Chapter 13

There are two ways to be fooled.  One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.  Søren Kierkegaard
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. Søren Kierkegaard

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Homo!: Chapter 13

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SUMMARY: What if you were homosexual but refused to admit it to anyone, especially yourself? The year is 1971 and fourteen year old Jimmy Barnes has discovered growing up in a small town can be boring in a way not even the solitary masturbation sessions he enjoys so much can relieve. When his best friend takes a job at the local newspaper, Jimmy finds himself on his own for the summer. What follows is a decade long saga with numerous twists and turns, a tale that’ll reveal the best and the worst of the nineteen-seventies and beyond.

WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Unless otherwise noted, all of the characters in the story are fictional; any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. While some of the places described or mentioned in the story are fictional as well, others may be real. However, some liberties may have been taken with the truth to enhance the story. Please note that 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 For approve of such discussions or it is illegal for you to read such material, consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting 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 or fictional places 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.

NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there’s something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so.

HOMO!

Part III – March 1975

Chapter 13

Having paid the bill, Eric and I headed toward the Capitol. From there it was only a ten minute walk to Head and Tails. Not that I would have known where the place was if I wasn’t with Eric. From the outside, it looked exactly like what it was, a nondescript warehouse with no distinguishing features.

It was like Hide and Seek and the other gay bars that way. It was almost as if none of the places wanted you to know they were there. And yet when we walked inside, I was astonished to see something entirely different, a place alive with people coming and going.

Stepping forward, our path was blocked by a guy in his mid-twenties who was standing guard at the entrance. Eric flashed some type of card and whispered something into the guy’s ear. Whatever he said was good enough to get me into the place as well.

We could have turned right and explored the first floor, but Eric chose to head up the stairs directly in front of us instead. I followed behind, dutifully.

At the top of the stairs there was a corridor that ran in both directions. Some older men were seated at tables from which they could look down at the entrance below. Two of them smiled at Eric, but he just waved at them and led me off to what seemed to be a centrally positioned door. Pushing it open, we entered a darkened room; at least it was mostly dark.

There was music playing loudly and a crowd milling around. It was a surprisingly large crowd for a Monday afternoon, at least it seemed that way to me. All of them were facing in the opposite direction staring at something in the distance. Circling around the bar that was blocking our path, I noticed lights trained on a platform on the other side of the room.

“There he is,” Eric whispered, pointing.

Looking up, I noticed a solitary boy dancing back and forth along the platform, the same boy I had seen Eric talking to on Saturday evening at Exiles & Castaways. I remember gasping because I thought he was dancing completely naked at first. As my eyes adjusted, however, I could see he was wearing something that looked like a jock but wasn’t.

Whatever it was, it was both skimpier than a jock and more colorful. A very thin band wrapped around the boy’s waist was the only thing holding a rainbow colored pouch in place. There was enough cloth there to conceal the boy’s groin, but just barely enough.

As I stood there staring in disbelief, the boy spun around and started shaking his fully exposed butt in my direction. It was a terrific butt, small, tight and perfectly proportioned, but seeing him shaking it like that made me blush. I couldn’t recall blushing in a very long time.

“Cute, isn’t he?” Eric volunteered, nudging me in my side with his elbow.

“Very,” I responded, without taking my eyes off of the boy; “and, uh, almost completely naked too.”

Hearing my words, Eric giggled.

“Oh good; I was wondering whether you noticed that.”

“I did,” I responded.

Then, looking down momentarily, I noticed I had gone completely stiff just from staring at the boy. Fortunately, everyone else in the place was staring up, not down, so no one noticed. Embarrassing as it was, I was glad about that.

Looking up again, what I saw was a boy around my age. Like Eric said, he was cute although cute really didn’t do justice to him, at least not for me.

Eric was cute; Tommy cuter still; and Jeff liked to say I was the cutest boy in the world. I had never believed him when he said that and this kid only confirmed I was right. He was the best looking boy I had ever seen in my life. He was beyond cute; way beyond.

As I stood there staring at him, I tried to focus my attention on something other than his groin and his butt. As best I could tell he was a little shorter than me, about 5’6” tall. His body was thin and hairless.

Like a lot of the girls I knew, his hair was nicely styled. Neither too long nor too short, it was brown and kind of curly in places but not excessively so. It looked good on him.

He had been totally focused on his dancing when Eric and I came in, but a smile quickly acknowledged Eric’s presence and it was his smile that attracted me to him the most. It was just one of those totally beguiling smiles; the kind that made you feel you should do whatever he asked just so he would keep smiling at you.

After acknowledging Eric with his smile, his eyes focused on me. There was something compelling about them. It was almost as if he was staring into my soul; suddenly I felt nervous for some reason and my legs began shaking uncontrollably. Embarrassed, I averted my gaze from his face.

When I looked back, his eyes had drifted off to some spot in the distance. But his body never lost touch with the music wherever his eyes were focused.

He was grinding his hips in a rhythmic pattern that was mesmerizing, at least it was mesmerizing for me and the rest of the guys staring at him. At times his groin would thrust back and forth in a motion all too familiar to me from riding Jeff night after night. His arms were held high above his waist and at times he snapped his fingers in a way that commanded your attention.

He was an excellent dancer, no doubt about it; the men in the bar were completely focused on him, some holding bills outstretched in their hands waiting patiently for him to approach. He would move back and forth along the platform, stopping at times to reach down and pluck one or more of the larger bills from the outstretched hands and then shoving them into the pouch.

There was a lot of money sticking out of the thing, but what caught my attention even more was a visible bulge.

I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to react to all of this and turned to Eric for guidance. But he was completely focused on the boy so I returned my gaze to him as well. At one point he smiled at me; at least I thought he was smiling at me. It made me blush again and I think he may have seen that because the smile turned into a smirk, as if he knew I was unable to resist staring at him.

He danced along the platform for perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes, but eventually the music drifted off and the boy disappeared behind a purple curtain that provided the backdrop for the platform. As he did, Eric led me off to a corner at the far end of the bar where the two of us were alone.

Within a minute or two the boy reappeared and started walking around the bar. He had changed into a pair of red short-shorts, a yellow t-shirt that exposed his midriff, and a pair of floppy slippers. Later I would notice they featured two small rabbits humping one another and that would cause me to laugh.

He spent perhaps ten or fifteen minutes with men interested in talking to him, accepting their kisses, gropes, and money in whatever combination they were offered. Finally, having made the rounds of the place, he turned and walked over to Eric and me.

He and Eric embraced momentarily and greeted each other with a quick peck on the lips.

“Great to see you, Eric; and who’s this you brought along?” he said, turning and smiling at me.

“This is Jimmy,” Eric replied. “I met him Friday night at the Hide and Seek. He’s new to Washington. Thank heavens for that. This city could use some new blood, especially cuties like Jimmy.”

“Jimmy, this is Bobbie.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said, extending my hand.

Looking at Eric momentarily, the two of them smiled at one another. Suddenly I realized I should have exchanged a peck with him instead of offering my hand. Even as I was realizing that, he shook my hand perfectly; not too hard or too soft, just right.

“Thanks; it’s nice to meet you, too, Jimmy,” he replied. “And by the way, I’m glad you survived my set. When you looked up after Eric pointed me out, I thought you were about to have a heart attack. I hope my performance didn’t shock you too much.”

“Um, well, sorry about that,” I apologized, shuffling my feet nervously. “It’s just that, uh, I’ve never been to this place before so seeing you dancing, uh . . . seeing you dancing in that . . . in that . . .”

“It’s called a g-string Jimmy,” he said, producing the thing from the back of his short-shorts and handing it to me. “Consider it a gift.”

“Um, well, thanks,” I said, staring at the thing.

“It’s, uh, it’s . . . kind of skimpy,” I continued, stammering. “I’ve never seen something that tiny.”

“Not that I’m saying you’re tiny,” I added, worried he might take what I said the wrong way. “The piece of cloth; that’s what I’m talking about being tiny, not you.”

Hearing that, Eric and Bobbie giggled and I started blushing again.

You’re making a fool of yourself, Jimmy. Stop it!

“But you looked great in it, that’s for sure,” I added, trying my best to recover. “And you’re a terrific dancer too.”

“Thanks,” he said. “You’d look great in it, too; the g-string, I mean. Try it on when you get home. It’ll look good on you. I promise.”

“Uh, well, I dunno; maybe I will. And, uh, I’ll try to find something of mine for you. I just don’t know what at the moment.”

Eric and Bobbie giggled again.

“Just don’t give me that shirt or those pants,” Bobbie said. “They look terrific on you. By the way, Eric, just where is Jimmy from?”

“Some small town in Massachusetts,” Eric replied. “He mentioned the name when we met, but I forget where exactly.”

“North Adams,” I said, looking at Bobbie. “Not that you’d know where that is or anything about the place. It’s a pretty small town and pretty boring too.”

“Never make too many assumptions, Jimmy,” Bobbie replied, smiling at me. “You’re actually wrong about that. I’m from Bennington myself; at least I was before I left two years ago. I don’t know much about North Adams, but I’ve been there and hopefully I’ll find out more now that I’ve met you.”

“It’s nice to meet someone from the old stomping grounds,” he added. “Not that I liked living in Vermont very much, of course; I probably would have liked it more if I knew someone like you was living close by. What brings you to Washington, Jimmy?”

By now I was beginning to relax a little. I wasn’t as nervous because Bobbie seemed friendly and easy-going, not stuck up at all because of his looks.

“Uh, well, nothing special,” I replied. “I was at loose ends. Last spring I graduated from high school and got a job at McDonald’s. I didn’t like it that much. Someone I knew was working for some guy running for Congress; and then, after the election, the guy offered my friend a job working for him in Washington.”

“My friend asked whether I wanted to come along so that’s what I did. I just got here around the end of January.”

“He’s looking for a job, Bobbie,” Eric interjected. “I told him you could probably help him get one here if he was interested. He’s cute enough, don’t you think?”

“Definitely,” Bobbie replied. “So what do you think, Jimmy? Would you like to get a job dancing here? I know the manager and I’m sure he’d hire you if I suggested it.”

“Uh, well, I’m not sure;” I replied, surprised. “Eric’s right about me needing a job, but I’m not sure being a dancer here would be the right job for me.”

“Why not?” Bobbie asked.

“Uh, well, I’m not a very good dancer for one thing,” I replied. “I mean, I know how to dance, but I’m nowhere near as good as you, Bobbie; and, uh, I’ve never danced the kind of way you were dancing either. Back in North Adams, I’d probably get thrown in jail for dancing like that.”

Suddenly the thought of me dancing like Bobbie and getting tossed into jail made me giggle. That caused Bobbie and Eric to giggle as well.

“Yeah; I hear you,” Bobbie said. “I know how kids are expected to dance in places like North Adams and Bennington. But the dancing itself isn’t that hard. If you focused on my dancing, you probably noticed there weren’t that many moves.”

“I didn’t notice,” I responded. “I guess my attention was focused elsewhere.”

And then, before I could make any effort to suppress it, I started blushing again.

“Didn’t I tell you he was too much?” Eric said, looking at Bobbie; and then the two of them started to giggle again.

“It’s okay,” Bobbie said, turning serious. “I’m used to guys looking elsewhere. You don’t have to be embarrassed about it. That’s the whole point of dancing at a place like Head and Tails; so guys can look. But like I said, the dancing itself isn’t that hard. I could teach you the basic moves in about twenty minutes. You’d have to practice, but it comes pretty easily if you do.”

“Um, well, thanks for the offer,” I replied; “but even if I learned all the moves, I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to stand up in front of so many men half-naked. As you can see from how much I’ve been blushing, I’m pretty easily embarrassed.”

“You get used to it pretty quickly,” Bobbie said. “I love dancing, but I don’t dance here regularly. It’s just that my . . . uh . . . my friend, is that the term we’re using Eric? My friend is going to be in D.C. for the next couple of months on business. He asked me to come along, but I made him promise to let me dance here occasionally and he was amenable to that.”

“The owners of this place like to schedule me for off-peak hours because word gets around and I have a pretty sizable following,” he added. “Don’t I, Eric?”

“You do,” Eric agreed. “If Charles knew just how big a crowd you have today, he’d probably be here this afternoon keeping an eye on you.”

“He would,” Bobbie agreed, “but he wouldn’t stop me, of course. He likes to watch people watching me.”

“In any event, like I said, you get used to it,” Bobbie added, turning his attention back to me. “I mean, the men staring at you. You just have to pretend you’re walking around in a swimming suit. That wouldn’t make you nervous, Jimmy, would it?”

“No,” I agreed.

“And I can’t say for sure, but it looks like you have a nice body, at least as far as I can tell,” Bobbie added. “So you shouldn’t be embarrassed to show it off. You’re cute, Jimmy; and like they say, if you got it, flaunt it. That’s what I do.”

“Uh, thanks,” I said, happy Bobbie considered me cute. “I’m okay looking; you’re cute. Beyond cute, really; but even if I didn’t embarrass easily, I doubt my friend would be happy to see me dancing here.”

“My, uh, my friend is possessive, too, just in a different way,” Bobbie responded. “I’m sure yours would get over it soon enough, especially if we buy you a pole and teach you how to pole dance for him at home.”

I wasn’t sure what Bobbie was talking about, but something about the notion of dancing for Jeff almost naked embarrassed me.

“I’m not sure about that, Bobbie,” Eric interjected. “It’s a long story, but I’m not sure Jimmy’s friend would react that way.”

“I see,” Bobbie replied. “I guess you’d know better than me; and it’s not like I’m insisting in any event. I was just trying to do both the owners of this place and Jimmy a favor. If he doesn’t want to dance here, I’ll understand.”

“There are some other jobs around the place he could do. They don’t pay very much, but we can talk about that some other time. In any event, I’ve got to get ready for my next set. I guess I should let you and Jimmy leave.”

I was disappointed to hear that. I was enjoying talking to Bobbie. I liked him. He was nice. Left to my own devices, I would have probably stayed for his second set. But then Eric told me the owners of the place wouldn’t be happy if Bobbie spent his time talking to us rather than mingling with customers.

“They’re paying Bobbie a fortune to dance here,” he whispered into my ear. “They need to make it back by keeping him focused on the customers.”

Taking me by the arm, Eric turned me around and the two of us started to walk away.

“Eric,” Bobbie said.

“Yeah,” Eric responded, turning around and looking at him.

“Did you invite him to our club meeting on Thursday?”

“I haven’t yet, but I will,” Eric said. “I mentioned the club to him last Friday night and told him about our meeting tomorrow. I’ll tell him more about the special meeting on our way back to his place. Are you still planning to send the limo around to pick us up?”

“Of course,” Bobbie replied. “How else would you and the rest of the boys get there?”

I was confused by the final words the two of them had exchanged, but figured Eric would explain what they were talking about when the time was right.

****

“Let me quickly show you around some of the rest of this place,” Eric suggested. “It’s not just this bar.”

“Over here, for example, we have the movie theater,” he added, pushing another door open and ushering me into the darkened room.

Looking up at the screen, I was shocked. There was a boy down on his knees sucking an older guy. There were maybe five or ten men watching the movie and one of them was pretty obviously whacking off.

Eric quickly ushered me back outside.

“Unbelievable,” I said.

“What?” Eric asked.

“Didn’t you see that guy in there whacking off?”

“Which one?” Eric said, grinning at me. “I saw a couple of guys doing that. That’s what they pay the admission for. To jerk off while watching dirty movies; and, hell, that movie wasn’t even that dirty. I’ve seen that one a million times and all it has is plain vanilla sex.”

“You should see some of the stuff they show in there,” he continued, grinning. “You wouldn’t believe your eyes.”

“I’d ask the projectionist to play one,” he added, “but I wouldn’t want you to have a heart attack.”

Walking me down to still another room, he opened the door and I peered in. I saw a bunch of men hunched over little machines.

“Peep shows,” Eric, said, nodding at the machines; “it’s amazing what you can see for a couple of quarters.”

“This place is really a dive,” I said, shocked.

“It is; and I haven’t even shown you everything,” Eric replied, grinning. “It’s a dive, but it’s also one of the most popular places in Washington for people like us. I should take you to the Olympus Bath House down the road and show you that. That’s another dive and some of the stuff that goes on there is still kind of shocking even to me.”

“It’s just that I can’t take you there today. I have to see someone in a little while so I guess I should be walking you home.”

With that we left the building.

****

“So I’m confused, Eric,” I said on the walk back to Capitol Hill. “You were going to explain what a daddy is to me today. And what’s this special meeting you and Bobbie were talking about?”

“Are you sure you really want to know?” Eric asked. “I mean, you may not like some of what you hear.”

“I understand,” I responded, “but I want to know. Back in North Adams I thought I understood things pretty well. But it’s different here in Washington. There are times when I feel like I’m living in a part of Washington that isn’t really Washington at all. I know that probably doesn’t make very much sense, but that’s how I feel and I need friends like you and Bobbie to help me better understand all of this stuff.”

“Okay,” Eric sighed. “How do I explain daddies? I guess it’s about economics as much as anything else; probably more than the sex actually.”

“Economics?” I asked, confused.

“Exactly,” Eric continued. “A daddy is an older man with money who likes younger boys, usually boys still in their teens like us. If he likes a particular boy enough and the boy is willing, he’ll become the boy’s daddy. That means he’ll provide the boy with a place to live as well as food, clothing and the other necessities of life the boy might not otherwise be able to afford. Understand?”

“I guess,” I replied, trying not to reveal how shocked I was. It sounded kind of like my relationship with Jeff in some ways.

“And, uh, usually the boy pays his daddy back by having sex with him; that means bottoming for him most of the time. He becomes the older man’s boy toy.”

Thank God, I said to myself. I’m not bottoming for Jeff. That alone makes it different.

“For the older man it’s about sex and companionship with someone younger and cute,” Eric continued; “and for the boy it’s about the security that comes from knowing he doesn’t have to worry about all the things his parents took care of when he was growing up. But when you cut to the chase, it’s about money and the science of money is called economics.”

“I see,” I said, still in shock from what I was hearing. “I mean, what about friendship; do the boy and the man like one another; love another?”

“Oh child, child, child,” Eric said, smiling at me. “What does love have to do with anything? I mean, if you ask them when they’re together, they’ll tell you they love one another. And some of the older men do actually love their boy toys; but the boys? Most of the time they’re only too happy to run off with anyone who offers them a better deal. Wouldn’t you?”

“No,” I replied, firmly. “I wouldn’t. Jeff isn’t my daddy. He’s my friend.”

“I’m sure he is,” Eric said. “And it’s good you call him your friend. Most daddies don’t like being called daddy so usually their boy toys will use the term boyfriend or friend instead of daddy.”

“I see,” I responded.

“Chicken hawks are more honest about the whole thing I think,” Eric added. “They pay cash to have sex with their boys. The boys don’t live with a chicken hawk or owe him anything except what they’ve agreed on.”

“Most of the boys into servicing chicken hawks hang out at that bar I mentioned called the Café Palermo,” he added. “It’s over on New York Avenue although sometimes you’ll see them at Exiles & Castaways, Head and Tails, or the baths on the weekends; whereas a lot of boys with daddies live over here on Capitol Hill and hang out at the Hide and Seek instead.”

“I see,” I said, surprised to hear all of this. “And you think Jeff is my daddy; is that it?”

“I didn’t say that,” Eric replied. “Or, yes, I did say that last Friday night, but that’s before I got to know you better. Honestly, I don’t know what to think about your relationship with Jeff; and it’s not like you have to tell me either. I’m not asking. But usually daddies are older than Jeff; some over thirty but most of the time daddies are forty or older like Bob and Charles.”

“And, uh, usually daddies are into topping their boys, not bottoming for them. That’s another difference in your case; and by the way, just so you know, even though Bob is my daddy, he’s never topped me. Like I’ve said before, we rarely have sex at all.”

I appreciated the fact Eric was being honest with me and was glad to know he wasn’t bottoming for Bob. It made me feel like we shared something in common.

I wonder if Bobbie bottoms for Charles?

“And you said you’re bisexual, Jimmy, so that’s still a third difference because most boys with a daddy are just into men.”

“As for the club, I’ve already told you about that,” Eric continued. “The special meeting on Thursday is just a chance for us to visit Bobbie’s place out in Virginia. It’s a very cool place and we always have lots of fun when we visit; and there’ll also be a fashion show that Bobbie is arranging for us.”

“A fashion show?” I asked, confused.

“Don’t ask,” Bobbie replied, grinning. “You’ll have to see it to believe it.”

By that time the two of us had reached my place.

“Do you want to come in?” I asked. “I still have a million questions to ask.”

“I would, but, like I said, I’m meeting someone shortly. By the way, did you like Bobbie?” Eric asked, changing the subject.

“I did; I liked him a lot.”

“That’s good because he likes you.”

“He does? How do you know?”

“You’ll just have to take my word for it right now,” Eric replied.

“In any event, I enjoyed having lunch with you and then visiting Head and Tails,” he continued. “We should do it again sometime. But for now, don’t forget what I told you. You need to ask Jeff about an allowance and an open relationship; and you need to let me know whether you’ll be coming to the club meeting tomorrow. Okay?”

“Sure,” I replied.

****

Walking into the house, I decided to take a nap. Between lunch and all the walking, I was tired. Jeff wouldn’t be home for a couple of hours and what I had planned for dinner wouldn’t take long to pull together.

Climbing the stairs to the top floor of our place, I walked into the bedroom Jeff and I shared, pulled off my shirt and carefully hung it up. As I started to unbutton my pants, my hand brushed against one of the pockets and I felt the bulge.

Given how busy the afternoon had been, I had completely forgotten that I had shoved the g-string Bobbie had given me into one of the pockets.

Pulling the thing out of my pants, I stared at it for a couple of moments, admiring the colors. The stripes provided a colorful pattern to the thing. I don’t know why, but I placed it against my nose and sniffed. It had a distinctive odor, Bobbie’s odor, and I recall liking the smell. There was something vaguely familiar about it and then I realized what it was.

There wasn’t a lot of it by any means; it wasn’t like he had gotten off in the thing. But looking closely I spied one or two small spots of telltale evidence and sniffed those as well. I had been right. They were what I thought they were.

Try it on when you get home. It’ll look good on you. I promise, Bobbie had said.

That was all the persuasion I needed. Quickly stripping off the rest of my clothes, I stepped into the thing and pulled it around my waist. Looking into the mirrors, I could see that it fit me. But something was missing.

Placing my hand on the pouch, I quickly aroused myself.

Staring at the resulting bulge in the mirror it was hard to tell whether mine was larger or smaller than the bulge that had previously occupied the space. I tried imitating Bobbie’s dance moves, but quickly realized mine weren’t nearly as sexy as his.

Lying down on the bed, I closed my eyes. I felt a hand touching the pouch and pretended it was Bobbie’s hand. I liked the feel of his hand and soon enough it was riding my shaft up and down.

A thumb and a finger circled the area where the tip and the shaft joined together. By now it was easy to imagine they were Bobbie’s lips.

Do it, Bobbie, suck my cock.

Oh, Jesus, Bobbie, it feels so good; I’m going to cum in your mouth.

Stop, Jimmy, still another voice whispered; you need to save it for Jeff.

But by then it was too late. I could feel the stuff climbing the shaft and exploding into the pouch.

Oh, Jesus, great; that was a waste.

Yeah, but you enjoyed it, didn’t you, Jimmy? And guess what?

Bobbie probably knew you would do something like that when he gave it to you.

He knows you like him; and Eric says he likes you too.

What do you think of that, Jimmy?

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 13

  1. Good chapter. Jimmy is getting a first class education, even if it is more than a little of a shock to him. It will be interesting to see how he deals with this.

    1. And that’s what we’re coming to, Captain, although perhaps more slowly than should be the case in retrospect.

      I think I may have made a mistake in spending so much time on the build-up and too little on what comes next. But, like the saying goes, it is what it is.

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