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There are times and there are people that constitute the pivot-points in life, sudden and dramatic tectonic shifts the course of the rivers of our lives from everything that comes after.

I am not unlike you. I’m a queer of a certain age, but I forget that when I am not forced to look in a mirror. When I wake in the night I am the same as I have always been, young and lean, and with that chestnut brown hair with the bangs that flip up at the end.

Blue eyes like a mountain lake. Not rheumy and ringed with a pale yellow. A nice, solid cock, thick around and cut so the tip is proud and prominent, and it can spit fierce man-cum five times in an encounter.

I forget that I am now in late middle age when I rise and hobble the first few steps from the bed toward the bathroom. I don’t wear my glasses when I am in front of the mirror. Sometimes it takes a while to remember to put them on. Only when I have to read something do I remember that I have to wear glasses at all.

But I am lucky to be alive, and that is where Joe comes in. His deep-set eyes and rich lashes began the tremors of what became a torrent in my life. Only later did I know how pivotal he was.

Joe was the first boy I had a crush on. He was in my band class. He was slight and a little dreamy. He wore straight-legged corduroy pants and tie-shoes, which was an epithet in those days. It meant that your parents would not trust you to dress yourself, or they were afraid you would grow pigeon-toes. He had fine sandy hair and he wore glasses with thick frames, but I could see the fine dark lashes that made his gaze sweeter than any of the girls.

He was shy and diffident and he held himself gracefully with his thin shoulders back. He usually wore a cardigan sweater, even when it was warm outside. It made me think that he was wearing it as sort of armor, sheltering himself from something.

Of course, I couldn’t tell him I had a crush on him. That would have been a social disaster in the middle school environment of 1966. The whole thing confused me no end, my body writhing in hormonal storms. Our classmates were just starting to pair off and date. We did that then, rather than what the kids do now, which is to run in a pack and hook-up when necessary.

We were much more linear in those days. I went on a couple dates because that is what we were supposed to do. I remember the new couples sneaking off to the furnace room to neck by the machinery at the first boy-girl parties, and I remember my first kiss from a girl.

It was exotic, that first brush with passion, that fumbling around. But what confused me was what I thought about when I masturbated in my bed at night. I tried to think of the girls at school naked, or of the Playboy women in the magazines we stole from the store because that is what was expected of us.

But I found myself thinking of little Joe, and what his cock might look like, and if it was as long and elegant as the fingers I saw him run up the neck of his clarinet in band class.

They said that Joe’s Dad had played professional football, that he was as rough and tough as they came. I heard that he came down to watch us practice on the football field in the fall, and I heard once that he made a comment about my aggressive moves to cut to the head of the line in the hitting drills, and hit the opposing linemen again and again. I don’t know where that came from, except that maybe it was my way of shielding myself, too.

In any event, I never knew precisely what Joe’s Dad looked like, and I never could put a face to him.

I could not imagine that Joe’s fair skin and delicate features came from a man that had played in the trenches at Soldier Field on a Sunday afternoon in front of tens of thousands of screaming drunken fans.

The kids then were not kind to kids who were different, not that they are now. But it was harder and more savage. They called Joe a sissy, and a homo, and other cruel things. Sometimes I thought I should defend him, but I could never figure out how to say it in a way that wouldn’t have my big rough friends call me the same thing.

I could imagine it clearly: “Oh, so you like the little faggot? You a homo, too, Robert?”

I thought about a lot of things when I jerked off. But I always thought about Joe, one way or another in those while days I waited to get my drivers license and start the road to being a grown-up.

I used to have a fantasy that I would consider as I waited for the drum parts to begin in band class. I would be watching his fingers dance up the neck of his thick black liquorish stick of an instrument, and I imagined my cock being massaged by those talented fingers. It would get me hard in class, but I didn’t care, since my snare drum blocked my crotch from view.

I wondered if I could write him an anonymous note, say that ‘someone who cared about him’ would be wearing some unique piece of clothing, maybe a tie or a particular colored sweater. Then I would see him the next day in school, in the hall perhaps, and he canlı bahis would imagine me looking at him from the back of the band, or in the math class we shared.

And it would not be until the end of the day that he would ask if it was me who sent the note. Sometimes in my fantasy I told him, and sometimes I was cruel and denied it.

The fantasy I liked best was that I nodded and smiled and told him I thought he was handsome and would he like to walk home from school with me. When I was really hard, and ready to spew all over myself, I imagined what it would be like if we went to his house and it was empty and we could kiss and take our clothes off and rub our cocks together.

But I could never figure out how it got beyond that, or how I could live in the world I had to live in and be a part of his at the same time.

Reality in 1966 was a lot different than it is now.

I played football, hung around with my idiot buddies who joked about what I secretly desired. I would see Joe at the big high school where we went after middle school, but I dropped out of band and only saw him occasionally in the crowded halls and in my masturbatory imagination.

I got decent enough grades to get into IU and as it turned out, the summer before college was the time I finally found a man like me, and became what I knew I was already, a practicing fucking homo. It was supposed to be a big deal, but I didn’t look at it that way. It was just part of me I had to protect. I couldn’t wait to get clear of all that suburban bullshit and be a free man on campus.

Men on the Moon

It was going to be a wasted summer. It had somehow become 1969, the height of the crazy decade of sex, drugs and rock and roll that didn’t actually end until the big Oil Crunch in 1973. I’ll never forget the night the whole party ended, and just as a matter of personal bookmarks, it was when Tricky Dick Nixon came on the tube and told us to drive 55 miles-an-hour to save fuel.

I almost got killed the next morning trying to do it, run down by angry white guys in big cars on the Dan Ryan Expressway the next morning. “I can’t drive 55” became a mantra, even though they tried to make us do it, self-righteous assholes that they were.

There were music festivals, and dope, and loud music and I was going to be off to college soon. I was interested in the concepts of the Age of Aquarius, though I hadn’t seen much of it in the suburban town in which I was stuck.

It was a great time to be alive, but my toes were tapping. I wanted to get on with life.

Dad had been transferred for a promotion, and I was in a new town a couple hours away from the Chicago sprawl. I missed my pals, and I missed being around the Big City. I was now in a suburb around an old brick city filled with the descendants of the hardy block-headed Dutch who had populated this part of the state with their Dutch Reform Church and their curious social ways. It was staid and boring.

On the upside, it was easy to get alcohol. On the downside there was nobody to drink it with. I had passable fake ID and it was not hard to get a six-pack to drink in the field out in back of the house. And of course there were the racks of Dad’s homemade wine in the basement.

He fancied himself quite the vintner, and had custom labels made up and liked to give the stuff away when he took Mom to parties. When he decanted it from the barrel, he used all manner of bottles and consequently there was no particular rhyme or reason to it and it was easy to take the odd bottle from the garage.

I was as excited as anyone that summer, following the flight of the Eagle to the moon. They went in July of that summer and on July 20 at 4:18 p.m. EDT, the Lunar Module touched down on the Moon. At 10:56 p.m., Neil Armstrong jumped off the Lander. “That’s one small step…” cracked the TV.

Sure was, I thought. I was ready for one, too. A giant leap, in fact.

In between I lay in my bed and gazed out the window where the moon hung silver in space.

I couldn’t quite believe it. Interplanetary travel seemed to be possible. I wondered everything was the same way, possible. I was horny all the time. It did not take much to tent my trousers.

I wondered about a lot of things. Women. They were such impenetrable beings. I thought about the airbrushed Playboy images as I stroked myself, and thought about the strange fortress undergarments they wore under the mini-skirts when they shot us a look in High School. They all seemed to wear the same severe foundation garments, like a sort of their own armor, not mental but dreadfully physical. It was the mid-West after all.

The way they crossed their legs under the desks and that resolute aspect of their crotches filled me with wonder, and a certain amount of dread.

It wasn’t like that with the guys. I used to love going to Phys Ed, and the shower afterwards. I could see that I stacked up pretty well with the other guys, and often found myself thinking of what it would be like to see a guy as hard bahis siteleri as I was.

As I laid on my back on my bed and looked at the moon through the window, I thought of Playboy images with airbrushed pneumatic women. But increasingly I found myself daydreaming about hard penises. There was a reason for it. I had found a copy of the shocking Victorian story of Fanny Hill by a fellow named John Cleland. It was in my father’s remote library, in his shop, concealed with the magazines he kept tucked away that I liked to examine once I had discovered their location.

It was quite a revelation. The heroine of the book was Fanny, and she was poked and prodded by all manner of lusty rakes. I found it curious that I found myself wishing to be on her end of things rather than being one of the horny lads. I inserted a candle in my ass one day to see what she experienced. I pulled it in and out just like the fat cocks that filled Fanny up on nearly every page.

I didn’t understand why this felt so good, or why I was so attracted to the idea of having it in me. It just felt good, and seemed to touch something deep inside me that tingled. God, it felt good. In fact, when I stroked myself I clenched my tight ring around the smooth intruder and my balls boiled, I shot Technicolor plumes that arced from the tip of my straining cock and hit me in the face.

This night, I looked at the Moon and stroked my eager member, thinking of astronauts and hard dicks. Mine rose to the occasion for the second time that day, spewing hot milk on my hand. I shuddered with the intensity of the release.

In the silvery light I licked the back of my right hand, tasting my warm seed. It was slippery, with a slightly sweet musky taste and a hint of something else that made my throat tingle, seeming to close it of its own volition.

It was powerful stuff. I knew that. For sure.

The Men’s Department

I was up late with everyone else the night man landed on the moon and was tired when I drove my little red VW Beetle to the Mall the next day.

The department store I had worked for back home had an outlet here, and I was able to secure a job selling clothes through that connection. They were stricter here about the conduct of their employees in the smaller town, more formal, but I got the same employee discount on clothes and I enjoyed interacting with the customers. I was a born salesman, and so long as I moved product, the management left me alone.

This particular morning, the Manager of the men’s department caught me early. I had a cigarette going in one of the dressing rooms, so I tried to sidle away from him and put it out. He was a nerdy type, a little old maid guy. He grasped me on the upper arm to keep me fixed in place.

“Listen,” he said. “We have a new employee coming in today.”

“O.K.” I said. “I can handle that.”

“No.” He scowled. “This is different. He is a Negro.”

I gave him a puzzled look. I had worked with black people all the time back home.

“Our first Negro,” he said, as if I was supposed to understand the enormity of it.

“O.K.,” I said again. “I’ll try to be nice.”

He gave me one of those looks. “I just don’t want any problems that would reflect badly on the Men’s Department.”

I promised him that I would be on my best behavior and got back to stub out my cigarette before it fell out of the ashtray and caused a fire. Now THAT would reflect badly on the Men’s Department, I thought.

I straightened up and killed time through the first hour of opening. Sometimes, on sale days, things started out with a rush. Sometimes the men’s Department was as silent as a tomb. Today was one of the latter, and it seemed like even if men where on the Moon, it was going to be an endless summer.

And it was not going to be one with surfboards, even if that surf documentary came around to the movie theaters again.

I could see taking off for something completely different. I wanted to go someplace that was exciting and exotic and people could be free to do whatever they wanted, like in the pages of The Rolling Stone.

Alexander the Great

The Negro my boss had warned me about arrived just before lunch.

I don’t know what I had been expecting. He had been so concerned about the racial thing, I thought it might be some dark skinned H. Rap Brown thug. I knew that wasn’t true. I had been working with the black guys on the loading dock and in the parking shack since I was fifteen and could get my work papers.

I knew they were just people, and when the summer of ’67 and ’68 came with all the riots I gained a deep respect for what they had to deal with, things I had no comprehension about. So even if this person was a tough guy I was confident I could get along with him.

I was selling a pair of jeans to a woman who had a disinterested pimply kid in tow when I heard my name being called. I completed the transaction, closed the register, and slid the pants into a sack with the Department Store logo on it and turned bahis şirketleri around.

My nerd manager had a tall young man with him. I took an involuntary breath. His skin had the rich color of caramel, just lighter than a the sweet rich cup of cafe au lait with which I started my mornings. His hair was a sort of light brunette in a million tight curls, cut close on the sides and rising a little on top. He was the essence of style.

His eyes were the strangest shade of hazel and his aristocratic nose had just a hint of African flare. I was stunned. This was no Negro. This young man looked like the pictures of Malcom X when he was still Detroit Red.

“Bob,” I want you to meet Alexander. He will be joining the staff here today and I want you to show him the ropes. How to open up and close out, that sort of thing.”

“I’d be happy to” I said, hoping I didn’t look too startled. “Nice to meet you, Alex.”

He smiled and I saw radiant white teeth behind his lips that were not much fuller than mine. Just rich and sensuous in appearance. I was riveted.

“I prefer Alexander,” he said softly “But just don’t call me late for dinner.” He finished the joke with a smile and I grinned right back.

“Alexander it is,” I said. “Sorry.”

The manager looked at us and pursed his lips. “I’ll handle the register here. Why don’t you show him the break room and where he can get some lunch if he is hungry? We have a half hour for lunch here, no more, and two fifteen minute breaks.”

“We are very organized here,” I said. “We run a tight department.”

The manager knew I was ribbing him but he let it go. He was such a wimp. “Come on, Alexander. Let me show you those ropes.” He smiled and I had an extremely naughty thought about what could be done with ropes, if a fellow was of a mind to try, and we walked off past the display counters and the suit racks. I pointed to the door between the slacks and sports coats. “Back there are the dressing rooms. We are supposed to keep an eye on them to make sure no one is doing any shoplifting or tag-changing.”

“Do you have much of that here?” asked Alexander in that soft voice. His inflection rose on the word “that.”

“Nah,” I said. “Mostly we have hard-working blockhead Dutch in here. It is a boring clientele.” I paused. “I’m sorry, are you from around here? I didn’t mean anything by that.”

“Goodness, no,” he said firmly. “I am from Chicago. They sent me here for the summer.”

“Who did? The family?”

“Yeah,” he responded with a sigh. “There were some issues. We have kin here. I’ll tell you about it sometime, if you are interested.”

I found that interesting. I wondered if he had to cool off from something. But that could come in time. “Let me show you the break room. It has the only Coke machine on this side of the Mall.” We took the escalator down to the basement where we sold tools and patio crap. “I don’t know why the heavy stuff was in the basement, but I just work here,” I said gesturing at the lawn umbrellas and lawn tractors. His warm laugh made something quiver deep inside me.

We looked at the Coke machine and the ultra-modern industrial-grade microwave. “That thing will cook a hot dog in about three seconds,” I said. “And sometimes the machine actually gets the ice right in the cup, unless it turns it over and spills everything.”

He laughed, a melodious sound like water flowing over smooth stones.

“I’ve seen worse,” he said, eyes twinkling. “Now why don’t you show me how to work here.”

We went back upstairs and relieved the Nerd at the register. I showed him the buttons to mash for “no sale” and how to do the credit vouchers and how to place the card just so on the register plate so when you pressed the handle the name and account number came through on the carbon. I showed him the tally sheet we each had to fill out for all the sales we did, and how we would close it out at the end of the day.

Since it was slow, we chatted through the afternoon. I found out he was recently graduated, too. He was headed for college, though his family wanted him to attend a historically black school in Washington, DC, rather than the University of Illinois.

“Why is that?” I asked. I was headed to IU myself, and desperate for the challenge and excitement of the big campus and all the activity.

“They want me to be Black for a while, so that I don’t forget.”

That stopped me dead. I didn’t know what to say, and preferred to say nothing rather than something that might be inadvertently offensive. Thankfully a 44-short suit customer showed up and I taught Alexander how to mark up the cut job instructions for the tailor. That is the only part of the job that is complicated. People come in such a variety of sizes.

Selling a suit is a big deal, with a lot of interplay with the customer. I rang up the sale and then measured the stocky mans coat, marking with chalk the hump where the jacket had to be taken in at the collar, and the rise and inseam on the trousers. I always feel a little funny about that, particularly when the guy is such a toad. Alexander seemed to think it was amusing and grinned when I had completed the process, filled out the tag and instructions, and thanked the man for his business.

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