Episode 214 - China
Before we join our young friends again in Hong Kong, we need to back up a little and talk about marriage. If you remember, Josh and Greg had told Perry that they wanted to get married, and Perry had suggested that they wait a little while and get married in Europe. When they arrived in Portsmouth, Perry talked with them again, and told them he'd think about how to make arrangements.
That's when I got involved in all of this. He called me and said, "Charlie, I think we need a good lawyer over here."
"Some kind of problem?"
"No, but I have a couple of gay kids that want to get married. And I suspect that some of the other pairs here might like to be married as well. I'm not sure that many of the people here are aware that Norman and I got married in Canada, but we're sure glad we did. There are five unmarried gay pairs on this team, from the U.S., England, and the Bahamas. Do whatever research you need to do, and get over here and talk to all of us about the legal issues of gay marriage."
There are two ways to do legal research. Hit the books, the internet, and other sources, or, call up another lawyer who's already done the research and get him to share it. In this case, the call went to Chrissy and Orville. Chrissy, whom I spoke to first, said that Orville was the guy in their office who handled marriage issues, and told me to talk to Orville. I did, and my questions were easily answered. It sure beat a day in the law library!
So I was off to Portsmouth. Tim, of course, decided that I needed a chaperone, and he came with me. We were both eager to see Goose again, and to see how Perry, Auggie, and their team were doing. Of course, we found that they were doing extremely well. We arrived in London at the standard arrival time of "too early in the morning," which is when virtually all U.S. to Europe flights land. David and Millie met our plane and accompanied us on the train to Portsmouth, doing their best to keep us awake, so we'd sleep well that evening. Perry allowed us a one-hour nap before the usual late dinner at the hotel in Portsmouth with the entire team and Norman's parents. Perry told the group that I was there as a legal resource regarding same-sex marriage, and encouraged the five unmarried gay couples in the group to join me in a meeting the next day. The meeting would be held in a back room at Crosse and Blanders, and Zenna promised us a good lunch.
Josh and Greg were eager, and Perry insisted that Angus and Trevor, Goose and Kelin, Arndel and Nidal, and Curtis and Gene join the group as well. I really didn't have much to tell the group, but I started by asking them how much they had thought about getting married. Josh was quick to answer that as soon as his sister, Sally, had planted the idea, the more he and Greg had liked it. They were clearly ready. Goose, Kelin, Arndel, and Nidal, hadn't even thought about it. In the Bahamas it was illegal, and just being gay and out had a certain amount of risk. Curtis and Gene had, of course, had the chance when Marty and Fred had gotten married in Canada, and that's when Perry and Norman had been married. Curtis said, "We really hadn't thought about it before Marty invited us to consider it, and we weren't ready to move. Gene and I talked about it last night and I think we are now. We'd like to hear what you say about the legal implications." Angus and Trevor were still pretty new to the idea, and weren't sure they were ready.
I told them that if they were married in Europe, and I recommended The Netherlands, as it had the most experience with it, they would be legally married in The Netherlands. They would be recognized as married only in those countries, or jurisdictions, that permitted same-sex marriage: a very few countries, and none that they'd be sailing in. For the Americans, it would vary state by state, but none of the states the Gang was involved with currently recognized same-sex marriage. The Bahamas certainly did not, but they had legalized homosexual activity, so the fact of the marriage in The Netherlands couldn't lead to legal prosecution in the Bahamas. In the case of England, a recent case had made their status clear. If Angus and Trevor were married in The Netherlands, England would automatically consider it a Civil Partnership. I noted that while many considered this a serious put-down, it was my job as a lawyer not to argue the case that sought to have it recognized as a marriage, but to simply point out that the said they'd be Civil Partners when they got back to England. I did indicate to everyone that I believed that with a valid marriage certificate from The Netherlands, they'd be recognized as married in each new jurisdiction that allowed same-sex marriages, when countries, or states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada changed their laws.
After the very brief legal discussion–there really wasn't a whole lot I could tell them–they got into a really deep discussion about their feelings toward each other and the idea of marriage. I was very pleased to hear Perry and Norman speak so positively about marriage, and about how it had made them even more sure of their love for each other. And they said that the fact that North Dakota didn't recognize them as married didn't make a bit of difference; the people that counted (the Gang) and God recognized their marriage. By the end of the day, all five couples had decided that they'd get married in Amsterdam as soon as Perry could make the arrangements.
Perry asked, "OK, who do you want to invite, for a week from Saturday, in Amsterdam? Fred's Sports is going to be your gracious host."
The four from the Bahamas answered, "No one. We aren't sure we're even going to tell anyone back home. Our parents aren't happy with who we are, and they would be upset. But we decided long ago that we simply couldn't let our parents rule our lives. But we don't push our gayness in their faces."
Curtis and Gene said that they'd like to invite their parents, and Gene had an Aunt and Curtis an uncle he wanted to invite. He said, "We didn't have a lot of friends, because most of our classmates didn't like the fact that we were gay and didn't try too hard to hide it. It was fun to go back after Sydney and show off a little, but our real friends have always been the members of the sailing team, and that includes our two closest friends from work back in Michigan, David and Millie."
Angus said, "My parents have been great about Trevor, and I know they'd love a free trip to Amsterdam." Trevor concurred.
But their parents fooled them. Angus got a call from his father who told him, "Angus, your mother and I have a bunch of friends here in London that need to be shaken up a little, and being invited to a gay wedding will do the shaking. Seymour and Mary feel the same way. We'll arrange all of the travel, but count on an extra dozen or so at your ceremony." Angus reported that to Perry, who immediately called Richard Mallory, told him what hotel they'd be staying at, and assured him that he and his friends would be part of the Fred's Sports party. Seymour protested, but finally accepted; Perry agreed that Seymour would take care of the airline reservations.
Angus and Trevor had been fully supported by their families in their desire to sail in the Bahamas. Their parents had been totally surprised when their sons told them that they'd been taken onto the Fred's Sports Sailing Team, and would no longer need parental support. The end of the financial drain was welcomed, but at the same time they realized that they were no longer needed in the lives of their sons. That can be both a relief and a shock for parents, and the Mallorys and the Nelsons were no exceptions. When the team had been sailing in Portsmouth, the four parents drove down for a day to see their boys and watch the sailing. However, at that stage it wasn't at all clear that their boys would have a chance at being Olympians, and the four parents had pretty much discounted the possibility. They'd been happy to meet Goose and Arndel, whom they'd been sending checks to, and Auggie and Perry, who pretty much represented Fred's Sports and whom they thanked for the support the boys were then receiving. But they weren't sailing, or even sporting, people, and the names of Auggie Madison and Perry Weeks meant nothing to them. And they were only vaguely familiar with Fred's Sports. Since Fred's Sports was a privately held corporation, it had never been of interest to them as investors.
Then they got the fantastic invitation to the group wedding in Amsterdam, during which their two boys would be married. Well, Civil Partnerships had by then become legal in England, and they were familiar with the arguments for and against same-sex marriage. It wouldn't have surprised them if their sons had told them they were going to have a Civil Partnership in England, but a wedding was a little bit of a surprise.
Both families decided that they would be very open about their sons' relationship, and invitations were extended to their close friends and some business associates. In extending the invitation in his office in the City, Trevor's father, Seymour Nelson, happened to mention that his son was sailing in Portsmouth with his friend Angus, and with another boat skippered by a very pleasant young man named Auggie Madison. One of his colleagues, who was a sailing people, exclaimed, "Auggie Madison. He's famous. He's a safe bet for a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics."
"How do you know that?"
"His story is all over the sailing mags right now. He's sailing in Portsmouth, and the press has been all over him. Your son is sailing with him?"
"Mary and I visited them while they were sailing in Portsmouth. We met this Auggie Madison. He's a very pleasant young man, but we weren't aware of his fame, nor does he act like he's a famous sailor."
"I wish I'd known. I would've loved to make that trip with you."
"Sorry. But I'm sure that Auggie will be at the wedding in Amsterdam, and the point of this conversation is to invite you and Sarah to join us."
"Who is Trevor sailing with?"
"Angus Mallory, Richard Mallory's son. Richard and Judith will fly over to Amsterdam with us."
After that conversation, Seymour Nelson made it his business to find out more about Auggie Madison, Perry Weeks, and the rest of the folks he'd met when he visited in Portsmouth. A web search quickly led him to Quest (a ridiculously expensive book, but he bought it anyway) and he was staggered to realize that his son and his friend, Angus, were sailing with some of the most elite sailors in the world. He told his wife, Mary, showing her the book, and she wondered, "How on earth did Trevor wind up in that company? When he left home to learn to sail in the Bahamas he really knew nothing about sailing, and we thought it would do him good to get away for a while. I had no thought that he'd become a world-class sailor."
"Neither did I. But if you can believe what I was told in the office, if he's sailing with Auggie Madison, he's world-class."
"This wedding trip to Amsterdam is getting more exciting all the time. Have you told Richard and Judith about Auggie Madison?"
"I talked to Richard; I showed him this book. He's as startled as we are."
These conversations were repeated to Trevor when they were with him in Amsterdam. Along with, "Why didn't you tell us all of this?"
"Honestly, Dad, when we met Auggie for the first time, we didn't have any idea who he was. Goose just introduced him as old sailing partner. It was much later when we heard the story of Tim and Charlie and the part that Goose and Auggie had in it. It was all very gradual. I just never thought to put it in an email."
"Well, your mother, Richard, and Judith are eager to meet all of your sailing friends here in Amsterdam; I hope we have the chance."
"I'm sure you will." And, of course, he was right, everybody met everybody.
Tim and I had decided to stay with the group in Portsmouth for the ten days until the wedding; we'd fly back to Grand Forks with Fred, Marty, and whomever else they'd be bringing along–quite a few as it turned out.
We enjoyed watching the sailing, and for one day Goose and Arndel insisted that we take the Maddie II and sail with Auggie, Freddie, Trevor, and Angus. It was fun to get back on a 49er, but my muscles weren't ready for a full day of sailing. By dinner time I could hardly walk. Tim, of course, wasn't fazed, and had a ball. However, that night we both agreed that sailing was part of our history, not our future. We had our medal, our fantastic desks, and wonderful memories: that was enough.
Well, you've heard of Tim productions, Fred productions, and the like. Now it was Perry's turn. As soon as the principals agreed and the date was set, he flew to Amsterdam. He learned that any number of different civil magistrates could perform marriage ceremonies, and he had one engaged within a matter of hours. The woman was intrigued by the fact that it would be a quintuple group wedding, representing three different countries. That Tim and Charlie, about whom she knew a great deal, would be among the guests added to her interest. She suggested that the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, opposite the main square, would be the perfect place, provided you could afford it. Perry knew that he could afford it, and made his way to the hotel immediately. He asked to speak to the manager and told him that he would require forty-five rooms, preferably with king-size beds, but queens would be acceptable. People would arrive on Thursday or Friday (he'd need fifteen rooms on Thursday night) and depart Sunday or Monday. He expected to need about twenty rooms on Sunday night. Friday and Saturday he'd need the forty-five. All day Saturday he needed a space for a wedding with about ninety people, with both lunch and dinner served by the hotel. He wanted very nice, buffet-style meals, and would like the hotel chef's recommendations for menus. He wanted all alcohol removed from the mini-bars in the rooms, and for them to be well stocked with soft drinks, including Cokes.
The manager and his secretary sat through all of this, taking notes, but saying nothing. The first words out of his mouth after Perry had finished were, "And how will you be paying for all of this?"
Perry handed him a Visa card and said, "I would think that all of this would cost between $15,000 and $20,000. Take that card and run a deposit of $15,000. It'll clear. I assume that if you're concerned about payment, that will be able to meet your needs, is that so?"
"If this card clears, then, yes, that is so."
The credit card machine didn't accept payment and returned the phrase, in Dutch, "Stand by". A few minutes later the manager got a call from his local bank. It seems that the issuing bank for the Visa card had called to confirm that the $15,000 charge was legitimate and then asked to speak to Mr. Perry Weeks. Perry was put on the line, identified himself, answered two pre-set security questions, assured the bank the transaction was legitimate and that more would follow. He handed the phone back to the hotel manager who shortly ended the conversation. The manager looked at Perry and said, "My bank says you have a virtually unlimited ceiling on that card, I'm impressed."
"One of your guests will be Fred Milson, the Fred of Fred's Sports. Does that help? We're all part of the Fred's Sports Sailing Team. We're looking forward to a delightful, but all too brief, stay in Amsterdam."
"We're delighted to have you as guests. We'll make sure your stay is perfect."
It was. They ended up with about 105 guests, and since many or most were Gang members, there was no trouble squeezing them into the 45 rooms. Since the hotel had more than 400 rooms, and a week's notice, they were able to put all of the guests in a single block on a single floor. That certainly facilitated the usual night roaming for which the Gang was famous.
The wedding itself was simple. The five couples formed a circle about Magistrate Vilm. All of the guests and witnesses sat in circles around them. Ms. Vilm said a few words about Dutch law, how Amsterdam welcomed the world, and how the Dutch were glad to be leading the world in the acceptance of all people to be married. Each couple had one person speak briefly to and about them personally. The Ms. Vilm asked them to recite their vows, each separately, following her lead. She then pronounced them married in accordance with the laws of The Netherlands. The whole thing took about a half an hour. Then a lunch buffet was set up in the end of the room, already set tables were wheeled in, and the chairs moved up to them. We enjoyed a delightful lunch. Perry allowed plenty of time for conversation, and then invited everyone to follow him as he led us to a canal boat that provided a wonderful tour of Amsterdam by water, through its extensive canal system. We were back at the hotel in time to go to our rooms to freshen up for dinner, followed by a really great dance band and dancing. By this time dancing had become so completely individualistic, that two men dancing together, or two women, had no problems at all, unlike Tim and I in the era in which we had our commitment service.
We also envied our young friends their option to be married rather than just "committed." We hoped that we'd be able to be married in North Dakota before too many years, but that was certainly unclear in 2006.
All good things come to an end, and at midnight the band quit, Perry said, "Good night," to everyone, and with the five newlywed couples leading, we headed to the elevators and our hotel rooms. Tim and I had talked about the night, and had decided with what two young hunks we wanted to spend it. We knocked on the door, and Perry opened it. As soon as he saw who it was a grin came over his face that simply made my day. He turned back to Norman and said, "You won't believe who's standing at our door."
Norman looked up, saw Tim and me, and said, "My God, do you suppose they're here for the reason that I hope that they're here for?"
"They'd better be; there are only two reasons to knock on our door at this hour, and since the hotel isn't on fire, that only leaves one. Come in. Come in. And tell me that my dreams are coming true."
Tim said, "I have no idea what dreams you may have had recently, but it appears that Charlie's and my dreams may be coming true. I say that based on the overwhelming grin on Perry's face."
Tim and I moved in and I closed the door. As soon as it clicked shut Perry asked, "Why're you two wearing clothes? For that matter, Norman, Why're we wearing clothes?"
As usual, Tim won the ensuing race, but the two gorgeous young men were very close behind, getting more gorgeous by the minute. I lost the race, and that meant that all eyes were upon me as I peeled off the last piece of clothing, exposing a now very hard.... Well, what do you call it when a sixty-six year old man talks about his whatchamacallit to two twenty-somethings? Dick seemed the most neutral term, but I think Norman would've selected cock, at least I think that's the more common term for the Brits, but who am I to know? I guess I could ask Angus or Trevor, but I haven't gotten to that level of conversation with them yet. Having decided on the term to use, I asked, "Ok, who want to do what with my dick?"
At this point Perry interrupted the flow of the conversation with, "You guys do remember that the four of us have had sex before, just after we moved into our new house in Grand Forks?"
I said, "How could we forget, and that's one of the reasons we're here, to get some more of your love and support."
Norman, clearly remembering our previous time together said, "I want to...." He hesitated, and then said, "I was going to offer to give you a blow job, but I'm just not very comfortable with that term."
Tim said, "Something tells me that we're all being very careful of words, and that the reason for that has to do with the difference in our ages. Would talking with Auggie about giving him a blow job bother you?"
Norman answered, "Honestly, it might. There's something about the term blow job that's crude. On the other hand, to suck somebody has a slightly different meaning. Blow job, at least to me, involves completing the job. Sucking leaves that open."
Perry said, "You know, I've never liked the term blow job for a different reason. Somehow talk of giving someone a blow job implies a forced or subservient position. A master might demand that a slave give him a blow job. A macho male might demand that a woman give him a blow job. In BDSM a dominant might demand that a submissive give him a blow job. A john might ask a prostitute for a blow job. I always use suck, and anybody that sucks me better finish the job."
Norman said, "Charlie, I'd like to suck you."
I said, "I'd like to be sucked. Tim, would you like to be sucked by Perry, I'm sure that he'd be willing."
"You can bet that I would."
"And you can bet that I'd like it."
But nobody moved.
Tim said, "I think you men may be a little shy."
Norman said, "Look, I know all about the Gang, Hell, I've been a member since 2000. But you two are something special to the Gang, certainly to Perry, and so to me. I saw you sailing with the angels, worshiped by the COGs, and honored by your campus community. Even though it isn't the first time, it'll truly be an honor, and I'm about to have an orgasm just thinking about it. Please understand, it takes some getting used to."
Norman walked over to me, easily lifted me onto one of the two beds in the room, knelt between my legs and very gently took my dick into his mouth. I stopped him and pulled him up so that we could hug and kiss, saying, "This comes first." He proved to be very adept at hugging, kissing, and eventually sucking. I didn't prove adept at slowing down a climax, and he again proved adept at swallowing my cum.
Perry did the same thing for Tim, but he took his cue from me and started by kissing Tim. When he got Tim's dick in his mouth, Tim was able to muster more control than me, and he enjoyed several minutes of Perry's ministrations before Perry got his load.
Then Tim took charge and said, "OK, we need to change partners and reverse roles."
Norman immediately said, "My God, I'm about to be sucked by the sexiest man in the world, perhaps the universe. Please, please, don't wake me up from this dream." With that Tim rolled away from Perry and headed to Norman. I don't think Norman was ready for what he got from Tim. Tim went over Norman's whole body, first very lightly with his hand, then less gently, this time fingering into his prostate, and massaging his balls pretty roughly, then repeating with his lips and tongue, including rimming him pretty thoroughly, and finally taking his now dribbling dick into his mouth and sucking him dry, swallowing it all. Norman pulled Tim up on top of him and kissed him deeply. "Only one time have I had better sex in my whole life, and that was the first time with Perry, in Darwin, Australia. Thank you, Tim. I love you."
Tim replied, "Norman you're loved by all of the Gang, and certainly by me, unconditionally."
I tried my damnest with Perry, but there was no way that I was going to beat Tim in a game of Can You Top This! Perry insists that I at least tied Tim, but he was just being nice. We snuggled together in a four-man spoon, and slept contentedly.
The next day Tim and I were headed back to North Dakota with Fred, Marty, and quite a few others. The sailors headed back to Portsmouth where they had five more days of sailing before they headed to Darwin. We'll catch up with them in Hong Kong, where Angus and Trevor's parents had decided to join us and watch their sons sail.
In Hong Kong the group experienced the first race in which they came in one, two, three, in the order you would expect: Auggie and Freddie, Goose and Arndel, and Angus and Trevor. Auggie was beside himself with enthusiasm. Freddie, Goose and Arndel pretty much took it in stride. Angus and Trevor were almost in a state of shock. The race was part of an eight race regatta, in which the finishing order was the same, except that Angus and Trevor ended up fourth. The sad news was that third place went to another English pair.
That didn't phase Auggie, who was now convinced not only that all of their boats would get into the Olympics, but all of them would medal. From that race on, that was Auggie's assumption, and woe to anybody on the team who tried to disagree, or even enter a note of caution. Auggie told them, "Listen, I know all about confidence, and over-confidence. I also know about facts. And the fact is that we're the best of this entire bunch, and we better sail like it. If you start thinking like a loser, you'll be a loser. And the only way we aren't going to have a loser here is if we all get a medal. So. One, two, three. The only question is who'll be one, who'll be two, and who'll be three? And, Goddammit, I don't want to hear any crying from whomever is number three. You can cry all you want if you're number four."
Nobody dared even say, "But...." Angus and Trevor would be out of their minds with unexpected joy if they got close to an Olympic bronze medal.
Angus and Trevor repeated that conversation to their parents later that evening. Richard had tried to absorb this, and finally asked, "Do you believe that, Angus?"
"If I'm going to stay on this team, I have to believe it. So the answer is, 'Yes'."
"But you don't really believe that, do you?"
"Trevor and I are going to win a medal in the Olympics. It would be wonderful if it were silver, but it's going to be bronze. So says Auggie, and who am I to dispute him. You can take it to the bank. And you folks either have to be believers or shut up."
Norman had been with the group in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but now had to fly back to England. It was easily arranged for him to fly with Seymour and company, and they had an interesting conversation on the way home. Angus and Trevor's parents had dealt fairly well with their sons' homosexuality and their love for each other. They admitted to Norman that it embarrassed them a little with their friends, and weren't unhappy when the boys came up with the idea of learning to sail together in the Bahamas. In Amsterdam and Hong Kong they'd been confronted with more gay pairs than they'd met in the rest of their lives. Seymour confess to Norman, "If I'd met you and Perry four years ago, I'm not sure how I would've handled it."
Norman replied, "You know, if we'd met in a business setting, I wouldn't have walked up and said, 'Hello, I'm Norman Crosse, I'm gay and I live with my partner, Perry,' any more than you'd introduce yourself to me by saying, 'I'm Seymour Nelson, and I'm straight'."
Seymour laughed and said, "You're right. But how do you introduce Perry?"
"As my partner. Most people just assume I mean my business partner, which he is. We don't usually correct people's misunderstanding. However, we don't hide who we are. We've lost a couple of clients over being gay. But joining the Fred's Sports Chandlery Co-op is a good deal. The two men that I was thinking of, came back, apologized, and have joined up. They still have a hard time with who I am, but business is business. We don't rub it in their faces."
"It's taken Mary and me a while to get used to it. Angus' folks did better than we did. They helped us some. Well, that's behind us. I sort of got the impression that that bunch of sailors were more involved sexually than first meets the eye. Would I be right?"
"If you get an affirmative answer to that question, can you deal with it?"
"I don't really have a choice, do I? And I think I've gotten all of the answer I need or want. Thanks. OK, is Auggie's suggestion that the three boats will all win Olympic medals even remotely realistic?"
"Don't ask Auggie that!"
"I didn't, and I won't. I got that message quite clearly. But I'm asking you, here on this airplane, a long way from Auggie. And I won't quote you."
"Oh, you can quote me. Take it to the bank. Better yet, you have legal betting in England. Take it to your bookie. You could get really good odds on that bet. Put down a thousand quid and you'll be able to retire next year."
"I don't have the guts."
Meanwhile, Perry had the group in Shanghai, practicing for the last race before they'd all meet in Qingdao, China. Beijing is an inland city, and has no sailing venues. The sailing races for the Beijing Olympic in 2008 would be held in Qingdao, about 420 miles southeast. Qingdao is on the Yellow Sea and The Qingdao International Sailing Centre was eager to host Olympic sailing. It would also host the Qingdao Invitational, one year before the Olympics. Many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, would use it as the last race of a series that would select their boat for the Olympics. All boats with a reasonable chance of sailing in the Olympics had received invitations, including all three of the Fred's Sports boats.
It was exciting sailing, but I simply don't have space here to take you through all of the races. However, the thirteenth race, the penultimate in the fourteen race series, was a story unto itself.
A number of people had raised their eyebrows about Fred's Sports sailing three boats for three countries. They questioned whether the boats might run interference for each other, or in other ways try to help the other boats on the team. In particular, since Goose and Arndel had already qualified, and therefore could afford to lose every race, might they not interfere with boats that were tightly competing with Auggie or Angus?
Auggie understood their concern, and tried his best not to get angry over the suggestion. What he said was, "If this were a bicycle race, it would be expected that each member of the team would try to help the others any what he legally could. One member often sets too fast a past, trying to pull others ahead with him. He'll tire, and not make much of a race, maybe even dropping out, but he may take some competitors with him. That's the way the bicycle game is played. In sailing, we don't have teams. It's every man for himself. I'm out there to win. If I cut off your wind, it's because I want to beat you, not because I want someone else to beat you. And you can be damn sure that if it's Angus and Trevor whose wind I have to cut off to get in the lead, goodbye to their wind. Before the race, we work together. Once that race starts, we're individual competitors. You watch us sail and see if that isn't so."
There was a lot of respect for Auggie, but not everyone was sure. Until the thirteenth race.
It was a very heavy wind and a British boat, skippered by Hank Reardon, a veteran sailor who'd been around a long time and had sailed in prior Olympics (but not in a 49er), was in the lead on a beam reach (perpendicular to the wind), hotly pursued by Angus and Trevor. Auggie and Freddie were coming from behind, fast on. Auggie was behind because on the previous leg the two Brit's had had spectacular success with their tacking, and had left the others behind. Auggie, the accepted master of balancing his boat for maximum speed, was able–with the high wind–to gain on the two leaders. His only option was to head upwind of Angus, thus cutting his wind and almost certainly dooming him to lose to Hank Reardon. And that loss might determine who'd sail in the Olympics, the two were so close. Since no other American boat was near, winning the race meant nothing to Auggie. To everyone's surprise, except I think Angus, Auggie held his course, ruining Angus' chances.
However, Angus proved that he'd been listening when Auggie gave sailing lessons. Instead of trying to duke out a losing battle with Auggie, as soon as he saw what was happening, he jibed downwind and then quickly came about on a parallel course to Auggie, from which he had at least a slight chance of catching Hank. It was brilliant sailing. Hank saw Auggie coming, and had time to maneuver so that Auggie would have a difficult time passing. Then there was an abrupt wind change. By pure luck, the wind now favored Angus, who took full advantage and ultimately won the race. Hank was second, and Auggie third.
Afterwards, as the sailors were talking, almost everyone expressed surprise that Auggie would've up winded his sister boat. Angus said, "I knew he would. He gives no quarter in a race. I saw him coming and desperately tried to figure out what to do. Jibing was my only chance. But it wouldn't have helped without the wind change, and nobody called that one."
After fourteen races the British boats were so close that if Angus had lost that race, he would've been out of the running. As it was, by a single point, over five different regattas, Angus Mallory and Trevor Nelson, sailing the Perry would compete for the United Kingdom in the Olympic 49er class races. Auggie and Freddie would compete for the United States, and Goose and Arndel would compete for the Bahamas.
But almost a year of sailing lay in front of them. The boats would meet many times in many ports over the next year, as the most elite sailing fraternity in the world prepared to race for Olympic fame in Qingdao, China, in 2008.
As you know, the Gang was involved with more Olympians than those six. However, as we ease back to Grand Forks, something else was happening. In August of 2005 this story started appearing on a British website called "its only me from across the sea" or iomfats.org. When I started to write this story I discussed with the Gang, especially the original eight, but others as well, whether it would be a problem to have our inner lives opened to the public. We all agreed that it was time to stop being totally secretive about the Gang, who it was, and what it did. As I said, it was published, in serial form, on a British website which features "Gay Teenage Male Romantic Stories." I trust you get the picture; some of the stories were very specific, though the webmaster limited the site to stories that, in his view, were good stories and not designed to be pornographic, though many people would onsider them pornographic. This story fit.
Amazingly it was more than a year later before somebody at the university stumbled on Finding Tim. At least it was more than a year before anybody found it and told about it. If you told people about it, you had to admit what kind of websites you were visiting! In any case, the news spread pretty fast (Facebook was just getting started, so it didn't move as fast in 2006 as it would today). By May of 2006 Episode 29–Felix had just been published. The first few episodes didn't portray much sex. Certainly the Felix episode did, as did many before it–think Tim and Tina, me and Priscy, both me and Franklin with Phil. You remember! Everybody was saying about the same thing: "Wow" or "My God!"
Tim wasn't particularly bothered, but he decided that he needed to make some kind of a statement. He called up the Dakota Student editor and arranged to have her and two top reporters (at least one male) come by his office for an interview. He was asked, "I assume that the internet story is going to be on the table."
Tim said, "Of course. I'll try to give you an interesting story, but I don't think it'll be what you're hoping for."
They arrived, and the four of them sat comfortably in a circle in Tim's office. He did insist that the meeting be recorded, and told them that he'd get a copy of the tape, along with a transcript, to them as quickly as possible; they didn't have to take a lot of notes. The first question, one of two possible ones, was, "Did Dean Charlie write the story?"
Tim leaned back and said, "Something told me that you'd ask that and it's easy to answer. The introduction of the story begins by saying there are two Charlies, one the Charlie of the story, and the other the author. So if you believe the story is true, then you have to believe the author who tells you it isn't written by Dean Charlie. On the other hand, if you believe the story is fiction, then it's hardly likely that Dean Charlie wrote it."
"Well, that leads to the heart of the matter. Is the story true?"
"As you are obviously aware, much of it is. A lot is based on things that you can read in some newspaper or magazine somewhere, find in some kind of public record, or get in interviews on the campus, Minneapolis, and other places. Obviously, to the extent that newspapers get their facts straight–which sometimes happens–that much of the story is true. You're really asking me about the rest, aren't you?"
"Of course," someone responded.
"Well, if you're asking me if all the sexual exploits attributed to me, and a number of others, really happened, I will, of course, refuse to answer. A question like that is inappropriate to ask of anyone. You don't ask people questions about their very private lives."
"But this story makes your lives very public."
"Only if it's true. And you don't know that, and can't know that. Look, there are two possibilities:
"First possibility: somebody did–I guess I should say is doing because it appears to be an ongoing story–a lot of excellent biographical research on me and a fairly large group of folks here in Grand Forks and elsewhere. Then he, or she, armed with a strong libido and a great imagination, filled in the blanks with some almost pornographic story-telling.
"Or, second possibility: somebody, perhaps my Charlie, decided to write a tell-all biography. Of course, I'm pretty sure that I know which is the answer. But I'm not going to say. If I were to say it's pure fiction, some people would believe me and others wouldn't. And whether they believed me or not would pretty much reflect what that already think is the truth. And if I were to claim that the story is true, some would believe me and others wouldn't. But that's a very private question, and I'm simply not going to answer it.
"And one other thing. You'll note that the story appears on a website that contains only fiction. Why would anybody put nonfiction on such a site? Think about that."
"You seem to be saying that the story isn't true."
"No, I'm trying to point out some of the obvious implications of the publication of this story. Beyond that, I'm not going to help you."
The questions continued for a while, but the students soon ran out of different ways to ask the same questions and the interview ended.
As soon as they left Tim called in his secretary, Irene, and asked her to make a transcript of the tape and have someone from AV come over with a tape duplicator, or whatever they called it, and make a couple of copies. He would then send a copy to the Dakota Student.
Very quickly she returned and said that the AV people were on the phone, they wanted the tape brought to them. Tim took the call and asked, "Do you have a machine, or a pair of machines if that's what you need, that you can bring over here?"
Well, yes, they did, but it was much easier to dub the tape in their lab.
Tim replied, "It may be easier to do it there, but my secretary is transcribing the tape, and would have to stop to take it over to you. If you come here, she'll only have to stop for the actual duplicating.... Thank you."
Tim said to Irene, "I should've told them I didn't give a fig how hard or easy it was, if the President wants the damn machine in his office, bring it."
Irene said, "I was going to tell them that, but I thought you'd like to be nicer about it than I felt."
"I also didn't say that I didn't want to let this particular tape out of my sight until I had it copied and transcribed. I sure as the dickens don't want to be misquoted in the Student."
The copies and transcriptions were quickly made. Tim immediately sent an email to all of the Gang (ain't email wonderful?) attaching a copy of the transcript. His message, very simply, was, "Let's all play from the same sheet of music." We did.
Back to the elite world the Olympics. No, wait. This episode is about a long as it's supposed to be. China (this episode) will simply have to be continued in the next episode, which will be titled Beijing. Why isn't it still Peking? Why the name change? I guess I don't know enough about the Chinese language. Can someone explain it to me?
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