Chapter 17 …

Looks like a target to me for some reason ...

Tonight’s chapter turned out to be longer than originally expected because of all the time I’ve spent rewriting. Next week’s chapter is longer still, at least at the moment. I’m still debating whether to split it in two because I have enough material to do so.

I probably won’t, however, since I feel like we need to move on to Part IV. The downside is that I’ll need to cut it back some if I decide not to split it. That could make it feel kind of choppy and rushed.

In any event, feel free to weigh in if you have an opinion one way or the other about what I should do.

To recap, the boys discussed Jimmy’s reaction to the fashion show and seeing Bobbie dressed up like a girl in last week’s chapter. While clearly uncomfortable with the whole thing, Jimmy also realized he had been attracted to Bobbie and struggled to explain his conflicted feelings.

After that the two boys spent the rest of the afternoon together, first in the game room and later swimming in the pool. When it was finally time for Jimmy to head back to Washington, Bobbie gave Jimmy his card and told him he was welcome back at the mansion anytime.

In the ensuing discussion Bobbie made it clear he was looking for a best friend, an opportunity Jimmy jumped at given his attraction to Bobbie. When Bobbie suggested being best friends might be difficult if Jimmy became a full member of the club, Jimmy quickly agreed to seek honorary membership so he would have more time to spend with Bobbie.

We also learned why Del had only been an honorary member of the club for so long, why Bobbie had come to Jimmy’s rescue when he lost the special drawing to Del, and how that eventually worked out. It’s another story entirely, but let’s hope it wasn’t too painful for little Ryan🙂

On the drive back to Washington Jimmy ended up berating himself for being too judgmental. He seems to realize, if only belatedly, that not everything he learned growing up in North Adams is necessarily true; that being gay, like being straight, is neither right nor wrong in itself. That a lot depends on how you treat other people.

In the end, realizing how much he likes Bobbie and wanting to spend more time with him, it seems like Jimmy is becoming more comfortable seeing himself as part of the gay community; though he doesn’t seem quite ready yet to admit everything that implies (and what seems obvious already to the rest of us).

It’s a delicate balancing act for Jimmy, one that could go either way.

Tonight the story moves forward from March to May. More relaxed, Jimmy will begin enjoying Washington more as well, some of his old fears replaced by new concerns.

How all of this will turn out for him remains to be seen, but tonight’s chapter, which I’ve now posted at The Annex, will set the stage for the conclusion of Part III next week.

Have fun reading.

Chapter 16 …

It all depends on how you look at it ...

In last week’s chapter Jimmy and the rest of the boys traveled by limousine to Great Falls, Virginia, where they spent the day being entertained at the mansion where Charles and Bobbie live.

Before getting there, Jimmy had to endure a bit of skepticism from one of the boys about his relationship with Jeff. Fortunately Eric came to his rescue.

Having arrived at the mansion, the boys were served a lavish lunch, one followed by a fashion show in which Bobbie himself turned out to be the one modeling the latest in female attire. That left Jimmy panicked and hyperventilating, but Eric and Bobbie were able to calm him down.

Eric and Bobbie seem like decent enough dudes who understand how difficult it is for someone like Jimmy to face up to the truth. But whether their motives are entirely pure remains to be seen. Perhaps we’ll learn more tonight.

I mentioned in last week’s introduction to Chapter 15 that I wasn’t happy with what were supposed to be the final two chapters of Part III. In particular, the ending of this part of the story seemed much too rushed and confusing to me. To put it less generously, it was a disaster.

Dissatisfied, I’ve gone back to the drawing board and have done some extensive editing and rewriting . In the end, what were supposed to be the final two chapters have now become three.

I think I’ve improved the ending of Part III quite a bit, but one of the results is that the next two chapters will be a little shorter than usual. Depending on what you think of them, that might be a blessing in disguise🙂

In any event, I’ve just posted the new and shorter version of Chapter 16 at The Annex. Let’s hope the extra work I’ve put in pays off.

Courage …

Unlike gay Trump supporters who have their heads up their ass, this straight Mexican boy is willing to put his body on the line for people who are gay ...

A 12-year-old boy, presumably straight, attempted to block an anti-marriage equality demonstration in Mexico last weekend.

“I have an uncle that is gay, and I don’t like people hating him,” the boy reportedly said.

That took courage and you can read more about it here if you want although the picture pretty much tells the whole story.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, some people who claim to be members of the LGBTQ community plan to vote for Donald Trump.

Deplorable enough for you?

Chapter 15 …

Close enough :-)

Last week’s chapter ended a bit mysteriously. After deciding he and Jeff already had an open relationship, one requiring no further discussion between them, Jimmy also concluded that keeping Jeff happy was a job and managed to talk Jeff into giving him an allowance.

Deciding what he should do about the club turned out to be much harder for Jimmy, however. He wanted to join it, no doubt about it, but was also concerned he might end up having to do things that would challenge his sexual self-image.

When Eric called the next morning, Jimmy decided not to attend the lunch and club meeting that day. Once Eric hung up, however, Jimmy began to wonder whether he had made the right decision.

Later Eric called back and told Jimmy that Bobbie would be disappointed if Jimmy didn’t show up for the day’s events. That caused Jimmy to change his mind still again.

At lunch before the club meeting, Jimmy learned from one of the other club members how much the boys in the club were in awe of Bobbie. That didn’t come as any surprise to Jimmy given how attracted he already was to him.

Later, at the club meeting itself, Jimmy ended up losing the special drawing to Del. For some reason, however, Bobbie stepped in and offered Del a choice as to who he could spend time with during the coming week. Del quickly decided he wanted to be friends with Bobbie, not Jimmy.

While we’ll have to wait until next week to clear up that mystery, we’re down to the final three chapters of Part III. Given the absence of comments, it’s hard to tell whether anyone is still reading this story and that only reinforces my own doubts about it.

I’ve always felt what I was trying to do in this story was important. In retrospect, however, it would have probably benefited from a lot more work before starting to post it. I feel like I’ve spent too much time getting us to this point and too little on Part III’s denouement, which is still to come and is probably going to be much too rushed.

I’ve never believed in leaving readers high and dry by not finishing a story, but I’ve been thinking maybe this should be the exception. If you have any thoughts on that, feel free to weigh in.

In any event, I’ve now posted Chapter 15 at The Annex. If it strikes you as too bizarre, feel free to let me know that as well.

Chapter 14 …

A precarious perch indeed . . .

Monday is Labor Day in the United States and that’s traditionally considered the end of summer as well as an opportunity for one final blowout. Not that I’ll be guilty of doing something foolish like that, of course, but I’ll be taking the weekend off to spend some quality time reading and reflecting on life’s many conundrums 🙂

Part III of our story is slowly approaching its crescendo. Clinging to a familiar past, Jimmy is trying to decide whether to take the plunge into some less familiar waters. He’ll have to decide soon enough and tonight we’ll begin to get a glimpse of his answer.

Things will really begin to pick up with next week’s chapter and once they do they’ll move pretty rapidly. Everything we’ve read up until now is pointing us toward the next part of the story, which I consider both the best and indeed the very point of the tale. Whether you’ll agree or be happy with that remains to be seen.

In any event, after having lunch together at the Hawk and Dove in Chapter 12, Eric brought Jimmy to Head & Tails in last week’s chapter. Housed in a nondescript warehouse, Head and Tails turned out to be a different kind of gay establishment; one featuring semi-nude dancers, peep shows and adult movies, among other things.

Here the two boys caught a performance by Bobbie, who lives with someone named Charles but apparently dances part time at the place whenever he’s in Washington. To say Jimmy was shocked by what he saw would be an understatement; and yet it was also apparent he was attracted to Bobbie, who ended giving Jimmy his g-string.

During his break (and after spending time with the paying customers first), the three boys ended up talking about a variety of things. Jimmy was surprised to discover Bobbie was originally from a community close to North Adams.

Asked whether he might be interested in dancing at Head & Tails, Jimmy demurred. Later, on the walk back to Capitol Hill, Eric explained daddies to Jimmy and a bit more about the Triple C club. Back at home Jimmy tried on the g-string Bobbie had given him and ended up jerking off in the thing before falling asleep.

That’s where Chapter 14, which I’ve now posted at The Annex, picks up. Have fun reading.

The Boys of Summer …

Victory is always so sweet ...

Congratulations to Maine-Endwell Little League, the U.S. champions, on capturing the 2016 Little League Baseball® World Series Championship with a hard fought 2-1 victory over South Korea, the International champions. This is the first time since 1964 that a team from New York state has won the Little League World Series.

It’s also the first time the American boys have won the world championship since a team from Huntington Beach, California, did so in 2011. That 2011 victory was part of my inspiration for writing Summer Boys, Summer Dreams.

Hmmm … Kit wonders whether he should consider another story centered around baseball, perhaps with a somewhat different twist.

Perhaps as important as winning the World Championship, the Maine-Endwell team was also named the 2016 Jack Losch Little League Baseball World Series Team Sportsmanship Award winner.

Voted on by the 16 U.S. and international participating teams, among others, this award recognizes the team that exemplifies a tremendous amount of sportsmanship both on and off the field, including the team’s time in the dormitories, dining hall and interview room as well as their performance on the field.

That’s a very big honor and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of boys.

The best in the world ...

Chapter 13 …

pole dancer?

Last week’s chapter found Jimmy and Eric having lunch on Capitol Hill at a place called the Hawk and Dove. Unlike most of the places mentioned in the story, the Hawk and Dove (or Hawk ‘n’ Dove to be more precise) is an actual bar/pub/restaurant in Washington that’s been around for many years.

Opened originally in 1967, it has changed quite a bit since then. Indeed, that’s true for the Capitol Hill area generally, especially the Capitol itself and the surrounding congressional complex. Once considered the people’s house, the Capitol has been turned into an armed fortress these days that’s really only for political insiders, not ordinary Americans.

It’s a disgrace, but I digress.

The point is that the Hawk and Dove was a popular gathering spot on Capitol Hill back in the 1970s when our story takes place. While I’m told the current version is nothing like the original, feel free to check it out if you’re ever in Washington.

Most of the other places mentioned in the story are real in some sense as well. They’re fictionalized versions of actual places that existed in Washington a half century ago. In some cases I’ve tried to stay true to the original. The Hide and Seek, for example, is a fictional version of the Lost and Found, the biggest gay bar in Washington for many years back in the 1970s and 1980s.

I’ve tried to stick close to the original for many of the other places in the story like Exiles & Castaways and Outlaws. In some cases, however, I’ve taken liberties in one way or another for narrative purposes.

In tonight’s chapter, for example, you’ll be introduced to a place called Head & Tails. It’s an altered and somewhat cleaned up version of the Cinema Follies, which had a tragic but somewhat colorful history.

In trying to capture the era that I’m writing about, I’ve relied on accounts from others who were alive back then as well as on a lot of documentary records that have been collected and preserved about gay life in Washington by The Rainbow History Project.

The Project has done great work in preserving gay history in Washington. Feel free to contribute if you’re interested in supporting that work . . . and be sure to mention me if you do🙂

So, yeah, there’s a lot more that goes into writing a story like this than meets the eye; and while I think I’ve done a pretty good job of capturing the era, I’d be the last to say I’ve gotten everything exactly right.

But feel free to let me know if you have questions about any of the places mentioned. I’ll do my best to answer them, but keep in mind that I’ve barely scratched the surface of the many gay establishments that existed back in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s in Washington.

In any event, Jimmy and Eric discussed a variety of things over lunch at the Hawk and Dove, including Jimmy’s new outfit and his reaction to the bars he had visited that weekend. When Jimmy complained at one point about not having a job, Eric told him his job was to keep Jeff happy and that he should be getting an allowance for doing that.

In the ensuing discussion, the two exchanged thoughts on allowances and open relationships, revealed some secrets to one another, and finally got around to discussing the club Eric had mentioned to Jimmy when the two first met Friday evening.

Jimmy seemed interested in joining the club initially as a way of making some new friends. But once Eric explained how the club worked and what was involved, Jimmy became less certain what he wanted to do.

Toward the end of lunch Eric suggested the two visit a place called Head and Tails where Bobbie worked as a dancer and where Eric thought Jimmy might be able to get a job if he was still interested in doing so. Jimmy quickly agreed and that’s where this week’s chapter picks up.

I hope you’re reading this introduction since I left town on Wednesday and will not be back until Sunday. Scheduling these posts and a new chapter in advance is always a challenge for me🙂

Hopefully everything worked out fine. If so, have fun reading Chapter 13 at The Annex.