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