A Canterbury Tale

The Outsider's Tale
Chapter One

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. When I was a kid, I could hardly wait for Halloween to be over—though that was my second favorite holiday with the Fourth of July as number three—so that my parents would take me to Nieman's for the incredible Christmas decorations. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I would pester my Dad to go out and get the Christmas tree. It was an annual battle, my inability to understand why we had to wait until the second weekend in December and my dad unable to understand that I didn't care if the tree was going to get dry and catch fire from the lights and burn the house down! I wanted that tree up! And, darn it, if you just water the blessed thing, it won't catch fire!

If you love Christmas and you grow up in the South and the teachers in grade school make you sing Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells for four weeks, it's a bit difficult to watch the weather reports during December. You always look to see if some freak cold front just MIGHT move past the Kansas-Oklahoma border. What is it about Wichita that seems to make the snow stop there? Is there some unwritten law that it can't snow south of the Mason-Dixon line? It’s just not supposed to be seventy-five degrees on Christmas, darn it!

So, on the Tuesday before Christmas—the day before Christmas Eve—I was almost orgasmic when I awoke to Davy sucking my dick and saw snow falling out the window. Well, OK. Davy sucking my dick ALWAYS made me orgasmic; but, even without the most beautiful, the most sensitive, the most compassionate boy in the world sucking my dick, the sight of snow falling just before Christmas would have made me scream with passion.

So it snowed on Thanksgiving this year, and that was certainly cool, too, because I spent seven years at Devonshire Primary School singing ‘Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go, etc. etc.’ without once seeing anything even resembling the color white until February, and then it only happened like once every three or four years. But, snow on Christmas? Well, dude, rock on with your bad self!

Davy was frantically masturbating as he quite skillfully worked on me and as I looked out the window and saw God's second Christmas gift to me—the first being the most incredible person in the world sharing my life and bed—I screamed, "Its snowing!"

Startled by my outburst, obviously not the comment he was expecting from someone getting what I must admit was one of the most incredible blow jobs of my life—OK, so Davy was the only person who had ever sucked my dick, my friend in high school and I were just j.o. buddies— Davy looked at me as if I had lost my mind.

"It’s snowing!" I repeated. "We're going to have a white Christmas!"

Davy sat back between my legs, his rigid little penis standing up angrily between his thighs, his long hair, even longer now than it had been when I had first fallen in love with him six months earlier, falling down over his shoulders.

"It’s ALWAYS a white Christmas," he declared with some probably justifiable asperity.

"Well, I've never had a white Christmas, so there!"

I pinched his balls gently, eliciting a squeal from him. In retaliation, he squeezed mine, earning a very loud, "Ow!!!" A loud pounding from the other side of the wall was followed by Alex's growling, "If you boys can't behave over there, I'll have to complain to the landlord."

"I already did," Davy shouted back, "and he said `fuck off!'"

I could hear Alex chuckling, but I gave my love an admonishing glance. "Davy!"

The boy rolled his eyes, bent down, and made certain I would be making no further comments about his undignified language by taking my penis in his mouth and forcing me to elicit only groans of pleasure.

It was about half an hour later when, after a shower to cleanse the sin from my body, I wrapped myself in my new winter coat from J.C. Penney's—had never had a REAL winter coat before!—and kissed my sweet boy goodbye. I slapped him on the butt as he mischievously ruined my kiss by pushing his tongue into my mouth.

"You are just a mess!" I declared.

Still naked, Davy posed very seductively and said in a voice that made me want to remove my coat and blow off my shift at Mancinelli's, "I know; don't ya love it?"

I rolled my eyes and left the apartment laughing.

That morning was one of the most glorious of my life. If you aren't a romantic over holidays and didn't grow up in the South, you can't imagine what it's like to actually walk in the snow, to feel the flakes landing on your nose and tickling your face, to hear all the sounds of the world muffled, to look around and see everything you're used to covered in the most magical white imaginable. Even the cold wind blowing into the sleeves of your coat and whipping around your torso is glorious.

When I got to Main Street, there were people everywhere carrying packages and big plastic and paper sacks from Penney's and Ben Franklin. The town's snow plow had been out before the town awoke and had already left a mound of snow along the curb. Everyone I passed seemed to smile and greet me as I walked to work. It was amazing. The loud speaker outside Penney's was playing Bing singing ‘White Christmas,’ and when I passed Ben Franklin and the fat fake Santa was ringing his bell for the Salvation Army and I heard Nat King Cole singing ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,’ I wanted to cry and sing and dance all at once.

Mr. Mancinelli grinned at me when I came in the back door, my coat covered with snow and an insane smile on my face. He was at the giant Hobart mixer in the back making dough for the evening shift.

"Ah, Stevie. You like the Christmas snow, eh?"

I was speechless. I just smiled like an idiot. Mr. Mancinelli nodded.

"My papa was the same way. He came from the Old Country just before the Great War and he always cried with joy when the snow fell at Christmas. Till his dying day, God rest his soul, he cried with the Christmas snow."

"It doesn't snow in Italy?" I asked as I hung up my coat.

"Not in Reggio," he replied. "Too warm. But Christmas there, it's a special time. It's a beautiful time and everyone knows how to celebrate! You come to our house! You see!"

The first sad thought of the day intruded on my happiness as Mr. Mancinelli said that. He saw the cloud move across my face and stood. He walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder.

"Stevie," he said with a sad tone, "why you not go home? Why you punish your mother like this?"

I looked at the floor.

"I'm not punishing my mother. It’s that Dad lied to me."

"How did your father lie to you?"

"He told me I had his blessing to live here in Canterbury. He said it was OK, that he understood, that he understood my need to be a man and be independent. He even told me he respected me for wanting to be on my own. Now, he says that I've had my little play time and that I have to come home and go to Rice or Vanderbilt or Tulane next year. I won't do it! I don't want to live there! I don't want to go to Rice or Vanderbilt or Tulane! I want to go to Canterbury! I want to be free. THIS is my home. You people are my family. Davy and Donald and Patience and you and Mrs. Mancinelli and Nicky and Jamie. You're my family and Canterbury is my home. I love it here. I've never felt more at home. I've never been happier. And, they just don't get it."

Mr. Mancinelli smiled sadly at me.

"I understand, my boy. But, Christmas. A boy should be with his mama and papa."

I shook my head.

"You don't understand, Mr. Mancinelli. If I go back, they'll never let me leave. I have to be a man. It’s time for me to make my own life now. This is my home."

Mr. Mancinelli looked at me sadly for a moment and then smiled.

"Well, you're like a son to me, Stevie. You ARE a son to me. Your Papa, he should be proud of you. You're a man, Stevie."

We both smiled and then he turned and gruffly told me to get the work table ready.

The lunch rush was slower than usual with all of the out-of-town students attending Canterbury College gone home for the holidays. The only people who came in were the usual business people and the usual hippie professors from the college. A few shoppers straggled in toward the end of the rush, but it was pretty much a relaxed shift.

It was around one o'clock when Davy came in with Jon and Anthony. With Nicky gone—he was working the evening shift—it was left to me to harass the teenagers. As they came up to the counter, I let out with my best Mafioso voice.

"Eh! Tony Baloney! You want da usual?"

"Yeah, Stevie. Two slices of anchovy."

After handing Anthony his Dr Pepper—how Jon was able to teach him to drink that crap was beyond me, but, then the English also are known to eat something called "Spotted Dick," so there you go—I changed to my southern drawl.

"Well, Jon-boy. What you gonna have?"

"Waal," he replied, playing along, "Ah guess ah'l have a couple of slaces uh that thar pepperaunchy!"

When Jon was taken care of, I then turned to my love.

"And, now . . . we have . . . the Brat."

"Hey," Davy replied indignantly as he started to open his tattered coat, "I'll show you brat!"

Jon and Anthony dissolved into hysterical giggles as looked at I him in panic, fearing he might actually show me! One never quite knew with Davy.

He stood there with a smug look of satisfaction as I handed my boy his slice of ham and cheese—like his father, Davy took strange satisfaction in flaunting the traditions of his heritage. I gave him a look that said, "You just wait `til I get home tonight!" as I turned to the oven and got another cheeky grin.

Most of the lunch crowd had taken off when Mr. Mancinelli came out and offered to give me a break. I was pouring myself a Coke when the front door opened and a kid in a plaid flannel shirt untucked from his scruffy jeans and wearing an open black leather jacket sauntered in. I don't know what it is about bad boys. Coming from a background where my peers always laughed at greasers, most of the guys I usually looked at were those in khakis and Brooks Brothers button-downs—although that image certainly didn't apply to Davy! But, there was always a secret place in the back of my mind that wondered what it might be like to spend some time with a bad boy, and I caught myself staring at the kid as he approached. His insolent eyes met mine and held my gaze long enough to let me know he knew what I was thinking. Blushing, I quickly looked away as Mr. Mancinelli went up to the register.

From behind the ovens, I sat on a stool sipping my Coke and watching. The kid was HOT. He was probably 15 or 16. I really wasn't in to younger guys, except Davy, and he was special. But, this kid just seemed to ooze sex. His brown hair was long and smooth, parted in the middle and falling over his ears and onto the fake wool collar of his slightly tattered jacket. There were a few freckles across his nose and cheeks and his eyebrows were thin. But, his brown eyes were so soulful, so expressive. He had a way of standing there with his lips parted and his two front teeth just barely visible and with those eyes . . . He seemed to be saying, "I want you" as he looked back at me. He seemed almost too obvious. I turned and pretended to read the calendar on the door to Mr. Mancinelli's office.

I didn't notice the looks of concern on the faces of Davy, Jon, and Anthony until the kid was walking away from the counter. I had stood up to lecherously watch his butt as he walked away—living in an open environment that let me come out of the closet had been, perhaps, a bit too liberating for me—and was moving forward toward the counter when I saw Davy glance fearfully first at the kid and then at me. I froze as did the kid. He set his slice of cheese pizza and his cup of water down on a table next to the usual table of hippie beer drinkers in the corner and then stood with is hands jammed into his pockets.

"Hey! Freakle!"

Immediately, Jon stood up, a look of fear and determination on his face, his fists clenched. Anthony shook his head at the kid.

"Leave us alone, McKenzie."

The kid continued to approach the table.

"Or, what, fag? You gonna have your fag boyfriend beat me up?"

The kid reached their table and shoved Jon backwards against the window. I leapt over the counter as the other patrons all jumped up and moved away from the altercation. In no time, I had lether-jacket pinned against the wall with his right arm twisted up behind his back.

"Let goa me!"

"STOP IT!" I shouted into his ear. Mr. Mancinelli was holding the front door open. I pulled the kid back and, still holding his arm up behind him, pushed him toward the door, the kid shouting furious profanities at me all the while. I then shoved him out onto the sidewalk. He slipped and fell face first into the snow.

I stood watching him, ready to fight, as he rolled over. He looked up at me and something strange happened. I expected to see anger, but instead was met with a look of abject humiliation and shame. Our eyes met and I saw torment in his soul for just a moment. And, then, it was gone. He spat at me and the look on his face instantly changed to fury.

"You fag!" he snarled. "Don't you ever touch me again or I'll kill you!"

I was still breathing hard. "Go away. We don't want any trouble here."

The kid tried to stand up, but slipped and fell back down into the pile of snow on the curb. A crowd had gathered, silently watching. The kid looked about him and snarled, "What are you motherfuckers lookin' at?"

No one responded. Uncertainly, he stood up again, looked at me in the eye, muttered, "Fag," and stomped away to the east, but not before he passed the window separating him from Davy and his friends and making as if he were jumping at them. Then he was gone.

I sighed and then took a deep breath, turned and went back inside. Mr. Mancinelli closed the door behind me.

"You OK, Stevie?"

"Yeah. I'm fine. Sorry, Mr. Mancinelli.

"No, no. You did alright. Thank you."

He then turned to the patrons, who seemed visibly relieved, and said, "OK, folks. Everything's OK now. Stevie took care of it. I guess we have just a Christmas humbug! Everybody gets free biscotti!"

As the patrons all clapped and talked with Mr. Mancinelli, I walked over to the boys.

"You OK, Jon?" I asked as he sat back down in his chair, rubbing his shoulder where he had landed against the window.

"Yeah, I'm fine. But, you were really cool, Stevie."

"Yeah," Davy said proudly. "You were awesome!"

"Yes," Anthony added. "Brilliant!"

I grabbed a chair from the next table and sat down on it backward.

"So, what was that all about?"

The boys all shook their heads.

"That was Brad McKenzie," said Davy. "He hates everyone. He's a real bad ass."

"Yeah," added Jon. "He's fifteen, but he's like flunked twice and so he's still in the seventh grade. He lives over in the East End and he's always causing shit . . . I mean, trouble." He blushed, and then added, "Sorry."

I smiled at him.

"Does he bother you guys much?"

Davy shrugged. "Not a lot. Sometimes. He's always calling guys `fag' and getting down on people about being ‘fags’.''

"Yeah," Jon added. Then he leaned forward, as did the rest of us, and whispered, "But, it’s weird. He's always getting hard-ons in the shower. But, nobody ever gives him sh . . . uh, grief about it."

Davy and Anthony nodded.

"Well, if he ever does anything again, you let me know."

I stood up and squeezed Davy's shoulder. He smiled at me and I returned to the kitchen.

It was not long before I looked up from cleaning off the work table and saw the three whispering and giggling to each other. Then, they stood up and quickly went to the door.

"See ya, Stevie!" Davy yelled. I raised my eyebrow curiously, which elicited another of Davy's trademark cheeky grins. I rolled my eyes and waved.

For the rest of the afternoon, I continued to take care of the few stragglers who came in and to clean up the kitchen. But, the wonderful, festive mood I had enjoyed before was gone, replaced with a strange and unsettled sense. I kept thinking about that kid, Brad McKenzie. There was something about him that I couldn't shake. OK, he was hot and sexy and made little Stevie not so little. But, there was something else. There was a strange dichotomy there. He was obviously a thug and a bully. But, when our eyes met, both when he first came in and later, when he was lying in the snow, I saw something else. I saw a sensitivity. I saw something beneath the tough-guy, bad-boy veneer. There was more to the story than his just being a bully.

And, then, there were Davy and his friends leaving so quickly. I knew why they were giggling before they left and why they were in such a hurry and why The Brat had given me that cheeky grin on his way out.

It shouldn't have bothered me. Ever since I first caught the three of them fooling around that summer, I had given Davy my go-ahead to keep playing as long as it didn't get too serious. I had never had the chance to goof-around with anyone when I was thirteen. Yeah, I got to feel off my buddy in the ninth and tenth grades. We jacked each other off and stuff. But, I never had the kind of experiences that Davy was having and I didn't want to deny him the chance to be a boy and have fun, as long as it didn't get out of hand. And, I prided myself on being mature and that I was setting an example for my boyfriend. I was above simple jealousy.

OK. No, I wasn't. I was jealous. I was jealous Davy was playing around with someone else. And, I hated to admit it, I was jealous I couldn't join in. Of course, Davy had often asked if I wanted to join them. I knew Jon really liked me. Our eyes had often met and I knew I turned him on. Sometimes, I even mischievously flirted with him. But, I couldn't do it with anyone but Davy. I just wasn't someone who could do that.

Of course, I looked at other guys. I was human. I was eighteen. I had hormones. There were LOTS of hot and hunky guys in this town. Some days, after work, I would wander around campus, just to relax, and my eyes would meet some hot guy's eyes and I knew I could go back to his dorm room and get just as hot and nasty as I wanted. But then, I would go home and my Davy would be sitting on the couch reading and the glow in his face when I came in would tell me just why I didn't go to those guys' rooms.

So why, even after the way he acted, the way he threatened my boy and his friends, the way he hurt Jon, the way he frightened Davy, why couldn't I get this punk, this Brad McKenzie, out of my mind? Why could I not stop thinking about those eyes, that knowing look when he came in, that look of pain as he crawled up from the snow?

I didn't realize that I was just standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring at the oven, as Nicky came in early for the evening shift. He was emerging from the office when I looked up.

"You OK?" he asked.

"Oh, yeah, sure!" I blustered.

"Yeah. I heard about what happened. That was weird. McKenzie's a punk. You did good."

"Yeah." I turned to the work table and to finish stocking up the supplies for the dinner rush. Nicky put his hand on my shoulder.

"Hey, tonight will be dead. Why don't you take off early and spend some time with The Brat. Relax. Kick back."

I looked at Nicky and he gave me a warm smile.


As I was donning my coat, he called out, "Hey! You and Davy are still coming over for dinner tomorrow night, right?"

"Yeah," I replied softly. "We going over to St. Stephen's later for the ten o'clock service."

Nicky opened his eyes wide.

"You're taking Donald Goldstein's son to an Episcopal Christmas Eve service?"

I smiled.

"Donald accused me of trying to turn his son into a `Christian fascist' but he mellowed when I suggested it would be good for the boy to be exposed to different cultures. You know how liberals love exposing themselves to different cultures."

On the way out the door, I gave Jamie a hug as he arrived early for his shift.

The snow had started up again just as I left and it couldn't have come at a better moment. It helped raise my spirits. I hummed Christmas carols all the way home and felt even better when I was walking up the driveway and saw the lights on my small Christmas tree glowing in my window. I admit that the thought of a fire crossed my mind—OMG! I was turning into my father!

I paused at the top of the steps and listened to a strange rhythm coming from inside. I recognized it as some crap from a new group called K.C. and the Sunshine Band. What the heck was Davy doing listening to this dreadful abortion of sound? But, when I looked in the window, the sight that greeted me was a bit of a shock. The bed was all torn up and Davy was dancing in the middle of the room with Jon and Anthony. All three boys were in various stages of undress. Davy wore nothing but his tight jeans. Jon was in only his briefs and had a rather noticeable bulge working. Anthony had his pants on and a long sleeve shirt unbuttoned. All three were seriously getting down to the "music," with Davy the most dangerous dancer. They were swaying and working their hips. Davy was throwing his arms around and seemed to have a delirious look on his face. Jon was smiling and bopping his head back and forth. Anthony seemed his usual reserved, stick-up-the-butt English self, but even he was getting into it. I couldn't help but smile.

And then, I realized what they had probably been doing before they started dancing and my heart sank. I became irritated again and despite my wonderful mood during my walk, I abruptly opened the door, startling them.

"Stevie!" Davy yelled as I stomped the snow off my boots and jeans. "Come dance!" He swayed over to me, sensuously working his hips and giving me a horny grin. Jon seemed confused, but he continued to dance, his face burning a red that almost matched his hair. Only Anthony, the most reserved of the three, seemed non-plussed, but he continued his stiff-upper-lip version of dancing.

I gave my boyfriend a reserved smile as I closed the door and removed my coat. I think Jon realized something wasn't quite right for as soon as the song was over, he removed the cassette from my Panasonic tape player and picked up his shirt from the floor. Anthony looked at him with a bit of confusion and then buttoned up his own shirt.

"Having fun?" I asked with a slight touch of sarcasm in my voice.

"Yes," Davy replied with a sudden turn of defiance. I had pushed that button again, but I didn't care.

"Well," Anthony said in his usually discreet and diplomatic manner, "Jon and I need to check with Mrs. Runnymede about tomorrow night, so we had better run, hadn't we, Jon?"

"Uh, yes! Yes, we, uh, we need to check about tomorrow night. You're coming to the service aren't you, Stevie?"

"Yes," I replied stiffly.

Jon definitely didn't know how to respond to that. "Uh, yes. Well, OK."

When the two had left and I was standing at the window watching them trudge through the snow down the driveway, Davy turned to me and demanded, "What's the matter this time?"

I looked at him with some asperity.

"Can't you ever keep your damn pants on? Jesus, this place smells like a damn orgy."

I stormed over to the bed and ripped the sheets up.

"There's cum all over these! God, Davy! You act like a damn slut!"

I regretted the words the moment they were out of my mouth, but I couldn't take them back. Davy's face jerked as if I had slapped him. Suddenly tears came to his eyes and he turned away. I didn't know what to say, so I merely stood there, looking at the damage I had caused, the satisfaction I had wanted to feel by uttering those words eluding me.

Davy slowly pulled his sweater over his head, his back to me, and shook his long hair to make it fall over his shoulders. I heard him sniff. My heart was breaking, but something prevented me from saying anything.

My sweet Davy turned around and picked up his torn up sneakers. He started to put them on and then stopped. He looked up at me with heart wrenching pain in his face. I couldn't take it.

I melted. “Oh, Davy! I'm sorry!"

I held my arms out to him and like lightening, he ran to me. We desperately clutched each other, both of us crying.

"Stevie! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! I love you, Stevie!"

"Oh, Davy, I'm sorry. I love you, my sweet Davy! I love you so much!"

We stood in front of the Christmas tree, which Davy had called my Charlie Brown Christmas tree because it was so sparse and bare, and we held each other as if our lives would end if we let go.

Slowly, I led him over to the sofa-bed. I sat down and leaned against the back of the sofa. Davy cuddled up next to me, curling his head under my chin, my arms wrapped tightly around him. We sat there motionless for some time and then I slowly began to caress his wild-boy hair, running my fingers through it as I softly kissed his forehead.

"Stevie," he whispered, "you know Jon and Anthony are just friends. When we fool around, we're just having fun. I love them like they’re my brothers, but that's all. I love you like more than I love anything else in the whole universe. When I play around with them, it’s just because it’s it’s fun and feels good. When I do it with you, it’s because I love you. It’s completely different when we do it. I love you so much, Stevie."

I could have slapped myself for being so insensitive. Of course, the little guy was thirteen. Every thirteen-year-old is a walking hormone. Of course, he needed to play around with his friends. I knew that.

"Davy, I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. I know you love me and I have never ever doubted that. Even that time last summer . . . "

"I don't want to talk about that. I don't even want to think about that!"

I caressed his face and kissed his forehead.

"I know, sweetheart."

We held each other for a while longer, and then I decided to explain.

"Davy, I was just feeling angry at myself and I took it out on you and Jon and Anthony."

Davy looked up at me with those intense eyes.

"Why would you be angry at yourself?"

I swallowed.

"Well, you know I walk around town and I see all these hot college guys and they look so hunky and sometimes I want to do it with them so bad I can't stand it."

Davy looked downward and curled tighter into me.

"Maybe I'm too young for you. Maybe you need someone your own age."

"No, no! It’s not that. I love you, Davy. I can't live without you! That's not the point. The point is that when I come home and I see you and we hug, I know why I always come home and why I don't do it with the others. You're the only one I want."

Davy squeezed me.

"Maybe," he whispered, "you could do it with them the same way I do it with Jon and Anthony. You know, just to have fun and feel good and then you could come home to me and we could love each other."

I squeezed my Davy back.

"I can't do that, Davy. I love you too much. But, something happened today that really bothered me and made me angry with myself. I took it out on you."

Davy looked at me again. He knew what I was going to say.

"You know that Brad McKenzie who was bullying y'all this afternoon?"

Almost imperceptibly, Davy nodded.

"I don't know what it is, but he turns me on like crazy. I want to do it with him so bad I can't stand it and I don't know why. He's a jerk and an asshole and he bullies you and I hate him for that. And, I want to jump him so bad I can taste it."

I don't know what I expected out of Davy, but it wasn't the reaction I got.

"I know what you mean. He's hot."

I looked at him with shock.

"Well," he added. "He is. And, I think he's really gay. He's always getting hard in the shower. Course, no one ever says anything cause he'd beat the shit out of them if they did. But, I can tell that there's something underneath him that is different from the way he acts. I don't think he likes being gay and so he gives crap to anyone he thinks is gay."

It should not have surprised me that my little Davy was so perceptive.

“You know," I said, "when I threw him out and he was lying in the snow, our eyes met, and I saw something in there that wasn't the asshole that hit Jon or that dumps on you all the time. And, you know what? I wanted to hug him right them and tell him it would be alright."

Davy looked up at me and gave me a smile that told me why I loved my sweet boy.

"That's why I love you,” he said. “You know people and you’re good."

I sighed and we held each other until dinner.