Chapter 3


Racketball

So, creepy or not, there I was again, keeping an eye on things.

Honestly, how did I get myself into this detail? I never signed up for the Army. I didn’t sign up as a volunteer to supervise High School gym. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised somebody hasn’t made a comment about the same car being parked in the same place at the same time every afternoon so close to the gym. But then, maybe that’s not too weird.  Moms and dogs always seem to hang out at the High School at the same time to pick up the kids that aren’t driving themselves yet. But, then again, I’m hardly a mom and this car is hardly a ‘Soccermobile’.  It concerns me how easily a weirdo in a nice car can just park across the street from a High School and not get questioned, actually!  Who else is out here looking for young meat? I hope not too many.

I’m definitely not looking for ‘young meat’. I have nice well-aged piece of meat at home to eat. The $60 a plate kind! Danny is seasoned like a Christmas rump roast! OMG, just thinking of him is getting me hard! I shouldn’t really think of him in public.  I, apparently, make looking horny easy!  I never could keep the sexual flush out of my cheeks. My Irish blood rises too high in those ‘high cheekbones’ of mine, as Greg calls them.  I can’t hide it when I’m infatuated! Luckily for me, that’s never been much of a problem for me once I got into the Gay community and started to cruise the nightlife in Boystown.  The Flush and the Twinkle got me Danny, after all. He told me that once my ‘Irish Eyes’ came smiling in his direction he knew there was no other guy in the club except me!  I’m sighing! So romantical!

I hope I can keep him interested! I really love Danny, you know?  I’d probably die for him if there ever came a time when he’d need it!  Not too many Gay relationships end up with those kinds of feelings, you know.  I know a lot of dudes that just hook-up and don’t go any further with it.  They get on the apps and get together and do each other like appliances and then leave never to be heard from again!  What kind of shit is that, I ask you?  Are they really that afraid of finding true love in this world or have they just been so burned that they can’t let themselves believe in love anymore? Will Danny leave me with those kinds of wounds eventually?

Dear God, I hope not! I don’t know if I could . . . stand that.

Maybe that’s why I go down to the High School to watch the kids for Jamie.  They are so new to this. They are so innocent to a lot of the crap that can go on!  Despite the bullies and the stupid teachers and admins of these places, love and hope are still alive in kids this age, generally speaking!  The Gay ones especially are looking for something more than a quick bang under the bleachers.  They haven’t become jaded to this life yet. They still believe in something more!

I’m not too far away in age from these guys and yet, being exposed to what I’ve been exposed to all of the way ‘Downtown,’ I have no more illusions.  I know that, for the most part, guys are users down there. They use drugs, alcohol, each other, and so on to fill some emptiness inside that was created when they lost their belief in the kind of love young High Schoolers still believe in.

Who would think that a red-headed pretty boy like me would have such thoughts, huh?  I could fuck myself silly if I wanted to if I wanted to play the hook-up game. But, that’s not where it’s at for me! Being with Danny is where it’s at! Anyone that finds someone that really loves them in this world is blessed! I, seriously, swear to God on that! Catholicism may have left me cold, but I believe in God and I believe He’d want us to find someone to love in this world to share it with them just like He shares His world with us! That’s joy, my friends! That’s real joy!

Ok, whatever . . .

So, I watched for Brandon, Jimmy, and the ‘Fresh-Crew’ and I didn’t find them at all today.  That worried me! I thought, maybe, they’d have started ditching class!  I wouldn’t have blamed them at all for it, but, that fucking School would find a way of penalizing them far out of proportion to their ‘crime’ for having done so.  So, I was a little concerned for them, but knew my only way of finding out what happened was to talk to Jamie later.  If he didn’t know then I’d know they were playing a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with the School and their merciless rules against being truant.

I stuck around until the final bell called and then picked up Jamie after his practice as had become the standard MO for my afternoons lately.  Jamie was goofy as ever, of course, going on and on about this tall blonde drink of water that had started vying for his blue-eyed attention.  It actually wasn’t until we got back home that he started to shut-up enough about her so that I could get a word in edge-wise.  Actually, the way he went on about her was cute and it helped put aside a fear I’ve always had for Jamie that he’d, somehow, follow in my footsteps into the Gay Life.  I have no qualms about it, mind you, but . . . it’s a hard row to hoe if you know about it like I do now. Jamie will have a much easier time in this life if he is straight and can hook a girlfriend and such. At least I think it will be. I’ve never been into girls so I wouldn’t know, really, despite their always trying to get my pants off!

Anyway, I got to ask Jamie about Brandon and his little band of merry chickens, and the answer I got was typically blunt and fairly uninformative except for the basic fact of it.

“Oh, yeah, uh . . . Brandon and the other kids got transferred to an earlier class.”  Jamie answered dully.

“Uh-huh! Why was that, I wonder?”  I fished.

“Oh, uh, I dunno!  Maybe, like, they were causing too much of a disruption for the team before practice, or whatever.” Jamie told me absent-mindedly but in a way that told me he knew much more than he was telling me!

“So, like, the coaches thought they were causing trouble?” That didn’t surprise me! Coach Bradshaw can go suck my dick! Really, he can! He can do it any day he wants to! I’ll even host! Such dreamy eyes!

A-hem . . .

“I don’t really think so. It might have been after the naked thing that happened that one day!” Jamie looked out the window pretending that he hadn’t said what he’d just said!

“Um, the naked thing? Like, what kind of ‘naked’ thing are we talkin’ about here, Squirt? Like, you guys better not have been doing anything sexually harassing! You can get into big trouble, Dude!” God, I sounded like Pop there for a minute, or worse . . . Mom!

“Geeze! No way, Chan! Don’t be stoopid, Dude! That’s not me and you should know that!” Jamie’s cross attention snapped back over to me and he shoved me a bit and got all red in the face! He blushes and flushes as badly as I do! Gotta love them Irish genes!

“Okay, okay! I’m sorry, ok? But, Dude, like . . . naked thing?” I pushed. It was creeping me out, to be honest. It was making me a bit concerned for Marie since these guys come over to the house so much and Mom and Pop are always working. Does she get messed with? Do naked things happen with her here? Do I need to move back in to be sure my family is safe?

“Like in the shower when we have to shower and stuff! You have to get naked for that otherwise you’ll get your underwears all wet!” Jamie looked at me like I was crazy. Does he even know what the stuff that comes out of his mouth even sounds like?

“Right. So, why is it worth mentioning if you have to do it? What other naked stuff goes on in there?” Maybe I was pushing too hard because Jamie was clearly getting uncomfortable with this line of questioning. I was grilling him a bit, but . . . hey I’ve been around the barn a few times! Naked stuff that has nothing to do with cleaning the sweat and grime off of your nads is always a sensitive deal and for someone to abuse that special kind of vulnerability, even just as a joke, can mess a person up. Especially someone who’s been seriously messed with in other ways like this Jimmy kid. If this was happening to the little guy, could it also have been happening with Brandon too?

“Uh, why are you so interested in that stuff? I know you like, um, guys and stuff. Does this have something to do with that? Like, when Jason always wants to tell what he saw in the girls locker room when they invite him in there?” Jamie asked suspiciously. That question got me a bit miffed! There’s always that stigma Gay guys have when they ask about things that go on with younger guys. ‘Why do you want to know what happens in a High School gym? Are you a pedo or something?’ It is a terrible insult mostly because it is more than an insult. It’s a threat! Being called a pedo is grounds for investigations.  Child molestation complaints have always been the best weapon the anti-LGBT movement has had against Gay men! It is actionable! Police and Agencies can use a complaint like that to investigate someone. Even just an investigation about being a child molester can ruin a Gay man’s life really easily! Their reputation can be destroyed and people will treat them as guilty even though they aren’t! I learned this the hard way . . . when someone who hated my boyfriend Danny so much that they tried to use my youth against him. I was plenty legal, but I had to prove it to detectives once and word like that gets around fast in Boystown!  Fortunately, Danny is well respected in the Chicago Gay community so the fact he was investigated because of me didn’t ruin his reputation and didn’t cause his company and clients to run screaming for the hills! If he had been anywhere else, he easily could have been ruined financially. Worse, he may have pushed me away! I love him so much . . . even just the thought of that likelihood kills me!

But, Jamie wouldn’t know anything about that world and about how even making an implication of being a pedo can ruin someone’s life.  He was merely reacting defensively, so I cooled my red-head’s boiling blood – like a good adult – and backed off from the questions. I just asked the basic question I wanted an answer to without details:

“No, nothing like that and I hope you never think that of me. It would really hurt if you did, you know? Anyways, I just wanted to know if Jimmy or Brandon or whoever were really hurt or really badly humiliated by the ‘naked stuff’.  Did any of those guys do anything that made you feel uncomfortable about what was going on?” I asked gently, or gently as I could being that a part of me still wanted to smack Jamie around a bit! But . . .

“I’m sorry, Chan. I didn’t mean anything by what I just said. I know you don’t do stuff like have sex with kids, or whatever. I’m very sorry it came out that way!”  Jamie looked so sad that I thought he thought I was capable of hurting someone in that way. He understands a lot more than I give him credit for sometimes.

“It’s cool, Squirt. I’m not offended. You have a good heart, Jamie. I know you know the difference between a ‘good joke’ and something that’s straight up over-the-line.  I know because you got me to show up early that one day when the two Meatheads were being particularly obnoxious to the little Jimmy guy.”  I reminded Jamie who kind of smirked knowingly at me.

“You, kind of, figured that out, huh?” Jamie asked sheepishly.

“Yes. Yes I did and that’s why you’ll let me know if those fuck-heads get up to anything with the younger guys that isn’t right. Were the younger ones molested by your team?” I put it right out there.

“I don’t think in a Gay way, if that’s what you mean. They took turns ‘drying’ Jimmy off. It’s called ‘Racketball’. You pass a wet guy back and forth from one towel to another until they are dry. We do it all the time after practice. They decided to do it to Jimmy in a ‘make him a part of the tribe’ deal.  It’s like an initiation ritual of sorts. It was actually Chris’s idea because he felt bad about the way the others had been treating Jimmy. Unfortunately, I guess it backfired, because Jimmy got really mad and started to push back. He pushed Karl who, I admit, had been playing the game a little ‘roughly’ for a small guy like Jimmy. Karl pushed back, like, real hard and sent Jimmy flying! He hit a locker and, um . . . got knocked out. That’s when the fight started . . .”  Jamie said, staring at the floor.

“A fight? What fight?” At once, I was relieved that an actual rape hadn’t been committed. Then again, I was pretty sickened by what Karl had done. I needed to know one thing before the ‘Fight’ deal.

“Ok, before we talk about the fight, was Jimmy hurt badly? Did somebody get him out of there, at least? I mean knocked out is not good, Jamie!”  What a vile bastard that Karl is!

“Yeah, the guy Joe Tanner, one of the other Freshies, got him out and over to the Coach with my help. Then, he marched right back into the locker room and roundhouse kicked Karl right in the face! We were all like ‘WTF’! I ran back in to see what was going down and that’s when that little freshie fucking flipped Jason and Macro when they tried to charge him! It was like some Batman shit man! The dude knows kung-fu!” Jamie had to be telling the truth. He was far too excited to be doing otherwise. I’ll be honest, I was shocked too! I had to figure the rest of the team put that kid in the hospital after that.

“So, is like, that kid in, like, the hospital now or whatever?” I had to ask.

“Who? Jimmy? No, he was ok last I saw him. Coach revived him with some smelling salts. He had a headache so Coach sent him home.” Jamie answered, but the wrong question.

“No, I mean the Batkid! I’d have been sure the Crew would have worked him over near to death for that one!” I made things more specific, forgetting that I was talking to Jamie for a second.

“Oh, no! Coach took him to the Principle’s office personally! After hearing the ruckus and getting Jimmy revived, he went and saw the whole thing! The Joe guy was so defensive that he almost hit Coach! Well, I guess that was what did it because the Coach first talked Joe down and then told him that Joe’d better come with him and ‘Not to get any ideas. I’m a Marine!” Jamie said. Yeah, big old man weighs twice a Freshie’s size and he has to threaten him with the ‘Marine’ bit? I call bullshit.

“Where was Brandon in all this?” I guess I just had to know. Brandon seems like such a sweet kid, I don’t know what a mess this would have made out of his day.

“He was absent that day and only had one class with us after that before he got transferred with Jimmy, Joe and the other kid that kept ditching the class anyway.” Jamie shrugged. Well, that was a relief anyway. I told myself to back off on the wondering why he was absent part. There is only so much I can care about a person that I hardly know, even if he does seem like the little prince in distress, or whatever.

“So, you think that might have been why they were transferred?” I figured that was pretty obvious, but wanted Jamie’s take. That would be important to see if there’d be any future trouble for either Brandon, Jimmy, or, especially, this Joe dude. I really wouldn’t put it past Karl and Jason not to try and run that guy down in the street given half a chance.

“We’re all pretty sure of that. I’d call a round-house kick to the teeth pretty ‘disruptive’, heh.” Jamie made a lame attempt to laugh which I indulged with a short chuckle. It really isn’t funny, but Jamie, per usual, was teflon through all of this mess and even did Jimmy a solid getting him out of there.  I hope the kid is ok. A bump to the head that knocks someone out isn’t good and why didn’t Coach get Jimmy to the nurse immediately instead of ‘sending him home’? Did Jimmy have to walk home in that condition? It would be interesting to know. Maybe, it could be investigated for the kind of neglect and child-endangerment it could have been?  I’d love to see one or two of those coaches fired and possibly brought up on charges!

‘Racketball’ . . . what kind of stupid juvenile crap is that? Oh God! There goes Pop coming out of my mouth again! I’m getting old way faster than I ever thought possible!

“Ok, Squirt. Thanks for letting me know what’s up.”  I told Jamie.

“Um, Chan?” Jamie asked a bit cautiously.

“What?” I was worried that there was more he wasn’t telling me.

“Why are you so interested in Brandon for? I mean, you hardly know him and, you know, I don’t want to insult you again or whatever, but Brandon’s only like 14!”  Jamie’s concern was legitimate so I wasn’t offended. It, I guess, would take some explaining. But, I think Jamie had his answer already, so I countered:

“I don’t know? Why are you so interested in Brandon? He’s only like 14, you know! You’ll be 17 this year, Mop Head. You’ll be an adult next year!”  We both laughed at the weirdness of our weird unexplainable feelings.  But, Jamie seemed to have a good answer that I can use to explain this to myself since, honestly, I can’t really explain my feelings for this young kid either.

“He needs friends. He’s too alone. I don’t like that. Brandon is too cool to be all alone like he is. He needs me!”  Jamie’s heartfelt and astute answer disarmed me in it’s simplicity and strength of character!

“I guess, that’s why I am interested in him too.  You’re right, Jamie. He does need friends. Good ones . . . like me and you, little bro!” As Pop’s car pulled up to the house, Jamie gave me a big hug and a ‘manly’ clap on the shoulder.  We then greeted Pop, ordered Pizza, and forgot about the whole mess for a while.

A few days later, since I had a little extra time and no coffee house work to do, I drove by the school early in a half-hearted attempt to see if I could catch Brandon in his new gym class. As luck would have it, I did find him!  He’d been moved up to the 2 PM class.

He was having fun too! He was playing racketball with this little blur of an emo kid who seemed to be the perfect match for Brandon’s long reach! Emo-Kid was fast as a snakebite! Haw . . . I kill myself sometimes! When ‘Snakebites’ stopped blurring around I caught a glimpse of him! CUTE! Typical dyed black bias-cut hair (in the face) that didn’t quite cover his electric blue eyes! A thin, but not anorexically thin, build that looked like it was trying to fill out in all the right places, etc.

I hope Brandon is Gay for real because Mr. Snakebites would make a fine high school first-time sweetheart for any boy, given half a chance!  They were laughing and giggling together like they’d known each other for years! Cool! Perhaps they had? I can’t be sure.

Maybe Jamie and I won’t have to worry so much about Brandon! He seems to be finding friends just fine when taken out of the wolf-den and put into a normal environment with normal kids! He doesn’t seem to be half as distressed a prince as I was afraid he was!

That’s the kind of racketball I like! The kind that makes friends and not injuries.

Go get ‘im, Snakebites!

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