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

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 4

"You do know what we must do if we're to take this one step further, don't you?"

The few seconds of indescribable bliss I had experienced when I felt Gabriel's bum beneath my fingers, had resulted in the biggest rush of blood to my head imaginable. In fact, so big was it, I had to run from the pool and take a long, cold shower.

We're now dressed and waiting for cafeteria lady to give us our coffee.

"Okay, so, what's this next step going to involve?"

"Well, not only was today a major step in the right direction for you, and without doubt the best day of my life so far, what we have to do now is find out if you're able to touch me like that, but under controlled conditions."

"I thought I was well in control? It was you who almost came in your Speedos, not me?"

"Yeah, I know, but the thing is, Rhys, what if was only because you were feeling horny than enabled you to do it? We have to find out if it's possible for you to do the same thing when you aren't?"

"Oh, sure! I mean, I pop a semi just walking down the street with you, so what makes you think I'd be able to stay soft if you're half naked? Ain't ever going to happen, like ever!"

"What if I can think of a way. What then?"

"Pulling a stunt like that would be even more of a miracle than curing my Haphephobia. Like I said, the whole situation…… the very idea of not getting it up around you, especially when you're wearing the better part of almost nothing at all, is about as ridiculous as me believing that I could just go popping 'round to God's place for a chat!"

"Believe me when I say that I'm so pleased to hear that it might well be a hard nut for you to crack, but there has to be a way. All we have to do is engineer a situation where it would be too much of an embarrassment for you!"

"Okay. Let me see if I've got thi s straight in my mind, shall we?

For openers, for a place to be too embarrassing to sprout a hard-on would probably mean there would be people around, possibly loads, and load of them. Another might be if we were with your parents, or in school. Problem with that is we don't go to the same school, right?

No need to answer that if you'd rather not.

Now, How do you propose we either find a busy public place, a place where it would be perfectly acceptable for us to cavort around the place in Speedos, or, indeed…… no, that definitely wouldn't be a good thing!"

"What wouldn't?"

"I just thought we might find ourselves in your living room, you know, with us laying on towels and dressed in our swimming gear, and at the same time, your mum and dad are sitting on the sofa watching telly."

"You're right. Not a good idea."

"What about in church? Is it okay to go to church in Speedos?"

"Possibly? I've never been aware of there being any formal dress code as such? Nor, indeed, have I been made aware that praising God half-naked goes against the church's doctrine."


Are the floors carpeted?"

"No. Flagstones."

"Ah- ha! So, if we waited until winter, the floor would be cold. Maybe even cold enough to prevent hard-on's perhaps?"

"I think we can safely tick the Yes box there, but just to make 100% sure, we would have to be absolutely certain that we were well out of sight of the choir stalls."

"Oh, well, yes. I assumed that went without saying. It would be disastrous otherwise."

We were shaken out of our conversation by a voice from above.

"I say. You two boys. Might it be alright if I took a moment of your time? If it were possible, I would only ask if I could, perhaps, borrow that time, but unfortunately, as you are no doubt very aware, time cannot be borrowed due to the laws of Physics having put a blanket ban on giving it back."

We took a look around, then noticed someone perched halfway up a tree. I say perched, but it was more as if he was stuck up there.

"Oh, for heaven' s sake," said Gabriel. "It's Mr Gordon's Flying Circus." Then shouting to the branches, said, "What on earth are you doing up there?"

"Hello, Gabriel! Now, this is a pleasant surprise! Oh, and I see that Rhys is with you as well. A double nice surprise! It must be my lucky day!"

"Yeah, all of that, but you haven't answered my question. What are you doing climbing trees at your age?"

"Ants, dear boy. Truly wonderous creatures, ants? Did you know, that if ants were to grow to be substantially larger than they are now, they'd most likely rule the world? There's certainly no good reason why they couldn't? And you never know, they might even make a pretty good job of it!

I've even had the time to make some tentative calculations? If we were to assume that the average ant has a length of five millimetres and then increased that figure by the power of five less three to the power of six decimal five, that simple arithmetical computation shows us that we now have an ant, or perhaps many ants, who's body mass compares most favourably with that of average sized Homo Sapiens!"

I turned to face Gabriel, and whispered, "And this is more believable than Catholicism?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah. Frightening, isn't it." Then he turned his attention back to Mr Gordon. "What about all the Parallel Universes? What would happen to them if the ants took over?"

I grimaced. "What. Are. You. Doing!"

"I want to hear his answer. It might even make some sense!"

"Ah, well. Your point is well made, my boy. Well-made indeed! I think it quite reasonable to postulate, that given that circumstance, all parallel universes would be forced into towing the party line. However, what we must not allow ourselves to do, is take up a position whereby we actually believe that it might happen, for happen, it most definitely will not, as I'm sure you'll agree."

"With respect, Mr Gordon, I don't know what you're on about!"

He sighed. "Quite possibly not, but if you would be so kind and take my camera, perhaps I c an extricate myself from these branches, and then, if you can spare the time, I will attempt to fill the gaps of your understanding."

Just how he managed to get out of that tree without needing an ambulance, I don't think God even knows. He just jumped down to the ground, rolled around a bit before getting to his feet and brushing himself off.

"I really don't know why I get so worked up? It's always the same, you understand, getting down from a tree? If I were an ant, life would be simple. I would walk up it, and, perhaps, walk back down later on."

"Or be a bee and fly up there?" I ventured, trying to sound intelligent. "They fly down afterwards, don't they?"

"Oh, yes. Indeed they do, Rhys. I'm so pleased that you noticed! Quite remarkable now I think about it? Up they fly, and down they fly. Absolutely splendid, don't you agree?"

"Err…… yeah, I guess…… splendid.

"Now. Where were we?"

"Ants taking over the world, except they don't, and what's more, we can't think that way?"

"Yes. Now why didn't I think of that? Extraordinary!"

"Actually, I think you did, like earlier perhaps?"

"All things are possible, young sir."

"Except for ants totally dominating the planet, right?"

"Oh, no! There is no possibility, no danger of, and no foundation for that rumour. Absolutely none whatsoever! You see, the timelines had already been written. I forget quite when it was, but it was a long, long time ago. But with the timelines written, so the wheels of life began to turn, turn, turn. Oh, and they're still turning, so far as I can tell." He paused, then looked at our faces with a degree of interest. Then he continued, "Well, they must be, because you're still alive, which I might say, comes as a great relief! Had you been dead, however, then all the indications, all the signals would mean I was wrong, and being wrong rarely happens to me. Oh, that isn't to say I never make mistakes, oh, dearie me no! I seem to recall a blunder that concerned the substitution of one journal for an other…… that's it! The Spectator magazine and The Economist! I remember now!"

"Yeah, and I was the poor unfortunate sucker tasked with their delivery!!"

"Were you, Rhys? Oh, yes, of course you were! Dear boy, my dear, dear boy. Please do accept my sincere and heartfelt retrospective apologies."

"It's cool, okay? But if there's a next time, why not try apologising in advance? You never can tell, but it might just make me feel better about it."

"I'll try to remember to make a note of that, my boy."

By now, Gabriel seemed a touch agitated, like he was desperate to take a dump or something.

"Right, now listen to me please! Just what are timelines, and what's The Wheel of Life. What difference do they make, and why on earth am I asking such stupid questions!"

Mr Gordon patted Gabriel's shoulder. "Your questions are far from being stupid, Gabriel. In truth, they are highly intelligent questions that, if one failed to address them in a timely fashion, would lead to an unimaginable tragedy, a tragedy of the most epic proportions, indeed, one that would set the passage of time throughout the universe backwards tens of millions of light years.

But unfortunately, I have an appointment in Brazil in fifteen minutes, so might I suggest that you visit my home at say, four o'clock tomorrow afternoon? I have some very fine cakes, and naturally, I make very good tea."

We sat with our backs up against the tree trunk for what seemed like hours. We didn't talk, - just listened to the leaves rustling in the breeze.

An ant decided that it might be fun to crawl across my left foot, but then, deciding that the idea was probably rubbish anyway, disappeared into the grass.

Minutes passed, then a bumble bee alighted right beside me, taking the nectar from a nettle plant. I could have believed, did believe, that the little bastard winked at me, but before I could ask, it flew away.

A Red Admiral butterfly made a graceful landing on Gabriel's right index finger. Gabriel opened his eyes and studi ed it, - his face, impassive, then turning to me, said, "We're not going to go tomorrow, are we?"

I shook my head. "No, I don't think so."

"Yeah, but……"

"I know."

"We will though, won't we?"

"Yeah. We will."

"I don't want to be held responsible for setting the timelines of the universe back tens of millions of light years."

"No, I guess not. Imagine having that on your conscience for the rest of your life."


The butterfly flew away.

My phone rang at nine-thirty-five that evening. It was Gabriel.

"Am I disturbing anything, or can we talk?"

"No, it's cool. Actually, it's nice you did, because I'm fed up watching telly, and I was just thinking about having an early night."

"Oh, okay. Listen, I've been thinking about this next step idea, and I reckon I might've come up with something."

"Really? I'm all ears!"

"Right! Now there's no guaranteeing it'll work the way I hope it will, but it's definitely worth a shot."


"Are we going to the pool tomorrow?"

"Yeah. Like, I was hoping we might?"

"Cool! So, this is the plan. What if I bring with me some sunblock?"

"I haven't looked at the forecast. Is it going to be sunny then?"

"I don't know, but even if it isn't, it doesn't make much odds either way. The point of the exercise is two-fold. Right now we know that, for the most part, you're okay with touching me, but what we don't know, is just how far you can take it. Not only that, but another thing we don't know is, whether or not it's okay if someone touches you?"

"Yeah. That's very true. So far it's been all about me and touching you, not like, arse about face?"

"Absolutely. Now, I'm not going to suggest that we do anything other than sun-blocking backs, or maybe even legs, but just doing that might give us an indication of progress? What do you think?"

"It's totally brilliant! I mean, it's a pretty innocent thing to do, right? But also, it's kind of personal at the same time! Yeah. Let's go for it!"

"That's what I thought too. What time will you get to the pool?"

"If I get my skates on, I could be there by nine?"

"No. Leave it 'til later, say around ten. Thing is, I don't know if we have any sunblock, and if we don't, or I can't find it, I'll have to go to the shops."

"We won't have any. I don't see my old man sunbathing ever, and with my olive complexion, I've never bothered."

"Who's going first?"

"I'll go first because I don't believe it'll be any more difficult doing your back than it was yesterday when I touched your arms."

"Okay. How do you want me?"

"Don't! I could take that any number of ways! Just do what you did before, and cross your arms under your chin."

"It's no good! I just can't do it! Every time I go near you, I start to chub up, damn it?"

"Okay, take five and try to clear your head. Once you're ready to go again, try to look at it as if you were basting the Sunday roast."

"Oh, sure! A Sunday roast with smooth, soft skin, slender and fit, the tempting bit covered with cloth, slender yet muscular legs and attractive feet. Who do you think I am? Mister fucking Super-Eunuch? Give me a break?"

"Alright? Think of me as Mr Gordon, and it's his back you're oiling up?"

"That's sick, and you bloody-well know it is! Anyway, I'm not oiling up anything, I'm using sunblock!"

"Yeah, you are! Sunblock that set yours truly back two pounds-fifty! Just get a grip of yourself before I burn to a crisp!"

"Sorry. Yeah, it is a bit hot out here, isn't it?"

"Your telling me it is!"

"Okay then. Supreme effort of will, and……"

"Wow! You did it, even the tops of my feet!"

"Yep! I'm rather pleased with myself, actually? But I thought it best not to do the soles. If you're anything like me, you know, ticklish?"

"Yeah, but I think everybody is."

"I'm not too bad, but touch my insteps, and I won't be held accountable for my actions, like most likely I'd end up involuntarily kicking you in the teeth!"

"Okay. If only in the interests of self-preservation, I'll avoid them like the plague, shall I ?"

"You've had worse ideas!"

"Hey! That went well, yeah? You never even flinched!"

"Why would I want to do that? In any case, I was too busy enjoying myself, safe in the knowledge that I wasn't going to have to turn over anytime soon."

"Oh, that good, was it?"

"And then some! All that's left to do now is to see if I'm able to give you a cuddle."

"Not right here, or right now though, okay?"

"Definitely not!"

"Look. I'm not ashamed of you, you know? I want us to do that every bit as much as you do, but……"

"I know. Like holding hands in town. It's a step too far."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. I was well out of order. It was only because I was so excited at finding out I wasn't the lost cause I always assumed I was, that made me do it in the first place. It's me who ought to be apologising to you!"

"There's another reason though. I know it'll happen. I desperately want it to happen, but I'm rather worried that it'll be like, the thin end of the wedge. That's not to say that going further with you is a problem, 'cos God knows it isn't! Let's just think about what might happen if we decided to cuddle up in the changing cubicle, like we went there right this minute. All on our own, and with no possibility of being interrupted? Do you honestly believe that cuddles wouldn't lead to other stuff? We'd get so turned on that, before we knew it, we'd be kissing, yeah, like with tongues and, and, everything. Then we'd be way out of our depth because Speedos would be discarded, and milliseconds later, we'd be having sex! I mean, for heaven's sake! That is definitely NOT how I want our first ever time together to be like.

Look. I'll willingly give myself to you, like everything you see, everything I am, is yours. All I ask in return, is that our first time isn't rushed, isn't sordid or dirty. I don't want a knee-trembler in a swimming pool changing cubicle, I want us to make love together, like in a bed




I wiped tears from my eyes. "Yeah. That's the way it will be. For both of us."

There had been a lot of sexual tension in the air at the pool.

Truthfully, there seems to be a lot of sexual tension, like…… period, all the time, everywhere I go, everywhere I look.

A telly program doesn't interest me unless there are, boys.

I see boys, everywhere I go, everywhere I look.

I realise now, that this is far from being an unusual phenomenon, that is, unless the boy doing the seeing happens to be straight, in which case he sees…… girls(?), but I'm not, and my eagerness to do what can only be described as advanced stuff had led to, and for the very first time, Gabriel slapping me down, and I hated myself.

When we got changed to leave, we had done so without hardly exchanging a word. We didn't hang around for a coffee like we usually did, and then, if that wasn't upsetting enough, we walked away from the pool in silence.

When we reached the same coppice of trees where we'd met up with Mr Gordon the day before, Gabriel tossed his backpack into the clearing and knelt down on the ground, beckoning me to join him.

He threw me a sheepish smile. "I can't believe I said those things back there at the pool, and I want to say sorry."

"No. I was the one who spoilt everything, not you."

"I hadn't finished. What I was about to say, is that, this time, without question, it was me who was out of order. God damned church teachings! I've been indoctrinated, made to think like them, forced into believing that being gay is a sin against God! I mean, if it's a sin to be gay, and it was God who made me in his image, then all I can say is that God has a pretty sick sense of humour. Oh, yeah, God will find way, like what the fuck is that supposed to mean! The only way God has ever shown me is how to despise to the point of loathing, everything to do with just about everything I care about, want and need!"

Gabriel shot to his feet, shaking his fist at no-one in particular. "Screw you, God! Even though you might hear me begging forgiveness Thursday night, cop a load of this!"

He turned to me, grabbed my hands, and hoisted me to my feet. "We want to cuddle each other? Well, fuck everybody, 'cos we're going to do just that!" Then placing one hand around my waist, and the other on my back, he pulled me into him. "The Wheel of life turns, but who knows what the circumference is or the speed at which the wheel is turning. All this fannying around, and for what? Hold me, please, please, hold me!"

I think the wheel stopped turning for a while.

Holding each other so close was like a good drug, a nice drug, a drug who's addictive qualities, nourished and sustained me.

It was impossible to tell how long we stood like that, but when we pulled apart, we joined hands and burst into tears.

I looked at my watch, looked at Gabriel and started to giggle.

"Do I look as bad as you?"

"If my eyes are as bloodshot and puffy as yours, then I must do!"

"Oh, great! It's the witching hour, time to meet up with Mr Gordon for tea and cake."

"Never mind. Something inside me is telling me he'll understand.

Come on. Hold my hand and we can support each other."

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