Chapter 13 …

pole dancer?

Last week’s chapter found Jimmy and Eric having lunch on Capitol Hill at a place called the Hawk and Dove. Unlike most of the places mentioned in the story, the Hawk and Dove (or Hawk ‘n’ Dove to be more precise) is an actual bar/pub/restaurant in Washington that’s been around for many years.

Opened originally in 1967, it has changed quite a bit since then. Indeed, that’s true for the Capitol Hill area generally, especially the Capitol itself and the surrounding congressional complex. Once considered the people’s house, the Capitol has been turned into an armed fortress these days that’s really only for political insiders, not ordinary Americans.

It’s a disgrace, but I digress.

The point is that the Hawk and Dove was a popular gathering spot on Capitol Hill back in the 1970s when our story takes place. While I’m told the current version is nothing like the original, feel free to check it out if you’re ever in Washington.

Most of the other places mentioned in the story are real in some sense as well. They’re fictionalized versions of actual places that existed in Washington a half century ago. In some cases I’ve tried to stay true to the original. The Hide and Seek, for example, is a fictional version of the Lost and Found, the biggest gay bar in Washington for many years back in the 1970s and 1980s.

I’ve tried to stick close to the original for many of the other places in the story like Exiles & Castaways and Outlaws. In some cases, however, I’ve taken liberties in one way or another for narrative purposes.

In tonight’s chapter, for example, you’ll be introduced to a place called Head & Tails. It’s an altered and somewhat cleaned up version of the Cinema Follies, which had a tragic but somewhat colorful history.

In trying to capture the era that I’m writing about, I’ve relied on accounts from others who were alive back then as well as on a lot of documentary records that have been collected and preserved about gay life in Washington by The Rainbow History Project.

The Project has done great work in preserving gay history in Washington. Feel free to contribute if you’re interested in supporting that work . . . and be sure to mention me if you do🙂

So, yeah, there’s a lot more that goes into writing a story like this than meets the eye; and while I think I’ve done a pretty good job of capturing the era, I’d be the last to say I’ve gotten everything exactly right.

But feel free to let me know if you have questions about any of the places mentioned. I’ll do my best to answer them, but keep in mind that I’ve barely scratched the surface of the many gay establishments that existed back in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s in Washington.

In any event, Jimmy and Eric discussed a variety of things over lunch at the Hawk and Dove, including Jimmy’s new outfit and his reaction to the bars he had visited that weekend. When Jimmy complained at one point about not having a job, Eric told him his job was to keep Jeff happy and that he should be getting an allowance for doing that.

In the ensuing discussion, the two exchanged thoughts on allowances and open relationships, revealed some secrets to one another, and finally got around to discussing the club Eric had mentioned to Jimmy when the two first met Friday evening.

Jimmy seemed interested in joining the club initially as a way of making some new friends. But once Eric explained how the club worked and what was involved, Jimmy became less certain what he wanted to do.

Toward the end of lunch Eric suggested the two visit a place called Head and Tails where Bobbie worked as a dancer and where Eric thought Jimmy might be able to get a job if he was still interested in doing so. Jimmy quickly agreed and that’s where this week’s chapter picks up.

I hope you’re reading this introduction since I left town on Wednesday and will not be back until Sunday. Scheduling these posts and a new chapter in advance is always a challenge for me🙂

Hopefully everything worked out fine. If so, have fun reading Chapter 13.

Chapter 12 …

fun in the sun 16

Last week Jimmy’s introduction to gay life in Washington continued, first at Exiles & Castaways and later at another gay bar called Outlaws.

At Exiles & Castaways Jimmy was exposed to hustling for the first time. Being paid to have sex was a new idea for him, one that didn’t sit entirely well with Jimmy. On the other hand, he was happy to be meeting some boys his own age for a change.

The experience did cause Jimmy to wonder how he would survive if Jeff ever dumped him. Later, when he saw Jeff talking to another boy about the same age as himself, Jimmy seems to have become a bit jealous.

Of course, that was after Jimmy had already spied another good looking boy talking to Eric. Whoever the boy was, he apparently made quite an impression on Jimmy. Sadly, however, the two never met. Instead, Eric took Jimmy on a tour of a leather bar called Outlaws.

While Jimmy didn’t find the place especially appealing, he did learn more than he was counting on about the gay hanky code. Later, he and Eric returned to Exiles & Castaways and then headed back to Capitol Hill.

The chapter ended with a brief phone conversation between Eric and Jimmy on Monday morning. Having previously agreed to have lunch, Eric invited Jimmy to a restaurant called the Hawk and Dove. That’s where tonight’s chapter picks up.

What I’ve been trying to do in the last couple of chapters is to paint a picture of how someone slowly gets exposed to things he’s never experienced before and how disorienting that can be. How Jimmy copes with this will be the subject of the next couple of chapters.

Will he end cracking like that young lad above? Only time will tell🙂

In any event, I wanted to mention two things this evening. First, I got back a little later than expected from my out of town trip so I’ve had even less time to work on Chapter 12 than expected; and next week I’ll be leaving town again so there won’t be much time to work on Chapter 13 either.

I’ll be scheduling the next chapter to go up in my absence. If it doesn’t for some reason, I’ll post it upon my return. Sorry I haven’t had more time for the story lately, but August will be over soon so try to hang in there. Hopefully things will get better.

Also, while I usually try to keep things fairly simple in my stories, tonight’s chapter features a discussion of a club that Eric’s a member of and Jimmy may be interested in joining. The discussion is a bit complicated and involved so be sure to read carefully as the club will play a key role in the next several chapters.

In any event, I’ve posted Chapter 12. Have fun reading.

Chapter 11 …

Future Master?  Really?

Future Slave?  Seriously?

If you’re reading this on the weekend of August 12, 2016, I’ve successfully scheduled this post to go up in my absence. Let’s hope I’ve been equally successful in scheduling Chapter 11 to appear as well. Otherwise you’ll have to entertain yourself with this future master and his very cute future slave🙂

As I mentioned last seek, I’m out of town and pretty much out of touch. Hopefully not as out of touch as Donald Trump, but likely unable to respond to any comments or e-mails before I get back Sunday evening.

Not that there’ve been many of those lately so maybe you’re not finding the story especially interesting. Whatever the case, hopefully the pace of the story will start to pick up a bit in this and the following chapter.

Last week we saw how Jimmy reacted to his first visit to a gay bar. While he seems to have enjoyed himself by-and-large, he didn’t react well to Jeff’s behavior in front of Eric. Determined to teach Jeff a lesson, Jimmy ended up calling Jeff a nasty name.

It wasn’t pretty, but Jimmy is still sufficiently in touch with reality to recognize he overreacted. In the end, he apologized to Jeff.

Conveniently for Jimmy, the two made up and the following morning we learned that his first two months in Washington had not been the happiest of experiences for Jimmy. Without a job or friends, he’s been feeling alone and isolated. Indeed, he seems quite dependent on Jeff for just about everything.

For his part, Jeff seems to be trying to help Jimmy make the transition. The day after their trip to the bar, for example, he takes Jimmy to a mall in Virginia and buys him some new clothes. The two have dinner together and then take in a movie as well. Jeff even agrees to go back to the Hide and Seek when Jimmy suggests that.

However, Eric and Bob whisk them off to still another bar across town, one where Jimmy’s education about gay life in Washington continued. Tonight his education will continue still more.

This was a busy week for me and I didn’t have time to make some of the changes I would have liked to this chapter. I think they would have made it more interesting, but it is what it is. Have fun reading, assuming anyone is still reading during these dog days of summer.

Chapter 10 …

The world turned upside down ...

Last week we got our initial glimpse of Jimmy in Washington. Taken to a gay bar called the Hide and Seek by Jeff, it seems like the experience left quite an impression on our youthful protagonist.

And why not? The bar was huge for after all, with multiple dance floors, an elaborate lighting system, and disc jockeys who knew how to bring the place alive and then quiet it down.

And then there were all the guys, of course, hundreds of guys who like guys carrying on in a way that stunned Jimmy. Like the boy above, it seems like Jimmy’s life is being turned upside down a bit.

Do you remember what it was like the first time you saw guys dancing together? Kissing in public? Carrying on? Suffice it to say it was a surprise for Jimmy, a big one. Fortunately, a young boy named Eric more familiar with the place introduced himself to Jimmy and the two quickly became friends.

Indeed, Jimmy’s education began almost immediately when Eric introduced him to a drag queen named Franny Fanny, an experience that was a bit overwhelming for Jimmy to say the least. Later, when Jeff rejoined the two boys, they learned more about each other.

Jimmy wasn’t too happy though when Jeff said and did things that threatened Jimmy’s self-image. In the end, Eric proved helpful in introducing the two to gay life in Washington. But where that will lead remains to be seen.

I’m going to apologize in advance for tonight’s chapter. I’ve had a frustrating week and haven’t spent as much time as I should whipping it into shape so it’s not the most exciting chapter I’ve ever written. Whatever its failings, I’ve posted it now and it does help move us along.

I also wanted to mention I’ll be out of town much of next week, including next weekend, so I’ll be scheduling the next introduction and chapter to go up while I’m away. Let’s hope that works out okay.

If not, I’ll post the next chapter and respond to any comments when I get back Sunday evening; if there are any comments. I don’t know whether their absence means you’ve stopped reading, are completely confused or disappointed, or off doing fun things this summer.

Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Chapter 9 …

future dancer ...

Last week’s chapter began sometime in December, 1974, with Jimmy agreeing to move to Washington. But not wanting to leave North Adams right after Christmas as Jeff proposed, Jimmy suggested he move there sometime toward the end of January after Jeff was settled in.

Partly this seems to have been an effort to avoid any suspicion if both Jeff and he left town at the same time. North Adams is a small town after all, one where suspicions are easily aroused and gossip all too common.

But the more important factor in Jimmy’s decision seems to be that his best friend, Tommy, is coming home after his first semester at college and will be on winter break for most of January. Jimmy apparently wants to spend time with his friend, so much so that he quits his job at McDonald’s even before Tommy gets home.

Most of the chapter recounts their time together just before Christmas; a long telephone conversation the night Tommy gets home, a trip to Albany, New York, to pick up Tommy’s brother at the airport, an exchange of Christmas gifts, and then a long conversation at the lake on a bitterly cold Christmas afternoon.

We learn quite a bit in all of this, some of it quite interesting indeed. We learn that Tommy has been working out at UMass and is now in much better physical shape than when he left for college. Indeed, Jimmy barely recognizes his friend. In spite of that (and like Jimmy as well), Tommy doesn’t have a girlfriend and doesn’t think he’ll have much time for dating.

We learn Kevin, Tommy’s older brother, has moved to San Francisco, California, where he’s trying to figure himself out. Even in the 1970s San Francisco was already a gay mecca, a place far from home that attracted tens of thousands of young men trying to come to grips with their sexuality.

We also learn that Tommy and Jimmy like each other enough to exchange Christmas gifts, a rose-colored UMass sweatshirt from Tommy that it will comfort him to know Jimmy is wearing when he gets lonely at school; and a picture from Jimmy to Tommy showing the two boys cuddled up close together at the lake when they were younger.

And finally Jimmy learns what he already suspects, that Tommy won’t be coming home to work at the local newspaper once he graduates from college. That seems to make leaving town easier for Jimmy, but the two boys pledge to remain best friends forever.

Maybe it’s just me, but is there more here than meets the eye? But, then again, this is the 1970s after all. Showing your feelings to another guy isn’t easy or encouraged.

Last week’s chapter marked the end of Part II of our story. Part III picks almost immediately with Jimmy in Washington. It’s late in March and Jimmy’s been in the District of Columbia for almost two months. How well he’s doing remains to be seen.

Tonight’s chapter takes place in a large gay bar, what we would call a club today. It’s the first time Jimmy’s been there and the chapter begins with a song playing loudly. If you click on the link provided and close your eyes, you’ll be able to experience it with Jimmy.

I know quite a few of my readers are older so I would just ask you to try to recall your first time in a large gay bar. That’s what I’m trying to capture in Chapter 9, which I’ve now posted. Have fun reading and let me know whether you think I got it about right.

Chapter 8 …


Last week’s chapter began with the aftermath of what happened in Chapter 6. Pressed about whether he liked what happened, Jimmy admitted he had and cited several reasons for that. Whatever he may have intended, Jimmy’s words caused Jeff to break down and cry.

While we never learn all the details, it seems being homosexual has not brought much happiness to Jeff up to this point in his life; indeed, that being homosexual has been a struggle for him. Would that be surprising considering the era in which he grew up? I suspect not.

Convinced Jimmy would be better off in a straight relationship, one where he could get married and have children and seemingly live happily ever after, Jeff apparently believes he did the wrong thing letting Jimmy have sex with him again.

Jimmy manages to calm Jeff down, telling the older youth he should let Jimmy decide for himself what’s right for him. At the same time, Jeff’s display of emotion leaves Jimmy shaken because Jimmy wants sex to be both fun and uncomplicated.

Oh, my, isn’t it amazing how naive we can be when we’re young🙂

In any event, the two talk it out the next day. Apparently resigned to never finding anyone who will genuinely love him, Jeff decides he’s open to having a relationship on Jimmy’s terms. He won’t ask Jimmy to do anything the boy isn’t comfortable with and he’s also apparently willing not to dispute Jimmy’s self-interpretation of who he is.

That allows Jimmy to continue the relationship, which apparently becomes a bit volcanic over the next several months. In November the congressional candidate Jeff is supporting wins the election and offers Jeff a job in Washington.

In turn, Jeff asks Jimmy to consider moving to America’s capital with him. He promises Jimmy he’ll be able to live for free in the place Jeff plans to rent and to pay for all the food as well.

Jimmy is initially hesitant. He wonders what he’ll do for a living in Washington, but Jeff promises to help him find a job or even let Jimmy live with him without getting a job at all in exchange for help around the place they’ll be living.

That makes Jimmy wonder whether Jeff sees him as his wife. Jeff denies it, even going so far as to tell Jimmy he knows who wears the pants in their relationship. Reassured, Jimmy promises to consider the offer, then satisfies a more immediate and compelling need.

I don’t know abut anyone else, but Jimmy can be frustrating at times. Instead of realizing who he is, he seems determined to perpetuate a myth; one that brings out the worst in him at times. And yet there are other times when he seems to genuinely care about Jeff.

Whether this conflict will ever be resolved remains to be seen, but I suspect it won’t be resolved anytime soon. If not, we’re likely to see more of this kind of behavior from Jimmy; i.e., selfishness mixed with a capacity for tender feelings as well.

Whatever the case may be, Chapter 8 is up. Have fun reading and feel free to let me know if you think the story is too confusing.

Chapter 7 …

If you’re looking for the usual recap of last week’s chapter, you won’t find it here. It’s not the kind of chapter that can be easily recapped.

If you need to refresh your memory, feel free to read it again. Indeed, that would probably be a good idea no matter what as tonight’s chapter picks up exactly where the last chapter ended and is more a continuation than something new; at least initially.

To put it in 1970s terms, it’s the cigarette guys lit and smoked to calm themselves down after doing something that got them quite excited indeed🙂

By the way, is it just me or does anyone else find it hard to believe people actually smoked after having sex? It seems kind of yucky, but I’m told that it happened and far be it for me to question my sources.

To set the record straight, I want to be sure people understand I’m not suggesting Jimmy and Jeff are somehow the personification of the 1970s. An era cannot be captured in one or two characters. Having said that, I do think their story is a very 1970s tale and hopefully that will become clearer as our story unfolds.

While Jimmy is coming into clearer focus for us, tonight’s chapter will hopefully provide a little better insight into Jeff than we’ve had up until now. His character won’t really become entirely clear until the second half of the story, which is still quite a ways off.

But if you read carefully, you’ll begin to get a glimpse of someone trying to come to grips with his homosexuality and his feelings for Jimmy even as he’s struggling to find a way forward in life. In some ways Jeff is the more interesting character for me although Jimmy is probably as complex, if not more, in his own way.

I’m not sure whether it’s coming across very well, but what you’re seeing are two people struggling to cope with their homosexuality in different ways in the 1970s. While I’ve painted Jimmy in a way that may make you dislike him, what I’m really trying to suggest is that everyone dealt with their homosexuality differently back in the day.

Some might argue that one way was better than another, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. Whatever happened next for gay people after the 1970s was a product of all the individual struggles people went through back then. And just because people don’t come out and tell you they’re struggling doesn’t mean they aren’t.

To put it another way, I’m not trying to paint heroes and villains. Hopefully by the end of the story we’ll see both Jimmy and Jeff for who they really are; and I consider both of them, with all their imperfections, heroes, not villains.

In any event, enough with the random musings. For now all I’m saying is this is a story where it’s best to suspend judgment and avoid rushing to conclusions.

That being said, I’ve now posted Chapter 7. Have fun reading.

Chapter 6 …

Love the hair on this boy ...

Tonight’s chapter was originally much longer. Indeed, it was so long I finally bit the bullet and decided to split it in two. But don’t worry. I’ve moved the less interesting stuff to the next chapter. You get the good stuff tonight🙂

Which isn’t to say the next chapter isn’t important. Indeed, what happens there might be much more important. But if you like sex more than what comes after sex, you may find this chapter somewhat more, uh . . . stimulating.

Some of you may think a chapter like this would be easy to write, but it wasn’t. I wanted the chapter to come across as both passionate and calculating. You’ll have to decide whether I succeeded, but keep in mind the chapter does set the stage for what comes next.

But before you dig in and enjoy, I should probably bring you up to date on what happened in the last chapter.

To recap briefly, Jimmy walked from his home to Noel Field three miles away on a Friday night, somehow avoiding the parish priest and the library in the process. It was a long walk, but we learned some interesting things about Jimmy along the way; at least we did if we were paying attention.

As you may recall, Jimmy was hoping to find someone he could hitch a ride with to New York State, where the legal drinking age is only 18 (unlike Massachusetts where it’s 21). Unfortunately, no one was around he could do that with so Jimmy ended up heading back downtown.

Once there he saw lights still on in the headquarters for the congressional candidate Tommy had told Jimmy that Jeff was supporting. Seeing Jeff still there when he peeked in, Jimmy went inside and said hello.

One thing led to another and Jeff eventually agreed to drive Jimmy over to New York. The two brought each other up to date at the bar they visited. Fortunately, Jeff didn’t have anything to drink and was able to drive Jimmy back to North Adams safely and without incident.

Does anyone else like Jeff for being smart and responsible like that? Whatever his faults, he seems to be the adult in the story if perhaps much too smitten with Jimmy for his own good. But who among us hasn’t been there and done that?

In any event, once back in North Adams Jimmy had Jeff drive to a special place where he used to bring his girlfriends. That seemed to make Jeff nervous given their past history together, but nothing happened. Instead, Jimmy invited Jeff to meet at their special place in the woods behind the lake the following evening to smoke some weed.

That’s where the story picks up this evening; not in the woods, but with Jimmy back home in bed. Although Chapter 6 isn’t as long as some, it is a bit more, uh, stimulating, as I said. Be sure to darken the lights and turn off any distractions before taking it on.

And, as always, have fun reading … or whatever 🙂

Chapter 5 …

Hmm ... I wonder what's on his leg

In last week’s chapter our story shifted forward to August, 1974, where we caught up with Jimmy Barnes three years after his best summer ever, the summer of 1971. Not surprisingly, a lot has happened in the interim.

For one thing, Jimmy has finished high school and is now working full-time for minimum wage at the local McDonald’s. To put things in perspective, the minimum wage Jimmy is earning is $2 an hour.

At the time we catch up with him, Jimmy is walking home with his best friend, Tommy, who will be leaving town soon to study journalism at the University of Massachusetts. While Jimmy is happy for Tommy, he’s also concerned he’ll end up alone in a small, boring, town for the rest of his life.

Concerned about his future, Jimmy and Tommy discuss several possible career choices Jimmy might be able to pursue. But none of them are appealing to Jimmy for one reason or another.

We also learned Jimmy had become involved with several girls during his high school years. However, the relationships have apparently never quite worked out to Jimmy’s satisfaction, leaving him sexually frustrated as well. By the time we catch up to him in August, 1974, Jimmy has been without a girlfriend since just before the previous Christmas.

Faced with the prospect of spending his life in a dead-end job in a small, boring, town and barely able to support himself, Jimmy has apparently been trying to cope with life by spending his weekends drinking beer across the border in New York state, where the drinking age is lower, and by smoking pot.

He tries to persuade Tommy to go over to New York with him that evening, but Tommy has a date and the two part. Just before they do, however, Tommy tells Jimmy that Jeff Landry is back in town managing the campaign of the Democrat running for Congress that year. If you’re a Democrat, 1974 is a good year to be running for office with the Nixon Presidency collapsing.

Unable to afford his own apartment or a car, Jimmy finally arrives home where he takes a shower and then makes a halfhearted and unsuccessful effort to get his father to let him borrow the family car for the evening. Shot down, Jimmy steps outside and tries to focus on what he can do on a Friday night in a small, boring, town without a car to get around.

That’s where Chapter 5, which I’ve now posted, picks up tonight. Have fun reading.

Chapter 4 …

Let's hope he's wearing sunscreen ...

Last week’s chapter found Jimmy obsessed with figuring out whether Jeff was a homo. Eventually he learned the answer to that question; and then, to his surprise and delight, he was able to persuade Jeff to do what he had only been fantasizing about up until then.

Chapter 3 marked the end of Part I of our story. I could have written at least several more chapters for Part I that would have allowed me to develop some of the other characters in the story much better.

In particular, I could have had a lot more to say about Jeff and Kevin as well as the reasons they dislike one another. I could have also had more to say about Jimmy and Tommy’s friendship and how that factored into what happened in Part I.

And, of course, I could have also written a lot more about what happened between Jimmy and Jeff that summer after that initial incident in the school. In the end, however, I felt that would be gratuitous. As it was, it was hard enough to write as much as I did.

I did try to write that last chapter carefully, but even now I’m not entirely satisfied with it. One reader has already suggested Jimmy comes across as much more sophisticated in the art of seduction than I wanted to portray him.

And I’m still not satisfied I got Jimmy’s reaction to what happened in the teacher’s lounge exactly right. I wanted to portray Jimmy’s excitement about what happened without actually portraying what happened. But Jimmy wasn’t equally excited about everything that happened and I’m not sure I captured that very well.

Like they say, it is what it is and everyone will have to decide for themselves whether the chapter succeeded or failed. Whatever the case may be, it wasn’t because I wasn’t aware of how sensitive the subject matter was. A better writer would have written it better, but I felt it had to be written for the story as a whole to work.

You can decide for yourself whether that’s the case once we reach the end of the story many months down the road. For now, we turn to Part II. If Part I left you unhappy, you should probably stop reading now.

Part II takes place late in 1974 and early 1975. Jimmy has just turned eighteen and recently graduated from high school. We’ll learn a bit about his high school years and what’s become of Jimmy; and then we’ll follow what happens to him over the course of the next several months.

Chapter 4 is up and I hope you enjoy it. Please be aware, however, that I may have to abandon or close down my WordPress sites very soon. I’m having major problems uploading files to the sites and have had to spend hours finding temporary fixes this past week.

I don’t know what the problem is exactly and it was only after spending far too much time and energy that I was able to get the pdf version of this chapter uploaded tonight. However, the solution I used is not a viable one for the long term.

As I said, unless things change, I’m probably going to throw in the towel. I simply cannot afford to invest any more time and effort in managing these sites than I already do. I spend far too much time already and it simply isn’t worth the hassle anymore.

I apologize for any inconvenience if that happens.