Backseat Devil

Tag: Rosenberg Assembly Hall construction

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 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 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