw him staring fascinated at my wet hand. Curiosity had won out, making him put aside his modesty. He took hold, bringing my hand to his nose, and smelling it. "So, this is semen?" he touched my fingers, picked some up, testing the density of the liquid that covered me. I nodded. I was mesmerized by his inexperience, by the naivety of his questions. He smelled it one more time, then he stared at me with that cunning gaze of his. "I told you a lie," he said laughing. "It's the first time for me. But if I hadn't done it, when would you have shown me?” And without a blush, smiling calmly, he caressed my dick that was going soft again. "Will mine become like that too?" “Soon…” I whispered. Without any embarrassment he took my cock in his hand, as if to weigh it. He squeezed a little bit and looked carefully at the hair of my pubis. He was curious and had no shame, simply taking advantage of the opportunity I had given him. Then the wind that had warned us brought rain, just a few drops. I would have liked to touch him too, but he had decided to get dressed. The way I was excited I would have undressed him again and I think he would have let me do it, but suddenly the rain began to get heavy. We ran for shelter under the trees of the forest a few meters from where we were. Only then was I really aware of what I had done. That kind of ecstasy I had experienced was followed by an intense remorse. It was an anxiety that would never leave me alone, an anxiety that began at that moment its slow work inside my mind. I felt an overwhelming anguish building inside me. We went and sat under a tree, he ran to sit next to me, hugging me as he did, as if he wanted me to protect him. I should have warned him, told him to stay away from me, that I was dangerous for him, but instead I returned the embrace. I closed my eyes so as not to cry. It was raining hard and penetrating through the thick tangle of branches. We shifted closer trying to avoid getting wet. I hoped with all my heart that somehow being occupied with keeping dry, escaping the storm, would have distracted him from what we had just done. That he might forget. But he was like a young pup, he was exuberant and fixed on what he had discovered, already thinking about doing it again. He was a puppy, I was almost an adult. "When are we going to do it again? It was just..." He hesitated, searching for a suitable adjective, then simply said, "it was 'beautiful'". When he said it, with all his innocence, he moved me and increased my awareness of my inadequacy. "I want to do it the way you do!" he added, after a while, seeing I was not speaking. “We cannot do it anymore!" I murmured. "And when will I have semen, too?" he asked, not even considering my answer, oblivious to my pain. "When you are older. Next year perhaps..." Then I made my angry face, which he knew, "But now we two won't do that anymore!” "And why is that?" he asked, as if I had snatched his preferred toy from his hands. He was disappointed by my change of heart, far from comprehending how bad I had been to him and how misguided my actions were. Where was his modesty? That request to close my eyes so as not to look at him. What was it if not shyness, innocence that he had then given up because of me? I was unable to tell him anything else. I locked myself in a mutism that disorientated him and prevented him from asking me any more questions, which was very unusual for Paoletto. This also encouraged me in my intent to resist his every request and above all my impulses, which I feared the most. We went back and joined our comrades after the rain stopped. We had to decide whether we should return to the city or continue the excursion despite the rain. I was worried about what I had done. I already felt indecent simply having those thoughts I had kept to myself, but now I had corrupted someone else. Yet he joked happily as if nothing at all had happened. He remained close, attached to me, as my best friend. The sky cleared, and so we could stay outside until dusk, when we took the train back to the city. As always, I made my way home with Paoletto, who didn't mention what we had done, even though I think he wanted to. Several times during the day he looked at me, as if to tell me something, but my mood must have deterred him. I was afraid and hopeful, at the same time, that he would talk about what we did together. I wanted to touch him again, touch him, even just to look at him. And if he had asked me, we would have done it again. I am certain of it. But that day did not happen. *** I didn't walk away from him. I couldn't, I couldn't live with the idea, because I would have to leave the Scouts, and that was inconceivable. I decided I would stay close to him, but would never even touch him again, not even if he asked me. I would always refuse to go back to doing what we had once tried together. Yet I knew very well how impractical this way of thinking was, even at the very moment I made the decision. I did not have the character suitable for martyrdom. However, I was very prone to expect and accept punishment and pain. At that time, something happened that frightened me so much, it strengthened my intention not to undermine Paoletto anymore. Paoletto did not seem to suffer either from what we had done, or from my decision not to do it anymore. A couple of times he proposed we masturbate together and I, while despairing within myself, virtuously refused. He also alluded to how much he had enjoyed himself and how nice it would have been if we did it again, but I side stepped his requests, feigning disinterest or pretending not to understand. What really kept me from succumbing to temptation was something that happened at school. The fear that we might suffer a similar fate to a boy who went to my school, when suspicion arose that he was too close to one of the teachers. No one had ever seen them together more than usual, but there had been rumors. Someone had known, it had been stated that the boy spent many evenings at the teacher's house, an unmarried man, and living alone. It was enough for both of them to be branded as homosexuals, without anyone ever saying it openly. The rumor was that the boy was corrupted by the teacher. It meant he had to change schools. The professor disappeared and we never knew if all those whispers were true or false. Still, the voice inside my head told me to take heed and a fear remained. That others might discover and malign Paoletto and I, terrified me. It was a salutary lesson and the idea that my mother could discover my real desires towards Paoletto, even prevented me from masturbating for many days. In spite of this, I attached myself even more to him, in what I tried to make the most chaste of friendships. I vigorously made sure we escaped any hint, even the most distant, of sex. Paoletto neither noticed, nor did he pay any attention to my new found purity. At least, he didn't seem to, nor did he mention what had happened between us, the matter that I considered so dirty, I felt terrible just thinking about it. We incredibly never spoke of it again. *** Winter passed, spring blossomed, and summer returned. It was once more time for camp, my last camp as a Scout, before embarking on the next adventure, as a Rover. I had known where that would take me. Certainly, I would no longer be close to Paoletto who would stay in the Scouts for another three years. The nearer the approaching moment when we would separate drew close, so Paoletto attached himself to me more and more, almost foreboding that something would happen. During those last months, I often had to steel myself, to become strong enough to stem and limit the degree of confidence and familiarity we shared. The preparation for the camp was hectic and we no longer had time to worry about our future, or think about what would happen in October, when we would no longer have a legitimate reason to see each other every night. I was sure anyway that we would invent something to keep seeing each other somehow. Both of us would grow and mature. Our bond would hardly remain unchanged, but in my heart, and I knew Paoletto thought so too, our friendship would evolve and be preserved intact. As strong as ever. And who knows what our life would have been like if Paoletto, that day, the penultimate day of the camp, had not taken the yellow flag and I had not chased him. It all happened so suddenly. We were playing a game, the most important one during the camp. A kind of war between two groups who were formed by mixing the members of all the Patrols into two factions. To our great regret, Paoletto and I had ended up on different sides. Each group had to conquer a flag and defend it all day long from the attacks of the other group. It was a bit more complicated than that, there was a story for the setting of the game and other rules, but in the end the goal was to keep possession of the flag until four o'clock in the afternoon. Paoletto, using his speed and ability to squirm and wriggle, managed to get through a bunch of people bigger and heavier than himself. He reached the flag before anyone noticed and was already running towards the woods. I saw him and followed him. I saw him before the others because he and I never lost sight of each other. We looked at each other all the time and always knew what the other was doing. So, I was the best prepared to chase him. Some of my team tried, but soon gave up, because Paoletto's companions managed to block them, delaying their run. After a few minutes of uncontrolled charging through the woods, between ascents and descents, I stopped to recover my breath and get my bearings. I seemed to know where I was. We had been living in those woods for two weeks, and we had explored them far and wide. The direction taken by Paoletto was uphill towards the mountain that overlooked the camp. By now I had arrived at the clearing from where another thicker patch of trees climbed up towards the top of the mountain. Below there was the village and the whole valley with the lake. I saw him dawdling at the upper edge of the clearing. He was waiting for me because he knew it was me who had followed him. He signaled for me to come closer, and I was about to reach him, when he shouted at me. "Truce. Truce. Peace. You can't take the flag from me!" "And why can't I?" "Because you have to give me your word that until four o'clock you will not try to take the flag from me!" "And why should I?" "Because I will confide in you." He had disarmed me. He always knew how to do it. "OK! Then, peace! But only until four o'clock!" "Alright!" He ran towards me and hugged me, as if the truce between us had allowed him to find the friend he had lost. "What time is it?" he asked. That was one of the very few times he had asked the time. Paoletto had a very singular relationship with time. He was only punctual if we were to meet. Otherwise, including school, his measure of time was elastic and unreliable. "10:30 AM." "Then we have at least five hours to be alone, don't we?" "I think so!" Being on opposing sides in the game we were playing, it was not convenient for either of us to be found by the others. For me to be found by his companions would have meant being overwhelmed and ending up out of the game. For him, who was practically my prisoner, but until four o'clock protected by my word, meeting my team would have meant losing the flag. Instead, arriving at the fateful hour with the flag in his possession would make him a little hero. Regardless of the final outcome of the game. He was right, it was convenient for both of us to hide. And it was a beautiful opportunity, to be alone in a world of our own. "Shall we go? Shall we see where we can get to?" he said, looking up, to the top of the mountain. He took me by the hand and pulled me into the woods. After an hour of strenuous climbing, we stopped next to a stream to take a few sips of the very cold water. Then we continued on, climbing to the top, and after a short distance we lay in the sun on a spur overlooking the valley. Beyond the treetops we could see the campsite and even further below. A branch of the lake and then at the bottom a whole panorama of hills and countryside, more and more flat and indistinct in the distance. It was an enchanting spectacle that took hold of us, but we were immediately ravenous. I took out the sandwich I had in my backpack, since he, with all his dexterity and maneuvers to capture the flag, had left his bag in the camp. So, we only had one sandwich, not even that big, and only one water bottle, always mine, which we shared, happy to do so. At the end we collected and ate the crumbs that had fallen on the stone. We devoured the apple by biting it in turn, until we also ate the core. By the time we had finished our little meal, it was just after twelve o'clock and the sun was beating down. We were at an altitude of almost two thousand meters. We moved into the shade beneath a tree. I lay down on the grass resting my shoulder against a boulder. He came next to me, laying his head on my chest. Immediately my heart accelerated its beats. The emotion I felt ran from me to him and our eyes met. Many months, almost a year of proposals, of sacrifices, of fears, of remorse, everything was swept away by what I saw in his eyes. I put my arm on his chest and he came closer to me, he gathered himself against me. We were alone. Suddenly I was aware we were alone, absolutely alone. We had drifted away, as distant from everything and every path as the rocks that surrounded us. Only God could see us there. I hadn't believed in it for a long time, and Paoletto believed only what I believed in. He held me tight. I felt his body, as he felt mine. I touched his face with my hand. I drew him to me. I caressed his chest, then I went down slowly to touch his belly, and then further down. I felt he was excited. I caressed him, and he let me. He didn't stop looking at me, then he untied himself from my embrace to sit cross-legged next to me. I could no longer decipher his expression. He hesitated, it was as if he were stunned by what we were doing. It was then I stopped thinking and without realizing it decided about my life and his. I took his hand and placed it on my crotch. I was afraid he might run off, yank it away, or hit me, but it didn't happen. He didn't burst out crying, or laughing, he didn't withdraw. He did nothing to bring me back to reality. That is not meant as any sort of justification. Instead he caressed me gently, down there, just as I had done to him shortly before. Then he surprised me. With a slow movement, he lifted himself up and came and lay down on top of me. I felt his excitement pressing against mine. He put his head in the hollow of my neck. His lips opened to touch my skin. He hugged me. Then he was looking for my mouth. He wanted to kiss me, and I was letting him. I stayed motionless. He was going to kiss me. His serenity, the confidence with which he moved, not only amazed me, but literally overwhelmed me. Finally, our lips joined but it was not a deep kiss. We would have been unable to do it. Neither of us had ever kissed like that. I squeezed him. We looked into each other's eyes. He had few clothes on and I let my hands run over him. First to touch him, then to get rid of his clothes. When I began to undress him, I felt him stiffen. I didn't mind his shyness and he let me do it. He offered himself to my hands, to my eyes that fed on that poisoned food. He had grown in those months. He was beautiful. We moved aside and rolled on the grass. When I was on top of him, I got rid of what little clothes I had on. He was intrigued, because to him, who was no longer a child, my appearance as a young man must have seemed like a revelation. It was like seeing himself in the future, a specimen of adulthood. Our bodies pressed together. Not a word was spoken. What could we say? With my eyes closed, I tried living those moments in full. And I lived them in an orgasm that was sudden and upsetting, suddenly bathing his abdomen. Exactly as he did with mine. The pleasure for me instantly turned to tears and sobs. Paoletto, who was always suffering with me, followed suit, and cried too. When we calmed down my head had no more thoughts. They would have been too dreadful for me to contemplate. I felt nauseous and giddy. "Why did you cry?" He was frightened. Our eyes were red. "You were crying too..." "You started it," he insisted "Why? Tell me!" "I don't know," I replied, a little rudely, trying to get dressed, "We can't stay here any longer, let's leave!” "Why? What have I done?" I should have stayed by his side and consoled him. I should have tried to explain, to justify my behavior. Instead, after using him, I was abandoning him. Once clothed, I got up and walked towards the woods, leaving him behind, alone. "Did I do something to you?" he cried. I heard him shout as he ran after me. "I promise you that I will never do it again. I swear to you. I'm sorry!" he cried again. I stopped and waited for him to reach me. "What have I done to you?" he murmured again as he approached me. “What have I…” I shouted to him, to the sky, to God if there was a God “What…” “Please!” he was crying. I grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. "Swear on your mother's life you won't tell anyone what we did just now!" "I swear to you," he whimpered, "but don't be angry with me! Please, I beg you! I will never do it again! I will never speak of it! I swear! With anyone! Don't get angry! Please!" He was like me! It couldn't have been! It was not supposed to be! It was not supposed to happen! I was the sick one, of that horrible species. I had the unmentionable vice, and I knew it for a while, but discovering that Paoletto could be like me too, terrified me, because I was sure I had infected him. Probably, as Marco had done with me. I don't know why I imagined a disease or a curse, something that was transmitted from boy to boy, but that's what I thought as we were going down the hill. I was stunned by screams that didn't exist. I could hear a buzzing sound in my ears that deafened me, and my eyesight became clouded until I fell down a couple of times. I could barely hear his footsteps behind me and every once in a while, I would hear a sigh and hiccup, or his pleading for me to stop and wait for him. He cried and begged, but I didn't stop. We descended towards the camp. When we met a group of our comrades, I said I was sick and could not continue the game. Paoletto was silent, behind me. He also seemed dazed. The Scoutmaster diagnosed both of us with sunstroke and sent us to the tent to rest. The game continued without us. *** My life had changed. I had taken a path that would make me quite different from what I had been until a few hours before. When we were in the tent alone, I slipped into my sleeping bag and turned my back to him. Paoletto was wasted, washed out, his eyes closed. He didn't say a word and practically did not speak again until the end of the camp. I too, was not much company, hoping that everything would end as soon as possible, and I could get away from everyone, especially him. I just wanted to be alone, in my room at home, looking at the ceiling. And that's what I did when we got back. I stayed for days alone in my room without leaving, except to eat listlessly. It was there, lying on the bed, with my eyes shut, that I determined and planned my future life, if what I conceived could be defined as a plan. Looking at the ceiling, I saw those images of what I wished I had not done. My devious, slow, implacable approach to Paoletto, exploiting his naivety, his vulnerability. He was a child and believed in his oldest friend. As plain as daylight, in the same vision, I saw myself and Marco. Him running away from me. More subtly, moving away from himself. Perhaps he had understood my weakness and was afraid of it, somehow stopping in time. I was in an orgy of self-pity, in the raging of my desire to punish myself. I was not touched by the idea of how Marco had acted so that I would follow him, only to run away scared. It happened there, in the bed I was soaking in sweat, because that August was the hottest in a century and it was even hotter for me to burn in hell. It was the beginning of hell. In those sheets that were soaked with tears at night because I cried, that's when I decided to die. I contemplated my suicide, but my cowardice did not figure it should be immediate and definitive. Instead, I planned that it had to be slow and painful. Out of selfishness and with malice towards my loved ones, I decided to let myself die and stop worrying about myself. My apathy made my mother uncomfortable and she even managed to get my father's attention. He, recognized the symptoms of a nervous breakdown, had me examined by one of his neurologist colleagues. I was fit, the man said. I only had growth problems. If I cared about myself, I would have shouted my real problems at him, but I didn't do that. Give me a medicine, doctor! Let me heal, asshole of a doctor. Or let me die. I was desperate. I had a monster inside and I had to drive it out. And in order to destroy it I had to look for something stronger, something that would bring it down. Or at least reduce it to silence so that I wouldn't listen to it screaming inside me anymore. Even if it were not the screams I was afraid of, but the song of the siren that drew me to a place where I would embrace Paoletto again. I knew he was still there, crying and waiting for me. I went out again, but I was wandering around on my scooter in places where I had never been before. Where I was sure not to meet any of my usual friends. I made some new acquaintances and approached some kids from my school who were meeting in a public garden far from my neighborhood. At that place, late at night, when most of the ordinary people had gone home, someone would pull out a joint and we would smoke it all together. That's how I started, taking a few shots, and seeking company, because I got tired of crying alone. I went looking for a monster mightier and stronger than my private vice and my impossible love. One evening there was an alarmed phone call from Paoletto's grandmother. It seemed that the boy had been refusing food for a few days. Grandma Luigia asked, if possible, that I come and talk to him. If I had done so, someone would have asked me to explain, but what could I have said? Perhaps I should have looked Paoletto in the eye. When my mother told me about the phone call, I left the house slamming the door, without saying a word. That night I bought drugs. I was never short of money, my father and mother gave me as much as I asked for, and I could afford all the vices I wanted. I bought some LSD pills. Feeling more scared than I thought, I swallowed one and waited for the effects. My new friends, more acquaintances than friends, assured me that for a while I would forget even my name. That was exactly what I was looking for. However, with that first high I distinctly recall a complete sequence of odd dreams whose concreteness still astonishes me. In the first dream we were on the high mountain, the sun burning on our skin, Paoletto was on top of me. The feeling of his weight pressing on my belly. Him touching my lips with a kiss, me undressing him. His resistance. I tore his shirt. I remembered the sound of the tear. We rolled together on the grass. He was then underneath me. I blocked his arms. He tried to move. I forced my lips on his mouth. I found his sex, gripping it and joining it to mine. I felt them pulsating. The orgasm wet us. That first dream ended there. Instead of waking up I realized I was in another reality. I discovered with terror that I had dreamt while I was awake. The merry-go-round of dreams on which I had climbed on took off for another, even more terrifying, ride. I dreamt I was chasing Paoletto and then I reached him. It was easy to overwhelm him because of how strong I was. Still my hands were looking for satisfaction on his body. Then, as skillful as I was, he still eluded me. He managed to slip out of my sweaty hands. I saw him disappearing over the precipice and I fell with him. Once again I failed my attempt to return and wake up. It wasn't over yet. In another round I was certain I had killed him. It was then I panicked. I frightened the others who were with me. I screamed, calling out for Paoletto, whom fortunately no one there knew. When I was conscious enough, they told me, in no uncertain terms, that if I wanted to stay with them, I had to stop taking hallucinogens. At least until I was a little calmer. I could smoke all the grass in the world, but no more trips. The humiliation of that night with the risk that I had run of betraying myself in front of everyone, hit me hard. The thought of being taken away from the only people with whom I had any sort of friendship, pushed me to be more cautious, to save myself from worse damage.
  2. The choice of nom de plum was a coincidence. I had known Lenny Bruce through Bob Fosse's film with Dustin Hoffman. Wanting a nickname that contained the word Lenny, for my own reasons, I chose Lenny Bruce. I didn't think at the time that it could be associated with a vulgar language that didn't belong to me at all. Meanwhile the nickname had stuck and I kept it. So the answer to your question is 'no' there will never be excessive blasphemy or gratuitous vulgar language in what I write. Ciao!
  3. Long before, before everything happened, Marco had been my Patrol Leader in the Scouts. And I was almost in love with him. He called me one lunchtime. That time during the day for the unhappy reunion of my family, or what was left of it. Three months had passed, only three months, and an eternity of silence. At that time of the day, my mother and I, punctual without any reason, spent a long moment together. The time necessary to swallow the food with acceptable calm. We simply acknowledged the other’s presence, but rarely looked into each other's eyes. It was far easier to concentrate on listening carefully to the noise the cutlery made against the plates, while the chewed food went down, where it would be digested. A sentence, a few words, would have broken that vow of silence which we had never made, and the deafening noise would no longer have stunned us. But neither I, nor she, both still intensely upset, intimidated by what had happened, said anything other than the words strictly necessary to avert any rudeness. That day, it was the phone that made a noise, a loud clangor. I whispered something and got up. Trying to tiptoe, afraid of making a noise, touching the walls, the furniture, anything. Then I listened to Marco, the sound of his voice, serene, cheerful, comforting. "Come and see me," he said, "I need to talk to you. Come to the Section, tonight..." The Section was how everyone, since forever, had called the Scout Troop’s place. "Are you still in the Scouts?" I asked him, smiling, as if he could see me. I liked listening to him. Usually his voice calmed me down and helped me detach myself from my thoughts. I knew only too well that he still wore the Scout uniform, the shorts, badges, the foulard. He would never leave the Association, but I asked him anyway. Because I liked the sound of his voice. "Don't be silly, you know very well I'm still in the Scouts. And you also know that this year I'm Scoutmaster. I told you. Remember? Don't get smart with me!" his voice told me he too was smiling. "I wouldn't!" I said, knowing he was joking and struggling to grin. He was teasing, and I was trying to maintain a composed tone to my voice. My face, on the other hand, remained frozen for a long time, unable to contract the muscles that had just made me smile. A lost habit. I had almost forgotten how to smile. "Listen...I am calling you because tonight I would like to..." he hesitated. Then he corrected himself, "that is...I would like you to come to the Troop meeting. Tonight! At seven o'clock, as always. Tonight! Remember? Can you do this for me? We're always there. Will you come? Please!" He was suddenly agitated, which for Marco was not normal. "Marco, why do you want me to come... and tonight? Why should I, Marco? Try telling me, please!" "Because I need to talk to you!" I was suspicious. Perhaps he wanted to ask a favor. Whatever it was, it was definitely something I couldn't do. I could not go back there. I hoped he would explain himself, then and there, over the phone. I waited, desperate, because what he was asking me was too difficult for me to do. "I need to talk to you… in person!" he insisted. "I have something to propose. Will you come? Please?" Was he begging me? "Marco, you haven't called me in ages." I was trying to defend myself, more alarmed than annoyed. "I haven't heard from you for months. And you want me to meet you. At the Section. Where I haven't set foot, in three years. In fact, it's been three years since I've been anywhere near there! Perhaps you also remember why I don't go there anymore? You know why, Marco. You should know! And tonight, you want me to come there just because you have to talk to me? What have you got to tell me? Tell me now! Come on!" It was the tension that made me rude. I was in trouble. The emotion, the idea of going back to those places, it took my breath away. "I need your help," he finally said. "And if I ask you, it's because you're the only one who can do me this favor. Will you come?" His voice, far from being tense, had become even sweeter. Evoking in me other times and another happiness. That tone brought me back to my adolescence, which was not so far away and yet it was over, completely over, buried under piles of life and bad experiences. "Maybe!" I said. I hung up nervously, without adding anything else, or listening to the quiet thanks. Polite, as he was, Marco had certainly murmured that word, even into the mute handset. Quiet and polite, that was his way of imposing himself. I had that thought for the thousandth time in my life. And I did not say goodbye to him, nor did I tell him how much I missed them all, how happy and excited and scared I was to go back there. Why didn't I refuse? Why go? Why not stay away? Perhaps, because for one evening I had the chance to think about something other than books and exams, or the silences. The melancholy with which my mother and I populated our days. It wouldn't hurt me. There was little time left until school finished. When my teachers would ask me to show the fruit of my work. My attention was focused exclusively on my examinations, on what I would write and say on those occasions, to be evaluated and judged. Written and oral exams. I had to show something of myself that was not my real thoughts if I wanted to get top marks. And I was obliged to do so. Then, after that moment, beyond the finish line, there would be nothing left. *** In those months of my life, there had been nothing but damned exams. When I didn't fantasize about the tests that awaited me, a sort of fatal appointment, it was the image of my mother which occupied my mind. Her slow fading grief worried me. Or I thought about my father, how he was before, and then at the end, when I had looked at him for the last time, when he was alive. Because as a dead man, he was no longer here. He was only a bag of skin stretched over bones. His bones were the only part of his body that the disease had not ravaged or wilted. That evening I decided to go to Marco's, because maybe, I thought, it wouldn't hurt me to get distracted. As long as I didn't regret it because I hadn't forgotten everything that had happened. It was one of the things I could not afford to ignore, along with many more serious things. First, it meant meeting certain people, a different sort of person, the companions of some of my many trips. Up to that time of my life, I had done many trips, but those were all ‘induced’ trips. Only two had been important to me. True, physical. The first, in the summer two years before, when I had visited Amsterdam. The other, the following summer, when I went to London. All those other trips were nothing but an escape from reality. The product of drugs of various kinds capable of altering my psychophysical balance, as my father would have said, pushing me to uncontrolled reactions. My father was a heart surgeon. For the last year and a half, I was absolutely forbidden to meet those persons who had passed me my first joints and then introduced me to LSD and other substances. I was also prevented from seeing the person who had held my arm, while someone, whose name I had tried to forget, injected my first and last dose of heroin. That was a particular prohibition because it was irrevocable and absolute. Stated by my father. And he was dead. That veto could never be set aside as might have happened, but not now that my father was dead. It had instead a value which fixed it as irrevocable for me and would have been sacred, if I believed in something that could make it so. But I didn’t believe in anything, not anymore. However, in those very days, looking at the commitment with which I was studying, at my fury, at my anger, I understood how those efforts were the childish attempt to deceive an already predefined destiny. With my high school graduation (#1), my nightmares, the real ones, would have reached me and I would have not been able to escape them. On that summer morning, which I hoped would arrive as soon as possible, I would have said goodbye to my examiners. I would have been free from the thought of exams. And the diversion granted by the study would have been over and I would have returned prisoner of my obsessions. *** Marco and I had continued to see each other, even after I left the Scouts three years ago. We would meet up, although it would be more accurate to say it was he who was always the one looking for me, and I let him find me. Occasionally, it was the other way around, and I was the one who wanted to see him. Mostly, I agreed to see him, because when we met, Marco did not ask me any questions, nor did I have to talk to him about myself. It was as though our meetings took place in a faraway place and to get there I had to deprive myself of those other experiences, the ones I would not tell him about. Everything was so sad. At those times I felt more sad than usual, but also happy in a melancholic way, because Marco was there and talking to me. In the places we chose for our appointments, the noise of the world outside arrived filtered through the discretion with which that boy knew how to conceal his every action. I think it was me who wanted us not to talk about us, because if I had allowed him to, he would certainly have told me about himself. I thought I didn't care to know about him, or I was afraid he might tell me things I wouldn't want to know. What was important, however, was not having to tell him about me. He sensed those things, he knew, reading them in my face. We always talked of other things. Anyway, we were still close enough for him to contact me and ask me to visit him. Whatever was going on in his head it would be good for me at least to hear what it was. That day, the odd thing which frightened me and made me nervous, being almost rude to him, was that he wanted to meet at the Section. And he knew I wouldn't like that. Not that we had ever talked about it, but it was one of those things two friends don't need to tell each other, in order that one would know about the other. Despite everything I would still go there. I would probably see some friendly faces again, but certainly also someone I didn't really want to see again. It was dangerous for my balance, but I decided, for that evening I would risk it. It was crazy, but the decision was induced by the emptiness my life held in those months, and in the last few years. When you have nothing at all in your heart, I thought, you don't risk losing it. I was wrong and what was worse, having decided to go, I knew exactly how wrong I was. *** I arrived at the Section at seven o'clock, the time every night the boys met up. The Scouts' headquarters was in a wide, side street, which was quiet enough for them to play football without having to worry about cars. Inside was a long, spacious room, the tall, vaulted walls forming large arches, each painted a different color. The colors matched the different Patrols, and on the walls hung various objects, real trophies to inspire the imagination of the kids. When I too was a boy. I stopped at the door, inside there was the usual animation. I trembled with emotion, closed my eyes, and breathed in the unmistakable smell of that room. A mixture of paint, dampness, leather, waterproofing liquid for the tents, grease for the boots, and the odor of the boys. A perfume that I once had, then inevitably lost, along with many other things. Marco came to meet me at the door. He was genuinely happy. "You really came. I didn't think I would convince you so easily. But that's good, because otherwise I would have continued haunting you with my phone calls!" What could I say to him? That, that night, I was going to rehearse my suicide. "Do you have plans for the summer?" he asked me immediately, without preamble, smiling, as always. "I mean for after your exams. Before you go to your grandparents, you know?" He never talked a lot, but always with the same warm and flat, comfortable voice. For me it had always been reassuring. I had almost forgotten his tone and listening to it once more made me inexplicably happy. He had also remembered my grandparents, in Vienna. He thought my mother and I would return there. My mother and I, a vacation, as if nothing had happened. Then it struck me, that my life didn't have to end that evening, or that month, but I had a chance to continue. Maybe? So, I set my intentions aside and decided to contemplate my possible suicide another time. Maybe later in the summer. First, I would listen to what Marco wanted to ask me. "I haven't thought about it yet," I answered, while distractedly watching the boys move and jump the same way I had done three years earlier. "I don't know yet the date of the oral exam. Who knows how it's going to turn out?” "Coming from you, it doesn't make sense," he said, laughing. Not even considering that kind of excuse. "I'm sure you'll get top marks. Listen…" he took my hands and squeezed them, as if to give more strength to his proposal. "I just wanted to ask you if you would like to come with us to camp!” So, this was his request. And it was a challenge. I should have expected such a demand. Actually, there were a few things he could have asked me to do, but this was the riskiest one for me and, in a way, also for him, because he was in charge of the Scout Troop. “No way…” I began turning away, trying to leave the place. “Wait, I need help…please!” he said, and I stopped in my tracks. “We need help…there will certainly be only two of us, instead of three and we are looking for someone who can take care of the practical things. Only what Tonio and I will not be able to deal with. Do you remember Tonio? Now he is the Assistant Scoutmaster." "Yes!" I said at once, “I remember him…” Tonio was one of those people I had almost forgotten, and without regret. I had no good or bad reason to remember him. I needed to try hard to recall what he looked like, but once I caught a glimpse of him at the back of the large room, I recognized him. So, this is what Marco wanted. His request surprised me. I found it difficult to agree to. In our sporadic encounters he never talked about anything like this. Now, I was reading in his eyes and in his heart that he wanted, hoped, it was time for me to come back from my protracted journey without end. He wanted me with him in the Scouts. If it was a dream for him, and it certainly was, that desire was just as unreachable as it was inviting. He had always hoped to persuade me to return to normality, to his idea of balance. And therefore, the Scouts indeed represented normality. Now that I was, in a sense, more presentable, respectable again, no longer looking after my father who had died, Marco could conclude the difficult task he had attributed to himself. But it wasn't only that, it would have been unfair to think so. He genuinely cared about me. I had suffered and still suffered, he knew it and wanted to help me, but this wasn't the medicine I needed. Not at all. And Marco did not imagine what that was, that I was sure of. If he had known, he certainly would never have called me. To avoid paying attention to all the thoughts that were bouncing around in my brain, I imagined myself at the camp. It would be a terrible mess, tiring and dirty. It would also be risky, because I would have a lot of guys around me and that was another one of the topics I didn't want to think about. It wasn't difficult to realize that camping was not for me. The person I was, who I had become, was no longer appropriate for a Scout Camp. Not at all. I was painstakingly trying to figure out how to reject Marco's proposal without offending him. Then, just as I was about to tell him, I saw this boy through the door. I recognized him immediately, he was not someone you would forget. It was for him that I was there. Had he not appeared at that moment, I would have gone back to my sadness and let myself be overwhelmed by it. Paoletto was standing in the doorway. So, instead of thanking Marco for considering me and begging him to excuse me because I could not accept his proposal, I replied in the opposite way to how I had intended. I spoke with an enthusiasm that was absolutely unknown to me. My brain stopped working and my heart expressed itself. It screamed, with all the strength it had, for fear that its voice would not be heard. "Do you really want me to come to the camp?” My poor heart said, “Do you honestly think I can come back with you again?" I heard myself say. While my brain felt horrified and was helpless. Marco looked at me intrigued because I was repeating his own words. "That's just what I'm asking you!" he said, still looking at me rather oddly. "I will come wherever you want, do whatever you want.” My heart was speaking for me, leaving my brain in shock. “Ok!” Now Marco was speechless. "But there are some things…" I told him. "I no longer think like all of you. You know what I mean," I was regaining a little control of my words, trying to make my head start thinking. "It's not a problem," he concluded. "I'm just asking for your practical help. You'll have to be a sort of Quartermaster and if you don't want to do certain things, no one will care. In short, if you don't come to Mass, no one will worry about your soul. Anyway, I think a camp would do you good!" He said this and left, before I could think it over, leaving me in the middle of the room, a bit dazed. Then I felt myself grasped from behind, hugged, squeezed, held with warmth and true affection. It was Paoletto. "What are you doing here?” he cried. “Have you come to sign up again?" We hadn't spoken for so long, since he was still a child and I was pretending to be a man. Now he was a grown boy, as tall as me, and I knew that I loved him. I had always loved him. I had never stopped loving him, not for a moment. I ran these thoughts through my head and wondered if I shouldn't run away. But I couldn't. He was there, holding me tight, and I loved him. The emotion made me catch my breath. But I couldn't do anything about it. That was just how it was. The way it was meant to be. "He can be the new Assistant Scoutmaster," Marco shouted from afar, seeing us together, "and maybe he will come to camp with us. He hasn't decided yet. Try to convince him, please, Paoletto!" "Really?" asked Paoletto, with the same sweet voice. That voice I had forgotten. Then he hugged me again, more tightly, if that was possible. He murmured in my ear "I'm happy! You, asshole… I'm happy. You will come? Won't you? Please…" He didn't wait for me to reply but slipped away to the corner owned by the Panthers' Patrol. I didn't know, not for sure, but he was their leader. Before he let me go he squeezed me tight and shook his head. I had said nothing, not even daring a breath. Suddenly I gulped in air. I should have left. I wish I could have. If I had disappeared, they probably wouldn't have bothered looking for me. Marco would simply have thought the Scout camp was not for me anymore. And Paoletto, once again, he would have wondered what had happened and then he would have forgotten me, maybe never giving me another thought. Instead, I stayed rooted to the spot, listening as Marco was trying to explain more about my job at the camp. All the time I was thinking about Paoletto. Who he had become now, after three years. Although in the past I was particularly good at denying reality to myself, that evening I had no difficulty in admitting the truth. My conscience and me. We knew perfectly well I had gone to the Section to see Paoletto again, knowing I would find him there. And when he noticed my presence, he ran to greet me. He had held me, and his embrace was full of affection. No resentment, nor the contempt that I should have deserved. I stayed at the Section and attended the meeting, at once and somewhat courageously ignoring all the reasons why I had abandoned the Scouts only three years earlier. My so called ideological problems had evidently never been important, they disappeared. As did my incompatibility with religion, which was the best garment I had dressed myself up in. That evening I was almost able to forget the real reasons behind my escape. When the boys gathered for prayers at the end of the meeting I did not burst out laughing or crying, as I had feared. I mechanically made the sign of the cross and almost prayed. A thing which came to remind me of my father, the way he was before everything that had happened to us. And then all the words of the prayers came back to me, all of them. The words that I had been trying to forget for three years came to mind, like I only recited them yesterday. While gathered there in a circle, as was the Scouts’ custom, first talking, then praying, Paoletto looked at me and I looked at him. We smiled and then laughed openly, one to the other, and that was bliss for me. I felt that my soul was healing, or at least it was the beginning of the process. When the meeting drew to an end, all my courage deserted me. I ran off, to avoid having to give answers I wasn't prepared to explain. But, I would go to the camp, I was happy to go, even if it meant doing things contrary to my way of thinking, if I still thought that was true. As I arrived home, rather than being disturbed and worried about what I had done, I felt soothed by the events. Something which my mother became aware of, which prompted her to ask why I was so happy. She would not often speak, it was a rare occasion when she would emerge from her self-imposed isolation, where she had shut herself away, cut off from everyone. I tried communicating to her a part of the serenity which I thought I had found that evening. Reassured that I had not renewed any old and dangerous past friendships, she did what she always did, and recoiled, withdrawing back to her hiding place. The following night I went to the Scouts again, so as to be with Paoletto. It was as if those three years had not passed by it was like it was only yesterday, and I buried my head in the hard work of preparations. I was happy to have my thoughts occupied with different matters. These new tasks appeased me, and I could see Paoletto every evening, enjoy his affection and sincerity. I never thought about being the one who betrayed him. For years I had tried to get to grips with the inherent dangers which might be hidden within any new friendship. Reuniting with Paoletto and the others was like a miracle medicine, it's effects spilt over into my studies releasing the hitherto need to be buried within books. My exams went very well, and I received top marks, as everyone expected. The day the results were known, we left for camp. It was in the Alps somewhere, a place with a French sounding name. *** I was fifteen years and three months old when I left the Scouts, it was in August, after my fifth camp. At seven I had joined the Cubs and stayed until I was ten, when I moved up to the Scouts, and found Marco. He was two years older than me, and I liked him straight off. Partly because we were in the same Patrol, we lived in the same area, and our families knew each other. Years before, it was his mother who convinced mine that I should join the Cubs. Marco was a quiet boy. As children we had often played together. I was an only child, as was he. I was always looking for a playmate, and although older, he had always been available and happy to share his time and his toys with me. When I was much younger, I had this big teddy bear. It was made of an extraordinarily soft material and its eyes, and the expression on its face, just begged to be hugged. Which I did all the time. For a while, we were inseparable. I understand now how that teddy was a substitute for the little dog that my parents never wanted to give me, or even a kitten to pet, from fear of catching some disease, or perhaps the trouble of looking after it. That sort of infatuation lasted only a few months, until my mother decreed that Pilù was too dirty for me to take him to bed with me. One day she made him disappear, trying to replace him with another teddy bear that, of course, only heightened the loss, and my nostalgia for him. After a while I forgot Pilù, but I think I remembered him when I met Marco. For me he was like Pilù, smooth and soft. Not that as a six or seven year old I could understand those things, but his hair, the way he dressed, his voice, his behavior, were absolutely free of roughness and everything about him conveyed serenity and softness to me. When we found ourselves in the Scout Troop together, Marco was immediately very affectionate, confirming in the Scouts, in an environment with lots of older boys, the friendship that already existed between us. And I repaid him with my devotion, proud that an older boy, he was already thirteen years old, was interested in an annoying little squirt such as me. Every evening, at a quarter to seven he would pass in front of my gate. I would already be outside waiting for him. Together we would walk and run, chatting, and joking, until we reached the Section. We did this for three years, and during this time our friendship deepened. I was also growing up and became less exasperating. It was only natural that Marco became my confidant. I had other friends who were my peers, usually schoolmates and playmates, or those who were the same age as me in the Scouts. But Marco was the person I used to turn to when I wanted someone to explain something to me. I had no older brothers or sisters, so it was quite natural that I confided in him, sharing all my doubts. Joining the Scouts, much more than with the Cubs, I learned to live in a world that was no longer the secluded reality of my family. It was a different world even to life at school, which had never involved me enough for me to consider it important. Instead, the Section became my cosmos, my universe, and my school of life. Marco was my master in that world, my guide through an unknown country which I had to explore and know in order to survive and grow. Every night in that hall there was one especially important game we played, which was learning life. A game which often continued on Sundays, with excursions out of town, in some woodlands, where we had other activities and goals. And then there was summer camp, which almost took the role of a final exam. At that time none of us imagined playing a role so close to real life. Although, after studying social studies for the first time, I imagined that we were like a small state, the Section, divided into regions or provinces, which were the Patrols. That state had a government, with leaders, the adults, the wisest. And each province, each Patrol, was ruled by the oldest of the group, or in his absence by the one that was closest to him in age. After studying medieval history, it occurred to me, that perhaps the Patrols were like fiefdoms. Small states that were constantly at war, with battles, conflicts, and confrontations, with each other. Whether a soccer match or a contest to determine who had best painted their own corner of the Section. We played that game, happy to be part of it, yet equally unaware that we were. After two years and two camps, Marco became my Patrol Leader, something which increased, if it were possible, my devotion to him. One evening in October, a few months before my thirteenth birthday, on the way home, I found the courage to ask him something. It was an idea that had been bouncing around in my head for too long and had upset the peaceful flow of my days. School had recently resumed, as had the activities of the Scout Troop. This kept us very busy, yet not enough to completely forget some little things that were happening, which although I explained the changes to myself, I could not ignore them. Then two comrades of mine told me a story which highlighted all this. They had found themselves alone in the house of one of them and had started to do things together. I had an idea about what they were going to say, and I didn't even want to listen to it. Yet, I couldn't run away, once I understood what it was about, I was captured, stuck in the chair listening to their story, it was too interesting to pass over. That summer, my body had changed. Something more than the whisper of hairs which graced my face, my balls were sprouting faint curly hair. My dick took on a mind of its own, which I could neither understand nor control. All of this both intrigued and embarrassed me. It was what those two were talking about, ignoring all the other changes, their attention was focused on conspiratorially whispering the word 'cock', which caused me to blush and I wanted to stop listening. To listen to them talking was more than I could cope with, that's what I told myself, but it wasn't true, because I didn't move, instead captivated by their bragging. I knew something about my physical development, but I had no practical knowledge of the matter. As my father was a doctor, the library at home was very well stocked on such a subject and I had done my research in secret from my parents. I understood and recognized what was happening to me, but the idea that I could take pleasure in these changes had not yet touched me. If I had come across any such explanation, it must have escaped me. Those two schoolmates, on the other hand, even though they lacked my scientific knowledge, were endowed with an impudence that did not belong to me, nor would ever be mine. They had had an experience in which the existence of pleasure had been revealed to them and obviously they were boasting about it with me. Perhaps they were making up a good part of the story. I knew it, but it was all so compelling that I listened to what they were saying and convinced myself it was true. Their words enraptured me, while they laughed roughly and described what they had done the previous afternoon at home. First, they were excited to tell each other stories about non-existent girls and conquests they had never made, then they pulled out their already hard dicks, or cocks. Then they got the idea to have a competition. They wanted to measure them to determine who had the longest. When with the ruler in hand they had established which of the two was the most gifted, the winner had demanded payment of a pledge that consisted in being able to freely touch the other. The groping had caused such excitement that together they had 'jizzed', and here my understanding had faltered. Even though they had explained to me that the practical effect had been getting wet and dirty with semen. I had listened with my mouth open and had also naively asked who had won the race. Those two were much smarter than me and invited me that very afternoon to their house of to find out for myself. Horrified, I ran off, hearing the laughter of my two uninhibited companions behind me. I was upset, even though I knew that most of the story had been made up for my benefit, to brag about their physical maturity. And because those two just wanted me to participate in their fun. In any case, the episode had made me terribly curious to know more. So, after a few days spent wondering if I could do it too. If it wasn't a serious sin towards that God who, at the time, I thought was intent on spying on everyone to be able to judge them in due time. Or if it wasn't dangerous for my health, as we kids whispered among ourselves. After nights spent in confusion, assaulted by all sorts of doubts, not least the terrifying idea of having to tell my confessor about my sinful actions. Unable to reach a solution, I decided to ask the advice of my Patrol Leader who was also my advisor and my confidant, and although I had not yet understood it, the master of my heart. "Marco, can I ask you something?" We were walking home, like every night, on our way back from the Section. Surely the right moment to ask him my question. I didn't wait for his assent but continued with the question I had meticulously prepared. But as I started, my courage faltered, though somehow I found extra strength, because by now I had to know, and Marco was the only one whom I trusted. "Two of my schoolmates told me that... some things can be done... that… they do certain things...” I said hastily and gasping. Then I took a deep breath and finally said the word I was so scared of, “I am talking about, masturbation. What do you think? Do you think it is a bad thing? Is it a sin?" I inquired, fearfully. He didn't answer immediately, he kept quiet and kept walking, so much so that I was afraid I had offended him with my words. His silence bewildered me, and I was about to apologize for having annoyed him when he finally spoke. Not with his usual calm voice. "What exactly do you know?" he asked, with a kind of trembling in those few words. Although I was terribly embarrassed, I found the courage to speak up, and pitched in with my scientific knowledge on the subject. I called everything by its name, even though many issues were not clear to me from a practical point of view, having not yet tried anything myself, for fear of who knows what consequences. Listening to me, I think he was blushing. I am not sure, but perhaps the frankness of my words had embarrassed him. "It's not a bad thing and it's not a sin," he said decisively, "but one shouldn't exaggerate.” "Exaggerate what?" "In doing what we are talking about… I mean, you ought not to do it too often." Before I could ask him again what on earth you had to do so sparingly, Marco must have read my mind, and helped me avoid dying of shame. "You've never done it, have you?” I shook my head, almost sorry to be a problem. "Then you don't know how to... masturbate!" "No! Yes! My classmates told me at school...I know a little bit!" "And you want me to explain it better to you?" I would like you to show me, I thought, without being able to say it. It would have been inconceivable, even though it was the thing I most desired in the world at that moment. "Yes... only if you wish," I murmured, at the height of embarrassment and excitement. "Try to find yourself a quiet place," he began. "You have to be alone, because it is better that way,” he added, disappointing my expectations. “Then make yourself comfortable." Despite everything, I listened, captured by his words. This was a life lesson. Not the one I would have liked, but always a precious lesson, and I don't know how many people have received it from someone like Marco. He managed his response with balance and prudence. I would certainly have preferred direct practice, but perhaps it would have been too much to expect. He spoke with a trembling voice. Now I know, excitement choked him, but at that moment I thought he was just embarrassed. "Take your thing in your hand and if it isn't hard, it will get hard right away. It gets hard, doesn't it?" My heart skipped a beat. I thought that was a secret. Not a deformity, as some of my schoolmates believed, but I was convinced that that aspect of my body should be hidden. It was out of bounds to anyone but me. Now I believe that singular idea was the culmination of my naivety and was the best proof of it. I blushed and nodded in discomfort. I also stopped while he kept walking. "There's nothing wrong with it," he encouraged me. "It's normal that it happens if you see something you like. Do you know what I'm talking about?" "Yes! I think so..." My throat was dry, and my tongue stuck to my palate. What was he talking about? Something I liked? What was it I liked? Most of all, I liked him. And also, some of my schoolmates, some of the boys in the Scouts, but most of all I liked him. "Then move your hand as you are touching yourself. You will see that you will immediately understand how to do it! Then a beautiful thing will happen to you. You will feel strange. This strong and unfortunately short feeling is called orgasm! But don't be frightened! You'll see, it's beautiful!" he concluded with a cracked voice. "I think I get it... perhaps!" When he left me, as usual in front of my house, neither of us had the courage to look at each other. However, that evening he had said something which had granted me salvation, allowing me to grow up knowing this particular aspect of my development was nothing to be ashamed of. At least not right away, because I wasn't ashamed of it until other things happened later. "I do it too!" he reassured me. "And... another thing that perhaps you would like to know. I said so in confession. Only once, but that priest… turned very red." We laughed together. "Then I thought, this matter was something personal, strictly personal, and I probably shouldn't talk about it anymore with a priest. After all, they say it's a sin. I don't think it is, because if God has given us hands and that thing… you know… then... in short..." And that's where he stopped. Maybe he was telling me too much and preferred to say no more. "So, anyway. Listen… If you want to talk about it with me, you can. Whenever you want. With you I don't feel ashamed! And you don't have to be ashamed either! Never! Do you understand?" That is what he told me, and knowing someone like him, who was older than me, had the same problems and was willing to help me, consoled me greatly. When I went inside, I tried to be alone as soon as possible. Hastily, I put into practice all Marco’s suggestions. The result amazed me. Pushing me to try again immediately to obtain the same feelings. The idea of trying a third time, I ignored, because I remembered my friend's recommendations about moderation. That day Marco had given me something more, in addition to our strong friendship. He had created a new complicity in our relationship, something almost physical. I started to experience a strange feeling whenever I was close to him. I began to touch him. I didn't miss any chance I had. He too was attracted by me, but in a different and certainly more conscious way. However, we never found the courage to speak about this new dimension to our friendship. We lived it, and we were happy in our own way. Sometimes I looked for him, only to discover that he was already staring at me. He would often caress me, touching me with his soft hands. It was a touch so different from that of my mother. The only touch I had known before. When he touched me, I felt a similar affection. *** When those caresses, their nature masked to us, revealed themselves for what they were, everything ended. Marco never mentioned what had happened, and I placed those moments, which I had not completely understood, in the limbo of things lived or seen like a dream. They were real, only sometimes you think to yourself you only dreamed it. When finally, I understood, it was too late for me, for Marco, for everyone. It happened the following summer during a night at camp filled with heavy rain, lightning, and thunder. We had been asleep for a couple of hours, tucked into our sleeping bags, when the thunderstorm hit. It reached a force we had never seen before, although there had been rainy days. Wind and water swept the campsite, where we had raised our pole for the flag. It was the creaking of that pole swaying in the wind, that woke me. When you are accustomed to sleeping in a tent and have experienced an intense day of camp, you certainly do not wake up with the sound of rain beating on the rainfly, thunder rumbling, or the flash of lightning. I was there, deeply asleep like everyone else, when a sort of insistent crunching tore me from the deep sleep of tiredness. As I slowly woke up, I distinguished that sound from all the other noises. The wind driven rain, the rustling of the leaves of the birch trees that surrounded the meadow, the thunder that echoed in the valley. Finally, I isolated the noise, that even in my sleep, had attracted my attention. The creaking of the flagpole. It was not normal, I reasoned, that it made so much noise. It had to be very windy for it to tilt so much that it had to moan like that. The insistence of the noise and the idea that it was strange and unusual woke me up completely. I decided to look outside. With some effort I pulled one arm out from my sleeping bag, knowing it would be cold to get up, a thought I dismissed. I put my hand on the floor and felt it was wet (#2). The tent was completely flooded, the water almost reaching the level of the cots we were sleeping on. "Marco, there's water in the tent. Marco, we're flooded!" I shouted. They all woke up, someone lit a flashlight, and we could see that we were easily palm deep in water. "We can't stay here,” Marco said, as always calm and quiet. “Come on boys, we have to leave. Get your shoes and windbreakers and sleeping bags. Don't let them get wet. Let’s go. We have to reach the haystack." This was the order of our Patrol Leader. Someone was already crying, frightened. I was shivering from the cold and fear. The storm had not lessened at all and thunder was rumbling nearby. My knowledge of natural sciences suggested something to me at the wrong time. When it would have scared me the most. And that was that if the thunder is very strong, the lightning fell very close. This was what terrified me. Marco shook me, reminding me of my duties, amongst which was to look after those younger than me. The little ones of course were much more frightened than me and could not find their boots or windbreakers in the panic. All things considered, we were able to get ready quite quickly. Marco was already out and even our leaders had woken up hearing our shouting. The Panther Patrol tent was the only one to have flooded. We noticed it only then, we had planted the tent in the middle of a sort of drainage channel for the water that was coming down the slope. It was still raining hard, and the sky was lit up by lightning so frequent that the torchlight was useless. Even the thunder was almost continuous, which combined with the sound of the water, made it almost impossible to hear what we were trying to say to each other. And so, we all screamed together. Some to tell us what to do. Some trying to explain why it was taking so long to do it. We moved towards the haystack that was in the middle of a clearing and not far from where we were camped. We had to pass underneath a group of tall, leafy trees, so dense that they were impenetrable to rain and the flashes of lightning. After a few steps, I suddenly found myself in the dark. I felt two of the little ones moving next to me, but I no longer felt the presence of Marco or the others. There were six of us in the Patrol. Besides Marco and me, there was Tonio, the Assistant Patrol Leader, another boy of my age and then the two younger ones, one of whom was at his first camp. If, as it seemed, we were left alone, I being the oldest had the responsibility for the other two. In short, I was not allowed to cry, which I felt like doing. I was only thirteen years old, and in a forest, in the dark, at night. There was a storm raging all around and I was deafened by the sound of thunder. I thought I had every right to cry. Terror could have overwhelmed me had I not remembered that I was a Scout. If you are a Scout and someone needs your help, you can't cry until later. This I had been told so many times, that at that moment it seemed natural to regain my calm. I got closer to the two little ones who were trembling with fear and tried to help them. "Guys, the haystack is in that direction." I heard myself say with a voice that could not be mine, as calm as it was. It seemed that Marco was speaking through me. "Now, let's try to go there quickly! Marco and the others are coming! I can hear them behind us..." That was not true, but there was no need for them to know. And I hoped I wasn't wrong, both on the direction we were taking and on the fact that soon I could get rid of my responsibility and vent my fear, which was taking on proportions I had never experienced before. We had the sleeping bags with us that we were trying to keep dry. When we reached the edge of the wood and were about to leave the protection of the trees, I breathed a sigh of relief. Our shelter was no more than a hundred meters from us, in the middle of the clearing. And it had just been illuminated by the sudden flash of lightning. "Let's make a run for it!" I proposed, hoping that no one would fall or twist an ankle. We ran, as if we were being chased by a pack of wolves. And those must have been our thoughts because we stopped only after climbing to the second floor of the haystack. None of us had the courage to look outside to see if the others had followed us. We sat against the back wall, bundled up as we were in our windbreakers, still clutching our sleeping bags as if they were a lifesaver. Fortunately, Marco arrived immediately afterwards, together with the others. "Spend the night here," the Scoutmaster told us. He had come to make sure we were all safe. "Your tent is full of water. We can move it tomorrow.” So, we started looking around to decide how to settle down. We had to sleep on the ground because we had not brought our cots with us. At the moment of laying out my sleeping bag, I had the unwelcome surprise of finding it soaking wet. It must have happened when I got up, unaware that our tent was flooded. It was unusable, even as a blanket. That was when Marco said I could sleep with him, in his sleeping bag. I immediately accepted and after a few comments and jokes from the others about it being a small double bed, we slipped in together. We tried to coordinate our movements so as not to suffocate, since Marco was already big enough at fifteen and I was not small for my age. The excitement of the adventure calmed down as soon as Marco turned off his flashlight. Almost everyone plunged into the sleep of tiredness and relief from the fear we had experienced. Marco and I, on the other hand, did not fall asleep. We had lived our friendship a little bit exclusively in an always open way within the Scout Troop. There had been jokes about the fact that we always arrived together and that every night we went home at the same time. Sometimes the others would say we were engaged, but no one had ever gone beyond a few jokes, nor would there be any reason to. No one could have thought otherwise, not in those years, not among us at our age. This was the first and only time that something different happened. Something beautiful, scary, and extraordinary occurred, but none of the others noticed it. Maybe I would have been more comfortable if I had slept with one of the youngsters. Marco though, had wanted me with him. I was thinking about that while trying to fall asleep and that definitely stopped me sleeping. "Pass an arm under me. As if you're hugging me," he whispered in my ear. Instead of following his instruction, even if that would have been a good position to fit together inside that sack which was damn tight. I asked him, "Do you want me to hug you?” "Yes!" was his immediate, whispered answer. And he held me tight. He did it in a way that seemed strange to me. Not as if he were trying to settle in, but more to adhere to me. This didn't frighten me, rather I felt a sense of happiness when I found myself in this position. My heart felt like it had accelerated its beating. I also felt Marco's emotion. Our cheeks touched each other, then he moved his head back to look at me. We couldn't talk or see each other. We had only the simple language of our bodies and tactile perception. Perhaps, if we could have explained ourselves in words, or seen each other's faces, nothing would have happened. Instead, the darkness was total and the only noise we heard, other than the rain and thunder, now further away, was our breathing. It was cold, and being so close, was not unpleasant. I lay my head in the hollow of his neck and grazed him with my lips. It wasn't a kiss. I wouldn't know how to do that. I was seeking more intimacy. The smell of his skin was intoxicating. And Marco responded. He caressed my shoulder and slid his trembling hands along my body. We were wearing the tracksuits we used at the camp as pajamas. My curiosity was stronger than my shyness or modesty. We were pressed tightly together, and I felt him hard against my belly, it seemed too big to be what I knew. Gathering my boldness, I sought for it with my hand. Marco moved a little. I didn’t know if it was to move away or to leave me space. I can't say, I never understood it. I never asked him. But we were both excited. I caressed him. Encouraged by my movements, he also touched me. He took the initiative. He managed to slide down my tracksuit bottom and briefs. He slipped out of his own clothes and we were skin to skin, the heat I felt against me was fatal. I could no longer control myself, I was enjoying it so much. A moan escaped me, and Marco kissed me on the lips to shut me up. As he continued squeezing and kissing me, I felt him moving against me. Then I felt him jerk and a wetness on my belly and he calmed down. We were kissing, and it was a real kiss, the first one of my life. A flash of lightning momentarily lit the sky, another storm was approaching. A few years later, I studied a poet who described a night of storms and love. Something similar had happened to us and it was all cloaked in innocence. In me embracing him and in Marco touching me there was affection, friendship, and an infinite sweetness, until sleep overtook us. We were the first to wake up, because even if we loved each other, two in that sleeping bag was still a tight fit. Marco shook me gently. "Hey… sleepyhead, it's morning already. We have to get up," he murmured. We got dressed, without saying anything to each other. If I had not found on me and noticed on Marco the unmistakable signs of our excitement, I would have thought it a dream. But it was real. Marco didn't talk about that night again, he went back to being the affectionate friend he had always been. In the days that followed I regarded him with doting glances that served to remind him of that night and those emotions, which maybe we might live again. But I realized his eyes escaped those same expressions, and he certainly regretted what we had done. He never caressed me again and he never touched me again in the same way, but what had happened had not been a dream. When sometime later, thinking back to that night, I decided to do what I did and become what I became, it happened because I did not have Marco’s strength or the hypocrisy to avoid reality and convince myself I had dreamed it all.   (1) Italian High School Final Exams are called Maturity Exams. The school the main character attends is called Liceo Classico (literally Classical Lyceum). Its educational curriculum spans over five years, when students are generally about 14 to 19 years of age. The study of ancient languages (Latin and Ancient Greek) and their literature are compulsory. (2) At the time, the seventies, tents may have not built-in groundsheets. That was sadly the case.
  4. A boy discovers his homosexuality. He condemns himself for an attempted seduction of a more youthful friend. He seriously risks dying when he decides to take drugs. The descriptions of drug use are limited and very apologetic. The social environments described are those of the Italian Scout Association that the characters attend. Also, of Italy in the 70s. This boy’s life is pervaded with love, lessons, hardships, deaths, and special moments. The road is not pleasant. It is a perilous journey that deals with drug use, repentance, prostitution, pain, forgiveness, and hopefully redemption.
  5. Critique of Pure Reason Immanuel Kant immediately fascinated me, yet this story is not about him, but about how he changed my life. When our philosophy teacher first told us about Immanuel Kant, it immediately seemed to me that his rational approach to the world, his definition and contraposition between science and metaphysics, were what it took to give a new order to my mind always ready to wander and digress. Our teacher was immediately clear by introducing the philosopher born in Konigsberg. He anticipated us that Kant could change our lives and he was right. At least to me. How right he was, I understood it quickly, but not for what I thought would be, because Immanuel Kant changed my way of thinking, of reasoning, and also changed another crucial trait of my life. Actually, it wasn't exactly Kant who changed it, but it was my grandmother's grandmother, who had probably been a witch. It was the beginning of our senior year of high school (1) and the teacher informed us that studying and deepening Kant's knowledge would take at least two months of philosophy classes. Then he also said that at the end of those two months he would question us all about our knowledge of Kant’s philosophy. He also told us that he always imagined that studying Kant was like climbing a mountain and that get a good grade, at oral exam (2), would be like climb the Mount Everest. After the second lesson I was taken by the enthusiasm to know as much as possible about this little man, less than five feet tall, but so important for the modern world and, it seemed, also for my intellectual development. What followed was a careful research with the books I had available at home and then at the Municipal Library, where I was well known and whose attendants shuddered just to see me enter. When I asked to borrow the Critique of Pure Reason, I had an unpleasant surprise. Of the three copies in the Library, two had already been lent and the last one was to be available for consultation and could not be borrowed. Those were times when you didn't rush to buy what you thought was necessary for you. First you were going to look at all the possibilities for a loan through your relatives, uncles, cousins, then your friends and your parents' friends. I then discovered that almost everyone in my family had studied Immanuel Kant, but no one had delved into it enough to require reading the original texts. Only then did I realize that I had been born into a family of doctors, engineers, and mathematicians and, in any case, people with all kind of degrees in hard sciences and not in “metaphysical” sciences. Was I the first, for who knows how many generations, to have developed certain odd curiosities? “Unhelpful unrealities” said my father, half aloud, when, at dinner, one evening, I was blabbing about my enthusiasm for Kant. “What did you say?” I asked incredulous. “He said that the nightmares generated by the oral test about Kant, that he had to endure during his High School, haven’t yet ceased to have effects on his sleep and his dreams!” my mother explained to me, while my grandmother was laughing. “Oh, yes, I remember,” said my grandmother “he didn’t eat for a month while he was preparing for the oral test!”. That was my family. Anyway, when I found out for sure that the book could not be borrowed from any acquaintance, I proposed my mother to buy it, but, as I said, those were years when you did not buy everything you needed, indeed it was believed that missing something was highly educational. I was desperate, the teacher was already about to move on to Kant's next work, and I hadn't even read the first one. Then my grandmother remembered that her mother's mother had been one of the first women to graduate in philosophy at our city's university. It was possible that the fifth generation before mine came to my rescue. Where did this woman's books end? She lived in the second half of the 19th century and no one in the family seemed to remember a lot about her. My grandmother described her ancestor as a weird woman, without giving any further explanation. Consultations followed with a couple of cousins to establish that, if something remained and was not already present in the libraries of her various heirs, it could only be in the attic of the Villa. The Villa, with the initial capital letter, was the country residence of our family for an unspecified number of generations. The current property was fortunately my grandmother’s. In the summer, the Villa was still the meeting point for our whole family. The attic of any villa built at the beginning of the nineteenth century is by definition exceptionally large, dusty, and crammed with the remnants of a number of generations, but the sacred fire of my education did not allow any delay. It was late autumn and the days grew short. At the time of this story, in the Villa there was no electricity and what had to be done was done with natural light or with the help of lamps and candles. Grandma gave me some indications of the layers of junk and bric-a-bracs in the attic, pointed me to a corner, fortunately under one of the skylights and wished me good luck. I didn't have close enough friends to ask for help. My parents, with various excuses, fled and sent me alone. Just after lunch, I got on my bike and rushed to the Villa that stood and still stands a few miles from the city, even though it is now embedded in the suburbs. I arrived out of breath but animated by the genuine desire of the Pure Reason, the same I was talking about earlier. I climbed into the attic and found it dirtier than I remembered. The corner indicated to me by Grandma was occupied by a stack of wooden boxes, high to the ceiling. As I approached, I felt my heart beat hard, because perhaps I glimpsed what I hoped to find. The boxes were really full of books. Whether they were great-great-grandmother’s, it was all to be determined, because, as I mentioned, in my family we all compete to find which of us could read more books during his earthly life. I counted that there were forty boxes, then I noticed that they were numbered. What else could I expect from a family of engineers and mathematicians? I started looking for the box No. 1 that fortunately was at the top. When I took box No. 23, I noticed that finally, among others, philosophy texts were beginning to appear, and they were really incredibly old. I quickly passed the backs of the books, but I did not find what I was looking for. The next boxes were filled with books probably belonging to Donna Costanza, my great-great-grandmother, but she didn't seem to be in any way fond of Immanuel Kant. There were what looked like texts of philosophy, then I became curious and tried to understand what else interested her, what her predilections were, and I discovered that many of those books were manuals of occult sciences. So little hard science and a lot of metaphysics. That's why maybe she didn't like Kant. At the bottom of box No. 30, under the books, was a very thin notebook, with a waxed canvas cover and closed with a worn-out lace. I only noticed it because I removed a large tome and underneath you could not see the wood at the bottom of the box, but the waxed canvas of the cover. At that point I had lit the candle that I had brought myself out of prudence. My grandmother's prudence, not mine, of course. The notebook had a very worn appearance and inside there were no more than thirty sheets bound and sewn to spine, written with a very neat handwriting, certainly nineteenth century. Each page had a title and a few lines of explanation. The headlines were quite curious. Divination of love, Omen of Desire, Spell of Protection, Omen of Weather, Foreshadows of Good Fortune, and so on. Maybe the great-great-grandmother was a little superstitious, I thought. I put the notebook aside to show to the family. If five generations ago there was room for magic in our family, perhaps there would have been now a little space for philosophy and someone, between my grandmother, my mother or my father would be moved and would buy me the book I so longed for. I was eighteen years old and had no vice. I didn't smoke, I didn't drink, I studied diligently like everyone in the family. I had some ideas that I had never shared with anyone, but it was, in fact, a private matter. Perhaps my parents would surrender making me happy. Having these thoughts, I kept scrolling through the notebook sheets, and on the page whose title was The Omen of Desire, I read a sentence that struck me: "Make a wish in front of a lit candle, then blow to extinguish it. If the wick shines your wish will come true, if it smokes, it means no." It seemed like the right spell in the right moment. I was desperately desiring something, in an attic, with a lit candle right in front of me. Why not try? "I want, very strongly I want…" I said convinced, quoting Vittorio Alfieri (3), "Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason" I added in an even louder voice and then I blew on the candle. To my delight the wick shone and did not smoke. At least for what I could distinguish in the uncertain light of that November afternoon. I rushed to relight the candle now reduced to a butt, because my grandmother, always prudent in waste, had not given me a whole candle. I counted eleven more boxes. If the wish would come true, it was more likely that a benevolent spirit would push me to look for the book in the remaining boxes, and not that one of my parents would agree to buy a new book. As I said, in my family, we are prudent with our expenses. No. 33 box finally contained what I was looking for, along with Kant's other two Critics. They were the very three books I dreamed of possessing at the time, and I thought very well of my great-great-grandmother, blessed her with all my heart and sent her my love of bi-three-grandson, about a century younger. Then I was struck by the thought that the number 33 is very connected to No. 66 and then to No. 666, with all the meanings connected. At the precise moment I was having that thought, the candle went out and, because the sun had completely set and the residual light of the sky did not come to illuminate anything in the attic, I fell into absolute darkness. I was eighteen years old, I was the scion of a family of atheists, socialists, rationalists, mathematicians, I had not even been baptized and I was the terror of my religious teachers (4), so I refused to believe extinguishing the candle was due to a supernatural act. Least of all it was the timely discovery of the books. I didn’t believe in spells. And yet, I had felt kind of like a puff toward the candle, more like a breath. The candle was not worn out and no breath of wind was blowing in the attic. I confidently rub a match on the box and lit the candle again. I looked boldly around, put everything where it was before I came to the attic, took the three books, the notebook, and started to descend into the Villa, mainly to regain the rational civilization of my home. The candle went out again, let's say, in an unjustified way, and I felt a chill that I thought legitimate. The books and the notebook fell out of my hand, but luckily, I held the candlestick firmly. I lit up the candle again, as quickly as possible. I bent down to collect the books and check that they weren't damaged, then I noticed that the notebook had opened in half and showed a sheet whose header was the word “Coercion”. Without thinking about it, I gained the steep ladder and descended with reasonable calm to the ground floor, shut down the Villa, got my bike, and headed home. I confess that, while pedaling with rational calmness, I looked behind me a couple of times. I came home pretty quickly, that is. I proudly showed the three books to my grandmother, but I didn't tell her about the notebook. I was so hungry, for the run, for my discoveries and for the fear I had taken. My grandmother provided me an urgent snack and I went to eat in my room. I flipped through the three tomes promising to study them conveniently the next day, when I had been calmer and predisposed to the Critique of Pure Reason or Practical Reason or Critique of Judgment. At that moment it was metaphysic that attracted me the most, so I took the notebook and opened it to the same page with which it had opened falling. Under the title Coercion was this text, which was a spell, for me an extraordinarily significant one: "Alone in the night of the full moon and under an ash tree, name the name, he will persuade himself. Name the name, he will be obedient. Name the name, he won't have a will. Name the name, he will have no recollection. Name the name, he will become the full object of your plan!" *** When I wasn't studying, reading, chatting with my parents or my grandmother, I meditated. At the time television had just entered our homes, we had only one channel with a poor programming. Unfortunately, I was no longer young enough to watch the boys' TV, which every day at 5:30 p.m. signaled that it was time to have a snack. At that time, I was just as hungry, but I stopped reading and prepared something to eat. And that night, reading and rereading the spell, I was thinking to my former friend Francesco. Our friendship dated back to when we were children. We were friend because our parents were friends. Curiously, we had never attended the same school, but we had seen each other enough to get to know each other and grow up to be true friends. Francesco knew the Villa well and with his parents had been a frequent visitor. In the garden and the surrounding countryside, we had spent countless afternoons playing and, when we were already older, even on our own. Until one afternoon last summer, when after playing football, something had happened that drove us away. Except for some of my schoolmates, I did not hang out with other people and Francesco was the only, true friend among my few acquaintances. My books, my studio and my fantasies had always kept me company. In the last years Francesco also became the main object of my thoughts and my desires. We discovered that both enjoyed spending long afternoons at the Villa, playing football. We played one on one, using the ground under the pinewood. Two stakes planted in the ground were the goal and we challenged ourselves to center it from all corners, on one side and the other, trying to get around the trees and the opponent, when he was not on the goal line to prevent the other to score. Our games were always very physical, we ended up on the ground all the time, on the carpet of pine needles, without hurting ourselves. We pushed, we fell on top of each other, we touched each other. One to the other, in all places. Growing up, those very long games became an opportunity, for both of us, to cultivate our friendship, the mutual knowledge of our characters, to discover the attraction we felt for each other, without ever admitting it or even just mentioning, explaining, one to the other, those sensations. I was sure of it, because I thought about those feelings all the time, and I'm sure he did too, but those were things you couldn't talk about, not in those years, never. The facts remained and the best proof was that we continued to meet and do the same things. We spent a lot of time together, almost every Saturday afternoon. Those were endless plays in which every game action was strenuously defended and contrasted, materialized in physical contact, with the legs intertwining in an attempt to steal the ball from the opponent, the bodies that touched, joined, crushed, when we ended up on the ground. And the tangible outcome of that interest, that pleasure, that transport were the erections, mine and his, that we could not fail to notice, feel, seek, but that absolutely could not be admitted, much less pointed out. We were physically similar, tall, and slender, but not skinny. He was blond, I a little darker, we sported hair as if we had been recruited in a boot camp, because that was the only cut allowed and conceived. He had smooth hair, I wavy, if my hair could grow. Francesco was not a geek like me, he was not always reading or studying, he always had a smile on his lips, I almost never, but we understood each other enough to play football together, even if he attended his Church for all the Functions and I was, at my young age, a proclaimed atheist. When we had played enough and started to get tired, every contrast became a scuffle. We ended up on the ground and we rolled fighting, laughing, trying to immobilize the other. That could be more me than him, but often was him as well. On those occasions I was, we were, even more aware of the excitement we felt. Without sharing the thought, the concept, in any open way. When one was immobilized, he usually gave up, openly admitting his submission. In those cases, the winner could magnanimously release him or, if the offense had been serious, proceed to punish him, tickling mercilessly the other and even spanking him. The punishing was given and received always laughing, even several times during the same game. I don't remember who was, but we were certainly small when we started doing this and it was hard for us to spend a game without us tickling at least once. I was the one who most easily also spanked him, because I was better at playing football and I was a bit more robust and stronger physically, so when we fought, I ended up winning and immobilized him more often than he did. At the end of the last summer, on one of those beautiful September days, hot and fragrant, we were sweaty and a little tired. I threatened him unnecessarily because he kept pushing me and pressing me. "Don't push me..." I shouted once again "if you push me again, I'll lower your pants and spank you on your bare ass, until you start crying!" I said, pretending to be exasperated, but just being overly excited, exhausted by another summer of unfulfilled desire. Because we had been often together at the beach where his body was on display, barely covered by a swimsuit he had clearly overgrown. For a new one he had probably to wait till next summer. And during the season my desire and frustration had only increased. I was missing something important to complete his picture in my imagination. As expected, that fateful day, a couple of minutes later I was on the ground with a sore ankle for a kick I received from Francesco. The fight was quick, and Francesco was on my lap in a short time. That day I would have done what I imagined doing for at least a couple of years, but I had never found the courage to do. I was ready to do anything to see more of his body, that piece I was missing. I was eighteen years old and had never seen anyone naked, other than myself. In those years you went to the gym only at school for Physical Education and you certainly didn't use to shower together. If you were using a gym, you would change quickly to go and wash at home, somehow. My fantasies were limited to artistic images, mainly to Dante’s Divine Comedy illustrated by Gustave Dorè (5), to Michelangelo's David, which was my ideal of a man, and other classical examples. So, I was extremely interested to see and possibly touch Francesco's privates and do more if everything went well. On my lap, Francesco writhed as usual, laughing, and joking. After the first tickling, however, I changed my pace. I wasn't kidding anymore. I wasn't laughing anymore. I wasn’t tickling him, I was touching is ass. Francesco, on his own, was unashamedly rubbing his groin on my legs. We were both in some kind of trance, I was stroking him, occasionally spanking him, he was openly rubbing on my lap. We both were hard, I knew about mine, I felt his. Those perceptions pushed me to the next and ill-fated step. Then, we all boys wore cotton shorts with elastic, there was nothing to unbutton or untie. To remove them you just had to pull down. And that's what I did, discovering Francesco's butt still covered with his briefs, the white ones, with the high belt that came well above the navel. I kept stroking, caressing, meanwhile, I had almost immobilized him, tucking my arm under his arms. He tried to wriggle his legs, but he was stuck and could only suffer and rub his groin. We both were breathless. I persisted with my crazy plan, put my other hand under the elastic of the briefs and lowered them all at once, finally discovering his butt. I was caught by that image, his ass, that I had in front of my eyes. Then I realized that something else was happening. Francesco was wetting my legs, he was coming on my thighs, the excitement had betrayed him. And my excitement betrayed me, too. I bent over him to cushion the spasms of my own orgasm that was bathing my underwear. Before I calmed down, Francesco managed to wriggle out, slipped to the ground. He was covering himself feverishly, but I had a fleeting view of his cock, not yet totally flaccid, seed wet. "Francesco..." I shouted. He was already running toward the bicycles, but to get out of the Villa he had to wait for me, because the gate was closed, and I had the keys. I needed to think, so, I took the ball and hid it as I always did, then I reached Francesco who was shaking the gate, trying to open it. "Francesco..." I said again, "I’m sorry, please..." and I tried to touch his arm. "Leave me... let me out!" he cried, he was maddened. "Come on, Francesco..." "No!" he yelled again and slammed his bicycle wheel against the gate in a desperate attempt to open it, slamming it again. "I’m opening... wait..." I said as I removed the padlock "I have to explain..." but he was already out and running towards the city. I tried to chase him, but I hardly saw him anymore. I just hoped he could get home safe and sound. *** I reread the spell, for the umpteenth time: "Alone in the night of the full moon and under an ash tree. Name the name, he will persuade himself. Name the name, he will be obedient. Name the name, he won't have a will. Name the name, he will have no recollection. Name the name, he will become the full object of your plan!" “And of my desire!” I thought out loud. Could it work with Francesco? I looked at the calendar to check the phases of the moon and found that on Saturday, November 26, 1966, there would be the next full moon. I had three days to get ready. As for the ash tree, I wasn't sure if there was one in our garden at the Villa, but somehow, I knew that there would be at least one. I should have asked my grandmother, if possible, without making her suspicious. My grandmother was a retired math teacher. She had also been the relentless and never-forgotten principal of one of our city's high schools. Now she was an adorable old lady, who kept her keen intelligence unaltered, coupled with the great experience accumulated in reading the thoughts of those much younger than her, a skill that she now regularly exercised only in my regard. I tried to tell her that I had just reread Bram Stoker’s Dracula and wanted to get a stake of ash tree in case the need arose. "I don't believe a single word you said to me!" was her categorical answer. After a bit of back and forth, she revealed to me that in our garden, just behind the pine wood, in the area that bordered the property, there were two centuries-old ash trees, planted, it was said in the family, by his grandmother, Donna Costanza Fraccalvieri, who in her old age had suddenly become interested in the garden, having completely ignored it for decades. She had pretended two ash trees and became very fond of them. That was a story that amused her sons and grandsons. With my heart in turmoil, I found an old botanical atlas in my grandfather's library and looked for the characteristics of the ash tree and the shape of the leaves, so that I could locate it in our garden. My rational mind was completely eclipsed, dominated by desire and lust. Because I was confident that the spell would work. Then I reasoned that, not having told anyone about the spell, if it had happened that Francesco would have remained hostile, unapproachable, nothing would have happened. I wouldn’t have lost my face with anyone, except with myself, for believing the notes of an old woman probably arteriosclerotic, living a century before me. That it all began with the search for a copy of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, added involuntary irony to the whole thing. In the early afternoon of Saturday, I ventured to the Villa to locate the ash trees. I spotted them, they were twin trees, tall and slender, close enough for the canopies to confuse and intertwine. They were exactly where Grandma suggested. Closing my eyes, I could see the old lady, dressed in black, raise her arms and solemnly utter her spells. I decided that by night of a full moon the spell meant in the evening, not even too late, because otherwise I could not explain my absence from home during the night. I told everyone I was going to the movies and I walked. Even taking the bike was impossible, so as not to arouse suspicions. My mind was at work. I was thinking to Francesco. Despite my attempts to re-establish a bond, give some explanation, remain friends, he simply ignored my existence. It wasn't hard, because to see each other we had to look for each other, and after a while I didn't do it anymore. I regretted his friendship, the ready-made jokes with which he always defined my pointy personality, our endless football matches, punctuated by accidents that always led to fake fights to end with the tickling administered to the loser. Those were pure excuses to touch each other. I was so sad. I told myself that I shouldn’t have insisted to force him to do things he did not want to do or to which he was not prepared, but I also told myself that I could not resist any more. For years we had touched, we had felt the excitement of the other, without even saying a word to explain ourselves. As I walked, I mumbled the spell. "Name the name... Name the..." I was already a bit sweaty from fatigue, I did not remember that the Villa was so far away. I had gone there very few times on foot, I had always gone it using the bike or going in the car with my parents " Name the name... Name the..." That night there would be no need for lights, the sky was clear, and the moon was already shining in the sky, giving shadows to the objects, once you were away from the street lighting. Under the pine wood it was dark, but I oriented myself easily until I reached the pair of ash trees and there underneath it was even darker, as if the moon were not full. I hovered in the exact center between the two trees and looked around. I noticed that a little wind was picking up, a breeze that I had not felt before. It was really cold, as I had not felt arriving at the Villa. Maybe I sweated for the walk and now I was getting cold. I had no intention of lighting the candle I had in my pocket. I did not want to give to whatever was there the idea of blow out the candle. I was looking around and I had one last doubt. Was I supposed to wait till midnight? I'd thought about it, but I'd discarded the idea out of impracticality. There was no way for me of staying outside for so long. If the kingdom of the afterlife wanted to help me, it would have done it at seven and a half o'clock in the evening. Sorry, not later. At that moment, a moonbeam passed through the blanket of the trees and illuminated me, how else to describe what happened? Suddenly I could see the two hedges that bounded our property, the pine wood in front of me and the outline of the Villa. Was I really seeing them, or did I just imagine seeing things and figures I knew very well? My usual rational mind pointed out to me that the moonbeam, if it was that it was, had given me a vision of what was around me, but what was encircling me had stayed dark. I was shaken, but I argued to myself that tonight nothing was rational, and the reason had nothing to do with it. After all I was there to cast a spell on my best friend, former best friend, so that I could do to him and make him do unrecognizable actions that then, hopefully, he would forget. Not so plausible and realistic or rational. It was a full moon night, I was under two ash trees, and I was busy. "I’m alone in the night of the full moon and under two ash trees. Francesco Valla, you will be persuaded," I screamed, hoping to awaken only the right souls and ghosts "Francesco Valla, you will be obedient. Francesco Valla, you won't have a will. Francesco Valla, you will have no recollection. Francesco Valla, you will become the full object of my plan!" “And my desire” I thought again, but no sound left my lips. Avoiding upsetting any ghost. On the Villa fell an absolute silence. Not long ago had come the echo of some car passing on the road not far away and also the song of an owl. Now I had only the echo of my words in my ears, but everything was quiet, unspoken? As if around me, above me, a cloak, a dome had fallen that isolated me from the rest of the world. I shook my head, like when you came out of the water with your ears plugged. Slowly the pressure dissolved, the light that had lit me faded, the darkness returned to where it was right, and I heard again the noises from the woodland. I distinguished a car passing right in front of the Villa and then the cry of the owl, which seemed stronger, closer, as if it had moved to look at me better. I walked quickly home because it was late. And in those days, I was not allowed to be away from home beyond a certain time, except for very justified reasons. Those would be specifically, the midnight Mass at Christmas and Easter, which I did not attend anyway, some night procession for the Holy Week that I still ignored. In short, an 18-year-old, like me, atheist and skeptical, had no reason to be out of the house after nine o'clock in the evening. *** On the morning of Sunday, November 27, 1966, the next day, I went to look for Francesco. That night, a little tired from the walk and the emotions I experienced, I slept like a log. I do not remember what I dreamed exactly, but something must have been, because the sheets was particularly tangled up when I woke up. Curious beyond any saying about what his reaction would be by seeing me, I set out to meet him on the way out of Mass that he attended every Sunday with sincere faith, I believed. He was on the churchyard and chatting with a girl. All around there were many other young people, satisfied for having fulfilled their Sunday duties to the divinity they worshipped. I approached him from behind, but he sensed my presence, because he turned suddenly, first frightened, then stared at me and immediately lowered his eyes. He hurriedly greeted his friends and without raising his eyes to me, with a submissive attitude, came to meet me, stopping at less than a meter. "Let's go," I told him, still unsure if I should explain him or he already knew everything being in my power. Was he really in my power? "Look at me," I ordered, and he immediately obeyed "do you know what's going on?" He shook his head. He really didn't know, anyway he obeyed me. "I cast a spell on you..." I explained smiling, almost not believing the words that came out of my mouth. "You... a spell?" he was rightly incredulous too. "Last night, around seven and a half..." "At half past seven... last night… yeah… I felt sick, my head was spinning!" "There, precisely..." "What do you mean?" "That was my spell! Fuck, Francesco, now you're really mine!" and then I headed home, without giving any further explanation. He followed me, he seemed completely devoid of will. In the days before, when I still wasn't sure that the spell would have worked, not that I took it for granted, I had made some plans. I needed, first of all, a place to take Francesco. It could not be my house, where rarely there was no one. Anyway, I had the advantage of living in an old palace, where there were many places to hide. More difficult would have been to find a place even sound-proof, because, as far as I had in mind, we would have made a little noise. Tickling creates commotion and Francesco was very ticklish but taking into consideration the spell I had in mind to push a lot further my discovery. I evaluated different solutions, also considering the need to enter and leave without being seen. In our building there were empty rooms in the attics and in the cellars. Thinking about the nature of the activities we would have carried out and the necessarily succinct clothing that we should have adopted, considering that it was already almost winter, I immediately abandoned the idea of the roof and oriented myself towards the underground that, by its nature, retains an almost constant temperature. For a moment I also thought of using the wing of the apartment where my grandmother, a widow, lived, but there was always the risk that she would want to look for something in an old closet, just as we were engaged in acts that she would consider weird. So, I opted for the cellars. There was a courtyard door, and no need to be seen. In particular, I would have used the second underground level where there were two large rooms literally dug into the rock in which my ancestors kept their reserves of wine. Now they were in disuse, because my grandfather had been abstemious and even my father was not interested in drinking. Those basements, however, still kept their sturdy doors, fortunately with internal locks. There was therefore no danger of being locked inside. Francesco knew the place for playing with me when we were kids. As we approached home, I wondered what his level of participation in the events I had planned would be. I wouldn't have liked to have a rag doll on my hands. Tickling and some spanks are shared experiences, played in two, between those who give and those who receive who must offer the right reaction, spiced even by a reasonable attempt to escape. Also, the other activities I had in mind could have used some involvement by the people participating. Tickling and caressing a puppet would have been reductive and certainly wasn't what I wanted. I wondered how far the power of that spell would reach, if it completely annulled the will, making the subject's answers mechanical, or operated in a more refined, more selective way, obfuscating only those qualms that had prevented Francesco from enjoying my spankings the other times I gave them to him. The other doubt I had was about the duration of the spell, and also how to lift it, would there be a way to get the subject back to his normal life? Anyway, those were concerns for the future. Now I had an obedient partner to play every game I had in mind. And I was very eager to play, so, I rushed a little bit and Francesco obediently kept up. We went into the cellar without being seen by anyone and quickly descended into what we as children called the caves. The second cave, the innermost one, was a square room rather large and high in the center up to six meters, with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. There were a few barrels along one wall and a few easels piled along the other wall. A single, old armchair was placed right under the lamp. I had put it on the day before. If someone had led me into an environment like that, I would have been scared, at least reluctant, but Francesco seemed absolutely serene. And that's when I realized how the spell really worked. The bond, the connection that had been established between us, perhaps, transferred to Francesco my reactions to the events, zeroing his. At that particular moment I was comfortable because I knew that in that environment there was no threat for me and, if Francesco reflected my reactions, he was relaxed too. There were surely threats for him, but his perceptions were filtered by my mind. Perhaps even my excitement would have reflected on him, and it was time for me to find out. "Do you know why we are here?" I asked. "No... should I?" he answered serenely. "Francesco, you avoided me for three months, you ignored me, you pretended you didn’t see me. I had to make up stories with my parents... I told them that we had argued… I don't know what other lies I had to tell them..." I said, without being able to stop me, waving and I noticed that he was surprised and that my words were worrying him "What the fuck, Francesco, do you realize?" I ended up shouting, while he looked at me scared and was clearly agitated. I tried to calm down and saw that he too was breathing regularly again. Yes, it had to be just like that, now his psyche depended on mine. I sat in the armchair and beckoned him to approach, took his hand and folded him on my lap, in the position where I preferred to keep him. I stroked his butt and gave him a few spanking. He moved, tried to escape, complained, but that was all. Just like I wanted him to do, the way I liked him, no more than a try to escape, nothing spectacular. I tickled him, with him continuing to move and try vainly to free himself, while I held him still. Then I went to give him some caress and it was a new thing for both of us. I finally, really touched his ass. I palpated him as if I had been blind, examined him centimetre by centimetre to imprint shape and texture in my mind. When I was satisfied, we stayed a few seconds still, as if to catch our breath. "Do you know why I spanked you?" "To punish me?" "Yeah..." and I gave him one more, so to strengthen my opinion. "Ouch..." protested him. I moved my legs a little bit to feel his cock on my thighs and it was as I thought. "Your cock is hard!" I said then. "No!" he tried to raise his ass, so as not to make me feel it on my legs. It was just like I expected him to do, which I wanted him to do. I was really driving his actions now. "No, what? Your cock is hard, I can feel it... you like it, don't you?" and I pushed my finger into the middle of his ass, where the hole was supposed to be. He still jerked, but I held him tight, I blocked him so he wouldn't escape me. That was a dream come true, I had Francesco on my lap, he who could not free himself, because he was blocked by my spell that would hopefully also prevent him from remember what we were doing. For that day it was enough, I did not want to exaggerate, and I still had to understand what his next behavior would be, his reactions. I had good ideas for the future, but for the moment I would have stopped there. I freed him from my grip and he almost ended up on the ground. He got up and immediately tried to massage his ass. Making that movement, he pushed his pelvis forward and highlighted the hard cock that was tightening in his underwear. I couldn't resist and grabbed it with a lightning-fast motion, squeezed it moving my fingers, and tickled him. That was a joke that went a long way in my high school between us kids. Surprise from behind the bad guy, grab his groin and ask him to whistle. Whistling while laughing or shouting, it's virtually impossible. Francesco had another problem and couldn't do it because his hard cock was sending him unequivocal signals. My massage was getting him to wet his underwear. I clearly felt his reaction of horror to the prospect of having another orgasm in my presence. And then I made another discover, communications between our minds were therefore two-way, even though I was the one who made the decisions. I mentally ordered Francesco to continue fighting ejaculation, though I knew it was an instinctive reaction that had little to do with the will. I stopped touching him a moment before he could come, and he looked at me gratefully. "Next time we'll try to get around the problem," I said. "Thank you..." he said and smiled at me. I put my arm on his shoulder and pulled him to me. We almost hugged. "I'm glad we're friends again, Francesco!" I dared to say. "Me too!" he admitted. I mean, I made him say that. I let him go back to his life. Before I went any further, I wanted to make sure that he didn't remember anything, with no conflict in his precious little head. I gave him an appointment for that same afternoon. I would have expected him for a very thorough visit. I almost had a desire to play doctor. *** Francesco arrived on time at three o'clock, he was smiling and seemed to me at peace with himself, in the sense that he did not have the air of someone who was experiencing a deep inner conflict. More simply, he seemed to have no memory of what I had done to him that morning. "You decided to come..." I said a little unnecessarily. "You told me to come... Shouldn't I?" he asked, widening his eyes with surprise. That dumb attitude wasn’t characteristic of him. I had to be more careful not to distort too much his personality. But I was learning how to adapt my interference. "Of course, I told you!" I said reassuring him. I pulled him in and hugged him tightly, then we went to greet my mother and father who welcomed Francesco as a prodigal son. He had always been the only friend to visit my house and had been missing inexplicably for a few months. He too seemed happy with that welcome, but, as I knew by now, that was my reaction and maybe not the one Francesco would have had if I hadn't cast my spell on him. I knew there weren't ethical justifications for my actions. I knew it well, but I had decided to deal with the moral aspects of my actions after having a little fun, so I took Francesco by his hand and dragged him to my room, closed the door and made him sit on my bed. I had also turned on an electric heater to warm up the room, since we would be taking off our clothes in a little while. "Tell me what you've done in these three months and leave nothing aside... I want to know everything!" I said happily. It's not like I wanted to lower his underwear right away, I was interested in him, what his life had been like in those three months. Anyway, to play the doctor and do other things to him, I had to wait for my parents and grandma to go out to see my aunt who lived on the other side of town. That would have given us at least three hours of freedom. There weren't many important events that he could tell me, except that the school was going pretty well and then that he had tried to get engaged to a girl he met at church, but the girl wasn’t interested. It was a lot of distress for him because he thought it was his fault. He confessed to me, a little blushing, that he didn't really care about the girls and he did it to try how it was to get engaged. But he sadly discovered that he didn't like women, he said, he didn't find them interesting at all. He thought it was much more interesting to argue and fight with me and he ended up with a smile. I was about to be moved, then I remembered that those were my opinions and not strictly Francesco's. Maybe those were his opinions filtered through mine. From the other side of the house came my mother's voice announcing that they were leaving. I rubbed my hands, put aside all my moral qualms and prepared to discover Francesco, in every way. "You know... I've thought about you a lot in these months..." Francesco had started talking again "I thought so many times about what we did at the Villa... how we had fun..." he was saying. And I was going to believe him, then I remembered what I’d done and said stupid to myself. But if I kept telling me that those were my ideas, my opinions, my desires, being with Francesco would become immediately boring, it would be like to read the same book indefinitely. "And... I’m really, really sorry” he was still talking “I didn't want to see you anymore... After that night... I was scared and I didn't know what to do..." "Francesco..." I interrupted "do you really think what you're telling me?" "Yes, why? Don't you believe me?" he said, and from that moment on something changed and I became truly persuaded. In the sense that I could condition him hiding my power even to myself. I briefly congratulated my subconscious, then I got busy enjoying this new soul mate of mine. I felt really comfortable. I got up and held out my hand and then he was in my arms. We hugged tightly for a long time, then I kissed him on the mouth. We didn't open our lips, because we didn’t know how to do it, we had only seen it at the movies. I squeezed him tightly and stroked his butt. Francesco performed the identical actions to me, and this caught me by surprise, because I wasn’t expecting him to do it. He did it on my desire without my explicit intervention. I congratulated again with my subconscious. I realized we both were hard and that was an instinctive reaction that could not be induced by my will or his will that I controlled. Maybe Francesco really felt longing for me and I with my spell had removed only the qualms that prevented him from expressing his real feelings. I knew I was scrambling a little, but I liked the idea a lot and I stuck very much to that thought. I took off his pullover, knitted by his mother. He did the same with mine, knitted by my grandmother. With the shirts we did as soon as possible trying not to rip the buttons. Our wool underwear flew away and for the first time the skin of my chest touched his chest and it was a heavenly sensation. To get rid of the pants we tinkered with the belts and with the buttons of our flies. When our trousers went down to the knees, we were left with only our briefs on, hard cock against hard cock. Tight in the embrace that I had longed for years and that Francesco was getting used to being able to wish for, I stroked his butt and felt him hold his breath. "Forgive me!" I mumbled. "You too!" he reassured me. I reassured myself. I pushed him on the bed, so he could lean on his elbows. I untied his shoes and took off his socks, his trousers. He was almost naked, then I sat next to him. "It's up to you," I said, and he immediately did the same to me. We lay on the bed, our bodies one in front of the other, and we looked at each other, with our breaths, short for the emotion. I reached out to touch his cock, but he shied away. "If you touch me... it's going to end… suddenly, like the other time..." he said in the throttled voice of those who are frightened, excited, exalted. I stroked him on the cheek and came closer, to kiss him on the mouth. I made him lay on his back and with extreme caution I lowered his briefs. It was the first time I saw him completely naked, apart from that fleeting look in the excitement of that summer afternoon. He was beautiful. I was lying on my own and expecting him to do the same to me, which he did. "How beautiful you are," he whispered, then gave me a kiss on the lips, on the tip of my nose and on the eyes I had closed. I moved over him and hugged him, we almost didn't move, but too soon together we soaked our bellies. It wasn't easy to breathe normally again. *** Since that day, more than fifty years have passed, and we have never left each other. My subconscious continued to send Francesco my directives and with him I never seemed to read and reread the same book. The spell continues to work, even if we're not that young anymore. I should confess that over the years I used the spell again, but never with the same purpose for which I used it the first time. Having some power over who should boss up on you or over the people on whom your material well-being depends, can be helpful. So, from time to time, I'm back under the ash trees in a full moon nights, with my bless to my great-great-grandmother. And I continued to deepen my knowledge of Immanuel Kant, who, despite everything, I still consider as my spiritual father. (1) Italian High School is a five-year course of studies usually for 14 to 19yo students. (2) At the time, in Italy, philosophy was taught only in some High Schools, called Liceo, and the tests were only oral and individual. There was no written test to pass. (3) Vittorio Alfieri was an Italian dramatist and poet. His motto “I want, very strongly I want” sums up his request to be tied to his chair by his servant to make a commitment to become a tragic author. (4) At the time, Religion, Roman Catholic, was compulsorily taught in Italian schools of all levels. (5) Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy illustrated by Gustave Dorè was the place were a lot of Italian gay teenagers, in the XX century, found the fuel for their fire. The poem, mainly the Inferno (Hell), was eloquently illustrated with naked bodies of the damned to Hell.
  6. Immanuel Kant immediately fascinated me, yet this story is not about him, but about how he changed my life. Actually, it wasn't exactly Kant who changed it, but it was my grandmother's grandmother, who had probably been a witch.
  7. Lenny Bruce

    The Partner

    Thank you for your kind comments. I'll take note of your observation. Please note that I'm Italian, trying very hard to manage another language... please be indulgent!!!
  8. Lenny Bruce

    The Partner

    The partner The first thing I look at when I enter is always the one, how he set it up. His cock, I mean. He always has it down to the left, at rest. But more and more often it is not where I expect it is and this means only one thing, that he has just masturbated. And then I despair, because for that day I cannot carry out my plan. It is a very simple plan, since this summer I discovered that I like boys, Matt, who is my best friend, classmate, from first grade, is the best candidate to become my sexual partner. I want it, I want it and I cry over it since I discovered of being what I am. Well, I’m still not sure what I am. Partner: I think we can define the person with whom we do or want to have sex and I decided, indeed I know, that Matteo would be the right person. What exactly "having sex" means is still not entirely clear to me, but, for the moment, I believe that if I jerk him and he did it to me at the same time, I could say I'm satisfied. Oh well, for later I could have some other ideas, like becoming lovers and that, well, I know what that means. But if that asshole masturbates after eating, before I arrive, who can I make love with? And who do I become the lover? Of my hand? We have been doing homework together for eight years now. From the first of October of the first grade to today. And now, in our first year of high school, we have not lost the habit. At three o'clock, my home or his, in turn. I didn't care about who we were before. There was food and drink in one place and another. Even though my mother is at home almost every afternoon, she was never bothering, but Matteo’s mother is never home in the afternoon, because she works in a bank and until six o'clock we are sure to be alone. This peculiarity made me prefer one house to another, so the times when I make the three floors of stairs that divide us are more and more frequent. Matteo didn't pay attention to the change, but he doesn't mind many other things, if I'm not the one making him notice them. And this does not seem to me one of those things that are important, especially if one aims to put his hands in the other's underwear. Another change that he seems not to have noticed is what has been in us, in our bodies and, above all, in our cocks during the last two years. We have never talked about it among ourselves, touching on the subject only on rare occasions and keeping everything in it. To tell the truth, it was me who kept everything inside me, because, as I said, if I'm not the one who faces a problem, he doesn't think about it and goes ahead on his own. And this time he's really doing it, I don't talk about it and he jerks himself on his own. I don't have the courage to tell him anything and he makes me cry. I'm afraid, because I don't understand anything about me and even about us. And every day I found his cock on the other side. So I decided that I would provoke him, to know what he thinks exactly. After eight years, I thought, I will have the right to ask him for proof of friendship, right? But in a month I only found a way to understand when he jerk off. At least, I think so. And I have made no further progress. Because every time I come to the point of asking him to jerk us off together, I lack courage. On days when he has his cock on the right side, of course. In the meantime I jerk off by myself, in the evening, when I get home, after homework and before we go out together to visit with friends. If I didn't do this, I think I'd jump on him. To him or to some other beautiful specimen of a friend I have. My companions are not all to be thrown away, on the contrary! There are some that are attractive and there is also someone older who helps me in my fantasies, that is, it helps me with my jerking fantasies. But I want him. I want Matteo. At six o’clock, I lock myself in my room. My mother never goes there if I don't give her permission and anyway, not at that hour, because for fifteen years, that is since I was born, she looks I don't know what on television. Often to stay calm I get to turn the key, but it is only for my intimate security. That I remember, she never got up from her chair between six and seven in the evening. I stand on the bed, belly in the air, with my hands in my underwear. If I close my eyes I can imagine having them in Matteo's underwear. Or that those hands are his. I identify with him so much that the effect is the same. I have a little more hair, yes, but I think our cocks are very similar. I believe it, but I don't know, because I've never seen it hard. Only dull, in the gym, a couple of times. I begin to play with myself very slowly, calmly. Sometimes it takes me almost all the time, or transmission, it’s one hour, if you prefer. And I come immediately before the credits. Those sounds from the TV are part of me and I recognize the moment of transmission by the type of noise emitted. It's like a clock. Sometimes, when I come, I cry, because in the moment of orgasm, I discover that the hands I feel are mine and the cock I touch is not that of Matteo. This is how my days are consumed, without finding the courage to ask him how he is consuming his own. For the rest, I'm not complaining. We separate only to sleep, in the day we are almost always together and I know that he has no other thoughts, except those he does with me. Well, he has some thoughts of his own. And he doesn't tell me. And so it happens that I decide: even if he has the cock on the other side, I’ll tell him! I ring the bell and he opens the door. Who else then, if we are always alone at home? I enter and don't look at him. Going up the stairs I decided not to look at him, at all. If he has already jerked off, so much the worse. He lets me slip away and follows me. I don't say a word, while generally I attack him, telling all the ideas that came to me during lunch. But not today, I don't speak and I'm going straight to his room. I throw the books on the bed and sit sullenly, arms folded, looking out of the window. I hear him approaching. "Hey ... Ciccio!" He calls me that, because as a child I was chubby, but then growing up, development and all the other things, I came out charming, tall and slim, athletic and handsome. So to speak! And he is the only one who has permission to call me ‘Ciccio’. I don't turn around. I feel that it touches my neck. I shudder. "Ciccio! ... What’s wrong with you?" I say no with my head, without losing sight of the antennas on the opposite roof. Never noticed that there were many. "Did I do anything to you?" I hear him stutter, lightly, and that brings me almost to tears. What is my love? What am I doing? I do not know. Matteo only stutters when he's upset and it hurts to hear him do it. "No ... it's that ... oh nothing. We study?" "But today we have nothing to do," he says, regretting. At least we had to study, he would have something concrete to think about and he shouldn't try to understand what escapes him. That is to understand me. Instead there is practically nothing to study and there I am holding a grudge to him. I am now at a crossroads: tell him the truth or invent that my mother scolded me, explaining to him why I’m upset. But I want him to know, I'm tired of pretending with him. The sight of roofs and antennas irresistibly attracts me again. It was during the summer, when, like every year, he goes to his damn grandparents in France and I'm alone for two months! It was then and everything happened, because he wasn’t here with me. If there had been, I wouldn't have gone out with my asshole brother and I wouldn't have met Alex. While I am staring at all those antennas, I see the movie of that evening slip off in front of me, that one evening, which is all my summer. I don't know whose party, held in a fragrant garden, in the heat of an August night. I had been taken there by my brother out of pity and at my mother's insistence that he wanted to see me go out, since there being no Matteo, I found every excuse to stay at home. And there I found Alex, almost eighteen, who cares about me. Fills my glass with what? Spumante. Fresco, iced. I'm thirsty. Then he asks me if I want to go for a walk. And I "With whom? With me? Possible? " " Yes! I got bored and I don't like people here. " “I don’t know anyone" I say. "Are you not of this group?" And in five minutes I tell him all my life, which is the same of Matteo's, and how much I miss him every boring summer, because he goes to France. I tell him things I wouldn't have told anyone, because they weren't in my mind. Which I didn't know I knew. It must have been what I drank, or better, that he made me drink. And Alex puts his hand on my shoulder, while I'm almost drunk and I get closer and closer to him. I almost cry. We end up hugging each other along a country road that I don't know where it leads, because I don't know where I am. And he doesn't even know it, because he asks me the way. At that point we laugh like two fools. That's when he kisses me. With the tongue in my mouth and I pass from laughter to wonder, to total excitement. I find I have the hardest cock ever, I feel his hand touch me, his dick against my leg. It is lake a storm of emotions, of feelings. And I'm the center of it. Until an hour before I was convinced that I should like girls, not that I really liked them, but at least I was sure that that was the only right thing. Alex touches me all, he certainly understands that I'm at his mercy. And he lowers my pants, my briefs. The night air caresses my cock that, free from clothes, has jumped out and lives its own life. I try to touch his body too, I go along his shoulder, put his hands in his jeans, I feel that he widens them. I go deeper and touch his ass. He also does it with me. Our shirts have flown somewhere, we have pants and underpants at the ankles. The cocks tightened between the bellies and we caress our bottoms. I feel that his hand is following a path and looking for something. The moment he finds it and I understand what it is, I came wetting him. He has time to stick a finger in my ass and then he come, screaming, spraying mine and his belly. And then I find myself thinking one thing, that I didn't know an orgasm produced all those noises. Maybe, because until that day I had always masturbated in the silence of my room and there was little to shout about. Alex takes his finger off and looks at me, scared. I come back to myself and I understand why he is afraid. I'm crying. Tears wet my cheeks. I hadn't even noticed. 'What’s the problem? Didn’t you want to? Oh, I'm sorry” he says it so many times and I'm silent, crying. Then I shake and embrace him. "I wanted to do it with Matteo" I try to explain, between hiccups. And there I am, too, with Matteo that is looking at me without understanding. He gives me a push that almost throws me off the chair. "Oh…! Shit, Ciccio ... you've been there for ten minutes counting antennas. Fuck you! Do you want to tell me what's caught you?” I don't answer him, I get right back and I don't even look at him. "Listen, fuck another time and get out!" "You never told me so!" I told him then, surprised. "I'm sorry ... but you stand there and say nothing. Do you know how many times I called you? Wh… what's up?" That sweet voice with which the sentence ends, stammering. He is shaken. He's getting worried. Finally I look at him, the front of his pants. Today he didn't jerkoff. I take it as a wish. It must be today. It will be today. But I remain silent. "Ciccio…" This time he shouted. He said it so loud that they heard it from across the street. I do not move. He shakes me, punches me on the arm. It's not strong, but it still hurts. He's angry now. He goes to sit on the bed. "If it's a joke," he says grimly, "I swear I'll kill you!" I put my hands in front of my face. Do I pretend to laugh? "You're an asshole!" He shouts louder. When I take them off and look at them, he understands that it's not a joke. "Do you promise me you won't get angry?" He immediately turned his back to it, hopeful that the play would end. Not afraid of drama, yet. "Will we reamin friends, whatever I say you? "I ask him. "Don't say crap. What does that have to do with anything? What should you tell me? " "Will we remain friends?" I insist. I know that the test I am about to submit to it could be excessive even for our friendship. I wonder if it's worth it. I can still make something up and back down. But those tears in Alex's arms and all the times I cried after, it hurt me too much. I have so much joy, affection, love to give and I want to offer it to Matteo. He'll tell me he can't accept it and he doesn't know what to do with it, so maybe he'll ask me to leave, he'll send me away. I prepare for sacrifice. "Tell me we'll be friends whatever I'm about to ask you ... Please." "Yes ... okay. We will remain friends. I promise you! "He says in a whisper, because now I have frightened him. "Do you jerkoff?" "Yes" he squeezes his eyes, it's the gesture he makes when he doesn't understand something "but what does it mean? Was that what you wanted to tell me? " "Not only. Who do you think when you do them? " He looks at me, he's lost, lowers his head. "Why do you want to know?" His voice is close to tears. I know him well. We are still young, we cry too often. And I understand when this is going to happen to me as to him. I see him move and I know that I will not bear her tears, so, since it was I who caused all this, I decide to help him. "Do you want me to tell you who I think when I jerkoff?" "Yes!" he whispers. "Of you!" I no longer have the courage to look at him. I would like to disappear, fall to lightning, or simply asleep. Wake from the other side of the world, in a thousand years. "O ... f ... me you ... th ... I think of you!" I think I heard him say it. Maybe he said it. I watch. He understands that I haven't heard. He repeats it to me. “When I jerk off, I always think of you!” We both lift our heads and together we say: "Why didn't you tell me before?" This almost makes us laugh. Even the answer to that question, we could say in unison: we were ashamed, one of the other. "What do you mean?" He asks me, "I don't understand anything, anymore!" "Nor do I understand each other much, but now it’s sure we can stay friends." His gaze is lost and inspires me with a tenderness so strong that I feel my chest burn. It's like physical pain. I've never experienced this feeling. I'm disoriented. I get up and go to kneel in front of him. I put my hands on his knees. "I want to tell you another thing ... I love you!" Not responding. "Matteo, do you understand what I'm telling you? I love you!" "Yes you are right." "I'm right ... what, Matteo?" I rest my head on his lap, he caresses my hair. "I'm scared, Ciccio," he says, almost crying. I'm not scared anymore and I understand that I have to help him. "No one will know. Nobody will notice anything, Matteo, don't you understand? It is as if the two of us were already engaged. Everyone knows that we do the same things and we think the same way. That I speak and you do things! I make trouble and you get pissed off, but this is not a mess of mine ... " "You're right, that's it. But why didn't you tell me before? " "I was afraid you ... didn't want me. You liked girls ... I was so scared! " "You could have told me…" "And why did you do all those jerkoffs after eating, without thinking that I was aware of it and suffered? Asshole!" He bursts out laughing and I follow him. Then I give him a push that makes him end up lying on the bed. I jump on him and, instead of starting our usual struggle in which I, who are less strong, end up succumbing, I put my hand on his cock. "Today you didn't jerk off!" "How do you know?" He asks without escaping. His cock is very hard, I feel it under his suit, it came out of his boxers, but from the right side. "When you jerk off leave it to the right. And every time I meet you I look at you and I know if you made it or not! " Looks at me. "What an asshole friend I have," he says, smiling at me "And what an asshole I am!" I lay on him. Our mouths are very close. He holds me, he is squeezing me. We kiss. I remember what Alex did and stick my tongue in his mouth. First he lets me go, then he returns. And we fight, giggling, we drool all over our faces. We roll in each other's arms and risk falling off the bed immediately. I understand that sex with Matteo will not always be serious. But I feel my heart burst with happiness. Suddenly it stops. Back to serious. "Do you really love me?" "Yes ..." I whisper, terrified by his expression “Are you already thinking about it?” "No, I ... am crazy about you!" And suddenly he slams his shoulders against the bed, blocking my arms. "And you jerk off at six p.m. while your mother looks that awful program on television. That's why you're always in a hurry to leave. And then when we meet again in the evening, you're in a bad mood and you look at me wrong. Asshole! " I make him sweet eyes. I do not know what to say. I'm about to cry. He too is moved. It still crushes me with its weight, but it frees my hands and I can hug him again. We are really embracing now, he has his head between my neck and the pillow. "We will no longer jerk off alone" he whispers in my ear "I promise you!" Then he takes my hand and brings it to the cock. "From now on you will always decide the position! This is an oath! Where is he now? " "In the right place!" The assured "You show me?" "Yes ... it's yours. I am yours! You want me?" "Yes, Matteo. And you want me? " He does yes with his head and that's all. We calmly undress ourselves, looking at each other carefully. When we come to see what we don't know about each other, we unintentionally reduce the speed with which we discover ourselves. Like in a slow striptease, first he, then I, we take off our clothes. And when we are completely naked we remain enchanted, caught looking at each other. I was right, his cock is perfectly the same as mine. Growing together gave us the same cock. We also ate the same things. It must have been that. I have more hair than him. And I'm more robust, but it shows that he is stronger, more agile than me, and I'm just heavier. We are not sure how long we contemplate each other, from the tips of our feet to the top of our hair, as if our faces were unknown to us. Lying on the side, one in front of the other, with hard, strained, straight cocks, parallel to the bellies. Then Matteo touches my arm. It is an invitation to come closer and we gather. We are kissing, then I feel his breath getting shorter and my following him. And I don't know any more with which cock I'm enjoying whether with mine or with his, because we come together, moving and calming down. Still with the mouths together, in our pants. We remain attached for fear of dirtying the bed, but also because we do not want to break away. We look into each other's eyes. We made love for the first time and at that moment I understand that we will do it for life. Maybe Matteo hasn't understood it yet, but I'll explain it to him and he will certainly agree with me. The End
  9. Lenny Bruce

    The Partner

    Two teens with a friendship that lasts all their life and now one have to say something that is very difficult to say... quiet impossible to do!
  10. Lenny Bruce

    Chapter 1

    Yes, guilty as charged! I'm Italian, trying to translate in English what I wrote in Italian and it's very much difficult for a non professional. I'll do better the next time. Anyway, I want to thank you all for your benevolent comments. I've just a question for you... what do you mean for 'dialect'? Do you refer to the bad language used by the guys? If it is the matter, note that when we, Italians, talk we use a lot of imprecations (remember we are all Catholics and have confession, so for us it's easy to repent). If it's not that... can you try to explain? Thanks again to you all!!!
  11. Lenny Bruce

    Chapter 1

    A matter of tact I’m writing this, because I am upset by what happened to me today. My hand is shaking, but I need to write. I'm still appalled, afraid. I decided to put on paper, write, describe my emotions, because that's what my teacher advised me to do after I almost confessed to her some of my problems in a subject. And she, who understood everything, suggested that I write and then reread it carefully. I will do so, because I didn't really understand a shit. It has always been easy for me to use a pen, to write about everything. Well, for me it’s also easy to use my hand. In that sense. Yes ... just in that sense, but not with a straight orientation, if you know what I mean. Today I returned home before the others, because being on the beach bothered me. Always the same faces to watch, skins stretched out in the sun to dry after getting wet. Marcello and Giosuè are my friends, schoolmates and accomplices of adventure. I snatched from my father this holiday week in our apartment in Stintino. Green and crystalline water and everything else, but so boring for me because I can't understand anything about my own life. Once exams ended with the shock of studying so much, for me, who had never done it before, my problems have settled in front of me. And my problems are the following, in order: first, with my girlfriend my cock becomes hard, but only if she does not pretend to undress, if we are in the dark and I can close my eyes and think of something else; second, to make me stay stiff I have to think of Marcello and dream of him hugging me hard, slipping my hand into my fly, pulling it out and making me a handjob, or, as happened recently, a blowjob, in my dream I mean; third I never really have to touch my girlfriend, otherwise the dream fades away and instead of Marcello's steel chest I find two boobs and my cock deflates, even if I'm about to come. I mean, I have three problems, but it's like it's just one, isn't it? For my precise condition we left the girls at home and in Sardinia we came alone with the intent to fuck all those who came to us. My friends at least tried, not even a little. Obviously we didn't catch anything. And today on the beach I couldn't do it anymore. With him near me and his skimpy swimsuit and that body I saw growing and loved. Yes, I love it. But it’s not me he looks at, he never looked at me as I wanted. Marcello and that other cretin seem to be like two inspectors in an police investigation. That girl does that and that other one does so and that one yesterday came a little later and today that came without the boy, maybe they have quarreled? I can’t stand it anymore. "Where are you going?" Marcello shouts after me, the asshole. "At home taking a shower and eating something ..." "And don't drink all the beer… and don’t eat all the bread, otherwise what the fuck would we eat tonight?" Giosuè, the other asshole, screams, which is no good because I don't even love him a bit. "You go alone? Watch out!" says Marcello, squinting. "Eh ...?" "Nothing, nothing ... I'm kidding," he laughs and I don't understand what's funny. The walk makes me tired. The afternoon sun, even if it is already September, is hot. I go into that kind of hole called apartment and the air conditioning that Giosuè, the asshole, left on, hits me like a running train. I take a tremendous stream of air on my face and the sweat freezes over me. Trembling, I take off my shirt and throw the towel I have with me on my back. I wipe my chest of salt water residues, it tickles my nipples, giving me a further thrill that ends up straight in my cock. But I have to take a shower, that's why I'm there. Right now I need a long, warm, refreshing shower. Perhaps, since I am alone, I can also give myself a little fun, so at least tonight I will watch Marcello as he expects me to look at him, as a man looks at a man and not as I usually do when I undress him with eyes. Ah! If my eyes had hands! A shower after the sun and sea water. That's what it takes. Peace, peace of mind! I go to the bathroom and shudder, touching the floor made cold by the conditioned air with my bare feet. Damn and damn air conditioning. Still a thrill, but it is a tremor that then comforts me, because it makes me feel all of myself. I hug myself and close my eyes. It’s a dream. It’s him who is holding me, it is Marcello. He saw that I was cold and is warming me up. That's enough, I shake off this weird dream, close the bathroom door and turn on the taps waiting for the water to reach the temperature I want. I want it beautifully warm in winter and even in summer. I like it. At that time there is no one in the condominium, so the water arrives directly and is great. I jump into the shower and immediately that dreamed embrace becomes a little more real, because of the warm water that envelops me and slips, caressing my whole body, warms my skin and loosens the muscles I had stretched for the sudden cold that took me. I still wear my boxer shorts, the ones I put on to hide my erections on the beach, even though I know I'd better show off with a nice pair of speedos. I forgot to take them off because I was dreaming about that asshole. I slowly lower them and turn to look at myself in the mirror that is in the luxurious cabin made by my dad. I'm beautiful, let's face it. Not as gorgeous as Marcello, but almost. The boy, indeed, the man I look in the mirror is attractive and proportionate, but for whom? I should really like it if I could get the right people to look at me. The thought of who is this person, that is my Marcello, makes me slowly go down with my hand towards the bird that is never really flaccid. I begin my usual, honest work of hand, while I enjoy the water that goes down and continues to caress me. At that point I make an abrupt movement, I almost lose the balance and to avoid falling I cling to the glass door that closes the shower. I don't fall, but I hear a crunching sound and I think my father will kill me, because I've just ruined the precious shower he cares about so much. The moment I pass my fingers over the almost-broken hinge, the lights go out. As I said the house is actually a mini apartment, a two-room apartment with a wonderful view of the Gulf of Stintino, but it has a bathroom without windows, so when I said that the light went out, I meant that I found myself in absolute darkness . I curse all the saints in heaven, but I'm alone, who can hear me? I try to grope the bathrobe that I remember hanging somewhere on the right, beyond the door that I just almost pulled off. But in the dark, in a place that is not my home, I do not immediately find the orientation. I absolutely have to get out of the bathroom and try to understand why the light went out. While I try to grab the bathrobe, I hear the bathroom door open and suddenly close. I turn around. "What the fuck… who is there?” someone is in the bathroom with me “Who are you? Marcello? Giosuè? "I scream" Who the fuck is it? " No answer, no noise, not even a breath, apart from mine. The darkness is total. In my mind I wonder how it is that opening the door is not filtered even a thread of light. It is inexplicable. Maybe no one came in and I only dreamed about that noise, but I know it happened that way. I’m sure that the door opened and closed. I am still looking for the bathrobe, as if having something on me I could consider myself more protected. I'm trembling with fear, but I'm also angry with those two assholes. It's a joke, of course. But now they will hear me. Then it happens that instead of finding the bathrobe sponge, my hand touches the bare skin. It's a chest, it's a man. Now I really tremble with fear, but also with excitement, because my palm is touching hardened muscles. I understand that the chest is so hard for the breath held back. Then I do something I never thought I could do, I lower my hand to look for the cock. I know exactly where should be and I also know that he, whoever he is, is naked. But at that very moment my hand is grabbed. He keeps me by the wrist. He hasn't said a word yet, it seems to me that he hasn't even breathed. Grabbing his other hand, he raises them together on my head, pushing me back into the shower. He is all over me, I feel his hard cock against mine. Our faces are very close. It really looks like he is not breathing. But the smell of the skin, I should recognize it if it is one of those two assholes. It could be, I think it is, but it's also different from what it would be if it were him. If I touch his face, I think, maybe I understand who he is, but my hands are stuck, so I try to kiss him, looking for his mouth in the darkness. He doesn't let me do it and pushes me, almost lifts me and we're in the shower together. It leaves my wrists just long enough for me to turn around. It is a lightning-fast movement that surprises me and prevents me from reacting, even if I wanted to. And I’m not sure any more of what I want to. He takes them back to me, something spongy passes around it, it's the belt of the robe. I feel them tighten and tie them together. He raises my arms, almost lifting me up. I’m hanging in the shower, immobilized, tied up, vulnerable, in pitch darkness, at the mercy of someone I don't know. I hope it's him, it must be him. I'm scared, but I start to feel the excitement rising inside. The water continues to fall on us and covers all the smells of my body and his. I no longer hope to identify him, unless he speaks. My unknown assailant is like glued to me. I feel his cock brush against my bottom, rest between my buttocks. His chest brush my shoulder, his belly, his legs against mine. I feel all of his body on me. With his hands he caresses my chest, and then further down my belly and further down until he gently touch my cock. The hands slide on the wet skin, from the abdomen rise to the armpits, in an infinite caress, suddenly a soap materializes between his fingers and I feel that he passes it between my legs and fills my balls with foam and then the cock, he moves a little to soap me my ass, top to bottom, then inside the cheeks, where I didn't think he wanted to go. And then my chest. He tortures me, shakes the nipples and caresses them, in a tickling that makes me sigh. I feel him take a step back, for a moment he seems to have disappeared. We did not say a word and I always fear that he never even breathed, so I think he is not a living being, but a ghost. I have a thrill. The ghost draws closer, pointing his cock right at the hole. He pushes gently, as if he were uncertain, but my desire is so much that it is I who pushes backwards, perhaps out of fear that he may come back and disappear, leaving me there to die a virgin. Or that the light can suddenly return and illuminate his horrible face and my squalid world. And so he is swallowed up by the eternity from which he fled. He understands that I want to go along with it and pushes harder. In an instant it's all inside me. Before, when I touched him, I realized that his cock is bigger than mine, so it could be Marcello’s. Now that I feel him inside me, I realize it's really big and so much more. I am breathless with pain and surprise. I'm going to reconsider, trying to get out of it, but he imprisons me in an embrace that forces me to go along with him, holds me tight and pushes inside me, painfully possesses me. A groan escapes us together. To me and to him and I discover that I like what I am doing, I want it, I have always wanted it. When he understands that I accept the suffering he is giving me, his violence becomes a cuddle, his hands become light, delicate and start caressing me everywhere. My cock is hard as a stone and slams over and under, shaken by the blows that I receive and, banging against my belly, produces a rhythmic noise, that I isolate from the roar of the water and I associate with the pushes that I receive from the cock that is inside me. It seems to me that this moment must last forever. His hands on my body, the caress of warm water that surrounds me, the pressure that I feel inside my belly. Then he frees his cock, taking it out all the way to the tip and when it is about to take it off completely, it pushes deeply, renewing the excruciating pain of before. And then the feeling of pleasure that that intrusion gives me. Again and again. He squeezes my cock, it, caresses it and I know that if he does it again, it will all be over in a moment. I mumble something, I moan, I feel that this excites him more, because he is fucking me hard. The shots affect my bird, which he holds in his hands, while, to prevent his thrusts, I try to move backwards, but it's all useless. He squeezes me and sinks deeper into me. And I come. It seems to me that all my vital essence flows from the tip of my cock, when, spurt after spurt, in my spasms, I see flashes of light and in a moment of consciousness I wonder if electricity has returned, and then I could turn around and look into his eyes, but it's not like that. He hears my moans, my contractions, he perceives from my whole body that the orgasm is shaking me, but he continues to thoughtlessly fucking me, pumping with the cock deeper and deeper, putting in me every millimeter of his flesh. He holds me tightly to him and starts to caress me again, to crush, to torture my nipples and I don't know if I like it or not, if it is pain what I feel or intense pleasure, if the shivers that shake me are enjoyment or cold , because we are under the water spray from who knows when and now the temperature is a bit colder. But he caresses me and if I were not bound and with a cock in the ass, I could fall asleep lulled by his delicacy. Afterwards I don't know how much, he takes again my cock in his hand, squeezes it and starts to jerk me. I’m suddenly unbelievably hard. Now his fucking is perfectly rhythmic compared to the blows it gives to my cock. I don't know how long this new battle lasts, but in the end he wins and a few drops of cum escape from my exhausted and swollen cock once again and, as I come into an orgasm that is more like a liberation, I feel a stronger push of the others that shakes my belly. I feel, I perceive the cock that is inside of me spraying all its load of seed. He crushes on me, so much so that for a few seconds we hold on the shower wall, risking to fall, to lift it from the wall, worsening the damage considerably, but he immediately catches his breath. Now he breathes, I smell, it's his breath. I seem to recognize it, but I'm not sure. "Marcello ..." I whisper exhausted, waiting to be freed and to let myself fall into his arms, if he is. He controls his breath and return to move in complete silence. Always without a word, the softened bird comes off me and I feel a great relief and also a sense of deprivation. I wish he had left it there forever. He comes out of the shower, but first closes the taps. I listen to him while he dries himself, using my bathrobe and I wait for him to finally release me. Instead he leaves. Without a word, in a moment, he opens and shuts the bathroom door and leaves me tied up, hanging on the shower arm. I would like to die, but I think it would be unwise for me to find myself in those conditions by anyone, least of all by my assholes friends. It takes me a while and fiddling with my hands, to free myself from the belt of the robe. I collapse on the ground trying to catch my breath. I have a sore ass and the tip of my cock is on fire, I am exhausted and desperate, but obviously also quite satisfied. I dry and leave the bathroom in a bathrobe, collapse on the sofa without even looking around. I fall asleep. I hear noises and I jump to my feet just in time to welcome Marcello and Giosuè who ask me why there is no light in the house and why all the blinds are turned down to create absolute darkness. How much did I sleep? Maybe an hour. I feel dazed and murmur that I have had strange dreams and that I know nothing. They look at me like I'm crazy, then Giosuè goes to take a shower, shaking his head. Marcello opens his eyes on me and I stare at him. With a sudden gesture I take his arm, I bring it close to my nose and I feel it smells like the sea and not my bath soap. Then I lick him and he tastes of salt. With a jerk he takes my arm away. He’s disgusted: "what the fuck, are you crazy ...?" he screams and looks at me badly. Perhaps it was not him and maybe he would not have had enough imagination to concoct such a trick. Now it's night and I write crouched on the bed. It is a double bed and obviously Marcello sleeps with me. The other sleeps on the sofa bed in the living room. He is beside me and has been sleeping for an hour. He sleeps heavily and snores a little, because fortunately he is supine. I'm about to do something. It is my last hope. Rereading what I wrote so far, I discovered that Marcello could have come here and raped me. No, he didn't rape me, because we two made love. He could have followed me, come into the house, do everything, go back to the beach and bathe again at sea. Tomorrow I could ask Joshua, without making him suspicious. But now I have to do one thing absolutely. In a moment I'll turn off the light of the lamp and in the dark I'll try to touch Marcello's chest. I will recognize it by touch and I will know the truth. It’s a matter of tact, isn’t it? The End
  12. The Gulf of Stintino, in Sardinia (Italy), a shower after the sun and the sea water, the light goes out. And then it is a matter of tact, isn't it?
  13. Lenny Bruce

    Chapter 62

    Thanks Mark, for being back, for your writing, for everything!!!
  14. Lenny Bruce

    Chapter 44

    I was scared for giving back us your story. Now it's truly Christmas for us all! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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