Book 1: Billie Joe's Journey

by Rick Beck

Chapter 18

Love For Sale

Several days were lost in our drugged and drunken orgy. It was hard to tell what time it was and whether it was day time or night. It rained constantly and low dark clouds made it totally dark inside the building. Even near the roof, that on sunny days furnished some light through a less than perfect ceiling, candles were necessary in the gloom. Luckily the rain, although continual, was only a fine mist, and it didn't wet the floor in our tight little corner.

It didn't occur to me to really care about the time. After the first evening, night, or whatever, I woke up between Tony and Tim. Both held onto me, and I was happy Tim was behind me. There was something about him resting his manhood there that excited me. Being in the center gave me a rare feeling of complete protection and satisfaction. Loneliness had no power to penetrate the veil of arms they made for my safety. After my frantic plea not to be left alone, it became their duty to protect me from the thought of loneliness again.

They wrapped me up in their love. I stayed between them for a long time. Tony's lips were on my chest. Each time I moved, other than for breathing, he would kiss me in a gentle sleep state that assured me he wasn't leaving me. It also assured me my erection wouldn't be ignored. Waking up that way the first time gave me some feeling of belonging to them, or perhaps a feeling they belonged to me. I managed to get Tim inside me with little trouble, and before long he was half awake and aware of the needy state I encouraged. Although the drugs hadn't worn off, they had relinquished enough control to allow me to feel the width of him inside my sore hole. It never came to mind that his cock was part of the reason for my aching hole, and it just excited me the more for him being inside me. Tony's kissing my chest also heightened my awareness.

Tim moved his hips until he was completely inside me. He held me with his hands under and over my hips. He did not move further and moaned long and low in my ear. His chest pushed against my back, nearly making me swoon. He seemed to grow larger as I squirmed a little to feel him better. His hands held me close so I couldn't slip even a tiny bit off of his manhood. His hips did a slow, sleepy grind as he sighed his passion on my neck. I pressed back against him and turned, making him roll on his back or risk losing his place. He responded without more than an involuntary rolling motion until I sat on his legs with my legs straddling his. My ass was full of him. The pain was a slight presence that had no meaning against what he yielded for my own lust. I placed my hands on his muscular chest, feeling the contours of his strength. He took in a deep breath to swell himself up, and my fingers explored from the top to the bottom of his pectoral muscles. His nipples were full and round. Their appeal forced me to lean forward to lick one and then the other, which made him moan deep. His chest tensed and his eyes opened wide, their pale blue piercing into my own dark eyes. His face slowly grew a broad smile. He placed a hand on each of my thighs and pressed upward while I leaned back, grinding my hips down on him to assure him he had all of me. I rubbed his chest harder, leaning forward until his lips were touching mine. That tongue! The size of him in my mouth startled me again. I sucked it when I regained my equilibrium. Intense pleasure washed through me.

I sat back up and looked at his face. Handsome. Truly, gorgeously handsome! I couldn't believe any man that looked like this could want me. I was scrawny, even more skinny than a few weeks ago. My dick stood out almost obscene for its width and length. A little boy body with man meat attached. I touched myself to feel its strength and quickly realized I couldn't do that or I'd . . . . While leaning back to make sure I had it all, I saw Tony's eyes on me. I felt shame almost instantly. It was his man I used. I didn't want to cause Tony pain. He was the first one to want to comfort me, and to remind the others I had given first so they could rest off the street a few nights. His eyes simply studied me. There was no distress or anger on his face. He watched me move on top of Tim, and he looked especially at my protruding excitement. As I leaned back and closed my eyes one more time, Tony was suddenly there and brought me around with his mouth. That sent shock waves from my stomach and groin and down into my thighs. He slid down until I shook with excitement. Still I had gotten so close in the last day or so, and I hadn't reached that magic moment yet. With all the dicks and mouths and assholes that passed around me, I could only get up to the edge and then back away each time.

Tony was taking no prisoners. He seemed focused. Tim joined him in an increasing rhythm of motion. I could feel Tim's thighs slapping against me. He bent his knees a bit and gained the ability to slide up and down several inches. His motions were strong and decisive. The increase in speed was almost imperceptible, but I knew each stroke came a little faster than the last and with a little more force that milked me with urgent power. I rocked between the ecstasy of Tim's strong thrusts and the marvelous feel of Tony attending me with his hungry mouth. I focused long enough to see him take all of me. It surprised me he could take so much of my thick meat, but then I remembered Tim. Of course, Tony had practiced on bigger and better morsels than mine. It made me smile to think of him working on Tim. It made me hotter thinking about where his mouth had been.

Tim was sweating under my hands. I used the liquid to slide them around on his thick chest. I watched his face and he studied me as his hips churned and thrust at a frantic pace. His face agonized and twisted as he reached it. His mouth twisted open as a terrific, irresistible moan escaped. He gasped and gave a mighty push while pulling my thighs, and his eyes closed. There were several quick spontaneous jerks of his hips and legs, and more air spat out in strange patterns of desperate urgency. His face took on a serene look of pleasure as he thrust up a few weak times and held me on his hips while they shuddered for another moment or two. His eyes stayed closed and his mouth opened with satisfaction that flooded over his face.

Once more I became Tony's and he rolled me onto my side and took me from behind. It seemed to be the way he liked to do it. I think I liked it best too. Being held from behind was the best, and yet watching Tim's face was about as terrific as it had ever been. Seeing every line, expression and reaction as he completed the most intimate linking. That was an incredible high. Knowing I was responsible for making someone look that satisfied was a kick no drug could provide. I thought of that image while I felt Tony sliding inside me. Tim placed his face on my chest and held us both.

Tony was always gentle. His thrusts were slow and long. He held me gently, only this time Tim jumped up over us, got behind Tony, stretched his arms across both of us and kissed his back and neck with wild abandon. He made smacking and eating sounds and Tony giggled and blew laughter on my neck, making me giggle. I wouldn't be giggling for long. Tim slipped back over top of us and stationed himself at my loins. When he did what Tony had been doing earlier, it gave a new dimension to good head. Why there was such a difference I can't tell you, but fucking Tim's mouth was like dying and going to heaven. All my energy and peaks and valleys charged up inside of me in one incredible moment of lust and fulfillment. Tim choked and tried to force my hips back, but it was too late. I was pouring my love into his throat. As soon as he realized it was the moment of truth, he relaxed. His resistance stopped and he eased me into his throat and let me drain down into his depths.

My body lost all contact with reality. I was one gigantic, orgasmic piece of flesh. My entire being seemed to be pouring down into Tim. Then I felt something a little more demanding than my own lust. My hole jerked each time I pulsed out more love, and Tony couldn't do anything but unload. He moaned and groaned and held me on him. I could feel him slobbering down my back. Each time he pulsed my hole pulsed and it was a cycle that seemed to carry on much longer than usual. I once more came back to my body as Tim choked and coughed after sitting up. Fred laid back on the old bed of rags and paper, watching. "Fuck," Tim said, clearing his throat. "Damn! You save all that shit for me. I didn't think I could swallow fast enough. Fuck."

He coughed a few more times and held his throat. Even in distress he was gorgeous. Tony just held me to him and on him. Tim drank out of one of the many sodas laying open around the bed. I hoped he would get one without cigarette butts, but he didn't choke any longer, so I figured he knew which one to drink from.

Then we slept. We got up to smoke. Gil brought up some "Ludes", whatever that was. We all started over again. I watched Gil force Fred to take that monster meat of his. Fred just lay there without expression on his face. Luckily Gil was quick work. Two minutes and he was walking around with a weapon that was lethal to no one. After Gil left, Fred curled up on the rags, alone. He looked like I felt much of the time. I couldn't go to him as long as Tim and Tony were with me.

Later that day or night (at least it seemed like the same day or night), Tony and Tim got dressed to go get more junk food and some kind of meal for us. Fred held onto me after they left. He fell asleep and we really didn't do anything else. We woke up with all the candles out and rolled around in the dark trying to find the matches to light one. It seemed cold and unfriendly up there. Just a few hours before it had been the greatest place in the world to be. The dark held secrets I thought best left forgotten. Fred and I held each other and listened to the sounds of the street. The wind blew and the rain rained, and Tim and Tony were there the next time I opened my eyes.

There were ten candles burning and we ate tacos and burritos and drank more coke and smoked more dope and just stayed suspended between the real world and our world. No one interfered or seemed to care. From time to time there was a new face. I never had names to go with some of them. After smoking and taking pills, we always ended up getting to know one another far more completely than any name might allow. I knew cocks and assholes, but not by a name. My only care was what it made me feel, and then more drugs to make sure what I felt was what I really felt. There is no telling how long we were there. I have no idea what day it was when the drug orgy started, and likewise have no idea what day it was when we stopped. I'd estimate four or five days. It might have been three or six. I knew I smelled like sex and sweat and candle wax and pee and burritos and coke and a dozen other things I'd eaten, worn, and rolled in during the lost days of my first orgy. Each time I rose to a level higher than a stupor, I would feel the love and affection Tony and Tim furnished me constantly through these days.

How many people used me and how many I used seemed irrelevant. There were no rules and no one in the world to tell me I couldn't do and be what I did and was. As long as I could keep Tim and Tony there. I would use anything I had to do that. There were no boundaries and there was nothing I wouldn't give them. I'd be there still if that were possible. It was the only time in my life I had ever been wholly free of pain. Gil brought up more drugs and used Fred again. He came onto me once more, but I didn't respond this time. He moved on and we all had another high night thanks to his generosity and perversion. We always forgot him quickly and took care of the business at hand. Fred still pretty much stayed to himself, but stayed on our level and close to the three of us. He didn't say much, or I didn't listen much, but he was always there when I was aware of who was there. It was the end of another week when Tim and Tony were gone for the entire day. They usually came back in a few hours with food and goodies, but this time they didn't return. That left Fred and me together. We still smoked constantly and were always high. I used Fred much like Gil did, only with a bit more compassion and feeling. I liked Fred, but he wasn't easy to know. He was available, and as soon as I'd get rolling, he'd roll over for me. Many times he'd get me rolling with his gentle breath and words of love he wanted to share with my best part. There was no television, or radio, but there was Fred.

When Tim and Tony didn't return that night, we listened for them on the steps, but heard only the steady weekend traffic that gave away what part of the week we were in. After eating nothing but remnants and junk for another day, Fred and I decided it was time to go out to score more drugs and food. I don't know when it was I became addicted to drugs, but I needed to have the high all the time by now.

Smelling like cum and piss isn't a big advantage when you are hungry. I took Fred with me to raid the dumpster of donuts and the market of milk. No sign of Gene or Jesus was to be found. The selection was very limited. I had learned that the weekends were that way. Less left over. I was sick from too much junk and no real food. I lost the pastry and my stomach revolted on the milk. I added the smell of puke to the piss and the cum. I gave new meaning to the word sachet. Fred stole some deodorant from the drug store and we did our best to cover up the odor. I never thought about anyone looking for me, and it was probably the drugs. I didn't really think at all. I knew hunger and I knew alone. That was all there was. I stationed Fred beside me at the diner window. We'd find someone or someone would find us. That was all I thought. We sucked on some joints offered as different street kids stopped to talk.

The next sequence of events can be described in many ways. There are probably a hundred reasons, explanations, and justifications, but none of them float or fly or ride. Why I did what I did, I don't know, and I didn't plan to do it, but when opportunity knocks, you answer. That's my only explanation. Perhaps you can understand it better than I. For me there was no excuse and no justification. What I did was loathsome and despicable. It was something I had promised myself I'd die before I did, and yet leaning there against the diner window and knowing that Fred and I were starving, and that he lacked any street smarts at all, I was now the bread winner for my new counterweight against alone.

I'd seen Harvey and Donnie and Gene posing, and I suppose I was. I didn't think about it. The car rolled up and stopped. The guy leaned across the seat and rolled down the window. I looked at him for a minute as he looked at me. Fred only looked at the curb line. He finally waved, and I pushed myself off the wall.



"Get in."

"Money comes first."

He placed the twenty in the middle of the seat. My eyes glued on it and what it stood for. I fought myself for a minute. I almost didn't reach for the handle, but then we were driving away with me staring at Fred and Fred staring back at me through the window with questions in his eyes. I could see the feeling of loss on Fred's face. I could see the reflection of alone. The hand on my leg made me jump. When it grabbed me I got sick at my stomach. The car pulled to the curb a few blocks over and in front of an abandoned building. The man knew he had something when his face got down near my clothes,

"Jesus! You know about bathing?"

"You didn't ask me about bathing. You gave me twenty. Take it or leave it. It's all there is."

The twenty was in my fist and short of cutting off my hand, he wasn't getting it back. He pulled me out of my pants and put his mouth on my soft meat. I leaned my head on the back of the seat and held onto whatever I could grab. My stomach turned and I could feel the acid in my throat as he slobbered on me trying to get a rise out of me. I was just trying not to throw up all over him. I wanted to puke and cry. I started to shake.

I think I got half hard but was thinking about Tim and Tony and I was crying as he acted like he had the deluxe cone.

"Can you cum?"

"I guess," I mumbled so low I wasn't sure what I had said.

"Shit! You're a waste. Get back by yourself. Get out of my fucking car. I should know better than picking you creeps up. Always a waste. Dirty fucking bum."

The car drove off as I puked in the gutter. I felt like my insides were tearing lose and about to come up. I stopped twice to puke on the way back and snot ran out of my nose. For the first time I really felt dirty. It had nothing to do with the cum and the piss and the puke. The dirt was now on the inside of me. I'd finally reached my level.

"What did you do," Fred asked, beaming after seeing me walk up.

"Threw up."

"They like that?"

I laughed. I became hysterical. The question just seemed so damn naive, and yet I knew it was a question I might have asked my first time there. I laughed so hard I had to sit down. Fred stared at me and thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy. We went and ate at the burger joint. We ate and ate and took food back with us. We holed up a few more days at the hotel. Fred and I held onto each other and slept and ate and did the same thing we'd been doing for a week. The drugs ran out and I lay there an entire day trying to figure out if I was high or not. I stared up at rays of light shinning through the roof. The sun must have been back out. I couldn't remember the last time I had seen the sun. We went out.

It was sunny. We deodorized and I knew we had to make some more money. Fred did his part. He stole a bottle of cologne. I used it on my crotch and pants. They were dark, but the dirt was moving around on them. We went into the diner and I washed myself off in the bathroom and put on more deodorant and cologne. The first guy that picked me up was young. He could only be old enough to drive. I didn't get the same dirty feel about him or myself. He only had ten, and I told him it would do. I showed him where to go. He was in high school. A friend of his told him where to go. He wanted to be with a guy but was afraid. I let him touch me. He moaned when his fingers closed on me. I got hard immediately. His fingers were like a vise. He didn't look, but held on and moaned with his eyes closed.

"You ever get blown?" I asked.

"Noooooooooo!" he said without looking at me.

I scooted down in the seat and unzipped his pants. His shorts were full of sticky liquid. I pulled him out. He had black hairs all around it. When I slipped my lips down on him he tensed up and there was nothing more to it. It took all of ten seconds. I thought it was the easiest ten bucks I'd ever made, but I wanted to give it back to him. He drove me back around by the diner.

"Do you come here often?" he asked still looking out of the windshield.


"Can I go out again. I mean when I get the money. I didn't know it would be that cool. I mean I'm glad it was you. My friend said the guys are all just after bread, but you were nice.

I leaned back on the door, "What's your name?" "Danny. Danny O'Brian."

"Just Danny. Don't tell people your last name. They might show up at your door, kid."

"How old are you?"


"Go back to school, Danny. Stay away from here. These streets will eat you alive."

"You seem all right. What's your name?"

"Billie. Billie Joe."

"How old are you Billie?"

"How old do you think?"

"Eighteen. Nineteen. You're small. I mean most places, but you look older than me."

"If I look eighteen, I'm eighteen, Danny.

You look for me. You always get a cut rate. Hear?"

I was learning the game, and I knew nothing I said would keep him away.

"Yeah!" he beamed. "I won't go with anyone else. I'll see you over the weekend, Billie."

The kid drove away in his daddy's car. I looked at myself in the window of the dinner. My eyes were lost in hollow pits. My skin was dark and ugly looking. I didn't even notice Fred was gone. I leaned there for an hour or so. I realized no one I knew was around. I wondered if the cops were out. I wondered if there was another sweep and bust while Fred and I holed up at the hotel. I thought I'd find Fred there when I went back. I bought some coffee and looked out the window of the diner. The bully in the white apron asked me was I eating. He said he only had so much space. There was only one other guy in the joint. I wanted to tell him when I was first around he didn't seem to mind me. Now I looked like the rest of them he was going to hassle me too. Asshole! I drank my coffee and kept my mouth shut.

It was late in the afternoon I got my second "date". It was a middle-aged guy. Maybe thirty. Maybe late twenties. He eyeballed me a couple of times before stopping. I showed him the block to park on. I even got hard for him. He stayed with it about ten minutes. I acted like I had cum, but I only acted like it. He seemed disappointed. I said I was young and didn't cum much. He kept looking disappointed. He got me a block from where he picked me up. I now had most of the thirty dollars from the day. I leaned by the diner and figured one more and I could retire the rest of the week. I'd go back and feed Fred and maybe give him money to score some grass for us. We'd hole up there until the next weekend. I got hard thinking of Fred's ass. I rubbed my crotch and hoped someone was watching. The car was fancy. Maybe a Lexus or one of those types. It sure was a pretty color. The electric windows told me thirty dollars was the price for this guy. He looked long through sad eyes.

"What do you do?"

"Thirty dollars and its what do you want me to do." "Get in," he said.

I was all smiles and yanked open the door. This was a piece of cake, only the door slammed shut again before I could even start to get in. There was one very large black hand between the roof and the top of the door. I swung around and looked up, up, and up until Ty's very angry eyes looked down into and through mine. There was rage on his face.

"What the fuck are you doing. You little punk asshole." "Hey!" the guy in the car said. "We're doing business here."

"Were, Mac. Key word is were. Get your fucking ass out of here before I call the cops on your queer ass, faggot." I swung at Ty with a roundhouse punch. All the rage and anger I'd ever felt came out of me. I missed him as he took half a step back giving me a long look. I slugged him in the chest as he stood stationary. I beat my fists into his chest and arms as he tried to hold me off.

"You son of a bitch. You left me. You bastard. I hate you! Why did you leave me?"

I flailed and swung until he held both of my wrists. I kicked him and made him let go and he slapped me with his huge opened hand, knocking me against the car as it was driving off. I started to swing at him again and his other hand slapped me even harder. I fell on my knees crying, sobbing. He tried to pull me back up.

"Don't touch me, nigger. Don't you ever touch me. I hate your black ass. You bastard!" I screamed. "You son of a bitch!!"

People stopped and stood and I sobbed and cried as Ty once more pulled me up by my wrists. He pulled me into his body and I sobbed.

I heard his soft voice say, "I didn't leave you, kiddo. They told me you got busted. Barney said the police locked you all up. I thought you were on the way back to wherever you come from. I didn't know. I would have looked for you if I'd known."

I couldn't see Ty through my tears. I could see his black skin and where his eyes should be, but I couldn't really see his face.

"You thought I was locked up?"

"Yeah. 'Til Gene told me different a couple of days ago. I've come down every day looking for you. I've got a place to stay. You can stay there until you go home."

"I can't go home."

"We'll talk about that," Ty said, firm.

I told Ty I couldn't leave Fred. He went with me to get him. He dropped Fred at his friend Todd's house. Todd wanted to know about me and if I was ready. Ty said he was working on it. Todd said not to wait until it was too late. I knew it was already too late.

As angry as I was with Ty, it seemed to fade away as we walked and talked. He took me about twenty blocks during most of an hour of walking. We climbed up to an upper floor apartment. When Ty used the key in the door I believed it was a place to stay. He told me nothing until we stepped inside.

There was a hospital bed in the middle of the room against the far wall overlooking the window.

"This is Walter, Billie. Walter, this is Billie Joe."

"The infamous Billie Joe. The way Ty talks about you, I thought you were a figment of his imagination."

"You don't look so hot," I said. "You sick or something," I said with my new bluntness.

"Boy's a genius. I have AIDS. Ty saved my life. I haven't heard anything but Billie Joe, Billie Joe since he found me unconscious a few weeks ago. He got me to the hospital and now they have me on something called AZT, but I need someone here to make sure I take the meds. Ty's stayed with me. I'd be dead by now if he'd left me. Regular life saver."

Walter looked me over critically. "Thought you said he was so young?" he said to Ty.

"He is," Ty said.

"You don't look so hot, either," Walt said, pacing his words and swallowing after some.

"Streets age you," Ty said.

Ty walked me over to the bed and Walter stretched out his skinny hand.

"Glad to finally meet you, Billie Joe."

I looked at his hand and I looked at Ty. He smacked my back and indicated for me to shake his hand. I couldn't touch him. Ty shook his head and Walter put his hand on top of the white sheet like that was what he did all the time. He didn't seem put off by my ignorance.

"I wouldn't shake that skinny little hand either. I know I'm nasty looking. I'm really better than I was. The new medication seems to be doing some good. First thing that has slowed it down."

"I'm tired, Ty. Why don't you give this boy something to eat. He looks starved to death. Skin and bone. Then you guys figure out the sleeping arrangements. I know if I say you can't stay, Ty will go with you. I guess I'm stuck with the two of you. Just keep the television down. Maybe I could have some broth when you bring the meds, Ty." Walter looked at me with drooping eyes. "Thanks. I really mean it," he said as his voice went away.

Ty put his hand on my back and guided me to the kitchen. He fixed soup and a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and pickle. It tasted glorious. He told me about finding Walter the last morning I saw him. He said that's where he would go each morning, to check on Walter. He didn't like the kids knowing he was helping a gay guy with AIDS. He went back the next day after Walter was out of danger, and Barney told him the cops raided the room and took everyone away. Ty didn't even look for me until Gene told him I was on the street and never had been locked up.

Ty got me a towel and a bar of soap. He told me not to come out until all the soap was gone. It was a pretty big bar, but he told me he could smell me through the cologne and the deodorant, and it wasn't pretty. I stood in the shower for at least an hour. I looked at myself in the mirror when I was done. I could no longer recognize my face. The little boy I had been was gone forever. I knew that. There was no way I'd ever be that boy again. No way. I felt like I'd been wandering for years.

I looked at my skin and my eyes. They seemed like they belonged to someone else. I looked at my skinny frame. My ribs poked out. My neck that was once so fleshy seemed narrow and skinny. My patch of hair around my manhood seemed to be half what it once was. The only thing impressive about me was the way I hung over my hairless balls. I seemed larger, thicker, more sexual than ever before. My mind was preoccupied with sex.

Just looking at myself got me aroused. I jacked off without ever looking out of the mirror. I studied my wide cock. I examined the vein that seemed twice the size it once was. I felt my incredible hardness and stroked myself furiously watching the head swell and the piss hole open wide as I worked it up and down. I watched as I lined the inside of the sink with powerful pulsing jets of white liquid. Watching the streams of liquid squirt out of me. I studied the hole and how it ejected the hot white thick cream against the cold hard porcelain sink.

The strange thing was I wasn't really turned on. I mean I got hard and I jerked off, but there was no intensity to it. It was like I took a piss or something. It was a study in biology. Do thus and so and thus and so happens to you. See the cum shoot all over the fucking place. This is a direct result of manual manipulation of the male penis. This is what happens when you pound your pud, jerk off, beat your meat, etc., etc., etc., but I never felt excited. I didn't even care if I shot off or not.

I examined the thick liquid to be sure it was cum. It was. It was in as great or greater quantity than ever. My one real claim to fame. I could cum more than anyone I'd seen so far. I looked at my shiny black hair and my softness hanging out of it and realized faced for the first time I'd sold myself. It was there was to assure survival. It's all I had people found valuable enough to buy. I was taller, bigger in general, but very skinny in spite of it. My voice was lower and my words came less frequently as I became swallowed up by the streets. I wasn't much to look but people wanted me without seeing ever seeing me. To them I was a piece of meat they wanted to love for as long as it took. The boy attached was the excess baggage never seen.

I looked at it and felt really dirty all over again.

I took another shower.

I cried and knew the shower would never betray me, nor would I ever get clean enough to forget what I had done, what I had become. I came out of the bathroom with the towel wrapped around me. I didn't dare put on my clothes. Ty watched me as he poured me something to drink over glorious ice cubes.

"Want to rest for awhile?"

"Sleep? I forgot what it was. Yeah. I feel like I might not ever wake up, Ty. I might never get myself clean."

"Can I lie down with you?" he offered with a wide smile.

"No!" I snapped before explaining myself in softer tones. "No. I want to go to sleep. I'm still scared I'll end up back out there. I want to sleep with nothing else in mind."

"I won't bother you. Have I ever? You're still mad at me?"

"No, Ty. I need to go to sleep, alone. Things might seem different once I wake up."

"I'll hold you. Just hold you, Billie."

"No. I don't want that."

Ty knew me, and he didn't understand why I no longer wanted him near me. Only Ty no longer did know me or what I had done. He had no idea who I was. I no longer knew who I was. I just knew I didn't want to be touched any longer. I didn't know why. The loneliness was now all consuming. I knew I'd never be rid of it. Touching was the last thing I needed. What I needed was to sleep sound for awhile. Sleep without fear. A long deep sleep and maybe I'd wake back up being the naïve little boy as when I started this journey.

I slept all that night and well into the next day. Ty brought me food some time after the day was bright and at its peak. I ate and went back to sleep without wondering where Ty slept. There were only two beds in the apartment, and I knew Walter's was too small to accommodate two people. I didn't even think it was possible for them to be sleeping together. It just wasn't the impression I had. I would find out later that Ty slept on the floor next to my bed. He never asked to sleep in it with me again.

Once again I slept around the clock and well into the next day. Ty woke me in the middle of the second day. He said I had to eat something. He brought me coffee which was almost straight from heaven. He said the beans were fresh ground for me, and it was a Colombian Supreme he'd just brought back from the market because he knew I loved my morning coffee, even in the afternoon. After four cups I no longer felt like sleeping. We served Walter some soup and herb tea. Ty was cooking a hearty beef stock for his evening meal. He showed me some steaks that he and I were going to eat. He told me Walter couldn't eat anything requiring too much digestion. He was still very weak. His system couldn't handle solid food.

We listened to some old time music on the stereo. I think it was the Beatles and the Stones. Walter was almost forty, and it was "his music." After listening to it a while, I found some to be pretty good stuff. I took a liking to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever.

Walter confessed those were two of his favorites and we listened to them ten times that night. He seemed really nice. I suspected he wouldn't be around for long. Walt commented on how much better I looked cleaned up and in Ty's sweat pants, even though they were hiked up above my calves to keep them from dragging on the floor. I didn't wear the top because it was just too much material to haul around. Walt said I had a nice body if I'd put some meat on my bones. They measured my height and I was over five foot eight without employing the stretch I'd employed in high school the year before. I weighed a hundred and fifteen pounds which was five more pounds than I weighed when I left home, or was it at school last year? I shook my head thinking it might make things clearer to me.

Walter said I was growing up and looked skinny because all my energy went to filling out my frame. He thought that is why my ribs were sticking out now. I was in my final maturation or something like that. Walt seemed smart and very aware, but he looked like he was just holding onto life. Sometimes when he spoke I could hardly hear the end of his sentence. When he ate, Ty was constantly wiping his chin and the sweat from his forehead. Ty was such a caring soul. I admired him and wondered how he managed to be so kind to everyone. Life had done nothing but give him a raw deal, and he took care of everyone. That sucked. I knew he hadn't left me on purpose. I understood there was something more important for him to do. It somehow didn't take away my anger. I still was mad at him, at myself, at life . . . something.

We had popcorn and Ty brought the television into the living room. Walt liked music but he sat and watched a few movies with us. Walter choked on a piece of popcorn, and Ty sprang up and held him while trying to get it out of his throat. Walter seemed frail and said he didn't care, that the popcorn was fantastic. Best thing he'd tasted since being so sick. He ate a little more, but carefully, and then he fell asleep.

When I excused myself and went to the bedroom, Ty stood in the doorway watching me. I didn't take off the sweat pants and slid under the sheet. He turned out the light once I was in bed.

"If you want to lie down with me it's okay, Ty."

"You sure?" he said, out of the darkness.

"I just feel . . . I don't know what I feel Ty. I don't know any more."

"It's okay Billie Joe. I can sleep on the floor."

"You sleep on the floor?"

"You're in my bed. You didn't want me in it. I sleep on the floor"

"I'm sorry for what I said to you, Ty. I really am sorry. I don't know why I said that. I wanted to hurt you. I don't know why I had to hurt you."

I cried.

"It's okay. I knew you didn't mean it. Besides, it doesn't bother me any more. It's just a word."

"You're so good, Ty. Why didn't you make me sleep on the floor?"

"Because I would rather you have the bed if only one of us can have it. I sleep fine on the floor. I don't want to crowd you."

"Why didn't you look for me, Ty? Why did you leave me alone."

"I did. I told you. Walter was dying. I had to stay with him. When I went to get you, they said the cops got you. I thought you were gone. On your way home."

"You left me alone."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that."

"I know. You left me alone though."

Ty sat on the edge of the bed and put his hand on mine. I kissed it and held it to my chest and cried. I was still scared and lonely. I didn't know what I wanted. I was mad at Ty, but I knew he hadn't done anything to me. I was confused and didn't know what was wrong with me. "Please. Come to bed, Ty. We can talk tomorrow." I fell asleep in Ty's arms. He held me against his chest, and I was asleep in no time.

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