Behind The Silver Screen
By Jerry Miller
Walking up the street with Mike after eating, I realized that while we were talking over our bowls of chili, I caught brief looks of sadness in his eyes during his comments about his family. Though his family sounded as traditional as any other, it was the things he didn't say that caught my attention.
After we changed back into our tuxes and hit the lobby floor, I caught myself staring at Mike when he leaned against the candy case talking with Kathy, the girl behind the concession stand. I admired his trim body. In that position, his tux seemed way too big for him.
Although I knew the conversation between Kathy and Mike was trivial, I felt a twinge of jealousy at the time I couldn't understand why he was affecting me this way. I would later.
After the last movie started, we signed out and headed backstage to the locker room to change. I followed him, watching his movements even in the flickering light from the screen. In the locker room, we stood there and talked awhile in our underwear, both of us feeling comfortable.
When we had dressed, Mike turned to me and said, "Thanks for today."
"I just did my job training you."
"No," he said shaking his head, "It was more than that."
Not quite sure what he meant I said, "You're welcome."
We stood at the bus stop together. Nothing was said. It was just nice being near him. When his bus pulled up he said, "See you tomorrow, Mike."
"Yeah, have a good night, Mike," I said.
He waved at me as he climbed aboard. My bus pulled up behind his. I climbed in and dropped my fare. Taking a seat in the last row, I looked out across the street at the theater. The marquee was dark except for the lighting underneath for the sidewalk below. The bus pulled away and headed up over the Miami River Bridge. Mike's bus was in the left lane preparing to turn as my bus passed on the right. I saw Mike, sitting in the back of the bus, his head down. I wished I knew what he was thinking.
* * * * * * *
My memories of that first day with Mike were surprisingly clear and complete. With Mike on my mind, my hand rubbed the worn cloth of the seat next to me, reminding me that it wouldn't be here much longer. The new owner of the property promised that he was going to build a tall office building on this spot and as a tribute to one of the very last downtown theaters in Dayton, he would include two small theaters on the ground floor. It would be one of the first twin cinemas in town.
I stood up and followed the steps down towards the edge of the balcony. I could see into the Box Seat sections just outside the stage proscenium. I had never ventured into one of those during the time I worked here. I really didn't think we were allowed.
I made my way downstairs. The jackhammer was still pounding away as I headed into the main auditorium. I entered the back stage area, turned right and went up the stairs behind the stage right wall. There I found what appeared to be two dressing rooms filled with theater seat parts. The Box Seat section was just an empty terrace overlooking the stage. Why people thought those were great seats I will never know. The viewing angle for the right side of the stage was restrictive. The proscenium blocked much of it. Prestige must have been the only reward for sitting there.
Returning to the back stage area, I walked towards the stairway in the back right corner. At the bottom of the steps, I came to the locker room. I hesitated outside the door. Memories flooded my mind. So much of what I have become came from this room. This room held secrets. My secrets and, I am sure, the secrets of others as well. The room's musty smell filled my nostrils. I closed my eyes, inhaling. I felt drawn back to the time I spent in this room; it still left me wondering, yearning for understanding.
I opened my eyes and entered. The room was exactly as it was back then. The lockers, the table, the couches and the mirror were still in place. I looked through the lockers. All were empty except for the last one. The old jar of Vaseline was still on the shelf. I turned and gazed at myself in the mirror. The person I saw was familiar, yet different. I had changed. I wiped a tear from my eye as I remembered the many images that looked back at me from five years ago...
* * * * * * * *
The months continued through the school year. Jay no longer took the bus. He had bought a used car and was driving to school. He and Mary Ann Shelby had been going together for a while. From what I could see, he looked happy. Ben continued to work at the Northtown with me, but working downtown with Mike was all that I wanted.
I tried to open a closer friendship with Mike but it was a very slow process. He wouldn't talk much about himself. School and some sports were his keen interests. I asked about girlfriends and he said he had had a couple, but there were nothing serious and he wasn't seeing anyone at that time. I asked him if he had been sexual with them and he said yes. I remember looking into his eyes to see any real confirmation. All I saw was another flash of sadness. I found him sometimes to be distant, yet still friendly. Opening up to me was difficult for him but he tried, or so it seemed.
One day, Mr. Denton asked me if I would stay one night and shampoo the carpets in the theater. Since I had helped Ryan clean the carpets at the Northtown, I knew it was an all night process. He said I could have Mike help me if he wanted. I said sure. I approached Mike about it and he said yes. I told Mr. Denton we would do it on Friday night. He told me that he would leave the equipment and supplies back stage for us.
The whole week before I was fighting with myself. All my sexual fantasies were about Mike. I thought, just maybe, I could make something happen. I believed only two outcomes were possible: That Mike would be interested or he would be repulsed. We both worked that night as ushers and I debated constantly about whether to make a move or not. I definitely didn't want to lose him as a friend like I did Jay.
Mike kept asking me if something was wrong and I told him no, I was fine. I don't think he believed me. When we clocked out at ten, we returned to the locker room to hang out until the movie was over so we could go to work again. I was very nervous. Mike was calm and cool. I decided to go for it and take the chance.
"Mike," I said, "You jack off much?"
In his usual way, he responded unflinchingly, "Yeah."
"How often?" I asked.
Mike shrugged and said, "A couple times a week I guess. You?"
"About every day," I said. "Have you ever jacked off with a another guy?"
This was it. I had led the conversation in this direction. I had opened the door. Do I go through it or close it?
"Would you like to jack off with me?" I asked.
Mike thought for a moment and said, "No. But you can if you want."
I didn't expect that response. Was he going to stay in the room while I did? Would he watch me? I thought I would keep going. I knew I had to know how far I could go. Since we had already changed into our jeans and t-shirts, I began to take my clothes off. Mike leaned against the wall as he watched me. I hung my clothes over a locker door. When I was completely naked, I stood near the table and laid down on it. Being metal, it was a little cold. I ignored it. I reached for my hard cock and began to stroke it, the whole time watching him.
Never taking his eyes off of me, Mike began to pace the room, watching me jerk off. I wondered what was going on in his mind. He would come close and then back away.
Finally, I said, "Are you sure you don't want to?"
"Yeah," he said, nodding his head.
"Are you hard?" I asked.
"Can I see it?"
Mike looked at me. First at my eyes, then at my cock before he reached for his belt buckle. Freeing his belt, he unsnapped his jeans and lowered his zipper. He reached inside his underwear and pulled out his cock. I loved what I saw. The cock was about seven inches hard, nice head, without any foreskin. He left his cock out, but without touching it as I stroked myself. His cock was definitely the vision that I needed to see as I felt myself beginning to come.
Mike watched my hand stroke my cock. His eyes stayed glued as I began to shoot my cum all over my belly and hand. I swear I saw his cock twitch as I came. The orgasm was great. I had done it. I had gotten naked in front of Mike, jacked off and saw his cock. I felt my mission had succeeded, so far.
I wiped myself off with my white dress shirt. Mike put his cock back into his pants. Damn, I was hoping he would start jacking off now. I wanted more than anything at that moment to get my hands on him.
Mike and I talked like nothing had happened. When the movie was over we got out the equipment and began working in the lobby. The janitor was there to clean the theatre, but I figured he would only be around for two hours at the most. He was gone in an hour and a half.
When we finished the lobby, we took scrub brushes and did the steps of the grand staircase. Then we moved the shampooer upstairs to the mezzanine. We stopped when Mike said he had to take a piss. I followed him and we pissed together at the open wall urinals. His cock was still hard so I started stroking mine again.
"What? You're going to jack off again?" he asked.
I pulled on my cock while he paced the restroom, never more than a few feet from me. He would stand next to me and watch and then pace. I told him I was going to come and he watched me shoot into the porcelain fixture.
After I put myself back inside my pants, we finished the mezzanine and carried the equipment back down to do the aisles. The first two aisles went well. Then we decided to take a break and sat down on the stage steps. We were next to each other and I decided to try again.
"Do you want to jack off yet?" I asked.
"I don't know."
"I'll do it for you," I said.
Mike turned to me and said, "You really want to get your hands on it, don't you?"
"Yes I do."
"Okay, let's go back downstairs," he said, and I followed him to the locker room.
Mike took a seat on the couch and waited.
"Are you going to take it out?" I asked.
"If you want it so badly, you take it out."
I kneeled next to him and reached for his belt. When I had his jeans open, I realized that as soon as I reached inside his underwear, I would finally have what I had wanted. I felt him through his briefs first. I already knew he was hard by looking at it. The feel was electrifying. I moved my hand to the waistband and slipped my hand inside and brought out his cock. My hand wrapped around the base, and I began to jack him off. I looked over his cock as I stroked it. The head was nicely proportionate to the shaft.
As I moved the limited skin back and forth, I watched his face. His eyes were closed and I wondered what he was fantasizing about. Throughout the entire process, he didn't make a sound or respond to my manipulations. Suddenly his cock thickened, his balls drew up and the first of several jets of cum flew out his cock head. As I continued to stroke him, I reached down and took out my cock and began to jack off for all I was worth; I wanted to cum with my hand on his cock. Mike opened his eyes and watched me jack myself off. My hand never left his cock. I shot my load all over the floor, and it was just as intense as the first one of the night. I had never jacked off more than twice in a twenty-four period before, yet I have done it three times in about an eight-hour period.
I grabbed my shirt again and cleaned Mike and myself up. I put Mike's cock back in his pants and he fastened up. We finished the aisles and put everything away. The theatre smelled like shampoo.
We left and caught the first busses out of downtown and went home to sleep. I worked Saturday night and Sunday at the Northtown and didn't see Mike, though I knew he was working downtown. I was worried all weekend about his reaction to what happened.
Tuesday, I went downtown early so I could watch the movie. I had missed about an hour of it, so I stayed through the intermission for the start. While I was sitting there, I heard a voice behind me. It was Mike's. I guess I knew the answer to my question. The words he said cut me deep.
No one else was in the theatre. He kept repeating the words. I got up and sat down next to him.
"Why are you doing this?" I asked.
"Because that's what you are."
"Don't do this, Mike."
"Because I thought we were friends."
"I don't like faggots and I don't have faggot friends," he said getting up and leaving the theatre.
The previews of coming attractions came on. I don't remember watching them or the hour of the movie I missed. I sat in my seat, staring at the screen thinking I had done it again. I had blown it. I had gone too far again and lost.
Over the next couple of weeks, Mike was relentless in his calling me those names. I finally got tired of it. I went to the student assistant Ed and told him that Mike wouldn't leave me alone. That he kept calling me 'faggot' and 'queer' all the time. Ed wasn't too happy about that and he and I walked out to the ticket podium where Mike was. I sat down on the stool.
"Mike, what's going on?" Ed asked.
"Michael tells me that you have been bothering him."
Mike just stood there. I don't think he figured I would tell on him. His eyes were on Ed.
"Okay, Mike, do you know for a fact that Michael is gay?"
Mike was on the spot. I could see his mind working, as he looked for an answer. I was nervous, wondering what I would do if he said 'yes'. I also knew that if he said 'yes', he would be implicating himself.
"No," Mike said, looking away from both of us.
"I don't know what happened between you two," Ed said. "It was like you guys were best friends." Ed looked at me, and then back at Mike. "This is affecting your job performance. Fix it or I will," he said and went back into the office.
I looked up at Mike. He wouldn't look at me. I waited. I didn't know what to say. He walked away and went inside the theatre.
Since I was working the Doorman's position, tearing tickets, Mike stayed clear of me, not saying a word for the remainder of our shift together. After Ed had checked out the cashier, he told Mike and me to clock out and go home.
During these two weeks Mike had taken to letting me go down to the locker room first, waiting for me to come back up and leave before he changed. Tonight, he followed me back stage. Once in the locker room I started to change. Mike stood at the doorway. For me the silence was unnerving.
"I'm sorry, Mike." He said.
Still in my underwear, I turned to face him.
"I didn't realize that I was hurting you like that. All I can say is I'm sorry."
I stood there. I heard his words. I wondered what he thought he was doing during the last two weeks. I decided to let it go. I walked up to him and said, "I'm sorry too, Mike. I want my friend back."
"Ed was right wasn't he? We were like best friends. I missed that about us," he said, sadness in his eyes.
"Do you hate me?" I asked.
"Do you honestly think I'm gay?"
"I really wasn't sure when he asked me. I couldn't lie to him. I honestly don't know for sure," he said.
"Would it make a difference to you if I was?"
Mike thought about that for a while. He moved past me and began to change his clothes. Standing in his underwear he turned to me and said, "I guess I've had a couple of weeks to think about that. It really struck me when Ed asked me that question. The rest of the night I have been debating with myself. Actually, I wasn't repulsed by what we did that night. I enjoyed it. I had never seen a guy up close and personal like that. You know: hard dick, jacking off. You hear at school how disgusting queers are. I wanted to feel that way, but I didn't. I know I'm not queer, but I liked it when you touched me."
I walked over and put my arms around him. Suddenly something came to me and my lips were next to his ear when I said, "You're a virgin, aren't you? You've never been with a girl, have you?"
Sounding defeated he said, "No. I haven't been with a girl. How did you know?"
"Just a hunch," I said.
Mike just nodded his head.
"Mike, I am gay," I said openly admitting it to myself.
"I'm not really surprised."
"Is it okay?"
Mike didn't put his arms around me, but I could feel his cock getting hard next to mine.
"We're getting hard you know."
"I know. But I'm not queer."
"I know. But you're my friend?"
"May I touch you?" I asked.
"Will you touch me?"
"Okay," I said as I reached down and cupped his package.
"Are you still my friend?" I asked.
"Best friend," he said, while I gently squeezed his cock.
"Will you jack off with me?"
I pulled his t-shirt off and his briefs. I removed mine. He was stroking his cock and I was mine. Naked, we moved over to the mirror to watch ourselves. The beautiful image of our reflections filled our vision. I reached over with my left hand and took his cock from him and jacked both of us. Before long we were both shooting cum all over the mirror. With it running down the mirror, I took my hand and moved it along his belly and chest, stopping only to rub his nipples. I had been scared of losing him and now I had hope that we would be okay.
I grabbed my white shirt and cleaned us both up. I marveled at his nudity; his cock never went down. We dressed and hit the bus stop. We were talking like everything was back to normal.
Christmas was approaching. The Northtown was getting BOB&CAROL&TED&ALICE; downtown, we were getting FANNY HILL, an X rated rip off of a movie, with lots of boobs and pussy, but no dicks.
Mike and I always had our fun in the locker room. We either jacked off together or I did both of us. I was content in our relationship. Mike never tensed up when ever I would hug him. Though he never returned the favor, he did seem to enjoy the contact.
It was New Year's Eve. We were in the locker room and I was sitting on the couch jacking off while Mike stood over me. I touched and played with his cock. When I saw what appeared to be pre cum on the head of his cock, I didn't know what came over me. I sat up and licked it off his dick. I then felt panic. At first I thought I went too far- shades of Jay, but he stood there looking down at me with a smile.
I then took his cock into my mouth and gave him his first ever blowjob. I wanted to make it as memorable as I could. I took my time. I felt no urgency to get him off. But since he was now eighteen and a horny guy, it didn't take him long to fill my mouth with his cum. This time while I was sucking on him, he moaned and groaned throughout. It provided me with his encouragement.
When I had licked him clean, I asked him to sit down next to me. I put my arm around his shoulders.
"Mike, how do you feel about what I just did?"
"It felt great," he said.
"We never discussed doing anything else besides jacking off. Does this change anything between us?"
"No. Why do you ask?"
I told him about Jay. He seemed a little disappointed that he wasn't my first blowjob.
"It's okay, Mike," he said, "I'm okay with all of this. I'm still not queer, but I like what you do for me. You'll never lose me, I promise."
"I will hold you to that promise, Mike."
"I know you will."
I looked down at his cock. It still hadn't gone down. I reached for it and wrapped my hand around it.
"It seems to like me a lot, you know?"
Since I had crossed another line with Mike, I felt more and more confident with what we were doing. Though our sexual relationship seemed definitely one-sided, I was happy and content with it.
For the first part of the year, everything was great. I loved my job. I loved my friendship with Mike. I had nearly forgotten all about Jay. Things were good.
Since my parents had told me that there wasn't any college money for me, I figured after graduation, community college could be the way to go. A student deferment would keep me out of the draft. I talked about going to college with Mike, hoping he would go with me, share a room, keep things going between us. He acted like that would be a great plan to follow. Then came April 1st.
Mike told me he had enlisted in the Marines and would be leaving after graduation. It was April Fools Day, and I laughed at him.
But he was serious.
The end of Chapter Four.