Dermot - Chapter 5 - Two Lyles

Dermot did not feel like eating lunch. He knew he had given away way
too much information to Sgt. Flaherty with his reaction to the name Uncle
Steve. He was not sure whether the sergeant would be able to trace him
from that bit, but he knew he had not fooled the policeman with his
pretense that it was just the joke about being an uncle named Steve that
freaked him out. Then, there was what Mrs. Harper said about worms. That
still bothered him. Dermot worried rather than ate.

After his unsatisfactory lunch, Nurse Bailey was back to check up on
him again. He decided to check out his information. After all, they may
be playing psychological games with him, just to get him rattled so he
would spill more information. And, he ruefully admitted to himself, it had

"Nurse, can I ask you something?"

"You can ask. Maybe I'll answer," she responded. It was near the end
of a long shift, and she was not in the mood for more of Dermot's
adolescent bad manners.

"Is it true that I had worms when I came in here?"

That question took her by surprise. "I don't know. If you did, I'm
sure you were treated for it. Is it important?"

"I'd really like to know. Is there any way you could check it out for
me? I'd ask Dr. Shipley, but I guess he's gone for the day."

"Yes," she replied. "Except when he's on ER duty, he goes to his
private practice after making his rounds in the morning. As far as I know,
there's no reason not to tell you about your condition. Let me check your
file." She looked at his chart hooked to the foot of his bed, then left
the room.

About five minutes later, Nurse Bailey returned. "Yes, when you were
admitted you were found to have worms. Fortunately, not tape worms or
something equally difficult, but just the kind you find in rotting food.
Most likely, you ate something that had larvae in it, and they hatched
inside you."

Dermot was definitely squirming. This was grossing him out. The idea
of having worms inside him made him feel nauseous. Somehow, from that time
on, he knew that he would have to find some way to avoid the life he had
been leading before. That gave him much to ponder. Of all the options
Mrs. Harper mentioned, a foster home seemed the most promising, but who
would want a boy who was gay, and who had been hustling his ass for months?
Nothing seemed really to fit his situation.

To avoid thinking about it, he returned to his mystery story. This
gal Dorothy Sayers wrote well. It took him a while to get into the story,
though. Studying the information at the beginning of the book, he
determined that the story was written (or at least first published) in
1928, so it wasn't exactly a period piece. The Peters book had been
written about people who lived a long time before the book was written, but
Sayers was writing about her own times. Was that better or worse? Do we
understand our own times better than some historic period, or are we too
involved in it to get a true picture? At this point, Dermot had no idea
about the solution to the mystery, but he found the character of George
Fentiman intriguing. Shell shock in World War I. Have to check that out
some how. Is the way Sayers depicts George accurate? Have to ask Doc
Shipley. Such musings made the early afternoon slip away painlessly.

It was after three when Dermot heard those jaunty footsteps in the
corridor again, and looked up to welcome Lando. That boy seemed to smile
almost all the time. It made Dermot feel better just to see him.

"Hi, Dermot."

"Hi, yourself. What's up?"

"Just got out of school. I've got to begin with an apology. I don't
have ROMEO AND JULIET with me. Mom had trouble getting me out of bed this
morning, and I rushed off to school without it."

"That's it, you fucking idiot. Blame it on your mother," Dermot
responded. His words were harsh, but he was grinning as he said them, so
Lando knew from the outset that they were on solid ground.

"I'll bring it tomorrow, I promise. Mea culpa."

"What's that?"

"What's what?"

"The Mia cupa bit?"

"Mea culpa, birdbrain. It's Latin. Means 'my fault.' Thought
everybody knew that."

"Never studied any Latin."

"Still, you run across it lots of places."

"Okay, I'm a total idiot. What other sunshine have you come to
sprinkle on my life?"

"That," Lando immediately noted, "is a mixed metaphor. Sunshine
doesn't sprinkle. Rain sprinkles, maybe. Sunshine beams, or shines, or

"Yeah, sunshine shines. What kind of critic are you anyway?" Dermot
complained. "If you can't do any better than that, I'll have to get a
better one."

"Mea culpa," Lando repeated, with a sparkle in his eye.

Dermot threw his pillow at him. Lando ducked. Laughing, he retrieved
the pillow, then took a seat next to Dermot's bed.

"So, how 're you getting along?" he asked.

"So so. I made a big mistake this morning," Dermot admitted.

"You? Make a mistake? Impossible! What kind of idiocy did you

"Turns out Sgt. Flaherty's first name is Steve. He was kind of
joking, and called himself Uncle Steve, and I lost it. I mean, I totally
freaked out. He knows I have an Uncle Steve now. The man is not stupid."

Lando considered his response. "You know, sooner or later they'll
find out. If they keep poking, I mean. Your only hope is that they catch
the guys who beat you up soon, and then decide to drop any other matters."

"Maybe. Sgt. Flaherty said they had a couple of leads."

"Even if they find your assailants, that still doesn't solve the
problem of what will happen with you when you're released from the
hospital," Lando pointed out.

"Yeah, I know. I had another visitor this morning. A Mrs. Harper
from Social Services. Turns out she's Dr. Shipley's sister, and I ticked
her off, too."

"Brilliant, bozo!"

"Thanks a lot. Like I don't know that. Anyway, before I screwed up,
she told me about a couple of options. Like this place called Boys Haven."

"Yeah. I know about that. Been there."

"You? What were you doing in Boys Haven?"

"Not IN Boys Haven, exactly. Went out with Dad. He's on the Board.
Got to meet some of the boys. There was this really cute guy named
Corney," Lando said with a smirk.

"You're shitting me. Nobody is named Corney," Dermot asserted.

"Well, actually, he was named Cornelius. If you were named Cornelius,
what would you be called?"

"I wouldn't be named Cornelius in the first place if I had any say
about it. If I had a name like that, I think I'd opt for Butch, or Skip,
or Sonny."

"Maybe. But this guy was called Corney. And he was cute."


Lando grinned. He continued, "We talked while my dad was doing some
business. From what he told me, it's a pretty decent place."

"Yeah, but it's Catholic ... oh, shit! I forgot, you are too." Dermot

"True. You'll just have to overcome your prejudices."

"I've got damn good reasons for my prejudices," Dermot insisted.
"Besides, how can you be gay and Catholic? Aren't you afraid of going to

"Not really. Not any more. Back a few years ago, when I first came
to grips with being gay, it was a real problem for me, but I talked it over
with my dad and Father Schiller, and I kind of worked it out."

"You talked it over with your dad? You mean he knows?"

"Oh yeah. Dad definitely knows. So does my mom, and my older
brother. I'm not sure about Emily. She's kind of young for such things,"
Lando said reflectively.

"I can't imagine telling an adult I'm gay. I mean, a family member,
or something, you know," Dermot wondered.

"From what you told me yesterday, I can see why. But not everybody is
like your Uncle Steve."

"How did your dad take it?"

"Well, he was not exactly overjoyed. We talked a lot, over a period
of a couple of months. I went to him first, you know. Then, he sent me to
talk to Father Schiller, and I saw a psychologist for two or three months,
and I talked with Dad about what they said, and came to the conclusion I
really was gay, not just horny or going through some phase like puberty or
something. And, like I said, we kind of worked it out with being Catholic,
and so Dad just said something like, [Lando adopted a deep voice to mimic
his father] 'Well, Lando, I guess that's the way God wanted you, so who am
I to complain. I love you, and I'll be here whenever you need me.' That
was good to know, 'cause I had a few rough times at school, and like that,
you know."

Dermot giggled at Lando's impression of his father. "I guess. But,
man, that's awesome! I always wondered what my dad would have said, if he
had lived, you know. I always kind of figured it was good that he never
knew, 'cause that way I could always remember him in a good way. I kind of
thought if he found out I was gay, he might have thrown me out, like Uncle
Steve did."

"Naw, man. Not your dad. Don't think that. Like I said, not
everybody is a horse's ass like your Uncle Steve."

"Maybe you're right. That's something to think about. I like that

"Dad says to tell you he's sorry he neglected you yesterday, and he'll
be around this evening after dinner," Lando reported.

"Do you think it's safe for me to tell your dad about me being gay?"

"Oh, he knows. I told him."

"You did?"

"Well, that wasn't one of the things you asked me not to mention. All
you said was not to say anything about your uncle or cousin. And I

"What else did you tell your dad?" Dermot wanted to know.

"Um, let's see. I told him about your haircut. And about ROMEO AND
JULIET. And how you like history and wanted to be a history teacher. And
about wanting to watch the movie with me and admire Romeo's ass."

"You didn't!"

Lando giggled. "Actually, I did. Dad kind of squirmed about that.
He was kind of cute."

"You're a total pervert. I think you get off thinking about your
father," Dermot joshed.

"Not really," Lando replied seriously. "I mean, I admire my dad a
lot, and I really love him. He's always been there when I needed it. Like
when I was struggling with my sexual identity. And I wish he were home
more, and we could do more things together. And Dad's pretty hot, for an
old guy. But, geesh! He's my dad. I kind of think doing anything sexual
with him would ruin the whole thing. You have a dirty mind, Dermot."

"Yeah, I guess I do. I'm sorry. Since my only real human contacts
for the past nine months have been sexual ones, I guess I really do have a
twisted outlook. I ... Yuck. What you said made me think of how I would
feel about sex with my dad. I'm sorry I said that. It made me feel gross
when I thought of that."

"Okay. We can agree that that's definitely off limits, okay. Let's
change the subject."

"Like yesterday. How was school?" Dermot asked.

"Good. I like school pretty much. I have some good friends at
school. In fact, I'm going to be hanging out after dinner with a bunch of

"Oh, ho! Something hot?"

"No, pervert! Just hanging out. In fact, most of the people I'll see
this evening are definitely straight."

"You've got straight friends?"

"Yes. Definitely. I've got female friends, too. Most of my male
friends are straight. There are more straight guys out there than gays.
Some of these guys have been my friends since like forever."

"Do they know you're gay?"

Lando thought about that. "Well, I never made a public announcement,
you know. Some how, it never occurred to me to ask the Principal for a few
minutes on the public address system. I told two guys I've known forever,
'cause they kept on me about getting a girlfriend. And I told my best
female friend, 'cause she kept trying to fix me up with some of her
friends. I'm not real sure whether the others know or not. If they ask,
though, I'll tell them."

Dermot wondered at Lando's self assurance, his comfort with himself.
"I don't have any friends," he said quietly.

"Yes you do. I'm your friend," Lando replied softly but definitely.

Dermot grinned. "Thanks. Um, you never had anyone hassle you at

"I didn't say that. There have been a few unpleasant incidents.
Another of my friends that I told, you know, won't have anything to do with
me now. He just avoids me. And one of the guys on the JROTC rifle team
found out somehow, and makes it his business to make anti-gay remarks.
It's against school rules, but he never does it when there's a teacher

"Yeah, we had rules about tolerance and diversity, too, but I don't
think anyone took them seriously."

"At Baltimore, you can get expelled for serious violations of those
rules, but they have to catch you at it."

"Hey, I just thought of something I've always wondered about. How
come you guys' school is named for a city?"

"It's not, dum dum. It's named for George Calvert, Lord Baltimore. I
thought you were interested in history."

"Oh, yeah. Founded Maryland. Named for Jesus's mother. Catholic
colony. I just never made the connection."

"Your history stinks. George had the idea, but died before the colony
got started. Maryland was named for Queen Henrietta Maria, not for the
Blessed Mother. And it was never a Catholic colony, if by that you mean
the Catholic Church was made official or anything, or most of the settlers
were Catholic."

"You're kidding! I always heard it my way!"

"Maybe you always heard it that way, but it's still wrong. Now I know
what I'll bring along with the movie tomorrow. There's a book about this.
I forgot the title, but we have it at home, and my history teacher talked
about this earlier this year, when we were doing the colonial period in our
American History class."

"Sounds good. I do like reading about history. And I don't mind
learning new things at all, even if they do conflict with what I thought I

"Good man." Then Lando looked at his watch. "Sorry, Dermot, but I've
got to go. Got to take my sister to the store to get something for a party
she's going to tomorrow, and then dinner and all. But Dad will be in to
see you later, and I'll be back tomorrow. With the movie and book."

"Thanks for coming by, Lando. You've given me a lot to think about.
Especially about your dad, and all. I appreciate it."

Dermot opened THE UNPLEASANTNESS AT THE BELLONA CLUB, the mystery by
Dorothy Sayers, to the place where he had left off before, but he never got
past the first paragraph. His mind was too busy digesting the information
he had received from Lando. It must be great to have parents, and parents
who accepted who you were, even if, as Lando said, his dad was not
overjoyed at finding that his son was gay. The important thing was, he
knew, and he accepted it. Dermot daydreamed about having his own father
back, and being accepted. It gave him a warm feeling, so much that he was
almost hugging himself, thinking about his father hugging him.

This pleasant episode was shattered by the arrival of little Nurse
Chandravari, who informed him that it was almost time for his dinner. He
wrinkled his nose, which made her giggle in a tinkling sort of way. Dermot
needed to go to the bathroom, and he needed Nurse Chandravari to help him
out of bed and into a wheel chair. When they arrived across his room at
the entrance to the bathroom, however, he firmly rejected her attempt to
help him any further. He could make it from there today. She was to stay
put unless he yelled or she heard a loud thud, as though he had fallen. It
was embarrassing enough to have had that dratted sponge bath. Maybe he
could do that for himself as well next time.

As Dermot sat on the toilet (he could not stand unless he did so on
one foot, which did not seem like a good idea), he began thinking about
Lando coming out to his father again. As he did, he found himself getting
hard. When he noticed that, it occurred to him that he had not cum in a
week, the longest he had gone in a very long time. Of course, he was
unconscious for three days, but still ....

Scooting back on the toilet so he could reach his cock, Dermot used
his left hand to begin giving himself a little relief. This is so damn
awkward, he thought, but still, he felt the necessity pressing on him. He
stroked himself, grateful that his assailants had not been able to damage
what he called his working gear. It did not take long to get totally hard,
but then he seemed to reach a plateau, and not be able to move on. He knew
he could not stay in there forever. He began stroking almost frantically.
It would be so not cool if the nurse came in while he was engaged in
pleasuring himself.

I wonder, he thought, if Lando ever has this problem, or if he is
getting off with one of his gay friends. At the thought of Lando, the
image of the boy took shape in his mind, with that magical smile of his.
That did it. Dermot began to cum, shooting load after load of hot sperm
into the toilet bowl. He almost passed out with the intensity of the

Although he was unaware of it, he must have made some kind of noise as
well, because Nurse Chandravari knocked loudly on the door, demanding, "Are
you all right Mr. Dermot? Are you all right?"

"Yeah. I'll just be another minute," Dermot managed between ragged

Slowly, his breathing returned to normal. He cleaned himself up,
leveraged himself back into his wheel chair, and flushed. Then he made his
way over to the sink. There he stood up, holding on to the edge of the
sink, so he was able to wash his hands, and even get a look at himself in a
mirror. He looked red in the face. Even redder because of the white
bandages. Oh, well, can't delay any longer. He sat back down, turned his
wheel chair around, and pushed a button, which opened the door. Nurse
Chandravari was standing right there, obviously pleased that he had not
fallen in.

Dermot managed to get back into bed with only minimal help from the
nurse. However, she insisted on taking his temperature, saying he looked
flushed. That only made him more so. His dinner was set before him, but
his attention was not on that. Rather, he was focused on what had happened
in the restroom. He could not remember ever having an orgasm as powerful
as that one. He could not honestly dismiss it as a consequence of his
unwonted celibacy for the past week, either. It was the image of Lando
which pulled his trigger. But just what did that mean? He told Lando if
he ever had a really great sexual experience, he would tell him, but he
could not tell him about this. That would be too blush making.

Without realizing it, Dermot had finished his dinner. He was still
musing on the related subjects of Lando and his late father - related in
his mind, anyway. Then he became aware of footsteps in the corridor again.
Mr. Lyle entered his room.

"Hello, Dermot. Sorry I couldn't get by to see you yesterday. How
are you?"

"Okay, I guess. You don't have to come see me, you know."

"Oh, but I want to see you. I enjoy your company," Mr. Lyle asserted.

Dermot smiled. "Yeah, I know. Lando told me you were trying to
figure me out. It ain't going to be easy. I haven't figured me out yet,
and I've been working on it for years."

Walt Lyle smiled. "Lando told me about his visits with you. He also
told me you told him some stuff he could not repeat."

Dermot chuckled. "I'm just giving my age peer a boost in the Sweeps."

"Huh? What's that about?"

"Lando said if he came home with more information about me than you
did, he won the Dermot Sweepstakes, so I figured I'd give him a little
edge. We harassed teens have got to stick together."

Walt laughed. "Harassed teens, huh? More like it's you teens
harassing us poor parents. I take it you and Lando got on pretty well."

"Yeah," Dermot confirmed. "We hit it off right away. Lando told me
he's gay, too. It is so cool he can be open about that with you."

"Lando told me you were gay, but I kind of figured that anyway, or at
least were having sex with men, from what we might call circumstantial
evidence at the time I found you. And, as you and Lando are about the same
age, I thought you might get along with each other."

"He told me he was sent to worm information out of me," Dermot

"Oh, he told you that, did he? Fine spy he makes," Walt Lyle

"He did tell you some of the other stuff we talked about, according to
what he told me this afternoon."

"Yes, he did. He mentioned your interest in history. I'll make sure
you have plenty of reading along those lines. When I asked him whether he
had discovered anything about your family, he clammed up, so I'm assuming
that's what you told him not to share."


"I'm going to make a guess here, and maybe you'll tell me whether I'm
in the right ball park. You came out to your ... wouldn't be father. I
got the distinct impression from my last visit that your father had been
killed in the war. Well, mother, or whoever you were living with. And you
were not well received. Maybe thrown out, or made so unhappy you ran

Dermot was looking distinctly uncomfortable during this recitation.

"As your lawyer, I can tell you a few things. If you were thrown out,
we can take some kind of action. Your legal guardian is responsible for
you until you're eighteen. But, if you ran away, that's a different story.
It's illegal to assist a run-away. What's wrong?"

Dermot was squirming and looking very uneasy by this time.

Very seriously, he said, "I didn't run away. But, I tell you this -
and I mean it as seriously as I can - if you do find where I came from, and
send me back, I'll kill myself."

Walt Lyle knew better than to ignore a statement like this, or to try
to dismiss it with a blithe statement like, 'Oh, you don't really mean
that.' He studied Dermot for a moment, and convinced himself that Dermot
did mean it.

"It must have been hell," he said quietly.

"There are parts of it I did not tell Lando. I don't want to even
think about it. But I will NOT go back. You can count on that," Dermot
said with determination.

"I can see that you mean it, Dermot. I don't know what we can work
out, but I will see to it that you do not go back to where you came from,
and you will not go back out on the streets. I promise," Walt said.

Dermot studied him in turn. "I think you mean it. But I don't know
what to do. Mrs. Harper, the woman from Social Services, said something
about a foster home, but nobody would want a gay guy who's been selling his
ass for months."

"You might be surprised," Walt said. "Don't run yourself down. I
know, and I suspect Mrs. Harper knows, you were not out on the streets
because you want to be. But we'll have to look into all the options."

"You've been really great, Mr. Lyle. Not just calling 9-1-1 and all,
but coming to see me, and sending Lando, too. I appreciate it."

"I think Lando is enjoying his role in all this, too. I certainly did
not have to pressure him to get him to come visit you. I understand he's
coming back tomorrow with a film version of ROMEO AND JULIET and John
Krugler's book on the Lords Baltimore."

"He couldn't remember the title or author of the book, but that sounds
right. But, there's something I thought of this morning I want to ask you
about, if we can change the topic, here."

"Sure. What's on your mind?" Walt agreed.

"I told Sgt. Flaherty that I remembered one of the guys, when they
were beating on me, calling me the appellant, and then saying 'motion
denied.' That's lawyer talk, right?" Dermot enquired.

"It's legal jargon. That doesn't necessarily mean the guy was a
lawyer. You could pick it up watching some of those courtroom dramas on

"Yeah, but he could be a lawyer, or maybe a law student at the
University," Dermot insisted.

"Yes, he could. Do you have any other reason for thinking so?"

"Nothing I can put my finger on. But there was something about the
way those guys talked. They were educated. They were not off the streets,
even though they used a lot of street language, and tried to sound tough.
But it was like something they had rehearsed, not the way they always

"Maybe trying to disguise the way they usually spoke," Walt suggested.

"Maybe. I just don't know."

"You say you told Sgt. Flaherty about this?"

"Yeah. This morning."

"I'll speak to him. And, if you think of anything else, be sure to
let us know."

"I will, and thanks, Mr. Lyle," Dermot promised.

Walt Lyle got up to leave, saying he would be back soon. Dermot
watched him go, and wondered whether Lando would be listening in when he
consulted with Sgt. Flaherty this time.