The Foxwood Chronicles

By FreeThinker


Chapter Seven



            “You look really nice, Evan.”


            Adam and Dylan stood on the front porch of Evan’s house Tuesday morning. Evan stood before them in his white tennis shorts and a white Lacoste. He noticed Adam’s eyes roaming uninhibited up and down his body. He smiled, knowing he looked hot and happy that Adam thought so.


            Dylan elbowed his older brother.


            “You can’t say stuff like that, Adam.”


            “Why not? He does look nice. I really like the way his legs look and…”


            “Because it sounds gay, that’s why.”


            Adam looked as if he were thinking and then replied, “But, I am gay. I am very happy Evan is my friend. I am happy he is going to teach me to play tennis.”


            Dylan rolled his eyes and Evan grinned at him.


            “Don’t worry about it, Dylan. I understand. Come on in.”


            Adam entered the foyer, but Dylan waved off and said, “Naw. I gotta go. I just had to walk Adam up here. See ya, Adam!”


            “Good-bye, Dylan!”


            Adam waved and then looked at the hallway, from which Evan’s grandmother had just appeared.


            “Adam! It is so nice to see you! I am so pleased you’re able to go to the club with Evan.”


            “Thank you very much,” Adam replied. His eyes were averted downward again, as if he were embarrassed or shy, but Dorothy simply placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed.


            “Evan, I’ve made arrangements for the two of you to have lunch there. Get anything you like, within reason. Also, Adam might need a racquet, so go by the pro shop.”


            She winked and Evan smiled.


            “Yeah, I thought he might. I think there’s a good AMF starter racquet we can get that’s not too expensive.”


            “Wonderful. I’ll call ahead and you just have them put it on my account. You know, I think you need a bicycle. Perhaps, Grant can drive us over to the mall this evening and get you one. Do you have a bicycle, Adam?”


            The boy shook his head as he continued to look at the floor.




            Dorothy paused and then decided not to pursue the issue.


            “Well, you boys had better get going. Have a wonderful time.”


            “See ya, Nana,” Evan replied as he picked up his racquet.


            “See ya, Nana,” Adam repeated as he followed Evan out the door. Evan chuckled as he skipped down the steps, twirling his racquet in his hand.


            “Is the country club far?” Adam asked as they walked across the lawn.


            “No. You see that big house there at the end of the street?”


            Adam looked up as the hot, late morning breeze tossed his hair across his forehead and over his eyes.


            “That is the country club? It looks like a haunted house. It looks like Frankenstein lives there.”


            He paused as they came to the sidewalk. Evan chuckled again.


            “That’s not it. And, that’s not really a haunted house. It’s OK, Adam.”


            He saw that the boy was still not moving. Evan turned and stood in front of Adam.


            “Adam, the house is safe. You can trust me. I’m your friend.”


            Adam paused a moment and seemed to be thinking, until he replied. “OK. You are my friend. I trust you.”


            Adam smiled and continued walking.


            “There’s a winding road on the other side of that house and the club is up there.”


            Adam silently followed Evan past the Huntington house and onto Country Club Drive. Evan was already wiping sweat off his forehand as they made their way up the road and along the perfect white fence. The almost flat, but perfectly manicured golf course seemed empty as they trudged toward the club house. Evan wished he hadn’t lost his Ray-Bans in the move as he squinted.


            “So, Adam, do you know how to ride a bike?”




            Evan waited, but when Adam said nothing more, he continued.


            “Have you ever tried to learn?”


            “No. Will you teach me?”


            Evan sighed. Was he going to spend his entire summer as nursemaid and babysitter to this kid? He thought for a moment and then asked himself, well, what else is there to do? And, with a sense of surprise, he realized the thought of teaching Adam to ride a bike was not all that unpleasant. It might be fun.


            He shook his head as he wondered what Ricky and Robert would think of him hanging with an autistic boy, how Kristen and Chad would probably laugh their asses off at the image of Evan and Adam as friends, and, suddenly, he felt a flash of longing as well as irritation. So what if he and Adam were friends? Why should they care?


            He stopped in mid-stride, surprised at himself. He frowned and walked on.


            As they approached the parking lot and a tasteful wooden sign, white with blue letters reading, “Foxwood Country Club- Members Only,” Evan heard the sound of two bicycles coming up behind them and the voices of two teenage boys. Turning as the bikes pulled up beside them, he saw Ryan and “Luke Skywalker” stop.


            “Hey, Evan,” said Ryan. “What’s up?”


            “Hey, not much. I’m just going to teach my friend here how to play tennis. You mind if he watches us?”


            “Naw, not at all. That’s cool.”


            Adam was looking down at the asphalt beneath his slightly ragged blue canvas shoes.


Ryan looked at him curiously. Evan realized the confusion.


            “Um, this is Adam. He’s the pastor’s son.” He paused a moment and then smiled as he looked at Adam, still averting his eyes. “He’s my friend.”


            Adam smiled, only the second or third time Evan had seen true emotion on the boy’s face. Evan gave Ryan a significant look and Ryan smiled with understanding.


            “Cool. Hey, Adam. How’s it going?”


            Adam suddenly lost all expression in his face and seemed to be confused. Evan put a hand on his shoulder.


            “He means, how are you feeling?”


            Adam nodded, still looking downward.


            “Fine, thank you.”


            “Great,” Ryan replied without missing a beat. “This is my friend, Jesse. Jesse, this is Evan Vanderlyn, the guy I told you about whose ass I’m gonna kick this afternoon.”


            Jesse grinned and nodded at Evan.


            “Hey, Adam. I’m glad your joining us. You ever play tennis before?”


            Adam shook his head, still looking downward.


            “Well, we got a good pro here, Michael. He’ll help you.”


            “Evan is going to teach me,” said Adam with more than his usual monotone.


            Evan smiled, put a hand on Adam’s shoulder and said, “Let’s go in. Adam and I are going to grab a bite in the Grill. You want to eat with us?”


            “Sure,” Ryan replied and he and Jesse slowly rode beside the two walking boys until they came to the front door. After parking their bikes in the rack, which Evan was surprised to note they didn’t bother to lock,  they went inside. Evan, however, saw Adam hesitate before the door. 


            “Hey, come on, Adam. It’s cool.”


            Slowly, Adam followed him in. His head was still pointed downward, but he was still looking about the lobby and the hallway in awe as they made their way to the grill. Adam still seemed hesitant as they walked across the half-empty room to a table near the picture window.


            “What’s the matter?” Evan asked softly as he allowed Ryan and Jesse to move on to the table.


            “Are they your friends, too?”


            Evan smiled.


            “Yeah, but not like you. I met Ryan Sunday at lunch and he invited me to play tennis with him today. It’s OK.”


            Adam hesitated again and then asked, “They will not laugh at me or beat me up?”


            Evan was shocked as he got a glimpse of what Adam’s life must be like.


            “No. I promise you. And, if anyone laughs at you or tries to beat you up, I’ll take care of them. I promise. I’m your friend.”


            Adam finally raised his head and, once again, gave a rare smile.


            “I am glad you are my friend, Evan.”


            Evan smiled at him and pulled him over to the table.


            Evan set his racquet next to Ryan’s and Jesse’s and as they sat down, Evan saw Ryan give him a smile and a nod indicating he and Jesse had overheard.


            “So, Adam, can Jesse and me help Evan teach you how to play?”


            Adam looked down again, but replied, “You want to?”


            “Sure,” Jesse replied. “It’d be fun!”


            “Cool. We will eat and then we will play tennis.”


            “You have a racquet?” Ryan asked as the waitress took their drink orders.


            “We’re going to get him one in the pro shop after lunch,” Evan answered.


            “They have a good AMF that might be right for a starter,” said Ryan. “So, you’re from California? You know any movie stars?”


            Evan grinned at the usual question most Californians are asked when they first meet outlanders.


            “Yes,” he replied as Ryan’s and Jesse’s eyes grew wide. “My mom was head writer on The Passions of the Beautiful. She won an Emmy in ’79.”


            “No shit!” said Jesse. “That’s my mom’s favorite soap. Your mom writes that?”


            Evan hesitated.


            “Well, she did. She died last month.”




            Jesse seemed unsure how to respond, but Ryan immediately picked up the ball.


            “So, who do you know?”


            Evan rattled off a few names, each a man or teenager he had met at one of Chad or Kristen’s parties and who had a particular liking for hot fourteen year-old blond boys. Of course, he would never tell Ryan and Jesse that, at least not yet. The omerta regarding homosexuality in “Hollywood” was pretty strong.


            “Wow. That’s pretty damn cool,” said Jesse. “Man, moving to this hick town must be killin’ ya.”


            Evan shrugged.


            “I was pretty depressed about it. But, it’s not that bad and besides, it’s just for four years until I graduate and go to college… the four most important years of my life. But, I can go to UCLA or play tennis for Pepperdine.”


            Jesse raised an eyebrow at the tennis comment and glanced at Ryan, who suddenly began to wonder whose ass was going to get kicked.


            The waitress arrived with the drinks, Cokes for Ryan, Jesse, and Evan, and water for Adam, who was carefully studying the menu.


            “I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries,” said Ryan.


            “Me, too,” said Jesse.


            “Me, three,” said Evan, getting the chuckle from Ryan and Jesse he had hoped for and wondering how much Chad and Kristen would have rolled their eyes over him doing so.


            Everyone turned to Adam.


            “I cannot eat cheeseburgers because they are not healthy for me. May I please have a California sandwich?”


            “Of course, sweetie,” said the waitress with a loving grin at Adam. He blushed and looked downward again. Evan looked at the menu before handing it back to the waitress. He shook his head.


            “Everyone thinks that if you put sprouts and avocados on something that it makes it ‘California.’”


            “You mean it doesn’t?” asked Ryan with a grin.


            “Evan, do you want me to order something else?” Adam asked.


            “Oh, no, that’s OK,” said Evan quickly. He placed a hand on Adam slender arm and said with emphasis, “You order whatever you want to, Adam. You’re free to do whatever you want.”


            He gave Adam a warm, if exaggerated smile and Adam, tried, uncertainly, to mimic it.


            “So,” said Evan turning back to the Foxwood natives, “give me the dirty dirty lowdown on Foxwood. What do I need to know to keep from getting my Southern California ass kicked here in corn world.”


            Ryan and Jesse both chuckled.


            “Well, stay away from the Morlocks, if you can,” said Ryan. “They hate everyone who lives in College Hill, especially anyone who lives on Court Street.”


            “OK. Several questions. Who are the Morlocks?”


            Jesse replied, “They’re the one’s who live on the south and east sides. They go to Foxwood High, except for the Catholics, and they hate everyone who goes to Foxwood Catholic.”


            “It’s from The Time Machine,” Ryan explained.


            “Yeah,” said Evan. “I know. I read it in Sixth Grade English. Wells was making a comparison to the working class and the aristocracy in England. The Morlocks lived underground and worked and the Eloi lived above ground and played all day. So, is that pretty much how Foxwood works?”


            Ryan and Jesse grinned.


            “Yeah, pretty much.”


            “Except,” Ryan added, “the Morlocks don’t come out at night and eat the Eloi, but they do like to kick our asses.”


            Evan nodded and shrugged, not noticing the hint of anxiety in Adam.


            “So, what’s College Hill?”

            “That’s the nice part of town, where we all live,” said Jesse. “Court Street to the college and Main Street to the Country Club.”


            Evan nodded. Even in small town America, the class distinctions that he had grown up with as so much a part of his life in LA were still important.


            “So, there’s a big rivalry between Foxwood High and Foxwood Catholic?”


            “Oh, yeah,” said Ryan. “They hate us. Wait ‘til October when they play us in football. Foxwood High hasn’t won since ’72.”


            “Yeah,” Jesse added. “There’s fights all over town for a week after the game.”


            Evan shrugged.


            “How bad can it be? We have gangs in LA who’d probably kill a Morlock in three seconds.”


            “Well, I cut ‘em some slack,” said Ryan. “It’s got to be pretty hard to grow up on that side of town and seeing us up here always winning and stuff. I understand why they’re like that.”


            Ryan stopped speaking when he saw Evan’s eyes were focused somewhere behind him. He turned and saw Michael Sanchez leaning against the bar, chatting with the female bartender, and sipping a Gatorade. Ryan looked back and saw Jesse had seen, as well, and the two exchanged a knowing grin.


            “Um,” said Evan recovering quickly, but not quickly enough, “where’s everyone hang out?”


            Ryan was still grinning over the flush on Evan’s face as he replied, “Well, there’s Skateland out on the bypass and the Dairy Queen and the Tastee-Freeze on Main Street. Oh, people usually cruise Main Street after supper.”


            Evan’s definition of “cruise” was probably quite different from Ryan’s, though he suspected there was probably some of his type of cruising going on, as well, though much more discreetly. Evan was careful to keep his eyes on Ryan and Jesse, though he monitored Michael through his peripheral vision.


            “Hey,” said Jesse, “Chris Holland is back in town.”


            “Oh, yeah?” Ryan replied. “I thought he’d get the hell back to San Francisco after he sold his mom’s house.”


            “He did, but he came back and he’s opening a place in that building over by campus that his mom owned. He’s gonna sell like these weird coffee drinks and shit and different juice drinks. It’s like places they have in Seattle and San Francisco that the hippies and the cool people hang out in. And, get this. He’s putting one of those satellite dishes on the roof so he can get MTV! Even if the town council votes against Foxwood Cable getting MTV, we can go there and watch it! And, he’s gonna put a dance floor in there.”


            “Cool,” Ryan said with enthusiasm. “We need something cool here.”


            “There’s places like that back home,” Evan said, “juice bars where you can get together if you’re underage and still dance and stuff.”


            Ryan and Jesse looked at each other and smiled.


            “Cool,” they both said.


            “I’ll bet the council will try to close it down, though,” said Jesse dispiritedly. “You know old man Purdy. He hates everything. He tried to get Skateland closed last fall.”


            Ryan shrugged.


            “Yeah. You’re right. He’ll probably get it closed.”


            Evan was dividing his attention between the enlightening conversation between Ryan and Jesse and watching Michael Sanchez eyeing him with that damnable cocky smirk on his face. Evan was trying hard not to get hard, but “Little Evan” was definitely not so little. Fortunately, the waitress brought the food and provided a diversion.


            As she finished setting the plates down, Ryan and Jesse immediately picked up their cheeseburgers and took bites, stopping, however, when they noticed Adam folding his hands in his lap and closing his eyes.


            “Bless, oh Lord, this food to our use and we to thy loving service. Make us ever mindful of the needs of others. We ask in Christ’s name. Amen.”


            Evan suppressed a grin as Ryan and Jesse blushed.


            “Um, sorry, Adam.”


            “That is OK. I know that not everyone believes in God. That is OK. I do not believe in God either. But, Mom and Dad say that if I pray anyway, it will remind me that I should be grateful for my food because there are people who have less than I do and that it will help remind me to think about the people who are worse off than me.”


            “Oh, I believe in God,” said Ryan with his mouth full. “I guess I just don’t always pray when I’m supposed to.”


            Evan was watching curiously.


            “So, Adam, your dad’s a minister and you don’t believe in God?”


            Adam shook his head as he took a bite of his sandwich.


            “Why not?”


            Adam took his time chewing his bite completely before swallowing it. Only then did he reply.


            “Because I do not see him. There is no Santa Claus and no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy. So, I do not think there is a God.”


            “But, you have to believe in God,” said Jesse.


            “Why?” Adam asked innocently, his eyes averted to his plate.


            “Well, because, everyone does. And, because you’ll go to Hell if you don’t.”


            “Just because everyone robs banks does not mean I have to rob a bank.”


            The boys paused as Jesse tried to think of a retort.


            “And,” Adam continued, “if there is not a God, then there is no Hell. I prayed to God to make me normal, but He never did. I prayed to God to make the mean kids quit hitting me and laughing at me and He never did. I prayed to God to give food to the hungry people and He never did. I prayed to God to make the sick people better, and, he never did. I prayed to God to…”


            “OK, Adam,” said Evan, putting a hand on the boy’s arm.


            “I think that if God is there and He is so powerful that He can do anything, then He should help people. People should not suffer.”


            Neither Ryan not Jesse knew what to say to this, but before Evan could make a comment, he noticed Michael Sanchez approaching the table.


            “Hey, guys,” he said with a smooth glance over the four boys, his eyes pausing over Evan and the slight rise in his shorts, which seemed to pulse as he watched.


            “Hey, Michael!” said Ryan, grateful to change the conversation to more familiar ground. “How was Stanford?”


            “It was cool. Pretty busy. Got laid a lot, and I mean a lot.”


            He gave a cocky grin to Ryan and Jesse, who both laughed.


            “Cool!” said Jesse with a wide grin.


            Evan was gazing worshipfully at the bronze skin, the white teeth, the deep, dark eyes, the shiny, thick hair around Michael’s head, the muscled arms as the tennis pro leaned nonchalantly on the back of Ryan’s chair. Michael was a god and Evan forgot everything as he felt his penis inflate to a complete erection as he sat there gazing at the beautiful college student before him.


            “Evan, you up for your game today?”


            “I always up,” Evan replied, instantly regretting such an obvious double entendre in front of Ryan and Jesse.


            “Is this your little friend?” Michael asked as he looked at the downcast face of Adam.

Evan, despite the lust nearly exploding from his body, lowered his eyebrows with disapproval.


            “Yes,” he said evenly, lust and irritation battling for control of his voice. “This is Adam.” With emphasis for Adam’s sake, he added, “He’s my friend.”


            “Well,” Michael replied, impressed. “Hey, Adam. I hear you want to play tennis?”


            Adam had suddenly seemed to withdraw into himself. He lowered his head even more and seemed to scrunch his shoulders. He said nothing, but simply nodded his head.


            “So, are you any good?”


            Adam didn’t reply. Evan noticed that Adam had begun working the fingers on his right hand in an intricate pattern again, much as he had Sunday at church.


            “What’s the matter with him?” Michael asked callously. “Is he retarded?”


            The three boys were shocked. Ryan and Jesse both looked up at Michael with wide eyes, Evan with fury. Adam began to rock back and forth in his chair.


            “I am not retarded. I am autistic. I have difficulty with communication.”


            His voice was quivering. Evan immediately put his right arm around Adam’s shoulder, but the boy continued to rock in his chair and repeat softly, “I am not retarded. I am not retarded.”


            “Oh, man,” said Michael with regret. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean… I didn’t realize…. I just….”


            Adam’s rocking was becoming more pronounced and his chanting louder and more urgent. Ryan and Jesse looked on in fear as Evan’s face showed his confusion. He slid his chair next to Adam’s and put both arms around the boy.


            “It’s OK, Adam. It’s OK. We know you’re not retarded.”


            “I am NOT retarded. I am NOT retarded.”


            “We know, Adam. He didn’t mean it. He’s sorry, aren’t you, Michael?”


            Evan was looking up at Michael with disgust and Michael immediately replied, “Yeah, Adam. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”


            Others in the grill had begun to turn and watch as Evan continued to hug Adam and sooth him. He pulled the boy to him and held him tightly, his face buried in Adam’s hair, softly saying, “It’s OK, Adam. I’m here. I’m your friend. You’re OK. Nothing’s going to happen.


You’re OK. I’m here. I’m your friend.”


            Adam slowly calmed down, his rocking against Evan and his protest both slowed. Finally, he was silent and he simply leaned into Evan, letting his friend hold him.


            “Um, I thought autistics didn’t like to be held or touched,” said Michael with embarrassment. Ryan shrugged as he watched. Jesse was silent, but impressed with the way Evan, the faggy looking boy from LaLa-Land, was able to calm Adam and show such compassion and understanding.


            “Is everything under control here?”


            Everyone except Evan and Adam looked up to see the manager of the club, in his perfect suit, hovering over the gathering with a look of concern and slight disapproval.


            Michael nodded and took him aside, whispering, his hand on the man’s shoulder. The manager nodded and left Michael, who returned.


            Softly, Evan heard Adam say, “I want to go home.”


            Without thinking that the entire grill was watching, Evan leaned downward and kissed Adam on the forehead.


            “OK. We’ll go home now. It’s OK, Adam. We’re going home.”


            The waitress came over and as Evan released Adam, he signed the check and pulled Adam to his feet.


            “You want us to come along?” Ryan asked as he and Jesse stood.


            “Yeah, you need any help?” Jesse added.


            Evan shook his head.


            “Thanks. I think Adam trusts me. I can take care of him.”


            Adam was looking downward and leaning against Evan. Giving Michael one last look of contempt, Evan turned and guided Adam slowly toward the door of the grill.


            “I am not retarded,” Adam softly said one last time.


            “I know you’re not, sweetheart,” said Evan softly, shocking himself with the use of the endearment.


            “I know you’re not.”