Finding Tim

A Fourth Alternate Reality

by Charlie
With editorial assistance from Dix and John

Milwaukee

Tim's most immediate task was to find a new Vice-President for Development. There was no one on the faculty or staff that he felt could do the job, but he also thought that it needed someone familiar with the university. He decided that we needed to undertake a major, nationwide search, perhaps employing a "headhunter." That would take a while, and in the meantime someone had to fill that role. We couldn't allow fundraising, for the annual budget or endowment, to slip for a year. The Alumni Office, under Mary Robbins, could easily take care of the annual Alumni Fund campaign-they always had. But special gifts toward the budget and endowment needed careful guidance.

He realized that we needed an interim, and he decided very quickly who his man was: Fred Milson. He asked Prexy what he thought, and he thought it was a great idea. "Do you think he'll do it?"

"I think he'd love the challenge. The only problem for me is that I think he may beat my fundraising records!"

"If he does," chuckled Prexy, "just blame it on inflation."

"Good idea." Fred did agree, and quickly moved into Tim's old office in the new Alumni Tower. Mary Robbins knew Fred, and was delighted with the new leadership. And, to the great benefit of the development budget, Fred was going to do it as a volunteer.

In offering to do it for free, Fred said, "Then when I arrive late or sneak out early in the afternoon, nobody can say that I'm not earning my pay." Tim knew that Fred would earn his pay, regardless of the hours he kept.

In the meantime, Tim sought Fred's help in planning a search for the permanent fill in the office. Fred fooled him with, "Tim, take your time filling this office. I'd like to sit in this chair for a while and see how I do. You know, I've seen the master at work, and I think I've learned a few things. I'd have never let that sporting goods dealer in town off as cheap as you did when you first came to visit."

Both Tim and Fred got a good laugh, and Tim wondered how long it would be before he was no longer considered the hotshot fundraiser of the upper Midwest.

I'm really not into cliffhangers, but I did sort of leave you in suspense regarding the adventures of Arnie and Fyn. Arnie spoke to Larry at afternoon practice the day he spoke with Tim. He shared most of his conversation. Then he simply said, "Coach, what do you think?"

Larry responded quite simply, "Tim is one smart cookie. People ignore his suggestions at their peril. Have a chat with Fyn."

Arnie did, and it resulted in the two boys and Margie going for dinner at Jerry's that evening. He and Fyn went the next morning to Larry's office and reported on the evening's conversation. Arnie had been quite up front with Fyn, saying that they were all Tim's guests for dinner. He then shared his entire conversation with Tim, emphasizing Tim's ideas of love and support. He added that if he had a shot at the Olympics, so did Fyn, who was as good a diver as he was (Arnie admitted that wasn't quite the whole truth, but it was very close). Fyn's girl, Margie, was startled at the idea that Fyn was good enough to think about being an Olympic diver. Fyn had jumped in and said, "The question isn't whether I'm good enough, but whether I could ever muster the dedication required. I've seen Tim practice-he works harder at his diving and gymnastics than I do, and he isn't even competing any more."

Margie said, "Fyn, are you telling me that you have the talent and ability to be an Olympic athlete and don't have the intestinal fortitude to work hard enough to get there?"

"I can't be sure about the talent, but, yes, I guess that's what I'm saying."

"Fyn, there are very few people on this earth that could possibly think, realistically, that they might be that good an athlete. If you're one of them, then you ought to think long and hard about how you may be wasting an opportunity."

"Margie, do you have any idea of the time involved? Do you have any idea of what it would do to our relationship?"

"It would strengthen it."

"I mean what it would do to the time we can be together."

"I knew what you meant, but I don't think you heard my answer."

"Are you telling me that you'd support me, even if it meant we saw much less of each other?"

"Tim spoke of love and support, didn't he?"

"Yes, that's important to Tim."

Arnie had jumped in with, "It would be even more important to you Fyn, and to me."

Arnie said, "You two are serious, aren't you? Are you both crazy? Do you have any idea what you're thinking about getting into?"

"Yeah, I do," said Arnie. "Forty hours a week on classes and studies. Forty hours a week diving. Add in eating, sleeping, and getting a haircut now and then, and there isn't much time for anything else, including girls."

"Did you hear that, Margie?"

"Yes, Fyn, I did. And I think Arnie has it about right."

"My mind's reeling. I enjoying diving, but I've just never thought in those terms. OK, let's talk seriously. We might make it to the trials for the Moscow Olympics, but it's completely unrealistic to think we'd make the team. If we're going to have any chance of being Olympic athletes we need to be targeting Los Angeles in 1984. Arnie, will you at least agree with me on that?"

"Yes. Tim certainly hinted that Moscow was likely to be an unrealistic goal, though we should try to make the trials for Moscow."

"That means five more years of practice, at the schedule you just laid out. I assume that we'd want to stay here in Grand Forks where Larry and Tim are available for support and coaching. That means that we both have to think about enrolling in graduate school here. That brings up financial issues." He turned to Margie, "That may involve rethinking our thoughts about getting married about the time we graduate."

Margie looked at Fyn, with obvious love in her eyes, and simply said, "Yes."

Fyn said,"You want me to do this, don't you?"

"Only if you want to. If you do it for me, it won't work. If you do it for Arnie, it won't work. If you do it for Tim or Larry, it won't work. If you do it for yourself, you have a shot, not only at being an Olympic athlete, but at being an Olympic medalist."

"Arnie, are you prepared for this?"

"I've been sitting here thinking, and there are some real issues we need to think about. The first is, is this something we have to do as a pair? Can we go it alone, or are we going to need each other? Second, I see a trio here. I don't have a girlfriend now, and I'm not likely to find one if I start the schedule that we're talking about. How does this trio work?"

Margie said, "Those are good questions, Arnie. And I don't know you well enough to answer them. And I agree that they need to be answered before you two guys make a very important decision. I want to make a suggestion. First, if you're targeting the Los Angeles Olympics, then a few days more or less aren't going to make any difference. Don't try to make a decision tonight; it's too soon. But do three things right away. First, make an appointment, together, to talk to Tim. Second, start practicing together at six in the morning in the pool. Third, let's the three of us get to know each other better. Let's start eating together in the dining hall, and let's get away together for a weekend-this weekend. I'll plan it, if you guys are willing. Oh, yes, and tell Larry what you're thinking about and planning."

Fyn looked at me and said, "OK, Arnie, we start at six tomorrow morning, in the pool. I think Margie's ideas are sound. We make no commitments beyond this week, but this week we hit the pool each morning, and follow Margie to the ends of the earth on the weekend. We should see Tim before the weekend, so we have that meeting as grist for the mill when we think on the weekend. Today is Tuesday, we have three morning practices before the weekend."

Margie said, "Four. We'll leave at 8:00 a.m. from the natatorium on Saturday. We'll be back at six in the morning on Monday, to the natatorium. Those will be the parameters for my weekend planning."

They were at the pool at six the next morning, as was Tim. Tim said that it'd been interesting to watch them dive. There seemed to be an increased seriousness of purpose, and a lot of cooperation between them. Larry noticed the same things. He avoided giving them guidance on their dives, as they were doing a good job of coaching each other. Tim told Larry, "I'll get back to giving them pointers, but right now they're doing well together. They're building the basis for love and support, and that'll do them much more good than I can do them with a few suggestions."

They quit a little before eight, showered and then went to Larry's office to talk. They shared the discussion of the night before, and the plans for the week. It was clear to Larry, even then, that he had two very serious divers on his hands, and perhaps UND's next best shot at Olympic athletes!

They did see Tim, who mostly listened. But then he said, "OK, when you make up your minds I want you back in this office to tell me, either way. And don't take too long. If you have to debate and debate this, then the answer is, obviously, 'No.' But I think your plans for the weekend are good; Fyn, it sounds to me like your Margie is quite a girl. Please bring her on your next visit."

Friday at six a.m. the three of them showed up at the pool, two to practice and Margie to watch. The three of them had smiles on their faces, and as Larry watched them it was clear that they had hard work on their minds. While they dove, Margie told Larry of the weekend plans. It would be wild.

Margie arrived at the pool about seven in the morning on Saturday and watched them dive. At quarter to eight she told them to get out of the pool, shower and dress, quickly. By eight they were out the door and into a car she'd rented for the day. When asked where they were headed she simply said, "Montana," and headed west.

The purpose of the trip was to get to know each other. She'd decided that being in a confined space was the way to force that in a short period of time. Little did the boys know what was ahead of them. Margie drove, saying that she was the only authorized driver under the rental agreement. It took about an hour for the strangeness of the situation to wear off, and some real conversation began. They told their life stories, argued some politics, talked about their plans for the future, and eventually got around to the subject of diving. Both of the boys were thinking that it would be wonderful to be an Olympic diver.

Lunch was a quick stop. The boys wanted to know just what they were going to do in Montana, but Margie didn't say a word. Well, where were they going to spend the night? Again no response. Back into the car and the ride and conversation continued.

At about two p.m. they crossed the border into Montana. At that point Margie decided to tease the boys a little about the trip. "OK, guys. I'll give you a chance to guess a little. How many states are we going to be in this weekend, counting North Dakota?"

Arnie replied, "Montana is a Hell of a big place. I don't see us getting out of here until we head back to North Dakota. But your question certainly suggests that it'll be more than two. So I'll guess three."

Margie said, "OK, that was an interesting guess. What about you, Fyn?"

"Well, I agree with Arnie's logic, so that leaves out the number two, and Arnie has three, so I'll guess four. I suppose we get to three by making a mad dash across Montana to Idaho and then dashing back."

Arnie said, "If we're playing a states game, and if we're going to dash across Montana to Idaho, then we might as well cross Idaho as well. I guess we could make it to Washington. However, Oregon would be too far south. I guess we might make four states that way. But you have to guess, Fyn."

"I'm going stand on four. Maybe we could swing south to South Dakota on the way back, and we could certainly add Minnesota with a quick trip across the river when we get back. I'll have to admit that I think that kind of driving would be crazy."

Arnie said, "OK, Margie. Just how many states do you intend to drag us to?"

"Fyn is right on. Four."

"We're going to drive like mad all across Montana? For what?"

"I didn't say that. You'll just have to wait and see. Right now we're heading to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, about an hour ahead of us."

"Indian Reservation?"

"Yes. And when we get there, things are going to change. And when they change I want our conversations to change as well.

"Listen, guys. You're talking about spending a great deal of time together for the next four to five years. I'm going to be spending a lot of time with both of you because that's the only way I'm going to have time with Fyn. This weekend we really need to get to know each other. We need to learn things about each other that for most people might take a year or more. We have to learn to respect each other, and trust each other. That's only going to happen in a pressure cooker, and that's what we have ahead of us. You'll see the whole plan in a hour or so. This is step one of trusting each other-you trusted me to put together a weekend that could accomplish the impossible. I don't know whether I have, but I hope so. Now you have to go with the flow-my flow.

"So here's the tough stuff. I want each of us to be ready to answer some pretty deep questions about ourselves. We all shared pretty good biographies on the way over here. They were interesting, but quite superficial. I know where you grew up, went to school, played sports, learned to swim and dive, vacationed. It's soon going to be time to bare our souls. Here are the questions we're going to deal with this weekend:

"Tell us about your relationship with your parents; details, details, details. Tell us about your best friends; details, details, details. Tell about the teacher that you knew best through the years, with emphasis on how you knew him or her. We want to hear a complete sexual history, absolutely everything, including your fantasies. What are your dreams for the future, after you win Olympic medals? Tell us about your study habits, your grades in high school and university, your academic strengths and weaknesses.

"Please understand, telling this stuff is much more about our ability to tell it honestly than it is about the rest of us needing to know it. But I'm convinced that if, by the end of this weekend together, we can't be comfortable dealing with those questions, then we'll never make five years, and we shouldn't bother trying."

"Wow," said Fyn. "You want the world. Are you sure that you can deal with my sexual fantasies?"

"If I can't then we'd better stop thinking about getting married."

Arnie asked, "I can understand you two sharing some pretty intimate details, but do you want me involved in this?"

Fyn answered, "Yes, Arnie, we do. Margie's right, we're talking about the three of us being pretty tight; secrets will inevitably undermine the whole thing. I'm not threatened by you; I'm quite sure of Margie's love for me. But if she did fall in love with you, it would be better that we were open about it, and not having things going on in secret."

Margie said, "That's very generous, but unnecessary. There's no way our relationship could be expected to survive a shifting of my love from Fyn to Arnie, and that isn't going to happen."

This was a lot more complicated in the actual conversation than in the shortened version that I have put together here from reports I got later from all three of them. Soon Margie said, "We're pulling into Wolf Point. We have to find the Avis office; it's supposed to be near the train station."

"Why the Avis office?"

"We lose the car here. We change to train."

"Train? To where?"

"Milwaukee, Wisconsin, via Minnesota. They make our third and fourth states."

"We came all the way across North Dakota just to board a train to take us back and then take us way to the east? It doesn't make sense." That could've been either Fyn or Arnie.

"Trust me, you'll see."

The Empire Builder from Seattle arrived just about on time, and by five p.m. the three of them were settled in a bedroom on the train, headed rapidly east out of Montana for Grand Forks, Minneapolis, Madison, and Milwaukee. Fyn and Margie were booked into the bedroom, and Arnie into a first class recliner chair. But Margie assured him that he'd be in the bedroom with the others, and that was perfectly legal with Amtrak. As long as they paid for the bedroom, they could have anybody in it they wanted, as long as that person had paid for a first class seat on the train.

After they got settled and their tickets punched, Margie gave them the ground rules. "OK, we're here because I tried to figure out how to get the three of us into a confined space, for a prolonged period of time. I wanted it to be a space that was more interesting than just huddling in a motel room-though I considered that. No one leaves the bedroom except for mealsand if we decide to go ride in the dome for a little while-I think it might be pretty at sunrise tomorrow morning as we head east across Minnesota."

"You didn't mention bathroom breaks."

"There's a toilet in this bedroom, right under that fold-up basin."

"It's not exactly private."

"I thought you might figure that out. You've heard the rules. We'll work out the consequences as a group. You heard the questions that I think we should all deal with by Sunday night."

"Wait a minute. We head to Milwaukee, then what? When do we arrive in Milwaukee? And why not head all the way to Chicago?"

"We get off in Milwaukee and get Sunday's Empire Builder back to Grand Forks. If we go all the way to Chicago, we pass the other train between Chicago and Milwaukee, and we can't get home. So, between two and four on Sunday afternoon we change trains in Milwaukee. Same accommodations on that train, and the same rules apply."

Fyn said, "Well, all this talk about bathroom breaks has left me in need of one. I either head down the corridor to the men's room or we flip open that toilet and I use it. I gather from Margie's rules that I use this one. Is that right, and is it OK with everyone?"

Margie said, "Right, and OK by me."

Arnie said, "Sounds like that's the rule, and it's OK by me."

Fyn configured the toilet, opened his fly, pulled out his penis and did his thing. Arnie noticed that Margie didn't hesitate to watch, and Fyn was well aware of it. It took him a lot longer than normal to get his juices flowing, but he managed.

Arnie said, "I only see a place for two beds. What're the sleeping arrangements?"

Fyn said, "The smaller bench seat, which rides backwards and has the toilet next to it, makes up into an upper and lower bunk. The larger, forward facing seat could sleep a third person."

Margie said, "We'll deal with sleeping arrangements as a group when the time comes. Managing in this small space is part of the exercise."

She continued, "OK, I made the rules, I'll start the conversation. I'm going to tell you about my up tight parents." She went into some detail about life with parents who were neatniks about the house, rule bound with their children, unable to talk about sex with their kids on any level, wanted to have Margie excluded from sex education in school (but backed off that when she threatened to take sex-ed in the park after school with a couple of older boys), and didn't really understand how to be loving, supporting parents. On the other hand, they hadn't been mean or more unreasonable than most teenagers thought their parents were. She was convinced they loved her and her two younger brothers, but didn't really know how to show it."

The boys sat quietly through the whole story and finally Fyn said, "How did you turn out as well as you did?"

Arnie asked, "How did you ever get it all together enough to think through this weekend, or, for that matter, to respond as you did to the prospect of Fyn's trying for the Olympics?"

I had a wonderful English teacher in high school, named Miss Hanson. A number of us spent hours in her room after school, and we got in the pattern of spending the evening at her apartment about once a month. We'd listen to favorite records, eat snacks that one of us brought, and talk our hearts out."

"Were there boys in the group, or was it just a hen party?"

"About even. Never any couples that were involved with each other. In fact, I don't think that any in the group had serious partners."

"So you thank Miss Hanson for the fact that you're so well put together?"

"Indeed I do. I've written often from college and told her so."

Each of the boys described a childhood with fairly stereotypical parents: the usual conflicts of the teen years, not a lot of communication, but no hostility that carried over into college. Their vacations home were pleasant, and they kept their parents reasonably informed of what was going on in their lives. All three, however, agreed that the details of this trip, even the fact of it, were not going to be discussed with their parents!

Fyn asked Arnie, "Did you have a teacher or coach that you were particularly close to?"

"Larry was the first. My high school diving coach was a pretty good technical coach, but he never had 'Love and Support 101' from Tim. My basketball coach was a shit and I quit during my tenth grade year; I didn't have to take being yelled at every afternoon at practice. That meant that I had to take Phys Ed, and I made sure that I didn't get my old coach as a Phys Ed teacher. In my senior year that meant I had to switch history teachers to avoid the old coach."

"Bummer."

"I had a basketball coach that I could really talk to," said Fyn. I think he was my surrogate dad. I grew up in Minneapolis, and he had a boat on the Mississippi-big enough to sleep four. He took guys up on the boat a lot of weekends. One summer I traveled with him-it was just the two of us-down the Mississippi to St. Louis. We stayed there about three weeks, living on the boat at a little marina in Alton. Alton is in Illinois, just north of St. Louis, and just above the southernmost dam on the river. It was quite a trip. We were gone about two months. It was the most exciting experience of my life. I really matured in those months."

"What grade were you in?"

"I had just finished tenth grade."

"Wow, what an experience."

"Was there ever a suggestion of sex? Certainly some people might suspect the coach's motives."

"Never in the slightest. And I never heard any kind of rumor from the other boys that visited the boat. Coach was a straight arrow."

"Watch the double meaning there."

"None intended."

"Margie, what was your most exciting experience?"

"I've never done anything like that. I'd have to say the most exciting thing in my childhood was the five summers that I spent at a girls' camp in northern Minnesota. I spent a month each summer sailing, riding, camping, shooting and other camp things. It was a fantastic experience. Got me away from two up tight parents. That was good for all of us. The boys went to a boys' camp that was across the lake and associated with the girls' camp. I think they had about the same experience. How about you, Arnie?"

"We lived in Minot. I spent most summers from about age ten on at my uncle's farm in Iowa. I did regular farm work and he paid me. But I was part of the family, as well. It was great experience. Uncle Arnold (I was named for him) was my surrogate father. He was great. If I'm going to deal with this trip, or our relationship over the next five years it'll be because of my time with Uncle Arnold and Aunt Harriet. And if I can keep up physically, it'll be because of the farm work. However, I didn't go after my junior and senior years of high school because I needed to be near a pool with a springboard and diving platform. There was a pool in Iowa, but only a worthless diving board, and I was getting to be a pretty good diver in high school and I wanted to keep up. I dove a lot those summers, because there wasn't much else to do."

Margie said, "OK, let's head to the dining car for dinner. Then we'll ride in the dome for a little while and watch some of North Dakota go by. Then back here, and we start our sexual histories. Be ready."

They had a nice dinner, rode in a dome about a half hour, and then Arnie said, "I need to head to the men's room."

Margie said, "You don't get off the hook that easy. It's time for us all to head back to the bedroom."

Arnie said, "I have to do number two."

Margie said, "How quaint! I haven't heard it called that in years. You mean you have to shit, right?"

"Right."

"Good, that's going to be interesting. Let's go, boys."

They got back to the bedroom, shut the door, and Arnie configured the toilet. Margie said, "I don't think you can use it with your pants up that high."

Arnie told me later, with great embarrassment, "Dr. Tim (over the years he always called me that when he was upset or embarrassed), I was totally embarrassed, but I really had to go. I opened my belt, undid my fly, pushed my pants and shorts down just above my knees, and shoved my dick between my thighs as I sat on the can. My bowels really let go with a huge noise. Both Fyn and Margie nearly split laughing, and I was red as a beet. Wiping my ass and getting dressed again was almost impossible, but I managed. Neither of the other two were reticent in the least, and they just stared at me the whole time. Oh, God. But it did break the ice for the group."

When I heard that part of the story I said, "You did have quite a weekend, didn't you?" It turned out that there was a whole lot more to the story.

Arnie managed to get himself off the pot and dressed without too much exposure. He had then said, "I think we ought to talk about sleeping arrangements. I know you have a lot of discussion about sex on the agenda, and I think it'd be good to get our sleeping arrangements settled before the conversation."

Margie said, "We have all day tomorrow. Maybe we should schedule the conversations about sex for tomorrow. What do you think?"

Fyn said, "I vote for that. We talked about watching the sunrise in the morning, and we have to get up very early on Monday morning to be ready to get off the train about 4:00 a.m. So we need to get to bed fairly early. Let's continue our conversations about friends and family tonight, settle sleeping arrangements, and go to bed. We'll deal with sex tomorrow."

Arnie said, "I agree. Let's head up to the dome again, and on the way ask the porter to make up our beds." That's what they did, and they watched North Dakota fly by for about a half hour before returning to the bedroom.

When they got there the two bunks were nicely made up, ready to sleep two. There was certainly room for a third on the seat opposite. Margie said, "I've held it in as long as I can. I need the toilet. She pulled her slacks and panties down, sat down on the toilet, and smiled at the boys while they both watched."

Fyn said, "How can you be so calm about all this? Not just going to the toilet, but all of the conversation we've had?"

"I thought a lot about this trip, and I decided that the plans I had made were right for us. I also decided that unless I could handle it in a straightforward manner, it wouldn't go. So I practiced, and I lectured myself on being able to move forward without hesitation. I guess the lecture worked." With that she got up from the toilet, casually pulled her clothes together and moved over to the seat with the other two.

Fyn said, "Let's talk for a minute about sleeping arrangements."

Arnie said, "Have you two ever slept together?"

Both said, "No."

"It's time you started. I don't necessarily mean having sex, just sleeping in each other's arms."

Margie said, "I'm uncomfortable with that. It leaves you out, Arnie. There are three of us here, and we need to be equals."

Arnie said, "Hell, we aren't equals. You two are in love, and I have yet to find my true love."

"But for this weekend we need to be equals. And I think we need to think about this issue as it's going to impact the next five years. But that's tomorrow's conversation."

"So what're you saying about tonight?"

"Either we all sleep in one bed, or we all sleep in separate beds. We flip for the seat and the upper berth."

Fyn said, "It's going to be a tight fit, but I vote for all three in one bed."

Margie said, "So do I."

Arnie said, "OK, I'm willing to try, but on one condition. If it doesn't work, I move to the upper bunk and you two stay together in the bottom one."

Margie said, "That isn't fair to you."

"That's the deal. Take it or leave it."

Fyn said, "OK, we'll take it. And hopefully we can deal with three in a bed."

Margie then said, "We sleep naked. That'll make for slightly more room for people."

"What?" both boys interjected.

"We sleep naked. We have to get to know each other, trust each other, and all that stuff. Well, we start by letting it all hang out." She got up and proceeded to undress completely, carefully putting her clothes in the small suitcase she'd brought with her. Then she sat down in the seat and said, "Who"s next?"

Neither of the boys was ready, but it was clear that they weren't really being given any choice. They started hesitantly undressing, and finally both were down to their underwear; Fyn in boxers and Arnie in Jockeys. It was obvious to each other, and to Margie, that they both had raging hard-ons and were shy about exposing them. Hell, they'd have been shy about exposing soft pricks at that time. Margie just sat quietly and stared. Finally, Fyn pushed his boxers down and off, and Arnie followed suit. Margie found herself staring at two fairly well-hung boys, both circumcised, both fairly hairy, but neither one stretching the ends of a bell curve in any of their attributes.

"You are two good looking studs."

"Thank you," they both muttered.

Margie said, "Do you think we can continue the conversation we were having before dinner without our current clothing situation getting in the way?"

"We can try."

"Let's do. Arnie, you had just finished telling of your experiences on the farm in Iowa. Tell us about school, studying, all that sort of thing."

"There isn't much to tell. I got good grades, but not straight A's. I did my homework, but pretty much at a minimal level. I did term papers and things at the last minute, but always got them done."

"Did you talk much in class?"

"I guess. A lot of kids were always in trouble with teachers for not speaking up in class, and I never was. But I don't think I overdid it."

"Did you ever get a D or an F in a course?"

"Yes, a D in Latin in eighth grade. I quit languages after that."

"You weren't required to take language in high school?"

"My advisors said I should-for college. I simply said no. UND doesn't have a mandatory language requirement, so it turned out that I was right. I guess I'd like to speak a foreign language, but I don't seem to have any aptitude for it."

"Or you've never had a good teacher," said Fyn. Taking Latin is stupid. People should study a language that they can use, and they should study with a native speaker."

"Right; in North Dakota," said Margie.

"I did in Minneapolis; I studied French, and I had a good teacher, from Quebec."

"You're lucky, but I suppose that you'd get laughed at in Paris speaking like a Canadian."

"I don't know, I haven't been to France, or anywhere out of the country except Canada. I guess I'll be next up to talk about school. I went to a good school in the Minneapolis suburbs."

"Which school?"

"Edina."

"The best public school, I think. How did you do?"

"I'm almost embarrassed to say it, but I got all A's, all the way through high school. I was valedictorian of my class."

"Wow, I'm in awe," said Arnie.

Margie said, "I knew that much about him, but I had to almost beat it out of him one night. And he hasn't gotten anything but an A here at UND."

"And you do your homework on time; do all the extra credit; write beautiful term papers that your teachers suggest you submit to some journal; and screw up the curve for everybody else."

Margie said, "I'll answer for him. Yes, on all counts."

Arnie said, "Another God damned Tim."

Fyn said, "Just one sport, very little athletic dedication, and a long way from the physical perfection that Tim tosses off every time he goes to the pool or gym."

"But if you can handle your studies that way, you can be equally dedicated to diving."

"No, it's going to be a problem. I can't devote the time to my studies that I'm used to if I give so much of myself to diving. I'm going to have to make some tradeoffs."

"Are you willing to?"

"That's what this trip is all about."

Margie noticed that both boys pricks were soft. She said nothing, but thought to herself that things were going very well if the conversation could distract them that easily."

Margie said, "My grades and studies were about midway between you two guys. There really isn't much to tell."

Fyn said, "Are we ready for bed?"

Arnie said, "I think so. We need to wash and use the toilet. I'll start and then get in bed along the wall. Who'll be next?"

Fyn said, "If we put a boy in the middle we have two naked boys up against each other. Is anybody here gay?"

Margie said, "If they are, it should come out in our discussions tomorrow. For tonight, why don't I go in the middle. One boy behind and one in front. Sounds exciting."

They worked their ways through washing, peeing, and two bowel movements. Fyn turned out the lights as he climbed into bed. Margie, in the middle on her left side, could feel Arnie's hard dick against her ass cheeks. She let her hand drift to Fyn's balls and tickled a little, but then moved it to his chest, softly rubbing one of his nipples.

They all lay there trying to sleep, but it wasn't going to happen. They were too crowded and too aroused. Margie finally said, "OK, Arnie, we'll take you up on your offer to go to the upper bunk. This simply isn't working."

Arnie climbed over the other two and climbed up to the upper bunk. With that they all slept well. Margie and Fyn, sleeping together for the first time, kept their hands, and other things, to themselves.

Morning came early, with an alarm going off around 4:15. They got up and dressed and made their way to the dome in time to see the sunrise over the northern prairie. It was beautiful. Soon after, the dining car opened for breakfast and they were the first to arrive. When they got back to the bedroom the beds had been made, and they were ready for another day. Margie said, "It's time to talk about sex. Let's flip a coin to decide who goes first. Odd man out goes first. Fyn won, or lost, depending on your interpretation of the situation.

"There's virtually nothing to tell about my sexual history. There isn't any. I never had any kind of sex in high school, and none in college. Margie, I started dating you last year as a freshman. You know that we haven't done anything. We did more last night that we've ever done, and we didn't do anything last night."

Arnie said, "Can I ask some questions? There has to be something more to it than that."

"Sure."

"When did you start masturbating?"

"What makes you think I masturbate?"

"You're a boy. You got a hard-on last night like any other boy would've. You're normal. You masturbate. When did you start?"

"I guess it was eighth grade, mayby ninth. I can't really remember exactly."

"How did you learn?"

"I listened to boys talking in the locker room, and tried it. Eventually it worked."

"Where do you usually masturbate?"

"In bed at night."

"How often?"

"Almost every night. Sometimes in the morning. God, I've never talked about this with anyone, and now I'm telling you, and Margie. I can hardly believe it."

Margie said, "As far as I'm concerned, this discussion is going exactly the way I'd hoped. I don't care what the stories are, I just think we need to get them out in the open between us."

Arnie continued, "Have you ever jacked off with another person?'

"No."

"Watched another person; been watched by another person?"

"Yes, once. I think it was my junior year of high school. I was with the swim and dive team getting dressed after practice. A couple of the boys got talking about jacking off, and eventually some dares were issued, and one kid pulled down his suit, lay down on a bench, and jacked off. We all watched and cheered him on. He sprayed way up on his chest, headed for the shower to clean up, was followed by the rest of us who'd been watching, and that was it. It never happened again, and I was never involved."

"Have you ever been naked in front of a girl?"

"Last night was the first time."

"Seen a naked girl?"

"Yes, several girls, once."

"You're going to tell us about that, right?"

"It was the swim and dive team again. We were coming back from the pool after practice. I'd really screwed up a couple of dives and the boys were kidding me about it. Somebody said, 'I think we should give Fyn the business for his screw ups today. They grabbed me, carried me to the girls locker room, and pushed me inside. Several of the girls were naked. There was both yelling and laughing. The boys held the door so I couldn't get out for about five minutes. Then they opened the door, and believe me I beat it out of there. The girls kidded me for at least a month, but nothing came of it. The girls all seemed to think it was funny. I think they'd done it to some of the other boys as well, but I'd never been in on it."

Margie said, "You really are a chaste virgin, aren't you?"

"Yes, ma'am I am. Is that what you were hoping for?"

"I really didn't care. I'm just glad that you told me all of the stories. I'm glad that Arnie was here to ask the right questions; I don't think I would have."

Arnie said, "Margie, you're next."

"I wasn't quite that innocent, but almost. I had a couple of boyfriends in high school and we played around a little. They had their hands under by clothes in the movies and in the car. Freddie learned to reach up under my skirt and panties, and massage my clit till I had an orgasm. He'd unzip his fly, pull out his dick and have me jack him off."

"I guess all this was in his car."

"Yes."

"Didn't he make a mess?"

"Every time, but he didn't seem to mind. He kept a rag in the car and wiped everything up. His pants had to go in the laundry after every date, however."

"Did you two kiss, were you in love with him; or did you at least think you were?"

"We kissed, but I never had any illusions of loving Freddie. Nor he me, I don't think. It was just fun. It was more fun for him than for me, but I didn't mind. He never pushed beyond my limits; I can't be critical of a horny boy. But it didn't last. He got a girl pregnant in our senior year. They got married; I have no idea whether their marriage made it. I never heard about the baby."

"Those two boys are it?"

"No, there was a girl."

Fyn sort of perked up at that, but it was Arnie who spoke. "Tell us all about it."

"Her name was Laura. It was tenth grade. We were good friends and slept over at each other's houses from time to time. It was fun. That had been going on since about seventh or eighth grade. One night after the lights were out Laura simply said, 'Can I climb in bed with you?'"

"I answered, 'I guess so.'"

"Laura was honest. She said, 'Do you understand what this means, what might happen?'"

"That made me think, and I was quiet for a while. Laura let me think. I finally said, 'Yeah, I think so. It's OK.'" She came over to my bed, and I noticed in the dim light that she was naked. She climbed in beside me. She was on her side and I was on my back. She leaned over and gently kissed me, and then kissed one of my breasts. I'd figured out what was coming so I was ready, and I let her. Eventually she used her hand in my vagina and on my clit to masturbate me. Then she asked, 'Will you do that for me?'

"I said, 'OK,' and did the same for her, without kissing her. She spent maybe a half dozen night with me after that. It was always pretty much the same. I think she would've liked more, and I didn't get much out of it. We finally just stopped inviting each other over to sleep. We stayed friends, sort of. But we grew apart."

"So, are you lesbian?"

"No. I learned that very clearly from Laura."

"But it doesn't upset you?" asked Arnie.

"No. Should it?"

"I'm not trying to make any judgements, just get everything out on the table. That was the idea, right?"

"Right. No, it didn't upset me and, and it doesn't. I know several lesbians on campus, and consider them to be friends. But I've never even thought about having sex with them."

"But you have thought about having sex with boys?"

"Of course, starting with Fyn. But, as we said, we haven't."

"When did you start masturbating?"

"You know, not as high a percentage of girls masturbate as boys."

"I think that's female fiction. Don't kid us, just answer. When, and how did you learn?"

"Seventh grade, and an older girl took about four of us aside and gave us very specific lessons, but not a demonstration."

"So have you seen a boy's dick before yesterday?"

"Well, I've jacked off Freddie, but always in the dark. So, except for what little I saw of Freddie and one incident in school my senior year, no. Not even my up tight father's."

"And that incident was...?"

"Funny, I guess. I was at a party. There was a pretty big group of us. I was with Freddie, and these were mostly his friends. A few of the boys had snuck in some beer, and there was drinking in the basement. The host's parents were upstairs, but they had a clear rule with their son, if he kept the noise down and kept everyone inside in the basement, they wouldn't come down the basement. We all knew the rules, and kept things under control.

"There was a boy named Chuck there. He was a very good soccer player, but a cocky little son-of-a-bitch. He'd brought most of the beer, and had at least three cans in him. An argument about penis size got started with one of the members of the football team. I'm told that if Chuck had been on the football team he'd have known not to get into a pissing contest with Nolan about penis size. Soon it was, "Mine's bigger than yours"; "No it isn't"; "Yes, it is"; Wanna bet?" The offer of a bet had come from Nolan, who looked to be as alcohol filled as Chuck, and was waving around a half-full can.

"Chuck came back with, 'Sure, what do you want to bet?'"

"'Mr. Small Dick sucks off Mr. Big Dick. You got guts enough for that bet?'"

"'God damn right.'"

"'Do we have a bet?'"

"'Yes, dammit.'"

"'Let's see what you got.'"

"'Let's see what you got.'"

"Nolan very slowly unbuttoned his shirt exposing his chest, opened his belt, unbuttoned his pants unzipped his fly, pushed his pants down around his ankles, and then pushed his boxers down to his knees. His dick was tremendous, even semi-soft. He asked a girl to come over and squeeze it, and it got hard as a rock. He was at least ten inches. Chuck just stared and didn't say a thing. Nolan said, 'Come on, Chuck, let's see what you got.'"

"Chuck just said, 'You win.'"

"'Oh, no. Let's see it. Let's see just how teeny and tiny it is, Chuck."

"It was obvious that Chuck had no intention of taking down his pants, and we wondered where this was going. All of us, especially the girls, were fascinated by Nolan's size, and were eager to see Chuck's equipment as well. At that point four members of the football team, who hadn't been at the party earlier, came up behind Chuck. Before he knew what was happening they had picked him up, pushed him on top of a table, and held him spread eagled on it. One of them said, 'Let's see what you got, Chuck.' With that they stripped him naked. He started to make noise, but the same guy said, 'Any noise, Chuck, and we crush your balls. Understand?'"

"'Yes.'"

"'Now will a couple of you girls come over and play with Chuck a little. We need to get him hard so that we can compare him to Nolan there.' Two of the girls rather gleefully obliged, and soon Chuck was very hard, but nowhere near the size of Nolan. 'It looks like you lose, Chuck. Now you get to suck Nolan.'"

"'Hell, no.'"

"'That was the bet. Either you pay off, or you get to go home naked tonight. Nolan will you take his clothes in lieu of a suck?'"

"'It's not my choice, but I guess so.' The back and forth went on for a while, Chuck getting madder, everyone standing around was getting rather aroused at what they were seeing. Nolan kept reminding Chuck of their bet."

"Chuck was finally lifted up and put on his knees in front of Nolan. 'Do it now, or we toss you out that basement door and you can figure out how you're going to get home.'

"Chuck finally realized he was beaten. He opened his mouth and sucked off Nolan, to quiet cheers from the bystanders. When Nolan came they made him swallow it all. He got all of his clothes back except his Jockeys, which they cut up so they were unwearable."

"Chuck had come on a double date with a friend. A couple of the boys that had known what was coming had made sure that the friend didn't have any beer. He was now told to drive Chuck home, and the two boys and their dates, all visibly angry, left. It came out that the whole thing had been choreographed in advance. They didn't want to be accused of getting Chuck drunk, so they had been careful not to supply Chuck with any beer; he only drank what he had brought. Nolan hadn't had any; he had started with a half-full can, and had waved it around but never drunk any. It had been easy to lead Chuck into the bet, and the football team was ready. The rest we had seen. Chuck had just been too big a blowhard around school and everybody was fed up with him. I really expected the whole thing to blow upon the football team afterwards, but nothing ever came of it. I can't believe, with all the witnesses, that it didn't leak out, and probably to some of our teachers. Evidently they thought it was funny and that he probably had it coming."

"My God, Margie, that's quite a story."

"I'll have to admit that Freddie and I were hornier than usual on the way home that night. We stopped on a back street where he often parked, and we both fairly exploded. But we didn't do anything we hadn't done before.

Arnie said, "I can't beat that story, and I don't think I'd want to. I'm afraid that I didn't lead the chaste childhoods that you two did. I ran around with a pretty wild bunch of kids in eighth grade in Minot. I don't know how it got started, but we started doing circle jerks for $5.00 bets sometime that year."

Margie interrupted, "I don't want to appear naive, but what's a circle jerk?"

"A bunch of boys get in a circle-well you don't have to be in a circle, just everybody together-and jack off. Everyone puts up the agreed bet, and the first guy to come get the money."

"What happens to the others? Do they finish?"

"You can bet they do. Boys don't stop in the middle...."

Fyn continued, "Unless their mother walks in on them."

"I've heard of it happening," said Arnie.

"How often did this happen?"

"Almost every Saturday in eighth grade. One of the guys had a nice basement, no mother at home, and a father that worked on Saturday morning. We'd meet at his house most Saturdays. He moved away over the summer and it completely stopped. I had my first serious girlfriend in ninth grade. We got naked together and gave each other hand jobs, but never went further. We weren't in love; we were in love with sex games. It didn't last. One time a couple of years later she came up to me in the hall in school and said, "How about a date tonight, Arnie, for old times sake. We can come back to my house; my parents won't be home. We did, but it wasn't the same. Nothing happened with her after that. My junior year I dated a girl named Suzanne for a while. Looking back, she was really a slut. She was desperate to get me to fuck her, but I wouldn't. We did just about everything else, though. We'd go down to her basement. Her parents were home, but never came down the basement-at least so she assured me, and it was always true when I was there. She'd take her clothes off, and then undress me. It really kind of shocked me the first time, but then I got used to it. She used her mouth all over me, even my ass. She'd pull my face into her cunt, and I'd bring her with my tongue. She liked to suck me. But I wouldn't fuck her, even though she tried to get me to. It didn't last long. There was nothing there but physical sex, and it simply got boring.

"Then came a strange interlude. I had a good friend, Ryan. He was on the swim and dive team-he was a swimmer. Breast stroke was his speciality. He had a gorgeous body. He'd been aware of my adventures with Suzanne. In fact, he'd warned me about her. When we broke up, he made his move. We were in the shower alone after practice. I'd stayed late to work on a couple of dives I wasn't getting right. Coach had stayed with me about twenty minutes. When I came down to the showers everybody had gone on but Ryan. In the shower he came up behind me, reached his hand around me, and very tentatively stroked my dick. He whispered in my ear, 'Is that OK?'

"I wasn't sure what to say. He backed off to his own shower, not saying a thing. I knew that I owed him an answer, but I wasn't sure how I wanted to answer. I finally said, 'It's OK, but I'm not sure I want it to go any further.'

"He responded, 'That's OK. If you ever want to, now you know.'

"I thought about it quite a bit. What did he have in mind? What would it be like? Would I like it? I liked having a girl give me an orgasm, why not a boy? After about a week, I said to Ryan, 'Let's talk about the shower.'

"We went for dinner to a local pizza place that we often visited. There was a very private booth in the corner that we often got, just so we could talk privately. This was the first time that we really were concerned that it would really be private. Over a bacon and pepperoni pizza (that's what we always had) Ryan told me he was gay, and had always had the 'hots' for me. That was his word, hots. I asked what he had in mind, and he invited me back to his home after the pizza. I'd been to his home often, and we often went up to his room. His parents never disturbed us, but they certainly could've at any time. He saw my concern, and he said, 'My parents know I'm gay and do things in my room. They say they don't want to know what or with whom. But I should only do it with boys I know; never with strangers. They don't want to know whom, because they don't think they could handle it if they met the boy's parents.'

"I asked, 'They know I've often been up in your room with you. Do they think we've been, you know, doing things?'

"'No, because we always stop and talk with them. They know if I introduce my friend, nothing is going to happen. Tonight they won't see you come in.'

"'Your parents are comfortable with that?'

"'Not completely. But I think they realize that the alternative for a horny gay boy is probably doing it with strangers in the park. The deal we have is that I swore I'd only do it in my room or a place I knew was safe, and with boys I know. That's the hard part, I only know a couple of gay boys. A couple of other friends have had flings with me.'

"'Who?'

"'I'm not going to tell anybody about us, and I'm not going to tell you about anybody else.'

"'Fair enough.' Well, to make a long story short, we did go back to his room and I learned a lot about gay sex. What he really liked to do was fuck my ass. He was what they call a top. He'd have liked to fuck my ass and then finish me off with his hands or mouth. I wouldn't buy into that. If he wanted to be a top, he had to also be a bottom. He was willing, and we traded fucks, taking turns going first, fairly regularly for about three or four months. I finally realized that he was really just using me. There was no love, just sex. He'd never unfairly pushed or anything; I couldn't be mad or upset with him about anything. I just decided I didn't want to be used as a fuck toy. So it ended. We tried to stay friends, but I saw less and less of him. I have no idea where Ryan is today. And that's the last sex I've had except with Mr. Hand."

Margie said, "Then you've never really had a loving sexual relationship, have you?"

"No, not really. You've had the love, and I've had the sex. We both need to put it together, don't we?"

It was lunch time, and we headed for the dining car. We lingered over lunch more than previous meals. Margie said, "This afternoon I think it's time to start talking about the future. Are you guys ready for that?"

They were, and the three of them headed back to their bedroom. They all needed a bathroom break and Margie said, "We got over that hurdle. Fyn and I'll go to the rest rooms down the corridor and you use the toilet in here, Arnie. We'll see you in ten minutes."

When they came back Fyn started the conversation. "I don't know about you two, but I've made up my mind."

"So have I," said Arnie.

"I hope you guys are in agreement, because if you are, I'm quite willing to support whatever decision you make."

"But do you have a hope, a desire, a passion, in this?" asked Fyn.

"Yes, I do. I hope to marry an Olympic champion."

"And I hope to be one," said Fyn.

"And I do, too," said Arnie.

"Was it really that simple?" ask Fyn.

"No, it wasn't," said Arnie. "Margie put this weekend together exactly right. We might have been able to do it in a motel room, but this was exciting. I love trains. The Empire Builder has been a wonderful backdrop to these conversations. But it's the conversations that made the difference. I opened my soul to you two in a way that I never have with anybody. I feel you did the same with me. I know we can still be friends as we head to Los Angeles in five years. And I know I'm going to be able to give what it takes to diving for that time."

"I feel exactly the same way," said Fyn. With that he leaned over to Arnie who was sitting beside him and kissed him, right on the lips, very hard. Their tongues stayed in place; that would come later. But the kiss was just what they needed to bring their hearts together in the way that would be necessary if they were going to meet their goal. They both kissed Margie; Fyn much more passionately.

Arnie asked Margie, "How on earth did this trip get paid for? You had to rent a car, and it was one-way which is expensive, and you bought six sleeper train tickets."

Fyn said, "You don't ask Margie about money. When she decides something is important she digs into her savings. Somehow, she has amassed a small fortune (for a college student)."

Margie added, "I've had good summer jobs, and I'm a good saver. And this was worth saving for. Now let's talk no more about money."

They spent the afternoon dreaming of diving, of Olympic opening ceremonies, winners' podia, and on and on. Arnie finally brought them down to earth with a question, "We've talked a lot about sex today. What're our ground rules going to be? There are three of us. I suspect we're going to be naked in one bed again tonight, at least to start. We need ground rules for tonight and for five years."

Margie said, "I don't know about you, but I think the rules are simple. First, we'll never be shy about being naked together. In fact, I hope we can be somewhat deliberate about that. We are going to allow friendly touching. We don't have to be secretive about masturbating. No orgasmic sex at all except masturbating-until we three agree on different ground rules."

Arnie said, "I can't expect you two to be celibate; you're in love with each other."

"We've been celibate so far. If we three aren't equals this isn't going to work. But I didn't close the door. I said those are the rules until we three agree to change them. If Fyn and I get married, we'll have to talk about the rules. If we all get too horny, and masturbating doesn't cut it, we'll have to talk about the rules. Until then, those are the rules."

"Fair enough," said Fyn. "Now, let's get naked and explore the limits of those rules."

The did get naked. Margie said, "As I understand the rules, a circle jerk would be within the rules."

"I've never heard of a circle jerk with a girl," said Arnie.

"I have orgasms just like you two. I'll admit that you're going to have to take my word for it, whereas you guys produce physical evidence. But we do trust each other, right? Winner gets the middle position in bed tonight. And, besides, once we all have an orgasm, then we can play with each other a little without risking breaking the rules."

Fyn won. They did play around, quite a bit. Fyn and Arnie found that they enjoyed it with each other as well as with Margie. Fyn took the middle in bed, massaging Margie as they drifted off to sleep and getting massaged by Arnie. They slept soundly, three in the bed, till their 4:00 a.m. alarm wakened them for the 4:30 arrival in Grand Forks. They walked to campus, getting to the pool just before six. Larry was there. Arnie simply said, "Los Angeles, 1984. It's a date."

Larry smiled broadly and replied, "It's a date."

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