Ben Esra telefonda seni boşaltmamı ister misin?
Telefon Numaram: 00237 8000 92 32


The following story is for adults and contains graphic descriptions of sexual contact between adolescent and adult males and the power imbalance of these relationships. Like so many of my stories, this is a voyage and return.

If you are a minor, then it is illegal for you to read this story. If you find the subject objectionable, then read no further. All the characters, events and settings are the product of my overactive imagination. I hope you like it and feel free to respond.

Fourteen runs through five progressions, with frequent interludes. If you would like to comment, contact me ail.

Will you join your fellow authors and readers to support Nifty? To contribute discreetly  to the continuing operations of the Nifty Erotic Stories Archive website using a credit card or other methods of donation, go to fty/donate.html 

Thanks so much to Phillip Marks for this chapter’s contributions and the background conversations that bring the story onto the page. I also want to add a shout-out to mischief night who answered my call for a proofreader. Mischief at night indeed; Mischief reviews each new chapter and (such a sport!) is working through the posted parts. Thanks to those who keep Philip and I updated on your interest. The story anticipates most of your concerns.

Anton and Daniel 12

East Saint Louis IL

Saturday, May 19, 2018

East Saint Louis, Illinois; per capita homicide rate eighteen times the national average has in fact the highest homicide rate of any city in the nation.  

During and after World War II blue collar workers, white and black alike, made decent if unequal livings. East St. Louis was prosperous. Named an All-America City in  1959, the Centennial year of its incorporation, it was known as the Pittsburgh of the West. But industry and railroads shrank and reorganized and just as in that other Pittsburgh, jobs were lost. White workers were drawn away, having an easier time finding work elsewhere and the city population became increasingly black and increasingly poor.  

Today the town has less than a third of its 1950 population. As poverty descended on East Saint Louis so too did its companions, crime, gangs and drugs.

Half of all the fire department emergency callouts are for structure fires; there are a lot of abandoned buildings after all. Lots of illegal fireworks start accidental and incidental fires and setting abandoned building fires seems to be a common pastime. And vehicle burnouts are pretty common too, as cars and trucks are often used in crimes and torched to destroy evidence. Most vehicle fires are not accidental, incidental, or of fireworks origin.

This call is for a vehicle fire, but no ordinary one. Even here in the murder capital of America burned out cars don”t usually include bodies.

Senior Patrol Officer Jamel Winston is well-jaded. In ten years on the job Winston”s seen a lot of dead people, but the stink of blackened flesh from the old SUV is still enough to roil his stomach. He”ll have to have his uniform dry cleaned to get the smell out. With the budget cuts it falls to him to do more than in other jurisdictions. Oh it”s a murder so the over burdened East St. Louis detectives will  investigate – when they have time; being a Saturday only one of the city”s four crimes against people Detectives, Shara Washington, is even working and she”s a busy woman. They won”t call in another detective out, overtime is expensive.

If there had been no body he”d have filed a report and the wreck would have been towed to the impound lot and eventually scrapped. Instead Winston will have charge of the crime scene and direct the single forensics tech in collection of the more obvious evidence until Washington can get there to take over.

Contadora Island, Panama

June 14, 2018

The fish are plentiful and the visibility is okay. Black, white and yellow striped fish move along unseen currents over the coral. They shift according to the alpha-mood. The live-aboard community shifts shiftlessly from one eco-social curiosity like the school of fish. Do it long enough, you discern the pattern. Barber fish and Latin grunts flicker by cautious of Fourteen’s outstretched hands. It is a sunken landscape of forested islands and Fourteen is the weightless drone capturing it all. He imagines the seabed is a green-broccoli coral model of the Pearl Island archipelago. The coral-canopy is high bluffs of mangrove between low-slung canopies of growth. The sound of base-bubbles muffles his ears as he lets a bit of air escape into his breathing. There is an almost euphonious conversation with the sea when he breathes out quickly.

Fourteen lifts to the surface like a breaching whale, exhales the last stale dregs and pulls the fresh air down his pipe. The sun heats his back, then he dives back to the mermaids exploring the floor. Fins push him effortlessly through the water. One girl twists at his return and waves. He will have to return to the surface before these nymphs need to come up for air.

Jada and Marisol, it hardly matters. A friendly exchange off the stern of Surocco and Fourteen is with them in their powerboat with a tangle of chatty little boys. No effort needed to recall the boys’ names. It is a Thursday after-school babysitting club, Fourteen thinks. Better than a Chillicothe basement. The boys seem content to scramble about the boat. Jada and her friend Marisol entertain themselves with the rarity of an American boy.

His sent-selfie from the top of Surocco’s mainmast consumed much of Fourteen’s latest conversation home. “I was getting a better look at the whales.” Exasperating echoes; Mom peers up at him as he climbs a tree. “I want to see the nest.” A mother watches every foothold and grasp. He is fifteen now, not seven. At seven, all he hears is Remy’s familiar confidence in him. I know you can do it (if you’re careful). Little Jeremy expects that from them. At fifteen, he hears, You’re totally going to break your neck, in the punctuation-tone of his mom and dad’s measured comments. Jeremy’s journey is one hell of a first driving lesson for his parents.

Jetting back to the ketch, the pack of boys begin to chatter at Fourteen in piping Spanish he has trouble following. The powerboat and the two girls’ Rafael-Martinez polish speaks to wealth. Beware the lean and hungry look, which put that way, fits (fucking) Cordell to a tee. He does his best with the little boys and negotiates the tag-team Ferris-wheel happening between the two girlfriends and him.

“¡Oye! gire a la derecha, vaya hacia allá!  Ese velero de allá, ¡llévame allí!” Fourteen thumps on Jada’s shoulder and points toward Gravity gliding under a small sail and Mary’s electric motor. He wants the girls to take him to the sloop. “Woohoo! Mary!” He waves his arms wildly until the small grey-haired figure at the tiller waves back. “Just drop me there.” He returns to Spanish, waves again at Mary Rule.

Mary cuts her motor when she sees Jeremy’s powerboat has turned to intercept her. The wind spills out of the sail with a loosening of the lines. She keeps Gravity on its own intercept with Anton’s anchored boat across the harbor. The teenage girl is conscious of the crash and expertly draws her boat just close enough for Jeremy to leap across to her lifelines. Another girl tosses fins and a diving mask into Mary’s cockpit. “¡Adiós Jeremy!” the girl at the helm calls.

“¡Adiós Jeremy!” the little boys sing tunefully to tease the teenage girls.

“Adiós y gracias,” Fourteen calls back from where he hangs off the lifeline.

“Extrañaremos tu hermoso cuerpo, Jeremy.  Eres un gran stud.” the oldest boy croons. The rest of the boys laugh together, strutting about the powerboat in a caricature of Fourteen’s easy adolescent grace. Fourteen points at the boy, then waves at the two girls. Jada lets the boys know what she thinks of this teasing and gooses the motor on the powerboat. The boys lose their footing in a final gale of laughter.

Fourteen swings a leg over the lines and drops down into Gravity’s small cockpit. He hugs Mary, not knowing why. “Anton made sure there was an anchor buoy for you beside ours. Number 43, I’ll show you where it is.” He gathers his snorkeling gear and sets it on the cabin roof beside the raised instrument panel. When Mary reaches for the line to trim her sail, he takes it from her. He looks at her, so pleased, ready to say more, then simply scrambles to the bow pulpit to ready the mooring line.

“Took a last summer shakedown cruise to Quebec City on the St. Lawrence, then I sailed out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in September, 2016. Two months later, I was in the Florida Keys. The Caribbean kept me busy for a while, then I made for the canal and the slow slog up to Alaska.” Mary had agreed to make transit with Anton on a date arranged by Anton’s Panama City agent. She is telling Surocco’s crew about her westward passage through the canal.

Anton and Daniel sit on the L-shaped bench behind the half-table where they ate the meal Jeremy insisted he would cook in Mary’s tiny galley. Fourteen listens from the sink where he is cleaning up. He has nothing but enthusiasm for Gravity’s efficiency and Mary’s rule. Dufour 29s are praised for storage, but ten extra batteries have eaten much of that. It is just a tiny space.

This is the first time Mary has seen Jeremy with the partners. Everything revolves around Anton and how Jeremy fits into this is not quite clear. Anton is likeable, very like the people she knew in Vancouver over the winter. All talk, no action, those old friends, but oh the talk! It was natural to sharpen her dull wit on Anton. She did it through Jeremy’s quick meal without a thought to the teenager listening. We are different people when we move about the world. Mary understands this. Who knew in Dartmouth classrooms what Ms. Rule was really like?

“Why is this water bottle sticky, Fourteen?” Anton asked.

“Neither of us wants to know.” Mary answered without thought. Jeremy just shrugged elaborately, and smiled at the joke.

The boy is the confident, mature Fourteen with the two men. Anton’s right-hand man. He wiped the bottle off with exaggerated care. “Fourteen takes good care of me,” Anton confides to Mary, managing to make this yet another double entendre.

Mary thought, He does, but who takes care of Jeremy? A very comfortable arrangement for Anton; a lover and Boy Friday. Their first evening together, Jeremy made it clear; he sees these men as his friends, and Anton is helping him in some way.

Fourteen is not so present when Jeremy visits Mary or sparks with girls on the powerboat. Mary learned all about this teaching. Some boy or girl may fumble-slumber in your class, then you cross their path in a part-time job about Dartmouth or Halifax and see them in a different light. Turns out they are not bored-clueless-irresponsible all the time. It is not the aging every child does after they leave your room. The boy carefully places everything back where he found it. Right now, in Gravity’s salon, the teenager is a comfortable Fourteen, but the boy who hugged her in the cockpit earlier that day, that was Jeremy.

“Have you gone through the Panama Canal, Anton?”

He shakes his head regretfully. “I was very busy in Nashville. I sent my boat to Seattle from Chicago.” Anton smiles at Daniel. “We are looking forward to experiencing that for the first time, together.”

Mary takes up her story. Single-handing, a skipper like Mary Rule needed four extra line handlers for the transit. She needed them to handle the standard 100-foot, one-inch deck lines everyone was expected to use. The blue lines could be rented for $80. She also needed six fenders to protect her boat. Mary and her new handlers found a stash of old tires in a hidden spot near the canal. They had clearly been used and left by another boat crew.

“Some skippers hire an agent to arrange everything, like you are doing.”

“Absolutely!” Anton exclaims. “The last time I had to track down four men in a strange city it was because I had the clap. Let an agent do it!”

“I’m sorry you were so put out,” Mary indulges Anton. “And the clap.”

“The clap was worth it. Finding local help is not.”

“Wasn’t I worth tracking down?” Fourteen asks with shrewd wide eyes.

“Piff! That girl Sophie was your agent. I did not have to track you down.” Anton takes a sip. “Four line handlers. Fourteen, remind me to ask the agent about that.”

Mary noted how Anton turned to Jeremy for that, and not Daniel. Jeremy snapped off a smart salute with curled knuckles. He wrinkled his nose at Mary, “The skipper won’t forget. So do you just go on through?”

Mary shook her head. There was the measuring of Gravity and paperwork. The date came next. Mary had to wait for a week.

Jeremy has done the galley cleanup, right down to slipping the leftovers into Mary’s freezer box. She noticed Fourteen has a taste for Anton’s wine. Jeremy takes a spot on the bench beside her. He is engaged, like when she gets off the topic and the boys have got her talking about Woodstock in the mud instead of Earle Birney’s David.

… and because we had joy in our lengthening coltish

Muscles, and mountains for David were made to see over,

Stairs from the valleys and steps to the sun’s retreats …

The boy beside her is David on the Survey living his sunalive week-ends, sure enough, and that troubles Mary Rule considerably. Kate’s Tyler Wakeham, sunalive-immortal until the moment he rolled his car at seventeen. Oh the waste of it all, dearie!

“I had to pay $1,800 cash to transit the Panama Canal. Colón on the Atlantic end is very dangerous. I had to find an ATM in a grocery store. I put the cash in my money belt and sweated a ride in a taxi to the bank where I was supposed to pay the registration fee. Oh me nerves!” Mary shakes her head at Anton. “’Magine! That bank did not have an ATM. They would not let me use my phone in that bank. I had to step outside to check my particulars.”

She told them other things about the transit, but she held more back. First time for everything, and the three of them, particularly the shining boy beside her, they deserved their own first impressions. Mary thought Anton agreed. He asked about her old boat’s new motor and not about the absent partner.

“So you want to know about my Prius?” Mary replies.

“It’s not a hybrid is it? You don’t have a hydro-generator on the transom,” Anton puzzles. “Extra generator?”

“Thought hard on that; not the hydro, too much to rig on this small boat. I wouldn’t want a diesel generator cluttering up the already cluttered, either. It’s all electric with twelve batteries for the solar, though I’m rigged to take shore power.” This gets them talking for a while in the Panamanian heat.

“Did you and Kate name her Gravity?” Fourteen switches the topic.

“It Gravity, I don’t hold with machines being women. Women aren’t machines. She’s a beauty, she handles well when I open her up. Lord love you, you men like to talk. I named it Gravity.”

“What was its name before? Anton named his boat Surocco when he bought her — it.”

“Can’t say nor think it while I’m on Gravity. The gods of the four winds would curse my boat and send it to the bottom. Terrible bad luck, Jeremy, remember that when it comes time to make a boat your own.” She takes a sip of her rum. “The Gravity Between Us,” Mary nods her head gravely. She did not like the book, although she fought to have the lesbian romance in the school library. The title phrase wrapped itself around her and Kate. “Attractions between people, boyo. That’s what it means.”

“Ties that bind,” Daniel suggests.

“Force of nature,” Mary disagrees. “Love doesn’t bind. Love draws.”

Chapera and Mago Mago Islands, Panama

Surocco and Gravity cruise the mostly uninhabited, ReMax-ready islands a mere thirty-nine miles from Panama City. Hundreds of pancake, tree-frosted islands ready to be snapped up by the rich and entrepreneurial.

Humpbacks breach with heavy sighs and lazy turns on the still waters. They bring their dappled white fins free to fan the tropical air and wave languid to the watchers. “Look! Oh my god.” Response seems so inadequate. “They are so waving. Oh god, that was so amazing.” Fourteen exclaims leaning over Surocco’s bow pulpit.

“Oh, wow, that was incredible.” Daniel agrees.

Fourteen turns to Daniel. “He’s so beautiful. Goodbye whale family!”

The days have not seemed this lazy since the first weeks in the Gulf of California. Anton is intent on these tropical waters, both sides of the Panama Canal. Fourteen watches Gravity under light sail off Surocco’s starboard bow. He wonders if Mary Rule watched the humpbacks. They are making for their next anchorage. Fourteen thinks without the GPS the archipelago would be confusing to visitors.

A rusted spine of island, tide-crusted, wave-cobbled boulders supplying a perch for music-note birds to eye the pair of passing boats suspiciously. The two sailboats move on to an anchorage past more islands. The channel to the anchorage is neither deep nor wide. Anton has consulted his charts. One said 6.5 and the other 2.3, but his depth finder is showing nearly seven meters. The bottom tickles the keel a little bit. Anton winces, then they are past the crazy sandbank.

The height surrounding this next anchorage is from the soaring canopies that rise like low hills away from the shoreline. Mangroves reach from their leafy tops into the still water as they pass. They seem mysterious-impenetrable to Fourteen. A solitary white pelican stares back at him. Other ketches, sloops and streamlined cabin cruisers lie already anchored in the bay. A two-masted ketch with a large white sun shade, its white hull and narrow strip of black, echo the sea-sky divide of the circling islands.

Most of their Panama-Walmart parking lot companions have distanced themselves, hoping for seclusion. Surroco and Gravity anchor within easy insult distance. Mary could cook an egg on her solar array, which suits her fine. The batteries can charge the afternoon away. She delights Fourteen by diving into the water with him. The others join them. It is Fourteen, armed with Anton’s speargun, who snorkels off the tender in the still waters of the bay hunting through the afternoon.

“Are you coming over?” Jeremy calls to her. “We can come to you, if you’d like.”

“Your Zodiac is in the water.” That decides them.

“We’ll come over!” the boy concludes cheerfully.

In the evening, they talk a bit about the Pearl Islands and where they might go next. This is the pace Mary likes. The in and out of ports is too like being on a seniors’ cruise. “When you cruise, you need to take your time, boyo. Even so, when you raise anchor in home port, you have to know you’re not going to take it all in.”

“Sophie is in Chile,” Fourteen contributes.

“A very large country.” Mary nods. “Your friend won’t see the pinch of it.”

This only leads to Anton’s storytelling about his rich-and-famous life, which naturally includes Chile and a huaso who taught him to ride bareback. He pauses, challenging Mary to take the bait. “He rode me around the Central Valley.” (Very pregnant pause.) “Nothing?”  Daniel kisses Anton.

“That’s a little distracting at first, but you’ll get used to it,” Fourteen laughs.

The two men are in their tactile phase. Mary knows it well. The necessary touching and the closeness. You barely know you are doing it. If you’re two new lovers under the hundred-eyed-Argus of a school staffroom, you keep touching down to the unseen gravitational pull.

Anton Schroeder will never get beyond the tactile phase. Earlier, cebeci escort Anton strokes the back of Jeremy’s tight swimsuit as the teen passes. Fourteen smiles his appreciation back at the older man. So that’s the way of it. Mary sighs. So busy searching for their manhood, they lose themselves in the mirrors, Mary worries. Mary remembers the bleakness of an adolescence without mirrors. Is this situation any better?

It is Fourteen who turns back to Mary. “I heard you playing an accordion last night. Can you play something for us?”

“Before you get started, I have to tell you something.” Mary directs her sudden quarrelsomeness at Anton.

“Is it that I’m extremely attractive?”

“It’s not.”

She drinks the rum down in a shot. Jeremy is so happy tonight. She picks up her concertina. “We’ll leave it for another time. A song, shall we? This one’s Sugar Mountain.”

Mary sings the first phrases with her eyes shifting from Anton, such a familiar Peter Pan for all he is the eldest of the three companions. Daniel, who strikes her as prickly-proud. Maybe in his way, the most like her. Mary is singing Neil Young’s song of passing youth for Jeremy.

The concertina is a lively music for the companionable moment in her cozy boat. Keep your trap shut! She is still getting to know her new companions.

“♪♫♬ Oh to live on Sugar Mountain, with the barkers and the colored balloons. ♪♫♬ You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain.” Anton joins in. He knows this song, at least to sing the chorus.

Mary smiles at him and looks at Jeremy. Only, the boy is crying. He is trying to cover his eyes. Something about Mary’s choice of songs upsets him. She just speaks the last bar, then stops.

♪♫♬ Oh to live on Sugar Mountain

With the barkers and the colored balloons

You can”t be 20 on Sugar Mountain

Though you”re thinking that ♪♫♬

You”re leavin” there too soon

You”re leavin” there too soon ♪♫♬

It”s so noisy at the fair ♪♫♬

But all your friends are there

♪♫♬ And the candy floss you had

And your mother and your dad

♪♫♬ Oh to live on Sugar Mountain

With the barkers and the colored balloons

You can”t be 20 on Sugar Mountain

♪♫♬ Though you”re thinking that

You”re leavin” there too soon

You”re leavin” there too soon ♪♫♬

♪♫♬ There”s a girl just down the aisle

Oh to turn and see her smile

“Here’s another one,” Mary smoothly transitions. “You boys will have to put up with this one for my sake.” Mary ignores Jeremy and focuses on the men across the salon. It begins with a hum that should have been Kate strumming her ukulele and then Mary’s concertina joines the intro. Finally, k.d. lang’s  strong words that still blend into a duet in her mind.

Even through the darkest phase ♪♫♬

Be it thick or thin

Always someone marches brave

♪♫♬ Here beneath my skin

And constant craving

Has always been ♪♫♬

Maybe a great magnet pulls

All souls towards truth

♪♫♬ Or maybe it is life itself

That feeds wisdom

To its youth

♪♫♬ Constant craving

Has always been …

Jeremy wipes his eyes and glances at the company. Mary’s song brought a sudden rush of memory. Even now, as Mary’s strong, unpracticed voice pours her heart into this radically different song, the words of Neil Young’s lyrics won’t slip away. Something about fairs and leaving, mom and dad. It had been a cheerful tune, and that only made it somehow worse. It is always best to pack all that before away where it can’t reach him.

Mary’s second number is a yearning-recognition that touches everyone in Gravity’s simply appointed salon. There is shared experience in the song.

Jeremy sniffs back some moisture and respects the way Mary pours her being into the song. He envies the casual way she plays. It reminds him of Keon King strumming his guitar in the Arizona back-end nowhere of the Pueblo. That recalls Cordell.

The song plays out with its strong rhythm to the final refrain. “I need another drink!” Mary exclaims. Jeremy can see the old woman has a tear in her eye. She catches him looking and explains, “Kate and I usually sang that together.” Jeremy nods understanding-sympathy. Levi was not very musical, but he loved music and the way it connected him to his before and the gravity of his now. Levi manned up and kept the feelings hidden. Jeremy responds to older people, much as his mother recognizes the way memories’ currents return knowledge and wisdom to the elderly in her palliative care unit. So many dimensions in the straightforward acts of living: memory theater.

Ms. Clement, in sixth grade, taught Jeremy to see the multiple dimensions in a thing. They all brought simple objects from their bedroom to write about. Jeremy forgot. “Well, what do you have in your cubby?” Many things, but nothing interesting to Jeremy. In answer to her question, he twirled his long Ticonderoga in his fingers. I’ve got nothing, he wanted to suggest. “Use the pencil then.” Ms. Clement never let anyone off the hook. She gave him three suggestions: remember when you got it, the last time before this when you used it, memories of his first times with other pencils. Jeremy wrote five hundred words on that pencil and how pencils wove into his life. He wrote about himself and he wrote about his feelings. Things implicate themselves in our existence, Jeremy understands this. The way his father tenses before Grandpa Herb’s visits, Patrick with his before constant triggers, Levi craving Nguyen Huu Tuan, Malcolm avoiding Franklin’s end in the Bronx. Songs can trigger the before and resonate with the now.

“Time for something more lively!” Mary exclaimes. “Who’s ever played one of these things?” Mary holds up Kate’s ukulele. Daniel and Anton wave the request off. Jeremy raises his hand as if he is in school. He admits that he played a little in music classes. Mary picks out a simple melody on the four strings, repeating it a few times so Jeremy can remember it. “Now you, boyo.” Jeremy practices the melody. “You’re going to have to be more confident, boyo.” Jeremy grins. He practices while Mary turns to the two men.

“Jesus, neither of you look like you have any rhythm.”

“Oh, Daniel has a pretty good rhythm,” Anton asserts.

“Be still my beating heart.” Mary responds. “We have no need of your boyfriend’s skin-flute.” Mary shows Daniel how to play the spoons. “Do your best,” she decides when she hears the result.

“Just bumping two things together, dear.” Anton encourages.

“Okay sissy, you’re going to pound the table like this.” Mary demonstrates and Anton joins in. “We could use a fiddle, but we can make do.” Mary won’t continue till the three of them can work the parts together. “Do you know this one?” She asks Anton. He has to admit he does not. “It’s The North Atlantic Squadron, pissy queen.”

“Bean flicker,” Anton fights back.

“So, I’ll start. She can be a long one, and I’ve probably not put enough rum in me yet.”

“Did you sing this with Kate too?” Jeremy asks. He is feeling more confident as he falls into Anton’s steady rhythm on the salon table.

“Kate would have none of this song, boyo. I learned this one long ago from the men on my papa’s trawler.  Okay here we go.”

♪♫♬ “Away, away with fife and drum,

Here we come, full of rum.

Looking for men who peddle their bum

In the North Atlantic Squadron.” ♪♫♬

“I changed it for you lot.” Mary explains as Surocco’s company continues to repeat the simple tune. “So now you all sing it with me.” She makes them sing it through together. “That’s the chorus, your part. I’ll sing the verses, you reply with the chorus. I’ll give you a nod, so’s you knows when to come in.”

Off they went, and from the first blindingly filthy stanzas Jeremy almost stopped his playing on the little ukulele, as the sixty-nine-year-old schoolteacher confidently belted out the dirtiest lyrics he had ever imagined. Her concertina joined in and she kept Anton on beat with a stamping foot. This was definitely not Ms. Clement’s music class where making love to Cecilia in the afternoon would set the boys blushing.

♪♫♬ The cabin boy, the cabin boy,

The dirty rotten nipper,

Shoved some glass right up his ass,

And circumcised the skipper. ♪♫♬

“I thought you were a teacher!” Jeremy sputters.

“Keep up, Jeremy!” Mary nods at the two men. Anton leads the chorus.

♪♫♬ “Away, away with fife and drum,

Here we come, full of rum.

Looking for men who peddle their bum

In the North Atlantic Squadron.” ♪♫♬

At night, the Panamanian fishermen sit on the water. Their lights look like candle-lit prayer balloons set free to lure the catch. White, blue, one red, and a yellow that almost speaks to green. Their black hulls seem to hang in the moonless night. Pastel glitters sparkle towards Gravity. It recalls impressionistic rainbow daubs of paint on the night’s black velvet canvas. Jeremy and the fishermen call back and forth across the distance. Cheerful-friendly, night-bird sharing.

Mary has had enough of the rum. Too much rum from the look on Jeremy’s face. Kate would put her to bed at this point. She sits in Gravity’s cockpit watching the crew of Anton’s ketch. The men are in Surocco’s cockpit and she can hear the odd word from across the water. Jeremy is silhouetted midships where he still tries his conversation with the fishermen.

“The three of you are putting on a Stratford Festival three man show, Midsummer Night”s Dream.” Mary begins to herself. “Theseus’ marriage to Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons.” No question who those two parts went to. “Then there is Oberon, the fairy king, and Titania, his queen.” Mary looks toward Jeremy’s slender figure. “You boyo are the young Indian prince, so beautiful, Oberon wants to make you a knight.”

Kate would look at me right now and know I’m hooked on the boy. Well, he stopped by the classroom, didn’t he? Kate is delighted somewhere that her girl is on the hook.

“¿Tienes algo de pescado para venderme?” Jeremy calls tangerine to the Panamanian fishermen. When he gets his answer, he moves past the shadow-men in the cockpit to where the tender lies in the water. The motor breaks the silence and he is off to meet the men on the boats in a swirl of bioluminescence.

“Or maybe you”re just Puck flinging your love potion and sowing confusion everywhere you go. Yes that is who you are, boyo, and at the end of it all, it will be you that remains to ask the audience for its forgiveness and approval.”

Mary Rule waves her hand about the bay where lights mark the other resting craft.

“Sure boyo, it will just be you with your pixie grin, what you”re giving those fishermen right now, urging us all to remember the tale as though it had all been a dream. Sure, and in the end that”s all we really are, the stuff of fevered dreams.”

ESL Police Department

Detectives Division,

East St. Louis, Illinois

Monday, May 21, 2018

Detective Shara Washington is finally free to start work in earnest on the vehicle burnout victim case. The evidence collected includes the VIN number, (the plates, wheels, and tires and anything having immediate cash value that can be stripped having been removed before the fire), and she looks to find the number in Patrol Officer Winston”s report to run it on the computer.

Most burnouts are local stolens from one side of the Mississippi or the other. To her surprise it”s an out of state registration, a long way out of state.

It takes days longer for the Coroner to report the recovery of six rounds, four 9 mm and two .38″s, from three different weapons. Someone must have been pissed off at the victim; but that”s good in a way, it means there will be more witnesses and the tale will eventually get around. Though the coroner determined it was the body of a male person aged 15-20 years – sadly not at all unusual— the victim was white.

So that certainly makes it stand out. The population of East St. Louis is 97.8 percent African-American – and here as elsewhere, most crime is local on local. So all the signs here are of an unusual crime to say the least.

Viveros Island

June 17, 2018

“Are you and Anton having a fight? You really like him.” Fourteen reminds the young man.

“It’s nothing.”

Which is what it seems to be. It flared up in the morning over the stern anchor scraping the deck. Anton responded with a mild “Ack!” That sets Daniel off. The words got angry between the partners. Fourteen stayed clear. Which of them didn’t need to vent sometime? Daniel’s animosity lasted into the day’s cruise. Eventually, Fourteen realized Daniel had not been talking to Anton all day.

“I love him. It is something.” Daniel breaks the silence between them. “I don’t mean for you to get burned in the process.”


“I’m working through things. Having arguments in my head.” Daniel frowns, then tries to laugh at the weight of it all. “You won’t understand.” This last is an apology for letting his dark clouds of doubt cast shade on Fourteen’s apparently perpetual good mood.

Fourteen understands the working things through explanation perfectly. Bull Shoals was not his first great debate with his fractured self. Not his last either, as he contemplates the imposing wall circumstances have thrown up between him and Chillicothe. Young before-Jeremy was working things through on his cozy twin bed, shelves loaded with books that never helped untangle the knots in his aching (gay) heart.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Friends talk it out.

“I had this email from,” Daniel is second-guessing this conversation with the innocent youth beside him. “Well, I’d sent a reply to Kelly Thornstein, she was personnel manager at a firm I …” This is too much explanation for a conversation Daniel is regretting. “She got back to me and told me if I change my mind, the offer might be renewed?” He is emphasizing the four words and turning this into a question.

“You were looking for a job when I met Anton. That’s good, isn’t it? You are still looking for a job, right?”

“I love Anton.”

Fourteen shifts beside Daniel. He is uncomfortable about the love thing. He will (hopefully) get the hair on his chest, muscles, and sexy beard like Daniel sports. Love comes too, Jeremy Gates supposes. Right now, the men and he are fam. Sometimes close friends have to get high-key and you have to be the listener — sleepover-dark conversations solving personal problems, spilling dreams and nightmares.

“Yeah, I see that.” Daniel and Anton manage couple almost as well as Jeremy’s parents. Jeremy’s opinion, nobody does partner as well as Remy and Greyson Gates. Daniel and Anton are more Grandpa Herb and Grandma Mary, room for friction and bickering, definitely. More partners than Shane and Jeremy, anyway. Real partners like (fucking) Cordell could not be.

“I think he screwed me over. I’m afraid to ask Kelly Thornstein to explain. I think Anton screwed me over in Chicago.”

“He couldn’t …”

“He could.” Daniel assures Fourteen. Some phone calls, a friend of a friend Anton went to school with. The Boomer-Millennial boys’/girls’ club thing, getting things done in the real world. Daniel’s first summer job, just a phone call from his dad set that up. Way of the world, “He is crazy enough to do that.”

Crazy schemes, middle-school desire makes everybody a little bit extra. Before-Jeremy listening to Wade and Shane strategize the perfect way to steal a guarded base with some girl Wade had hardly spoken with. His friends once argued using a caught conversation Wade’s rival made. They decided to share it with the girl’s posse. Ugly ending, that, Fourteen recalls.

“It is probably nothing, she was probably just giving me some encouragement to keep trying, and I got her words wrong. Anton wouldn’t hurt me like that.” Daniel’s inner turmoil is surfacing. “You wouldn’t do that to someone you loved.”

Love has not touched Jeremy Gates, not like this. The journey-year with men has let him understand that grown men are no better than two adolescent boys plotting to cockblock some rival with a ruthless ploy. “People do crazy stuff to people. I guess that is love. You need it so badly, but you end up hurting someone in the getting.”

Fourteen could be thinking of Shane and Wade playing the blockable-boy’s words to the posse-girls and how that blew up in their faces. Fourteen could be thinking about Levi and Tuan. Tuan, fighting his war for independence-vengeance, breaking Levi’s heart so much that just like Patrick, his crazy nearly broke Jeremy Gates. Levi needed to find his way back to Tuan so badly that he ran right through Fourteen.

Fourteen could be guilting on the way he left Cordell Faulkner in San Diego. He begged his boyfriend to run with him. Saved myself, Fourteen admits.

Elvis died of smoke inhalation. None of it is my fault!

“We do things in self-defense, we think we do anyway. I guess if you value your friendship, you’re supposed to cut your friends some slack.” You have to understand your grandpa, Jeremy’s mom advises when he asks why his dad is so sad after a family visit. Did Fourteen really understand why Cordell did not run? To this day, Fourteen just feels betrayed. Am I being fair? Perhaps Cordell remained behind to clean up Fourteen’s mess. Should I have waited by the car? Instead, he ran for his life.

“We’re just being honest!” Shane argued defensive-righteous when before-Jeremy warned his friends that messaging the boy’s conversation was messed up. If he caught up with (fucking) Cordell, would the teen just gaslight him all over again?

Fourteen is still so angry at the way Cordell betrayed him. “He is not a friend if he just wants to use you.” Fourteen is not thinking of Anton, he is gut-hurting over (fucking) Cordell. “A friend does not take your dreams away. Make you do things you don’t want to do. A real friend puts you first. If he, if he says he loves you. He has to prove it!”

Fourteen’s dad understood. As long as (fucking) Cordell was out there twisting it all his way, Fourteen had to hide. Daniel is looking at Fourteen. “I know you think I’m just a kid. I don’t know. I think Anton would do just about anything for you.”

“Yeah, that’s what I’m worried about.”

Viveros and Isla del Rey

June 19, 2018

Un ragazzo, un ragazzo bellissimo e anche della mia età.  Dove stai andando? Bella has the helm of the family’s 60-foot Gulfstar, Cavalieri Dell”onda. The teenage boy zipping close in the Zodiac waves to her.

“How is the depth?” Bella’s father asks as he rejoins her in the cockpit.

Who cares about the depth, where is he going? Bella asks herself again. She has turned the wheel unconsciously in the direction the beautiful boy has gone. Two sailboats lie directly ahead, near a large yacht. It is the best anchorage, so her father silently agrees with her choice.

“Paolo,” Francesco catches his son’s attention. “We are going to join the party. Be ready to drop the stern anchor. Not too close, Bella. That yacht might get noisy!” The older ones are fifteen and thirteen. Three years, and they know their business well. Francesco Doria takes pride in that. He is watchful, but the two children can anchor Cavalieri Dell”onda with practiced ease. Just to prove the point, their father drops below to see what Campana and Zeta have planned for their dinner.

“Mi nombre es Mirabella, solo puedes decir Bella.  ¿Cuál es tu nombre?” Bella practices in Spanish. The larger sailboat is the boy’s destination. An Amel Super Maramu, French. “Je m”appelle Mirabella, çeşme escort tu peux juste dire Bella.  Comment tu t”appelles?” Her French is better. Oh god! He is from Marseille and we can meet at home! The flag is American, the smaller sailboat is Canadian, but her tender still hangs from the stern davits. “Hey, I’m Bella. What’s your name?” It is going to be English, it seems.

“I think he is American,” Paolo echoes in English.

The gathering came after dark on the 45-foot powerboat and not the teenager’s French ketch. Bella’s mother took to the Panamanian real estate agent. The passengers were an older American couple with an interest in a private island to develop. Bella decides she should have stayed with her brother and sister on the boat.

Campana Doria ran B Anton, with his single Seattle condo and a sailboat is not insensible to that ideal. His wide circle thinks this is nonsense. Close friends like Tyrone Casey think Anton’s mother lavishes enough on her prince in waiting. “I don’t need a second apartment in New York.” Indeed, Tyron sniggers. Anton is sensible to the less-than-simple cost of all their lifestyles. He just likes the portability of his life.

 “I’m gay.” The handsome man just offers this pearl to Mirabella in an amused admission.

Mirabella curses with a smile on her face. Stupida, Daniel è gay e vecchio.  È davvero troppo vecchio.  È così incredibilmente bello.  Avrei dovuto immaginare che fosse gay. The Duncombes are voicing their disappointments with permissive-intolerant Antifa society. They believe the current administration can set things straight.

Not we’re gay, Mirabella finds the omission encouraging. The older man is like some Milan fashion designer, for all his clothes are as live-aboard casual as her father’s.

In the Lau Islands, MIrabella’s sister, Zeta, had a chance to attend school in a village where people live in grass huts and have no water or electricity. While her younger sister was in class, Mirabella helped teach. There was a teacher to crush on, young like Daniel. She developed a taste for older men. Felipe Mavoa barely noticed her. The island boys noticed Mirabella well enough.

“Geremia?” she asks bravely.

“He is coming back from Mary’s boat.” Daniel answers, evading the question he thinks the pretty girl is asking. Not my place to say. “Mary has been sailing with us for a few days. She can’t stand these people.”

Arriving back at the yacht, Fourteen never makes it out of the Zodiac. “I’m Bella, this is boring. Let’s go back to the sailboat.”

The girl settles across from him and smiles. He has to grin back at her. He likes the plan. Anton will drink a bit too much, Daniel will watch him carefully. The gathering will be a calculated game to see who can know more about everything. Daniel and Fourteen satisfied their curiosity about the powerboat earlier. He has no further interest in the evening.

Unfortunately, Geremia has turned his tender towards Cavalieri Dell”onda and not his own (vacant) ketch’s berths. Well, they will be free of the parents at least. Mirabella uses the time to exchange particulars: both fifteen. His Spanish is better than hers, he has no French or Italian. He is from the obscure middle of America, not Hollywood or New York. She is not from Rome or Venice. Paolo and Zeta are mentioned. Geremia has no siblings.

Zeta is in the salon watching a video she knows by heart. Mirabella decides to take Geremia to the V-berth she shares with her little sister. This takes them past the pilot berth where her brother Paolo is on his upper bed.

“I’m nervous about a real school,” Paolo is saying. “I wonder if it will be boring. There’s no breaks in the middle of school to stop and watch delfini.” He is propped on his elbows recording into his iPad. His parents will scold him later, because they want him on the deck with interesting scenery, not hunched over in the gloom like he is bored. This is his contribution to the family blog, the English version that has more patrons.

The family’s travel blog is a list of exotic islands and atolls like Tahiti, Bora Bora, Fiji and Vanuatu.  Paolo needs to have his part ready for the Wednesday upload. When he was five, the family began shopping for a boat, taking navigation courses and practicing off the coast in their 30-foot sailboat. Campana and Francesco planned their route meticulously. They thought the children’s lisping explanations of weather patterns, hurricane seasons and geography would garner more patrons on their YouTube channel. Paolo has been blogging his reactions for eight years. He has followers.

“Staccare,” Mirabella interrupts Paolo, “This is Geremia, Jeremy.” She corrects herself. “Jeremy, this is my little brother Paolo.” She moves on to the V-berth, but Fourteen has paused to look at Paolo. A little tangerine seeps into the cramped room. A little bit of something passes between the boys.

Bahia de San Telmo, Isla del Rey

Boats no bigger than Anton’s tender lie on the village beach or floated on their tethers in the shallow waters. A man passes by in a longboat with an outboard. He steers while stooping to bail out the stern. Another man pushes through the shallow water with an outboard motor on his naked shoulder.

The village ranges out along a white concrete balustrade. The buildings rise from the boat-park beach to a tide-free platform of black rock. The shorefront balustrade is echoed along the breeze-friendly balconies offering sight lines everywhere.

“Bienvenidas a la Isla Pedro Gonzalez” arches over the three teenagers as they pass beneath. They walk on up the slope into the village. Fourteen is searching out fresh food.

Mirabella walks beside her sister Zeta. The two boys are kicking a deflated ball they found on the beach. Fourteen dances backwards to the ball and kicks it right. Paolo dances to his left to intercept. He sends the concave ball back toward Fourteen, then hops up on the balustrade for three steps. Zeta snags the ball and awkwardly sends it into the fence near Paolo.

“It is very different,” Mirabella concludes. “I was twelve when we began. As long as I can remember, it seems like we have been sailing. Before we started, Mamma and Papà made us practice all the time. My holidays were in North Africa, or Greece. We couldn’t bring friends.”

“I remember Croatia,” Zeta tells Fourteen.

“You don’t remember Croatia,” Mirabella informs her little sister. “You were five.”

“I do!” Zeta tries to reach the ball, but Paolo gets there first. Fourteen’s next kick is toward the eleven-year-old girl. Then he falls in beside Mirabella.

“Don’t you like sailing, live-aboard? I mean, three years, I think that rocks!”

“Vivere a bordo, sì,” Mirabella replies, unimpressed. “But I was twelve, now I am fifteen. I could be sixteen before we are back in Rapallo. No one knows me now. You know, we were two months sailing and only saw two boats?” She shakes her head. “Nobody my age, that’s for sure.”

“The things you saw.”

“We climbed a volcano.” Paolo tells Fourteen. One of Paolo”s highs was standing on the rim of an active volcano in Vanuatu at night. “The lava was amazing!”

“Mine was just a lake.” Fourteen admits. “It bubbles, though.”

“Okay, the red hot lava just explodes into the sky.” Paolo could show his new friend the video, but it will not be the same.

“You went to Chile?” Fourteen asks. “I have a friend in Chile right now.”

“Yes, all over.” Mirabella answers. Rapallo’s twin town is Iquique, Chile. Papà e Mamma thought it would make a great blog entry to visit it.”

“Veracruz,” Fourteen dredges up. “Maybe I will get to see it.” Mirabella looks at him. “My hometown’s sister city. There is one in Russia too. I had to write a report on it.” He shrugs.

Mirabella has gracefully suspended her pursuit of Fourteen. In the V-berth, she asked him if he had a girlfriend. It was a clumsy advance, and foolish. Jeremy was not her fantasy-accessible French boy from Marseille. What did it matter if he had a girlfriend in America? When he answered no, she tried the other. “Are you Daniel’s boyfriend?” No, but then a very shy confession. So, he was gay as well. She should have waited longer. It was like opening the present too early. Quel che sarà sarà.

They could be friends and Papà decided he liked the gay couple. They would sail together for a while. Fourteen invited Mirabella to meet Mary Rule. They sailed down the coast with the old woman and Mirabella could suspend the truth that this half-naked boy with his rippling muscles was inaccessible. Mary was interested in Mirabella’s travels. They chatted together in French while Fourteen delighted in sailing Gravity by himself. Mirabella recorded something about their day together. “Just, no,” Fourteen told her when she asked if she could include video footage in the family travel blog. She took some anyway.

In the late afternoon, Paolo and Zeta joined them in a tender to snorkel along the coast. Fourteen liked to chase Mirabella in the green deep. Brother and sister began chasing the clean-limbed American boy. Below the silver surface and the coral forests the three teenagers twined about each other in a sensuous battle of tag and touch. Jeremy liked to chase Paolo too.

Later, she stood in the passage to Paolo’s pilot berth. The Doria family educates others about what they’ve seen, including disappearing coral reefs and beaches polluted by garbage. Paolo is recording on his iPad. “We had a game to see who could find the più strana piece of garbage.”

A young man sits on a stoop in knee-length cutoffs playing his guitar. Chickens and dogs stand in some well-established village truce under flapping laundry along cinder block porches decorated with flowers. Paolo watches as a woman weighs the vegetables Fourteen buys in a black and pink scale hung by the door. He is polite about the poverty of choice.

A small girl Zeta’s age pushes her little sister in a pink-purple stroller car with Disney eyes beside the weathered balustrade. Paolo was younger than this girl when his family left Northern Italy. He has grown up without friends. Too often, it has been just him standing in some strange village or city completely apart from the community around. Jeremy smiles at him when he is done with the village store.

Mirabella jogs Fourteen’s side. “Which one?”

Fourteen follows MIrabella’s pointed chin. Five handsome boys with phones in their hands. Three are engaged, but two look Fourteen’s way. The younger one smiles friendly interest from underneath his black stocking cap. Another, thirteen or fourteen, pauses to speculate about the tourists. The boy’s eyes linger on Fourteen. His eyes have depth, his lips are slightly parted, as if there is something to say. Then he drops his head and goes back to his phone.

Mirabella looks at the boys. Her parents cherish the opportunity to experience these island cultures that are rapidly disappearing as development and internet access brings the McWorld to them. Her parents seek some precious novelty. Mirabella is more interested in the ways these boys connect to her. She likes the one who looked her way.

Which one? Fourteen glances away from the five islanders with their phones to Paolo. Fourteen is crushing on the young Italian. This is a very Jeremy Gates, Chillicothe response. Some boy in class who smiles your way and gives just the right answer in just the right tone one day in class. Mary Rule’s attractions. Fourteen knows where he stands with men. Closet-boys (more or less) his age are (mostly) feral-frightened animals. Rafael Martinez was easy. They were out. Cameron Krueger, lucky, (fucking) Cordell, unlucky, and who was to say that either of them was gay?

Which one? Paolo’s sister asked. She has settled comfortably into fag-hag girlfriend, gleefully comparing tastes in boys (to men). He remembers Fiona on the Ferris wheel. If Jeremy had said, “I’m gay, Fiona,” would she have been his ally or the woman scorned, outing him to the school? Fourteen will admit to Daniel’s charms, but Mirabella will never learn from Fourteen what goes on between the friends. Paolo is not in the loop, no brother-sister memos about the (gay) American boy. Fourteen is pretty sure. Not knowing how to approach Paolo sucks, and that is why Chillicothe sucks.

Fourteen gives himself over to funny daydreams, where brooding Cordell encourages him to try some Italian lips. Try the handjob-rape that felt so good to Fourteen when (fucking) Cordell handled him. Pull Paolo to an alley where the dogs and chickens can watch him clutch Paolo’s young cock straining within reach. The idea is too cheek-burning Pueblo. So, back to the V-berth on Surocco, where they can hold each other privately. It is a Keon-Cameron-gentle, erotic dream of two boys entwined.

Paolo’s innocent maleness stands beside him in the village as the five local boys lapse back into their own world again. I’m not surprised you satisfied yourself with Keon King, Levi mentions from his place beside Nguyen Huu Tuan.

Do it, Jerry. Make the boy want it. You want to screw, don’t you? Jizz for me, let it come. Fourteen’s package stirs, He will love you, my Pretty Boy; nightmare memories. This is not consensual Anton, or seducible Scott Beck and Daniel Ayers. It is back to being about a boy. Rafael Martinez reminded Fourteen that he is not very good at seductions.

The mind goes where it needs to go. The blond boy is there beside him, beads of sweat sliding down young curves, standing innocent like a Jeremy Gates in his bike-ride-home before. There is something fucking faithless about twisting friendship into sex. Fourteen cannot really help himself. Always, there is the vibe between them. In the snorkel-dance, or seeing Paolo on his bed as he passes to MIrabella’s (safer) friendship. Fourteen fell Shane-hard for the thirteen-year-old Italian. Which one? Mirabella asks. Fourteen is adept at telling men and girls he is gay, it is just three words to tell Paolo. He can feel the sweat on his back. It’s really hot in Panama, Fourteen sighs.

Older men sit in the shade. Familiar conversations over canned beer. A woman in big curlers laughs at some joke. Campana looks around the village street cataloging the needs of these people. Francesco wants their children to absorb the world and pass it on to the developed-underdeveloped people who follow the family travel blog. That is a taking in her mind. Campana wants to give as they go. She enjoyed the opportunity to deliver donated mattresses and sunglasses to several Fijian islands decimated by a cyclone.

“Opportunities to serve and help were probably the neatest thing for me,” she says in her own blog entry. She stirs next to Mary Rule as the four young people come closer.

The men are back on board measuring sailboats, although Mary is quite sure that Anton would like nothing better than to be measuring dicks with his boyfriend and the tall Italian. Like Campana, Mary has noticed the three teenagers with the eleven-year-old Zeta in tow.

“They need so much.” Campana tries to explain her unspoken thought.

The older men don’t seem to need much more than their warm beer and each other’s familiar company. Mary’s father and his cronies would fit right in. These old men would settle around her father’s kitchen table. The cheerful woman needs to lose the curlers. “We need so much,” Mary replies.

There is a familiar unchoreographed adolescent dance on the street that Mary finds endearing. Such an old teacher, Mary marked the five boys looking like testosterone-trouble by the trees. Nothing wrong with them, just a teacher’s instincts kicking in. We’re too much like cops, Mary admits with a sip of her (warm) beer. Always looking for fault. This is the five boys’ space they are the ones invading.

Mary riles at the situation with Jeremy. What to do? What can I do? Jeremy is very much Fourteen about the men he travels with. The youth takes his cues from Daniel, and leavens the heavy bread with a fair share of Anton’s frothy humor. Fourteen wears his sexuality like a young athlete proudly wearing heavy pads and an oversized jersey. Fourteen is a weedy-tangerine young-Gretzky on the ice, stickhandling his puckishness in and out of the lumbering men grabbing at him. Like every hormonal idiot-boy, he loves his stickhandling. 99 still needed his enforcers, Mary decides, backs to watch.

Fourteen is very Jeremy with Mary. Get one in your classroom and you know the year is going to be good. Boys will be … what they are made of. Jeremy is a person who lives in the presence and expectations of his absent family. Come student conferences, you see a person might grow into someone fine, despite the parents. Mary has seen that often enough. Still, she always thought, most times, you”re getting what the parents send to you. Mary sees the way Jeremy is with the Doria children. The Fourteen offered to the men drops away and someone’s Jeremy is the tolerant older brother with young Zeta, the easy friend with the younger brother and the girl his age.

Mary Rule sips her beer and listens to Campana Doria describe the trials and errors of their beginnings as they travelled through the Suez Canal, pulling the boat out of the water along the African coast to spend one-and-a-half months backpacking around Kenya and Tanzania. The Doria children and Jeremy have moved on, leaving Mary to her warm beer, Madagascar, and the long water crossing to Australia. Jeremy is a muddle sorting itself out for reasons he has not shared with Mary Rule.

“I had all winter to go over things. Victoria is not that cold, but you have to expect some expansion now it is in the tropics.”

Jeremy is twisted-pretzel on the floor with his head and shoulders half in the tight space. He has the hose clamp tightened and insists the spill be mopped up with a cloth. We don’t need a man around the house, Mary always told Kate; but then, she was in her fifties back then. It is nice to have the “neighbor boy” do an odd job or two.

Jeremy sets everything to rights. He stops to look at the picture of Kate Acker and Mary Rule on their wedding day. Freedom 55, Kate called that day in 2005. The hair is greyer now, but Mary seems ageless to him. Elf-wise in the way Levi Fisher was. Fourteen misses the crazy wise man sometimes.

“I’m gay,” Jeremy confesses to Mary.

I suppose it has never been said, Mary decides. How many of those boys and girls who came to visit her after school simply wanted to say this to her? She has been silent since he said it. He turns to her, so unaware that she knew it almost from the start. The three of them there on that big ketch, and the Queen of Diamonds, whose hands convey every sexual impulse. I suppose it needed to be said, Mary decides.

Jeremy is waiting for some reaction from her. In all those after-schools, boys lying in their conundrums on her classroom tables, it never got to the heart of things. Mary wonders if Jeremy is replaying a failed conversation before he ran, or rehearsing the words he never got to share. “Kate and I, we lived in a different world. Lived separately long after we were partners. Always looking over our shoulders, so to speak. You worried back then. Do you worry?”

“That is what Levi said. You would have heard of Levi, and ….” Jeremy does not go on. “Levi tried to teach me not to worry the way he did as a teenager.”

“But you do?” Mary asked.

“You’re so like Levi. I’m sorry, I know you are not like Levi,” Jeremy adds apologetically.

“You’ve mentioned him, but never told me who he was.” Mary and Jeremy are still standing in Gravity’s salon facing each other.

“Well, cim cif yapan escort I’m Jeremy Gates, you know.” The youth says his name like he is Wayne Gretzky or Terry Fox. The name should speak for itself. “You’ve read the stuff, watched the news this year.”

“Jeremy, I sailed from Dartmouth in September 2016. I keep touch with the Great White North, CBC on shortwave, TV in British Columbia I admit. I know only what you tell me.” Mary smiles, “Which is everything and mostly nothing.”

Mary gives Jeremy a measure. “So what is on your mind, you frightful fairy you?”

It is a weak grin that Jeremy gives back. “Never mind,” he begins. She puts a hand on his hard shoulder and presses him onto the bench.

“You came to talk, Jeremy Gates.”

There are times to watch, and there are times to turn away. Mary had to turn away when she told Kate she loved her. Some things are easier to say to a bulletin board display of maritime wildlife. She lets the silence draw out while her exposed skin searches for a breeze in the gangway.

Mary doesn’t turn around when Jeremy shifts from how hard it is to know if someone likes you to suddenly telling her about a stormy August night in Chillicothe. It was, “I never had a chance to work it out. Patrick and John ….”

After that, Jeremy breaks Mary’s heart with the life-crash she dreads. Not some after-thing to fret over when she thinks about this wholesome boy. It is a truly unspeakable before-violation that Jeremy is running from. Mary and Kate knew refugees and child soldiers. Violence clings to these children in her classroom as they struggle to heal themselves. Oh Kate, the world we live in.

She sits for Levi Fisher. Listens to Jeremy stumble through his excuses and self-recriminations about a cross-country trip. “Levi was very sad and sick.” Jeremy looks so earnest when he says this. “He was dying. I could take care of him. My being there made it easier for him. There was Tuan, I guess I was Tuan, do you understand? I planned to go home — after. Does that make sense?”

“You should go home now.”

“I can’t.” Jeremy dismisses the idea with a wave of his hand. “It is still complicated. They know. Mom and dad know.”

He stops with Levi Fisher’s abandonment in Arizona. (Fucking) Cordell and the events in San Diego are too painfully confused. He cannot tell Mary how he let the men use him. It is simply, “Patrick and John grabbed me on my way home.” Jeremy cannot talk about the barn. He cannot confess to what Levi really wanted his body for. It is too much to bring to the surface; not with Mary Rule. She would not look at him the same, after that. He cannot joke about the sex the way Anton would. He does not think Mary could joke back.

It is better if the whole Pueblo time never happened. Jeremy curses (fucking) Cordell for what transpired in San Diego. I killed a man, yeah, Jeremy is not going to say that in Gravity’s salon. Fuck you, Cordell, wherever you are, go to hell. Why did Elvis burn?

“I only wanted to get away.”

“I understand.” Mary breaks her silence. “How awful for you.”

“My dad agrees. I have to stay away. Anton, he helped me get away.”

“I never told my mother and father,” Mary confides. “They died thinking I never found the right man. You say your parents know, and they don’t want you to come home?” Can’t we all please get past this, finally? The intolerance hurting children?

Jeremy looks at Mary for a moment. Talk of his parents sparks a quick smile. “No, they don’t know I’m gay. It’s not that. I screwed up, that’s what they know, and yeah, that I’m sailing. We talk, that’s what I meant.”

“But you can’t go home.”

There is Cordell out there with Elvis Parker’s San Diego gang, just waiting to fuck Jeremy over when he surfaces. He cannot go home for that. But it is not about that. Jeremy wants to talk about the hard knocks of being gay. He used to talk it out with Levi in the quiet evenings.

He knows what being gay means to Anton Schroeder. Jeremy thinks Anton accepts no impediments to what he wants, so Anton will never understand Jeremy’s vulnerability. Neither will self-assured Daniel Ayers. Daniel’s confidence makes Jeremy feel inadequate. Men come to Daniel on his terms. Jeremy wants Levi’s lived wisdom about negotiating gay. Levi is gone, but Mary Rule can take his place. Jeremy really does not want to resurrect hurts, past mistakes. He wants a happy (gay) now and satisfying after.

Jeremy’s best deflecting smile spreads across his face. “How did you and Kate get together? Did you have girlfriends before? Levi had a partner, I met him in Wisconsin. He had a boyfriend in Vietnam. That was his first. Did you, I don”t know, did you hook up when you were a kid?”

“Hook up? This old lady?” Mary wants to laugh.

She wants to cry. So much unsaid in this boy’s brief summary. Patrick and John grabbed me. I was with them for a few days. They handed me over to Levi. He told me he needed me. He was nice to me, mostly. He had to get to Vietnam. The cancer was scary. Does that make sense? It makes an ugly sort of sense to Mary Rule. Jeremy was not as careful with his words as he thought. He is just a struggling boy and the stress is in his voice when he shares the sad story. So much felt but left unsaid.

They come to your classroom to talk. Even when you fear the worst, you simply listen. The children have to say it and you talk until they do. Ask the wrong question, and they run. You have to wait until they decide not to run. Kate’s stray dogs to befriend in the park; they come to you. Remy and Greyson Gates know this dilemma. At their word, the police will take Jeremy home in a twinkling. They cannot keep him home if home is lost to him.

The hardest thing for Mary was controlling the impulse to hold a child down. You had to let them run and throw, and break, and scream. Desks turned over, computers broken. Till they turned the violence on themselves, you could not restrain them. It is very hard to simply listen to Jeremy.

“Different times, Jeremy Gates. I kept to myself when I was your age.” Jeremy stands up and leaves the salon. Mary thinks he is leaving the boat. Instead, she finds him hanging on a stay looking off towards the Italian family’s sailboat. She wants to move closer to Jeremy, rest a reassuring hand on his strong shoulder. We never touch the older ones. She sits in her cockpit, instead. “You don’t have to talk, if you don’t want to. I’m here to listen if you do.”

Surocco is silent. Family noises come from Cavalieri Dell”onda. Campana talks to her daughters as mothers will to settle them into the night. Francesco sits alone at the bow. From where Mary perches on the edge of the cockpit, she can see him bend his head to add a word or two of support through the open hatch. Mary smiles and thinks Mirabella will settle when she settles. Jeremy has been silent.

“I grew up in an outport, not the city. When did it come to you Jeremy?”

He knows what she is asking. “When Shane and Wade got into girls. I was still into us. Grade six, when Shay moved to Chillicothe.”

“When I was eighteen in Sackville. That is where I studied to be a teacher,” Mary contributes. “Different times, Jeremy. You live in better times.”

“That’s what Levi always said — but not about my music. So why isn’t it easier?”

“It’s never easy.” Mary recalls the heart-terror of opening up to Kate. Cautious, so cautious they both were. Mary’s confidence from university abandoned her when she came to Kate. “It isn’t easy for anyone.”

“But it is! Fiona just said, Come ride the Ferris wheel with me. I knew exactly what she wanted. Hell, everyone knew what she was thinking. My friends teased me before I got on.” Jeremy waves his hand in frustration. “Bella asked me if I had a girlfriend. I figured out easily enough where that was heading.”

“Did you tell her you’re gay?” Mary knows the ways of young girls. She sees the just friends between the two fifteen-year-olds who are both passionate enough to get into serious trouble on a three-day cruise in the tropics. Janitor’s rooms were made for adolescent lovers. Beaches were made for kissing in tight swimsuits.

“I did. She’s cool.” Jeremy sighs heavily. “So why is it so hard?”

Paolo has come onto deck. Jeremy leans into the steel wire. The younger boy walks towards his father at bow.

Jeremy’s story still weighs Mary’s heart down. She smiles softly to herself. Anton Schroeder would know what to say. “We are going our separate ways tomorrow. You’re running out of time you little flit. Where is the harm in it?”

Paolo moves back to the stern where Cavalieri Dell”onda’s tender rests in the water. The motor breaks the evening peace. Mary and Jeremy can see Paolo’s boat pointed toward Surocco.

“Go on, you sissy, I think you have a visitor.” Mary breathes in the brine and young promise.

“You’re going to Panama City with us, aren’t you?”


“I’ll sail with you, if you like.”

“I’d like that.”

Jeremy grins at her, “Paolo!” The tender slows in the water and the Italian boy waves. Jeremy dives into the dark water and swims an intercept.

“Jesus, you left your boat behind!” Mary calls out. She watches until Jeremy makes it to the inflated sides of Paolo’s boat. Paolo helps him in. They turn away into the night towards the island beach. “Oh Katie Girl, young blood runs hotter than grease on the griddle.”

“It is a shame you have to leave tomorrow.” Paolo turns the tender away from all three sailboats and heads toward the shore.

“Yeah, it sucks!” Jeremy replies. “Well, you are going through the Panama Canal too. Are you coming to Panama City?”

“Not yet,” the Italian boy replies regretfully. “I genitori, my parents, are thinking of Costa Rica. They say we must go home, but they think Cavalieri Dell”onda might sell in California. Mr. Schroeder suggested that. Have you been to Disneyland?”

“Disney World, in Florida,” Jeremy explains.

Jeremy waits till Paolo is close to the mangroves. When Paolo turns parallel to the coast, and simply cuts the motor, he climbs a little closer. What did I say in Cameron’s bedroom? Oh yeah, “I’m gay. I could kiss you Cameron, just saying.” And  “It’s good.” That was all he had to say to Rafael, but they understood each other very well. Paolo and Mirabella have been a bit like that, the understanding. Snorkeling, walking unfamiliar places together, friendship comes quickly when there is no competition and little time.

Paolo slips to the bottom of the boat beside Jeremy, so their shoulders can press together. Saying nothing, Jeremy kisses the boy. There is a raspy male giggle.

“Bella said you would try that.”

“Sorry, it’s my nature.” Jeremy apologizes. “So she told you I was gay? Do your parents know?”

“You worry too much. She just told me.”

“Sorry,” Jeremy repeats. The moment leaves him humiliated. His tone must touch Paolo.

“Quindi sei gay?  Non è un grosso problema.” Paolo pauses, “I said it is no big deal.”

Paolo was ten when the family sailed away from Rapallo. Manhood came to him in the top bunk of the pilot berth. Every thought between himself and boys (or girls) his age has been through rough translation: French and English. Jeremy’s mouth was very salty.

“Let’s do it again,” Paolo decides.

The second kiss is longer. Jeremy holds Paolo’s shoulder and lets his knee slide across the boy’s bare thighs. Fourteen could straddle Paolo in the bottom of the boat. Paolo pulls his lips away. Jeremy uses his contortion to fall back onto the opposite side of the Zodiac, so they are facing each other.

“My middle name is Paul; after my grandfather.”

“Paolo is my mother’s oldest brother. He should have had the villa, but some car accident.” Paolo likes the way his cock feels when Jeremy kisses him. The current is taking them back towards the three sailboats. There is still privacy for their legs to touch. Paolo bends his leg and touches himself behind the new shield.

Fourteen matches the shift so the light fur on his calf brushes against Paolo’s smooth leg. It is like lips brushing against each other before the hard press. The connection is safe-intimate. It is no more than boys do as they share a YouTube video on the floor, or cub-pack-pile in the reading corner of the classroom. African boys hold hands.

Jeremy is content to twine his fingers through Paolo’s. Their clasped hands rest against his inner thigh while his calf presses into Paolo’s offered leg. The salt from his swim sets his groin on fire.

“I showed you our travel blog.” Jeremy squeezes Paolo’s hand in answer. “So, Bella and I have fans. When we were little, we shared the V-berth so Zeta could nap. Mostly, if someone wants to say something, they have to post it on our YouTube channel. So, Mamma and Papà see everything. Bella and I would share the comments. Bella is so pretty in her swimsuit! I like the picture of Paolo on the rocks! Mostly, we think they are men.”

Paolo shrugs. “They want to know more. Bella showed me how to make my own SnapChat. She showed me how she gets the ones she thinks are boys and girls to talk to her. Mamma and Papà might know. I think they figure, What’s the problem? Thousands of kilometers and they have no friends.”

“It is a little lonely,” Jeremy agrees. “I have an Instagram account. I post pictures, make comments. Sophie follows it, some strangers.” It cannot be shared with Chillicothe, or the people Fourteen has met along the way. He squeezes Paolo’s hand and pulls it toward his crotch.

“Eccezionale! I will follow you. I don’t have Instagram.” Paolo frowns. Then he shrugs, it will be easy to make an account. “Do you SnapChat? Have you tried TikTok? TikTok is cool.

“Have you like, done it? Cazzo?” Paolo might be asking about volcanoes again. “The girls online, who knows?” Paolo leers at the naughtiness of the thought. “They might be old men. Sometimes, they say things to me, ask for selfies. You know, selfies?” Paolo shrugs it off. “My friends in Italy, they don’t talk anymore. The ones I met as we sail, for a while, then niente, silenzio.”

“I’ve only been gone ten months” (ten years). “I know what you mean. I wish,” so many things to wish for, “I wish we had more time.” Fourteen wants Paolo to clutch his crotch. He can sense the restless fever they are sharing. They have touched and rubbed enough beneath the water or in the cozy berths. What Bella thinks of Fourteen with her brother, Fourteen has no idea.

Fourteen’s propped leg falls outward as Paolo lifts his leg away. Paolo’s leg comes down across Fourteen, leaving the Italian boy’s crotch revealed. “Mamma does not know how filthy the messages can be.”

Internet messages are one thing, a boy in the boat is another. Paolo is offering himself to the American boy. Bella teases him about Jeremy. “Vuole fare sesso con te, levati.  So cosa fai nella tua cuccetta.” She whispers when he is watching Jeremy as they sail. “He wants to fuck you,” she repeats in English.

“You want to fuck Daniel.” Paolo retorts.

They only have each other to torment or commiserate with. Bella will mock the three-times-daily fever that wracks Paolo’s body like regular meals and snacks between. It is just shared suffering with no taste-imagination for Inez’ Pueblo-Montreal family solutions. They are natural gregari for each other.

Paolo pretends he doesn”t know what he is doing. Jeremy is a curiosity. Jeremy’s tween-weed has blossomed into man-flower. Sexual reps, ocean swims and simply time. Paolo is attracted to the older boy. They might just masturbate together in the bottom of the boat.

Fourteen considers the Italian boy. They are actually about the same height. Francesco is basketball-player tall and maybe Paolo has that from him. There is a lingering tween-heaviness to Paolo that will probably stretch into the spicy Italian sausage length Anton salivates over. “My god!” Anton murmurs when he watches Francesco shirtless. Anton loves to worship his many gods. Paolo is a cute demigod.

Paolo says nothing when Fourteen pulls his light grey board shorts down off his hips. The pelvic lift off the bottom of the Zodiac speaks for itself. Curiosity and a cat needing killing. Fourteen decides, Maybe Cameron and Keon, not Rafael. Rafael Martinez knew what he wanted, what Fourteen wanted back. Paolo is probably just offering a selfie and Fourteen knows this is a Cameron-time-sensitive SnapChat between them. Paolo’s long cock is Pearl-Island-TikTok, and Fourteen is pretty much on the beach like Sophie, letting loose.

Fourteen wants to kiss a boy. Instead, Fourteen’s hand wraps around Paolo’s malleable shaft and milks it. Paolo lets his head fall back and the inevitable clouds distract him from Jeremy’s blinking questions. Fourteen feels Paolo’s strength as he runs splayed fingers up the sweat channels of Paolo’s chest. Men’s hands run up Fourteen’s chest like this. His hand comes back to the swelling cock. TikTok, and fifteen seconds makes Paolo hard. The boy’s scrotum defies the heat and shrinks tight into the base of his shaft. TikTok and sixty seconds the first drops of fluid coat Jeremy’s thumb as he rubs the exposed glans.

The small boat is a boy-fired ship bearing down on the innocent-anchored sailboats. Paolo looks toward his family’s craft. “We are getting too close, dia cazzo! Hurry up!” This touching is good. Paolo could drift all night through the Pearl Islands with Jeremy touching his shaft. He wonders if the American will do the finale, take his cock into his mouth.

Fourteen does. Men to boys, Fourteen loves this tasting in a way Daniel does not seem to understand. Jeremy needs the innocence of the Cameron-Keon connection. The Chillicothe before-dreams of how it was going to be. The hardness of Paolo is so heady-familiar.

Fourteen is not drunk-high like he was with (fucking) Cordell in the stifling loft. Fourteen devours Paolo’s ready offering. The night air is hot. Paolo is another hot male to know and celebrate. Amazing what Fourteen can do with lips and tongue. The boy’s foreskin must be nibbled. Tongue wide and relaxed, he laps Paolo’s cock from his wrinkled sack to the sensitive tip.

“Cavolo! Dio santo! cavolo!” Each exclamation is an ejaculation onto Fourteen’s rasping tongue; cat cream-licking.

Detective Bureau

East St. Louis, IL

Tuesday, June 5, 2018  

The budget doesn”t allow for interstate travel. Washington calls the homicide squad at the Phoenix Arizona PD to ask them to find and interview the registered owner. If he”s not the one in the morgue.

Phoenix PD takes the request seriously, it”s a murder; but the owner is hard to find, not at the address on the registration.  He is finally located and tells them the SUV was stolen a while back and wasn”t worth enough to bother reporting the theft. In fact he was surprised it was even running. And besides, it was parked up near where his dad lives and no one even noticed it had been taken for quite some time.

At least that”s the story he told.

As it comes back to Detective Washington, the Phoenix detectives report the owner”s story but advise that he is a known drug dealer and there is speculation he is distancing himself from the SUV due to a drug connection. So a followup with the Sheriff”s office in the remote area where he claims it was parked is in order; the murder investigation likely won”t get anywhere until they can put a name to the body or at least a motive for the murder.  But there is so much to do and so little time to get it done…

Brief, Anonymous Survey:

Readers are often too busy or reluctant to reach out to authors. I appreciate hearing from you all. Please take my Fourteen Survey (Again). It is a quick Google Form where you can comment on this next section Jeremy Gates’ time with Anton and Daniel.

I have written a variety of short stories and novellas. You can follow this safe link to my Body of Work.

Ben Esra telefonda seni boşaltmamı ister misin?
Telefon Numaram: 00237 8000 92 32