Click on the link below to read Chapter 9 of With Apologies Mr.Dickens in the pdf format (better formatting).
Or just read it below online in the html format.
SUMMARY: Past, present and future are mixed together and served up in this loose retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. You can find a longer synopsis of the entire story here. Please note that italics are typically used within the story to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself.
WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. The story may describe, depict or otherwise include graphic portrayals of relationships between men and/or adolescent boys that are homosexual in nature. If you do not like or approve of such discussions or it is illegal for you to read such material, please take note and consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting that you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.
NOTICE: This story is my property and protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. It may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author. However, you may not use this work for commercial purposes or to profit from it in any way. You may not use any of the characters, bars or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon the story in any way. If you share this story with others, you must make clear the terms under which it is licensed to them. The best way to do that is by linking to this web page.
AUTHOR NOTES: This is my holiday gift to you. It’s undoubtedly been done before and better, but every generation of writers has a new take on the tale and this is mine. I hope it will haunt your house as pleasantly as the original. As Dickens noted, I have endeavored not to “put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me.” Read, enjoy, and feel free to participate in the creative process, either directly below following the chapter or by sending me an e-mail. I would appreciate hearing from you even if only to let me know about any spelling or other errors you find since I would like to correct those wherever possible.
THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER: In Chapter 8, Brian falls asleep at the office contemplating suicide. When he finally wakes up, it’s late. Not wanting to go home immediately, he walks up the street to get something to eat and manages to kill a couple of hours doing that. Returning to the building where he works, Brian retrieves his car and drives across town to the Lincoln Memorial where he recalls the dead President’s struggles with depression. Later he ends up across the street from the Café Palermo and decides to go in. He’s joined by a young man named Vinnie, who first persuades Brian to buy him a drink and then inquires whether Brian is interested in purchasing his company for the evening. Although Vinnie is good looking and Brian tempted, he is about to leave the bar when a second boy, even younger than Vinnie, joins the two of them. In the resulting conversation it becomes apparent that the two youths have nowhere to stay after being kicked out of the place where they had been living. It also becomes clear that Vinnie had been counting on the younger boy to earn enough money so that the two of them could rent a room for the evening. But the boy, named Jimmy, hasn’t had any success. Dropping his demand to be paid, Vinnie tries to persuade Brian to invite him back to his place. In turn, Brian tries to suggest other alternatives, but none of them turn out to be realistic. In the end, Brian agrees to let Vinnie come back to his place, but insists on bringing Jimmy along as well.
WITH APOLOGIES MR. DICKENS
With everything seemingly settled, we made our way across the street to my car. By then it was covered with snow. While I retrieved the brush from the trunk and started cleaning off the front windshield, Jimmy did his best to clear the back one with his arms and hands. Vinnie offered no help at all, immediately plopping himself down in the front passenger seat and waiting for us to finish. Eventually we did and Jimmy climbed into the back of the car behind Vinnie.
I started the car and drove off, reminding myself to be careful. Jimmy had been right. The snow was coming down fast and furious and the roads were a mess, slick and without a snowplow in sight.
Almost from the moment we left Vinnie resumed his criticism of Jimmy.
“We wouldn’t be out here in this fucking mess if you hadn’t pissed that dude off. We’d have a room by now if you had worked that ass of yours a little harder to find some customers.”
He went on and on and on; and while Jimmy initially apologized profusely and did his best to defend himself, he eventually fell silent and just sat there while Vinnie revisited the same ground over and over again. It was irritating and made the driving more difficult. As we finally crossed the 14th Street bridge into Virginia I decided enough was enough.
“Give it a rest, will you, Vinnie?” I interjected. “Driving in this weather is hard enough without listening to all this chatter.”
He didn’t say anything in response, but quieted down. I remember being thankful for that. By now the visibility was down to zero and the driving almost impossible. Being from Maine, I was used to driving in snow, but it could be nerve-wracking in Washington.
There weren’t many cars on the road, but some of them were being driven by idiots completely oblivious to the weather conditions. At one point one sideswiped us and I could feel the car beginning to slide. I turned in the direction of the slide, tapped the brakes gently, and was able to regain control before any damage was done.
The drive seemed to go on forever, but we were finally approaching Burke when Vinnie began complaining again.
“Jesus, where the hell do you live?” he asked, nervously. “We’ve been driving forever and I’m beginning to think I’m going home with some kind of axe murderer tonight.”
Not a word of thanks for my efforts to avoid getting us killed or for taking him in. It was annoying, but I tried to make a joke of the whole thing.
“Hey, the roads are dangerous,” I said, “and I told you back at the bar I lived pretty far out. But you’re in luck, Vinnie. Not only are we only five minutes away from my place, but I decided to send my axe out this weekend to be sharpened.”
I heard a giggle from the backseat and looked in the rearview mirror. Jimmy was smiling and it was a beautiful smile and that made me smile as well.
By the time we finally pulled into the driveway I was exhausted. I pressed the button to open the garage and we were back at my place at last. The three of us piled out of the car. I opened the door that led to the kitchen and pointed out the refrigerator to Vinnie and Jimmy.
“If you’re hungry, you’re welcome to whatever you can find in there.”
By then the cat had come racing into the kitchen and was brushing against my leg. Looking over, I could see he had eaten all his food so I took a moment to refill the dish.
“That’s a pretty cat,” Jimmy volunteered. “What’s its name? And is it a male or a female?”
“He’s a dude,” I replied. “His name is Muffin.”
“Like in studmuffin?” Vinnie asked, retrieving his head from the refrigerator where he had been foraging for food.
Then he started to laugh.
“I bet that thing has been neutered, hasn’t it? I bet it isn’t a studmuffin at all. I’m definitely the real deal myself. Ain’t that right, Jimmy? I’m a real studmuffin, ain’t I?”
“You are, Vinnie,” the kid replied, stroking his ego. “You’re definitely a stud, Vinnie. But the cat’s still pretty and I like it.”
“Look, guys, I’m kind of tired so I’m going to bed,” I interjected. “Let me show you around the place before I do. You’re welcome to stay up if you want.”
With that I quickly showed Vinnie and Jimmy around the house, focusing on the recreation room, where the television was located, and the guest bathroom, where I pulled out some towels and toothbrushes for the two of them. Finally, I led them down the hall toward the bedrooms.
“You can each have your own bedroom if you want or you can share one. That’s up to the two of you.”
“It looks like you lucked out tonight, Jimmy,” Vinnie said, directing his remarks to the kid. “It looks like you’ll be getting that reward I promised even though you screwed up big time today.”
“We’ll be sleeping together,” Vinnie said, returning his gaze to me. “The kid’s got a really tight pussy and I plan to get some of it tonight. But you can have a piece when I’m done if you want, Brian. I don’t mind.”
I couldn’t believe he had said it, especially in front of the kid. I glanced over at Jimmy and he looked away, embarrassed.
“Like I said, Vinnie, I’m tired,” I replied, deciding not to make an issue of it. “I just need to check whether anyone called while I was out. Then I’m going to bed.”
I walked back downstairs with the two of them and checked the answering machine. No one had called so I told them to make themselves at home once again and headed for the stairs. The grandfather clock began to toll midnight and I considered whether I should wish them a Merry Christmas. But by then they had settled down in front of the television and I decided to give it a pass.
Making sure to bring my wallet and the keys to the car along, I climbed the stairs and made my way to my bedroom.
As tired as I was and given the events of the day, I fell asleep quickly. I don’t know how long I slept, but the next thing I recall was being awakened by the sound of a loud voice coming from the bedroom next door. Listening carefully, it quickly became obvious that Vinnie was berating Jimmy still again for everything that had gone wrong that day.
“I told you to get started earlier,” I heard him say in a loud voice. “But did you listen? No. You need to get the wax out of your ears. Now get down on your knees and make yourself useful, bitch.”
Except for an occasional “yeah, do it, girl” and the like, things quieted down after that and I started to fall back asleep. But then I heard Jimmy’s voice and it wasn’t hard to figure out what was happening.
“Easier Vinnie, easy,” he was pleading. “Not so hard. Please, Vinnie, please. You’re hurting me. Take it easy, will you?”
I remember being upset when I heard those words and I heard them more than once that night. At one point I started to get out bed, then slumped back, wondering whether it was any of my business. Finally, to my relief, their room quieted down.
I was glad the whole thing was over and closed my eyes once again, still wondering whether I should have done something to stop what was going on. Just as I was beginning to drift off, I heard the door to my bedroom open.
“Are you awake?” Jimmy whispered, softly.
What now? I recall thinking.
“Yeah, I’m awake,” I responded, irritated by still another interruption.
“Do you want some company?” he asked. “Vinnie told me to come over here and, well, you know, do whatever you want me to. He says we need to, um, thank you for letting us stay here tonight. Can I come in?”
This is unbelievable, Brian, I said to myself. They’re right. No good deed goes unpunished.
“Look, the only thing I’m interested in right now is getting some sleep,” I replied. “So you may as well go back and tell Vinnie thanks, but no thanks.”
He started to turn around and close the door. But then he peeked in again.
“Um, Vinnie snores really badly when he’s been drinking. Could I sleep in here even if you don’t want to do anything?”
I didn’t know what to say. I mean, I liked the kid, but all I wanted to do right then was to get some sleep.
“I guess,” I responded. “But it’s late and I’m anxious to get some sleep so settle down quickly.”
Jimmy climbed into bed. Like me, he was naked and the sight of his youthful body, however brief, had the usual effect. I rolled over facing away from him and pretended to be asleep. I heard him sigh deeply once and then the next thing I knew he had fallen asleep.
It didn’t surprise me when I woke up early the next morning. I was used to getting up early in an effort to beat traffic into Washington.
What surprised me was finding Jimmy already awake, his back propped against the headboard, the sheets and blanket covering the bottom half of his naked young body. He was petting Muffin, who had joined us in bed at some point during the night.
That surprised me. Muffin wasn’t the friendliest cat in the world, but he was just sitting there, letting the kid pet him.
“Good morning, Brian,” Jimmy said, smiling at me; “Merry Christmas.”
“Morning,” I replied, staring at his small, thin, body as discreetly as I could.
“And, yeah, Merry Christmas to you too,” I added.
“How long have you been up?”
“Maybe an hour,” he responded, still smiling at me. “I wake up early most of the time. But you sure must have been tired last night. You were sleeping like a log. Fortunately, you don’t snore like Vinnie.”
“I had a tough day yesterday,” I said. “I was tired. You didn’t have to stay in bed though. You could have gotten up and made yourself comfortable. There isn’t a lot of food in the kitchen, but there’s probably something down there you could make for breakfast.”
“But I wanted to stay in bed,” Jimmy replied. “It’s comfortable in here with you; nice and toasty. You have a very nice body by the way, Brian.”
I remember wondering whether I should be pleased or embarrassed by what he had said.
Maybe he’s just playing you, Brian, but at least he’s making an effort to be nice. It’s Christmas. Try to be nice yourself.
“Thanks,” I replied.
Reaching over, I grabbed the remote from the table next to my side of the bed and turned on the television. I listened to the news for a minute or two. Mostly it was about the storm.
Thinking he would like it, I switched to one of the stations that showed cartoons continuously. The two of us just laid there for a long time watching TV.
Jimmy seemed to be having a good time and I remember thinking it was nice to hear someone laughing in the house again.
I was about to get up when the door to the bedroom swung open and Vinnie walked in, completely naked and totally unembarrassed by the fact he was naked. He was scratching his groin. His body was more developed than Jimmy’s, but the effect on my groin was the same. I pulled the blanket tighter around me to conceal the effect it was having.
“Good morning, girls,” he said.
It was the first thing out of his mouth that morning and it was annoying.
“So, Brian, did you fuck her?” Vinnie asked, nodding at Jimmy.
“Fuck who?” I responded, trying to deflect the question.
“Miss Jimmy, of course,” Vinnie replied. “I fucked her twice myself last night. But you would have known that if you fucked her because you would have felt how wet her pussy was.”
“I didn’t fuck anyone last night,” I said, defensively, disgusted with what Vinnie was saying.
“It wouldn’t matter to me,” he responded, clueless to what I was thinking. “That’s why I sent her over here last night. And I’m sure Miss Jimmy would have loved it; wouldn’t you, Jimmy?”
Trying his best to ignore Vinnie, Jimmy didn’t say anything in response.
“Well, it don’t matter anyway,” Vinnie continued. “We can both do her right now. Which hole do you want?”
I remember staring at him incredulously.
“Do you want to fuck her mouth or her pussy?”
“You are unbelievable,” I said, too disgusted to restrain myself any longer.
He just laughed at that, as if it was some kind of compliment.
He started to approach the bed, but Muffin hissed at him and he stopped.
“And I’m not into threesomes in any event,” I continued. “You two can do whatever you want, but I’m going to take a shower and then get something to eat.”
Having said that, I climbed out of bed and headed toward the door.
“I’m hungry too,” Jimmy said, getting out of bed and following me.
“I’m going to get dressed and have some food myself.”
“Be sure to make enough for me, girl,” Vinnie replied, shrugging his shoulders as Jimmy brushed past him.
After I finished showering and shaving, I walked down to the kitchen. Vinnie was sitting at the table while Jimmy was puttering around, already making breakfast. From the look of things, he was making it for all three of us.
“You sure don’t have very much food here, Brian,” he said, “at least not for breakfast. But I’ll do my best.”
“I don’t usually eat breakfast at all,” I responded.
“Well what about all the friends you bring back here?” Jimmy asked, grinning. “Do you just let them starve to death the morning after?”
“I haven’t had anyone over to my place for a long time,” I replied.
“Usually when I have a guest over, I take them out to the local IHOP,” I continued, thinking of Robbie.
“But there’s no way we’re getting there this morning,” I added, looking out the window at the snow covering the ground.
“How long before you have something for me?” Vinnie interjected, directing his question to Jimmy and obviously annoyed.
“I’m hungry, girl. Shake a leg.”
“Hold your horses, Vinnie,” Jimmy replied. “I’m doing the best I can.”
I walked over to the sliding glass door and stared out. The ground was covered with snow as far as I could see. In fact, it was covered with more snow than I had seen for a long time in Washington.
“Wow, it’s definitely bad out there,” I said. “I think we’re snowed in. I’m glad we didn’t lose power.”
With that I turned on the small portable TV on the kitchen counter.
The news reports quickly confirmed I was right. The roads were impassable and church services and other holiday events had been cancelled throughout the region. Whether the roads would be passable and the city open for business the next day was anyone’s guess at the moment.
“Jesus, I don’t think I could take two days out here in the boonies,” Vinnie muttered. “What the hell are we going to do out here today, let alone tomorrow, if we can’t get out?”
“We could make a snowman,” Jimmy responded, smiling. “That would be fun.”
Just the mention of building a snowman brought back memories of an earlier snowy morning years ago and of the snowman Eric and I had built, memories I didn’t want to deal with right then. But Jimmy knew nothing about any of that and I didn’t want to spoil it for him.
“You and Vinnie can do that if you want,” I said. “But I need to shovel out the driveway or we’ll never get out of here.”
I remember thinking how much I had taken for granted when I was a boy back in Maine. Snow was a blessing, something to play in, not a burden, something that was going to break my back given the length of the driveway.
“If you have another shovel, I can help,” Jimmy said.
It surprised me.
“Okay; if you want to,” I responded. “I do have another shovel and I’d appreciate the help.”
“In fact, I have two other shovels,” I added, looking over at Vinnie.
But Vinnie just looked away, ignoring me.
So that’s what we did. Jimmy and I went outside and shoveled and it was hard. It was one of those sticky snows that retained lots of moisture and lifting the stuff wasn’t easy. But Jimmy never complained and I was grateful to have his help. What would have taken me ninety minutes was pretty much finished in half that time.
It was still cold out that morning and we were wet and I remember thinking it would be nice to get inside and warm up.
“Come on, Jimmy,” I said. “We need to get out of these clothes and dry them.”
“I’ll be there in a little while, Brian,” he said. “I still want to build a snowman.”
I took his shovel and walked back toward the open garage. When I was finished putting the shovels away, I turned and looked down the driveway.
Jimmy was down at the end by himself trying to make his snowman. It brought back all the memories and I remember feeling sad so I was surprised when I heard myself say it.
“I’ll help; if you want help, that is.”
“I do, Brian,” he responded. “Come help. It’ll be fun.”
He was right. It was a lot of fun and I had to admit it was a pretty impressive snowman we put together that morning.
As we were applying the finishing touches, Vinnie emerged from the house.
“Vinnie,” Jimmy shouted. “Come look at the snowman we made. Isn’t it the best snowman you ever saw?”
“It’s missing something,” Vinnie responded, shrugging his shoulders.
“What?” Jimmy asked.
“It’s missing a dick. Give it a dick and make a snow girl for him to fuck.”
“You can use your ass as a model for her vagina,” he added, looking over at Jimmy and laughing.
By now I was reaching the end of my patience.
I was annoyed, seriously annoyed. Here we were trying to make the best of a bad situation and all Vinnie could contribute was a lousy attitude.
“Forget it,” I responded. “I have to live in this neighborhood so there won’t be any dick for our snowman. Go back inside and play with yourself, Vinnie.”
“We should go inside too and get out of these clothes, Jimmy,” I said, turning my attention to him. “They’re wet and we need to dry them and get ourselves dry as well.”
“Do we have to?” he asked. “The snow is so white. It makes everything beautiful. This is the nicest place I’ve ever seen. Let’s go for a walk, Brian. You can show me around. I mean, this is such a beautiful community; so many trees and all of them covered in snow. I even saw a deer back there in the woods while we were making our snowman. Come on, Brian, show me around. Please. I want to see everything.”
He was right. The place did look beautiful, the snow still a pristine white. The holiday lights adorning Christmas trees in nearby homes were visible through the windows and occasionally you could see kids playing with the toys Santa had brought them that morning.
“Do you want to come, Vinnie?” Jimmy asked. “Brian and I are going for a walk, aren’t we, Brian?”
“Sure,” I said. “I guess I could use the exercise.”
“It’s freaking cold out here, girl,” Vinnie responded. “The only walk I’m going for is the one back into the house.”
While Vinnie retreated back inside, Jimmy and I spent the next hour wandering around Burke Center. Finally, having shown him just about everything worth seeing, I pointed us back in the direction of the house. By that time snowplows were rumbling through the community and I remember thinking maybe the roads would be open by the next day after all.
Eventually we got back to the house and it felt good to be inside out of the cold. I suggested to Jimmy that we should get out of our clothes so I could clean and dry them.
“Sounds good to me,” Jimmy said, grinning, as he began stripping off his clothes.
“Not here, Jimmy,” I said, embarrassed. “Go up to your room and leave your clothes outside the door. I’ll come by in a few minutes to get them.”
“Sure,” he responded.
“And I’ll come along,” Vinnie interjected. “I’ll keep that pussy of yours occupied while you’re waiting for your clothes to be cleaned.”
With that the two of them headed for the stairs to the bedroom. Vinnie moved quickly enough, but it seemed to me Jimmy was less eager to go upstairs now. I wondered whether I should say something that would give him an out, but I couldn’t think of anything to say and I reminded myself it was none of my business.
It was his decision after all, not mine.
I gave Jimmy a couple of minutes to get undressed and then followed them up the stairs to retrieve his clothes. As I approached the bedroom, I thought I heard a low moan. I could also see Jimmy hadn’t left his clothes outside the door as I had asked him to.
“Is everything okay in there, Jimmy?” I asked. “And where are your clothes?”
“You can come in,” Vinnie responded. “His clothes are in here.”
I opened the door and walked in and I remember being sorry I had done it because the first thing I saw was Vinnie down on the floor mounted on Jimmy and going at it with relish.
I couldn’t believe he had invited me to come in while the two of them were having sex. I turned around and started to leave, but Vinnie called out.
“You need to get his clothes, dude,” he said, laughing at me. “Besides, Miss Jimmy wants you to watch me fuck her, don’t you, Jimmy?”
His fists clenched, his head pressed against the floor, Jimmy didn’t say anything. By then it was too late to do anything about it in any event. As I stood there watching, Vinnie thrust forward rapidly several times and then let out a squeal.
“Fuck yes,” he shouted, pushing himself all the way in one final time.
“Oh, yeah, girl, you’ve just been fucked,” he added, and by now he was laughing hysterically as he collapsed on top of Jimmy.
I wanted to slap him for tricking me into watching him do that and for embarrassing Jimmy as well. I knew he must have planned it that way and I was disgusted, but I restrained myself and tried to calm down.
“See how much she likes taking it up her tight little pussy,” Vinnie continued, completely oblivious to the cold stare I was giving him. “You’re definitely welcome to see for yourself, Brian. I got her nice and loose for you. Feel free to fuck her while I recharge the batteries for a second go.”
“I don’t think so,” I responded.
“Suit yourself,” Vinnie replied, shrugging his shoulders. “But if you’re not going to fuck her, Miss Jimmy needs to take a shower. Her pussy is a mess from all the lube I’ve pumped into her last night and this morning.”
Jimmy pulled himself up, quickly picked up his clothes and tried to use them to cover himself. As he brushed past me, he offered me the clothes. I took them and walked over toward Vinnie while Jimmy retreated to the bathroom.
I looked at him coldly.
“Why do you treat him so badly?” I asked. “He seems to like you a lot. Why do you do stuff like that?”
“He likes it that way,” Vinnie responded. “You don’t have to get all upset about it. The little bitch likes taking my dick up her ass. What a faggot.”
Later, after I had finished washing and drying Jimmy’s clothes, the two of them spent the rest of the day watching cartoons on television. Not having anything better to do, I spent the day just catching up on work and reminding myself never to do something like this again.
I made dinner for the three of us that evening. It was nothing much, but I remember not being surprised when Jimmy thanked me while Vinnie just retreated to the recreation room and turned on the television again. The contrast between the two of them was stark and I wondered what paths each had followed to reach this point in time. Whether the roads would be passable the following morning was impossible to say, but they would be gone soon enough and I wondered what would become of them.
It was dark now and there was still the evening to kill before it was time to go to bed. I picked up the television listings and leafed through them to see whether anything interesting might be on TV. I saw that one of the networks was going to be rebroadcasting It’s A Wonderful Life for probably the twentieth time that holiday season.
As much as I hated Christmas, I recalled how that movie had inspired me as a boy and I wondered whether its message might provide some glimmer of hope for Jimmy.
“Hey, there’s a movie coming on I want to watch,” I said.
“What?” Vinnie asked.
“It’s a movie called It’s A Wonderful Life and it’s about Christmas,” I replied. “We haven’t really done anything special for Christmas today. We should watch it just to remind ourselves it’s Christmas, if for no other reason.”
“I’ve never seen it,” Vinnie responded, “but with a title like that I can already tell it’s a loser. Do you really know anyone who has a wonderful life? I don’t.”
“Do we have to watch it?”
“Yeah, we do,” I said, pushing back. “It’s my television so I get to decide what we watch. You can do something else if you want, but I think you’ll like it.”
The three of us settled down on the couch and started watching the movie when it finally came on. No one said anything much, but about 45 minutes later Jimmy stood up.
“I’m not feeling that great,” he said. “I think I’ll go to bed. Sorry, Brian. I like the movie so far, but I’m real tired and just not feeling well.”
“Good idea,” Vinnie said. “I was about to gag anyway. I’m sure your pussy will be more entertaining than this piece of shit.”
I didn’t say anything. I just watched as they disappeared up the stairs and then sighed and took a deep breath.
You can’t do anything right, can you, Brian? See how your little attempt to create a magical Christmas moment turned out?
When are you ever going to learn Vinnie is right?
Life is shitty, not wonderful.
For a moment I wanted to cry, but I composed myself. I sat there watching the rest of the movie by myself, then turned off the television and went up to bed.
I turned off the light and stared into the darkness.
Merry Christmas, Brian, I said to myself.