Finding Tim

by Charlie

Episode 223 - Emeriti

Author's note: A move, illness in the family, and a variety of personal issues have delayed the episodes of Tim. Readers, writing these episodes is a priority for me, but it can't be my top priority. I am still committed to finishing the story, and it seems that things in my life are under control so that I hope it can continue fairly regularly until completion. Thank you for your patience and continued interest in "Tim." – Charlie

Perhaps I shouldn't be the one to tell of the awful/wonderful/unforgettable year that Toppy put us through before we were allowed to retire, but other than Tim no one else could really comprehend it, and its impact on the two of us. Toppy spared nothing, and if he didn't think of something, then Liddy, or somebody prodded him gently but firmly.

It started on the first day of school, Monday, August 23, 2010. Right across the English Coulee, in a green area not far from the Adelphi Fountain a huge flagpole had been erected. Tim had asked what was going on, but was told by Liddy to butt out, so he did. But Monday morning it became clear what the flagpole was for. It now held a huge flag, I cannot imagine how many square feet, with the image of an Olympic gold medal and the words, "Farewell, Tim." We couldn't believe it, but it bothered Tim that only he was mentioned. He needn't have worried. Toppy'd been concerned that I would be upset at my missing name, so he'd clued me in on what was going on. The next day was a different flag, this with the seal of the Supreme Court and "Farewell, Charlie" as the text. All year these flags rotated, day by day.

But that wasn't all. Every flagpole on campus had a flag, some the Tim flag and some the Charlie flag. They moved around, so either flag might be flying on any given day. On poles that normally carried the U.S. flag, our flags would fly just underneath. All other poles either had only our flag, or ours underneath the state or university flags. As September came, little desk sized flag poles appeared, with one or both of our flags on them. By the end of September two new flagpoles had been erected in front of Dakota House, one for each of our flags.

We weren't many days into all this flag business when one morning Tim said to me, "These flags, and flagpoles, cost a lot of money. I wonder where it's coming from?"

"I don't know for sure, but we know that in the past they've raised a lot of money on this campus to honor you–and me. It's either that or Fred. I would be willing to bet that it isn't university money."

"Liddy would never allow that."

"I'm sure she wouldn't."

"I wonder what's next?"

"Toppy and Liddy have fertile imaginations."

"Why do you say Toppy?"

"Don't you know? Liddy has put Toppy in charge of our farewell. That's why it was he that told you when you could retire."

"He did tell me, didn't he? He wasn't suggesting or asking."

"Indeed he wasn't. I think we just have to go with the flow."

The flow took us to the big musical performance. We knew it was coming from all the publicity on campus, and then one week into September came the "invitation" to sing a duet. Tim and I both feigned reluctance, but in truth we were delighted with the invitation, as Toppy knew we'd be. We knew that our voices weren't what they used to be, and what they used to be wasn't all that good. But we also knew that the campus community would love the duet, and we easily choose "True Love."

The evening was spectacular, as you've already read. It was a glorious beginning to what looked like was going to be a rousing good year, but it was also a professional send-off for Toppy, and we were so happy for him. Over the next few years we, and most of the Gang, would travel to both coasts to see Toppy's triumphal performances conducting the finest orchestras in the world.

But how was Toppy going to play, "Can You Top This?" for the rest of the school year? He began by enlisting the help of Jumper. Jumper couldn't guarantee football wins, though his record since the streak had continued to be spectacular (208 wins, 22 losses, but they hadn't again been Division II national champions). But he was always willing to cooperate in whatever foolishness Tim, or Tim's cohorts, requested. Homecoming Weekend was early October, with the traditional football game, parade, dance, alumni gatherings, golf tournament, etc. etc. In the past nothing much had been made of the football game, largely because Jumper really couldn't guarantee a win. The winning parade floats were driven onto the field, the band played, and the parade trophies were awarded. This year would be different. It began very simply with Tim and Charlie flags all over the place. The lines on the field had been painted pink instead of white. A huge billboard size sign had been erected above the scoreboard with Tim's and my pictures, and the word "Farewell." It wasn't by accident that the opposing team was the Cougars from the University of South Dakota, our favorite rivals and the team which had broken our streak twenty years before. They came on the field carrying two huge flags; you guessed it, one for Tim and one for Charlie.

Just before the home team ran onto the field the announcer informed the crowd that for the rest of this season the team had adopted two new mascots: Timmy and Charles. Two oversize costumed personages led the team onto the field, one looked strikingly like Tim and the other too much like me to be funny. As soon as they were on the field, the Cougars surrounded Charles and the Fighting Sioux surrounded Timmy. Both were hoisted onto waiting shoulders and the band blasted out, "They Call the Wind Mariah." The National Anthem was played followed by a twenty-one gun salute, fired from those little brass cannons that make so much noise at games.

It was a good football game, back and forth to the end. In the end the Fighting Sioux managed to win with a last minute field goal which left the score at twenty-three to twenty-one. I think both coaches would've loved a tie, but both had sufficient integrity that no way were they going to allow the score, or the winner, to be planned in advance. It was Jumper's 209th win, and at the banquet for both teams afterwards he announced that he would be retiring at the end of the current season. That prompted Toppy and Liddy to keep the huge billboard above the scoreboard until the end of the season, now plastered with the coach's mug and "Farewell Jumper." Although he was universally called Jumper, except by his teams who called him "Coach," this was the first time anyone could think of that he'd been called "Jumper" by the university. Of course, the newspapers loved to call him Jumper, and it'd almost become a cliche for newspapers to print a photo of him jumping after a big play.

So we waited for the next shoe to drop. Well, it turned out that every team on campus was going to have a special game, meet, or match, to celebrate our retirement–and, of course, we were expected to be at all of them. The final meets of the year for the gymnastics and aquatics teams were especially spectacular–and maudlin. Everybody had to thank Tim for his support over the years. It was pointed out too many times that were it not for Tim there wouldn't be a gymnastics team, and that there had been a women's aquatics team years sooner because of his insistence that there be aquatics for women. And then they had to thank me for supporting Tim all these years.

The Law School wasn't going to be left out. They sponsored a series of three very formal dinners featuring outstanding speakers: the Chief Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court, a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and the Chief Judge of the First Circuit (Washington, DC) Court of Appeals (my old court). The current Chief Judge had known Sherm in the "good old days" and retold stories that Sherm had told him about "the best damn clerk I ever had." My memory suggests that some of the stories may have had some basis in fact! Justice Philmot, now sitting on the Supreme Court, noted that it would be a violation of the rules and ethics of the Court for him to repeat Chief Justice Hiram Clark's confession as to which of his opinions were really the opinions of his chief clerk. Having said that, he winked at me, and continued on. His speech focused on the increased politicalization of the judiciary, and the stuff about me was simply introductory. It still made me feel good. Tim, always sitting next to me, squeezed my hand many times as the speakers commented about the retiring dean.

Christmas brought another of Toppy's concerts, but this time focused on the campus community. To avoid any issues of a public university sponsoring Christmas carols, he'd moved outside the normal university organizations and invited everyone in the community who was musically inclined to participate in a direct steal from Charles Shultz's title, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for Charlie and Tim." It was outside and this huge chorus of carolers roamed around the campus for about an hour. Toppy had staged various instrumental groups at locations around the campus, and the moving carolers stopped by each and performed a short concert. It started with a full band behind the large chorus as it sang "O Come, All Ye Faithful" which was enough to send shivers up spines–at least Tim's and mine. The concert ended (or almost ended) at the fourth location with "Joy to the World," accompanied by the largest collection of tubas, euphoniums, and baritone horns I've ever seen. (They'd been assembled under the auspices of the TUBACHRISTMAS organization and were soon to perform their Merry Tuba Christmas Concert.) "Joy" was followed by a rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" but in the first verse the "You" was replaced with "Tim" and in the second with "Charlie". I know the syllables don't fit, but they made them fit. The singers moved on to a nearby food service dining room, bringing Tim and me with them. There we had cookies and hot cocoa, and everybody who still had a voice left after all the singing in the cold weather, came by and told both Tim and me how much we would be missed in the coming school year. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place, certainly not on Tim or me, even though we explained to everyone that we weren't going anywhere, we were simply passing the leadership batons. That explanation didn't change anything, but we thought we ought to say it.

New Year's Eve was quiet. We invited the original Gang of eight and their spouses to join us for a late dinner and conversation for the evening. I guess age was taking its toll, as nobody ever mentioned the idea of losing clothing or sex. Just before midnight there was a knock on the door; we looked out there was a collection of students from the university. At midnight they all waved, shouted "Happy New Year," and slowly went home. With the university on vacation, it wasn't a large group, and the cold weather didn't help. A small delegation came up to the door and told us that the idea of saying a last Happy New Year to Tim and Charlie had begun at dinner and had spread around the campus all evening. We assured them that we'd still be around next year to give and get New Year's greetings. Their reply was, "It won't be the same."

Back inside with the Gang, Tim said, "It really won't be the same next year, will it?"

Ronnie said, "Well to begin with you won't be living in Dakota House, Liddy will. You'll be back in what is now The Hideout."

Tom piped up, "That reminds me, all of us, that we have to put that place back together as a home not an insane asylum."

Tim said, "I never thought of it as an insane asylum; the kids that used that place were very calm and mature. As for its future, we've been all over it with Carl, and they're going to start remodeling very soon. We're creating our dream house."

"Just don't mess with that shower."

"Never, but we are going to put in another one, even bigger, on the third floor. That way guests that want to use the shower, and they all do, won't have to bother us."

"I've never known you two to be bothered by people passing through your bedroom; usually it gets you aroused."

Hal said, "Old age is setting in. Before long I'll have to sit down to tie my shoes."

"That'll be a sure sign of old age."

Sue said, "I really think that Hal will die with shoes on that he put on while standing up."

Franklin countered, "Or, he'll die falling over trying to tie the damned shoes. Hal, maybe it's time you took a lesson in tying shoes sitting down."

Hal looked introspective. "No, I think Sue is right, whatever kills me will happen when I have my shoes on and tied."

Ronnie said, "This is getting morbid. Tell us about your plans for your house."

I said, "Well, we don't what to change too much. We're going to turn the third floor into a nice guest suite. It'll have a private bath, but that bath will connect to a hall bath which will access the huge new shower. Nine shower heads and four heads on the ends of hoses. To provide adequate pressure and hot water, we'll have a water tank in the basement with it's own pump providing pressure to the two large showers, and each will have a continuous flow hot water heater. Plenty of pressure and no running out of hot water. We'll be able to control the pressure to restrict flow when water's scarce. But when the Red River has plenty of water we might as well use it. Particularly in the shower, I'm not contaminating the water and it simply dilutes the sewer water that the treatment plant has to clean, and it all goes back into the Red River. Other than during drought, the time to avoid heavy water usage, and that includes our long heavy showers, is during and after heavy rains. Rains stress the system and eventually it overflows the system and goes into the Red River untreated. Tim and I try to be conscious of that."

"But you still use a lot of shower water!" That was Tom.

"And so do you guys when you come near our showers. We all try to be responsible, but we all know we love our showers."

Readers: I'll stand on what I said: I don't think our water usage is irresponsible.

Next up were Milt and Max, inviting themselves to dinner at Dakota House. Max had made the call, and in his usual casual way had informed us that we needed to pick a date to feed the two of them, and that it had better be really good beef. He did allow as how a really good rack of lamb would be OK.

Rack of lamb is what they got; it was clearly what he wanted. We were tempted to have caviar in the living room before dinner, but settled for rumaki and maple cooked bacon. They weren't disappointed. Halfway through dinner they still hadn't given us a clue what the evening was about so Tim got right to the point. "OK, guys, why are you here?"

Max very casually said, "Sex," and went back to gnawing on a lamb chop bone.

I said, "You're going to have to be a little more specific than that, Max. Just what do you have in mind, and to what extent is it incestuous?"

Milt said, "We're here on behalf of the entire Gang, all of whom know about this visit and are behind it one hundred percent."

Tim said, "Go on; this is sounding interesting."

Milt continued, "To celebrate your final year as President and Dean, the entire Gang wants to have a celebratory fling with you. There are too many of us to go one by one, so we thought we'd go house by house. In the case of some of the small households, we may do some combining."

Tim asked, "Sort of a farewell last tryst, huh?"

"No, no. I chose my words very carefully. I used celebratory not final or farewell. This isn't the end; we hope it may be a new beginning. And I chose the word fling for two reasons: first, your no fucking rule, and second, with groups involved I didn't want to try to be more specific."

I said, "Groups?"

Tim said, "Sure. The Roundhouse holds a group, and boy is that going to be an exciting evening. I can't wait for The Wheelhouse. Jim and Andy's double house could be fun as well."

Milt said, "We envision you going to our houses, getting a nice meal, and letting happen whatever happens. All are agreed that you two will be in charge of the after dinner entertainment."

Max said, "We're here because we present a special case. We're both your sons and fellow Gang members. We thought that you should have the opportunity to deal with that conundrum in a more private setting than with all of the residents of The Playhouse."

Tim responded, "Thank you for that. Let's think a little about this conundrum you've raised. Is there a precedent?"

Max said, "Sure; Willie and Billy."

Tim said, "I think that they were sexually involved in Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens."

Milt looked doubtful and asked, "Atlanta? They didn't dive together in Atlanta. Billy dived with you and Willie with Hardie."

Max said, "I've talked with Willie; well, Billy too. That's right about all three Olympics. Billy and Willie have a very unusual relationship. They're father and son, but they all also diving partners. In Atlanta they weren't partners, but they were fellow divers, in a very small fraternity of four: Billy, Willie, Tim, and Hardie."

Tim asked, "So what did they tell you about their sexual relationships?"

Max continued, "They all seem quite comfortable with the idea that they have a dual relationship: father-son and fellow diver. With all of the traditions of the Gang, for fellow divers, especially at the level that they were at, not to relate sexually would've been a downer, and downers aren't what you want before a high level diving competition. However, as father-son they have no interest in a sexual relationship. Further, the sexual relationship hasn't been pursued since those special times at the Olympics. The rest of the time they're basically just father-son."

I asked, "Any idea what Willie's brother, Bob, thinks of all of this?"

"As a matter of fact, I do. I've talked to Bob."

I interrupted, "Is no subject taboo for you, Max?"

"None. But in this case I talked to Bob at the request of Willie. Willie was concerned that Bob might be troubled about Willie's relationship to their father, and he was afraid that if he raised the subject with Bob it might put Bob in a very difficult position. So I talked with Bob."

"And he told you?"

"He told me that it didn't bother him a bit. He understood what was going on, and why, and wasn't troubled by it in the least. On the other hand, he had no interest in sex with his dad–their relationship was strictly a father-son relationship."

Tim asked, "So what does all of this tell you about what might go on here tonight? Are you suggesting that we have a similar dual relationship to you: father-son and fellow Gang member?"

"It's an interesting idea," said Milt, "but it hasn't been part of our thinking."

Max continued, "Here's our idea. We'll honor the incest taboo, but not let it extend to in-law relationships. I suggest that Charlie and I get one side of the big bed up in your room."

Milt chimed in, "And Tim and I take the other side. But we'll start in the shower. Peeking is OK, but fathers and sons, hands off each other."

Tim looked and me, smiled, and waited for me to give him a confirmatory smile. He didn't have to wait long. We were both ready for this, and we loved the way Milt and Max had put the whole thing together.

The shower was fun, the views very erotic, the bed comfortable, the dicks delightful to suck, and the cum very tasty. The boys were thirty and thirty-two, and really weren't boys. From our perspective, however, they were very much boys, sexy boys, virile boys, handsome boys. And most important very willing and eager boys. Afterwards, as we were taking a second, clean-up, shower, I said as much to Milt and Max. They replied, "From our perspective you guys are just as sexy, virile, and handsome. You are, in our minds, very much forbidden fruit. Just ask any teenager getting his hands on a girl for the first time how exciting forbidden fruit can be. This was very much a mutual delight. Let's do it again, even though we know it won't be quite the same delight on the next go-around."

Tim said, "Let's do. How about right now?"

Damned if we all weren't up for another, and a third shower as well. Afterwards, when Tim and I talked, we wondered whether the main attraction was us or our shower?

Max and Milt spent the night with us in our big bed. The next morning brought the fourth shower together, but no reprise on the sex. In fact, Milt hurried up after the shower, got dressed, and headed downstairs where he fixed a wonderful egg and bacon breakfast for the four of us.

Milt and Max had an agenda for the morning gathering around the breakfast table in our den. Max was the spokesperson. It turned out that he was the spokesperson for the whole Gang, not just for Milt and him, but he did admit that the idea originated with the two brothers. He told us, "OK, here's the deal. We all–the entire Gang–think that retirement is a very important event in everybody's life, and for you two, who've had such wonderful careers, leaving those careers is going to be a real change. It's a change that we want to share with you in a positive way. And, the Gang being the Gang, you can imagine what that way is.

It turns out that there are, right now, 135 living Gang members. Those 135 people live in a total of 49 houses. If we eliminate Dakota House where you live, there are 48 houses. At two houses per week, you can visit, and spend the night, in all of those houses in twenty-four weeks. What happens each night in each of those houses will be up to you two. But you must understand that all of us are ready for anything, and if we get the idea that you're holding back in expressing your wishes for the night, you'll be–well, I'm not sure what, but you get the idea."

Tim asked, "You've counted houses? Are there really 49?"

"Well, counting gets a little tricky when you consider the sailors roaming around getting ready for the London Olympics (we counted them as one house), and Frank on some cruise ship (we counted that as a house), and we put Sid and Auggie together, even though they have two houses next to each other. We'll give you a list, and you are to visit two per week. Everyone's expecting you to call, and they'll report to Milt and me, when the date is set and again when the visit is completed. If you aren't keeping up, we'll pester you."

"What makes you so sure that our libidos are up to this?"

"How much sex is involved, how much cuddling, how much just loving is up to you two. But the whole Gang wants a chance to affirm their love and support for Tim and Charlie, who we all know have been the life blood of the Gang."

"Everyone has been the life blood of the Gang," said Tim.

Milt said, "Look, we aren't going to argue about this. The original eight are the heart of the Gang, and you two are the soul. Now, are you in?"

Tim said, "It's the best, kindest, most exciting offer we've had in years. Perhaps ever. We're in, right Charlie?"

"In like Flynn."

Tim again: "So where do we start?"

Max said, "That's up to you, but I have a suggestion. I know we're all comfortable with intergenerational sex, and I'm aware that the Gang has become very large. But the original Gang of eight are the most important in your lives. Start there. I'll go one further. Start with Jim, Andy and company. You get two for the price of one, but more than that you get four of your contemporaries that can really support you as you set off on this adventure. While you're sounding enthusiastic about it, I know for sure that it makes you a little uncomfortable. Jim, Andy, Kara, and Amy are the perfect four people to share your enthusiasm and doubts with. If you don't come away from a night with them with more enthusiasm than doubt.... Well, then maybe we need to rethink this whole thing."

Tim thought about that a minute and said, "Max, your insight into the Gang and all of its members is wonderful. You've read me exactly right, and I think Charlie as well. And, yes, we'll talk with Jim and company about this proposed adventure."

I put in, "And I think we'll be talking about you as well, Max. You're quite a guy."

We, specifically Tim, called the house the next day and got Amy. She was expecting the call (Max, as usual, had tipped her off), and told us that the following night would be perfect. She also said, "Tim, this is going to be two nights a week for a long time. None of your hosts want you leaving at the crack of dawn. So just get used to the fact, right now, that you're going to miss morning practice twice a week."

Tim had replied, "OK, I can accept that. Except that when the night is a Saturday night, I won't miss a practice, because Sunday is my day off. Oh well, high level competition is no longer in my future, so missing once or twice a week won't kill me. But I'll have to be sure that my afternoon practice sessions aren't missed very often."

Honestly, Tim's willingness to forgo his scheduled practices was very unusual. It either signaled that he was really getting old or that he simply thought the time with the Gang was more important. In either case it was a change. For Tim, a radical change!

The next night with Jim, Andy, and their wives was delightful, but I say that in full knowledge that our delights had aged along with us to an emphasis more on the emotional and less on the physical. The evening began with Cokes (for us, the foursome was drinking hot apple cider) and appetizers in what the public knew as Andy and Amy's house. It was followed by a great dinner, including pork spare ribs done by Jim and Andy on the grill, despite typical winter North Dakota weather. The piles of ribs were matched by piles of pasta salad, apple sauce (made with apples from the tree in their backyard that they'd planted shortly after they bought the house), and raw veggies. This was followed by our favorite dessert, Angel Pie. It was a wonderful meal.

We'd adjourned to Jim and Kara's living room, and Jim open the post-meal conversation, "Max tells us that you'd like to talk a little about the forthcoming adventure that the Gang has in mind for you. Is that right?"

I said, "Sure it is. It's a wonderful suggestion, and we can't help but look forward to it. Our concern is that it not become more of a series of orgies and less a celebration of the love of the Gang."

Andy interrupted this line of conversation by saying, "Before we get into that, we have some pictures to show you." A projection screen had been set up, with a slide show ready–except this was a new age and the pictures weren't slides but scans in a computer. Jim and Andy had spent a great deal of time hunting for and assembling pictures of that first wonderful summer at Camp White Elk. He'd asked all of the original Gang to hunt for their pictures from that summer and asked Jeff to search the camp archives. With Jeff's help, he'd even contacted some other staff and campers from that era to see if then had some pictures. They did. We spent almost a hour looking at pictures of that wonderful summer. Ah, the memories. Someone even had a picture of Tim coming out of the water suitless after he lost his suit when diving. Even at this late date he stuck with his story that the drawstring broke.

We insisted that we wanted to be present when these were shown to the other four from the original Gang, and Andy and Jim agreed. But we had to agree not to tell the others about the pictures when we had our celebratory nights with them. Jim and Andy would get us all together after that and we would watch the pictures together. It inspired us to put the other four "originals" high on our list to visit.

Then Kara said, "You were worried about your nights just being a series of orgies, but would a series of orgies, with the folks you love and who love you, not be a fabulous way to celebrate the end of two great administrative careers?"

Amy put in, "You'll note that Kara was very careful to insert the word administrative in that sentence. We know your careers aren't ending. Hell, Tim probably has another dozen Olympic medals in him–perhaps only bronze this time around. And, Charlie, you could still get a federal circuit judgeship by whispering in the right ear. But retirement as Dean and President certainly is a major life event, and the Gang really wants to share in it."

Andy said, "There's no question that this round of visits has the potential to be a series of wonderful orgies, especially with the groups involved, of which this is one of the smallest. But love will always be in the foreground. Sex will be as you two decide what you're comfortable with. The love will always be there."

Tim said, "We knew that, but it was nice to have the four of you affirm it. As for tonight, there are two girls here that look very much like they'd like to be fucked and two boys who look very much like they'd like to be sucked. Charlie and I are ready. Jim, you're going to be the first suckee, choose your preferred sucker."

Jim said, "Oh, no. No pushing us to choose, and it isn't fair to ask you two to choose, so a coin flip would seem to be in order." Out of his pocket came a silver dollar. He turned to Andy and said, "Heads you go with Charlie, tails you go with Tim." It was heads. "I'm going to claim first position, because I have the silver dollar. Tim, come upstairs with me. You four can come and watch or sit here twiddling your thumbs–or other things."

As they climbed upstairs, I said, to no one in particular, "Does he always carry a silver dollar around in his pocket."

Andy replied, "Oh, no. But this morning he thought something like this might come up and he wanted to be prepared. By the way, since Andy's going with Tim, Charlie, you'll have Amy on the second go-around."

Kara said, "Come on, let's head upstairs. I want to see Tim blow Jim, he's reputed to be a master of the art."

I said, "Believe me, he is."

When we got upstairs to the bedroom, Tim was naked (of course), Jim was naked (a close second), and Tim's tongue had progressed as far as Jim's belly button. It didn't hesitate long before he headed to testicles and penis. Jim's libido didn't allow for a long effort, and soon they were kissing madly and sharing semen.

Kara said, "He's not wasting sperm, Amy and I are long past the ability to make babies."

It was my turn, and I'll admit to great pleasure in bringing Andy. Andy didn't have the hard body of Tim or Hal, but he was trim and solid. After he'd come and then relaxed, I massaged him all over. It was almost an electric pleasure to feel every part of him. He seemed to enjoy it, as he almost purred as he lay there. I flipped him over, started at his neck, went down through his shoulder blades, his buns, his legs and ankles, ending at his ass. I slipped inside with my index finger and he grunted as said, "Oh, God." We were both finished.

The girls wanted to be fucked simultaneously, and we did a good job of it, I think. At least the girls, and the boys, said we did. They insisted that I sleep with Jim and Tim with Andy, and we did. Like babies. The girls woke us with the smell of sausage and eggs, and the first of forty-eight nights came to an end.

The next night I said to Tim, "Last night was wonderful. Where to we go next?"

Tim's reply came quickly, "Bernie and Beverly. You know, I don't think we've ever spent the night over at their house. It's about time."

Beverly answered the phone when I called, and when she recognized my voice, she gave out a whoop and asked, "Are you calling for the reason that I hope you're calling."

"I think I am."

"Boy are we honored to be so near the top of the list. Rumor has it that Tim likes Saturday nights, so how about this Saturday? You guys are going to get tired of steak and lamb chops, so we're going to have something very different. Don't dress up; in fact wear as little as possible; you won't get a bite to eat here until you're naked."

When I reported the conversation to Tim he said, "Sounds exciting. It also sounds like Max's dictum that we would set agendas has already gone out the window."

I said, "Good, it'd really tax my brain to come up with forty-eight difference scenarios. I'm for just following the leader."

One quick bit of background. When they were married Beverly and Bernie were ages nineteen and sixty-nine. They were now forty-one and ninety-one. We hadn't seen Bernie and Beverly for a while, and knowing that someone at age ninety plus can age rapidly, we weren't sure what to expect when Bernie opened the door for us and called back toward the kitchen, "Bev, the old retirees are here."

Beverly charged out of the kitchen looking like she could match Bernie in just about any athletic contest he might propose. Beverly had been religious about calling it "our home" ever since their marriage, and this continued as she hugged us both and welcomed us into their home. Bernie was equally enthusiastic. If you looked carefully, this was clearly not a young woman standing in front of us, not even a sixty-year old, but you wouldn't have guessed ninety, either. Later as we chatted, Bernie told of the fun they'd had visiting the Iowa State Fair the year before. One of the barkers on the midway was offering to guess your age. If he wasn't off more than three years you lost your dollar. If he was, you got a prize. He was off by a decade, and Beverly had had to get our her driver's license to prove that she was really ninety years old–he had guessed eighty. She admitted that the stuffed animal she'd won wasn't worth much more than the dollar, but the ego boost was worth ten times that dollar!

Dinner was pasties (pronounced pass-tees), a traditional dish from the UP. I was familiar with them, Tim was not. Pasties are a miner's dish, brought to the UP by miners from Cornwall that emigrated to work in the Michigan mines. Each is a folded pastry with meat, potato, rutabaga, onion–the vegetables vary. It's baked in the morning and stays hot in the miner's lunch bucket till he eats at noon. Now as you drive west from the Sault every little diner has a sign out offering pasties. The quality varies as you would expect. Beverly's were delicious. Hot, spicy, with light flaky pastry, and made with top quality beef left in nice size chunks. A pastie is designed to be a meal in itself, and we found that one and a half easily filled us up. Dessert was peppermint ice cream and a chocolate retirement cake, decorated with our names and the year.

Beverly had been true to her word: she wouldn't even give us Cokes until we'd stripped, and she and Bernie lost their clothes at the same time. Now, as we finished our ice cream she announced: "OK, boys. I think I'm entitled to call you that–you're my son's contemporaries. I want to be fucked, by both of you. And I don't expect you to be gentle with the old lady. That would be truly insulting–just ask Bernie."

Then Bernie spoke up, "Then I want one of you to get his finger up my ass, find my prostate, and work it over while the other sucks me."

Bevery added, "I'm not ageless, and my old fingers just can't do the job up his ass."

Tim jumped up and said, "Right here on the rug, or shall we find a bed upstairs somewhere."'

Beverly said, "Your choice."

Tim and I headed for the stairs with Bernie and Beverly right behind us. Bernie got to the bedroom ahead of Beverly and whispered to us, "If you don't treat her like a teenager, you're going to regret it. She can't stand being treated like an old woman."

I'll tell you right now, just in case you ever find yourself in that situation, the only way to treat a ninety-year-old like a teenager is to either turn out the lights or close your eyes. Bernie had the lights out by the time Beverly made it up the stairs and into the master bedroom. I don't know whom Tim pretended he was with, but I let my mind roam back to Priscy. God did we have a great fuck and Tim came right behind. Beverly giggled and wiggled with delight and pronounced us "fantastic." Tim told me to deal with Bernie's ass as I had the longer fingers. I did, Tim sucked, and Bernie clearly had as good a time as Beverly.

Sleep, in somewhat of a heap, came easily. The next morning Bernie fixed breakfast (he refused offers of help) and the two of us sat at the breakfast table with Beverly and talked about...the Gang, their somewhat unusual marriage, and the night before. Beverly told us, "I can't thank you boys enough for not treating me as an old lady last night. You asked about our marriage. Well, right from the start Bernie refused to think of me as an old lady. That in itself was enough to make me love him. But in so many ways we're just right for each other. It's been wonderful. Bernie simply won't talk about the problems of being a widower; he acts like he thinks it's more likely that I'll be a widow for the second time! I think he's thought about it some, but it's a discussion that he simply won't have with me. He tells me, 'It's not your problem and I don't want it to become your problem. I'll be fine, happy, and enjoy wonderful memories of our lives together. But, just so you know, I'm not going to be in mourning. We know what's coming; we knew it when we fell in love, and there isn't going to be a lot if sorrow. You'll be missed, but the joy of being with you for more than two decades will far exceed the sadness of losing you.' Isn't he wonderful?"

And to think some of us had questioned the wisdom of this marriage!

It's a big Gang, and there were forty-six nights to go. I don't think you want to read through blow-by-blow accounts of forty-eight very sexual evenings. Well, I guess that gives away the fact that we did, in fact, have encounters with all of the Gang, just as Max planned it out. In varying degrees, and in all sorts of styles, positions, and activities, all of the encounters were sexual–except one. Harry Wilson, Willie's coach from Iron River, made it clear that he simply wasn't comfortable having a sexual relationship with us. He'd come to understand Willie and Hardie, and their wives, and had gotten used to the idea that June liked to, in his words, "spread her wings" from time to time. Sometimes he joined her. In particular they had spent a number of evenings with Herb–he related well to another old coach. When time for dinner with us came he took us out to dinner–he'd never been much of a cook. We assured him that an evening of conversation, memories of Hardie and Willie, good times in the UP and at the Olympics, was a wonderful evening for us, and it was.

We have to tell you of a couple of the evenings with groups. The Circle insisted that they couldn't expect us to have sex with all of them. They knew that we wouldn't choose partners from their group, so they'd drawn straws. Pat and Fyn had gotten the long straws, thus relegating the rest to being witnesses. At dinner, a banquet at The Roundhouse for the nine of them and the two of use, Nate told us of the evening plans, and then laughed, "You know, Pat and Fyn are the least gay members of the Circle, unless you count Margie. It's going to be fun to watch you two try to figure out what to do with them."

Tim said, "There's gay in everybody, maybe even Margie; we'll find it." We were informed that none of the bedrooms had room for seven spectators, so they dragged two single mattresses into the living room. We were asked whether they should be side by side or separated, and we quickly agreed on side by side. Pat and Fyn took their shoes and socks off and walked onto the mattresses. Pat said, "OK, guys, you can help yourselves to whatever you want, but it's up to you to make the first moves."

Tim said, "Charlie, I don't think I'm ready to make the first move, are you?"

I got his drift and replied, "Neither am I."

Tim continued, "Well, I guess we'll head home." With this he started toward the hall as if he were really going to leave. I started after him.

Toppy beat him to the door. He spoke to the room, saying, "I need a little help here."

Murray got in front of me and said, "And here."

All of a sudden eight men and one woman were not so carefully removing our clothes. I think for the first time in my life, I was naked ahead of Tim, Murray being a little more facile at unbuttoning buttons than Toppy. We were moved to the two beds, pushed down and told, "OK, either take the lead or Fyn and Pat will. They aren't the most creative gay lovers, since they're both more straight than gay, so you might have more fun if you take the lead. But one way or the other, the rest of us intend to be entertained by the four of you, beginning right now."

Tim and I got the message. He pulled Fyn down and I grabbed Pat. His mouth started at Fyn's lips, then his nipples, balls, anus, and finally his dick. Before he could come, Tim pulled back and said, "Now it's your turn. Same drill. But finish the job."

I'd followed Tim's lead and done the same thing to Pat, who then followed Fyn's lead and did unto me what Tim and I'd done unto the two of them and which Fyn was now doing unto Tim. When Tim and I had both ejaculated, he told Fyn and Pat, "OK, now trade partners, and we're going to do the same to you."

We did. When it was all over Nate led the cheering. Arnie brought in Cokes and ice and we had Cokes all around while the four of us got dressed. The rest of the Circle seemed content to limit the sex to the four of us, and as the Cokes were finished we kissed everyone goodbye and headed home. We've speculated since about what kind of sex, and how much of it, followed our departure.

At The Wheelhouse it was just the opposite. The Marauders all were naked when we arrived, as were we shortly thereafter. Dinner was a carnivore's delight with lamb chops, barbequed pork ribs and London broil. We did have some kind of vegetable, but I've forgotten what; nobody paid a lot of attention to it with all that wonderful meat. We had Cokes before dinner, and all of the Marauders had some kind of fruit juice. They seemed to be united in their love of fruit juice, but there was no agreement as to what fruit should be juiced. We added a little of their cherry juice to our Cokes; it was OK, but we decided that we preferred them straight.

Dinner and sex started simultaneously. JoJo goosed Tim and sent him moving quickly toward their dining room where the food was all laid out. There were chairs, but the Marauders were treating it like finger food and picking up bones and gnawing on them while carrying on conversations. They even picked up the strips of London broil and treated them as finger food. Forks were used to stab the vegetables. Als did sit down for a while and invited us to, but we were enjoying the informality of the moment and stayed standing in conversation with several of the men. The sex really started when Evan came up to Als with a pork rib bone he'd eaten completely clean. He told Als, in a voice loud enough to all of us to hear, "This would make a perfect dildo. May I test it out?"

Als said, "Sure," stood up, and spread her legs. Even gently pushed the bone into her vagina, but not very far.

When he pulled it out JoJo came over and said, "I'll take that." He did, and sucked it clean of any last bits of pork and whatever remnants of Als remained.

That sort of started the evening's orgy. Our concentration slowly moved from dinner to sex, and we soon adjourned to the big bedroom upstairs that Als and three men shared. I've reluctantly used the word orgy in this story, but it surely fits here. It was a orgy. Everybody did almost everything to everybody else, egged on by everyone else. Tim's and my "rule" was honored, but that was the only restraint shown. Als swears she was counting and that all seven men fucked her, and three of the seven had an orgasm. Afterwards, when she reported that, she added, "And I don't feel one bit guilty of getting more than my share of your cum."

The sex, the year, and our careers ended with Graduation. Toppy and Liddy pulled out all the stops. Every college and university in the Northern Tier had been invited to send a delegation, the more the merrier, and the academic procession into the football stadium seemed to go on forever. Tim and I were to bring up the rear, but we were stationed at the entrance to the field where the procession entered. We did our best to shake everybody's hand and thank them for being present. But Toppy and Murray were nearby, keeping the procession moving, and we missed a few people.

The President of the Board of Trustees presided, and he first called upon Liddy to make a few remarks. She began by apologizing to the senior class, and others graduating that day, for taking over "their day" and extending a program that we expected to be just barely endurable to complete intolerable. It'd been arranged in advance that the President of the Senior Class would respond to that by assuring everyone that the Senior Class was delighted to share their day with Tim and Charlie, in fact they were honored. Then he looked Tim straight in the eyes and said, "Dr. Tim, we know you like to keep programs short and on time. Well, it's not in the cards today, so just sit and enjoy it." I couldn't have said it better, and I whispered that to Tim.

Toppy had a band which he'd assembled from most of North Dakota and northern Minnesota. It was large, loud, and superb. From marching with pomp and circumstance through calling the wind Mariah the band moved the day along and provided welcome breaks from the speechifying. Liddy, Toppy, and several of the university trustees had debated long and hard about how Liddy fit into the day. Since Tim's retirement was effective with graduation, Liddy would be the President of the University of North Dakota when the last person processed out of the stadium. However, it would've been inappropriate to combine Liddy's inauguration with Tim's retirement; she needed her own day in September. On the other hand, passing the President's pink hood from Tim to Liddy seemed to fit this day. In the end, it was decided that Liddy would be with the President of the Trustees as Tim, with me beside him, removed his pink hood with the white border indicating the presidency and gave it to the President. He held it up for Liddy, and assured her that it would be saved in a safe place until her inauguration in the fall. He also took the occasion to note that she would BE the president as of right that moment. Then he announced that the Trustees had unanimously voted to confer on Tim the title of President Emeritus of the University of North Dakota. At that point each of the university deans, along with two of their students–when possible an undergraduate and a graduate student–formed a delegation that brought forward the black fringed hood that had last been worn by Prexy. From out of the folds of the hood Liddy pulled out an envelope, opened it and read it to those assembled.

"Dear Tim,

"I am writing this on the evening following your inauguration as president of a great university. I passed on the mantle of the presidency with great enthusiasm and personal warmth. The institution is in good hands. I must thank you from my heart for not only giving me the title of President Emeritus, but insisting that I actively engage with you in the following months and years.

"This note will be packed away with that wonderful black bordered hood which you gave me, and which I look forward to wearing from time to time in the years ahead. But I know that, inevitably, I will pass on, the hood will rest a while, and then be passed on to you. Wear it proudly.

"As you receive and wear this hood, remember that you carry the honor and respect of an entire university community. With any luck, I'll be up above watching, and probably shedding a tear.

"Love and Support,

"Prexy"

Tim and I were both overcome with emotion, but somehow he managed to dry his eyes and speak to the crowd. "Most of you don't remember President Edison, Prexy to all of us. But I want everyone here to know that any success that I've had as President of the University of North Dakota rests upon the foundation that Prexy built. He was a fine man and a fine president, and I've been honored to follow him. Now I must go home and write my own letter to Liddy! I think Prexy has started a tradition."

Then it was my turn. Several members of the law faculty had nice things to say, I was dubbed Dean of Law Emeritus, and the new acting dean was introduced.

Then Toppy came to the podium and spoke. "It was an honor to be asked to coordinate this celebration, not only of Tim and Charlie's tenure at president and dean, but also of the efforts of each and every one of the graduates assembled here, patiently waiting for all of the fuss over Tim and Charlie to be dispensed with so that they can get their sheepskins, go to their parties, and get on with their lives. ON WITH THE GRADUATION."

From that point on it looked and felt a lot like a traditional graduation, except that Tim and I jointly gave the graduation address. Tim started by saying, "I expect that all of you are expecting my traditional exhortation to love and support each other, blah, blah, blah. However, if you've been in this institution along enough to earn a diploma, then you've heard all you ever want to hear about love and support. If it didn't sink it the first dozen or so times, adding one more iteration this afternoon won't do a damn bit of good."

Instead the two of us traded anecdotes and vignettes of life on the campus for the last few decades. From blue hair, to streaking, to football streaks, to flood stories, to Jumper's seventy-seven to nothing victory and the following apology, we told it all. Some were stories that you've read here, others were stories that were part of university myth and tradition, and others were being told for the first time. It was fascinating, enjoyed by all, and–given that Tim was in charge of it–blessedly short. We got a rousing cheer at the end, as Toppy and his band banged out their favorite noise-making song, "Over There."

Tim returned to the podium and spoke. "Nobody wants to wait around while a bunch of slow-moving academics process out. Let's just go home." With then he plunged into the crowd, shaking hands with everyone who put out their hand, and even autographed a few graduation programs. I did the same on the other side of the crowd. It was pure Tim, and a wonderful way to end a wonderful presidency.

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