My first day at work at Mancinelli's Pizza went pretty well. Mr. Mancinelli was actually a really nice guy, very patient with me and encouraging. Nicky was pretty cool, too. He teased me a lot and kept calling me "Pizza Hut." I realized I was never going to live that down and that was going to be my nickname from now on. But, that was OK. When my shift ended just before five that afternoon, Mr. Mancinelli told me he would give me a twenty-five cent an hour raise because I worked so hard. He also told me that I would work weekdays while he would have college kids work the nights and weekends. That was REALLY cool.
I was on top of the world as I walked home that evening carrying the calzone I had made for my dinner later. The air was hot and I was sweaty and covered with flour and chucks of tomato and my hands smelt of anchovies—disgusting things that people in Canterbury seemed to love on their pizzas; I had heard of them before, but, like hippies, I had never actually seen one until I arrived in Canterbury. But, I felt at peace for the first time in ages. I had a good job with people who liked and respected me. I had a landlord who knew I was gay and liked me anyway. I had my own home, my OWN home. And, I was finally responsible for my own life. It was a glorious feeling.
Patience was sitting on the porch as I walked up the driveway.
"Hello, Stephen!" she called out in that dreamy, ethereal voice of hers. Most of her long blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail, but some of it had escaped and was floating about her head in the slight summer breeze. She had a pale, ghostly appearance and, even though I was gay, I still found her beautiful in a strange way. "How was your first day at work?"
"It was GREAT," I replied. "I love my new job. I love Mr. Mancinelli. I love Canterbury. Everything is great!"
Patience giggled. "I'm so happy for you. You're such a sweet boy. Would you like to join us for dinner later? Donald should be home soon."
I thought about it and, though I was a bit of a loner, the thought of joining these admittedly strange but kind and generous people was quite appealing. Plus, I would get to see Davy!
Davy. The cute boy climbing down the ladder like a monkey. The cute boy sitting by the rose bush. The cute boy in the window. The cute boy who had put his hand on my shoulder and showed such concern and empathy. I hadn't thought about him all day, having concentrated on my work and making a good impression on my new boss. But now, he seemed upper-most in my mind.
"Yes," I replied. "That would be wonderful. Could I put my calzone in your refrigerator?"
"Oh! Don't you have a little fridge in your room?" she asked with concern.
Not understanding what she was talking about, I replied, "No, ma'am."
"Well, one of Donald's students moved out of the graduate dorms last month and gave us his little refrigerator. We'll let you have it!"
"Thank you, ma'am. If you don't mind, I'll go wash up and change before dinner."
"Take your time, sweetie."
I was so happy as I walked up the driveway by the side of the house. This was just too good to be true. Everything was just too good to be true.
As I came to the ladder outside the mudroom, I heard a clambering above me and looked up to see a very appealing sight. It was Davy, clad only his skin-tight cut-offs, climbing down the ladder, his butt almost in my face. I felt myself starting to get hard in my jeans as his smooth legs passed my face. His shoulder-length, mousy blond hair was tossed about in the sudden breeze as he reached the pavement. He was carrying an old paperback, Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He looked up at me with his big brown eyes and seemed to be contemplating me. He was definitely a strange, but cute boy.
"Hi, Davy," I said warmly.
He smiled thinly, but said nothing. He merely stood there.
"So, you like Jules Verne?"
"Yeah, that was the first book of his I read. I really liked it. Have you read Around the World in Eighty Days?"
He shook his head no.
"It was good, but not as scientific as this one. You might like From the Earth to the Moon, too. Its not very realistic, but it’s still a good story."
Davy smiled again. There was something about him. He wasn't cute in the traditional way. He had too many freckles on his face and his mousy-colored hair was not attractive in the way people would generally think. I wasn't used to seeing kids as young as he was with such long hair, and I generally preferred blue eyes to brown. But, there was something about this boy that really appealed to me. I didn't usually get hard over boys, at least not since I had been that age. Yet, Davy was getting me hard. He looked down at my pants and saw the growing lump in my crotch. Embarrassed, I turned and began to walk to the garage.
"Well, its been nice talking with you! I need to take a bath and clean up. See you later, alligator!"
I heard him giggle slightly and watched as he walked over to the rose bush, sat down and opened his book.
Standing under the showerhead—actually, a long rubber hose connected to the tub's faucet—I was rigidly hard and considered beating off just then, but decided to wait until after dinner, when I could take my time and really get into it. It felt so good to wash everything away, and the coolness on my wet skin as I stepped out of the bathtub was a tremendous relief from the heat.
I was walking naked from the bathroom into my room, drying my hair, with my rigid dick leading the way, when I thought I might have a heart attack. Sitting on the sofa with his book in his lap was Davy, his big brown eyes locked on my boner. I froze for a moment and then, in a panic, dropped the towel to cover myself.
"Wha- what are you doing here?" I stammered in shock.
"I was lonely. I just wanted to talk."
It was the most that had come out of his mouth since I had met him yesterday. It was spoken matter-of-factly, as if it were completely natural for a little boy such as him to be sitting in a room alone with a naked seventeen year-old sporting a raging hard-on. Seeing my consternation, he looked confused.
"What's the matter?"
Was everyone in this town completely disconnected from reality?
"I'm naked and aroused, and you're ten!"
Davy cocked an eyebrow. Despite my discomfort, it was cute.
"I'm not ten. I'm twelve. And, I've seen naked people before. What's the big deal? My parents and their friends get naked all the time. I like to get naked."
I could feel my eyes about to pop out of their sockets. "But, besides, I'm uh, I, uh, I have a...
"So? You gotta a stiffy. I get stiff sometimes."
Davy stood up.
"Would you feel better if I got naked, too?"
"NO! I mean, no, that's OK. You don't have to get naked. Let me just get a pair of shorts on."
Davy shrugged again and sat down, crossed his hands, and watched as I turned to my dresser, pulled out a clean pair of Fruit-of-the-Looms and some plaid Bermuda shorts. By the time I had turned back around, the shock of finding a little boy in my room and learning that he and his family seemed to be nudists had made my boner subside somewhat. Davy was still studying me. I turned back to the dresser and pulled out a white Izod, I slipped it over myhead and put my Topsiders on my bare feet. I looked at Davy.
"You think we're weird, don't you?" he asked.
"Wh... why would you think that? I would never say such a thing."
"Donald says that living here is either going to turn you into a human being or you're going to be committed."
"Oh, really? And, what else does Donald say?"
Davy grinned slightly. "He's says he thinks you were in the Young Republicans."
I looked down haughtily at the boy.
"I was NOT in the Young Republicans." I paused and then added, a bit sheepishly, "I was in the Teenage Republicans."
"Hey! Pizza Hut!"
I looked out the window and saw Donald on the porch of the mudroom looking up my window.
"Yes?" I called back.
"Dinner's ready! Bring the larva with you!"
Davy got up without a word and led the way out. As we descended the stairs from my room, I asked, "By the way, why do you call your dad `Donald'? Why not, `Dad' or something like that?"
Davy was already at the bottom and turned as I joined him.
"Because he says words like that are too hi-er, hier-arci, archeological..."
"Hierarchical," I corrected him.
"Yeah, that. He says those words train people to be servants instead of free people. So I call my parents by their names."
One of these days, I was going to have to write a book about these people, though I was afraid no one would believe it.
When we entered the kitchen, Donald was sitting at the table and just replacing the water pipe on the shelf behind him. He let the smoke out, took one look at me, and exclaimed, "Oh, honey! The Yacht Club is having their summer soirée tonight!"
Patience giggled as she stirred some double double toil and trouble concoction on the ancient stove. I rolled my eyes with exaggerated condescension and sat down. Davy sat beside me.
"Let me guess," Donald continued. "You went to a private school, didn't you?"
Expecting another of his almost humorous put downs, I sighed. "Yes."
"Was it a boarding school?"
"Well, at least that's something. Let's see. I'll bet it had some really pretentious English name like Pembroke or Berkshire or something equally nauseating."
I was blushing. "Devonshire Country Day School."
Donald stood up.
"I'll be back," he declared as he left the room. I heard him ascending the stairs and Patience turned to me and said, "Donald HATES alligator shirts."
When he returned, Donald handed me the gaudiest t-shirt I had ever seen. It had been dyed all sorts of colors in big blue, green, and purple circles. It looked psychedelic.
"What is it?" I asked.
"It's a tie-dye. Wear it. I won't be able to stomach my meal if I have to look at that damn alligator all night."
I looked up at Patience for confirmation. She nodded. My God, he was serious. He actually expected me to wear this, this thing.
"It’s OK," Davy said softly. "You'll get used to it."
I wasn't sure what I was going to get used to, but, blushing and feeling distinctly uncomfortable, I pulled my Izod off and put the tie-dye on. I felt like a total freak.
"See you later, alligator," said Davy with a grin. We all laughed.
"Hey, not bad!" said Donald. "I may turn you into a revolutionary yet! Turn around and look at yourself in that mirror there."
I stood and looked at my reflection in the mirror on the wall beside the back door. I had to admit that I looked interesting. In fact, I rather liked it. I almost smiled.
"Ha! I KNEW it!" Donald exclaimed. "It’s like I always said. Being a Republican is NOT genetic. It's the environment. Anybody can be saved! Damn! I feel like a Marxist St. Paul!"
I sat down as Patience placed a plate of some strange looking glop in front of me.
"Keep the shirt, Pizza Hut! It's my contribution to the war effort."
"Which war is that," I asked, gazing curiously at my plate and discerning corn, zucchini, broccoli, and rice.
"The war of liberation from the bourgeoisie!"
Dinner went along in much the same lines. Donald, it seemed, was a political science professor at Canterbury College. A very LIBERAL political science professor. He spent most of the meal railing against President Ford for this and that, and the weak-kneed and spineless administration of the college for, well, being weak-kneed and spineless.
"If we could get the faculty and students to take it over again like we did back in `68, we could turn this school into a REAL center for educating the new generation!"
I didn't contribute much to the conversation, though I got the impression my role was not to contribute, but to listen. I performed my role flawlessly.
At one pause in Professor Goldstein's lecture—my God, my parents would have died; their gay son was renting a room from a Jewish Communist—Patience spoke up to ask if I liked my food. I replied, honestly, that, indeed, I did. I was surprised. She explained they were vegetarians, though they did eat eggs and dairy products, since animals didn't have to die for that.
After dinner, I followed Donald down to a filthy basement full of boxes, antique furniture, and discarded anti-war protest signs, ("Hell no, we won't go!" and "Hey, Hey, LBJ! How many babies did you kill today?"). On a work bench was a metal box about two feet by two feet by two feet. The mini-fridge. This would be prefect for me. Donald and I carried it up the stairs and out the door as Davy joined us with my calzone and my Izod. We passed another hippie-looking guy with dark red hair pulled back in a pony-tail. He was wearing a t-shirt very similar to the one Donald had given me, though his was red and blue.
"Hey, man," he said in a slightly spacey way.
"Dude," said Donald. "This is your new neighbor, Stephen. You gotta help me raise his consciousness. It’s our new project."
The guy gave me the once over, then told Donald, "Dude, he's like wearing boat shoes. Does he have a consciousness to raise?"
I was REALLY starting to get tired of the constant references to my background and appearance. Were these people really that superficial? I thought this was the place where everyone could be themselves.
Donald laughed. "Stephen, this is Alex. He's cool."
"Nice to meet you," I responded.
"Yeah," said Alex grinning as he turned up the stairs on his side of the garage. Davy had stood silently watching, an inscrutable expression on his face.
After Donald and I entered my room and looked around, we decided to set the mini-fridge down against an empty wall by the bathroom. I plugged it in and Davy put my calzone in it.
"Man, I got this really cool Escher that would go great on that wall!" Donald declared enthusiastically. I, of course, had no earthly idea what he was talking about. But thinking about it, he was talking about putting something on the wall, and the most obvious thing would be a painting. I smiled to myself. This was an opportunity to wind Donald up.
"Actually, I saw an art shop downtown that I thought I would stop in this evening. I kinda was hoping to get something like a Monet or a Pissaro. I really like French Impressionism."
"Oh, Jesus. Another bourgeois pseudo-intellectual!" Donald was shaking his head as he sat against the edge of my desk. "At least, you're not into English Romantic landscapes.
"Well, actually, I rather like Turner."
"Stop it! You're killing me. Dude, we have GOT to raise your consciousness."
That was it. I'd had enough. Davy was watching, his big brown eyes grew bigger as he saw the look on my face.
"You know, I'm really getting tired of all the put-downs. So I'm different. I thought Canterbury was the place where you could be different. I thought liberals liked non-conformists. So how come they don't like people if they don't conform to THEIR non-conformity! OK, so I wear Weejuns—"
"NO! NO! AAAAHHHHHH!"
"—and listen to The Carpenters—"
"—and think The Sound of Music was the greatest movie ever made! That's ME! And I like ME!"
Donald collapsed onto his knees and begged, "OK! OK! You win! Just don't tell me anymore! I can't take it!"
Davy let out a short chuckle and then resumed his silent observation of our interaction.
I was breathing hard, but it was funny to see Donald on the floor. Slowly, he got up with a grin.
"Damn, no need to get all Mary Tyler Moore on me there, dude!"
He walked by me with a big grin and said, "You got spunk!" as he walked out the door. Davy hugged me and then followed his dad. My brain was totally scrambled. Had they slipped something into that veggie-glop stuff?
Later, that evening, I returned from the art shop. There had been several Monet prints in their collection, but for some strange reason, I saw a Dali that really appealed to me. It was the strange one with the melting clocks. I hung it up and stood back to appraise it and was actually quite pleased. I also took of my new tie-dye and folded it carefully before putting it in the drawer of my dresser. Maybe I would wear it again.
I stripped down to my underwear, pulled out the hide-a-bed, turned my clock radio on to the college station and its nightly jazz program and settled down for the night with a book I picked up at the bookstore on the way home. It was Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow, a new novel everyone was raving about.
I was nodding off not long after lying down, when I heard a strange noise coming from the room next door. A quiet, steady, rhythmic thumping sound. I wondered what it could be, but resumed my reading about the house in New Rochelle and Mother's Younger Brother and Harry Houdini. But, the thumping was getting louder and less rhythmic. Then, I heard moans, a man's and a woman's.
Oh, my God! It was Alex and a woman having sex! They Were Having Sex!
Their moans grew louder and the thumping against the wall turned into actual banging.
"Fuck me!" I heard a woman's voice beg. "Fuck me!"
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. How could they be so bold to do it so loudly and so obviously? I was shocked. But, I noticed my dick was hard as a rock, too.
It was then that I remembered that I hadn't yet beat off. I also remembered the sight of that beautiful, sweet boy, clad only in a pair of tight, skimpy cut-offs, his smooth skin, his long hair, those haunting eyes, that strange quality of watching, looking, observing.
I ripped my shorts off and grabbed my throbbing penis, giving in to my need. I thought of holding that sweet boy, loving him, kissing him, caressing him. I thought of those eyes, so observant, so curious. I thought of those lips, that hair, his agile body climbing the ladder.
The sounds from the next room were growing louder and more intense. She was crying out, he was groaning, the pounding on the wall was wild. I needed to hold Davy, to love him, to give myself to him.
I heard a strangled cry, a deep groan, and then I shot. I writhed and twisted in ecstasy as the image of the beautiful boy's face pushed me over the edge.
There was silence from the room next door. The only sounds I could hear were the chirping of the crickets outside and the beating of my heart.
This was definitely a new life.