Every eye is a camera. Every mind records what is seen, even if it's merely glimpsed, or too far off the periphery to be noticed, it is recorded. Somewhere, in the depths of our minds, waking or sleeping, we mull over everything seen and heard, felt, touched and tasted, and we draw insights and conclusions, right or wrong, from our subconscious meditations. These meditations sometimes take months or years to sort out, but some, only moments.
Have you ever felt you were the star of your own reality TV show? That's how Randy Jamison sometimes felt. Not that he felt he was a star, nor was he paranoid about being watched, but he just imagined what he and his actions would look like if seen from outside his own mind, as if on camera. Laying in bed, he sometimes stayed modestly covered, allowing the imaginary cameras only to see the movements of the sheets, and sometimes he flung the sheets aside and showed off his sleek, athletic body and proudly displayed his pearly fountain. On this particular morning, staring at the cold, gray morning beyond his second-story window, shame seemed to hang in the air, and he quietly relieved himself beneath the blankets.
Snow lay upon the ground like a lumpy, tattered old blanket, with clumps of tall, dry grass and the occasional ratty bush poking up through it. The air was cold, but not bitter, still and quiet as morning crept over the countryside. Tall, bare trees spread spidery twigs to the dismal, gray sky; squadrons of ducks squawked high overhead, their dark wings carrying their V-formations northward.
Randy stepped through the front door of their warm farmhouse, into the icy air of the front porch. Imaginary cameras were on him. Behind him, he could hear his baby brother, Tommy, barely two years old, being fussy as his Mom tried to feed him breakfast. Randy pulled the door closed slowly, already missing the warmth and safety of home; desperately wishing he could crawl back into bed and hide from the world, rather than spend another day, spend another chunk of his heart, in that hellhole called Remington High. Cameras caught his anguish. With eyes still a little puffy from sleep, cobwebs still clinging to his mind and a knapsack of books and homework dragging his shoulder down, Randy bundled the gray hoodie snugly about his slim body as he began the two-mile trek to school.
Randy actually didn't mind the walk, it gave him time to wake up, to shake off whatever nightmares or crazy thoughts he might have had, and to work the kinks out of his body. It was a free time; there were no other houses or people along the way, so he was free to whistle, sing, talk to himself, even dance, if he were of a mind! And in the warmer months, the walk was downright lovely; he could wear his running shorts and take his shirt off to get some sun; he'd noticed the girls starting to go ga-ga at the sight of his muscular legs and bare chest. Sadly, this wasn't one of those days; today, he felt more like screaming to release all the black anguish from his heart, to let it spew from him like acid and burn up the whole town.
The girls wanted him, especially Courtney Woods! She was cute, blond, blue-eyed and quite possibly the prettiest girl in school; all the boys wanted her and as far as Randy was concerned, they could have her! Actually, he'd heard that a few already had! She was a Soc.: queen socialite of the town and leader of her particular clique; all trinkets and glamour, drama and flair, and so artificial she almost smelled of plastic! And she only had eyes for Randy!
But that was the problem, wasn't it? Speaking of crazy thoughts! Girls! Since starting high school a few months ago, he had to face them every day now; before he could just ignore them, they were silly and made no sense. And in the quiet dark of his bedroom, when his breathing was heavy and his sheets moved with a quick rhythm, and the cameras were rolling, he could sooth his lonely, relentless heart with visions of some of the gorgeous boys at school. They were becoming more beautiful every day, with their lean, stout bodies starting to fill out, broadening shoulders, narrowing waists, muscular legs and rippling abs; they moved with grace and agility, discovering new strengths and confidences. The cameras in Randy's mind zoomed in for close-ups, documenting full heads of gleaming hair, sparkling, youthful eyes, adorable freckles and lush, full lips; even their braces seemed sexy!
His father was pastor of the Remington First Baptist Church, and had raised Randy strictly in the faith. Of course, that was before he'd run off with the organist, the lovely and vivacious Miss Rita, whom they'd heard, was now about ready to give birth to Randy's new half-brother! The shame of that had driven Randy and his mother away from the little church, which made Randy sad because he'd had several good friends in that church, especially Zane Bartell, a lanky teen who'd enhanced Randy's religious experiences hugely behind the Fellowship Hall.
And therein lay the problem with the girls, both at school and church; they were getting more forceful and demanding in their needs for his attention and affections. But in the true Goth style which Zane had recently adopted, Randy bore his mark, a small scar on his shoulder, just below his neck, barely recognizable teeth marks that had actually drawn a few drops of blood, the mark of ownership he'd received when he'd willingly and joyfully given his lonely and terrified heart to the boy. Zane bore a similar scar, which matched the arc and size of Randy's teeth, at the base of his shaved cock. The cameras had zoomed in very tight on that scene!
At times, Randy wondered if he shouldn't be having a harder time accepting this; his father had told him the stories about Sodom and Gomorrah, and had succeeded, to some degree, in putting the fear of God into him. Randy wasn't quite sure what had lead his father to harp so strongly on Sodom and Gomorrah. Did he see something in Randy's behavior? Maybe his lack of girlfriends, at the age of fourteen? Of course, he was harping on King David's adultery, too, just before he put the fear of God in Rita and took her away pregnant!
Randy was almost relieved when the man had left; the stress level in the house dropped dramatically, not only with Randy, but with his Mom as well. And in spite of all his Dad's teachings, Randy's thoughts continued to turn more and more strongly toward boys, their sleek, sinewy bodies, their sparkling eyes, their bulging pants; and now in high school, with changing for sports and showering together, his fantasies had taken off like gasoline on fire! He thought he probably should be fighting it, but it was too strong; everywhere he went, cute boys were there, when he was alone, they crowded his thoughts, shimmered in his dreams, wouldn't let him work, study or sleep until he'd flung pearl at them!
Finally, he gave in, in spite of his Dad, in spite of the attitudes at school and elsewhere, he gave in, gave himself over to the rampant madness of trim bodies, smooth chests, rippling bellies and long cocks. And the pearl jam flowed, spattering chest, belly and thighs every night, every morning, and more on weekends, sometimes even dousing one of his blue eyes or lips, or both!
Of course, he still had to keep it to himself; he wasn't stupid, by any means! He'd become expert at the stone face, the sidelong glance and the watching from afar. He'd also become a good runner, not the best on the track team, but damn near; that honor went to Jimmy Woods, Courtney's twin brother, and possibly the most gorgeous boy in the school. Randy half considered giving in to Courtney, just to get the chance to know Jimmy, but then Jimmy had joined the track team, so Randy got to know him anyway, without the torture of dealing with Queen Soc.
Passed the trout pond and one last thicket of trees, and the country highway came into the town of Remington, the armpit of the northern prairie, a pimple on the backside of America. And not even a grand, glorious pimple, but a tiny, annoying prick of a pimple that would never pop and go away!
Remington High was on the edge of town, a new brick building which replaced the old, two-room school house down town; that was now the district headquarters. The school was a long, single-story building, with ten classrooms, offices and a small library. Beside it, across a small courtyard, was a gymnasium and a geodesic dome, most of which was given to music studies, but which also had a small snack bar on one side. That was always operated by the senior class and provided money for the prom and senior trip at the end of the school year.
Randy walked through the chain-link gates and up the totally flat drive, passed the gym and into the main building. He glanced at the clock in the office as he passed; still had eight or nine minutes before the bell. At his locker in the main hall, the only hall, he sorted books and notepads for his first class, math. Not his best subject, but at least that one was first; best to get it out of the way when his mind was fresh, than to try to tackle algebra later in the day.
Other kids were drifting in, grumbling as they opened and slammed lockers, sorted books, papers and greetings. Jimmy Woods came to Randy's side, smiling cheerfully, his bright blue eyes sparkling; his was the next locker.
Randy smiled back, his eyes coming to life as his heart suddenly began pounding very hard. An involuntary tingle in his pants made his face blush softly. In his mind, his hands slipped around Jimmy's slim, supple body, caressing chest and shoulder blades at once, his lips kissed Jimmy's slanting shoulder, up to his neck, and the blond boy's tongue met his as they turned to face each other directly.
In real life, Jimmy nodded and said, "Hi!" Then slammed his locker and walked away, meeting Daryl Hansley a few yards away.
Daryl Hansley was the star jock; sixteen years old and six-foot-four, strong, lean and fast; basketball was his forte, although, he was good at most any sport. Except tennis; tennis is for fags, he had declared. Therefore, the school's only tennis court lay unused; it didn't even have a net anymore. Daryl's dark blond hair was cropped short about his marble-head, something his Marine father had imposed on him all his life, and which he imposed on his gang of followers, except for Jimmy.
Jimmy wasn't quite as tight in the clique as the other two, he always hung back a little, more of an observer than a participant; and Jimmy had amazingly beautiful hair, like gold spun with silver, rich and thick, as if a golden cobweb from Heaven had settled on his head. The cameras adored Jimmy.
Daryl ruled the school with his cold eyes and his hard expression; everybody was afraid of him, not just because of his size and strength, which were considerable, but because of his attitude. The only time he laughed was when someone else was either humiliated or in pain, anything he didn't understand or didn't like was "stupid" or "gay," which seemed to be most things and people, and he always treated people, even some teachers, like dirt. The only teacher he respected was the phys-ed coach, and that only because he allowed him to play sports.
Randy was shocked and nearly dropped his jaw one day when, in the showers after PE, he saw that Daryl, as tall as he was, had a pecker barely larger than his own nose! Randy had to turn into the corner of the communal shower to avoid showing the biggest grin of the day!
"What's wrong with you?" Daryl demanded.
Randy figured Daryl must've seen the sudden movements of his shoulders or something. "Soap in my eye," he said quickly, turning to the shower spray.
The morning bell was near to ringing, so Randy slammed his locker and, giving Daryl and his gang a wide birth, moved on to his first class.
Zane Bartell stepped out of the shower and dried himself. He wiped down the sweaty mirror on the back of the door and looked at himself; he was skinny and pale, all ribs and pelvic crests and knobby knees. His abs were well defined, but his pecs were flat, his arms and legs were thin and stringy, not at all like the Greek-god-type he wished might possess him; not at all like Randy Jamison. He didn't understand what Randy saw in him; he wouldn't be attracted to anybody like himself. Maybe it was the blow jobs, maybe that's all that kept Randy interested.
He combed his inky, jet-black hair to the side and, with a little hair gel, formed it into a severe, multi-pointed blade that swept down over his right eye and cheek. Beyond the bathroom door, he could hear his older sister's baby whining and fussing about something. He knew she would be needing the bathroom soon; he pulled on his white boxers and scampered across the hall, to his own small, gloomy bedroom.
The curtains were drawn all the time now, somehow, sunshine never seemed to fit his wounded mood. He pulled on a black t-shirt and black jeans, followed by a black jacket with dozens of safety pins arranged haphazardly across the breasts and down the sleeves. He sat at his desk and pulled a small compac from the drawer; in its mirror, two silver rings gleamed back at him from his lower lip, and two more from his ears. He carefully applied black mascara to his eyes and made it a bit gloppy, to contrast with his pale skin. If he couldn't look pretty for the other boys, then he would show his anger and pain, even if Mr. high-and-mighty Daryl what's-his-fuck wouldn't understand! Maybe someone would - someday.
Zane pulled on his black, Converse sneakers, not exactly snow-gear, but then, they don't make Goth snow-gear, and before heading into the kitchen, returned to the bathroom. His father had died a year ago of a heart condition, which he took medication for. Zane had been checked and cleared for the same defect, and his father had told him it was a good thing, because the medication could kill him just as easily as his bad heart. Quickly, almost without thinking, as if on autopilot, Zane grabbed the bottle of unused pills. He looked at them, wondering to himself if today might be the day for something else... He stuffed the bottle into his pocket and grabbed his knapsack, black of course, on the way out the door.
His Mom stopped him at the kitchen door. "Breakfast?" she asked.
His eyes turned up from the floor and he shook his head. He wasn't in a mood to eat and didn't much care if he ever ate again.
Just then, Karen's baby squawked, protesting something. Zane's Mom kissed his cheek, then went to help her daughter. She was worried about her melancholy son, but thought it was just a phase he was going through. Zane opened the door and walked out into the still, icy morning.
As he walked, alone and silent, his fingers tumbled the pill bottle over and over in his pocket. He realized that, if this was to be his last day, he really didn't need to worry about much of anything. The only thing that did still nag at his mind was the pain it would cause his Mom and Karen. But even they would get over it eventually.
And then, there was Randy. Zane liked Randy; he was a very cute boy, with light brown hair that turned golden in the summer, and dreamy blue eyes; he had a trim, athletic body, long, smooth legs and a lovely dick. But more than that, Randy had always been nice to him, had always seemed to like him, even before the blow jobs. Would his death hurt Randy?
Death. It was a harsh word, and a harsher thing. Would he miss Randy? Would he have any memory or consciousness at all? He remembered some of the accounts of people who'd come back from death, they certainly seemed to be conscious through it!
As he neared the school gates, his thoughts were interrupted. Daryl and two of his lackies were standing by the main entrance. Zane knew why they were there; they were always there, waiting for him. This was part of their morning ritual since Zane had started school here.
Daryl walked confidently up to Zane, meeting the freshman's eyes with a cold stare. "Hey, Freak," Daryl said.
Zane looked up into his eyes and automatically pulled his knapsack from his shoulder. His wallet was in a side pocket and he drew it out. Opening it, he pulled out two fives, all he had, lunch money for the rest of the week. By now, he was used to going without lunch. He handed the bills to Daryl, who snatched them quickly and stuffed them into his own pocket.
Zane dropped his empty wallet into his knapsack pocket and reslung it on his shoulder as he turned to walk away.
"Ach'hmm!" Daryl grunted.
Zane turned back and Daryl extended his right foot, nodding down to his green, size 13 sneaker. This was something else that Daryl had added recently, one more humiliating little act to demonstrate his dominance over "Faggot-Freak Zane."
Staring down at the big shoe, Zane slowly knelt on the wet pavement, bent down and lightly brushed his lips over the top of Daryl's toes. The other boys had chuckled raucously the first few times Zane had done it, but now, they stood in silence, as though Zane's humiliation was somehow rubbing off on them, staining their souls with an indelible pain that would last their whole lives through. After kissing Daryl's shoe twice, he was allowed to go on to class; the bell rang just as he entered the building.
In algebra class, Zane sat two rows over from Randy, but both were third from the front. The teacher, Mrs. Evans, was nice enough, but she was droning on about something and Zane just couldn't focus. He lifted his eyes from the stark page in front of him and gazed around the room, at first, pretending to pay attention to what Mrs. Evans was saying, but then straying around to Courtney and her prime groupie, Kaylie Barnes, in the front row near the door, and then on to his intended focus: Randy.
To his utter amazement, Randy's eyes met his and the boy smiled gently at him. As if reading Randy's mind, the thought came to him so strongly, that it was more than just blow jobs that held Randy's interest! Randy's smile held Zane captive for a long moment and a tear threatened Zane's mascara.
Suddenly, there was a burst of laughter from the two girls in the front row, Courtney guffawed as Kaylie made motions as if holding a giant cock and ramming it into her mouth, making a lump in her cheek with her tongue. Both girls were laughing and looking straight at Zane.
Mrs. Evans was aghast, and a little out of her depth, but then inspiration struck. "Doing lead pipes now, Kaylie?" she stammered. The girls straightened up, faces blushing. "OK, moving on; Kaylie, why don't you come up?" She had a problem on the blackboard for some unlucky sap to work out as an example to the class.
The next three periods were a blur. Zane's head spun with the look Randy had given him. Randy had even clapped a hand gently on his shoulder as they exited math class. Now, he swam in glorious affection as Randy's smiling face rose like the sun and dispelled the darkness from his dreams.
At lunch time, Zane came out into the courtyard. Several kids were standing in line at the snack bar and others were seated at tables, eating and talking quietly.
Randy saw Zane come out and start toward the gym; he never ate lunch. Randy started to go after him, but then Daryl and his gang appeared out of nowhere and one of his boys, Bobby McKaskle, had a bundle of something in the front of his up-drawn t-shirt. They came straight to Randy and, with a cold stare, Daryl clasped Randy's shoulder. Bobby stood before him and let down the hem of his shirt a little; Randy could see several water balloons, like oversized eggs in a nest. But they looked strange; the balloons were of many different colors, but the water inside them was colored red, with ink or paint, or something.
Bobby McKaskle wasn't really a bad sort, on his own, and he was actually rather nice, and even cute. But he was controlled by the Evil One, Daryl Hansley, the egotistical, microprick who needed to prove his dominance over everybody.
Randy knew they wanted him to join in their torment of Zane, after all, news of his little "scene" with Zane had spread like wildfire through the school, and if he was to prove himself a real man, and not a "queer-lover," Randy had to partake. Inside, Randy's mind screamed, "I am a queer-lover; I am queer!" But outside, his face was stone, tinged with sadness and the fear of the wrath of "Daryl the Hater." Randy looked at Zane, walking away peacefully, sadly, the slant of his shoulders carrying the burden of his life, like ten thousand tons of pain and sadness.
Daryl took one of the balloons and, almost gleefully, hurled it at the back of Zane's head. Thick, gooey crimson spattered through his jet-black hair and ran down the back of his neck. Randy's heart dropped to his feet and he thought he might be sick. He wasn't so sure it was paint in the balloons, it looked so much like real blood, but where...?
The kids standing in the snack bar line started laughing and Daryl's other lacky, Brent Kelly, heaved another balloon at Zane. That one hit him squarely between his shoulder blades.
Randy was getting sicker by the second; he could almost feel his knees knocking. The cameras in his mind were getting all of this in full, sickening technicolor, and etching it into his soul with a claw-hammer.
Daryl heaved another balloon and red covered Zane's head, running down his face in bloody rivers, staining his ivory skin.
Kids kept laughing hysterically and Zane kept walking away, not looking back, not altering his pace. Daryl grabbed Randy's arm and, holding him vice-like by the wrist, placed a balloon in his gentle, slack hand.
Randy stared at it and immediately thought of a hundred other things he'd rather do with his hand than throw a water balloon, and most of them involved loving caresses of Zane's body, among other boys. Daryl pinched up some of Randy's hoodie at his shoulder and turned him to face Zane's back. Randy just stared at the retreating boy, ignoring further nudges to throw. He didn't want to throw it; he really, really didn't want to.
Daryl and his gang were taunting him, so were others, even some of the girls. Further nudges from Daryl and Brent coaxed Randy to raise his arm and lob the balloon in a high, gentle arc, just to Zane's right. It hit the ground and splashed beside Zane's black sneaker.
Zane stopped and Randy's eyes fell; he knew he'd done wrong and he felt as if his stomach had joined his heart, flopping on the pavement like fish out of water.
Courtney and Kaylie strolled passed Zane, seeing the red fluid dripping down his face, but rather than finding sympathy, they looked at him with disdain, as a slug that had slithered from beneath a rock.
Randy looked up again, his face a mask of sadness, his feet rooted in shame; his heart broke and his eyes stung with tears. He knew, he just knew, the cameras were rolling, and this too, would be seared into his soul forever.
Daryl was right there, right there beside him, laughing his stupid ass off. "Gonna cry, little faggot?" he chided Zane's back. "Gonna cry? Why don't you go kill yourself, you fuckin' homo? The world would be better without you!"
Zane started walking again. Usually, he spent his lunch breaks walking around the perimeter of the school grounds, but this time, he went right out the main gate and down the road, coincidentally, toward Randy's house.
After Daryl and his gang wandered off, seeking someone else to torment, Randy lifted a foot and took a step. His legs felt numb and stiff, as if moving might make them crack and crumble into a million pieces. He lifted the other foot and took another step, then another, and another. Faster and faster, until he was running like the wind, passed the main gate and down the road, home.
A quarter mile from the school, he caught up with Zane. The boy was sitting on a curb, wiping his face with the hem of his t-shirt and rolling something around in his other hand; his hair was still matted and streaked with red.
"I'm so sorry!" Randy called, still a hundred feet from Zane.
Zane looked up, his chin still streaked with red, deep sadness in his eyes. Life had played out for him; there was no more joy in the world, nothing to hope for, nothing to live for.
"I'm so sorry!" Randy repeated, coming closer. "Can you ever forgive me? I didn't want to throw it; Daryl made me. I missed you on purpose. I'm so sorry, I should have stood up to those bastards!"
"No," Zane said, almost a whisper. "They would have beat you up."
"I love you so much!" Randy blurted. Before he realized it, the words were out of his mouth and flowing in the air, directly into Zane's ears, into his soul. The cameras were zooming in. "I still have your mark on me, remember?" He pulled the collar of his t-shirt aside and there was the small scar, matching Zane's teeth. "I'm still yours!"
Suddenly, Zane's dark eyes overflowed and streaks of tears replaced the streaks of red. "I sti..." his voice choked up. "...have yours."
"What's that?" Randy looked down at the little bottle in Zane's hand.
"Nothing," Zane said. He uncapped the bottle and flung the pills across the ground.
"I hope that wasn't something important," Randy said.
"It was my Dad's," Zane replied. "It was going to be my ticket out."
"Ticket out?" Randy repeated. "What do you mean?"
"I was going to take them all," Zane said flatly, "and lay down and die, right here."
Randy threw himself against Zane, wrapping arms around his skinny body and burying his face against Zane's neck. "No, no, no, no!" he sobbed. "Don't leave me here alone! I need you! I need you so much!"
Zane's arms slipped up around Randy's back and the two boys stood beside the road, holding each other for long minutes, both sobbing uncontrollable tears of relief, love and joy. A couple cars went by, slowing to gawk; in a small town like this, everybody knew everybody, and both boys knew the six o'clock news would be buzzing! Every camera in town would be rolling now! They might as well stand on the steps of town hall and declare their love!
Finally, they slipped apart and looked at each other. Both smiled sheepishly at each other; they wore their dripping tears proudly, as badges of honor, even as Zane's mascara streaked.
"Ya know, you're pretty cute!" Randy said, brushing his inky, black hair away from his dark blue eyes. "You have freckles; I never noticed!"
"You're pretty cute yourself!" Zane replied.
"Not crazy about the hair, though," Randy said. "You ever try blond?"
Two weeks later, the mood at school was considerably improved. News of Daryl's treatment of Zane had spread to the principle's ear. He'd been expelled and arrested, pending charges of extortion, assault and battery, and hate crimes. His father, home on leave from the Marines, made it abundantly clear how much his distinguished military career had been tarnished in the town, because of his son's behavior. He'd refused to bail the boy out of jail and did not attend the later hearings.
In math class, Randy had moved over to sit beside Zane, and admired the sheen of his clipped and peroxided hair as they studied together. The black clothes were gone, as were the rings in his lip; once again, actual colors adorned his ivory body. Both their grades had markedly improved; they ate lunch together in the courtyard, studied and laughed together, and often spent weekends together at each others' homes. Jimmy Woods and Bobby McKaskle even joined them, making a surprisingly intimate foursome.
A few weeks later, Courtney Woods and Kaylie Barnes were discovered in bed together, in the throws of some rather vocal orgasms, and their high and mighty social network collapsed in a heap.
And the cameras kept watching.
The above story was inspired by a video called "The Hidden Cameras," a rather dismal Goth flick about a teen suicide, the result of bullying and gay-bashing. I was so moved, I had to write a similar story, where I could delve into the minds and hearts of some of these characters, to fill in some of the backgrounds of their lives and explore the depths of feeling that might drive one boy to suicide and another boy to love him. Of course, being an optimist, I couldn't leave it on such a tragic note, so as Zane contemplated the pills and the reality of death, I had Randy catch up to him and provide a new hope for the future, a new vision.
As I say of all my stories, I write this as tribute to all the sweet, beloved young gays out there, the faggots and queers, the freaks and girly-boys out there, who endure daily teasing, ridicule, bullying and beatings, who hide and closely guard their most secret desires, and who live in fear of having their lives ripped apart for loving another of the same gender. I know what you're going through; I've "been there, done that!" And I'm here to say, DON'T give up! Don't let the bastards win! What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger! And wiser! What you think and feel is none of their F'ing business! Get up, shake it off, look up and move on! It really does get better! I swear to God, it does! Go in peace. Adios!
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