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    Geron Kees
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Star Light, Star Bright - 4. Part 4

Part Four


"Bet it won't even start," Clint said, kicking the front tire of the big Dodge Ram pick up.

The owner, who had introduced himself as Larry, laughed. "It's dirty as hell, but what do you expect from a real off-road vehicle? Flowers in the ashtrays?"

Benny wrinkled his nose, which made the fine, newborn mustache beneath it twitch. I grinned, knowing what he was thinking.

"You don't smoke in this truck, do you?" I asked, for Benny. "That leaves a real funk behind that's tough to get rid of. I don't know if I could drive something every day that reeked of cigarette smoke."

Larry let one eyebrow rise. "I don't smoke." He winked at me then. "Not tobacco, anyway." He patted the front fender of the red Dodge with no small amount of affection. "And not inside the beast, ever."

Clint laughed, causing Gary to grin. Gary had a thing about the way his boyfriend laughed, and it always brought a smile to his face to hear it.

"You call this truck the beast?" Clint asked, shaking his head. His tone was a bit mocking, and Larry frowned at hearing it.

He leaned forward to look at Clint. Larry was in his early twenties, maybe, and bigger even than Clint. "How old are you, kid?"

Clint bristled a little at that, but then smiled. "Sixteen." He waved a hand around. "We're all sixteen."

Larry smiled. "You boys may not even be experienced enough to handle something like the beast. This is a Dodge Rebel, kid. There's a 396 horsepower, hemi vee-eight under those two scoops on the hood." Larry looked self-satisfied. "Takes a man to drive one of these."

Clint wasn't having it. "I'm not the one that wants to buy it," he returned, pointing at me. "He does. So bluster to that fellow, not to me."

To his credit, Larry laughed. "Okay. You called me. I was having fun at your expense. I'm sorry." He patted the fender of the Dodge. "This is really a great truck, no kidding. You're looking for something that will go off road?"

I nodded. "I need something that will climb some of the hills around here. I need a good field of view from the top."

"Oh." Larry nodded. "Photographer?"

"Telescope," Benny said, finally adding his voice. "We're skywatchers."

Larry looked mildly impressed. "Is that like weather watchers? Looking for tornadoes?"

Gary frowned. "They don't have tornadoes around here."

"Skywatching, as in the stars and planets," I corrected, feeling that Larry was a wit, and having way too much fun with us. "Astronomy."

Larry actually looked interested this time. "That's pretty cool stuff." He smiled then, and patted the truck's fender again. "Well, the evidence is right here. Mud from every decent climbing hill for miles around, right here for you to see with your own eyes."

"How much were you asking?" I said. I had taken the truck's mileage, which was low, and figured its blue book value, and arrived at a dollar amount that I found acceptable. That is, if there weren't any scrapes, dents, or other body imperfections hiding underneath all that mud.

"She's only two years old, and you already saw she only has twenty-two thousand miles on her."

I nodded. "There could be a dead tree stuck through a fender, too, and hidden by all this mud and crud."

Larry laughed. "She's clean."

"Can't tell by looking," Clint said, drily.

Benny pulled me aside. "You sure you want this thing, Griff? It's really a lot of money."

It was to be a graduation present - a little early - from my parents. Money was not an issue for me other than to get a fair price.

I looked back at the truck, dirty as hell, but sitting proudly and solidly on its over-sized tires. "Yes. I want it." I grinned at him. "Can you imagine us climbing that big hill in the woods over by the reservoir? And getting an eyeful of the sky above that spot?" I leaned closer and lowered my voice. "It's really away from everything there. Secluded. No people at all. We could take a sleeping bag and get comfortable."

Benny's eyebrows went up at that, and a smile spread across his face. He immediately turned back to Larry and pointed at the truck. "How much did you say?"


* * * * * * *


"That's really good," I said, leaning over Benny's shoulder to stare at the screen of his laptop. On it was an image, one that spoke to me at many levels. It was a mix, expertly done, of smaller images, that blended in such a way to create a montage that was not only striking, but evocative of several different emotions. "In fact, it's great!"

Benny looked up at me, obviously pleased with my assessment. "Think I have a chance?"

"Yes. I think you'll win, actually. You've done some amazing work here, Ben."

He looked startled, and then laughed. "You haven't called me Ben, ever."

I smiled. "I just think that, once your career as a graphic artist gets going, it would sound better for you to be known as 'Ben Cooper', rather than 'Benny Cooper'".

Benny stood, turned, and took me into his arms. "My career? Isn't that premature?"

I shook my head. "No. You've been doing this stuff since you were a kid, Benny. You've become awesome at it." I looked into his eyes. "You love it, don't you?"

He swallowed hard, and then nodded. "Yes. I really do. It's just..." he frowned, then shook his head. "It just feels so early to be planning the rest of my life."

I sighed, and hugged him. "I already told you what I wanted to do. Study to be a professional astronomer. With my GPA I know that Cornell will take me. I'm going to move to Ithaca and take that little apartment that my mom's sister owns." It was my turn to swallow hard. "I'd love for you to come with me."

Benny looked into my eyes, and smiled. "If I was employed and had a career, it would be easy."

"That's what I was thinking."

He turned and looked back at the artwork on the screen. "National First Responders is a big outfit. If I win the competition, they'll use my artwork nationally. The fifty thousand dollar prize would keep me going until I could get some other customers."

I pulled him closer, and laid my cheek against his. "I want to stay with you, Benny. But I want to go to school, too. I don't...I don't know what to do."

Benny kissed me, and it still held all the spark of the very first time. "You'll go to school," he said, simply. "And I'll go to Ithaca with you. I'll win the contest, become famous, and that will be that. An artist doesn't need a fixed location to operate. Just an email address and a website."

I kissed him. "I sure love you."

"I know." He nodded at me, and smiled. "I know that more than anything else, Griff. My whole existence is wrapped in that love."

He sighed, and tightened his grip about me while I nuzzled his cheek. "I've never loved anybody but you," he said, softly. "And I never will."


* * * * * * *


The lantern cast small shadows about the hilltop, illuminating the sleeping bags, the cooler, and the Celestron's tripod. A little farther away, the bright red side of the Dodge truck showed, spotless save for a lean spattering of mud about the fender wells. The truck had never again been as dirty as the day I'd first laid eyes on her, but it was nearly impossible to take all that power off the road and onto mere earth and not expect the truck to wear at least a little bit of it as a badge of accomplishment. In the year I had owned the truck, it had taken the four of us to just about every decent viewing spot in the state. Dark sky areas where the light pollution was minimal, and the viewing spectacular.

We had spent the early evening looking at Saturn, its massive, varied rings displaying clearly on the laptop screen courtesy of the telescope's imager. I'd eventually pulled the imager and gone to a prism and a lens, just so everyone could really say they'd actually viewed the great planet through a telescope. Sometimes, even though the Celestron was the source for the sky object we were viewing, watching it via the imager on a laptop screen was too much like watching it on TV. The little thrill that came with knowing you were looking directly at a planet that was 800 million miles away was somehow missing.

After that we'd gone to our sleeping bags; Clint and Gary to theirs, and Benny and I to ours. Benny and I made love under the new moon, the dark sky above filled with stars, and the soft sounds of Clint and Gary doing the same thing causing us to smile. I never ceased to be amazed how close the four of us had become, at the iron that had been forged to bind us. In the small world of love I lived in, Clint and Gary were responsible for everything that didn't come from Benny or my parents.

Benny was extremely energetic, having had a day full of experiences that had charged him to the limit. The National First Responders artwork competition had been judged that day, and Benny had not won. He had taken an honorable mention only. I thought his entry was the best, no matter what the judges said; but Benny seemed to agree that the woman that had won had deserved to do so. Benny received a two-thousand dollar runner-up prize - something, but not enough for him to live on if he moved with me to Ithaca.

However, it didn't end there. One of the judges was the retired CEO of a national graphic design firm, and he had thought that Benny's work was outstanding. He had called Benny personally, and offered to connect him with people that would also appreciate his talents. A meeting was set up, and it looked like Benny might get his wish to eventually go pro with his talent. Benny had been smiling and talking non-stop all evening, and it was a little bit of a relief for me to get him down on his back and occupy his mind with something else for a time.

It was nearing midnight when the two of us relaxed together, flat on our backs. I had an arm under Benny, around his shoulders, and his head was laying atop my shoulder where it was in range of my lips - precisely my favorite place for him to be. The sky was massively beautiful without the moon to wash it out, the stars crowding around to gaze back at us, and wonder about us, even as we wondered about them.

"God, it's gorgeous out here tonight!" Benny breathed softly, snuggling against me. His skin was warm, and slightly damp in the late summer humidity, his thick hair soft against the side of my face. One of his legs was draped over mine, and one of his hands gently rubbing against my ribs. It was absolutely perfect.

I smiled, turned my head and whispered into his ear, "It's gorgeous anywhere you are."

He laughed, a pleasant sound that made me sigh with delight. I'd meant what I'd said, but he always thought I was playing when I told him such things.

There was a grunt from nearby, and then Clint and Gary walked over, totally naked, dragging their own sleeping bag, their clothing spread out atop it. They arranged their bag next to ours, moved the clothing around until it formed a fair pillow, and then plunked themselves down in a comfortable position, arms and legs happily entangled.

"This place is great," Gary said dreamily, making kissing sounds to Clint. I could hear Clint sigh; but he raised up and found Gary's lips, and wasted no time pressing his own against them.

I could feel Benny give a tiny, silent laugh, his delight at the antics of the others apparent. He still felt that getting Gary and Clint together had been one of the finest things we had ever done, and he always was ready to bask in the broadcast glow of their affection for each other. I understood how Benny felt. Gary and Clint were our best friends, and friends like these came along only once in a lifetime.

Their kissing done, Clint laid his head back on the pile of clothing. Gary turned on his side and threw an arm over Clint's belly and a leg over Clint's thigh, and laid his head on Clint's chest and grinned at us. "Do I look like a happy camper?"

Benny and I both laughed. "I would say so," Benny agreed. He rolled onto his side and mimicked Gary's position, but in mirror form, so that he could gaze across my chest at the others. "How about us?"

"Delirious! Stupendous! Amazing! Colossal!" Gary returned, as if he was barking a carnival sideshow. But then he sighed. "I can't believe you two are going away next month."

I shook my head, because this was like the tenth time that Gary had said this.

"We'll be an hour and forty minutes away," I said again. "It's Ithaca, not Thailand. You guys can come up to see us, and we will definitely come down to see you. We'll be home for holidays, and we will always have time for the two of you."

"Yeah," Benny added. "And there's this thing called a phone they invented, where you can actually talk to us every day!"

Gary pouted. "I can't see you on a phone."

Clint laughed, but didn't say anything.

"Well, I can't," Gary insisted.

"We'll Skype you," Benny offered. "How's that?"

Gary nodded. "Maybe that will help." He sighed. "I love you guys. I'm going to miss you."

Clint looked over then, and nodded. "Amen to that."

I was touched, and I could feel that Benny was, too. "It'll work out. You'll see," Benny said. "We aren't ever going to abandon you guys, okay?"

Gary nodded, and Clint squeezed him reassuringly.

One thing about Gary, he healed quickly. He pouted a moment longer, and then sighed and kissed Clint, who gave him a reassuring squeeze.

"I guess everyone is going away now, and it will be just me and Clint for a while," Gary said. "I talked to Jerry the other day, and he's going off to law school."

Benny grunted. "Really? Somehow I never saw Jerry Creed as a lawyer."

"Oh, no, he's a scrapper when he thinks he's right," Gary said. "I think he'll be a great attorney."

"So do I," I said. Jerry was a straight-up kind of guy, and one with a real sense of right and wrong in him. The world of law and order was a slippery place, and needed more people in there that had a sense of what real justice might entail. "He'll stay in touch with you, Gary. He's one of your best friends."

"I know. He said he would, and I believe him. It's just...everything's changing."

I nodded, understanding him completely. Change was inevitable in life, especially at the juncture with the future that our age group had reached. But...change was not an end, only a new direction. "Stop worrying, Gary. We aren't leaving you. We're just evolving a little. You'll be okay."

He sighed. "Yeah, I know. Well, it's a nice night, anyway," He laughed then. "Nothing like being naked out under the stars."

There was something to that. "I'll bet we won't get to do this in Ithaca," I said to Benny. "Maybe they have some wilds nearby, but we'll have to find them. But I won't be surprised if we have to confine our nakedness to our apartment once we get there."

Benny huffed in annoyance. "I always heard that city life sucked. Now I know why."

I smiled. It was going to be a big change for us, but not something we couldn't handle. My only fear, ever, had been about going out into the world without Benny. Now that I knew I was not leaving him, I was looking forward to what came next. I had what I wanted to do in life, and now it looked like Benny had what he wanted to do, too. Together, we would be unstoppable.

Nothing like planning one's future to ensure that everything comes off smoothly.


* * * * * * *


"I like the apartment," Gary said, nodding as he and Clint walked through. "Not huge, but it's comfy...for two people in love." He turned and smiled at Clint, who grinned and pretended he didn't get it.

"The rest of the furniture will be here tomorrow," I said, smiling. "Our first place was way small, and having the extra room here and the bigger living room and bedroom kind of cried out for more."

Gary sighed. "Three years you two have been away from us. We miss you."

Benny laughed, and nudged me gently with his elbow. "We see you guys nearly every weekend. How can you miss us?"

Gary made a little pout. "Well, we do. It's a long way to come up here, and seeing you guys for a few hours here and there isn't the same as what we used to have."

Clint sighed then. "He's right, actually. It isn't the same." He'd lost a bit of his drawl over the past few years, and sounded a little more like an easterner these days.

Benny looked over at me and frowned, and I nodded. "It's not, I agree. But what's to be done about it? I'm in my third year here at Cornell, with one more before I get my BS. And you have a pretty decent business going, and we both have some ties here now." I looked back at Clint and Gary, who had joined hands and were watching us. "We miss you guys, too."

Benny nodded then. "Yeah, we do. And this isn't permanent. The hard part is nearly over. Once Griff gets his degree, we'll stop and take a breath and look around a bit." He smiled at me. "You said you might want to take a year off before going after your Masters, right?"

I nodded. "A lot of people do that. Kind of take a year to rest and see what comes next. I have several options for my post-grad phase, and I want time to think about it."

"What will you do if you take off for a year?" Gary asked, shaking his head. "How will you live?"

"I make enough to support us," Benny said, his eyes twinkling at me. "We don't live high on the hog." He smiled at Gary and Clint. "We'll probably come back down your way and get a place, while we figure out what's next."

Gary's eyebrows jumped upwards, and his eyes came to me. I nodded, grinning. "That's what we were thinking. At least for the year, while I decide what comes next."

"Well, that's okay, then. Anything that gets you two back home is okay in my book."

Benny laughed. "And we thought you'd be hard to convince."

Clint simply shook his head. "There's still a year to go. A lot can happen in a year's time."

I shook my head at him. "Don't get your guy riled up, Clint. After all, you're the one that will have to live with it."

Clint looked at Gary, who smiled sweetly back at him and nodded. "Don't start none, won't be none."

"Okay." Clint smiled brightly. "This all sounds wonderful. I'm sure everythin' will work out just fine."


* * * * * * *


I got my degree, and we moved back home. We found a small apartment five minutes from where Gary and Clint had theirs, and everyone was delighted. Benny and I got to see them every day, and our families, too. It was great!

For about two months, that is. And then, I started to feel the weight of unused time on my hands.

Benny worked from home, but he needed time and peace to concentrate and create. He had developed a solid, faithful core clientele, and he was on his way to making some serious money with his talent for design. I loved that for him - for us; but at the same time I kind of felt left out, with the knowledge that I really should be doing something productive gnawing at me a little more with each passing day. I couldn't just hang out at the apartment - Benny needed time to work. So I took to going out a little each afternoon to walk and get some exercise, and mull over what I wanted to do next.

My parents still kept the same hours, so they were at the lab most of the day. But one Saturday my dad sprained his ankle while running with my mom, and took the following week off to recuperate. I asked him if he'd like some company, and he said that would be fine. My dad was delighted to have me around to spar with again, and we got together all week and talked science.

"I'm pleased to see that my DNA is being used for something productive," he said to me one afternoon, after I had explained to him about the initial mass function in star formation, and how it seemed to favor small stars.

"I guess. The stars seem a long way off just now, dad."

He smiled, as he always did since I had started calling him dad instead of father. That was Benny's influence showing. "Aren't you enjoying your time off? You've earned it."

"I'm bored," I admitted. "It's been hard going from a rigorous study and lab schedule to doing nothing at all." I shrugged. "I feel like I have all this energy, and no place to utilize it."

His smile faded, and he nodded. "I know how you feel. Your mom is one of the few people I know that went straight from completing her Bachelor's into study for her Master's. I took a year off, just like you're doing, and I was also bored silly."

"What did you do about it?"

"I got a job."

I stared at him in disbelief. "Isn't that counter to the idea of rest and recovery from four years of intense study?"

"No. Not if you get the right job. I worked in a bakery, making donuts."

I couldn't help it - I laughed. "You're not serious."

"I am." He sighed. "I'm a chemist, son. What better way to study the interaction of elements with different properties in a thermal environment...than baking?"

I leaned forward, and propped my chin on a hand. "You studied the making of donuts? You performed tests, kept notes, and...you studied donuts?"

He rolled his eyes. "Well...not exactly. I performed...well, I did taste tests."

I gaped a little. This was my father talking? "Are you going to tell me about it?"

He laughed. "It's very simple. I got a job in a bakery, baking donuts. It was close by, and I could walk to work. The owner was a very laid back sort, older, and already set for life, and still running his business just for the fun of it. He did a lot of things the old fashioned way. No assembly line baking for that man. He had a daughter that was in the business with him, who really knew how to bake. Everything was done in several different ovens, and he and his daughter put a lot of love into the things they made."

"You baked donuts," I stated again, still trying to get my mind around it.

"Yes. They had about a dozen house recipes for donuts. They were good, and I quickly learned to make them, but there wasn't any leeway for originality. So I asked if I could experiment a little, try some new things, and was given the go ahead, so long as I kept up with demand for the regular flavors."

"You're not going to tell me you invented a bunch of new donut recipes, are you?"

"About a dozen," he returned proudly. "The chemistry behind taste is most interesting, son. Not everyone seems to have the exact same reactions to different foods. I experimented with that for the best part of that year, and attained some positive results. And...I had some fun."

I still could not see my dad baking donuts. "Does mom know about this?"

His eyes were merry now. "Of course. It was her Uncle Bill's bakery."

A light went on. "Oh! So the daughter was...Aunt Kate?"

"Yes. And she turned out to have a very lovely, very wonderful cousin...so wonderful that I married her."

I couldn't help smiling. This was a side of my dad I had never knew existed. "That's just great, dad." I frowned then, considering. "I guess I can look for a job. But there aren't exactly any around here that would need the kinds of things I know. No one bakes with star stuff, that I've heard of."

He nodded. "You have many talents, son. Just look around. I think the job that will appeal to you is something you aren't even considering now."

"Maybe." It was certainly worth thinking about.

So I did look around. For the next two weeks, I checked the job sites with listings in our area, and even went to interview for a few. Nothing clicked.

And then, one afternoon I came back to the house, and when I checked in on Benny at his computer, he glanced up at me and smiled. "Mike Shannon called. He said to call him back."

Huh? Mike and I had been study partners at Cornell. He came from a very wealthy family in New York City, was kind of used to having things his way, but had proved to be a hard worker, and very trustworthy. And good with stars and planets, which he loved almost as much as I did. Once I got past his somewhat boastful facade, I'd liked him.

"Did he say why he was calling?" Mike had taken a year off, too, and had talked about touring Europe to relax. He was the last one I expected to hear from now.

"No. Just said to call him. I captured the number on my cell." Benny handed his phone to me, and smiled again. "Sounded like he really wanted to talk to you, love."

I laughed. "Oh, well, when you say it like that..."

I bent and kissed him, then took his phone and went to the kitchen, and put some coffee on. Then I sat at the table and called Mike.

"Griffie boy, is that you?"

I winced at that, but couldn't help smiling. "Mike. How have you been?"

"Fantastic. How about you?"

"Not bad. Enjoying my rest. More or less."

"Yeah, right. You can't fool me, man. I'll bet you're climbing the walls by now." He laughed. "That's exactly why I called."

I couldn't help but to be interested. Mike was a no-bullshit kind of guy - when it came to certain things, anyway. ""What's on your mind?"

"You want a job?"

I couldn't help giving a little gasp of surprise. "What, do you read minds now, too?"

"No. I just know you. Sitting around isn't your thing. So I repeat: do you want a job?"

"Well...what are we talking about?"

Mike laughed, as if that was exactly the answer he'd expected. "I've been working for two months now at my dad's ad agency in the city. Writing ad copy for the automotive industry."

"You? Writing ads?" I had to laugh, myself. "I just can't see that, Mike."

"Why not? It's not hard. You just have say nice things about leather seats, cool gadgets, and safety features, and make it sound like any clown can afford it all."

Now, that sounded like the Mike I knew. "That sounds kind of cynical. Are they even good cars?"

"Some of the best, Griffie boy. Our agency has some high-dollar clients, and all they want are people that can sell their products for them."

"Uh huh. So why are you calling me?"

Mike made a sound like I'd said something really stupid. "Because you can write, boy. You've written some of the clearest, most detailed tech papers I've ever seen. You remember what the prof said, right? That if you ever tired of the academic side of star watching, you had a second career ahead of you, engaging the public in it. You're a natural when it comes to explaining things and making people like it."

I made a rude noise. "Yeah, well, explaining the life cycle of a star is a far cry from touting the merits of some luxury car. What do I know about cars?"

"You drive one, don't you? Most people only want the basic specs of what's under the hood, Griffin. Some want to race around, yes. But most people want good gas mileage, and comfort and safety for themselves and their families. And they want to know that they'll be happy driving the thing, and that they'll look very cool while doing it. You can sell that, I know you can."

I huffed, not about to be willing to be talked into something nutty. "And where would I have to go to do this work?"

Mike cleared his throat, and I could see it coming. "Well, of course you'd have to be here in the city, Griffie boy."

Hah! "No way. Benny and I just got this place. And I only have nine months until the fall semester starts. And I would hate living in New York City. I'm a country boy, and you know it."

"Okay, okay. Just thought I'd ask. I just didn't want to see a job that pays fifteen hundred a week go to some bonehead that can't write his way out of a paper bag."

I laughed. "Yeah, right."

"I'm serious, Griffin. The job starts at fifteen hundred a week, with a review in a month's time. The way you write, you'll be hauling down twenty-five hundred a week by then."

I pulled the phone away from my ear and stared at it. "You have to be kidding, Mike. What kind of idiot would pay that kind of money to someone with no resume and no experience in the field?"

I heard a mumble from the phone, and brought it back to my ear.

"...so my dad gave me carte blanche to rake in some new talent. He's been trying to get me into the business for years, saying that all that 'outer space stuff' wouldn't pay me a dime in my old age. I agreed to work for him for a year on the condition that I get to surround myself with a few good people I know can do the job. You were the first one I thought of." Mike sounded exasperated now. "Griffin, this is a golden opportunity to get into something that can make you some big money. Tell me you'll at least think about it!"

I was already thinking about it. Fifteen hundred a week - six grand a month - in nine months time I'd make fifty-four thousand dollars. Not a huge amount of money...but better than I was doing now. Of course there would be expenses drawn from that - an apartment in the city was expensive. Still, it would be enough to support Benny and myself, with maybe even some left over. And that meant we could save all of Benny's income, which would be a windfall for our future financial situation.

And...I would be doing something again to contribute.

"You're thinking about it," Mike said, and I could hear the grin on his face in his voice.

"Maybe. When would you want me to start?"

"I'd take you tomorrow, if you could get there by then. But as soon as you can come will do."

I licked my lips, and nodded to myself. "Let me talk to Benny about it. I'll call you back later."

"No hurry, Griffie boy. Talk to Benny, then the two of you sleep on it. Give me a call tomorrow."

"Okay. Okay, I'll do that."

"You could be a great one, Griffin. I'm telling you."

I nodded, not needing further coercion to consider the offer. "Thanks for thinking of me, Mike. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

"Great! I'll be waiting."

After I had disconnected, I sat the phone on the table before me and stared at it. Moving to the city would not be fun. I knew that Benny was happy here, back with his family, and being able to see Gary and Clint daily. The truth was, I was happy here, too. Leaving was not something I wanted to do.

But...the money was something I felt that Benny and I should at least talk about. Discuss. It was only for nine months, but the benefit to our savings could be substantial. I stood up and retrieved Benny's phone, and took it back to him.

"How's Mike?"

"He's good. He had a proposition for me."

Benny shot me a look. "Hey! Only I get to proposition you!"

I bent down and kissed him. "There will never be anyone else but you." I straightened, and patted his shoulder. "You're busy. Get back to work, and we'll talk at dinner. What do you feel like?"

He gazed at me speculatively. "Something Italian?"

I frowned. "Italian's for special occasions."

"Isn't this special?"

I stared at him. "What do you know?" And then I had a thought. "What did Mike say to you?"

He sighed, stood up, and took me into his arms. "Nothing that upset me." He looked into my eyes, and nodded. "We'll talk at dinner, okay?" He smiled. "I think Italian is appropriate. So be creative."

I could see the decision in his eyes, and knew there was no turning back. I stared at him a moment longer, and then nodded. "Okay. I'll surprise you."

Benny laughed. "You usually do."


* * * * * * *


The elevator creaked and groaned as it ascended, and I looked once again at the inspection certificate in its little frame on the wall. We'd gotten used to the minor ticks and taps the elevator made coming up from street level to our apartment, but the complaints it made going on up to the roof were another thing altogether. The city had a different idea of what was safe than us country boys had grown up with, and I only hoped the urban tendency to accept crazy things as normal did not extend to elevator inspections.

"It sounds like gremlins, gnawing through the cables," I decided, looking about the interior of the car. I'd never been claustrophobic a day in my life, but something about the noises we heard seemed threatening.

"Relax, Griff," Benny said, gripping my arm. "It's just a squeaky pulley or something."

I nodded. "Okay, but if we plummet thirty floors to our deaths, I want you to remember you said that."

He laughed. "I like the apartment. It's small, but it's fine for two. And that little back bedroom will be great for when Gary and Clint come to see us."

"If they come to see us," I amended. "It's a three-hour drive from back home. I don't see them making that trip very often."

"So we'll go and see them sometimes, too."

"How? We left the truck back at my dad's house. Owning a car in the city is for crazies."

Benny sighed. "Will you stop it? This is what you wanted, right?" He squeezed my arm again. "This is what we wanted. It's a little late to be second-guessing yourself."

I nodded - a little stiffly, but I couldn't help it. "I'm sorry I pulled you away from home. You were doing so well there."

"And I'll do just as well here. I don't have an office, and location doesn't mean a thing. My clients will be just as happy with the work I send them from here as they were with what I sent them from back home. Now shut up, or I may just find a way to break the elevator myself."

I had to laugh at that. "I'm sorry. I just --"

Benny reached out a finger and pressed it against my lips. "I love you."

I closed my eyes, and nodded. "I love you, too, Ben. More than I can say."

"Then relax. I'm happy wherever we are, as long as I'm with you."

There was a ding, and the elevator lurched to a stop. The doors opened, and Benny pulled me out onto the roof.

There was a pool here, and a clubhouse with a gym, only for residents of the building. We could see a few people inside the gym through the windows, but it was too cold for the pool, and the rest of the rooftop area was empty. It was a lonely looking kind of spot, but the sounds of the city all around us removed any sense of privacy, any sense that we were really alone together.

"Why are we here again?" I asked, as Benny pulled me around to the darker area to the side of the gym. "We were up here just the other morning."

"I told you: I want to see what the night sky looks like from here."

I sighed. "I could have told you that without coming all the way up here. It sucks. The light pollution is terrible in the city." I looked up. "You can't even make out the constellations."

"I only need one star," Benny said, humming softly to himself. His eyes scanned the sky above, and he nodded. "Okay. That will do." He took my arm again, and turned me around towards the elevator.

"What? We're done already?"

"Uh huh. I've seen enough." Benny led me past the gym windows, and smiled. "Look, they have treadmills. We can go for a walk without getting mugged."

I did have to laugh at that. Battery Park City was one of the safest neighborhoods in Manhattan. Mike had directed me to a friend that owned an apartment building there, and we had gotten the second one we had looked at - which was good, as there were only two units available. The rent was exorbitant, but well within the bounds of my new pay. And the crime rate was more like that of some Midwestern town than that of the largest city in the country.

The best thing about it was that my trip to and from work each day would be an easy one. The ad agency was located uptown on Lexington Avenue, and was a large one that specialized in commercial advertising with a digital flair. All I had to do each morning was take the elevator to the sub-basement of our apartment building, walk down a long hallway, and there I was on a subway platform. The Line 4 train got me to Lexington Avenue in fifteen minutes, and I got off on a platform, walked down another long hallway, took an elevator up, and was at work. The possibilities of getting mugged were slim to none going both ways, as there were security guards on both platforms, and in both building sub-basements. Even had I walked to work on the sidewalks, the possibilities of being a victim of crime were pretty slim in this part of town.

The local park was just minutes away, there was great shopping all around, and the restaurants in the area were numerous, and eclectic in their offerings. There were bookstores aplenty, theaters and shows, and we could see the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis and Governor's Islands, from our living room window. All the comforts of home - except, it was not home.

We reached the elevator, and Benny pushed the button. "I think we'll do okay here, Griff. So stop worrying, and let's get back to the apartment." He grinned. "I want to call Gary and Clint."

Evidently the elevator car had not moved since we'd gotten off it, and the door immediately opened. I swear the light within the car blinked off for a fraction of a second then, and Benny had to take my arm and pull me inside. "Come on," he said patiently, with just a trace of humor in his voice.

We made it back to our floor. When the door opened, there was Mr. Moffet, our neighbor, a retired police lieutenant, dressed in sweats, with a towel around his neck.

He smiled as he passed us and got into the car. "Gym busy tonight?"

Benny shook his head. "Didn't look like it. We were just outside, looking at the sky."

Mr. Moffet extended a hand and laid it on the edge of one door, keeping them from closing. "The sky? What's in the sky?"

Benny grinned. "Stars."

The older man blinked, and the suggestion of a nutty kids thought crossed his face. "Oh."

I pointed at the elevator. "That thing sounds like it's ready to drop."

Mr. Moffet took his hand off the door and laughed. "It's sounded that way for the entire twelve years I've lived here, and it hasn't dropped yet."

The doors closed on his smile, and I nodded my head. "Always a first time for everything."


* * * * * * *


Mike Shannon came in and sat on the corner of my desk. He was smiling, and Mike with a smile always meant good news. "They loved it, Griffie boy. It's a done deal."

My nerves, which had felt like a frayed extension cord all morning, quieted. "They did?"

"I knew they would. It was awesome. Mr. Clarefield told my dad it was some of the best work he's ever seen."

I had to sit back in my chair, still not fully believing it. "I just explained it as clearly as I could."

Mike shook his head. "Griffin, you don't seem to understand how well you present things. It's not just a cold summation of the facts. There's a warmth to the way you write that people like. It makes them smile, and feel like they're with a friend. You have no idea how well that goes over with the buying public. They'd much rather buy a car from a friend than some fast-talking slob of an ad-man."

I laughed at that. "We have slobs working here, and no one told me?"

Mike grinned, and shook his head. "Sure, make light of it." He lifted a hand, waggled his fingers at me, like he was about to perform a magic trick. He looked at his hand, and then at me, and then watched his hand move slowly towards the pocket of his jacket, where a long white envelope protruded from within. "Magic time, Griffie boy."

He withdrew the envelope and offered it to me.

I just stared at it, my mouth feeling dry. "What's this? Fired already?"

He rolled his eyes at me, and gently waved the envelope. "It's your first month's review. Take it."

Oh. I cleared my throat, took a breath, and reached for the envelope. And then I just stared at it. Written in the careful handwriting of Mike's dad, CEO of the company, was my name: Griffin Ballard.

And that was all.

Mike watched me a moment, and then laughed. "It works better if you open it."

I nodded, used my forefinger to slit the flap. Inside was a single sheet of paper, covered with neatly-typed paragraphs. I scanned them, my eyes just catching phrases here and there: ...exemplary performance...an unusually acute ability to discern what the client needs...careful and effective use of language that conveys both mood and emotion to the reader..."

I swallowed hard as I got to the end, and the line that said hereby authorize a salary increase of 65%.

Sixty-five percent.

I gasped, and looked up at Mike. "Is this right? This raise?"

He scratched his chin, and smiled at me. "Yes. I told you you'd be making twenty-five hundred a week after your first month."

"I know, but...I thought..." I swallowed hard. "Mike, who gives out raises like this?"

He frowned, and cocked his head at me. "Griffin, this is the big leagues. This is the salary you would have started at if you'd had credentials. I talked my dad into letting me hire a few people, but he wouldn't let me start someone with no experience at a journeyman's salary. He said if I got someone that could show him something in a month's time, he'd overlook the fact that he didn't have a resume. You've done that, and now you're in."

I nodded slowly. "It's...it's wonderful. But...the fall semester starts in just under eight months."

Mike stood, and thrust his hands into the pockets of his trousers. "Maybe. I've been thinking I might take two years before I go back. Sock away some money for expenses, first. You know?"

Two years?

In another eighteen months, at this salary, I would make one hundred and eighty thousand dollars. The figure was staggering. I could probably save as much as half of it, and with us saving Benny's earnings, too...holy shit.

I licked my lips. Mike was watching me, quiet now. "I'd have to think about it," I finally said.

"I know." He nodded. "Believe me, I do know." He came around the desk and patted my shoulder. "You and Benny talk about it, okay? There's time."

I nodded. Yes. It was just a matter of time, wasn't it?


* * * * * * *


But where does time go, when it's gone?

The day had seemed so short...but then, most days seemed shorter now. I rode the creaky elevator up to the apartment, wondering how I was going to tell Benny what I had done. What I had done, but which would affect both of us. My heart felt fluttery thinking about the coming talk we were going to have, as I wondered how he would take it. I could deal with anger, and I could deal with blame. What I could not deal with was the idea that Benny would not want to come with me.

My life had seemed so clear, once. The stars called, and I so much wanted to answer. But I'd let myself get sidetracked, first by a fat paycheck, and then by a growing joy I was feeling at writing for a living. I had come to feel a sense of purpose in writing, and I had let it dim my vision on the future I had once so fervently desired.

I could vividly recall the day I had received that first raise, and the suggestion that came with it that I take yet another year away from my education, to stay in the city and write. I'd gone back to our city apartment that day with my head in a spin. I'd sat down with Benny, and we'd talked about it. I did want to go back to school...but the firm was offering so much money!

Benny had watched me, and listened to me, and smiled at me, and kissed me. And then he'd said we could do another year in New York City standing on our heads, and that I should go back to work and earn that raise. So I did that.

Only one year turned into two, and then three...and then six. Every year when I announced I was leaving, I was offered more money to stay. But after six years in the city, I was getting restless. I was almost twenty eight now, and I either had to move on with my life or stay forever chained to a desk in a city that both Benny and I pretended to love, but which neither of us really even liked.

But Benny's career had prospered greatly while here in the city. Could I rightfully ask him to leave? Especially as I didn't even know quite what to do with myself if we did?

I had an idea, and that was all. I wanted to keep writing, but not in the city. I was sitting on an enormous pile of money now, enough to easily start my own business. The lure of school had faded for me, the stars overhead dimmed by time. I still loved them, still wanted them. But I was older, and perhaps a little more realistic about life.

And I had come to love writing, and I really didn't want to give that up. I had an idea that I would go back upstate, to one of the cities near home, and open my own business as a writer. Some of my clients at the ad agency had suggested to me that if I ever left, they would be interested in going along. So I could work for myself, pick the clientele I wanted to write for...be happy. But even that plan was only partially formed, because it most of all depended on what Benny was willing to do.

It wound up not mattering. This time, on the day I announced I was leaving, my employer offered me another raise. To my own surprise, I didn't even consider it. I said no, and thanked them, but said that I was moving on. I gave my notice, and that was that.

And all I had to do now was tell Benny. Oh my god.

The elevator stopped, the doors opened, and I got off. I walked the short distance down the hall, and let myself into our apartment.

I could hear soft music coming from the little stereo in the extra bedroom in the back of the apartment, and dishes clattering in the kitchen. I set down my briefcase, took off my overcoat, and laid it across a chair, and went down the short hall. I could hear Benny humming, and despite everything, it made me smile.

He was in the miniscule dining area, laying out plates and silverware. He looked up as I came into the doorway, and smiled. "Hi!"

He came to me, gathered me in his arms, and kissed me. I closed my eyes and held onto him, hoping that this would not be the last moment that we would be happy together.

He pulled back and looked at me, his eyes shining. "I know. You quit."

I was so shocked I couldn't speak for a moment, and when I could, I nearly shouted. "You know!"

"Uh huh. Mike Shannon called and asked if you'd gone nuts. He said you got offered a huge raise, but turned it down and said you were leaving." He smiled. "Going back to 'the sticks', as he put it, to work for yourself." Benny winked at me. "He asked me to try to change your mind."

I shook my head. "Really?"

"Yes. I told him no thank you, that I was going back to the sticks with you."

I thought I might cry. Instead, I yanked Benny close and simply held him, and kissed him, and told him how much I loved him.

He finally drew back, and wiped at his eyes, and then used his fingertip to dry my cheeks. "You thought I wouldn't want to go, didn't you?"

I shrugged helplessly. "You're doing so well here, Benny. How could I ask you to leave?"

He laughed, and wiped at his eyes again. "I told you once before, sweetheart, that my career is not rooted in any one spot. Moving won't change a thing for me. At the most it means distributing a new email address to my clients." He smiled. "When are we leaving?"

"I gave them thirty days notice," I said. "After all, they've done a lot for me."

Benny smiled, nodded, and waved a hand at the kitchen table. "I ordered out. Italian. To celebrate." He shook his head. "I cannot wait to get out of this freakin' city."

I stared at him. "I thought you liked it here."

Benny sighed. "Only because you're here. Understand?" He licked his lips. "Want to know a secret? I was up on the roof the other night. I wanted to see the stars."

Benny and I had grown fond of the roof, with its cool swimming pool in the summer, and heated gym in the winter. Sometimes we went just to skywatch, even though the light pollution was horrendous. You could still see a smattering of bright stars, and we'd take a sleeping bag up and lay in the dark to the side of the gym, and it was almost like being on one of the hills at night back home. Almost.

"That's where you went? It's not the best place to see stars."

Benny smiled at me. "I could see one star, and one was all I needed. I was wishing."

"Wishing?"

"Yes. I knew your contract was coming up for consideration...again. I was wishing...that you would not accept it."

I stared at him, unable to grasp what he was saying. I had been thinking of leaving the agency for some time, but it was only in the last few days that the idea had crystallized into a decision to actually do it.

Benny watched me, and then smiled again. "I told you wishing counted."

I just nodded.

There was a beep from the other room, and Benny immediately patted his pockets. "Darn it. I left my cell on the coffee table." He squeezed me one more time, and then pushed around me, going for the living room. "I'll bet it's them. They'll be excited."

I turned to follow him, feeling a slightly surreal sense about everything that was going on. "Who will be excited?"

He went to the coffee table and grabbed up his phone, looked at the screen, and grinned. He waved the phone at me. "Gary and Clint. I called them earlier, but just got their voicemail. But I did leave a message." He grinned again, and his eyes held the lights of the stars. "I told them we were coming home."


 

Copyright © 2017-2019 Geron Kees; All Rights Reserved.
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Wow! Time really flies in Griffinland! It seems like just yesterday the posse was still in high school!  ;–)

 

I could never live in NYC or anywhere east of the Rockies – too hot and muggy! But I could never live in LA either, much too congested and wasteful. The Bay Area is a nice compromise between a large metropolitan area with a huge, vibrant, powerful LGBTQ community and a friendly more livable suburban atmosphere. There are wide swaths of green space throughout the region.  ;–)

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41 minutes ago, droughtquake said:

Wow! Time really flies in Griffinland! It seems like just yesterday the posse was still in high school!  ;–)

 

I could never live in NYC or anywhere east of the Rockies – too hot and muggy! But I could never live in LA either, much too congested and wasteful. The Bay Area is a nice compromise between a large metropolitan area with a huge, vibrant, powerful LGBTQ community and a friendly more livable suburban atmosphere. There are wide swaths of green space throughout the region.  ;–)

The problem with time in a short story is that you can't dwell on any one period for too long. If I had made a proper novel of this, it would have been better. But it was just a picture challenge story on another site, and so I was limited in how much time I had to write it.

 

I was not crazy about living in NYC. I was happy to return to my woods, and here I have stayed.

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for those of us who don't grow up in [insert you geographically appropriate large city] the experience of moving to the city will forever shape your experiences. though for the majority, the over riding source of comfort is being with those we love and who support us [geographical location irrelevant].

 

Thanks Geron, always look forward to and enjoy your prose

 

dave

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42 minutes ago, NoSkis said:

for those of us who don't grow up in [insert you geographically appropriate large city] the experience of moving to the city will forever shape your experiences. though for the majority, the over riding source of comfort is being with those we love and who support us [geographical location irrelevant].

 

Thanks Geron, always look forward to and enjoy your prose

 

dave

Big cities have something for everyone, and if you're the sort that does not require open spaces, forests, and the occasional mountain or two, cities work just fine. NYC felt confining to me, somehow. I really did not like walking among all those towering buildings. I always felt like I was at the bottom of a deep hole. European cities do not tower so, for the most part. Three floors is the average height of most buildings, with a small city center with a few larger ones. I guess it's what you are used to.

 

But I can say that, as far as NYC goes,  I came, I saw...and then I went home. :)

 

Thank you for the kind comment.

 

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2 hours ago, Ivor Slipper said:

Good to see Griffin & Benny moving through life together as evidently are Gary & Clint.

A lot of people scoff at the notion that a first love can be the one love. But it does happen. In a world of seven billion people constantly mixing, the odds that two will meet that will be a perfect match for each other is more mathematically feasible than you might imagine. :)

 

Don't ya just love numbers!

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I must admit that I feel somewhat sad that Griff seems to have given up on the stars. It almost seems as though they are more important to Benny at the moment. I'm also not convinced that he will find copy writing really fulfilling in the long run. Perhaps he'll decide to experiment in a more creative writing sort of way, and make his fortune through that.  Or maybe once he moves back home he'll rediscover the joy of the stars. 

 

Mere speculation on my part. I see Chapter 5 is now up, and that's the final chapter. I think I'll just stop trying to second-guess Geron, and just read that final chapter to see what 😊 actually does happen. 

 

Great story, anyway! I particularly like the way you have managed all the time jumps so well. 

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29 minutes ago, Marty said:

I must admit that I feel somewhat sad that Griff seems to have given up on the stars. It almost seems as though they are more important to Benny at the moment. I'm also not convinced that he will find copy writing really fulfilling in the long run. Perhaps he'll decide to experiment in a more creative writing sort of way, and make his fortune through that.  Or maybe once he moves back home he'll rediscover the joy of the stars. 

 

Mere speculation on my part. I see Chapter 5 is now up, and that's the final chapter. I think I'll just stop trying to second-guess Geron, and just read that final chapter to see what 😊 actually happen. 

 

Great story, anyway! I particularly like the way you have managed all the time jumps so well. 

Thank you. 

 

I don't think Griffin ever lost his love of the stars. I think he managed to channel his love for writing into writing about stars and planets, at least some of the time.

 

Or, so I've been told! :)

 

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3 minutes ago, Geron Kees said:

Thank you. 

 

I don't think Griffin ever lost his love of the stars. I think he managed to channel his love for writing into writing about stars and planets, at least some of the time.

 

Or, so I've been told! :)

 

Okay. Maybe I misunderstood. When Griffin says (thinks?) So I could work for myself, pick the clientele I wanted to write for...be happy, I assumed that meant he was thinking along the lines of continuing doing the advertisement writing that he been doing for the previous six years.

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2 hours ago, Marty said:

Okay. Maybe I misunderstood. When Griffin says (thinks?) So I could work for myself, pick the clientele I wanted to write for...be happy, I assumed that meant he was thinking along the lines of continuing doing the advertisement writing that he been doing for the previous six years.

The word clientele covers a lot of ground. There are more kinds of commercial writing than just advertising. The Internet is deep in sites that cover stars and planets, and everything astronomical. There are museums out there, space groups, magazines, planetariums - the diversity is amazing, actually. Someone who likes to write about stars and planets and can do so knowledgeably can make money doing it, as all those sources need writers. I'm sure someone like Griffin would want to keep his hand in the advertising world, as there is where his best income would derive from; but he could also have fun doing what he likes best, too! :)

 

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I love the vibe between these two starred lovers. It's so very precious though somewhat romantic and in the realm of dreams. But we can all dream and many of us do which is why a good romance is so appealing. Thanks for a great chapter as you send them flying down the years.

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Well I wasn't expecting this turn of events--Griff giving up his stars for a while--but he still has his own star--Benny.

The other thing that resonates with me is the fact that they both want to go back to their country roots; I've now lived half of my life in Columbus, and still am not used to it.  Sure, it's a residential neighborhood, but houses are too close together and you can't escape noise, whether it's passing traffic at 6AM or the distant hum from larger thoroughfares.  I miss the quiet nights, and the open sky above even now.

I'm eager to see what awaits in the next chapter of our guys' lives.

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10 hours ago, Jaro_423 said:

I love the vibe between these two starred lovers. It's so very precious though somewhat romantic and in the realm of dreams. But we can all dream and many of us do which is why a good romance is so appealing. Thanks for a great chapter as you send them flying down the years.

The original story was written for a prompt on another site. So there was a limited amount of time in which to complete it. It could have been a lot longer. 

 

But...this is the way it worked out, and I like it well enough not to change it! :)

 

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4 hours ago, ColumbusGuy said:

Well I wasn't expecting this turn of events--Griff giving up his stars for a while--but he still has his own star--Benny.

The other thing that resonates with me is the fact that they both want to go back to their country roots; I've now lived half of my life in Columbus, and still am not used to it.  Sure, it's a residential neighborhood, but houses are too close together and you can't escape noise, whether it's passing traffic at 6AM or the distant hum from larger thoroughfares.  I miss the quiet nights, and the open sky above even now.

I'm eager to see what awaits in the next chapter of our guys' lives.

Amen, brother. And you're not even in the city city. Living in a row of skyscrapers just plain sucks. I felt like I was living at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. There were regularly placed trees in little squares of soil along the streets, but they looked sad to me, like they'd rather be elsewhere, too.

 

If you are born in the city, it's one thing. It's all you know, until you leave. But if you are born in the country, you have to be a certain type of personality to want to leave it for the city. In all the old-fashioned boy-makes-good tales, the rube from the country came to the big city, was at first used and abused by the urbanites, and then, through sheer fortitude and a good heart, takes the place over and wins the admiration of his city neighbors.

 

Might have actually happened that way, once upon a time. Nowadays, those urbanites will simply eat you alive! :)

 

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On 1/21/2019 at 11:27 AM, Geron Kees said:

The word clientele covers a lot of ground. There are more kinds of commercial writing than just advertising. The Internet is deep in sites that cover stars and planets, and everything astronomical. There are museums out there, space groups, magazines, planetariums - the diversity is amazing, actually. Someone who likes to write about stars and planets and can do so knowledgeably can make money doing it, as all those sources need writers. I'm sure someone like Griffin would want to keep his hand in the advertising world, as there is where his best income would derive from; but he could also have fun doing what he likes best, too! :)

I used to know an astronomer who wrote for a short (5 min?) little radio show that would tell you what to look for in the night sky that evening: meteor showers, planetary alignments, lunar eclipses, and other celestial events. He had also been published in a widely distributed astronomy magazine (at least back in the ‘90s when I knew him). I’d forgotten all about him until I read your response! The story itself didn’t trigger the memory even though he is Gay too.

 

When you write about geologists who specialize in earthquakes, I’ll be able to recall two men from that same general time period. The Gay one was associated with a nearby university and the older straight man used to work for the USGS and was often interviewed on TV after major earthquakes or to comment on quake-related geological reports. And then there’s the sexy blond Brit from that university who they often interview on TV these days (so I can drool over him).  ;–)

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1 hour ago, droughtquake said:

. And then there’s the sexy blond Brit from that university who they often interview on TV these days (so I can drool over him).  ;–)

 

Brian Cox?

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10 hours ago, BooRadley said:

:heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:

Five heart rating!!!!

Thanks! And thanks for spotting the typo that no one else caught! :)

 

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9 hours ago, droughtquake said:

I used to know an astronomer who wrote for a short (5 min?) little radio show that would tell you what to look for in the night sky that evening: meteor showers, planetary alignments, lunar eclipses, and other celestial events. He had also been published in a widely distributed astronomy magazine (at least back in the ‘90s when I knew him). I’d forgotten all about him until I read your response! The story itself didn’t trigger the memory even though he is Gay too.

 

When you write about geologists who specialize in earthquakes, I’ll be able to recall two men from that same general time period. The Gay one was associated with a nearby university and the older straight man used to work for the USGS and was often interviewed on TV after major earthquakes or to comment on quake-related geological reports. And then there’s the sexy blond Brit from that university who they often interview on TV these days (so I can drool over him).  ;–)

Hmm. I don't know about radio, but Jack Horkheimer used to have a brief segment on PBS called, "The Star Hustler" (later "the Star Gazer"). He was, until his death in 2010, the director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.  :)

 

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1 hour ago, Geron Kees said:

Hmm. I don't know about radio, but Jack Horkheimer used to have a brief segment on PBS called, "The Star Hustler" (later "the Star Gazer"). He was, until his death in 2010, the director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.  :)

That’s the show! My friend sometimes wrote the scripts! I forgot it was on TV!  ;–)

 

1 hour ago, Geron Kees said:

Ivor just told you! :)

Not the same guy.  ;–)

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1 hour ago, droughtquake said:

That’s the show! My friend sometimes wrote the scripts! I forgot it was on TV!  ;–)

 

Not the same guy.  ;–)

Jack was a cool guy. I started watching him when I came here as a kid, and still remember the jingle for his little show. Your friend did good. I remember that show very fondly!

 

So it wasn't Brian Cox? Who, then? Inquiring minds want to know! :)

 

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