Bees, Red Admirals, Ants and Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Quantum Physics

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 1

(Abridged version)

Incidentally, inspiration for this pile of rubbish came by way of a piece of music called 'Country', by Keith Jarret, and can be found by going to

Now, just why I found this inspirational, is a mystery. Maybe this prolonged period of lock down has damaged my central nervous system, or perhaps it's only my natural weirdness manifesting itself through writing. Yeah, well. A lot I know!

Enjoy, if you can.

Oh, yeah. One other thing. Reading this is not recommended if you happen to be Catholic, or maybe even a devout follower of Barry Manilow.

In fact, reading this is not recommended……

The school summer holiday this year was going to be different. I had celebrated my thirteenth birthday back in December, and that meant, so long as the hours didn't amount to more than twelve hours each week, I was legally allowed to take a paid holiday job. So, like my brother's before me, I had put my name forward at the local newsagent in the hope that I'd be offered the chance of a paper round, and a week before the start of the holidays, that offer materialised.

Ten pound per six day week with a bonus if I was prepared to do a Sunday round; the heaviest round of the week, was pretty good. It didn't involve much effort other than hauling my backside out of bed early, and it left me with most of the day to indulge my main interest, that of hanging out at the one outdoor and unheated swimming pool in town, so I could watch boys parading themselves in their Speedo's.

Yes, I'm gay. Girls have never interested me, and while it might be said that such a situation was hardly unusual given my age, I'd been crushing on boys since, like forever, and not just crushing either, especially at the pool. One of my older brothers even commented that my back had a deeper tan than my front. Well, duh, that's because I have to spend most of my time on my stomach, or risk flashing to the public at large, bits of me that the public ought never to see, especially at my age…… or any age come to think of it.

There you go. So my routine is up at six in the morning to get myself to the paper shop by six-thirty, do my round, and maybe if one of the other kids have cried off, do a second one before getting back home for a shower and breakfast. That just left me to cycle the five miles across town so I could spend the remainder of the day sporting a hard-on.


July 21st, and I got drenched doing my round. It was kicking it down when I got up out of bed, and it was still hammering it down by the time I'd done with breakfast. I thought about going to the pool, but there'd be no one there, so where was the point in getting soaked again if there was nothing nice to see once I arrived?

Where's the justice? For the first time in my life, I have money in my pocket. For the first time in my life, I have the freedom to go somewhere without the need to cosy up to my father and beg for enough cash to get me into that bloody pool!

I closed my eyes, and a vision of beautiful, lithe, sexy boys bombarded my senses. And it was with those images making me feel lightheaded, I laced up my trainers, dressed myself in lightweight waterproofs, picked up my backpack and ran from the house as far as the bus stop.

The rain has eased by the time I reached the pool. The heavy overcast sky still lurked menacingly, but skies do have a nasty habit of lurking, don't they? At least there were cars in the car park. Cars mean people, yeah? Only the people who were there were two middle-aged blokes who were always there at this time of the morning. Up, down. Up down the pool they'd go doing their slow breaststroke. Up down, up down. It was like watching an awfully slow game of tennis, if, that is, you watched them for long enough; something I never did as I didn't want them to think I was even halfway interested in them, which I am definitely not. I like boys my age, maybe a year or so younger, even perhaps a year or so older depending on how cute they are, but never, ever men!

I dived into the water and copied the men in doing lengths of the pool, but when one of these men upped and left shortly followed by the other guy, I decided that there was little point in carrying on even though the rain had stopped. Even if the weather cheered up sufficiently enough, it might be hours before anyone of interest turned up.

Frustrated and bitter, I got dried and dressed ready for the bus ride home.

Blue skies to the west. Ain't that just typical. I pay to get in when it's raining, then leave as the sun comes out, and not only that, there's a boy walking towards me. A cute boy with a backpack can only mean one thing, and especially as the only place this road leads to is the swimming pool.

He is cute too. About my age / might be a touch younger / maybe a touch older, but who cares. A cute boy is a cute boy. Full stop. And damn if he isn't checking me out, too!

He smiled at me as he passed. Didn't speak, but his smile was nice, but then my attention is drawn towards an odd shape, like someone kneeling in the grass, and with their head turned sideways as if keeping an ear to the ground almost.

Now I'm walking towards this weird shape hoping against hope that said shape is okay, or maybe only a carelessly discarded bin bag, and definitely praying that whatever it is isn't sick or injured, because I kid you not, I'm the last person a sick or injured shape needs to see due to me living in abject fear of sick or injured anything!

Weird shape is wearing an old but intact brown leather coat and trilby hat, but shape remains stock still.

I cleared my throat. "Uh…… hello? Are you alright?"

Shape moves to look at me. Shape turns out to be an old man with an expensive-looking camera."

"Oh, hello, young man? So nice of you to enquire after my wellbeing, but as you can see, I'm very alright, thank you."

I'm now at a loss for words. A binbag I could've ha ndled, but an elderly man carrying an expensive camera whilst kneeling down with his head in wet grass is an altogether different matter.

"I…… er, thought you might be feeling unwell, you know, kneeling on the grass and stuff?"

"Yes, well I can imagine I painted an odd picture for you, but as you can see, all I was attempting to do was photograph that bee, the one down…… oh, it's gone. Well, never mind. I'm sure they'll be another coming along shortly. They always do, you know, bees?"

"Yeah. Look, I'm sorry if I spoilt the photo, yeah? Nice camera by the way."

"Yes, isn't it. I won it you know. Yes…… I won it in a photography competition. I photographed one of the most difficult birds you can photograph in the wild, and all purely by chance, you see? Do you know the Kingfisher?"

"I saw one once, or was that caught sight of one. A flash of electric blues and greens, then gone?"

"That's the one, my boy! I managed to capture two pictures. One head on, and the other side on and in full flight, and only using a cheap compact camera. I was awarded the first prize! £1000 and this Nikon SLR!"

"Well, um, congratulations. Got to go. I want to go swimming now, okay?"

"Remarkable. Twice in as many minutes."

"Another bee?"

"No. You going for a swim. But then I can hardly blame you. He is rather nice, that boy, don't you think?"

"Who is? What are you talking about?"

"Never mind. It's of little consequence. When you are as old as I am, you will look back on your life with regret. All the missed opportunities, all the bulls whose horns you failed to take in pursuit of happiness, will trouble you. If you want my opinion, which you possibly do not but I'll pass on anyway, the best course of action for you now, is to go for that swim, and while you're there, strike up a dialogue with that young man."

"Why would I want to do that? I've never seen him before!"

"And possibly never will again unless you accept my advice. Doubtless you are fully aware of the Law of Unintended Consequences?"

"Look. I've no idea what you're talking about. Are you sure you're alright?"

"The Law of Unintended Consequences, if I might furnish you with an example, means that an action or a decision, no matter how trivial, could have a dramatic influence on how your life progresses. What might have happened had the weather been warm and sunny, is in stark contrast compared with the situation you find yourself facing today. Perhaps had the weather been more to your liking, you might well have arrived earlier, and with a crowded swimming pool, you might not have noticed that boy, let alone had the opportunity to make his acquaintance. And also, we wouldn't be having this conversation, because we would never have met. Ipso facto, I would never have had the chance to explain the importance of every action you take, every choice, or every decision you make, and how much it impacts on your future. Oh, and thank you for your concern. I'm pleased to say, that yet again, I'm perfectly alright!"

It's fair to say that I'm now feeling incredibly nervous. I mean, it's one thing coming across some bloke wallowing around in the mud trying to take a photo of a bee, but to have a conversation with him, and feeling compelled to see it through to completion, is something entirely off the wall. He kind of fascinates me and frightens me at the same time, a bit like having a nightmare, but all the time needing to find out what happens at the end.

"So," I say, "You think it's important that I talk to him?"

"Who am I to say? Here you are with nothing better to occupy your time, so if nothing comes of it, what have you lost? Except for time itself, of course, or better put, using that same time to do something you might otherwise have not"


"But before you go, might I take your photograph?"

"You want to take my photo?"

"Naturally? Why else would I ask the question?"

I was sure there must be reasons why I shouldn't, even if I couldn't think of any.

"Just an ordinary photo?"

"Oh yes. Perhaps if yo u stand there by the tree? Yes, I think that might be a good idea."

I stuffed my waterproofs into my backpack, so now all I had on were my shorts, a sleeveless tee-shirt and my flip-flops.

"That's it. Now use your left hand outstretched to support your weight against the tree trunk. Oh, that's good, very nice."

"Do you want me to smile, or what do you want."

"Just relax and be yourself. Natural photographs tell stories in a way that deliberately posed ones never do."

My cute boy was there. He was standing on the end of the springboard and looking down at the water. God, he looked so sexy that my dick started to react in a way that might cause me problems getting into my Speedo's.

I just about managed to duck into one of the changing cubicles before he looked up, and now that I was safely out of his line of sight, he turned and walked back down the board, turned again. and sprinted back up and dived into the pool.

Not the best dive ever, but what with me having never plucked up the courage to give it a go, what do I know?

Anyway, my dick problem was sorted. Take my word as gospel here. Pulling on wet and clammy Speedo's isn't to be recommended if your ambition is one of maintaining a hard-on! (For future reference only).

But now I have to decide whether or not to rent a locker for my kit. Actually, it's a no-brainer. Twenty pence spent when there's only me and this other boy in the building?

I folded my shorts and tee-shirt on top of my backpack, - my flip-flops can live beneath the bench, and so now it's time to reawaken my desires and cop an eyeful of cute boy.

I studiously avoid making eye contact and dive straight into the water, swimming towards the shallow end where I can look all nonchalant and disinterested in him.

He's gorgeous! I'm guessing five foot four, slender but not skinny, medium length not-quite-blond hair, full red lips and wearing Speedo's…… I mean, what's not to like? He's tanned, - not as tanned as me, but then I have an olive complexion an yway, but whatever. I need to see some close-ups, and maybe even talk to him.

I swim three quarters of the way back up the pool and drag myself out of the water so I can lay chest down on my towel.

He dives, I watch.

He climbs the steps and smiles at me. I smile back, blushing like crazy.

God, I'm an embarrassment! If I can't even smile at him without turning into a beetroot, how on earth am I going to be able to talk to him?

"Not very good, are they!" His opening line sounds like music to my ears.

I blush again, but at least I've found my voice. "What aren't?"

"My pathetic attempts off the springboard."

"At least you've got balls enough to try. All I've managed to do is jump off it, and even that didn't work out too well."

He picked up his towel and wiped his face. "What happened?"

"I tried to copy some of the other boys and do a bomb. It was a disaster, 'cos while those kids succeeded in making it look as if a depth charge had detonated, mine just sort of made a bit of a splash. I gave up after that!"

"Technique. All you need is for someone to show you how it's done. It ain't rocket science."

"Can I see you do one?"

"Yeah, if you want, why not! I do a bomb then one last dive, and then I'll tell you how it's done, okay?"

Bomb? Rather impressive. Dive? Well, let's just say that whatever it was looked unbelievably painful!

"Aw, shit! That's it! That's enough for one day!"

"I take it that landing flat on your back wasn't necessarily part of the plan?"

"I don't think God loves me anymore."

"Then why do you do it?"

"I do it because I need to feel accepted. See……. I'm not much good at anything. I'm useless at sports, crap when it comes to practical stuff, and okay, I get decent grades at school, but even so, it would be nice to shine at something, yeah?"

"I guess."

"What about you?"

"What about me?"

"What do you like doing?"

"I like doing lots of things, but that doesn't mean I'm any good at them? I guess I see myself in much the same way as you see yourself. Mos tly I underachieve at everything except my schoolwork where I'm seen as an above average student. But even that has its downside. The kids in my year think I'm a swat or a bookworm. I don't do any winter-type sports such as rugby of football, so those periods I spend in the school library, and as you might imagine, that doesn't make for popularity, just a bit of a freak."

"What happens come the summer term?"

"Oh, well, I can do track and field, yeah? It's contact sports I can't take part in."

"Am I allowed to ask why?"

"Promise not to make fun of me?"

"Why would I want to do that? I think you're nice, so okay, I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die."

I smiled at his eyes. "Okay. I have this condition. It's not like, contagious or anything, it sort of a mental thing that I can't seem to shake."

"Go on?"

"Not that I can remember, but I'm told that everything was fine between me being born until I was three, and it was only after my mum passed away that everything went sideways. I have been diagnosed as suffering from Haphephobia which basically means that I'm scared of someone touching me. Simple everyday things like shaking hands with someone is okay, but I sort of freeze if someone tries to hold my hand."

"Man, that has to be tough to handle. My problem is the opposite, like I want someone to touch me, only they never do, not in the way I'd like anyway."

"Ha! Like the touch of a girlfriend maybe?"

"No. Definitely not a girlfriend!"

"Oh, right. If it helps any, even if I wasn't the way I am, I wouldn't want a girlfriend either."

"Huh? You mean…… you prefer boys?"

"Yeah," I said quietly. "I'm gay, not that it counts for anything, ever. I come here to dream as much as anything. Cute boys everywhere I look, but knowing that unless I'm able to conquer that phobia, I'll die without ever knowing how good it feels to cuddle up with someone really special."


This cute boy whose name I didn't know, the same boy who I'd just opened up to and told him my deepest secrets , was crying.

"Hey. I didn't mean to upset you? Please don't cry because of me? It's cool, really okay. What's your name?"

"Gabriel. You?"

"Rhys. Mum was Welsh."

"Nice, musical name. I like it."

"Well, I think Gabriel sits well on you. Don't hit me, but I think you're an angel."

He giggled then sniffed back his tears. "I can't hit you even if I wanted to, which I don't. Your phobia, remember? Anyway, normally I head into town and go to the indoor pool, and for the exact same reasons as you coming here. But today I hung around hoping the rain would ease, and when it did finally stop, it was way too late, so I decided to come here instead."

"You're gay as well?"

"As they come! Are you out to anyone?"

"Only to my father. I'd tell my brothers, only I can't be sure if they'd take kindly to that sort of news. It's okay though. They're both married and live a fair distance away."

"What about at school?"

"You must be joking! I might not be the most popular kid, but at least I'm not bullied!"

"Oh, right. I'm not out to anyone yet. I know it has to happen, but what I can't work out is, when the best time might be."

"There is no best time, that is, unless you wait until you're older?"


"Because you'll get all the shit about 'how can you be sure,' and 'it's only a phase which you'll grow out of,' or 'you'll fancy girls soon enough.' It's fucking claptrap! Your sexuality is something you're born with, not something you decide? You don't wake up one morning and think, 'I know? I think I'll give gay a go and see if I like it or not.' That is just so much bollocks!"

"You're funny, and I really like you! So, when did you find out, like for certain?"

"There was never a definitive moment, or like a bolt from the blue. It was like a journey. I must have been about eight when I discovered that Willy fulfilled a different purpose other than peeing out of. Humping my pillow became an obsession which continued for a year or so. Then one day I caught one of my brother's jacking off. I mean, talk about messy? I tried it, and loved it, especially as it got me to the glory stroke much faster than my pillow. By the time I was eleven, boys at school talked about girls, and how they'd love to get inside their knickers. It was all talk, of course, because I'd put money on the fact that few of them had the first idea as to what girls kept tucked away in their panties, let alone what to do with it once they'd found it. As for me? I thought about boys touching me up, and how good it would be to touch them back.

By the time I was twelve, I looked on the internet, like information concerning boys who thought about boys sexually, and then it was like an awakening! I wasn't alone in thinking that way! There were possibilities, real possibilities…… except, it can't happen for me unless I can find a cure for this bloody phobia."

"It was different for me. I mean, sure, I was wanking by the time I was nine or ten, but one day at school, I went for a piss and saw this older kid standing at the urinal sporting a hard-on. Well, of course, mine took only nano-seconds to jump to attention. He noticed, and leaned across and tossed me off, and it was like, what the fuck?

Hooked, or what! It never happened again though, much to my disappointment!

I have never been attracted to girls, but that's not to say I don't like them. I enjoy their company, and I like talking to them, but I know what I want. Like you, I want a boy I can love and him to love me back."

"We make a sad pair, don't we! You can have it but can't find it, and me who wants it but can't have it!"

Gabriel went quiet for a moment, then looking up at me with a smile, said, "You said that you were okay with shaking hands, right?"

"Yeah. What of it. You've got a lovely smile by the way."

"Thank you. So have you. In fact I think you're beautiful. Anyhow. Handshakes. I haven't shaken your hand yet? Wanna try?

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