Earl’s house was a classic southern three-story home, large and sporting deep raised porches that afforded plenty of shade in the summer. It was set in a quiet neighborhood populated by doctors, professors, ministers, and other upper-middle class professionals, and the cars more likely to be sitting in the driveways were expensive imports than anything domestic. In front of Earl’s house, however, parked next to his Volvo, was a ratty old Volkswagen Beetle. Bumper stickers littered its rear, indicating that the driver had once visited Dutch Village and Carowinds. The Beetle once had been lime green, but when I first saw it, in the late nineteen-seventies, one of the doors had been replaced in a shade of sky blue, and the whole thing was etched in rust.
The car belonged to Jim, Earl’s lover. I met Jim fairly early on in my training. I was on my back with my hands roped together and hooked to one of the slats in the headboard while Earl was assaulting my hole when a younger man I hadn’t seen before loped into the room. He wore ratty jeans, a pair of flip-flops, and a much-distressed pink polo shirt. “Who’s that?” he asked.
Earl told him my name without so much as breaking his pace. I couldn’t introduce myself, because I was gagged at the time. “Jim lives here with me,” he explained, which was about as close as he ever came to admitting that they were long-time lovers. They’d been living together since Jim had turned eighteen, I found out later.
“Hmmm,” said Jim, looking me over. He approached the bed. “Not much to look at, but I guess he knows how to take it.”
I wasn’t inclined much to like Jim after that. In my teen years, both he and Earl fell into that group of grown-ups of such an advanced age that seemed out of reach, almost impossible to attain. In reality, he must have been all of about thirty, and perhaps fifteen years Earl’s junior. He was a very juvenile thirty. Though his hair was thinning and his looks rapidly devolving from youthful to weedy, I often felt (and acted) older than he.
While he sat on the bed’s corner, watching Earl manhandle my hole so hard that he was bringing tears to my eyes, Jim dug into his jeans pocket and withdrew a rolled-up joint. He grabbed a lighter from the bedside table and flicked it into life. “Don’t,” Earl warned him.
“What?” Jim asked, instantly resentful. “It’s my first today.”
“Not in front of the boy,” Earl warned him. There was a stern, parental tone to his voice.
“Oh please.” Jim’s sallow skin wrinkled as his nose curled in disdain. “The kid knows what grass is.”
“I don’t want him going home smelling like it.” Earl’s words gave me no small measure of relief. My parents would have castrated me if I’d gone home stinking of weed.
“I can do it in front of the other one,” Jim argued. Apparently Earl had another boy that he used in addition to me; I’d been vaguely aware of it before, but Jim had confirmed it. I noticed that he obeyed Earl and stuck the unlit joint back into his pocket. He threw, rather than tossed, the lighter back onto the table.
“They are very different,” Earl said. The entire time he’d been talking, he kept fucking away with no discernible change in the rigidity of his hard-on. “This one’s special.” If he had another boy, at least he knew how to make me feel good about it.
“Special education?” Jim watched for a little bit while gnawing on his thumbnail. Helen Keller could have told that he hated me. “He might be young and pretty, but I’ll take someone with experience any day,” he said, completely contradicting what he’d said about me, earlier. He stood up and stalked toward the door. “I’ll be in my room.”
The polite fiction known as Jim’s bedroom lay on the home’s top story—a tiny, tiny closet with little more than a twin bed and untidy piles of both Jim’s unwashed laundry and well-used porn magazines. It was cold in the winter, and scorching in the summer. Jim slept in Earl’s bed every night, but the little room gave him something to crab about, and feel martyred over. “I guess I’ll be in my garret,” he’d bitch, when he’d flounce into the house and find Earl working me over. “Feel free to let me know when you’re done with your little trick. If I can hear you all the way up there.”
Jim resented me. That was obvious. Occasionally he’d join in with Earl and fuck my ass or mouth with his medium-sized dick that was more often soft than erect; most of the time, though, he’d attempt to sabotage the sex in some passive-aggressive manner. He’d walk into the bedroom with a cigarette in his mouth, bearing a large basket of clean laundry that he’d sort right next to us on the bed. When Earl might be fucking me in the sling in his basement, Jim would decide that the time had come to pull out the boxes in which they stored Christmas decorations, in order to make sure they had enough lights for the season . . . three months away. If Earl and I were fucking and making out in the den, on the sofa, Jim would walk in with a pad and pencil, sit down with his legs crossed, and ask Earl to help him with the grocery list.
I disliked being alone with him. If Earl had to leave the room to answer the telephone in the middle of a group session that involved Jim, I’d have to be on guard; Jim would be sure to attempt to bite or pinch or bruise me in some way the moment I was unguarded. If I left my clothes in the kitchen or living room when I entered the house, while I was upstairs with Earl, Jim would be sure to blow the smoke from his joints all over them. There were afternoons I had to resort to a lot of tricky measures to prevent my parents from smelling the weed. And not only would I have to hide Jim’s welts and red marks from my family, but I had to explain them away to Earl as well.
And the entire time I’d be over there, I’d have to put up with Jim’s catty comments. “I think your other one is a better fuck,” he’d say, as I was on my way out. Or, “I don’t know how you can put up with that sour little face of his.” Or, “The kid’s so skinny—it’s like fucking a sack of bones.” I’d hear Earl’s voice raised in warning, and know they were going to fight the moment I was out of earshot. They fought a lot, those two.
Jim had a snippy temper and an envious nature. He was a jealous nuisance who, I realize now, had out-aged his position as Earl’s boy and was resentful of anyone taking his place. His life consisted of a part-time job at a record store, pot, porn magazines, masturbation, and housekeeping. The limited scope of his sphere, I had an inkling even then, must sometimes have driven him mad. To watch his lover save his passion for someone like me—an outsider, a scrap of a kid whose only things to offer were a tight ass and his youth—had turned him bitter.
I got that, even as a kid. Some part of me sympathized with it, which is why I never said anything to Earl about the marks Jim tried to leave on my body.
Nuisance he might have been, but from the first I didn’t think that Jim meant me any serious harm. He wasn’t a danger to me.
Not for another couple of years, anyway.