Backseat Devil

Month: January, 2013

Chapter 11 – Bright Blue Sparks

He is laying between Brit and Derrick in a king size bed staring at the sloped popcorn ceiling of her townhouse loft trying to talk out the world in real time.

Your religion sounds like a joke.

His religion does not!  I mean there are some areas I personally I don’t understand.  But look, you have done all this hard work for God and your church over the years… and you wanted to spend this small section of time to find out about yourself.  You are dedicating the rest of your life to working at the Watchtower factories.  It doesn’t sound like it’s in God’s best interest to punish you via your father.

And if he did… time to get a new god.

Brit throws a pillow at Derrick, You’re not helping.

Yes, but he has a point.  And you’re right too.  It’s just… a lot to process.  He goes into surgery tomorrow.

Brit bounces out of bed, Get dressed, boys.   I know exactly what you need.

Don’t say a makeover.

Please… yeah, don’t say a makeover.

We’re going to the zoo.

Four hours of walking around found Brit bounces out of the park with an ice cream in one hand and a stuffed bear in the other looking like the happiest puff of blonde curly hair in the world.  James freed his mind a little bit and was back to making jokes. Even Derrick has left the realms of his normal pouty demeanor to an area that almost resembles goofiness.  As the zoo was mostly empty it felt good to run around like he owned the place and relax among the energy of the wildlife and foliage.  The trio exiting are relaxed, engaging, and more balanced then when they entered.

There is a page that comes in and James talks on the pay phone while the other two make plans for the evening.

I have to over to the hospital.  Dad wants to go over a few things before his surgery tomorrow morning.   

Brit gives him a big hug.  Derrick sandwiches him in.

Keep your chin up.

Thanks, guys.

Let us know if  you need anything.

Will do.

The next two days progress at a pace so slow it seems that each exhalation of the lungs take a full minute to extinguish   One factor he hadn’t counted on is the idea of mortality that looms over a person’s head upon hearing the word “cancer”.  James and his mom didn’t talk through much of this time as his mother becomes an emotional vacuum of sorts in times of trauma so he really isn’t kept informed about the technicalities of the operation.  The surgeon is nice enough to seek out James, and give him updates the morning of the surgery.  He stands with David in the corridor and talks with the doctor about the procedure.  He assured both young men that something like colon cancer was not hereditary, and it is something neither should worry about until they are in their forties.  It is good to have David by his side as he is able to ask questions when James cannot.

When his father comes out of surgery he has the pleasure of hearing something along the lines of “I think we got all of it.”

Relief.

Not just relief, but movement, freedom to progress past the stagnate state of staring at blurs flying by, unremembered conversations and dump trucks filled with sympathy and well wishes piling up on top of him until he was buried alive with the weight of nicety and compassion.  It was comforting to an extent and it is completely understandable why his mother has a sort of addiction to this level of sentimentality, but he finds it uncomfortable and wanted to focus more on the movement of getting past this.  The influx of human emotions were neither helpful nor harmful as James was void of emotions until there is resolution, so the padded pillows of cards, flowers, and covered dishes are just reminders of how helpless he really was against the situation.  And with one sentence from the doctor, the air in the room begins to flow and he finally feels his own heart beat.

Upon seeing his father awake and cracking jokes, the rest of the internal organs made their appearance in full volume.

Geez, I’m starving.

You haven’t eaten much in two days.

I know.  It’s amazing I was able to cum.

What?

Nothing.  We have a ton of food at the house.

Soggy green bean salad and tuna casserole?  No thanks, scoffs David.

You know I have to eat all of that.

That’s because you’re nice.  I’m not.  So let’s get some real food.  My treat.

You mean your dad’s treat.

Whatever.  

“Real food” to David is the pecan-crusted pork chop at America’s Restaurant to which James answers with the duck tortellini in basil sauce.  A plate of grilled vegetables and potato-battered calamari is split between them.  It feels like the first meal of his lifetime as they eat in silence.  Riding home means new consumed energy is hard at work constructing a better, more peaceful him.

After a week of his father’s recovery he saw something he had never seen before in anyone with such supernatural potency.  Steve was beaming with heartfelt appreciation for everything and everyone he came in contact with.  His smile can be felt from the other side of the construction site and with each “congratulations” and “welcome back” he would return with talking to each person individually with grinning gratitude.

Take life by the horns.

Yes sir.

Again this is good encouragement that James needed at the time but with adverse application.  A few weeks later he finds himself at the front desk of Feathers once again.  Enter a tall, thin man in his mid-forties with dark blonde and slight grey messy hair escorted by a young James-height swimmer-built kid with bright blue eyes, a gorgeous smile, and light blonde hair under a blue tartan Scottish cap.

Hello there.  My name is Jack and this is my friend… for today, umm…

Ollie.

Yes!  Ollie.  This facility, it’s just like a brothel or what?

James tries to contain his annoyance.  This is often a question asked a little later in the conversation not right away, and not with such blatant lack of decorum about the matter even if it was just a preventative measure to keep the cops from busting the place.  Added to the tension was the fact that he really wanted to rip the clothes off Ollie right then, and there and it is slowly turning into animosity that this person… this… Jack… would be fucking Ollie sometime later in the day and he would not.

(Professionally) No.  This is a private modeling and fetish facility where you can get a hot oil back rub or private dance with any of our models.  We have a variety of theme rooms.  You pick a model and a…

I just want to get fucked.

Anything you want you will need to discuss with the model you choose.  We have the best dungeon in Houston.  I’m sure there are more than a few things that can make it up your ass if you were looking for that.  But we are not intending…

But, I mean, “private modeling” is ambiguous at best and you have condoms on the desk.  There has to be someone who can fuck me.

Our point is to offer a safe place for people to explore fetishes.

What if my fetish is to be fucked in the best dungeon in Houston?

James was almost laughing at this point.  If this was a cop, he was good.  I’m not going to discuss sex with you here because we are not selling sex, as prostitution is illegal in the state of Texas.  So if you are going to insist on this particular subject I am forced to respond with “try an escort.”

Jack smiles at the maneuver.  What about you?  Do you escort?

(Pause.)

One night out at the Rich’s an older muscle guy had approached James and asked him to dance.  He said ‘no’ lying by saying he was “working” and waiting for a client.  The man replied by saying he didn’t need to pay for it, but still patted James on the ass as he walked away.  James thought he was in the clear.  As the night went on and the non-existent client failed to show up, the man returned, and this time he was more persistent, so much so… he was willing to pay.  James had no choice but to maintain the lie.  Everyone at Feathers and the Gold Room has clients on the side… it is where the real money was at.

He felt his pager in his pocket as he mulls over the question Jack asked.  No, I do not.

Jack thinks for a second.  Ollie is staring at James with the biggest smile.  Any hardened exasperation somewhat melted into timid nervousness.  This of course, is noticed by Jack.

Okay, here’s the deal.  It’s my birthday today and I’m having a party over at my place all night and I want you to be there.  I know you don’t want to talk sex because of legality reasons, but I am inviting you to my home and I want you to bring someone with a big dick.  I will pay them $100.00 per inch.  You will get $200.00 for every person you bring me.

He takes out a business card holder and removes a card.  On the reverse he writes down “$100.00/inch” and his cell number sliding it through the reception slot.  Okay?  That is for you.  Ollie will be there and he is helping out with party supplies and such, all of which I will share with you.

Billy walks into the reception as Jack shimmers with delight.  Who is this?

This is Billy.  If you would like to see more of Billy, it will be a $40.00 membership fee good for six months, plus a $40.00 entrance fee for today.  That goes for both of you.  Plus whatever you would like to spend on yourself with the model.

You mean a tip?

Oh, for Christ’s sake man!  We just went through this with sex, don’t make me dance around the subject of tips.  

(Laughing) Okay, okay.  I get it.  I want him in the dungeon.  He pulls out a wad of cash and pulls out $80.00 and hands it through the reception slot.  Entrance for one, please.  

James puts the money in the register and pulls out the application fee.  I need you to fill this out.

I don’t have time for this.  Jack takes out his driver’s license and hands it to Ollie.  Fill this out, please.

Okay.

Wait, I need to have the person…

Look.  It’s my birthday, and I’m horny.  I’m going to pay you a lot of money for a lot of dick.  So I think  you can let me grant me this one thing and let my friend here, fill out the paperwork.

Private time with Ollie?  Yes, please.  He buzzes the horny man in and Billy takes off with him down the hall.

You are a strapping man.  How big are you exactly??

Wouldn’t you rather have James? He’s better in the dungeon than…

James is for later.  (Fading.) Right now I want you.

Ollie fills out the paperwork carefully, making sure his handwriting is precise and accurate, which was difficult because he was looking at James and smiling most of the time.

Can you come out here and talk or no?

The door is on a buzzer system, if I go out there, I’m locked out.

Oh.  Too bad.

I can stand at the door though.  

Seeing Ollie’s reaction was something that froze James.  He was safely behind glass, distant, away from whatever he was desiring, but once the door opened he, his energy, his eyes were going to be live and in person in front of him.  It made him nervous to the point where he had to be reminded of what he was doing.

So?

Oh yeah.  Sorry.

He takes off around the corner and the opens the door with trepidation.  Ollie moves in close.  James can smell his Irish Spring… a scent that normally sent him into hives is now something tickling the nose playfully.

Are you going to come over to Jack’s tonight?

I don’t know.  Would you notice if I wasn’t there?

Ollie moves in closer.  Yeah.

James couldn’t focus.  He was smiling.  I… well… 

Am I making you uncomfortable?

Yes… NO!  I mean… I’m nervous.

I’m sorry.  Ollie backs up a little to give James room to breathe.  It worked.

This was the first time where he understood the phrase “when sparks fly”.  He had been noticing intense energies from people who were focused on him, who instantly fell in love or wanted to save him from all… this.  Now, it’s different and he was feeling the same attraction toward someone else and the combination of the two energies made it difficult to inhale at first.  Once he had a little space to breathe he was able to regain composure.

It’s okay.  It’s just that… when you’re close, all I want to do is kiss you.

Ollie’s square jawline transforms into one round grin.  He moves back in closer.  I have no problem with that. 

Audacity, in all it’s forms, is something James is trying to become a master of, but it’s easier when one’s emotions are kept out of the line of fire.  This is completely different.  His heart is pounding with the force of a jackhammer while his dick was throbbing uncontrollably.  He forgets everything he ever knew about the technicalities of kissing – all charts, graphs, instructions, practice sessions and techniques disappeared from reach at this pivotal moment when everything else seemed like a rehearsal for this one performance.  He wants to impress, as he has spent his life impressing people and going above and beyond.  He wants to impress, as he knows this guy has had a lot of sex and somehow he has to compare with history.  He wants to impress so these blue eyes will come back for more.  He wants to impress… but he forgets how.

James has spent his entire life void of this uncomfortable giddiness.  He has already come to the conclusion that it was a myth or at the very least something homosexuals do not have the capacity of knowing.  How does one come face to face with a feeling they didn’t know exists and yet still… function?  He was frozen staring at the scene afraid to attack it with force for fear it may disappear at any moment.  It was blowing up his brain uncontrollably and yet he didn’t give a flying fuck.  He tried to be the top guy in control once more, and with his right hand placed behind Ollie’s head, he pulls him in and kisses him with a softness that surprised both guys standing in the doorway.  He tasted like metal and cigarettes mixed with a soft gummy tongue that took the breath right out from the lungs and replaced it with warm coy saliva.

Ollie leans in and James backs up against the door frame.  As soon as their raging hard-ons touched, James knew he was good to go, and once the trigger is let loose, the soft passionate embrace turned into an animistic cannibalization of this complete stranger by pushing him against the door itself and penning him with a force that seemed to vibrate throughout the building as he held on to the door with one hand and the guy’s head with the other.  James did not know where this was coming from but it was hot, and he felt there would be little control left if this went too far.

He pauses for a moment… and goes back to the soft passionate kissing before releasing Ollie from his grip, his lips, and his eyes.

Whereas James is a little frightened by this force he tries not to show it as Ollie seems very much in control, and smiles with a slight smug glad to see you had that in  you sense of satisfaction.   This kid did not seem as overwhelmed by the lengthy exchange, and this worried him, I am no where near this guy’s league.  He had been experimenting with the boundaries of people both mentally and physically but never really considered testing his own and this… force was something overpowering and exciting.  This guy had boundaries that made it feel as if James was throwing a Nerf ball on the field of the Astrodome… and this of course, makes him a challenge.

He puts their heads together and stare into each other’s eyes.

Dude, that was hot.

Thanks.

What’s your name?

James.

I really want  you to come tonight, James.

Okay, he says like a lost puppy.

They kiss some more, slower, almost lip lovemaking in the music of appreciation.  The more they grind the more erect he becomes.  He didn’t even know this level of erection was possible.  How have I been missing out on this for so long?  WHY have I been missing out on this for so long?

Time had faded into oblivion and is only resurrected due to a noise that comes from the dungeon.  I’m pretty sure that’s Billy’s orgasm. 

Ollie snapped to attention.  The mesmerizing exchange halted and a shift in the room occurred.  Neither person was sure if they were doing something wrong, but there was a realization that they just might be.  Jack was apparently paying Ollie for the day and night so this could be a douche move on James’s part.  The guys kiss each other once more and go to their respective stations, one behind the reception desk and the other on the lobby side of the window.

Well that was well worth it.  You will get another thousand if you come to my party tonight.

The  door to the lobby swings open and Jack looks well stuffed.

Hope you had a good time.

I did, and thank you.  This, is for you.  He takes out the now reduced wad of cash and extracts two $100.00 bills and hands it through the window.  Will I be seeing you this evening?

He’ll be there.  (Wink.)

I MAY show up.  (Smiling at Ollie.)  Where is this place?

I will draw you a map.  Ollie, take my phone and call your guy for the… stuff.  

Ollie takes the phone and dials as he walks to the opposite corner of the lobby.  Jack draws a map and gives verbal directions James doesn’t hear.  The guys leave.  Billy has been standing behind James without his noticing.

What was that all about?

His party tonight.  I don’t know, you going?

No.

How did you get a thousand dollars when you’re nine inches?

I was talking about the exchange between you and his guy friend, escort, boy, whatever.

Billy, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

You could see those sparks from space.

Really?  

James, don’t take this the wrong way, but sometimes you’re the dumbest smart guy I know.

(Laughing.)  I know, I know.  This is the first time I’m letting stuff… I don’t know… emotions just… get some exercise.

 It’s adorable, actually.  Good to know you’re human.

Did you just call me “adorable”?

Shut it.  So you going to see him again?

Yep.  I guess I’m going to a party tonight.

James P. Perez © 2013

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Chapter 10 – The Stillness

James walked out of the hospital late that night with the twins close behind. He was angry with his mother or maybe just deflection.  It was a tumor and nothing more so far. She is already killing her husband in her mind, pacing back and forth in an egotistical rant of how she wouldn’t be able to go on.  Her negative projectile energy of her burdensome future pain and suffering stood in rippling contrast to his calm and collected father laid up in the bed trying to make jokes to keep the atmosphere light.

James’ parents worked best as a team – the mother was emotional, and the father was logical.  The balance provided proper incubation for James to develop into a perfect child.  His mother was the perfect homemaker, his father was the perfect breadwinner.  The result by default was James having a perfect life void of conflict or friction.  Boundaries were never tested, and hardships were easily overcome.  James was now seeing how others outside in the world handled hard times… struggle… and some of them had great coping mechanisms in place that he had never seen before.  Others just used the lifelong combination of sex, drugs, and alcohol which seemed to only land everyone back in the same position they were initially trying to cope with.

Assumptions from people he talked to in ‘the world’ always jumped to religious household not accepting of homosexuals?  Your upbringing must have been hell.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  His home life was wonderful, and up until this point he had no complaints whatsoever.

Sometimes his mother would shift focus from father when James felt this really should be ‘dad’s time’ for attention… and this seemed to be one of those times.   David stood by his side until the appropriate “I’ll wait for you in the truck/Get well soon, Brother Perez” was exchanged giving James some time to be alone with his father while his mother talks to the twins in the hall after their visit.

David is sitting on the tailgate of his Ford truck stationed diagonally at the far end of the parking lot watching the traffic across the street.  How is he?

He says he’s fine, but by the amount of jokes he’s making I think he’s a little worried.

James sits next to David and stares at Highway 59.

The twins come up and stand on either side of them.

James, your mother is so sweet.

Thanks, I know.

I seriously think that is the longest time I’ve talk with her.

Me too. 

I’m so sorry about all this, James.

Thanks.  This, is a very weird feeling, honestly.

Did you want to go eat or something?  It’s late.

I think… I think I just want to go home.

I could eat.  Why don’t you ladies go on ahead, I’ll take James home and catch up with you later?

(In unison) That sounds good. 

Both girls give James a hug and say bye to David.  James doesn’t move.  David doesn’t either.  After a minute David puts his arm around James’s shoulders.  Dude, I cannot even… begin to fathom what you’re going though.  If this was my father I would have fucking lost it… throwing things, smashing windows… who knows.  I know you,  you are containing yourself for everyone, but now it’s just us.  so…?

James didn’t know.  He was gripped with fear and didn’t want to release it via anger and thrust.  In fact, he wasn’t even sure he could move himself off the tailgate to get into the truck.  His emotions were in freeze frame in mid free fall in a free-for-all.  This couldn’t be happening… not to his Dad.  Despite the gay issue, his father is his consulting oracle for all matters of logic and argument.  He is mentally the strongest person he knew and physically formidable in stature.  Being hugged by him is spiritually balancing and works almost like a re-calibration for the soul.  This man… this force couldn’t have a tumor.  His body would have said What the hell is this shit? and kicked it out, which is essentially what Steve found in the toilet.

Like his father, humor is used for a variety of reasons but the effort it takes to breathe at this moment even made constructing a fairly decent c-grade joke an impossibility.  It feels almost disrespectful to not have some sort of wild and violent reaction to the situation at hand.

I want to have a reaction, but everything within me is in dead silence like my insides have been removed and replaced with condensed air.

David takes his arm back and moves closer to lean over, shoulder touching shoulder.  We can sit here all night if you need.  Take your time.

The two young men watch the traffic of the highway silently in the shadow of the parking lot light off to the right of the truck.

***

An unknown amount of time passes before James finally speaks, I think I want to go home.

In the truck David takes a right at the light and heads north on Highway 59.

Are we taking the long way?

Yeah.

Thank you.

James rolls the window down and rests his head against the metal frame of the door and lets the Houston air fan across his closed eyes.  He hopes in desperation that the wind would dislodge the stillness consuming the infrastructure of his mentality, his emotional non-response, and gravity of his physical being.  This cannot be happening.  Not to him.  Please, not to him.

He opens his eyes and sees the passing lights slur across his line of sight.  He remembers riding in the back passenger’s side of mother’s car, going through Houston in the middle of the night after working the late security shift at the Rosenberg Assembly Hall with his father… their first job as volunteers before construction had began.  The city was such a mystery to him at that time.  He thought everyone was asleep and the concrete and glass laid at quiet rest in the dark.

Now he knew different.  The city is vibrant at night.  In some ways it’s even more interesting with a different set of people running about interacting with other people and doing things.  He now knew because he was one of them.  This life, this city… it pulses with life every hour of the day.

He was too.  His veins were pumping with new blood increased in volume with each new and delightful person he met.  And those that were self-consuming or socially vampiric were lax in their effect thanks to the contrivance footwork of new social skills he was learning.  There was so much good out there, so much joy and fun to be had.  He saw the universe burst in the eyes of some people.  The “wicked world” had so much not-wickedness about it.  Being a Jehovah’s Witness wasn’t bad, but it was confining in its boundaries both mentally, and as he’s seeing now, emotionally.  He was giving his brain a new pair of running shoes and stretching his legs trying to take in sociology from every corner he could, and he was loving it.

There still wasn’t much in conflict, and there still weren’t very many excuses to run back to the church with new found vigor.  Maybe that was the point.  He wasn’t finding the horrors and depravity drenched with the frothy mouths of those mad with drugs and disease.  They were there, he passes them nightly.  But upon talking with them he finds out they are really just people, like himself, trying to cope with shit, like himself, and upon discussion he usually found out he has quite a bit in common with them.  Every picture in the Live Forever book or in the Watchtower and Awake! magazines depicting what the world looked like was, basically, wrong.  The pictures he had grow up with were just snapshots of the worst part of humanity… a patchy occurrence sprinkled across mankind as a whole and not a reflection of the expansive spaces of beauty  and stimulation in between.  Some of this could be dangerous and seductively deceiving, others can be provocative and riveting, but all inspired thought and metaphor and the differences between “good” and the “bad” were massive.  He had been living on one small acre of real estate near the “good” side of a spectrum that encompasses the entire globe and under the weight of this realization he felt something he had never really felt before… humility.

Do you think Jehovah is punishing dad?

Why would you say that?  You’re dad is the best Christian I’ve ever met.

Yeah, I know.  But… I’m not.

David didn’t know anything about what James was doing outside the church, and without any knowledge or content he could still skillfully snake his way around James’s landmine mind and deal with questions so precisely, it was sometimes annoying.

James.  I know you may not think of yourself as a good Christian for whatever reason, but you do a lot of good everywhere you go.  If Jehovah as a problem with you, he will punish you, not the best Witness he has playing on his team.  Plus, colon cancer… IF he even has cancer… is a very common disease.  Many people get it, and survive without skipping a beat.  So, frankly,  not to speak for Jehovah, but it would be a very stupid way to punish you for not being a good Christian.

James can verify.  His accuracy was, in fact, annoying.

Thank you.

David’s intense sense of perception could tell that his friend was overthinking.

Ready for some music?  Or too soon?

No, actually  I think I’m ready for something.

“Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin” is slid into the CD player.  It was just what he needed.

Perfect.

James P. Perez © 2013

Chapter 9 – Cancer

He enters the darkened room to the man stripped naked and positioned on the leather kneeling pad with his head lowered, as instructed. He walks over to the wiry-haired balding aging man with two restraints in one hand and puts one on each of the man’s wrists, strapping them tight as was demonstrated to him just hours earlier. Taught from childhood to always be polite, it was something that came as a second nature. Even in this facility it is expected one show some semblance of courteousness.

Are you ready for this?

Are… are you asking me?

James thought to himself, fuck… he’s already in character.  Butch it up.

(Forcefully slow) Yes… I am… asking.

(Giddy) Yes, Yes sir.

James tries his best not to burst into laughter. It is time to embrace the role. He puts on Nine Inch Nails mix on the CD player to try to get into the mood and bring some depth to his voice as his tone is naturally at a level that is often mistaken as female.  He thinks, Let’s test what this man is into, shall we? It seems that years of Jehovah’s Witness training and family relocations are starting to pay their due rewards at $150.00 per thirty minutes sessions.  With such, there is almost a comical level of performance anxiety.

(Loudly) Why are you smirking?

Sorry sir.

You disgust me.  Get your ass over to the cross.

The man obliged while sporting the biggest erection.

Ok, James thought, he likes humiliation. Still, there’s, like, 50 different kinds of humiliations.  Focus.

He grabs the back of the man’s long hair and pushes it against the wood of the Saint Andrew’s cross.  He saw the man’s eyes roll back in his head mouth the world “yes”.  James stations himself in back of the man where he cannot be seen and mouths the words, “oh my god” to no one in particular.  He tries to regain focus.

(With anger) Stop smiling!

Yes sir.  Sorry sir.

The man’s penis is rubbing against one of the beams and is precumming on the wood.  James uses the horse riding crop to smack his dick, resulting in wide eyes and shock, following with warmth in excitement and pleasure.  This is something the young Witness had never seen before – and the energy vibrating off the man was thick and dense with a peaceful serenity, the exact opposite reaction one would think a tied up man being whipped would be non-verbally expressing.  Still, this man was intensely aroused and wanting to make sure this went the way he wanted, Master decided to close one door… at least for this particular man.

(Smacking his dick again)  You will NOT be shooting your load in front of me.  Is that clear?

(Excited more) Yes sir.

In fact, your penis is so disgusting I can’t even LOOK at it.

(Precumming more) Sorry sir.

James walks away amazed at this.  This is kinda fun.  In some ways he always wanted to get back at older men ever since his molester… this seemed like a perfect solution.  Putting down the riding crop and picking up the teasing paddle he wonders how this marvelous circumstance hadn’t been tapped before.  There was nothing about this that wasn’t fantastic.  However, he couldn’t get over the calming relief the man was emanating  from his core.  What the hell happened in this man’s life to cause him to need such force to gain peaceful sexual arousal?  James wasn’t turned on, but in some ways he was… mainly at the novelty of the situation.  He puts that out of his head for the moment, Focus.  He also picks up the club.  My penis isn’t getting anywhere near this guy, but for the kind of money he’s paying I might as well tease him with something.  The man seems to get off on not getting any, so the Master is going to accommodate.  After all, he had been taught to be polite from childhood.

Half and hour later, James is staring at a blush-red, slightly warped ass under a scarred back and above throbbing thighs.  Oops.  Maybe I went a little hard.  It didn’t matter.  Detaching the man and taking off his restraints reveled the largest eyes he had seen on anyone.  He was still in mask and had to keep in character until the slave exited… So again, he resisted to urge to burst into laughter with a child-like snarl.  He took the man’s underwear from the floor and shoved it in his shocked-open mouth.

You’re not wearing these home.

The man nods in obedience.

Get dressed.  Now.  Get out out of my sight.

The man puts on his clothes, still with a large erection, hands shaking out of excitement.  Master resists the impulse to give the man a hug and tell him it will all be okay… but it seems a little late in his psychological development to have any real benefit on his life, Plus it will probably send mixed messages as I am still in a mask.  

It takes seconds before a wet spot develops in his jeans.

And you are going to walk in front of all those people with your fucking wet jeans… because that’s how pathetic you are.  GO!

The man again nods quickly and James can tell he wants to smile, but restrains himself.  He left out the door and hurried down the hall.

Clean up was minimal and James was walking down the hall to the reception room to find Ozzy, Brittany, Sterling, and Billy sitting in fearful astonished silence and all eyes were almost in tears as they gazed blankly at the person who dominated the audio atmosphere of the entire building for over thirty minutes.

Well, he was a sweetheart. 

No one knows how to respond.  Ozzy finally breaks the stillness with I can venture to say that was a satisfied customer.  He left with the biggest smile and an even bigger boner.  

Dude…

The sound… was…

Everywhere.

We thought… we…

(Pause.)

We thought we needed to call an ambulance.

He beamed from ear to ear.  It’s not often one can strike fear in the hearts of a diverse group of miscreants.  He decided to ride the wave.  I worked up an appetite.  Who  wants to buy me dinner?

Brittany was the first to chime in, That shit isn’t going to work on me.  I’m still pretty sure I can take you.

Billy was next.  I will buy you whatever you want just as long as I don’t have to hear those sounds… ever again.

House of Pies it is.

Billy took him out to eat and it is there he first meets a local mini-celebrity Chinese drag queen of her own making named China Doll who had taken a liking to James while her performing onstage at Rich’s, but their first meeting was the evening James happens to be downing a full meal while sitting across from a still audio-traumatized Billy.

You beat people? At that little pink place? Oh girl!

It is horrible.  Billy  is still traumatized.

It pays the bills.

You don’t have any bills! You live with your parents!

Wait. Girl. You telling me you beat people in a dungeon… and live at home with parents?

Plus…

(To Billy.) Don’t. (To China Doll.) Yes. And you should send whoever that… Hindenberg was in your opening act last night over to my dungeon so I can beat some rhythm into her.

Oh, GURL! You bad!

Just trying to help.

Try all you want, that poor bitch was dropped on her head one too many times.

(Laughter.)

James’s chivalry requires his rising upon the entrance and exit of a lady… but the air kisses are something new.

It would be two days before he hears the final verdict from the real master himself.  It came in a voice message.  What the hell did you do to him?  He’s totally in love with you, now.  Anyway, good job.  If you want, there will be more to come.  Or… not come, I guess… in Ken’s case.  He told me about that and somehow… it turned him on more.  But, good job.  Glad to have someone at that place I can use and trust.

James puts away the phone very satisfied with himself.  After the evening he and Derrick drive over to the Gold Room to meet up with Brittany as Derrick wanted to go out after she was finished with her work at the mother club.  Initially James agreed, but on the way he remembers work he has to do on a Kingdom Hall.  Shit, I need a pocket calender.

Entering the Gold Room is somewhat of a rap video in real time.  They didn’t have the same protective reception set-up as Feathers – they only had a freestanding desk in the waiting room and open door from the lobby.  All the girls at the ‘private lingerie modeling’ facility knew of the other business venture, but only two had actually been to Feathers, so a visit from workers at the ‘boy’s club’ was always met with a sense  of wonderment and accommodation, especially when it came to the story of James.

Not only was it captivating to the women who worked there, but the customers as well, some of them long-time patrons who had never seen other non-paying males get so much attention from the ladies.  This particular night there are three men waiting in the lobby as the boys walked in, and throw smiles at Kendra, the brunet looks stunning.  James gives her a kiss on the cheek followed by Your breasts look amazing  extracting a blush and chortle while shaking her head and looks back at the stunned men sitting in a row of office chairs confused about what they just saw.

The theme rooms lined the hallway on the right while the left side opens up to a lounge area in two parts, the leather couches and televisions playing ESPN near the front, and a pool table next to a wet bar serving only mixers in the middle with rest rooms and offices beyond.

Can I get you boys anything to drink?

I’m fine, Derrick said, holding his mandatory bottle of water.  Then he thinks for a second.  He’s a 19 year old, “bisexual” in a room filled with gorgeous half naked women with tits pushed to the chin being offered free alcohol from a bottle some customer brought in.  Is there whisky?

I know there’s at least one bottle.

I’ll take a whisky and coke.  (To James)  Why not?

Anything for you?  Maybe take you to the dungeon and fuck the gay out of you?

I wouldn’t fuck with James and the dungeon.

I heard.

James is startled at how turned on Tiffany is by him.  It wasn’t that he was more attractive than Derrick, he wasn’t… it was that he was an untouchable challenge with a cute, innocent look about him that made it impossible to resist the urge to dirty him.  Now with word of the dungeon scenario spreading, there is now a combination of confusion and eroticism that seems to mystify everyone in the room, he looks like an angel, but we heard he’s as dirty as all of us.

James smiles with his best David impression, I’ll just take water.

Tiffany retreats with an obvious display of cunning disappointment.  Behind the scenes, a business like this is a running lesson of the insecurity of women.  Each one has to compete with the other in order to be chosen for a session, so each one makes themselves look desirable based off what they think men want.  He guesses maybe this is information they were told by guys over the years.  It’s an enigma that covers over the profound truth of the matter:  All these women are fucking gorgeous and then they ruin it with layers of Tammy Faye make-up and combustible hair towered in ways that makes one question the structural integrity of the fiber and follicles rather than noticing the eyes of the beautiful woman underneath.

Or so it would seem.  What do I know?  I’m gay.

Hey, the pool table’s open.

The two boys played pool while waiting.  The deception that is being presented doesn’t stop with the girls’ presentation.  Whatever fantasy they are presenting, the reality is that the girls are the most powerful people in control… at all times.  Each room has a hidden panic button and is video taped.  The panic button alerts a rather large bouncer who remains hidden away so as to give and air of innocence, but he’s there… and he’s fucking huge.  Only three or four guys are allowed in the lounge at one time.  These girls had done it all and seen it all, and they are not going to take any shit from any business man with a gold card.

Brittany was finished with her client and bounced up kissing both boys on the lips, adding hello, daddy in James’s ear while patting him on the ass.  This does not go unnoticed by Tiffany.

Why does she get to fondle you?

Here, if it will make you feel better, I have this for you.

James reaches into his right front jeans pocket and pulls out a baggie of coke.  With his left hand he cups her right breast from below and massages it gently while slyly sliding the baggie into the bra from the top.

Is that what I think  it is?

Yes.

You’re forgiven.  She kisses him on the cheek and scurries off then turns around.  Are you sure you don’t…

No.  It’s yours.  Enjoy.

Thank you!  She continues off to the bathroom almost whiskfully.

Brit is annoyed.  You know this is a drug free work environment.

He gestures with his hand toward Derrick.  And yet you are serving alcohol to minors.

Touche.

Where are you getting all these free drugs?

Everywhere.  People leave them behind in the room, usually in matchbooks with phone numbers.  I don’t know.  Just all over.

They are giving you coke so you will call them.  If you’re not going to do the drugs, you should at least give it back.

Really?  

You could be selling it, you know.

As of now, they are going in the toilet.  So at least this way it goes to good use.

You are making these girls impossibly addicted to you.

It’s great, isn’t it?

You wanna go out when you’re done?

Sure!

I can’t.  I have a whole set of redlines I have to draft.  Plus, I’ve been getting in pretty late, it would be nice to get a decent night’s sleep.

Pussy.

Okay, but leave Saturday open.  We’ll do something.

Sure thing.

He leaves through a barrage of lifted and separated tits and a rainbow of red lipstick kisses and drives into the night back to Parrot Avenue, Rosenberg.

The next morning he is heading into the bathroom when he sees his mom exiting the master bedroom followed closely by his father.

Morning.

Hey, your momma is taking me to the hospital.  

What’s wrong?

Oh nothing.  I just saw something a little strange in the toilet this morning.  It’s probably nothing.  Just wanna get it checked out, that’s all.

Okay, well… keep me posted.

Hurry Steve.

Don’t forget about Trish’s party.

That’s today?

Yep.

Steve points his finger to the air at head height and gives a slight shake of the head with a smile.  Then we’ll be there.

Hurry, Steve.

I’m coming, Blanca!  Just a minute.  Steve turns back at James and gives him another smile and a wink before heading into the living room.  Get to work.  

Dad, keep me posted.

Of course, son.

Five hours later James is sitting on a wooden park bench at the back of Trish’s house with David, Amber, and the twins.

This party sucks.

Katy, look.  Kristy points to David and James wearing similar blue polo shirts.

I know.

James receives a call on his pager and asks to use the house phone.  He listens to his mother’s words intently.

He hangs up the phone.

He walks back to the bench.

He sits down.

He gives a slight lean to the right so his shoulder rests with weight on David’s shoulder.

My dad has been admitted to Memorial Herman Hospital.  They think he has a tumor in his large intestines.

James P. Perez © 2013

Chapter 8 – Master Lolita

This is the rack, I built it all by hand.  It’s made so you have to crank three times as much as it pulls apart and that clicking sound is more for audio effect, so don’t grease the mechanism… it’s suppose to be that loud.  I haven’t finished it so for now only use it with the person facing up.  Until I add more bracing, don’t use it for sexual situations… it cannot hold two people.  And try to keep the one person under three-hundred pounds.

This is the Saint Andrew’s cross.  It is very stable, you can hang a person off of each beam and it still won’t move.  You notice I used the same hooks that I have at the rack, so once you get a slave into the restraints you can move them from station to station without a problem.  With this, you can face the slave however you see fit although back toward you builds greater anticipation faster in a shorter amount of time.

The whipping post is just as it sounds.  I don’t have any restraint hooks on it, but there are these attached to the wall here… and here.  I will go through the whips in a second.

The stockade is on a raised platform and lower so the slave has to hunch over, but their ass is still at a good striking height.  There is no lock on it, but it doesn’t matter, the top is heavy and if the slave has restraints on their wrists they cannot pull them out.

The spider web isn’t tied down.  It’s more for feel… nylon rope against the skin type thing, very sensual.

Different is the chain link fence.  It looks weak and typical, which is the point.  But it’s tied a lot stronger than it looks.  It’s away from the wall so you can tie the slave on that side there, and hoist from the bottom.  The pully and wrench are tested for six-hundred pounds, so don’t worry.  

Over here we have whips and butt plugs.  Let’s start with the pewter and work our way across.  Please be mindful not to disrupt the order…

James tries to not look like a cat caught on the highway.  This is a lot of information for him to take in and rapid-fire format is not necessarily the best way for memory to harbor anchors.  James tried to use visual memorization to keep track, and the slave in his mind was already crushed under the weight of leather and pewter before making it half-way through the room.

Cattail whips are all in the wrist.  Don’t do a simple thrust… pop your wrist at the end…

This was not the day he had planned.

James, wake up, dear.  I don’t want you to be late for your meeting.

Yes, mom.  I’m awake.  What’s for breakfast?

What would  you like?

French toast, eggs… scrambled.  A little cheese on top.

You got in very late last night.

I know, I’m sorry.  I just had a lot to do.

I’m taking these to the laundry.  And why do they smell like smoke?  Are you smoking?

James was now fully awake and sitting up calmly.

Don’t worry about the clothes.  I will take them with some other things.  I have to separate.

You?  Doing your own laundry?  It’s good to hear you’re being responsible.

And I’m sorry about the smoke smell.  Everyone at work smokes in the break room, it just comes with the job.  

Who needs computer help in the middle of the night?

It’s Houston, mom.  People get off work at all hours, you know.

Well I don’t like it.  And you better get everyone at work to quit smoking.

I will try.

Well hurry up, mister.  Breakfast will be ready in 30.

Thanks, mom.

As soon as the door is closed and he hears commotion in the kitchen he retrieves his jeans from the floor.  The contents of the pockets replays the early morning hours:   Two baggies of white presumably cocaine, $200.00 in cash, two matchbooks with phone numbers written on them, and what seems to be a corner of a cigarette pack with a third phone number. One of the numbers was the cute raver kid he fucked in the parking lot of Rich’s, but he had no clue which one.  I have got to stop going out with those crazy girls after work.

He heads into the bathroom and starts the shower.  Throwing the phone numbers and bags of coke in the toilet.  I feel someday this is going to be a painful memory.  

After breakfast he drives into the office and prepares for a design meeting for next Kingdom Hall to be ‘quick-built’ in Caldwell, Texas.  He had spent the previous day making the necessary changes to the package the elders in Caldwell had chosen and personalized the information to make it site-specific.  Several sets of 11×17 prints had been made but yet to be bound.  Preliminary financial ledgers will be coming with the committee members when they arrive.

James is starting the binding process when Brother Sherwood enters.

Here you go, James.  And we have made a small change to the restroom area.  It’s not much.  Is it possible to get that reprinted before the meeting or no?

Consider it done.

Brother Sherwood was a tall, older brother with a soft ‘gentle-giant’ quality about him set against the kind bright eyes of a steady demeanor.  He may seem ‘soft’ in ways but somehow powerful enough to be a pleasant grounding force in any room he entered.  For such, there wasn’t much James wouldn’t do for him, so a small drafting change and replacing two sheets in a dozen sets in under an hour seems as inconvenient as low mumbling background noise.

James takes apart the binding strips of the sets he started and slides in his knee chair to the drafting station to make the changes.  The brothers are beginning to arrive, he hears.

Print.  Print.

Copy.

Double check.

He removes the old sheets from each set just as Amber walks into the door.  This looks a mess.

Great!  I need an assistant.  

You don’t have to be manic.  They will wait on  you.

I know, I just don’t want them waiting on me.

The two finished the packages and delivered to the conference with minutes to spare, meaning he had to go for the extra dramatic flair of delivering each set to each elder personally while greeting them.  Brother Sherwood always noticed the extra effort.  It was something James was honestly very appreciative of.

Thank you, James.  I don’t know what we’d do without you.

He smiles and bows a slight you’re welcome/no problem in the brother’s direction before exiting the conference room and subjecting Amber to the torturous OCD-laden operation of cleaning up the office they (he) had just jumbled.

Four hours and a change in wardrobe later he enters Feathers with Billy in tow after the two had dinner together outside on the lawn at Rice University.  Ozzy and Sterling are sitting behind the desk and the boys are buzzed in.

Ozzy approaches the duo in the hallway.

We have a problem.

You’re hair looks fine, James blurts out.

Hush you.  Master Don has an appointment for this evening and he can’t make it due to an emergency at work.  Real work.

I’m still not understanding the “we” part of the problem.  

Just have Don cancel.

He is the master after all.

“Master Don commands you to reschedule…”

“… Or you’ll get a beating.”

“… Or you… won’t… get a beating.”

I’m not sure how that works.

I’m not either.

Ollie waits until the two are finished.  I’m going to slap both of you. 

It is explained that this was a once-a-month event for the client while he is in town.  Master Don is not a full time Master, but rather a manager at a large retail store up 290.  Master will be coming by in 30 minutes to explain to someone how the dungeon operates and (Master’s main concern) how it all gets cleaned.

I’ll do it!  Brittney appears from break room and kisses James on the mouth.  Sorry, just had a sandwich.

Tastes so much better than before.  (To Billy) The other day she ate out a girl… to orgasm… and then kissed me on the mouth.

Billy is nervous around Brittney as a norm, but this information has him motionless as he stares at her eyes for the first time since they met.

You mean you…

I’m bisexual, yes.

Billy is almost frozen with joy, and says quietly, I would love to eat out a woman with you, someday.

I’m certain that can be arranged.  (Back to the conversation) So what are we doing with the dungeon guy?  I love spankin’ a little ass.

Ozzy is not longer paying attention.  He is stuck on what James said and is now green in color, obvious even in a low-lighting and pink walls.  His expression is stuck in mid-gag with eyes fixed off into unknown space.

You need to go get some water, I will fill her in.

As everyone files into the reception area they notice Sterling’s reaction to the conversation wasn’t much better than Ozzy’s.

Do you need some water as well?

(Half-laugh) I’ll be fine, just don’t look at me.  

It is explained to Brittney what the situation was with the dungeon rental and how the combination of her lack of penis and over compensating (albeit lovely) breasts would prevent her from adding solution to this particular problem.  Billy doesn’t want to confuse his sexuality any more than what he’s already toiling with.  Ozzy doesn’t even like passing the room and insists the door remains closed so as to avoid visual offense while entering the break room.

Sterling finally broke his silence.  Look, I haven’t done shit like that since Carter left office.  James, you should do it.  You’re the one wanting to learn about all this.  

What better way than from the master himself?

Plus I think you’ll look cute in leather.

No.

Broaden your horizons!

You will make twice as much in tips.

And it’s only for 30 minutes.

Oh my god. THIS is the peer pressure they always talked about in school.  How am I getting this after I graduate?

Encouraged by his giggling everyone begins to chime in at the same time, Do it James/You know you want to/All the cool kids are doing it/The first step is always the hardest.

Look, Ozzy finally said with finality, it’s your decision… but I think you will find it a lot more educational then sexual because that is just the way your mind works.

And, Brittney had to add, you’re not going to be part of the gang unless you beat some old man ass.

Both, are strong arguments.

Master Don enters with dark hair and a dark mustache, initially unassuming but upon standing still garners a rather inelastic energy without being overbearing or obvious.

So who’s our guy?

All heads pointed in the direction of the glass slowly turn toward James.

That would be me.  

Good.  Let’s get started.  As he is buzzed in he fishes out a small leather mask from his pocket.  Here, you’re definitely going to need this.

Why?

Because you look like you’re fucking twelve.

James P. Perez © 2013

Chapter 7 – Tale of Two Pretties

There were fundamental flaws to the Witness perception of living a double life, especially for teenagers and young adults.  Up until this point it never made sense to ‘serve two masters’ and with logical arguments presented by his father, there was nothing he found specifically attractive or enticing in ‘the world’.  Outside he is the same person that he is on the inside with a minor homosexual character flaw that he keeps in check.  Who knows what destruction the world would face if that demon was ever let loose.

For as long as he remembers he had always been the subject of division in the congregation.  In each location there were a select few among the elders who thought he was nothing more than a flamboyant fabrication.  Baptized at ten?  Yeah, right.  What are you, Jesus?

No.  I’m not Jesus.  Just a kid, making his own decisions within the boundaries that his parents set for him, nothing more, nothing less.  Of course he never added that he was a gay male abused as a child who desperately searched for ways to compensate for the Devil inside.  Assumptions from the shadowy corners of the Kingdom Hall sat in counterpoise to those that seemed to drift from the fluorescent lights with ignorant lambency.  Would you spend some time with my sons?  They need better influences in their lives before they go down the wrong path.

Your older teenage son is a delusional narcissist with sociopathic tendencies who is in love with his rather hot best friend and will probably grow up to be an overweight red-faced alcoholic who beats his wife and smokes cigarettes secretly… just like his father.  Your youngest teenage son is a manipulative homo who lures men in the steam room at Bally Total Fitness and then cries “rape” if they get caught… which everyone believes because he’s only 15.  Is there anything else I can do for you Sister Melon?  No?  Okay then, moving on…

Being a family constantly moving from congregation to congregation to “help where the need was greater” came as an added benefit.  He had to learn who people were and their character as soon as possible before the family  moved to another location.  ‘The world,’ as it stood on the outside was kept at bay and was a minute inconvenience at best.  But as a teenager now going into his twenties and staying in stationary locations for more than one year at a time his perception of the ones he judged so harshly underwent a paradigm shift in understanding.

Sometimes kids get bored.  Fuck… even I’m getting bored.

Now with an end of a construction era, he was about to go to the world headquarters, mainly filled with young ‘able-bodied’ single men who (for all intents and purposes) should be horny as hell after an entire adolescence of not masturbating and not fucking.  What normal, red-blooded teenage male thinks that after years of sexual repression, the best thing for him to do after high school is to head to the world’s largest sausage fest and delay fucking a hot wife for a few more years?

Unless Bethel is the Witness equivalent of the Catholic priesthood where young gay men head to seminary in order to avoid getting married.  James is now a little more more encouraged by the move.  Maybe it will be a safe place for people like me. 

Though he was going for avoidance it didn’t mean others were.  Praying for freedom from sexual thought (gay or straight) and the ability to relieve an erection via benedictions may work for everyone else, but he was failing miserably in this regard.

Tick, tock.  This won’t stop.

Each medical and psychological study he read repeatedly stated that a teenager – any teenager – has the inner necessity to test their body as it is developing mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Events like pregnancy can alter the hormone development of a girl while males taking supplements can cause testosterone levels to spike over dramatically in an already unstable environment.   In the mind, a teenager needs to be able to test different cliques, persona, cultures, and counter-cultures in order to find a balance which suits them personally.  Puberty and adolescence is almost a decade long experiment in fluctuating chemicals and growth spurts.  To have a teenager living a ‘double life’ isn’t so much about living a sham or lie as it is trying to find out who they are as a person, and experimenting with who they want to be as a future adult.  It’s not deception, it’s honesty.  If they find honesty and safety within the structure of the Kingdom Hall, then they wouldn’t be like James and venture out.  When that structure begins to fail, they are going to be like James and search for it elsewhere.

The paradox is that due to the cult-like limitations of socialization it is in a young person’s best interest to be one person to their parents and elders while secretly trying to find their place in humanity.  Being excommunicated means being shunned by everyone one knows and unless there is a safe place to land, it’s a lesson in cruel and arrogant torture.  From a human heart, he understood so many people he met over the years.

Tick, tock.

With Houston life coming to a close and a monster who keeps screaming in his ear, he decided to let the Devil out to play a little… on a leash of course in desperate hopes that he will tire himself out and sleep for the next… however many years.

(Ground rules.)

1.  No drugs.  This was an exercise in being a homosexual.  He has never taken any drugs before and wasn’t going to start now.  The last thing he needed was to realize he was gay and a junkie before going to Bethel.

2.  No alcohol.  James hasn’t consumed alcohol in his life except one time when he was house sitting for a brother and sister.  He woke up with a headache from hell… and never drank again.

3.  No bottoming.  This is simply a matter of good sense.  He thought his penis was adequate… everyone seemed to have liked it so far.  The last thing he needed was to be at Bethel and find out he has AIDS.  The assumptions of the religion would spiral into untold realms of nausea.

4.  No falling in love.  He isn’t even sure if this was a rule or not.  He isn’t even sure it’s possible.  In tragic romance he would meet the man of  his dreams and give up everything for travel and cocktails.  But the reality is his inability to lose site of his primary goal of reaching Bethel for a new beginning, instead arriving with a broken-hearted longing for something he should have never touched in the first place.

Observe, understand, find a million insurmountable flaws that strikes your soul with the fear of God (out of love, of course), and get the hell out.

This was all very exciting.

Shaddup!

David smacks James in the face playfully as they walk through the Maintenance Building. The construction was starting to come to an end and many parts of the construction staging areas were being dismantled. The twins and Amber were waiting in the office that will now become the new drafting room for the Kingdom Hall Building Committee, Texas #4.

I mean you have the Vaseline right there in the shower. You don’t even bother putting it away for guests.

You’re not a guest, David said.

Not the point.

Did you use it?

Also not the point.

What are you guys talking about?

(In unison) Nothing.

Did I just hear you say “Vaseline?”

Are you talking about self abuse?

Because we are warned against that.

James smacks David in the shoulder. Yeah, David. You just need to pray more.

Well… old habits die hard.

Hard you say?

Working at night with a staff of openly gay people, and sexually comprehensive straight people has made James more in tune to new levels of innuendo that, for some unexplained reason he has no control over.

Not funny, James.

Soon you will be having premarital sex.

Which will inevitably lead to an abortion.

Yeah, I’m pretty potent.

And wanting more sex will lead you to rape.

All because of masturbation.

Ew! You are talking about abusing your penis.

It’s not really “abuse,” per se.

And who said he was abusing his penis?

(In unison) James!

James had convinced the Building Committee to order kneeling office chairs rather than the standard swivel because after three years of drafting at the building site, his back and wrist began to hurt.  The center part of the Maintenance Building was now empty, the temporary walls and desks against flat files were demolished, sold, relocated, or moved to a storage facility.

It is a sad realization that the Rosenberg, Texas Assembly Hall had the best facilities for full-time volunteer labor.  There were always enough beds, plenty of work to do, a massive food tent serving three meals a day every day (plus snacks), and a row of privately owned RV trailers that could easily be borrowed for a long shower or a power-nap… maybe if one just needed peace and quiet from the constant construction mix of clank and boom.  The building itself was (almost) unimpeachable in its design and everyone who worked on it had something visible that they ware proud of.  The collegial-like family was comforting and basic, unassuming in the midst of flying steel girders and rumbling backhoes, waving hard hats and pointing clipboards.

The young brothers who lived in the loft had shuffled off slowly, teary-eyed, and lost.  Many were trying to get onto other assembly hall projects to keep this emotional attachment going… San Antonio, maybe.  Did you hear about the one in Dallas?  Are they doing that?

Mainly he sees that many of these brothers simply do not have any other place to go.  The first time he walks through the building after the keys of the Assembly Hall were handed over to the overseer and his assistant who will be living onsite in two of the four apartments built into the design, James stood motionless in reverence.  This is not my building anymore.  This is not our building anymore.   He smiled.  We did a damn good job.

Now onto new and better things, into the box in the corner of the Maintenance Building to set up Kingdom Hall Regional Building Committee’s servers and computers for the standard packages of windowless Kingdom Halls that had been sent down a few months prior, but where put on hold until the completion of the Assembly Hall.

It’s not that I don’t love social hour around here, but if you all don’t mind, I need to get these new packages arranged on the new servers and print out… everything.  Three times.

No one was listening to him, and David had already taken the short, black scissor-shaped sitting stations out onto the empty and freshly coated main floor for racing.  

David won 3 to 2.

Later that evening James finds himself at his other work laying in the couple’s room with Billy eating Pop Tarts on the side-by-side massage tables.  Ozzy in watching the front desk and RJ is finishing up with a client in the next room.

So who do you think is going to bottom first?  It seemed like Billy’s favorite question.

I think the short one.  It just seems…

Proportional?

Yeah. 

But he has the bigger dick.  I mean look at that thing.

I didn’t say it wasn’t a missed opportunity.

I say the tall one.  Whoever wins buys dinner. 

RJ appears at the door.  The tall one gets it.

That’s what I think, Billy says.

The two straight guys are going to tell me which one bottoms.

Yeah, dude.  Trust us.  It’s in the eyes.  Look at the way he’s attacking that cock.  RJ could be remarkably perceptive when it came to gay sex.

But doesn’t everyone attack a dick like that?

In any moment he’s going to…

(Unison) There he goes!

James was impressed by his straight counterparts.  I honestly feel I have learned something today.

Ozzy appears at the door.  When you two said you were going to come back here and watch porn, this was not what I was imagining.

James is excited about sharing the porn.  You missed it.  This guy who is… (blank).

Chasing art thieves.

Chasing art thieves was having a cigarette and tried to light it from the filter side.

Is that what you were laughing at so loudly?

If he’s catching art thieves he seems to be hot on their tail.  Billy, your guy is here.

Oh man. 

Sorry, dude.  No more gay porn for the straight guy.

Nor this one.  I’m out of here.

How was your client?

Very touchy feely.  But tipped well.  He tried to finger me.

Look, RJ. I’m sorry.  But your ass is just…so… you know.

I’m gonna go home and fuck my girl so hard right now.

Can… we…

(Laughing) No!

The blushing and oddly flattered RJ heads into the break room to clean himself and retrieve supplies to wipe down the room.  James turns off the projector and gathers up the crumbs of dried pastry thrown at the screen slightly earlier during a particularly poorly acted moment of passion.  Billy appears at the door with a distressed look on his face.

Don’t ask.

James didn’t.

Up at the front desk he sits with Ozzy until they both realize they have been staring at RJ’s ass as he walked out the building.

Anyway.

Yes, anyway.  I am suddenly hungry.  Do you mind manning the front desk while I go grab something from Burger King?

I thought you were a vegetarian?

I am.  I get a Whopper and just discard the meat.

I’m learning all kinds of things this evening.

Did you want anything?

No, my mom made dinner.

Girl, I cannot believe you.  What you are doing is crazy.

I know.

But at least your mom makes you eat all your vegetables.  That helps when people suck you off.

Does it?

Does she make your dad eat all his…

Ew!  Go get your food!

From the lobby, Ozzy turns back around.  Speaking of home, when are you leaving for that thing you’re doing for your church?

I’m heading to New York after my birthday.

And you will be back…?

Not sure.  Maybe never.

It’s not like the Mormon two year thing?

No.  It’s volunteer work where they produce all the magazines and books that we bring to your door every weekend.

Sounds… different.

I know. 

Are you sure it’s not going to be like a gay rehabilitation thing?

No, no.  Nothing like that.  Just a different job in a clean atmosphere.  A different life, I think. 

Well, I hope you know what you’re doing, my dear.  Cults can be tricky.

I hope I do too.

Ozzy walks out the door and James whispers to himself and it’s not a cult.  The honest concern for him was something that James had felt frequently but the thankfulness he showed in return was an illusive rarity.  He was surprised at how thankful he was feeling to have someone he just met be so… genuinely uplifting.  And there was no subject off limits. No matter what topic or scenario he brought up, Ozzy perpetually remained… unshocked. After a few minutes of thinking on the subject,  Billy appears in the hallway in his underwear with a large hard-on holding oiled hands in the air like a doctor who had just scrubbed before an operation.

Dude, this is the grossest thing I’ve ever done.  The guy is nothing but hair.

You have an erection.

Well he’s very sweet, you know… with all the movement and rubbing… things happen.

Not that I’m complaining about the visual, but… why are you here?

Can you heat up some more massage oil in the microwave?  The guys body hair is literally soaking everything up.

James smile and gives Billy a half hug.  Sure thing.  And massage in place rather than across the skin.  It will be more enjoyable for him.  He demonstrates on Billy’s arm.

Thanks dude.  Honestly, I don’t know what I would do in this place without you.

Glad to help.

James P. Perez © 2013

Chapter 6 – Tickle Me Pink

He had circled the block three times and is sitting in the parking lot of a dark pink building with his hands seemingly glued to the steering wheel.  There was a weeks worth of phone calls, downloaded videos, online stories, and medical chart diagrams laying out the inner workings of the lower gastrointestinal system of the male anatomy.  He had incidental sex a few times in the past year, usually from the Galleria in totally innocent situations.

No wonder the obscene phone caller came from the Galleria.  These people are wanting sex all the time.

After each incident James would run home and analyze everything like a football play book.  He would go minute by minute in furious scrutiny trying to understand the physical aspects as well as the mentality of those using intentional online “looking for now” rushness or the incidental mid-shopping “I wouldn’t mind some of the sex this afternoon, let me just purchase these jeans, grab a latte and… are we going to your place or mine?”

Who has a life so leisure that they can just haphazardly reassign an hour of the day for spontaneous sex and coffee?

He does, apparently while trying to mind his own business shopping for clothes.  But for what he is trying to achieve, he’d rather be a little more scheduled than random.  Being a perfect child meant his life is compartmentalized into equitable groupings so as to accommodate everyone’s expectations adequately, and then to exceed them with minimal effort.  He is much more comfortable with the idea of working at a place where anything of a sexual-type nature is in a rhadamanthine setting in the reserved rooms of a fetish facility recently converted from a dentist office.

The old large intricately carved wood panel door with a horizontal spiral handle is less of an issue since the front of the establishment faced Westheimer Road, meaning someone is going to see me, move your fucking ass inside.  Entering the Tickle Me Pink box of a waiting room meant sanctuary… a sanctuary with an overstuffed love seat, a wood occasional chair, fake banana tree, a pepper of small tables salted with magazines, a hidden camera bubble, and a receptionist sliding glass window with a ledge.  Behind the window sat Ozzy.

Hello.  Welcome to Feathers.  How can I help you?

(Cast of Characters.)

Ozzy: A 26-year-old six-foot tall slightly goth thin-frame obviously out guy with medium length brown hair sometimes combed close to the head and sometimes slightly awry, but always with a bleached streak of bangs running across his face and behind his ear.   He is a costume designer wearing various hand-constructed clothes and unique alterations to store bought apparel accompanied with deconstructed accessories.  His smile is as captivating as his poise.  Even the way he eats his sandwich is in distinct grace.   He has opinions about everything from Madonna’s recently famous Gaultier cone corset to the suits and hair in the Nine Inch Nails “Closer” video James is currently obsessed with.

The eloquence of his current persona is somewhat of an achievement.  As a young child his mother had killed his father with an ax for cheating on her.  She was still a free woman by reason of insanity as she made a pitcher of iced tea before calling the police on herself.  In high school he and his best friend ditched the band trip they were suppose to go on and instead took a bus to New Orleans.  After enduring a hideous stench in the room for two days and countless complaints to the hotel staff, it was discovered there was a dead body under the bed.  He didn’t see the body, but he did notice her red patent leather high heels that were nice, but entirely too cliche for the situation.  The police were called and news cameras followed.  They left New Orleans thinking their parents had seen the story on television.  They had not.

William: (Called “Billy” most often) A 24-year-old six-foot-two thick but muscular straight frat boy from Rice university with dark wavy hair dangerously close to the “mullet” direction.  His big brown eyes sparkle with amusement and bewilderment as everything in life excites him.  He is going to school for theater and often brings his books to work.  He is currently trying to produce and direct a one-act version of Blood Wedding.  Although his ‘jock’ appearance and presentation would suggest he is of limited depth, reality states he is insightful of the world around him and is captivated by the symbolism and metaphor used in this particular play.

Though he is straight, he understands the idea of mechanics in sexual situations and is usually mystified by the gay culture as culture.  He enjoys a boyish eagerness to experiment without crossing the boundaries of being “too gay.”  He is hardworking and paying his own way through college.  His loyalty and determination are matched by his compassionate sense of unyielding ethics.  For such, he often engages in moralistic right/wrong discussions when it comes to the gay men, culture, the community, and etiquette.

RJ:  A very straight five-foot-eight 33-year-old impeccably well defined man with dark brown hair, deep grey/green eyes that beams glimpses that something naughty is going on in his mind all the time.  He is ruggedly beautiful in almost a model fashion and scruff that makes him look as if he just walked in from a orgy with all the Playboy playmates for that year every time he enters the room.  He is furry, but trimmed perfectly… not too smooth, just enough to give off a very down to earth sexual charisma.  He is quite intelligent and well-spoken making him an engaging person to talk to regardless of the subject.  This natural quality helps in his line of work as an escort for women, and a non-sexual escort for men.

His girlfriend works at the Gold Room which is the long-established ‘mother club’ of Feathers and she suggested this particular job to him.  He is not attracted to other guys at all, but has no problem with them in sexual situations since he and his girlfriend were swingers and male-to-male contact is something of a regularity, but not boner-inspiring.  He is a good hearted being and lacks spurious intent both to himself, and those around him.  To complete the picture, he rides a Harley motorcycle that he takes as much care with as he does his body and his woman, and often enters work with a leather jacket over a tight button up shirt.

Sterling:  A six-foot-two-inch 42-year-old skinny greying mustached out-and-proud gay man, and the largest penis in the building.  At first glance he seems like the typical smoking homo-left-over-from-the-80s, possibly a background extra for Marlboro Country one would find drinking his grievances away in the corner of a gay dive bar in the middle of the day.  As a human being, he is the antithesis of the first perception although he had been known to slip into the stereotype on occasion.

He is beyond kind and gracious, he is knowledgeable with humility.  He has lost many friends while others were barely in grade school watching the first waves of AIDS on television.  He gains charitable delight in his volunteering and helps the community in various aspects.  His sharp, keen sense of perception combined with his observation skills makes him fun to be around whether in private talking about the news, or people watching at a sandwich shop.  There was not a part of the gay community he does not have an intimate understanding of, and a warm appreciation for.

Derrick:  A five-foot-nine-inch well-built muscular broad-shouldered and freshly out 19-year-old with reddish-brown hair in a buzz-cut that is about the same length as his chin-strap beard.  He has limited experience with men and still likes women thus putting him in the ‘transitional bisexual’ phase many questioning teens go through.  He is quiet, soft, gentle, and with his deep set brown eyes tries to absorb everything faster than he is able to digest it.  He carries a lot of worry and secrets with his walk, presumably with his family.  The result is that he is a man of few words who always seems to be pouting in a relatively cute manner.

He doesn’t drink or do drugs.  He works out, eats well, and always protects himself, even so much as bringing his own bottled water from home.  There seems to be a troubled past that was beaten out of him and his reclaiming some foundation after such exhaustion makes his steps and movements purposeful and assured.  Though he is still working with matters of morality and justice, matters of heart and romance are kept under lock and key.

Brittany:  (is not her real name) Is a transplant from the Gold Room and stands somewhere between five-foot-ten and six-foot-two, depending on the heels she was sporting.  She has a massive head of blonde curly hair and the largest natural breasts most people will ever encounter in their lifetime.  In high school she was a large girl, and everyone made fun of her.  She usually kept a jovial attitude about the situation never showing how much it cut her.  By the time she was 24 years old, she had lost a considerable amount of weight and flaunting a rock-hard, albeit still curvaceous body.  The one place where she didn’t lose any weight… her tits.

As a person on the outside, she is a confident, hot, blonde bisexual bombshell who purchased her own town home, drove a new Mustang convertible, filled her life with fun and adventure from fine dining to evenings at the theater.  She is insistent on being honest on her income tax.  On the inside she was pure effervescence on a sub-atomic level.  She is observant of the world around here, and is eager to help strangers should they need assistance.  In high school she was listless and passive.  Once she started a work out regimen,  the neurotic scheduling became part of every aspect of her life, including how she was saving to pay for college.  She doesn’t drink or do drugs.  She finds the good in everyone and a silver lining is always to be seen no matter what situation is thrown at her.

Feathers is a fantasy and fetish establishment that caters to gay men.  We have a variety of themed rooms you can choose from, you pick your model, and you have a good time.

So… is there sex involved?

We are not a brothel or in the business of selling sex.  We just provide the fantasy or fetish, and any particulars you would like can be discussed between you and  your model.

Are you hiring?

James P. Perez © 2013

Chapter 5 – Confronting the Devil

It was late… past 2:00 am late.  David had dropped him off and didn’t want to stay the night, obviously.  The air was unusually crisp for the city which made walking around in downtown that much more stimulating in appreciation.  James was quiet not to disturb the house.

Six months.  Tick, tock.  It’s all about to rock.

Or maybe not.  He thought it might take him that long to permanently find a way to silence the gay inside him screaming like a horny beast to get out.  It seemed so fucking unfair that straight guys in their teens raging with hormones and overexcited levels of testosterone were allowed an ‘occasionally slip-up’ and it will be forgiven with nothing more than a reprimand or even a publicly announced reproval.

In Victoria, his best friend as a child was Donald whose father used to hit or in other ways physically abuse everyone in the large household.  It didn’t matter if there was company present or not.  On two occasions where James spent the night he remembers cowering under the covers of the top bunk of the boy’s bedroom because Donald’s father had to scream and yell at Dawn in a method that justified the shaking of the house.  The next time it was something his brothers Efrain and Chauncey were up to that would be considered ‘typical boy behavior’ by running through the house tracking mud everywhere and for that they were not only physically attacked, but were assigned the chore of washing every car in the parking lot of vehicles that evening as the mother had already cleaned the floors which they so superficially damaged.

James refused to go back over to that house again.  How is that level of anger acceptable and even promoted (as the father was a well respected elder) but desiring the touch of another male is sinful?  Donald had an older friend named Stephan who fucked every girl in school.  Then he fucked every girl in the neighboring school.  Each time he got caught he would be talked to by the elders… repent and get a small announcement that he had been talked to, and off he went to fuck the next girl and after a few weeks was back with responsibilities in the congregation running microphones or at the helm of the sound system at the Victoria Kingdom Hall until several months went by and he was caught again.

That went on for years.

But Tony, in the past year, get’s caught fucking a guy and he is disfellowshipped immediately because it was unnatural.  As it was a recent event James could close his eyes and remember his father, Steve stepping into the RV camper the family had on site in his welding gear and visibly distraught.  James and his mother were in the dining bench/living room area waiting.  All they knew what that something happened to Tony and an emergency elder’s meeting was called.  So emergency, his father didn’t even have time to change.

Tony is being disfellowshipped and being escorted off the property.

You know, he doesn’t really have family to speak of, where is he going?

It doesn’t matter.  He was caught… (collects himself) … he was caught having sex.  With another man.  He… is a homosexual.

James’s thoughts were then consumed with a hybrid of relief and despair.  All those times Tony flirted with him and patted him on the ass… he thought the assistant welder was just trying to test him, but come to find out it was real… very very real.  Not only that, had he decided to pursue any of the dreamlike fantasies to the slightest degree, he would likewise be in an elder’s meeting with no where to live as Tony would be required to reveal everyone he has ever had sex with, on and off the construction site.

A homosexual.  In MY welding shop.  I shook his hand.  I ate with him.  I took him in.  I thought of him as a son.  (Distraught.)  Who knows what he could have done to James if given the chance.

Steve turns his attention to his son and approaches with the force of a billowing wind.

Did Tony touch you in any way?

No, dad.  I am as shocked as you are.  But no.  I am fine.  Our friendship is… was normal.  I promise.

If you hear anything or find out about anyone else, you let me or one of the elders know immediately.

Of course.

It appears being a homosexual and acting on homosexual desires is tantamount to “roving rapist lurking in the corners ejaculating fantastical whims at unsuspecting closeted gay passers-by.”  James feels suddenly overwhelmed with grief at the missed opportunity but is then brought back to reality that in a witch hunt, he would have been the next person hoisted up to the stake.

It wasn’t his father’s anger that took him by surprise.  In fact he knew that Steve was probably displaying only a fraction of the enmity-fueled exasperation filling the folding corners of the RV trailer.  It was transference from exasperation to heartbreaking disappointment that stunned him – partially because an infestation entered the building site via his welding shop on his watch, and partially because he was so consumed with work he didn’t notice the signs before this happened.  He was doubting everything and everyone by that point.  James hated seeing his father like that and had to leave out the back door to get some air even though the breath of a mile radius was thick in condescending disgust.

Six months. 

The maniacal comparisons of ‘this-sin-is-greater than/less than-that-sin(s)’ would send anyone paying attention to the Organization into a lunacy coma.  Plus, if a year of high school debate had taught him anything, comparison arguing may win the immediate brawl, but it doesn’t make one correct.  What is correct?  He didn’t know.

According to a large red hardcover book entitled “Sex” that he had found at one of the houses his mom cleaned things like masturbation, arousal, erections, ejaculate, precum, etc. were all explained in a fairly straightforward, non-sexual format.  There was a picture of a penis with semen dripping from it what was intensely close, even in the black and white presentation.

He was excited and it was the first time an understanding of his body, chemistry, and the journey through adolescence was explained in a non-naughty way.  The bound collection of Shel Silverstein cartoons from his days at Playboy, not so much.  And it confused him.  Here is an explanation of what he was going through in one hand, and in the other hand was a book of comically erotic drawings and a stack of Hustler  magazines.

I’m not having the response I am suppose to be having.  Wait.  Isn’t that the guy who wrote those poems we would read in elementary school?

By stark contrast every time he would turn to the Live Forever book where one of the collection of pictures showed two guys entangled against a wall in a dark hallway mid-way of disrobing each other, he would get an instant boner.  Could this be Satan or could this just be a natural human response of a teenager… except with boys instead of girls?

The reason why he held so much guilt about his molester and the reason why it took until age 19 for it to come to light, is because it wasn’t the playing around that mattered, it was the holding, being held, the warmth of having someone masculine near.  It was tranquil.  Everything else was just mechanics, especially when one is physically too young to achieve an erection.  As one gets older, they begin to recognize the touch, the closeness of an attractive energy that captivates a person so much it’s impossible not to have an immediate, physical response.  How does one pray against biology?  It is with that empathy toward the country farm boy that James never saw the true danger of what was being done.

Thankfully with David, there is this separation between a regular ‘bromance’, and something more erotic in nature.  That separation was not only possible, but it had worked and is working.  It was something he had to stumble through but it’s success gave him stability, like friends should.  Where is that “so you think you might be a gay” pamphlet that says everything that he is feeling is normal?  If he separates the sex from the companionship he is still required to “not practice”… anything.  Yet, when he combines the two, he achieves unspeakable invigoration and peace.

This is ridiculous.

James throws his pants across the room and picks up The Houston Press.  It’s not something his parents would approve of him reading as outside literature is generally frowned upon.  The Press was how he found out about movies playing, bands, bars, clubs, etc.  It is life going on and in some ways it was the hedonistic display that the Witnesses had instilled into his head, but in other ways it is an expression of life, love, appreciation, and creativity… it is a celebration.  Yes, the gay community is still wrapped in the “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we will die” mentality because it was only 10 years before they actually were dying.

As a young boy he sat in front of many televisions ending with the one in the corner of the living room at the hand-carved house on Crouch Road watching the world of AIDS unfold with such sadness and connectivity.  It was the first time he understood what “homosexual” was while peering into the television wanting to help each and every lesion-laden man propping up news sensation and save them from this disease, from the unresponsive president, from this news person shoving a microphone in their face and using them as a coat of viewer ratings.

He was so young barely even grasping the remotest concept of sex, and yet he didn’t understand what the political or the sociological impact of the time frame would mean for years to come.  Even as a child his heart would break with the idea of “the wages sin pays is death” that is the graciously polite way of saying “I told you so.”

What were these people’s crime?  James didn’t know at the time.  Slumping in the same location David was sitting the night before he could feel his friend’s lingering depression.  He knew what their crime was, now.  It was acting on their biological responses in the same way their straight counterparts are allowed to do.  Sociological growth eventuality means this paradigm shift would suffer some disruption.  Maybe it is on purpose, maybe it is just evolution.

There in The Press they were advertising films like JEFFERY playing at a normal theater, out in the open for anyone to see.  Gay clubs were advertising right next to straight clubs.  Witnesses going to straight clubs were reproved for putting themselves in danger, but Witnesses going to gay clubs were disfellowshipped for taking the first steps on acting on a vile sin.

Why?  It’s the same exact emotion?

So much didn’t make sense because he didn’t know the other side of the argument.  He recognized the eyes of those men cruising restrooms and such, men starving themselves of that which they emotionally and mentally crave to the point where they go mad with suffocation.  At that point any passing stranger, the scent of any man, the touch of any hairy arm throws one into the bingo cage of justification to have any male-to-male contact no matter what the cost, location, or level of appropriateness.

Is that what I’m going to be at Bethel? Where the preoccupation of sex, whether having it or not having it becomes a more substantial weight then the rest of the world around me?

Six months. 

If he can justify one uncomfortable adventure, then he can certainly justify another.  On the back of The Press there was an ad for a new, gay male fetish facility.

No.

However, if it’s a legal business, they cannot be selling sex.  So, no sex and a glimpse into the gay sex world?  Maybe.  More research is needed as he tends to be meticulously pragmatic in his planning, and there are few immediate decisions made unless one has time to sleep on it.

He curls into the still folded up futon and covers himself with a blanket while adjusting his pillow.

Five months, 29 days.

James P. Perez © 2013

Chapter 4 – Nights of the Round Table

There they are.

How is it possible that they could get so far behind?  The theater is only like five minutes away.

You never knew with those two.

Hi! Sorry we’re late.  We had to stop for some gum for Kristy.

You wanted some too.

Yes, I know.  But it’s in the middle of the night and we are about to eat.  I could have waited.

Maybe you could have waited, but you are not on the receiving end of your breath. I was just trying to help before we met up with the boys.

Oh yeah. You were being polite.  It wasn’t because those sticky Twizzlers with their fake flavors and preservatives are rotting your mouth from the inside out, leaving a trail of stench along the way.

Katy, we did not need that visual. We’re about to eat.

David looks at the man standing near them, watching the scene.  They will be dining with us.

The obviously gay waiter is disappointed that the two similarly dressed young men would not be alone for him to flirt with and takes off to gather two more place settings.

Are you two going to sit down, or what?

Yes, David.  Don’t be inpatient. 

I know.  Plus, I’m still traumatized from the thing.

James and David look at each other and then to the twins.  The waiter returns with two place settings for the girls and grabs his pad.

Diet Coke.

Regular Coke.

Hot tea.

Make that two.

The twins first made their appearance when a young local girl with a crown eclipsed with thick golden blonde (sometimes reddish brown) curls and a dominate force which was perfectly scaled by her incredible observant sense of sweetness.  Amber’s father worked with the building committee and she liked to visit James, so passing through the Maintenance Building was a regular occurrence for her.  After work was filled with talking with him about the various teenage consternations James lovingly referred to as “like scrubber base through the pump truck, so are the daze of our lives.”  And it was true, and a large building project after working hours can be a therapeutic place to talk out one’s problems.

Amber talked about James often, and one day she brought in two identical twins named Kristy and Katy, who only slightly swayed from the ‘perky blonde’ stereotype, but in complete opposite directions.  They, like Amber, were sweet, honest, and excelled in poised diplomacy.  Unlike Amber, they maintained a rather spotless appearance while working on the construction site which speaks more about Amber’s work ethic than anything else. The twins were often quiet at first, but once their engine was started, they were nothing short of heartfelt refreshment.

As the twins and David lived in the same area of east Houston and knew each other from the same congregation, the three of them associated with each other often with a group that included others from various circles of the Organization whether construction, congregation, or relatives.  As James and David hung around more it was only a matter of time before the twins made their way into the story, and around the table.

David still has a look of concern on his face.  Are you going to explain what you were talking about?

Yeah, I’m desperate to find out if you made it out alive.

Well, obviously I made it out alive.

He’s joking, Katy.

I know he’s joking. I’m just saying he didn’t have to worry.

I’m sure he’s not that worried if he’s making a joke.

James and David speak in unison, What happened??

A homeless man walked up to Katy at the gas station.

He was big and ugly. He smelled like pee.

And?

And that was it.

No, it wasn’t it.  He popped out of nowhere and grabbed my arm and didn’t let go.

Where were you?

I was on the other side of the Jeep on the passenger’s side.

What?

Well, he approached the driver’s side.  I thought he wanted to just talk to Katy.

David is beside himself, What man comes out of nowhere in the middle of the night and just wants to talk?

He wasn’t that big.  I thought she could handle it.

James tries to be comforting.  I have no doubt that you can handle yourself.  But it is a bit creepy.

Thank you, James.  It wasn’t a big deal but I appreciate saying that.

We will walk you your Jeep after we eat.

To the well lit parking lot off the street.

The sentiment is nice.

I think she’s being dramatic.

I think you’re being naive.

Have either of you two considered taking a self defense class?

We looked into it before but we got conflicting information.

Dad thinks it’s a good idea…

Yeah, because he’s a father and wants to protect his girls.

But an elder in our congregation said that taking a violent class would be contrary to what we are as Christians.

He said that in a talk, Kristy.  He wasn’t talking about this particular situation.

And generally speaking the consensus is that everyone, brother or sister should stay away from any kind program that teaches a person to be violent. James had heard the argument many times.

Wait.  I’m not going to go against the elders here.  But there is a stark difference between taking jujitsu lessons and self defense classes.  One is an offensive method of aggression while the other is a protection mechanism in case someone is aggressive to you.

Yeah, but both are violent in nature and gives you knowledge on how to harm another individual by using violent-based maneuvers.

Which is what you need whenever someone with violent intent is coming up to you.  It’s not demonstrated in this case because the guy didn’t have violent intent, but seriously… especially for young women.  I would like it if you took a self defense class because, seriously, I wouldn’t know what to do if anything were to happen to either one of you.

James turns to the twins, I agree with him.  I mean, I am trying to make the elder’s argument, and violence is not the way to solve anything, but I honestly agree.  But I will add, talk it over with your dad again and make a decision as a family.

Yeah, but don’t mention this incident because then you’ll get the…

‘Why were you out so late in the middle of Houston’ speech. Yeah I know.

We’ve already gotten that when we got the flat tire.

It’s just an opinion but, you may get shit from the elders, but at least you will be alive.

…and not violently raped, bloody, and left for dead on the side of the road.

David looks blankly at the waiter who is bringing the drinks.

Sorry for the delay.  Is everyone ready to order?

Kristy and Katy both sip from their drinks and almost instinctively trade the glasses without looking at each other.

Did I switch them?  I’m so sorry.

It’s okay.

It happens all the time.

David starts, I’ll have the personal with pepperoni.

Can I have a slice of that?  I love their pepperoni.

Yeah, moocher.  Make it the fourteen inch.

I’ll take the chicken Casar salad.

I’m not sure yet. Go to James.

Twelve inch mushroom pan, please.

Twelve inches, got it.  That leaves you.

I think I want the Italian sub with the dressing on the side.  You’re going to split that with me, right?

Oh my god, I got the freakin’ huge salad.

James and David in unison, It’s a salad.

We good?

Yeah, that works.

Okay, I will get this right out.

David, would you really lose it if something ever happened to one of us?

Katy, I don’t even want to discuss it.  I would… I don’t know, kill myself.

Awe.  That’s sweet.

I personally cannot say the same.  We’ve only been hanging out for a year or so, so I’m less attached…

(Laughter)

James tries to redeem the joke.  But, I know how much you mean to David and on his behalf I have to say I would probably be pretty upset. 

Thank you for that sentimentality.

Both of you now… with the sentiments.

In its reality, the round table discussions were a source of energy for James, fuel for his soul.  He had to pay it some respect.  Honestly, a world without you two is like a world without flowers or sunshine.  You would definitely be missed in a very noticeable way… and moving on would be a very dark and dreary path for anyone who knows you, and recovery would be something I can’t even imagine…

Wow James, that is…

I don’t know what to say.

Yeah James, way to show me up.

It’s true though.

Thank you for that.

I was just going to kill myself, not be some whiny… bitch.

Killing yourself is just as poetic, don’t sell yourself short. 

Do you write poetry?

I bet you would be good at poetry.

I haven’t in a long time.  I kinda go through phases.  Poetry to me is like clearing a brain clog after some event or adventure.

I would like to read some of your poetry.

David sits back in his chair right arm over the chair back and left arm on the table fidgeting the swizzle straw brought with the hot tea.  Speaking of adventure… are you going to tell them?

Tell us what?

David smiles his best douchy “ha-ha fuck you” grin and gets up from the table.

I’m going to go ask the waiter for some waters and pee.

Ew.

James gives a reasonable sheepish avoidance pause in order to give David enough time to get out of earshot.

I’m going to Bethel.

Oh my god that’s great.

You already told us that.

I did?

Yeah, a few weeks back you told us you were going to Bethel.

Yeah, and although we would be sad to see you go, we are going to try to be very supportive.

We will be very supportive.

A lot more supportive than David, that’s for sure.

James laughs and shakes his head.  I’m going to try this again.  A few weeks ago, I applied to Bethel.  This evening, I received my letter of acceptance to Watchtower Farms at Wallkill.

Oh my god!  I’m so sorry I didn’t catch that.

Yeah Katy.

You didn’t catch it either.

Wait, is that why he…

Yes.  So… let’s speed this up before he gets back. 

(In unison) Congratulations.

When do you leave?

In six months.

Wow, that long? 

They are allowing me time to finish up at the Assembly Hall and get the Kingdom Hall Building Committee settled in their new offices, especially since we now have the new standardized Kingdom Hall packages.  They are giving me time to get all that up and running before leaving.

That is very cool.

I bet your parents are so excited.

They are.  My dad couldn’t stop smiling and my mom immediately started calling everyone.  It was almost too much.  I was kind of glad to get away tonight.  It just so happened David was there, I don’t know how I would have told him otherwise.

You just found out tonight?

Kristy, he just said that in his re… announcement.

I’m sorry, it’s just all now sinking in.

Yes tonight.

And David was there? 

How did he react?

He was naked and holding a pork chop.

The waiter is standing with two waters, and places each down carefully.

I don’t even want to know what that means.

Seriously, how did he take it? 

Subtle graciousness.

Wow.

Are you exited? 

Of course he’s excited, Katy.  Why wouldn’t he be?

You just don’t seem that excited, that’s all.

True, usually when people have news like this they would say it right away.

Not wait so long in the evening after a movie, you know.

James smiles.  I’m excited.  It’s just a lot to take in.

If you weren’t that excited you could tell us.

We wouldn’t judge you.

But this has been a goal of  yours, right?

Since birth, it seems like.

It’s a big move. 

Of course he’s excited.  You can see it in his face.  David slides past James and pats the right cheek twice with his palm of his hand before slumping down in his chair, same position as before.

To wrap this up…

Please, don’t change the subject on my behalf.

… For the benefit of those who brought up the subject in the first place, yes, I am very excited, but it is six months away and I have a lot of work to do between now and then.

Plus he’s going to the farm and not the city.

You’re going to the farm?

Oh my god, Kristy, are you not listening to anything he says?

That’s right, you said the farm.  I’m sorry.  It’s a lot to take in, Katy.

Which honestly, I’m not thrilled about the farm itself, but would probably be the healthiest thing for me.

You would get in trouble in the city?

You would sooo get in trouble in the city.

And honestly, now that’s it’s official, it feels a little bit different then when it was just ambient suggestion.  Everyone is always talking about Bethel service and when you’re preoccupied with the Assembly Hall and Kingdom Hall building, Bethel service seems a little limiting at times.  And once you have the letter in front of  you, it makes it… real.

I think I know what you mean.

Because your lifelong goal is to go to Bethel and you got accepted?

No, but like the courses we’re taking or something.  You know.  Getting what was once an idea, official.

I don’t know what she’s talking about,  but I’m proud of you.

I was trying to relate to your emotions, but I’m proud of you too.

David sits up and places his hand firmly on James’s shoulder but does not squeeze.  We are all proud of Brother Perez.  (Pause.)  And now we can change the subject. 

James says “thank you” in his head and looks over at David.  He got it.

David slouches back in his chair.  And both you girls need to stop saying “oh my god” all the time.

I know.  We’re working on it.

Why are you bringing that up?  You’re the one with the dirty mouth…

You too James.

And you’re going to Bethel.

Nobody realizes this, at all, but David in all his… “gotta do the cool thing”-ness really tries hard to make me a better Witness.  He bitches at me when I curse, sends me home when it’s late, even with his “oh my god” suggestion to you…

Stop.

What?  It’s true.

No.  Don’t do that.

What?

Totally fuck up my image like that.  Not to these two.

They’re probably going to tell everyone, now, you know.

Exactly.

You will be a Ministerial Servant soon.

I don’t have the ties for that. 

You have to give up the Doc Martins.

I’m not giving up my Docs.

The twins butt in.  Wait, what?

Tell people that David is actually a good person on the inside.

Who would we tell?

And who would believe us?

Are you actually worried, because we really won’t tell.

Are you two doing the fake conversation thing again? 

On the way here David ran over a basket full of puppies and laughed.

(In unison) Ew!

Nice save, James.

You guys say the worst things.

What is this “you guys” crap?  He’s the one who said it!

Yes, well… we know where he gets it from.

They can’t spread gossip about something they don’t even believe, I suppose.

Thanks guys.

David, we know you’re a good person, it’s why we love you, and we would never do anything to tarnish your bad boy image.

Thank you, ladies.

We were actually really surprised you two hang out so much.  I mean… it’s like…

The bad boy and the golden child being friends…

… a little surprising. 

No offense to either of you.

It’s honestly seems like a odd yin-yang thing going on.

That’s an interesting way of putting it.

All I know is that with your “oh my god’s” and his foul language, I have the best mouth at the table.

The waiter is standing with their food, not sure how to take what he just heard.

Here you go.  Chicken Caesar.  Italian sub.  And here are the two pizzas. 

(Sporadic)  Thank you.

Does everything look okay?

(Sporadic) Yes.  Thanks.

Can I get you anything else?

More napkins.

Napkins.  Right away.

The waiter disappears as suddenly as he arrived.

So what’s the deal with Bethelites and free food?

Yeah, I mean… they eat like kings and one person offers to take them out to eat and they get the most expensive thing on the menu.  And when the check comes they expect someone else to pay.  Remember Michael?

You sound like an apostate, Katy.

Okay I’m not trying to sound apostate, it’s just something I notice.

The waiter returns with napkins.

James had already taken many trips to Bethel and seen the same thing.  You don’t sound apostate.  It’s something I notice too.  I have no clue, but I promise once I get there and find out, I will let everyone know.

Thank you.  (Pause.)  James, when you get to Bethel, don’t become weird.

Katy, my dear, I’m already weird.

I mean weirder.

I will try.

I thought we were changing the subject.

(Unison) We are.

James P. Perez © 2013

Chapter 3 – David

One of the hardest lessons a gay male who is going through puberty has to learn is the understanding and separation between other males they are attracted to sexually, and those who may be sexually attractive, but they are drawn to in a platonic way.  Some relationships are confusing with quixotic intoxication while others are more native and unrefined.  As a person who had many good-looking friends, outward attractiveness no longer became the sole bases for which someone would migrate from the ‘friend’ status to ‘sexually attractive’ desire.

The first time James noticed there even existed a delicate balance between the two fields he failed miserably.  His heart did at least.  It was the senior year in high school he developed an uncontrollable crush on the only male actor in the previously mentioned high school one-act play who also happened to be the current junior varsity quarterback.  James tried to keep everything measurable and distant but after ignoring people’s inner energies for years, a slap across the face comes tsunamiing into his life in full force in the form of a muscular six foot statue with golden curly locks, and the most calming blue eyes that made James feel as if he just stepped into the cold ocean from the a hot deserted beach.

He was kind, nice, gentle and tolerant which always makes things worse for someone battling with trying to be not gay in a religiously unaccepting world and carry that principle to those in worldly settings like public schools.  It was burdensome, even with the “Ozzie and Harriet” household he had been raised under. The more James dived into the guy’s mind, the more excitably serene and welcoming it became.  In short of simplistic description, the guy was pure.

James wanted more, but he wasn’t sure what he wanted more of, and the delicate growth between the extents of I really just like hanging around you and please be my boyfriend now were blurry, cluttered, and incomprehensible in it’s lack of interpretation.  What signs meant what were warping the wayward closeted Mexican and it was displayed in ways he was not aware.  So much so, it caused a phone call.

James, this is Mrs. Phillips. I know you have a fondness for my son. And that is understandable. We are very proud of him.

James sat down on his waterbed that dominated the small room in the house on Sundown Meadow.  He wondered if it was possible to drown in the water and make it look like an accident.   In the panicked, short responses she perhaps felt the anticipation on the other end of the phone but still managed to state something that would stop the air and change his life forever.

It’s okay to feel the way you do toward guys. We have all been there. The Lord knows I have.

She gave a half laugh.  She was revealing something of herself in order to relate to how James was feeling.  It was not a matter of being a disgusting fag with unnatural desires.  The desires were natural, simply misplaced with this particular person… but not because of the person’s gender.  But as to the feeling itself, it was something of a natural progress.

She continued:  Her son, so far as she knew, did not feel the same way as James. But it was okay, and her whole family… husband included, felt it was something that was acceptable, and not something he needed to be ashamed of.

She then stepped over the limits of good (true) Christian boundaries and invited him to their church on Sunday, followed by a large spread at their house afterward where he could socialize with people like the Phillips family and meet other friends who felt the same way they did.  As a serious sin to go to other churches, even for weddings and funerals, the conversation had to be stopped there or else the demons would fly from the phone at any moment and give more layers to James’s already growing problems.

Rocking gently on the waterbed wasn’t helping.  James needed stillness and he finally moved to sitting on the floor for a while trying to digest the conflict of what had occurred.  First, he wasn’t presenting himself as a Jehovah’s Witness should so that no one at any time would ever think to invite him to another, demonic church.  Second, his feelings for his school mate were coming across so strong, it was impossible to determine what James’s intentions were… and they needed to be clarified.  Third, James had no clue what his intentions were and he had no clarity.

He felt like a failure on many levels but upon reestablishing some walls, he and his friend were able to continue on with the play tour, pretty much as good friends.  On the bus ride back home from placing third at State, he and James slept in the back seatless part of the school bus, foot to head, slightly intertwined with each other with the two girls who they spent the night with on either side of them. Those seated in the front were laboriously confused as rumors of the boys were neither confirmed nor dispelled.  News of the four-way sleeping situation spread. The four high schoolers laughed at the inside joke, and life moved on.  James graduated and moved on to Rosenberg, the guy later made star quarterback.

I bet Mrs. Phillips has quite a few stories she is more than unwilling to share.

James giggles about her often when thinking about the importance of being empathetic rather than sympathetic.  Knowing the mental state of someone and reacting accordingly is a far superior humanitarian level of appropriate response than the simplistic, sometimes rote and distantly unhelpful voices that sympathy can portray.

Where this particular situation happened to be saved from the binds of obsessive attention, James was not really willing to go through that insanely dangerous path again. Where he is most proud of this succeeding is with his best friend, David.  Initially the conflict came with the idea that this somewhat typical brooding young man who was work-out conscious, five-o’clock shadow bearing ‘cool guy’ also happened to be four years younger than James and was only 15 when he started working on the Rosenberg, Texas Assembly Hall project, 16 when they started hanging out.  From the beginning this was a no-brainer for James – David was going to be a friend only.  Both guys were easily bored with the world around them.  This could be wickedly fun.  True, David wasn’t bad on the eyes, but there was no way this was ever going to be an “iffy” situation.

And it wasn’t for all the years they would hang out, go out, trash Houston, and victimize countless waiters with their off-color banter and sexual innuendo.  David was bit of a douche and kept everyone at a distance.  But even though it seemed like he was aloof regarding the world around him it was actually more of a running presentation of calculated times and sequences.  All of which, always fell in place for him.

Arrive too early, people will talk with you.  Arrive on time, people will have expectations in you.  Arrive slightly late, people will notice your arrival.  Arrive late, you can sneak in without being noticed, scope out the crowed and read everyone.  Arrive too late, and people think you’re a jerk and you’re just in time to hit the next event.  The goal was always to make it somewhere in between the last two time frames unnoticed.  David’s silent shuffling and out-of-reach presence made him somewhat of a powerhouse wherever he went.  For James who was more sensitive to people and the world around him, David made a very good shield so that James was able to see so many aspects of the world, people, crowds, pedestrians, horrified waiters, and old ladies helped with their groceries without being overwhelmed by the energy each of these people produced thanks to this odd mix of Abercrombie prick and southern boy showing respect for his elders.

And he was good at everything he touched – piano, guitar, creative writing, math, science, engineering… anything anyone threw at him.  He even knew a bit of AutoCAD and sat down at James’s station one time to successfully fuck up everything in record time.  It was all genius, all the time.

What made this less of a delicate balance was that there was no sustainability in the conflict mentally.  Once the “friend” switch was pulled it was there for a lifetime and if there is anything James learned from his father is that loyalty is a man’s second best attribute right after integrity and before chivalry.

These are three principles James has never struggled with, they came naturally.

But in his gay mind he had finally achieved perfect symbiotic success.  Here was a person who by all intents and purposes on paper (or in picture) should be someone sexually attractive and in reality he was not… not to James.  He was a friend and for that deserved respect and protection like any other friend.  After all, this is a person who is reserved and did not let a lot of people inside his head, and when James got a glimpse of the party, he… they decided to have some fun within the confines of a typical “bromance”.  It was comfort on obscurity snapped into close clarity.  It was intensity of persiflage set against the soft pillow of knowledge that someone of consistency and strength would always, without question be there when you dive bomb uncontrollably.

And there wasn’t any weirdness.

This is it.  This is what normal guys are suppose to feel like with each other.

James admits to himself it seems a little limiting, but he went with it.  He was amazed that it didn’t take more than six months of hanging out before he realized that aside from the high school crush-gone-crazy, David was the first guy he ever loved, truly loved, but not with the heart so much.  He loved him like he did his father and for such James world regularly refer to the love he had for each of them synonymously.  He was family.  He was best friend.  He was the person who took his side in a fight before asking what the fight was about.  He would come to help before even knowing what help was needed.

Differences would include James and David showing up to the same events continually, accidentally dressed similarly as opposed to Steve’s either in welding gear or a suit and tie.  Also, James didn’t curse in front of his father.

The night James receives his ‘good news’ starts like any other typical evening.  On the construction site at 5 o’clock p.m. the announcement is made that dinner or supper is being served.  The announcement was inconsistent depending on who was making the announcement, what part of the country they were from, and what their individual family customs involved.  James always anticipates the revelation of whether they are serving the hearty “dinner” or the more elegant “supper” for the evening.

David swaggers near the maintenance building still dirty from whatever concrete production was being poured that day.

Hey. Wanna go to a movie tonight?

Yeah.

Good.  Can I change over at your house?

It is never the first question that is the issue, it is always the second.  James’s family had moved from Sundown Meadow to Parrot street in Rosenberg in order to devote more time to the Assembly Hall construction.  As  a place with a larger, more permanent bathroom facilities then the temporary trailers on site, one would always prefer the hot water of the house over the RV.

Arriving home at this time means Blanche would be making dinner (supper?) for the family.  James didn’t call to announce David is coming over, but one thing is always true with Blanche:  The less someone wanted her food, the more she insists on feeding them.  Home cooking in endless supply.

Hi, mom.

Oh James!  You scared me half to death.  Hi David.  How are your parents?

Just fine Sister Perez.

I saw your father running around all over the place the other day.  Please tell them I said ‘hi’.

I will.  And listen, don’t let me interrupt your dinner, I am just here for a shower and change.

We’re going to a movie later.

Well James, take your dinner and go eat at the table.

Yes James. Do what you’re mother tells you. Eat at the table.  Evil grin.

Thanks.  Both of you.  Hurry up so we’re not late.

David, have you eaten?

No ma’am, but I’m going to pick something up at the theater.  Please don’t worry about me.

You can’t eat there, it will cost a fortune.  I will make you a plate.

Please Sister Perez.  That is not necessary.

Nonsense.  Go get cleaned up and I’ll bring you a plate.

Wait, how come he gets to eat in my room??

Because he’s company. 

Thank you Sister Perez.  I’ll be waiting… in James’s room.

James and David both laugh to themselves, although it seems Blanche may have gotten the last laugh in this case.  James finishes his food and heads to his room to change as David comes in from the shower, dripping wet, with nothing but a towel on.  In a small gesture of delicate respectfulness, James positions himself so he’s facing the opposite direction toward the window.

There is a knock at the door.

Boys?  David?  Here is your plate.  Blanche opens the door and barely turns the corner.

Thank you.

Oh, David.  I didn’t know there was public nudity in here.  Put some clothes on before you eat.  And try not to make a mess.

I will and thank you, again.

Technically we are not in public, mom.

It’s still indecent.

Steve enters the room and kisses Blanche on the lips.

Steve!  Don’t sneak up on me like that.

Steve looks at the scenario and gives a half smile.  Son. David.

Hi Dad.  Welcome home.

It’s good to see you again, Brother Perez.  I apologize for the… public nudity.

I don’t usually come home to find my wife with a naked man.

Steve!  Let these two get ready. They’re headed to the movies.

Wait.  James.  We had our elder’s meeting tonight.  And, we have this for you.

Steve produces a long envelope from his suit coat pocket and hands it to James.

He opens it and starts smiling.

I was accepted to Bethel.  And my entrance date is on my birthday to give me time to wrap things up here.  That’s in…

Six months.

Congratulations son.

Oh James!  I’m so proud of you!

As everyone hugged James, he stops at David who was holding a plate of pork chops with sides, still wearing nothing more than a towel.

We can hug later.

Yeah, David responded with his lips widely pressed together in a perfect horizontal line causing his cheeks to raise while his eyes moved in two-blinks-at-a-time repetition.

James takes the family away from David’s nondiscriminatory non-attire and into the living room where there was joy and gushing of happiness and future illustriousness via all the blessings of Jehovah.  After a while James realized there was a movie to be seen and broke away back to his room.

He walks in to see his friend sitting on the black futon in a typical white Hanes tee-shirt and black Calvin Klein boxer briefs, crossed legs with the feet under the thighs eating the pork chop with his fingers.  His barrier was down as was his head.  James approached with caution.  David was such a strong shield and a extraordinary mind, and yet so fragile at the same time.  No matter what anyone ever said about him when they started hanging out, there is an incredible amount of goodness found within that mind.  He may not prove it on an individual level, but globally he’s one of the best thinkers in that regard.

Any bad boy image was just that, image.  James found it remarkable that any assumptions placed on his friend were just projection from viewers too busy to take a deeper look, too shallow to care about what they saw, or too ignorant to comprehend him and insisted on judging a substantially decent person even when he just stood still.

I take it that went well.  

Yeah.  Mom’s calling people now.

Did you  need to…

No, we can go.  Here, let me take that for you since you’re still… you know.

Indecent?

Exactly.

Tell your mom thanks.  I couldn’t finish the vegetables because…

Yeah.  I know.

James P. Perez © 2013

Chapter 2 – Listen

Jehovah, my god, I have asked for this temptation to be removed.  I am trusting and leaning on you… calling on your Name to let this transgression, this… thorn in my side to be removed from me. Others may be able to suppress these feelings but I am not strong enough to do it on my own. I have tried countless times and there is no way I can be normal. I want to be normal, get married, and to live a decent life.  Please help me.

Through your son, Jesus Christ I ask these things.

Amen.

James had said his prayers at night.  All Jehovah’s Witnesses do so that Satan doesn’t attack them in their sleep, so they can have peace from the processes of the day, or maybe so they can have a better outlook in the morning.  Although for this particular twenty-year-old, his prayers didn’t seem to be working. After age thirteen when his occasional bedtime playmate left for Bethel service at the World Headquarters in Brooklyn, he had sworn off everything sexual in nature and was leading a relatively clean life.  He wasn’t even masturbating except for one time at fourteen when an obscene phone caller called the house and James curiously engaged him, curling up by the bed with a massive erection, the corded phone pressed against his ear like he’s hearing he just won a million dollar prize.

You AAAARE?

Yeah dude, I got the biggest boner… just stroking it.

When are you going to ejaculate?

Well, it takes… wait, what?  Are you serious?  How old are you?

James stayed by the phone every day around lunch in hopes the guy would call back.  And he did.  His name was Jeff and worked at The Galleria.  He would make random calls while on his lunch break at the phone bank that is inside the mall.  Nice guy really.

That was a growing trend:  everyone seems to open up to James.  It’s endearing to have people depend on him as a friend and confidant, and many people did, James himself never really opened up to people.  The main problem was as he was getting older, guys were getting hotter.  He was pretty sure something had gone awry with the puberty procedure.

And his prayers didn’t work.

(Whistle.)

Tony pokes his head out of the blue curtain on the upstairs loft dividing the volunteer sleeping area from the open drafting and design space occupying the center area of the Rosenberg, Texas Assembly Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses Maintenance Building.  It was the first structure built on the property and housed a series of offices for administration and designers until the project is completed.  The building would then be converted to a large garage for the upkeep of the grounds, hence it’s name.

James looks up from his drafting station and smiles and gives the typical what up? nod in Tony’s direction.

Tony waves furiously for James to go upstairs.

James saves his work and heads in that direction thinking of the conundrum of the beckoning.  One reason he knew that prayers didn’t work at night is because the person he was about to go visit kept erotically invading his dreams in various, amorously aggressive scenarios usually mixed with angel/demon zoomorphic imagery or whatever raw sexual carnage that happened to have passed James’s mind throughout the day. Plus, there were many good looking men on a large church-based construction site.

It wasn’t that he found Tony particularly sexually attractive.  He was a good looking black man who worked with James’s father, Steve in the welding shop on the opposite end of the property.  Although Tony kept a sculpted body, it was his overt sexual suggestions and physical poking that were the main cause for defense.  However, they always provoked a giggle for the obviousness and blatant nudity of how they were presented.  Tony had been around, he had seen things before coming into The Truth… so he knew how to charm a young gay Mexican.

I got the new White Zombie CD.

Dude, you know better than that.

What?  I know you wanted to hear it.

And if you’re going to invite me up here to listen to devil music, have the damn thing open and ready to play.  I’ve got work to do!

Tony’s laugh is in short bursts and powerfully infectious.  The two listen to a few songs off “Astro-Creep 2000” before James takes off back to work.  The scene is somewhat disproportionate as a young black man is dancing around shirtless with a perfect set of 6-pack abs and a younger Mexican dressed in business attire are linking through the only connection they will ever share… music.  As cute as it was in this particular statement, overt sexual desire on its own was never quite a turn-on to James.

Although the attention was easily played with.

After graduation from high school and enduring many years of exposure to “the world” without participating in their music, entertainment, or general merriment, he was tired.  Absolutely nothing was blessed by means of banishing homosexual thoughts, tendencies, wet dreams, or even dreamscape arousal in the middle of the night.  So after his eighteenth birthday, he went exploring.

Other than the few ‘Witness approved’ dramatic movies of captivating cinematography and song, there really wasn’t an exposure to “films.”  His first forbidden movie was Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992).  He watched the movie three times in two days, uncut and in widescreen.  It was fantasy on a psychotic visceral thunder cloud.

The colors were in dense saturation, the costumes where thick and heavy with design, and the lighting beamed as a character all it’s own.  It was impossible to absorb the elements of the art piece. It wasn’t until the third viewing he even noticed the warped and simple distortion of the storyline or the fundamental metronomic rhythm of the main character, and the genius in which it was played.

It was grit in art, grit and art.  It was strikingly elegant in the understanding of the human condition known as ‘love’… something that James had not experienced personally as he had been distant to people for many years trying to keep everyone from thinking he was gay.  The portrayal of this affection was explained with painful historical passion.  The end result of a betrayal from the church one once fought so hard for is harrowing in itself, but stretched over several lifetimes it would be diabolical in its mania, until they see…

…that one face that reminds them of the person they lost.

It was an understanding of human psychology torn to shreds and put back together.  If that wasn’t brilliance,  he didn’t know what was.

Other movies followed.  Music that always danced on the frightfully uplifting pop made it’s way out of the closet and everything else that had been avoided flooded in.  And in an odd twist contrary to what the Organization had taught him, he never took away anything more than the question, what is this person feeling?

In the plastic smiles and the responsibility toward the greater peace, it was just assumed that everyone in the Organization had the ability to call Jehovah up, ask for a favor with a pure heart, and all evil in the form of anger, hate, hard-ons, and sex would be turned into sunshine flowers and cute bible verses written on gumdrops.  That never happened.

So much of the human heart and the soul for which its engine is caked with subtleties that are ignorable, but pernicious in nature when left without recognition or understanding.  For the first time James saw it was okay to be angry.  But not just angry… all the aspects of anger.  There was a difference between wrathful and indignation, although the outcome could possibly be viewed from the outside as the exact same emotion with the exact same display.

And it was okay to have both.

Love is such a simple word, but on screen one can see the elation of companionship, the blushing of sexual arousal, the dominance of unrelenting hope, the madness of compulsive obsession, or the slow bleeding of a heart beaten in deflation as they indulge themselves with mourning in avoidance.

This, this is what James wanted to do with his life.  Computer drafting was fun, passive, mentally bridging the links between structural math and artistic presentation.  It was decided that this was a good direction to go as a career as drafters would be needed in the New System after Armageddon to help rebuild the planet… although James was a computer drafter.  By all accounts of what the end of the world would entail it didn’t seem likely that there would be stable electrical grid structure in place.  He was all thumbs when it came to hand drafting.  This worried him.

The conversation had already taken place a few years earlier.  Every aptitude test that he took in school said he needed to be a movie director or producer.  Other possibilities were actor/actress, art director, or costume designer – each time, every time.  What he really wanted to do was be a theatrical lighting designer.  It was something his heart was set on for the last two years of high school.  He was offered a partial scholarship with his “Outstanding Technician” award for being Crosby High School’s One-Act production of QUILTERS’ student director and lighting designer when he pulled off 112 verbally orchestrated lighting cues for the 38 minute 45 second play after cue #1 was incorrectly programmed into the University of Texas lighting board.

It was the only technical theater award given in years.  Only one was given at the end of the final round of competition.  Unfortunately pursuing this natural-born talent was nixed on the several occasions the subject was addressed, usually by Steve.

You’re not going to work in the theater. There are too many homosexuals.

That discouragement did not have the intended effect.  After the competition it all seemed rather pointless.  Everything in his present was in the piece of paper bearing his honor and everything in his future was in the handshake of an old man with a big smile at the University of Texas.  James could make it out.  He could be off on his own and actually learn.  As the visual arts became louder in it’s drum line, more and more art began to flow out of him in deeper and more progressive levels of, what some would later describe as ‘weirdness.’

James didn’t care.  In his most frustrated stagnicity he found movement in artistically experimenting, and it was joyous.

By the time Tony calls James up into the loft, he had already realized Jehovah was not listening.  James thought it was time to shut up and instead of talking so much, listen… listen with the vigor and excitement short of screaming from the top of the The Transco Tower I WANT TO HEAR EVERYTHING EVER RECORDED!

James wasn’t sure if Jehovah approved of what he was listening to, watching, and learning, but if God created these people and these are their expressions of art with emotions screaming into film, grinding into recordings, plastered into books, and smeared across canvas, then James thought it was worth paying attention to.

Listening to everything was the easy part.  What to do with what he was learning about humanity… a bit trickier.