So Cal Summer 69

by Flip McHooter

Chapter 13

The morning brought plenty of sunshine peeking through the windows of the pool house and with it the hint that it was going to be another sweltering day. Jake was still sound asleep, his arms and legs all entwined around mine, anchoring me. The best part though, was his morning boner sticking me in the thigh and throbbing with each thump of his heart. I looked at the clock on the old table and saw that it was only a quarter to six. Shit, it's early, I thought. And then, what type of fucking moron came up with daylight savings time? Geez.

I laid there for a while, watching him sleep and breathing in his musky, masculine scent. I studied his beautiful body and noticed how he was starting to get more muscular, just from the swimming that we had been doing for the last few weeks. His tan looked really good, too, and he didn't have much of a tan line any more. One of his arms was raised up over his head, and I took a long look at his hairy armpit. He had quite a bit more hair than I did, and I thought his patch of dark, curly hair was sexy. It seemed weird for me to enjoy being with him and admiring his body as much as I did, but I still popped a boner anyway.

I'd always heard the guys at school talk about what they did or wanted to do with this girl or that girl, but I never gave girls much thought. Being with Jake felt so safe and comfortable, and I didn't know if I'd feel the same way being with a girl. I liked Lisa a lot, and I liked looking at her boobs, probably because they were so big that it was hard to tear yourself away, but having sex with her, or any other girl for that matter, did absolutely nothing for me. The thought of putting my dick in a girl's hole kind of creeped me out, actually. I couldn't help but wonder if my dick could get stuck in there somehow, and then what would I do? When I was younger, I always felt that I would grow into some sort of attraction for girls, but surprisingly, that just never happened.

I had always figured that one day I'd get a good job, like my dad, find a beautiful, full-figured girl to marry, like my mom, and have a few kids, maybe like Jordy, and a great dog like Sloan. But it wasn't something that I ever gave much thought about and really, being tied down and having my whole life planned out already didn't interest me at all that much anyway. Besides, I want to do stuff and go places and have fun. Getting up at six every morning and going to work for eight hours every day slaving behind a desk for forty years just didn't seem very exciting to me. There had to be more to life than that, I just wasn't sure what it was.

Well, I had plenty of time to figure out what I would do, and I decided that I wasn't going to give this stuff any more thought this whole summer. If I thought any harder I'd probably get a headache. So I made up my mind right then and there that this summer was going to be all about having fun. Being with Jake, playing with our boners, swimming and working out, and listening to music was all that I really wanted to do. And oh yeah, getting high! I'd have to call Coop this morning to see if we could score some pot before he left to work at the pool.

I was suddenly tired of thinking so deeply. Jake had rolled over, his head was firmly lodged under my armpit, while his arm was draped over my stomach, putting pressure on my filled to capacity bladder. I had to get up and take a wicked piss, but I didn't really want to wake him up. I tried to shuffle around and out from under him, but it was no use.

"Werr ya goin?" he managed to mumble as I tried to gingerly move from under him.

"Gotta take a leak. Be right back, bud."

I finished up in the bathroom and after washing my hands walked back into the room and dived onto the sofa-bed making Jake flip up like he was on a trampoline. He wasn't pleased about that and told me so.

"What the fuck? I'm still sleeping here."

"Not any more," I said rubbing his long hair and scratching his scalp. "Want to go for another nude hike since it's so early?"

"No, I don't. Can't we just sleep some more?" he said, closing his eyes tightly.

"Yeah, I guess." I got up on my knees close to him so that my dick was right in his face. Being mischevious, I slowly started rubbing my dork against his lips. When he opened up his mouth to say something, I took the opportunity to stick my half hard cock in his pie hole. "Up and at 'em, Atom Ant."

"Plwhew! Get that thing out of my mouth. It tastes like pee!"

I started laughing and then asked him, "How would you know what piss tastes like? Do you have some weird crazy fetish that I don't know about?"

"I don't know. I just tried mine once when I was little to see what it tasted like. I pissed in an empty Coke bottle and drank some of it. So what?"

"Did you like it?"

"Mmmm, I don't know. It was weird. I just did it that one time."

"Yeah, I did that once, too. I think everybody is curious about what it tastes like. Are we cranky today?"

"No, just let me stay here a little longer, and then I'll get up," he said, pulling a pillow over his head and wrapping his arms on top.

I got up from the bed again and went into the bathroom to get the bottle of lotion off the counter. I came back and propped up a couple of the big velvet pillows against the back of the sofa-bed and then sat down and leaned back on them, my legs straight out in front of me. I grabbed the pillow that Jake had over his head and threw it on the floor.

"What the fuck is it with you today, man? Can't a guy get a few zzz's?"

"Simmer down. I've got a surprise for you. Roll over on top of me. Lay the back of your head on my shoulder and put your butt on my bush and then rest your back on my stomach and close your freakin' eyes. Don't worry, I'm not gonna buttfuck you. I think you'll like what I'm about to do."

Grudgingly, and letting out a long sigh, he rolled over on top of me, then scooted up a little bit. I wrapped my arms around his tan chest and squeezed him in real tight. His morning woody was sticking straight up into the air, and his legs were stretched out on either side of mine. "I want to wake you up properly. You just relax, lay back, close your eyes and enjoy the ride. Okay, bud?"

"All right, if you insist."

"I must, I must."

I lathered up the palm of my hand with a squirt of gooey lotion and lightly grabbed hold of his cock, gently greasing up his hard pole and then his loose ball sack. After about ten soft strokes with my hand, he had melted into me, his arms flopping loosely down at my sides, his legs wrapped tightly around mine like a boa constrictor. With my other arm, I moved it around, slipping it up under his arm and planting it firmly across his chest, holding him down. He was mine, and Jake wasn't about to go anywhere. I was going to jerk this boy off in style, I thought to myself.

He stayed on top of me while I continued to stroke his hot rod up and down, varying the speed, sometimes squeezing hard and then other times barely touching his fleshy member at all. Then, I'd roll my hand around his dark pink knob like I was screwing in a light bulb. This sent him into fits of ecstasy. Just when he seemed like it was getting to be too much for him, I slowed down the pace and fooled around with the hair at the base of his cock, running my fingers through it. I'd occasionally bounce around his droopy balls and try to rub around his perineum, although that was hard for me to reach this angle. I loosened the grip of my arm on his chest and started to flick and pinch his teen-boy nipples, making circles on his flat stomach with the palm of my hand. His big nipples responded by standing at full attention.

I loaded up with another handful of lotion as he relaxed even more and shifted his head closer to mine. He whispered in his stale morning breath how he would love to be woken up like this every day. Kissing me on the cheek, his body went back to being totally relaxed, except for his cock, which was really beginning to get super hard now and starting to throb like crazy. I knew it wasn't going to take much longer to get this boy off. He moved his legs even farther apart, so he looked like a giant nude teen boy starfish lying on top of me, only his cock sticking straight up in the air.

I stopped for a second to wipe up a blurp of pre-cum from the tip of his dick, giving it a little taste on my tongue. I liked it and went back for seconds. I squirted some more lotion onto my hand and then went back to pumping his hot cock. I let go of his nipple and moved my hand down so that my thumb and fingers grabbed the base of his dick, holding it straight up. I whipped it around like I was a maestro with a baton, and with my other hand, squeezed and pulled on his fleshy ball sack. Jake started squirming around on top of me, making little noises of pleasure. His dick kept leaking out more pre-cum, which of course turned me on. I scooped some up in my fingers giving it another taste, smacking my lips in pleasure. I even shared some of his dick juice with him by wiping up a stringy ribbon from the tip of his cock, rubbing it all around on his lips. I went back to jacking his long, skinny dick, really pumping for that boy-milk this time. Jake started moaning louder and louder until finally, not being able to take it any more, shot out a big load of hot semen all over his chest and my arms. I continued rubbing his dick for a few seconds more and then squeezed the head to coax the rest of his delicious cum out of the tip of his cock hole. I slowed down and then just rubbed the purple head with my thumb until he told me to stop because it was getting way too sensitive.

Afterward, we laid there quietly, Jake basking in his orgasmic high and me enjoying the fact that I had just got my best buddy's rocks off. I took in a deep breath of Jake's masculine body, enjoying the aroma that was unique to him. I spread the pools of his liquid love all over his stomach and chest, even working some into his nipples. Finally, he was getting too heavy for me, so I asked him, "Are you awake now, big man?"

"Yes. That was the best wake up I think I've ever had. Sorry for being such a grouch. I'm just not a morning person."

"Don't worry about it. I was awake and couldn't wait any longer to get you up. Can you get off me, you're kinda heavy. I'll go get a washcloth and clean you up."

When I came back, he said, "Thanks, Ryan. I really mean it," and smiled up at me while I was wiping the spooge from his stomach.

"No problem, bud. Like I said, I woke up early this morning and was just lying there. I was day-dreaming and thinking about life and how happy I am, and then I decided that I wanted to do something nice for you. Plus, I was looking at you and thinking how sexy you are."

"C'mere and let me give you a fucking sloppy kiss!"

"Not 'til you go brush your teeth. Your morning breath is wicked today. Must have been those enchiladas."

"All, right, all right. But when I come back I'm gonna do you, and do you good!"

"Maybe later. Little Ry-Ry needs a rest. Maybe this afternoon we can fool around. Besides, we have a busy day. After breakfast, I want to swing by Coop's and get some more pot before he has to go to work at the pool, and then you promised to take me to see those super-special sexy movies at the porn theater downtown."

"That's right. Do you think we can really get in there and see some of them?"

"We can give it a try. I mean, they want to make money, don't they? If there isn't a cop around, I don't think it would make any difference. We might have to pay more or bribe somebody to get in, though. Like, slip them a five or something."

"I guess we can try it. This sounds exciting," Jake said, heading into the bathroom and slamming the door shut behind him.

After we got dressed, we headed to the house for breakfast. Mom wasn't stationed at the stove this morning, so it was cold cereal and juice for everybody. Everything was quiet as the group had their heads buried in a section of the morning paper, munching quietly or sipping hot coffee. Jordy seemed to be engrossed in the comics, probably catching up on what Veronica and Jughead were up too.

I snuck away for a second so I could give Coop a quick call. I wanted to see if I could run down the street and get some pot from him this morning. He didn't have a problem with that but said he was almost out the door and headed for work because Coach was going to have an early morning staff meeting with all of the lifeguards and locker room staff people working this summer. Apparently, Coach had a bug up his ass about something, but Coop didn't know what it was. He said he'd be out in front of my house in five minutes, but then he had to go. That worked out fine with me – special delivery.

Dad had left for work before we got up, and when I got back to the table everybody else was sitting around the kitchen table either finishing their cereal or yakking away softly, or still half asleep. Then I got a brainwave.

"Hey, Lisa. Are you done eating? Can you help me with something real quick?" I asked her. Jake gave me a weird look out of the corner of his eyes wondering what was up.

"Sure, what's up?

"C'mere and I'll tell you."

We threaded our way through the house and out the front door, Lisa hot on my heels, wondering what was up. Shutting the door quietly behind us, she asked again what was going on.

"My friend Cooper is coming by for a second to drop off some smoke for us. I thought that you might want to meet him. He's a real good guy and my best bud. Did you know he likes Sugar, Sugar?"

"Damn you, Ryan. I told you I don't want to meet any guys right now."

"I know, I know, but he really is a good guy and not like those dicks at your old school. He's my best friend and a lifeguard at the pool this summer, trying to make some money. When he met Jake, we were talking, and he said he wanted to meet you. If you don't like him, it's no big deal. I swear. It's not like you have to date him or anything."

"All right. I'll meet him. But no promises, okay?"

"Deal. Thanks. But like I said, he's a good guy."

Coop rounded the bend a couple of minutes later, and I was surprised to see that he was driving his dad's '67 Shelby GT500 Mustang. It was an excellent looking car, and I had been in it only once when his dad first brought it home. It was different than the others because his dad had to special order the blue paint with the white stripe directly from the factory. It was a loud and fast car, having a big 428 Police Interceptor engine. Even when it was parked, it looked freakin' fast.

He took the curve at the top of our street and then pulled up to the curb right in front of Lisa and me. Reaching over and rolling down the window he said, "Hey guys, we got to make this really quick."

Smiling at Lisa, he continued, "I've gotta get to the pool in time to make our staff meeting. If I'm late, I'm gonna be in deep shit. Coach is pissed about something, and I don't want to be on the wrong end of that."

"Thanks for doing this, Coop. I really appreciate it. This is Lisa, Jake's older sister. Lisa, this is my friend Cooper."

"Hi, Lisa, nice to meet you. Ryan says good things about you. You look beautiful this morning, by the way. I understand that you have exceptional taste in music."

"Oh, you're a sly one Cooper, and not just your car, although it is kind of sexy," she said with a grin.

"Right on," he said to Lisa, his smile even broader now. "Here's your stuff, my friend, you can pay me later. I really gotta go. Like I said, I can't be late for work or Coach will kill me. Nice meeting you Lisa," he said, and slammed it down the street leaving long skid marks in front of both my house and Jake's, the sound deafening.

"Well, he certainly is something. Tell me about him," Lisa said as soon as our ears returned to normal.

I quickly shoved the baggie in my pocket, and giving meddlesome Mrs. Jacobson from across the street a wave, we headed up the walk. "He's going to be a senior this year, and like I told you before, he's working at the pool this summer. When he met Jake, he was kind enough to ask about you, and when I told him you weren't dating right now he said was cool with it. He's had one steady girlfriend before, and they dated for a long time. In fact, even though they broke up and she's seeing another guy, they're still good friends. Like I said, he's a great guy."

Just as we climbed the steps and reached the front of the house, Mom flew open the door so hard it hit the inside wall with a loud bang, so loud in fact that I could hear the pictures on the wall rattling inside the house.

"What the hell was all that commotion? And what are you guys doing out here so damn early in the morning?"

Whoa, busted big-time! She must be royally pissed if she's swearing. She hardly ever does that.

"Oh, sorry Mom. That was Cooper. He just stopped by for a second. I think he was late for work or something. He was driving his dad's muscle car, and I guess he didn't realize how much power it had. I'll tell him to be more careful. He usually drives that beat up old beetle of his that's slower than slow."

"Let me tell you something, young man, right here and now. If you ever, and I mean ever, drive your dad's car, or even the station wagon like that and I find out about it, your ass is going to be so red you won't be able to sit down for a week. Maybe more! And don't think that you're too big to be bent over my knee, either. Got that, mister?"

"Yeah, Mom. I got it. Loud and clear."

"Good. You too, Lisa. I don't think you drive like that and your magic bus probably doesn't even peel out, but just be careful, okay?" she said, starting to finally calm down. "I was a teenager once too, you know, and I had a boyfriend who had an old hot rod. A year or so after we broke up and while I was dating your dad, he crashed racing another car out on the highway outside of town. His kid brother was thrown from it and killed. Splat! Just like that. I always worry about you kids. That's what parents do. So please, please be careful."

"Yuck, that must have been gruesome. But yeah, we will, mom. I promise."

"Me too, LuAnn. I don't drive like that, and I won't let guys I date drive like that either."

"Thank you. Come here and give me a hug, both of you. I'm sorry for losing my temper. It just brought back a bad memory that I'd rather forget."

"I know, Mom. You wouldn't be mad if you didn't care about us. Thanks," I said.

The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful. The four of us kids tried to stay far away from my mom in case she had anything else she wanted to scold us about. Sometimes you never knew when she was going to pitch a fit. I noticed that as I got older, my mom was harder to understand sometimes. She always seems to have sand in her ginny about something lately.

Later on, Jake and I swam our laps and then worked on a couple of diving moves, Jake being much better than I was. I still was kind of hung up on smashing my balls, because, like usual, we weren't wearing any clothes.

Around eleven, Lisa and Jordy came out to the pool to fool around with us, and to tell us that Lulu had gone to work at the music academy and that Mom had gone to a bridge game down at the club with her women friends. I hoped my mom was feeling better or the other ladies might be in for it big time.

Jordy jumped in the pool and paddled around for a while, playing with a big beach ball until Jake started picking him up and launching him into the air so he'd land with a big splash. He loved doing that and howled with delight. Lisa was naked too, today, save for big mosquito sunglasses, and was sitting on an old beach towel on the edge of the pool dangling her feet in the fresh, clear water. I swam over and jumped up on the ledge, sitting down next to her, shaking my hair and getting her wet.

"Sorry about that this morning. I didn't mean for my mom to go off on us. I guess Coop was just showing off," I said.

"It's all right. Like I said, boys do stupid things, like you getting me all wet just now. And besides, you can't blame your mom for her outburst, her Aunt Flo is visiting."

"Aunt Flo? She didn't say anything about having company. I don't remember her having an Aunt Flo. Did she tell you who she is?"

"No silly. It's her time of the month," Lisa told me, and since I guess I still looked confused, she added, "She's on the rag. Her period, dumbass."

"Oh…oh…OH, THAT! Man. We learned about that in health class. Oh yuck. Shit, Lisa, I don't need to know about that stuff. That's worse than thinking about your parents having sex. Geez."

"Well, what they probably didn't tell you in health class is that some women get cranky and emotional during that time, while others turn into real horndogs. Different emotional things happen to different women. I used to be a total bitch during my monthly visitor. Ask Jake, he remembers, and he can tell you. Then my mom took me to the doctor and now I'm on the pill. Kind of kills two birds with one pill, so to speak."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the pill keeps me from getting pregnant so I can fuck all I want, plus it mellows out my hormones, so I'm not such a big old hairy bitch."

"Wow, that's great, I guess. You know, that's probably why my mom is so bitchy sometimes. I never knew why she'd get like that. But seriously, are you sure it only happens once a month?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said laughing. "A woman's cycle is every twenty-eight days, more or less, so theoretically it could happen twice in one month. But depending on her hormones, she might act funny for a few days, before or after. The best thing you can do is be nice to her during that time, or if it's super bad, just freakin' run!"

"Thanks, Lisa, that makes total sense to me now. How come they don't tell you that stuff when they teach the health class?"

"Well, they tell the girls, but I guess they like to keep the boys guessing."

"That sucks. Hey, why don't you tell her about that pill? Maybe it will mellow her out some."

"Oh hell no. That's not my place. Maybe your dad should do it."

"Doubt that will ever happen."

We sat there quietly in the hot sun watching Jake and Jordy play in the pool. They were having fun fooling around with a beach ball, and it was fun watching those two together. Jordy beaned Jake in the head quite a few times, and it was cool to see that they were becoming fast friends, or maybe more like brothers.

"So, you boys are getting along pretty well, huh?" Lisa asked me after a little while.

"Yeah," I said, suddenly feeling self-conscious and shy.

After a minute, I said, "Can I ask you something? Do you think Jake and I can be boyfriends, like, for real, like a guy and a girl can? I don't mean, go to the Prom kinda friends, but you know, just be together."

"Sweetie, before I get into that I have to tell you something first. Whatever your relationship with Jake is or isn't about, you have got to keep it to yourself. You're right. Things like the prom wouldn't work for you guys. If kids at school find out about you guys, your life will be hell. I know I've told you that before, but it bears repeating.

"That being said, I love Jake more than anything. More than my parents, actually. And since we moved here I have never, ever, seen him as happy as he is with you. I'll tell you this, but keep it to yourself, okay? Our dad was never around when Jake was growing up. He never went to Jake's little league games or anything like that. That asshole missed his birthdays, things at school and a lot of other important stuff that hurt him very much. He's a very complicated kid, and he hides his emotions very well. I think in a way he admires you, but I know he likes being with you. Geez, you guys have never been apart since the second we moved here! I think you challenge him, and yet, you certainly are bringing him out of his shell. He didn't have many friends back at our old place because they used to make fun of us because of our parents. I think he's happy that you took to him so unconditionally. Well, the three of us are glad that your whole family has taken to us so quickly.

"As for being boyfriends," she continued, "I think by now he probably loves you but doesn't completely comprehend it yet. I know it's been a short time since we all met, but I look at him sometimes, and I'll see him staring at you with this funny look on his face that I haven't seen before. It kinda just says it all. You know that I figured you guys out right away, Jake especially is a dead giveaway. I'm pretty sure he doesn't like girls in a romantic way, in fact, he's never shown an interest in them at all if that's what you're worried about. I snooped through his room once when I was mad at him, and he didn't even have a stash of Playboy's."

"That sounds like something you'd do," I joked. "Jake told me you did that. He said he set a trap."

"Whatever. We have no secrets. Anyway, Jake had an old Sears's catalog with the pictures of the men and boys in their underwear torn out. I guess he had them hidden somewhere else and he'd beat off to them. I think it will be hard for him to say the words like I love you, but he'll show his love to you other ways through his actions." Then, changing the subject, she asked me, "Do you love him?"

"You know, I woke up real early this morning while we were sleeping out in the pool house. Jake was lying half on top of me still sound asleep, his hair a mess and he was sorta snoring, and his breath smelled like elephant dung. But you know, I didn't care because I didn't want to be in any other place than right there in that room with just him. I love my folks, Jordan and even you and your mom. But with Jake it's different. It like squeezes me inside, if you know what I mean. I just want to be with him all the time and make him laugh and be happy and touch him and joke with him. Does that make sense?"

"Oh baby, you got it bad! I wish I had a guy who felt like that about me." She reached over and gave me a noisy, wet sloppy kiss on the cheek, and when she was done I wrapped my arms around her and pulled us both into the pool.

Jumping up and shaking the water out of our eyes, we looked at each other and then started laughing uncontrollably, splashing each other. Jake and Jordy swam over to us to see what was going on. We wouldn't tell them, so they started splashing us, too. We all were laughing, and it must have been a sight to see: Four naked kids playing and enjoying the water in the hot California summer sun. I jumped on Jake, pushed us both underwater and swam up to his face and gave him an underwater kiss.

Not to be outdone, Lisa pulled Jordy underwater and tried to smother him with her big boobs. That didn't work out so well because her boobs were like giant pontoons, and they both floated back up to the surface, her tits standing like giant lighthouses, and his hard little three-inch boner looking like the mast of the last remnants of a small sinking sailboat.

We fooled around for an hour or so, and then Jake and I took a shower and later, ate a couple of bologna and cheese sandwiches on Roman Meal bread. We were excited about going downtown to check out the X-rated theater. By design, we didn't tell Lisa where we were going, and instead, we said we were going to ride our bikes and find something to do, and that we'd be back in a while. We really didn't want to tell her exactly what we were up to because she'd probably tell us that we shouldn't do it. She reminded us to be back in time for dinner in case Mom was still cranky so we wouldn't get in trouble.

We left the house and rode down the hill, and once we got to Colorado Boulevard, I told Jake that I had an idea.

"It's really far to the other end of town. It's like six or seven miles, and it's boiling and smoggy out today. Let's lock up our bikes over there at the Thrifty's and take the RTD. The bus will take us all the way to Fair Oaks, and then we can walk up the street a couple of blocks to the theater."

"That sounds like a good plan. I agree it's too hot outside today to ride our bikes that far and back, especially if the neighborhood is as funky as Coach said. I don't want our bikes to get swiped. If we lose our bikes, then we'd hafta start hitchhiking, and I don't want to do that. I've got a lot of quarters so I can pay for the bus."

We sat at the bus stop for only a few minutes before one of the rumbling old buses came smoking up to a stop. The RTD's barfy yellow buses always looked scummy, and the number 420 downtown bus that picked us up was no exception. We climbed up the steps, put our quarters in the doo-dad thingy next to the rotund driver in a greasy camo-green uniform and took a seat in the middle on the right-hand side. That way I could tell when we had to get off at Fair Oaks. At least the brown Naugahyde seats were clean. Not too many people were on board, just an old lady knitting something and sitting in the front chatting with the driver, and a couple of men in cook's outfits in the back, cracking jokes in Spanish. They must have been nipping at the cooking sherry before they left work.

Jake was getting pretty fidgety and was squirming around in his seat. I finally had to tell him to knock it off.

"Dude, you're gonna have to get it together and act like going to this theater is just an ordinary everyday thing. Put your Dodger cap back on and try to calm down. This will be okay. Mellow out, okay?"

"All right. But you have to admit this is exciting. I can hardly wait to see what two naked guys do together, and maybe we can learn a few new tricks to try out ourselves," he said.

"Dude, keep your voice down!" I hissed under my breath, looking around to see if anyone heard him. "Well, even if we don't learn anything new, I'm just happy with what we're doing now."

"Oh yeah, me too. But I want to make sure that we're doing it right. I want to keep making you happy," he said, smiling up at me like a little puppy.

We were almost at our stop, so I stood up and pulled the bell cord. Once we got out, I was surprised to see how seedy this part of Pasadena was. A lot of the fancy original old buildings from the 1920's and 1930's were either boarded up or had peeling paint and broken windows held together with tape. Most of the old canvas awnings were torn, and 'for rent' signs were in almost every storefront window. The few stores that were open were bars, pawn shops, and greasy spoon diners. There was a pool hall and an old hotel that was probably a flop house by now. This place was a total mess. And unlike our neighborhood, this area was a real melting pot. It was both kind of exciting and scary to me at the same time.

"Ryan, this place looks scummy. I'm glad we didn't ride our bikes down here. And look at all of these people – it's so crowded. Most everybody looks sick and dirty like they're homeless and live on the street. That guy over there across the street in the wheelchair has a sign saying he's a Vietnam Vet and needs money. That's really fucked up. When we catch the bus to go home, I'm gonna give him some change." Jake wasn't paying attention while he was talking and almost mowed down a zippy little old Asian woman pulling a shopping cart, practically falling on top of her to get out of the way.

Once we got our bearings, we started walking quickly. We rounded the corner and headed up Fair Oaks past all of the pawn shops that seemed to be bunched up all along this side of the block. As we looked through the windows, we saw some interesting stuff: small appliances, guitars, and amps, even a fake arm with a hook on the end of it. You probably could get a good deal on some of that stuff, not that I'd know what to do with a fake arm. Maybe I could use it for next Halloween.

Jake seemed kinda freaked out and was sticking right to me as we meandered around some of the drunks and acid heads that had crashed on the sidewalk. One guy was leaning up next to a building playing guitar and singing The Rascal's 'People Got to Be Free'. That's appropriate, I thought to myself. Looking down an alley, I saw a guy taking a hard piss against the wall, his big floppy dick in plain view of everybody. Another dude was passed out against the wall on the other side, probably a boyfriend or son of someone who loved and missed him very much. This place really smelled bad and was totally crazy, and I was hoping that this strange trip we were on was going to be worth it.

Just before we got to the corner to cross the street to the next block where the theater was, I spotted a car parked at the curb that looked familiar. I stopped dead in my tracks and Jake, not paying attention, slammed right into my back.

"Look at that car. I think I've seen it somewhere before," I told Jake.

Quiet for a second, he barely whispered, "Oh no. Shit! I think that's my dad's car."

"Are you sure? Oh shit. What would he be doing here?"

"I don't know, but I do know that it's got to be his because he had to special order that car because they didn't make very many of those Citroens for sale out here, and he insisted on black even though it was hard to find. They come from Franistan or someplace weird like that. And he had to wait a long time to get it because it came here on a boat. What should we do? I don't want to see him – I hate that motherfucker. You don't think he's at the porno theater do you?" he asked.

"You said they have porno theaters in your old town, so I doubt that he's in there. Don't they all play the same stuff? Why would he come all the way up here from San Pedro? He might be in one of those old office buildings across the street, though. C'mon, let's book and get away from that car."

Luckily, right then the light turned green so we could cross the street at Union and walk without stopping up the block to the theater. I felt a sense of relief once we reached the other side of the street and jumped up on the curb, even though it was just as crummy over here on this side as it was on the other side. At least over here we wouldn't run into his old man.

"Stick close to me, bud, and when we get to the theater try to act nonchalant, okay?"

"Roger that."

On the south side of the theater was a ratty looking tattoo parlor with a giant burly guy standing outside trying to drum up some business. The door was open, and a radio was blasting Born to Be Wild. This place sure was fucking weird. I was hoping we'd get past him, but that didn't happen. Oh no.

"Y'all looking for a tattoo? I sure can fix you boys right up. I can put your girlfriend's names on 'ya arm, or would you rather have 'Mom' stamped onto your asses? What'll it be, fellas? Either way, I'll make you a deal you can't pass up."

"Uh, no thanks, buddy, we're kinda in a hurry," I said. "And besides, my mom is a big ole hairy bitch today, and anyway, I don't want her anywhere near my ass."

"Okay, I can dig that. But ya sure you don't want a tattoo? It doesn't cost nothin' just to look around."

"Our Coach would kill us if we got a tattoo, mister," Jake said.

Just then, a greasy guy in a shiny brown suit carrying a suitcase came walking fast out of the tattoo parlor and, reaching the front door, stopped dead in his tracks right in front of us.

"Jake, what the hell are you doing here, son?"

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