Book 1: Billie Joe's Journey

by Rick Beck

Chapter 10

Duke Of Earl

Traveling with a moving van was a different kind of life. My adventures had started when I hitched out of Seattle, and now I found myself in California, where I wanted to be. The work with Ingmar and Kyle wasn't hard and they treated me well. The main thing, however, was that I could express my inner self. It wasn't enough to have realized I was gay. I needed more. I needed to gain some acceptance and understanding about what it meant, beyond the obvious. I couldn't have done that by hanging around the house in Minnesota. I had taken my show on the road, and was prepared to pay the consequences when I returned.

The mornings always started with coffee, and this morning was no different. The thermos was full and Ingmar was pouring me a cup before I got completely off the truck. I felt as though I'd known this man for years. Spending twenty-four hours a day with people can do that, but Ingmar was like a father. I wondered what it would be like having such an understanding man for a parent. But he was far too young to be my father.

"They coming?"

"In awhile, I think."

"It's okay. We'll be done here in couple of hours. I should have left them sleep. They worked hard yesterday."

"I don't think sleeping is what they are doing."

"Created a monster, did I?"

"I don't know about that, but it seems like they like each other."

"I'm sorry if you are left out, Billie."

"Oh, not to worry. I've managed. I'm glad to see them happy. They really like each other. It's pretty neat. And I feel really good this morning!"

"Good! You look happy." Ingmar smiled, and I felt his goodness reaching out to me.

"Why are you so easy about this? I mean my parents would be crapping themselves. Calling mental institutions if they caught me . . . well, you get the idea."

"We must be living and let living. Kyle is smarter than anyone I know. He deserves to have happiness in whatever way he finds it. It is good he is happy. He hurts no one."

"It's just that you aren't like most adults."

"I'm not like most American adults. I told you this is looked at different in Europe. Having your first sexual experience with other boys is not unusual for boys there. No one pays much attention. It's human nature to want to explore what you feel. Feelings are difficult to force to do something because people say it is what you are to do. I don't know about this, and feel it isn't up to me to make anyone be any particular way. Happiness is more important than conforming. I'm not understanding this American need to make everyone alike."

"I wish the people at my house felt that way."

"Have you given them a chance?"

"Are you kidding? My old man thinks queers should be strung up. He hates them. Said one tried to grab him in a bathroom when he was a boy. In his eyes, they are all perverts and deviates."

"Maybe he doesn't hate so much; he sees his son. Maybe some of the same feelings once scared this man that became your father."

"No way. He'd kick my ass and pack my bag. I've got to find another way. I know what happens when you live with people that can't handle this."

"You'll never go home?"

"I guess for school."

"What do you say then."

"I want to tell them. I don't want to lie. If I tell them, I want another plan. If I can't stay there, I want to know people where I can go."

"You can always stay with Ingmar. I may not be gay, but Ingmar will make a home for you any time you are wanting it. It may move a lot, but at least it is a safe place for you to be."

"I'm glad, and I thank you from my heart. But you know I'm going to leave soon."

"I know this. I know this by the far away look in the eye of Billie Joe. You are a good worker, but you are thinking of something somewhere else."

"I want to find the gay community in San Francisco. If I find people there, I can go back there if my parents toss me out after they know about me."

"Why not go back? Take your medicine. Stay until you are old enough to be on the road?"

"Can't."

"Won't."

"Take your choice. I need an option. I can't live a lie any longer. My feelings have been too strong. At twelve I knew. Now I've found someone that makes me know I'll always be gay. I need more than waiting and hiding what I am. I can't do it any longer. I'd rather die."

"You talk nonsense. You haven't lived. Rather die? You have maybe a few years to do what your parents want you to do. Then you have maybe seventy years to play. Go home. I'll pay the way for you."

I hugged Ingmar. My face fit right into the lower part of his chest. One big hand rested on my head and the other on my back. I couldn't reach around him, but I felt like he was a good friend.

"I know you mean well. I can't give you a reason you'll understand. I can't go home yet."

"Is not for me to say. I say what I think. Ingmar helps you. You must make your own decisions."

Kyle came to the doorway in his bare feet and without a shirt. His chest was dripping with sweat. He smiled the most delightful smile.

"We ready to go to work, Uncle Jo?"

"Take your time, Kyle. We have plenty of time. Maybe two hours will finish it up. You and Raymond take your time. We'll save you coffee. I have Dunkin Donuts in the front."

"Holding out on me. Give me coffee and don't offer me donuts," I complained in mock irritation.

"Didn't want them all gone before the men got up."

"Oh! They're men. What am I, chopped liver?"

"You are my very wise and very mixed up little boy. You're my Billie."

"I don't feel so wise. A gay guy I knew committed suicide. Since I was six years old I knew him. We built a tree house, rode bikes. He was my best friend. He was gay and I didn't even know that. He left a note saying he didn't want to live defective. Defective! He was fucking sixteen, Ingmar, just a little older than me. Why would he write that? Why didn't he tell someone? Why didn't he tell me?"

"Did you tell him?"

I looked at him. The tears had already started to flow. I didn't intend to tell him about Ralphie. I didn't talk about him. He was a non-person to me now, but it just rolled out.

"You see why I'm saying you must let people be what they are. This Ralph should not be dead. He should be happy, smiling, doing the skateboarding or making up new dives off high boards. People made him die. They cut him off from these feelings he had, and then they showed him he was bad for feeling the thing it is he feels. We don't make up these things, Billie. These are parts of us. As I do like the woman you do like the man. One is superior to the other only because of the numbers. Whenever one group is stronger they are dominating you. Man is an evil animal when he wants to crush those lesser, weaker. You must promise me to talk to someone before you think of such things. This Ralph did not talk to you because he was scared. Had he not been made scared, he would be living. That's the power of the majority of peoples. They are making the minority think they are less, when many times they are actually more loving, more giving, more forgiving. Many times the less is the more, Billie."

"You think so?"

"I'm thinking different is sometimes better. Different gives you more things for the growth. Different doesn't make you so superior as it does make you wise. Like you, my little friend, wise beyond your years, and willing to risk your life to find the answer that is right for you. You are in a little boy's body, but you have much to teach bigger folks."

I was holding onto Ingmar, hugging him. Being thankful for someone that understood something about what I felt. He didn't understand, but his words somehow made a difference. His attempt at understanding, and his acceptance gave me some peace of mind. It did make me feel stronger.

I looked back and Kyle was gone. We went up front and ate donuts. Ingmar was right, I would have finished them off if he hadn't stopped me. Kyle came up to where we were about half an hour later. We gave him the donuts and he took them back with a cup of coffee.

It didn't take two hours to finish up. The entire time we worked, Raymond and Kyle kept staring at each other. Every time they went back in the house for more boxes, Kyle had his arm around Raymond. Ingmar shook his head a couple of times. He didn't seem angry, just confused.

We all sat up front as we drove up route 101. Raymond sat on Kyle's lap, and I sat half in and half out of the bunk. Laughing and joking was fun. Watching Raymond and Kyle touch each other was better. You could see what was happening between them. Ingmar drove, and laughed and joked, and paid little attention to the closeness of the two boys in the other seat.

I didn't want to leave, but it was time. I still had a mission. Sitting around truck stops wasn't quite enough to take away my need to find a support group that might save me the pain other gay youths knew after coming out to their parents.

I slept in the front seat that night with Ingmar purring above me. I said nothing to Kyle or Raymond. I woke Ingmar at first light.

"What is it, Billie. You cold?"

"I wanted to say good-bye, and thank you."

"You are leaving already? Let me pay you."

"You've fed me. Protected me. Given me a place to heal. You don't owe me anything."

"A man works for Ingmar, a man gets paid."

I stuffed the fifty dollars down into my other sock. I was carrying more money than I'd ever had at one time before. I hadn't expected to make my fortune hitch hiking around California! It was odd that my money was growing instead of shrinking. Socks were a good investment it seems.

The first ride took me ten miles. I stopped and had morning coffee. I wasn't hungry. My stomach growled, but it wasn't about to tolerate food. Some of the terror that had chased me into California came back upon me. I wanted to run back to Ingmar. I left the small diner and threw out my thumb. The second ride was a middle-aged woman. She took me two miles. I stood as the sun peeked up over a high row of hills to the east. It was warm on my face. The next car stopped still on the road. Other cars went out around it blowing their horns. The boy was young, but not as young as I. His hair was platinum blond. I tried to see if it was his or came from some bottle at his house.

"I'm Earl," he said.

"Billie Joe."

"Where are you going?"

"San Francisco. Where are you going?"

"Salinas."

I laughed to myself as I watched the green and brown grass on the steep hills on my right, dotted with squatty trees. These were the first real trees I'd seen in California since leaving the northern part of the state. I preferred trees to the endless, grassy plains.

"Pretty young to be hitching."

"I guess."

"How old are you?" he asked slick as you please.

My mouth went into gear before I could employ my brain, "Sixteen," I blurted, but I'd thought about it enough to recover smoothly as I took an interest in the scenery. "In August I'm sixteen."

"You sure you're almost sixteen?" Earl quizzed, being young enough to know the ploys.

"Almost. Two months I'll be sixteen. August."

"What's in San Francisco?"

"I don't know. That's why I'm going."

"Let me get this straight. You're fifteen almost sixteen. Going to San Francisco, but you don't know anyone in San Francisco."

"I didn't say that."

"Do you know anyone there?"

"No. I'll meet someone. You writing a book?" I said, sounding like Raymond and cringing.

Earl kept looking at me. He wasn't much of a driver as the front right tire kept going off the road. Luckily for us he was only going forty. That wasn't so lucky for the folks that kept coming up behind him and blowing their horns.

"How old are you?"

"Nineteen."

"You look younger."

"My curse."

I studied him. He had intense blue eyes. His skin was pure white, but not pale like Raymond's. His arms were without even a trace of hair. His hands were thin and small. He was not much larger than me. He might have been five-six and a hundred and ten pounds. His face didn't have a blemish. I'd never seen a guy with skin so pure. I could see him looking at me out of the corner of his eye. I could see where he looked most often. That's when the front tire would go off onto the shoulder.

"If you want to check me out, stop. I think it would be safer," I said in Raymond's voice.

"You little shit. You sound like you've been around."

"Enough," I said, having learned from the best.

"You're cute, but I ain't losing no sleep over you."

"Good! Maybe we can drive on the highway than."

"You want to get out. I can always stop."

"I'd prefer to go to San Francisco."

"You gay, Billie Joe?"

"Didn't say that," I said, not sure of the right answer. He looked harmless but I wasn't trusting anyone that drove like he did.

"Not in so many words, but you've been around someone gay."

"Yeah! Me I guess. I just want a ride to San Francisco."

"For someone your age, San Francisco isn't where you want to be. The streets are mean."

"Where do I want to go?"

"My house."

"Do gay guys ever grow up to think of something else."

"You are thinking about sex. Not me. I said come to my house. You'll be safe there. You won't be safe in San Francisco. Some big ugly guy in a leather suit will snatch your ass off the street in about twenty minutes. You'll be strapped up to some board and fucked for a few weeks until he gets tired of you. Then if you're lucky, he'll just toss you back out on the street. You won't look as nice then."

"It's not like that. I've heard about San Francisco."

"I've lived there. I know the guy in the leather suit. Tell you what. I'm going into The City on Friday. I always go on Friday. You stay with me until then. I'll take you in and introduce you to some nice people I know with a house there. At least you'll have a safe place to start."

"That would be cool," I said.

"You a thief?"

"No."

"Hustler?"

"Not even!"

"You hungry?"

"Yes."

"Great. I always eat at John's Diner. It's great food. Loads for your money."

"Where you coming from?"

"Santa Barbara."

"What's in Santa Barbara?"

"My mother."

"Where's your dad?"

"Salinas."

"You don't live with him."

"No. I have my own place. Have for two years. They divorced."

We ate at John's. I had ham and eggs and biscuits with red eye gravy. I drank coffee and enjoyed the flavor as Earl and I made small talk. He'd known he was gay at thirteen. He'd moved into San Francisco when he was just fifteen. He'd managed successfully for almost a year. He was beaten and raped by two guys in a van. He came back to Salinas and moved into a house his grandparents left him. He lived off a small trust fund they also left for him. He was an artist and a musician. I was surprised at how sensitive he seemed. He talked like he'd learned a lot from his experiences.

As soon as we got to the house he took me to the room where he worked. There was a piano on one wall, and a guitar propped against it. Paintings covered every wall, and only a large window and the door broke up the display. The pictures ranged from crude finger paintings to lavish scenes with rich flowing colors. Earl took me through the room from his first painting at age six, to the one he was working on currently. It was propped up in the middle of the room on an easel and covered by a cloth he didn't remove.

"I could use a shower. If it isn't too much trouble," I said.

"No. Make yourself at home. Bathroom's the third door down from this one. I'll show you where you can sleep. I just ask you don't mess with anything. Most of the stuff is my grandparents'. They're dead, but I still respect what they left behind. A lot of things from the old country."

"What country?"

"Germany."

"You're German?"

"German/Irish. My mother was Irish. That's where I get the skin. Irish have delicate skin."

He showed me to the shower, and I left my bag at the door. I decided to wear the sweat pants Raymond couldn't keep up. I'd use my belt to secure them. The water felt good against my skin. I'd started to smell from the work and the play over the past few days. When I stepped from the shower Earl stood in the now open door. He looked me up and down. Mostly down. He handed me a towel and a smile.

"Here. This one is clean. I took the others. They were soiled. I have a washer and dryer if you want to wash your clothes. I have some old things that will fit you if you want something clean."

"Yes," I said, dripping on the tile floor.

"I'll get you some shorts and a Tee."

I dried myself and didn't bother to shut the door. He seemed harmless, and even at nineteen was no physical threat to me. There was no reason for me to fear him.

The shorts were nylon and had that nylon support inside that keeps you from falling out the bottom, but you kinda flow free inside them. They actually felt good against my best parts. The T-shirt was marked with a San Francisco Forty Niner emblem. It looked almost new. The red color was a bit much, but the shorts and shirt matched.

"Fits you perfect," he said when I came out of the bathroom.

He once more checked me out. I felt almost naked with the way I swung inside the shorts. It seemed to be to Earl's liking. He made a point of letting me pass in front of him so he could check out the other side of his shorts.

"You're built for those shorts. They never fit me like that."

"Thanks. I think."

"I appreciate nice things, Billie Joe. I'm not after your body."

We went to the living room where I sat pulling out all my dirty clothes. He gathered them up and took them into the basement to be washed. I curled up in a big old chair and brought out my notebook and started to add to a letter to Carl. Earl came back in and sat on the big wide arm of the chair where I sat. He was now also wearing a pair of shorts. His leg pressed against my arm. The lower portion of his leg was covered with silken hairs that were the color of the hair on his head, maybe even lighter. His thigh had no hair on it at all. He leaned toward me and checked my notebook.

"You a writer?'

"No. Just a letter."

"Boy friend?"

I looked up at Earl and decided he was okay. I didn't want to lie or be dishonest.

"Yes."

I reached into my bag and brought out the picture of Carl.

"Lord Jesus have mercy on my unworthy heart. This is your boy friend?"

"Yes."

"Where did you meet him?"

"On a bus to Seattle."

"Which bus. I want details. Does he have any brothers? Heavens! Does he have a dog even."

" Get a grip on it. "

"Don't mind me. I've dreamed of lesser men than that. I'd give my right testicle to get those little green pants off of him."

"I had a similar thought. Isn't he the most beautiful thing."

"Rugged. Handsome. Big. Yes. Beautiful? I'm not sure about that."

"You know what I mean."

"Yes, I do. You are a lucky guy to have found such a handsome man. Next you're going to tell me he's sixteen too, right?"

"Seventeen."

"You're kidding me. He's just a kid?"

"No. He's all man."

Earl watched me put down the words. He stretched his arm over the back of the chair. He let it rest next to the back of my head. His leg moved up and down my arm as I wrote. Later he got up, bringing me back a soda without speaking. He disappeared after I finished the second page. I told Carl about what was going on, leaving out the details that would just upset him. I copied the address off his letter, and got it ready to go into the mail.

I sat watching out some big double windows onto a field with brown grass blowing in the breeze. The day was bright, and the sky blue. I tried to picture the Pacific Ocean. I envisioned it not too far off in the distance. My mind wandered, lulled on by the sounds of violins and piano I could hear coming from deep inside the house. It was a pleasant music, though I'd never been fond of such relaxing tones.

I decided to go in search of Earl, who had been absent now for most of an hour. I checked the basement but the light was out. The kitchen stood empty and shadowed. I went to the door of his work room, and there he stood at his easel. His naked ass curved down in a perfect arc. It was the right size for someone of his stature. The skin was as pure as the skin on his flawless face. His legs were devoid of hair except for the silk threads I could hardly see from the rear. His arm moved boldly from pallet to canvas and back. He seemed to be lost inside his picture as he dashed, dotted, and brushed his way around. The music was much louder, and his body swayed to the symphony. His hand worked to the beat.

The lower front part of his body was covered with an apron. It was tied at the middle of his back just above the smooth crack of his ass. His ass had large dimples in each cheek. His legs were straight and without much muscle mass. His back was narrow from waist to shoulders, and they gave no bulk to his body.

I could feel the nylon against me, and my first reaction was to place my hand over myself so if he turned he couldn't see. Touching it was only an invitation, and I was caught between hiding it and leaving when he turned to see me moving myself to the side.

"I thought I felt something. You have penetrating eyes. You must not be too upset by my nudity. I don't wear clothing in the house. Only with a guest do I pretend to be modest. I need the freedom to create. Clothes interrupt the flow, block the images that come to my brain. I must let it flow freely."

"Why the apron?"

"Some paint is hard to discourage. After dipping my wick in my painting a few times, I decided on a compromise between nudity and prudence."

"Does it get that big?"

"Heaven's no. I'm a light weight, Billie Joe."

He turned and lifted his apron to reveal a perfectly cut penis hanging down from cock hair the color of summer straw. His sack was as hairless as the rest of him. He was not large or small from the experience I'd had looking for such detail. He dropped the apron and turned his back as he dabbed more paint and stood back to watch.

"Nudity makes you nervous?"

"Not exactly nervous."

"You saying my ass makes you horny?"

"Something like that."

"Is that what you're trying to hide?"

"Yeah."

"I've not decided about you yet, Billie Joe. I mean you are nice, but so young. I would like you to sleep in my bed tonight. You can sleep in the guest room. I think we would have fun sleeping together."

"You say what's on your mind?"

"It's better than hinting around and ending up with your own hand as your love life."

"You don't look like you should have any trouble attracting a love life."

"Billie Joe! You romantic. I never pictured you as a flatterer."

"It wasn't meant to be flattery. You are handsome. Almost pretty. Your skin is perfect."

"Those German/Irish genes. I make a nice picture, but love isn't something I've found a way to cultivate. Most lovers tire of me so quickly. I'm a demanding person. I need certain things. I need my painting and my music. Most people I bore. I spend a lot of time in introspection. It's a turn off."

"That's thinking of yourself?"

"Very good, Billie Joe. You have a brain. Introspection is looking within yourself. It's not something our culture encourages. We are taught to be stimulated by external forces while ignoring and abusing what is inside of us."

"I don't understand."

"It's like being gay. For some it is a curse. For others it is wonderful. I'm trying to find out what it is and what it means for me. Beside the obvious. We have sex with the same sex, but what makes us tick, and why has history been so cruel to homosexuals? In World War Two we were gassed right beside the Jews."

"We what?"

"We were gassed."

"They killed homosexuals too?"

"Homosexuals, Gypsies, disabled, mentally ill. The German's were equal opportunity exterminators. My ancestors you see. They had no more success with us than the roach. We are a product of biology. No matter if you kill all of us in one generation. The next generation we are back. Biology refuses to be denied."

"Why do they say it's so bad to be homosexual? Gay. I don't like 'homosexual'."

"Because they aren't."

"They who?"

"The people that run the big show. They take the wealth. They run the country. They exploit those that can be exploited. They promote what they feel and think at the expense of what anyone else feels or thinks. That's what power and government is about. It is oppression. Force your way onto everyone. If you are powerful enough, like Hitler, you just kill off those you feel are inferior. You create an atmosphere where everyone else wants to kill them too. You make them into monsters so it is easy to kill them. Gay people. Lesbians. We've always been the monsters. Like the Jew, we are easy to hate."

"I never thought of it like that. You're saying it isn't going to change."

"No. These same men are pretty clever. The world population is exploding. We'll soon not be able to feed all the people. Now we can feed them, we just choose to let a lot of them starve so we can have an extra color television or third car. When these men realize the population is going to destroy the planet, I imagine they might encourage homosexuality. Sorry! Gayness. They'll either try to encourage it so they can have more of the pie, or they'll decide Hitler was right, and we should go. That's about it. Not a great future, but some hope in there some place."

"I think I'd go for being encouraged. Hitler killed the gays?"

"Yes he did. Hitler killed anyone he felt to be a liability. If he'd won the war, we'd be dead now instead of standing here looking at each other's bodies, wondering."

"I'm not wondering."

"The bulge in your hand tells me you are wondering what it would be like. That doesn't mean we explore what it would be like. That means there is a possibility we might. That's good enough for me. You're okay. I think I'd like exploring with you."

"I don't know right now. I mean you're cool. I wouldn't mind, but I don't know if I wouldn't mind because I'm horny or because I really like you. I don't know how I could really like you in a few hours. That's what confuses me. Why don't we act like men and women? I mean why not date, and get to know each other, and then do it? Like we really cared for each other."

"Plenty of men and women do just as we do. Slam, bam, and on to the next. Many of us are caught in pretty bad situations. We don't dare come out. We keep the secret and hope for relief. Then when it comes time to do it, we tend to get it over with and move on. We're infused with fear and shame, so we carry that into our beds and we run out of the door afterwards."

"I don't want it to be that way. I want to be with people I can be myself around. I don't want to hop from bed to bed like you guys do."

"My last hop was eight months ago. He lived here for four months. I don't look for it."

"Well I've heard about all the fooling around that goes on."

"You hear what you are supposed to hear. That's what is said about us. You don't see us most of the time. We are waiting tables, going to school, brokering stocks, treating people in hospitals. You just don't know where we are. When we act out sexually, that's when they're waiting to say: 'See what I told you? Sex, Sex, Sex! They are perverts.' They say nothing about the ninety-nine percent of the time we're engaged otherwise because then we become invisible. Our Curse. If we were born with pink triangles in the center of our foreheads, we'd not tolerate letting each other be beaten and abused. We would end the discrimination pretty damn quick! But we can hide, and we do. That's our curse. Sex is a small portion of our lives, just as it is for them, but it is what's used to exclude us."

"I guess you are right. I've been gay for years but just now had sex for the first time. I mean I like it and think about it all the time, but I work and do stuff that has nothing to do with my sex life. If I go to San Francisco, will sex be all I find there?"

"No. I'll introduce you to John and Dennie. They're fiftyish lovers. They've been together twenty-five years. They took me in after I was raped. They talked me into going home. They never touched me. It was my safe house. They're nice old guys."

"I thought old gay guys were dirty old men."

"They can be. They still would like to have a sex life, but you've got to work harder to make it happen when you're fifty. It's the beauty thing. Our culture thrives on beauty. All the handsome guys make out all they want. The homely guys pick up the crumbs. No matter what's inside them. No matter what they have to offer, they're discarded because they aren't a nine or a ten. We've bought into the youth and beauty thing. Sex is the same with an older guy as it is with a younger guy. Better. They are more interested in satisfying you. Young guys mainly want to get satisfied. They are also better able to help out young guys. They also get used a lot and fucked over often because they're old. It's not always like that. I'm just telling you what it is like when you are in town. You'd do great, but there will be people wanting you that can't have you, and then you run into trouble. Some people take what they want. You're too young to be letting it hang out around people like that."

"Being gay wasn't what I wanted to be. The more I hear, the more I don't want to be gay. If it was a choice, I'd choose being like everyone else!"

Earl turned and faced me, placing the brush and the pallet on his easel. His chest was without form. It was not defined, though two quarter-sized nipples were in their proper place. His shoulders were no more impressive in the front. The apron hung a few inches below his belly button. It was as smooth as the rest of him. He walked toward me as I leaned on the door jamb. When he got to where I stood he leaned forward and placed his lips on mine. He put his arms around me and increased the pressure of his kiss. He pressed the front of his apron into the front of my shorts. Our bulges rubbed together as I hugged him and returned the kiss. He placed his hands on my hips and backed up one step and looked into my eyes.

"You see, Billie Joe? You have no choice. I may not have been sure before that you were sure, but I am now. You are gay as a goose, and I'm afraid that is the way you will always be."

"I know that."

"I didn't know it. I don't want to be corrupting someone as young as you. It's not my intention. It isn't what I need."

"Why after only a few hours can I let you do that? It confuses me. It shouldn't be that easy."

"Lonely. Alone. Empty. You need to feel like you are a part of something. Most of us feel it Billie Joe, and it isn't a sin. We have to hide from people we love. That creates the need to be held and to be loved in the time when we are real. We know when our families hold us that they don't know what we are. It lessens the potency of the hug or touch. Always knowing they don't know what we really are, we live a lie, and that sets us up to jump at each chance we have to live the truth."

Earl's voice became intense.

"To be touched in real time. To know we are being touched and the person touching knows what we feel, and knows what we are, and still touches us!"

Earl dropped his apron at his feet. I traced it up to his erection standing up at a forty five degree angle. I looked into his dark, velvet-blue eyes. They had black rings around the irises. He was hugging me before I realized he was moving toward me. His hands went under the rear of my nylon shorts and he fingered my crack as the kiss lingered. I held his naked skin in my arms and kissed him back while tracing the contour of his back and ass. My fingers danced inside his crack as he ground his hips into me and slipped my shorts down so our best parts could move together to feel the incredible heat our bodies were generating. His lips were thin, but very capable. I didn't feel anything but lust. It wasn't like with Carl, and not even like with Raymond. I wasn't really attracted to him, and yet I wanted him. I wanted to know what it was like with him. I wanted to lose myself inside of him. I wanted to be part of him. I wanted to fill him with my love, and yet I knew I had no love to give him.

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