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    Carlos Hazday
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Georgetown: Goodnight, My Angel - 27. GMA XXVII

The sweep of events had carried CJ aloft to heights uncommon for someone his age. His ethos helped propel him into the limelight more than once. A reluctant public figure at first, in time he settled into a grudging acceptance of his soaring popularity.

CJ was the highest-ranking, elected member of the Georgetown University Student Association in the 2020 Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service graduating class. Invited to sit on the dais during commencement exercises, he declined.

Wanting to be with his classmates, not above them, was the explanation he offered campus newspaper reporters. He did not bother to share his other reason when he confirmed he would be speaking to the assembled graduates nonetheless.

That other reason was the cause for the applause and cheering aimed at him, as he climbed the raised platform’s steps after his introduction. Wearing noise-canceling earmuffs, Liebe clung to his gown, snug inside a papoose against his chest.

“Yeah, see? I knew this would happen. Y’all are just paying attention to Liebe and no matter what I say, you’re not gonna care.” Laughter rippled through the audience. “Although today is a momentous occasion, the most important day in my life was about a month ago when my daughter was born. I’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Liston Abelló. Georgetown University class of 2042.”

While most of the crowd applauded, and some cheered, he walked to the edge of the riser and handed the baby to Owen. CJ watched him walk away for a moment before returning to the podium and extracting a sheaf of papers from his blazer. “By the way, the good-looking, blond dude I just handed the most important person in my life to is her other father.” He paused for a fraction of a second to allow his comment to sink in. “He happens to be the second most important person in my life. My husband, Owen Liston.” The reaction from the audience was a tad more sedate than when he introduced his daughter.

If nothing else, he had everyone’s attention. He had them hooked; it was time to reel them in. “The tapestry of my life is about the size of one of my daughter’s diapers right now.” Laughter was his goal, and the audience delivered. “As I grow older, that fabric will expand. But I am certain my family, my friends, my classmatesheck, even the Jesuitswill always be bright threads woven throughout.” The Jesuits reference earned him a few chuckles from the religious order members sitting behind him.

“A huge component of the charmed life I’ve led to date has been my experience at Georgetown University. Coming to the Hilltop was a difficult decision. I’m not a believer and attending a Catholic university was the furthest thing from my mind. You just met one of the reasons I decided to attend college one block away from home. I didn’t want to endure all that time away from Owen.

“Growing up so close to the school, I spent plenty of time on this campus during my high school years. Tossing Frisbees on Healy Lawn or lifting weights at Yates Field House fostered interactions with students not many kids get an opportunity to enjoy. Those men and women I met convinced me if I attended, interesting, bright individuals would surround me. And let’s face it, it’s not like I would be at a second rate institution.

“So, here I am, some four-plus years after making one of the smartest decisions I’ll ever make.” The pause was a chance to catch his breath and allow the audience to ruminate his comments. “I have enjoyed my time at GU more than I could have ever imagined. I have met fascinating people. I’ve argued with some, and I’ve agreed with others. I’ve laughed with friends, and I’ve cursed professors a few times too.” They were still paying attention; the chuckles confirmed people were listening.

“I felt a school that gave us President Bill Clinton and the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia had to be a place where differing outlooks and opinions would be welcome. I was right.” CJ paused again while shifting speech pages.

“Those two men at opposite ends of the political spectrum shared a desire to serve their country and did so to the best of their ability following their graduation. I have come to realize their dedication was in part molded by their time here. By being Jesuit educated.

“I do not know who said it, but I read a quote that expresses the concept best: ‘Being Jesuit educated means setting the Earth on fire. It means going out of your way, taking that extra step each and every day to help others. Even if it’s just holding a door for a stranger. In addition, one major part of being Jesuit educated is giving back. We all live in the same world, and we owe it to ourselves and others to make it a better place.’

“Call me a cockeyed optimist as a friend of mine has done more than once. However, like President Barack Obama, I believe in the promise of America. I also believe we, the best and the brightest, have a responsibility to our fellow citizens. I’m not talking about American citizens but about the global citizens we share Planet Earth with. Regardless of nationality, or any other trait that may differentiate us. Whether you are an American or not, the responsibility is the same.

“I just referenced someone from the left side of the political spectrum I alluded to earlier. Allow me to cross the aisle and paraphrase the late Senator John McCain: Do not despair during setbacks. Believe in yourselves and in the promise of our country. Of our world.

“At a time when technology permeates our lives. When advances in communication have shrunk said world and brought us contact with others all over the planet. When some have sought to divide us by building walls instead of bridges. I’m here to tell you they will not succeed.

“I believe human interaction will help us challenge and conquer this brave new world. I believe we should celebrate our differences, and we should embrace humanity. I believe we can make Georgetown, America, and Mother Earth a better place by extending a hand to our neighbors. I believe there is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth and enjoying its benefits. However, I also believeas my parents taught methat we have a responsibility to help those less fortunate than us.

“As we venture out on our own, let us not forget what we learned here. Service to our communities should be part of our life-plan. Volunteer, give money, participate, speak up. Be the last to accept the world we inherit can’t be improved. It’s up to us to make things better. Live and let live… But also, live and help live. Because believe me, it does get better.

“Finally, I encourage all of you to not be afraid to fail when you attempt something new. Instead, be afraid not to try. You may be surprised at what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it.

“It’s been a wonderful four years. A time of learning and growth. That period of my life is over but the future beckons. I plan to carry on Georgetown’s tradition of public service. Look me up at the State Department if you’re in the hood.

“Hoya Saxa!”

Owen beat the rest of them to his feet by a fraction of a second. The rousing, standing ovation enveloped them as he hugged Liebe a little closer to his heart. CJ’s vociferous cheering section tossed decorum aside as they stomped and shouted. He saw Owen give him a smile and a wink. Next to him, Ritchie’s enthusiasm was unparalleled. Owen took a step away from the high school senior when Ritchie kept jumping and pumping his fist in the air. As CJ reclaimed his seat on the lawn, he could still hear his brother cheering.

 

“It took your dad a lot longer to become famous, Liebe. I think you’re going to be all over social media today.” The baby slept against Owen’s chest, but he spoke to her as if she was listening. Those walking near them down Thirty-Seventh Avenue chuckled. Once the ceremony was over, countless of CJ’s classmatessome he knew well, others were casual acquaintances, and a few were complete strangersclamored to have their picture taken with their fellow graduate and his daughter.

It was a familiar crowd surrounding them now. Owen’s mother flew to the United States after the birth with plans to spend a month with her first grandchild. His father would visit the following month, making a stopover in Washington during a business trip to France. Sebastián and Rosario Abelló did the same; they traveled to Washington after their great-granddaughter’s birth with plans to stay for CJ’s graduation. The upcoming completion of work at the Capitol Hill house was further enticement for Randy, Tyler, and Silas to visit DC. They arrived in time for the commencement and planned on furniture shopping with CJ and Owen the following week.

Because CJ was a local, he had more guests at the ceremony than others. The Squad and the Elite were all invited, and most now strolled toward the Prospect Street townhouse. It was a chance to grab a drink, use the bathroom, and for Liebe to get a fresh diaper.

“I never imagined my daughter would end up wearing it.” CJ removed the gold and jade grape-bunch brooch affixed to Liebe’s Georgetown University onesie. He had bought the trinket as a present in Hong Kong during his layover between Tel Aviv and Sydney, on his way to visit Owen’s ill sister. Liz did not survive, but she provided the greatest gift CJ would ever receive.

“Mom told me about it but asked me not to say anything. She wanted to surprise you.” Owen wrinkled his nose when CJ handed him the soiled diaper. “Damn, this is as bad as your farts!”

“Bullshit! My farts smell like roses.”

“Rotting, dead roses, maybe.”

“Asshole!”

Back upstairs, the dads served mimosas and bloody marys before they all moved to their next destination. César and Brett had reserved the entire restaurant for a banquet to celebrate their oldest son’s achievement. It would be the first time Abuela’s was not open to the public for Saturday lunch. While Owen headed toward his mother so she could hold Liebe, CJ gravitated toward his grandfather and cousins.

“Somebody give me a drink. I’m off daddy duty for the next twenty-four hours.” The mischievous tone suggested CJ was ready to play.

Randy looked somewhat confused as he poured from the pitcher. “What are you talking about off duty? Dads don’t take the day off.”

“Yummm!” CJ wiped his tomato juice-coated lips with the back of his hand. “Owen and I don’t have a choice, cuz. What with three grandparents and three great-grandparents around, the clamoring for Liebe-time has been deafening,”

“Plus, the dads insist CJ go out partying tonight. We have a couple of get-togethers.” Owen had wrapped his arms around CJ when he joined the group. “Can I get one of those bloodys? What were you guys talking about?”

Rod replied from across the counter where he sat next to Sebastián. “We wanted to ask Abuelo what he was getting CJ as a graduation present. He’s given fountain pens to all of us when we graduated from high school. Dad, César, Randy, and I got cars or the money to buy one when we finished college. But you guys have the Tesla, and you don’t use it all that much

“It’s being used a heck of a lot since Liebe was born. CJ and I think that will continue when we move to our house this summer.”

“Yeah, but you guys use the motorcycles and public transit much more.” Rod shifted his attention to their grandfather. “So, Abuelo, what did you get CJ?”

CJ did not trust his grandfather’s grin. “Hey! I said no presents. And I said if you felt compelled to get me something, a donation to Heroes Haven would suffice.”

“Compelled? Suffice? What? You think now you’ve graduated you get to toss quarter words around all the time?” Brett’s butt slap jolted CJ; he shook his head while smilingcollege graduate or not, Brett was still going to give him crap.

“Day’s not over, boys.” Sebastián’s grin grew. “You’ll have to wait. Maybe we got him a present… maybe we didn’t.”

The Uber and Lyft caravan stopped in front of the restaurant and disgorged passengers. When CJ and Owen arrived in the last vehicle, they found their family and friends milling outside. While everyone had gathered in a loose circle around something, Harley faced the street and raised an arm in greeting. “Bruh! About time you guys got here. I’ve been waiting like for hours.”

“Oh, shut up, Harley. I just saw you at the graduation. How come you didn’t stop by the house like everyone else?”

“I had to go get your present. The one from your grandfather.” The man bubbled with excitement, even more so than usual. “Come on, come on. You’re gonna love it!”

“What the hell? I told him no presents. If he bought me a carFUCK!” The group parted when they heard CJ’s voice to reveal a motorcycle parked on the restaurant’s plaza.

“Do you like it? It’s the new electric one! I couldn’t believe it when Cap called me and said your grandfather wanted my help with something.” Harley sounded proud of himself. “If you wanna get rid of Hunter, I’ll buy it off you. Wait ’til you get on this one. It sounds like a jet engine. Maybe you can leave the baby with your grandmother one day, and we can go for a ride? I know you been talking about getting a big one, but I think this is better. You can always borrow Cap’s or Mr. A’s when we go on a long trip. Or you can rent like you did when you went to Key West. I think

“HARLEY!” CJ knew everyone expected him to tell his friend to shut up. Instead, he spread his arms out. “Bring it in, brother. Thank you! As for Hunter, I’m not sure what I want to do. I need to discuss it with Ozzie, but I don’t think we need three motorcycles. At least not until Liebe can ride on her own.”

“Three is one too many.” Owen followed his husband as they walked around the 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire. “We’re definitely keeping this one. An electric motorcycle is an excellent match for an electric car. And Hunter’s going nowhere. Sorry, Harley. But if you want, you can have Rosebud.”

“You’re gonna get rid of yours?” Harley sounded surprised.

“Sure, why not? When we move, a Metro station will be a couple of blocks from home and another one a few from the office. If I ever need a vehicle, I’ll take one of the electric ones.”

CJ was in a playful mood. “Hold your horses, son. Who said you could ride my motorcycle?”

Our motorcycle. DC’s not a community property state. So, I’ll be changing the registration on this one to make it joint ownership. If you ever divorce me, I’ll make sure it hurts.” Owen’s grin had a malevolent twist.

“Asshole!” CJ turned 360 degrees to scan the faces of the crowd surrounding him. “Thank you, Abuelo. I know I said no presents, but I think I’ll keep this one. Let’s get inside, people. I need a cocktail, and I want food.”

Chipper skipped his own graduation from the University of Miami due to his involvement in a project in Los Angeles. He decided to fly into Washington for CJ’s and to meet Liebe. His sister, Cristina, traveled from New York with her daughter, Carolina, for the same reasons. Brother and sister stood with Thiago, watching his son, Fabricio and the little girl play.

CJ elbowed his husband. “Check it out, Oz. Those two will be friends with Liebe in no time. Come on, let’s borrow our daughter and join them.”

“Give.” Chipper’s one word was accompanied by outstretched arms.

“Remember, no baby talk.” CJ handed Liebe over. “That crap rots brains.”

“I got, I got it. You and Cristina must have read the same book.” The man shook the bangs off his forehead and cuddled the infant closer. “Don’t you worry, Liebe, Uncle Chipper will take good care of you. Have you met Fabricio and Carolina? I have a feeling the three of you are gonna be hanging out a lot.”

Thiago picked up his son and allowed him to grasp Liebe’s foot. “This is your new girlfriend, Lollipop.”

“Oh, yeah? What if she turns out to be a lesbian?” CJ earned himself an elbow from his husband.

“Don’t start, homie. The Elite and the Squad may be all men, but I can see the Juniors are definitely gonna be co-ed.”

Chipper’s eyes swept over his friend before returning his attention to the girl in his arms. “You know something, Liebe? There’s this singer named Adam Levine your dads and I like a lot. He put out this music video with a bunch of women in it. ‘Girls Like You’ is a tribute to female-empowerment. I look at you and Carolina, and I’m convinced you’ll both grow up strong.” Chipper took liberties with the lyrics when he sang.

“Spent 24 hours
I need more hours with you
You spent the weekend
Burpin’ poopin’, ooh ooh
We spent the late nights
Changing diapers, cleaning booties
But now it's all good baby
Roll that booty baby
And stay real close

’Cause girls like you
Run around with guys like me
’Til sundown, when I come through
I need a girl like you, yeah yeah”

Moments later, Owen reclaimed his daughter. He and CJ stepped away, intent on returning her to her grandparents. “I reckon the three of them and Chatri’s two will be close. Too bad he and Helen are out of town today. Pretty cool seeing the upcoming generation. I wonder who’ll be the next one to have a kid.”

“Not, Ritchie. I think he’s so scared he’ll be keeping the condom companies in business for the foreseeable future.”

“Poor kid. I feel bad for him. Have you noticed the way he sometimes looks lost? It’s good to see him happy today.”

“The real happy one’s Brad.” The man had asked that someone pick him up at Heroes Haven in Delaware so he could attend the graduation; Ritchie volunteered, saying he was going to miss driving once he entered the Air Force Academy. “I thought the smile was gonna break his face when he found out Cristina was in Washington.”

“So, what are you naming the new bike?”

CJ looked his husband up and down, smiling. “Wow! You’re asking? With Sparky, you didn’t even bother.”

“Yeah, but that was a present for both of us. Technically, this one’s for you.”

“Technically, eh? Lightning! How about that? Kinda fits with it being electric.”

“Mint! I like it, mate. I like it. Lightning it is.” Owen leaned into CJ and whispered. “Be discreet when you look, but check out Lincoln. He sat next to Silas during the ceremony and hasn’t left his side since.”

“Well, those two won’t be the next ones getting pregnant for sure.”

“Asshole!”

 

The gathering brought to mind the wedding reception; CJ again spent most of the time floating between tables, visiting with each of the guests. When dessert was served, he sat next to Owen while holding Liebe in his arms. The clinking of a utensil against glass captured his attention as Brett stood up.

“It’s usually my husband or my son who give the speeches at events like this. Today, it’s my turn.” Brett sipped his mojito while the crowd quieted.

“Life isn’t worth living if you don’t have passion. I’m easily distracted, so I’ve had a few different ones drive me in my years.” Self-deprecation was a sure way to capture the group’s attention. “Growing up, it was surfing. I was happiest on the beaches of California or Hawaii during frequent trips to the islands with my parents.

“When they died, and I went to live with my grandfather, he turned me on to motorcycles. Straddling a big hunk of American steel gave me an adrenaline rush similar to what a big wave did, but I was able to enjoy the high even when there was no beach around.

“My parents were travelers, and I caught the bug from them. Deployed overseas, I was able to visit countries I might never have otherwise. Back in the US after taking a couple of bullets, I met César. Yeah, the good looks drew me inso sue me for having a thing for tall, dark, and handsomethe personality and brains hooked me. The shared love of exploring and riding was but icing on the cake.

“Then CJ stuck his nose in my life.”

“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?” With Liebe in his arms, CJ tried not to shout.

“It means the last thing I expected was to become a father at the tender age of twenty-nine.”

“We beat you, Captain.” Owen fisted CJ, making sure not to jostle the sleeping baby. “CJ and I are both younger.”

“So am I, Cap.” Thiago lifted one of Fabricio’s arms and wiggled the kid’s hand.

“Okay, enough from the peanut gallery. As I was saying, CJ showed up and turned my world upside down. Gave me a new passion. I wanted to be the best possible parent, and I can’t thank the gods enough for his arrival.

“CJ turned out to be an extraordinary man trying to lead an ordinary life.” Brett’s grin grew as he scanned the room. “He’s utterly failed.” While he looked proud of his comment, CJ shook his head, and the guests laughed.

“I’m proud of both my sons for choosing careers in the public sector. Ritchie’s about to graduate from high school, so I’ll talk more about him then. One day, he’ll be doing his part to keep America safe as an Air Force officer. I always thought CJ was the wilder one, but instead of jets, or ships, or tanks, he chose to join the State Department. He’ll help protect us as a member of the Diplomatic Corps. For now. I have a feeling there’ll be much more from him in the future.”

Brett paused while signaling a waiter for another cocktail. Several others echoed his request and there was a momentary lull. Once fresh drinks were delivered, he carried on.

“Humor, often inappropriate, has been a coping mechanism most of my life. I’m trying to be serious here. CJ impacted my life more than I would have ever expected. And it’s not just him but also the people he surrounded himself with. Primarily the Squad. The way these young men have stood by one another in good and bad times is an inspiration.

“Recent years have been leavened with a multitude of fascinating individuals he’s met and charmed. César and I have benefitted from our son’s outgoing personality. We’ve enjoyed meeting politicians, singers, actors and actresses, and countless ordinary yet intriguing men and women. I expect more of the same in the future.

“We encouraged CJ to travel every chance he got. To experience new things and meet new people. Traveling and mingling with locals has a way of expanding your mind to acknowledge and accept differences. We’ve seen the effect those trips have had. CJ’s matured into a loving man who cares for others.” Brett’s solemnity was a sharp divergence from his typical demeanor.

“I’ve seen an angry teen beat the crap out of a burly biker who bullied someone for being gay and in the process earn the respect of complete strangers. I’ve heard a fouled-mouth young man eloquently speak in front of thousands—millions if you count the TV audience—and earn the respect of politicians and reporters decades older than him.

“I’ve been lucky to have had a front row seat as CJ grew from a scared boy into a confident man. A thoughtful student, a loving husband, and now a doting father. But all that doesn’t mean his farts don’t smell. Contrary to what I heard him say a little while ago.” Chuckles, giggles, and snickers served as background to the loud groan escaping César and CJ. “He’s a royal pain-in-the-butt at times. His other dad and I have clashed and locked horns with him more than once.

“My son’s almost as astute as I am.” Brett ignored the derisive catcalls. "At some point, he figured out obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." He paused, allowing the words to simmer. “For those of you who don’t recognize the phrase, I stole it from Michael Jordan.

“Let me quote someone else. My grandfather used to ask ‘What have you done today to make the world a better place?’ I’m sorry he never got to meet CJ. He would have been proud his great-grandson answered the question with a litany of gestures destined to accomplish just that.”

Brett paused and sipped his cocktail again. “A few months back, the two of us took a bike ride by ourselves. It’s something we’ve been doing since he moved to DC. First, he rode behind me as a passenger. These days, I’m the one in back as he leads on his beloved Hunter. It’s a monthly ritual with us, even if sometimes it ends up being a nighttime ride for ice cream because we’re too busy for much more.

“During last month’s ride, I finally realized he was man enough to teach me. As he licked melting chocolate from the sides of his sugar cone, he said something I’ll always remember. I may have his words turned into a poster or something. He told me, ‘You have to realize where you come from is gone and focus on where you’re going.’

“Those words, that belief, the vehemence with which he spoke convinced me he was ready to take his place in the world. His place as a leader. The State Department’s lucky to get him. The CIA tried to and failed. The wealthiest man in the world wanted to snatch him and failed. Hell, César and I suggested he join the family business, and we failed too.

“The winner’s our country. At a time when our leaders have lost their way. When they quarrel and ignore the needs of our nation. I have faith my son will be a shining star amongst those serving our country.” The momentary pause this time was to wipe away a stray tear. He turned to CJ, smiled, and raised his glass. “So, what all my rambling leads me to is pride. Pride in my son and in the great things I know he’ll accomplish.

“Please join me.” Brett waved a hand, inviting everyone to stand. “Raise your glasses with me and toast my son. To his future and ours.

“To CJ!”

 

 

The End

Four-and-a-half years after Summer began posting and seven years after CJ moved to Washington, my attempt to tell a positive story about gay men is done. I’m proud of the CJ series. My never having written fiction before is obvious in the early parts, but I believe I’ve grown almost as much as the main character. Like him, I was scared at the beginning. From wondering if anyone would read it or like it, to having one of the most popular stories ever on GA, has been a most pleasant experience. So, THANK YOU.

If you’ve read this far, I assume you’ve enjoyed the tale. How about showing it a little love. A quick reaction on this chapter and the story as a whole, and a comment on the chapter and/or a review of the book would make my day. For those of you reading without becoming members, now might be a good time to correct that oversight. I’d love to hear from you.

I’ll be back. I’m still writing and hope to share some new stuff with you soon.

Much love to all of you who’ve been so generous with me.

 

Carlos A. Hazday
Wilton Manors, Florida
March 28, 2019

Copyright © 2018 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
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Story Discussion Topic

Welcome to the discussion thread for CJ’s series. All things CJ are fair game, I simply ask you be respectful of others. I will actively participate in the discussion. Ask questions, speculate about what’s coming, or bitch about what happened. We’re now open for business!    

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2 minutes ago, Bft said:

Cool so does that mean we will get to hear about hunky Lincoln then? 

I have big plans for Lincoln if I get to write everything I've outlined. You'll hear a bit about him next Friday.

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On 6/15/2019 at 10:37 PM, Kitt said:

The husbands handbook is very similar to the womans list of rules. Rule 1, hubby doesnt get to know the rules. Rule 2 if hubby figures out a rule, change it!

@Kitt there’s nowt as queer as folk 

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@danield

WOW!

The electric company did work on the lines behind my house and I was without power and internet for a few hours. I first read your comment on my phone, got goose bumps, and had to wait until I could get on regular keyboard to reply. The goose bumps returned a few minutes ago when I reread it. That has to be the most comprehensive, moving message I've received for the series.

Let's see what I can comment on without looking again.

I've been to DC a couple of times since I started writing the series and each time I've visited a few of the locations I used. Some, like The Tombs and the Exorcist stairs, I knew fairly well from my days at Georgetown. Others I plucked from the internet, went out to see them in person for the first time. Dogtag Bakery, Uproar, and the house on Capitol Hill among them. Did you know I worked as a tour guide in Orlando and Miami during college summers? Let's wait and see if the story gets optioned for TV or the movies and we'll organize a trip then. :P

A while back I was taken to task for not providing a full emotional experience during high-drama sections (Liz's death was specifically mentioned) and for not having distinctions between characters. I was told they all sounded the same. I disagreed with the assessment even though I'm always open to constructive criticism. My characters may have similar personalities, but that's normal among friends. Thank you for recognizing their evolution and their individual uniqueness. The same with the emotional content. The fact readers have experienced such a variety of feeling tells me I did something right.

I was also taught not to complain about something unless I was willing to work to fix whatever I found wrong. The line attributed to Brett's grandfather came to me a long time ago and I had to wait until it was the right time to use it. But it was always in the back of my mind as a guiding principle for CJ. Whether it was his battles with bullies, his involvement in the 2016 campaign or in Heroes Haven, if he saw a wrong he could right, he did not sit and wait for someone else to fix the problem.

Let me end this by thanking you again. For reading, for your comments, and for trusting me enough to join GA. I'll be back with something new in about a month or so.

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On 6/30/2019 at 12:55 PM, Carlos Hazday said:

I have big plans for Lincoln if I get to write everything I've outlined. You'll hear a bit about him next Friday.

YEA!  Next Friday! Can't wait!

Edited by Gomez Stanley C
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3 minutes ago, Gomez Stanley C said:

YEA!  Next Friday! Can't wait!

That was yesterday!

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Carlos, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this wonderful wonderful epic story! CJ has been very much a part of my life since your story begun. This ending will certain leave a "hole" in my life. Your forever fan, Andrew

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Just now, andrew35 said:

Carlos, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this wonderful wonderful epic story! CJ has been very much a part of my life since your story begun. This ending will certain leave a "hole" in my life. Your forever fan, Andrew

Thank you, my friend. There's one more story already up looking at the guys 20 years in the future. Definitely taking a break from CJ for a bit, but he'll be back. I know he has cameos in a couple of upcoming stories.

I'm glad you've come to like these guys as much as I have!

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3 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Thank you, my friend. There's one more story already up looking at the guys 20 years in the future. Definitely taking a break from CJ for a bit, but he'll be back. I know he has cameos in a couple of upcoming stories.

I'm glad you've come to like these guys as much as I have!

I will certainly look out for him!!!

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Another chapter in CJ’s life comes to a close ☺️

I hope there is more for you to tell us in this interesting mans life and your saga will continue 😄

thank you for sharing.

matt g.

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@mutch71

Thanks for reading, Matt. And for commenting. This chapter of CJ's life's definitely over, but there's more. check out Hail to the Chief for a look at where he's at in twenty years. He and Ozzie will be back at some point to show us how they're doing as dads.

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Bft

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On 7/6/2019 at 5:48 PM, danield said:

·    The arc of CJ’s story was so extraordinary moving.  I loved reading as each individual grew into a full dimensional character, as a result of your incredible storytelling!

·    At the end of chapter 27, I sat and cried.  I have lived, loved, hoped and cried with CJ and everyone else ever since I first discovered you, and him, at another site.  I eventually followed you both here and you are the reason why I joined Gay Authors as a paying member.  Once I finished chapter 27, I went back and reread the entire saga (again).  I loved reading as each character was presented, developed and fleshed out.  I am in awe of how you told this story.  To witness CJ as he grew from a teenager to an adult was simply amazing. An example was when he discussed buying palm trees for the Georgtown home – one minute a typical teenager and the next one a suggestion of  him growing into adulthood.  I loved the whole evolution of CJ as a strong, caring and loving man.  The sense of family that you created with CJ and his dads' and brother and between the Elite 8 and the Squadron was beautiful to be a part of (and that is exactly how I felt reading this story…that I was actively living with CJ, et al.).

·    To begin.  I would like to say thank you!!  Thank you for the excellent grammar and continuity in CJ’s story - both of which are important to me.

·    I have a fantasy dream, which is to go on a CJ tour in Washington, DC and visit every place mentioned in the story.  Would you conduct such a tour??  I’d pay good money to take it!  When reading this story, I had Google.com open to check out each place you referenced (I would love to see the all the places mentioned – from Dog Tag Bakery to the Exorcist steps).

·    A few examples of the life lessons you beautifully “taught” us, the listeners, that really resonated with me include:

The sermon at the church in Australia on Christmas Day, 2003, brought tears to my eyes, I was so moved.  Likewise Father Chance’s description on CJ as the embodiment of a “Christian”.  I am a cradle Episcopalian , so both of those were beautiful to read (and both examples got me thinking about my faith and how it relates to the modern world.

Along the same lines, Brett’s grandfather’s quote “what have you done today to make the world a better place”, made an incredible impact on me.   I think that taking this quote to heart and practicing it in my daily life is going to be a guiding principle of my life going forward.

And then there’s the election of 2016.  YIKES!!!  I lived viaciously though CJ as he navigated that whole debacle.  I was raised to believe that if you don’t vote, you have no right to criticize.  CJ took that philosophy to a whole new level. 

You taught us about death and how to deal with it when you wrote about CJ and Ritchie’s mother and grandfather, Abo and Owen’s sister, Liz’s passing.

       You beautifully gave the readers life lessons, too.  Examples include:

Trip recounting his battles with addiction were heart rending in their raw power, aw well as CJ gently telling his brother about the most important qualities a man should possess. So simply put and so, so moving!

       You beautifully brought to life your respect and admiration for the men and women in our armed forces and what they experience while serving, an example of which is/was Brett’s description of what it means to be an  American when he meets with Sgt. Burke.  And Brad’s harrowing description of what he experienced in Afghanistan, along with Alex Minsky and Senator Tammy Duckworth’s accomplishments post battle injuries were so damn poignant that I had to stop reading for a minute and regain control.

       “Found Tonight”.  I cry every time I watch that video!

 

 

To close out this love letter to you and CJ, thank you for your ability to create a vivid image through nothing more that your words.  Examples include:

       Carson’s revulsion when he and CJ explore the Georgetown University tunnels. 

       Pride 2019!!!  This chapter was written in March, yet it was presented as if it just happened yesterday.

 

I am really going to miss CJ and his gang.  I have learned many life lessons and thank you for each and every one of them.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

 

dan

 

P.S.  And every time I read the line "What's a Rolodex", I literally laughed out loud!  Too damn funny.  Just one more example of your phenomenonal ability to create vivid mental images with just your words.  I am in total awe!

I agree with everything that you have said in your review of these stories, that they are truly inspiring and I also feel that I am missing out on what happens next in all of their lives.

Edited by Bft
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On 7/30/2019 at 7:54 PM, wolf39 said:

What a great chapter, a great ending to a very great story.

Thanks, Wolf! Don't forget there's a little epilogue in Hail to the Chief.

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This story has been a blessing to read. All of the characters and story plots.

It has been a great time spent with CJ and the Elite and the Squad and the cast of many.

Tears and Laughter and many more emotions were shared.

Job very well done.

John Russell

Columbus, OH

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10 hours ago, InnKeep32 said:

This story has been a blessing to read. All of the characters and story plots.

It has been a great time spent with CJ and the Elite and the Squad and the cast of many.

Tears and Laughter and many more emotions were shared.

Thank you, John. I really like hearing from readers who rarely comment, it gives me insights into why people read my work. Hope you give some of my upcoming stuff a look even if the next few are not part of the CJ series.

Carlos

ps Just replied to your message on the other site.

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I enjoyed this story very much. Hoping for more stories to come. Well done!

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2 hours ago, Job said:

I enjoyed this story very much. Hoping for more stories to come. Well done!

Thank you, sir! Aside from Hail to the Chief, no more CJ and Owen for a bit. But I did publish a children story somewhat related to them and they have a cameo in the prologue of the book posting in September. Hope you check those out.

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16 hours ago, pickuptoy said:

Great story!

Glad you liked it! Pretty fast reading. You have Hail to the Chief left, but that's short. I'm currently posting a Chipper spinoff if you're interested.

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1 hour ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Glad you liked it! Pretty fast reading. You have Hail to the Chief left, but that's short. I'm currently posting a Chipper spinoff if you're interested.

I am reading "Georgetown: As Time Goes By" It is listed as the 10th in the CJ series. "Goodnight my Angel was listed as 9th. I thought there was some unanswered questions as I was reading that series. So you might want to change the numbering for future readers. I am already in chapter 4 of ATGB now. Will eventually get to "Singer"

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14 minutes ago, pickuptoy said:

I am reading "Georgetown: As Time Goes By" It is listed as the 10th in the CJ series. "Goodnight my Angel was listed as 9th. I thought there was some unanswered questions as I was reading that series. So you might want to change the numbering for future readers. I am already in chapter 4 of ATGB now. Will eventually get to "Singer"

Thanks. I'll try again but there's a bug that wasn't allowing me to move stories around before.

Edit:

I think it worked. Thanks again.

Edited by Carlos Hazday
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