Ten Weird Things

Copyright June 13-26, 2004
by Matthew Haldeman-Time

I write about men having sex with other men.  You must be eighteen or older to read my fiction.  This site is for consenting, responsible adults only.

animated banner by Leslie Lee

        Eric had heard all of the horror stories.  Roommates who stole money.  Roommates who stole (and sold) belongings.  Roommates who belonged in nudist colonies.  Roommates who played Reba McEntire nonstop.  By the time he got to college, he was just hoping for someone who wouldn’t sell his laptop behind his back.

        He was relieved to meet David.  David was tidier than he was but didn’t seem to mind the clutter on his side of the room, displayed no nudist tendencies, smiled a lot, and didn’t eye Eric’s laptop speculatively.

        Actually, David seemed like a really good guy.  He was in classes that Eric hadn’t had the balls to take yet, he did five hundred sit-ups every day, he didn’t mind giving Eric quarters for laundry, and he had a really warm laugh.

        They just had nothing in common.  After the first two days of conversation, they were out of things to talk about.  Eric watched sports and news and MTV2; David watched sitcoms.  Eric listened to Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park and Nirvana; David listened to Mozart and Sinatra and the Backstreet Boys.  Eric liked to go out and get drunk and party; David liked to stay in the room and read.  Eric was thinking about rushing a frat; David planned to apply to med school.

        They weren’t exactly close.  Eric would have preferred to have a roommate he could hang out with, someone he could talk to when he got back to the room after his astronomy prof kicked his ass in front of a crowded lecture hall.  But David was a great guy, and he wasn’t selling Eric’s possessions on the black market, so things were okay.

        Rick and Rich down the hall had two TV’s and two PS2’s, and were always willing to share.  Eric hung out there sometimes; he’d invited David once or twice, but David didn’t play videogames.

        One Monday night, Eric ditched his reading and went to see whether Rick had made any progress in Damnation Pending.  Rick wasn’t there, but Rich and Larry were playing Madden 2004, so he stayed.  By the time he remembered that he had a seven o’clock class the next morning, it was past midnight.  He stayed a little longer, then went back to his room.

        David was there, on his bed in a pool of light from his lamp, on his stomach, reading.  “Hey,” Eric said.

        “Hey,” David said, glancing over his shoulder.

        Eric knew that he should have something else to say, but he couldn’t think of anything remotely interesting, and he didn’t want to interrupt David’s reading.  So he got his bathroom kit and went to go brush his teeth.

        When he got back, David was laughing.  Really laughing, that warm, “oh, life is good,” laugh.  He dropped the book, rolling onto his back, knees up, hands over his face, shaking with fresh laughter.

        “Are you okay?” Eric asked, locking the door.

        “No, no,” David laughed, dropping his hands.  “Oh, wow.”  He sat up, running his hand back through his blond hair.  “It’s just this thing - - it’s not even that funny, it just struck me, it’s so strange.  You have to hear this,” he said, picking up the book again and flipping through it for the right page.  “People are crazy.”

        Eric set down his bathroom kit, starting to undress.

        “‘Charles Edward Padgett, forty-nine, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for a 1986 attempted sexual assault in San Antonio.  According to testimony, Padgett had gone to the home of a woman he knew slightly, pulled a gun, ordered her to undress and to stand with her back to him, and then to reach behind her and, while conversing with him, to fondle a large cucumber that he had stuffed in his pocket.’”

        Eric burst into laughter.  “You’re kidding me!  A cucumber?!”

        “Was she supposed to think that it was real?” David asked.

        “A cucumber,” Eric said.  “Was that supposed to turn her on?”

        “I that think it turned him on,” David said.

        “That’s fucking disturbed,” Eric said.  He winced internally; he tried not to curse in front of people who didn’t do it themselves, and he’d never heard David say so much as “hell.”

        David just laughed again.  “Seriously disturbed,” he agreed.  “It’s a lot of trouble to go through to get your cucumber fondled.”

        Now that was funny.  Eric laughed, getting into bed.  “I wonder if he got to take it with him to prison.”

        “Sounds like he was pretty close to it,” David said.

        “I wonder if he was vegetarian,” Eric said.

        “I’ll bet that he was vegisexual,” David said.

        Eric laughed again.  He hadn’t realized how funny David was.  “Vegisexual.”

        “I have to stop reading this book,” David said, setting it aside, settling back in bed.  “Good luck to you, Charles Padgett.”  He turned off his lamp, dropping the room into darkness.  “Good night.”

        “Night,” Eric said, getting comfortable.



        Tuesday night, he went to the movies with Rob, Beth, Marie, and Keesha.  He told them about the cucumber guy.  He walked Marie back to her dorm, after the movie, and she expressed interest in his cucumber.  He made out with her for a while, and then her roommate showed up, so he left.

        David was in bed, reading, again.  Eric made a half-assed attempt to finish his lab report, then asked, “Is that the cucumber book?”

        David chuckled.  “Yeah.  Listen to this.  ‘Silvia Matos left New York City without a trace shortly before officials cracked down on her for 2,800 unpaid parking tickets - - over a 38-month period, an average of 2.5 per day - - totaling $171,000 in fines.  She had registered her car at 19 addresses with 36 different license plates.’”

        Eric had trouble believing that.  “What?  Two and a half parking tickets a day?”

        “I heard the parking in New York was bad, but that’s insane,” David said.

        “What was she doing, parking on the sidewalk three times a day?” Eric asked.

        “Almost three thousand parking tickets,” David said.

        “She’s addicted,” Eric said.

        “Wouldn’t you start parking somewhere else after the first few times?” David asked.  “By the time you get your eleventh ticket, that’s a serious problem.  Once you get to fifty, you’re out of control.  She went straight on past two thousand without blinking.”

        “She must have been parking illegally at home and at work,” Eric said.

        “But if it’s every day, wouldn’t they start towing her?” David asked.

        “How much money was it?” Eric asked.

        “One hundred seventy-one thousand,” David said.

        “Damn.  They’re never getting that money.”

        “It was over three years,” David said.  “She got away with that for a long time.”

        “I hope she moved to a new house with a garage,” Eric said.

        David chuckled.

        Wednesday, Eric stayed in the room and fought with his astronomy homework.  David was probably out at the library or something.

        He’d finished his astronomy homework and was making a stab at his freshman English paper when David came in, loaded down with a backpack, extra books, and a pizza box.  “Hey,” David said.

        “Hey,” Eric said, turning off his stereo.  At first, they’d kept telling each other not to stop playing music for each other’s sake, but they couldn’t stop doing it.  Eric knew that David couldn’t possibly want to listen to his punk metal, and he was absolutely certain that he didn’t want to listen to old classical operas.

        “Want some pizza?” David asked, dropping his backpack, dumping books on his desk.

        “Yeah, thanks,” Eric said.  He was starving.

        “You can finish it,” David said, handing him the box.

        “Thanks,” he said again, taking a piece.

        “Don’t worry, we threw away the ones that Shana licked,” David said with a grin.

        Eric stopped chewing.  “What?”

        David laughed.  “It’s okay.  She only licked one slice, and we threw it out.”

        “Is she that blond girl?  The one with the-” he quickly censored himself, since David was a polite guy “-uh, overbite?”

        David gave him a knowing grin.  “No, Janelle’s the one with the, uh, overbite.  Shana is Derek’s girlfriend.”

        “The redhead?” Eric asked.

        “Yeah,” David said, starting to undress.

        “I thought that she was Tim’s girlfriend.”

        “Tim’s gay,” David said, stripped down to his underwear.  He lay on the floor between their beds and started to do stomach crunches.

        “Really?” Eric asked.

        “Yeah,” David said, exhaling on the way up, inhaling on the way down.

        Eric ate his pizza.  What he’d written so far was shit, so he watched David for entertainment.  He didn’t actually know David’s friends that well.  He’d met them in passing a few times, but he’d had no idea they were the kinds of people who, for instance, licked pizza.  “Do you lick pizza?”

        David laughed breathlessly.  “No.  Do you?”

        “No.”  He bit a crust in half.  “Didn’t you do that this morning?”

        “I promised Janelle that I’d do an extra hundred tonight.  She thought that I ate too much pizza.”

        Eric grinned.  “She likes your body?”

        “She likes to flirt with me.”  David sat up, rubbing his hand over his sleek abs.  “Paper?”

        “Oh, yeah,” Eric said, glancing at his laptop, wishing that it would write his paper for him.  “Three pages on euthanasia.”

        “For or against?” David asked, propping his arms on his knees.

        “Uh, for,” Eric said.  “Mostly.”  He could tell, from the way that he had David’s interest, that this was the sort of thing David discussed with his friends.  While Eric had hour-long conversations on whether Batman even needed Robin, David and his friends debated world events and socio-political issues.  “What about you?”

        “I’m in favor of it, when practiced appropriately,” David said.  “But most ideas are great, in a perfect world.”

        “But this world isn’t perfect,” Eric said.

        “Exactly,” David said, getting to his feet.  For someone who didn’t seem to play any sports, David had a lot of athletic grace.  It looked like he was about to start a serious conversation, and Eric wanted him to, because Eric was just starting to realize that they’d never really sat and talked at length about much of anything.  Then a wide grin broke across David’s face.  “Pizza.”

        “Pizza?” Eric asked.

        “Hold on.  One of the weirdest things-”  David found a book on his desk, one Eric recognized.  “Listen to this.  ‘After arguing with his stepsister and hitting her over the head with a gun, Edward Biafore, twenty-nine, barricaded himself inside his parents’ house in Meriden, Connecticut, and announced he wasn’t coming out.  Armed with a dozen shotguns and pistols and two hand grenades, he held off a dozen police officers and a SWAT team for three hours before finally deciding to surrender.  Witnesses told police that Biafore started the argument over a pizza.  His girlfriend, Gina Margery, explained, “He didn’t want mushrooms.”’”

        “Mushrooms?” Eric repeated.  “He freaked out so badly the SWAT team had to come out, because he didn’t want mushrooms?  Why does someone that unstable have hand grenades?”

        “Only someone that unstable has hand grenades,” David said.

        “Couldn’t he pick the mushrooms off?” Eric asked.

        “I guess he takes his pizza more seriously than that,” David said.

        “People are insane,” Eric declared.  “Fucking insane.”

        “People are very dedicated to their food,” David said.  “Pizza…  Cucumbers…”

        Eric laughed.  “I’m dedicated as hell to my cucumber, I can tell you that.”

        David laughed.

        Thursday night was party night.  Eric went down to frat row with Tom, Kent, and Gina to party-hop.  Tom and Kent got into a fight with a bunch of grad students over Gina and a bottle of tequila, and Eric tried to help them out, but things didn’t go well.  Drunk and bruised and feeling like an ass, Erik convinced Gina that it was time to go.  He walked her back to her dorm, declined her invitation to go up to her room, and went back to his own dorm.

        David was on his bed, reading by lamplight.

        Eric dropped heavily onto his own bed.

        “Have a good time?” David asked.

        “Yeah,” Eric said.  “No.  Yeah.”  He tried to undress himself without getting up.  After kicking off his sneakers and undoing his fly, he gave up and decided to sleep in his clothes.  Undressing didn’t seem worth the trouble.

        “Here’s one,” David said.  “‘Between 1980 and 1984, one hundred thirty-six fatalities in North Carolina were attributed to “Lying-in-the-Road” death.  Dr. Lawrence S. Harris, a state medical examiner who studied the phenomenon, explained that the victims were intoxicated individuals who, while walking home at night, would lie down on warm rural roads and fall asleep.’”

        Eric frowned.  “How many?”

        “One hundred thirty-six,” David said.  “It says, ‘During the same five-year period, Tennessee recorded thirty-one such deaths, while Georgia saw twenty-one in 1985 and 1986, and Arizona had thirteen in 1984.’”

        “You can’t die from lying in the middle of the road,” Eric said.  “Unless you get run over.”

        “Maybe they choke on their vomit,” David said.

        “Yeah, nice,” Eric said.  “Are you trying to tell me something?”

        “No,” David said.

        Eric pushed himself to a sitting position.  “I drink, but I don’t lay down in the road to sleep.”

        “I know that,” David said.  His tone was mild.  “One hundred thirty-six people.  That’s a lot.”

        “Lying in the road death,” Eric muttered.  “People are so freaking strange.”  He lay down again and rolled onto his side.  “You don’t drink at all, do you?”

        “I eat Jell-O shooters,” David said.

        Eric sat up again.  “What?”

        “Jell-O made with alcohol,” David said.  “It’s great.”

        “You don’t drink beer, but you eat alcoholic Jell-O.”

        “Right,” David said.

        “You should be in that book,” Eric said.  “You and your pizza-licking friends.”

        David looked over, flashing him a grin.  “I think that they’re accepting submissions for their next edition.”

        “Lying in the middle of the fucking road death,” Eric said, and lay back down.  “Which state was that?”

        “North Carolina,” David said.

        “Southerners,” Eric said.

        “Yankee elitism,” David said.


        “Nothing,” David said.

        “Did you just call me a Yankee?” Eric asked, sitting up again.  He was starting to get dizzy.

        “No,” David said calmly.

        “You called me a Yankee!  Who are you, Scarlett O’Hara?”

        David laughed.

        “You’re from Philadelphia,” Eric accused.

        “I spent the first sixteen and a half years of my life in Georgia,” David said.

        What?  “No, you didn’t.”  Now he was confused.

        “Yes, I did,” David said, laughing again.

        Oh.  “I didn’t know that.”

        “Now you know.”

        Eric was suspicious.  “You don’t sound like you’re from Georgia.”

        “I can if I want to,” David said in a slow, rural drawl.

        Eric blinked.  “Do that again.”

        David laughed.  “Maybe we should talk about this when you’re sober.”

        “I’m sober,” Eric said.  “You’re from Georgia?”

        “Yes,” David said.

        “I thought you were from Philadelphia.”

        “I lived in Philadelphia for the past year and a half,” David said.

        “Why’d you move?”

        “My parents thought that it would be better for me.”

        “Because a big northern city is better than the backwoods Georgia country?” Eric guessed.

        David laughed.  “Something like that.”

        “Hey.  Hey,” Eric said.  “When you were in Georgia, did you ever see drunk people lying in the road?”

        David threw a pillow at him.  “Go to sleep.”

        Eric threw it back, and went to sleep.

        Eric woke up late on Friday, when David was already up and gone.  He went to his afternoon classes, then went to see how Tom and Kent were doing.  They ended up going downtown with Bob and Theresa.  When he got back to his room, David was on the phone.  “Hey, Scarlett,” he said, and David threw a pen at him.

        It sounded like David was on the phone with his mom.  Now that Eric was listening, David was starting to slip into an accent, probably because he was talking to someone from home.  The drawl faded in and out in a really…intriguing way.  David’s long, lean body was tucked into itself, one arm wrapped around a knee, his blond hair falling forward as he lowered his head.  David’s hair was too long on top, and he was always brushing it back from his forehead.  Eric wondered if that was intentional on David’s part, to make girls want to touch him, or just because he hadn’t found a place to get his hair cut yet.

        When David hung up the phone, he said, “You’re here early, for a Friday.”

        “Slow night,” Eric said.  “Besides, I didn’t want to drink so much that I’d end up dead in the middle of the road.”

        “Good for you,” David said with an approving smile.

        “Shut up,” Eric said.  “I’m going to go brush my teeth.”

        David stretched out on his back.  “Frankly, my dear, I-”

        “Shut up!” Eric said, leaving the room.  He grinned the whole way down the hallway.

        When he returned with clean teeth, David was reading again.

        “You need to get rid of that book,” Eric said.  “I think it’s warping you.”

        “I’m trying to find another way of dying, so you’ll drop this road death thing.  How about this?”

        “This can’t be good,” Eric groaned, sitting on his bed.

        “‘After two hired killers failed in their task to murder the wife of Daytona Beach, Florida, pool hall owner Konstantinos Fotopoulos, a “tryout” was given to two others in 1989 - - Diedre Hunt, twenty, and Mark Ramsey, nineteen.  Fotopoulos, skeptical that either was strong enough for the job, persuaded Ramsey to let himself be tied to a tree so Fotopoulos could fire live rounds at his feet to test his courage.  However, before he could fire the shots, Hunt, angry at Fotopoulos’s chiding her that she was too weak to kill anyone, shot and killed Ramsey.  Subsequently, Fotopoulos and Hunt were easily convicted of murder because Fotopoulos had set up a video camera to record the entire incident, and police were able to confiscate the tape.’”

        “Let me get this straight,” Eric said.  “He wants to kill his wife.  He hires two people to do it.  They don’t get it done.  He hires two new people, but he’s learned from the first experience, so he wants to make sure these two will follow through with it.”

        “Right,” David said.

        “He ties the guy to a tree, so he can fire on the guy and see how brave he is.  But he’s been dogging the girl out, and she’s pissed, so she shoots and kills the guy to prove herself.  Except now the guy tied to the tree is dead.”

        “Right,” David said.

        “The whole thing is on tape, because this guy was filming himself shooting a guy tied to a tree.  Not only was he such an asshole he taped it in the first place, but once the guy was shot dead, he didn’t have enough sense to destroy the tape.  He kept it.”

        “Right,” David said.

        “Are people that fucked up really out there?” Eric asked.

        “If we’re lucky, he’s still locked up somewhere,” David said.

        “I hope his wife lives to be a hundred,” Eric said.

        “I hope she divorced him,” David said.

        “Who would be stupid enough to stay married to someone who’s trying to kill her?” Eric asked.

        “Who would be stupid enough to film himself tying a guy to a tree and shooting at him?” David asked.

        Why would you let someone tie you to a tree, knowing hes going to shoot at you? Eric asked.

        “Maybe the real point of the story is that men’s misogyny hurts them just as much, if not more, in the end,” David said.  “He was trying to kill his wife and he doubted the merits of the woman he’d hired.  He made her prove herself, and she did.”

        “You’re trying to get a moral out of this?” Eric asked.  “The moral is, if you’re stupid and fucked-up enough to want to kill someone, it’s going to come back and bite you in the ass.”

        “So your lesson would be, don’t try to kill someone?”

        “It’s a pretty good lesson,” Eric said.

        David laughed that warm, approving laugh.  “It’s pretty solid.”

        “Why don’t you have an accent?” Eric asked.

        “My dad’s English, so just in my own house, the accents were split.  And for every hour I spent out in the world listening to other people talk, I sat at home and watched TV, where everyone has that normalized American accent.  I can sound English or Georgian, but my default is TV.”

        Eric laughed.  “You learned how to talk from watching TV?”

        “When I was twelve, my parents decided that I was watching a little too much, so they limited me to two hours a day.  That left me with a lot of free time, especially on weekends, so that’s when I started in on books.  But by then, my accent was set.”

        “Your dad’s English?  How’d he meet your mom?”

        “That’s a long story,” David said.  “Are you sure that you want to hear it?”

        He looked into David’s warm, direct blue eyes.  “Yeah,” he said.  “I do.”

        Saturday, Eric felt weird.  Restless.  He couldn’t commit to anything.  He needed to do his laundry, but he didn’t have enough quarters, and the coin machine was still out of order.  David was his usual source for quarters, but David was out doing something somewhere.

        He worked on his homework.  His euthanasia paper had been dragging its feet the whole way, but now that he’d given some thought to David’s comments on a perfect society - - euthanasia was actually a pretty good thing, a merciful way to end final suffering, but only in a perfect society, and in an imperfect society, there were going to be some serious flaws - - his ideas came into focus, and he typed out three pages in a flash.

        After that, though, American history was boring as hell, so he ditched the rest of his homework.  He sat down to watch TV for a while, flipping through channels while his mind wandered back over learning how to talk from television, and what David sounded like on the phone with his mother, and how a privileged Southern belle spending a summer abroad might appeal to a lower-class London boy.

        He went down to the dining hall to eat, and ran into Rick and Rich.  The three of them went to the dorm across the quad for some beer, then back to Rick and Rich’s room to order pizza and play Body Worm.

        Rick wanted pepperoni and black olives, Rich wanted sausage and mushrooms, and Eric wanted everything possible, but instead of escalating the argument and calling in the SWAT team, they just ordered three pizzas.

        It was one in the morning when he went down the hall to his room.  It was dark, but he could see in the moonlight that David’s bed was empty, so he turned on the light.  It was kind of odd for David not to be there at that time of night, and Eric was irrationally irritated that David wasn’t there, but hey, it was Saturday night.  David was probably out with Janelle, the flirty girl with the overbite and large rack who liked David’s body.

        Not that Eric could blame her.  David had a really good body.  They were the same height, and Eric considered himself fit, but David had great abs, and had started doing push-ups along with the sit-ups.  At least, that was what it looked like when Eric rolled over and hit the snooze button every morning.

        Eric sat on his bed for lack of something better to do.  He didn’t want to go to bed; he still felt restless.  Antsy.  He could go out, find a party, see what the other guys were up to.

        Screw it.  He’d go to bed and hook up with them tomorrow night.

        As he got into bed, it occurred to Eric that he had the room to himself.  David was always in bed before he was, so he had to jerk off in the morning, if he slept in, or in the shower, with a dozen other people in the bathroom.  But he liked doing it at night best, and he finally had the opportunity.

        Except, suddenly, he didn’t want to, because he knew what he’d start thinking about, and that wasn’t a good idea.  He’d been limiting himself to Marie, or Gina, or Tiffany from astronomy, or Tiffany’s boyfriend Tony, or a Tiffany-Tony sandwich.  If he started thinking about David - - man, David was his roommate, they had to live together, that could be such a bad, bad situation.

        Or a really, really good one.  Eric closed his eyes, shoving his hand down the front of his boxer-briefs, pulling on his dick.  David was so, god, so hot, his lean body, his tight musculature, the round curve of his ass, the blond hair dusting his long thighs.  His nipples were always hard, and Erik wanted to lick them, feel them under his tongue, climb on top of David on that bed and god, god, he was going to come too fast.  Eric bit his lower lip, tensing, straining, fisting his dick, picturing the fall of blond hair as David ducked his head to, god, to suck on Eric’s dick, what that would look like, what that would feel like, he curled his toes and came, moaning, grunting, panting.

        David was a Georgia peach and Eric wanted to eat him.

        God.  Eric opened his eyes, letting go of his dick.  He almost wanted to laugh.  Okay, so maybe perving on his roommate wasn’t the brightest idea, but it felt good as hell.  He’d been holding that one in since the first day.  Hi, I’m David, I’m your roommate, I’m smart and funny and hot as fuck, and I’ll be sleeping two feet away from you for the rest of the year.

        Now he had a more immediate problem, though.  He’d been so turned on by the thought of jerking off over David, he’d come in his underwear.  Great.  Way to make a rookie mistake years after discovering his dick.  Eric sat up to-

        The scrape of a key in the lock.

        Eric froze, his heart doing a weird leaping thing.  He had to-

        “…walking me back,” David said.  He was with somebody.  Guys were supposed to walk their dates back, not the other way around, so David must not have been out with Janelle.

        “You’re welcome.”

        “Hey, not here, okay?”  David’s was voice soft, kind of intimate.

        “So let me in,” the guy said, way too warmly.

        Eric blinked.  His wheels were spinning way too fast.  Tim was gay.  Guys were supposed to walk their dates back.  David was freaking gay, David was fucking gay, and David was getting action.

        He was surprised that David was gay.  Not one hundred percent surprised, but surprised anyway.  He was also surprised that David was getting some.  Surprised, turned on, and jealous.

        Were David and this guy boyfriends or something?  If they weren’t, and even if they were, Eric was going to make his move.  Okay, so he’d never actually been with a guy before outside of some sloppy kissing and ass-grabbing; and, okay, there were a lot of things that he wasn’t considering, like the fact that he had to live with David, and there were thousands of ways that this could end up so so badly; but he wanted David, and now it looked like he could actually have David, and he could work out the details later.

        “Not right now,” David said, sounding very nice about it but also sounding very direct.

        “When are you going to let me in?”  Tim, or whoever it was, had a really flirtatious but also slightly resentful tone.  Like he wanted David, and he’d made that perfectly crystal clear, and David kept blocking.  Their voices were getting softer and softer, like they knew that it wasn’t a good idea to have this conversation above a whisper, but Eric could still hear, since David was right in the doorway and their room was the size of an outhouse.

        “I’ll call you,” David said.  “Tomorrow.”

        Eric suddenly didn’t want to be caught.  David didn’t know that he was there, probably thought that he was out getting drunk, and he didn’t want to force the coming out conversation on David, since he wasn’t volunteering that information himself.  Besides, he had cooling, drying cum in his shorts.  As quietly as he could, he rolled over onto his side, putting his back to the rest of the room, pulling up his sheets.  David could just assume that he’d been asleep and had missed the whole thing.

        “Okay,” the guy said, sounding disappointed but still very interested.  “Good night.”

        “Good night,” David said.  Eric heard the door open the rest of the way, and the light flicked on.  The light flicked off again, and he held very still, picturing David standing there, shocked and wondering.

        Finally, quietly, the door closed, and David moved through the room.  Footsteps, movement; the door opened, letting in light from the hallway, then closed again.  Trip to the bathroom?  Eric tried to relax.  His mind was having this weird celebration; David was gay, semi-openly gay.  It was possible that he didn’t want Eric, but maybe he just hadn’t realized that Eric was available for consideration.

        What could Eric do?  How could he make his move?  He could just come out to David and see what happened.  He could wait until David went to bed, then crawl in beside him.  These fucking dorm beds were so small, they’d have no room, but Eric decided that was a turn-on.  He wanted to be crowded in with David.  Crowded and naked and on top of each other, groping, humping, making out, getting off.  He could just imagine-

        The door opened, closed.  David was back.  Eric swallowed, breathing as quietly as he could.

        Shuffling.  Their carpet was an odd, ugly shade of blue, and it muffled most of the noise as David moved around the room.  It didn’t silence the rip of David’s zipper, though, and Eric tensed, aroused by the knowledge that David was undressing right between their beds, and if he rolled over and reached out he could cop a feel of David’s long, hard thigh, or David’s tight, round ass, or David’s god, he had to stop thinking about his roommate’s dick.  But he couldn’t help himself, could just imagine the feel of David through the soft cotton of David’s boxer-briefs, hardening in his hand as they made out, horizontal on David’s bed.  He’d slip his hand inside, stroking the hard, hot flesh of David’s erection, jacking David’s dick, and David would return the favor, and god, the idea of fucking David’s hand, fucking David’s mouth, fucking David’s ass, he was so fucking hard

        Bedsprings.  David was getting in bed.

        Eric breathed through his mouth, working his hand around his dick.

        David was shifting, getting comfortable.

        He wanted David to be getting into his bed, getting comfortable with him, wanted the hand on his dick to be David’s.  He’d get David to suck it for him, he’d run his fingers through David’s hair, he’d come in David’s mouth, oh, oh god, he was so, he was, ah, ah, ah…  Eric tugged hard, digging his teeth into his lower lip, gasping as he came, shouting his pleasure through his mind.

        Okay.  Whoa.  Getting a little carried away.  Eric tried not to moan at the sexual echoes reverberating through his body, taking his hand out of his shorts.  God, that had been good.  He was going to resist the urge to proposition David; he was going to go to sleep, and in the morning, he’d start thinking with his brain instead of his dick.



        He wondered how, if, and when David jacked off.

        Now there were some nice images…

        When Eric wakened on Sunday morning, David was gone.

        When he came back from his shower, he saw the note that David had left on his desk.

        This one made me homesick…

        When the only law enforcement officer in Arcade, Georgia, Sid Glenn, was arrested for attempted burglary, in 1989, an Atlanta Journal reporter called the Arcade police department to find out who had arrested Glenn.  No one answered.

        Eric laughed out loud.

        He wanted to avoid the room for a while, until he could figure out how stupid it would be to hit on his roommate.  Logically, he knew that in the end it would only make their living situation tense, if not unbearable; but he also knew that he was willing to risk that, because the idea of getting off with David was taking over his brain.

        He didn’t know what it was about David, exactly, that was getting inside him like this.  He’d wanted guys before, but he’d never felt this driven to do something about it.  The thing was, as sexually thrilling as the idea of one make-out-until-you-come session was, he kind of thought that he wanted more.  He didn’t just want David; he liked David.  He really liked David.

        He liked the way that David laughed.  He liked the way that David smiled.  He liked the way that David looked right at people, that direct gaze, whether warm or amused or curious or skeptical.  He liked David’s family history.  He liked David’s self-discipline, the way that David worked out every morning, the way that David was the only person he knew who had yet to skip one class.  He liked that David was different from himself.  He even liked that he didn’t know that much about David, because that meant that he could learn more, and he wanted to learn more.  He wanted to know David better.

        David had a weird sense of humor.  That really shouldn’t have been such a turn-on.

        Eric tracked down Bob and Kenny, and bumped into Paul and Sheena, and hung out with them for a while.  They went to a club downtown, and then to a party; he ran into Marie, and then got laid.

        When he came, he was thinking about David.  That was such a bad thing, he loved it.

        Officially hooked on David, Eric went back to the dorm.  He went straight to the bathroom to unload some beer.  No matter what he did in private, his mother had trained him that when he was in public he had to wash his hands after taking a piss, so he did.  While he was running his hand under the tap, David walked in.  “Hey,” David said.

        “Hey.”  David was wearing a light gray sleeveless T-shirt with frayed khaki shorts.  Eric wanted to run his hand up the back of David’s thigh and squeeze David’s ass.  Time to get a grip.  Rick came in, and Eric talked to him for a second, surreptitiously watching David brush his teeth.  He wanted to lick David’s teeth.  That had to be weird.

        He followed David back to the room.  He was supposed to brush his own teeth, but he was more interested in being in the same room as David.  “So.  Scarlett.”

        “That had better not be my new nickname,” David warned.

        “That just guaranteed it’s going to be,” Eric said.  “And you said you lived on a plantation in Georgia.”

        “It was a former plantation house,” David said.

        “What’d you grow?  Tobacco?”

        David sighed, sitting on his bed.  “Cotton.”

        Eric sat on his own bed, facing David.  “Really?”

        David pushed his hair back from his face.  “Yeah.”  He certainly didn’t seem proud of it, but he was meeting Eric’s eyes.  His gaze was always direct, like he had nothing to hide, nothing to hide from.  Confidence.  Big turn-on.  Then again, with David, for Eric, everything was a turn-on, including the way that he exercised every morning, alphabetized his CD collection, and folded his socks, but never once made his bed.  “We don’t grow it anymore.”

        “Do you still have the land?”  David had told him that even though they’d moved to Philadelphia, they still owned their house in Georgia.

        “Yeah,” David said.  “Most of it.  Mom and Dad are moving back down there next week.”

        “They’re not staying in Philadelphia?”

        “No.  They miss home.”

        “Do you miss it?”

        “Yeah,” David said.  “I do.  I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.  Philadelphia was never part of me like Georgia is.  That house is my family, my history.”

        “You’re going to inherit it, right?  The house?”

        “Yeah,” David said.

        “So if I want to look you up in fifty years, I’ll know where to find you.”

        David smiled.  “Yeah.”

        There was an odd sense of security about that.  David knew where hed be decades from now.  His destiny was mapped out: hed be a doctor, hed live in his ancestral home, hed probably still work out every morning.

        Eric’s life wasn’t that clearly set.  He didn’t even have a major.  But he liked David’s established path.  It wasn’t boring; it was secure.  David knew who he was.  David knew what he wanted.  Eric liked it.

        He wanted to visit David in Georgia.  See where David lived, the big house, the surrounding property.  He could picture high ceilings, wooden floors, grand staircases.  Mammoth, curtained, four-poster beds with goose down pillows, where he could ravish his very own Southern gentleman.

        David reached across the space between their beds and poked him in the forehead until he let gravity take over and dropped onto his back.  “You’re drunk,” David said.  “You’re sitting there, staring into space, grinning like a fool.  What are you thinking about?”

        Eric heard himself giggle.  “A Yankee invasion.”  His giggles turned into full laughter.

        David sounded amused.  “Sleep it off.”

        Eric’s laughter drifted into silence.  He gazed at the ceiling, letting his mind wander, thinking about letting his hands wander.  Then he realized that his eyes had closed.  He sat up, opening his eyes, and realized that not only was he tired, but the overhead light was off, and David was reading in bed.  Apparently time had passed without him.

        He undressed and got into bed.  “Tell me a weird thing.”

        “Okay,” David said.  “‘Kevin Ford and Donald McNair were charged with various driving-related offenses in Buffalo, New York, after Ford’s brother, Montgomery, drove Kevin’s car up a telephone pole guide wire, causing the car to flip over.  Kevin explained that he had been drinking and turned the keys over to Montgomery, who is blind, but who “always wanted to drive.”’”

        Eric laughed himself to sleep.

        Eric made it to his afternoon classes on Monday.  He was going to have to stop drinking, or at least learn to get his ass out of bed.  Or maybe he’d just stop scheduling morning classes.

        He had such respect for David’s self-discipline, he wondered whether David was disgusted with his lack thereof.  Maybe not disgusted, maybe just disappointed.  He wanted to have David’s respect.  Maybe he should shape up.  Party less, or drink less; attend more classes, make an effort to complete more than half of his homework.

        David barely even commented on the differences in their lifestyles, though.  He certainly didn’t make disgusted or disparaging remarks about it.  He just did his own thing, and let Eric do his own thing, and if they met in the middle, then okay.

        Eric wanted more than that.  He wanted to bring their worlds together.  If a Southern belle steeped in American history could marry a boy from Londons streets, then a smart, confident, self-motivated guy might be interested in a somewhat aimless wannabe frat boy.  It was possible.

        He was in the dining hall, standing in line to pick up a cheeseburger and fries, when someone tapped his shoulder.  “Hey, cutie.”

        He turned.  Cute girl, red hair, David’s friend.  The pizza licker.  “Shana, right?”

        She had a nice smile.  “Eric, David’s roommate.”

        “Right.  How are you doing?”

        “Wishing that it were still the weekend,” she said with a little chuckle.  “Listen, are you busy?  We’re going down to the Meister to see what’s playing.”

        “The Julia Roberts film festival is over, right?” he asked.

        She laughed.  All of David’s friends seemed like naturally happy people.  “Yeah.  I think that they’re showing Brat Pack movies this week.”

        “Classics,” Eric said.

        “You should come,” she said.  “You can help me sneak in food.”

        “Sure,” he said.  “Sounds good.”

        He and Shana bought a bunch of cheeseburgers, French fries, and sodas, then walked up the hill to the student union.  The movie had already started.  There were couples dotting the theater, and a group near the back.  Shana led him there, whispering, “Take the first seat, I’m going down to sit with Derek.”  She started down the row, greeting people, handing out food, sitting down at the other end.  Eric sat in the first seat, which happened to be right beside David.  “Hi.”

        “Hey,” David said, taking a soda from his hand, looking surprised to see him.  Also happy to see him, and he knew that he wasn’t imagining it.  “What did Shana kidnap you from?”

        “I was getting dinner,” Eric said, unzipping his bag and pulling out foam dining hall cartons full of food.  “Fries?”

        David laughed, accepting a carton, passing it down the row.  They watched the movie, eating, laughing, reciting famous lines.  David and Eric shared a soda.

        After the second movie, all of them started walking back to the dorms.  Tim was there, and Eric was irritated when Tim pulled David aside, walking together with him a little behind the others.  Shana came over, hooking her arm through his, and since she was cute and Derek looked totally unfazed, Eric walked with her.

        People started to part ways as they walked along, taking off for their final destinations.  When Eric reached his dorm, he said good-bye to everybody and pulled out his key, glancing back at David.

        David had stopped walking, and Tim was standing way too close to him, touching his arm.  Stroking his forearm.  David was in short sleeves, and his forearm was bared to Tim’s touch.  Eric thought that he was probably cold.  Eric also thought that Tim needed to back up, or die a painful death.

        Eric slowly walked up the steps to the front doors.  Once there, he stopped and looked back.

        David was stepping away from Tim.  Tim reached out a little; David glanced up, and Eric looked away, but not before they made eye contact.  Feeling burned, somehow, by David’s gaze, wondering why David had looked in his direction, Eric unlocked the door.  Should he wait for David?  If he looked back, would he see David walking away with Tim?  Had David looked at him to see if he was watching?  Should he pretend that he hadn’t realized the intimacy of the conversation?

        “I’m freezing.”  David was right behind him; Eric stepped into the lobby feeling like he’d won.  It was bizarre to feel victorious, because David hadn’t chosen him over Tim, not at all, but he felt that way anyway.

        He wanted to put David at ease, in case David was worried that he’d read anything into David’s friendship with Tim, so in the elevator on the way up to their floor, he started talking about Shana.  They walked to their room together, brushed their teeth together, and got ready for bed together, talking about Shana, Derek, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, and why they did and did not want to work in a movie theater.

        Eric yawned, rolling over in bed.  “Tell me something weird.”

        “Close your eyes.”  He did, and David switched on the lamp.  He opened his eyes again, watching David page through the book.  David chuckled, and Eric wanted to kiss him.  “Here’s one.  ‘Police in Lewisburg, Tennessee, spotted a ten-gallon tub of marijuana plants but couldn’t spare any officers to watch for the owner.  They confiscated the plants and printed a picture of them in the Lewisburg Tribune with the caption: “Have you lost a tub of marijuana?  If you have, you may claim it at the Lewisburg Police Department.”  Police arrested Leroy Chilton, twenty-six, when he appeared and said the plants were his.’”

        Eric laughed.  “He’s a genius.”

        “Just drop by the police station to pick up your drugs,” David said.  “No problem.”

        “Where did he have this tub, anyway?” Eric asked.

        “I wonder if it wasn’t really his, he just thought that he could get some free marijuana,” David said.

        “Sounds like he was smoking some before he got there, anyway,” Eric said.

        “Do you smoke?” David asked.

        “Pot?” Eric asked.  He hesitated, then decided to be honest.  “A few times in tenth grade.  My mom found out and threatened my life.  I was more afraid of her than of what Randy Haskell thought, so I didn’t do it again.”

        David chuckled.  “You’re a good son.”

        “What about you?” Eric asked.  “I haven’t seen any track marks.”

        Another chuckle.  “No, I don’t do drugs.  I figure that if cigarettes and alcohol are that bad for you and that destructive, the illegal stuff really isn’t worth it.”

        Heh.  Good point.

        “Tim smokes pot,” David said.

        “Really,” Eric said slowly.  Score.


        “Does he want you to?” Eric asked, trying to get a handle on Tim’s personality.

        “He’s asked me,” David said.  “Twice.  I told him that I wasn’t into it, and he hasn’t brought it up again.”

        “Well, that’s nice of him,” Eric said.  “Wanting to share his interests with you.”

        Soft, startled laughter.  “Yeah, I guess so.”

        Tuesday, he hung out with Marie.  They had sex, then had dinner, then had sex again.  Then her mother called, so he left.  He went to Rick and Rich’s room, and finished their Chinese take-out, and got his ass kicked all over the screen.  Then he went to his room.

        Sitting up from where he’d been lounging on his bed, David turned off the TV.  “Hey.”

        “Hey.  What were you watching?”  Judging from that reaction, it was porn or something.

        “Nothing.  You want some chicken?”  There were bags and cartons from KFC sitting on the floor by David’s desk.  Either David had over-ordered, or he’d had company.

        “No, thanks.  I just ate my weight in egg rolls.”  There was a videotape box on top of David’s backpack.  “The Lion King?”

        He’d never seen David blush before, ever.  The pink creeping into his cheeks was really attractive.  “I have a thing for Disney.”

        “Which part were you on?” Eric asked.  “Did you get to the stampede yet?”

        “No, not yet,” David said, looking a little taken aback but handling it gracefully.  “They’re in the elephant burial grounds.”

        “You just got started,” Eric said.  “Turn it back on.”  He toed out of his sneakers and pulled off his socks, sitting on his bed.

        David gave him a long look, then started the tape again.  “I didn’t think that most guys were into Disney.”

        “Everybody’s into The Lion King,” Eric assured him.  “Animal stampedes, regicide, something for everybody.”  He laughed.  “I finally got to say it.  I’ve been trying to work ‘regicide’ into a conversation since I learned it three weeks ago.”

        “Congratulations,” David said with an amused, almost proud smile.  “Where’d you learn it?”

        “Bob’s an English major.  He was going on and on about Shakespeare with Kelly, and I was trying to hit on Kelly, so I had to pay attention.”

        David laughed.

        “And now you know what an idiot I am,” Eric said.

        “You’re not an idiot, you just have a unique learning process,” David said.

        Eric laughed.  “Thanks.”

        They watched the rest of the movie, and then they got ready for bed.  Eric watched David undress while trying not to get caught staring, but his attention snagged on something.  There was a mark on David’s shoulder, right under where his shirt collar had been.  It looked like a bruise, or…

        Eric’s brain stopped.

        “You have a hickey.”

        He hadn’t meant to say it, he really hadn’t, but he was surprised and jealous and angry and hurt.  Movies, food, Tim had been there, had made out with David on David’s bed.  Had been kissing David’s neck and doing fuck knew what else, in his room, with his David.  David wasn’t his, but damn it, David should have been his, his to kiss, his to grope, his to pleasure.  He could picture Tim on top of David, tugging David’s collar aside to suck on David’s skin, and the image was arousing, yeah, sure, but it was also fucking enraging.

        “What?” David asked, looking startled.

        “Nothing,” Eric said, turning away.  He had nowhere to go, so he got into bed.  He avoided looking anywhere near David, David’s blue eyes, David’s body that had been visited by someone else.

        He’d thought that David was turning Tim down.  He’d convinced himself that David didn’t really want Tim.  But apparently David did want Tim, and had started saying yes.  Yes to hickeys, this time.  Yes to sex, next time?

        Eric had never fucked a guy, but he sure as hell wanted to.  He’d read about it and seen pictures of it and watched Cum Scenes III enough times to know what it looked like, and what it looked like was fucking hot.  If anybody was fucking David, it was going to be him, damn it.

        Just that evening, he’d been in Marie’s bed, and she’d been going down on him, and he’d closed his eyes and pretended that it was David; after he’d come, hed opened his eyes and hed seen her, instead of David, and he’d had a weird, strong moment of disorientation.  For a second, he hadn’t even wanted to be in the room with her; it had felt wrong, to have her there where David should have been.

        While he’d been fucking her, Tim had been in his room, with his David, doing what he should have been doing.

        He wasn’t going to let Tim take his place again.

        “Are you okay?” David asked.

        Nowhere close to it.  He rolled over, trying to smooth his expression into something more pleasant.  He was angry, and jealous, and scared.  Afraid of losing David, afraid of not making his move, afraid of being too chickenshit to go for what he wanted.  “Tell me something weird,” he said, because that was their thing now, their little tradition, and he still had that, anyway.

        David looked uncertain for a split second, like one of them should say something different, then smiled a little.  “Okay.”

        Eric dropped back, looking at the ceiling.

        “‘When California State University at Northridge replaced traditional toggle-style light switches in one hundred eighty campus offices with energy-saving switches that work by automatically shutting off the lights any time they fail to detect motion, professors complained.  James Sefton, for instance, said he had to get up from his chair ten times in three hours and wave to convince the switch he was there.  His colleague Max Lupal noted: “There was a woman across the hall engaging in all sorts of gymnastics in her office to keep the light on.”’”

        Eric laughed.  “I can just picture it.”

        “Sounds like it would keep classes interesting,” David said.

        “We should try it here,” Eric said.  “Astronomy would be a lot better if Dr. Dalton got up and jumped around a few times.”

        “Imagine going to meet with your professor in his office and seeing him in there frantically waving his hands around,” David said.

        Eric laughed.  “I’d pay to see that.”

        “Maybe that should be a test,” David said.  “They should have those lights in all of the lecture halls.  Any class where the lights go off more than once would be labeled too boring and get cancelled.”

        “I’d have to get a whole new schedule,” Eric said.

        David laughed.  “So would I.”

        Eric loved the sound of David’s laughter.

        What if he made his move, and got rejected?  What if he made his move and had a good time, but then things fell apart and he lost David’s laughter for good?

        Would it be worth it?

        Could he afford not to try?

        Wednesday, Eric zoned out in all of his classes, and during all of his conversations, and while kissing Marie.  All of his thoughts were circling around David, and how David’s lips might feel brushing his in a kiss, and how David’s lips might feel wrapped around his dick, and how much experience David actually had, and since David’s nipples were hard all of the time, did that mean that they were sensitive, and if he licked them, would David moan?

        Was David loud in bed?  Quiet?  A screamer?  A talker?  Did he like to kiss and make out for hours, or did he like to go straight to sex every time?

        What did Eric want?  Casual, random sex?  Casual, steady sex?  A relationship?  A monogamous relationship?

        He wanted to be in that house in the lush Georgia countryside, wanted to spread David’s gorgeous, naked body across that four-poster feather bed, wanted to fuck until David experienced such intense, shattering pleasure that the whole fucking country came.

        Okay, so he wanted David.

        He wanted exclusive rights to David’s body and sexuality.

        If David was monogamous, then he’d have to be monogamous, too, and that was a little scary, but so was wanting someone this much.  He was willing to go with it.

        It seemed to him that maybe what he wanted was for David to be his boyfriend.

        He’d never had a boyfriend.  Girlfriends, sure, he’d had girlfriends since first grade.  Boyfriends…

        A serious commitment could be a frightening thing, but if it meant that he got to be the one leaving love bites on David’s body, then hell, sign him up.

        He got back to the room early, nervous but determined.  When someone knocked on the door, he jumped up, but it couldn’t be David, because David didn’t knock.  He calmed his nerves a little and opened the door.

        “Hi,” Shana said.  “Is David here?”

        “No,” Eric said.  He took a gamble.  “Do you know where he might be?  I kind of need to talk to him.”  Before Tim got there first.

        “Probably at the library, or at Tim’s,” Shana said.  “If I see him, I’ll tell him that you’re looking for him.”

        “Which dorm is Tim in?” Eric asked.

        “He’s off-campus,” Shana said.  “The Weverly apartments.”

        “Oh.”  Damn it.  Off-campus.  Tim had a room to himself, if not a whole apartment; it was the perfect place for sex.  Eric decided that he officially and forever hated that fuckwad.

        “You okay?” Shana asked.

        “Yeah,” Eric said.  He tried to smile at her.

        “Okay,” she said.  “I’ll tell David that you’re looking for him.”

        “Thanks,” Eric said, but it came out sounding weak.  Defeated.  Sighing, pissed off at himself, he closed the door.  He should’ve made his move before, while David had still been resisting Tim.  David was probably getting laid at that very moment, all over Tim’s off-campus housing.

        What if David moved in with Tim?

        He was getting ahead of himself.  He was starting to panic.  He didn’t have to panic.  There was no reason to think that David wanted to shack up with Tim.  There was no reason to think that Tim and David were fucking; one hickey wasn’t sex.  Besides, even if David was having sex with Tim, maybe he’d have sex with Eric, too.

        Eric took a shower, complete with hot masturbatory fantasies of exploring David’s naked body.

        Back in his room, putting on boxer-briefs and a T-shirt, Eric spotted the weird things book on the floor by David’s bed.  He picked it up and flipped through it.  It was kind of funny how David read all of the time, but was taking forever to finish this book.  Heh, there was the lady with the parking tickets, and there was the blind driver, and ha!  There was the guy with the cucumber.  Man, people-

        Eric frowned.  Wait a second.  The cucumber story had been the first one.  Hadn’t it?  And the next day, he’d come in, and David had been reading, and David had told him about the parking tickets.  But the parking tickets were before the cucumber, in the book.

        Maybe David was reading out of order.

        David alphabetized his CD’s.  David folded his underwear.  David didn’t read books out of order.

        But then…what did that mean?  He’d thought that David had mentioned the parking tickets because that was the entry he’d been reading at the time he’d asked, but maybe David had been reading something else, and flipped back to the parking tickets because they were funnier.

        Or maybe David had finished the book days ago, and he’d just assumed that David was still reading it.  Then why was it out, sitting in the spot reserved for David’s current book?

        Maybe David liked their little nighttime ritual, too.

        Eric sat down on David’s bed for the first time, Indian-style, and read the book.

        It was just past ten when David came in.  “Hey.  You okay?  I just ran into Shana and she said you that  wanted to talk to me.”

        “Yeah,” Eric said, feeling oddly clear-headed.  Or maybe that was dizziness.  “I want to tell you something really weird.”

        “Yeah?” David asked, dropping his backpack on the floor.  He sat beside Eric on the bed, flipping his hair back.  He smiled suddenly, like he was remembering a private joke.  “Tell me a weird thing.”

        Looking into those clear, blue eyes, Eric felt his brain seizing up on him, and fumbled the ball.  “I’m gay and I want you.”

        David’s smile dimmed.  “Is that in the book?”

        Eric tossed the book across the room to his own bed.  “I’m gay and I want you,” he repeated.  It wasn’t exactly great rhetoric, but it hit the main points.

        “I don’t know what to say,” David said, backing up a little, shifting away from Eric.

        “Say you’re gay and you want me,” Eric said, pushing himself to sound confident, trying to deny the note of desperation in his voice.

        “You’re not,” David said.  “What about all of those bubbly girls who keep showing up here asking for you?”

        “What?  Who?”

        “Gina, Marie, Rita, Lisa…”

        “They’re just…”  Girls he’d fucked since he’d stepped on campus.  “Friends.”

        “You’re not gay,” David said.

        “I’m bi,” Eric said.

        “Since when?” David demanded.

        “Since fourth grade!  Ask Jim Taylor what we did in my bedroom while we were supposed to be working on our physics homework.  Ask Pete Dixon what we did together in church camp while everybody else was painting pottery.”  That made him sound more experienced than he actually was; Jim’s once and Pete’s twice totaled his entire three times with guys, which had amounted mostly to kissing.  But he didn’t want David to think that  he was a complete novice.

        “You’re bi,” David said, getting up.

        Eric stood, too.  “I’m bi and I want you.”

        “What is this?” David asked.  “What started this?”

        “What started this is when I met you I wanted to see you naked, when I talk to you I want to taste you, when I jack off I’m thinking about you.  I figure I can tell you anything right now, because if you don’t want me and things get awkward and you move out of our room, at least I’ll know I tried.”

        David sat down again.

        Eric sat beside him.  “I think you’re into something with Tim, and that’s your business, but if you’ll break it off with him and agree to be my boyfriend, that would be great for me.”

        David laughed out loud, dropping back and to the side, lying curved behind Eric on the mattress.  Attracted to the sound of David’s laughter, Eric turned, putting his hand on David’s stomach.  They rarely ever touched, never like this, and David stopped laughing, lifting a hand, tucking his fingers in the collar of Eric’s T-shirt.  David tugged, and Eric moved in, and just before their lips met, there was a small explosion in the back of Eric’s brain.

        Their first kiss was deep and wet, and things moved fast from there.  Eric got on top of David, kissing him hard, using lots of tongue, pushing up David’s shirt, feeling over his chest, his nipples.  David moaned, sucking at his kiss, squeezing his ass, pulling on him like they weren’t close enough.  Eric ground his hips down, and god that felt good, and David was groaning, and David’s hard-on was right against his, and Eric had never felt anything like this in his life.

        He couldn’t stop kissing David’s mouth, so he used his hands to explore, stroking David’s silky skin, tracing the lines of hard muscle.  He wanted to feel David’s dick in his hand, but he couldn’t stop rocking his own hips against it, driven by the urge to get off all over David’s gorgeous body.  David was licking deep in his mouth and pulling on his hair and when he had to stop kissing to breathe, David groaned, “Oh, god, Eric,” in a voice loaded with lust and drenched in the South.  The sound of it made Eric kiss him even faster, rocking against him harder, harder, harder, oh god, oh god, it was too, it was so, David groaned into his kiss, suddenly going rigid beneath him, then shuddered, moaning with hot satisfaction.

        So fucking turned on he was on fire from it, Eric ground down hard, needing to come so badly that he could feel it, he could taste it, he could oh, oh, so fucking close, so fucking close, he reached for it, he was there, he was there, he - - “Oh, fuck!” - - and he came, feeling orgasm tear through him, feeling his entire body cry out David’s name with rich, wild pleasure.  God, that was, he felt, that had been, he was going to fucking go insane, he felt so good.

        David’s neck smelled good.  It was Eric’s new favorite scent.  One of his hands was curled up by David’s other shoulder, and he reached up without looking until he found David’s hair.  He ran his fingers through it, twined it around his fingers, stroked it, and finally tipped David’s head to the side so that he could turn his face up and nuzzle behind David’s ear, sniffing up into David’s hair, deciding that it was his other new favorite scent.

        David’s hand rubbed his back.  Massaged down his spine.  Stroked over his ass, right through his boxer-briefs, and yeah, that felt good.

        Eric grinned.  “David.”

        The hand slid up to his back again.  “Eric,” David said, his voice warm but restrained.  David still didn’t know where this was going.

        Eric knew where he wanted this to go.  “I’m bi and I want you.”

        David’s voice was a little more trusting this time, as his fingers slipped under Eric’s shirt and caressed the small of Eric’s back.  “I’m gay and I want you.”

        Eric lifted his head and kissed David’s mouth.  David kissed back, so warm, so assertive, Eric’s blood was running hot.  “I want you,” he said again, breaking the kiss but staying close.

        “I want you,” David said, and kissed him like there couldn’t be enough.

        Finally, panting for breath, feeling things start to get seriously heated up again, Eric pulled back, raising himself off of David.  “Tell me Tim’s not fucking you.”

        “What?”  For a second, it looked like David didn’t even remember who the hell Tim was, and Eric liked that.  Then David’s expression cleared, and he shook his head.  “We’re not together.  The other day, yesterday, we kissed, and he wanted to do more, but I couldn’t.”

        “Why not?” Eric asked.  David started sitting up, so he moved back, giving David room.  Not being in complete physical contact sucked, so he comforted himself by leaning in and sucking on David’s earlobe.

        “He…  Oh…  I wanted you, I wanted, I couldn’t have you,” David explained, wrapping his arm around Eric’s shoulders, shivering a little.  Eric wrapped his own arm around David’s waist, getting in closer, nibbling on David’s ear.  “I thought that he could take my mind off of you, but oh, oh, Eric, I…”  David moaned, arching against him.  “It was wrong, it didn’t work, I couldn’t, ah, Eric, I want you so...”  Eric kissed David’s long neck, licking up the taste of him.  David’s accent was getting thicker and thicker the more turned on he got, and that was doing seriously wicked things to Eric’s brain.  “I’ve wanted you for so long…”

        “So fucking long,” Eric said, lowering him onto his back again.  “Be my boyfriend.”

        “What?”  David sounded startled.

        This was serious; Eric raised his head and looked into David’s flushed face, into dazed eyes.  “Be my boyfriend.”

        “You don’t-”

        “Yes, I do,” Eric said.  “I don’t want Tim or anybody else on you, and it’s stupid to waste my time trying to hook up with other people when you’re the only one I want.  I’ve never had a boyfriend before, and I know we’re roommates and this could get bad, but this can be so fucking good, David, make it good with me.”

        David looked like he wanted to say yes, but doubt clouded his eyes, and he said, “I-”

        “When did you finish the book?” Eric asked.  “The weird things book, when did you finish it?”

        David frowned a little.  “Tuesday.”


        “Last week,” David admitted.

        Eric grinned.  “I knew it.”

        “It gave us something to talk about,” David said.  He looked incredible spread out under Eric’s body, and being on top of him felt even better, and as soon as this conversation was over, Eric was going to start ravishing.  “I wanted to keep it going.”

        “Be my boyfriend,” Eric said.  He had to get David naked.  He wanted to see everything.  Touch everything.  Lick everything.  Everything.


        “You want to be my boyfriend,” Eric said.

        David smiled a little.  “Yeah.”

        “So be my boyfriend,” Eric urged.

        “It’s not that simple,” David said, but he was still smiling, like he thought that Eric’s persistence was cute.  Hey, whatever worked.

        “It’s not simple, but it can be good,” Eric said.  “Make it good with me.”

        David drew his thumb across Eric’s forehead, then trailed his fingers down Eric’s nose.  The caress made Eric want to close his eyes, but he couldn’t look away; the shifting emotions in David’s eyes were too compelling.  “Okay,” David said, and kissed him until his eyes closed.  “I’ll be your boyfriend if you’ll be mine.”

        Dorm beds didn’t have four posters or curtains or down-filled pillows, and Eric didn’t make David come so hard that the entire country felt it, as far as he could tell.  But he did get to lick David’s nipples, and it did make David moan, and reality was better than a million of the grandest fantasies, when it came right down to it.

Nine weird things quoted from Beyond News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd, John J. Kohut, and Roland Sweet, published in New York by Plume in 1991.
Short stories