An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA by Riley Jericho

Author's Note

A personal note from the author:

With its real to life characters, ‘An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA’ is an account that’s been patiently waiting – and a heartfelt thanks to all those who’ve continued to 'hang' around for it!

We started to put it on paper several years ago and it was being published on the old eFiction section of GA. Was it any good? Well, I’m British and it’s genetically impossible for our culture to even THINK something we’ve done ourselves might be good, let alone come out and SAY it! J  - but I know a great many were reading it and giving reviews…I know, I know - they were probably just showing pity!

So why did I - we - stop writing?

Not going to dwell on that much here – but suffice it to say, I never quite expected to be personally experiencing the types of hard situations that we were narrating!

Some tough times meant I didn’t write for a year. Anything.  But, after completing ‘In Safe Hands’ (and I recommend you read that at some point as it provides quite a bit of background to ET), I think I’m ready to come back to it and be part of finishing the telling of a tale that was never actually mine, but Luke’s.

I think I have to point out that ET wasn’t without controversy when it was first published. There are some difficult bits – some said even a bit shocking. I don’t apologise for them, but give fair warning.

If the reality of same-sex relationships distressed you, then I guess you wouldn’t be here. Also, despite the arguably contentious title, the story isn’t about circumcision per se; different people see that in different ways, so let’s not argue about it. Rather, ET is about Luke Summers; a very ordinary young man, moving from the UK to the USA; crossing from one culture to another, and discovering more than he expected, both about the world around him and about himself in the process.

I’ve always tried to take the basic flow of the rambling notes I had, to recreate them into a narrative that remains readable but, frequently, the only way to adequately tell it ‘how it was’ has been to put Luke’s scribbles in just as they are.

I hope you’ll keep following  - just add yourself to the story follow list to make it easy - and that you’ll give feedback on each chapter as it gets published, on what I hope will be a regular basis.

Thank you for reading!

1. Chapter One (Story Prologue)

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho


Extract from Luke's notes:

You know, when I began this and started telling you my story, it was a lot harder than you think to know where to begin. Start at the beginning, people always tell you. Sure—but actually knowing where that is...well, that's another thing altogether!

But harder still is not just knowing where to start, but why

A wise old lady once told me this: if something bothers you and the darkness threatens and frightens you, then write about it. Write it down in all its horribleness, and then burn it in a fire. Watch it go up in smoke and become nothing.

So I know why I'm starting, and I hope you'll stay with me to the end. As to where to start? Well, I'm going to start here—right in the middle! It's not the beginning, but then it's as much a beginning for me as anything in the things that affected me and those close to me during that time.

What things? Well for that, you'll have to keep reading.

 I know, I know...I'm already not making any sense!

So let's just start at the place where I was just then, lying on a surgical couch wondering—just a little bit—if I really was doing the right thing!

The rest I leave to you...

* *  *

Luke Summers watched it all with increasing fascination, or was it dread. He was almost forgetting to breathe as, around about him, things kicked into action. The room was filled with the urgency of medicine: the sounds of sterile packages being torn open and latex gloves snapping over hands.

It was cool in there.  Above and behind him, he glanced back to see the air-vent which hummed, efficiently intent on spilling cold air right on top of him.  He folded his arms protectively and glared at it. Everyone appreciated air-conditioning, especially on warm days like that one, but he was feeling uncomfortably chilly. In retrospect he was thankful he’d got to hang on to his tee. Everything else bar a pair of dark grey ankle socks was gone.

He frowned at the doctor and his assistant as they bustled around.

I’ll bet he hasn’t had to lie here with no clothes on!

He tried not to let it get to him as he lay back on the surgery couch, waiting as he was ignored and left to shiver on the surgeon’s table. But it wasn't just the cold that touched him; there was anticipation, and quite a bit of anxiety now, too!

All the comfortable sofa based discussions, and easy, exploratory chats were over. Gone too were the information leaflets and the websites, the options and the decisions. Past were the weeks—months, actually—of waiting. Tomorrow had become today, and he was out of time. With the two of them donning surgical gowns, it seemed all too immediate, and Luke almost regretted asking his mum to wait outside.

The nurse adjusted the strong medical light, focusing the beam directly onto him. She was pretty, had surprisingly small hands, and was uncomfortably young-looking in the eyes of a guy whose dick had been unavoidably put on show, lit up like Nelson's Tower at night!

Not that his shrunken dick looked anything like that, and for that Luke was relieved!

After applying some topical anesthetic around the base of the shaft in preparation for injections, the surgeon flexed his fingers in his surgical gloves and drew closer to take hold of Luke's dick.

Luke gritted his teeth and shuddered as the man attempted to ease the blunt instrument in an exploratory manner past the constricted tip, under his foreskin and around the sensitive head. Luke tried not to move, but the probing was quickly moving the dial on the scale from sensitive to lip gnawing!

The surgeon took no notice and seemed to be focused on the task in his hand. As the end of the blunt spatula began to disappear through the tip and was slid from side to side inside, he murmured, "I’m checking to see if there are any adhesions."  As he continuing to dig around, Luke started to squirm and he bit back a squeak!

Adhesions? He had no idea what that meant and nobody explained as the flat, cold, chrome steel instrument scraped as it penetrated further under his foreskin.

BLOODY HELL!  Now it really hurt!

Frankly, this was the reason he was here—he’d never in his whole life had anything under there. In fact, until recently, he didn’t even know that ‘under there’ even existed! Thankfully, the pretty assistant came to his rescue.

“Dad…” she said, catching his attention.

Dad? He struggled to get his head around that!

The doctor looked up. Thankfully he followed her eyes and either finally noticed Luke was squirming, or saw that his fingers were gripping the sides of the bed fiercely enough to tear the sheets! Gently he withdrew the unwelcome tool.

"Oh, I’m so sorry Luke." He offered an apology and sat back on his stool. “Let's just wait for a little numbing before I do any more of this shall we?"

Numbing sounded good!

Luke nodded, grateful for the reprieve those few minutes offered, but still looked apprehensively at the tray that the girl was preparing.  From sterile wrappings, she extracted an assortment of sharp, pointy-looking tools, a syringe and needles. The realization that a woman—of the girl type—was going to be helping during the procedure, watching, and maybe even touching his genitals, became secondary. It was all the sharp stuff on the tray that was getting his attention!

To avoid dwelling on any of it, he looked away to explore the rest of his surroundings.

This compact surgical unit had been built into the center of the same complex where the doctor had his office. There were no windows…which made sense. Few would really want to lie out in the open and have the window cleaner stare in at their bits!

They’d put the back of the couch up a bit, so he could watch.

Damn right! He didn’t want to miss a thing.

From knees to navel, his groin was covered by some kind of green sterile towel, with a hole cut in the middle. Poking out of the center rested his wanger, shriveled by apprehension. It was rather like watching the repeats of the hospital soap, Casualty, that aired on the BBC channel they got on cable over here. Except he was the patient! His whole groin had been painted with some dark, yellowy-orange stuff, and the bright light made his penis glow like a fluorescent beacon, bobbing around in a sea of green.

The smell was off-putting and his nose flared at the strongly antiseptic aroma of the surroundings. In many ways, it reminded him of visits to the dentist, but glancing down, the comparison kind of ended right there. While they waited a few moments more for the topical spray to have some effect, the doctor explained something that Luke was just coming to realize for himself.

"One thing I need to prepare you for, Luke," he said, all businesslike again. "As you've never been able to retract your foreskin, it’s going to take some getting used to.”

Luje frowned. “You mean it’ll look different?” 

Wasn’t that the whole point?

“Yes of course, but that’s not what I meant. It’s quite likely—and quite normal—that you’ll find it uncomfortably sensitive around the glans of your penis for some time after this procedure. Eventually it will settle down, so in the meantime don't worry about it. But don’t be surprised if, for a few weeks, you jump every time something rubs there."

Luke tried not to smirk and betray his secret thoughts. That was a laugh—it was usually HIM that did the rubbing!

He regretted it almost immediately as the niggling worry resurfaced: what if, in the middle of the whole thing, his dick took on an embarrassing mind of it own, and he threw a chub? Did that kind of thing ever happen in situations like this? Thankfully, not to him that day. With the cold room, the anxiety, and the onlookers, he seemed to be okay.

At least the upside of it was that, not counting his family, it was really only the doc and his assistant—his daughter—who knew he was there.

Of course, something horrific could still happen…like he could be standing in the queue with his friends at McDonalds the following day, and this same pretty young lady (with everyone listening in and laughing), could tap him on the shoulder and ask him how his penis was doing.

That had to be the stuff of nightmares!

No, what he was having done was personal, and he wasn’t planning on telling anyone else; at least not yet. He’d been careful to make sure none of his friends knew where he’d come today. Not even his closest friend, Ryan. It was better that way.

He looked across, apprehensive once more as the doctor reached into the tray the girl held out for him: the one carrying a syringe bearing that unpleasant looking needle. Holding it vertically he tapped it and expressed a short stream of fluid.

The reprieve was over. Luke wanted him to get on with it, but wasn't looking forward to this next bit. At all!

Shortly after that, and after the device had been placed in position and locked, the urologist took up a blade.

"OK, young man.” He studied Luke expectantly. “It’s the point of no return.” His warm, encouraging smile was in stark contrast to the razor-sharp scalpel he was holding. “Ready?”

Luke grinned at last, and nodded enthusiastically. It had been quite a journey for him to get to the table of a circumcision specialist in Atlanta.  Once he started to cut, there would be no going back. Was he really ready?

Hell, yes!

He’d been ready for months!

2. New Beginnings

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

New Beginnings

Luke skipped quickly out of the end of English, the last lesson of that morning and made a beeline for the nearest exit that would get him out of the building and onto the path that would take him to lunch.

He tended not to eat the cafeteria food much, perhaps only a sandwich or salad if he ate at all.  Why would he, when his Mum's cooking waited for them at home at the end of the day?  

So was he hungry that day? Hardly! Frankly, he couldn't have even pecked at a salad. Butterflies winged around his innards, and even a lettuce leaf felt like too much! For the umpteenth time that morning, he checked his watch. His mum would be arriving soon, and having hardly eaten any breakfast either, he knew he would regret it in an hour or so if he didn't grab at least a bite of something, even though he didn’t want to.

"Luke! Wait up!"

Luke turned to see Ryan hurrying after him across the neatly trimmed lawn, cutting the corner of the pathway to catch him up. The way his friend was motoring, you’d think the school cafeteria was giving away free food.

Dragging his backpack with one hand, Ryan waved the other. "Slow up, can't ya?" 

With a silent groan, Luke accepted the inevitable. So much for his intention to eat fast and slip away quietly! Reluctantly, he slowed his pace and tried not to let the irritation show as he waited for Ryan to catch up.

"What the hell’s gotten into you today?" Ryan scowled at him, slinging his backpack over his shoulder as he drew alongside.

Luke glowered. "Nothing's up with me. Why would anything be up with me?" He realized he was sounding too defensive and softened his tone. "I just wanna eat—no law against that is there?"

"So why the rush?” Ryan demanded. He looked suddenly suspicious. “Don't tell me you've got a detention? You’ve been acting really weird all morning!"

"Don't be an asshole; why would I be in detention?" Briskly, Luke waved it off and began walking at a normal pace as they strolled past the old Art block and towards the cafeteria which loomed ahead of them. He'd always compared the school’s cafeteria to a rather posh version of a motorway service station; predictable and overpriced, as if the school didn’t already get enough money from their tuition fees!

And God forbid if you should forget to clear your plates away! 

The pair joined the still short line, both selecting only a simple sandwich and a drink can. Everything else on offer looked…well, enough said. They found an empty table, then made room for Simon and two of his ninth-grade freshmen friends, Toby Skerrit and Mason Quince, all having joined the line not far behind them.

Luke picked at his ‘meal’ with little of the healthy enthusiasm Simon had for his enormous plate of fries. As he usually did, Toby had brought sandwiches from home, but he was currently helping Simon with his lunch anyway. The Summers brothers exchanged a covert glance, before Simon checked his watch. They both knew their mum would be arriving soon.

“I watched the game last night,” announced Mason with his mouth full. “Man U v. Liverpool!”

‘Grinny Boy’, as Luke often referred to Mason Quince, was into soccer big time, despite having only discovered real football only four months ago now that UK Soccer League games were available on cable. A nice-hearted kid who smiled at everyone, his older brother, Todd, was a classmate of him and Ryan.

Luke rolled his eyes, amused to hear Mase talk about ‘Man U’ like some seasoned pro on the terraces. There was enough of that with their dad, with his blind faith that Arsenal were sure to top the Premiership that year! Despite being—as Luke had recently discovered through a handy google widget—4,204 miles from London, his dad still religiously followed the team he'd supported from childhood.

Simon, however, seemed happy to pick up the topic and the two discussed the game. Ryan, sitting on the end, had that look. The one that said. 'Brits! Strange people. And who the hell cares about soccer anyway?'

After hanging back on the edge of the conversation for a few more minutes, keeping himself from getting bogged down, Luke covertly peeled back his shirt sleeve one more time to check his watch.

At last, it was time.

To no one in particular, he muttered, "I just gotta go do something...I'll catch you guys later." Simon flicked him a knowing look, before turning back to the others to continue the soccer lesson.

Checking that nobody was following, Luke hurried to his locker in relief, knowing that Simon had understood and would do his best to keep Ryan and the others occupied for a while yet. Gathering up his gear, he quickly stuffed it all into his backpack before making his way straight to the school reception.

True to her word, his mum was already waiting.

A few minutes later, he was buckling himself into the family minivan as they headed out of the parking lot.

His mum was upbeat and chatty as she drove the two of them, and he was grateful for the distraction. Soon, she settled down to navigating her way down onto the freeway, and he sat back, musing about how he’d got to what he hoped would be the final leg of the journey; the journey that had probably started five years previously and four thousand and two hundred odd miles away in seat 23D.

* * *

Nearly five years since they emigrated. Five years already?

Where had all the time gone?

It had been 2003, and he’d been eleven at the time and getting ready to start into year seven—his first year of senior school back in England. An ordinary kid from an ordinary suburb, the Luke Summers back then lived what he felt was an ordinary but perfectly acceptable life.

That is, until his dad had totally RUINED it! At least that was what it had felt like. He vividly remembered the day when they—his mum and dad—had sat him and Simon down and calmly informed them that they were moving.

Moving? Where?

He'd immediately started calculating the probable suburb, wondering how big his room would be, if he’d still be able to walk to school or whether he’d have to take the bus, and most importantly, wondered what time would he have to get up to make it in!

Then they’d dropped the bombshell. We're moving to America, they'd said.

Pull the other one! He honestly thought they were having him on!

“‘It’ll be good for all of us,” they had both added enthusiastically. “A bit last minute,” they agreed, but it would be new start; a better life for all of them.

His dad worked in the overseas finance section of one of the big banks, and had been asked to go work in some obscure department on the US side. Lo and behold, he and their mum had decided to accept.

And that was it. There was no give and take, nor any suggesiton of a 'dinner table family discussion' that they always said was really important. The company had already bought the plane tickets that would take Luke from his comfortable way of life in the South of England, to make a new one in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

He had been totally fucking livid!

A new life? What the hell was wrong with the OLD one—the one where HE HAD A LIFE!! 

“NO! Tell them you WON’T DO IT,” he had screamed. “They can't make you!”

His parents had been firm. “It's already decided,” they’d said.

“It’s all about you isn’t it!” he’d raged impotently. “It’s always about you! What about what I want—or Simon? Why do I even bother being in this fucking family?”

He’d got away with swearing at them once because of the circumstances, but when he did it again, his mum came down on him like a ton of bricks. After that he’d resorted to an angry silence. They’d complained that he was just being difficult and needed to pull himself together and help them pack.

Difficult? Well tough titties!

None of it had changed the inevitability of seat 23D in the middle section of the Delta flight from Gatwick to Atlanta. He’d never been in a plane before, but was so pissed off that he’d refused to enjoy even that!

He continued to give his parents the silent treatment the whole flight, eating the crappy nuts and ignoring the even crappier movies. The four of them had finally touched down at Atlanta Hartsfield airport around nine hours later, with the sum total of eight cases and four pieces of carry-on. And it was still only the middle of the afternoon!

Even then, it had taken bloody hours to get through customs.

None of his mood was improved by the slow inching of the line while he waited to get to the desk. There were visas, questions about work permits, and a single ray of hope when the official looked through his spanking brand-new passport and stared at him intently. 

He'd glowered back defiantly, tempted to say something unpleasant.

Go on, throw me out—do us both a favor!

But, instead of putting him on a plane back to where he rightly belonged, the official had brought his stamp down in final judgment.

Sitting for nine hours and then waiting in endless lines had been exhausting. By the time they’d taken the packed underground train through the terminals, and been herded up the escalator into the main arrivals, even he was glad to see the man with the sign with their name on it.

Recovering their eight cases from the conveyor belts, they were driven on the wrong side of the road from the airport, through an unfamiliar city, straight to the house which, on their behalf, the bank had already arranged as temporary accommodation.

They rented there for several months before eventually buying a home of their own. The rest of their belongings were either being held in long-term storage in the UK or were to be shipped across by container. A lot of it he never ever saw again.

But stuff was just stuff. What had really pissed him off was being made to leave all his friends, his school, and the familiarity of his world, to be dropped in the US just north of Atlanta.

Maybe 'dropped' didn’t cover it. DUMPED was better—dumped in a crap place, where he had no friends and no fucking life!

Now okay, eventually even he’d had to admit that the house they finally bought wasn't bad. It wasn’t that their family had lived in some pokey three-bedroom semi in the UK. Far from it, and he'd always thought their old house was pretty good. But this…? Compared to ‘normal’ houses in the UK, this was something else!

They'd sold their UK home easily enough and, with the comparative housing market values and a good exchange rate, his dad had been ecstatic. They did the rounds with realtors, looking at properties and, by that time, even Luke showed some enthusiasm when it came to deciding which one they would buy.

Typically, his dad had been all for ‘investing’ in something that was still only on the market because nobody else wanted it. ‘Do-er Up-ers’, he euphemistically called them. That way, he told their mum, they’d reap the benefit of taking the chunk of change that would be left and investing it for the future.

Thankfully, she wasn’t interested in any of those properties and had short-listed three that nearly made his dad choke!

But she got her way, and they'd ended up in a big place; it was detached, with an enormous backyard and a lawn that actually needed a ride-on mower to cut it all! They even had a huge, airy basement with more square footage on that one level than could be found in most ordinary houses in England.

Their house was a relatively new build, and, unlike many of the other wooden, flaky-paint houses they'd toured, it was brick built. Everything seemed more spacious and more open plan than any of the places he remembered back in England. There was even a huge, open, wood-burning fireplace, though after they experienced the sweltering heat of a Georgia summer for the first time, he had no idea what the hell anyone would need with one!

Gone too were the days of queuing up for the loo!

There was a big family bathroom but, on top of that, his parents’ room also had its own en-suite, and he and Simon even shared a bathroom just for them, set between them and accessible from either of their bedrooms.

Did everyone here live like this, he wondered? He didn’t really know, but grudgingly appreciated the house anyway. Okay, if he had to live there for a bit, all in all, it was bloody good!

At first, he had prayed that his dad's job would be temporary; a year maybe? A year would be okay, he decided...with a trip down to Disney World to top it off. After a year, he could still go back to his friends and his old life. Everyone would think it pretty cool and welcome him back like a well-travelled hero, letting him drop instantly into everything as it had always been.

But the year passed; and then another passed; and then more, until it was becoming entirely possible that they might be staying for good.

But, like all kids, he was more resilient than he realized. He and Simon had settled into their new life without really expecting to. More importantly for him, their house was in a sub-division close to where several of his newly-made school friends lived. They settled into that new school, too. A fee-paying, private school. The Academy.

An 'all boys' institution, The Academy had been chosen for them based on a number of recommendations through his dad's contacts at the bank. Schooling was high on his parent’s priority list Luke knew, and he learned in time that it had been one of the key factors for them (particularly for his mum) in deciding to move the family to the States in the first place. Though he hadn’t known it at the time, she'd been quite reluctant to uproot the family, but education pressed all her buttons.

Back in the UK, they had been attending the local comprehensive schools. The primary school had been okay, and he had been personally quite happy with the senior school, mainly because all his mates were going there.

Not his mum and dad. They were not impressed with it...not AT ALL!

In the transition from primary to senior school, they had tried hard to get him somewhere ‘better’, as they called it.  But ‘better’ was outside of their catchment area and, much to his personal relief, had been denied. 

So instead, they pulled a fast one and the family had cut loose and left the country in early June, pulling both of the boys out of school before the end of the school year. At the time, the only upside that he could see was that he missed having to take the stupid SATS!

It gave them the summer to settle in.

His dad was obviously being paid well in this new job, because they had enrolled the two of them at the rather swanky private school. Luke saw the price tag once and his chin had dropped! 

He and Simon were welcomed into the new school for the start of the sixth and fifth grades respectively for the new term beginning in mid-August—but not before both he and Simon had taken an entrance exam, and even been interviewed prior to being admitted.

The idea that you had to have some kind of 'getting in' test to go to school seemed ridiculous—as if anyone cared enough to want to be there that much!

And then to have to pay for that privilege each day, too? FREAKING MADNESS!

The test had been surprisingly ‘testing’. It took half the morning, covering various subjects and had put to bed his belief that American kids were all Hollywood airheads. He felt he'd done pretty crap and, despite his distaste of being in that country, was disappointed with himself (particularly because he knew Simon had probably aced it without even breaking a sweat).

Expecting the worst, it had been quite a surprise—and unexpectedly a relief—when they still accepted him. However, in the admission papers, some cold hard facts came to the fore. The first was that school started at 07:30 on the dot!

HOLY SHIT! He never even got out of bed until eight! He could even push it till 08:30 and still make it for nine if he missed the shower and legged it, but what bloody idiot decided to start school at 07:30 for fuck’s sake?

At least they were out by 2:30 in the afternoon, which was way better than 4.

Then it had been made clear that students at this school were expected to wear a uniform. Okay, no big deal, he'd been wearing school uniforms all his life. However, they also pointed out that for all students, including him, hair had to be well off the collar.

What kind of CRAP RULE was that he complained bitterly as he was sat down in the chair at the local hair salon!  The dirty blond locks were carefully tended to look unkempt, although he had to abide by his mum's rule that his hair had to be clean. Long, messy and slightly wavy, it had been his trademark look for years. He was Luke Oliver Summers and to his mates in England, Luke Oliver had been 'Lol', or more usually, Lolly. His hair was his look, and to be forced to have it cut down was a bunch of crap just because of a school rule! It was NEVER like that at his old place!

His mum, still irritated by his previous educators, said she wasn’t surprised and told the lady to cut it short and well off the ears!

However, despite early mornings and draconian hair regulations, Luke had to admit that the school wasn't that bad, and he quickly made friends with kids who seemed in awe of the British kid who used to live near London.

On the very first day of the semester (one of many new words that were tossed at him) his mum drove him to the main Middle and High School campus (Simon had started in the Elementary campus, several blocks away) The principal himself had met them at reception and escorted him to his new class. After being formally introduced, he’d sat down, as self-conscious as hell, with heads twisting all around the room to get a glimpse of him.

Even so, it really surprised him how friendly they were. That would never happen back in England! There, if a new kid arrived, it was better to treat them with a lot of suspicion until you found out what they were really like. New kids had to earn the right to join existing friend-groups. It took weeks, even months!

Here, they almost fell over themselves to welcome him and help him out if needed. His class size also dropped from thirty-three to twenty. It was actually surprisingly nice.

Living where they did just north of Atlanta, near Roswell, wasn't bad either. At first, usually his mum or dad drove them to school, or sometimes they caught a lift with someone else as they got to know them. Many of their friends from school lived nearby and there was a huge mall not far away, too.

Gradually it all grew on him.

One day, he realized he quite liked his life there; the people, the house, the friends, the school, the lifestyle, cable TV...even the weather was nice!

* * *

Extract from Luke's Diary:


If you ever want to know about the weather, then you could keep a Brit from the London area talking for hours.

Bottom line? The crap weather in the UK was something I did NOT miss.

Here, it was almost always sunny—about as sunny as it was wet in England, which meant going brown, not rusty! Mind you, sometimes it got TOO hot and sticky for comfort. Then, we were all thankful for air-con that kept the house cool and made it possible to sleep at night.

Water was a lifesaver too—swimming pools, I mean.

Sadly we didn't have a pool ourselves, but there was a communal one in our subdivision, and several of our friends had them in their backyards. It was all a million miles (well, not quite) from foggy London town where, with his passion for sailing, the only one who had ever spent much time on or in the water, was Simon.

The truth was, I didn’t plan on feeling settled at all – in fact, quite the opposite. Somehow, my new home kind of snuck up on me. The cranky emails back and forth with my friends in London became less frequent, until they just dried up. Life became familiar: the days, the places, the routine, the friends.

I remember during our second Christmas there, Mum reading out a bit of a letter that came with the card from her brother, asking us when we were next coming home. It struck me then that we were home, and I never really looked back.

Okay, the grass wasn't really proper grass—not like in England—and the red fire ants were bloody demons, but other than that, Atlanta had become where we belonged.

* * *

At the Academy, other than having to get in by 07:30 each day for Homeroom attendance to be marked off, what came as a complete shock to Luke was homework.

Lots of it!

All the freaking time! He got landed with two or three assignments a day, and more at weekends and, what's more, they were expected to even do it!

Good God, it was relentless! In his old school, they were sometimes given homework, but he and his friends always felt that it was up to them whether they bothered with it. Call it personal choice. If you didn't get round to it, who cared? Certainly not the teachers.

At the Academy, his expectations were radically realigned!

An official 'School Learning Contract' existed, though he never remembered being invited to sign anything. It was an agreement between those who taught (the teachers), those who learned (himself), and those who should be minding their own bloody business (his parents!). Outnumbered two to one, he didn't stand a chance.

Holy shit, he was only eleven, but it felt utterly brutal! If you didn't get it done or started lagging behind, there would be detention. If it deteriorated further, then parents would be called in and 'measures' taken.  Ya-de-ya-de-ya…whatever

However, after the first few times that happened, he was reeling in shock! They actually crapping well meant it, and expected you to 'achieve' at the Academy whether you liked it or not! Yet, by the following year, though he hated to admit it, his friends back in the UK wouldn't have recognized the new, shorthaired, rather sun-tanned Luke Summers, who studied hard and discovered he actually did have the ability to stay focused and achieve.

He even managed a social life. In fact, he even began to enjoy it!

How fucking ridiculous was that?!


3. In Flagrante Delicto

(translated as the act of getting caught with your pants down!)

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

In Flagrante Delicto
(translated as the act of getting caught with your pants down!)

It was half way through a typical day at school, late on in the year they were all in the eighth grade. During lunch recess on that day, as they waited for that day's Advisory, many of Luke’s class were crowded around Chris Anderson’s desk. On it, a magazine lay open.

Scott Landon pushed his way to the front, snatched it from the desk, and made out he was all over it. “OH FUCK, she can do that to me anytime!”

“So, we know what Scott’s gonna be doing tonight!” Cody Mitchell sniggered and made a ring shape with his thumb and finger, jerking it up and down. Everyone laughed, even Luke, though, as a somewhat naive thirteen year old, he hadn't the slightest clue what Cody was on about.

“Fuck off!” Scott colored and showed Cody where to stick it. "Does your mom know you're such a wanker?"

Luke looked more closely. The pictures were quite an eyeful; a porn mag that Anderson had smuggled into school from God knows where, they had it open at a page where a guy and a girl were squashed into the back of some car. Both were naked and she was straddling him and had hold of his thick, meaty boner.

Standing near enough so that he could see and hear, yet far enough away that nobody would ask his opinion, Luke was astounded. The couple were splashed across a double spread and the series of pictures that documented their encounter showed that, whatever she was doing, he really seemed to be enjoying it!

The finale in the gallery was a close up. She had her hand wrapped tightly around him, just under his enormous, skinned, bell-shaped end. Her long red fingernails contrasted both the deep purple flesh and the white stuff that she seemed to be squeezing from the tip. The camera caught a string of it, as it joined a puddle of the stuff on his stomach.

It didn’t look like pee—unless the guy had some disease, that was—but what it might be Luke unfortunately had no idea.

What bugged him was that while he had no clue what it was, picking up on the colorful descriptions being tossed around by Chris, Cody and the others, it seemed almost all the rest of them did! An uncomfortable lump formed in his trousers and, throughout the rest of the afternoon, the lasting vision of that rampantly proud wanger kept it there.

Now, he wasn’t a complete pinhead. He knew exactly what boners were and, as a 'not yet blooming, just turned thirteen-year-old', he got stiffies all the time. However, he guessed that the white stuff was going to be yet another thing that he'd grown up not knowing about. Maybe it was something that only cut guys did?

Later that evening, sitting alone on the toilet, he’d carefully experimented.

He was in for one hell of a BIG surprise as he copied what it looked like the girl had been doing, rubbing the loose skin up and down his shaft.

Before long, his tentative approach became bolder as he discovered some quite unexpected but incredibly delicious sensations. He was unprepared for what he was feeling and what was happening.  It caught him completely off guard. Unnerved, he’d stopped, zipped back up and scurried downstairs, convinced his mum would ask why he looked so guilty!

Ten minutes later he was back. Locking the door to the bathroom and not holding back this time, he’d squeaked as quietly as he could when he’d finally reached his very first climax and spunked out his own white stuff.

Along with that sticky goo, the deliciously pleasurable world of masturbation erupted into his previously naive experience. He never let on that he'd only just discovered it, but he’d been hooked onto his dick ever since, and now, like most teens, he jerked and jizzed whenever he needed.

Like most days!

* * *

Discovering that dicks were unbelievably useful for something other than for taking a pee, wasn’t by any means the first thing that had taken him by surprise in the USA.

There was a lot to learn!

It wasn’t just about driving on the wrong side of the road or navigating supermarkets the size of football pitches. There was new stuff almost all the time after they touched down at Hartsfield airport. Even school was a minefield of the unexpected—like his brand new football kit and the weird undies they all had to wear with a protective cup inside them to stop his winky from getting walloped! Jocks, they called them. And pants weren't undies anymore either. Pants were trousers!

Go figure!

It was all a lot to get his head around, but what he'd been even less prepared for was the world of the circumcised willy! In this respect, he discovered he was unlike everyone else of his age that he encountered.

Like everyone! In fact, until then, he had never even heard of the term ‘circumcised’, yet three days at the Academy was all that it had taken to totally upend his world.

Carting his brand new kit and following the rest of the kids having gym that period, he made it to the lockers to change for sport and his first exposure to American football. He'd felt awkward as he changed, and had fumbled around getting the newly acquired cup into place, eyes darting to his classmates for clues.

Despite that, he'd actually enjoyed his first outing onto the field, and had had a good time, though he had no idea what he was doing other than running into people and knocking them over!

Hell – there were a bunch of jerks in his old school that just LOVED doing that!

Full of excitable energy, they’d stripped off afterwards and, feeling one of the crowd, he'd followed them into the large but rather cramped shower block. It was then, through the shampoo, steam and lively banter of the dozens that surrounded him, that he noticed his very first clipped cock.

Taken aback, he immediately thought that the kid was somehow malformed! The guy's willy was short and rather fat, and where the tip was meant to be, the poor kid had a distinct mass; a weird lump of some kind.

Luke’s first thought was that perhaps it was a growth of some kind, like a tumor. Or then again, maybe the kid had been born that way? He'd cringed, thinking that it had to be impossible to pee through, and looked away quickly, embarrassed and knowing that the kid must feel bad enough without having people stare at him!

But, as the mass of both black and white eleven-year-old skin bumped and jostled for space under the showerheads, his eyes strayed further and boggled as it became apparent that they’d all been born that way!

Bloody hell! What the hell was wrong with them all?

Anyway (and forgive the pun) cutting a long story short, whatever it was about—and it took some time to finally figure it all out— it seemed that everyone, at least in his year it seemed, had, as they often described it, been skinned.

They seemed to have all kinds of names for it, like cut, clipped, skinned or unhooded, though the official term he eventually found out, was 'circumcised'. Further, while they all seemed to know a heck of a lot about it; when it had been done to them, why, and even how, whereas he was completely clueless!

Once the first weeks of courteous respect had passed and his school friends got to know him a bit more, the gloves slipped off a bit and he found himself being ribbed for the rather long, dangly piece of skin that hung off him.

Usually it wasn't mean, just a bit of dissing by guys who just could not believe he actually had a foreskin. Most admitted they had never even seen such a thing before and were totally bemused by the idea that nobody – like NOBODY – had been circumcised in his last school and that everyone looked like...well, like him actually.

Rather than be pissed, he was just amused by them. With half their willys cut off when they were babies, they had no idea how totally ridiculous their stubby little wieners, with neat little acorns perched on the top, actually looked! But there was no telling them—they were convinced that it was him that was somehow missing out.

‘Why not?’ was the question they often asked when he said he wasn’t skinned. ‘Don’t you have insurance?’

Insurance? What the hell had THAT got to do with it?

They just couldn't get that it was England was normal, and a place where kids had normal dicks. Dicks that ended with the skin bunched tightly together at the end where you pee’d from. Yet, the way they discussed him, he got the impression that they felt he was the one that had the problem and that he should probably get it fixed because, here, showing that ‘head’ as they called it, was the norm. Being unhooded (as they called it) was the only way of getting to it, and it was him that was the odd one out! End of!

It opened up lots to think about though, up until then, he’d never done much of that when it came to his dick. And when it came to school, before the move he'd happily undressed and showered with his classmates, without ever giving any of it a second thought. It wasn’t just circumcision, either. In fact nothing much at all to do with sex had entered his experience, and he certainly never talked about stuff like that at home with his parents.

Now he realized he never even knew what a foreskin was, let alone been friends with kids who apparently didn't have one! And, for reasons he was yet to discover, he still didn't know that the peculiar mushroom shape he was noticing also existed inside all the skin that hung off his own two inches.

So he happily ignored them, and while 'anteater’ was hardly his favorite term, a redeeming feature seemed to be that he was quite a bit longer than any of them. Life had gone on, and he and they with it as they'd all got used to each other.

It was the same when it came to school work.

In many subjects, like science and math, he was on a par with (or even slightly advanced beyond) the standard being taught. However, there were other areas in which he was a long way behind. History, for example, was mostly of the American type, and Geography mostly related to the States too. In those, he had a lot of catching up to do, but he did so, and gradually began to fit into the country and culture.

Another thing he got into, quite soon after they arrived was tennis.

The school was keen to convince parents that boys should be guided into taking up at least one extracurricular activity, whether that be sport focused or something else like music, or the drama society or the chess club. There were plenty of options.

He’d played a bit of tennis at his last school and, after having grown up not too many miles from Wimbledon and having watched a few Pete Sampras finals on the telly, he felt he had enough of a genetic connection to show them a thing or too.

Perhaps he wasn’t as good as he thought, but he practiced hard, and by the seventh grade he even made the team, earning himself the prize of a top-of-the-line racquet from a proud mum and dad!

Tennis had other benefits, too.

It wasn't uncommon for the full middle and high school squads to travel to regional tournaments, competing against other schools in the state. Those were great times, getting out and about, though what was more unusual for someone born on a small island was that it took so freaking long to get there!

On one occasion, during the spring semester of the eighth grade, they’d been away four days and three nights.

Leaving straight after school one Thursday afternoon, two full coaches carried them and all their equipment, plus teachers, coaches and various hangers-on. They’d driven for three or four hours before stopping over at a pre-booked motel. The next day, they’d spent half of it (school day as it was), visiting some sites of dubious historical interest, being made to write pages of copious notes on what they saw.

Their ‘school day’ complete, they got back on the bus, so as to arrive at their destination in the late afternoon. After being welcomed and fed, they’d been bedded down for the night close by at yet another motel that had been booked out by the school.

The matches had been good and, as was traditional, the host school (a private academy, similar to their own) had arranged a celebration on the Saturday evening. A special dinner, which was nice, was followed by a disco party, which was even better!

The culminating matches in the knockout competition for every age group were played on the Sunday morning, though neither he nor Ryan made it very far, so they’d cheered from the sidelines. After an early and simple lunch, it was back on the coach for the long, tedious drive home with few breaks. He’d slept for most of it because they’d stayed up late the night before, and he was totally knackered.

It had been a great trip, but it had still been three nights of sharing accommodations with four to a room and him having to share a double bed!

At the same time, having been happily and regularly spunking for nearly a year, enforced abstinence was a pain in the ass! Each day, he’d awoken uncomfortably stiff but could do nothing about it, other than sneak into the bathroom to shower and dress, hoping his morning wood wouldn’t be spotted. Even in the motel bathrooms, he was completely paranoid that he might be heard, and dared not deal with it.

They'd eventually made it back to Atlanta and he was relieved to be home for dinner. It was later that evening that Simon had walked in on him, right when he was stroking himself to a long awaited, and desperately needed, climax.

* * *

Extract from Luke's Diary:

Getting caught your with trousers down can put a real kink in your day. Even if it’s by your little brother.

Actually, ESPECIALLY if it’s by your little brother!

Si had caught on quite quickly...not hard when he bloody well walked in on me when I was right in the middle of squirting!

After a few months of giving it plenty of ‘practice’, I’d got jerking of downf to a fine art. On that fateful day—the day when Simon had walked in on me—I was just in the process of bringing to an end four days of holding it in.

Crap! Embarrassing or what!

* * *

After returning from the trip, his dad had picked up both him and Ryan in the school parking lot.  They, along with dozens of others, had disembarked and then crowded around getting their luggage from the belly of the bus. Tired but happy, they’d driven home in silence dropping, Ryan off on the way.

Once home, he’d eaten dinner, and had revived enough to become impatient as he’d tried to answer all their many questions, and there were plenty as they wanted to know how the trip had gone.

Eventually, feigning tiredness, he'd gone upstairs to unpack and probably have a bath. Knowing everyone was downstairs watching TV, he'd still locked the bedroom door and unpacked his bag before stretching out on his bed. He could have done it in the shower, but the bed was way more comfortable, and he took a few moments to shed some extra clothing. When he jerked, he preferred to take everything off—at least from the waist down. Underwear just got in the way.

Comfortably and ready to rumble, it didn’t take long as, just over a minute later, it was with some relief that that familiar, intense moment arrived. As he rode it through, spurting and grunting, something rather less welcome arrived, as Simon walked silently in, appearing through his side of the interconnecting doors—the one that led through to the bathroom they both shared.

The one he’d forgotten to lock!

He heard a sound, and out of the corner of his eye, Luke suddenly realized he wasn’t alone as he saw the surprised bemusement in Simon’s face as he caught Luke energetically making out with his stiff pole.

"Fucking hell!" Squealing frantically, he dived off the bed to scoop up his clothes from where he had dumped them. Covering his dick ineffectually with his hands, he burned scarlet. "GET OUT – I’M BLOODY GETTING CHANGED!"

But Simon wasn't having any of it. "That's not getting changed. You were playing with your willy!” He pointed to the freshly sprayed jizz that Luke was trying to wipe off with his boxers. “And what's that stuff?"

The cat was truly out of the bag, and Luke was at a complete loss to do anything other than to continue swearing wildly at his brother, who left in a bit of a huff!

Once he was dressed, Luke sat on the edge of his bed and tried to calm down and figure out if he should just kill himself now or wait till morning!

Fucking Hell! Why the hell hadn’t he locked the door?

Despite the humiliation of being caught with his trousers down, he knew it really wasn’t Simon’s fault and he should go apologize or something. At the very least he had to do some damage control. It could have been worse he knew; it could have been his mother who’d walked in, and that didn’t even bear thinking about!

Tentatively, he passed through the en-suite and tapped lightly on the door Simon had slammed behind himself on the way through. Slipping inside, he waited, feeling awkward. Simon was sat at his desk and remained studiously glued to a book, refusing even to acknowledge his presence.

"Look...I'm sorry,” Luke began. “I was just...well, I just didn't expect you to walk in like that."

"You should BLOODY WELL lock the door then!" Simon yelled, still refusing to turn and face him from where he was sitting at his desk, which, unlike Luke’s own, was always neat and tidy.

Luke cringed at the volume. “’re right! Keep your voice down, can’t you?” The last thing he need was their mum or dad coming and asking questions!  “I should have...and I said I was sorry!" He knew Simon like no other – and guessed his brother wouldn’t stay mad for long. It just wasn't in his nature.

“Sorry for what?” Simon was relentless, and remained fixated on the pages of his textbook.

Oh for God’s sake! “I’m sorry for swearing at you...okay?”

Simon put his pen down and relented. Swinging around, he glowered and then pursed his lips curiously. “Apology accepted. Now, what were you doing?”

Luke tried to brush it off. “Nothing – I was just getting changed.”

The attempt to pass it off fell on deaf ears. “You were playing with your willy, you dirty git, so don’t deny it! And what was that stuff?”

“What stuff?” Luke cringed at the recent memory of his jizz, splashed for all to see.


“You know what stuff!" Simon crossed his arms and waited. "I can always go and ask Mum if you want?”

CRAP! Caught by the short and curlies! But how the hell did you tell somebody about this kind of thing, Luke wondered? The birds and the bees talk. Wasn’t that the stuff parents were meant to do?

Just like they DIDN'T for you, he reminded himself.

It was true, the only way he’d found out about the most important thing he knew of that had to do with sex, was via some dirty mags. And they’d been brought in to school by guys who he hardly trusted at the best of times! Better it come from him, than that.

Simon continued to wait. "Well?"

Luke took a deep breath. "It's called masturbating...." he began. He used the more polite term, but still flushed at the admission he knew what it was and how to do it to.

The blank look he got back put to rest any hope that the mere use of the rather indecent term would be enough. It looked like Simon was as naive as he’d been! Resigned, he tried again. "Okay...well have you ever heard of wanking?"

"You mean like calling someone a wanker?" Simon’s brow furrowed. "What's it got to do with that?"

Luke smirked to himself. Pretty much everything!

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he went on to give his fascinated younger brother a potted version of what he'd discovered. After he'd finished, Simon was full of questions that needed immediate answers.

"So you say you just rub it,” Simon demanded. “And it feels good?"

"It's me!" replied Luke. He heaved himself off the bed, ready to return to his own room, but of course, that same curious brother had to try it straight away! As quick as a flash, Simon had unzipped his shorts, reached under the band of his undies and fished out a limp worm. Following Luke’s instructions, he began sliding his loose skin up and down the small shaft. By the concentration on his face, he could have been performing a science experiment!

Unsurprisingly, as he was a normal guy, that kind of manipulation started him boning up.

As he lengthened to his full size, Luke examined it critically, astonished to discover that the little brother he’d grown up with could be as capable of an erection as he was himself! Though still rather thin, the shaft was respectably long and now completely stiff.

“You mean like this?” said Simon, though he didn't seem that surprised. He obviously knew what a boner was, so Luke reckoned he was going to take the next step easily enough.

“Ah…yep,” Luke coughed, feeling it was high time to go.


“Well…you just keep gong.”

Bemused, his brother did just that and then suddenly stopped and, apparently taken by surprise, turned bright red. As his ears burned, he quickly stuffed his stiff dick back inside and stood, looking troubled. “I’ll do it some other time,” he grunted.

Luke smirked. Been there, done that!

He nodded, and tried to settle his brother’s discomfort. “That’s probably best. You were doing it right though, and don’t worry, everyone else does it too.”

“Everyone?” Simon seemed surprised, and then cautious, “You’re sure it doesn’t hurt?”

Luke grinned. That he did have personal insight on. “No – it doesn’t hurt. But you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, you know.”

You're choice bud. He'd give him ten minutes at best!

Simon was non-committal. “Maybe,” he replied. He appeared to brush it off as a problem for another time and went back to his books.

Luke returned to his room, and waited. Maybe he was being mean, but he couldn’t really help it. Call it payback!

It only took just over seven minutes and he heard the kind of heavy breathing and squeaking sounds that could only mean one thing. To be honest, he had to admit, he HAD been listening, curious to know what his brother would do.

Unnanounced, he opened the door to Simon’s room —and his brother would have to learn to use the locks from now on—to find him kneeling on the floor at the end of his bed, his shorts and classic grey Hanes Boys Briefs down at his knees.

Luke smirked at the middle-school standard. That’s what you got if you let Mum buy them for you!

His brother’s aghast face was a picture and Luke sniggered to himself as the lewd thought stuck: so that’s what you look like when you unload it for the first time!

Simon’s hand was still grasping a jutting, thin-ish wanger, and there were discrete spots on the floor. Mouth still hanging open, he raised his flushed face and screeched in horror.

“FUCKING GET OUT!” Shuffling quickly behind the bed, he made a rapid effort to hide his leaking boner.

Luke grinned. “There,” he said, satisfaction oozing through his voice. “Now we’re even!” He closed the door and left. He wasn’t worried, and didn’t expect Simon would be mad for long. He knew his brother too well for that. In fact it only took a few minutes before Simon put his head around the door.

“Bastard!” Simon scowled, but within moments it became a smirk. “Bloody hell, I didn't know it could do that...that was awesome!"

Luke sniggered, though not unkindly. “You might want to use tissues or something, rather than squirt on the floor!”

“Why didn't you tell me about this before?" Simon eyes flicked towards the new toy he’d just discovered hiding inside his shorts.  “Does anyone else know about it?”

“They show you how to do it in Biology.” Luke kept his face straight. “It's one of next year year's practicals.”

Simon’s eyes boggled and Luke burst out laughing as his brother fell for it hook, line and sinker!  It was almost a shame to add, “Don't worry - I'm just kidding! And yes, most guys our age know how to do it."

He threw him the box of tissues that was on his bedside table and smirked. "But if you make a mess in the sheets and mum catches you, you're on your own!"

Simon caught it, and the speculative look on his face seemed to be considering if the second one could possibly be anywhere near as spectacular as the first!

What his brother did after that day, Luke never knew, and he certainly never asked. What he did know was that, from that moment on, Simon often took as long in the shower as he did.

(translated as the act of getting caught with your pants down!)

4. Harry, Hedwig and Homosexuality

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Harry, Hedwig and Homosexuality

Despite the fact that school was back in, Luke was in a good mood. It was a roasting summer's day. The holidays might be over, but the day was still gloriously hot, like most others had been that mid August. At least, being only the first week of the fall semester, the schoolwork schedule hadn’t yet been driven into high gear, and there was still time enough to kick back and enjoy some R&R.

That afternoon, when the final bell had come, the school had emptied rapidly and it looked liked many were planning the same thing as he and Ryan—at least those with pools in their backyards (which he had discovered, was most)!

Thirty minutes later, after dumping his bags in the house and quickly changing, he’d biked over to Ryan’s for a swim.

He liked Ryan Alexis. So? There was nothing wrong about that.

In fact they’d been friends for a long time, and that was how he saw it as he watched the guy drift around on the water in front of him. Everyone could have close friends, couldn't they?

Ryan was a couple of months younger than him, and an inch shorter, though you wouldn't know it just then as most of him was submerged in the pool. Ryan’s head stirred through the water, with it’s short-cropped, black hair which complemented a dark complexion.

When he first got to know Ryan, Luke suspected he must spend a lot of time in the sun —either that or he was just lucky. In time, he discovered it was a bit of both. The two of them hung out a lot, and it was handy that Ry’s place was just an easy bike ride away.

It was actually four years ago, almost to the week, Luke mused, as he rested on the edge of the pool with his legs dangling in the water. Four years since he’d come to this country. Four years since he’d first walked into their class at the Academy and been introduced to everyone as ‘the boy from London’, by Principal Benton.

Hell, he was almost an American by now! And even better, by this time next year, he’d have his own wheels! Now that would never have happened back in the UK!

He remembered the time when he and Simon had started at the Academy. Ryan had been an enigma then and during those first weeks at school, if you’d told Luke that the dark-haired kid now drifting in the water in front of him, the one who’d seemed so obnoxious at the time would become his closest friend, he would have eaten his hat.

At the time, while everyone else was flocking around Luke’s celebrity status, Ryan Alexis had been distant, unwilling to even give him the time of day. Popular guy or not, Ry had seemed —in the Queen’s English—a bit of a prat!

Stirring the water with his legs, Luke watched him now with fond amusement as the dark haired-head unexpectedly submerged with hardly a trace of a ripple. He shook his head at Ryan’s antics, wondering how those four years had passed so unexpectedly quickly, too.

At peace with the world, Luke lay back on the edge of the pool that had, over the years, taken some beating. It was big. Not Olympic big, but big enough to make a hell of a great splash. It would have been a brilliant setting for a really big pool party, for a birthday or something, with room for dozens. However, for a very good reason, Ryan never had friends around like that.

To be honest, with parents like his, who would?

Usually it was just the two of them. That worked okay.

The pool filters were running and the sound of the gurgling water was about as relaxing as it could be, and Luke sighed as he studied the deep azure of the late afternoon sky. The sun was just right. His life was just right. It was just…perfect! He was even glad to be back at school after the long summer break. The new semester was underway, and they’d all just picked up where they’d left off.

Sitting up again to rest on his elbows, he smiled to himself as he studied Ryan drifting around in front of him in the rippling water. Ryan had shifted onto one of those air-filled waterbeds, the sort that make pools more fun, and was kicking his legs gently in the water for steerage. Evil possibilities of bombing him, or sliding across unseen and tipping him into the drink took shape in Luke’s head.

He watched him thoughtfully as he decided which it would be, seeing how the sun glinted off the rivers of water that occasionally washed across his friend’s torso. Ryan was unbelievably brown, having really caught the sun that summer. Luke looked at his own arms. Maybe they both had?

“It’s the tennis try-outs tomorrow,” murmured Ryan. His eyes were closed against the afternoon glare, and his voice broke into the comfortable silence they were enjoying. “I assume you’re going out for the team again this year?”

Luke put bombing on the back burner for the time being and considered the question. They had both been on the squad the previous year, and though both expected to be chosen again, everyone still needed to attend the try-outs. Luke shrugged and quipped, “Actually I was thinking of going for the football try-outs this time round.”

Amusement crossed Ryan's face as he continued to drift lazily in the sunshine. Luke smirked to—both knew it was unlikely. Football and Luke did not get on. Ry, on the other hand…well, if he’d wanted to, he could probably have made the team. He just couldn’t be bothered.

“I hear they’re looking to start a cheerleader team," Ryan murmured. "You’d be good at that.”

“Asshole.” Amiably, Luke kicked water that sprayed across Ryan's floating torso. Theirs was an ‘all boys’ school, and the likelihood of there being cheerleaders was about as farfetched as coach going on his knees and begging Luke to try for quarterback!

Ryan ignored the soaking he received, though Luke knew full well it wasn't that hard. This wasn't the English seaside, and in this part of the world and at this time of year, he’d long since got used to the idea that you didn’t have to jump around squealing if cold water landed on you!

Smirking as Ryan continued to float through his drenching, beads of water formed on his skin, Luke followed them with his eyes as they hurried to make their way back to where they’d come from. Observing Ryan critically, Luke studied the tanned skin down to the black hipster swim trunks Ry was sporting again that day; the ones he’d picked up earlier in the summer. He often had them on. He liked dark colors, usually black, which looked good on him, though Luke still couldn't figure out how Ryan managed to wear so much black without looking like a Goth!

Not him. He liked wild, garish patterns...the more colorful the better!

He passed over those dark trunks and then caught up with Ryan’s tanned skin as it reappeared on muscular thighs. Legs where dark hairs now grew. No longer a kid’s legs. He dropped his eyes to his own legs and frowned at a dusting of light hairs that blended in so well they might as well not be there, and he pulled a face.

At least he had plenty of nicely bushy pubes to take pride in!

* * *

Extract from Luke's Notes:

In retrospect, what happened next was a critical turning point for me. Maybe you would call it a watershed moment—as much a watershed as it was for those beads of water, slipping off Ry’s flat abdomen and deciding to go down either one side or the other. A turning point because, after following the tanned skin to his knees, my gaze turned and walked back up to the trunks to study the sleek dark material stretched tightly over a distinct bulge in his groin.

What I found myself considering went WAY past anything normal I’d ever entertained with him before. In fact, not just him...with any guy, really.

Even though I knew quite well what his tackle looked like under those really sleek trunks, I found myself trying to conjure it up in my mind, secretly willing those trunks to evaporate. That was definitely a step further than my usual daydreaming—that hormone-driven comparing of wangers in the lockers, and the increasingly frequent speculation of what it was like for guys who, unlike me, DIDN'T have a chunk of skin hanging off them!

Possibilities charged my examination. There was a big difference between pondering a three-year old quandary and focusing on what was inside those swim trunks, and I'd definitely just crossed the line!

I couldn't tear my eyes away from that piece of stretched material through which I could see the outline of his shaft and even the shape of the head!  That shape was hypnotic and the more I thought about it, the more my own stirred; and that continued, uncontrolled, until he turned his head towards me and seemed to ponder me. Uncomfortable, and knowing I was well into cranking up a substantial chub, I quickly shifted down into the water.

Diving, I swam along the bottom to the far wall, hoping my awkward discomfort would go away, before I surfaced at the far wall. After a few moments to let things settle, I began to push gently back through the water towards him.

Now of course, that studied gaze he’d fired my way probably meant nothing. How could he have ANY idea what thoughts I was having as I’d watched him? Fortunately, he went onto something else, his thoughts apparently elsewhere that day!

* * *

"So, how are you getting home?" Ryan slid off the airbed into the water and pushed it away.

"Today?"  Luke grunted a sigh of relief, apparently in the clear. “On my bike of course.”

"No, asshole! Friday—after the sports day! If your mom's picking you up, can, I get a lift with you?"

"Sure." Luke backed away in the water, satisfied that nothing else had leaked from him. His hand reached for a ball and they began batting it back and forth. He’d been wrenched back to reality with a sharp jerk, and was left wondering what the hell he’d been thinking!

“So are you doing Drivers Ed still?” Luke asked, changing the subject. They’d both got their Learners Permits when they’d turned fifteen, and he now tried to get his mum and dad to take him out as often as they would.

“I will,” replied Ryan. “Just need to find an instructor.” He offered a rueful grin. “Going out with the old man doesn’t work for either of us. I plan to get my license right after my sixteenth, though. You?”

“Yep – same.” He expected Ryan would get a car fast too, whereas his mum and dad had already been clear that he wouldn’t get one until the start of the following school year, a full six months after his birthday. He’d whined at that, but he knew Simon would get the same when it was his turn.

* * *

Extract from Luke's Notes:

The conversation moved on that day, and my horniness with it. I decided to ascribe it to ridiculous teen hormones or something. But if you want to know when it started, it was then. That day at the pool was when I first held both the blue and the red pills in my hand and had a hard time deciding which rabbit hole to go down. That day, at his house, in the pool was the first time I looked at Ry and found my pulse racing and something in my shorts stirring.

Maybe it was like people say, and being gay is always there from birth? I didn't know on that one at the time, and to be honest, I still don't. But, like the Matrix (which had to be one of the coolest films around), I found myself weighing up the red pill and giving it a sniff.

There was another side to this, too, as unexpected though it was. It definitely fuelled what I convinced myself was a healthy interest in dicks – because, for some time, I'd been investigating what it would involve to get circumcised!

At home, we were already online. We started with a desktop computer, bought with the idea that Simon and I would be able to use it for our studies. Well, you know how THAT kind of deal tends to go; because we fought too much, arguing whose room it should go in, it went downstairs.

Then, for my previous birthday I got a Macbook—long story…will tell it later— but at least it meant I had my own computer in my room. (Simon got the desktop). I still had to be careful who might come in and see the screen, but I found out quickly how to cover my tracks. I explored a bit and found out things about wangers that Mum and Dad would NEVER think to tell me about!

So, the day came—after a few false starts where I kept chickening out—that I screwed up my courage and announced exactly what was on my mind.

After four years of living in the States, I’d decided that if I was going to grow up in this country (and after all the frustration of being made to emigrate here in the first place, I damn well wasn’t planning on leaving),  I didn't want to remain the odd one out.

And what was crystal clear was that American guys were cut. That was how it was done here. It was normal. They seemed to like being unhooded, and I decided I wanted the same.

* * *

Luke landed his ultimatum not long after the annual tri-school sports day. Every year the three high schools in their area competed—them, Creek and Alpharetta High. That year it had been hosted at Alpharetta, and in the lockers, from guys he'd never met before, he'd picked up more looks of bemusement and a few wisecracks about his anteater. He'd had enough and it further fuelled his determination to do something about it.

A week later, he and Ryan had stayed on at a tennis practice, so it was only him and his mum when she came to pick him up at the end of the afternoon. It was then that he decided that this was his moment, and he spoke up.

It didn’t go down well.

“Excuse me?” Pulling into their subdivision, his mum's face gave the impression he'd said a naughty word!

“Circumcision. I want to be circumcised." He repeated it more slowly. Did she have to choose now to be deaf?


“Circumcision.” He tried again. “It’s when you…”

“Yes I know what it is!" His mum interrupted and sounded so aghast, that he cringed. "Luke, for heaven's sake, why on earth would you need to do that?” Pulling onto the drive of their home, she killed the engine. “And what do you know about circumcision anyway?”

“Mum, I’m fifteen, not five!” For God's sake!

Dismissive, she stalked to the front door. Even the way she jammed the key in the lock reeked of disapproval. “I don’t know where you’ve been getting this from,” she said. “But the answer's no – absolutely not!” Continuing to shake her head as though he’d lost his marbles, she went into the house.

Following her inside, he threw his backpack on the kitchen floor. This was not going well. He'd expected questions, a frank open discussion maybe, but not adamant refusal within a few breaths!

“But why not? I’m not a kid, why can’t I decide for myself what I want? What’s wrong with being circumcised? Everyone else here is!”

Her lips formed a hard line as she filled the kettle, banging it against the tap. "Well I'm not at all comfortable with the idea. I hear what you’re saying, but I don't think you've thought it ALL!" She snapped on the switch. "Sure, most boys in this country are circumcised, but that doesn't mean you have to be.“

Not thought it through? That was like a red rag to a bull, and he raised his voice. “That’s easy for you to say – but it’s not something you have to face!" Why should he have to compromise on what he wanted?

“Don’t be ridiculous!”

"Why are you making me wait 'til I’m old enough that I don’t need your permission!” He tried not to make it sound like a threat, but he was frustrated. She could be so damn inflexible if it suited her!

With a shake of her head, she rebuffed him, but then her tone became a little less contentious and a little more delicate as she tried a different tack on him.

“Sweetheart, listen to me. Any kind of surgery, especially down there," she emphasized the word enough for him to twitch uncomfortably, "is never to be taken lightly. And most boys here are done that way when they’re babies. What you're suggesting is completely different.”

He couldn’t believe his ears. What was her problem? He was so fuming mad, he stalked out to go upstairs to throw his jacket on his bed, going over it in his head, By the time he returned, he was getting closer to boiling point, and he banged the kitchen door angrily.

He saw her purse her lips at his truculence, but still stuck with trying to reason with him. Maybe she thought his angry silence meant he was listening.

Fat hope!

 "Luke, it's not like your dad and I don't care what you think…." Her tone was conciliatory.


“…it’s just that it’s such a big step. Think about it; you can't just decide to be circumcised and change your mind the next day! Why don't you give it time? Maybe, when you're a little older, you'll feel differently?"

He couldn't hold back and growled at her. "I have been thinking about it. Do you actually think I'm completely stupid?" His volume climbed, unable to curb his anger at her pigheadedness. "I didn't just wake up this morning and make it up you know. Are you telling me I can't have it done?"

"That's exactly what I'm saying!” Her voice hardened on him, and he could tell she was done with the softly-softly touch and had made up her mind. “So let's just leave it there, shall we?"

"He can't do what?" Geoff Summers, Luke's father, walked in the door and slung his jacket over the back of a chair.

"Nothing!" Lucy snapped at her husband. "And please, could you hang that up properly?"

"It's not nothing!“ Luke shifted his attention to his dad who looked like he could tell he’d walked into a war zone. “I want to be circumcised!"

Geoff's eyes flicked from son to wife and back, blinking several times, obviously out of his depth and Lucy came to his rescue.

"Luke seems to think he needs to be circumcised, that's all."  She glared at her son, daring him to challenge her.

“That’s NOT all!” Luke ground out the words, facing off against her. “I’ve been thinking about it for ages!”

"You asked my opinion,” she shot back. “And I said no. Now can we just move on?"

"No, we can't! And I didn't ask your opinion. I told you I wanted it done."

"And I told you that it's totally out of the question,” she replied tartly, overriding him. "Don't you agree, Hon?"

Geoff took a deep breath and said, "Okay, calm down everyone."  He sat down, and Luke sat too, feeling more hopeful. Surely, as a guy, his dad would understand.

His dad looked him in the eye. "I don't get it. Why would you want to be circumcised?"

"Exactly, Hon."

Irritated by her, Luke pulled a face. "Jeez —thanks for the support, Dad! You're telling me you don't understand?"

“Well…why don’t you explain it to me?”

“I just want to be circumcised, that’s all. Everyone else is…there’s no law against it, is there?” He shrugged uncomfortably, less prepared than he thought for justifying his demand.

"No law, no. But there is common sense, and I think Mum's right.” His dad’s calm approach ate into his resolve and Luke slumped over the table, crestfallen.

“Sunshine, I've no idea where this has all come from, but in any case an operation like that isn't going to be covered by insurance and, like Grandpa always used to say, 'If it's not bust, don't fix it!'"

And that had been their last word on the subject that day.

He was more than disappointed—he was totally pissed off! What the hell had it to do with them? And if they hoped he was just going to grow out of the idea in a couple of days, they’d got another think coming!

It was a setback, but if anything it drove his determination even harder, and he picked himself up, refusing to budge from the journey he wanted to take. Over the next months, he didn't let the topic die, but did his research—lots of it. And he made bloody well sure they got it all; deluging them with papers and reasonable arguments about health and cleanliness, all culled (and sanitized where needed) from stuff he’d gleaned off the web.

In the midst of it all, Simon thought he was COMPLETELY NUTS!

He and Simon were quite close, with Simon being just fifteen months younger, but close in ways that were more than just the slim age gap. The pair had grown up to be the kind of siblings that actually liked each other rather than dropping into the usual brotherly ‘ignore mode’. Open and frank about most things, neither had been that happy about moving to the USA and, for many months, the only friends they'd had were each other. That had changed as new friends began coming round, but he and Simon still remained close.

The pair were physically quite similar too, and you could tell straight away that they were brothers with their dirty blond hair and warm hazel eyes. Girls usually thought the two of them were pretty cute—particularly when they heard their British accents which seemed to elicit purrs of delight (at least in that country), from females from eight to eighty! And that little nut had worn thin on him years ago!

While they were playing on their PS2 one afternoon, Luke tried to explain his reasons for being skinned as best he could—well, at least he told Simon about the 'fitting in' bit, and carefully brushed over the other thing that he tried to hide from everyone. The truth was, he thought about sex almost all the time these days, and you couldn’t think about sex without bringing your dick into it!

It wasn't like Simon to ridicule people and their ideas, but after hearing some of the details of foreskin surgery, he did go for a bit of brotherly teasing.

"'d actually let them go ahead and cut your wanger off?" He chuckled, flicking his fingers over the controls. "Isn't that going to hurt?"

“Asshole!” Luke rolled his eyes, but took it well. "They don’t cut it off – and it might be a bit sore for a bit, but it'll look a whole lot better when it's done!"

Well, he hoped it would. If it ever happened, that was.

"I still don't get why you think your dick looks wrong now?" Simon paused the game and studied him curiously.

"And in the lockers at school?" he shot back. "Don't tell me you don't get teased a bit." As a freshman, Simon had just started high school that semester and Luke knew from experience that puberty was already going to be well under way and, if they hadn’t already, guys started comparing tackle.

"Yeah, maybe...a bit…" Simon shrugged and went back to the game. "But I don't care." He seemed unconvinced, but then smirked as he added, "so you like the idea of having an American chubby then?"

"Don't be gross—and it's called a chub." Luke pulled a face and sneered. "I mean…do you even know what that is?"

Simon giggled, dropping the game into pause once more. "Duh..." Another cheeky smirk crossed his face. "Of course I know what a chub is, dufus! But don't you think American dicks look a bit like little chubby sausages?"

Luke had to laugh. Simon wasn't wrong - at least at his age. He still remembered the perky little seventh grade, inch long chipolatas that were little more than plump acorns on guys like Ryan and Todd when he first arrived at the school. Even then, sporting what he knew to be a normal foreskin, he’d had a few centimeters on them.

This time last year he was still half an inch up on their average, but Simon was right, his brother was probably still surrounded by those three inch plump sausages that hadn’t yet decided whether they were going to grow or not, at a time when many suffered a bit of diminutive willy syndrome! Another year would make a big difference.

“Well, you do what you like,” Simon said finally.  “But I'm hanging on to mine."

He let it go. Si might never admit it but, like many younger brothers did with older siblings, he often looked to him to decide things if they were important enough. Would this be one of those things, he wondered?

Give it another of year, he smiled to himself. We'll see then whether it starts to bother you!

Simon got back to his game. “Do you want a go?” he asked.

“Nah – I’m going to go check my email.”

“Yeah, I bet,” Simon smirked.  “And print of some more pictures of willys to give to Mum and Dad!”

Luke laughed. “I can give them to you if you prefer?”

“Yeah – whatever,” his brother said, staring at the screen and ignoring him.

Leaving Simon to continue playing, Luke went back upstairs and settled at his MacBook. He was definitely into the era of social media, and the same computer that had brought him unhooded dicks brought him Facebook, too.

Everyone was getting into Facebook and he was no different, though how he’d ended up with Damon Jamieson as a Facebook friend, he wasn’t entirely sure. It most likely had happened during a time when he was adding more people than he was deleting. The guy probably came from some long list of ‘people you might possibly know’, sent to him from someone else’s 'friends' list. He was tending to say yes to lots of them, thinking he could always get rid of them later if he wanted.

Either way, it was quite cool for others to see that you had lots of FB friends!

Cool or not, he had got into a bit of a ‘tidy up’ mode and had posted a disclaimer on his Wall, telling everyone that he was pruning his lists. Anyone who didn't reply would be toast! Okay, maybe the wording could have been better, but he only planned to dump people he didn't know from Adam.

However, Damon had replied with some quite amusing comeback. On the strength of it, he’d left him on and from then on they started dropping the odd note to each other and commenting more frequently on each other’s posts.

Damon was just an ordinary guy—about the same age as himself—who lived somewhere up in New York. And that was it. That was all he really knew about him to begin with, yet, through Facebook, an easy friendship sprang up.

He found the guy surprisingly easy to talk to and was intrigued enough to dig deeper, perusing Damon’s friend and group lists. Who cared if it was stalking—you could tell a lot about someone if you looked to see who their friends were! As he explored, he got the distinct impression (from the various subjects and comments, and the groups Damon belonged to) that the New Yorker was possibly—scratch that, probably—gay.

If he had thought that that might mean the guy would be creepy, and that he should pull the plug on the modem and run screaming from the room, he was wrong. Damon seemed as run-of-the-mill normal as any guy he knew. In fact, even a bit more interesting and fun than many, and he never even hinted at anything that sounded weird!

Still, it was only a passing acquaintance. They chatted maybe once every couple of weeks if they happened to be simultaneously logged in, but nothing more.

* * *

It had been on a cold, wet and completely boring Saturday afternoon, around four months later, some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that Simon wandered into his room and sat on the bed, looking out of sorts.

This had to be Luke’s favorite time of the year, the older boy felt. The smells from the richly scented candles, a massive glittering tree, an open fire that he hoped his dad would light soon and the promise of gifts that were already gathering under the tree. Around their subdivision, most of the houses were already well decorated for Christmas with lights twinkling during the night, and families gearing up for festive fun.

From where he was reading, comfortably propped up by the pillows on his bed, he flicked his eyes over the top of his book in the direction of his brother. Nothing was immediately forthcoming, so he ignored him and went back to his chapter.

He hadn't got more than a couple of paragraphs when a subtle noise got his attention, and he looked up again. Simon was still there and seemed to be teetering on the edge of something.

Okay, spit it out. He waited patiently, but the moment passed and Simon became distracted by a noise from the landing and wandered out again.


It was obvious something was on his brother's mind, but he shrugged and went back to his book as Simon disappeared from view.

Some minutes later, engrossed in a good chapter, he glanced up again to find his brother once again standing quite close by, watching him.

Oh for God's sake!

"Okay, what's up?" He put down his book, fully expecting to hear how life...and particularly parents...were against Simon in some new and diabolically evil way.

"Oh...nothing...I'm fine..."


In mild irritation, he opened up the Harry Potter book once more, only to find, a few sentences on, his brother was still there! " you mind? I'm trying to read!"


"Anyway, I thought you were going out?"

"I's raining." Simon moved to peer out of window, and Luke tried to ignore him, going back to his re-read of 'The Prisoner of Azkaban'.

Over the next minutes, Simon wandered aimlessly, picking things up and fiddling with them for no apparent reason. Distracted from his book Luke watched him out of the corner of his eye, amused now. Whatever this was, it had to be good.

After a while, Simon left and went back through into their shared bathroom to began messing with the lights. Luke could see him staring into the mirror, as if what he was seeking would somehow be staring back.

For him, reading the Potter book had taken him back to life in England—and Harry was as British as they came; not that any of the Summers family had lived in castles or flew broomsticks. They didn’t—at least that he knew of—and he'd never met anyone else who did or could. Still, England was special. It’d always been the place that made him…him.

At least he'd always thought it had. Maybe not anymore?

Did he miss it?

Yes. No. Maybe? Actually, the truth was, he hardly ever thought about it anymore. Maybe it was only the idea of England that he missed?

It would be Christmas soon and he kind of missed Christmas in England, although perhaps it was still only the idea of Christmas that he missed, too. A proper Christmas with stuff like going to the Pantomime. ‘It's behind you!’, they would all squeal from where they were seated up in ‘the gods’. He missed that.

And snow. That was the big thing for ANY kid. Would it snow on Christmas day, was the big question. They’d all used to hope so, and it usually did up north in Scotland, but near London, it hardly ever did. And having to clear snow off the drive was far, far less likely near Atlanta!

Christmas. Dumbledore and Privet Drive; Harry and Hedwig in the snow at Hogwarts...

He drifted back from his musings as Simon, yet again, wandered into his room. Unexpectedly, his brother went to the door that led out to the landing, closing it softly.

What the heck did he want? Guessing he wouldn't say until he was ready, Luke didn't have to wait long.

“Luke...I...can I ask you something…?"

He put the book down and grunted. “I wish the hell you would!”


He shook his head, in exasperation. “Forget it – for goodness sake, just tell me what you want!”


"Oh, come on. ENOUGH already!"

Simon looked uncomfortable, before finally blurting, "What do you think about being gay?" There was an awkward pause as he studied one of his nails. “I was just wondering…you know…”

Holy shit! THAT got his attention. BIG TIME! 

A ripple of dread disrupted his wellbeing as the unwanted question hung there menacingly. ’What do you think about being gay…?’  His eyes narrowed, but Simon wouldn’t look him in the face and continued to fiddle with one of his nails, waiting.

In fact he thought LOTS about that topic these days, though not for one minute did he really believe that he himself was gay.

Of course, there were loads of people who were – some even some quite famous. But that was mostly on the TV. It wouldn't ever happen to him. It couldn’t. That would be way too weird and he could think of no normal scenario where having that happen would ever be good.

Not that there was anything particularly wrong with gay people, he reminded himself. Other than they were just...well...homosexuals.

So why did it feel wrong to be a homosexual? Wasn’t that even illegal in some places? Maybe. But gay? No, gay was probably okay. It just sounded...well, a bit better, he mused. More acceptable.

Of course there were plenty of other words, not quite so kind, and he’d grown up calling people 'poofs' for all kinds of reasons. None of it really meant the kid was actually a homo. It was just a word.

What’s wrong with a word?

Still, it was better to be gay than be a homosexual, ’cos being a homo put you on a par with the queers and all the other poofs.

For fuck’s sake - Get a GRIP!  He tried to clear his mind and focus on what was important. While he accepted that he’d been looking at guys quite a bit, mostly it was just because he was curious. It was a phase. Still, he HAD been thinking about it. Even so, he definitely couldn’t be—WASN’T—gay.

Suddenly, it hit him like a ton of bricks why Simon was there.

He grew cold and then hot.

That was it, wasn’t it? It HAD to be! Simon really believed Luke was gay, and this was his way of broaching it. Could he be read as easily as the book that rested on his knee?

Vainly, he tried not to appear flustered as he started a reply.

"Gay? Oh...I don't know...nobody ever asked me that before." Already several versions of adamant denial were forming in the back of his mind. "Why do you want to know?" He looked up fearfully, expecting to see the accusation and already getting angry about it.

However, Simon was still unable to hold his eye and shrugged. "Oh...nothing. Just wondering."

Just wondering? Wondering WHAT?

The conversation stalled and Simon went to stare out of the window across the back lawn, leaving him floundering. His eyes darted after his brother. Was that it? Had Simon had his say; had he given his warning, just enough to let him know Luke was in the spotlight, without actually spelling it out?

He thought fast. What had people been saying? Had his friends noticed something too? Had he been too obvious in the lockers in letting his eyes drift? Had they been talking behind his back, added a few assumptions and started pointing fingers at him? Is THAT what Simon had come to warn him about?

It wasn't enough. He HAD to know more.

Trying to keep the dry tick out of his voice, he probed, "So...come on then. Have you heard of someone who’s gay?" He tried to sound amused, but was already dreading the answer. “Is it someone at school?” Even to himself he sounded guilty, but he needed to find out what it was that Simon—and everyone else—suspected.

"At school?" Simon turned and stared at him though hooded eyes. "I guess so...maybe."

Shit. He was being cagey. That was ominous. "Listen, why don't you just tell me what's bugging you?"

Simon shrugged and came and sat on the edge of the bed. His face was a mask.

Luke began to panic. What had Si already said to his friends?  “Come on…what’s wrong?” He waited, but Simon still didn’t seem prepared to come out and say it.

Luke swallowed hard, trying to make some excuse. “It’s not what …" he started. "I mean whatever they’re…”

Simon didn't seem to be taking any notice. "'s..." he began hesitantly. Then the mask collapsed and his face twisted in confusion. Tormented, he tried to gather himself and hold it together. Finally he broke and just sobbed. "I don't know if I want to be gay. I...I'm really scared!"

For the briefest of moments, all the wrong things went rushing through Luke’s head. OH THANK GOD, IT'S NOT ME! Followed by OH MY GOD! He’s a homosexual!

Embarrassment. Fear.


“Please don’t hate me. I’m sorry.” Simon gulped out his words. “Just don’t hate me, I couldn’t bear it…”

Luke wondered if his brother had heard those silent condemnations and felt quite sick; sick with himself, that he’d been so quick to treat him like some leper.

His own brother.

SHIT…this was NOT what he’d expected. At best he’d expected to hear some juicy gossip about some kids at school, caught with their pants down. At worst, something about himself. Not this!

Quickly, he shuffled up from where he was lying to sit next to his brother, putting his arm around him as he shook. Some corrupt place in his soul told him that his brother had just confessed to being a queer, and here he was, cuddling him. He angrily told the voice to piss off and held Simon securely, as he tried to get his words out.

After a few moments, Simon got hold of himself and calmed down. Frozen, he stared at the floor. It was obvious he was waiting for him to take it forward.

” think you might be? Gay, I mean." Luke ventured carefully, trying to get him to talk.

Simon shrugged his reply sounded forlorn. "Yep."  It wasn't much, but it was a start.

"Errr…can you tell me why? I mean how do you know?" It seemed such a difficult thing to be sure of, he felt. From his own research, he knew people thought lots of different things about what it meant to be gay—and why it was that people ended up that way.

Simon was quiet for a few moments, and then sighed. "I like guys." He kept his eyes off anything but the floor.


And that was it. All those psycho-babble musings were swept away. Simon liked guys; and wasn’t that what homosexuality came down to in the end? He faced the word head on this time.

He considered again what he thought about gay people. There was one openly gay guy at school. A senior. He didn't really know anything about him other than he wanted to be an actor. Some guys were a bit nasty to him but, on reflection, those were the kind who were nasty to anyone if they got a chance.

But him? No, he wasn’t at all homophobic!


Sure, he'd thought about it a lot and had read stuff about gay teens on the web.

‘Not a choice,’ many decided.

‘Genetic makeup’, they claimed.

Maybe I am gay, he’d wondered at the time? He certainly had little interest in girls, but he’d dismissed it. For God’s sake, he was only fifteen! Anyway, stuff like that only ever happened to other people – ones who usually had lots of other weird issues as well. Nope, being gay wasn’t anything that really affected him.

Until now. Until his own brother had walked into his room, a few minutes ago. He gathered himself. "You wanna tell me about it?"

And Simon did. In the privacy of his room that day, several weeks before Christmas, he let it all out.

Luke did nothing more than listen for what felt like an age, though it must have only been a few minutes.  He listened as, piece by piece, Simon spilled it all out, needing someone to talk to; someone to tell in safety. Finally his brother stopped talking and looked relieved, and Luke knew that the burden had passed to him and that Si would somehow expect him to put it right. Make sense of it, like he always did.

He sighed. What was he supposed to think anymore?

The Prisoner of Azkaban, still lying on the bed beside them, could give no answers. Unlike Harry or Hermione, there was no spell or incantation that he could offer. No cloak of invisibility that could make it disappear. He pulled Simon closer in another side-by-side hug.

He repeated what he’d read. "Si, I think we often have no choice about these things." He wondered if that was true. It sounded right. "Maybe the important thing is to be happy with who you are. And if you prefer to be with other guys at the moment...” he shrugged, “…then, why not?"

Simon brightened considerably. "You're cool with it then?"

"Very cool!" Luke assured him, putting aside his questions for now, and making his choice, repeating the hug.

Simon smiled and hugged him back. "Thanks!"

Luke got up to stretch his legs and to ease the tension. He picked up his book and slid redundant Harry back on the shelf. “Come on, I was going to make a hot chocolate. Want one?”

Simon brightened. “Are there any packets with the marshmallows left?”

“I think so – let’s go look.” The pair went downstairs, to find their dad throwing logs onto a newly lit fire.

THAT was more like it!

Luke grinned as he watched it crackle energetically. This was why they had fires in houses like theirs! In the corner, the well-decorated tree glistened, filling the room with the rich scent of Christmas fir, and from the kitchen, the scented candles that his mum liked to light wafted vanilla and cinnamon down the hallway. Christmas, a fire and a warm room that made it home and drew them together. The perfect combination for days like today.

“We’re making hot chocolate, Dad. Do you want one?”

“You bet!" Their dad looked up as he threw the last of the logs into the growing flames. "Are there any of the marshmallow ones left? Oh – and while you’re heading that way, can you bring in some more logs?”

After putting the kettle on, the boys went through the connecting door to the double garage. Along one wall, a huge pile of drying wood was hoarded, and he held out his arms for Simon to begin stacking.

"So, is there a particular someone that this is about?" He kept his voice low, just for the two of them.


“You know what I mean,” Luke teased.

Simon looked coy. "Well, I kind of like Toby," he finally admitted.

“Toby? Toby Skerrit?” The realization that being gay was more than just an ‘idea’ and actually involved real people that Luke knew took some getting used to. Simon chewed his lip uncomfortably.

"Oh, he's nice," Luke agreed quickly, actually not at all surprised, now that he came to think about it. He was a nice kid. He and Simon had hit it off within a few months of them arriving in the country. He didn't live that far away, so they tended to spend lots of time together. The guy was big into art and they often ride shared with him and his mum, Grace.

The kid did have a tendency to be a bit prickly, and when he and Simon had first started hanging out, Si would frequently get TOTALLY fed up with Toby's ability to go off the deep end!  More recently, he seemed to have mellowed, though the guy was hard to read. Still he could see how Simon could like him.

Toby Skerrit. Cute, if a little fiery at times! Used to wear round-rimmed glasses, just like Harry, Luke smirked to himself, though he had noticed more recently that they’d gone. Contacts probably.

"Really? Do you think so?" Simon looked up hopefully. “You think he’s nice?”

"Absolutely - I mean it's not like you don't know anything about him. Does he ...errr you know..." Christ, this was new ground! "Does he, I mean, is he like you?"  

Simon just sighed. "Is he gay you mean? Maybe. I keep wondering.” He hefted a couple of equal sized chunks of tree, weighing one in each hand. “But is he really? I don't know. Probably not! Damn, how do you know if someone likes you?"

Don't ask me, Luke thought, wondering the same thing. Not a clue.

"Take your time, I guess?“ he hazarded. “And, if you're gay…if that really is how you are, then it probably won't go away.” Briefly, he wondered—as with a number of things he’d said over the last twenty minutes—if that was actually true! “Perhaps there's no way of really knowing, other than by being with someone and seeing if that's what you both want?"

Luke looked thoughtful. "I guess you need to be careful though...with who you tell, I mean," he added, a sense of caution reasserting itself. “Even with Toby…until you’re sure.”

"Maybe." Simon nodded as he considered both that and the wood in Luke’s arms. "Enough logs?"

The pile stacked in Luke's arms was getting heavy. "Just one more—that small one, maybe? You bring a couple too."

Simon picked several up, but hesitated nervously as they turned back to the door. "You're not going to tell Mum and Dad, are you?"

Now that was something Luke WAS sure about. "Not a chance! Right now it's just between me and you!" He thought a moment and then qualified. "Actually it's between me, you and Toby!"

They both sniggered. It seemed a good place to stop. Simon flicked off the lights and they returned with the logs and to make the drinks.

Frothy marshmallow in hand, the family congregated around the blazing fire, and Simon seemed to get back to more of his usual, irrepressibly confident self. Half an hour later, despite the on and off rain, he pulled on a coat.

"I'm going out - I'll see you later."

"Going where?" Luke teased.

"Mind your own business!" Simon flicked the top of Luke’s head with his fingers and smirked. They both knew where he would be.

He went to fetch Harry and Hedwig from the shelf and settled again in front of the roaring flames with his hot chocolate, still trying to make some sense of it all.

His dad caught a glance of the cover. “Harry Potter?”

“I’m reading through them all again.” Something he’d started after the last film came out – The Order of the Phoenix—the previous summer

“Isn’t there a movie out soon?”

“Not ’til next year.” Jeez—keep up dad!

His dad went back to his paper and he to his book, though he remained thoughtful.

As much as anything, he was relieved knowing that Simon seemed to be facing the same kind of stuff that he was. Perhaps everyone did at some point? It would probably be just a phase for his younger brother, just as it was for him, too; maybe it was just one of those things that was more in your face because they went to an all-boys school. It would pass, though perhaps he should get out more and meet some girls!

He wasn’t particularly worried for his brother. Simon didn’t take risks. In fact, he was almost OCD when it came to being carefully organised You didn’t win the Year Eight Match Prize unless you had at least some of Simon’s traits.  His brother approached life in a way that didn’t tempt fate; whatever he did, he made sure it would be the right thing before doing it. Simon certainly wouldn’t take a shot in the dark with Toby or chance the wrong thing getting to the wrong ears. Simon was definitely the Hermione Granger of the family!

He grinned as he made the rather apt comparison. What would that make him? He would have liked to be Harry, but had to admit that Ry would probably get that one. He’d have to make do with Ron…faithful friend that was always a little bit behind, and still wore clothes that his mum bought for him!

He spent an entertaining few minutes characterizing other guys in his class—Ry, Todd, Kier and the others. One thing was for sure, Cody Mitchell wasn’t hard to cast; the slithering git was a perfect Malfoy!

5. Food for Thought

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Food for Thought

Christmas and New Year passed, leaving a trail of torn wrapping paper and shed pine needles. February rolled around, fresh and clean, bringing hints of spring and warmer weather. It was a weekend and the Summers clan were out for lunch…and on most Sundays, they usually worshipped at that greatest of American institutions.

Longhorn Steakhouse!

Luke' s motto was this: a good Sunday lunch made up for a Sunday afternoon given over to school work. Okay, to be more honest, that usually ended up being a Sunday evening; several hours often consumed with trying to complete the homework assignments that were currently coming thick and fast, and should have been done the day before!

Still, there were more important things than homework on a late Sunday morning, and that day, they were already getting ready to leave the house...because among all the things it was good at, America really knew how to do food!

This eating out lifestyle was a far cry from life back in the UK. There, other than going to McDonalds or to a pizza place as a treat before the movies, they’d hardly EVER gone out. Here, people seemed to do it all the time. He knew some families that almost never dined at home, spending the week trailing around the huge variety of restaurants. IHOP, Chilli's, Cracker Barrel, TGI Fridays, Frankie & Benny's, Outback, Ruby Tuesdays—Luke was happy to eat at any of them, but eight times out of ten, they all voted for Longhorn for a serious meat fest!

* * *

Extract from Luke's notes

Even Dad had been seduced by the eating culture when we got here, and would often leave the house early on a workday, to 'do' breakfast, as they all called it. It was code for an early morning start to the work schedule: a business meeting with colleagues, over hash browns. No wonder he’d put on weight!

I'd been out to breakfast plenty of times, too. Trust me, I've got no problems eating the food. It was working through all the choices that had been freaky at first!

Back in England, the few times we'd eaten breakfast in a restaurant (and it was usually if we'd been doing B&B in some cheap hotel), there had usually only been a couple of options.  You could either go for the artery blocking ‘Full English’, or the less than appetizing, and slightly anaemic, ‘Continental Breakfast’.

That was it. Whatever option you chose, you got whatever was dropped on the plate in front of you.

Not here. Here, whatever you ordered, the choices and decisions were complicated. It went something like this:


“Oh…errr, yes, please.”


“On a plate...?” A bit of British banter, but the girl remains stony.

“Boiled, fried, scrambled, poached, steamed, baked, coddled or omletted," she offers. "Or we do Benedict too."

Who the hell is Benedict? "Oh, right…nice....mmm..." Buying time. "What was the list, again? Never mind…I’ll have fried.”

“Over hard, over medium, over easy?’

Over here would be good…

“Do you do sunny side up?”

Then you had to go through it all again with the bread, having access to every variety and stage of toasted-ness!


GRITS? Now there was a culture clash! For a young lad like me, coming here from London, the idea of eating grit seemed completely  hilarious!

The first thing to avoid getting these breakfast grits confused with were WalMart Gritters. They were a different kind of grit altogether. Theirs was a grit you couldn’t eat it; neither would you find the Gritters in the huge parking lot, throwing sand at everyone, just in case there was snow on them! No, the WalMart Gritters were a bunch of extremely jovial old folk (clearly well into retirement), who wore the WalMart vest and stood at the door to grit (greet) you, as you entered the store.

Paid to ensure you were having a nice day, the Gritters were fabulous people!

Okay – enough said about food! Where were we?

Oh yes. Longhorn!

* * *

However, though it was the weekend, that particular day that they were pulling into the restaurant parking lot wasn't actually a Sunday. In fact, it was a Saturday, and all four of them were heading up to the lake on a day that was bright and sunny and full of promise.

The reason for this change in the usual arrangement was that they were due to go over to visit the Kears the following day, and that messed up the normal schedule. To make up for it as they headed to the lake for an afternoon of sailing, they unanimously voted to worship at the steakhouse on the way.

Longhorn was what it was—and as steakhouses go, it delivered well enough for the price you paid. Not fast food, but fast enough so that they could get your table back in a reasonably short time and give it to someone else waiting in line!

Arriving at the restaurant well ahead of the crowds, they planned to eat early. Slamming the doors on their minivan, Luke realized it was a good job the parking lot had plenty of space for them to fit the boat trailer in, too. Inside, it wasn't busy at all.

The four of them were promptly seated in a booth around one of the secluded round tables the type they preferred and, within a few minutes, a girl came to take their order. They recognized her at once, and Luke felt a teasing kick from under the table.

He gave his brother a warning glare.

She'd been working there a couple of months —one of the many young people his age who took part-time jobs in places like Longhorn to earn extra cash in their spare time. He had even wondered about getting a job himself, but hadn't succumbed. Maybe in a year's time when he had his license and some wheels?

"Hello Stacey." Their mum smiled warmly as the young girl gave their table a quick wipe-over with a cloth. “How are you today?”

"Hi y'all!" Stacey beamed and then whipped out her pad and pencil. “I’m good, thanks!” The smile wandered over to Luke and her eyes twinkled. "This is a nice surprise. Don't you folks usually come in on a Sunday?"

He caught another less than subtle smirk from Simon along with another prod under the table. Retaining a polite demeanor above the waist, he kicked back under the cover of his mum answering Stacey.

Pad at the ready and unaware of the exchange, Stacey pressed on. "So, what can I get y'all to drink?" They ordered their usual iced, sweet tea, and she bustled off.

"She’s a nice girl," Lucy noted, apparently to nobody in particular, though Luke studiously avoided catching her eye all the same. "I think her mother teaches at Creek Elementary."

Despite his mum's unsubtle musings, he had to agree. Unlike many of the girls her age, Stacey didn’t doll herself up with layers of make-up.  However, that didn’t mean she was plain. She returned promptly, balancing huge glasses on a tray—not that they actually needed to be big. That was the other thing that made America such a great nation—free refills!

Stacey deftly distributed the drinks, pulled out her pencil once more, and chimed in her dulcet southern tones, "So - y'all ready to order?" They nodded and she began to work around the table, until she got to him.

"Will that be the ribeye, as usual, Luke?"

Luke blinked, trying to look cool, whilst his innards remained fully flustered.

Oh my God! Not only had she remembered his name, but even what he liked to order!

"Oh...errr...yes, I guess so." It came out in a less than distinguished croak. "Errrr...thanks."

“Well done?” Stacey eyed him coyly, and Luke saw his dad smirk from behind his menu.

“Yes please…thanks.”

You're welcome!" She beamed at him. As he happened to be sitting on the end of the circular seat that curved around their table, she 'accidentally' nudged him, as she leaned over to gather the menus.

Once she was out of earshot, Simon made some rather obscene kissing noises. "She has SO got the hots for you!"

“Pack it in!" Luke threw him a dirty look.

His dad's smirk grew. "She does seem nice..."

Luke glowered. Actually, his dad was right. She was nice. In fact she was a stunner, with a personality to go with it. It wasn’t that he objected to the flattery—it was just things were a little more complicated than that.

"She's not my type..."

"Oh yes—and what is your type then?" teased his dad, leaning back, amused. "It's obvious she likes you. You could date worse! Why don't you ask her out?"

What was his type? To that, Luke had no answer and sipped at his drink, grinding his teeth in silence. Simon giggled, earning himself another kick.

"Ouch...stop it," Simon whined and rubbed his leg, milking the moment. "Mum, tell him to stop kicking me!"

"Okay—break it up, you lot,” ordered their mum, though she wore a grin too. “When, and who, Luke chooses to date is his own business. He certainly DOESN’T need you two to arrange it for him! Let's change the subject shall we?"

"Well, I'm going to the salad bar!” Simon sucked at his drink and then scrambled out of the booth. “But, I think I need a pee first."

Lucy called after him. "Don’t forget to wash your hands!" She considered the menu herself. "I think I'll pass on dessert today. I'll have some salad too." With that, she followed her youngest out of the booth, leaving Luke and his dad alone, both of whom were holding out for both meat AND dessert.

* * *

As he waited with his eldest son, Geoff Summers picked up the menu again, squinting at it with some difficulty. He pushed his glasses up out of the way and squinted again, trying different combinations of glasses and distances to see if any of them made a difference. Frowning, he grunted, "Either I need new specs, or they're making these menus smaller!"

Luke couldn’t hold back a grin. "It's ’cos you spend all day looking at computers and spreadsheets, Dad. And you're getting old!" He smirked as he picked up a menu. "Do you want me to read it out for you?"

"Alright, alright. I know you think I'm an old fart,” Geoff returned. “You don't need to remind me." He gave up trying to see the menu, put his glasses back on and looked meaningfully over the top of them. "And you might want to be nice—you still need my signature down at the DMV for your provisional!”

“And a car!”

 “Not till September.”

Luke pulled a face, but Geoff and Lucy were adamant on this one. He might be getting his license soon, but waiting a few months before getting his own car wouldn’t do the kid any harm. In Geoff’s opinion, sixteen was far to young for kids too be behind a wheel by themselves—and far too many who thought themselves ace drivers had accidents within the first couple of months.

Sixteen already. He shook his head and sighed.

The two of them were sitting next to each other in the booth and he stretched out his legs, comfortably. Lowering his voice, he broached what had been on his mind that morning. "Mum and I were talking about you last night.”

Luke perked up. “Oh yes? Good or bad – and what about?”

“Surgery.” He paused and tried not to grin. In the circumstances, grinning wouldn’t help. “We got the last paper you printed out for us.” On a regular basis, for months now, Luke had been printing out and passing them what he saw as relevant information with regards to circumcision. He'd become a persistent little blighter...a bit like his father, Lucy had complained!

“And?" Luke raised his eyebrows looking hopeful. "Did you read it?”

“We glanced through it." It was a generous claim. Geoff kept his voice low, under the cover of the hum of background chatter. They’d been talking about the subject, on and off, for a while now. It wasn’t new. "I see you’re still keen to have the operation?"

His eldest son shrugged and slid the menu back into the central holder. "Nothing’s changed, if that’s what you mean.”

Playing with the glass in front of him, Geoff nodded. He hadn’t really expected anything different.

However, arguing about it had been going on far too long and wasn’t getting them anywhere. Enough was enough, and these endless ‘papers’ needed to stop. Lucy was probably right and, just like with the car, Luke should wait and grow up a bit more first. But somehow Geoff needed to find the right way to talk some sense into his son.

"Luke, can I ask you a question?"


 "What if we’d still been living in the UK?"

"Meaning what?"

He waited a moment, pausing while some other diners passed out of earshot. "I mean would you have still wanted to be circumcised, if we were there?" Surely Luke could see what the point was—that there wasn't really any basis for all these papers!

Luke shrugged. "I doubt it..."


"...but we're not living there are we," he finished.

Geoff’s forehead furrowed. "But, then why..."

Luke interrupted him and posed his own question. "Dad, do you think we’ll ever go back to living in England?"

Coming from Luke, that one took him by surprise, though he'd considered the issue many times himself. Wondering where the kid was going with it, he sat up and leaned into the rounded table as he considered the question again.

"Sometime, probably. When, I'm not sure."  

When the time was right, he’d always assumed they would go back. But when that would be…who knew?

The job here was good. In fact, after only fifteen months staying with the bank that had brought him over, he'd been poached by bigger and better, who’d teased him away with a big hike in his salary, such that the school fees didn't really test them as much as they had.

He’d performed well with the new company and, less than eighteen months into the job, his growing reputation had been rewarded by his own department with another salary increase and a team to lead.

But jobs came and went. It might not last forever; things might move them on. He shrugged as he computed the options and continued. "At the very least, it won’t be until schooling for the two of you has finished; probably college, too. Then would be a good time to go back.”

“But why would we want to?”

“Well, why wouldn’t we?" Geoff countered. "I don’t get you? It’s…”

“Home?” Luke completed, with a wry shrug.

"That’s the thing, Dad. It's not home anymore. Not for me." Luke spoke softly, pouring salt from the shaker onto the table, stirring complex patterns into it. “When we came here, I admit, I hated it—but that's years ago. It’s different now. Everything I know is here, and all my friends. I’m even beginning to sound American, for goodness sake!”

Geoff pondered the salt and the changes that had had their impact on his family.

When it came to his career, the move to the USA had been timely. Like the release of a bowstring he’d shot upwards on the corporate ladder much more rapidly than if he’d stayed put.

On the other hand there had been a price to pay. Grandparents were one. They were getting too old to travel and there was little enthusiasm at this end to keep dragging the family back that way either. When they’d first made the transition, he’d had in the back of his mind that they would go back when his and Lucy’s parents got older. But was that really going to happen? Neither he nor Lucy were ‘only children’, but he still felt guilty.

Perhaps I need to take a visit over there soon?

"And what about Si?" Luke continued, interrupting his train of thought. "After college, he'll probably join some big-shot engineering firm or teach math or something!"

Geoff grinned. "Or worse, he could become an accountant!" His youngest could probably do and be anything he wanted, once he figured out what that was!

"And then what would you do?" Luke added, taking it a bit further as Stacey passed in front of them again. "You and Mum?” He lowered his voice for them only. "And what if I did fall in love with someone from around here—maybe even married, and we wanted to make our home here? Simon too? Would you go back to the UK, or would you stay here with us?"

Geoff shrugged, at a loss. "This is a bit heavy for Longhorn isn't it?" Neither he nor Lucy had answers to such big questions. Belatedly, he realized that his sons would need to make their own choices in life – and those choices were likely to be to remain in America.

"Yep—a bit" Luke grinned. “You're probably right, but you started it! You're the one who wanted to know if I’d still have wanted to be cut if we’d been in England."

Geoff grimaced. Even the word gave him the shivers!

At that point, Stacey swung by to check on them once more and to check their glasses. "You folks need a refill?"

The conversation switched.

"No, we're good thanks!" Luke smiled at her.

"Have you made a mess, Luke?" Seeing the trail of salt scattered in front of him, she scolded him playfully.

"Oops, sorry..."

She reached across him and skillfully smoothed it away, leaving him with a faint scent of roses.


Luke had leaned back to study her as she did her job, though what he was thinking was hidden as she moved on and began to take an order from another table.

She was a nice girl Geoff had to admit as he watched them interact. It was funny, but he’d never seen Luke around girls much— probably because of the school they went to—but this one was definitely flirting with him! It was a little weird to consider that Luke would probably start dating before too long.

It might even be this girl...

"The thing is, Dad," said Luke, turning to him again after she’d gone. "Supposing I do date and get into a serious relationship with someone here?"

"Someone like Stacey?" He could do a lot worse!

Luke pulled a face. “Don’t start THAT again!” He shrugged and kept his voice low. "Who knows? The point is, everyone here is used to young guys like me being circumcised—if you get what I mean. It's the norm. That's why I want to be the same, because this is where I live now. The truth is, when other guys in the locker rooms see me, they tend to think I'm a bit of a freak – it’s not cool! What if I married someone here, and they thought the same?"

"Oh... I guess I never really thought about it like that " Geoff was stumped. It wasn't something he'd ever had to face. In fact he’d never much talked about anything to do with sex with the boys. Frankly, he'd never been good at anything related to the birds and bees, and had left all that kind of thing to Lucy.

Still, the penny began to drop.

Stacey passed by them quite frequently over the next hour, and Luke seemed to enjoy chatting with her in a relaxed and friendly enough way, though whether he would ever date someone like her, Geoff had no idea. However, the likelihood that whoever either of his sons dated and even married would be American...well that was only just beginning to hit home.

Comfortably fed and watered, they returned to their van. Today the lake, and tomorrow the Kears. He was glad they were going to visit them again, he mused as he checked the tow hitch.

As much as anything, Anne Kear had brought a good friendship to Lucy, and friends here – at least, in the way they’d had friends in England – were hard to come by. Of the two of them, it had been harder for her in this country. He’d had his office and his work, and plenty of colleagues that he counted as friends. But Lucy? Well, she’d struggled a lot more.

Of course, everyone here was so warm and had been genuinely welcoming when they’d first arrived. This new world seemed to offer everything they’d ever wanted as a couple. A beautiful home. Top quality schooling and the potential that offered for the boys. A good life, and now money to spare that would top up investments for them and for the boys in years to come.

 And everyone was so friendly…except ‘close’ friends were harder to come by than you would expect!

Steven Kear—who was also from the UK—had a theory. Friendship, he’d once quite aptly said, was a bit like the games of baseball played by the Braves down at their stadium in the city.

It went like this...

Take the UK, or in fact, anywhere in Europe, he’d explained. There, it often took ages to get a good friendship going. It was tough to get to first base. But, once you got there, moving on to 2nd and 3rd base, to deepen that friendship, could happen quite quickly. Here in the USA—at least in their part of it—you hit first base almost immediately… to find that there was no 2nd or 3rd! Those didn’t seem to exist!

At least not in the way he and Lucy had been used to, Geoff mused.

The outcome was this: over here, it was easy to know lots of people who, in their own way, would be delighted to count you a friend. But what did that mean? They would rarely invite you into their home or share a family meal with you other than ‘doing lunch’ out at some restaurant. Dropping in, uninvited, for a cuppa, was frowned on.

With their 'drive through' culture, even the schools were different, especially when the boys were younger.

In the UK on the daily school run, dropping off and picking up the boys, Lucy found that she could easily meet other parents. There was a tradition of finding a place to sit and natter while waiting for the children to come out. Here, parents drew up in their minivans (and the queue of vans often stretched way out the parking lot and down the road), and their occupants remained completely isolated in them until they arrived at the pickup point.  Doors slid open. Kids got in. Doors closed. Drive-through school!

Still, although it took some getting used to, it was at school that the boys had found good friends. Lads like Luke’s pal, Ryan; he was a great kid, though his parents were total crap, Geoff thought. No, it was the adults that had found the transition harder, and for Lucy, families like the Kears were a godsend!

As he drove away in the direction of the lake, and the family chatted and joked, his head was still buzzing with the implications of what Luke had said.

When they moved their family to the States, both boys—and Luke in particular—had been steaming mad with them. But that had passed, as he knew it would. Now, to hear him talk about this place as being ‘home’—well, that was quite something! Even though it made complete sense! Could it really be that they, and any future generations of Summers families, would become American residents?

It was a price he'd never anticipated when he'd done the math to cost out the move. Would they ever be able to go back to the UK if the boys made their lives here? Could Lucy even contemplate that—leaving kids and possible grandkids to go live another country? Of course she wouldn’t.

It didn’t take too long, and soon they were pulling beside the jetty and unhitching the boat, easing it into the water alongside a dozen other colorful sailboats, all eager to catch the stiff breeze.

The boat? Well that had been a rash promise he’d made to Simon.

When they’d left the UK and the sailing club that he loved, they’d agreed to find a way for him to continue the sport in America and would even look into buying a boat.

Making promises was easy; delivering on them a lot harder—and that one had come back to haunt him! They’d rented boats for a while, but Simon didn’t let it go until they finally got the sailing dinghy, though it had taken quite a bit of negotiating to agree on the when, what and how much. Not just for Simon, but for Luke, too, who’d had to be bought off as well!

They’d got Simon linked into a club, one that was centered up at the lake. But it wasn’t cheap! Mind you, having their own boat now cut the rental costs substantially, so maybe it was a sound investment after all?

It wasn’t a large craft, a one- or two-man racing dinghy that he’d bought off a colleague—a guy who’d claimed that the two greatest days of owning a boat were the day you bought it and the day you sold it! Geoff had pushed for a good price, and it’d come with the trailer. The van already had a hitch, so they were good to go.

The purchase was in lieu of both Christmas AND birthday presents for that year – plus a TON of goodwill thrown in. When it had come to budget, and the actual style and standard of boat they should buy, the negotiations with Simon had been intense. Budgets he was quite happy with. Boys – particularly teenage ones – were a lot harder to understand!

Naturally, Luke stuck in his own oar, complaining that it would be completely unfair for Simon to get such a gift, while he get nothing. He’d bartered his own package deal (covering his birthday and Christmas gifts, of course). He ended up with what HE really wanted—one of the new Apple MacBooks.

Now THAT was something that Geoff Summers could understand. Like his eldest son, he loved anything Apple!

Lucy had said it was all a small price to pay.


It was just money, he’d tried to convince himself, and he couldn’t deny that the boat had been something they’d all come to enjoy over the last couple of years. Even then as the two of them sat together on the bluff and proudly watched their sons skidding across the choppy waves in front of them, he realized she was probably right! 

Simon steered the boat close into the point, and Geoff waved to both of them, watching as they sliced across the water, laughing, eyes bright through the spray.

‘You won’t have them for long’ a small voice whispered.

As any parent does, he realized the natural way of it. As Luke had instinctively known that lunchtime, the day would come when they would eventually make their own way in life.

Did it have to be so soon?

Watching the lively pair, the sadness of it touched him.

He sighed, coming back to the present. Now was as good a time as any. Whilst the boys cut through the water, he talked to his wife about another cut they needed to reconsider.

In the latest article that Luke had pushed at them, there had been a reference to what had been called, ‘The Kindest of Cuts’. A clearly pro-circumcision stance, the article had been an exploration of the cultural and positive health aspects of the procedure. He’d read it, but ignored the conclusions; he’d ignored what was right in front of him.

Maybe, for Luke, in the life that he now led—the life that he and Lucy had forced on their boys in the first place—he needed this more than they realized. Perhaps it would be the kindest of cuts after all?

* * *

After an afternoon on the water, the family had made it home around six.

Quickly polishing off a couple of homework assignments that just HAD to be done, Luke fired up his laptop to log into Facebook, checking to see if anyone had left any messages.

Over the last six months, he'd added quite a few more friends. Basically, almost everyone from school was on Facebook, though by no means did he add them all! Neither of his parents were on the social network, and they thought the whole thing ridiculous. How on earth can you have so many friends, his dad had asked him once? Do you actually know them personally? Of course he didn't, but on Facebook, the term ‘Friend’ didn't really carry the same meaning that they had grown up with. He knew his parents would never get it!

He logged in, and up came his page. His username on almost everything had always been 'londonlolly' (from the old nickname, Lolly) and his Facebook page was to be found at

Since that fateful day in December, when Simon had spoken about his sexuality for the first time, they’d talked about it, on and off and when it came to Toby, he hadn’t pried.

Toby had come along sailing with them a couple of times over the years, but he wasn’t keen at all. It seemed the guys couldn’t even swim! In fact, it was one of his other classmates, Jacko, who had joined them more often.

But, when it came to guys, Simon wasn't the only person that Luke knew who seemed to be gay. As he logged into Facebook that night, he noticed the other one, currently registered in the 'online now' box at the bottom.

On impulse, he flicked up the messaging box.

[LUKE] "Hey!"

There was nothing for several minutes, as his message waited patiently. He was about to give up and log out when the reply popped up.

[DAMONJ] “Hi Luke - how's things?"

[LUKE] “Cool thanks. You?”

[DAMONJ] "I'm good! Bored …"

Luke grinned to himself. From the number of recent Farmville requests Damon Jamieson had generated, he could tell!

He’d been wondering for a while, but why Luke decided to ask that particular question, just then, he was never sure. They chatted about nothing of importance for a few minutes, before he got round to what was on my mind.

[LUKE]  "Can I ask you something?"

[DAMONJ] "Sure...shoot…"

[LUKE]  "It's a bit personal..."

[DAMONJ]  "OK, try me...(smiley)"

It was personal and Luke hesitated after he’d typed the short phrase. He decided to go ahead and press send.

[LUKE] "Well…I just wondered if you happened to be gay?"

After it fired off, there was a pause before Damon replied.

[DAMONJ] "Hell - that's quite a question!"

[LUKE] "Sorry – none of my business—forget it!"

Embarrassed, Luke had typed hurriedly. There was a pause again – long enough to make him squirm, wondering whether he’d crossed the line, big-time!

[DAMONJ]  "Well, if you really want to know…yes, I am. Is that a problem?"

Now what should he say? He’d broached the subject, but without any idea where to go with it. He had to say SOMETHING.

[LUKE] "I kind of thought you might be...from stuff on your pages, I mean. No, it's no problem at all. I didn't mean it like that."

[DAMONJ]  "So why do you ask?"

The reply had come quickly and felt probing.

[DAMONJ]  "Are you?"


[LUKE] "No, but..."

Luke paused a moment, thinking it through. There was no way he was going to identify Simon, and reveal what his brother had told him—even in a private Facebook chat—to a guy he hardly knew, in New York! On the other hand, it wouldn’t do any harm to get another perspective. He continued typing.

[LUKE] "...someone I know—a friend I've known a long time…is, I think. I was just trying to understand it more."

There was an extremely long pause before the reply popped up.

[DAMONJ] "He actually told you that, or are you just guessing?"

[LUKE] "No, he told me. We go back a long way."

[DAMONJ] "Oh. Well, he was brave!"

[LUKE]  "Why do you say that?"

[DAMONJ]  "Not sure I would do that. It takes a lot of trust in someone to come out to them like that. Trust me – I know! So, how do you feel about it...and him?"

That was easy. Luke typed quickly.

[LUKE] "It was a surprise, I guess—but he's still a friend. I don’t think it makes any difference in the end."

There was another long pause.

[LUKE] "Are you still there?"

[DAMONJ]  "Sorry...was just thinking...I need to soon...bye."

[LUKE ] "Bye..."

Luke was a little surprised by the abrupt end, and he stared at the screen thoughtfully. After a few moments, he shut down the chat window and went on to read a few of the messages that had piled up on his email. He sent out a number of replies, then logged off and went to go have a shower in preparation for bed.

6. The Welsh Type

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

The Welsh Type

Luke rarely went to Ryan's place on a Sunday. Partly, it was because his friend’s parents were home most of the day and he never felt welcome, but also because the Alexis family went to church. Sunday mornings, rain or shine, they would be at Mass. It seemed totally bizarre to him—as far as he could see, they didn’t seem the slightest bit religious!

It was a Sunday that day, and later that afternoon along with the rest of the family, he’d be going over to the Kears for meal. However, that left a gaping hole in his social calendar for the first part of the day. Over breakfast, while he was trying to convince Simon to come down to the driving range at the golf club with him, his brother had got a call from Toby, asking if Simon wanted to come round.

That blew that option, so rather than stay at home, alone and bored, he’d made a call himself and was able to secure Ryan’s release for after church. The service was always done on the dot by 10:45 anyway, so he’d invited Ryan to come over afterwards, and stay for lunch too.

It was far too nice a day to stay indoors—there would be enough of that in the summer when the uncomfortable humidity forced everyone to head for air conditioning. A little reluctantly, Ryan had agreed to a proposed outing to the golf club when church was done.  

So, later that morning, Luke got on his bike, and with a handful of irons precariously balanced across his handlebars, he headed to Ryan's place.

Resting his bike as neatly as he could against the side of the house, he walked around the front and up to the ornate, columned façade and knocked politely on the imposing front door. Even after more than four years of friendship, he would never, ever consider going around the back uninvited if he knew Ryan’s parents were home.

 Holding a bottle of Budweiser and dressed in sweat pants and a tee, Ryan's father, Captain Ethan Alexis, opened the door. Frowning as he glared across the doorstep, Alexis looked intimidating. He always looked intimidating! It wasn't because he carried an unmissable tattoo etched into his forearm. It wasn't even the smattering of healed scars that reflected of a life of violent action. In Luke’s opinion, it was because the guy was just plain nasty.

"Good morning, sir," Luke kept it as polite as he could. “Ryan was expecting me.”

Captain Alexis glowered and stared at him as though he were an inconvenience rather than his son's best friend. Without breaking the grilling gaze, he bellowed back into the house. "Ryan! It's for you."

"Is it Luke?" A familiar voice filtered down the wide stairs. "Tell him to go around the back."

Alexis took a swig of his bottle and looked more likely to say, 'get the fuck off my property', before giving Luke a perfunctory flick of his head as he nudged the door close with his foot. Glad to escape, Luke hurried around the side of the house, passing through the unlocked tall wooden gate and into the grounds.

If Luke had thought their house was big, it was dwarfed by most on that exclusive, gated estate where Ryan lived. Even then, the Alexis residence—the word 'home' didn't quite fit—wasn't by any means the largest in the area. The buildings extended on three sides; the two arms embracing the large, heated, outdoor pool. The fourth side of the pool opened up to the considerably-sized gardens.

The main section of the house would have been more than enough room for a dozen occupants, let alone just the three of them in Ryan’s family, and it was a double-story. The two arms reached out as single-story, open-jaw, extensions. Along one side, the extensions housed a well-equipped gym, as well as a function room with a bar, and a separate home cinema space. Across the other side of the pool was an additional apartment, though who’d really want to live there was beyond Luke. A year or so ago there’d been a live-in maid, but she hadn’t lasted long.

Attached to the main building there was also a massive, three-car garage. Within a few moments, the side door of that garage opened, and Ryan came out, wheeling his bike.

“And why am I doing this?” Ryan complained.

“Because you love the game?” Luke hazarded, unable to stifle a grin. Ryan pulled a face as he left his bike on the side and went back in, to return momentarily with a couple of his own, top brand clubs. Soon they were heading across to the golf course—or more specifically, the driving range.

The pair had only started playing the game recently. Even then, Luke found he really only enjoyed whacking balls up the range, bored by the drudgery of walking around from hole to hole in the time-honoured way. The driving range was more than satisfying, and it wasn’t like he was even any good at the rest of the game.

However, the great thing was—at least when it came to sports—it was almost the only thing he knew of at which Ryan was TOTALLY CRAP…even if he did have swanky clubs! Luke still couldn’t quite believe his friend had agreed to come with him again! Maybe it was because Ryan wasn’t the type of person to let anything beat him, let alone a stupid 1.68 inch golf ball!

So it was around thirty minutes later that Luke watched in bemusement as his friend took another swing, looking determined that this one was going to go fast, high, and right to the flag. Ryan swiped at it with conviction, but—as had happened so many times in the past—the club head clipped the top of the ball.

"Oh, for Christ sake!" Ryan kicked at the rubber peg in frustration.

"Ryan Alexis, mind your language—you've just been to church! What would the vicar say?” Luke grinned in amusement as they watched the ball bounce about a dozen meters before dribbling to a resounding stop.

Ryan grunted as he placed another ball on the tee. "He's probably taking communion down at the Irish bar—you wanna go ask him?" Eyeing the fresh ball, he limbered up again.

Luke watched and tried not to grin too widely. It was a glorious Sunday morning that found them on the driving range—just not for Ry! With the new ball, Ryan took his best shot and...

“Oh, bad luck!” said Luke, trying to sound positive. He counted up the number of balls that hadn’t made it more than ten meters. “Try another one maybe, or I could give you some help, if you want?" Maybe it was a bit mean, but he knew the offer of it would really rub Ryan up the wrong way.

"Nope." The replies were getting as short as Ry's patience, and Luke smirked as the next one headed over someplace to the right. He teed his own, eyed it up, and took a controlled swipe, watching with satisfaction as it lofted high and straight down the range.

Ryan stared at it stonily. "How the hell is it that you're so good at this, and I totally suck?" He glanced around and looked relieved to see nobody else he recognised close by. Thankfully, there weren’t many people out on the range that morning.

"I'm English—it's probably in the genes,” said Luke. He shrugged, smug with the taste of victory. “The next generation of Summers kids are bound to be world-class golf pros!"

“Yeah…right…” Ryan shook his head morosely and reached for another ball with some increasingly forlorn hope that this one might leave the tee with some modicum of grace.

Luke studied him with amusement. With smart shorts and an expensive -looking polo shirt, Ryan looked the part—that was until he actually swung at the ball! Bottom line...Ry was absolutely useless at golf, and if it came to any genes he had to offer, then God help the next generation!

Other than that, Luke reckoned that his friend was one of those guys that could probably have any girl he fancied. Even the Staceys of this world! Then again, Ryan had never dated anyone that Luke knew of.


"What?" Despite the interruption, Ryan kept his attention on the ball and tried to stay relaxed. He went back to taking small practice swings, hoping to gauge its position again.

"Have you ever had a girlfriend?"

The back and to movement of the club head halted momentarily, then resumed for a few swings, before stopping altogether. Ryan lifted his head, a quizzical expression on his face. "Nope—you know I haven’t. You?"


"So, why d'ya ask?"

"Dunno...I just wondered..."

"Wondered what?" Ryan continued to watch him. Luke suspected that his friend knew him well enough to guess there was more.

"Well, it's just that there's this girl that works at Longhorn,” Luke confessed at last, prodding at a couple of loose balls with his toe. “We were there yesterday."

Ryan grinned and gave up on the golf in exchange for a full interrogation. "Good God! You fancy some waitress?"

"Nah...not really." Luke shrugged—even to him, it sounded lame. “It’s not like that.”

"So what's her name?"

“I knew I shouldn’t have told you!”

“NAME! NOW!” With a glint in his eye, Ryan bore down on him.


"Stacey who?"

"I don't know,” Luke replied, feeling awkward now. “I only know she's called Stacey."

"So, let me get this straight…” Ryan cackled, quite gleeful now, “…there's this girl you know nothing about, other than she's called Stacey and is good with iced tea.” He counted off her qualities on his fingers. “Oh…and you have the serious hots for her?"

"Give over…it's not like that!" Luke rolled his eyes, wishing now he’d never mentioned it. He ignored Ryan and went back to his own tee to take a swing at the ball he had set up: a shot which went skidding to the right, almost to where Ryan’s had ended up.

His friend snickered, milking the moment. "Hell, pal—it looks like this girl could really mess up your golf game. I would stay well away from her! So, when are we next going to Longhorn?" He leaned expectantly on his club.

Luke shook his head and ignored him. Sure—as if he would really subject himself to that! Not a chance!

Finally, much to Ryan's relief, they ran out of balls and decided to head back home for lunch. It was still early and they were in no rush, and as they passed along the crisscrossing golf-cart paths balancing clubs on their bikes, Ryan was contemplative.

“Joking apart,” he said as they peddled slowly, side-by-side. “Does she like you? This Stacey, I mean.”

Cautiously, Luke glanced across at him, but didn’t see any teasing. “Maybe—I’m not really sure.”

“And you?”

“She’s alright, I guess.”

“You don’t sound convinced.”

Luke scrunched up his face. “I dunno—I’m just not sure I want a girlfriend right now, that’s all. What about you?”

“Does she have a sister?”

Luke could hear the return of the goading undertone, and he shook his head, grinning this time. “Actually, I think she does. I heard she’s a bit chubby and has buck teeth—should be about right for you!”

Lucy had prepared sandwiches for lunch, and soon after Luke and Ryan arrived back, Simon and Toby turned up in time to tuck in, too. She shooed the four of them onto the back deck with their food, and they sat around a table laden with sandwiches, chips and cold drinks. Simon and Toby both seemed bright and cheerful that day, and, as he had numerous times in the last couple of months, Luke observed Toby with curious interest.

Since that time just before Christmas when his brother had come out to him, Simon had begged Luke not to tease, and definitely NOT say anything weird when he was around Toby Skerrit! Luke had promised, and kept his word. At the same time, he couldn't help wondering what Toby was really like behind those enigmatic eyes.

Over lunch, Simon was in a good mood and in full flood as he tried to explain the techniques of small boat racing to Ryan, who in turn seemed quite interested. The hot sun moved around as they ate and talked, and Luke spotted Toby, who didn’t look like he saw the sun too much, drag his chair nearer to Simon, getting back under the shade of the wide umbrella.

They were a curious pair: Simon, on his favorite subject, and Toby watching him with a cryptic smile. To the casual observer, pulling a chair closer meant nothing—and it probably was nothing, though Luke couldn’t help himself; his imagination went into overdrive.

Si had said that he didn't think Toby was gay, but what if he was wrong? Luke studied Simon’s friend out of the corner his eye. Could you tell if someone was gay? Maybe by how they spoke, or acted? He gave up on that train of thought fairly rapidly. Of course you couldn't.

Still…what if? Would Si have told him if there was something going on between the two of them? Maybe…maybe not. He let his mind drift. So what if they were already together—as in a couple? Would they have done much kissing yet? What had that been like? Nice?

“Luke likes it a lot, too…”

Luke stirred uncomfortably, not knowing how anyone—even Simon—could have any idea if this were true or not. He didn't even know himself yet!  Somehow, it didn't compute, yet he could see Simon was speaking to him—and expected an answer.

“Don’t you?” Simon added, waiting expectantly.

“Sorry...what…?” Luke tried to pick apart the bits of conversation he’d heard, hoping to get some clue as to what he was missing.

“Leaning out the side, to keep the balance in a strong breeze!”

“Oh..that. Errr...sure...” Distracted by a daydream that had been consumed by smooching, Luke’s reply was half-heartedly pathetic. He tried to think of something more definite, but Simon had moved on, explaining to Ry how easy it was to flip the boat.

Si was right of course. In strong winds, it was extremely tricky to balance the forces when the light craft began to lift out of the water, and Luke knew he didn't have the same feel for it that his brother did. More than once Luke had dumped both of them in the drink!

As Simon pressed on, Luke went back to studying Toby, fascinated by the unknowns—that was, until Toby glanced his direction and those dark, brooding eyes quickly forced Luke to look away. He tried to wipe the unhelpful thoughts from his mind, feeling guilty he’d drifted to dwell, yet again, on things to do with other guys.

After lunch, Toby and Ryan took off on their bikes, and Luke, Simon, and their parents packed themselves a few bits and pieces into their minivan, ready to drive over to the Kear’s. Later in the afternoon, they would be lighting the charcoal for a BBQ meal, though Luke presumed that it would be one of them who would actually cook the meat again. Steven Kear was a bit hopeless in that area.

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

I should probably tell you a bit more about the Kears.

First off, they were Brits—the Welsh type. A family of four who'd only been living in the US for nine months.

Steven Kear was, as far as I could work out, some kind of Data Analyst who’d taken a computer job working for some minor world-health agency, which had offices nearby. If the Kear’s house was anything to go by, it didn't look like he got paid much! They had a son, Owen, who was my age, and a precocious twelve-year-old girl, Becky. Becky really had a thing for Simon, which made visiting with them a whole lot of fun!

Purely by chance, mum had first met Anne Kear in a checkout line at Wal-Mart. Mum said she’d picked up on the musical Welsh accent of the lady fumbling with cash in front of her, and they'd got talking. Well, you know what my mum’s like! Discovering that Anne and her family were newly arrived in the area, mum decided to take her under her wing, advising her on the mysteries of cross-cultural survival.

That had been not long into the autumn semester, about five months previously.  Like us, the Kears had come over to the USA during the summer holidays.

The truth was, things were not going well for the Kear family now. The first two or three months after they’d arrived had been fine, and I even got the idea that Owen and Becky had actually been more than happy to exit South Wales and take a flight bound for the promised land of life in America.

But it hadn’t lasted, and now they were in trouble. And it centered around Owen.

* * *

That afternoon at the Kear’s house, as the two older boys masterminded the grill, the fathers talked about savings and investments, and Simon hid from Becky, the two mothers caught up with mum stuff.

"It's warm today!" Sipping a cup of hot tea, Anne Kear fanned herself as they sat around the scruffy kitchen table.

Lucy felt for her. ‘World Health’ didn’t seem to pay well, and the type of place the family had been able to afford to rent came with AC units that appeared to be out of the ark! The fan did its best to stir the air.

"Goodness, Anne, this is nothing," she laughed, trying to make light of it. "You wait ’til the summer comes. Then it really heats up!"

"If we're still here." Anne sighed, reminding them both of the problems that had enveloped her little family.

"Oh..." Lucy understood what they were facing. Seeing Owen mooching around, she already suspected the on-going cause. "The kids are still unhappy, then?"  

"Well, Becky's fine now—she’s made some good friends at last. But Owen's just become so negative.” Anne shook her head in frustration at her son's moody outbursts. “He's making it completely miserable for everyone."

"Our two were exactly the same. It just takes time."

"Yes, I know. You said that before. But he says he doesn't belong here, and doesn't want to even try to fit in.”

Anne hung her head. As the tears gathered, she shook her head in frustration as the sense of failure boiled up in her. "I mean, what's the point?" She paused, and the fleeting anger slipped away. “I can't seem to do anything right!  He can't, or won't, make an effort, so what kind of future is he going to have, if we stay?"

Lucy was at a loss for what to say and reached out to hold her friend’s hands supportively.

* * *

At that very same moment, Luke was out on the back deck with Owen as they tended the smoking grill. His eyes flicked around him. The deck needed work, the garden was untidy; the home was missing something vital. It all reflected a family in crisis.

As far as he knew, the Kear’s place was rented—and it was a crummy place at that. Flaking paint, sad carpets, signs of rotting wood... Maybe that was part of Owen’s problem, he wondered? They hadn't bought their own place here in the States. Bridges hadn’t been burned and, unlike for him and Simon, the Kears still had a home back in Swansea. It was being rented out, and the option to crash out of life in the States still remained. Luke watched the burly Welsh teen push burgers around a rack that was far too small, with little enthusiasm for the task.

"I can't help it!" sighed Owen. His welsh lilt was strong. "I just want to go home, but they won't listen!" He didn't try to hide that he was fed up with America and pissed off with the totally crap existence that he felt was his life.

"What's the school like?" Luke hoped there might be something positive he could draw out of the guy. Owen went to Creek High and Becky was in the middle school. As far as local schools went, he'd heard good things. “Made many friends?”

"'s okay, I guess." Owen shrugged and kicked a loose stone off the deck. "But I hardly know anyone. They all have their mates, but I never seem to bloody well fit in." He shoved at a sausage ineffectually and it fell through the mesh of the cheap grill onto smoking coals.

"Do you wanna do it?" Owen gave up the tongs to him, before slumping down on a chair. 

Taking over turning the meat, Luke felt for him. He'd been there—for a short time anyway—but at least he'd made friends. If you didn't have anything worth looking forward to every day, it could get really bad. And Owen looked pretty low. Luke tried to sound optimistic. "It took me a year before I really began to feel settled, you know."

"A year?" Owen shook his head, took off his glasses and wiped sweat from his unfortunately spotty face. The zit god had not been kind to him that day—he needed fresh air and sunshine, rather than mooching around inside the house, day after day.

"But that’s it. I don't want to feel settled,” he murmured, mostly to himself. “I just want to go home."

Luke had no answers. There was no quick fix. In fact, for some problems in life, there was no fix at all!

Fortunately for Luke, occasionally, life could give you a few breaks. On a completely different topic, he had little idea of what passed between his parents as, in the seclusion of their bedroom later that night, they talked about him.

* * *

“What you said yesterday,” Lucy began. She put down her book as Geoff crawled into bed alongside her. “About this whole circumcision issue, with Luke.”

“Oh yes?”

“I’ve been thinking about it.”

Geoff knew she felt torn. As they'd talked about it by the lake, that had been obvious. On the one hand, she was dead against surgery and thought the practice of circumcision on boys or men quite barbaric. On the other hand she agreed with him that they couldn’t just keep ignoring their son, his feelings, and the need for him to make his own choices in life.

“I was talking to Anne this afternoon.” She seemed to change the subject, though perhaps it was all part of the same thing for her.

Geoff frowned. "About Luke?"

"No...about Owen."

"Oh...him..." Geoff knew now what she was referring to. “We’ve been lucky, you know.”

“With our two?” Lucy nodded, knowing he was right. She settled under the sheets and added, “Did Luke really talk about living over here permanently?”

Geoff nodded—the idea still took some getting used to. He'd told her about the conversation that he'd had with their eldest the previous day and, like him, she’d recognized the truth in it.

“They’re growing up fast, aren’t they?” she said.

Luke had his own future to make. They'd both agreed on that.  'Family' could be a complicated thing, and he knew how lucky they were that neither of their boys was in the kind of hole that Owen Kear had fallen into.

They switched off the bedside lights and settled into the darkness. “So, what do you suggest?” he asked, pushing her forward a little in the right direction.

“About circumcision?”

He smiled in the darkness. He’d no qualms that, in the end, it would be her decision that counted. It wasn't as if she wore the trousers in their home—far from it—but she had opinions and could be as stubborn as hell if she wanted to be. And when it came to the boys, she wouldn’t be swayed! Even when they’d first left the UK, despite his lucrative job offer and the opportunity to take great leaps up the corporate ladder, they’d only made the transition because she’d given her blessing.

Maybe that's how all mothers were?

He’d learned over the years how to both direct her and at the same time give her the control she needed, so he waited. She needed time to work it through, that was all.

“What if we make an appointment for him?” she said finally, acknowledging that it was time for her to make room for a small step—for herself and for her son. She twisted around to face him, frowning inquisitively. “Just to get some advice?”

"A professional medical opinion, you mean?"

“Maybe we should,” she sighed. He could tell that the turn of phrase helped her, and Geoff smiled to himself. Whatever that opinion turned out to be, he knew she would be guided by it, as he hoped Luke would be, too.

Good result!

* * *

Two days later, after being dropped off after school by Toby’s mum, Grace Skerrit, who’d done the school run that day, Luke strode into their kitchen and slung his jacket over the back of a chair. His mum was just hanging up the phone. He spotted her write the word ‘consultation’ on the calendar that hung off the fridge.

“Two weeks on Friday,” she informed him as he passed her on his way to go open the fridge door to find a drink.

“For what?” He retrieved the milk and, as an afterthought, found a glass and began pouring. They'd better not have changed the date of his driving test!

“To see a consultant.”

“Is something wrong?” He paused and looked up sharply. Was someone sick! Her? Dad?

“For you. To see a urologist.”

His mouth dropped open—it wasn’t hard to equate ‘urologist’ with ‘circumcision’. Was this a wind up? His excitement brimmed as much as the milk, which spilled onto the floor as he said, “You’re kidding! You’re getting me an appointment to get done?”

“Yes and no,” she clarified, smiling at his enthusiasm and passing him a cloth to clean up the mess. “It’s a consultation with somebody who knows what they’re talking about. Only to get some advice, mind, that’s all.”

He hardly listened. It was a start—that's all he cared about! Suddenly he was unable to contain himself. “When did you say it was?” In his excitement, he started gabbling!

"Two weeks on Friday. It was the first available appointment they had."

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

Dad made me laugh when I told him about it later that same evening. I asked him ‘why now’? He’d smirked and said, ‘“To be honest, son, we keep running out of paper for the printer!”


At the time, two weeks on Friday sounded like an age, yet it was fast becoming a bumper birthday. My sixteenth was literally just around the corner, and a week after that—being the required year and a day since first I got my instructional permit—I was heading down to get my provisional!

My God, did the days go slowly! Those two weeks were worse than waiting for Christmas Day back when we were kids! I know it sounds stupid but, as the time got closer, I became really nervous, even though I knew full well it was just a consultation. There was a lot riding on it, and I didn't want to mess it up! In fact, I think I was more nervous about that than the driving test—I mean you can always take that thing again, if you had to!

By the way—for the record—I passed first time! It was a milestone and I could now go out in the van by myself if needed. Then, three days after taking my driving test, I got really uptight; more nervous than the morning of some PSAT exam! The day of my consultation finally arrived.

Mind you, like any well prepared student, I’d worked hard to arm myself with a wide array of good-sounding arguments, ready to convince the doctor that what I wanted was both reasonable, and do-able.

I just hoped to God he'd listen!

I remember sleeping REALLY badly the night before. I had a dream in which some weasely looking surgeon had taken one look at me and then put me on a plane straight back to England. It was one of those weird unending dream loops. In it, I’d been sitting, stark naked, in an aisle seat, unable to move. Some little girls, carrying refills of iced tea, kept walking by. They would take one look at my excessively long, ugly dick and giggle hysterically! Over and over again…laughing at my strange willy!

Freud would have had a field day!

* * *

The day of the appointment finally came, and Luke got up early, feeling as nervous as hell!  It was more that an hour earlier than normal for him, and he took a long shower. Uptight though he was, he didn't dare jerk off to relieve some tension with the fear that the urologist would look into his face and somehow know!

The plan was that, at the end of the school day, his mum would be picking him up from the parking lot straight after the bell, to take him to the circumcision specialist. He was under strict orders not to dally.

Yeah…right! Like that was going to happen!

Time dragged through the day as, every few minutes, he rechecked his watch, thinking about what he was going to say to the doctor and how he was going to explain why it was important to him. Frankly, in his head, most of the day he was somewhere else!

In the middle of his closeted little world, he began to sense a voice. Finally, he realized that something—or someone—was speaking to him.

" to Luke!” Todd Quince was right in his face. “Anyone in there, dude?"

"What? I mean...yes?”


“WHAT?" He mentally shook away the disjointedness and let his irritation show. "Okay! For God's sake…you don't need to shout! Jeez!"

"Dude...where are you?" complained Todd. "You keep drifting off someplace!"

As they stood together on the open grass, Luke felt sheepish, but he blustered his way through it. "So? Just got something on my mind, that's all. Anyway...what were you saying?"

"You are such an asshole!" Todd rolled his eyes in understandable annoyance. "Sorry, dude, I'm not going to go through all that again! If you weren't listening, ask Ry!" Exasperated, he left the two of them, and went pacing off in a huff.

"Was he still talking about Fion?" That had been the last thing Luke had any memory of. Fion was Todd's ex.

"You really were somewhere else, weren't you? What's up with you these days?” Ryan studied him in bemusement. “And yes, he was talking about Fion. You obviously somehow managed to miss most of it."

“So?" Luke shrugged. Todd was still carrying a flame for Fion, and that made him the asshole for dumping her in the first place! Who cared anyway? He sure as hell wasn't going to become some kind of agony aunt for Todd Quince!

"Do you want to come round this afternoon…after school?" Ryan changed the subject and raised his eyebrows hopefully.

Luke kept his thoughts hidden. At any other time…absolutely. He loved going round and hanging out with Ryan. Just not today.

"Sorry Ry, can’t today....Mum wants me for something." It was a bit shallow, but would have to do. "What about tomorrow?"

Ryan’s face fell. "No go—Army cookout."

"Oh…right." Luke grimaced—he knew how much Ryan hated that particular monthly gathering. "Sorry."

Ryan didn’t press and they moved on to something else. Well, Ryan moved on—Luke just went back to what was consuming him!

The minutes passed excruciatingly until, finally, the end of day bell sounded. Now, after all that hanging around, the clock was ticking. He kept his head down, avoided any conversations, and hurried out, relived to find his mum already waiting in the parking lot. Simon would be getting a lift with Toby, so it was just him and her in the van as they pulled away from the school. He was so on edge about someone spotting him making a hasty exit minus brother that he didn't even waste time trying to get behind the wheel, even though a freshly-printed licence was burning a hole in his wallet!

Thankfully, the traffic was still light and the two of them made equally light conversation on the journey. He flicked on the radio, tuning to a station that he quite liked and his mother just about tolerated and listened to that as she drove. Even though they were taking the highway towards the city, he realized he’d no idea where they were going.

"Is it far?" They pulled down the ramp, off the 400 and onto the 285.

"No, not too far." His mum negotiated their minivan into a middle lane, and matched speed with the traffic. "About forty minutes. There's a letter with some directions in my purse. Can you get it out?"

He pulled out the letter which contained the confirmation of his appointment with a Dr. Tiberius. There was also a map and driving instructions. It all looked fairly straightforward. Forty minutes? Just round the corner really.

When they came to live in the States, time and distance was another of the many transitions they'd quickly made.  Back in England, if they were forced to go more than a few miles in the car, he and Simon had been naggy travellers. Here, people took distances in a completely different way. Even driving an hour to go to the shops was no biggy. It’d taken them eight hours in the nice minivan in which he was now sitting to get down to Florida on vacation. The journey down became part of the holiday. They'd talked a lot, he and Simon had listened to music and watched a few movies on the fold down screen, and there were always plenty of cup holders for the drive-through meals!

When people asked him about the differences between their two countries, his dad had a saying. It was this: for a Brit, a hundred miles is a long way, for an American, a hundred years is a long time! Actually, it was pretty true, though the rest of them got fed up hearing him quote it.

As they made their way around the 285 perimeter that encircled Atlanta, Luke took on the task of navigating for his mum. Only half-listening to the silly banter coming out of the radio station, he exited them off the 285 onto a highway that headed into the city. They travelled through an area of expensive looking office complexes without a strip-mall in sight—and you can imagine how much he and Simon had giggled when they first heard THAT term!

The map was good to its word and, ten minutes later, they arrived at their destination. Luke pointed to the building on the far side of the road. Crossing through a break in the traffic, his mum pulled into the medium-sized parking lot that served what looked liked a sizable medical center, and parked up.

As she turned off the engine, he checked his watch. Perfect timing as always! How the hell did she do that?

"Sweetheart, remember what we said? This is just a consultation.”

He nodded. They’d covered this ground several times already.

“We're seeing a urologist,” she continued.  “A Dr. Tiberius. Our own Dr. Marsh recommended him."

Duh...did she think he was dumb? Impatient to get in, he kept his peace—at least they were here.

"I know you feel strongly about the whole matter, but don’t forget our agreement—to listen to, and abide by, his recommendation.” The way she saw it, Luke guessed that she believed he just needed someone other than her and his dad to tell him that it really was best to leave things as they were.

“If the specialist advises that the procedure is unnecessary,” she pressed, “then let that be it."

Bingo!  Again, he nodded, but only on the outside. They got out of the van and he took a deep breath as he followed her into the building.

Welcomed by pleasant air-conditioning, they approached the expansive reception desk where a receptionist greeted them politely. She was both attentive and courteous, as well being young and quite pretty—and she clearly knew her job. She glanced at Luke, dressed in his school uniform as he waited next to his Mum, and smiled.

Politely too, Luke returned the smile, asking himself if she could be the kind of receptionist that would read a patient's notes. He shifted uncomfortably, wondering whether she was thinking something like 'he-he, here comes another school-kid penis patient!' The thought was off-putting, and while his mum completed the preliminaries, he studied the floor carefully.

"If you just want to take a seat," the receptionist said once the paperwork was in order. She gestured to a bank of plush seating, and then picked up the phone. "Doctor Tiberius will see you shortly."

Leaving her, they took their seats to wait.

Luke took a moment to study the surroundings, and his immediate impression (similar to most times he went to Dr. Marsh, their family Doctor's office in Roswell) was that this was nothing at all like going to the doctors in the UK. At least to no doctor’s surgery he'd ever attended!

It was a nice building with a cool, comfortable and rather plush reception area, and they were greeted by a polite, welcoming receptionist with not a single copy of Good Housekeeping Magazine anywhere!

What also seemed missing, he noticed, were sick people. Rather than being surrounded by dozens of old people, coughing and shuffling, or screaming young kids being held down by desperate mothers, the small number waiting with them that day all looked remarkably well.

It felt more like a health spa, than a sanatorium!

He picked up the appointment confirmation letter that his mum had left on top of her purse, and studied the name.

Dr. Tiberius.

Even that sounded like some ancient Roman baths! The only Tiberius Luke had ever known was Star Trek's James Tiberius Kirk, and he smirked to himself as he tried to imagine Dr McCoy as some secret Federation circumcision expert!

What would Tiberius be like? Shit, it might even be a she, though he then remembered that his mum had always referred to Tiberius as a 'him'.

Mind you, she could be wrong, too!

They only had to wait a couple of minutes before he found out, as someone came out into the reception area and he spotted that middle-aged, bow tie sporting, professional, speak quietly to the receptionist. Luke reckoned it had to be Tiberius. He was right as the man took a folder from the receptionist before turning in Luke’s direction, to stride purposefully towards him and his mum.

“Mrs. Summers?" The smile was genuine and Tiberius held out an outstretched hand. His mum popped out of her seat rapidly and took the proffered handshake. Politely, Luke stood and the man turned to him and held out his hand again. "And you must be Luke. I'm Jonathan Tiberius."

For the briefest of moments, Luke had a panicky feeling that the doctor was bent on having the consultation right there in the waiting area, so it was a relief when Tiberius invited them to follow him. He guided them through the building, making several turns to finally reach a door bearing a golden plaque. The plaque read, 'A. Jonathan Tiberius', followed by a long bunch of letters. Briefly, Luke wondered what the 'A' was for but, as A. Jonathan ushered them into his office, he decided it didn't matter.

If he was meant to be impressed, it was working. As Doctor’s offices go, the one belonging to A. Jonathan Tiberius wasn’t small!

For a start, the desk was definitively not the type you could pick up at a yard sale! Behind it, a padded and expensive-looking, leather executive swivel chair waited. Partly obscured by a curtain, Luke spotted a standard doctor’s couch at the end of the room. By the look of the place, he would definitely say there was money in penises!

The physician ignored the desk and couch and instead guided Luke and his mum to a couple of informal, overstuffed, sofas, set around a knee-high coffee table. A bowl of various fruits added to the decoration on the table, and Luke stared at the banana in amusement.

"Mrs. Summers. Luke," Tiberius opened, smiling genially as they all took their seats. His eyes strayed between them and then fixed on Luke’s mum. "How can I be of service today?"

Luke frowned. He was sure that the man had to realize that the ONLY reason Luke was there, was because he was the patient? Why else—his mum didn’t have a wanger, that was for sure! Unfairly, it felt like the question had been posed to the wrong person.

Luke had come too far to fall at this point, and there was no way he was letting his mum decide the flow and tone of the conversation. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see her leaning forward to speak, so he got in there first. "I want to be circumcised!" he blurted.

There was a slight pause, and he cringed, feeling two sets of eyes drilling into him, so he pressed on—just as awkwardly—with, "What I mean is, if you can do the surgery for me, I'd like it…please…"

A further pregnant pause followed, and he immediately thought of all the better ways there would have been to launch his campaign.


7. The Appointment

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

The Appointment

In the office of A. Jonathan Tiberius, the urologist poised his fingers into a steeple. “Ah...I see!" he murmured.

Luke cringed. That didn't sound at all promising. Unblinking across the coffee table, Tiberius seemed to consider him, and beside him, he felt his mum stir as she kicked in and cleared her throat. 

"Well, as Luke has expressed, Doctor Tiberius,” she said, “it's more a case of wanting to explore the pros and cons of circumcision - for someone of his age, that is. Purely to put his mind at rest. We thought it best to take some professional advice."

Damn her - thats not actually what he said, though she sounded so much better than him! He glanced to where she was perched on the sofa next to him, frustrated by this clash of wills that continued to unfold. Still, it could have been worse, he mused. At least she hadn't outright said, 'and naturally, sir, it shall be over my dead body!'

"Exactly," nodded Tiberius. After hearing her out, the enigmatic doctor turned his attention back to Luke, and smiled. Was it encouragingly? It was hard to tell. And what the heck did  'Exactly'' mean? Exactly what?

Tiberius leaned back, looking completely relaxed. "Am I to assume that, from your accents, the Summers family hail from England?" He regarded mother and son with what seemed like genuine interest.

They both nodded.

"And I see that Luke attends the Academy?" The Doctor flicked his eyes to a folder he'd placed open on the coffee table between the. "An excellent school, by all accounts." He studied the documents a little more closely. “A Sophomore I see.”

His uniform was distinctive. It didn't take a Sherlock Holmes to figure it out, and he strained his eyes wondering what else was in the notes.

“Yes, that’s correct,” said his mum with a tinge of pride in her voice. "We relocated over here nearly five years ago. Luke’s been attending the Academy ever since."

"And, compared to the UK, how do you find life in America, Luke?" asked Tiberius. It was only later that Luke began to realize that this had been the start of the doctor’s patient examination.

He shrugged. "It's okay I guess." Short, but not surly.

Tiberius nodded and looked thoughtful. "So…circumcision." He seemed to get to the point at last. "As I’m sure you already know, other than for religious traditions, it's not the norm to perform the procedure on either babies, boys or young men in most parts of Europe."

His heart sank. Was that it? Game over?

"This is exactly what I've been trying to explain too," Lucy said, looking entirely too satisfied with the direction in which the discussion appeared to be headed. "This kind of sensitive surgery does seem rather unnecessary. Particularly for someone of Luke's age."

Tiberius gave no immediate reply. Instead, leaning forward, he began turning the pages on the file of patient notes he’d left on the table. He looked up. "I see that you’ve just turned sixteen, Luke."

"Yes sir," Luke confirmed.

"And I presume only babies are circumcised – even here?" said his mum quickly, shooting him on of her looks.

Mum!  He groaned to himself, but Tiberius shook his head. "Far from it, Mrs. Summer," he replied. "My experience is that men of all ages often choose to be circumcised; and for many reasons."

It wasn't dismissive, and it surprised him, and he felt a ray of hope.

"But babies don't choose it, do they?" Lucy shot back. Her tone was tetchy.

The Doctor smiled, and nodded slightly to acknowledge her point. He’d probably heard it hundreds of times before.

"It's quite true Mrs. Summers. Requested Infant Circumcision - RIC as it’s often known - is a common practice in the United States. Opinions regarding the practice vary but, for young men such as Luke, the request for circumcision can be for many reasons; religious, personal hygiene, medical necessity, cultural expectation, or even just plain old personal preference."

"Personal hygiene?" Luke jumped on it and swiped a quick side-glance at his mum. See, I was right! That was the one he'd often quoted to his parents.

"For sure, Luke. Many would suggest the course you're considering is potentially a lot healthier for you.” Tiberius gestured with an open palm. “Of course, that isn’t to say that a boy still can't learn how to properly clean around and under the foreskin to maintain good hygiene." He glanced at Lucy, who shifted a little guiltily in her place.

Luke cringed too, but not for the same reason as her. Have his mum show him how to clean his dick? Holy cow - NO WAY!

Tiberius went on. "But, there’s no doubt that many find a circumcised penis easier to maintain and keep clean. There’s a lot less of a tendency for it to become sore or infected, or suffer from a range of medical conditions; aliments that I won't list for you now."

Luke nodded, hopefully. This was EXACTLY what he'd been telling her for months! And she wouldn't even have to clean his dinky for him!

"Can I hazard that you also find yourself a little outnumbered by your peers, Luke?"

Yeeeww - that was direct.

His neck prickled at the perceptive inference. On the other hand, he could probably write a book on locker room wangers! Outnumbered? You don’t know the half!

In for a penny, in for a pound his Nan used to say. This was man talk, and his mum would just have to put up with it. "If you mean, are they all cut?" he replied, inadvertently slipping into the slang. "Yes, it’s true, I’m really the odd one out. It's one of the reasons why I want to be circumcised."

"And that’s completely natural, let me assure you.”

“It is?” Luke couldn’t help himself.

 “Absolutely! Maybe, it would surprise you to know that a great number of young men around your age, come to me for similar reasons.” Tiberius paused and Luke felt hopeful. "But you're mother’s also right. The penis functions perfectly well in its natural state. No surgical procedure should ever be embarked on, lightly."

His heart and face fell and his mum sat up straighter. This time, it was her nodding supportively.

“That said,” Tiberius continued, “the procedure is not particularly invasive and, for the vast majority can be completed in a few minutes and under a simple local anesthetic. Normally, we can do it right here in the Center.”

“An injection? Like at the dentist?” Even he could handle that, though he’d only ever had two fillings.

“Exactly. Just like that.”

Tiberius sat forward again. “So, we’ve touched a little on the cultural realities for Luke amongst his peers, as well as the hygiene aspects.” He counted them off on his fingers.  “I imagine that you’re not exploring this because of religious reasons, or you would have said. I also assume we can discount any medical necessity, for the same reason. Other than those, it can come down to plain old personal preference!”

“Preference?” His mum’s face made it clear what she thought of that!

“Actually,” suggested Tiberius comfortably, “it's why the vast majority come here. Not because they have to be circumcised, but because they want to be.”

“They want to be?” His mum blinked and he knew she had trouble getting her head around why that would be. She certainly hadn’t taken it form him. “I don’t know; the suggestion of any kind of surgery, when it seems so unjustified? I’m not comfortable with that, at all”

“I am, Mum,” Luke said hurriedly. It was HIS dick!

“But sweetheart,” said Lucy, turning to her son, “We’ve no real experience of circumcision in our family. What if something went wrong or…?” She trailed off. Luke could see she seemed genuine, but there was more at stake than her feelings.

Doctor Tiberius took a deep breath. “I think I understand. I have children myself, though they’re grown, now. Any good parent is right to want to think about it carefully. All I’m trying to show you, is that the reasons men choose to be circumcised are not always straightforward.”

Luke shifted slightly as the prickle returned. Straightforward? If only they knew!

"It’s not my role here to decide for you, one way or another,” continued Tiberius. “I can offer advice and make you aware of the different issues and options, but what you do with that needs to be up to you.” He looked from mother to son and back. “But may I make an observation?”

“Please…” Lucy nodded.

“It IS a big step to take Luke, and your mother is right to counsel you to avoid being hasty." Luke opened his mouth. This was getting away from him. However, Tiberius raised his hand to forestall him. "On the other hand,” he continued, “it seems clear that you personally, very much want to be circumcised - and I get the impression you’ve been looking into it for some time now?”

Sitting adjacent on the sofa, the pair nodded. It was true. “He’s been researching for months,” Lucy admitted.

“And, in understanding Luke’s motivation and commitment, that makes a great deal of difference."

Lucy sighed. “I know, though it doesn’t make me any less uneasy."

Luke kept quiet. From the sound of his mum’s voice, he could tell it rested on a knife-edge.

"The question many come to, is this: circumcised or uncircumcised? Which is best?" Tiberius held out two open palms.

Luke gazed intently at the invisible options, hoping for the scales to tip in his favor.

"My usual response tends not to help," admitted Tiberius. He paused, seeming to enjoy stringing it out. "Either is perfectly acceptable."

"It's just so uncommon in our country," Lucy repeated.

“But that's not my country mum.” He could tell from the way her eyes flinched, that his dad had told her about what he thought about that, and felt obscurely guilty. “I mean, not at the moment.”

Though he probably didn’t really understand what was going on between them, Tiberius tried to be supportive. "I understand, but if it eases your concerns, let me put it this way.

"There’s a reason why, each year, hundreds of thousands of men in this country alone, choose circumcision for their new-born sons – and it’s not just out of a sense of family tradition. Fathers are happy for their sons to be circumcised, because it’s been something they’ve come to appreciate. My wife and I only had girls, but if we’d had boys, I think I would have approached it the same way myself.

"Luke's peers at his school are, I'm sure, normal, well adjusted young men who, almost to a one will be circumcised."  He raised his eyebrows at Luke before looking back at Lucy. “The point is, after having had the surgery as young boys themselves, it hasn’t harmed them, or damaged them emotionally as some like to suggest. To the contrary, they’ve fully enjoyed the benefits of living that way.

“So, if you asked me to get off the fence, it would be to say this.” Luke held his breathe as A. Jonathan Tiberius came, at last, to the money shot.

“As I said before, Luke, you would be surprised how many men come to me out of personal choice, to request a circumcision. I can also tell you this: of those that are, very few are not completely satisfied with the outcome; enjoying the enhancements in both form and function. In fact, the vast majority tell me they wished they'd got around to it a lot earlier in life.”

"Oh..." Lucy seemed deflated by the simple verdict.

'Oh…' is what Luke thought too. Enhancements in form and function? If it didn’t sound like some mathematical formula, that could even be quite hot!

“Would it help if we talked about the surgery itself; perhaps look at what circumcision involves?” Tiberius suggested.

His mum nodded, and Luke sensed the tide was turning. Despite his hopes and misgivings, this wasn’t quite what he had expected. He'd been anticipating a much more competitive battle with his mum over invasive surgery, where the Doctor would pick out the winning contender after the final round. The prize would be circumcision…or not! It seemed like they’d hardly got started and already the fat lady was tuning up!

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

I was still reeling from all of that, when Dr Tiberius got out a model – and no I don’t mean a person - I mean one of those plastic life-like things. An educational, over-sized, plastic wiener, that came apart. Talk about a big dick – it would’ve made a shocking boner!

With that, and with pictures and diagrams, he explained what a circumcision, compared to being unhooded, looked and worked like. I’d seen it all before, of course, but Mum hadn't. You could tell she was a bit out of her comfort zone looking at guys penises, even plastic ones, and I had to work hard not to grin!

All the pictures were of guys who were soft. Of course, he couldn’t really show us ones with boners, but my imagination was pretty good at that! At the prospect of actually looking like some of those in front of me, I began to get hard and could feel my own lump, pushing up in my boxers. As we went along, he touched a bit more on what he meant by form and function in a way that got even me hot under the collar. What mum thought, I’ve NO idea!  

I did know that, beyond doubt, I wanted this. I just hoped that she was being convinced too.

* * *

"So, Luke..." Tiberius addressed him, and he looked up from the book expectantly. "Before you finally decide, we should just take a look. Just to make sure there’s nothing we’ve missed.”

His eyes widened, caught between surprise and apprehension as Tiberius stood and pulled back the curtain in the corner - the one that had been screening the medical couch. Tiberius drew a length of disposable sanitary paper from a thick roll at the foot, over the leather surface.  “Why don’t you just hop up on here,” he said. “So that I can examine you?”

OH BLOODY HELL!! He swallowed. Take off his trousers? His underwear? Have the doctor scrutinize his dick? Here and now, with his mum watching? Crap and double crap! He hadn’t anticipated this, at all.

He stood and stared nervously at the bed. SHIT – he could still feel an awkward lump in his boxers.

"Just slip down your trousers and underwear a little,” Tiberius requested. “That's all that's needed," he added, perhaps seeing Luke’s discomfort. As he waited, he picked up a box and proceeded to extract some latex gloves.


He couldn't exactly call ‘time-out’, say he was peckish and ask for a banana, so Luke did the next best thing. Kneeling down to undo his laces, he pulled them into a knot.

"Come on Luke, Doctor Tiberius doesn't have all day," his mum chided, as he fumbled.

"Sorry. I got a knot in it." A BIG one!

Eventually, he teased the lace loose, but it had been enough time to let things settle, and he felt it safe to start unbuckling. He snapped the button on his regulation, black school pants, and pushed them down to his knees. Then, as they both waited, he climbed up onto the couch as requested, and shuffled back against the raised backrest. From the look his mother’s face, he could tell there was only ONE thing on her mind: ’that pair of underwear had SO better be clean, young man!’

Pulling on the surgical gloves, Tiberius drew the curtain slightly, obscuring the line of sight from anyone entering the door.

Clearly, his mum didn’t count herself as ‘just anyone’ and, to Luke's distinct unease (he hadn’t displayed his private parts to his parents since he was ten!), she slipped past the curtain before it was drawn. As he finally pushed his boxers down out of the way, she took a spot at the bottom of the couch.

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

OK, I laugh about it now, but at the time I could have died!

You probably think I was completely naïve. Maybe I was, but I just didn't see it coming! Why, I've no idea, because of course he would need to examine me. That's what docs do!

Mum was on a knife-edge with it all and I knew that what I wanted was still a BIG 'ask' of her. I wasn’t that happy with her joining the party, but wasn’t prepared to piss her off by telling her to take a hike! Even so…damn, I could have been freeballing! OK, I admit, I’d never ever considered going without boxers, but I knew what the word meant.

The thing was, I was no longer a kid - with all the hairy bits to prove it -  and wasn’t that happy to be lying there as Tiberius reached into my quite bushy pubes, lifted out my wanger, and pulled it out straight! I tried not to think about it as he examined me, sliding my fingers together back behind my head, trying to appear nonchalant. I gritted my teeth and stared stonily as he played with me - pulling and twisting my penis, I guess to get a full idea of what might be needed.

Almost immediately, he frowned and came out with a 'mmmmmmm', before going on to make a careful examination of all of my genitals, ­probably to make sure there were no unexpected lumps or sores, or anything else weird down there!

Mmmmmmm? What was mmmmmmm?

* * *

Finally, after the thorough, but mostly silent, examination, the specialist gave his professional opinion. "Well, Luke, overall everything looks healthy..."

Luke nodded, assuming he was meant to give some kind of response.

"...apart from, as you may be aware – or perhaps not - you’re more than a little phimotic."

A little phim-whatic? Oh…!

 With a rush, it suddenly dawned on him. He meant Phimosis!

Even now, as part of his ‘research’, he remembered surfing to a page about Phimosis – apparently one of the medical indications for circumcision. He’d started reading, but then clicked on a link that said ‘paraphimosis’. On that linked page, he'd been shocked as it had brought up a picture that was so horrendous, the words that went through his head at that moment had been quite unprintable. He did NOT have that! He’d closed the windows and didn’t read any more.

Phimosis and paraphimosis? Whatever they were, he DEFINITELY didn’t have anything like that!

Did he? He wished he’d read more now. The room felt warm and the back of his neck prickled.

"I have Phimosis." He didn't mean it as a question, though Tiberius took it as such.

"Yes. You suffer from Phimosis, I'm afraid, Luke." He sounded rather frank. "It's quite marked."

“It is?”

"He does?" His mum looked completely confused, too.

Tiberius glanced at her, raising his eyebrows. The blank look confirmed his prognosis. "I assume then that you didn't know?"

She shook her head.

"What exactly is Phimosis?" asked Luke, believing he should be involved. Why the hell hadn't he kept reading that page!

"Yes, Doctor, what is it?" added Lucy, with some trepidation. "I've not heard the term before."

I have.

"Well, Phimosis is a medical condition that affects the foreskin." Tiberius replied. They both saw her eyes widen. "Now, you don’t have to be alarmed," he added, "it's quite minor, but it is a problem.”

“A problem?”

“A minor one,” Tiberius reiterated, emphasizing the word.  “Specifically, Phimosis is the term given to a non-retractable foreskin. The condition affects a very small percentage of men." Perhaps sensing that he was in danger of losing them, he picked up Luke's penis again. "It's probably easier to demonstrate."

Using him as the model, he gave them a quick recap in human anatomy. Reminding them of what he’d explained through the model, he pointed out the main landmarks; prepuce, glans, meatus, sulcus, outer foreskin. This time, Luke didn’t really mind. It was important to know exactly what he was dealing with here.

"So, you can see around the tip here,” Tiberius said, pointing out the prepuce, “there’s a tight band of skin.” He pulled at it lightly. “That’s what’s effectively stopping Luke from being able to retract his foreskin. Let me show you what I mean."  

Slowly, but firmly, Tiberius began to attempt to draw back Luke's foreskin, pulling down on the outer shaft skin down to the base and into his pubic hair.

Fascinated, he tried to dissociate the procedure from anything to do with the way he masturbated! Bit by bit, he watched doctor skilfully pull down the excess. He knew exactly what would happen, and wasn’t at all surprised when the skin jammed around the top. That was what it normally did – and despite the doctor’s previous explanation, he couldn’t get his head around why anyone expected it to be anything different!

Then, his assailant kept going, forcing the skin shaft back, tighter and tighter. Finally, and quite painfully, a small part of the inside was exposed. It stung.

"Ouch!" he griped, surprised by the pain.

Flip, that hurt! Something was being forced out through the constricted opening, as his dick tried to give birth to what, he suddenly realized, was his very own glans!

"Ouch…!” Tiberius mimicked in agreement. “Exactly! Luke, this constriction is what’s called Phimosis and, for several important reasons, it’s now highly recommended that we get you circumcised."

Luke stared at his partly exposed glans, bemused, trying to keep track of how it had suddenly progressed from hoping he could convince them, to agree to the procedure, to a ‘you really need to have this done’! His mum also seemed more than a little taken aback.

“Let me explain.” Still firmly holding him in his most retracted position, Tiberius kept him in what looked suspiciously like a mini-boner, and continued the explanation. "Firstly, as I'm sure you are already aware, when erect, your foreskin doesn't retract further than this?"

He blanched as he and his mum stared at the offending article.

SHIT! That was hardly fair!

Being forced to admit to his mum that he had erections? Why not get him to admit he masturbated most days too, while he was at it?

Fucking hell!

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

I think of all the numerous times I ended up being in Tiberius’ office, this was the only time when I had a real beef with him.

The point is, he could have been a LOT more discreet!

Note to doctors: do NOT back a teenager into a corner and get them to admit they have hardons in front of their mothers. That is NOT cool!

At the time, there seemed no way out and all I could do was nod, feeling terribly guilty that I had a penis that frequently went stiff.

My mum? I didn’t DARE look at her!

* * *

Tiberius continued, apparently oblivious to the discomfort he’d caused. "As a result of this failure to properly retract, there’s been a subsequent and substantial stretching of your shaft skin.” At last, he let go of his grip on the shaft. Instead he took the loose tip, and pulled out a huge chunk of offending skin.

“As you can see," he demonstrated, "it’s left you with an excessive amount of loose skin, dropping down off the end of your glans."

This, Luke did know about! That’s why they called him 'Anteater'! What did gall was that the thing that he thought had set him above his peers – his length – was actually the result of an affliction! In the middle of it all, his mum seemed at a loss and just looked bewildered.

"The problems are three fold,” Tiberius explained.

“Firstly, aesthetic - it doesn't look so pleasing, and secondly, practical - it's almost impossible to keep clean, and that can lead to infections. If Luke hasn’t had any to date, then he’s been fortunate.“

“And the third,” asked his mum, finding her voice at last.

Yes  - what’s the third, Luke silently demanded.

“Well, the third,” Tiberius continued, with utter frankness, "is that, when Luke becomes sexually active, the inability to draw back his foreskin is going to make sexual intercourse possibly quite painful."

Oh holy crap! Luke struggled not to cough.

Relieved it had been his mum that had asked that question and not him, he still blushed furiously.

Sexually active? He’d never had sex in his life before, but, if it was the same as jerking, he didn’t expect to find it at all painful. Quite the opposite in fact! That said, he did have that chunk of skin hanging off the end of him and, though he’d never liked it, it gave him plenty of slack. When jerking, he’d never found the need to pull it any further back; certainly not in the way he’d just experienced at this doctor's grip! Actually, he could masturbate quite well and could even squeeze the loose skin at the tip when he came, holding the jizz in there, if he wanted. Afterwards, it was just a case of getting a tissue to squeeze it into. It was handy to avoid messes, though now didn’t seem the time to bring them up to speed with his jerking habits!

"Oh dear." His mum's voice was heavy with self-recrimination. She seemed to try to gather herself. "Luke, I am so, so sorry. As you were growing up, I just never thought to check something like this with you." She looked crestfallen.  "You never had a physical with our GP in the UK. I hadn't realized it was a problem!"

He blinked at her, bemused.

What problem?  Like her, he didn't even know he had one until just now.

The specialist eased their difficult moment and said, "Not to worry. The important thing is that it's going to be easy to rectify. Better to sort it out now, than put up with it for years, don’t you think?”

And be able to enjoy sex? God yes!

He nodded rapidly.

 “And it certainly means that your insurance would cover the costs, as a medical necessity."

Well that would certainly please his dad, Luke thought. Perversely, the existence of the condition pleased him too, and seemed to end any further argument as to whether he should be allowed the procedure or not.

Tiberius motioned to him that the exam was over and he was rather relieved to be able to cover himself up.  While he dressed, he observed the doctor cross the room and pick out a booklet from a stack on the shelves. They gathered around the coffee table again, and Tiberius opened it, turning it on the table top so that they could see the pages. Describing a handful of conditions that could affect the penis, it was packed with full-color horror stories!

There was as whole section covering Phimosis, and Paraphimosis was in there too.  Like all guys would, he squirmed uncomfortably at the images of the painfully swollen, distorted dicks. All his mum could say was 'Oh my...'

Who could blame her?

Tiberius turned the page and came to a series of side-by-side images. One side described a correctly working foreskin; the other, another poor soul afflicted by the Phimosis. He compared the two variations for them.

It was a lot more obvious to Luke now, and he wondered how he could have ever missed it. The 'normal', as he could now see, was where the foreskin was made to skin back down the shaft when you pulled on it (or on its own with a stiffy), popping out the glans. The realization that uncircumcised guys got to see their heads too, was a surprise. For some reason – and it seemed completely stupid now - he’d always assumed that the only people whoever saw that mushroom–shaped glans, were cut people. Guys, like all his friends at school.

It was almost embarrassing! He was the one who had done all the 'research' but he'd never understood the basics! Him, the guy who went to the posh boys school not knowing how a dick was meant to work? He’d seen enough of them for God’s sake! Inwardly, he cringed - what a dork!

Compared to the first image, the second version could easily have been him. Showing pressure being applied in an attempt to pull the constricted foreskin back down the shaft, it was as jammed as a badly fitting ring.

“So that’s what I have? This Phimosis?” He didn’t need convincing, he was trying to get his head around it. It was like looking in a mirror!

The doctor nodded. “Yes you do Luke – but, as I said before, the condition is treatable. Sometimes, the skin can be stretched enough to release the constriction, but, in your case, with the extent and thickness of the stenosis, I recommend circumcision as the best approach.”

He didn’t know the hell what stenosis was, but who cared? The fat lady had sung!

"Will it make any difference?" his mum asked. It seemed an odd question.

"Any difference? In what way to you mean Mrs. Summers?"

“Will Luke have to go into hospital for the surgery to correct it, now it’s like this?”

"Oh, I see. In fact, not at all. I can put your mind at rest on that account. The procedure is simple and the removal of the phimotic tip is straightforward and won’t affect the outcome in any way.“

“I can still have it done here then?" Luke was relieved that hospitals were out of the equation. "Like you said?”

“Certainly you can, Luke,” Tiberius nodded encouragingly. He stood, and they watched him return the booklet to the shelves and slide it into place. "Can I take it from you that you would like to proceed?"

Luke couldn't help it and the wide grin said it all. "You bet!" The doctor glanced briefly at his mum and she didn’t hesitate either.

“Excellent!” Assured, Tiberius got down to business. "Luke, as you're only just sixteen, we can try things that wouldn't be possible in a fully matured adult. Your penis isn't yet fully developed and, in your case, the shaft skin is not particularly thick.”

Luke was so buoyant, even using the P word didn't phase him at that point. They waited as Tiberius went behind his desk and slid open a drawer and withdrew a package.

“I'd like to suggest we use a SmartKlamp, rather than a freehand resection."

Once more, mother and son looked blank, waiting as he retrieved a small package. Sitting once again, he opened it up, and lifted out the contents. “This is a SmartKlamp.”

Luke studied the bizarre looking item, and he got his first look at the mechanism that would end up modifying not just his anatomy, but his whole world! It reminded him of a wine bottle corkscrew...the type that has two arms, used to pull out the cork. Tiberius turned it in his hands, and then passed it to him to play with.

A SmartKlamp?

Luke realized how little he knew. He’d concentrated on why it should be done, not actually how. He’d certainly never heard of a SmartKlamp!

“It’s a device that offers a simple and bloodless circumcision, and is frequently the best approach for children and young people.“ The doctor's description seemed to come direct from a textbook.

Luke twitched. It was the first time anyone had mentioned blood. Even the bloodless type! Unable to take his eyes of the slightly weird looking contraption, he shivered, apprehensive at the idea of a wine bottle screw, grinding down inside his dick. Even if it didn't do THAT, it was obviously designed to skin someone - the question was…how?

To help make sense of it, the doctor took the mechanism back, and broke it apart. "This tube,” Tiberius explained, “sits between the foreskin and the glans." He slid it over his finger to demonstrate.

Jeesh! That looked just a bit too close for comfort!

"The outer framework creates a tight grip around the rim at the point where we want to remove the excess foreskin.”

Luke tried to visualize what that meant, but decided just to take his word for it.

“We'll need to make an initial releasing cut, to get past that tight ring at the tip,” Tiberius continued, “but then everything will be quite simple. The pressure applied by the SmartKlamp fuses the layers of skin together as they heal. When it's removed, it will have effectively, and rather neatly, completed your circumcision."

“Well, that sounds pretty good, don’t you think Luke?’” said his mum. She sounded more positive. To him it all sounded complete gibberish, but who cared? He nodded enthusiastically.

"We’d fit the SmartKlamp here at the clinic,” explained Tiberius, “and Luke would wear it about ten days. It’s quite unobtrusive and isn’t particularly uncomfortable. There would be no reason he would have to miss school.” A slight rising of the eyebrows strengthened the subtle benefit for Lucy. “And, with the procedure done in this way, there’d be no need for sutures.”

Nearly finished with his presentation, Tiberius slid the instrument back into the loose packaging. “You’ll need to come back here once more after the ten days, for me to remove the device. By then, the skin will have then healed sufficiently across the line where the layers are fused. After a few months, I can promise you, you would hardly know how it was done!"

“That sounds good, don’t you think, Luke?” His mum seemed particularly enthused by the apparent lack of excuse not to go to school, though, frankly, he was more impressed by the apparent lack of cutting and blood.

At the same time,  maybe not missing school wasn’t that bad. The way he saw it, by not disappearing for several days, he wouldn't need to explain what was going on or, in his case, coming off. It fitted in well with his plan to keep his circumcision procedure private; at least until it was fully healed. It would mean missing the showers but, with a bit of luck, he could even hold out well through the summer term, before he had to reveal it.

"Let's have a look at the appointment book shall we?" Tiberius stood and crossed to his desk. Luke and his mum stood too, and followed.

This Monday, he thought to himself. I'm free Monday...or Tuesday if it had to be. He could wait ‘til then - just. He watched the Doctor, as he started leafing through various pages of a neatly maintained desk diary.

"Ah, here we go - actually I can get you in quite soon; and it would be a Friday too, which would give Luke a few days over a weekend, to get over any temporary discomfort."

YES!! Next Friday! Maybe Monday had been a bit hopeful, but he could probably hold out ‘til Friday.

"Three weeks from today, if that suites you?"

Three weeks? NO!! That was FOREVER! What happened to three days? "There's nothing sooner?" He tried not to sound desperate.

"No, I 'm afraid not, Luke." Tiberius flicked through the pages again. "Often the waiting list for surgical appointments stretches to several months, but this space opened up quite recently. It would be a 2pm appointment, if that's manageable?"

Lucy checked her planner, and made a note. "Yes, thank you. That will be fine."

As they gathered up their things, Luke looked at his watch. An hour. My God, what an hour it had been!

As they were leaving, the Doctor passed him a small booklet. "You know Luke, not all circumcisions are the same," he explained, as he walked them back through the corridors.  "Everyone has their own expectations, and often people prefer a particular kind of look and outcome. Even using the SmartKlamp, it's possible to make the result - ­the style of circumcision - exactly how you want it. This booklet explains what I mean. Why don’t you have a look through it, and then we can go through it together when I see you next time."

There were styles? Like a haircut?

Intrigued, Luke stuffed the booklet in his pocket before his Mum could take it. She didn’t seem to notice.

"The traffic's quite heavy," he noted, trying to kick-start the conversation. He'd been buzzing with the excitement of it all, but she was quiet as they left the building.

Once they'd navigated back out to the 285 circular, his mum had settled into an inside lane, joining all those trying to make the exit to the 400; all jostling to escape the city and head north. Eventually, they'd exited the junction and broken out of the bottleneck, heading for home.

"Friday teatime on the 400," she agreed. "Poor dad has to do this every day!" She paused. "So, what do you think?"

He frowned, pretending to misunderstand .  "About the traffic?"

"No silly" She turned and smiled when she realised he was teasing. "Are you happy with how it went this afternoon?" The smile didn't stay long, replaced by something else. He thought he could guess what it was.

"Yep, I think so. You?" He probed. "What did you think?"

She chewed on her lip and paused before replying. “I think it went well, though I feel I’ve let you down.”

“No, don't say that. Why would you think that?" He knew exactly why.

“Let’s be honest, I haven't been exactly supportive of you the last few months!” She looked across, before returning to the road in front. “Luke, I’m so sorry that I didn't think to check with you that everything was all there."

He couldn't help but grin, despite her discomfort. 'Down there' was definitely a euphemism for dick. "It's all right Mum – don’t worry about it." He shrugged. "Nobody was to know. For goodness sake, I didn't even know myself!"  

"Even so..."

"Honestly, it’s fine." He tried to move on. "You're okay with the idea of me being circumcised then?"

“To be honest, sweetheart, I think I was even before the Phimosis issue came up. Doctor Tiberius was quite convincing, wasn’t he!"

He nodded. “It was nice to hear that I wasn’t the ONLY teenager who’s ever felt like this," he admitted. And it was a bit of a relief to hear that he wasn't a freak. "You’re definitely okay that I’m having it done?” Having her support meant a lot to him.

"Of course!" she returned immediately, "You really need it!" She paused and looked thoughtful. "I think I'd better check Simon though. If he has this Phimosis too, we’re more than likely to need to get him circumcised as well."

Luke grinned to himself. Si might be in for a bit of a surprise! "What about Dad?” he ventured, his lips curling.

She seemed to take it well. "Okay, your dad may be a greater challenge, but we'll see!"

They both laughed out loud. He knew she was only kidding, but sharing the joke took away the last of the tension between them and they chatted easily throughout most of the journey home, discussing what they’d found out that afternoon and what it meant. He though it was going great until, out of the blue, she caught him with a broadside.

"Well, while we’re on the subject,” she said, unexpectedly, “perhaps it’s high time we had a talk about sex?"

"MUM!" Luke turned his head fast, and winced. Talk about subtle!

"What?" She grinned as she negotiated the turning into their subdivision. "There's nothing wrong with sex!"

"For goodness sake, Mum, I'm only fifteen!"

"Nearly sixteen, I recall you pointing out to Doctor Tiberius."

"We still don't have to talk about it, though." He grunted adamantly, crossing his arms. "Trust me!" 

She was relentless. "Trust ME," she returned, "we DO! Like the doctor said, you've reached an age where you’re becoming sexually aware. We NEED to talk about it!"

"Why now? Can't we do it some other time?" he pleaded.

"Now's the perfect time - the van's moving and you can't get out!" The way she said it, Luke had to laugh. "And for heaven's sake Luke, I wasn't born yesterday! I do know what teen boys THINK about - and DO - you know!"

He flushed. She hadn't come right out and spelled it letter by letter, but he guessed she was talking about masturbation! Holy shit! He wondered if she even thought he might be having sex with someone? He studiously avoided looking at her, guessing there was more to come.

"Don’t be a prude! There's nothing to be embarrassed about!" She glanced across, apparently amused by his discomfort. "I've seen it all before."

Right - and an eyeful this afternoon too, he remembered with a squirm.

"Before long, you'll meet someone, which may lead to a physical relationship."

My God! He’d never had this kind of conversation with his parents before! She was definitely talking about sex now. She was probably thinking about Stacey too!

"Maybe some nice young lady will steal your heart?"

"Don't you start! Dad's bad enough!"

"Start what?" The angelic face didn't quite disguise a smirk. "Oh - you mean Stacey. Well Dad's right. She's quite a catch."

"Leave off - it's not like that."

"Fair enough. But you wouldn't be the first young man to fall head over heels! Whatever 'type' you prefer, it's bound to happen, sooner or later."

He totally and utterly got the wrong end of the stick with what she meant.

His 'TYPE'?

He looked across sharply. "Mum! How could you even think that? I'm not gay!" Even as he said it, the penny dropped. She'd meant girlfriend type! He wished he'd kept his mouth shut. Way to go, Luke, make a big scene, why don't you!

His mum pulled into their drive, stopped, killed the engine, and turned. Clearly a little surprised at his tone, she turned to study him as he twitched. "That's not actually what I meant."

He squirmed as the moments passed, wondering what was going on behind those probing grey-green eyes.

Eventually, those eyes seemed to soften. "Luke, all I’m saying is, as you grow older and begin to explore sexuality and relationships, then Dad and I are always going to be on your side. I know everyone gets plenty of 'Sex Ed' classes at school these days. You're lucky. We never had such things in my day." She reached over the back and retrieved her purse. "Even so, take it from me. Relationships can end up being a bit more complicated than just knowing how babies are made!"


"Mind you," she smirked, as she opened the door to get out, "I can always ask dad to give you the birds and bees talk, if you want!"

"Oh, please," he groaned. "Spare me!" Kind of a bit late too, but never mind.

"Just so you know that we’re here when, and if, you need us.”

He regarded her in a new light; beginning to see a person that he thought had disappeared from his life several years ago. "I know," he sighed. "And thanks."

Later that evening, he went through the circumcision booklet he'd been given by Doctor Tiberius. He took it to bed with him, and discovered the differences between high and low; tight or loose; what to do with the frenulum; outer and inner foreskin and the differences in sensations the two carried. He studied the pre-op and post-op instructions, finding out what he would need to do...including the fact he was expected to shave!

At last, he was finally able to put words to what he was seeking.

High! Tight!


8. A Fruity Weekend

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

A Fruity Weekend

A good weekend really needed to have some kind of regularity to it, some familiarity that defined its purpose. It was a two-day break that you didn't want to waste, and it needed to be different from the weekdays.

Well, that was what Luke firmly believed, anyway.

On the other hand, while it was okay to do a few different things now and again, he also liked to ‘veg’ with the familiar, too. It started with sleeping in on a Saturday, staying in bed with no hurry to be somewhere else. Unless it was something he wanted to do, of course. That said, he never slept in much past 9 AM. The ones he really felt sorry for were the kids whose parents apparently had this need to arrange activities for every moment of the day. What a nightmare!  Fortunately, his own mum and dad were better trained.

Some things were always part of their family’s weekend program, like taking apart the paper on a Sunday morning. The Sunday AJC–Atlanta Journal Constitution–was a huge conglomeration of helpful reading, of which Luke was only interested in the TV guide. And of course, the Sunday program also had to include the worship service at Longhorn Steakhouse.

On Saturday mornings, however, his mum often went food shopping…and that presented choices. If she was just going to Publix, he wasn't interested. He clearly couldn't fit into the trolley anymore, and who wanted to walk miles of aisles for no good reason? BUT, if she planned to shop at Kroger instead, that meant she was also going to the mall. Sometimes he would tag along so he could visit the games shop, but he also liked to go to the mall so he could lust in the Apple Store!

As long as it was all well after nine in the morning, of course!

That particular Saturday was the day after his consultation with Doctor Tiberius. Luke was buoyant, and had woken up before eight and showered. Humming some tune he couldn't remember the name of, he'd bounced down the stairs and even had the coffee pot brewing before his mum and dad made it down, too.

Unsurprisingly, his lazy weed of a brother was still in bed!

The sun hadn’t made it around to the back windows yet, but it looked a gorgeous day outside, and he opened the kitchen door and stepped out onto the deck. He loved this time of year; early spring—the equivalent of a good British summer. Warm and fresh, but not yet hot enough to verge on the unbearably humid, it was a time of year that brought the promise of new things.

His nose flared at the warm sweet smell coming off the grass; grass that needed cutting. Maybe he’d do it later that day for them.

In the four or so years since they’d moved in, the gardens—both front and back—had really come on a treat. Mostly with their mum’s hard work. At the start, there had been a couple of beds at the front, but the backyard was nothing more than a huge space; it had been set to grass and left like that by the builders. However, over the years, his mum had transformed it, though most of the bigger trees still had a long way to go. She’d even planted a small orchard across one side!

Early spring as it was, flowerbeds were beginning to burst into color, breaking up the lawn, but leaving spaces where there was still plenty of room to kick a ball around or play badminton. It was a great garden, but as much as anything, he enjoyed just sitting on the decking near to the pond, reading and listening to the sounds of the water fountain playing across the surface.

All they needed now was a pool!

Returning to the kitchen, he left the backdoor open to let in the fresh air and studied the percolator as it hissed and gurgled productively. It reached a peak, and then, satisfied with what it had achieved, sighed in completion. Next, humming yet another tune he'd heard on the radio, he laid the table with typical breakfast fare before going back to check the coffee pot.

"You're up bright and early."

He turned at the sound of his mum's voice. He guessed his dad was still in the shower.

Her nose twitched. "Is that coffee I smell?"

 "Just perked." He poured her a mug and then another for himself, before joining her at one end of the long kitchen table.

It was a large kitchen, if you could call it just a kitchen. In reality, it was more of an open-plan cooking/eating and generally hanging-out kind of room. After moving in, they'd remodelled a bit, getting rid of the trendy but far too small breakfast bar, opening it all up to make room for a more traditional, oak farmhouse table and chairs. Elsewhere in the house there was a formal dining room, but it was only used for important occasions like Christmas, or for when they had special guests. The kitchen table was the hub of the home.

He passed his mum the creamer and spooned sugar into his own mug.

"Mmmmm…" She took a sip, murmuring her satisfaction at the brew. "Perfect!"

Luke took a sip too.

"Since when did you start drinking coffee in the morning?" she asked, looking bemused. She was right; he rarely drunk coffee, preferring hot tea, especially first thing.

"I think I made it a bit strong," he admitted. He took another tentative sip and added more sugar. "I just fancied coffee this morning, that's all.”

Taking a bowl, he filled it with muesli and dowsed it with milk from the big plastic carton. His mum stood and began taking bread from the packet he’d placed on the table. “Toast?” she asked. He shook his head and spooned more muesli down his throat.

"Did you tell Dad?" He glanced at her between mouthfuls. His dad had got in late the previous night, having spent the day in Dallas on bank business. With an early flight out, he’d been there and back in a day. It was a regular trip for him, and Luke had gone to bed before his dad had got back from the airport.

“About what?” she said, though he could tell she was teasing.

"About the doctor’s yesterday." What else? "Did you tell him what happened—about the phimosis and stuff?"

"Of course I told him."


"And what?"

For heaven’s sake, a joke’s a joke but…. "Is he alright with it?"

"Of course he is. Why wouldn't he be?"

"I dunno," Luke shrugged, shovelling in more muesli. Did she want a list?

"Be nice to your old dad. You know, if it hadn't been for him, you probably wouldn't even have had a consultation."

Luke paused mid-spoon. "How so?"

"It was actually him that suggested we should arrange it."

"Oh. No, I didn't know." His dad? Luke had wondered what had changed in their thinking, but that was a surprise.

“It looks nice out today,” she said, looking through the open kitchen door out onto the lawn and changing the subject. "Any plans—going to play over at Ryan's?"

Luke rolled his eyes, wondering if all mothers were like this. Perhaps when he was six, he might have gone to 'play' at a friend's house. NOT when he was nearly sixteen! He let it pass. "It's the monthly army cookout thing today, so he's out of action. At least ’til this evening. I might cut the lawn later though, if you want?”

"Would you? That would be nice.” She paused and grinned. “Any chance of straight lines?”

Luke chuckled—it was an old joke. Whenever Simon sat astride the ride-on mower to cut the lawn, it was like watching a geometric exercise! Every angle had to be exact, every line perfectly straight. Luke’s own approach wasn’t quite so rigorous! It all got cut in the end, so why worry was his motto!

“I’m just kidding,” she added. “I'm going to the mall first thing if you're interested."

"I might be.” That made it Kroger, then. “When—and can I drive?"

She checked the wall clock. "It’ll be about thirty minutes, if I can get your dad out of the shower—and yes, if you want to drive, I don't see why not."

It was more like forty-five minutes in the end, and it was just after 09:30 that bright sunny morning that he buckled up into the driver’s seat of their minivan. ‘They’ being him, his mum and, on this occasion, his dad, too. Luke figured the only reason his dad was along for the ride was because he’d probably not been given a choice. Still, he reckoned it was highly likely that both of them would end up in the Apple Store.

There was no doubt about it, he loved driving! North Point Mall was just down the road, which meant about fifteen minutes or so by van. Almost on their doorstep, really. Once they got there, he pulled over into a spare bay not far from the south entrance, and they all got out.

His mum then took the wheel. "Okay, I'll pick you up in an hour," she proposed. "I'll be in Kroger."

Luke nodded, though he’d bet that an hour would end up meaning substantially longer than that!

Through the still-open side door, she then addressed Luke’s dad and said, "And Hon—ask them about bifocals, this time."

In surprise, Luke said, "Oh—you’re getting new glasses at last?" It all made sense as to why his dad had come along, now.

"Yes, well only if I really need them." Geoff sounded less enthusiastic.

"Trust me, Hon," Lucy pronounced as she fired the engine. "You need them."

His dad rolled his eyes theatrically, but both he and Luke knew what was expected. Rebellion was not an option—he would be getting new glasses! Before Luke could close the door, his mum called through the gap. "And Luke—if Dad chooses new frames, could you help him choose something modern?"

Geoff pulled a face. "I'm perfectly capable of choosing my own frames, thank you!"

"Of course you are, Hon, but a second opinion never did any harm," she returned easily. "Bye then!"

Luke could see his dad getting together what would probably be a foolhardy reply, so he slammed shut the sliding door before it got out of hand.

"I don't mind giving you a hand," Luke offered brightly as the two of them watched her drive off. "Especially if you fancy dropping into Apple on the way."

At the suggestion, his dad perked up, and the pair passed though the automatic doors into the cool, air-conditioned building. By that time of the morning, the place was already buzzing with activity, and they joined the throngs—all who seemed intent on retail therapy.

Luke was buzzing too, and it wasn't just the coffee. He felt upbeat; optimistic. That uncomfortable feeling he'd had for a while that he was the odd one out in life seemed to be coming to an end. It was like waking up on a day when he knew he’d be picked for the team and not just left on the bench. People passed them from all directions, alone or in groups of friends or with family. Many were teen guys like himself. He couldn't help glancing below the belts of a few, knowing that, in not many weeks, he would be as comfortable as they seemed to be with what he guessed they had.

The mall was set out on two levels, with lifts and escalators in abundance, and could be best described as ‘humongous’! Under one roof, you could find almost anything you might want to buy, whether you needed it or not—all sold from brightly decorated stores visible as far as the eye could see along the spacious aisles. Upbeat music played through hidden speakers, filling the air with lively tunes, and there was even a massive, multi-screen cinema, and he and Ryan often came down on a weekend to watch the newest movie releases. The food court was extensive too—as it seemed were the backsides of many who even by mid-morning on that warm Saturday, were shovelling down plates of food.

Passing by the food for better things, Luke and his dad chose fruit of a different kind rather than carbohydrate. Stepping off one of the escalators, the two of them reverently crossed the threshold of the Apple Store ready to bask in techy heaven.

Bright and clean, Apple was always packed. The iPhone, the iTouch, and the MacBook were all were totally out of Luke's price league, but it didn't stop him from a serious bout of lusting!  Moving through the press of bodies, they stopped by a well-packed display.

His dad lifted one of the tethered phones, and with a healthy dose of self-satisfaction, said, "It looks like they’re planning on making this available through the office business contract." The trendy new Apple iPhone had come onto the market the previous summer. It was something nobody had ever seen before, and now—at least by the looks of the numbers of customers in the store—everyone wanted one.

Geoff added, "What do you think? Should I get one?"

"You're getting one? You lucky dog!" Luke gasped. An iPhone! As if there was any question! "Can't you swing one for dependents or something?"

His dad grinned as he played with the device. Over the last few months, their mutual love of technology, and particularly anything Apple, had drawn the two of them together, making a place where they'd begun talking again.

"These things run all kinds of apps that you can download," said Geoff, examining the one in his hand. "This seems to be mostly games."

Luke knew about the apps, but hadn't realized you could do more. "Games? What’s it got? Are they any good?"

His dad shrugged, though Luke wasn’t surprised. Games were not his dad’s thing.

"Well, if you get one, can I at least have your old phone?" Luke persisted. Unlike lots of guys in his class, he didn’t have anything yet.

"Maybe," Geoff allowed. "You'd have to pay for the calls, though."

A young store assistant noticed them, and came across. “Can I help you guys with anything?” he asked.

“No, were good, thanks,” Geoff replied. "Just looking."

The guy, in his smart slacks and an Apple polo shirt, didn't seem much more than his own age, Luke thought. He nodded amiably, and then moved away. 

"Wouldn't it be cool to get a job here!" Luke sighed.

"In my day, we did the paper round!"

"They had rickets and beriberi in your day, too," Luke quipped. His dad was right though—the world was changing fast.

Geoff didn't rise to the bait, but changed the subject and said, "Mum said your appointment with the urologist seemed to go well yesterday."

Luke looked around quickly, to make sure there were no eavesdroppers. Even though the store was noisy and busy, and the likelihood that anyone could hear them was slim, he was still glad his dad didn't use the 'C' word. He nodded. "She said I had you to thank for that."

"For what? That you have this phimosis condition?"

“You know what I mean!” Luke almost giggled. He still felt like a little kid whenever he thought about it—one with a birthday coming up that would deliver some new toy. He’d gone to sleep grinning and woken up grinning that morning, too! Despite the fact that it was still three weeks and six days away, a date had been set for the surgery and everything felt right in his world.

“Anyway," he continued, "I just wanted to say thanks. Mum said it was you that persuaded her."

"You’re welcome.” Skipping through various apps to see what they did, Geoff dropped his voice even lower as he fondled the iPhone he was holding, and added, “She told me that it's set for next month sometime?"


"So, with this condition, it sounds like it’s also covered by insurance.”

Luke prickled as looked up from the device he was playing with. “Would it have mattered if it wasn’t? I know I have phimosis, but that’s not why I first wanted it done."

His dad grunted and glanced over. "I know. And if it had come back that the bill might have been several thousand dollars, you’re probably wondering what I would have said?"

"Dad, everything isn't just about money!" Luke retorted rather too loudly, irritated that this seemed to be the only thing that mattered for his father. Several heads turned towards them, staring curiously.

“Okay, okay—I know.” His dad lowered his voice and the pair slipped into the background again. “But maybe you'd see it differently if it were you who were the one paying." He held up his hands, defensively as Luke got ready to return a salvo.

"Look, I'm not here to fight—I would probably have done the wrong thing, and been a silly old fart and said no. It's kind of hard to believe that you're nearly sixteen already..."

Luke was a little taken aback. "The wrong thing?"

Geoff shrugged. "Well, maybe you're right. Not everything is about money."

Luke considered him, guessing he should make his peace, too. The argument had threatened to make a blotch on his, until then, perfect Saturday. He didn't really want to fight, and let it drop. “That's okay...and you're still a silly old fart, but a lovable one, too!”

“Gee, thanks!”

Luke grinned. He wanted to give his dad a hug, but he wasn’t really the huggy kind of parent—particularly in the middle of the mall. “Tell you what, you can always make it up by buying me an iPhone." It was a long shot. The MacBook sitting on his desk at home had been a recent birthday-cum-Christmas present, and he knew exactly how much that had cost.

"You could try writing a note to the tooth fairy, maybe?"

Luke had to laugh and took it as a no!

Geoff looked at his watch "Come on. We'd better get to the opticians." With regret, they both put down the phones, and headed out of the door.

The opticians clinic wasn't anywhere near as crowded as Apple, and it didn't look like they would have long to wait to be seen. Luke sat down with his dad on a row of sensible chairs—comfortable, but nowhere near as plush as those at the urology clinic. There was definitely more money in penises than pupils!

The store was part of a reputable national chain that advertised on the TV regularly. He and Simon had come here once to get their eyes tested, though neither of them needed glasses. Idly, he glanced around the store at the hundreds of frames out on display, all mounted on numerous wall racks.

"I was thinking," Geoff mused.

Luke laughed. "Careful, now..."

"Funny boy!" His dad’s mouth twitched. "What I was going to say was that, with the surgery you need, maybe it's a good job we came here after all! Here as in America, I mean."

Luke studied him curiously. "So how do you figure that?" His dad could sometimes think totally out of the box. It was one of the things he did well—and why he was headed upwards at the bank.

"Well, look at it this way,” Geoff proposed. He paused and Luke could spot the familiar signs: his dad’s eyes flicking up and across, checking the logic of an argument as he went along. “If we'd still been living in the UK, and your phimosis condition had been spotted there, then you would have still needed to have the surgery—right?"

"Probably." Luke still didn’t get it. “So?”

"Well, following that, assuming you became the only circumcised lad in your class, you would certainly have been the odd one out."

"Oh..." As a staff member called his dad through for the eye test, Luke was left to dwell on it.

Damn, his dad was spot on! Luke could just imagine the guys at his old school making his life hell because he looked different. Stuff like that was never private. It would get out, and he would be the butt of no end of Jewish jokes about dick surgery!

That was the bottom line, and there was rarely a way around it. Wherever you lived, you needed to fit in and belong, or life could be crap—at least for a teenager it could be. Even if you had an iPhone! As he waited, wondering about that, he was also about to discover that life could be full of unexpected turns, too.

He looked up as a small group—a mom, two lads and a younger girl—came out of the area into which his dad had just disappeared. He guessed they'd just had their eyes tested, too. Of the boys, the taller one looked around Luke's own age…maybe a little older. It was quite hard to tell.

The four of them seemed on a mission as they began to peruse the ranks of frames, and it soon became obvious that it was the little girl, with the help of her mom and brothers, who was trying to find a new pair.

He found the boy interesting. Why that was so, he didn't really consider, but he did. Dressed in chocolate brown, baggy cargo shorts, either the guy liked the sagging style or he seemed to have forgotten a belt. Something told him, that for this unknown teen, 'forgetting' would be unlikely. A choice then?

Whoever he was, he moved confidently; fluidly. He seemed sure of himself, though not in an arrogant kind of way. His eyes swivelled briefly towards where Luke was comfortably lounging, but didn't linger.

As Luke listened to the four exchange conversation, the accents he heard were complicated. Being from another country, he 'heard' accents more easily than most, and he usually found he could pick up on subtleties. At one level, the family’s accents sounded American, yet scattered through their speech, he kept hearing words and tones that seemed to come from somewhere else. It was intriguing. A mystery.

"That one!" demanded the little girl, discarding one pair for her mom to return to the rack, and pointing instead to another, higher up. Her elder brother was kneeling in front of her on the well-worn, grey carpet, helping slide frames over her ears. He looked to where she was pointing.

"Those?" He pointed to the right place. She nodded.

Luke watched him reach up to pick a set of frames off a bracket. As he stretched, the simple short tee shirt lifted, and a pair of white briefs came into view. Pure white, with a light silver-grey waistband. Set against the cream brown tan of the guy’s midriff, Luke couldn’t help but appreciate the simply presented color scheme. It wasn't overdone in the way that some saggers seemed to like, with boxers that went halfway up the belly. It was subtle; deliberate.


Even the uncomplicated henna-colored, leather wristband looked right, though Luke never stopped to consider why he thought of it in that way. He smiled at the hair. Long, blond and wavy. Mine used to be like that before the Academy took it, he mused. The two unknown brothers shared the same ash-blond mane.

With his legs stretched out comfortably, Luke waited patiently for his dad, and enjoyed watching them...him.

As their little sister briskly ordered them around as she tried on multiple styles of frame, the younger lad was quickly getting bored with her antics. He was quite outspoken, and their mom frequently had to step in to keep the peace between him and his sister.

In a way it was quite funny, and the older brother looked across to Luke again and grinned, sharing the humor of it. Acknowledging him, Luke smiled back, surprised at how easily he'd been drawn into the discreet scene.

A couple of girls came into the store chewing gum and giggling. They gathered around a circular rack, trying on designer sunglasses. Luke glanced at them idly, unimpressed as they attempted to flirt with him.

Too young and too...whatever.

Returning his attention to the blond-haired guy, it was clear he'd noticed them too. To Luke's amusement, he rolled his eyes at their antics, too.

Luke smirked in agreement. Right on!

As the blond boy and his brother searched for frames for their feisty sister, Luke continued to study the family. There was nothing else worth watching—certainly not the silly girls! A number of times over the next minutes, the guy Luke was studying lifted his eyes and looked over to him, making brief eye contact. Having already acknowledged him, Luke didn’t feel particularly disturbed or threatened by it, and didn't look away. When the little sister finally made her mind up, the guy held up the frames for Luke to judge. Luke nodded back. They looked nice. As did the one holding them...

Luke shifted in his seat. Just a nice-looking guy, he told himself, nothing more.

Frames chosen, the shop assistant took them and slipped them into a package. Luke assumed it would be to fit the lenses when they were completed.

As the family left the shop, Luke continued to follow them with his eyes. As the blond-haired teen passed through the door, he reached behind himself and scratched the small of his back, lifting the white tee-shirt, once again showing off the quite sensual color scheme.

A simple salute? A tease?

Then he was gone and Luke was left feeling a little out of sorts, perplexed by the simple gesture and disturbed he'd been drawn by it. The two girls were giggling, pushing each other and trying to get his attention.

He wasn’t the slightest bit interested.


9. Painting by Numbers

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Painting by Numbers

Lying in bed and waiting patiently, Simon heard the clunk of the front door as the the rest of the family closed it behind them on their way out. There would be a scribbled note from his mum on the kitchen table, but he'd already picked up enough of the conversation drifting up the stairs to know they were all heading for the mall.

Ears attuned to the familiar sounds, he heard the van move off the drive a couple of minutes later. Even though his room faced the garden, he could still pick out the diminishing roar of the engine through the open window as they pulled away down the street. He knew he had plenty of time so didn’t hurry.

In fact, making himself wait only heightened the anticipation.

Throwing back his sheets, he stretched and thought about food. The smell of perked coffee had been drifting up from downstairs, reminding him he was hungry.

However, eating wasn't the first thing on the agenda by any means, and he slipped out of bed to go relieve an overfull bladder.  As he peed, the reflection in the bathroom mirror revealed the slim fourteen-year-old. The fair hair that both he and Luke had when they were kids had darkened over time to a mousy brown and was kept neatly trimmed to fit school regulations. He preferred it like that, anyway.

He stuffed his undiminishing woody back inside his dark blue PJ bottoms, which unless it was chilly were often all he wore to bed. After flushing and washing his hands, he wandered downstairs to get something to eat and drink while at the same time double-checking that he wasn’t being misled, and that he really was alone.

On the table, as he'd expected, was the note that had been left for him. It read, 'Me, Dad and Luke gone to the Mall food shopping. Will be about an hour'.

Simon smirked. Normally when it came to hours and minutes, you could set your watch to his mum’s impeccable timing—just not when it involved supermarket shopping. He reckoned the note gave him at least ninety minutes—probably more if the traffic was slow.

More than enough time!

He couldn't be bothered with a glass and slaked his thirst direct from the big plastic milk bottle that he’d lifted from the fridge as he prowled the downstairs spaces, calling out once or twice. He'd kept on his PJ bottoms, just in case.

Filling a bowl with cereal, he took it back upstairs to his room, putting his head into each of the other bedrooms on his tour.

Absolutely sure that he was completely alone, he demolished half the bowl of cereal before going to gather what he needed. Opening the door to his built-in wardrobe, he fished out the hot water bottle. He carried it into the bathroom, where he ran the water until it was hot before filling it from the tap.

The slow build-up brought the return of an expectant tightness in his PJs, and he stripped them off, leaving them on the bathroom floor. Taking a towel from the rail and the bottle of liquid soap from the side of the bath, he returned to his bedroom. Confidant that there was nobody in the house but him, he didn’t bother closing any of the doors, and even opened the blinds to let in plenty of daylight.

More recently, he'd discovered how much he enjoyed the unfettered freedom of being naked when he was alone like this in a warm, empty house, without the worry of anyone barging in his door uninvited or thinking him weird. Maybe what he was doing was weird, but who cared, and anyway, it wasn't something he ever planned to do in the locker rooms—not looking like this! Perched on the edge of his bed, he studied his five inches of unconfined, Mr. Happy.

Five? His faced screwed up in grudging concession. Okay, he could judge ruler measurements well enough to guess it was only four and a half. Still, four and a half inches wasn't bad for a fourteen-year-old, was it?

He pushed his finger against his shaft to bend it, and when he let go, it sprang back without hesitation, standing up hard and leaning forward a few jaunty degrees off vertical. To be exact—and that was important—twenty- eight degrees, measured with a protractor.

He called it awesome!

He pushed at his dick again, and it fought back on its tight spring. He smirked with satisfaction—when it got stiff, there was no half-hearted about it! He loved the straight, yet slightly forward-leaning shaft, though that tended to make it harder to hide in PJs! More than once, he’d ended up under the cover of a cushion watching TV in an evening in the lounge after a bath!

He shaft stood over a few bushy pubes, which he was pleased to see were thickening up a lot more now; not brilliant, but they could be worse. Poor Danny Gillespie, who had one of the last birthdays in the school year, still hadn't got more than a few stray hairs!

Completely aroused, his dick shouted for some action, but he ignored it for the moment and took his time—which he still had plenty of—examining himself. Apart from around his bum and bits, his skin wasn’t too pale, even though it hadn't got the benefit of any summer sun, yet. Time spent on the lake had seen to that. His belly was flat and he couldn’t see his ribs anymore. He’d filled out a lot over the last six months. Flexing his arms and squeezing his muscles, there was definitely something to be seen—if you looked hard. Mmmmmm…. Maybe he should train more, he mused—perhaps go running and do exercises every morning when he got up?

He looked behind himself to check his bum. There wasn't much to say other than it was milky white and still there.

Taking his joystick in two fingers, he manipulated the loose skin. He’d managed to extract plenty from Luke the previous evening, who’d been keen to tell Simon about some condition called phimosis—something which Luke apparently had. “It’s when you can’t pull back your foreskin to show the head’, Luke had said. “If you have the same thing, Mum says you might need to be circumcised, too.”

In your dreams, asshole!

Simon had another go at pulling down the skin in the way Luke had explained. Worryingly, it again seemed to get stuck at the end in the way Luke had said was a problem. He frowned as he took stock of what that might mean. There was still no way he was having any surgery. He’d just keep his head down on this one, he decided. Nobody needed to know. Moving on, he rubbed himself a few times, and a smile of satisfaction replaced the frown. It worked fine enough for him!

He went back to his bed and took both of his pillows, positioning them lengthwise on top of each other. Then he draped the towel over the pillows, to keep them clean. Finally, he positioned the hot water bottle on top of the mound.

Taking the bottle of liquid soap, he squirted it liberally onto the rubber bottle, spreading it over the textured surface until it was slippery and ready to receive him. He opened the window blinds wider to let the sun—of what was a beautiful spring day—warm his back, and took a moment to turn on his CD player for some background music.

He was ready now, and with an empty house, he intended to take plenty of time without feeling the need to be quiet!

On impulse, he crossed back through to Luke's room. On the bedside table was a small booklet—the one with pages filled with images of guy's dicks—that Luke had picked up from his visit to the doctors. Simon wanted a closer look at that, though not for any medical reasons! He also folded back his brother’s sheets and lifted his pillows.

His erection was chomping at the bit, and he followed it back through the bathroom to his own room, where he used the extra pillows to build up the mound. After dressing his stiff wanger with a further covering of soapy liquid, he swiftly mounted on top of the bottle. Partly filled with hot water, he sank into the soft slick rubber. The temperature was just right, and he sighed as he began to move against his make-do lover.

He'd discovered his Hottie (it was what his mum called it, and the term still made him snigger) by accident when she’d popped the bottle into his bed one night after he'd been dead-legged on the football field.

They used to have hot water bottles all the time in England for when it was cold, and she would often place one in their beds a few hours before bedtime. It took the chill off and gave him something to snuggle against. Thinking about how he used one these days, he couldn't help but smirk remembering the one he'd had when he was young. Warm and fluffy, it had its own special cover in the shape of a cute green monkey. If the monkey could see him now, the poor creature might have been quite shocked!

On that more recent night, once his aching leg had succumbed to warmth and several Tylenol, he'd been a bit horny. During the small hours, he’d started humping the bottle experimentally—and had been delighted with the outcome! Now, getting comfortable, the four thick pillows raised the sensual mound high as he straddled it. Gently at first, he moved against the rippled, but slick, surface. The heat emanating through the rubber warmed the union, and he grunted in satisfaction.

The first few times he'd done it like this, the feelings had been so intense that he'd squirted almost immediately. But with time and patience, he’d become a practiced lover, and could make himself last quite a while if he wanted to. Often he would lie in bed striped naked after everyone else had gone to sleep, positioned astride the pleasurable mound, making slow love to it as he read a book or listened to music.

He adjusted himself to get comfortable and began a measured rhythm so he wouldn't pop too quickly as he reached for the circumcision booklet to add to his feast. It came down to this: he liked guys. He knew that made him different, but he tried not to let it bother him. He jerked off all the time, but ever so often, he really liked the more full-body contact he got with the Hottie. Jerking was okay, but this was better. Who cared if it was unusual? Maybe everyone did it, he’d decided. Anyhow, he wasn't doing anyone any harm, so what did it matter?

The booklet stimulated him, as did the texture of what he was riding. Rhythmically, as he slid backwards and forwards against the seductively slippery rubber, his mind’s eye led him, as it often did, to Toby Skerrit.

* * *

Just over three quarters of an hour later, showered and fed with a second bowl of cereal, Simon hit the switch set on the wall. The garage door shuddered and grunted. The grunt turned into a deep groan, and then, laboriously and noisily, it began to roll up and out of the way. As it reached the end of its track, it screeched and went still, exhausted by the short workout. He pulled his bike out from underneath Luke’s and wheeled it onto the drive.

He left the garage door open—just like the garages of almost every house around them that morning. It was perfectly safe.  Of course he knew the code that could be tapped into the outside console to close it after he'd passed through. It was just a number, and he never forgot numbers. Still, why bother?

Their house was down one of the many side roads of their subdivision—located at the end, on the big turning circle. It was a nice spot, and the wide circle adjacent to them was ideal for skateboards, roller blades and street hockey. The neighbourhood was waking up, and he waved to Mr. Fernandez at 1330, who was washing his car on the driveway. They themselves were No. 1320.

He never really thought about it anymore, but when they first moved here, he’d always wondered where all the missing houses were.

In England, houses were odds on one side and evens on the other—and never a missing number. Here—for some unknown reason that made no sense—house numbers went up in tens. What was the point of that, he wondered, if there was actually no room in between them to squeeze in a few more?

He pushed off on his bike, and slipped off the concrete driveway.

"Good morning, Simon!"  Fernandez offered a cheery wave.

"Hello Mr. Fernandez!" Simon put his foot down opposite the Fernandez drive out of politeness, and returned the greeting.

"How's school? Doing well?"

Simon grinned. Fernandez always asked the same question. "Yes sir. I hope so." Simon’s answer was always the same, too. In fact, school had never been a chore for him, and he had something of a reputation for being a bit of a swot, excelling in most subjects.

Not everyone did.

He realized quite early on when he started at the Academy, that just because kids paid a lot of money to be there, it didn't mean they were brainy. In fact, for some, their parents were wasting a WHOLE LOT of money!

For him on the other hand, none of it seemed overly hard—especially math. Math was numbers, and numbers were important. You could trust numbers. They always did what you expected.

It still didn't answer what happened to all the missing ones in their street! It had irritated him almost as much as light switches. It should have been a straightforward binary operation. Ones and Zeros. On and Off. Okay, they did that, but what person in their right mind would decide that on was up? It should have been simple. Flick switch down to turn on, flick switch up to turn off. It made perfect logical sense—yet somehow, America had got that simple little choice upside-down!

Fernandez beamed and seemed satisfied his young neighbour was on the right track in life.

On the strength of it, Simon pushed off to make his way over to Toby’s house. Freewheeling down the gentle grade, he drifted unhurriedly through their subdivision and finally made it out onto the main highway. Turning left would take him further along the valley and up to where Ryan Alexis lived, but he swung a right, and down to the lights.

It wasn’t too far to Toby’s. Left at the lights, across the next junction, and then it got steeper as he climbed up the side of the valley, up the tree-lined, winding road. The last bit was quite steep, and he stood up on the pedals, punching them with practiced muscles to get over the final incline. Two hundred yards further on the left, he bumped onto the short driveway and dropped his bike against the wooden front porch.

The faded wooden door was ajar, probably to let a draft through, though the external mosquito door was shut—not that the battered netting had much chance of excluding the bloody things! From the sounds emanating the house, Grace Skerrit, Toby's mum, was vacuuming the hallway. He liked her. There was no Mr. Skerrit, but that didn’t feel out of place in their home.

She spotted him through the open door.

"Hello, Simon!" Grace gestured with a smile, welcoming him inside. "He’s in the studio.”

Simon grinned, and then hesitated, a particular memory playing across his mind. He still recalled the day—about a year ago—when he’d unknowingly trespassed into the room that Toby used as an art studio at their house.

That Toby Skerrit was an art genius was fairly well accepted at school, and in the art block, quite a number of his creations festooned the walls. At home, he continued his passion, and the spare bedroom had been set up as a personal studio. Over the years they’d been friends, in the company of his best friend, Simon had been in there plenty of times.

That particular day, however, had been different.

Simon had been at a loose end, and with the door open and Toby in another part of the house, he’d just wandered in there. But when Toby found him doing what he called 'trespassing'—exploring and looking at Toby’s artwork without permission—he’d literally exploded. It had been horrible.

Simon never seen Toby so pissed, and it had scared the shit out of him. He tried to apologize—though he couldn’t really see what he’d done wrong—but Toby just kept lamming into him. Then Simon had got angry too—and upset—and had stalked out of the house, fuming. Anger had turned to tears, and he’d cried all the way down the hill.

They didn't speak for days.

It had been nearly a week later before Toby finally came and apologized. Even then, it was difficult for Simon to trust him again, and it had taken weeks to get their friendship back on track. But both of them had missed it, so they got there eventually.

Even now, that room still made him cautious. As Simon hesitated on the doorstep, he noticed a fleeting disappointment cross her face. She probably knew what he was thinking.

“I’ll just call him for you, if you want," Grace offered. He nodded, and she backed up the hallway with her vacuum, calling down the corridor that led off to one side. “Toby…Simon’s here!”

Toby poked his head around the doorframe of his studio a cheery grin on his face. “Hiya, Si!” He rubbed at his freckled nose. “I’m just working on something. You need to see it…come on...”

Grace stood to one side to let him pass by, and Simon flashed a grin at her, the worries of the last moments already forgotten. If he’d have looked back as he hurried down the corridor, he would have seen a smile of relief.

Toby’s studio was a big part of his world, a place where he created, and Simon stood in the doorway, eyes trying to pick out what might be new. Color was everywhere, and it was a complete mess—at least to him it was. To Toby it was pure heaven!

Half-finished projects lay everywhere, though he knew Toby wouldn’t discard something he was working on—even if it took months to complete. There were probably walls, hiding somewhere behind all the pictures pinned on them. The ceiling? Well, Toby had already started to paint directly onto that; his Michelangelo, he liked to call it. In fact, Simon had quite expected to find Toby idiotically—and dangerously—balancing again on the stepladder!

So he was surprised to see the table cleared of some of the junk, and a stool set next to where Toby had been working that morning. A painting was set on the table-top easel. The work of art wasn’t large, but when Simon stepped up to look, the breath caught in his throat. He recognized it immediately.

“Bloody hell, it’s amazing!" He turned quickly to the still-open door, hoping that the sound of his cussing hadn’t made it out into the corridor. "How did you do it?" he asked, more quietly this time. And when?  Reverently he reached out towards the image of his sailing dinghy, painted on thick art paper with watercolours.

"Careful!" Toby muttered, reaching out quickly, though without irritation. "It's still a bit wet."

That explained the 'when', then.

Even though Simon knew Toby had only seen the boat a couple of times, he could tell immediately that the reproduction was technically perfect. But what made it so powerful was the outpouring of energy and vitality that assaulted him.

The single occupant was pitting himself against strong winds, pushing the craft to its limits against the forces of nature; forces that lifted the dinghy out of the water and threatened to overturn it. The young sailor was laughing for the pure joy of it.

"It’s so perfect!” Simon could already see it was him. Lost in wonder, he twisted his head. “It's really incredible. Thank you!” And he meant it.

Later, as they sat up in the tree house, all Simon wanted to talk about was the picture, though he knew Toby well enough to know he didn’t mind one bit. As they sat on the rough remnants of carpet and dangled their legs over the wide opening, he had SO many questions. Is it finished yet? When did you start it? How long did it take? How did you remember the detail? And….

“Why don’t you come up to the lake with me again?” he pleaded. “We could sail it together. I’m sure you’d like it if you gave it another chance?”

Toby shrugged. “You know why…”

“But it doesn’t have to be,” Simon persisted. “I could help you…you could learn…”

Toby shook his head, and dropped his eyes, unable to disguise a slight sense of shame. Even with the life vest, they both knew it had spooked him. “I can’t help it…I just can’t swim, Si. I love what you can do, with your skill an’ all, but I can’t do it.”

Simon tried not to let his disappointment show. “It’s okay—I mean there’s no way I could paint like you do, and that one of the boat is incredible. I could never do that!” He tried to appear encouraging, but it masked a gloomy demeanor as the dream disintegrated—that secret fantasy, in which the two of them were going to spend happy hours together on the water, evaporated into nothingness.

He couldn't help himself. They were friends, best friends, but any hope he and Toby might enjoy a shared experience on the water —with the possibility that it could turn into something else—was living in dreamland.

* * *

Luke and his parents got back from the mall around midday, and, unless someone had raided their garage and left the door wide open, Simon had clearly gone out.

"You'd think the kid was born in a barn!" Slamming the van door with a grunt, Geoff shook his head. He waved to Hector Fernandez who was out washing his car that morning. "Morning Hector! Great day for it." He meandered over to be sociable, leaving Luke and his mum to lug in the shopping. Inside, a note on the table, from Simon, indicated where he'd gone.

Great—so what the hell was HE going to do all day now? And no Ryan either because of the bloody Army cookout!

It turned into a slow afternoon. While Luke had no iPhone as yet, he did use his MacBook after lunch to knock off a little of the homework that had been mounting up for that weekend. What else was there to do? Simon had bogged off and Ry was at the army cookout. He even called Todd, and could have gone round there, but the Quinces were going out too.

It was slow and tediously boring, and he took a break after an hour and logged into Facebook to catch up with the real world. A few new friend requests were sitting waiting—most of which he didn't know, so ignored. Except one. It looked like Owen Kear had found him.

He accepted and PM'ed a quick note to the Welsh teen. He was tidying up his inbox when the 'online friends' list blinked. A message popped up.

[DAMONJ]  "Hi Luke —are you there?"

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Hey Damon!"

Luke tapped enthusiastically. There were more than a few people with whom he would make a quick excuse to escape from a tedious chat. Damon wasn't one. The guy seemed keen to talk, and like a comfortable pair of jeans, they easily slipped back into their previous discussion.

[DAMONJ]  "Sorry I bombed out on you the other week. Parents wanted something."

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Nuff said. Know what you mean —was just worried I'd pissed you off or something."

[DAMONJ] "Nope—it's cool."

It was a good day for Luke—a great day, in fact!  Like a puppy whose tail wagged in excitement, he just wanted to tell someone about it. Maybe it was impulsive, but he didn’t really care. Fingers played the keyboard quickly.

[LUKE SUMMERS] “OK, cool. So—you told me something about here's something about me, if ya wanna know?"

[DAMONJ]  "Oooo...I love kiss and tell!"

[LUKE SUMMERS] "LOL! Stop coming on to me!” A week ago, he wouldn’t have dared say such a thing, but now it seemed okay, and he knew he could get away with the teasing fun.

[DAMONJ]  "ROFL! You wish!"

[LUKE SUMMERS] “So, you do have three guesses at what my secret is...."

[DAMONJ]  "You have secrets? Does ya Mom know?"

 [LUKE SUMMERS] “Asshole! Are you guessing or not?"

[DAMONJ] "Okay, okay. Three guesses? Well, we were talking about being gay—but you did say that wasn't your thing, so strike that. How about're a girl??"

Luke laughed out loud.

[LUKE SUMMERS] "LOL! Nope—last time I looked, definitely not girl!! I'm shocked you could think that!"

[DAMONJ] "He-he. Okay. I figure then, you're either a rich orphan, or royalty?"

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Is that one guess, or two?"

[DAMONJ] "One—they're obviously related!"

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Cheat! Wrong...and wrong! You're on the wrong path completely. Here's a clue. It begins with C, and is something I'm having done soon."

There was a pause.

[DAMONJ] "Frontal lobotomy feels right...and maybe you can't spell? That's not a guess, by the way."

Another pause and Luke just waited, enjoying the game.

[DAMONJ] "I'm stuck. Having some crowns on your teeth is my best shot, though a bit weak..."

Luke grinned as he typed the reveal.

[DAMONJ] "OMG! Circumcised? Fucking hell! Really?"

[DAMONJ]  "You weren't done as a kid like everyone else?" Damon added, following immediately with another text.

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Nope—they hardly do it in the UK."

[DAMONJ] "Wow, why not? Yueeeww—that's weird! LOL! I don't know what's worse...straight or uncut!"

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Hey! I've plenty of friends who are both!"

[DAMONJ] "Their loss—kind of blows away you being a girl though!" and he added a smiley and a grin. "So what brought this on?"

Luke decided to mess a bit.

[LUKE SUMMERS] "I'm Jewish."

[DAMONJ] "Like hell you are!"

[LUKE SUMMERS] "How would you know?"

[DAMONJ] "Because none of your Facebook friends have Jewish names, lame-o! It's unlikely."

Oh...that was pretty astute.

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Ok, I'm not Jewish. Actually I've got some medical thing that means I need it doing—but they only discovered that at the checkup…I don’t mind though, I’ve wanted to be done for a while.”

There was a pause

[DAMONJ] “Why?”

A single word, and now Luke felt awkward, because it highlighted that he could have this conversation with a kid in New York, but was far too self-conscious to mention it to his best friends nearby. He shrugged. Wasn't that the point?

[LUKE SUMMERS] “I dunno—mainly because it's more normal for guys here in the States."

[DAMONJ] “Yowch - rather you than me!”

[LUKE SUMMERS] “Why d'ya say that—I mean you're cut too, I'm guessing?" He squirmed at the awkwardly intrusive question. However, Damon didn't seem put out.

[DAMONJ] “LOL—of course I am. I just mean that I was done as a kid—I don't even remember it.”

[LUKE SUMMERS] “Yeah, well, personally I think I still prefer it, anyway." He stirred subtly, beginning to sense the effect the conversation was having on him; sex and circumcision were becoming intertwined. He moved on his chair slightly and became aware that he was a little stiff. And it wasn’t his back that was affected!

[DAMONJ] "So when's the big day?"

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Soon—a few weeks."

Luke stared at the screen, trying to imagine what Damon was like behind the few pictures he posted of himself. To ease the tightness, his hand drifted to his jeans and he pulled at the faded blue denim. It suddenly felt quite stuffy.

[DAMONJ] " me, I know what I'm talking about. You're doing the right thing. If it's what you want, then I'm sure you'll look really great when it's done! I guess it's too much to ask for pictures?"  It came with a shocked-looking, wide-eyed smiley.

[LUKE SUMMERS] "Yeah—you wish!"

Maybe it was the talk of circumcision? Maybe it was the realization that he was talking to someone who was interested in guys? Maybe it was just because he hadn't cum for a while, but he felt just the tiniest bit horny!

Yesterday, he'd held off because of nervousness about the appointment. Today, he’d felt like it wouldn’t be right, and, that morning had arrived at some bizarre conclusion that he’d be letting himself down by jerking off! Out of respect for his doomed foreskin, he'd decided it would make sense to stay off it, until the op was done. Now, the logic of that evaded him, and his resolve began to waver.

Leaning back on his chair and facing his MacBook screen, he let the idea take shape until it was hard and uncomfortably tight in his jeans. Following a few tentative rubs through the material, his breathing quickened as something in him shouted for action.

He wondered what to do.

Simon had gone over to Toby's, but even though all was quiet in the house, his mum and dad were somewhere around—and for God's sake, Damon was right there in front of him! But he needed this bad now, and kept toying with the idea—or maybe it toyed with him. He stared down at the substantial bulge, feeling the pressure every time he shifted slightly in the chair. Should he? Shouldn't he?

On a knife edge, he sat up and his hand moved as if to take hold of the mouse again. The move brought a subtle change to the charged moment that was gripping him, and that moment almost passed. Then, his minds-eye touched on an image of pure white with a light, silver-grey waistband; a boy with soft brown skin and eyes was watching him.

As Luke’s hand moved, it shifted direction and drifted within the vicinity of his stomach as he wondered what it would have been like to touch that soft brown skin that the guy had offered. He reached under his own tee and rubbed his midriff, lightly.

The physical caress was like a jolt of electricity for Luke. As soon as his fingers drifted further down and touched the zip, it was already over. Once he was tugging to open the zip, it was inevitable and he couldn't stop it—he couldn't even slow down long enough to go over and lock the door!

A small, irrelevant, voice muttered in the background. 'This is stupid! What are you doing?' But any resistance had now gone. Trying to keep at least a wary ear for anyone on the stairs or landing, he gave up the struggle and pushed both the jeans and his loose boxers down onto his legs. It would be quick. No one would know. He shuddered as he finally touched himself.

Oh, God, that felt soooo good!

Pleasure emanated from his groin and washed over him, and he shifted again in his seat, pushing his underwear further down. He so wanted to ditch the jeans and boxers completely, but another part of him (with an unlocked door feet away) screamed about the stupidity of such risk-taking. This way, reason pleaded, if there were a noise on the stairs, it would still be possible to yank up his jeans and hide the evidence.

He studied his dick, seeing it erect for the first time since he’d received his diagnosis. It looked exactly like it always had. The skin was loose around the top, though he didn’t pull down hard on it, like the doctor had. It was straight, and leaned forward at a nicely jaunty angle. If he’d known anything about lube, he would have said he didn't need it. Even in the shower he didn't use soap to make it slippery.  His foreskin didn't retract, but there was still plenty of slack for what he needed.

He carried a normal, medium-brown, bushy undergrowth. A light fuzz was beginning to sprout upwards, but nothing much on his balls.

Even before reading the pre-op instructions, he’d wondered about trimming and had been sorely tempted, but didn't care to draw any more attention to what was already—as far as he was concerned—an eyesore. Rocking his fist methodically, his breathing quickened, and with it, he gave himself over to what would only take a few moments.

The familiar signs began to appear, so he slowed down and closed his eyes, wanting to make it last—and as he did so, the wall of darkness behind his lids came to life. Appearing in his mind's eye, there they were; the three of them were joining forces and drawing around him. Not in a malicious way, but trying to guide him, direct him—urging him to let go.

The first one was simple and pure; a white covering with a silver-grey waistband, and eyes that kept turning to him. The second, the tanned strength of Ryan Alexis, floating in the water on a hot summers day, and the third, the boy from New York, waiting and watching just the other side of his screen.

Between them, they were irresistible, creating for Luke a series of images and emotionally-charged feelings. The erotic internal slideshow played out, synchronized with some intense, physical sensations. With the warm room and full clothing, he was flushed, damp, and losing ground to the three. Throwing caution to the wind, he swiftly pushed boxers and jeans to his knees, and the urgings of the trio sent him over the edge.

Holding his breath and trying not to make any sound, he crashed into a full-body, experience. It was uncontrolled, and behind his tightly squeezed eyes, flashes of color came alongside a pounding that threatened to force air out of his lungs. By sheer willpower alone, he held the cry of pleasure in check. His head went back, and a mirror would have described his expression as 'anguished'!

Just in time, he remembered to pinch the end of the foreskin tight and the rhythmic pumping forced semen into a bulging containment at the end of his overlong foreskin. He felt the growing pressure bulge the tip, and rode the sensations, before finally taking a gasp of air.

Oh my God…! Though not quite shaking, he wasn't far off, and he leaned back into the seat, basking in the afterglow.

Reality kicked in. Still pinching the end of his foreskin, he hurriedly but one-handedly, pulled up his underwear and jeans. Moving to the bathroom, with his clothing still not fully in place, he let it spill into the toilet, before cleaning off the final drips with a tissue. Out of the mirror his face stared back at him, reflecting now a confusing mixture of shame and satisfaction. He wondered if, watching from a distance, those three guides were thinking the same as him.

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

I remember returning to my bedroom and being unable to face my Mac, or the chat with Damon because of the niggling disquiet that accompanied what I'd just done. Disturbed by it, I just lay on my bed, burying my face in the cool pillow. The intense excitement had passed, leaving me alone with a sense of guilt and confusion.

The truth was, it was getting worse; getting out of control now.

Though we hadn't physically touched, I couldn't get away from the fact that I’d just had sex with another guy—several in fact—even if it had only just been in my head! And not some porn images either—real people. Two of them I even knew. One was my best friend, for God's sake!

The whole thing left me drained, both physically and emotionally, and as I lay there feeling quite low and even lonely, I dropped off to asleep.

* * *

It must have been about thirty minutes later when Luke woke and stretched. Time and rest had helped and he felt better—and a bit more optimistic.

After using the bathroom again (for more usual fluids), he returned to his computer to shut it down. There were still a number of messages left over from Damon before he'd also logged off.

[DAMON] "So, what do your friends think?"

[DAMON] "Hellooooo.....anyone there?"

[DAMON] "??"

[DAMON] "Hey—you seem to have gone. Hope you're okay—and hope it goes well for you...good luck with it..."

Damon had logged off and left, and Luke felt another wave of discomfort and dislocation, knowing something wasn't quite right.

Midway through the afternoon, with nothing better to do, he topped up the mower from the gas can, and began sweeping backwards and forwards across the lawn. His mum came out into the garden, too. With gloves and trowel, she started on the beds. It was nice to have the company, though it was impossible to talk above the din of the mower.

Several times as he passed nearby where she was weeding, he contemplated stopping, killing the engine, and taking her up on her 'we're here for you, if you need us' offer. Just to talk. Ask her advice. He slumped over the wheel even further, and shook his head as he drove on. It wasn't going to happen.

Later that evening, things brightened up and he went to the movies with Ryan. They often went on a Saturday night on a day Ryan been stuck at the army cookout all afternoon. Anything to get away from them all, Ryan had moaned when he’d called to say he’d be done by 6pm.

The film was okay, and Ryan was always fun to be with, but Luke still wished he had somebody he could talk to about the kind of stuff that was bothering him. But if he wasn't able to talk to his mum, there was no way he could say anything to Ryan! Stuff like that was just too risky, and a sure-fire way to mess up a friendship. And anyway, how did you tell your best friend that you just jerked off thinking about him?

He knew he was quieter than usual, carrying all those ‘questions-with-no-answers’ in his head. Whether Ryan noticed or not, he didn't push or press, but carried them both and steered them through the evening.

Luke loved him for times like that.


10. Another Summers Day

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Another Summers Day

The following day, the Summers clan made the traditional Sunday outing to worship at Longhorn, where as was often the case, Stacey was serving.

As they were leaving after the meal, and wanting to speak with her privately—and definitely not with the attention of a curious younger brother—Luke made an excuse to go back inside. He timed it so that the four of them were just outside the door, before declaring, "I think I need the loo—I'll see you at the van!"

Keen to be off to the lake as soon as possible, Simon grunted irritably. Luke ignored him, and as the others kept walking, he slid back through the doors and into the restaurant to look for Stacey. It was still quite busy and it took a few moments to spot her.

"Stacey?" He caught up with her as she was carrying a precariously-balanced tray of desserts to a table. "Have you got a moment?"

Stacey Wyeman turned in surprise, and studied him with speculative interest. "Sure—just let me serve these folks first."

He nodded and waited, hoping she would hurry as she unloaded her tray and restocked it with glasses ready for refills. Finally, she was done, but time had gone, too. He knew he would have to be quick as she rested the tray on the bar and turned to face him.

"So, how can I help you, Luke Summers?" she asked. She folded her arms and gazed at him inquisitively.

Luke felt awkward...what was it with her that she liked using his surname all the time? She seemed to be studying him, trying to read his intention. She was...oh... He blinked as it dawned on him. It felt uncomfortably like she was wondering if he was going to ask her out on a date!

Momentarily, a part of him even considered it. Maybe it was good idea? She was certainly nice—even his dad had thought that. Perhaps if he had a girlfriend, then some of this other...stuff...would go away? On the other hand, it was complicated and he didn't yet know what he really thought about the other 'stuff'. Why add to the confusion?

He said, "Actually, I was just wondering if you knew Owen Kear."

Clearly that was a curve ball, and not at all what she was anticipating. She frowned, but recovered quickly.

“Owen?" Her expression wasn't that enthusiastic, and she wiped her hands on her towel. "Sure I know him—he's at Creek. So how do you know him?"

He tried to keep it simple. "You know how it is, we Brits like to stick together."

She frowned again. "I thought he was from Wales?"

Luke shook his head, but let it go. Now wasn't the time to get into the politics of UK geographical subtleties! "He just needs a bit of help," he continued, but was interrupted by a voice from a nearby table trying to get Stacey’s attention.

Her eyes flicked briefly towards the interruption before she quickly scribbled something on her order pad. "I need to go, but call me," she murmured, pushing the phone number into his hand before turning away.  Stuffing the paper in his pocket, he hurried out to the van, climbed in the back and slid it shut with a satisfying clunk.

Now that Luke had her number, he didn’t want to appear too 'keen', and he held off calling for a couple of days. Finally, he dug out the paper and dialled.

"Hello? May I help you?" A man's voice answered.

"Oh...errr...yes...errr…hello." Luke coughed and tried to get his spiel going. "Can I speak to Stacey...please?"

There was a pause. "May I ask who's calling?" To him, the tone sounded just a little wary. Luke guessed he'd got Stacey's father.

"'s Luke. Luke Summers," he said, just in case there was a confusion with all her other Lukes.

Partially muffled by a hand, he heard the man call out, "Stacey! It's for you." There was a silence before the man’s voice abruptly returned to Luke’s ear. "She's just coming."

The phone muffled again, but he could still make out the words. "There's a Luke calling from the UK." Further words were exchanged, but Luke couldn't make out what was said. Listening intently, he jumped when it became loud and clear once more. It was Stacey.

"Hey there, Luke Summers!" He could hear the smile as she finally took the other end from her father. "Dad thinks your calling from England!"

"I get that all the time!" he joked, relieved to have got through to her at last—and he enjoyed hearing her laugh. "You can just call me Luke, you know!"

"But Summers is such a nice name!" she replied, playful and unrepentant. "So, how can I help you? I wondered when you were going to call..."

She left that hanging.

"Well, it's about Owen...." Luke said quickly, a little flustered once more.

"Ah, yes, you said. Owen Kear. What's he done now?"

"Nothing that I know of,"  he replied, though he was intrigued. "Why do you say that?"

"Oh, no reason.” Luke could hear the shrug in her voice. “Actually he keeps to himself much of the time. Never seems that happy...."

"Well, that's true. He's not." Luke went on to explain to her what Owen was going through. "He just needs friends,” he concluded. “Is there anything you can do there at Creek?"

There was a pause, and he waited. Maybe it was too much to ask, though on the other end of the line, she seemed to thinking.

"Maybe,” she finally said. “But it'll cost you!"

" so...what will it cost me...?" He smiled, realising again that she was quite a character!

"Oh, I don't know." Her tone became a little sly. "I'll think of something."

They chatted a bit more before coming to an end, and he said, "Thanks, Stacey. I owe you one!"

"That you do, Luke Summers. That you do," she murmured, before hanging up.

That night Luke had another weird dream. He actually dreamt about Stacey! Somehow, in that dream, the two of them had got together and dated. And then they’d married and were blissfully happy. It was one of those dreams where the detail was fuzzy, but for those few moments just before waking, it felt as real as it could get! In fact, it was so believable that he almost felt like he should go and pick up the phone right away—middle of the night or not—and tell her everything was okay, and that he really did fancy her!

As he lay on top of the sheets, he sighed before going back to sleep. Perhaps he might even go back to the dream again? He drifted off, wondering whether there would be any kids, relieved that he was pretty normal after all.

* * *

For the young men of The Academy, another school week began to pass—in the same way as it did for teenagers worldwide—unnaturally slowly!

Simon sniggered as the expert flick of the damp towel caught Marco Fontana right on the bum as they made to exit the locker rooms just before the lunch recess on the Tuesday. Marco squealed and the Spanish expletive was probably untranslatable! The dark-haired Latino guy might have been born and bred in the States, but he still spoke Spanish like a native.

Marco twisted around, unsurprised to find who was persecuting his backside. “Gillespie—you little fuck!”

Danny Gillespie was irrepressible. The youngest in their class, he seemed to have boundless energy for anything and everything. Hardly a day went by when he wasn't up to something! He was a spark who shined brightly in both work or play—unlike Marco who was good at languages, but tailed off fast from then on!

Eyes blazing, Marco wrenched away the offending towel and whipped up a revenge. They all laughed as Danny hopped, jumped and squeaked his way out onto the field. Danny's towel finally ended up hanging high in the air off an old basketball hoop. The diminutive elf had to know that would happen, but as always, he hardly seemed to care as he waited for someone to give him a boost up to retrieve it.

Eventually, they all headed for lunch.

The school ‘restaurant’ as Principal Benton liked it to be called, or ‘cafeteria’ to everyone else, was one of a dozen stand-alone buildings scattered around the campus. Well-endowed with extensive kitchens and plush tables, chefs turned out a varied diet for those whose parents were willing to spend the money—and hey, once you’d paid the term’s hefty tuition fees, what was a few extra dollars a day?

Usually Simon and his friends ate hastily and left for better things before the afternoon lessons rolled in.  That day, however, they remained gathered around the remains of a pretty decent meat pie that had been dressed with some rather less attractive rabbit food; in fact, they stayed much longer than normal, listening in to a lively discussion.

"Oh my God—that's just so gay!" Scott Landon smirked. “You have to wonder what they get up to in their meetings?”

Toby had apparently left, but Simon’s friends, Gabe, Danny, Jacko and Mason—along with most of the small crowd that had gathered that Monday in the school cafeteria—chuckled too. The topic around the table was the recent development at Creek: the new G.S.A—the Gay-Straight Alliance group.

"Maybe they sit around discussing which hole is better to stuff it in?" Ethan Parker suggested crudely. More raucous laughter spilt across the table.

Feeling discomforted by it, Simon stood on the outer rim, wishing he could be somewhere else. Not far from where he waited, he noticed Luke was laughing too and, glancing across to Ryan at the other side of the table, Simon caught him grinning as well.

Through the wisecracks, Simon caught Luke's eye. All at once, his brother faltered and looked uncomfortable.

It had been in the Sunday papers and it seemed that everyone knew about it—at least if they didn’t before, they certainly did now. Simon had read the article too, and whoever had written it had done their homework, unearthing G.S.A. school groups around the country, discussing them and making conclusions:

A school counselor in Maine summed up the view of many educators I spoke to when she conceded that her school was ‘totally unprepared’ for younger openly gay students. We always knew school was a time when kids struggle with their identity,’ she told me, ‘but it was easy to let anti-gay language slide because it’s so embedded in middle and high-school culture and because we didn’t have students who were out to us or their classmates. Now we do, so we’re playing catch up to try to keep them safe.’

Clearly, it wasn’t just high schools either and she’d gone on to note:

As a response to anti-gay bullying and harassment, at least 120 middle schools across the country have formed gay-straight alliance (G.S.A.) groups, where gay and lesbian students—and their straight peers—meet to brainstorm strategies for making their campus safer. Other schools are letting students be part of the national Day of Silence each April (participants take a vow of silence for a day to symbolize the silencing effect of anti-gay harassment), which last year was held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old gay junior-high student in Oxnard, Calif., who was shot and killed at school, by a 14-year-old classmate. Still, the younger they are when they come out, the more that youth with same-sex attractions face an obstacle that would be unimaginable to their straight peers. When a 12-year-old boy matter-of-factly tells his parents—or a school counselor—that he likes girls, their reaction tends not to be one of disbelief, dismissal or rejection.

“No one says to them: ‘Are you sure? You’re too young to know if you like girls. It’s probably just a phase,’ ” says Eileen Ross, the director of the Outlet Program, a support service for gay youth in Mountain View, Calif. “But that’s what we say too often to gay youth. We deny them their feelings and truth in a way we would never do with a heterosexual young person.”

The article was big news locally because it seemed that the school administration at Creek had tried to block the formation of a group, citing a belief that it was wrong to sexualize young children in this way.

The paper had discovered that the school’s principal initially balked when students asked to start a G.S.A. ‘She argued that it wasn’t age-appropriate, and worried about having to deal with negative editorials in the local paper,’ an insider said. But, because the school had other extracurricular clubs, ‘the principal was made aware that blocking a G.S.A. from forming is against the law.’

If the principal had wanted to avoid adverse publicity, she'd blown it, as a court order had been threatened, and could have easily been procured, maintaining the rights of the school children to form whatever group they wanted. It had hit the papers, and now everyone was talking about it.

"At least we'll never have such a fucked-up gay group here," Landon suggested, a malicious twinkle in his eye.

"And why would that be, Mr. Landon?" Heads turned to the source, and a hush descended.

Landon was unrepentant. He smirked at Carlton, one of the basketball coaches. Carlton was okay. A junior coach, he merited lowly tasks like cafeteria duty and was on hand that day. He wouldn’t stay at the Academy long—there were too many existing senior coaches for him to advance up the ladder that quickly. But to have the Academy on his CV wouldn’t do him any harm!

Either way, Carlton was okay. Pushed you hard, but was okay.

"No chicks, coach!" Landon grinned, still keeping carefully to protocol in addressing the teacher. "It would have to be the G.G.A. No girls here, so it would have to be a Gay-Gay Alliance!" he added, triumphant in his own logic.

Around them, there was a smattering of half-chuckles, probably wondering how Carlton would respond. The coach’s eyes narrowed and he gazed hard at Landon, who probably wondered if he’d gone too far this time.

Todd saved him. "I think Scott wants to start one, sir." He grinned and smoothed it over. "It seems right up his street! You go for it, Scott...maybe you'll get lucky?"

At that, even Carlton let go a small smirk before better judgment broke in. "Okay boys, break it up. I'm sure homosexuals are people, too." With that, one-by-one, everyone drifted away, leaving just Simon and his brother.

Luke looked guilty. "Si...." he began quietly. He sounded guilty too.

Simon shook his head. "It's okay, I've heard worse." He was hurt, but it wasn't really Luke's fault. Gay kids got no breaks.

"Come on, Luke!" Ryan, standing at the door of the cafeteria, shouted and waved.

"It's okay. You go—I'll see you later," Simon murmured. “I’ll take these.” He walked away, taking their empty dishes with him.

* * *

Luke watched his brother go, discouraged with himself, and then turned to head towards Ryan, who was still at the door and grinning like an idiot. It irritated Luke, and he scowled, disappointed that Ryan had joined all the others with the bout of crude, anti-gay humor.

You mean like you did, too?’ The voice in his head condemned him. He knew exactly why Simon had looked so down—it was down to Luke, because he'd gone and done exactly the same as everyone else and ridiculed gay kids.

He knew he'd let Simon down

‘But, you know how it works—if you don't play along, you'll get picked on, too,’ he argued back. So what? Even if that were true, he still knew exactly what the bottom line was. What it comes down to is that you’d prefer to leave Simon to face the crap and save your own hide?

Feeling low, he followed Ryan and the others outside into the bright sunshine. As they walked across the newly cut grass, back towards the main building, they noticed Kyle Prentice, a guy from the senior year that didn't hide the fact that he was gay. He was surrounded by a group, and it was hard to tell whether he was being picked on or supported. Luke didn’t really want to find out.

 “Come on guys—let’s go have some fun!” chirped Landon, seeing an easy target and steering towards it. Still fighting his own demons, Luke froze as the group turned expectantly towards the action.

 “Leave it, Scott." Unexpectedly, Ryan spoke out, and his tone was hard. "We’re not starting on Kyle.”

 “I’m not saying starting on him—I just wanna talk to him a bit." The smirkiness on Landon's face was giddy. “You know—ask him about getting a G.S.A. going here.”

“I said leave it!” Ryan's reply remained stony.

Adam Miller leered. “Oooohhh…Ry! Have you got the hots for Kyle now?”

Ryan's face darkened as Luke, finding his voice and his values, jumped in at last. “For God’s sake, guys, Ry’s right—leave Kyle and the others like him alone! It’s not their fault. What if it were YOUR brother we were talking about?”

As soon as it came out, he regretted it and his mouth went dry. To him, it seemed inconceivable that they wouldn’t realise he was talking about Simon.

But then Todd spoke up and covered his rising panic. “I agree with Luke and Ry. Come on guys—we should be better than that!”

Something ugly flashed briefly across Landon’s face before he shrugged and backed down and they continued walking back to the main buildings.

Back home after school, and after they'd finished dinner, Luke was skipping though the TV channels to see if anything was on. Apparently looking for something in the lounge too, his dad started lifting cushions on the sofa, and going through the magazines under the coffee table.

"Where is it?" Geoff grunted.

"Where's what, Hon?" Lucy looked up from her book.

"Yesterday's AJC. There's something important in it."

Luke turned his attention from the TV. The paper? Was his dad looking for that article? Were they going to have a discussion about GSA groups? Simon wasn't there, but he wouldn't mind knowing what his parents thought all the same.

"It's already in the paper pile in the garage, Hon." Lucy sounded inquisitive. "What's important?"

"Something Daniel saw—he said I should look, too."

Daniel was one of his dad’s office friends, Luke knew. His dad went out, leaving Luke to consider what his parents’ opinion was going to be. Then he began to get agitated.

'What do you think, Luke? Do you know any gay boys?' they might say.

Like your youngest son, you mean?

'A filthy perversion. That's what it is.'

He shifted uncomfortably, considering what else they might say. He suddenly knew he didn't want to hang around for ANY of it, when his dad foiled his exit. He was holding the AJC in one hand, and a pair scissors in the other.

"Now, where is it?" Geoff started peeling away sheets. Luke stared at the TV screen, but had no idea what he was watching.

"Ah! Here they are!"

"Here's what, Hon?"

"There are some coupons." Geoff looked triumphant. "Good ones, too. Chilli's, and even one for Longhorn!"

"Oh, for GOODNESS SAKE!" Luke cried. He threw down the remote and, to their startled looks, stormed out of the room.

A couple of days later, after getting in from school, Luke walked into the house to find a letter waiting for him on the hall table. A small logo on the back of the envelope showed it was from the doctor's office. He picked it up carefully and examined the front and back in detail before opening it, appreciating that his mum hadn't just gone ahead and opened it on his behalf. She was, however, hovering—and he got the impression she expected to be reading it shortly!

The letter was a confirmation of his appointment date and time. It also contained a few photocopied pages that gave more information about the SmartKlamp, and he slipped those into his pocket to take upstairs to read more carefully, later. Additionally, there were some medical release forms that needed to be completed and brought on the day. Lastly, there was a covering letter with instructions on preparing for the operation.

He skimmed through it quickly and was quite relieved to read the following paragraph; 'As we will be using the SmartKlamp as discussed at the consultation, it will not be necessary for Luke to have to fully shave his pubic hair as is indicated in the information booklet you received. Nonetheless, in the interests of hygiene and to minimize the risk of hairs becoming trapped in the mechanism, it would be helpful if he could trim the hair reasonably well around the base of the penis.’

Thank God for that, Luke mused...well thank God he didn't need to shave! Trimming? Well, he was actually becoming quite motivated by the requirement—for medical reasons of course!

He went through the photocopied sheets in more detail later that evening. They explained the things he already knew—but with pictures! There was also a website by the company that produced the SmartKlamp. Well, at least he now knew what to expect, and in his head he ticked off the days one by one as the time slowly dwindled towards the allotted moment!

* * *

On the last day of that week, Simon was leaning over a large piece of thick art paper, that looked remarkably like a coal miner had sat on it—leaving behind some black—and rather indecent—markings!

Unlike Toby, the Art block was not Simon’s favorite destination! One of the dozen separate buildings on the campus, it was probably the oldest, yet received the least investment. Art was not high on the principal’s list, and if it had to be there, his approach seemed to be along the lines of it damn well wasn’t going to cost him too much!

The building itself used to be the home of the old cafeteria, and it had had the insides ripped out and some stud walling put in place, but not much more. The Head of Art, Marcus Daniels, didn’t seem to mind, and appeared quite happy that the principal kept out of his way.

Whilst Art was not Simon’s forte, he usually got by as well as the others who were similarly leaning studiously over their work that afternoon. Some of them were quite good—though none anywhere near as talented as Toby Skerrit.

Nobody was.

Simon glanced around again at his classmates who came in all shapes, sizes and colors. There were only twenty of them (class sizes were a lot lower than in his school in the UK) and he pretty much liked them all. This class, and four others of a similar size, made up their year here at the Academy. Most of those around him had come up through the middle school, and before that had attended the elementary school that was located in a nearby campus.

At that Friday afternoon’s art lesson, the twenty of them were in the middle of a series exploring the use pencil and charcoal. For Simon, the end of the lesson couldn't come soon enough, as he just could NOT get the hang of it at all. He picked up the sheet and eyed the miner's arse (that was meant to be a piece of fruit) sceptically, wondering where he’d gone wrong.

Just behind him, a voice sniggered. "That looks like someone’s backside!" Toby had wandered over for a look.

Next to him, Danny had a giggling fit, which subsided when he caught Daniels' attention. Quiet discussion was okay—a giggling Gillespie was not! Piqued by both of his friends, Simon picked up the drawing and studied it once Daniels' lighthouse beam had passed.

“Shit…is it that bad?" He shook his head in frustration. Even Danny seemed to have got the hang of it, whereas he just could not get hold of the idea of using the subtleties offered by rubbing charcoal streaks with his fingers to add tone. Putting down the paper once more, he stroked some more charcoal onto the page, rubbed it down, and the miner’s bum miraculously transformed into a pair of cow’s udders!

"I give up!" he muttered. The other side of him on the long work table, Jacko reached across, and before he could stop him, marked a small tit on the end of the udder. Danny started shaking again.

Simon rubbed at it in irritation and picked up his masterpiece to stop any further maligning. Standing, he prodded Toby. "Come on then, let's see yours." Flicking the charcoal across the desk at Jacko, he followed Toby to his corner.

Toby had his own space in the art room. Not that it was his solely, but it was an area where he had access to a wider range of materials—specially provided by Daniels—to work with. Nobody else really minded. Frankly, why take on more to cock up if you didn’t need to?

Simon shuffled behind Toby’s desk and gazed at the Toby’s creation and pulled a face. Damn, it just wasn't fair! How did he do it?

Whilst most of them had been trying to faithfully represent some object on the desk in front of them, Toby hadn't bothered with such limitations. Instead of an apple (aka miner’s arse, aka cow’s udder), Toby, purely from memory and creativity, had beautifully mastered their tree house!

It was incredibly real, detailed and subtle. You could almost hear the breeze whispering through the branches, caressing the leaves and stirring them into movement.

And how the hell did he make it look like the sun was shining with charcoal, for God’s sake?

There was a person sitting with his legs dangling over the edge looking away into the distance. It didn’t need the detail of a face for Simon to know instinctively that it was him! He smiled inwardly at the way Toby shared this moment with him. He seemed to enjoy doing that, and knowing him, it was the whole purpose of the drawing.

Still, for the sake of personal pride, he tried to appear offhand. "My backside is better!"

"Really?" Toby smirked, allowing his eyes to go wide. He eyed Simon’s butt with a malicious grin and added in a passable British accent, "And you're comparing with whom may I ask?"

"Bog off!" Simon grunted, grinning affably. "I meant the picture!"

Toby studied it again. "That's your bum you drew?" He sniggered and looked horrified. "Shit Si, you need to see a doctor quick—you need some kind of cream!" Simon couldn't help it and sniggered too—much too loudly, drawing the beady glare of Daniels.

"Perhaps you would like to share your little joke with the class Mr. Summers?" Daniels could be real dry if he wanted.

"Oh - ah... no, Sir. Sorry, Sir…" Simon scuttled quickly back to his desk. Marcus Daniels was all right, but despite the fact that Toby was his star pupil (and, according to Toby, his mum spent much more time than was strictly necessary with the man), he would have no hesitation in handing out a detention to either of them if he felt it was deserved.

Later that afternoon as they waited for their lift, he laughed with Luke as he showed him his 'Fruit' drawing. He had it in his portfolio and it would be graded as part of the end of term exams, so despite his better judgment, couldn't just throw it away.

As they waited, he could see Toby slowly walking up the pathway, hefting a weighty bag over his shoulder. It looked like he would need a new jacket soon. He'd begun to sprout—as had his long messy hair, which was well down on his collar.

How the hell did Toby get away with that?

Unaware he was being studied, Toby stopped, tugged off his tight jacket and threw it over his shoulder. Simon didn't blame him. It had been a hot, heavy, sultry day, which had left everyone worn out. He was looking forward to getting home to change into something less stifling.

"He looks hot!"

The way Luke said it, Simon knew he didn't mean anything other than the obvious, but it sat there in silence between them until Luke pulled an awkward face. "Sorry," he murmured. "I didn't mean it like that."

"Nah." Simon kept it light to mask his deeper feelings. "Just a stupid crush." He grinned. "We are allowed them you know!"

It elicited a smile from his brother.

He was lucky, Simon knew. It would be total crap if you couldn't tell anyone how you were feeling—even just joke about it! A sly smirk crossed his mouth. "Actually, I've really got this thing for Wingy at the moment..."

"WINGY?" Luke barked with laughter.

He snorted too. Adam Wingford was in Luke's year, though not his class. To put it mildly, he was a guy who was big around the middle.

"More to hold on to!" Simon giggled as he creased up.

"What's this about Wingy?" Toby strolled up, looking curious.

Luke wiped tears from his eyes. "You do NOT want to know!"

"Awe…come on!" Toby turned his pleading tone to Simon. "Did he fall on someone and crush them?"

Simon screeched. "Oh God, I hope not!"

Luke started hopping around looking like he was about to wet himself.

Toby scowled and shook his head as they kept him in the dark. "You two are so weird at times!"

"Sorry." Simon tried to sound it.

"You're still coming over tonight, aren't you?" Toby demanded as Simon continued to struggle with a fit of the giggles. Finally he managed to put a lid on it.

"Of course I am," he replied. He turned to his brother, feeling the need to explain. "We're working on the treehouse, but maybe we'll come back over sometime tomorrow if we get bored."

On the school run that day, Toby's mom arrived and pulled into her usual spot on the parking lot. Simon climbed in the back seat of her beat up Nissan and, as usual, Toby quickly slid alongside him, leaving Luke to take the front. Both he and Luke wound down the windows. The air-con had busted a long time ago and Toby's mom didn't seem have the inclination to mend it. At least the blower worked—not that it helped much.

"Good day at school, boys?" Grace joined the line of cars waiting to pull out onto the highway that would take them home.

"Simon did an incredible charcoal in Art." Toby couldn't keep the smirk out of his voice. "Daniels thought it was amazing!"

"Really, Simon—good for you!" Simon could see Grace smiling encouragingly in the driver's mirror. He also noticed the corners of Luke's mouth turn up, but took it well. Grace added, "Maybe we should have Marcus round to dinner soon?"


Now it was Simon’s turn to grin as Toby sat up, a pained look on his face. It was so hard not to laugh! In the driver's mirror, he could see amusement in Grace's face. It was hard to tell with her. Was she really planning on asking Marcus Daniels to dinner, or was she just treating her teasing son to a bit of his own medicine?

Twenty minutes later, she stopped off at their house to let Simon and Luke out. For Simon, the overnighter at Toby’s had been planned for a while and she came inside to chat with his mum while he and Toby bounded upstairs so he could change and pack. Five minutes later he was ready, but by that time, Grace had a cup in her hand and the mums were catching up.

There would be no hurrying them, so he and Toby went out into the back yard. “We are working on the treehouse this weekend, aren't we?” he asked.

Toby nodded, the enthusiasm showing in his face, too. “And I’ve had some ideas.”

Simon grinned, unsurprised. Toby would keep having ideas until the day he died! “Okay—what is it this time?” Sitting on the back deck, they hardly noticed the time go as they talked about ways and means of getting what they were looking for.

* * *

 “So—you still wanna do it today?” Toby asked.

Simon looked up to where Toby’s head had poked over the side of the bed, looking down on him as he lay alongside on the pull-out mattress. “The food lift for the tree house, you mean? You bet!” They’d spent most of yesterday evening in the treehouse. Eating. Talking. Planning. He yawned. "So what time is it?"

"I dunno. Nine?"

Simon stretched comfortably. It was a Saturday morning and neither of them was in any hurry to get up, though they could sniff tantalizing smells of cooking drifting down from the kitchen.

Their treehouse was a piece of real estate that had been a long time in the constructing. Even now, they were still working on various bits of decor and adding gizmos that contributed to the style and functionality of the build. They’d started on the project the previous summer, when Toby's mom had only one requirement: that it was safe.

'If you plan to do this,’ she’d said, ‘do it properly!'

And to give her her due, she’d backed that up with hours of long, hard slog, helping fix up the secure mesh of beams that straddled several huge branches up in the old oak. Satisfied at last that it wouldn’t go anywhere when the wind got up, she'd left them to it, and he and Toby were doing the majority of the on-going work. They worked well together, but when it came to the building, Simon led the way.

Toby was an endless source of intriguing and creative ideas, but not so good at following through to turn those ideas into working plans and action. This was where he, Simon Summers, excelled. He knew how to take fledgling ideas, add his flare, and then make them work.

With Toby's creativity and style, and Simon’s planning and practical skill, it was turning out to be one of the classiest tree houses in the state! They both loved it up there, way above the ground, hidden amongst the thick branches, and they loved being alone together to talk endlessly about life.

But if you were balancing stuff, trying to climb the rope ladder to get food up and down safely, then it was a problem.

The previous day, they’d decided they needed some form of lift mechanism that could be drawn up and let down—big enough, and stable enough, to hold plates and trays without tipping. During the evening they’d planned it. Toby drew it. Simon measured it. They were both excited about this new addition.

Lying on the pull-out mattress, Simon’s nose flared. “Is that you? God, that stinks!” He caught a whiff of a demonic odor that competed with the cooking smells.

Toby grinned. “Could be!” He wafted his sheets.

“Crap—stop! That’s making it worse!”

“Okay, okay—I’m going to the bathroom. I’m having a shower—do you want one?”

“After you,” Simon said. “Maybe after breakfast.”

Toby crawled out of bed and went to the window, opening the blinds to let in the sunshine. He was a guy who only wore boxers to bed, and the sun streamed around him, bringing to life the semi-translucent material and bathing him in light. Simon looked away, knowing it wasn’t helping him.

After Toby had gone, he got up himself and quickly exchanged the PJ bottoms for the clothing he’d brought. Then he began to tidy up the room.

Folding his sheet and blanket neatly, he set those and the pillow onto the chair and then shoved the mattress back under Toby’s bed. It fitted perfectly, and he liked that. It made sense. It was like a good complex equation—everything should be balanced and in its right place for it all to look tidy and work properly. Even simple equations were meant to add up…



But, however much he did the math, it just didn’t work.

It was an ache.

Standing at the recently vacated spot by the window, he opened the window to let in some fresh air and to look out across the backyard to their tree house. Despite what he'd said to Luke, there were good days and there were not so good days. There were days where he felt at peace, comfortable and whole. Then there were days when he couldn't shut out the sense of ‘missing-ness’—a void that even wind and sail couldn't fill.

It wasn't that he was just some crazy horny teen wanting to be fucked, sucked, or any other opportunity for some kind of sexual outlet. He only wanted to be wanted, and for whom—and what—he was, to make sense. Almost anything would be better than a bloody hot water bottle! He wondered which part his mum and dad would be more disappointed in if they found out—that he was fucking a rubber bottle, or that what he really wanted was another guy?

But why did it have to be Toby, when all he felt was guilty at every passing glance and wayward thought? Why couldn't it be someone else that didn’t matter—even someone famous on TV or something? Some other kid that he could have a happy, purposeless, crush on, and be satisfied with that? At least then he would have somewhere else to be to feel normal. As it was, Toby was a big part of his life and he was around him all the time.

And it didn’t help when Toby stood around in his underwear, like he was flaunting himself!

And why do you have to keep looking?

The words from earlier that week still chimed like death bells in his ears. 'Homosexuals are people too', Carlton had declared. Without someone to share stuff with, would he be condemned to only ever be half a person?

It couldn’t be helped, and it certainly wasn’t Toby’s fault. All he could do was…nothing. He opened the window wider and took a deep breath, then sighed to himself as he went through into the kitchen to see what was for breakfast.

“Morning, Simon! Sleep well?”

“Yes, thanks, Mrs. Skerrit."

He studied her as she cooked. He liked her a lot and she’d tried to get him to call her 'Grace' endless times, but he just couldn't. It didn't feel right. Eventually, even she had given up!

“Toby’s in the bathroom,” he added, unnecessarily feeling the need to point out that he wasn't in there with her son, watching him shower.


He just nodded—further words might be incriminating. Seeing a pile of bacon being kept warm, he watched Grace turn on the plate in preparation for making pancakes, too. That was the worst thing for him…disappointing people. Lying to them. Toby’s mum was really nice, but only because she didn’t know what he was really like.

It was what he hated. The hiding and deceiving. It was when he despised himself the most. And if she knew that he was a homo who thought about touching her son, she would hate him too—even more than his own mum would.

Letting everyone down. He couldn’t bear that.

He sat quietly, watching the pile of pancakes grow. After a few minutes, Toby appeared, hair wet and still wearing only his underwear.

“Did you run out of clothes?” Grace asked, her tone dry, though Toby shrugged as he sat on one of the breakfast bar stools. “And did you wash your hair?” she probed, as she continued to add to the growing tower of pancakes.

He blinked. “Kind of…”

“What does that mean?”

“Well…it’s wet…” His gaze remained impassive, but his tone was a little more cautious.

She added another pancake to the pile. ‘It’ll have to do…you need it cutting!”

“Awe, Mom!”

Her eyes flicked up and she didn't give the appearance of being ready to negotiate.

Toby pulled a face. “But we’re building in the tree house!”

“You either go and get it done, or I’ll do it here, for you. Your choice.”

Simon grinned. Some choice! He perked up a bit and added, brightly, “We can get some wood together at the same time.”

Toby turned and gave him a slightly weird look. Simon watched it become a smirk and he turned a shade of red, realising what he’d said. Grace was staring at him as well, and he had a terrible feeling she knew exactly what ‘wood’ was!

 “Breakfast is in five minutes, Toby, giving you time to go and get dressed and make your bed.” Grace gave her son a piercing glare. “In the meantime, Simon and I will have a sensible conversation for a change!”

Toby slunk off, grinning, and she turned back to Simon. “Okay—now this lift you boys want to build. How is it going to work…?”

Simon smiled gratefully, and began to explain what he had in mind.

11. Cutting it too Close for Comfort

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Cutting it too Close for Comfort

With the date of his procedure now etched firmly into the calendar, Luke tried to settle back into the routines of daily life: school, home, weekends, Longhorn...

If only it were that easy!

The upcoming surgery was always on his mind, and Luke couldn’t stop himself dwelling on it, constantly going over the papers he’d received. He also continued his online research, scouring the web just to make sure he hadn’t missed anything important. Google was fine, but not as educational as the real thing, so at school, he couldn’t resist surreptitiously examining the other guys in the locker rooms and under the showerheads whenever cleanly circumcised wangers went on show.

With newly acquired knowledge and an understanding of different styles, he found himself looking with increasing interest to see what was what. Even so, he had to be careful—he wasn’t a perv, but getting a reputation for staring at dicks in the showers in an all-boys school was a shortcut to extinction!

For starters all were cut—no surprise there—though a number of those were quite loosely done—at least it seemed that way. When observing them soft, the folds of remaining skin slipped some way over their heads. ‘Half and halves’, he called them—with the foreskin rolling down to neither here nor there. To him, the loose version didn’t look good at all, and the booklet the doctor had provided had suggested that it was best if the glans—the mushroom head—was clear of skin at all times.

Todd Quince was one of those ‘half and halves’, and by the look of him, probably didn't actually care. Standing a little way down the row as they changed, Luke observed Todd give his black and rather hairy balls an easy scratching, humming some unrecognizable tune as he prepared to head to the showers.

Music wasn't Todd's strong suit either!

He was fairly sure Todd was clipped, but it was less obvious. Perhaps guys like that had been done that way at birth, he mused? That in itself raised lots of questions about circumcision for someone who’d gone through primary school in the UK never even suspecting such a thing was going on—or more specifically, coming off—in another part of the world.

He’d done plenty of reading-around online, and had some idea how doctors went about circumcising a baby, and it obviously happened around here every day. A baby was so little…so how did the surgeons manage to do it right? Was it potluck as to whether they turned out to be loose or tight when they grew up, or could the surgeon create a specific outcome for a baby? Did they do it straightaway on the day a boy was born, or at some later time? Did it hurt? Did they get an injection?

And another thing—did any of them ever remember it? If what Damon had said was anything to go by, probably not. Not for the first time did Luke realise how much he was in the dark when it came to a lot of the details.

That Monday morning, they were back in the new sports block for the one sports period of the week that all four classes of their year took simultaneously, giving ready numbers for plenty of on-field mayhem.

The sports block—though it wasn’t that new anymore, having been built three summers previously—had been paid for by their extortionate fees. That said, you had to hand it to them: when the school decided to build something on the campus, there were no shortcuts or cheap investments. The sport curriculum was a big pull for The Academy, and they'd put a lot of good money into developing the facility. Most agreed that the massive, purpose-built sports arena had been money well-spent.

With space for pull-out bleachers as well as a sizeable match-play area, it had been built on the side of the old sports facility, which in turn had been completely gutted and refurbished to house two separate locker rooms, teaching spaces for sports science classes, a smaller sports hall that could be used as a gym, and bags of storage.

There was a rumor that a pool was planned, but to everyone’s disappointment, it remained just that.

The new locker rooms were plush and extensive, and the class spread itself around the available space of the larger one. He and Ry had their usual spot.

Didn't everyone?

In the midst of the genial hubbub, Luke pulled off his padded top. American football had never been his thing, but he'd had a pretty good game on that outing. Amid the stomping of boots, the clatter of helmets, grass-stained pants and grimy shirts being discarded all around him, there was steam billowing from the shower room, good enough to tempt even the shyest, sweaty teen under the heads. The sprays were always hot and powerful, and Luke was anticipating being in there shorte himself!

So he'd better start hustling!

He, Ryan, and about a third of the seventy or so in the year had only just got in from the field. It had been such a tight game, none of them had even noticed how late it had got. Most of the rest were already out of the showers and getting dressed. One thing was for sure, he mused, the swathes of color were getting as lively as the banter! Trendy, colorful boxers were definitely in, and the amount of plain black, white or grey adorning the bums around him was diminishing.

As if to prove the point, Adam Miller, chatting amiably with Todd, stepped into an intense shade of apple green that looked tasty enough to eat! He shifted his gaze as Ethan and Chris joined them straight from the showers and began towelling themselves dry.

"You guys better get a move on!" Ethan said, energetically rubbing the towel around his nuts and tossing it onto the bench as he searched for his boxers from within a pile of clothing.

"We got delayed!" Grinning, Kieran peeled off his grass-stained football pants. "Hell of a good game, though!"

Luke smiled to himself. Not at the easy banter, but that both Chris and Ethan ticked the next box on his database of circumcision styles.


They were what the booklet would describe as tight, but at the same time they were both 'low cut', meaning the circumcision mark—stained in both their cases with a dark band—was only a couple of centimetres back from the head.

And they weren’t alone, either. It wasn't uncommon—in fact, Luke knew that when Kieran got to the shower, he would be sporting the same. By popular opinion, Kieran McElroy also had one of the longest, straightest wangers in their year—but that was another story!

"So what the hell did you have for breakfast, homie?" Addressing Ryan, Kier pulled at the retaining straps of his jock, and slipped it off, tossing the cup into his bag.

"It has to be that new kind of Cheerios they do," Luke quipped, joining the banter. He had to agree, Ryan had been like a tank that day, and Luke was just glad they’d been on the same side.

Kieran—playing on the opposing team—pulled a face. "Must'a come with a steroid sachet for extra flavor!"

Luke chuckled as he sat down to pull off his socks. His eyes flicked to where Kier's low-cut wanger waved in the breeze. His pubes had now grown back—though that again was another story—and Luke smirked at the memory.

No dark band on Kieran, though—it was less obvious on colored guys. Kieran left for the showers, leaving Luke thinking about that. It seemed that most of his friends had a dark band around their shafts—some more obvious than others. Like an off-colored tattoo, it seemed to be at the point where what was left of their inner foreskin met the shaft skin.

Another thing Luke wondered about, was what would it be like to start life without a foreskin at all, and to grow up never having any idea what it would be like to live with one? At least he was making a choice to get cut, though to be fair, his foreskin had apparently never worked properly anyway.

The question was, had he been given the choice, would he have preferred to have gotten rid of his at birth like it seemed most of these guys had?

The answer: the way he felt right now, DAMN RIGHT he would!

He pushed down his football pants, stepped out of them and weighed up his options for his own cut. The more he appraised others, it became clearer what he wanted for himself. And he tended to agree with the conclusion found in the booklet the doctor had left him—and which he frequently studied—that high and tight was best.

Just like Ryan's, he decided, briefly glancing in the direction of his friend as Ryan sat down to extract himself from his own muddied pants. Within a few moments, Ryan was only covered by his jockstrap.

"Good play out there, son!"

Luke dropped his gaze, tasting that anxious tinge of guilt that always came whenever he thought he might be caught studying his friends in this way.  He looked up carefully, to spot he head football coach as he stalked across the locker room floor. A hushed wash trailed in his wake—he was a man who, well into his sixties, still had the build and presence to intimidate any who dared stand alongside him on the sidelines!

Coach Milton stopped by Ryan for a ‘chat’, and Luke smothered a grin. Milton only called you 'son' if he was a) in a good mood, and b) impressed. The likelihood of hitting THAT combination with the old sod was slim.

Ryan stood to military attention despite his state of undress wearing only the jockstrap which carried the curved plastic athletic cup that was compulsory for contact sports at the school. Luke was wearing one, too—the protective cup covering his ‘nads.

He had no memory of ever having to wear this kind of cup in any of the contact sports they used to play back in his old London school. The required piece of kit was one of many that their mum had had to go out and buy for him and Simon from day one at this school. Wearing the funny shaped underwear with the plastic cup pushed down the front had felt weird at first, but everyone else had the same and he quickly got used to it. He hardly thought about it anymore.

A thought struck him. Was it possible that a cup was only necessary here in the States for school kids, because one of the implications of having your foreskin cut back was that everything was more sensitive to knocks?

Was that where it came from?

"Yes, coach," replied Ryan, and Luke caught up with the exchange. Some distance away, he spotted a nasty scowl cross Scott Landon's mouth. Ryan's stunning performance on the field had mostly been at Landon's expense.

"We could really do with you on the team, Ryan," Milton continued.

"Yes, coach," replied Ryan, though Luke could see it was non-committal—and that Milton could see that too. Everyone knew Ryan was invested heavily into the tennis squad, and that the man was chancing it.

"Just think about it, that's all I ask. There's always a place for a guy like you."

As soon as Milton had forged on, there were smirks and grins from those near as they ribbed Ryan. When it came to coaching staff at the Academy, Milton was the big kahuna!

"Fuck, I think he likes your body, Ry!" teased Chris as soon as the man was safely out of earshot. Ry shook his head in mock-pity, and offered Chris Anderson a finger.

As the rest of the guys headed to the showers for a quick power massage before lunch, soon it was just the two of them still undressing, and as Luke studied his friend as Ryan slipped off the sweaty jock he was wearing, extracting the hard cup in the process. Putting it one side, he began searching his backpack.

What was it about Ryan, Luke wondered—for the umpteenth time.

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

I'd known Ry a long time and I liked him for more reasons than were easy to count with just two hands. He was fun to be around, but he was also bloody clever! Throw in my witty, generous and thoughtful, and we made a good team!

Okay, joking aside, Ry was a good friend and as solid as hell. After so many years, I thought I knew everything about him, yet there were still times he was a complete surprise, even to me—like the way he reacted that time when everyone was talking about the G.S.A. group at Creek.

On the other hand, it wasn't surprising that, on the field that day, Landon had been repeatedly driven into the ground! Ry was as solid as hell in that way, too, built very much like his father.

And when it came to circumcision, he VERY definitely was.

The truth was, even though I tried to ignore it, to me Ryan looked great down there, and I couldn't help but admire him. His was an example of a 'high and tight' circumcision. Or maybe it was only medium-high and tight?

I mean I couldn’t exactly ask, or pull at it a bit, could I, LOL!

Like most, he had that intriguing dark band.

At that moment, as I gazed at him in the lockers, he was completely soft and yet still no foreskin covered his glans. I smiled to myself as I used those terms with ease now. I'd come to my decision some time ago—right there was exactly the style I knew I wanted.

More recently, I was fairly sure that Ryan was beginning to trim—as in his pubic hair. Frankly, it was no big thing—and no, I don't mean his dick, though actually that wasn't actually very big, and certainly quite a lot shorter than my dangly anteater. But, then again, I had the edge on all of them in those stakes!

Up until recently, I hadn’t thought about it much, but studying him once more, his dick was definitely thicker than mine. I guess you could say he was well-hung in that his nuts were pretty full, too. Because of it, his dick looked well proportioned as it rested easily over his sack.

Was he a grower? Of course, I’d seen his dick plenty of times, but everyone has to wonder what someone else has to offer once they’re hard.

Don't they?

Where was I?

Oh yes—trimming. It was becoming more common these days. Quite a number of the guys, now we’d sprouted curls of hair were doing it—neatly cutting back their pubes to one degree or another. Where it came from I don’t know, but pruning was catching on. Even being completely smooth wasn't out of the question, though I only personally knew one of the guys who did it out of choice. Leroy was one of those.

Leroy was in our year, though not in our class, and was one of several African-American guys who commonly wore their groins as smooth as a baby's bum. In fact, I never really thought about it much as Leroy had just never seemed let them grow from the day I first met him. However, when your dick is an anaconda and you're now 6'1" and pushing 190lb, nobody tends to take issue!

Not all African-Americans were like that by any means. Guys like Todd for instance, who, when it came to trimming or shaving, didn’t seem to care a toss! Maybe that was where he’d lost the plot with Fion?

For many others, I think the general feeling was that in the hot, humid weather of the deep south, a little cutting back of the bush helped keep the smell and heat in your undercarriage at bay. Anyway, we lived in the twenty-first century, not the Victorian age. It was how we did it these days.

It was also undeniably sexy, but that was just me!

And me? Trimming? Well, twenty-first century or not, I was still just a shy English boy, and for various reasons had never picked up the trimmer—although that was soon going to change.

As I said, Ryan was one of those who mowed. Not a lot, but enough that it looked neat and stylish, which was probably the reason I was tempted to try it myself. If you looked closely, you could see that the way he did it left a little more in the middle, but he trimmed it a bit closer at the edges. I even wondered whether he shaved it smooth towards the sides in some way, although I couldn't really ask!

Did he have any hair on his balls? Now there was a question…did guys shave under there? Did smooth Leroy take it off his sack too? Did Ry? SHIT—that was a thought. It was hard to tell at this angle. His hair was dark, so it should probably show up quite easily...

* * *

Luke was lost in a reverie of gazing at Ryan’s dick and pubes, when a voice rocked him back into reality.

"Luke? Dude—you're staring at my junk!”

Luke’s eyes flicked up rapidly. His first response was an automatic scan of the surroundings in case anyone else was in earshot. This was matched to a tightening in his gut with the realization he’d been caught red-handed. Trapped between the rows of benches and oncoming doom, he stared at Ryan like a rabbit in headlights, and promptly made it worse by coloring.

It was completely sickening.

What the fuck had he gone and done?

Ryan rested his hands on his hips and remained bemused and quizzical—obviously willing to hang out for an explanation…for now…

Luke swallowed. "Sorry Ry...I…" He paused, petrified as Ryan continued to watch him with patient interest. The seconds ticked by and his friend’s eyes narrowed. Time was up and Luke came up with the ONLY thing that would hold any kind of water.

"I… Well, it's just that I'm thinking about getting circumcised. I didn’t mean to stare – sorry about that." He struggled to keep his voice conversationally low, hoping to God nobody else was listening. "It’s just…well, I was wondering what it was like?"

Ryan’s eyes widened. "Circumcised? You?" His gaze dropped automatically to the jockstrap at Luke’s groin. Some light of understanding seemed to creep into his face. "That's right—you have that anteater dangling off yours."

Luke nodded in relief as Ryan seemed to buy it. He really hadn't planned on telling anyone about that—even Ryan—but in a tight corner, it was the only plausible explanation he could come up with.

“Anyway—what kind of question is that?" Ryan grunted, surprised enough to want to sit down. "What do you mean ‘what it’s like’?”

“I dunno.” Luke fidgeted—he wasn't out of the woods yet. “I had a check-up, and they said I might want to think about it, that’s all.”

That wasn’t a bad compromise.

“What check-up?" Ryan didn't let up. "So when did you decide all this?”

“I haven’t yet." It was a hurried lie. With more questions, it still felt like he was teetering on the edge of disaster, and Luke strove to keep his breathing even and not to look guilty.

Ryan seemed to consider the plausibility of the idea as he lifted his backpack, placed it on his knees and started going through it. Then he paused and frowned before looking up, adding, "So why didn't you want to tell me?"

Luke shrugged. Probably staying zip was safer.

Without getting anything further from Luke, Ryan dumped his backpack on the ground again. “Where's my towel?"

“I dunno.”

Still completely in the buff, Ryan stood and began to peer around for any tell-tale signs of sniggering and other evil-doing by his peers, but there was nobody else there to care. He glared suspiciously at Luke. "Did you pinch it?"

"Your towel? Why would I take your towel? Are you scared of the Vogons?" Luke cringed at the rather weak comeback, but was thankful for the change in subject as he studiously kept his gaze above waist level.


Luke grinned and the humor helped him push away his unease. Ry had never got the idea of 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy'. His friend shook his head in bewilderment, and bent over to search under the bench.

Luke was quite pleased with himself. He was just thinking how well he’d handled the crisis, despite the crummy Hitchhikers joke, when…BAM! There it was. As he stared at a firm backside, he wasn't thinking about a towel anymore. He was thinking about sex!

Ever since the previous summer and that day in the pool at the Alexis house, the coals of Luke’s sexuality had been smouldering into a growing ‘same sex’ interest. He'd fought against it, but it was something in him that was getting harder and harder to deny.

Suddenly, faced with Ryan's tight butt as his friend had leaned over to search for his towel, he wasn’t researching minor surgery anymore, he'd dropped into the deep end of raging lust. That smooth, muscular bum came up, and it was as if something had blown on those smouldering coals. Unable to help it, Luke took a sharp breath as the coals sputtered, hot and red. After long moments of staring, and shocked by what he was entertaining, he tore his eyes away, doggedly denying what was surfacing.

Unlike Ryan, he'd worked hard to stay out of too much trouble on the football field and wasn’t all that sweaty, and had been looking forward to the massaging hot showers. Now something else threatened, as hidden behind the cup in his jock, he could feel himself filling out. As long as the cup stayed there, he was safe, but he would be bypassing the showers that day for sure!

Instead, he liberally sprayed his pits and pulled on his school shirt hoping Ryan would disappear soon.

"So?" said Ryan, standing straight, after peering under all the benches. He pierced him with a stare. “What happened?”

Luke swallowed guiltily. "What d’ya mean. I didn’t do anything?" I never touched you, it wasn’t me.

“This circumcision thing," returned Ryan patiently, continuing where they'd left off. "You never mentioned it before. Come on, why didn't you tell me about your medical? What did the doc say?”

“Nothing, really.” Jockstrap or not, Luke still held his shirt defensively in front of himself.  "I didn't think you'd be bothered, that’s all. It's not that important!" He cringed inwardly. That had to be the understatement of the year!

Ryan shrugged. It appeared that he thought Luke was right, and when it came to being bothered, he wasn’t. Resting his hands on his hips, he scanned the benches for his missing towel, one last time. "If you're not showering, can I use your towel?" he pleaded. "I think I must have left mine at home.”

“Oh, sure. Go ahead.” Luke pulled it out of his backpack and threw it across.

Ryan caught it easily. “So, when are you having it done?” he remained conversational. “You should you know.”

Luke bit his lip. This was dodgy ground. While he wanted to drop the subject fast, he also yearned to know what his friend was going to think—both now and for when it was done. He took a risk. "You think so?”

“Sure—why not?” Ryan sounded genuinely positive.  “About time, too!”

"Why d'ya say that?" Luke chuckled and tried to sound careless. His eye stayed at shoulder level where the towel was tossed across Ryan’s shoulder.

"You boys have five minutes before I lock you in! Move it!" Milton's stentorian threat boomed across the locker room, interrupting what Luke was keen to hear.

"Take my advice," Ryan still offered as he turned to follow the last of the stragglers to the showers. "You'll be much happier being properly trimmed down there—and I don't just mean the pubes!" He grinned, cheekily drew his fingers across his own close-trimmed hairs.

Luke was forced to look down. He really didn’t want to because he knew what it was going to do to him. His eyes dropped and he had to fight hard to avoid an audible groan as Ry blew steadily on the smouldering fire once more. Shamelessly, Ryan lifted his flaccid dick from where it hung softly, to examine his own circumcision. One last time, he blew upon the glowing coals.


Oh my God! Luke groaned inwardly as, wide-eyed, he watched Ryan fondle himself, moving the shaft skin forward slightly, so that it began to curl up over his well-shaped glans.

The coals finally burst into flames.

Ryan was facing towards him, and there was nobody in the vicinity as he examined his trimmed foreskin, turning his dick in his fingers. As far as Luke was concerned, they could have been standing in the middle of Macy’s, and he wouldn't have cared! Behind the cup, which was behind the jock, which in turn was behind the front edge of his shirt, he was struggling with a full-fledged throbber.

Unaware of the carnage he was causing, Ryan released himself, snagged the towel around his waist and moved in the direction of the showers. He hesitated, stopped and turned back again. "But if you ask me," he began, but he got no further, as Milton interrupted, shouting from some distance away.

"Alexis! If you're not out of that shower in thirty seconds, so help me, you'll eat detention for a week!"

"Yes, coach!" Ryan barked. He scurried away, leaving Luke staring after him with his mouth hanging open. He never did hear what Ryan was about to suggest, but deep inside his being, the flames of his emerging sexuality took hold and began to burn steadily.

Disappointingly, Ryan didn't seem interested in getting back to that particular conversation anytime that day, and Luke didn't have the nerve to bring it up, either. However, once he was home later that afternoon, he decided he was quite ready to heed his friend's advice.

It was high time to trim his pubes.

He knew it had to be done anyway, as the upcoming surgery had already demanded it. In truth, he’d been holding off until there would be no more school locker room settings—the better to keep everything under wraps. However, the way he was feeling that afternoon, that hardly figured anymore! It was all he could do to not run upstairs to find a trimmer the minute he got in the house!

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

Toby's mum dropped us off at home that day. We got back to the house just in time to get a wave from Mum as she pulled off the drive to go shopping. She said she would be an hour, so I guessed I had an hour and a half—plenty of time for what I had planned.

I'd already figured out what I would do once the house was clear, and knew Dad had some hair clippers with an adjustable attachment for different lengths. He'd gone through a phase of wearing a beard—me and Si called it his ‘midlife crisis’, which was quite an apt description for the straggly thing he tried to grow! Mum had got him the trimmer, which was a good one and had various attachments, to try to help, but it was a lost cause. He still had the thing, though it was rarely used and he kept it in a drawer in their bathroom. It made quite a buzzing noise, so I knew I would have to do this when Simon was out too, or he’d immediately come investigating—and THAT I could do without!

My plan depended on Simon going out, and was this: when I was alone, I would plug it into the socket in our bathroom, do a little judicious trimming over the loo ­and then flush it all away. Simple!

But, damn him, Simon, who usually pushed off fairly soon on an afternoon like this, didn't seem in any hurry to leave that day! Quite often he would go out almost straight away, either up to Toby's, or to the nearby skate park to meet with friends from out subdivision. Frequently I would even wish he would stay around more often, but today I wanted him out the door ASAP.

I mooched around trying to kill time and trying to avoid looking suspicious, but it seemed he’d suddenly developed a taste for hanging about and doing nothing!

Good God....why now!??

Several times, I went to the downstairs toilet and had a look at my pubic bush, trying to decide how I would make the best trim of it. Most of the time, I was as hard as a rock!

Bloody hell, Si! Come on! It felt like he was deliberately trying to frustrate me and I was getting irritated big time!

* * *

“I'm off out,” Simon said at last, wandering up to Luke's room, “I'll think I’ll go over to the skate park."

Looking up from a text book, Luke nodded, trying to appear nonchalant. Ears attuned to his movements, he could hear Simon make his way through to the garage, where he seemed to clatter around endlessly.

What the hell was he doing?

Then, finally, the garage door opened and, as Simon biked away, Luke could see his brother's skateboard protruding out the top of a backpack. He watched him carefully through the blinds out of his bedroom window, making sure he disappeared around the corner and didn't reappear. Then, as soon as the coast was clear, he hurried through to his parent’s room and into their bathroom to retrieved the trimmer.

Back in his own bathroom, with trimmer at the ready, he quickly dispensed with the jeans and boxers—and then hit a snag. A problem became immediately apparent. The length of the cord was nowhere near long enough to stretch from the socket (which was near the sink), over to the loo. Somewhere in the house, there would be extensions, but not only did he not know where they were kept, he didn't have any time to go searching!

At the same time, what he needed to avoid was hair all over the carpet, as that would then mean finding a vacuum cleaner to sort it out. The vacuum was heavy, and being caught lugging it up the stairs by his mum invited questions.

What to do? Damn, this was getting complicated.

He checked his watch. Time was running out.

First he tried standing near the sink, with a plan to somehow lean over it, but the height and position were all wrong. The only thing that made sense at that point was to climb up onto the counter top and, without busting anything, straddle the sink itself. Then he could quickly trim his bush and the hairs could easily be washed away.

It seemed bizarre, but anything was better than nothing. In fact, he decided, it might even be the best plan anyway. There was plenty of light and having the mirror would help him trim it right.

After clearing a good space amongst the toiletries and wearing nothing more than a baggy t-tee shirt, he hopped up onto the cream laminate top and carefully rested his knees either side of the sink bowl. The mirror covered the whole wall above the wide counter in which the sink was mounted, and he studied his mirror image that was watching and copying his every move.

Time seemed to stop as the two took stock of each other, measuring up like combatants in an upcoming struggle. His doppelganger voiced an unspoken question.

What are you going to be?

He felt he knew the answer, but wasn't ready to say it. Instead, he lifted off the tee shirt and threw it to one side. Even without words, it was a moment of frank honesty.

During the last couple of minutes, as he’d been fretting about how to set this up, his arousal had diminished.  Now, as he reached out and touched the mirror, he came up—hard and ready. Coming from the same genetic stock as his younger brother, his jaunty erection leaned forward slightly towards the mirror.

Opposite him in the mirror, the boy leaned towards him.

Impulsively, Luke reached to the light switches and flicked on the vanity lights that surrounded the mirror unit. The bulbs glowed seductively, enclosing the two of them and enhancing what was to come. He took a deep breath. Turning off the main lights, the room around him dimmed and the scene was set.

And what was about to happen was this: he was about to have sex with another guy!

He’d studied his peers in the showers for months, although, until faced with Ryan that afternoon, it’d never gone any further than that. He’d doggedly held to the belief that his curiosity meant nothing; his interest purely medical. Now that grip was loosening, the belief fast fading as his anticipation mounted.

He was interested in guys.

There. He'd said it! At least to himself. Staring into the mirror, he let it hang between them like a confession. And if he wanted to see what it was like with another guy, here was one right in front of him; one who knew exactly what he was thinking, exactly what had the potential to arouse him, and still wasn’t put off by it. In fact, he was just as aroused—the perfect partner, quite ready to share himself!

Entering new territory, Luke felt breathless. Stretched across the sink, he was vulnerable yet incredibly turned on. What the guy offered, he wanted, in truth, he needed it...

He was ready.

Gazing at his body in the mirror, he’d never had such a full-frontal and full-on, sexually-charged view of himself before. Without question, he wanted sex in the only way that he knew it. He wanted—needed—to masturbate with this guy. They would do it together; share the incredible moment of release. He groaned and his toes curled as he moved the skin over his shaft. It was already wet at the end and he could have jizzed almost immediately—it would only have taken a few seconds—but he stopped.

Wait. Not yet.

He still had to complete what this was really all about—the icing on the cake of what he sensed would be incredibly intense. For the first time, he admitted it. Ryan was fucking hot, and he wanted to look like that.

He took the trimmer, plugged the cord into the wall socket and switched it on. Like some sexually-charged toy, the long black and silver instrument burst into life, buzzing as expectantly as he was himself. The beard attachment was already in place and, experimenting, he set the length adjuster high.

For the last time, he pushed his fingers into his bushy mound before drawing the trimmer down one side of it. A little hair seemed to be reached by the blades, but not much. Satisfied he was on safe ground, he took it down a few notches and shivered as he drew it across himself again, watching the curls begin to drop into the sink. Stroking repeatedly, he was delighted to see the new Luke Summers appearing.

But the need to go shorter and closer to his skin was like a drug. Just a bit more, just a bit more, he kept goading himself—hanging his obsession on a doctor’s prescription and an unfounded belief that he could easily let it grow before it was noticed. He dropped the notch down further.

He still tried to style it like Ryan’s, and as he kept notching in the adjuster, everything got shorter and shorter. Unlike Ryan’s, his hair wasn't particularly dark, and it began to disappear from view at the edges. He couldn't have stopped if he tried. A fanatic, driven to extremes, he pushed the guard down to its lowest setting, and pressed firmly.

Holy fuck! He groaned and stared at the transformation.

At first, he’d told himself he was simply preparing for the circumcision operation. Now, that was long gone. As the hairs were eagerly stripped away, so was any internal resistance to his sexuality. Without realizing it, as much as the trimming was transforming him on the outside, he knew something big was happening on the inside, too. It was just a patch of hair, but as it diminished, he seemed to grow in stature, becoming potent and virile. The trimmer buzzed at his roots, bringing ejaculation close.

Becoming more skilful with the trimmer, he peeled away at the edges until the skin was almost smooth leaving just a few millimetres in the middle stretching up from the bottom of his shaft.

Finally, it was done.

Holy shit! Yesterday, he might have been appalled to realize how little was left. Now, it felt smoking! Any chance to turn back had long since passed.

He stared longingly into the glass, and the boy stared back at him, the lust and desire there mirroring his own.  Suddenly, Luke took the boy in the mirror in his hand, leaned into him, and with a just a few strokes, brought both of them to a shuddering climax.

"OH…SHIT!” It burned up through him. "Nnnnngggggg...."

With a shout, he pressed into the guy in the mirror and pumped helplessly with him and over him. Unable to even think about keeping things neat and tidy, the spurts of semen forced their way past even his constricted opening, squirting onto the glass.

Gradually it slowed and then stopped, to be replaced by an aching in Luke’s thigh muscles from the tension of being balanced over the sink. He leaned against the mirror, perspiring and gasping for breath, staring at his jizz as it began to slide down the glass. Then, cutting across his tumbling thoughts, there came a voice.

"Hello? that you?” It called from not to far away, followed by a light tap on the bathroom door at Simon’s side. “Are you okay?”

It was his mum, and Luke froze. "’s me. I'm just in the loo."

Of course he was in the loo! He berated himself! Had she heard him though? He tried to force his voice to sound normal and stared feverishly at the door, knowing full-well that it was unlocked! What if she opened it and found him like this—kneeling over the sink with hardly any pubes, a full-on wanger and leaning against a mirror that had his semen dripping down it?

How the fuck did you explain that?

"Oh, it’s you.” There was a pause, before she continued. “Do you know where Simon is?”

“Sorry, no…I think he may have gone to the skate park." Even now, his breathing sounded forced. Why couldn't she go away? He stayed stock still, trying not to make any sound that didn’t sound like toilet noises.

“Okay. I'm just putting the kettle on if you want a cup of tea."

TEA? For goodness sake! His legs hurt and he just wanted to get off the sink unit, and all she was worried about was tea? Get lost, Mum!

Tea sound’s great—I’ll be down in a minute.” Down? He looked at his dick, and out of the mirror, and his mirror-image grimaced, reminding him it wasn’t yet true. Still, his mum seemed satisfied, and it didn’t seem like she planned to come in and help get him off the bathroom counter!

Ears still attuned to sounds outside the bathroom, he heard her pad away. He tried to figure out what she’d heard? Perhaps she had only been on the landing when he’d cried out? Perhaps she only thought he coughed, or had a crap or something?

Shit—he hoped so.

Right then, he had other things to deal with. He had to clean up this mess—and quickly. A little painfully, he climbed down, trying not to make any noise or disturb any of the toiletries. His thighs ached more that he expected.

First things first, he wiped his still-leaking dick with toilet paper, flushed it away and hurriedly dressed. At least he was now in the clear...mostly...

Next, he ran the tap and made sure all the incriminating hairs were no more.

Finally, he had to do something about the mirror. With jizz all over it and greasy spots and hand prints where he had leaned into it, it was a bit obvious. He took a facecloth, wet it, added some shampoo, and cleaned up as best he could. Then he took a towel and dried the glass. The trimmer he unplugged, and after first checking the coast was clear, he sneaked it back into the drawer in his parent’s bathroom.

Checking he wasn't dishevelled or had any other tell-tale signs of his activity, he came downstairs to the kitchen to see if there had been any damage.

12. Mirror, Mirror…

Luke comes to terms with a few realities.

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Mirror, Mirror…

After cleaning up both the bathroom and himself, Luke left his room, but paused at the top of the stairs and sat on the top step. He hadn't really expected to see his mum waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs, arms crossed accusingly, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t waiting for him in the kitchen armed with awkward questions. In his head he tried to come up with some plausible lines in the event she asked what on earth he could have been doing all that time in the bathroom.

Eventually—and apprehensively—he padded down the carpeted steps, but then bottled out and tarried in the hallway. Finally, he could put it off no more. It was time to face the music, and he joined his mum in the kitchen.

“Hello sweetheart." As he entered, her eyes flicked up from where was seated at the table to greet him. He could see she was studying some papers that were spread out in front of her. "There’s tea in the pot if you want some,” she added, peering again at him over the top of her reading glasses.

Turning over one of the sheets, she tapped meaningfully at it with her pen. “You’re not allergic to anything are you?"

Allergic? Of all the things he’d considered she might want to bring up, that wasn’t one!

He joked, "Why—is there something in the tea?" It sounded awkward, but then again, she didn't sound like the kind of mother who’d just busted her son while he was unloading in the bathroom. He seemed to be in the clear, so, breathing again, he crossed the kitchen and lifted the top off the china teapot—a family heirloom that, much to his mum's relief, had survived the flight to the States.

It made great tea!

"No," she replied. Behind him, as he poured tea into a mug and added a little milk, he could hear the smile in her voice. "I'm just making sure your forms are completed."

He frowned, wondering what the heck she was talking about, and turned. "What forms?"

"For Friday...the medical release forms for the doctor.” Taking off her glasses, she gave him one of her tetchy looks. “Remember, you have your urology appointment! Don't tell me that after all this, you've forgotten?"

"Oh, those forms!" He almost burst out laughing. Forgotten? Hardly a waking moment passed when he wasn't thinking about it!

"No, I haven’t forgotten, and no I'm not allergic to anything that I know of, either." Holding his mug, he leaned against the worktop across from where she was working, blew over the surface of the drink, and took a sip.

“I didn’t think so.” She seemed satisfied enough to shuffle the papers again to bring a fresh one to the front to peruse.

“So is Dad still taking me?”

“He can’t, I’m afraid.” She didn’t look up, and instead appeared to be searching the sheets for something more important. “He’s got to do some staff appraisals that morning. I’ll be driving you there.”

Luke chewed on his lip and took another sip of tea to mask his thoughts. He would have preferred it be his dad for when it came time to be back on the doctor’s couch again.

"Ah, here it is.” She drew out a sheet of paper. “It says here that you need to trim.”

“Trim?” His expression remained non-committal. Now wasn’t that spectacular timing! 

“Yes, trim. In preparation for the surgery…down there…” Over her glasses, she looked rather matter-of-factly at his crotch as he leaned against the worktop, making him feel faintly uncomfortable. “It’s in the letter from Doctor Tiberius." She turned the paper towards him, pointing at the paragraph as proof.

As if he hadn't memorised every word.

"It says it here that you’re expected to trim back your hair a little."

A little?

"Mmmm...right…" Keeping his face bland, he still smirked to himself as he took another sip of his drink. Even she hadn't the courage to say the word 'pubic'!

"Well, don't forget.” She slid the paper back with the others. “It's obviously important or the doctor wouldn't have made a note of it."

Feeling the need to get his crotch out of his mother's line of sight, Luke came and sat across from her at the table. Staring at nothing, he remained tight-lipped.  She misinterpreted it.

"I realize it might be...a little..." Even she seemed ill-at-ease, trying to choose her words carefully. Her tone was cautious as she continued, "well, a little delicate for a young man. I'm sure your friends will quite understand if you explain it to them."

“Explain what?”

“Well, that you had to trim a little...down part of your surgery," she offered helpfully. “I’m sure nobody will mind, and it’ll grow back soon enough.”

He couldn’t hold back any longer. Leaning back on his chair, he burst out laughing, and she stared at him, appearing a little perturbed by his outburst. Okay, he got that she was only trying to be supportive, but he wasn’t planning on telling his friends about ANY of this (well, other than Ryan, whom he’d already blabbed to). She had to be living in another century!

"Mum, for goodness sake, it's okay." He coughed as a slurp of tea went down the wrong way. "It's not a problem—really! Nobody cares about that kind of thing anymore. Everyone does it these days!"

"Does what?"

He rolled his eyes. On the tail of the scare of being caught red-handed, it drove him up the wall that she still treated him like a kid, and it irritated him that she'd made him feel guilty. And most of all, what really got under his skin was that she already knew what his pubes were like because she just couldn't help pushing herself into his examination! It was like she wanted to control everything at times.

"Lots of guys trim their pubic hair these days! Some even get rid of it altogether and are completely smooth!" Of course, he didn't need to give her any of the details, but he was done with subtle.

The revelation floored her, and her mouth flapped, "Oh...well...I..."

"And before you say it," he continued, daring her, "it doesn't mean they're gay or anything—it's just how guys like to look." He smirked with a rather obtuse sense of victory as he watched his mum shift uncomfortably.

"I wasn't going to suggest anything like that!" She looked like she was totally out of her depth, and muttered, "All I was going to say it certainly wasn't like that in my day."

Briefly, Luke wondered what girls did around that part of their anatomy. Did they all trim? Shave? Actually, he realized that he didn't particularly care. It just wasn't his thing, and that was a huge turning point. He SO wanted to ask her how she knew what guys’ pubes were like in 'her day'; it was almost unbearable—but there were some places you just couldn’t go with your mum!

"Anyway," she continued, recovering, "just make sure you remember to get it done for Friday. I think there's still your dad’s adjustable trimmer in one of the drawers in our bathroom if you need it."

"Oh, is there?" He dialled it down and did his best to sound surprised.

"Just be careful though, won't you. Don't end up cutting yourself. You can use the adjuster to—"

"Mum, I think I can figure out how to trim!" Rolling his eyes, he interrupted her again before she could ask if he needed a helping hand!!

"Okay, there's no need to be so touchy. I'm only trying to help!" Stiffly, she turned back to the papers and took up a pen.

Luke sighed as he heaved himself to his feet. He couldn't blame her for everything. She was only being a mum after all. "I know you are. I'm sorry— and I'll get it sorted before Friday. Promise.” Walking around to her, he leaned over and kissed the top of her head, leaving her with a smile as he took his mug of tea back upstairs.

 Back in his bedroom, he remained thoughtful, and put the petty squabble about trimming pubes behind him. There was something much more important on his mind.

Standing at the window, he stared out across the front lawn towards the cul-de-sac, and opened the window to let in the warm afternoon air. He liked this time of year, and he preferred his side of the house to Simon's side where the sun burned the outside walls for most of the day.

Not much traffic ended up at their end of the subdivision, and he gazed into the stillness of what was an ordinary, late afternoon. Some distance away a few of the local kids were wobbling unsteadily on skates as they attempted a game of street hockey. It was as typical as it got.

He let his thoughts drift back through time, remembering when he and Simon had been that young—back to the life he had had back in London with his friends there. Names and faces drifted across his memory. What were those guys like these days, he wondered. What had become of them and what were they doing right at that very moment? It had been years, but people change—wasn’t he was proof of that?

He'd grown up a lot since then, but he couldn't help but wonder if things would have turned out differently if he hadn't have ended up in seat 23D on the Delta flight from Gatwick to Atlanta? Him, and Simon too. Would things have been different?

Would he?

Leaving his half-finished mug of tea on the window ledge, he went back to the bathroom. A fresh, less-hurried, inspection showed up quite a few of his stray hairs, and even a spot of goo he’d missed on first inspection. He took a cloth and wiped away the last tell-tale signs, and allowed himself to examine his feelings, finding there neither surprise nor guilt. There was little surprise because his orientation was something that he had instinctively known about for some time, and he didn’t feel guilty because he no longer fell bad about it, either

It was what it was.

The world around him was peaceful and looked the same today as it had yesterday. Nobody was pointing up to his window, accusingly. Nothing had really changed today. No, that wasn’t totally true, he mused—something had changed. He closed the doors to his room, and slipped down his boxers to have a look.

Holy crap—it looked a lot shorter now than it had when he’d been kneeling over the sink!

He grimaced and tentatively drew the ends of his fingers to feel the closely trimmed skin. Oh well… all in a good cause!

The memory of how he got to his rather dramatic transformation brought a grin to his lips. So, who cared? It felt good, and if pushed, at least he could fall back on an operation as explanation. He went through into the bathroom and studied himself in the mirror as he tidied up both the sink and his questions. Did the ‘what might have beens’ really matter, or was it the ‘here and now’ that mattered the most? He already knew the answer, and out of the glass, his mirror image studied him and nodded. He felt surprisingly confident and hopeful.

“Despite the fact that you're gay, that you like guys?'” He spoke the words aloud to his reflection, though softly and for them alone, embracing them as he tested their meaning and value. They didn’t demean or frighten him; rather they were a welcome relief and offered a future that made sense.

At least he could be honest with himself about it now, and it certainly felt better than beating himself up about it all the time. He’d done enough of that of the last months, feeling guilty with every glance and passing dream, criticizing himself each time his sexual release centered on another guy instead of a girl.

He studied himself in the mirror as if seeing someone new, someone he’d not met properly before. The face was familiar, but there was more, so much more.

Funny how so much could change in an afternoon! An afternoon during which changed how he looked when he removed most of his pubic hair—not because of medical necessity or light grooming, but because it looked hot and he liked it.

He'd also changed how he thought. The total nakedness, his feelings about guys—even about Ryan. He couldn't quite imagine sex or even a steady relationship quite yet, but the things that turned him on, and the things he knew he wanted, were going to be with another guy.

And it wasn't a surprise anymore.

If gay meant this, then that was what he was. And whilst there would be many moments over the coming weeks when he still felt insecure—years of conditioning don't go away easily—for now, it was okay. Seeing his mum floored by a changing world of sexuality had somehow helped free him, too. The world had changed. Stuff was changing with it—him included—and he could be himself for who he was right now.

It was okay.

First things first: he could do with a shower. Making sure he'd locked the doors to the bathroom this time, he stripped off again. Unhurriedly, he examined himself, paying special attention to the look of the recent trim.

Damn, it was sexy! He was sixteen. He wasn't in bad shape. He definitely wasn’t ugly!  In fact, he had plans for his life that were going to take him places—places where he might be able to meet people that he might hit it off with.  And this—he pushed at his freshly aroused, uncircumcised wanger—would be sorted out in a few days. Things could be worse! 

Satisfied, he took a long shower to wash away both the remains of the day and the mixed-up past. As the water cascaded over him and washed away the soap, he knew that, even now, he had no real idea of what happened next. He certainly wasn't going to go to school the following day and make an announcement!

There was Ryan, but…

For the first time, he realized the truth of what Simon had said—that gay kids got no breaks. It was almost impossible to tell anyone the truth. Maybe when guys were older it was easier to be more open about being gay? But now…at his age…at a school like his?  


If Ry found out, that would probably be the end of their friendship, and if it got around school, the place would become a living hell because of bastards like Mitchell and Landon.

No, he couldn’t tell anyone. Not even his parents.

It made it easier that Simon was travelling the same journey as him, and maybe, when the time was right, at least he would have someone to talk to.

And there was always his Facebook friend, Damon Jamieson, he mused as he towelled himself dry. That might be somewhere to start—a gay teen that lived far enough away that it didn’t matter. Not that Luke was going to say anything too obvious right away about what he was going through, but he might be able to ask a few questions about what it was like to survive as a gay teen.

Either way, Luke was determined he wasn’t going to let it get him down. Clean now, and after briefly admiring himself again in the mirror, he dressed in fresh boxers, pulled on his tee and jeans, settled down at his desk and powered up his MacBook. Once he’d picked up the wireless, he surfed to Facebook. A few people he knew were online, but disappointingly, not Damon. The guy hadn't been in contact since Luke had left him hanging that last time.

Using the mail box, he sent a note just to say he was sorry he'd bombed out on the last conversation, but something had come up (literally...but he could hardly confess that!). Then he got stuck into some schoolwork again.

It was almost bedtime, later that evening, and he was lying on his bed reading a book, when his laptop made a 'ding'. It had been left on all evening, and 'dings' could come for all kind of reasons. Investigating, he saw that the notification was from Facebook (which had lain open in the background), and the cause was Damon.

[DAMONJ] "Hi! Are you there?"

Luke swung the screen up to an easily readable angle and smiled in anticipation.

[LUKE] "Hi—I’m here. How's the frozen north?"

[DAMONJ] "Thawed enough so the Husky sleds can't get out to airport anymore! It's really messing us up. People are having to use the bus instead!"

Luke laughed. The guy's humor was dry enough to be a Brit, and they bantered back and forth for a few minutes.

[DAMONJ] "Thanks for the mail by the way...I was worried you were mad at me," Damon typed, as they settled comfortably into a conversation.

[LUKE] "Why would I be mad at you?"

[DAMONJ] "I dunno....people get mad at me sometimes...I guess I can be an asshole sometimes."

Luke paused. He knew exactly what the guy meant, but grinned as he let him grovel a bit.

[DAMONJ] "Okay, to be honest, I thought I might have said something a bit past the mark last time.... "

[LUKE] "Mmmm…about my dick, I recall…”

[DAMONJ] "Ahhh…yes, you noticed then...I guess that was it. Sorry about that, I shouldn’t have said that."

[LUKE] "I’m only kidding ya…and I'm kind of honored! I just hope your prediction turns out to be true! So, no I'm not mad, just curious."

[DAMONJ] "Curious...crap, that sounds bad! Curious about what?"

[LUKE] "Just about stuff—and I wanted to ask you about something!"

[DAMONJ] "Fair enough! But you first —did you get your circumcision done yet?"

There was a pause while Luke tried to compose a reply.

[DAMONJ] "I’ve done it again, haven’t I? Sorry, it’s none of my business..."

[LUKE] "Don’t be an idiot. I don’t mind talking about it. And nope, not yet—soon though."

[DAMONJ] "Okay, but aren’t you worried? I guess you go into hospital for it, don’t you?"

[LUKE] ", actually it’s not being done in hospital. I think it's just a local anaesthetic—like the dentist."

[DAMONJ] "SHIT! NO! You’re going to let them cut bits off you under a local? You're nuts!"

[LUKE] "Something like that!" Luke grinned to himself. It was too complicated to explain the workings of a SmartKlamp!

[LUKE] "Hopefully it won't be too bad."

[DAMONJ] "But nobody said you hadn't told your friends. It must bother you? What about when it's done, it'll be pretty obvious then, won’t it?"

[LUKE] "I guess." It was personal, but Luke saw an opening for his own question.

[LUKE] "So, what about you? Do your friends know everything about you? Do you tell them everything...for instance do they all know you're gay?"

There was a long pause, and Luke waited expectantly. This is what he needed to know. How did you tell friends?

[DAMONJ] "No."

[LUKE] "Does anyone? What about your parents?"

Another pause.

[DAMONJ] "No. Almost nobody. It's...difficult."

[LUKE] "Sorry—I'm the one being nosey now. Forget it."

[DAMONJ] "It's okay. You answered my questions, after all. I guess you’re right, there are some things that are really hard to tell people about. Even my parents...they wouldn't...well, it wouldn't go down well. I guess I only tell you because you don't know who I am."

It sounded familiar.

[LUKE] "Are they strict or religious or something?”

[DAMONJ] "Kind of..." Damon didn’t offer any more

[LUKE] "Doesn’t it bother you, though?”

[DAMONJ] "What? That I can’t tell anyone, you mean? Of course it does. It’s fucking crap! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got plenty of friends—it’s just that they… well, you just learn to live with it.”

Between the lines, Luke could hear the frustration. Was that what it was going to be like for him, too? He tapped on the keys for a few moments, but then back spaced and deleted his question. Maybe it was too obvious to ask ‘when did you first know you were gay?’.

[LUKE] "I suppose we're the same then," he typed after a few more moments dwelling on it.

[DAMONJ] "Meaning…?”

[LUKE] "I mean that we keep some things private, because we're afraid of what people might say." Safe enough.

[DAMONJ] "Oh, I see what you mean—your circumcision op. LOL, yep I guess we’re as bad as each other. Listen, would love to chat more, but my folks just came in and I gotta go. If we don’t talk soon, good luck with the op"

 [LUKE] "Thanks! Nite."

Resting comfortably in bed when the house was quiet some time later, Luke lay there thinking about what Damon had said. When he did drop off to sleep, it was deep and dreamless.

Luke comes to terms with a few realities.

13. Prepped

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho


To most at school, it was just an ordinary Friday—as ordinary as Scott Landon being a bullying prat who needed his ass kicking. Luke used to be friends with Landon, but the guy had turned into a real shithead, and like all bullies, was basically weak. So who cared how much his old man made? Then there was that unexpected French vocab test and, to add a little drama, some kids got into a fight that would probably get them both suspended.

To Luke, all of it seemed irrelevant that day.

It had been touch and go getting away from school without having to answer difficult questions, but Simon had played along and kept Ryan and the others occupied talking about soccer over lunch while Luke had slipped out. He hadn’t been sure what he’d tell them when he went in again on Monday morning—he hadn't really got that far. In fact, his preparations for making it through that day had only ever got as far as the school parking lot! After that there would be a whole bunch of unknown that he would face as he needed to. He’d shrugged—he’d think of something.

He’d made it to the school office without being spotted. When he’d handed in his permission slip at the desk, the old bat had glared at him with beady-eyed suspicion, but let him go. His mum had been already waiting in the van and he’d got out the door as fast as possible.

That day, the weather had turned close and humid, the gathering clouds, like him, darkly brooding. With only a few hours left after months of waiting, all that remained was to dwell on those questions he’d always managed to put to one side: was he making a mistake, was it going to hurt, what if the surgeon botched it and left him horribly disfigured?

As he and his mum pulled away from the school, the rain began. He didn't feel like talking and they drove in silence through the downpour with only the swish of the wipers to interrupt the few words they exchanged. This time his mum knew where she was going and the traffic was light. Retracing the previous journey, they made good time around the 285 before threading in towards the city.

Pulling into the parking lot of the medical center and parking, his mum killed the engine and sat back. "Well, here we are then," she said—unnecessarily, it seemed to Luke—he could see where they were, well enough.

She glanced at her watch. “We’re a bit early.”

Luke grunted. Outside, the weather seemed to be clearing, and he glanced through the rain-pocked side window over towards the one story, red and grey stone building. He felt tense and tried to avoid licking his lips. All at once, it seemed frighteningly real. They were actually about to go in, and it dawned on him that, if all went to plan, the next time he sat in this seat, it would be done; he'd be properly circumcised.

After all the waiting, it was almost going too quickly now!

As they waited, the rain stopped, and he took stock. Despite his misgivings, the previous couple of weeks of living as a closeted gay kid at school had been…well, like any other week. Nothing was tattooed onto his forehead. Nobody confronted him and said they’d noticed a huge change, and knew why. No other ‘gay’ marks were apparently secretly inscribed on him as a warning to others. At the same time, he gave his friends absolutely no reason to think he was any different, either. He was just ordinary Luke Summers, and life went on.

The previous night, the night before ‘C Day’, he’d taken ages to get to sleep. It felt almost like another Christmas Eve. Restless, he'd tossed and turned for most of the night, sleeping badly. It was only in the last couple of hours before the alarm went that he'd finally fallen into a deep sleep and dreamed something quite bizarre. Even that had been a bit…well, suffice it say, he’d woken quite agitated and with a serious woody! He knew it was just a stupid dream, because he honestly couldn't believe that some surgeon could say, 'Luke, for this next bit, I need you to have an erection!'

They wouldn't need him to do that, surely?

Would they?

Staring at the looming building, he grimaced. Get a GRIP for God's sake, Summers!

As he and his mum waited in their minivan, a couple of boys walked out of the building with their mom. One was a bit shorter than the other, but both looked quite young.

Nibbling absently on a fingernail as he watched them cross the wet tarmac, he considered them curiously, wondering if they had just had ‘it’ done, too. He hadn’t really thought about it before, but if Tiberius was a circumcision specialist, then he probably did lots of them.

How many was lots in a week? Five? Ten? Twenty? From where Luke was sitting, it did look like the younger one was walking quite gingerly, and Luke wondered if one—or even both of them—had some new piece of hardware welded to their parts, and had been circumcised, just like he was about to be?

Perhaps Friday was a surgery day?

Trying not to stare too obviously as they passed in front of the van, he even thought he could see the shape of what was probably the SmartKlamp mechanism poking out of the youngest boy’s jeans!

Unexpectedly, the kid gathered speed and took a running jump onto the back of his brother, who obliged, careering around the car park with him. Laughing and shouting, they jumped in and out of puddles, watched but otherwise ignored by their mom who was chatting on her mobile.

Luke shook his head imperceptibly and flicked his eyes away. GET A GRIP AND GROW UP, LUKE! It was clear that neither of them had just had any kind of surgery!

Finally, the three got into their car and drove off, leaving Luke alone with his mum once more. She reached over to the back seat to retrieve her purse as well as a folder that contained all his papers. Briefly, she checked the paperwork and then her watch. As he studied her, he tried to find the right words that wouldn't offend.


“Mmmm, sweetheart?” She remained concentrated on sheaving through the folder of papers.

“I’d like to do this by myself this time…just me and the doctor, and you wait outside till it's finished…in the waiting room…”

The look of surprise she gave him as her head flicked up was not one that seemed to come from a parent who expected to be excluded from her little boy’s medical treatment. Neither did it surprise him. “For the actual surgery bit, I mean,” he added hurriedly. “I'm sure it’ll be fine and he can always call you if needed."

Surprise hardened to dubious and he could see she was looking for the right way to deny him. He groaned inwardly. This wasn't a battle she was going to win, but he didn't want to have to face combat—not right then when he had other things to worry about.

“Sweetheart, I think it’s probably best if—”

“Mum." He interrupted her, trying to stop it getting out of hand. Maybe it needed something more direct. “I don't want you there—I need to do this by myself!” Feeling breathless, he gritted his teeth and stood his ground, but still felt guilty as she blinked.

“It’s just that I’m nearly sixteen and, well…you know…” God please get it…

She did. With relief, he could see her attempt at ‘not a chance’ become something else.  “You've grown up fast haven't you Luke...and well..." She grappled for words that sufficed, and her face softened. She sighed and finally made her decision.

"Fair enough—I get what you're saying. You need a little privacy. If it's what you want, then that's what we'll do. I'll stay in the waiting area until it's completed. But..." the protective parent resurfaced, " have to promise me that if there's anything that you don't understand or are unclear about, then you'll call me in. ANYTHING, okay?"

"Absolutely! I promise, Mum." Nodding effusively, Luke already knew that he never would. He knew far more about the procedure than her anyway. But it wasn’t just that, it was…well, some things were private—even from mothers. Maybe especially from mothers!

“And thanks…” he added, grateful that she got the message.

"Well, there's no point in hanging around here," she pronounced. Business-like once more, he knew it was her way of coping. "We might as well go in."

They climbed out of the van a few moments later, stepping into the humid, damp afternoon, then crossed the parking lot and entered the cool air-conditioning of the building.

“Oh, hello again,” chirped the familiar, pretty receptionist once Luke and his mum had crossed the foyer to reach her desk. She seemed to know exactly who they were without them explaining. “He won't be long. Just take a seat for a few minutes. I can take the forms if you have them."

Luke was impressed she didn’t even have to look at whatever notes she had in front of her to know who they were, and assuming those notes indicated why they were there, was also grateful she didn’t announce to the rest of those waiting that he was about to be clipped!

“Nice girl, don’t you think?” his mum murmured as they took a couple of plush chairs just a few down from an old lady with brown wrinkly skin who seemed to be having a conversation with herself.

“Don’t tell me you know her mother, too?” Luke muttered, fearing where this might be heading.

“Of course not—don’t be silly, Luke. It’s just pleasant to find a polite and helpful receptionist these days; one that doesn’t sit chewing gum and texting non-stop!”

“Oh, I guess so.” She was right though, the girl was not only efficient, but pretty, too. The fiery, red hair wasn't overly long and he couldn't even recall if she wore makeup or not. If she did, you couldn't tell.

As they waited, he glanced around the waiting area. Compared to their last visit, there were quite a few more there that day, so he guessed—rightly—that there were probably a number of doctors who had offices in the same building. It made sense. Surely not all those gathered in the waiting area had appointments with the guy he was seeing.

Over the next few minutes, people came and left, and the old lady to their right continued to mutter. Nobody paid the slightest bit of attention to the mother and her inwardly apprehensive teenage son, until...

“Luke Summers?”

Both of them looked up expectantly as the receptionist called out Luke’s name. He and his mum stood, and, no doubt with nothing better to do, all eyes turned on them—beady glares communicating a message the same the world over. How come he got in before me? I’ve been here ages!

Approaching her desk once more, the receptionist gestured them to the passageway he knew led to the Doctor's office. “Just go straight through,” she said, “Then all the way down to the end, turn left and it’s just on the left. I'll see you shortly.”

They followed the directions and Luke recognized the path they had trodden on the previous occasion. Arriving at the familiar door, he tapped. A friendly though muffled voice called, “Come in!!”

Opening the door, Luke peeked in.

“Ah, hello again, Luke!” A. Jonathan Tiberius raised his head from the desk at which he was pecking one-fingered at a keyboard. The office was as Luke had remembered it, and he glanced over at the partially screened couch where, shortly, he expected to end up. He studied it with a growing knot of apprehension. Last time he was here, he could hardly wait—now he wasn't so keen with some of the reality that came with getting your dick skinned!

“Come on in, the two of you,” said Tiberius. Luke’s gaze came back to land on the doctor as Tiberius stood, and he attempted a relaxed grin whilst he held the door open for his mum to let her in first. “And good afternoon Mrs. Summers,” Tiberius added, abandoning the keyboard as they ventured into the room. Shaking both their hands warmly, he gestured them towards the familiar sofas.

“As you can see, my daughter has convinced me to enter the computer age!” His eyes glinted in amusement. “So far, the machine and I are having a clash of wills! However, enough of that! How are you both today?”

“We're quite well, thank you, Doctor." Lucy replied for both of them, and Luke chose not to mention the butterflies flitting around his insides.

"Call me Jonathan, please," Tiberius said as he settled onto one of the sofas.

Luke perched himself on the edge of the soft, brushed leather, too, and waited patiently whilst his mum and Tiberius chatted amiably about the weather and family, eventually getting round to make sure everything was in order. There were a couple of copies of the booklet the doctor had given him the last time, sitting on the table, and he picked one up and glanced through it to occupy himself.

Eventually, as promised, his mum made her exit.

"I'll be leaving you both to it this time, so I put my baby in your capable hands, Jonathan!"

Oh for goodness sake! Mothers!  Luke rolled his eyes in exasperation. "You don't need to be so melodramatic, Mum—I'm sure I'll survive!" It was the most he'd said since they'd arrived.

But Tiberius, who was probably quite familiar with panicky parents who needed a treatment plan as much as their offspring, nodded with a calm confidence. "Of course, Lucy, of course. We’ll probably be around forty-five minutes to an hour altogether. As you know, the procedure is quite straightforward and I'll let you know as soon as it's completed."

She nodded, and looked reasonably satisfied. Giving Luke a quick motherly kiss, she left, passing the receptionist at the door, the latter giving Luke a friendly wave as she proffered Tiberius a folder of notes.

Luke chewed his lip. An hour? That long? From what Tiberius had said about the procedure last time, he expected fifteen or twenty minutes max!

If Tiberius was at all surprised that his mum had left him alone, he didn't show it, and after seeing her out, returned to the sofas, bringing the folder with him. Perching on the edge, he opened up the papers onto the table and quickly scanned the contents while Luke waited.

"So, Luke," he said at last, sitting back, "everything seems to be in order. And how about you? Feeling ready to go ahead? You know we can always postpone if you still have any worries or concerns."

"No, sir," Luke lied, speaking a lot more confidently than he actually felt at that point. He glanced at the recently closed door. Was it really a good idea for Mum to have left him? Still, ready or not, there was no way he was backing out now. "I'm ready if you are!"

"Well said, young man!" The returned smile was reassuring, though Luke suspected Tiberius wasn't taken in by the bravado. "Firstly though, why don't we take a few minutes to find out what will best suit you? Did you read through the material I left with you after our last appointment?"

"This one?” Luke pounced on the booklet for reassurance, feeling on safe ground as he flipped through the familiar, colorful pages. “With the descriptions about styles you mean? Yes, sir. "

"And did you come to any conclusions?" Tiberius probed.

"Yes —high and tight I think. Well, kind of tight...but not so that it looks weird or anything…but not loose, or low. Tight…ish…” He trailed off and cringed at the total hash he’d made—and they hadn’t even properly got going! “Does that make sense?"

Though it came out in a bit of a garbled stream, Tiberius didn’t seem perturbed by the tangle. "I think it makes perfect sense Luke. It’s the kind of circumcision that most young men opt for, and what I would have recommended. But, even so, let’s take a few minutes to go through the booklet again and discuss some of the options shall we? Just to be sure."

Tiberius didn't seem in any rush to get his scalpels out, so Luke nodded as the doctor picked up a second copy of the same booklet Luke was holding. Tiberius scanned the pages briefly, seeming to gather his thoughts, before looking up to his patient over the top of his gold-rimmed spectacles.

"As I said last time, people decide to be circumcised for all kinds of reasons, and often have quite definite expectations of the outcome they are hoping to achieve. Now while your circumcision is to treat your phimosis condition, I had the impression that you had given it quite a lot of thought before you came to visit me?”

He paused, giving room for a response, and Luke decided to just be honest, knowing he needed the best advice he could get. “Well, yes, I guess so. It’s true I had no idea about the phimosis until you explained it. It's just I kind of wanted to be circumcised anyway…because...”

Tiberius didn’t even blink as he filled in the gap. “I’m guessing most of your peers are?”

"Yes, sir." Luke shrugged. Feeling a little awkward, he studied one of that week's bananas in the bowl. “I know it’s meant to be cleaner and healthier and everything, but I also don’t want to keep being the odd one out, if you know what I mean.”

Again, Tiberius didn’t seem surprised, and nodded reassuringly. “So, how it looks is important to you too—not just how it works?”

Luke nodded and, with a little more confidence, grinned cheekily. “I could still do with it working properly, though!”

That brought forth an amused chuckle.

“And so it shall, young man!” Tiberius winked and Luke began to relax at last. “Now, do you understand the difference between ‘High’ and ‘Low’?”

“Yep—I think so."  It was like getting that one question that you'd hope for on an exam paper. The one you actually knew you could ace! "A high circumcision is when most of the inner foreskin is retained and the scar where it joins the rest of the skin ends up being higher up the shaft. And a low one is when most of the foreskin is trimmed away and the rest is attached quite near the top—near to the glans.”

“You nailed it! I'm impressed!" Tiberius sounded it, too, and Luke tried not to appear smug. "You certainly know your stuff, young man—that’s exactly right. And my advice is to always try to maintain as much of the inner foreskin as possible. It’s an amazing piece of skin tissue, with a huge number of sensitive nerve endings built into it; always keep it if you can.”

"So why..." Luke paused, unsure if he was allowed to interrupt.

"Go on..." Tiberius nodded encouragingly. "Ask away—there are no wrong questions today."

“Well, I was just wondering—why do people ever have a low one, and cut it all away?” In his mind's eye, he could see Kieran’s low-cut wanger. “What’s the point? Is it just to look better?'

“That's correct," Tiberius replied. "It's aesthetics mainly." He turned one of the pages in the booklet to explain. “For example, this man here has chosen a low circumcision. You can see where the small amount of foreskin he's retained has been sutured extremely close to the sulcus. The benefit is that there is hardly any noticeable scar line. The downside is the loss of sensitivity.

"How bad is it?" Apart from Kieran, Luke could reel off a bunch he knew who were done like that. "The loss of sensitivity, I mean?"

Tiberius took the question with ease. "A lot of boys are circumcised in that particular way as babies—even more from your parents’ generation. It was more the norm in those days, and there are still many doctors who perform the procedure in that standardised way today." His expression remained optimistic. "That said, for most it's not debilitating in any way, and there's still plenty of sensitivity around the glans and sulcus.”

Debilitating? Luke wondered what that meant. As in having no feeling? As in not being able to wack off?

"It comes down to what's individually important,” Tiberius continued. “Some—particularly those who, for whatever reason, are being circumcised as adults—are less comfortable with a potentially unsightly scar line. By making the cut lower down, closer to the sulcus, it can be made quite unobtrusive.

“If you have strong feelings about that, then that approach would leave a good result for you.”

Luke shook his head. “No, I think I’d prefer it to be high.”

Tiberius seemed happy to accept it and turned a page. “If you’re wanting a high circumcision, it will be like this one." He pointed to a picture that Luke had studied on many occasions. “And like this, we’ll put the scar higher up the shaft to maintain as much of the inner foreskin as possible. Aesthetically, it will certainly be more obvious than in a low circumcision, but if you are comfortable with the appearance, then it’s a better. If, in time, you decide you prefer something less visible, then we can always redo it to leave the scar lower—however, you can’t go the other way. Once the foreskin is removed, you can’t get it back.”

Luke’s eyes widened. “People get circumcised more than once?” Even he hadn't picked up on that one in his research.

“Actually, on more occasions than you would imagine!” Tiberius remained serious. “Often it’s because the original circumcision was poorly done, leaving an unsightly appearance.” He pointed to the book again. “But for sure it’s better to get it right first time!”

 Continuing, he said, “With a high circumcision, there’ll be a slight difference in the skin tones along the shaft.”

Luke knew about the skin tone changes that were obvious with the adults photographed for the book, but something still niggled. “But it’s not that way when done in kids? Are they done differently?”

Tiberius shook his head. "Not particularly, Luke. It’s basically the same operation, but for a boy circumcised at birth, by the time they get to your age and with the stretching of the skin and natural growth, it’s usually hard to notice any scarring or skin tone changes. But that reminds me of something else that we should just touch on…” Tiberius flipped back several pages to one of the examples that carried one of the brown circumferential rings that intrigued Luke.

"Additionally, there are also some slight differences brought on by the surgical technique employed that you need to consider carefully. May I?” He took Luke’s copy of the booklet, opened it at the page they’d just had been looking at, then lay the two books side by side on the table, facing Luke. The difference was close to the top of Luke’s agenda.

“The brown ring!” he exclaimed, unable to stop himself blurting it out.

Tiberius continued as if he hadn’t heard. "Almost all the examples here are of adult circumcisions. The foreskin has been surgically cut with a scalpel and the ends joined by sutures. This can be done quite neatly, though that can also depend on the skill of the surgeon.  But as you can see, it’s almost impossible not to leave some trace of those suture marks, even when fully healed.”

Luke looked carefully and could see what Tiberius meant. Turning the page back to the example of a low circumcision, even there, though the sutures were very close to the sulcus, he could still see the small, pock-marked scars.

Tiberius said, “For the majority of adults, because of the thickness of the skin, there's often no other option other than to use sutures.”

“And the brown ring?” Luke pressed. Surely there was more to discover? “Why do most of the guys my age have a mark like that?”

“Indeed they will do, because the majority of RIC boys are circumcised in this country with either a Plastibell or a Gomco Clamp.”

They were familiar terms that had come up in his online research and an image of the heavy looking metal Gomco Clamp that looked rather like an orange squeezer, popped up in Luke’s memory.


“Oh, excuse me, RIC stands for Requested Infant Circumcision—circumcisions done on boys as babies or young toddlers. Both the Gomco and Plastibell devices operate by applying crushing pressure to the skin for a period of time. The pressure seals blood vessels and induces fusion around the full circumference of the circumcision wound, usually superseding the need for sutures. However, often there can still be some leakage from the blood vessels. Over time, those blood sediments resolve into what becomes a distinctive and permanent, brownish-tinted, annular band.

At last! He didn’t really get most of what the Doc was saying, but he got the important bit. “Didn’t you say that the SmartKlamp also worked by crushing?”

“That’s correct Luke, and exactly the point.” Tiberius seemed to be studying him carefully to gauge his reaction. “If we use the device, the outcome, over time, may—and I only say may—lead to the same characteristic annular pigmentation. It’s unlikely to be anywhere near as pronounced as you will have noticed with your peers, but there all the same.”

Luke sat back, trying to digest the import of this new knowledge. A few moments later, he leaned forward again. “Just to be clear, are you saying that I’m going to end up with a scar and possibly brown ring from this?”

Tiberius mistook Luke’s concern and pursed his lips. “Luke, if you need some more time to think about it, there’s no rush. Perhaps it was remiss of me not to have properly explained this to you before today.  We can always reschedule to another day and arrange for your circumcision to be done without a SmartKlamp and use sutures if you prefer?”

“Yes…I mean no…” Luke said, the words falling over each other trying to get out. Tiberius cocked his head questioningly.

“Sorry,” Luke added, straightening it out. “I mean no, we don’t need to reschedule and yes, I’d like it to be done with the SmartKlamp.”

“Are you sure?”

 "Yes, sir. Honestly, I really don’t want to be any different from anyone else. This way, it’ll look like I was always circumcised, won't it? Just like my friends. I want that.” I don’t want to look any different to Ry. “If by doing it with a SmartKlamp means I’ll have the same kind of marking, that’s good!”

Tiberius seemed to study him and Luke wondered if he’d revealed too much. “Well then, young man,” he pronounced much to Luke’s relief, “SmartKlamp it will be!”

With that seemingly decided, Tiberius returned to the booklet. “Now, we were talking about high and low circumcisions. High and tight, right?”

Luke nodded. “But not too tight.”

“I agree. To minimize the visibility of any residual scar, we should not make it too tight.”

“I don’t want it very loose though…” Luke pressed. Not a ‘half and half’! Who the hell would want to look like Todd!

Tiberius seemed to understand. "A reasonably tight circumcision will keep the foreskin off the glans at all times, but that needs to be balanced with the need to retain enough slack to allow for growth if you get what I mean.”

Though his demeanour and manner remained overtly professional, the doctor’s eyes held a mischievous twinkle. Luke knew exactly what the guy meant and had to grin. Yet, for some reason—maybe because Tiberius was a professional who dealt with this kind of stuff all the time—he wasn't as embarrassed as he thought he might be. He nodded happily, feeling quite glad that his mother wasn’t there to hear any of it. The jitters that had plagued him through the morning had dissipated. This was going to be great!

“Of course,” Tiberius suggested, “we also don’t have to complete a full circumcision to deal with the Phimosis. It’s also possible just to release the restriction with what’s called a dorsal slit.”

Luke had seen the description of that option, too, and shook his head firmly. “No—I want to be circumcised.” He hadn’t come so far to be put off with a little snip at the end.

“I think it’s best too—and in fact the dorsal slit procedure doesn’t always lead to a good outcome and can leave to a lot of hanging skin that becomes unsightly. However, it’s my job to make sure you know all the options.”

“High and tight-ish, then?” Luke said, wanting there to be no confusion. He only had one shot at this.

“Exactly. The glans will be always be clear, and if we leave just enough looseness of the outer foreskin, then there will be a slight bunching in what remains—enough to be able to hide the final scar line in the folds. How does that sound?”

"Yep, that's want I want,” Luke nodded, leaning forward eagerly. “Can you do that with this SmartKlamp you're going to use?"

"A great question, and yes I can Luke. It takes a bit of care in arranging the positioning of the foreskin before we fully engage the mechanism, but we can certainly achieve the right outcome by this method.” Seeming to have finished, Tiberius replaced the booklet on the table and sat back. "So, I think that's all the bases covered. What about you? Do you have any more questions?"

Luke shook his head. He was good to go!

Tiberius seemed satisfied and made ready to stand. “Good. If you’re ready, shall we proceed?"

Luke savoured the moment, unable to avoid licking his lips this time. His eyes flicked towards the medical couch with its privacy curtain that was waiting for him in the corner. This was it.  It would be hard to stop if, right now, he said yes—there would be no going back once he gave the final word. It was a one-way journey, but this particular journey had already been a long one and he was more than ready to complete it!

Four words were all it took as he nodded eagerly. "Yes sir, I'm ready."

"Excellent! Come along with me then, young man! Let's get you prepped and ready."


Tiberius stood, but instead of moving towards the awaiting couch, he stepped towards the door. For a moment, Luke was unbalanced by the fact that the doctor seemed to be going the wrong way, diverging from the well-laid plan Luke’s his head.

The door was opened and Tiberius waited.

This wasn't how it was meant to go! What was meant to happen was that Luke would just hop onto the bed in the doctor’s office; the same one he had been on last time. He was more prepared this time and ready to pull his pants down—just a bit, like it had been on the previous visit. At that point the doctor could quite quickly slip on this Klamp thing, and that would be it! Admittedly the details were a bit sketchy, but Luke was sure he had it all worked out. That all went out of the window as he stood, too, and, skirting the furniture, followed Tiberius out of the door and into the corridor towards some unknown destination to be 'prepped'.

And what did that mean—prepped?

Some kids seemed to go to prep school—but that was hardly the same thing. Every step away from the familiar, carpeted office was disconcerting, and belatedly, a big part of him wished he had got his mum stay after all.

Without any more chatter, Tiberius strode ahead down uncharted corridors.

As Luke hurried in his wake, it took all the trust he’d built up in the surgeon over the two visits not to turn and bolt. They pushed further into the complex and the framed pictures petered out; the deep pile of the dark red carpet abruptly gave way to a hard, unforgiving surface. Finally, they arrived at the entrance of what turned out to be a medium sized, windowless surgical theatre.

As he stood at the doorway, he could see a black surgical bed set alone in the middle of the space, waiting ominously under a powerful looking medical light. Luke could see that the space was bereft of any color that offset the predominance of theatre green and white. Lined with cupboards, it smelt so much of hospitals that his nose flared with that familiar antiseptic odor. The work surfaces were stacked with intimidating trays wrapped in sterilized packing, and an annex off to the right seemed to hold sinks and more storage.

But those were not the things that were the most intimidating. What really landed a punch as he stood at the door was that he could see that someone else was already there.

“Hello again, Luke!” chirped the attractive young lady—girl—that he’d previously only seen on the reception desk.

Oh hell! What the fuck was she doing here?


Since she had last greeted him when she'd dropped off the files to the Tiberius, she’d miraculously changed from a receptionist’s dress-suit into what was obviously some kind of surgical gown, though she wore that with the same classy elegance that she probably wore everything. She struck quickly, taking control and directing his uncertainty with something that came across with a little more than a ‘give it or take it’ suggestion!

"Luke, if you could undress,” she said, pointing to one corner as both she and Tiberius started bustling around the room making preparations, “you can lay your clothing just over the chair there."

Luke’s eyes swivelled to find the lone chair exactly where she said it would be.  He swallowed uneasily. Undress? Now? With people watching? However, Tiberius and the girl no longer seemed interested in him or his qualms. It certainly didn’t appear that they were waiting for a response from him that could then become a negotiation of who should be in the room just then.

He moved to the chair and tried to gather his composure, a myriad of question bouncing around his head. What if there was more? If they needed him naked, were there going to be other surprises, too...?

“You just need to make an erection.”

He turned fast, sure that he'd heard the doctor say those very words that came straight out of a nightmare.

Oh shit!  “WHAT?!” Wide eyed, he half coughed. “Sorry—what did you say?”

Tiberius swung towards him, frowning without comprehension. “Oh, nothing to worry about, Luke—I was just asking Ella to make a selection of instruments for me.”

“Oh…sorry...” Luke felt like a jerk…just not that other type just then!

Get a grip!

Tiberius seemed to remember his manners and that some explanation of the presence of a girl might be in order. “Forgive me, I’ve not really introduced my surgical assistant. This is Ella, my daughter.”

His daughter?

Luke eyed her nervously. From where she was retrieving packages from a cupboard, she looked up and flashed him the same bright smile she’d given him at the reception desk.

Shit, this just got better and better!

“Ella is a med student, soon to become a qualified doctor herself,” Tiberius explained. “She’s here for a few months as part of a clinical experience placement.”

“We’ve met,” Ella grinned. “They’re a bit short staffed at the moment, so I help out at the desk sometimes, too!”

 “Yes...errr, hi...again...,” Luke stammered. A med student? Well, that was a bit better and made her at least in her twenties. But she was still a girl! More to the point, neither she nor her father seemed to carry the same concern that he had—that a female was going to watch him undress. And more—much more—with her dad there too! How bad could this get? Feeling a little out of control, Luke began to divest himself of his clothing.

He was in school uniform of course, and slowly began to take it all off. Week in, week out at school, he'd done it a gazillion times, yet this was different. Way different!

Jacket and tie first, then he slipped off his shoes and socks. Finally, as if on a terrible losing streak in a game of strip poker, the shirt and pants went until all that remained to cover the nakedness and designer stubble were the white tee he wore under his school shirt and his boxers. All of it was folded carefully onto the chair; denied to him until the deed was done.

It had taken ages to decide which pair of boxers to wear that day, and he’d taken his time looking for a pair that looked smart and not too daggy. To be honest, choosing his underwear each day often took more time than anything else—certainly on a school day where the rest of the uniform wasn't a choice. For the most part, he only had loose pairs of the more common black, white or grey boxers, but he still liked to make a choice and didn't just grab the first pair at the front of his undies drawer each morning!

His tidiest pairs were the grey ones from the pack his mum had recently added to her shopping cart on his behalf, but for today, he’d chosen black. They were quite common for guys, and he also figured they wouldn't show up blood if there happened to be any! He stood in them now, freakishly nervous about taking the final step to remove the remaining protection that would reveal both his dick and the evidence of his recent transformation.

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

I wasn’t sure what would have been worse—having Mum in the room, or getting naked with the daughter of the surgeon who was about to cut into my privates! And did she have to be so damn pretty?

As she busied herself opening surgical packets, they both seemed to have forgotten that I was even there, chatting away and making things ready. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked at her suspiciously, wondering if she were waiting for a good moment to peek at me.

Okay, I admit, I was more than a bit paranoid!

I put it off as long as I dared, but finally there was nothing else left to take off apart from t-shirt and underwear, so I turned my back to them and pushed the boxers down to my ankles, stepping out of them, before slowly folding them (I'd never folded undies in my life before, but it’s amazing the habits you take on, just to stall for time!) neatly on the chair.

* * *

Still facing away from the audience, Luke was just about to take off his tee, when a voice behind him made him pause.

"That's fine, Luke,” said Tiberius.  He sounded quite relaxed. “You can just leave the tee shirt on. We're nearly ready here, so come over and hop up on the bed."

Turning to face them, Luke tried to appear nonchalant about the fact that his wanger was hanging down with nubby pink the end of it peeping out from under his tee! As he crossed it, the surgery floor was cool on his feet and he tried not to think about bloody swabs being tossed there, like always happened on the medical shows!

Tiberius had changed too, exchanging his jacket and dress-shirt for a covering of surgical green, which, with the help of Ella, he was tying off around his back. Sitting on the bed, Luke swung up his legs, trying not to think about the now-sparse pubes which were still partially obscured by the final remaining garment.

"Some people like to see what's going on. Others prefer not to—" Tiberius raised an eyebrow questioningly as he left the option open .

"Oh—I'd like to watch, if that's okay," Luke replied. Bloody right he wanted to watch! Even if he was anxious, he wasn’t going to miss a moment! He still jumped, taken by surprise as Ella went ahead and operated the surgical bed, raising up the back so he could see more comfortably.

The Doc played the final hand of game of strip poker, and Luke lost. "Just pull up your tee shirt for me can you, Luke? And tuck it up a little so it's fully out of the way."

Oh God—moment of truth!  

Luke lifted and tucked. Of course, he knew it would finally come to this, but it didn’t mean he wasn’t flustered! For as long as he could remember, he was the only person ever around when he took off his clothes, lay on a bed and manipulated his penis. To now have two additional members in that elite group—and one of them a girl not too much older than himself—was more than a bit unsettling!

He glanced at his groin and tried to remain impassive. "I, err, you it how you needed it?" Even though the trimming had been at the surgeon's request, he still felt he needed to somehow explain the trendy stubble. At the very least he was compelled to offer something to Ella, in case she thought he was gay or something! Tiberius glanced down—as did his daughter—and both studied Luke’s handiwork matter-of-factly.

"Perfect!" Tiberius beamed for both of them, apparently satisfied with Luke’s barber skills, and then laid a green surgical drape over his middle. The drape had a handy little hole in the middle and Tiberius wasted no time in poking Luke's dick through the opening. And that was it.

Luke didn't dare catch Ella’s eye. Embarrassed? Good God, it was almost unbearable! He wondered what would come next, and it wasn’t long before he found out as the surgeon took a marker pen.

"I'm going to draw a line at the place where we want to position the SmartKlamp,” Tiberius explained. “It’s easier to do that now rather than guess later."

Luke watched with interest as Tiberius took the end of his limp member and drew the skin tight, pulling it forward till the shaft skin at the base was taut. At least he didn’t need him to have an erection, he mused. Moments later, he seriously regretted that train of thought as Ella then took over the holding of his wanger, pulling it firmly and straight up, so that her father could more easily do his drawing! He tried to think of ANYTHING except what was in front of him.

Ella let him go and he flopped back down again, allowing the doctor to make another small mark where, in his flaccid state, the groove of my sulcus lay. By then something else was worrying Luke.

The room was cool, and he freakily nervous. Under its own weight, his penis seemed to have shrunk back into itself, disappearing into hardly anything! He stared at it in alarm. Surely it was usually bigger than that? Right then, his dick looked more like a toddler’s, and all he could hope was that the marks would be okay!

"Right." Tiberius seemed ready to get down to business again with the marker. "If it's high and tight we’re looking for, we'll position the SmartKlamp…” He paused a beat as Ella Ella gently tweaked Luke’s dick forward and upwards again. As a father and daughter surgical team, Luke guessed they worked well together, because she didn’t seem to need any direction. “…up"

With a practiced hand, Tiberius drew a circle of pen around the circumference of his diminishing dick. "As you can see,” Tiberius murmured, maybe as much for the benefit of Ella as for Luke, “we'll want to ensure a pleasing appearance like this."

He drew his guideline so that it was properly angled to follow the line of Luke’s sulcus. “ that should be just about right." Tiberius seemed satisfied and Luke tried to follow the marks in his head, imagining what the finished result might look like.

“Luke, we’re going to need to inject a little local anesthetic. I'm going to give you the ring block around the base of your penis, just like we talked about earlier, but first let's just use a little topical anesthetic spray to make those injections go in a little bit easier." 

Ella passed her father a small aerosol canister and he sprayed some liquid around the shaft of Luke’s penis that immediately felt cold. In fact, the whole room was quite cool and Luke was glad he’d been able to keep on his tee.

Then, without being asked, Ella started painting. Him!

He’d seen enough medical movies to know that the greeny-yellow gunk she started smearing over his parts was some form of antiseptic. A cheeky grin sneaked onto her face. “You know, if it wasn’t for medicine, I think I might be an artist!” She daubed his dick with dainty theatrical strokes. “What do you think?”

What did he think? Luke didn’t know whether it was hysterically funny, slightly risqué, or rather inappropriate!

“I’d stick with the day job if I were you, Ella!” Her father sounded drily short, and Luke got the feeling his tone put the remark rather more to the ‘inappropriate’ end of the scale! As her father turned to busy himself elsewhere, Ella seemed unrepentant. She winked, and with her father’s attention diverted, threw in a few more ‘contemporary’ brush strokes for good measure.

Luke had to work really hard not to burst out laughing. Maybe she was the one that actually appreciated what he needed to help him relax? It really was funny and he decided right then that everyone needed an Ella in situations like the one he was in.

He began to breathe a little more easily.

14. Just a Small Prick

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Just a Small Prick

Extract from Luke’s notes:

One or two who’ve read through these notes—friends who already know my story and know what was to come in the weeks and months ahead with Ry and the others—have asked me why I decided to write it down.

Why tell it?

Well, for starters, it’s not easy to forget. Even this part! It was now several years ago, but I still remember every minute detail of being in that surgical theatre. Trust me, you don’t quickly forget being circumcised!

For the record, I can honestly say Doctor Tiberius was a good guy. I liked him and he really knew his job. I was—and still am—thankful for that. And Ella—I liked her, too, but in more ways than one, she wasn’t what I was expecting! I don't know if her dad's still practicing, but if you're reading this and think circumcision is for you, look him up in Atlanta.

Looking back, maybe the procedure I was having was no big thing in the world of medical operations, but at the time it felt huge. I knew in theory what was going on, but that’s not the same as experiencing the real thing. Time changes a lot. Back then as a just-turned-sixteen-year-old, I don't mind admitting it was a pretty scary. Now I remember the place almost fondly.

And just for the record…the title of this chapter is a reference to injections!

* * *

Dr Tiberius called over to where his daughter, Ella, was setting up some trays. "Ella, could you prepare the local—a short needle will be fine.”

Luke swallowed. Up until then he tried hard not to dwell on the fact that there would be an injection. Just like at the dentist, Tiberius had promised. Oh crap…a needle! Still, short sounded better than long! That wouldn’t be too bad…would it?

He probably shouldn’t have, but it was really hard not to watch something, even when you know that watching it isn’t going to be a good idea. So, stupidly he watched, and followed her every move as Ella withdrew the capped needle from a box and screwed it to the barrel of a large, silver, metal syringe. With the needle in place, she slipped a small glass cartridge into the chamber of the syringe. It really did seem like some kind of weapon, and he almost said ‘are you going to cock it now’, but thankfully realized in time how awkward that might sound!

Agitated, he couldn’t take his eyes off the needle as Ella passed the doctor the tray that held the syringe—if that beast was meant to be short, he’d hate to see long! Taking it, Tiberius swiftly slipped off the cover, held it vertically, and depressed the plunger enough to allow a small squirt to erupt from the end. Luke was intrigued. He’d seen it in movies, but never realised they actually did that for real.

“Hold my hand, Luke,” Ella offered.

“What?” He frowned, confused by her sudden interest in him.

“Hold my hand,” she repeated, reaching over to wrap his hands in her own gloved ones. “Just while the injections are going in. They can sting a little, and it helps.”

It seemed a bit excessive to him. Did she think he was some baby kid? However, he did what she said.

“Just a small prick, Luke,” Tiberius murmured. Luke turned to watch, and smirked when he realised the surgeon was on a different track altogether to what he had read from that.

The needle was already next to his skin at the base of his dick and Luke quickly sobered. It paused there, as though contemplating its next move. Then, as though it were in a surreal slow-mo movie scene, Tiberius plunged the short needle deep into the middle of Luke’s wanger, and squeezed.

It was all he could do not to screech!

It went so far in, he was sure it would come out the other side! He was still recovering from the stinging shock, when the needle was withdrawn and stuck in again around the other side!

HOLY FUCK! God did he hold on to Ella’s hands tight! They gripped each other while tears came to his eyes.

Ella started chatting away amiably. “We’ve been to London," she noted.

"London?” Crap that stings! He tried to keep his voice even. “Oh...that’s…”

Ella didn't appear to need a full reply. “It was few years ago," she continued, "when we went on a holiday to your country. We travelled all over the city—visited Buckingham palace, too. Wow, what a place that was!”

While he tried his hardest not to move, she continued the tour. Perhaps it was a version of the Stockholm Syndrome, but he fairly crushed her hands, hanging avidly onto her every word as she gave him a guide tour of London. You will not squeak, he commanded himself! Holy fuck—what had been the point of that spray?

After the injections were done, Tiberius drew closer to take hold of Luke's dick. He studied it for long moments, and seemed to be contemplating something. Then he took what looked like the handle of a spoon—though it had to be called something else and be a hell of a lot more expensive—and began to ease the blunt instrument in an exploratory fashion past the constricted tip and under Luke’s foreskin, then up around the sensitive head. Gritting his teeth, Luke tried not to move as the end of the blunt spatula continued to disappear through the tip and was slid from side to side, inside.

"I’m checking to see if there are any adhesions."  Tiberius murmured to no one in particular. As he continuing to dig around, Luke started to squirm and he bit back a squeak!

Adhesions? He had no idea what that meant, but it fucking hurt!

Thankfully, Ella came to his rescue. “Dad…” she said, catching her father’s attention.

The doctor looked up and finally noticed Luke was squirming. Gently he withdrew the unwelcome tool. "Oh, I’m so sorry Luke. Let's just wait for a little numbing before I do any more of this shall we?"

Luke was quite happy to agree! To pass the time, and because she was really easy to talk to, he found himself telling Ella bits of his life story. He told her about coming from England where they had lived—he even talked about Man U and David Beckham! She was interested in his school, so he told her about the Academy and his close friends. There must have been happy juice in the syringe, because afterwards, he suspected he'd gone on about Ryan quite a bit. She’d looked at him oddly, but he didn’t care now that the worst bit was over.

She became his 'cock confidant’, and he didn't really care anymore that she was studying it as they both waited for his shaft to be anesthetized. She'd earned the right to be there, no question! Still, he did wonder what she thought of it—of his dick, that was. She probably saw dozens every week, but doesn’t every guy have to have some sense of pride?

After several minutes, Tiberius rubbed Luke’s penis experimentally, and said, "It should be pretty numb now—can you feel anything?"

Luke shook his head. "Not really." No rubbing that he had ever experienced had ever felt like that. Instead, his dick felt like it never had before; rubbery and dead.

"Okay." Tiberius took a sharp probe and stuck it in the end of his foreskin. "And this?"

Luke swallowed and couldn't help but grip the sides of the bed, expecting the worst, ­but again there was absolutely nothing…de nada…not a thing. It was totally weird! He breathed a sigh of relief.

"Nope...I can’t feel anything now..." His dick felt like a piece of lifeless rubber—one that could easily be detached, put in a glass jar and sold in Publix!  Had he not been looking, he might never have known it was even gone! Frankly, it didn’t seem to belong to him anymore, so he relaxed and began to watch with increasing interest.

Again, Tiberius took the blunt spoon handle thing, and inserted it inside Luke’s foreskin. By then Luke didn't expect to feel anything, and wasn’t disappointed.

Apparently satisfied with whatever he was doing, he then took what looked like a pair of hefty medical looking pliers and inserted them carefully inside Luke’s foreskin. Curious, Luke wondered what he was planning to do, because rather than squeezing shut, the tips were forced open inside the restricted opening. After a few moments of hard stretching, Tiberius released the pressure.

"Wow, that is tight!" Ella sounded surprised.

"It sure is," Tiberius replied, and then added by way of explanation, added, "I was wondering if we might have been able to stretch the restriction enough to retract you, but it seems not."

Luke wanted to ask what that meant, and more importantly, whether it would matter. He was still trying to phrase the question in his head when the doctor took up another instrument—one that looked like a cross between pliers and a pair of scissors. Without any giving any warning, he slipped them through the opening and cut a couple of centimetres down the side of Luke’s foreskin. Luke's eyes widened as the skin peeled open. He’d not been expecting that at all! The incision oozed a little blood, but not much.

"There, that should do it," Ella said. She seemed as glued to his newly-wounded willy as he was. "Dad should be able to retract you now."

Retract him? It sounded a little odd, but Luke felt giddy with bemused anticipation. He knew exactly what it meant, but it was happening too fast for him to properly appreciate it. The first time the doctor had tried that—in this very building—had been a turning point in Luke’s first appointment.

"Out of interest," Ella asked her father, her tone conversational, "how do you handle it, if it turns out you can release the restriction without having to cut?"

"Well..." Her father paused leaving Luke poised and frustrated on the cusp of something he’d been waiting for months to see. Get on with it—who the hell cares about anyone else?  "...then you have choices. When it's within your power, Ella, always offer choices to your patients whenever you can."

He picked up Luke's dick again. "There's been more than a handful over the years that, once we enabled them to retract, they decided against the circumcision."

Luke tried to look interested, but the suspense was killing him! Oh come on—get on with it!

The doctor's eyes flicked up, and then down again as he began to retract Luke at last. "In Luke's case, as you could see, that turned out not to be an option." With that, he gently skinned Luke back.

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

You have no idea how big a moment that was for me, and I don't really blame you for thinking 'what the hell, get a life, no big deal!'.

Well it was to me!

The thing is, you're probably either:

a) Someone who has been pulling back their foreskin so long you can't even remember the first time you did it. In fact, you were probably pulling it back on your wiener as a kid without even thinking what you were doing.


b) You were skinned as a baby and have never rolled anything back in your life before. You've never had any of it hidden, and don't get why anyone makes such a big fuss over it.

I wasn't either of those, and my eyes bugged as my head slid out between his fingers like a lollipop!

* * *

Luke got his first breathless study of his glans, but as it reached for daylight, he frowned. Instead of extending like a rosy lipstick it was more of a gunky-looking lip balm! He was confused—that's not what Ryan looked like at all!

"That’s smegma." Ella came to his rescue so promptly, that Luke wondered if she'd heard his wayward thoughts. "Nothing to worry about—trust me, I've seen a lot worse."


"It's very common in cases of phimosis," Tiberius added, picking up some medical gauze, "and is what can often cause unpleasant smells in uncircumcised men when a penis isn’t cleaned properly."

Ridiculously, Luke felt terribly guilty for owning this smegma, despite the fact that acquiring it hadn't been a choice and any chance of cleaning, impossible. Fortunately, neither of his medical team seemed overly dismayed by the task and joined forces to get it cleaned up. Tiberius used thick wedges of medical gauze, and Ella wielded a bottle of some kind of spray. Between them, they began to dislodge and wipe away the gunk.


Fucking A—I've got a dickhead!

It was big, red, and shiny, and by now, Tiberius was able to retract Luke’s foreskin with ease. Glancing across at Ella who in few short minutes had become his greatest confidant and supporter, Luke smiled hopefully.

Funny that—how you can get attached to somebody in a moment of crisis. Right then she felt less like a medic and more like a big sister who was going to rub it better and make it okay. He cleared his throat.

Maybe it was not that bright to dwell on the rubbing bit! (Quick note: actually, for anyone who has to face a similar ordeal—honestly, you just don't think about it.)

Repeatedly, Tiberius retracted Luke, pulling his foreskin firmly down to the base of his dick until each time, the head of Luke’s dick popped out smoothly. He just couldn’t get enough it!

Whoohoo! Hi there, babe! In, out, in, out, shake it all about. You do the hokey-cokey and—

"Luke, to get a really good high and reasonably tight circumcision, we would normally excise the frenulum, and yours is quite tight as it is." Tiberius dragged Luke back to reality. "Do you understand what I mean by that?"

Luke nodded. This one he knew about. " was explained in your booklet. Yes, please go ahead and do that."

"Are you sure?" Tiberius paused a beat. "Some men prefer to keep the frenulum, although, as I said, yours is quite tight and would severely limit how high we could make your circumcision."

What Luke really would have preferred would have been to ask Ella, but it seemed a bit unfair to put her on the spot to admit how much she liked the look and feel of her guys’ penises! Either way, he was reasonably sure he knew what he wanted. "No, I'm sure—you can do the frenulum."

He wanted to look like Ryan.

"Very well," Tiberius said. "Actually I'm in agreement with you. If it’s high we’re going for, it always ends up giving you the best looking circumcision if you remove the frenulum. I may need to put a suture in there after it’s excised, to control the bleeding and to make sure it heals in a good shape, but that’s fairly normal. The stich will probably come out on its own, being self-dissolving, but if not, I'll take it out when you have the SmartKlamp removed."

Luke couldn't help it. He had to check with Ella. It seemed she got the unspoken question as he glanced at her, and she smiled and nodded encouragingly. That was it, then! If she thought it was good, his mind was definitely made up!

He nodded to the doctor. "Okay, that’s fine…"

With that, he sat back and let Tiberius get on with it, watching with awe as the doctor cut neatly, but deeply, into the bed of the frenulum to completely excise it. It took a bit of time, and there was some bleeding. In fact, there was quite a lot of bleeding. Tiberius kept dabbing, and Luke kept bleeding. Eventually, the surgeon gave up.

"I think we'll just cauterize a couple of these arteries," he finally proposed, and he waited for Ella to draw up a trolley with some gadget that looked like a soldering iron.

CAUTERIZE? Whether you spelled it with a Z or an S, Luke knew quite well what the word meant!

"It's nothing to worry about,” Ella said.

Luke tried to appear as though he were relaxed about everything, but inside he began fretting. That was easy for her to say!

She grinned, probably seeing the look of horror on his face. “It smells a bit funny,” she explained, “but it's a good way to seal some of those minor bleeds."

He nodded as if it was something akin to getting his hair cut every few weeks and tried not to think too much about the pungent whiff of burning flesh that wafted across each time the iron touched him. He could have been in a horror movie being branded, or worse still, tortured. He wondered if it would hurt afterwards.

“It’s not actually hot you know,” Ella murmured. She was conversational as Luke’s shaft was seared by the little metal loop on the end of the handpiece Tiberius was wielding. “People often think it’s like a soldering iron, but it’s not.”

Luke frowned. “…?”

“Microwaves,” Tiberius said without looking up from where he was working. As if to explain, he wiped the end of the small metal wire and placed it on the side of his dry glove. As he tripped the 'on' switch, Luke fully expected to see it cut through the rubber of the glove and burn the doctor’s wrist, but nothing happened.

“It’s pushing out low range, high intensity microwaves that create heat in the immediate tissues,” Ella explained.

“Microwaves? You mean you're cooking me?” Luke couldn't help but chuckle.

“You got it—like chicken!"

They both grinned as, without looking up, they could see Ella’s father roll his eyes and shake his head. Eventually satisfied with his culinary skills, he placed a single suture in the area he’d been cooking.

To Luke, it was ‘easy come, easy go’. In all of his nearly-sixteen-years, except for those few brief moments, he'd had never once had the opportunity to see—let alone enjoy—his frenulum before it was cut out. He hoped he'd made the right decision, although it was a bit too late for that now.

Once more, Tiberius retracted him.

HOLY COW! Luke watched in delight as the whole foreskin slipped back a whole lot further this time. Even Tiberius seemed impressed, though maybe only with his own work. “Though I say so myself,“ he pronounced, “that is going to be perfect!”

Luke grinned with delirious satisfaction!

After checking Luke’s foreskin action a couple of more times, Tiberius let it be, and sat back. "Okay, young man, we’re all done with that. Now let's fit the SmartKlamp, and then we're just about finished."

Finished? Luke felt giddy again. It seemed like they'd only just started! He waited patiently while Ella opened up another set of sterile packaging, and from that passed her father some kind of measuring template. A spatula with various sized holes in it, it looked like one of the things Luke’s mum had in the kitchen to measure how much spaghetti to cook! Tiberius slipped it over Luke’s dick until he found a size he was satisfied with.

More packaging was opened. "You've seen one these before, I assume?" Ella asked.

Luke nodded. "Your dad explained it all at the last appointment." He recognized the pieces from the same hardware he'd played with in the doctor's office.

Curious again, he asked, "Do you use them quite a lot?"

"Not me, of course, but I think Dad finds them pretty good." She passed her father the first piece. "I think I would prefer working in a hospital rather than general practice."

"Just make sure you pass your finals," her father murmured as he concentrated on the job in his hand. Once again he retracted Luke, pulling down firmly so Luke poked up straight. With a practiced hand, he slid the tube easily into place over Luke's glans, embedding it deeply, and turning it until he was happy it was sitting properly.

Deftly, the doctor then began tugging up the overly long foreskin, gradually stretching it tighter and tighter over the length of the tube. Luke watched with fascination as the pen marks began to rise up his shaft. Without being asked, Ella passed the next piece and the doctor slipped the framework of the SmartKlamp over the tube and started manipulating it.

"Here's the tricky bit!" she murmured, keeping her voice low as her father concentrated on the task in his hand.

"Is this how he decides how much to take away?" Caught in the drama, Luke whispered too, quite comfortable to share his wanger with her for those few moments.

How had that happened? He was continually discussing his dick with a girl!

“He’s trying to get it as high as he can for you."

"To save as much foreskin as possible?"

"You got it." Ella pointed to the marks with her finger without getting in the way. "At the same time, we also need to get the right amount of tightness. It's quite tricky. This is where the guide marks we made will help.”

Luke nodded, watching the work. High and tight was what he wanted. and he just hoped to God that those marks had been accurate and he would still be left with a penis after it was all done.

After a few more minutes of working the layers, the pen marks on his shaft arrived where Tiberius seemed to believe they needed to be. Satisfied, he quickly closed the SmartKlamp into place, locking it into position.

The locks clicked shut. Though he couldn't feel a thing, Luke still shuddered involuntarily.

“I think that’s it." Tiberius lifted and moved the Klamp at different angles, seeing how Luke's remaining skin stretched on all sides.

From the descriptions in the papers he had sent, Luke knew exactly what would happen next. Ella offered her father a scalpel and, poised to strike, Tiberius raised his eyes.

"Point of no return, Luke!" He smiled expectantly and confidently enough that Luke knew he’d got it as he wanted. "Ready?"

Luke took a deep breath and nodded. He'd been ready for months!

Tiberius didn’t hesitate. It only took a few seconds, but the cut he then made, though a simple one, turned out to be life changing for Luke—as he was to discover over the next months. The new, sharp blade slid clean, sure and straight around the tube above where the SmartKlamp was trapping the layers of his foreskin. There was no blood. The device had already cut off the supply to that bit of his anatomy.

A moment later it was done. His foreskin was cut and the surgeon tugged that piece of him away.

He never saw it again.

After wiping everything clean—including cleaning away as much of the wide spread yellow-green stain as possible—Tiberius carefully examined the device in its locked state once more.

"Okay young man, that's it,” he declared. “We're all done. You’ve been brilliant! I wish all my patients were as good as you!" 

Whether he meant that or not didn’t matter to Luke as Tiberius stepped back and began peeling off his latex gloves…it was done! Tiberius added, "If you want to get dressed, then we can just go over a few things before we let your mom know you’re ready to leave."

Ella and her father moved into the annex room, taking used packages and instrument trays with them, and soon Luke was alone. Still holding his tee out of the way, he gently slid off the surgical bed and onto his feet. As he did so, his penis flopped forward and the unusual mechanism batted solidly against his leg before hanging down towards the floor.

He stepped the short journey back to the lone chair where his clothing waited, still unable to take it all in—that the thing he had waited so long for had just been completed. Even if it wasn't totally finished yet, he’d actually just been circumcised. There was no turning back now.

Tentative, he stepped back into his boxers and pulled them up to the top of his legs, pausing before trying to navigate the bulky plastic inside.

"The SmartKlamp is made so that you can just wear it under your clothing in the normal way, Luke." The feminine voice alongside made Luke jump, and he quickly pulled his boxers over his equipment—new and old—as a sense of privacy re-established itself. Perhaps it seemed petty considering Ella had been studying his bits for the best part of half an hour, but she didn't seem to take it personally. He attempted to adjust the fit of his boxers to make it look more decent, and, pulling his waistband slightly, he was greeted by what could only be described as 'penile jaundice'!

"Does the yellow stuff come off soon?" Even though Tiberius had wiped him down, his skin was still stained.

"It's kind of permanent, I'm afraid."

He looked up quickly. She looked serious, but he wasn't taken in. "Ha, ha—very funny..." A teasing glint in her eye, she smirked as she passed him his black school trousers.


“Your welcome,” she replied, a bemused look on her face as she held his shirt ready for when he’d got his trousers on. “It feels a bit unusual, doesn’t it.”

“Kind of.” He adjusted his trousers several times, trying to find a good position, though his groin still felt totally numb. “Does it show?” Touching himself, he could feel the unexpected lump underneath the zip. He wouldn’t normally grope himself in front of a girl, but he guessed she’d understand.

Ella eyed his pants carefully. “Hardly—but if you have anything looser to wear, it might be better. Honestly, I don’t think anyone will be able to tell, and the good news is, you won’t have to wear it for long.” Her tone was serious and he knew she was trying to help.

“I think it said about ten days.” At least that’s what he remembered from the booklet. That would make it a week Monday.

"Yep, that’s about right.  I’m sure my dad will explain it all, but you need to stay away from any contact sports during next week. The last thing you want is to damage the device.”  Ella passed Luke his school shirt. He slipped it on and buttoned up before sitting carefully to pull on his socks.

"Ella?" He tried to frame his words.


“Well, I just wanted to say thanks for your...well, during the injections.” He pulled a face—it was hard to forget how uncomfortable those had been. “You must think I’m a complete wuss!”

Ella shook her head and chuckled. “Don’t sweat it. Those things can be a bit of a pig—trust me, I know what painful needles can be like. You did fine. At least you didn’t scream or hit anyone!”

Luke grinned as he pulled on his second sock. “It was close! You must see this kind of thing all the time then…being at medical school?”

“A few.” She shrugged. “I’m in my final year, so the experience here really helps. The money’s not bad, either! Anyway, trust me Luke, you did great. Dad did a good job you know; it should turn out really nicely for you. Quite hot I think!”

Luke burst out laughing as she had the audacity to wink! “Okay, now you’re teasing,” he said as he reached for his shoes.

“A little, but don’t worry,” she chuckled, and it sounded wholesome and easy. “And I’m not about to jump you. I’m already spoken for, I’m afraid!”

“That’s okay —you’re far too old for me anyway!” Luke smirked, enjoying the sparring.

She folded her arms and pulled a face, groaning theatrically, eliciting another chuckle from him. “Ouch, I deserved that! Let me down gently, why don’t you!”

Tiberius popped his head in the door. “Ella, can you just go tell Lucy Summers that we’re done. Take her to my office, and let her know we’ll meet her there in a few minutes.”

“Should I go, too?” Luke asked.

“Not yet, Luke. If you can just wait here for now, I’ll be done in a couple of minutes.”

Tiberius left again, and as Luke began to tie his shoelaces, Ella made to leave too. He would have preferred her to stay. He liked her, and if he ever became a doctor, he'd want to be one like her—easy to talk to and fun to be around. Politely, he stood and reached out his hand. “Well, if I don’t see you again, thanks for everything…”

“Never say never, Luke…who knows!” Her grip was soft but sure. She winked again. “Bye—and good luck!”

“Thanks. You too.”

Dressed now, he sat back down on the chair to wait, studying the theatre that no longer seemed so foreboding. It wasn’t long before Tiberius returned, dressed again in his formal jacket. From the annex, he dragged out a stool and perched on it next to Luke.

"Well, I think that went extremely well," Tiberius started. "I believe, well at least I hope, that you’ll be very happy with the outcome. How does it feel?”

“A bit strange,” Luke admitted.

“It will. That’s fairly normal, but you’ll soon get used to it.”

Luke doubted that, but said nothing.

“Now, there are just a few things we should go over before you leave,” continued Tiberius.

“Okay.” Luke nodded expectantly. He was glad to have clothes on again, but ready now to listen to anything that would help keep his circumcision as perfect as could be.

"Firstly, don’t be surprised if there’s some swelling and discomfort once the anaesthetic wears off," began Tiberius. "Perhaps a little more than usual due to the fact we had to cauterize some of blood vessel. It’s quite normal and nothing a few Tylenol can't cope with.”

Tylenol. Okay, he could do that.

"Secondly—and this is really important—whilst the device is quite robust, we don't want any accidents, so no football or any other hard contact sports.”

“Ella mentioned that, too.”

 “Good,” Tiberius said, and then added, “It's also very important that you don't play with the mechanism, because again, we don't want to run the risk of disturbing the locking levers. If that happens before the layers of skin are fully fused, it gets very much more complicated."

'More complicated' sounded ominous, but Luke let it pass.

"Can I wear my normal clothes?" he asked. In retrospect, he wondered why he hadn’t thought of asking his mum to bring along something other than his school clothes that he could have changed into for the journey home. In particular, something more baggy so he could walk less conspicuously through the foyer!

"No, your ordinary clothing is fine. Of course nothing too tight.”

In his minds eye, Luke flicked through his wardrobe, picking out the jeans that would work the best, though when it came to school stuff, he knew he was going to be more limited. Then there was something else that had him quite worried, and he voiced his concern. "But you’re saying that, other than an accident, it's going to be okay? Nothing that will mess it up?"

"Yes, it will be fine."

Shit, this was embarrassing.

"I err...well sometimes I know...” He could feel himself turning awkwardly red. “Well, what happens if I grow a bit down there?"

Tiberius took it in his stride. "Oh, I see...” A light of understanding came to eyes that twinkled kindly.

“Luke, forgive me. There’s no need to be worried, and I had no intention of embarrassing you. An erection is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. To be honest,” he chuckled, “at your age, I was a walking woody!"

He seemed so honest yet relaxed about it, that Luke couldn't help but grin with his relief.

"Frankly,” Tiberius added, “with the alteration in sensations in that area after your circumcision, I have to warn you that that’s probably going to happen quite frequently! To put your mind at rest, the Klamp is more than up to the task. Trust me, it'll be fine."

Luke nodded, trying to get his head around the idea of ‘altered sensations’.

"You can also urinate normally too,” Tiberius added. “My advice is to forget it’s there. Get on with life for the next week in the normal way and let the SmartKlamp do its job. You'll be keeping it in place for around ten days before coming back here again to have it removed."

Luke mulled his words. Forget it’s there? Unlikely!

Ten days it was, then.

"And that’s it? Will I need any injections again?"

Tiberius quickly read between the lines and put his mind at rest. "They were a little uncomfortable for you weren’t they,” he said. “Sorry about that."

"Just a little..." Luke nodded stoically. And that was a freaking lie—they’d bloody stung like hell!

"The good news is, no, no more injections. The worst is certainly over.” Tiberius sounded self-assured without being conceited. “And yes, at that point, that really will be it."

A few minutes later, after having been given the remainder of his post-op instructions, Luke and the doctor made their way out of the surgery to go find Luke’s mum who was already waiting for them by the time they got back to the consulting office. As they stepped through the door, she stood up quickly from one of the sofas. Luke could immediately see that she seemed on edge—it had probably been a long hour for her!

“Hi, Mum!” It wasn’t at all hard to sound breezy. A little inappropriate, but the term ‘cocksure’ might have fitted as he and Tiberius stepped into the room. It was easy to forget the moments of discomfort alongside the knowledge that both Tiberius and his daughter thought it was all going to lead to a pretty good result.

"Hello, sweetheart!” She moved a little closer. It was her voice gave her away and he could tell she was trying her best not to throw her arms around him in public. Her eyes probed him—thankfully above the waistline—for any signs of damage. “Did everything go okay?”

"Yep, it was all fine, Mum. Great." He grinned to reinforce his words and she visibly relaxed.

"In fact, it went extremely well, Lucy,” put in Tiberius, moving past them. “Everything was just as expected. You should be proud of your son—he handled the whole procedure extremely well."

Luke could see his mum's relief multiply as they gathered together just in front of the doctor’s desk, and he shrugged as she gave him a satisfied look!

Tiberius continued, "Now, once the anaesthetic fully wears off, he may be a little sore for a few hours, but that’s normal and nothing to worry about. Tylenol will do fine if he needs it."

Lucy nodded—a mum who knew doses of kid's Tylenol backwards!

"As I already mentioned to Luke,” Tiberius said. “The SmartKlamp device needs to stay in place until he returns to have it removed by me in ten days time."

This time, Lucy was less circumspect and looked squarely at Luke’s groin. "Would it be better if we kept him off school for a few days?"

Tiberius shook his head. "To be frank, it's unlikely to be necessary. Usually a couple of days is ample to get over the procedure. Luke will probably be fine by Monday. As you can see for yourself, the device isn’t too bulky and he can just continue to wear his normal clothes and underwear.”

It felt a little awkward to Luke as all eyes turned to study his lump, but he bore it well. It was a small price to pay.

"That said," continued the doctor, "any form of hard contact sport is completely out of the question, so perhaps a letter excusing him would be appropriate."

Luke relaxed. It was the only other thing he needed—the get-out clause to keep him out of the locker room all week. He'd have to be careful to check what she wrote, though.

Tiberius continued his directions. “While wearing the device, Luke will still be able to urinate normally through the tube that covers the glans, but other than that, I’ve explained that he should try not to touch either the SmartKlamp or his penis."

Luke looked studiously at nothing, but felt Tiberius' beady gaze settle on him, making sure he got the message—no jerking or fiddling with either of your mechanisms! Okay, he got that, but did he HAVE to be so flagrant with the P word in front of his mother?

"Luke, you can also bathe or shower as normal," continued Tiberius, “but otherwise—like I said before—just get on with life, and try to forget it's there."

There was a pause, and Lucy shook her head in what appeared like pleasant surprise…and relief! “Well, I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised, Jonathan. Even though you did explain it quite thoroughly to us, it’s still hard to believe it’s been so straightforward. We really want to thank you, don’t we Luke.”

Luke nodded quickly.

Tiberius beamed. “It’s been my absolute pleasure, Lucy. Now, the post-op instructions are all written down here for you as well.” He handed her an envelope, which presumably contained those, and added, "Do either of you have any other questions you want to ask me at this point?"

Luke and his mum glanced at each other, and it didn't take long to realize they had none. There was nothing left to do except make an appointment for the week after next for him to come back and have the device removed. Turning to his desk, Tiberius ignored the computer and turned the pages of his diary to check his appointment schedule.

"Ten days from now is the usual...that would make it Monday." He flipped over another page, and then looked up. "But I just have no slots on that Monday. Let's make it Tuesday, shall we? One day extra won't make any difference."

Luke didn’t let it show, but inwardly he groaned at the additional delay. It would make a difference to him!

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

What difference does a day make? Or a week, or a month— even a year? Would that one day really have changed anything?


That one particular day...probably...

Ella was right. I did see her again, though not in good times. But still, not all of it was sad—there were many great times and moments that, looking back, were so funny, so happy! You just had to laugh.

You just had to have been there.

15. Sweet Sixteen

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Sweet Sixteen

Trailing behind his mum and Tiberius as the doctor escorted them back to the foyer, Luke found it hard to believe it was over. A few final words and Tiberius left them.

The waiting area had emptied, but to him it still felt as if every eye followed him as he passed through the foyer. Self consciously, he tried not to make his gating walk too obvious and discreetly carried his school jacket in a way that shielded his groin. As he passed, he glanced towards the reception desk, but Ella wasn’t there.

Outside, the dodgy weather had passed to be replaced by a glorious bright afternoon and they re-crossed the parking lot in warm sunshine. He climbed in with more care than normal and buckled up, wondering how long she'd hold out. The pulled out across the highway and back in the direction of the 285, and he smirked as his mum kicked into action.


Luke returned a blank expression. “Well what?” 

Her eyes flicked back across giving him one of her looks before, a hundred yards further, she turned into a Dunkin Donuts that fortuitously appeared on their right. “Don’t ‘well what’ me, young man! One of these days, you’ll have children of your own.” She sounded more bemused than tetchy. “Then you’ll know what a long hour that was. I don't know about you, but I need a coffee!” She pulled into the drive-thru and they both ordered.

“Well? What took so long?” she asked as they waited by the delivery window watching the girl fill a coffee and a vanilla smoothie. He couldn't help but smirk as the order came across. She was definitely edgy! He shrugged. “I dunno – it took a while just talking about it first, even before we went into the theatre.”

“A theatre?” Consternation widened her eyes as she pulled away. “A surgical theatre? I thought it was…”

He grinned again, interrupting her. “It was just a local anaesthetic.” It had been a bit of a shock to him too at the time – as well as hurting like hell - but that was all past now.

Drinks safely stashed in the cup holders and a maple frosted donut in his hand, they pulled back onto the highway off again. As they drove, he started from the beginning. He knew he should tell her something – even if just the basics. But, relieved it was over, the more he went on the more gushy and detailed he got. He even told her there was an assisting nurse, but left off that she was young and pretty.

For her part she seemed happy to listen as he babbled. By the time he finished, they were up onto the 400 heading north.

"Well, I'm glad I didn't know that before you went in!" She pulled a face, but seemed partially satisfied anyway.

"Honestly Mum - it wasn't that bad. It sounds worse than it was. Actually, I found it really interesting." Which was true. He'd never really thought about it before, but maybe it wouldn't do any harm to find out what kind of grades were needed for medical school. He could quite see himself being some dashing doctor!

"Even so, you need to take it easy for the next couple of days sweetheart,“ his mum continued. “I know Doctor Tiberius thinks you should be feeling fine by Monday for school,  but if it's still a bit sore, just say - we can always keep you off an extra day or so."

"Yeah - maybe..." He knew she meant well, but he was already determined that there was no way he was missing school. “Let's see how it goes; hopefully it won't be needed."

Fifteen minutes later, they were home.

Over dinner that night, it was like ‘20 questions’ and Luke found himself besieged on all sides as the three of them ganged up on him. You'd have thought he’d just survived major open-heart bypass surgery the way they went on. Even his dad!

Of course, there were lots of jokes about being ‘a cut above the rest' and stuff like that, but he didn’t mind. Now the operation was done, it was a weight off his shoulders and he felt quite relaxed as they bantered. As a result, they sat around the kitchen table much longer than normal, and by the end of the meal, the anesthetic had finally begun to wear off. There was a growing throbbing.

It was way past time for some painkillers and he winced a little as he stood. His mum saw the signs immediately and came to his aid.

"Come on you lot." She stood and started bustling around. "Luke needs to lie still for a bit. Can you two,” she pointed to Simon and his dad, “clear the table and clean everything up?" Both of them realized they weren’t being given a choice, but set about it willingly anyway.

"What say I run you a nice hot bath, sweetheart? And would you like some Tylenol?"

He nodded. Both sounded a good idea to him.

He took the tablets first and then lay quietly on his bed whilst she ran the water. A few minutes later, she popped her head around the door. "Okay, it's ready!"

Standing carefully, he joined her in the bathroom. She kissed him on the forehead. "I was proud of you today. You know that, don't you?"

He put it down to tiredness and the stresses of that unusual day, but he felt quite choked up as he hugged her. "Thanks Mum...for everything."

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

I can’t remember the last time Mum had run a bath for me, but she’d put bubble bath in the water and it did look nice and soapy and inviting.

First, I tested it with my hand. Not too hot; I guessed it should be fine.

Next, knowing that Simon would be on the prowl, I made sure I locked both the doors. He would want to talk, and I was all talked out!

Then I undressed  - extremely carefully  - and gave a long careful examination of the SmartKlamp that was now firmly attached to me, lifting it carefully to view it from all angles. Most of the loose skin of the shaft had been pulled forward and past the place where the device was gripped and locked tight. Inside the tube, my recently uncovered head nestled safely. There was no blood, but I was still covered with the remains of the evil yellow liquid. That couldn't wash off soon enough!

Next - I needed a pee; something I’d been putting it off for a while for good reason. When he'd plunged that agonising needle into the base of my dick, it looked like it had gone straight through the middle - right into the place where pee came through! Even though the he’d said that everything should be fine, it seemed impossible that he hadn't skewered something important. I expected the worst and held back releasing the stream.

I stood over the loo with some trepidation, waiting for the flow to come, yet holding it back at the same time.

Finally, it wouldn't be denied and I had to let it go - and sighed with a massive relief. Other than a light stinging for the first few seconds, everything flowed fine and looked the right colour. I tore off a strip of toilet paper to wipe the drips from the end as usual, but was foiled as I realised I couldn't so easily get at the end now.

That was going to be a problem!

I don’t know about you, but if I ever have a bath (and it’s infrequent - I prefer the shower), I like it full. Full - like brimming! I mean what’s the point in just dipping your ass in a couple of inches? But, on that day, Mum hadn't filled it too full, and this time I didn't mind. The truth was, I’d already begun to get some first hand experience of what Tiberius had meant by ‘altered sensations’!  

I knelt at first, unwilling to get my bits wet. But that became uncomfortable within a pretty short time, so I sat back, holding my tackle above the waterline before gently lowering it through the bubbles under the waves.

It was utterly and unbearably shocking!

My eyes watered and it was all I could do to not squeal as stinging bees consumed my wanger! As the hot water played over my open glans, to say it was a bit sensitive was a fucking understatement!

FOR HEAVENS SAKE! I gritted my teeth as, far too slowly, the bees left me alone. With all the booklets and detailed post op instructions, couldn’t someone have written SOMETHING about the importance of turning on the cold tap a bit more?

I sat up fast and put more cold water in the tub before daring to try it again. It was still quite sensitive, but I bore it and, after a few moments, the discomfort eased and I relaxed back in the tub in relief. After another few minutes I risked adding some hot water, gradually raising the temperature bit by bit to a comfortable level.

I must have been tired. It HAD been quite a day, and I hadn't slept well the night before, and I drifted off.

* * *

Some time later, Luke's eyes blinked open, surfacing from heavy sleep at the sound of tapping, and of his mum's voice calling through the bathroom door.

"Are you okay sweetheart?"  There was an edgy concern in her tone. How long he'd been out while he lay there while the water had gone cold he didn't know.

"Oh...yep, I’m fine." He yawned and tried to find his bearings. The throbbing had subsided, for which I was grateful. "It’s okay, I'm just getting out."

"Okay...just checking..." She sounded satisfied he hadn't passed away.

Carefully, he climbed out of the tub and let out the remains of the now tepid water. He shivered so, wrapping himself carefully in a towel, he headed into his room and dried off, before pulling on some PJs and crawling under his duvet. A few minutes later, he was just dropping off when she came in with a mug of hot chocolate and a couple of medicine bottles.

"This stuff is like the 'Night Nurse' we had in England," she said, shaking the bottle and unscrewing the lid. She poured a generous measure onto a dessert spoon. “It's for colds, but has painkillers in it and also stuff that helps you sleep."

Luke nodded as she dosed him up, though he didn’t think sleep would be a problem. He was knackered!

She took out two Tylenol and put them on his table. "I'll leave these here for the night, in case you need them. And the hot chocolate is your favourite double packet because I love you! Sleep well sweetheart - call me if you need me." She kissed his forehead and left.

Unable to wipe a satisfied smile off his face, he sat up and sipped the drink with enjoyment, reliving the highlights and surprises of the day. It was then that Simon made an appearance. A cheeky look on his face, he stuck his head in the door. "Come on then," he goaded. "Let's see it!"

"Yeah...right..." Si always wanted details. Luke sipped more of his drink and ignored him – it wasn't going to happen! He put down the still half-full mug of hot chocolate. "I'm going to bed - feel free to shut the door on the way out."

Simon studied the mug and didn’t seem put off. "Are you going to drink that?"

"Nope." Greedy git! "I gobbed in it though."

Simon shrugged, unimpressed. "So did I when I made it." Sniggering, he scooped up the mug and, thankfully, left him alone.

He turned off his bedside light and lay down. Despite the sleep, he felt whacked! If anyone had come in a couple of minutes later he wouldn't have known.

Hours later, in the middle of the night, he woke up disorientated in the darkness heavy and rom medicine-induced sleep. The snug warmness of his bedding was disturbed by a penetrating urgency; the desperate need to pee. With it, an accompanying hard, and quite painful erection.

His groin throbbed badly and it took several moments to figure out why that was. Then, memories awoke and he shifted slightly, pushing back the sheets to evaluate his predicament. What if Tiberius had got it wrong after all? What if the Klamp had slipped or even broken? What if, even now, he was bleeding all over his sheets. With the terrible throbbing, it felt impossible that something wasn’t really bad and he fretted. What should he do. Should he call his mum? Would he need to be rushed to the hospital?

The Klamp was trapped under his leg and he eased its position to release the constraint. It was the first erection he’d had since being cut and the throbbing pain and uncomfortable tightness made him begin to doubt the doctor’s prescription that there would be nothing to worry about.

Increasingly concerned and needing to investigate, he slid gingerly out of bed and stepped carefully towards the bathroom. Turning on the light, he peeled down his PJ bottoms…and breathed again in relief. His worries were unfounded. There was no blood. In fact there was nothing that didn't indicate that - like Tiberius had promised - the contraption was coping admirably, even with his boners!

But, shit was it tight!

The next thing that was apparent was that being unhooded didn't change the way his stiffened shaft leaned nicely forward when he got aroused. However, the strain he seemed to be putting on the mechanism felt enormous, and inside it, his dick appeared fat and inflamed.

Despite it, the Klamp was hanging on grimly to the skin of the shaft, pulling everything agonisingly tight as it did its job. The bad news was, in this state he realized it was almost impossible to pee straight!

Normally, with the hope of squirting into the loo rather than onto the seat, he would have grabbed a woody and forced it down to at least a horizontal position; their mum got upset if they peed on the seat!

But, with the doctor’s dire warning about damage and illegal touching, there was no way right then he was going to risk grabbing hold of this unusual device in any way!

With a flash of inspiration, he compromised by locking both doors. Stripping naked, he stood in the bathtub and let go, spraying everywhere! Afterwards he ran the showerhead to rinse off and wash down the tub, and dried himself off. And if anyone asked why he'd taken a shower in the middle of the night? Well, he'd think of something!

Relieving his bladder seemed to help settle the boner, though it still throbbed. To deal with that, he took two Tylenol washed down with a glass of water, all of which had mysteriously replaced the half-full mug of chocolate that Simon scoffed.

With that, he curled up and went back to sleep.

* * *

Several hours later, he yawned and stretched. Light was seeping through the blinds, announcing another day.

He was comfortable and, other than getting up that once in the middle of the night, had slept solidly; heavily enough that it took another few moments to remember that it was Saturday. This time yesterday he’d been looking forward, instead of thinking back!

The house was quiet and his bedroom looked comfortingly familiar, belying the fact that something had changed. Lifting the sheets, he touched his groin gently, confirming the existence of the unfamiliar equipment and the circumcision it was protecting. Carefully he peeked under the waistband of his PJ's to double check it really was there.

No doubt about it, there it lay, nestling down to one side.

Pulling the summer duvet over himself again, he noticed the fresh glass of water and two more Tylenol on the bedside drawers, bringing the obvious question.

So was he sore or not?  

He gently wiggled a bit.

Maybe not sore.

Certainly not the throbbing discomfort of the previous night, he decided. Perhaps 'jumpy' was a better word...from anything brushing even slightly against the top of the glans of his penis as it rested in the tube. He reached for the glass and took the tablets anyway.

Lifting back the bedding once more, he teased open his waistband and stared at the SmartKlamp and the promise of a new future that it now protected. He could look at it all day! But, on the other hand he decided as he glanced briefly at the clock, the day didn’t need to start quite yet. Even though it was nearly 9AM, he felt he deserved another half an hour, so rolled comfortably onto his side and dropped back to sleep.

Just another half an hour....

* * *

It was well after 11AM before he surfaced again, by which time he really needed to pee. And his cock was extremely stiff.


He pushed back the duvet at last, and the full daylight revealed a large and rather strange looking lump that magnified the shape of his woody, pushing out of the top of his PJ's. Similar to the previous night – though by no means as painful - the renewed erection was accompanied by a tight throbbing.

He got up and headed to the bathroom.

Leaning over the bowl more confidently this time, and without pressing on the mechanism, he tried to pee. It came out in a rush and, pushing instead right at the base of his erection, he fought to keep the stream down, which for some reason had also split and was squirting in two directions!

Gradually the flow subsided, as did his woody. Washing his hands, through the mirror, he saw Simon come in from his side. Clearly he’d heard noises and come to investigate. Ignoring him, he brushed his teeth

"Lazy sod! I’ve been up for ages – and I hope you're gonna wipe that up?" His brother sniggered, clearly enjoying himself as he spotted the mess on the seat. "You could always sit down and do it like a girl?"

He bit back a retort and then smirked to himself. Laugh it up and enjoy whilst you can little man, your time is just don't know it yet! He spat out the toothpaste and returned the brush to the glass they shared. "Bog off!"

Simon seemed unoffended and his tone became leery as he said, "Stacey called this morning...."

That got Luke's attention as, from his vantage point in the doorway, Simon smirked again aware he'd scored another point.

 "What do you mean, she called?” Phone? Door? He tried to sound offhand. “What did she want?"

"You!" Simon sniggered and leered. "And how did she get our number?"

"No idea!" he lied. "Now out! I want a shower."

Before his brother could ask any more difficult questions, he shoved him past the doorway on his side of the bathroom, and locked it. Then, knowing that his mum did not take kindly to anyone missing, he first wiped the seat, before hitting the shower. Peeling off PJ bottoms and tee, he set the temperature to something reasonable and carefully stepped into the bathtub to edge under the lukewarm water.

More than anything, he was totally fascinated by his glans, trying to make up for the sixteen years head start that most his age had in experiencing theirs!

It seemed to appreciate the interest.

As the refuelled erection began pulling everything tight, the end of his dick seemed huge. Growing to fill the whole tube, it peeked out of the end. Tentatively, he reached in and touched it - and yelped with surprise!

HOLY SHIT! That was going to take some getting used to!

The mushroom shaped glans looked quite red and angry. Not surprising really he decided; anyone would be angry if they’d been dragged out of a sixteen-year womb and then poked! Sensibly choosing to leave it alone, he took his time washing, in no hurry to go anywhere. Drying off, he dressed simply, ready for a day sitting around doing very little, and wandered downstairs.

“Morning sunshine!" His mum and dad both stopped what they were doing and swivelled to appraise him as he stepped into the kitchen. "Sleep well?" added his dad, raising his eyebrows not so subtly.

He grunted a reply, still glad to see them despite his dad's attempt at being solicitous. He hoped they weren’t going to be weird. Yesterday had been fun bantering with them, but it was time to move on - and they certainly did NOT need to be given details of what was happening between his legs!

'"Yep - pretty good, thanks." He left it at that, easing himself carefully a seat. They didn't push it and his dad just ruffled his hair as he passed. He watched them both as they busied themselves around the kitchen.

His mum was getting packets and tins out of the food cupboard. "I'm just about to start lunch sweetheart. Soup and rolls. Can you wait?"

He nodded. Soup sounded good.

"How are you feeling today?” she continued. “Are you still sore down there?"

Luke smiled to himself. Trust his mum to get straight to the point. He shrugged and kept them at a healthy distance. "No, not seems to have pretty much worn off now." This wasn't strictly true...he was as sensitive as’s just he wasn't going to talk about that!

"Well that didn't take too long, did it?" She seemed satisfied that her son would probably survive the day. "Still, why don't you have a quiet day today anyway?"

Luke nodded again, though he would lay odds on EXACTLY what she was thinking…where I can keep an eye on you! Still, that's just what he was planning anyway. Books. Lots of video games. Maybe a movie or two. For now, he picked up the AJC and shuffled out the TV guide.

His mum paused from where she was stirring the soup and frowned. She was looking at the wall colander. "Mmmm - I'd forgotten that."

"Forgotten what Hun?" Geoff looked across expectantly.

"Well the Kears are meant to be coming round for dinner tomorrow."

Luke looked up as she flicked her eyes his direction. "It dawned on me yesterday when we were checking my diary for next week's appointment for you, but then I forgot about it. We should probably cancel. I'll..."

"No, don't do that," Luke interrupted her and she studied him, questions in her eyes. “I mean, if I'm meant to be okay for school the next morning, I'm sure I'll be fine by tomorrow. I don't want to make a big deal about it, and anyway, I'd quite like to see Owen."

"Owen Kear?" She frowned. "Why, what's wrong?"

Luke pulled a face. What was right when it came to Owen? "Oh - come on, you've seen him, he's not exactly Mr Happy - I'm trying to help him out a bit, that’s all."

She looked thoughtful. "He certainly needs some friends, that's for sure. Anne is quite worried about him. Well, as long as you're still feeling okay by tonight, we'll not change it." At that, she disappeared in the direction of the garage.

He in turn went back to searching the channel listings…until he was interrupted again.

"Stacey called. She was looking for you."

He didn't even need to look up to catch his Dad's knowing smirk. He returned a non-committal grunt. "So I heard."

"Any idea what she wanted?"

God, he was so obvious!

"No idea - you took the call, not me." He flipped the page, hoping he'd get the idea.

"His body! " A voice called from the hallway.

Bloody Simon.

Another warning voice emanated from the garage. "Simon Summers – behave!  You're not too old to have your backside tanned, trust me!"

Bloody hell! Was everybody listening in to this conversation?

His dad unsuccessfully tried to smother a grin. "I couldn't figure it out” His tone was casual. “How was it that she get our number?"

"OK - that's enough you two." His mum marched back into the kitchen. "Leave him alone!”

His dad retreated to the fridge and she took over. "Sweetheart, she said that she already gave you her number,” she paused long enough on that little revelation to make him squirm, before adding sweetly, “but I wrote it on the pad for you anyway."

For God's sake! He shook his head in despair.

After lunch was done, Simon finally cornered him as he was tidying his room. Even the hospitalised didn't get out of that chore in their house! Luke fully expected more course humour, but Simon surprised him.

"So what are you doing today?" Simon asked.

"Nothing much."

"Mum's left the Hoover on the landing - I was going to do mine. Do you want me to do yours too?"

"Sure - thanks!"

Without further ado, his brother got to it and vacuumed both rooms. Afterwards, he took the Hoover downstairs before returning.

" plans for the afternoon?" Luke assumed he would go up to Toby's.

"Nah..." Simon shrugged and seemed reflective. "I thought I'd keep you company."

Luke brightened, but Simon had other things in mind other than just Nintendo. "Can I ask you a question first?"

"Sure..." Luke remained cautious, suspecting there would be more.

"What's it like?"

"Getting circumcised you mean?" Luke shrugged. It wasn't hard to what would be on Simon's mind. "Why do you wanna know?" He had his suspicions their mum would be at the bottom of it.

Simon stretched out on his bed and stared at the ceiling. "Mum thinks I should have it done too."

Hell fire! Luke was impressed. She was quick! "She did mention it," he admitted. "She's right - at least you should check."

His brother looked glum. "That's what she said too. She came to tell me about it last night, after you’d gone to bed."

Through narrowed eyes, he studied the horizontal form that had stolen his bed and invaded his personal space. Wasn’t he the one meant to be recuperating?

“Move,” he said brusquely. With an abrupt flick of the thumb he cleared it. So caught up was Simon with uncomfortable memories, that he complied without complaint, rolling off the bed and settled on the floor with his back to a wall.

"She wanted to know whether the skin around the top of my dick came back properly." Simon bit his lip and shook his head. His face said it all!

Luke settled onto his bed, lying on his side to keep the SmarKlamp resting comfortably. "So Mum already cornered you?" he murmured. Damn, she worked fast sometimes!

Simon nodded dolefully.

“I bet she didn't say 'dick' though!" he added, relieved it had been his brother that had suffered the indignity and not him!

Simon seemed to brighten up and sniggered. "No....not specifically 'dick', you're right.' He looked thoughtful for a moment and studied one of his nails. "I think she actually said 'dinky'..."

He was completely taken in. "Dinky? You're kidding me! She called it a dinky? That's unbelievable! Does she think your still six?" Then he caught his brother smirking and knew he’d been had. Simon laughed so hard – and he had to laugh too...slaughtered by the vision of their mum casually asking them how their dinkys were doing!  

Like all good Englishmen, Simon was classically trained in how the take the piss out of the Irish, the Welsh and the Scottish. He did accents rather well, and put on an Irish brogue. "Mudder...oi tink dere's sometink wrong wid moi dinky!" His affected appearance of sheer panic was a picture!

Luke’s sides began to hurt as much as his own dinky!

“Actually, she said penis....” Simon admitted finally, shutting his eyes as though to try to block out that humiliating memory. “Oh God – did I really talk to my mother about my dick!!” He groaned, shaking his head in despair. “Anyway, she talked about foreskins and that fimis thing...or whatever it’s called."


"Whatever." Simon shrugged, hugging his middle. "So, I told her I didn't know and it was probably all fine. I hoped it might be enough to put her off, but you know what she's like; she insisted on checking! I had to...well...crap it was embarrassing!" He grimaced. “She made me try to pull it know, a bit like if you're jerking. It doesn't… pull down, I mean." He seemed to be rambling and Luke recalled the memories and similar feelings he'd had during his first appointment with the specialist.

"Mum said that it would need fixing if it was like that, and I would probably have the same thing as you. She said I should ask you what it was like."

Luke felt for him. After his mum being so impressed with doctor Tiberius, he didn't see much chance of Simon avoiding his own trip to the clinic. He made a quick decision.

"Do you want to see it?"

Simon looked up, brightening hopefully. "Would that be okay! I promise to stay in this afternoon and keep you company...."

Luke sighed. "Fine...but at least go shut the door!"

Simon rolled his eyes, but at least he went to make sure both doors were closed.

Luke sat down on the edge of his bed and lowered his loose sweat pants - just a little – slipping the item in question carefully past the waistband of his boxers. The sweatpants were old and baggy and the combination was the loosest most comfortable he could put together.

His brother crouched on the floor, an intent look on his face. In awe, his eyes widened. "Bloody" He trailed off and looked up in surprise.


"Sorry..." Simon blinked and seemed flustered. "It's just - I've never seen...well...I didn't know you shaved..."

Luke shook his head and took it in his stride. "Oh for heavens sake! If you have to know," he said, feigning patience, "it's just trimmed. I had to for the surgery, so don't push it!"

Simon blinked. "Oh..." He looked sheepish and stood up to perch on the bed, too. "Well, come on then, what did they do? And how does that thing work again?"

It took a while, but Luke explained the full procedure that he’d undergone. He suspected that Simon had sneaked more than one look at the booklet anyway, but seeing it in the flesh (so to speak) was quite different.

"If Mum is thinking about getting you done too," he said at last, replacing everything back inside his underwear and slipping up the loose sweatpants once more. "Now you've seen one, first hand, what do you think?"

He never got to find out what Simon thought.

Earlier, they'd both heard the distant chime of the phone and ignored it. Now  there was a tap at the door followed, moments later, by their mum popping her head in. She held out the cordless. "Luke - it's for you. It's Ryan."

He stood to reluctantly take the phone from his mum, thinking fast. "Hey!" He tried to sound upbeat.


Luke could sense the leading edge of unspoken questions. The silence extended for several seconds before Ryan continued. "Are you okay?"

Luke tried not to bristle. "Why shouldn't I be?" he replied casually.

"I called last night. Your mom said you were in bed."

Ry had called? She'd forgotten to tell him that. He fretted, wondering what she'd told him.

"And you disappeared after lunch yesterday. Are you sick or something?"

"Oh - that..." Luke tried to sound dismissive. "I had to go to the dentist."

From the bed, Simon glared at him as he delivered the lie. He waved him off.

In his mind’s eye, he imagined what it would be like having this conversation face to face with Ryan. Ry was one of those guys that it was difficult to lie to. He could just see his face – dark intelligent eyes would search him, measuring his words and body language, and see right through him.

"The dentist?" Even then, his friend sounded doubtful. "I thought you had a check-up just after Easter?" It was true, Luke knew. And he'd been given a clean bill of health too.


Simon shook his head and made faces.

"Oh..." Ryan paused, as if judging the matter. Finally he seemed willing to move on. "I was gonna shoot some hoops and go in the pool this afternoon. You wanna come over?"

One-on-one around the basket, and swimming. Neither activity sat well with the newly circumcised. Luke knew he had to be careful with the excuses though.

“Wish I could, but we’ve got quite a bit of stuff on today, and tomorrow we’re across with the Kears. Sorry…” The best lies always kept close to the truth and didn’t stray too much into details. He could sense the unseen shrug at the other end of the line.

“Pity. Well, see you Monday then,” came the reply.

“Aha… See ya…” He disconnected the line.

“You lying git!” squealed Simon, aghast. “Toothache?”

Luke refused to be repentant. “So what?”

“You’re weird – why don’t you just tell him?”

“’Why? It’s private. And anyway, it’s none of his business.” He tossed the phone down on the end of his bed and returned to his comfortable position.

Simon shook his head, clearly still put out by his choices.

“Look,” said Luke, “I’m not like you…”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

What DID that mean? Luke sighed silently; and he felt uncomfortably guilty. “I don’t find it easy to tell people stuff like this, that’s all. Can’t we just drop it?”

 His brother shrugged and didn't seem convinced.

“Listen, I need to call Stacey. Why don’t you get the Wii set up? I’ll be down in a bit.” As he left, Luke recovered the phone and the number from where he had it stashed and started dialling. It was a relief that it was Stacey that answered this time.

"Luke Summers!" she purred. "I wondered when you were going to call!"

There she was - at it again, teasing him with his name. He felt quite guilty speaking to her, because actually he quite liked her - just not in the way he guessed she was hoping. Was it ever possible to have a friendship that wasn't about sex? Those seemed hard to come by!

They chatted for a few minutes. "I just wanted to let you know how things are going with Owen," she said at last, making the guy sound like some school project she was working on.

Which, in some ways, it was!

"Oh, okay...and is he, you know, doing alright?"

"Well - it's early days yet, but I'm planning a party next week and I’ve invited him, to try to get him to socialise a bit more.”

“Wow – that’s great Stacey – when did you say it was?”

“Next Friday evening. The problem is, he didn’t exactly jump at the invitation, so maybe you could encourage him a bit.”

“Yep, I can do that," he replied eagerly. "In fact they’re all coming round for dinner to our place tomorrow. I can mention it then.” He had no idea of the trap he was stepping into.

“Great – so you’ll be able to tell him you’re coming too. That should do it!”

Oh crap! Luke backpedalled, fast. "Oh...well, I don't know Stacey...I guess I hardly know any of your friends and I'm not sure what we're doing on Friday..." He stammered, feeling a net closing about him.

She probably already knew she had him and replied easily. "It’ll be really good for Owen, and if he knows another person there – especially you – you know he’s much more likely to agree to it. Come on, it'll be fun."

"Well, okay then." He relented, helplessly realising it was impossible to actually say no considering it was him that had asked for her for help in the first place.

"Great!" He could see the bright smile on her face. "It's at my house," she added as he wrote down the date and time and took her address too.

"Anything else I should know?"

"Well it's my birthday party, silly!" Her tinkling laugh spilled out of the handset." "Sweet Sixteen!" There was a murmur as she disconnected. “Don't be late..."

He put down the handset.

Oh hell – how did he get himself into these things?

16. Coming Clean

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Coming Clean

Down in the basement, Luke and Simon started a new game and waited for the disk to load.

"Thanks for staying in this afternoon, Si." Luke meant it. Even without Toby, Simon had plenty of other friends to hang out with and stuff he could do with a Saturday afternoon. He, on the other hand, was housebound. Showing off his new hardware was probably a small price to pay for Si to keep him company that day.

Simon shrugged. "That’s alright; Toby's away anyway. His Nan and Grandpa are visiting and they all went to Stone Mountain for the day. I’ve got nowhere else to go."

Luke doubted that sociable Si was completely at a loose end, but was grateful anyway.

Their home, like most in their cul-de-sac, had been built into the side of slight hill. That resulted in a house that, from the front, looked like a two-story build, but from the side revealed all three floors. The back deck was raised to accommodate the levels, with steps down to the backyard.

He had always thought it was a great house, and like many similar homes in the area, the basement level had been done up to create various extra rooms...including, for them, a home cinema! The soundproofed, windowless space had been there when they moved in, and rather than take the trouble to rip it all out, the previous owners had even sold them the projector and sound system at a good price. Keeping it had been their mum and dad's attempt to try to wean them off England.

More recently they had plugged a Nintendo Wii into the system. It was hard to beat playing action games on a huge screen with surround sound.  They fired up everything again to play Star Wars. With the lights down low, they sprawled on bean bags operating the consoles and watched the screen—as usual, making their own colorful commentary as they drove down through the levels of the complex multiplayer saga.

“So, what did Stacey want?” Simon's unblinking gaze remained focused on the game as he probed.

“Nothing much,” Luke replied, though he doubted it would satisfy his brother.

“She rang you, and then you rang back, just to say nothing?” Simon tone carried patent disbelief as he stepped out from behind a wall to dispatch an Empire underling. "Yeah...right..."

Luke shrugged. Whatever...

Thirty seconds later. "So, what did she really want?"

Luke wasn't really surprised. This was how Simon worked; patiently digging until he got what he wanted. He sighed. He was in a good mood, so he might as well save them both some time.

“If it bothers you, she just called because she wanted to tell me something.”

“What? That she wants your babies?” Simon sniggered again, and received a cushion on his head as payment.

"No, asshole. If you want to know…”

“I want!”

Luke rolled his eyes. “As I was saying—if you want to know, she was just inviting me to a party next week.”

That got Simon's attention. “There's a party? What kind of party? When? Who's invited?” Simon liked details.

"Not you, for a start!"

His brother pulled a face.

“If you have to know, it's her birthday party and it’s next Friday. And, before you assume anything, I’m only going to take Owen Kear.”

“You’re taking Owen out to a party?” Simon's eyebrows flicked up and he sniggered.

Luke ignored the jibe and they continued to the next level as he explained what he was actually trying to do.

“But Stacey still rang you to invite you to her birthday!” Simon reminded Luke once he'd finished.

"So?" Luke shrugged, though he had an uncomfortable feeling that Simon’s impeccable logic was right.

Simon got right to the point. "So why are you so cagey about her?”

“I’m not cagey!”

“Really?" Simon cackled with goading laughter. "I bet she has guys begging at her door, yet she nearly dribbles on you every time we go to Longhorn! Come on—how obvious can it be?”

“She does not dribble! Don't be a gross git! We’re just friends...actually hardly that, even. I don't really know her!”

The disbelief hung there as Simon watched him for a few moments before he shook his head and returned his attention to the game. Star Wars was their current favorite, and they usually played in cooperative mode—and a good job too, as Luke fell off a roof, right on top of Darth Vader. Rushing to help, as the sounds of light sabres and blasters increased, Simon distracted the Dark Jedi, while Luke limped off to find an energy booster.

“Does it hurt?”

Luke glanced at his life points. He'd been badly mauled. "I'm gonna need the next health stash we find."

"No, I mean your dick..."

“Oh...that!" Luke shrugged. He'd replenished on Tylenol just after lunch; not that he really needed them. "Not really. I took a few pills, but it's fine."

Luke studied his brother curiously. "So—you never said. What did you think of it?"

"Your dick?" Simon smirked. "Actually, I was surprised you even showed me."


"I'm the gay freak remember." He grinned as if to take the sting out of his self-deprecation.

"You’re a bloody idiot!" Luke didn't return the grin and went back to the game. He didn't like this kind of stuff from his brother.

"Okay, okay—I was just kidding."


"Jeez—sorrreee!" Simon shook his head. There was silence for a while, interspersed with the sounds of war.

"Anyway," Simon added. "If you want to know, my light sabre works quite well as it is!"

Luke could hear the cheeky undertone, and started snickering. "Does it make a noise?"

Simon howled. "It freaking lights up!"

They lost it for a bit and had to put the game on hold. Finally, Luke got a hold of himself. He was curious. "Doesn't it bother you, then?"

"What? Being gay?"

"No." Luke shook his head. "Having a bunch of skin hanging off your dick?"

Simon didn't seem bothered to answer, but restarted the game.

He pressed. "I mean surely all the guys in your class are cut?"

"Wouldn't know...never looked..." The reply was too wooden to be true, and anyway Simon's shoulder started to shake with laughter.

"Lying git!"

Simon smirked and said nothing. He flicked a grin in Luke’s direction. "So is that why you got it done?"

Luke squirmed as they went to the next level. THAT was a loaded question, and the real answer wasn’t one he’d felt that comfortable sharing—even with his own brother. He glanced towards Simon. "Honestly?"

Simon didn't reply and Luke took that as a yes. He paused a beat, though they still kept playing. It seemed easier that way.

"Well, I guess at first it was because I didn't really want to keep being any different from any of the other guys. It looks like we’ll be living here for quite a while, and you get teased a bit for having a chunk of skin hanging off your junk. I was just fed up with it."

Simon nodded and Luke suspected his brother had probably got much the same himself as he'd got older. "I think that how it is now—or will be—looks a lot better on a guy.” He thought Simon would jump on it, suggesting that he had a thing for guys’ dicks, but Simon seemed content to change the subject.

“So, Stacey knows Owen then?” Simon murmured.

“Yes, that’s what I said. They go to the same school.”

“Creek?" Simon remained glued to the screen.

“Yes.” Luke studied his brother carefully. Si knew all this, so where was he heading?

“Where they have that GSA group, you mean….” Simon didn’t need to look up for Luke to feel the huge import of those words.

“Oh…yes, I guess so." Uncomfortably, he remembered the events of several weeks. Now it was back to bite him in the backside! He glanced over as his brother expertly flicked the control pad, causing death and destruction in his wake "Si…?"

"Aha..." Simon didn’t take his eyes from the on-screen action.

"How did you know you liked Toby Skerrit...more than just a friend, I mean?"

Simon played for a moment more, and then dropped the game into pause to consider Luke curiously. After a moment he restarted the game. They continued playing, until, "Why do you wanna know?"

Luke shrugged, not willing to say. "No reason..."

They continued playing, and Luke assumed there would be nothing more forthcoming. Then, dropping into pause again, Simon opened his mouth; and then closed it as if unsure of the words.

"Actually, I don't know," he finally admitted. "It kind of snuck up on me, unexpectedly. I didn't really do anything...." He trailed off, as if there were blame to be apportioned for the attraction. Staring at nothing, he seemed to see something Luke couldn't.

After a moment, he continued. "I just began to like being around him. He's fun—I mean you know what he's like. He can be as daft as a clown one moment and serious the next."

He paused, and then went on with remarkable honesty. "But I like him too—I mean how he looks and the way he is...and....I kind of...well, I just think about him a lot." He seemed as surprised as Luke by the honest and quite revealing appraisal, and flushed. While he hadn’t totally spelt it out, Luke got the picture.

"I can't help it…sorry if it sounds weird to you." Simon hung his head, unable to look at his brother, as though ashamed by the things he’d admitted.

That hadn’t been Luke’s intention at all! “No it doesn’t sound weird at all—not if you like him,” he said hurriedly, but he could see that Simon still felt disturbed by his feelings.

Simon hung his head. "Sorry... I…well, I’ve never felt like this with anyone before. It's still really freaking me out. Sometimes I wish it would just go away and I would be like normal people…you know…"

To Luke, it sounded so familiar. "Have you thought about telling him how you feel?” he asked. He stared at nothing and knew he was thinking more about someone else.

"Are you kidding?!” Simon’s retort was angry. “Risk getting marked as a homo? Be known as 'the queer’ in class for the rest of school?"

"Hey!" Luke came back at him harshly—angry at the indictment of them both. "Don't call yourself that!"

Frustrated, Simon threw down the controller and Luke watched, mesmerized, as Simon’s on-screen character became helpless to defend itself against the multiple hits that piled up. Life began to ebb away under the onslaught.

"Crap!" Simon muttered as, too late, he realized his danger. He tried to reach again for the controls to save himself. Luke saw the danger too, but was much too far away to help. Moments later, the damage broke Simon’s character and he slumped onto the floor, his life force ebbing to zero.

Simon’s face darkened becoming morose and frustrated…and angry. "But that's what they would call me wouldn’t they?" he said. "Nobody likes fucked-up gay kids."

It wasn’t the fear of being overheard from upstairs—they both knew that the room was well soundproofed. From someone who hardly ever swore, it was the painful outburst that really shocked Luke.

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

There's that old phrase 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words...'. Well, you know the rest. It's total crap and whoever came up with that stupid little ditty knows nothing about how pain can be inflicted; how words can kill as effectively as a light saber!

Si was right, of course. And however much I wanted to protect and encourage him, the honest truth was—is—it's much easier to be straight. In a different sense, I knew I had to be straight with Simon, too.

* * *

Luke studied his brother, wondering how—and where—to start.

"Si..." he began. His voice was tentative. Was there ever going to be an easy way of doing this?

"What!" His brother's anger still brimmed as he began to reset the level.

“Just because we like guys—whatever crappy stuff people might say about us—that stuff isn’t who or what we are…"

You can never plan life, and there would have been no way earlier that day that Luke would have thought he'd be outing himself to his brother within a few hours. Perhaps it was best that way? No chance to make things up or figure out ways of bottling out.

Luke knew he wasn't saying it very well. In fact, he was hardly saying it at all! He held his breath, wondering if Si would get it, even then. In front of them, the screen blinked, awaiting further instructions, but he could see his brother's brow furrow as he worked it over, his mathematical brain trying to figure through the logic of what he’d just heard.

Simon stared. His surprise became quizzical; searching and hopeful, checking for wind-up or deceit. Luke twitched into a wan, lopsided smile and shrugged. Saying anything more was unnecessary.  It was enough and Simon's face took on a wide grin as the change happened.

It was worth it all, just for that moment! Sure, they could fight like cat and dog sometimes, but when it came down to it, Simon was his little brother and he'd kill anyone who tried to fuck with him. Through all the years they had grown up together, Luke had always felt he could read Si like a book, and that day was no exception as he watched the sense of relief blossom. It was like the flick of a switch as he watched the weeks, probably months of uncertainty brushed away by the knowledge that they were alike. So who cared what anyone else thought!

"NO SHIT!" The grin dropped and Simon's face hardened. "Why the hell didn't you tell me this before?"

Luke flinched, knowing that the swearing was an indication of his brother’s renewed strong feeling. He shrugged, staying away from most of the answer. "Because I haven't known myself for long."

"How long?"

"I dunno. A couple of weeks...maybe a bit more..." Simon still looked affronted and Luke pulled a face. "Come on, how long did you know yourself before you eventually told me!"

Simon's face softened as he accepted the truth of it, and he got hold of himself. "Okay, sorry. You're right—forget all that! I knew you would be—well I hoped, anyway…" His grin became wistful

Luke rolled his eyes. How the hell could Si know anything? However, it was a relief just to be able to talk about it all at last, and he didn't challenge it.

Simon's delight was honest and infectious. "But how? How did you know? I thought you fancied Stacey? Do you like guys AND girls?" Questions came thick and fast.

"No I don't fancy Stacey! That really is only to help Owen."

"Oh...oops!" Simon giggled. "I think I got the wrong idea!" His eyes went wide and his mouth dropped. “NO…so…so you like Owen then?”

“NO, I DO NOT!” Luke glared at his brother at the mere idea of it.

"Okay, forget I said that!" Simon’s words stumbling out and tripping him up in their haste. "Tell me the rest of it! Tell me everything!"

The game was pushed to one side as they continued to talk quietly and privately, down in the basement.

"So what do you think Mum and Dad will think?” Simon asked eventually. “You think they'll be mad or something?"

That had to be the million-dollar question, and one that had been on Luke’s mind a lot, too.

“Do you think we should we tell them…about being gay?” Simon added.

“I’m not ready for that yet,” Luke replied quickly. Was there ever going to be a right time for that? “Telling you is enough for now. Is that okay?”

"They’ll need to know eventually, though, don’t you think?”

Luke knew Simon was right. It was also very like his little brother to be uncomfortable keeping more secrets. “Soon,” he said. They should talk to their parents—just not quite yet.

Simon nodded and then grinned again. “So…” He now seemed to get to what he saw as the juicy part, "if it’s not Owen, is there someone you really fancy?"

Luke wasn't quite ready to go this far yet and start spilling names—even with his brother! "Nah...not really at the moment." Maybe Simon guessed he was holding out, but he let it go.

"You'll tell me though when there is?" Simon pressed.

"You'll be the first to know!" Luke said.

"You mean the second!" Simon sniggered, and that set them off giggling again for a while!

Then, unexpectedly, an 'out of the box' idea came to Luke. He considered his brother thoughtfully. “You know this thing with phimosis and being circumcised?”

“What about it.” Simon looked wary.

"Well…why don't you ask Toby?"

That got his brother's attention!

"Yeeewww! Ask him about my DICK?" Simon pulled a face. "Don't be an asshole! I can't do that...that would be...weird."

"Why would it?" Luke countered, more sure now. With a smirk, he challenged his brother. "Is he circumcised? Or is he one of that long list of guys you've never checked out?"

"Okay, yes, I've looked." Simon rolled his eyes grudgingly and then grinned. "And yes...of course he is."

"So...then tell him that you're thinking about getting it done, too. Ask his advice about what it's like. You never know, maybe it will open up something new between you?"

Simon brightened at that. "Hey, that's actually not a bad idea. Is that what you did?"

"Mmmmm…kind of..." Luke said, a little uncomfortably. If talking to a guy from New York on Facebook counted!

Fortunately, Simon didn’t seem bothered to press the point and Luke stood at last and stretched. He grunted, taking a moment to adjust the Klamp so that it hung more comfortably. Then he left Simon with Toby and Darth while he went up to the kitchen to down a couple more Tylenol.

* * *

The next day, they were just at the end of the traditional Sunday roast when it happened.

They rarely used the formal dining room, as most day-to-day meals were eaten at the kitchen table. Of all the rooms in their house, Luke considered the dining room to be his least favorite. He wondered why that was? Was it because they hardly ever went in there, or did they hardly eat there because no one else liked the formal setting, either?

Of course, there were times when it felt right—like Thanksgiving, or Christmas. There were also times, like with the Kears that day, when there were so many people to seat, there was no other sensible option.

Around the admittedly quiet beautiful table, the eight of them sat on the upholstered, high-backed chairs. For once, it actually felt nice to eat there. The table was stuffed with food, and everyone was in a good mood. It had been one of his mum’s best—a full roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puds, veg and all the trimmings.

“I won’t say no!” Steven Kear’s slightly glistening forehead bobbed up and down as Geoff opened another bottle of red and proffered it. “And where on earth did you find English mustard here?” He scooped another massive dollop onto his plate to join the second helping of roast beef and roast potatoes, already there.

“Dad’ll need a snooze after all that!” Owen chuckled.

Luke had to smile, too. And why was it that the Welsh still called it English Mustard? Didn’t they have Welsh Mustard?

“Luce gets it at the Farmers Market,” Geoff said. “You can get quite a lot of British stuff. Even Brown Sauce!”

“I’ll have to take you, Anne,” Lucy put in. “It’s not far.”

Geoff waved the bottle in Anne’s direction, and she nodded. “Yes, a little more, thanks.”

As Luke shovelled in another forkfull of roast beef, he studied Steven Kear. He was definitely well into middle age spread, he decided. Owen’s parents seemed quite a bit older than Luke’s own mum and dad. Maybe they’d married late?

Laying his own knife and fork on the plate, he stood.  “More wine, Becks?” He lifted up the juice jug and offered it.  She giggled, and even her plate was empty after the sumptuous main course, he noticed. For someone who usually pecked at her food, THAT was a minor miracle!

They all watched Becky pick up Simon's glass as well. Unsurprisingly, and to everyone's amusement, it had been the precocious little girl who had arranged the seating around the table that lunchtime, placing herself center stage, next to Simon.

"Simon's having more, too," she said, pulling Simon’s glass close. As Luke gallantly poured, Simon took it well.

"That, Lucy, was stunning!" Steven Kear declared ten minutes later in his strong, musical, Welsh accent. He pushed back his plate and ­manoeuvred his rather portly belly to a more comfortable position. Lucy beamed with pleasure, and Geoff lifted the recently opened bottle of the red Cote du Rhone invitingly. Stephen eyed it longingly enough, that Anne seemed to take pity.

"Okay," Anne sighed. "I'll drive..."

“Dad, you’re going to be snoring so bad tonight!” Owen complained, shaking his head.

Everyone laughed. It was a relief, thought Luke, that Owen seemed to be in a good mood for a change. He’d certainly cleared his plate with as much enthusiasm as his dad!

“It was a superb dinner, Luce,” Geoff agreed. “Thank you!  Now, anyone got room for desert?”

A stupid question really.

“Let’s just clear the debris first,” Geoff suggested, “then apple pie and custard it is!” Empty plates were passed up to one end to be stacked, ready to carried out to the kitchen. “It just shows,” Geoff added, “you don’t have to live in the UK to know how to eat properly!”

And THAT was when it happened.

Luke knew his dad had only meant it as a passing remark; not one that was supposed to actually mean anything, but the Kear family went icily quiet and he saw their faces darken. Steven, recently warm and jovial after eating so well, became cold and stony. Owen stared at his empty plate.

“We’re...not sure...” Anne began.

She seemed dismayed as their family tensions spilled out onto their hosts dinner table. “We’ve been talking about it. We’re probably going back home again… beginning to look at flights and costs and things. Maybe it’s for the best." She shrugged helplessly, and Steven took a long swig of his wine, either unable or unwilling to offer her any support.

Becky looked horrified. “Who said we’re leaving?" Her head snapped around the table. "I don’t want to go…Mum, I won’t.”

“Becky love, we haven’t decided," Anne muttered hurriedly. "We’re just thinking about it, that’s all."

“Yes, you have!” Becky cried. “That’s why you keep arguing all the time! Just because of Owen!”

“Becky love—not here.” Steven remained darkly angry.

“WHY? Why is it only what HE wants that counts? What about me? What about what I want?” The little girl was incensed, refusing to be silenced. “I won’t leave all my friends again. You can’t make me!”

Across the difficult scene, the soft background music of popular ballads continued to play. Luke studied his knees.

Becky rounded on her brother. “I HATE YOU. You always ruin EVERYTHING!” With that she pushed up from her chair and ran out of the room. Eyes watched, none willing to stop her go, and then returned to stare at Owen.

Slowly, uncomfortably, he got to his feet too. His face said it all. “I’m not really hungry anymore. May I be excused?” Painfully, he looked to Lucy for permission to escape the hell the meal table had rapidly become.

“Of course, Owen.”

Stiffly, he too left the room.

As he left, Luke’s mum caught his eye. A subtle message passed between them. He tried to sound more upbeat as he said, “May I be excused, too, Mum? I’m stuffed!” She nodded and he stood as well, exiting to find Owen.

On his way out, Simon chirped up. “Me, too, Mum. Becky and I were going to get our roller blades on.” Becky had some new ones and had brought them specifically to show to Simon, no doubt to get him to play with her.

In the hall, Luke and Simon exchanged silent shrugs. They would both do what they could.

Luke finally found the burly Welsh teen out in the backyard, sitting on the bottom step of the deck, shuffling his pack of Yugioh cards and laying them on the treated wood. Luke had never been into game cards himself. What self-respecting sixteen-year-old plays Yugioh, he wondered?

A geek, or one with no friends?

Owen looked bleak, and not the geeky type, as Luke settled on the top step next to him.

“They fucking hate me—all of them.” Listening to him, Luke couldn’t help but wonder how much truth there might be in how Owen saw it.

Just then, Becky came around the corner of the house, followed by Simon, both carrying their roller blades. She saw Owen and glared. “I HATE YOU!” she screamed, eyes burning as she turned and stalked off.

Simon shrugged, and Owen and Luke just stared at the bushes. There was nothing to be said.

“Come on—why not at least come with me to the party on Friday?” Earlier in the day, Luke had put this to Owen and tried to convince him, but with little luck.

“I hate parties!” Owen muttered. “Anyway, what’s the bloody point if we’re going home anyway?”

“Well, exactly,” Luke countered. “So, you might be going home—or you might not—but at least show everyone you can still enjoy a night out."

Owen continued to glower, and Luke waited.  It had been a last ditch effort—no doubt doomed to failure. "Do it for your mum, if nothing else.”

At that, Owen's face twisted—maybe at the thought that she was suffering almost as much as he felt he was. Luke pounced. “I’ll give you a game of Yugioh...” he pleaded, playing his last card.

 “Okay, okay, you made your point. I’ll go.” Owen took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. He picked up his card deck. “I’ll still take you up on the game though...and I’ve got a spare deck!”

So they played cards for the next hour—a game that seemed to Luke to have overly complex rules that constantly changed. He didn’t mind that he lost all the time, though. It was escapism—and that was Owen all over! Who cared really? What mattered was that Owen was coming to the party on Friday.

He just hoped to God that it would somehow help!

* * *

The next day was a typical Monday morning and the Summers’ household was in overdrive to get the boys out of the door and off to school. They were running a bit late that morning, and Luke felt his mum was fussing.

“Now are you really sure, sweetheart?” she pressed as he crammed toast into his mouth. “I know you’re trying to act as if everything is normal, but you have just had surgery. Shouldn’t you stay off school for a few more days?” She turned to his dad for support. “What do you think, Hon?”

Geoff emerged from behind his laptop which had joined them at the breakfast table and from where he was already firing off a flurry of emails to start the day. He shrugged. “If he feels up to it, why not? What’s he going to do at home all day?”

Anyone could tell that it wasn’t what she was looking for. “Rest?” she replied, dryly.

“Mum, I’m fine, honestly,” Luke said again. He saw a look in her eyes that he needed to sidestep. “Look, if I need to, I can always call you to come and pick me up early if I’m flagging.”

"Well...maybe..." No doubt looking for somewhere to vent a little steam, she turned her attention to Simon as he stacked his cereal bowl by the sink. “Simon, you need to hurry up! Go and brush your teeth.”

After watching Simon scurry out, she checked her watch and seemed to come to a decision. “Very well then, but you have to promise me that you won’t do anything stupid.”

Relieved, Luke topped up his coffee and sat back down.

Then she turned her attention to their dad. “Hon, you HAVE remembered you’re dropping them off this morning, haven’t you?”

His dad's eyes flicked to the wall clock and he looked surprised. “Oh, sure. We need to go soon, then." Luke would have laid odds he’d completely forgotten!

There was a bang on the front door, heralding Toby letting himself in. His mum had dropped him off before heading in the other direction to Creek High, where she worked.

“Come on then, you lot. Move it!” Lucy was sounding naggy. “Toby’s here already!”

All in all, it was the start of a fairly typical school day, Luke mused as he downed the coffee fast and hurried out to the hall. Nodding amiably in the direction of Toby who was waiting patiently by the door, he made best speed up the stairs. Simon was already brushing his teeth in his usual methodical manner.  After he’d finished, Luke took his place. While brushing, he took a moment to study his profile where the SmarKlamp was positioned.

The black school uniform trousers weren’t as bad as he thought they might be, and his least-baggy pair of boxers were doing a good job of keeping the plastic mechanism tightly restricted. In the mirror, he studied himself. If he stood normally, he was fine, but if he thrust out his groin, then you could definitely see the rather weird shape. He’d done his best to arrange it so that it didn’t look like he was on Viagra, and prayed it was only obvious to him and no one else. It would have to do—and anyway, the odds that he’d be invited to do any groin-thrusting with friends at school on any day, let alone that one, were pretty slim.

“LUKE…I’m walking out the door!” His dad’s tone wasn’t good. Time to go!

Luke hurried out to his dad’s leather-upholstered car. The last to get in, he took the front seat. As usual Simon and Toby had gone together into the back. They usually shared the school run like this with Toby's mum—their parents did the drop off, and Grace did the pickup. Or vice-versa, depending on the day.

Sometimes they would bring Ryan back, too, if he’d been stranded. His mother wasn’t that reliable.

The traffic wasn’t good that day, and by the time their dad dropped them at the school parking lot and raced away, they were already verging on late. Simon and Toby hurried off in one direction and he hurried—aka waddled—the other, making it into class only just in time for registration.

Uncomfortably eyeballed by the whole bunch as he entered the room, he slipped down into his seat as the roll call started. From further forward and several rows across in the alphabetical arrangement, Ryan flicked him a bemused glance.

He rolled his eyes humourlessly in return. Don’t ask!

Staying where they were, they went straight into the first period…Math.

Math was hardly the best start to any day, let alone a Monday morning. Worse still, if you hadn’t done the homework, there were no breaks offering you a chance to crash through it during the day, to make amends. However, that lesson he was consumed with a more pressing need than the solving of quadrilateral equations. The coffee had gone straight through and he needed a piss, big time! He gritted his teeth and watched the minute hand taunt him as it ground slowly by.

Finally, the bell went, and he shot out of his seat at the first indication they could leave, stuffing his books into his backpack as he hustled.

“What’s up with you?” Ryan frowned as Luke pushed by him.

“Too much coffee!” Luke smirked despite his hurry. “I need a piss so bad, I’m about to wet myself. See you in English.” He made for the door.

As the herd meandered forward, he pushed ahead and ducked into the first restroom on the way. Thankfully, it was empty and he hurried over to a urinal to begin to attempt to get the SmartKlamp out of this boxers.

It wasn’t that easy, and the weekend had taught him that the plastic frame of the mechanism had a tendency to get caught between his boxers and zip whilst trying to negotiate it out and back for a wizz. And now, unlike with his baggy cargo shorts, there was even less manoeuvring room.

Other than dropping his trousers completely, he could also have gone into one of the stalls for a bit of privacy, but he was in a hurry and there was nobody else there, and it would only take a moment....

…maybe that was a mistake.

The need to pee was becoming overwhelming and he swore at the device that remained stuck in the wrong place. Finally, it broke free. He held the tube of plastic lightly in his fingers and pointed it into the bowl with relief. Delivered from torment at last, he shut his eyes and stood there waiting for the delayed flow to begin.

"So, how were the injections?" The familiar and friendly voice came from just to his left.

It was one of those moments that computed SO wrongly. He got totally stuck in a loop trying to figure it out: how the hell did Ryan know anything about the needles the doc had stuck into his dick?

“At the dentist,” added Ryan, probably wondering why he was acting so dense. This was followed swiftly by, "HOLY CRAP, Luke, what the fuck is that?"

Luke had been so focused on the zip problem, followed by the delirious moment of release, that he hadn't even heard anyone come in the door, let alone remembered he was holding what could only look like some bizarre sex toy!  Dragged back to reality, his head jerked round to come face-to-face with his friend. Spraying into the bowl right next to him, Ryan was now staring, wide-eyed, at the piece of hardware that was fixed to Luke’s penis which he was happily waving at the bowl!

Oh fuck…

Saying nothing, he tried to cover it with his hand, and squeezed desperately in an attempt to end the flow. The spurts subsided, but Ryan continued to stare as Luke fumbled frantically with the SmartKlamp, which despite his best efforts, wasn't going past his zip easily.

Exposed, he felt like some spotty kid caught by an aunt with his hand down his trousers playing snooker. It had become a nightmare that refused to end.

Shit, shit, SHIT!!! Why hadn’t he listened to his mum and stayed home?

Finally, he exploded in pure frustration. "FUCK THIS THING!"

He wrenched at his belt, then managed to break the button on his school trousers in an attempt to make more room to get it away. The button went spinning off across the floor, but he ignored it.

He guessed that Ryan could tell he was—to say the least—a little unhappy, though his friend remained silent and watchful.  Finally, Luke got the SmarKlamp back in. He zipped up, tightened his belt to stop his pants falling down, and wheeled away to the sinks.

Ryan finished at the urinals, too, and a few moments later, crossed to the sinks to wash his hands a couple of places down. His eyes flicked over questioningly, but he seemed willing to keep his thoughts to himself.

Luke knew it wouldn’t last.

"Just DON'T, okay!" He was burning with anger at himself, but also boiling mad at his friend. This was NOT how it was meant it to be. Now he was going to become the butt-end of a whole pile of sex jokes about penis surgery.

SHIT! Why did Alexis have to fucking follow him in there, anyway?

In the silence, he flicked his eyes along the row of sinks as he scrubbed his hands roughly under the tap. What he saw slowed him up a bit. Instead of the leering look he was expecting, Ryan looked worried.

"Are you okay, bud?" Ryan asked.

"Just fucking leave me alone." Luke still couldn't stop himself lashing out. "And if you think it's funny just...just..." Words failed him. "Just piss off!"

There’s something really important about a tone of voice. Often it reveals more than the words. It’s not what people say, it’s how they say it that can speak volumes. Belatedly, he wondered if he had it wrong. Was Ryan really about to have a go at him?

"What the hell's wrong with you?" Ryan's tone got harder, and who could blame him?

"Fuck...sorry." Wearied by the effort of keeping secrets, Luke scrubbed his eyes roughly to resist the heat that was gathering there. "You didn't deserve that...but just don't laugh, okay."

He turned his head, but Ryan was hard to read. He didn’t actually seem steaming. He didn’t seem a lot of things that Luke might have expected, but the narrowed dark eyes were considering him carefully; weighing him up.

“Why would I laugh at you? I don't...well, I just wouldn't …" Ryan tailed off. He became more determined. "For fuck’s sake, just tell me what's wrong? Are you hurt?"

"Listen, I really am sorry...about flying off at you.” To cover his emotion, Luke ran the cold tap, splashed water over his face, and dried it on a towel.

“What are you girls doing? Just discovered wanking?"

Both he and a Ryan turned to spot Cody Mitchell, who’d taken that moment to walk in the restroom door too. Luke eyed him with distaste as the asshole ambled up to the urinals to take a piss, and then ignored him as he and Ryan left to join the flow of traffic in the wide hallway.

“Okay, out with it.” Ryan seemed quite determined as they followed behind the crowd moving towards their next lesson. In a tone meant just for them, he tackled the elephant in the room. "What the hell was that…thing?”

Luke checked around and hefted his backpack higher on his shoulder before angling off into a window alcove and setting it down. Classmates drifted past and he reached into his pack as if searching for something whilst speaking in a low voice. “Well, you remember I said I was thinking about getting circumcised?" His ears reddened as he confessed and he studied the inside of his bag. "Well..."

“No!" Ryan interrupted with a gasp of surprise. "Really? You actually went ahead and had it done!" Luke finally looked up to discover his friend’s face was a picture. You could tell he knew he was right and a broad grin developed.

“I lied about the dentist…sorry…”

"You dog! That's where you were on Friday!"

Luke shrugged. It wasn't hard to fathom out, and he pulled a face as his little white lie unravelled. "Yep—I had it done that afternoon by some urology specialist."

"Shit! Really?" Ryan was wide-eyed. "No wonder you didn’t come round over the weekend. What happened—and what the hell are you doing in school? I mean, doesn't it hurt?"

"Hurt? No, not particularly. That thing you saw was some special device called a SmartKlamp; something they can use for guys our age.” Luke left it at that, less comfortable with trying to explain the difference between hurt and the bolts of painful, yet quite unusual sensations he kept getting through his newly-revealed glans.

"So why the hell didn't you want to tell me?"

Again, Luke shrugged. "Look, if you really want to know, I will." His eyes flicked to where the rest of the class were disappearing up the corridor. "Just not here. We should get moving."

"It's okay." Ryan smirked and seemed to take pity on him. "I get it that it's a bit personal." He glanced down the emptying hallway. The noise was ebbing away. "Come on, you're right. We'd better go, or we'll be late."

They hurried along and caught the back end of the line into the class.

"Oh, by the way..." Ryan murmured Just before they passed into the classroom.


Ryan pulled a knowing grin. "Congratulations!"

It took Luke most of the lesson to recuperate, and if asked afterwards, would have had little idea of what was covered.

The rest of that day, in fact the rest of the week at school was without incident. He stayed out of trouble and got used to having either his bag or his jacket hanging strategically in front of his groin to disguise a lump that he felt was huge, even though it wasn’t. A note from his parents kept him out of the locker rooms, and Ryan didn’t let him down, either. Ry could keep secrets, and there were no knowing glances or risqué jokes amongst their friends.

In fact, Ryan never mentioned it again and Luke got the impression that he really didn’t care one way or another. A part of him was a little disappointed by the lack of interest. However, it appeared Simon had been right all along—when it came to Ryan, Luke had got overly worked-up about his circumcision for nothing.

Will ‘Coming Clean’ prove to be a tipping point for Luke, and if so, will he keep his balance? How will he handle Stacey? How can Damon advise him; or even Simon for that matter?  And most of all, is he ever going to get Ryan out of his head??

Hope you’ll keep reading…and…of course…reviewing! And, be warned, the next chapters are not going to get challenging!


17. Party

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

The Party

Late on the Friday afternoon, Luke was sitting at his desk with the birthday card, wondering what to write. All in all, he was in a good mood, and for the most part the week had gone well, bar that one incident with Ryan on the Monday. It had been a busy week and he'd surprised himself by the number of times he quite forgotten that he was even wearing his SmartKlamp. Before he knew it, it was Friday, and he was in the clear.

Just Stacey's party to get through.

He'd considered bombing out of it, but then there was Owen and his promise to accompany the Welsh teen. If he didn’t go, Owen certainly wouldn’t.

Despite the fact that it was Stacey’s birthday, he hadn't really thought about giving her a card let alone a present, which is why the rather cringe-worthy offering his mum had got—just in case, she said—was lying in front of him. It was a gift card. She was probably right—a voucher was a lot easier than buying a present for someone that he hardly knew!

On the other hand, buying a girl ANY gift gave dodgy signals.

He picked up the card again and frowned. Either way, he couldn’t get out of signing it, and there had to be something better than just ‘from Luke’!

“Mum?” From where he was sitting, still hoping for inspiration some minutes later, he called through his open door. Pen in hand, he’d just realized that he had no idea who Stacey was, other than she was called…Stacey.

Stacey what, for God’s sake?

She was turning sixteen—as the card reminded him—which put her a couple of months younger than him. Stupidly, he felt like some pervy cradle-snatcher! From downstairs there was no answer, so he hauled himself upright and put his head out into the hallway.

”MUM!” He shouted this time.

“Yes?” A voice floated up from the lounge.

“What’s her name?”

“Whose name, sweetheart?”


“You could try ‘Stacey’?” From the same place, his dad’s pathetic suggestion drifted up. Luke rolled his eyes, refusing to be drawn.

Funny man!

"You know what I mean...her family name…!”



From where she was probably catching the early news, his mum upped the volume. “Her family name—I’m sure it’s Wyeman." She spelled it out letter by letter. “I think her mum works at Creek Kindergarten.”

"Okay—thanks." He returned to his desk. Wyeman. Stacey Wyeman. Stacey Summers.

Oh for God’s sake, get a grip! That was the LAST thing he needed! He shook his head to dislodge the stupid thought from his over-active brain, and played with the envelope as it lay in front of him. They would be leaving for Stacey’s party around seven, picking up Owen on the way. If he'd been by himself, he would have driven, but with Owen in the car, he couldn't. His mum would take and pickup.

He wondered if there would be food there, but she was making a bite to eat for him, anyway—a good job, too, as his stomach was already rumbling. Checking his watch, there was still plenty of time, so pushing the card to one side, he turned on his MacBook and logged into his Facebook account.

He was pleased to see Damon online at last. He’d not been around all week, and Luke realized he'd missed him and was beginning to depend on the freedom to talk that the distant New Yorker offered. And he had news. Damon didn't know that they now had several things in common.

[LUKE] "It's me!" Luke typed as introduction. Only moments later, the ready reply popped up.

[DAMONJ] "Oh—hi! It's me, too!" 

Idiot! Smiling to himself, Luke didn't waste any time getting to the point.

[LUKE] "It's done!"

[DAMONJ] "What?"

[LUKE] "Begins with C! Three guesses!"

[DAMONJ] "'ve just finished cooking—or you've been forced into child labor?"

His side of the screen, Luke cracked a wry grin.

[LUKE] "Okay, okay—let's not do all that again! I just wanted you to know that I had my circumcision op a few days back."

[DAMONJ] "Really? Hey congratulations dude—welcome to the club!"

Luke pulled a satisfied smirk. That nailed it exactly—the club—the same as everyone else.

[DAMONJ] "So, how did it go? Not too painful I hope? No details, by the way—I'm a squeamish with the whole blood thing, let alone the idea of someone hacking at my nads with a scalpel!"

[LUKE] "Sorry to disappoint, but not like that at all. It was done with something called a SmartKlamp. No blood…no stitches, even!" True if you didn't count the frenulum.

There was a pause.

[DAMONJ] "Damn—that looks freaking weird!"

[LUKE] "What??"

[DAMONJ] "I just searched for it online—SmartKlamp. You've got one of those?"

[LUKE] "Yep."

[DAMONJ] "I've never heard of such a thing before..." There was a pause and then, "It says here it stays on 5-7 days, and then it gets taken off."

[LUKE] "Really? My doc said it had to be 10 days. I wonder why...can you paste me the link?" It surprised him how quickly Damon had tracked all that down.

[DAMONJ] "Age maybe? It says something about only being for children? Hang on—just pasting it."

[LUKE] "Ha, ha. Funny boy!"

[DAMONJ] "Here ya go…

The pasted link popped up along with...

[DAMONJ] "Then it says here that it just gets cut off and it's done. Yeewww! I trust they mean just the plastic thing—hehe!"

Luke sniggered and joked along.

[LUKE] "Crap—you don’t think they’re going to slice off my junk do you?"

[DAMONJ] "I heard they sell wangers on the black market to Chinese herbalists who grind them down to make an aphrodisiac powder!"

[LUKE] "I believe that's rhino horn..."

[DAMONJ] "OMG is it? Sorry—my bad! I'd better get my money back!"

Luke smirked to himself at the exchange as he looked over the website page—one he'd not seen before. Other than the timing of the SmartKlamp removal, it was pretty much what he already knew. As Damon had said, the site did seem to all about quite-young kids.

He shrugged. He had total confidence that Tiberius knew what he was doing, and as long as it worked, he would put up with it a few extra days. And after today, that was just three more!

[DAMONJ] "Oh—there's some warnings on here about dangers and high failure rates..."

 [LUKE] "Where?" Luke pursed his lips, trying to recall reading anything like that himself. He searched the page. Where was it?

[DAMONJ] "Down at the bottom—on the home page."

Frowning, Luke scrolled down.

[LUKE] "Where? I don't see it?"

[DAMONJ] "Hehe - got ya!'"


[LUKE] "God—you skunk! That was mean!"

[DAMONJ] "Sorry…hehe. You gotta admit, I really had ya there!"

[LUKE] "I'm admitting nothing! Well okay—just a bit." He tapped at the keyboard, relieved it was only a wind up!

[LUKE] "Anyway, that's pretty much what he said. It's being taken off on Tuesday. Trust me, it can't come soon enough!"

[DAMONJ] "Bit obvious though, isn't it? I mean it’s not small!"

[LUKE] "Nah, it’s not so big really—it hardly shows."

[DAMONJ] “Actually, I meant the SmartKlamp..."

Luke burst out laughing, and his mum put her head in the door and stared at him as though he’d lost the plot. “Is everything okay sweetheart?” she asked.

“I’m fine. Just talking to a friend on Facebook.”

"Oh—that's nice," she said, though he knew she had little idea of what he actually meant. She wasn’t much into computers, let alone social networking. “Just to let you know, tea’s ready in a few minutes…. and don’t forget to sign the card.”

Bloody card!

Still grinning, he nodded obediently. "Yep, I'll be straight down." She pulled the door too, leaving him to go back to his screen and to Damon.

The guy was a subtle tease; these light but risqué innuendos, a game. One that Luke quite enjoyed playing! He wished he had more time that evening because he was realizing more and more that Damon was someone that he could talk to, someone who might even be able to offer him advice. The problem was, the things he really wanted to talk about needed time, and he didn’t have much of that right then.

[LUKE] “I refuse to speculate about size!” he finally typed.

[DAMONJ] "Sensible!"

[LUKE] "Okay—for the record—we’re talking about the SmartKlamp, and I arranged to stay off sports this last week, so actually nobody knows anything about it." This wasn't strictly true. Ryan was one person who knew he’d had the procedure done, but he didn't particularly count.

[DAMONJ] "You pretended you’d pulled a muscle or something?"

[LUKE] "Yep, something like that." Actually that was quite astute, he had been suggesting something like that to those who had asked. The opt-out note his mum had written hadn’t said that, but even what it did say he’d made sure remained carefully obscure.

[DAMONJ] "You're still quite funny about all this, aren't you?"

[LUKE] "In what way?"

[DAMONJ] "You're talking about it to me, but not your close friends."

Maybe he should have known, even then. A part of him wanted to deepen the conversation and be honest about something else, too.

If only it were that easy...and if only he had more time.

[LUKE] "Maybe... Don’t get me wrong, but some things are just easier with someone you'll never meet!"

[DAMONJ] "True.”

Damon appeared happy to let it drop.

[DAMONJ] "So—you got a busy weekend?”

[LUKE] “Kind of—am out to a party tonight.”

[DAMONJ] “Cool! What’s the occasion?”

[LUKE] “16th birthday—a girl I know.”

[DAMONJ] “Nice—so what's her name?”

[LUKE] “Stacey—and yeah, she's alright.” He left it there, uncomfortable about getting into the rest.

They chatted a while longer before his mum shouted up the stairs, reminding him to move it. He wrapped up with Damon and logged off. Lacking further inspiration, he signed the card ‘from Luke’ and stuffed it in the envelope before going downstairs.

At a quarter past seven, he knocked on the Kears’ front door.

Theoretically, the party started at seven-thirty, but he couldn’t get it into his mum's head to think that it might be just as okay for them to turn up fashionably late. A stickler for punctuality, she'd been adamant. If it says seven-thirty on the invitation, then that’s when you should get there!

Outside the Kears’ place, he could hear sounds of frantic activity behind the door, and as he waited patiently on the front porch, he eyed the sky. It was the time of year when humid air was pushed up from the gulf by spiralling cyclones, dropping monsoon-like over the southern states. It was warm and uncomfortably muggy. If they were unlucky, it would rain.

Thankfully, it would soon pass and probably be bright and sunny the following day.

He’d taken time choosing his outfit, and dressed—for obvious reasons—in his baggiest of jeans topped with a trendy, grey india-cotton shirt. He knew they looked good on him. His mum had pressed him to bring a coat, just in case. The coat was in their van, and he planned that it would still be there when she drove off.

Finally, the door swung open and Owen appeared. Anne Kear was hovering in the background. Studying Owen’s clothing, Luke was relieved to see that the guy had actually made some reasonable effort, even managing to squeeze into some fashionable jeans! Despite that—or maybe because of it—Owen looked distantly uncomfortable, and his mother fussed around him, making it worse. She held a tie in her hand, which the Welsh teen was blatantly ignoring.

My God—what was she like!

Luke’s mum spoke through her open window as the three of them crossed to the van. “I’ll drop him back here when they’re done, Anne!”

 “Are you sure, Lucy?” Anne looked doubtful. “I can go and pick them up at maybe ten-ish...”

He cringed. Ten? Was the women MENTAL!!

“It’s fine Anne—I’m sure it’s going to be more like past eleven, knowing Luke! I can do it. I’ll drop Owen off on the way home.”

Past eleven wasn't so bad, thought Luke, though midnight would be better. The sooner he got his own wheels the better. Driving was cool—and even better, you could come and go when you wanted!

“Oh…okay, then,” Anne said. Clearly she wasn’t too sure whether it was okay or not. “Enjoy yourself now, dear.” She gave her son a pat. It appeared to be her best shot at last-minute parental advice. Owen’s grunted reply was non-committal.

Fifteen minutes later—give or take a few seconds—they arrived at the Wyeman house.

At first look, it reminded Luke of Ryan's place, if not the house itself, then the neighbourhood—one that didn't seem short of a few bucks. The properties themselves were spread out and appeared similar to those in the gated community where the Alexis family lived.

"Nice place," he murmured. Schooling at the Academy, he was used to friends with big plots, but this was a surprise. The closer they got to the house, the bigger it actually seemed to be. The question was, with all of this, why the hell did Stacey have to work as a waitress at Longhorn?

Even his mum seemed impressed and her eyes flicked around as she joined other vehicles pulling into the driveway. A second driveway completed the loop back to the secluded road, and they could see more cars ahead, either leaving or finding somewhere to park.

“Just call me when you want me to come and pick you up," she said. "Not too late though this time, maybe…” Her eyes flicked meaningfully towards Owen, whose face was pressed to the window as he stared through the glass at the sizable grounds.

Once she had left, he and Owen followed an eager group towards a large marquee that had been erected in the gardens. It actually made a lot of sense, he realized. Even with that house, with the numbers milling around and with more cars coming down the long drive, they would hardly fit in the lounge!

With Owen trailing behind, they took one of the many smooth-slabbed paths that crisscrossed the grounds. The one they were on passed adjacent to the entrance of the marquee, and they stopped by for a look. The covered doorway was beautifully decorated with flowers and Luke poked his head inside. His first impression was that it looked more like a venue for a wedding celebration than a sixteenth birthday! At one end of the floored, carpeted space, a sizable dance floor had been laid down, and just behind it, a raised stage that had space for a DJ and sound desk, and two banks of heavy speakers. The only incongruous note was the presence of the solid-white Chick-fil-A logos emblazoned on the side of each bass bin.

At the opposite end, white-clothed trestle tables awaited; presumably to receive food. He eyed them, regretting how much he'd already eaten. Filling the center, dozens of good-sized tables were dotted around the carpeted floor. Fancy, bright-colored balloon table decorations were in abundance. With lighting stands adding a glowing ambience, it was stunning.

However, other than a few, rather sad-looking people sitting at lonely tables and playing with their phones, the marquee was empty. He turned to Owen and said, "Do you wanna go in?"

Owen pulled a face. "You're kidding, right?"

Luke grinned and the two of them left to explore the grounds for a look-see. Passing over well-cut grass and around neat beds, they wandered for a while.

“Big place,” murmured Owen, echoing Luke’s own thoughts.  Finally, with nowhere better to go, they settled onto the grass across from the pool, to wait until things livened up.

“I wish we had a pool." Luke couldn't help some pangs of jealousy at the magnet that had attracted many who were larking about at the edge.

How come everyone had pools, but them?

He eyed those tempting fate around the water. It seemed quite likely that someone would fall in. “Do you know any of them?”

Owen shrugged, dismissively. "Nope—don't think so."

Luke gazed around. It really was a beautiful place and he realized how little he knew about Stacey Wyeman and her family. For starters, what the hell was a girl from this kind of home doing going to Creek?

He put it out of his mind. What business was it of his anyway?

"So, did you have a good week?" he asked, more to be conversational than anything else.

"So so—" Owen's reply was far from bubbly. He lay back on the neat lawn and nibbled on a stray blade of grass. "You?"

“You have no idea!" Luke grinned as his whole world of dicks and circumcision devices reared.

"What the hell does that mean?" Turning his head where he lay, Owen's frown was bleak stare.

Luke shook his head, still grinning. "It's had its ups and downs, that's all. In a good way, though."

Owen continued to study him as if he'd just left the loony bin, and then thankfully changed the subject.

“Now if we had somewhere like this…" Owen said, sitting up on his elbows again and watching the guys at the pool. His eyes flicked across again to the big house. "It might be worth living here."

Luke studied the Welsh teen. “You think so?” He was doubtful, despite what he’d just been thinking himself.  “It’s just a house.”

There had to be more to life than where you lived, didn’t there?

“Don’t you think some people seem to have it easy, though,” Owen grunted, lying back down on the grass. Sucking on his blade of grass, he stared into space.

Luke shrugged, wondering if, in Owen's eyes, he would be tarred with that same brush. “Don’t you think people are responsible for their own choices?”

Surprisingly, Owen turned his head and chuckled. His face lit up in a way Luke hadn’t often seen. He was almost a different person. “God, Luke, you sound like my old man!”

Luke grinned too, but before he could reply, a burst of lively music came from the marquee. The music settled and, from around the grounds, dozens took it as a clarion call and streamed towards the huge white tent. At the pool, the guys fooling around there joined the stream, too.

"Is that a card?" Owen asked. They both studied the envelope Luke was still carrying. To Luke, there didn't seem much point in stating the obvious.

"I forgot," Owen added. "D'ya think it'll matter?" It looked like he was eyeing the card, hopefully. Luke hauled himself to his feet and brushed off.

"I doubt it.” Go buy your own bloody card! Or at least get a mum who remembered those kinds of things for you!  “Come on, let's go and find a table near the food!"

Owen shrugged and followed him in.

A crowd had bunched up at the entrance, and it took a while to get through the bottleneck. By the time they did, most tables seemed to have at least one person at it. The likeliest option seemed one that carried a nerdy-looking guy who was still texting on his phone. He nudged Owen in that direction, edging past a group of girls who were dressed to kill and probably looking for guys wanting to pull.

It was then that Luke spotted Stacey—surrounded by friends all vying for her attention. He couldn’t decide…either she'd looked to the doorway by chance just at that moment, or she'd been checking it every few seconds. Either way, she noticed them and raised her voice above the mêlée.

 “Luke Summers!”

Mortified, he tried desperately not to blush as every head in the posse surrounding her, turned. Eyes from numerous tables nearby flicked in his direction, studying him, too. He grinned foolishly as Stacey abandoned her cortege and descended on them.

“So—you came!” She bounded up to them in obvious delight. More heads turned, and he was completely unnerved.

Her dress was tastefully sleek; off the shoulders, yet still covering pert bumps on her chest that left no doubt as to her gender! Close-fitting but not too tight, her outfit subtly picked up the colors of the décor. Her hair flowed and her face was glowing. In fact, she looked quite stunning and nothing like the Stacey that bustled around the tables in Longhorn serving iced tea!

It scared the crap out of him!

“Oh…errr…yes…hi.." He fumbled over his words, then pushed the card at her, which looked small and totally inadequate in the excessive surroundings. "Happy birthday—”

“Luke! You’re so sweet!” Stacey grasped it close as if it actually contained something of value! Her eyes were bright with energy. “Come on…I’ve saved you a seat at our table.”

Abandoning the rest, she captured his hand before he had any chance to think. “You, too, Owen,” she added. As she dragged them through the occupied tables to one arranged in prime position by the dance floor, Owen wasn't the only one who had the appearance of a piece of Welsh rabbit stranded in the headlights of an oncoming doom.

That it was Stacey’s table was obvious by the number of cards and small gifts scattered there. She put Luke to her right and Owen slid in to an empty chair next to him.

“Don’t let anyone take my seat!” she laughed, and she went back to greet some new arrivals.

Oh bloody hell!

To say Luke felt uncomfortable at being pushed center stage was putting it mildly! Even he had never experienced anything like this in his life. Good God—it was only a 16th birthday! He hated to think how many iPhones the table decorations alone, represented!

“Bloody hell, Luke." Owen whispered, looking as much a fish out water as Luke did himself. He stared at all the expensive trimmings "You didn’t tell me she’s your girlfriend! You lucky sod!”

“She’s not my girlfriend!" Luke muttered. "I hardly know her!”

Owen stared at him in patent disbelief. “You're bloody kidding, right? I have a whole book full of people I hardly know—yet none of them invite me to their parties or look at me in the way she was looking at you!”

Shrugging, Luke studied the numerous unopened cards on the table in front of them. Several were addressed ‘To Stacey and Oliver’, or sometimes, ‘To Stacey and Olly’. He frowned—who the hell was Oliver or Olly. He was about to ask Owen about it, when three girls, all of the giggly type, approached their table.

“Owen? You know this is Stacey’s table, right?” The girl glared at them, showing off a full-arch orthodontic retainer.

Luke felt like an intruder—one busted by the ortho-police—and he stood on behalf of both of them in an attempt to look more gallant and less guilty as Owen did the equivalent of hiding behind him.

“Ummm…actually, Stacey asked us to sit here and keep her seat...”

The other two girls simpered, each of them part of the orthodontic brigade as well. The first studied him through narrowed eyes, but then some light of understanding crept into them. "Ah—you must be Luke!”

Her friend's eyes widened. “You're Luke Summers?”

Uncomfortable, Luke looked from one to the other.

Last I checked, yes.

 “Umm…yes.” He managed to get it out finally. The toothy trio looked at each other and did another giggly, simpering thing that was quite discouraging.

“He’s from England!” one declared. “Near London…isn’t that right, Luke?”

Luke nodded, feeling the first bite of a conspiracy.

“Ooh…” murmured the other, excitedly. “I’ve got a friend—Clarissa—she lives near London. Do you know her?” The girl looked at him quite expectantly, and Luke tried hard not to burst out laughing.

“Now leave him alone you three, he’s with me!” Still standing, he became aware that Stacey had returned. He swallowed as she wrapped a lazy arm around his waist, protectively. This was going quickly and in totally the wrong direction. He wondered if it could get worse, when a startlingly familiar voice came from behind him.

“Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!”


“Put him down, Stace! For goodness sake, he’s British—you don’t know where he’s been!”

Luke twisted his head to see Todd Quince, grinning like an idiot.

He had mixed feelings. The mixture being: delight at seeing a familiar friendly face, followed by total horror at being caught by a school friend with some girl's hand resting on his waist. Before he could splutter an explanation, a tall, tanned, energetic-looking man bore down on them, interrupting whatever train of thought Luke could grab hold of.

“I think we’d better kick things off, Stace!” the man said. “Where’s your brother?” His eyes glanced at the arm around Luke’s waist and then up to pierce his soul. By looks alone, it was clear he was her father.

“No idea, Dad. Probably hiding somewhere.”

Her father rolled his eyes. “You’d better do it—the DJ has a microphone for you.”

Obviously unrepentant of the trailing arm lock, Stacey smiled sweetly at her dad. “Okay, Dad, will do. This is Luke Summers, by the way. I don’t think you’ve met him…yet.”

Luke followed her father’s eyes as they dropped down again to study the blatant body contact. They flicked up to challenge him with a look that could only mean, ‘So who are you, bud, and what gives you the right to have my only daughter’s arm around your body!’ With that, that arm irresistibly propelled Luke forward, for what suddenly felt like an interview!

How the hell he did it, Luke didn't know, but even in the midst of chaos, he performed flawlessly.

“Good to meet you, sir,” he said, as if addressing Prince Charles. He held hand out his hand, politely. Those eyes flicked again in surprise and Wyeman took Luke’s hand in a grip that was firm, but not crushing.

“Good to meet you too, Luke.” The man smiled without releasing him from either his grip or his piercing gaze. “Stacey’s right, we’ve not met before other than on the phone—and I don’t think you’re from these parts either!”

Luke grinned, feeling on safe ground. “No, sir, my family is from the UK, originally.”

“Luke and I are at school together at the Academy,” said Todd, helpfully. Luke could have kissed him for the appearance of credibility he offered.

“The Academy?” Wyeman’s eyebrows rose and he nodded as if temporarily satisfied that Luke’s schooling somehow proved he would be unlikely to molest his daughter right there in front of them. He released him and turned to Todd. “And how are your parents, Todd?”

Stacey pulled Luke off to one side as Todd took over. “That’s my dad. He seems to like you!” She laughed rather too meaningfully for Luke's liking. They took their seats at the table.

He tried to direct the conversation elsewhere. “But how come you know Todd?”

She shrugged. “Oh, we’ve known the Quince’s for years. I pretty much grew up with Todd. We were in the church youth group together for a long time.”

Luke couldn’t help but smirk in surprise. “Todd? In a church youth group? You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Her nose pinched. Perhaps she knew Todd as well as he did. “Well, he doesn’t come so much anymore, that’s true. Do you, Todd?”

Todd had escaped her father and joined them, and she gave him a pained look. “And have you seen Olly anywhere?”

Who the hell was Olly?

Whether he had been invited to the top table or not didn't seem to make any difference to Todd, though the ortho squad glared as he stole a chair from another table and pushed himself in the other side of Stacey. “Do I what, Stace?” Larger than life, he hadn’t really been listening.

“Come to the youth group much anymore.”

“I leave it to you to put the odd prayer in for me as usual, Stace!”

“Now don’t joke about it!” she admonished. “You should bring Luke along—he’d like it!”

Luke smothered a cough and tried not to look horrified. He couldn’t quite get over the idea that Todd Quince was a churchgoer. “So where’s your church?” He grinned past Stacey towards Todd. “Is it a big place?”

Todd shrugged. “I haven’t been in a while.”

Stacey rolled her eyes. “We noticed…”

“It’s just on the perimeter,” she continued. “I think there’s somewhere between five to six thousand in the congregation these days."

Luke’s eyes widened as Stacey checked her watch. ‘Now where’s my idiotic brother? He always does this! It’s his birthday too!” She looked irritated.

“You have a brother?” Luke asked. “It’s his birthday, too?”

“A twin brother.” Todd grinned. “And if you’ve never met Olly Wyeman, Luke, you’re missing a rare treat!”

“Stacey…” From a few feet away, her father motioned her. She nodded and stepped across the dance floor to find a microphone.

* * *

While Luke seemed besieged on all sides, Owen sat alone. In fact, he found it easier that way.

He watched from a distance as Luke and his friend from the Academy frequently took to the dance floor, always to be surrounded by girls. Meanwhile, he sat hunched morosely over the empty table, looking regularly at his watch at the slow passage of time.

He’d really wanted to make a go of it that evening, with the hope of maybe coming away knowing a few more people—perhaps even making some friends. For the first hour, he'd made a real effort, even jigging embarrassingly on the dance floor a couple of times. It just wasn't his thing, though Luke seemed to be having a good time. Then the food had started piling onto the tables and he gnawed on chicken. That used up another half an hour. Now he'd had enough of the whole thing, but with Luke in charge of the phoning for the lift home, he was stuck.

He’d never found it easy to get to know people, though he’d tried so hard during the first months living in Atlanta. He just wasn’t interesting or cool or a whole bloody host of other things that everyone else seemed to be.

For the first few weeks, new classmates had been intrigued by the arrival of the boy from Wales, but they’d soon lost interest. It was that unsubtle brush-off that got to him: you have nothing of value to offer, you don’t count, you might as well not be there.

Even the Bracey Bunch—as Luke called them—had given him that look when they’d first arrived. The 'who invited you and what gives you the right to be at this table’ look. Now, they’d forgotten he even existed as they tattled on about who was currently shacking up with whom.

Who fucking cared?

He knew it wasn’t completely everyone else’s fault he sat alone, but after a while he’d stopped trying and so did everyone else. Luke had kept trying to involve him at first, but the girls didn’t want him—they wanted Luke.

He checked his watch again. Maybe he could borrow a phone and get his mum to come get him. It sounded a good idea until he realized he didn't even know where here was.

His gaze drifted out across the dance floor, spotting Luke surrounded by chicks. Everybody wanted Luke. Stacey Wyeman definitely did, that much was obvious! Tired of it all, he checked his pocket, feeling both the deck of cards and the pack of cigarettes he'd stolen from his dad, and wondered about a smoke—the last resort of the pathetic.

It was then that he noticed the kid in the wheelchair.

Outside, the light was failing, but in the marquee, swirling disco banks cut across the low ambient lighting. The chair disappeared and then he caught it again as, across the dance floor and near the stage, he could see its occupant guiding his trendy-looking wheels along the edge of the floor boundary. Pausing, the owner seemed to be studying the crowds before moving on again, drifting in and out of view between the revellers.

Being in his class, Owen knew who he was, though the guy had only arrived at the school out of the blue a couple of weeks back. Owen tried to pull a name…Donny…Billy…? Who cared? Frankly, he had little interest in knowing anyone's name these days. The guy was new, he knew crap all about him, and it was likely to stay that way.

But why was he here? That quite surprised him—almost as much as he was surprised at being invited himself, and already suspecting it had been a mistake to come.

Why the hell invite some kid in a chair to a dance? Him and the disabled kid—he’d take a stab at both of their invitations being out of pity!

He looked over to where he could just see Luke moving to the music, and wondered again what the shortest time they would have to stay could be. His glance flicked back across to the other side of dance floor, but the wheelchair had vanished. Fed up, he pushed back his chair. Checking the shape of the cigarette packet in his pocket, he ducked out of the marquee and into the night.

Outside, he studied his surroundings for a hideout. Dark was coming, and it looked like there would be rain soon. If he was lucky it would break up the party and everyone could go home.

Passing numerous smooching couples with fingers wandering in the fading light, he went around the side of the big house and found a seat on a small, gloomily lit, patio. Before resorting to a smoke, he got out his pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards and began to sort them in the half-light.

“So…this the place where sad fucks like you and me end up then, is it?”

Owen nearly jumped out of his skin. He hadn’t heard, let alone seen the wheelchair silently approaching over the expensive marble slabs.

He looked up, and his reply was morose. “If you’re looking for the party, it’s over there.” Sarcastically he pointed in the general direction of the marquee, trying to cover for the fact he didn't know the guy’s name.

Bloody kid. Just piss off!

The disabled boy seemed unable to take offense, and sighed theatrically. “I don’t know, I’m pretty much all danced out tonight, too.”

For the first time that evening, Owen's features twitched upwards as the guy shifted meaningfully in his chair and shrugged with self-deprecating humor.

"I saw you in there," the kid murmured thoughtfully. "Earlier. And sorry, I was wrong."

Owen glared. What the fuck was he talking about?

The kid shrugged at his silence. "The way you dance. I was sure you were a disabled spaz, too." There was a rumble of thunder and the kid shifted again. “Pardon me….”

An involuntary smile tried to force its way onto Owen's face. He smothered it and waited, but the guy didn't appear to want to go away, and from his chair he pointed at Owen’s cards.

“So…do you just have those for show, or do you want a game?”


“I gave up the fucking knitting a few weeks back.”

Owen scrutinized him carefully, not quite trusting him and stating the obvious. “I only have one deck...umm…Don...”

"For God's sake, Owen!" The kid rolled his eyes and shook his head. “If you're looking for a fucking name, it's Olly." Even then, he didn’t appear offended by either Owen's memory or his own colorful vocabulary.

"As you've only got one deck, I’d better use mine then," he added. "And unless you’re carrying God cards, don’t expect to win.”

Without waiting for any further discussion, Olly spun his wheels on the spot and began to navigate towards a door in the side of the house. “Not here though,” he said, looking at the sky. “We’d better go inside.”

Owen didn't move, attempting to remain his usual defiantly aloof. Olly was getting under his skin. Then the rain started, and a further rumble of thunder gave warning of a deluge. He remained sitting a few moments more, bemused as heavy spots splashed on his cards, and stared at the retreating chair. For a cripple, the kid seemed irritatingly confident and sure of himself.

The chair stopped and Olly turned his head to offer a piercing glare. “So, are you coming, or were you expecting a lift?” The rain turned full on, and Owen gathered up his deck before hurrying after him, wondering if the guy had a Blue Eyes White Dragon in this deck.

Owen tried to get to the door first, to open it for the chair, but Olly ignored him and kicked it wide, so Owen followed him through a conservatory and into the kitchen. It was helpfully huge, so the chair had plenty of room to move between the furniture as they passed through.

"What about here?" Owen asked. There were plenty of chairs and several tables that would do.

Olly ignored him and kept going further into the house. They reached the kitchen, which was occupied by people organizing the remains of the food. Olly didn't seem intimidated, but pushed himself past them and down one of the downstairs corridors. Owen assumed he was looking for the lounge.

Arriving at another door, Olly kicked hard and it crashed open, slamming against unseen stops. Owen cringed at the criminal violation and glanced fearfully back down the corridor, expecting someone to come and throw them out.

“Come on, we can go in here." Olly grunted and pushed himself inside.

Owen put his head round the unknown door and hesitated. “I dunno—perhaps we should go back to that conservatory, or find somewhere else? This is somebody’s bedroom!”

“Don’t be such a dumbfuck!” Olly’s snort was derisive. “Of course it is. It's mine!”

18. The Last Dance

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

The Last Dance

Luke collapsed back at the table to take a break from the dance floor. Sweat dripped down his back, making his shirt stick. The table was still stacked with half-empty drinks, though most of the empty food plates had been shifted, and he was gasping, so he took a long swallow from what he hoped was his.

In front of him the dance floor was humming and, without a doubt, he was having an awesome time! The music hardly let up and it was one of those times everyone wanted to dance and have fun. He'd even participated in a couple of the totally stupid, but quite hilarious, games!

Todd dropped down beside him, occupying Owen's chair, his face sheened with perspiration, too. Thirsty, he drained his glass of punch in one long swig. Luke didn't blame him—at least now it wasn't as humid as it had been. There had been a brief downpour during the evening, though the main storm had passed to the east. The tent held up to the weather, and it kept everyone inside dry as the party ratcheted up several notches!

Luke searched the spot-lit dance floor, and then scanned the marquee to see where Owen had gone. Not spotting him anywhere, he shrugged. If the guy didn't wanna dance, nobody could make him. Still, he worried that he should have done more. He glanced at his watch. It was getting late, and he even wondered if Owen had bombed and gone home somehow.

Surely he would have said?

On another front, his other worries seemed unfounded. He'd hardly spoken to Stacey all night. Everyone seemed to want her and she'd spent most of the time with her school friends, to the point where he wondered if he had got the wrong idea about any of her advances.

Instead, he’d hung out with Todd and a couple of others from the Academy; guys the year up from theirs who also seemed to know Stacey through the church youth scene.

The food had been spectacularly 'chickeny', though quite tasty. But now, having sat down, he decided he was danced out and about ready to leave. He'd plans for the next day and didn't want to be home too late, as Ryan was planning to come round in the morning. With end of term exams looming, they’d agreed to do some revision, and there was no point in being totally knackered! He also couldn't wait to tell him that Todd was a church guy!

Who'd have believed it!

He stood up from the table and again searched the milling crowds for Owen. Where the hell had he gone?

One of the Bracey Babes came by. She’d been nibbling away at Todd all evening.

“Have you seen Owen?” he asked her, trying not to smirk at the private look of horror flashing across Todd’s face as she rested her hand lightly on Todd’s shoulder.

She shook her head. “If he’s not in here, you could try the house. Some people went there for a little space, if you know what I mean!" she said. “Come on Todd, I love this song!””

Luke grinned, getting the picture—though it was highly unlikely that either Todd or Owen would be exploring some girl’s dental retainer that night! He left Todd in her capable hands and ducked out of the marquee and into the warm night. The rain had stopped. He walked across the lawn, and then through the back of the house and into the kitchen.

The kitchen was spacious, and with the abundance of chicken served during the evening, he wasn't at all surprised to see it occupied by half a dozen young people stacking containers, all of whom were wearing Chick-fil-A branded shirts. They glanced at him, but he ignored them and passed through to continue his search for Owen. Following the sound of voices, he put his head into the lounge, where he came across a dozen teens sprawled out on the sofas. Owen wasn’t among them.

He retuned to the kitchen and approached one of the Chick-fil-A guys, all of who turned out to be embarrassingly well-spoken and helpful. Several of them had to be about Luke’s age.

 “You haven't seen a fairly heavy-set guy—about my age—have you?" he asked one who seemed to be the most approachable. "He has a Welsh accent.”

"No, sir. Some people did go that way a while back." The guy pointed in the direction of another longish corridor going off one side of the kitchen. “You could check…”

Luke thanked him and went to explore.

The corridor was wide, and dimly lit compared to other parts of the house, and he only had to go half way down to realize it wasn't going anywhere. There were a couple of doors, but there was no way he was going blundering into what might be someone's bedroom!

Bloody Owen! Where could he be?

It looked like there was no other option than to go back to the marquee. As he about-turned, he heard a voice and paused. It was coming from the door he'd just passed. He stood closer to listen.

In retrospect it probably wasn't, but at the time he convinced himself that the accent he could hear sounded distinctly Welsh! He decided he might as well check. If it was Owen, then it might save a lot of time.

He was about to tap on the door rather than just barge in, when he noticed the handle showed an indicator—the type normally associated with a simple indoor door lock. It was a bathroom.

But then...?

Still not quite computing it, he leaned closer, heard a noise, and froze. Quite unmistakably now, it appeared that there was not just one, but two people in there. Yet the sounds were—to put it mildly—disturbing: soft whispers and grunts that began to sound breathless and rhythmic. Luke picked out one of them to be a guy’s voice that was…aroused. It hissed with quiet and tight excitement. “Oh God, don’t stop! I’m almost there…!”

Luke recoiled, flushing immediately.

Oh my God….

Surely it wasn't Owen? Getting a blow job in the bog? It was quite unbelievable that he could be in there, doing...something...with someone. Luke quickly glanced up and down the corridor, hoping nobody else was around, and he went hot and cold just thinking about it.

He tried to stop the thinking. Oh my God—how embarrassing!

Two things happened.

The first, the voice that came from behind the door returned. With it, Luke couldn't help himself. He knew that he shouldn't, that it was none of his business, but he stepped a little closer once more. The sounds remained muffled, but grew ragged. Now, quite distinctly, he could pick up every syllable. At least now it didn’t sound at all Welsh.

“Fuck...I'm close..."

There was an hiatus—a tight silence as it teetered—then a squeak of surprise as if whoever it was, wasn’t quite expecting the end so suddenly. Following that came a series of heavy ragged breaths. There was no doubt he'd just unloaded, and a girl's voice giggled, whispering, "Shhhhh!"

Luke’s eyes widened. Oh My God! In someone’s bathroom? Worse—what if they opened the door and found him listening? Quickly he stepped further away from the door!

Then the second thing happened. Just at that moment, further down, almost right to the end of the corridor, another door crashed open. Out of that door flew a wheelchair. Following the wheelchair, Owen stuck his head around the doorpost.

"Luke?" Owen peered at him and looked at his watch in apparent surprise. “It's not time to go home is it?"

"What are you..." started Luke. But he got no further as the wheelchair came careering towards him. He stood to one side, but the owner still managed to run over his foot. He could swear it was deliberate!

"Sorry... " That was all he got from the occupant as the chair disappeared into the kitchen.

"Shit!" Luke hopped on one leg before reaching down to rub the damage. There was a noise behind him, reminding him that someone—someones—were still there in the bathroom. And the last thing he wanted to know was who!

"That was Olly," Owen grinned, stepping towards him.

Luke stared at the bathroom door, wondering how Owen would know that.

"In the wheelchair...the guy who nearly ran you down...?" Owen seemed bemused as Luke continued to stare stupidly at the bathroom door.


The name flicked out of the many cards and presents he’d seen. That was Stacey's twin brother? Fucking hell!

He gathered himself, wanting to exit the building as quickly as possible, and they went back up the corridor and into the kitchen, where they found Olly at an open fridge door, drinking milk straight from the carton.

"THAT,” Olly declared, “was fucking good!"  He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as the Chick-fil-A guys looked on, scandalised. Olly ignored them as they gathered to one side and hid behind their branded shirts. Luke ignored them too, and got out his phone to text home.

"I guess that means we're going soon?" Owen said. He watched as Luke pressed send.

Luke nodded. "She'll be here in about twenty minutes. I'm going back to the marquee."

"Cool—me, too!" Olly said. He raised his blond eyebrows. "Are you coming?"

Owen grinned. "I guess—try not to hurt anyone else, though!"

Olly stuffed the milk bottle back into the fridge. "And so it will be! Lead on McDuff!" He still pushed on ahead, driving his chair between the rest of them. At the door, with what Luke suspected was a parting gesture to Chick-Fil-A, he stuck up his middle finger. Luke shook his head in despair, and started walking back towards the party, too.

Ten minutes later he checked his watch yet again. His mum would be arriving soon, and he didn't want to keep her waiting. His ankle hurt and he was more than ready to leave, by then.

Back at their table, Owen had recovered his seat, and Stacey’s rather irritating twin brother—and who cared if he was in a chair or not—had decided to barge in! Pushing chairs out of the way, he’d manoeuvred his chair into center-stage at their table.

Way to go bud! Decided to join the party at last...your party!

Still, he wasn't hard to tune out, as Luke’s main problem just then wasn’t Olly, it was the tape that kept playing. Not the DJ—in fact he wasn’t playing any music at all right then, having disappeared for a break. No, it was the other one that he couldn’t stop replaying in his head, that bothered him. ‘Oh God, don’t stop! I’m almost there…!’ (rewind-rewind), ‘Oh God, don’t stop! I’m almost there…!’

He shook his head to try to clear the unwanted imagery that went with the tape, and looked around to see if anyone was watching before reaching under the tablecloth and pulling at his loose jeans to free up the SmartKlamp that was hampering the unwelcome boner.

SHIT it was uncomfortable! A brilliant night up until then, he'd quite forgotten about that little item. Now it wouldn’t go away—and he just wanted to go home.

 Finally, with a little twisting, he freed the whole contraption so it sat better. He hoped his wanger would go down shortly. Trying to ignore it, he took a sip from his freshly-replenished glass and looked around the room. He needed to spot Stacey so that he and Owen could offer a polite and final goodbye.

"Mum’ll be here in about ten minutes,” he reminded Owen. “We'd better just see Stacey."

"And what would that be for, Luke Summers?" The familiar voice came from behind, spoke softly, and came with two arms dropped to rest on Luke’s shoulders. Squirming under the provocative touch, he sensed a train coming. He got up fast, hoping to dislodge the arms.

"Umm...Stacey...hi! We were just coming to look for you. It's just we're needing to go in a bit. Mum's picking us up."

"Not without a last dance, surely?" She regarded him evenly, her mouth achieved a playful, sensuous pout. "Come on, you haven't danced with me properly yet!"

It was true.  Staying in bigger groups on the dance floor, he'd managed to keep out of her way.

"And it IS my birthday…” Without waiting for any excuse, she took his hand and drew him away from the table.

"But there's no music!" In fact, nobody else was dancing either. He wondered how to slip her grip without upsetting her. "Tell you what, I'll buy you a drink instead."

It was meant to be funny, but her forehead furrowed. Then, as she walked him out onto the completely empty dance floor, the sound system came to life. Wherever he had been, the DJ was back. If he hadn't have known better, he might have said it had all been planned!

Strains of The Carpenters singing 'It's only just begun' filled the tent. All eyes were on them and there were more than a few appreciative whistles as she seemed to have a fixed idea of how they should dance to what was clearly a song for lovers. She wrapped her arms around his back such that the only place he could conceivably put his without looking a total dork, was around her waist!

“You could relax, you know,” she suggested. She could probably tell he was anything but.

“I’m not much of a dancer, I’m afraid.” Not like this anyway!

It was the time of the evening when the lights softened and the songs with them. The moment when those who came as singles but would leave as couples, presented themselves and their intentions for all to see. Gradually, spurred on by the appearance of young love, more couples joined them on the floor. As the space around them filled, he became a little less self-conscious.

“So what’s with all the chicken?” He made an attempt to steer the conversation towards something with little chance of being considered a romantic chat-up line.

 “Chicken?” Stacey looked at him oddly. “Oh…” She seemed to realize at last what he was talking about. “Dad works for Chick–fil-A.”

“Not at a counter, I’m guessing.”

She pulled a face. “No…if you must know, he works in the head office. He’s their Director of Marketing.” She seemed surprisingly uncomfortable revealing this. Glancing to the stage, Luke now realized where the sound system must have come from.

“I prefer cow,” she added.

Now it was his turn to look confused.

“Longhorn?” She looked bemused as she reminded him of where they’d first met.

“Oh…beef. I get it.” It felt like he was losing a sparring match.

She twirled him around, back on top of the conversation once more. “It looks like Owen’s had a good night,” she noted, turning him again so he could see the Welsh teen at their table, deep in conversation with Olly.

Whatever the pair were talking about, they both burst out laughing and Luke studied them as he and Stacey moved to the music. Whatever he thought of Olly, he was happy to see Owen actually having a good time. At least the night wouldn't be a total screw up!

"You never told me you had a twin brother?"

Her eyes flicked to her brother, and he could tell now how alike they were—just not in temperament. "You never asked."

Her face was unreadable, and he guessed that the next obvious thing people asked was, 'So why is he in a wheelchair?'

 “He seems to have spent most of the night with Owen!” he said instead. He didn't know whether that was a good thing or not, but she frowned and he guessed the latter. "I met him earlier—he's quite a character!"

“Ah—you probably think he's a seriously irritating jerk. Did he run over you?"

Luke blinked. "I didn't mean it like that."

Watching his discomfort, Stacey snickered in a light, easy way. “No, I’m sorry. That was mean. I was just teasing! You’re right, Olly can be quite a pain sometimes, and he has this habit of running over my friends!”

“Yes, but….”  Luke didn’t get far as Stacey stepped closer. Maybe she wanted to try to soothe his embarrassment, or maybe she knew she’d caught him with his resistance at a low point and was moving in for the kill? Dropping her arms lower down his back, she pulled him close into her body.

“You’re so funny and sweet, you know," she murmured, and then stopped, went quiet and stared into his face curiously. She seemed surprised, perplexed even, as though at odds with herself.

Tentatively she pulled him close again and her expression changed from puzzlement to something else, and he had absolutely no doubt that she was trying to make sense of the large and unexpectedly hard lump of the SmartKlamp that was resting in his pants! ­

Oh shit! It hit Luke full on. She thinks I’ve got a boner!

It was written all over her. Without any doubt, she’d got the idea that dancing with her had been so exciting for him, it had brought up an erection! Immediately, he twisted away to put a little space between them, as, whatever was going on in her head, she appeared to reach decision.

“We could always date, you know. If you wanted to…” She was slightly breathless, yet watched him expectantly as, artfully, she pulled him against her again. This time he felt her nudge against the plastic lump of his SmartKlamp.

“I can’t…” he said, and eased her away again. It wasn’t brilliant, but it would do for a start as he wracked his brains for something better.

She looked uncertain, even hurt as he continued to hold her at arms length. And, for God’s sake it wasn’t actually her fault. As far as she knew, thirty seconds ago he was dead set on impregnating her with his sperm. Now he was rejecting her!

“…until I’m a Junior!”

“What?” She looked confused.

They’d stopped moving as they stared at each other. Others were beginning to notice. He forced himself to take hold of her again, but still kept his groin out of the way as they continued dancing.

His voice became a tight whisper. “I can’t date until I’m in my Junior year. I’m really sorry. My parents said Simon and I couldn’t go out with anyone until then.” Of course, they’d never said such a thing, but it would do —at least for now.

Whether she was listening to him or not, he didn’t know. She said nothing and avoided his eyes as they kept dancing until the Carpenters decided it was time to bring 'We've only just begun' to an end.

Couples began to leave the floor as they remained rooted to the spot. He didn’t know what else to do. Maybe she regretted how she’d acted? Maybe she felt a conflict with her church beliefs? Maybe she felt guilty? Maybe she just felt plain rejected?

Unable to look him in the eye, she appeared flustered, and mumbled, “I’m really sorry Luke, I’ve embarrassed myself and you. Please forgive me.” With that, she let go of his arms and hurried off the dance floor leaving him standing alone and feeling like a crap bastard.

Many eyes seemed to watch her go as she passed through all the tables and rushed out of the marquee. Those same eyes returned to glare at him, accusingly. Her father also caught him in his gaze and glowered before striding out of the tent after his daughter.

Just then, his phone chirped with an incoming message.

It was his mum.

Trying to avoid any more eye contact, he gathered Owen and hurried out, too. For all the wrong reasons, he felt ashamed, so he kept his head down and tried not to see anyone. They got away without any more fuss.

“How was it, then?” Lucy was inquisitive as she drove them home through the night.

“Great!” Owen beamed—the one who had actually enjoyed himself for once.

“Yeah, it was fine,” Luke said as the spotlight strayed in his direction.

Like hell it was!

19. The Problem with Toby

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

The Problem with Toby

Simon loosened the retaining nut and leaned firmly on the bottom sprocket of the contraption they'd been building, drawing the line taut, before tightening the nut again. They'd got all the parts easily enough from Home Depot, and satisfied at last that the tension was right, he pulled on the ropes that lifted and lowered the newly installed food lift.

He shouted up into the branches that towered above him. "See, it works great now—the lines just needed tightening!”

Toby waved his approval from high above as he sat perched on edge of the wooden platform with his feet over the side.

Climbing back up the ladder, Simon dropped the spanner on a shelf and came to join Toby. They stared out across the valley towards where the sun, which briefly appeared through a rent in the gathering storm clouds, splashed vivid colors over the landscape. On Toby’s knee, the Skerrit’s rather fat cat, Gizmo, purred contentedly as Toby gently scratched him just below his right ear.

Bemused, Simon smiled. At that moment, he was comfortable, too. Comfortable, and contentedly full.

When Luke had begun making arrangements to be out at some party that evening, Simon and Toby had made their own plans. Being a Friday night, it hadn't been hard to turn an evening at Toby's into a sleepover. Simon had hurriedly packed an overnight bag straight after school and biked up the hill. They'd eaten dinner inside, and then Toby’s mom had allowed them to take a couple of huge bowls of one of Publix’s tastier ice-creams up into the tree house.

It had been demolished with utter relish. Even Gizmo had had a dollop!

"That's probably it for today," Simon said. There wasn’t much more work to do on the tree house that he could see, though he was sure Toby would think of some new crazy idea given a chance. It was pretty much watertight now, and dry enough to sleep in—and they'd done that several times already, though not tonight. It was humid and hot, the time of year where a storm could easily break. And by the looks of the weather, that was going to be sooner rather than later.

Simon glanced up at the gathering clouds. "Let's hope it's still watertight. It looks like it's going to rain cats and dogs!"

"Don't tell Gizzy that," Toby sniggered. "He's confused enough as it is!"

Simon chuckled, but it would be a relief when it did rain. It had been stifling all day. He studied the banking clouds again.

“I think it’s gonna break soon. Perhaps we should go in?” As though hearing him, the heavens replied with a low grumble.

Toby shrugged and continued stroking the cat. “Five minutes—and anyway, I’m stuck under Gizmo!”

“You feed that cat all the wrong stuff, you know.”

Toby covered Gizmo’s ears, startling the poor beast. “Don’t listen to Uncle Simon, Gizzy. He’s a crazy lunatic!”

“Gizzy?” Simon rolled his eyes. “It’s just a cat!!”

He looked down over the Skerrit house—a single, bungalow style place, it was wood-built, and certainly a lot older than their own modern, brick-built home. The rambling old porch on the back led out to this garden/wilderness where he and Toby often hung out. Whilst there might be a lot to be said for a bigger place, he liked it here. It had character and was perfect for adventure-driven, growing kids…and a cat! All the rooms were on one floor. Of the three bedrooms, one was Toby’s, one his mum’s and the third was set up as Toby’s art studio.

In the skies above them, there was a more immediate crackle; a warning of an approaching storm. It was followed not long after by a shout from the house.

"Time to come in, boys. Storm's coming!"

Even before Toby's mum came outside to call them, they were already making their way down from the tree—well-trained enough to know it was not cool to sit up in one during a lightning storm.

Simon went first, making his way back down the long ladder from the tree house to the ground, waiting at the bottom as they made use of the newly-installed hoist. Toby dumped the plates and cups on the handy tray and watched as Simon pulled the looped rope. They watched the tray’s descent in satisfaction.

“Told you,” called Simon. “Look, it works great!”

Toby made ready to come down himself, and scrambled over the edge to the top steps of the ladder. Descending, he paused and stretched up to slide the simple door, dropping the hook into place. Hopefully it would help to keep out the rain.

Observing from below, Simon enjoyed the view as his friend descended. Most of Toby's jeans were slightly battered and loose fitting. He seemed to like them that way and was never bothered about a belt, quite happy to let them sag off his backside. Simon caught the bright orange flash of Toby’s current pair of rather colorful boxers, and his eyes locked onto them as Toby began to navigate downwards.

Toby glanced down and seemed to sense something wasn’t quite right, and frowned. “What’s wrong?”

Startled and knowing he’d been caught ogling his friend's bum, Simon dragged his eyes away. “Nothing—I was just wondering where Gizmo was."

Actually, it was a good point. Where was the stupid beast?

“Oh, crap—I think we left him inside!” Toby climbed back up, slid the door open again and was greeted by affectionate nuzzling. “Sorry, Giz. Come on…out with you. We’re going inside.”

The cat purred and seemed in no hurry to get the message, so Toby picked it up and dumped it on the narrow walkway that passed all around the main structure. With haughty disdain, Gizmo stalked off. Simon knew from experience that it would find its own way down easily enough.

There was another, closer crash of thunder.

"Don't hang around, you two!" Grace’s warning came from where she stood at the porch door that led into the kitchen, and she held it open as they gathered up the plates and hurried to join her. Once safely inside, the heavens continued to grumble. Miraculously, Gizmo seemed to have managed to arrive inside before them, and was already delicately preening himself in his favorite chair in the lounge.

They hadn’t long to wait. Less than ten minutes later, the storm arrived over the top of them. Lightning stabbed towards the ground and the heavens let loose a massive volley of thunder and it started chucking down!

The three of them sat on the deck sipping hot drinks as they watched the show play out in front of them. How could anyone not love it?

“That was incredible!” Toby said as the storm finally began to pass.

Simon had to agree. “I’ve never seen it like that before, either. We never had storms like that in England."

Whilst the thunder and lightening had lasted, it had been amazing. Powerful and energizing, he’d wanted to run out into the pummelling rain and jump and shout! Even now, as they watched the darkness across the valley, they could see the odd brightening on the horizon as lightening splashed over the far distance.

“Do you think about England much, Simon?" Grace asked.

He glanced at her, wondering why she would bring it up. "To be honest, hardly ever, Mrs Skerrit," he said at last.

He stood, stepped out from underneath the covered porch and held out his arm. "I think the rain's stopped."

They continued to talk about it for a little longer and then Grace gathered the cups and took them indoors, leaving the two of them alone.

Toby remained curious. "Don’t you miss it? England I mean. Do you think you’ll ever go back?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Just wondering."

Simon considered it. “Maybe we’ll go home eventually…I guess.” It had seemed an odd question and Simon knew he’d given an odd answer. At least it seemed odd to him. What did ‘we’ll go home’ mean, anyway?

He'd only ever been back to the UK once. It had been a few months after settling into their new country. The four of them had gone back to London—that place that he had still called home out of habit back then—for Christmas with Nan and Granddad. At the time, their mum and dad had thought it would be a good thing, letting them catch up with their old friends for a week or two. A special treat, they'd said.

They were right, It had been great—and had even snowed!

However, and maybe it was because he'd rediscovered all the things he really did miss about England, having to get back on the plane and return to Atlanta had been horrible! Stuck between two places, he and Luke had fought and nagged for weeks.

But that had been years ago. Things had changed, and home seemed closer now. His mum said he even sounded American! As he considered it all, he got up and went to lean on the long railing that surrounded the decking.

“So, here's a question." Behind him, Toby was still inquisitive. "If you did leave America, what would you miss the most?”

Simon stared out into the darkness, weighing the question, but unable to give voice to what actually popped into his head. He sighed. Mooching around and grumbling about it didn't do any good.

“The food, probably.” He turned suddenly and pulled a face. “And Gizmo, of course.” The cat, last seen scurrying under Toby’s bed to hide out from the storm, wandered through the still-open kitchen door. Purring, it pushed against Toby’s legs.

“Awwww, Gizzy…come to daddy!” Toby picked it up and cuddled it.

“Do you know how pathetic you sound?”

“Don’t worry, Gizzy, Uncle Simon is just jealous of what we have.” Toby nuzzled the cat’s neck, who didn’t take it well and took a swipe at him. Simon burst out laughing as Toby dropped the cat like a hot stone.

He and Toby had actually started at the Academy's Middle School at the same time; him from the UK, and Toby transferring from Creek Middle after his mum had got a full scholarship for him. With both of them being new to the school, they’d gravitated to each other and got on well. They’d had a few rough moments over the years, yet the friendship was strong enough to survive the bumps.

Once the last of the storm had moved on, they went inside and settled in the lounge. They had no particular plan for the evening and their friendship didn’t call for it. They watched some TV for a bit, until Grace opened up her new laptop—an investment for her writing—and started tapping. At that, Toby plugged in a slightly battered PS1 into the TV, and he and Simon started racing.

Across on the couch, Toby’s mom tapped away rapidly, the ideas flying off her fingers.

"How’s the book coming on, Mrs. Skerrit?” They’d kept the volume on the game low so she could concentrate, and Simon caught Toby’s smirk at his traditional unwillingness to call her by her given name. To him, it just didn’t seem right.

“She likes to be called JK, these days, Si.”

They both watched Grace roll her eyes.

“Actually, it’s called ‘Tales of a Veggie Vampire," continued Toby. "It’s about a vampire kid who can’t stand eating meat. It’s quite funny!”

Veggie Vampire?” Simon considered the idea. “That’s quite good. Are you doing the drawings again?”

“Maybe. I’m still waiting for Mom to pay me for the first two!” Toby smirked, but if he was trying to needle his mom, it didn’t work.

She didn’t even bother looking up. “You wanted Gizmo if you remember, honey.”

"That was for the first book!"

"And I appreciate your contribution to the vet bills from the second."

Simon smiled at the exchange. The two sparred regularly, much more so than ever happened in his home—and certainly never in the free-and-easy way these two went at it. And she was as bad as Toby!

When he'd first started coming over, he'd been quite perplexed by the regular bickering, and more than a little embarrassed. In time, he came to see it differently. And she was right, Toby had asked for the cat when her first book had been published.

Grace had started writing children’s novels a few years back. Having never written before, it was just to have a go, she'd said. It turned out that her ‘have a go’ paid off, though she admitted freely to any who asked that it was probably Toby’s artwork that really sold the stories.

After unsuccessfully submitting her first real mini-novel to a host of publishers, a friend proposed she change tack, suggesting she write them for a younger audience, cutting down on the text and adding pictures.

Toby had finally run up a couple of dozen simple line drawings to depict important scenes, confessing to Simon at the time that he thought they were crap and that he had more important things to be getting on with.

But she’d reworked her story, added the artwork and resubmitted. It was snapped up and her first book was published. As a first-time author, the returns weren’t a great deal, but it was a start. Simon knew that she’d wanted to give Toby half the money, but he’d opted for Gizmo instead.

Hot on its tail, the first book had led to a second, and Toby had set about the artwork for it much more carefully, spending hours creating and painting numerous intricate, watercolour tableau scenes that he felt did his mum’s second book justice. He'd been unbelievably pissed off when the publishers wrote back to say they preferred the pictures in the simple, and rather quirky style they said had been quite popular in the first novel.

Still, for his mum’s sake, Toby had redone everything, though still taken more time than the first time round. He’d reverted to the original style and when they were done, even he admitted they weren’t bad. The publishers loved the package and—Toby boasted—threw money at them as a down payment to get the third book in the series out as soon as possible.

“You want me to draw you into a picture somewhere, Si?” Toby couldn’t contain a smug look. “I could, you know. You’d be famous!”

Grace looked up from her keyboard. “I actually think that’s a lovely idea, honey." Her eyes twinkled in amusement. "Why not? How would you like that , Simon—for Toby to draw you into the next book?”

Simon grinned, delighted, hardly knowing what to say. How cool would that be—to end up in a book?

Nobody was ever going to write a story about him, but to be able to point out his picture to his friends and family—maybe even to his own kids—hidden in the middle of a famous book? Wouldn’t that be something!

Yep, that’s me! The guy who did them was a friend of mine…a genius! We were at school together. Did I ever go around to his house, you ask? Of course I did—all the time. You should have seen the mural on his bedroom wall in those days. It was incredible!

There was actually a mural, and it was a perfect example of what made Toby's room extremely cool—a place full of the kind of artistic imagery that he excelled in. Simon’s own bedroom was bland in comparison—the walls washed with the standard magnolia that filled most of their house. But Toby's pad? You could almost taste it! One whole wall in Toby’s room was given over to the huge painting that seemed to change and grow over the months since he had first started it.

After a while, Grace shut her laptop, and the three of them played cards together, until, an hour later, she stood and stretched.

"Okay, boys.” She glanced at the clock. “Time to hit the sack."

Stashing away the PS1, Simon and Toby took themselves off to Toby’s room and began getting it ready. Between them, they pulled out the extra bed; the simple mattress that was stored under Toby’s bed. Already made up for sleeping, they arranged it alongside, the better to talk.

“You first, or me?" Toby asked.

Simon knew that Toby’s mom liked him to have a shower at least once a day—something Toby complained she was overly picky about. He, however, usually showered morning and night, so it suited him fine. There was only Toby and his mum in the house, and they each had their own bathroom. Grace had an en-suite off her own room, and Toby had commandeered the main family bathroom.

Simon began to pick through his overnight bag, checking he had everything he needed, and said, “Doesn't bother me. You can go first if you want. Just don’t hog all the hot water like last time!”

“Suit yourself. Don't say I didn't offer.” Toby opened one of his drawers to get what he needed, flicked it closed and crossed to the door.

While he waited, Simon studied the wall mural, trying to spot any new developments. The old tree, added soon after Toby had made the charcoal sketch in their art class at school, had grown fuller and more detailed. He stood back to scan the whole wall, and smiled to himself when he spotted the recently installed food lift. It hadn't taken Toby long to get that in!

Surprisingly soon, he heard the bathroom door open again. At least there should still be some hot water left, he mused as he continued to searched the picture, waiting for Toby to returned

"Where's Gizmo?" he asked, searching though the branches as Toby came into the room.

"I moved him," Toby replied from behind Simon. "He's in the leaves now, up at the top right."

Simon's eyes flicked up and found the cat. He smirked. That was the second time Gizmo had shifted. It was a bit like 'Where's Wally'! He turned and suddenly couldn't help but smirk—but it had nothing to do with the cat.

"What?" Toby frowned.

"Nothing. You remind me of traffic lights, that’s all. Orange and now green."

Poised clad only in what looked to be the green version of what had to be from the same pack of underwear that the orange ones came from, Toby pulled a face. 

"What's wrong with them?" He studied himself in the trendy boxers, and then looked up. His eyes carried a challenging glint. "And how do you know I was wearing orange ones!"

Simon laughed to cover the discomforting question. "For flip's sake—you have them hanging at your knees. People across the other side of valley know what you wear!"

Toby grinned, completely unabashed. "Yeah—well, I like to wear just boxers to bed instead of PJs, now it's getting hot at night. They're pretty comfy." He slipped his fingers around the top of the band, and wiggled a bit to adjust his package, even briefly looking down inside the front.

“Did you lose it?”

“Funny boy." Toby ignored Simon as he continued to examine himself, peering around the back to examine his bum. "I got some new pairs. What do you think?”

The boxers did look good, Simon decided. The colors, the fit, they were just like Toby—quite lively. He sniggered. "Sure, they’re cool—and if you sleepwalk, nobody's gonna miss you in the dark, that’s for sure!"

He started getting his stuff together for the shower. Packed for the following day, he pulled the well-used Haynes briefs out of his bag that was resting alongside the mattress. “Maybe I need to get me some new ones soon.” There was little good to be said for the pair that could easily be mistaken for a grey floor cloth.

Toby smirked. "You know that you're the only guy wearing those anymore. Maybe it’s time to try something different?" He continued to rub his hair dry.

Simon perched on the side of the bed and considered the bland and sensibly conventional underwear that his mum always bought from Kmart. It was true, he’d been wearing underpants like these for as long as he could remember—usually from packs that were just a mixture of white and grey. Toby was right, most in his class wouldn’t be seen dead in anything that lifeless and unimaginative! These days there were plenty of bright, lively colors splashed around the locker rooms. Mason, Jacko, Gabe, Ethan, Chase—all of them sported modern boxers. Even the Elf had style, though only someone like Danny Gillespie could get away with wearing Spongebob!

“They’re pretty crap aren’t they?” He scrunched up his face, holding up the shapeless garment. “Mum always gets them.”

And maybe he should start taking a bit more interest in what he wore in the future? He wondered when would be the next time she would be going shopping? Maybe he should tag along?

"Why don't you try a pair of these?" Toby said.

The offer took Simon by surprise, but before he had time to reply, Toby had opened his drawer, pulled out another pair and tossed them over. "It's the twenty-first century, bud, get with the program!"

It was a remarkable take-off of what one of their language teachers liked to say, and Simon snickered, especially as the pair landed right on top of Gizmo, who poked his head through one leg and looked scandalized!

"Try 'em tonight to sleep in," Toby continued when they'd stopped laughing. "If you like them, go buy your own."

"It’s fine—I brought PJs." Simon had extracted the boxers off the cat, but couldn't help but compare them with the Kmart dishcloth he still held in the other hand.

Toby shrugged. "It’s up to you—it doesn't bother me." He pointed an accusing finger at the scrunched up grey cotton. "I promise you though, once you swap, you won't want to go back to those crappy things anymore!"


Simon prickled at his underwear being described as crappy, but Toby was probably right. He’d be fifteen in June, so maybe it was high time that he 'got with the program'. It was still quite humid that night, and Toby's air-con was pretty crap... It wasn't hard to convince himself as he lay the boxers over the top of his pile to take to the shower.

"As long as you don't mind." Maybe he'd try them under his PJs, just to see.

Toby brushed it off, already turning back to his mural. "I don't care—they're only from Walmart."

Walmart? Maybe worth checking out.

“Toby…” As Simon considered the boxers on the bed, something else came to mind. “I was gonna ask you about something.”


“I wondered if…” Simon halted, too self-conscious to get out the question Luke had suggested.

“What?" Toby turned, his face curious. "You wondered what?”

He shook his head and surged up from the mattress, disturbing poor Gizmo once more. “Doesn’t matter. I’ll go get a quick shower.” With that he picked up his wash bag and the boxers, and hurried out.

A minute later, standing under the hot water, his thoughts drifted and he considered his past once more. London. England. Friends. His beloved Chelsea football club, and of course, proper chips; all things that, at the time, had seemed so important.

When they’d first landed in America, the first few months had been quite a blast: finding a house, starting a new school, making friends. So many new things to discover and experience.

Luke had been the angry one at leaving London, and Simon had tried to appear pissed off for his brother's sake, but secretly it hadn’t really bothered him that much. Who cared where they lived. Everything was better over here anyway—he even had a boat!

And there was Toby...and there was the problem.

It wasn't that Simon didn't have plenty of friends, he did, but there was something about Toby that pushed his buttons. But what could he do? Though it was total crap having feelings for someone who would never return them, he could live with it. It would probably go away before long, anyway.

 He shook his head and turned to something else. A few minutes earlier, he'd toyed with the idea of posing the circumcision question to Toby, but had bottled out.

It seemed a great idea earlier, but...

Maybe it still was—if only he could work up the guts for it. As he soaped himself, he ran through a few phrases in his head that might start the discussion. Moments later he found himself drifting and staring across at the bright red boxers waiting for him.

Walmart? He could do that.

His mum would just have to get used to the idea he wanted to go buy his own clothes. Luke had boxers, he knew, so maybe it was just a case of asking?  Better still, go himself and get what he wanted. He smirked—maybe not bright red ones...and definitely not Spongebob! He'd have to buy some other stuff, too, so it didn't look odd. He tried to think what he needed: some new tees, maybe some jeans, too?

Perhaps he could get Luke to take him? That might be less obvious.

Around the shower curtain he glanced at the pair waiting on top of his PJs. They were definitely colourful, there was no doubt about it!

Blow it—he would wear them, he decided. If nothing else, just because Toby had offered them. Stuff the consequences! Even though all he had to look forward to was another night lying in the dark, trying to get to sleep, he would get with the program!

Absently, drawn by the memory of the teasing pair around Toby’s bum, Simon began to massage himself. He stopped quickly. He loved sleepovers, but certain aspects of them were beginning to drive him crazy.

Shit...Toby Skeritt...why do you have to do this to me?

It wasn't like he was even confused by it anymore. It was pretty straightforward—he couldn't help what he liked, even though he knew his tastes were well off the normal menu for most guys his age!

He studied the usual jaunty stick that had risen up, a result of his playing, and continued to slide the skin up and down, which in the circumstances was probably a dumb thing to do. He jerked off most days in the shower, and at home he'd have taken care of it by now.

But here? He felt uncomfortable about beating-off in somebody else's house, but this was killing him.

He played with himself some more to the point where he decided he was going to have to spunk-off now and be done with it, or he'd be hard all night. Worse still, if he didn't get it under control, he was going to walk into the bedroom with a chub sticking out of Toby’s borrowed briefs. THAT didn’t bear thinking about!

He took hold of himself firmly. The clock was running, and he needed to be quick! He tried to stay quiet and avoid any obvious rhythmic noises, and was getting quite close when there was a knock at the door.


Oh My God!  Stumbling in shock, he slipped and almost fell over.

"It's me, Mrs. Skerrit." He tried to keep his voice level. "I think Toby is in his room..."

"Oh, I’m sorry, Simon." Her voice carried through the safely locked door. "I was just wanting Toby's dirty laundry. I was thinking about putting on a quick load. Don't worry, I'll do it later."

After that incident, he went down fast. Maybe he could have pressed on, but he was way too put off by the idea that Grace Skerrit was on the prowl! And she deserved better than to have him dirty their bathroom with his stupid habits. Within a few moments, his heartbeat slowed up.

What a fucking idiot!

Now the crisis had past, he had to smile at his stupid antics. It hadn’t been that much of a close call. The door was locked and she was never actually going to come in—not really.

He rinsed off and climbed out of the tub, which, like their own, doubled up as a shower tray. As he dried off with the towel, he noticed a bottle of cologne by the sink. On impulse, he splashed a little on his fingers to smell it. It was a bit...not really his thing. However, rather than waste it, he rubbed it off on his chest.

Then he slipped on the sleek, red boxer trunks Toby had provided.

At first glance it seemed that they would be the wrong size. The legs looked like narrow tubes and he wondered if Toby hadn’t checked the label properly, and had accidentally bought a size too small. But as he drew them up, the material seemed to give way easily and expand around his frame.

Damn, they felt totally fabulous and hugged his groin and bum like his old pairs never did! Like the modern pairs many seemed to have, the legs went down half way to his knees.

They felt freaking amazing!

Checking himself in the mirror, he finally brushed his teeth before collecting his discarded clothing. He was going to put his PJ bottoms on, but decided to just wrap a towel around himself instead. Making sure everything was turned off, he peered around the bathroom door carefully, checking for Tony’s mum, and then slipped down the corridor to Toby's room.

20. The Unforeseen

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

The Unforeseen

Returning to Toby’s bedroom, Simon set his clothing into a neat pile next to his backpack and used the towel to continue to scrub his hair dry. Toby was standing against the wall, working chalk into his mural. Simon smirked—the green around Toby's backside matched quite well with the grass of the huge picture. With the way the light cast against the hue of his friend’s skin, it almost looked like he was part of it himself.

"You took long enough!" Toby turned briefly to scrutinize him before returning to his wall. "Did I hear Mom?"

"She wanted the washing basket."

Feeling a little self-conscious in his new sleepwear, Simon pulled the towel and started to rub his hair dry. It felt odd to mention the boxers, so he said nothing and came to stand next to Toby to look over the growing masterpiece. "It's really coming on. I saw that you put the food lift in."

"You spotted that?" Toby said, studying the section. He flicked at what he must have thought was a blemish with the tip of his finger. “It’s still in chalk—I’m not quite happy with it, yet.”

He went back to working the chalks in another previously unmarked area. This was how Toby worked it, Simon knew, developing something in chalk before finally painting it in, more permanently.

"Does that make you 'Stop', then?" Unexpectedly, Toby’s eyes flicked to what was comfortably covering Simon's backside. It came with a teasing smirk at the new-look sleepwear.

"What?" Simon frowned, and then he got it. He looked down trying to give the impression he'd only just noticed his state of dress. "Oh…green for go, red for stop, you mean?"

Toby burst out laughing. "If you're hoping to get your license, you'd better get that one figured!"


Simon added, "You're right, though, they're not bad." It felt a little awkward, so he changed the subject to cover. "So, what are you working on now?”

Toby smirked knowingly as he roughed in some more chalk. It began to take shape. “What was one of the worst thing we ever did to a dog?”

We?” Simon giggled, cringing at the memory. “That was you, you lunatic!”

The image of the fat lady and the poodle began to come to life on the wall and he started laughing. “Do you think she ever got it clean?” The face of the rather confused poodle that lived not far away, took shape. That day they had spray-painted its legs pink must have left the poor beast awfully traumatised!

As they enjoyed the memory, Toby flicked yet another glance at the red boxers. “You got your fat ass into them, then?” He grinned and went back to the dog.

Simon’s tone was derisive as he shot back, “To be honest, they’re a bit loose. I think you stretched them!”

"In your dreams! Actually, they're new. I've never worn them. Keep them if you want.”

Toby put down the chalk and dusted off his hands. "They look okay on you, and they have to be better than..." he pulled a face as both their eyes dropped to his old white ones, still lying on the mattress, "...those things!"

"Maybe," Simon allowed. He looked down at what he was wearing again, realizing how much he enjoyed having them on. At the same time, simply being around Toby brought color to his life. Standing together, it felt like the two of them fitted well together—Toby in green, him in red.

If only it were that easy!

Toby seemed to have had enough with the wall and lay he down on his bed, pulling over the sheets. He smirked. "Well, I don't know about you, but I find they keep everything in place!" It was completely shameless and Simon had to laugh.

"They're alright, I guess," he admitted. It wasn't something he preferred to dwell on. Then again, Toby didn't seem to mind this kind of direct talk, so maybe...

He settled on his own bed, shuffled under the summer duvet, and tentatively gathered his courage. “I was going to ask you something earlier.”

Toby leaned over the edge. “And…?”

“'re circumcised, right?”

In the middle of plumping up his pillow, Toby froze, and then drilled him with piercing eyes. “Excuse me?”

Simon squirmed. It all began to feel like a REALLY bad idea. "I shouldn’t have asked,” he muttered. “Sorry. It’s not your fault…”

“What’s not my fault?” Toby demanded. “And why do you need to ask? I mean, you know I am, right?” 

Simon fidgeted under the sharp gaze that wouldn't release him. Toby took a moment to sort out his pillows before settling in to consider him. “We all are—it's just you that isn't.”

Simon nodded. ‘We’ did include the whole class—that he’d figured out some time ago. Stilt, it was a start, albeit a shaky one.

Toby pressed in. “So what? What are you trying to say—that you want to be?”

 “Not really.” Simon shook his head. That was something he was becoming increasingly sure of.

“I don’t get it. So why—”

Simon interrupted him, needing to get it out before he lost his bottle. “I’ve…well I’ve got this medical thing, which means I probably need it done.”

“A medical thing? What medical thing?” Toby looked confused. “Okay, you’d better start at the beginning. I’m lost already.”

Simon tried to organise his thoughts. “Like I said. I’ve got this medical condition. It's called phimosis. Luke has the same as me—he’s just had an operation."

For the first time, Toby seemed genuinely astounded. "Really?"

"Yep, just recently—he had to be circumcised to fix it."

"HOLY SHIT!" Toby's mouth dropped open. It was way too loud for Simon’s liking.

"You're telling me Luke just got skinned?" Toby seemed unwilling to let it go, and Simon rather regretted blabbing.

"You can't let on you know!”

Toby shrugged. "Whatever..." He frowned again, propping his chin in his arms as he got comfortable.

“So—to get this right—what you're saying is that, whatever it is, you think you have this same thing?”

Glum, Simon nodded. For the next few minutes, he explained to Toby the problem he was facing. For his part, Toby seemed to be willing to listen.

"I know my foreskin doesn’t come back like it should," he ended up, "but I’m just not sure. What would you do?"

“You’d better show me," Toby said, finally.

"Show you?" Simon’s eyes flicked to where the red boxers were covered by a sheet. "You want to see my dick?" That was exactly what his mum had asked. That had not gone well.

"Well, you asked me what I thought," Toby replied, reasonably enough. "How am I gonna know, unless I see?"

" mean now?" Uncomfortable again, Simon eyed the door nervously. What if Grace made a sudden entrance?

Toby burst out laughing, though it wasn't nasty. “Of course I mean now! It’s just a dick for God’s sake. JEEZ!”  He rolled back away from the edge, laughing, leaving Simon staring up into an empty space.

Simon knew he was being as cagey as Luke. On the other hand, Toby was right, it was no big deal. At least it shouldn't be as he tried to convince himself there was no difference between this and the hundreds of times he and Toby had stood together under the showerheads or in the locker rooms, chatting about the stuff of life.

He came to a decision. "No, it's okay. I don't mind." He tried to keep his tone nonchalant and flipped back the sheet.

Toby rolled back over and leaned comfortably over the edge of his bed as Simon eased the closely fitting boxers off his backside. He flipped out his dick.

"This is what it does." To show what he'd been trying to explain, he pulled down on the foreskin. It was completely soft, so it was more fiddly to do than when stiff, but he peeled himself down.

Toby leaned in for a closer look as he kept retracting until the skin got jammed at the end, as Simon now knew it did. The darker red of his trapped head glared as, unsuccessfully, it tried to escape the restriction. The strident color matched his borrowed boxers.

“Wow!” Toby sounded surprised. “Does it hurt when you do that?”

Simon shook his head. "Not really—not unless you do it really hard." For a few more moments, he held it there pointing up out of his light curly bush as he put himself on display, then let it go.

“It’s not right though, is it?”

Simon pulled a face as he slipped his dick back inside the boxers and covered up. Toby was right, but that was also such a complicated question. Lots of things weren’t right, and not just his dick. Life just wasn’t quite right—like a book that had a few pages missing, or a meal cooked without enough salt. The colorful boxers reminded him that he needed more.

There was one good thing at least—Toby wasn’t taking the piss out of him for bringing it up. In that respect, Luke had been right. It was a surprisingly intimate moment, and one in which Toby seemed genuinely concerned as they considered what it all meant.

"So what do you think?" Simon was glad he'd had the guts to ask his friend now, and glanced upwards, waiting to see if Toby had any bright ideas.

Toby pursed his lips. “Would you have to go into hospital?”

“For an operation, you mean? No. Luke said it was like being at the dentist. They use some special device that stays on for a week.” He decided not to mention that Luke was still wearing his.

“Fucking hell! Some dentist!” Toby smirked. “Still, at least you’d be the same as everyone else, at last.”

“That’s what Luke said, but it’s not like that where we come from.”


Simon nodded.

"But I bet it's not normally tight like that in England, either!"

Simon pursed his lips. He knew what Toby meant—and he had a point.

Toby rolled back into the center of his bed. The consultation seemed to be finished, though Simon didn't feel anywhere nearer to either Toby or to a good answer to his problem. He adjusted the summer duvet that the Skerrits really only kept for him for when he stayed over, and got comfortable as they continued to talk.

“If it was me…" Toby voice drifted down f from the bed above him, "I think I’d have to get it done.”


“So when do you have to decide?”

“Soon. I’ll have to go for an appointment for them to look at it.”

They continued to chat until, a few minutes later, Toby’s mom came to the door to put the lights out. She knocked, and Simon made sure he was well under the duvet before she put her head in.

“Come on Gizmo!” She called and waited patiently.

“I don’t think he’s in here, Mom.”

Simon smothered a grin at the blatant attempt to put her off, knowing that Grace would never fall for it.

 “Toby, dear, you and I both know he is.” She bent down to look. “He’s probably hiding under your bed.” In her hand she had a spoon, and with it she tapped the doorframe, calling sweetly. “Gizmo…”

Right beside Simon, as if by magic, Gizmo poked his pert little nose out from under the bed. Bright eyes followed, hopefully inquisitive. Leaping lithely across him, Gizmo scuttled to the door where, much to his consternation, he was unceremoniously scooped up. The door closed and they could hear the poor thing being dumped out onto the back porch.

At the sound of a rather pitiful whine, Simon chuckled. “Does he always fall for that?”

Reaching across, Toby killed the bedside light. “You bet. Every time!”

“Good night, boys!”

“Night, Mom!” They heard her bedroom door close.

The room was peaceful and Simon felt relaxed. Having been able to tell Toby about his phimosis problem was an unexpected weight off his shoulders. It felt good. Toby had forgotten to close his blinds and, now the clouds had cleared. Beams seeped through the slats and painted the room with soft moonlight. They added to the light from the back porch that Grace had forgotten to put out.

“You know that Gizmo was watching you flashing your dick,” Toby murmured, breaking into a giggle now his mum had gone. “He’s probably like, totally scarred for life, now!”

Rudely, Simon stuck up a finger above the side of the bed.

Sniggering, Toby reached across and flicked it, but he wasn’t finished and added, “It’s a good job he’s a boy, or you might be in trouble!”

Simon grinned and, from down on the extra mattress, he let go a terrible mewling noise of a distraught pussy. They both started laughing again.

As they settled in the semi-darkness, Simon smiled. It had been such a great evening; the food, watching the storm, the honest talk with Toby. He yawned, sleepy now, though it was warm in the room. As he waited for sleep to come, he pushed down the duvet to catch the downdraft from the spinning ceiling fan. He wondered what they would do tomorrow and whether he might be able to convince his mum to let him stay over at the Skerrits on Saturday night, as well.

A hand was draped over the edge just above him, hanging down a little to where he was resting. Sleepily, he studied the still-chalky finger more closely. Toby bit his nails—a terrible habit—but otherwise it was just an ordinary finger.

Then, without any preplanning, reached up with his index finger and, ET-like, touched the end of Toby’s. It was the smallest possible contact, just a graze, and Simon wasn’t even sure why he’d done it—it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Really it was quite funny, he mused. He smiled to himself, any moment expecting some little quip or joke from Toby. It would come—and probably be something about phoning home. And then he would deliver Toby a stinging flick, he decided. After that, he'd get up and close the blinds properly so that the light wouldn’t disturb them and they could get off to sleep.

He waited for the quip, but it looked like Toby didn't have the energy for it. He was about to get up anyway and go deal with the window blinds, when Toby's finger moved.

Bemused he watched the simple touch turned into a light gliding across the tips of their joined digits. As Simon studied the movement, it became a light swirling around his nail. If he didn’t know better, he would have almost have described it as sensual. Frowning, he still waited for a punch line that didn’t come, and at that point, nothing seemed to add up.

He began to feel disturbed; guilty, even, as if it were his fault that he was thinking the wrong things. And uncomfortable, because he knew his body was doing the wrong things, too, and he was already stirring inside Toby’s borrowed briefs.

What the hell would Toby think if he knew? At any time, his friend could easily look down there, see the beginnings of his arousal, and be shocked—or worse. Even then, Simon couldn’t quite compute that this was more than just a one-sided exchange.

He knew he had to think of something to get himself off the hook, something that would allow it to be brushed off as an accidental contact—a joke, a bit of fun—but his voice wouldn’t engage. Either way, he couldn't (or didn't want to, he wasn't sure) release the connection or stop what was happening in his groin.

There was a break in Toby's breathing. With it came a subtle shift of intent as they continued to lightly brush the ends of their fingers together. Still with only one finger, Toby slipped his digit further down to his middle joint and swirled around it; going deeper and deeper. Always deeper. The touch went way past the point of mere accident. It was slow and, to Simon, becoming provocatively sexual. In the gloom, his eyes widened as the penny began to drop.

Distracted by the growing realization, he couldn't decide now whether he wanted it to stop or needed it to push even deeper. There were only two parts of him that stirred. One was his finger as it continued to explore and be explored. The other was his dick that had responded to an unspoken craving. He glanced down to where the muscles there had contracted.

He was already totally hard. Unavoidably, he lifted slightly, pressing out against the constricting material that seemed to glow an eerie red in the half-light. It was hard to smother a groan.

He was nervous now, gradually understanding it for what it was, and it stunned him as his fingers began to tremble. If he could have, he would have let go, but that swirling touch became a caress that deepened as their fingers came together and gradually entwined their two hands.

Finally, he felt a light tug. He swallowed, but didn’t move. It seemed easier to stay out of sight.

Another tug was followed by a soft voice. "Si..." Soft, but a little tense, the tone wasn't to be denied, and Simon raised his head to just above the edge of the bed and came face to face with Toby, who'd turned onto his side and seemed to be waiting.

While it looked like Toby, what struck him in that face was an unmistakable something that could only be described as longing; even lust. It was mesmerizing. He'd know Toby for years, yet never had he seen those deep, toffee-brown eyes glinting with something so electric.

For a time, they just watched each other, measuring each other up. Simon was afraid to speak, and wouldn't have known what to say anyway as those eyes burned into him. The fact that they were entering new ground was apparent—the physical touching hinted at what that might be. Yet it had all happened so fast and he felt breathless and flushed. He knew he should say something, but nothing would come out.

"Do you want to?"

The tone of Toby’s leading question startled Simon. Normally gravelly with a voice that, unlike Simon’s own, had already fully broken, Toby was tight and dry.

Simon could have said, did he want to what, but he was left with no doubt what Toby meant—and it wasn't to enquire if he wanted to go sailing, or discuss the wall mural!

Did he want to?

What he wanted was more time. What he wanted was to drop down onto his bed again, and think it through properly. He was plagued with questions: how had this happened, how come he'd never seen it before? The difference between daydreaming in the classroom and this was huge. All the while, those eyes tormented him with their intensity.

The question hung there. Did he want to?

How could he not? In the potent gaze that held him, nothing else mattered.

Flustered even by the admission, he returned the slightest of nods. His usual carefully planned approach to his world had few messy edges, yet it all went out of the window as his mind and body sizzled with the enveloping flame that lit Toby.

Before he could figure out what he was meant to do, Toby slipped over the edge of the bed, and down onto Simon’s mattress. Sliding under the oversized duvet, Toby pulled it fully over the two of them, and it grew dark. In the blackness, they lay close. In at the deep end, Simon’s heart thumped.

Now what?

An arm came over the top of him and lay still. Simple. Protective. A cuddle. It was how he’d imagined it would be. A safe place…just to talk. He shifted onto his side to face the shape alongside him, wondering what they would say to each other.

Toby Skerrit was gay?

It just didn't seem possible, and in his head Simon started forming the questions that would provide the answers he needed to make sense of why they were lying together like this. Then again, perhaps it was better just say nothing and….and what? He wasn't cold, but he still shook with nervous anticipation.

However, when the arm moved, it didn't appear that Toby planned to be as restrained as he was. A hand touched Simon’s face and his chest, before reaching down to brush against him in a way that made him bite his lip and almost cry out. He remained rooted by apprehension and inexperience. 

"If you want to stop, tell me." Out of the gloom, the eyes studied him.

Red, green. Stop, go.

"It's okay—I don't mind." Simon’s voice was husky, and sounded as confused and jittery as he felt.

In response, the hand left the tight lump in his boxers and took hold of his wrist. Firmly, it guided him until it rested on something that shook him almost as much as being touched. The hidden hand, like a puppeteer’s strings, mentored him, sanctioning the contact and patiently instructing as he felt Toby through the stretched cotton. He got the idea, and when Toby’s hand let go, Simon didn't.

For several moments they gently rubbed each other through the soft material. It was already a warm night, in a room where the ceiling fan hardly compensated for an inefficient air-con unit. Under the covers, Simon’s flush deepened, and he wondered if he was going to cum.

Then, Toby moved again. Without a word, he slid his leg across Simon, bit by bit pushing him onto his back until he slid over the top. Simon fully expected to feel his weight, but Toby held off, and the only thing he felt between them was the shape of Toby’s erection pressing lightly onto him.

They froze there, with only the sound of their breathing to mark the point of no return. Mounted on top, it was a watershed moment for Simon as Toby straddled him, and he nearly foundered with his conflicting thoughts..

"Are you okay?" Toby’s husky voice was close, though he sounded so much more in control and confidant than Simon as they hung in the balance.

Simon didn't reply. Maybe that was all the answer Toby needed as, hovering in the darkness, he moved. Slowly at first, as if even he was unsure of what to do, he nudged once. And then again.

What was it? A tease? An offer? A last chance to back out?

Lightly, Simon rested his hands on Toby’s bum, hesitant and lacking confidence. Once more Toby scraped the green against the bright red, patiently eroding Simon’s ability to resist reciprocation.

Red, green. Yes, no....

It came again and, unable to help himself this time, he opened his mouth and groaned aloud.

Gripping the soft green of Toby’s backside harder, Simon ended the questions, pulling him firmly into contact.  It seemed to goad Toby, who finally settled onto him to push again, and again, until a rhythm began to be established. Simon’s hands stayed gripping the warm green, joining that rhythm.

The bedding was constricting, the still air under the covers, stifling. At any other time, Simon would have called it uncomfortable. Now, it drove him and he broke out into a sweat. Under Toby's heavier frame, he became hot and sticky. It felt incredibly good. Driven by the rising temperature, their movements began to escalate as their sweat-slicked chests slid against each other. It wasn’t a question of if they would ejaculate, it was a matter of when.

Abruptly, Toby stopped, leaving Simon disappointed.

Throwing back the covers, he lifted himself off and went back onto his knees. However, staring feverishly at his profile, Simon had no impression that it was about to end. And he was right, as in the dim light, he watched Toby push down his boxers enough to let his shaft jump out.

It was the first time Simon had ever seen him hard, but Toby didn’t seem to care. Even in the dim light, the arousal he was carrying as he knelt before him was explicit. If he didn’t know better, Simon might almost have believed it was a different person crouched over him. He didn’t care as he reached up eagerly to pull him back down once more. Taking the duvet and pulling it over his head, Toby lowered himself again and covered them both.

He knew what he had to do as Toby reached for him. He raised his backside to allow the red boxers to be drawn off him. Quickly, though not violently, Toby tugged, and they were gone.

The darkness returned.

Full length, Toby lay over him and Simon savored it. He’d anticipated an immediate return to the frantic movements, yet it seemed like the clock had been turned back—like his world was restarting. Toby lay still. Maybe, like Simon, he was relishing every minute sensation of the intimate, full-body contact. If they had started some immediate pounding, it would have been fine—great, even—but this?

This was so much better.

Toby seemed in no rush, lying still, though the breathing in Simon’s ear sounded loud and aroused. He knew there would be more, but even if there wasn't, even if all they did now was lie together like this, it would be enough. A guy was holding him—one that felt the same way he did, and didn’t mind showing it.

Now he could die and go to heaven!

Every sensation was heightened, every nerve on full alert. The thought that there could be even more made him tingle with anticipation, and he knew he was quite ready for it.

What he wasn't quite ready for was dealing with 'the who’. It was just easier not to dwell too much on the idea of who's aroused naked form it was that was taking possession of him!

Moving his hands at last, he caressed the warm flash of Toby’s bum—a place he’d never touched in his life before. It seemed to act as a signal between them. Toby hissed softly, and started moving again.

With the return of the dark came a new sense of freedom. Without the barrier of clothing they both began to move again—faster now as the temperature soared once more. They became slick with sweat and pre-cum and, for Simon, the anonymity of darkness released his voice as he rode against the warm skin above him. He began to groan as his dick slipped and slid between their two bodies. The sound of his sex seemed to galvanize Toby, who reached around him, gripping across the small of his back. Locking him into place, Simon’s dick had nowhere to go and it became frantic and uncontrolled.

From above, though he couldn’t see it in the dark, a droplet of perspiration fell on him. The tired mattress seemed as energized as he was himself, giving off little squeaks which joined the soft cries escaping his open mouth as together they climbed towards release. An intense pleasure enveloped him, overpowering all other senses, and any comparison to sitting astride a hot water bottle on a pile of pillows seemed irrelevant.

Faster and faster they went. In a world where many would crucify them for what they were doing, two ordinary teenage boys who only knew that it felt right to them, climbed to a peak together.

Whatever Simon had imagined, it was hardly this. It was totally unplanned and there was hardly even time to pause  to give time to think if any of it was even ‘normal’! The grinding became too much, and his body went stiff as Toby continue to thrust into him. Simon knew he wouldn’t last.

The enormity of his pending ejaculation clamoured for attention against the backdrop of the familiar room as, from the light from the back porch, the sweaty, sexually-charged boy rocked against him. Toby, who twisted and thrashed fiercely. Toby, who was making sounds that had no meaning in a dictionary. Toby who, like himself, was about to spurt.

His teeth gritted and he heaved. And then it was on him.

“OH FUCK…!” With a desperate hiss Simon bore the agony of the ecstasy as his dick jumped and pulsed white cream between them. Maybe Toby could tell he was cumming, as he abruptly shuddered, too. He started grunting as he ejaculated, thrusting into the combined gunge until it was over for both of them. Then he collapsed over the top of Simon, his weight pressing him down on top.

Between them, their dicks were still hard. After a few moments of heavy breathing, Toby rolled off him to flop on his back on what little space there was on the narrow mattress, leaving Simon shaking in the aftershocks. He wondered what to say, but nothing seemed to make sense. Toby was still breathing heavily and didn’t speak, either.

As Simon got hold of himself, his hand drifted to just above where he was still hard and discovered the spills of their semen, some of which, under the hum of the overhead fan, was beginning to slip down his side towards the bedding. Sitting up, he spied the soft green of the briefs Toby had discarded. Taking them, he wiped his belly as best he could.

He felt totally exhausted, wiped out by the intense emotion. Drained, it was as if the essence of every part of his being had been distilled into the volume of his semen and drawn out of him with the explosive ejaculation. Turning onto his side he dropped the soiled underwear onto the floor.

Still Toby hadn’t spoken, leaving him with a growing sense of disquiet. Had he done something wrong? Was it his fault? Had it been a mistake?

Then, the warm duvet was drawn over them again. From behind, an arm wrapped around him, spooning in close and soothing him—an act of comfort, of love. A soft kiss touched the back of Simon’s head and his beating heart slowed. There would be time to talk later. Maybe Toby was right—now was the time just to cuddle and be still. Feeling safe, Simon relaxed, happy to leave the questions alone for the time being. Tired, and against all the odds, he dropped off to sleep.

21. Aftermath

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho


Simon stirred, not knowing whether he'd been out for a few minutes or a few hours. Precariously balanced right the edge of the mattress, he opened his eyes, and the warm comfort of the body pressed close in behind brought everything back. In the soft gloom, his face was close to the screwed-up pair of soft green boxers. Smeared with the remains of their exertion, the slightly pungent odor touched his nostrils.

Behind him, the warm body moved. From the change in his breathing, he knew that Toby was awake, but he wasn’t quite ready to face him yet.

 And who was he, anyhow?

The touch of flesh against his skin reminded him that he was naked, lying next to another naked boy. His eyes studied the boxer briefs that held their jizz, and the memories of how it got there replayed in acute detail. It had all happened so quickly, too fast to make sense of how or why. One minute they were going to sleep, the next minute...bang—they were unloading all over each other!

He didn't even know whether he was going to regret it yet.

 “Are you okay?” Close by, the familiar, soft voice came with a touch on his shoulder encouraging him to turn.

Was he okay?

With difficulty, Simon wriggled around in the cramped space to lie inches from a face that waited. The burning fire that had erupted from those toffee-brown eyes and consumed them both had passed, though the memory of it still lingered. Under the surface, something still simmered in Toby, though it had been joined by a careful watchfulness.

Was he okay?

For now, Simon nodded, though a flood of mostly irrelevant questions pushed into his head. What time was it? Where were his pyjamas? What were they going to say to Grace, and how were they going to get the sweaty, jizz-stained sheets washed; or dried?

Toby cut through it all with a question.

“Why the hell didn't you think to tell me that you were gay?" The cussing sounded light-hearted, but Toby still looked cautious.

Inside, Simon flinched. “Sorry.”

In the circumstances, he knew it was silly. After what had happened—what they’d done—there was nothing to deny, but he couldn’t help the feeling that he’d been shamed with a terrible truth.

Toby looked surprised and watchful caution seemed to resolve into bemusement. “You’re sorry?”  He pulled a face, and the bemusement became a cheeky grin and he reached up and touched Simon’s nose, as if checking he was still there.

“Which bit are you sorry for?" Toby sniggered. "That you made a mess of the sheets, or that you forgot to tell me that you were into guys?”

Into guys? It sounded alien, but Simon guessed it was true.

"Both?" he said. It was hard to separate the exchange from their regular banter. “Are you?” He knew how stupid that sounded, even as the words came out. He just couldn't get his brain working.

"Gay?" Again, Toby’s face creased and he laughed softly. ‘What do you think?”

Seeing the funny side of it too, Simon finally twitched into a lopsided grin. Everything took on a new perspective. Their usual humor and the gentle touch—neither came from a place or a person who was about to chuck him out as a freak.

Maybe it would be alright?

Toby continued to study him in the gloom before shifting in the tight space. “Can we get into my bed?” he pleaded. “You’re too fat and it’s cramped here; I’m falling off the edge.”

Simon pulled a face, becoming playful. “But I’m warm—and anyway, it was YOU who came down here in the first place!”

"I think you'll find we both came!" Toby's eyes glinted with confidant amusement and Simon's face scrunched up at the risqué humor. Unexpectedly, Toby planted to quick kiss on his forehead, then, sniggering, he clambered back up onto his own, rather wider, bed, leaving Simon staring into an empty space wondering yet again what had just happened. Toby seemed to be flying along as if nothing had happened, yet he was still stumbling over every memory that had led them into bed together.

Despite that, the bed felt suddenly empty without Toby. Simon didn’t stay there long and hurried up after him. There was nothing in the least coy or bashful about what stood tall in Toby’s groin as he pulled back the sheets to make room.

Simon tried to pretend he hadn't noticed.

They lay close again under the cooler sheets, studying each other like familiar strangers. After years of knowing Toby in another way, this all took some getting used to—probably for both of them. To Simon, it felt as if they had only just met.

"Hey," Toby finally murmured.

"Hey," Simon replied. Simple words that tried to make sense of the years of friendship and experiences together that was turning into something different; maybe something much, much better.

The sheets were warming up and he snuggled closer. Without overthinking it, he found himself entwining into an embrace that created the maximum amount of skin contact between them.

“Did you…?”. “Was it…? Two questions collided.

“You first,” said Toby.

“No, you…”

Toby remained impassive. Simon recognized that familiar, heartless demeanor when his friend was determined to get his own way. Resigned, he chewed his lip. “Was it okay…you know…I mean, did you enjoy it?”

“By ‘it’, you mean did I enjoy squirting all over you?”

Simon pulled a face. “Do you mind!” he muttered, swiping at Toby, still a little uncomfortable with it all, and still trying to get used to the idea that he had a stiff wanger pressed into Toby's thigh.

 Toby was unrepentant and seemed to revel in trying to shock him. “Mind what?" he returned with a cheeky smirk. "That’s what we did wasn't it! Was it good? Fuck, yeah it was!” His tone turned sexy. “What about you?”

Simon didn’t usually cuss that much, especially at Toby's place, but he decided now was as good a time as any to make an exception. He lay back on the pillow, put his hands behind his head, and grinned happily. "Fuck, yeah!" After a few moments, he turned to study Toby. “So what were you going to ask?”

“Actually, I just wanted to know if you’d stolen my cologne—and don’t lie, I can smell it on you!”

"You freaking fibber!"

"Okay—actually I was wondering if you've had a boyfriend before or anything." Toby seemed uncertain. "Like anyone I might know?"


The idea felt alien to Simon, especially as it was Toby he was curled into! Boyfriend. He rolled the word over in his head trying to fathom it. If this was a first date, they seem to have bypassed a lot of the stuff traditionally associated with dating; long walks, holding hands, going to the movies, a bit of smooching!

"I'd given up on you ages ago," said Toby. The sly twinkle returned as Simon felt a hand brush against his pole. "And this!"

There was certainly no masking his arousal or pretending it wasn't there. "I get those around you!" he admitted. Growing confidence allowed him to be candid. “A lot!”

Toby burst into a fit of giggles. "You should have said! I could have helped!"

“In French?”

It set them off again.

"Anyway..." He made himself more comfortable, stealing one of Toby’s extra pillows to push behind his head. "What do you mean, given up on me?"

Toby sniggered. "You won't believe how freaking long I've had a crush on you!'

The words didn't sound so silly as they came with a soft caress in the small of his back. To Simon it felt like an invitation to the intimacy he'd been searching for. He sighed. "I always thought that...well, that it was just me." He studied Toby's face. "How long have you...."

It seemed Toby knew what he meant. "Known that I liked guys? A long time...years."

A long time? Years?  Simon’s eyes bugged. It was surprising—almost shocking—to conceive. Which brought another question.

"Is there anyone else that you know of?" Any other kid that was gay.

Toby was thoughtful. "You've not been with anyone else then? I mean at school?"

"For God's sake, of course I haven't!" Simon’s eyes widened. "Are there others like us, then? In our year I mean?"

Toby shrugged. "I don't think so...Jacko maybe..."

"Jacko?" His eyes widened further. "You're kidding. How do you know anyway?"

Toby pulled a face. "I don't—and of course he probably isn't." He shook his head and looked sly. "I've got him coming round tomorrow night. I was going to try him next!” He couldn't hold it and started sniggering.

Simon pushed him away, though it remained playful. "You're such an asshole!"

He tried to think about how it could be that Toby seemed so sure of himself in it all, and came to a conclusion. "Joking apart, have you ever done anything before...with anyone else...?"

A shadow passed across Toby's face. "Does it matter?" He seemed uncertain as his eyes flicked away. A moment later, he shrugged. "There was someone, though it was a long time ago. Before we lived here."

Did it matter? Simon frowned. Somehow, yes, it did. From what he’d just seen, he sensed there was more, and he wanted to know, but Toby changed the subject.

"What about you?" Toby asked. "How long have you known?"

"About being gay?" He shrugged, but he knew exactly when. "It was when you got contacts."

“What?" Toby was taken aback. "When I got contacts? You’re kidding—that was just last year!”

Simon nodded. “You remember the Harry Potter glasses you first had?” They were what Toby used to wear when he’d first started at the Academy.

“The wire framed ones?”

Simon grinned. That was them; the round, gold frames that had given Toby the appearance of cute, defenceless and dorky when they had first met. Then Toby had switched from those to get contacts and…everything changed….

It had been a friendship that had surprised Simon from the start. Toby was nothing like the friends he'd had in London. Instead, he was quiet and withdrawn; even slightly geeky with those glasses. They were both new in the class, and with adjacent names in the alphabet, sat next to each other in almost every lesson. However, behind those glasses, Simon soon discovered a wicked humor similar to his own—one that had got them into trouble on numerous occasions! It wasn't long before they'd begun to hang out a lot!

It had been at the start of the fall semester that Toby had exchanged his glasses for contacts. He'd turned up wearing them instead of the usual geeky frames. Everyone said it was a general improvement, but for Simon it felt like a total transformation! Toby became more confidant in himself, too, and it showed—as did his eyes, no longer hidden behind frames; deep and full of life. And as his friend had begun to fill out physically in other ways, too, Simon had begun to struggle with feelings he’d never experienced before.

It had scared the shit out of him.

"Yep - then," he admitted. "You kind of got my attention back then!"

A head loomed over him in the semi-darkness. Lips brushed his. He gasped. A little more firmly Toby kissed him again. In his whole life, he’d never been kissed on the lips before—and never that sensually on any part of his anatomy!

"Did that get your attention?"

No reply seemed necessary. Simon slid back into close contact and started kissing. After some time of discovering how much he liked it—REALLY liked it—Toby disengaged and twisted away from him. He wondered if it was because Toby needed a pee, but rather than head for the door, Toby turned on the bedside light.

 Simon scrunched up his eyes and blinked, dazzled by the sudden brightness. "What's that for?"

Quickly the room took on a more subtle glow as Toby lowered his lamp onto the floor, and slid it under his bed. There was just enough light to recognize the messy hair and cheeky smirk.

“I want to see what you look like…” Crouching on his knees, Toby pulled back the sheets.

"Hey!" Simon couldn't help himself and his hands shot to his groin to cover his boner. Maybe Toby had seen it before, but hardly like this!

"You have to be kidding!" Toby was puzzled, and then amused. "It's a bit late for that, isn't it?"

"You could have warned me!" Simon muttered, still loath to remove his hands. Toby, on the other hand, was set like a beast and apparently didn't mind showing his off! Reluctantly, Simon let his hands drop away and tried not to think about it.

"Fucking hell!" Toby leaned closer for a better look. "That's awesome! How do you get it so straight?" He studied his own, that rested tight against his belly. It had a bend over to the left. It was also thick and meaty, Simon could see. Bigger than his? Maybe…just a bit.

"I love the way it sticks out!" Toby pulled at Simon’s dick and it flicked back to its jaunty angle.

Simon grinned, pleased. He guessed Toby was right—at some point everyone had to look. Whether it was the ‘just marrieds’ first time in the bedroom together, or the date suddenly getting serious, every guy had to pass through the gauntlet of showing his arousal to his partner. Feeling self-conscious about it had nothing to do with age. Girls had it easy, he mused; aroused or not, nothing changed. For a guy, fourteen or forty, it was the elephant in the room. In their case, pink ones; one with skin over the end, and one without!

Unexpectedly, Toby mounted him again, sliding over the top once more. Simon wondered if was going to be like the first time as the two erections pressed together between them again.

“Don’t move!” The fire in Toby’s eyes appeared to reignite. Something vibrant and commanding returned and took control. Ever so slowly Toby began to move and Simon shuddered, knowing they were about to do it again.

Then Toby slipped down his torso and Simon felt a light tongue brush up the length of his dick.

“Shit—what are you doing?!" Simon giggled and made a grab for the tousled hair.

Toby lifted up his head, grinned and then deliberately took Simon’s wrists in a firm grip and held them down by his sides on the bed. "You have to promise to be quiet!" he warned and unexpectedly, he went down on Simon’s shaft.

Simon squeaked! At the sound Toby raised himself off his dick again. "I've been wanting to suck you off for years!" he murmured, and his compelling eyes glinted. "I wanna see what you taste like!"

"Toby!!" Ineffectually, Simon struggled to release his hands to do something about the sensations that assaulted him. "Oh God...!"

But, though he squirmed, Toby was determined and refused to release him, gripping his wrists and lying across his legs, fully immobilizing him. All he could do in the soft light was watch as a head bobbed up and down on him. In contrast to earlier, when they had moved hard and fast against each other, this was completely different. If anything, being unable to move heightened the exquisite sensations.

After about half a minute, Simon hissed. "You're gonna have to stop…." It made no difference. He tried to move his hands, but Toby wasn't having it.

"I mean it," Simon gasped urgently. "You need to stop...I can't...I'm gonna..."

Something detonated and his vision exploded with stars.

After it was over, it took a few moments to even start breathing again. Nothing he’d ever imagined had prepared him for what he'd experienced that night. Both times had left him shaking! In his dreams he had hoped for closeness. Cuddles. Maybe even a bit of rubbing together! But it had been explosive sex like he’d never known before!

Toby crawled back up alongside him again, eyes bright and alive. "Quite tasty!" he announced. "You taste quite nutty!"

"Oh God...I think you just killed me..." Simon groaned, spent in the half light. "Fuck—don't tell me you actually swallowed it?" The thought was an unbelievable turn on.

"I might have." Toby smirked and reached down to rub Simon’s extremely sensitive dick.

"Stop...stop!" Simon screeched as quietly as he could, pushing the hand away "That's too much!"

"Hey—you seem to be living again. Thank God for that!"

Slapping his hands away, Simon finally pushed Toby on his back and leaned over him. Audaciously for him, inserted his tongue back into his mouth. There was an unfamiliar tanginess as they tasted each other again, and he knew it was his own jizz.

"Now, what was it that you were doing...?" Slyly, he began to drop down to Toby's groin. It took a little time to get the hang of it, though, and unlike Toby, he wasn't quite ready to risk tasting the stuff!

Afterwards, they talked more, and then slept. Waking again just before dawn, they did it again and before he knew it he was yet again giving up what Toby was waiting for. Then, not wanting to be caught sleeping in the same bed, he returned to his own mattress at last.

* * *

Across the dark miles, past late traffic that still crisscrossed the night roads around Atlanta, Luke slept; his dreams were confused and troubled, taunted by the memory of a boy being pleasured to a secret climax behind a bathroom door. It tormented Luke—the more so because of the SmartKlamp he was burdened with. It had already been a week since he’d last been able to jerk off.

After getting back from the party, he'd gone straight to bed, but had tossed and turned, unable to drop off at first. When sleep finally came, he was plunged into a vivid nightmare.

In it, he found himself trapped in a bathroom that, unexpectedly, seemed to have a window installed in the door. Trapped in the unknown room, he seemed somehow immobilized in front of a girl who could have been Stacey. When her mouth opened, she showed a full mouth of orthodontic wire that marred her smile. She was dressed only in a simple bathrobe.

He was naked.

In his dream she approached him, coming close to reach down to lift the SmartKlamp device from his body. She seemed intent on playing with it and he twisted and turned to try to get away, struck dumb yet desperate to warn her that the doctor had told him it was dangerous to touch it

But what was in the room paled alongside what was just outside.

Beyond the door was something sinister. Something, or someone, that was malignant; angry. It was something unreal, yet it carried a hidden power, and was waiting for him. Waiting to maim and destroy. The door to the room had the round porthole window and, in his nightmare, he screamed when the dark face twisted against it.

Inside, the girl seemed unaware of the terrible danger they were in. Still playing with the SmartKlamp, she found the lever that would unlock it, though he’d never noticed it before. She toyed with it, teasing him as she began to pull at it.

'No don’t…please…not now…I can’t. Not yet!' He cried and stirred in his dream. 'Not until Tuesday!'

Suddenly the SmartKlamp snapped open and fell away. Mercilessly she reached over to caress his newly circumcised penis and he came alive in her hand.

She spoke at last, convincing and soothing. “We could always date, you know, if you wanted to…”  The bathrobe parted to reveal a lithe, sensual body. Provocatively, she seemed insistent on pressing herself against him. He tried screaming, but nothing came out as he fought to escape.

Outside, through the glass, the face continued to glare, becoming vicious and darkly foreboding. Mouthing words at him that made no sense, the black presence terrified him.

Inside, where he remained trapped, she moved gently against him, teasing him again and again, urging him until his member would no longer obey, and the hardness rose up to meet her. Despite his anxiety, the agony and ecstasy multiplied.

She reached behind him and massaged his back pulling his waiting arousal closer. “You’re circumcised, Luke,” she goaded, gently caressing the slick head. “Why didn’t you tell me about it? You should have said.”

He shook his head, refusing to say. He wanted to scream. For help, or maybe it was for release—of any kind! She held his body firmly against her to still his struggling, pulling him closer as she continued to rock against him.

“NO!” He stared in horror at the joining as his head slipped in.

“Oops!” she giggled. Then she shifted her balance and weight over him, plunging him deeply inside until his designer stubble met her own smoothly shaved skin. There was no beauty in it. No satisfaction. No joy. He shook his head from side to side as though trying to dislodge something,

“There,” she purred, “That wasn’t so bad was it? Now tell me you don‘t want this?”

He cried in revulsion as she moved against him repeatedly with a thrusting rhythm, lowering his will to resist the onrush of seed she was coaxing out of him.

“I can’t!” he cried, desperate now, “I’m not old enough yet!”

At the window, the face grew black and deadly. The bulging eyes judged and condemned him. The hand contained a hidden weapon. The handle moved and he knew, without doubt, that the door wasn’t locked. He wanted to scream, to beg, to plead that it wasn’t his fault; that he wasn’t a homosexual. The door began to open, and in that final moment, in shooting pain and sexual torment, he succumbed.

He awoke and found himself thrusting through his PJs and into the sheets. Groaning like the guy in the bathroom earlier that night, he emptied himself.

He awoke fully, dripping with sweat, shaking, and terrified. In distress, he stared at his door, fully expecting the dark presence to enter the room, coming for him. Even after he’d turned on his bedside light, he watched the door fearfully.

Finally his heartbeat slowed and he got hold of himself. He knew he'd had a wet dream, but awake now, he felt no pleasure. He sat up carefully, aware that he'd been humping with the circumcision device.

He winced. It was impossible that he hadn't broken it.

Peeling back his PJ's, the mess was considerable and the end of his penis was a livid red. It throbbed from where he’d somehow caught it in the sheets. The bedding was stained, and jizz still dripped from the end of the tube as he softened.

Thankfully there seemed to be no damage to the mechanism, so he stripped off his PJ's, used them to wipe the rest of the mess and crawled naked back under the sheets.

Not daring to turn off his light again, he fell back to sleep, exhausted.

* * *

With Simon on a sleepover at the Skerrits, Lucy surveyed the remainder of her brood at the breakfast table.

“What about that one?” Luke asked, though it wasn’t directed at her. Across the breakfast table from her, Luke had pulled up a chair alongside Geoff. The pair were peering into his computer screen.

Getting to bed as late as he had, she was surprised that Luke was up, and earlier than his normal time for a weekend. He’d even put the washtub on!

At least he seemed in a better mood this morning, she mused. Unlike the previous evening when she’d picked up him and Owen. He’d been moody then, whereas Owen couldn’t have been more different from the boy she’d dropped off several hours previously.

Teenagers! Who could understand them?

She flipped the pancake in the pan. It seemed that Ryan was coming round shortly—supposedly for the pair of them to do some revision—but she also knew Luke didn't expect him until after ten, as no doubt her son's friend would be sleeping in like any normal teen except her own!

She shook her head and sighed.

Teenagers—her parents had warned her!

"Another pancake, sweetheart?"

At the offer, Luke lifted his head and shook it. Geoff on the other hand, lifted his plate soundlessly as he tapped on his laptop. She resisted the temptation to tell him where to stick it.


"Hon, you are going to do the lawn today, aren't you?" She took the proffered plate.

“What do you mean?” Geoff’s face was a picture of consternation. "I just did it!"

"It was two weeks ago, Hon!"

"Was it?" He tried to look surprised, but she studied him through narrowed eyes until he flinched.

"You know it was, so try to tear yourself from your spreadsheets or whatever it is you two are engrossed in. It really needs doing!"

"I don’t mind doing it," Luke said.

"There you are, Luce!” Geoff gave his son a grateful smile. “Luke'll do it."

"If you pay me," Luke added.

Lucy smirked as the smile diminished. Got ya, Geoff, baby—caught between a rock and a hard place now, aren’t you!

She applied a little oil. “There you go Hon—that’s a great idea. At least it’ll get done!”

Geoff wavered. “Just give me a few minutes. I can do it. Anyway, Ryan’s coming round, isn’t he, Luke?”

“Not 'til later Dad. And anyway, I could do the lawn this afternoon, too.” He seemed keen. “Come on—I’m trying to save for a new dongle; one of the Apple USB sticks.”

It was so unfair, Lucy mused. Sadly, it just wasn’t quite right in the current climate for any proper parent to question their son as to why he felt he was in need of a new dongle—especially when the poor lad had just been circumcised!

On that front, she was pleasantly surprised. There hadn't been a peep out of Luke on that front all week. Not a whinge or a whine—he'd just taken the whole thing in his stride. He sure had grown up from the little boy she used to watch as he played on the swings at the park near their home!

Probably because it had a scent of computers, Geoff seemed to be more amenable to coughing up to get the grass done. He reached for his wallet. “Okay—I’m happy to give you a few bucks.”

“A few bucks?” Luke looked scandalized. “It costs twelve just to get my hair cut, and that only takes ten minutes!”

“Five then.”

Lucy almost rubbed her hands with glee as Luke crossed his arms inflexibly. Gosh, he was SO like her!

This was going to be good!

Geoff shook his head, knowing when he was outgunned. “Okay—ten bucks then. Final offer!”

She just couldn’t resist. Geoff might be a hotshot in the bank, but he was such a complete twit when it came to negotiating with his kids! She gave him her sweetest smile. “That’s great, Hon. That’ll really help us to get the grass done! Now what about the flower beds and the edges?”

Geoff glared at her, but Luke jumped on it enthusiastically. “Okay, I’m happy to do the beds for another ten!”

After that, she added the bushes, and the negotiation got fierce.

She hated to point it out, but for the time Geoff spent on trying to keep the price down, he could have jumped on the mower and done most of the lawn anyway! In the end, they agreed on twenty-five bucks for a full makeover. For that, she hoped the dongle her eldest would be able to get himself would be gold-plated!

With a big task to get on with, Luke left them to go and get on some work clothes. After he’d left, she glided up behind Geoff and wrapped her arms around him, letting her hands drift teasingly to his belt. He appeared to be studying some computer peripherals website. “I’m thinking about getting you a new dongle too, Hon."

“Behave!” He smacked her hand, though not hard. She could hear the grin in his voice and he tilted his head back and added, “And anyway, if I remember correctly, that’s not what you said last night!”

She giggled and their lips brushed together.

“Eeeewww—can’t you guys get a room or something?”

She decided just then that if your teenage son hadn’t quite gone upstairs and managed to catch you snogging, the best thing to do would be to ignore him. So she did.

Luke had only been out in the garden for a few minutes, when Ryan arrived.

Had sleeping in on a Saturday gone out of fashion?

It wasn't long before the pair joined her and Geoff in the kitchen and she welcomed him warmly. “Hello, Ryan!”

Geoff looked up from his screen, too. “Hey there, Ryan!"

“Morning, Lucy,” Ryan replied. “Hi, Geoff.” He seemed to notice what Geoff was perusing. “Found anything good?”

“Not yet,” Geoff replied, flicking the mouse to scroll down the page again.

She smiled as the three of them scanned the site. Boys and their toys!

There were just so many reasons why she liked Ryan Alexis—not the least of which was that he confidant and outgoing enough to be able to call her by her given name without it sounding inappropriate!

Frankly, the boy had the potential to be any parent’s worst nightmare. He was the type of kid who was good at everything. The kid who everyone wanted as a friend, yet was impossible to keep up with. The kid who made your own children feel inadequate; the type of kid who could easily become a bully.

Ryan was none of those things, yet he really could be any of them if that had been in his nature.

She watched him fondly as she lifted the pancake skillet again. It was still warm. "Breakfast, Ryan? There's plenty of batter left."

He looked up from the screen. "No thanks, Lucy. I already ate."

"You ate?" Luke sounded incredulous. "It's only just gone nine! What time did you get up?"

Ryan shrugged. "I dunno. Around seven, I guess."

Luke's eyes bulged and he shook his head. "You’re raving mad! It's a Saturday!

"I was bored," Ryan returned evenly. "I assumed you'd be awake by now—and anyway, if your folks have you working on the garden, you probably need help."

"Paying him to work on the garden, you mean!" A still indignant Geoff surfaced again. "And if you're getting Ryan involved, you should give him some of the cash!"

Luke grinned. "I'm always willing to take on someone looking for work experience."

Lucy watched the exchange in amusement. They all knew quite well that the last thing Ryan Alexis needed was money. Ryan just rolled his eyes patiently.

Despite coming from an 'old money', privileged background, Ryan had never been the type of kid who threw his money around, or expected others to do things for him—rather, he'd often go out of his way to help others.

He was a complicated kid, she mused. She might have asked how his parents were doing, but she knew home was not the easiest of places for him. By unspoken agreement, they never referred to it. Once, several years earlier, they'd invited Ryan and his parents to dinner.

She remembered it vividly. It had been a disaster.

The woman, Helena Alexis, was drunk before she even arrived, and Ryan's father, Ethan, was some army guy, and a type she recognized—authoritarian and abusive, but still clever and controlling. He put down his wife constantly, and you got the idea that however well his son did in life, it was never going to be enough.

Yet, despite the crap parenting, Ryan had still turned out okay. The unpleasant scene around the dinner table had been tough on him, though, and it had been weeks before he could be coaxed around to their house again.

That was the question she often considered these days. Was it nurture, or nature? Did children only become what their circumstances made them, or would bright, well-behaved kids (like Ryan) tend to be exactly that way whatever life threw at them?

Was it learned or was it instinctive? Did genetics deal each one with their own special, unchangeable and individual hand, or could you play the pack with skill, to end up with the final straight flush?

Either way, this particular young man had managed to blossom and had always been a good friend to Luke. Fondly, she watched the two of them as they went back outside to work on the backyard.

22. Studying Something

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Studying Something

Luke grinned as Ryan flew by on the riding mower whooping like a ridiculous kid. Out in the backyard, he’d opted for the gas weed-wacker instead and was methodically going around the trees and under the shrubs, levelling anything that looked like it wasn’t a flower. Memories of his disturbingly weird nightmare had passed; it was a new day and he was up for whatever it had to offer!

A few minutes later, Ryan ran up and they both cut the revs until the engines ticked over quietly enough to be heard.

"I’m done here, so I'm going round the front,” Ryan said, reaching for the throttle again. “It shouldn't take long.”

He was off...and then back again fifteen minutes later. By this time, both of them were covered in grass.

"Okay, now what?" Ryan parked and got off the mower to stretch.

Luke offered him the weed-whacker. "I'll let you go whack around the front if you want. I’d start behind the bushes—it’s a bit more private." He smirked wickedly.

Ryan rolled his eyes and they glinted in amusement. "Does your mom know that you’re such a crude, fucked-up retard?"

"I dunno, Ry." He flicked his attention over Ryan's shoulder and frowned. "You could ask her...."

Ryan was already turning in alarm before he realized he'd been had and swung back to pull a face, muttering, "Did you know you were a dickhead?"

Luke snickered. It was the small victories that were the best.

Thirty minutes later, they'd both had enough. Downing the tools in favour of a ball, they messed around the basketball hoop. Luke hadn’t had a good work out like this for ages, and he was soon sweating profusely. Ryan wasn’t faring much better.

Luke feinted to the right, hoping to slip by, but Ry was right on it and blocked him with ease “You think I was born yesterday? Is that the best you’ve got?”

Luke grinned and wheeled around. “In case you forgot, asshole, you were born sixteen years ago this coming Thursday!” He launched the ball high and it swished sweetly through the hoop.

Happy days!

Ryan scooped it up. “Not bad for an old guy!”

Luke ignored the jibe and went on guard. “So are they getting you a Porsche?” Once he hit sixteen, Ry would no doubt do what most did and try to get his licence within the first week. And there was no way he wouldn’t be getting a car. Not Ryan.

“Are you mad?” Ryan passed him and slipped in a layup off the backboard. “Who the hell would want a Porsche? Some asshole is just going to back into it in the parking lot!”

“But you’re getting something?” Luke couldn’t hide the tinge of jealousy. He wasn’t allowed a car until the start of the new school year, and there was no changing his mum and dad’s minds on that one.

Ryan gave him an undisguised grin of relish. “You bet I am!”

They were interrupted as Lucy came out and gave Luke 'the look'. Of course, his mother’s 'looks' could mean any number of things depending on the day and time, though he reckoned this one was balanced finely between 'If you've finished the yard work, I thought you had study,' and 'I believe the doctor said no contact sports!'

She was right of course, and Luke tried for a final long shot—a three pointer had it not bounced off the rim. "Come on, we'd better go in and get on with it." Having long since discarded their shirts, they glistened with sweat. His shorts were covered in grass. Ryan was no better.

Luke sniffed his armpits. "And I stink—I gotta get a shower first!" Luke picked up his tee and used it to wipe sweat from his face; still finding grass there, too.

With the back of his hand, Ryan wiped his forehead. "I didn't bring anything." He used his own tee to wipe his face. "I'm fine. I could do with borrowing a shirt, though."

Seeing the glistening perspiration and guessing Ryan probably smelled similar to himself, Luke grimaced.

"The hell you are! You're not making a mess of my bed in that state!" There was only one chair in his room, and he knew Ryan usually hogged the bed when they hung out there. "Take a shower, for God's sake. I've got plenty of stuff you can borrow."

They went in, stopping by the kitchen first where Luke pulled open the fridge looking for something cold. His mum was there, in the middle of some baking. For her benefit, he found some tall glasses from the cupboard to fill with Coke for him and Ryan.

"Thanks for helping out with the garden, Ryan," Lucy said while at the same time slapping Luke's fingers as he tried to sample the icing mix.

"You’re welcome, Lucy!" Ryan took a deep pull from his glass before continuing. "Let's be honest—someone has to keep him from demolishing your flower beds!"

Luke emptied his glass and refused to be drawn into their conversation. The two of them usually ganged up on him. "We're just going upstairs to shower, Mum. Then we’re going to get some study done."

"Luke—" As they left, his mum called him back. Ryan continued up the stairs with his backpack while Luke paused. She continued more softly. "If you want to get changed," her eyes flicked meaningfully to where the SmartKlamp still remained, “Ryan can always use our room."

"It's fine Mum, it's no big deal." What planet was she on?

‘Well, there you go. I told you your friends wouldn’t mind if you explained it to them."

He sighed silently. Whatever. Turning, he bounded up the stairs.

Her voice followed after him as he made his escape. “Tell Ryan he can use Simon’s towel. It’s fresh. And maybe you can lend him—”

He closed the door to shut her out without feeling the need to lock it. She wouldn't just walk in now she knew showers were on the schedule. Simon was out, and anyway, locking the door of a room in which you were about to take off your clothes with another guy felt totally gay! 

Inside, Ryan had dropped his backpack by the desk and was fiddling with the CD player. The Jazz CD Luke had left in burst into life. Luke kicked open the bathroom door with a foot. Someone needed to make a decision, and it was his room.

"You go first."

Ryan hesitated. "Sure you don't mind?"

“You know—I’ve just decided what to get you for your birthday.”

“What?” Ryan frowned at the apparent turn of conversation.

“One of those car air fresheners!” He burst out laughing as Ryan pulled a face. “Go! I'll dig out some clean clothes and stuff for you. Just use any towel in there."  

Ryan acquiesced and walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind himself and leaving Luke to sort out some clothing.

As he heard the water running in the bathroom, Luke began making two piles of clothing on the bed. Two sets of everything; loose fitting cargo shorts, tee shirts, boxers and sports socks. He chose the underwear with care, making sure it was two of the best pairs he had; one black and one white. It wasn’t often that someone else might get to wear them—particularly a guy he had an interest in—and Ry took his clothes seriously, so Luke did his best to make a pile that he thought might work for Ryan. It was mostly dark colors.

A few minutes later, he heard the water stop in the bathroom, and Ryan emerged looking refreshed and with a towel wrapped around his waist. In his hand he carried a tight bundle of sweaty clothes. These he stuffed directly into his backpack.

Luke did his best not to stare, trying to recall the last time Ryan was dressed so scantily in this room. A long time ago, he realized. To cover his weird behaviour, he quickly pointed to the two piles on his bed. "Pick one. If you don’t like the tee, there’s more in the second drawer down."

“Thanks.” As Ryan moved further into the room, they crossed paths, then Luke closed the door of the bathroom behind himself.

As he stood under a cooling spray he wondered what it was about Ryan that seemed to press all his buttons—the ones that made a mess out of his emotions? At times he felt like an elevator being operated by a little kid who liked to see all the buttons lit up at once!

A familiar friend now, the SmartKlamp swayed at his groin, but Luke was too irritated by his inability to control his stupid crushes to dwell on it. Instead, he began to prioritize the revision schedule in his head, deciding which subjects needed the most attention. He finished off and scrubbed himself dry, and it was then he realized the weakness in the plan of giving Ryan the option of two piles of clothing.

Both piles were now on the other side of the door! Frowning, he tucked a towel around his waist and returned to his room to pick up what remained.

Dressed now, Ryan was lounging on the bed, reading the chemistry text book he'd got from the shelf. Luke smirked to himself. Of the piles of clothing near Ryan's feet, only the white version remained. The other—the one he was sure Ry would go for, with the dark grey tee and black boxers—had been taken. It had been a no-brainer!

Ryan's eyes lifted up over the top of the book, studied him briefly, then went back to the page.

Luke paused long enough for Ryan to raise his eyes again. He seemed to figure out that something was amiss. “Oh…I forgot about that. You had that operation didn’t you.” He made to get up. “If you want, I can give you a bit of space.”

Luke had caught Ryan's eyes straying south, and perhaps his cautious approach wasn’t surprising considering the way Luke fired off at him earlier in the week. Luke hesitated only briefly. There were only three options.

Option One: he could ask Ryan to leave; make him stand out on the landing while he changed. He ruled that out straight away.

Option Two: he could take his clothes into the bathroom to change in privacy. That had been his original plan, but now that Ryan had made an issue of it, that seemed equally petty.

He took Option Three.

Option three was—"Honestly, it’s fine. I don't care." He shrugged, trying to sound casual. "You've seen it all before."

Strictly it was true, Ryan had seen it all before; seen it hundreds of times over the years in fact. For heaven's sake, they stood together under the showerheads at school several times a week! 

All this was true, and it shouldn’t have really mattered. However, as much as Luke tried to believe otherwise, now was a little different. He was acutely aware of two things: the first, that he’d been recently circumcised and had hardware mechanically bonded to his body. The second? Quite frankly, these days, Ry frequently gave him boners!

After getting that straightened out—in his head, but thankfully not anywhere else just then—Luke stepped up to the bed and picked through the pile of clothing to start dressing. Except, now he had another problem…or maybe he was only creating a problem inside his own twisted mind?

The problem was, after he had already brazenly declared that he didn't care a toss if Ryan hung around while he changed, it was going to look suspicious if he acted as if it really did matter by turning around and trying to hide his nuts. SmartKlamp or not, he felt he had to remain indifferent and not look too jittery! 

He decided to play it cool. First he unwrapped the towel from around his waist, used it to dry his legs and then dropped it on the floor to reach for his boxers, reminding himself that Ryan had seen it all before, even the Klamp. The best approach had to be to stay calm and get his boxers on as quickly as possible.

He wasn't quick enough, not by a mile!

“My God! You weren’t kidding!”

“What?” Luke looked up to catch Ryan grinning widely.

 “When you said earlier that you were going to cut back the bushes." Ryan snickered as his eyes locked onto the dusty remains of Luke’s pubic hair. He put down the chemistry textbook and pointed. "Holy cow! You weren’t kidding!”

Luke was caught off guard with his boxers no further than his knees. Shit! He'd actually forgotten about the results of that little ‘kneeling over the sink’ activity and hadn't realized how quickly he'd got used to seeing himself like that. And with him having been excused from the locker rooms all week, Ryan was just catching up.

 “Oh that!" Luke cringed, but doggedly stuck to the script he'd used with Simon. "Leave off. I had to trim it for the operation.”

Ryan smirked and returned a surprisingly determined glint. “Well for God’s sake, at least show some respect for yourself and keep it trimmed back, now!”

Luke studied himself. It seemed an odd thing for Ryan to say. "We'll see. Maybe...” He kept his tone offhand, knowing he'd already decided he'd let it grow a bit, but not much.

Before he had chance to get his underwear in place, Ryan interrupted again and pointed. "So that’s the Klamp thing you were talking about the other day?"

Luke wavered. He hadn't expected an examination, but there was no point in pretending that it wasn't there. He felt awkward, though it was clear from Ryan’s expression that his friend didn’t feel that way in the slightest. At the time, the only thing Luke felt he could do was brazen it out.

"Yep…it's called a SmartKlamp.” Remaining impassive, he picked it up in his fingers, studying it again, too. Affecting a shrug of indifference, he let it be, dropping it and finally getting his boxers into place. The lump remained remarkably obvious.

"I only saw it briefly when you got it stuck in the restroom last week,” Ryan continued, not at all deterred as he continued to stare. “Come on then, let's have a look. I mean you did promise me you were going to tell me about it!"

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

You know, I honestly wondered if Ry could hear my teeth grinding!

Since the incident in the restrooms the previous Monday, I’d waited patiently all week for him to show the teeniest, weeniest bit of interest in the fact that I’d just done something huge... But there had been nothing. Not a whisper of a question or any show of moral support!

And suddenly NOW he wanted to see? Now, when I’m standing in my room with almost no clothes on? 


* * *

"Bloody hell! I'm not some bloody zoological specimen!" Luke struggled to bite back a rankling irritation. From the flinch on Ryan’s face, he immediately knew he'd been a bit sharp—as sharp as when he'd acted like a crap bastard the previous Monday. Regretting his tone, he softened quickly.

“Alright, come on then, if you need a gawp!" If that was what was called for, why not? In some ways, Ry was like Simon. He wasn't just anyone.

"A gawp!” Ryan seemed to easily shake off the reprimand and laughed out loud. “What the hell is a gawp? You Brits have such weird words!"

“We have weird words?” Luke shook his head. That was ripe! “Don't you dare start on that! A nation that's wrecked the Queen's English?“

Ry just ignored him; it was a war that was older than the two of them!

"Come on then." He perched on the edge of the bed and smirked. "Let's have a gawp!"

"For heaven's sake!" Drawing closer to where Ryan was waiting, Luke pushed down his button fly boxers and tried to make it look that he didn't have a gay bone in his body, and he stared down and tried to be patient as Ryan's head bobbed around his groin. But it didn’t take many moments before the potent image of him standing with his well-trimmed pubes so close to Ryan's face was a bit much, so he sat down and leaned back on his elbows, hoping it would be over soon.

"You didn't tell the others about this?" Ryan asked without looking up. “Even Todd?”

"Are you kidding!" Todd was a rock, but they both knew there were some things that you wouldn’t want him to get hold of! "Other than you, none of them know, and I want to keep it that way, if you don't mind."

“Christ…that’s not going to last long, is it,” Ryan said. ‘They’re going to see it soon enough, aren’t they?”

“I guess.” Luke still hadn’t figured out how to handle the return to the locker rooms.

"Does it still hurt?" Ryan didn’t seem in any hurry to end the examination.

"Now, you mean?” Luke tried to remain patient as Ryan studied him. For God's sake, couldn't questions like that be saved for when he had clothes on?  “No, not anymore. I’m not sure what it will be like when the thing comes off, though."

"Which is when?"


"This Tuesday?"


"Mmmm..." Ryan murmured. "I think I can see how the mechanism works. Can I...?" He glanced up, asking for permission to touch. With as much nonchalance as he could muster, Luke shrugged.

How the hell had he got himself into this situation?

He chewed his lip and finally nodded, though the whole proximity thing was not the most helpful. But what else could he do? Tell Ryan to piss off and get one of his own?

“Wow—it’s amazing!” Ryan seemed in his own little world.

Lying back, Luke commanded himself to just try to think of Nan Hibbert. Trying to control his growing discomfort, he watched as Ryan picked up the SmartKlamp in his fingers and began to gently manipulate the device.

"It's so simple when you actually see how it works," Ryan murmured, twisting the device, to see it from all angles. "There’s an inner and an outer part. The levers lock together and—"

"Yes, thank you. I did know," Luke interrupted. "Have you finished yet?" He scrunched up his face, but it was no good. However much he tried to pretend that Ry was actually his grandmother, it wasn't working. A real problem, more than just discomfort, was growing.


He tried to stop breathing. He tried to stop everything in an attempt to keep as still as he could, knowing that any tensing of those particular muscles was likely to result in something spectacularly disastrous!

Ryan clearly had no idea what Luke was struggling with as he continued to inspect the SmartKlamp. The uncomfortably awkward feeling was magnified by the impact of lying on his bed with his boxers at his knees. Luke could easily have been beating off, except it was Ry holding his dick in his hand this time. Even with the help of Nan Hibbard, it was impossible to ignore. Before it even became obvious, he could feel that the inevitable climb had begun, and knew he had about ten more seconds before it would become noticeable.

"Ry…what the hell are you doing?" There was an edge to his tone, but Ryan didn’t seem to notice.

"Shush!” Ryan continued to fiddle. “I'm gawping!" He used such a ridiculous, posh English accent—one that even Simon would crack up to—that Luke couldn’t help it, and coughed out a belly laugh.


It was the worse thing that could possibly have happened. The result of that little outburst was immediate and Luke felt himself start to fill. But, before he could jump up from the bed with any sense of decorum, Ryan said, “What happens if I do this?” He sniggered, but not in a way that sounded good.

"What?" As Luke made to stand, he was totally unprepared for what happened next.

"This!" Ryan looked up, and the grin he flashed was distinctly evil. Luke had no time to react before his friend reached his finger through the end of SmartKlamp tube and scraped the tip of the exceedingly sensitive glans.

Luke screeched. Literally. An ear-stopping squeal of sharp agony erupted and he launched himself off the bed. Gritting his teeth against the eye-watering pain, he could hear Ryan screeching, too—with laughter. Wheeling around he was rolling over on the mattress holding his stomach.

However, all the screeching wasn't the biggest thing going on for Luke.

His dick didn't seem to know it hadn't been invited to the party. Everything came together and it began to rapidly rotate upwards. With the device now pointing way past horizontal and fast extending, he yanked up his boxers. Even that wasn't enough and he grabbed his shorts and held them discreetly.

"SHIT!" Outraged, he glared at his friend, fully aware of what had now developed into a fully-fledged boner. "What the fuck did you do that for?"

Ryan was unable to answer, and was still curled up laughing.

"Luke? Are you okay? I heard a shout?" The voice came from the landing. It was followed by a tap at the door.

OH SHIT! GREAT FUCKING TIMING! How the hell was he going to explain why he was partially naked and sporting a major erection in his bedroom alongside his best friend, to his mother?

Could it get any fucking worse?

Trying to not think about the fact that he was now as hard as a rock in front of Ryan, he rapidly shovelled up the rest of his clothing and fled to the bathroom. Just in time, he closed the bathroom door as his bedroom door opened. He heard Ryan cover for him in a remarkably cool voice.

"Oh, he's just in the bathroom getting dressed after his shower, Lucy. I'm sure he'll be out in a minute."

From behind the bathroom door, Luke caught her reply.

"I've cut a bit of cake for the two of you,” she said. “It's just downstairs for when you want it." With that, she padded away.

Even though the coast was clear, he made sure he was dressed before he came out again. On the bed, Ryan was still grinning. If he was trying to appear contrite, it wasn’t working.

Luke laid straight into him. “What the fuck did you do that for?” It seemed to do the trick and Ryan became more apologetic.

“I’m really sorry. That was mean. It just reminded me of something, and I had to know.” Ryan broke out into a grin again.

That was sorry? “Had to know what!” Unbelievable! Ryan didn't seem to get how pissed he was.

“Mom’s sister—well actually her kid, Justin. Not that he’s a kid anymore—”

Interrupting him, Luke lashed out harshly. “And just who the FUCK is Justin?”

Ryan’s face fell and, from Luke’s outburst, he seemed to at last realize just how far he’d overstepped the mark.

“Bud…I’m sorry.” Ryan sobered up and went quiet. "I guess I shouldn't have done that..."

“NO, YOU FUCKING SHOULDN’T!” It was hard to let go of both the anger and the sense of humiliation at inadvertently boning up. Ryan was immediately dismayed and his face was one that showed he knew he’d screwed up. Guiltily, his eyes dropped.

“Shit, I’m really sorry.”

That was the thing about Ryan. When he really said sorry, then he really meant it—and Luke found it hard to stay mad with him. He rolled his eyes, hit him with a cushion and let it go.

“Forgiven." He'd chalk it away to experience, Luke decided. It was not every day he got to show off his woody to Ry and get away with it—if his friend even saw that at all. He pulled a face and asked, "Now, who’s Justin?”

“Dad’s sister’s…” Ryan paused, his face still shadowed by self-reproach.

“Yes, you said…your cousin. I’m not that thick!” Luke grinned, hoping that Ry would get over their spat rather than let it spoil the day. “You’re still an asshole, but I’ll beat the crap out of you don’t finish telling me the story!”

A more restrained grin returned to Ryan’s face, too, and he continued. “Okay…well this was years ago—before you came here. They live down near Macon. We were visiting, and I heard them talking about Justin. The poor kid was waddling around looking like a constipated duck! Someone let on—his sister I think it was—that he’d just been circumcised, and that it was really sensitive. I think he was done in a hospital, stiches and all. He must have been about six.”

Luke grunted. Some of it sounded familiar. “How the hell do you put up with it?”

"Put up with what?" Ryan looked puzzled.

"You know. The sensitivity—with it cut, I mean. It's fucking unbearable!"

"Oh?" Ryan seemed to consider the question and stretched out comfortably on the bed once more. "The end of mine isn't sensitive at all—at least not like yours seems to be. But then I was done when I was a baby. I guess it's all I've ever known. Maybe it wears off after a while?"

Luke nodded. "Actually, that's what the doctor said, too." Delicately, he pulled at the front of his shorts and adjusted the package. "Christ, I hope it doesn’t take long!" It was one thing to be a little more sensitive for a while, but something else never to be able to touch the damn thing again!

Luke cleared up the towels and took them back to hang in the bathroom. On his return, he noticed Ryan had picked up the small booklet that Luke had forgotten was still on the bedside table.

"What's this?" Ryan started leafing through the pages, and Luke saw his eyes go a little wider as his friend took in the images of penises that formed the main content of the circumcision booklet Tiberius had given him. Successfully, he stayed calm enough to keep his tone even.

"Oh, just something the doc gave me to explain the whole circumcision deal. Styles and that kind of thing…and…you know—" He shrugged and hoped his ears weren't going pink.

"Styles? Like a haircut, you mean?” Ryan’s surprise became a smirk. “So, you’re telling me that you were given a special style for that trim you’re sporting down there! What do they call it? The ‘Crop and Cut’?”

“Crop and Cut?” Luke rolled his eyes. “Asshole! Is that the best you can come up with? There’s a bit more to it than that!” He laughed and felt on safer ground. This was something he knew a whole lot about—and didn't mind sharing his wisdom.

Ryan frowned. “You should have told me, you know.” He seemed genuinely put-out that he’d apparently missed something important.

“Maybe…probably.” Luke shrugged. It was complicated.

“Well then, you need to tell me about it now. And about the op, too. But first, your mom said there was cake.”

Cake? It was the last thing on Luke’s mind, but he trotted downstairs with Ryan.

"Hello, you two." In the kitchen, his mum already had two slices cut. "How's the study going?"

"We're just about to start." Ryan smiled broadly as he gathered up the two plates on their behalf, and Luke tried not to snicker. He hoped the subject wasn’t going to be chemistry!

"Thanks for the cake, Mum." Adding a Coke bottle and two glasses to their haul, he followed Ryan back up the stairs feeling skittish, wondering how this was going to play out. He wondered whether, like he had done previously, Ryan would just drop it and move straight into something else, so he was happily surprised when Ryan slid back onto the bed with his plate and immediately picked up the booklet once more.

Looking for the best place to park himself, Luke settled down on the floor with his back to the bed. "I thought we were supposed to be revising?" he said, feigning nonchalance. Ignoring the glasses, he took a swig from the bottle before passing it up.

"We will." Ryan chugged briefly, replaced the cap, and got back to where they had left off. His eyes gleamed challengingly. “So…for starters…why did you want to get cut in the first place?”

It might not have been the first question Luke was expecting, but it was still one that he was quite ready for. He took the booklet from Ryan, turned a few pages and gave it back.

“Phimosis?” Surprise was written across Ryan's face as his eyes scanned the page. He turned it to see the section on paraphimosis. “Oooohhh, shit, look at that! That’s not good!” Luke guessed what image he'd spotted and didn’t blame him!

“You have…had that?” Ryan looked thoughtful, and added, "You couldn’t retract?"

It was unexpectedly direct, but Luke nodded. “Phimosis…not the other one.”

“Shit, I would hope not. Poor bastard!” Ryan grinned as he turned back a page again. "So, come on—what was it like? How long did it take to have it done?"

"Only about an hour altogether…about forty minutes in the theatre."

"And they knocked you out for it?"

Luke shook his head. "Injections…locals, like at the dentist."

“Fucking hell…you’re kidding? They stuck needles in your dick?”

Luke turned and chuckled as he caught Ryan grimacing. But his friend also seemed ready to keep listening, so he explained most of the operation. It was the one thing he'd been waiting all week to do, and he began to enjoy letting it all out. Ryan asked questions now and again, laughing at the funny bits, grimacing when the knife started slicing!

The more they talked, the more Luke relaxed and his confidence grew. If anything, it was Ryan that made sure they stayed on topic, clearly feeling he had the right to know everything.

Once Luke had got started, he was quite talkative, and stuff he would never have dared to reveal just slipped out naturally. He even confessed to the part about having a huge boner during the night after the procedure, and having to pee in the bath. Back then, it had seemed quite worrying. Now, it felt totally hilarious, and they both nearly wet themselves!

Ever so often, he would refer to something in the booklet that he held. Resting on the bed, Ryan looked over his shoulder, reading along, and they went on to talk quite animatedly about circs and the differences between being cut and uncut.

There were even more moments of frank honesty as they touched on how dicks looked both soft and hard, and what difference it all made for the cut and uncut. If there had happened to be an exam on circumcision that coming week, they would have both pulled straight A's.

Or in Luke’s case, not so straight...!

It was so much easier than he thought it would be. In fact, now it was quite hard to know why the hell he hadn't just told Ry about it weeks earlier!

It was going great until there was a tap and his mum poked her head around the door. Luke dropped the booklet out of sight alongside his bed. His mum was holding the cordless phone in her hand, and Luke assumed it had to be for him.

"Who is it?" Standing, he stepped to the door to take it.

She mouthed softly, "It's Josh Wyeman." Appearing to mistake his look of horror for something that looked like he had no idea who Josh Wyeman might be, she added, "Stacey's father?"

Luke swallowed. From the look on her face, he had the impression she had already spoken to the guy.

Oh fucking hell…now what?

She held out the phone and he gripped it. There was a long, rather uncomfortable moment where she didn't let go as her beady eyes drilled him. It was impossible to read her, or to know how much trouble he was in. He took the phone and turned away, walking slowly towards the bathroom to try to put some distance between himself and her and Ryan.



He recognized the voice of the tall man, last seen glaring at him in the marquee. It was definitely Stacey's father.

"Yes....good morning, sir..." His tone was formal and tight, painfully resigned to the idea that he was going to get dragged across the coals because of how he’d treated Wyeman’s daughter. The guy had probably already given it all to his mum anyway, and there would be another toasting from her once Wyeman had finished.

"Good morning to you, too, Luke." The easy-going nature of Wyeman's reply surprised him. "I was just speaking to your mom."

Luke stiffened. "Yes, sir..."

From plenty of experience, he knew it was usually better to 'fess up' first when he'd done something wrong. His mum was usually a little easier on him if he told the truth up front, rather than waiting until she got it out of him. He was still trying to work out how best to apologize for what he hadn't done to Stacey, when Wyeman really surprised him.

"Luke, I called for a couple of reasons. I was looking for a contact number for your friend, Owen. My son, Oliver, was trying to track him down."

"Oh…yes, sir. I think I have that."

"It’s fine, Lucy had it, too."

Lucy? Wyeman was calling Luke’s mum by her first name? It sounded...hell, Luke didn't really know how it sounded.

"But, I needed to speak to you, too…"

Luke cringed. Here it comes.

"…to apologize."

"Apologize?" Luke’s mouth flapped. It sounded completely the wrong way round. "I...I don't understand, sir—"

His eyes flicked to where Ryan was lying on his bed, watching him with bemused interest. Thankfully, his mum had already left. Wyeman’s voice came in his ear again.

"Luke, it seems I was wrong about you, and I felt the need to put it right."


"I have to confess, when Stacey ran out of the tent last night at the party, I'm afraid I thought the worst. She'd been with you on the dance floor, and then...well, it was only from talking to her afterwards that I discovered I'd misjudged you. And for that, I apologize."

Luke felt really uncomfortable. "Mr. Wyeman, honestly, there's no need."

Wyeman rode over the top, but not unpleasantly. "For me there is. Stacey explained that it had been her that had put you in a difficult situation."

Luke cringed wondering exactly what it was that she had told her father about what had literally stood between her and Luke on the dance floor the previous night.

"Let me just say that your respect for your parents' wishes says a lot."

"Yes sir," Luke muttered, feeling a complete fraud as what he suspected was the story about not dating at his age came to bite him on the backside.

"Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for coming to Stacey’s and Oliver’s big night, and I hope it won't be too long before we see you again."

"Yes sir. Thank you." Shell-shocked, he said goodbye and disconnected the call.

Fucking hell!

Ryan pounced on him. "What the hell was all that about?"


"Your mom said it was Josh Wyeman. I'm guessing Stacey Wyeman's father? You were at her party last night." Ryan was all over it.

Luke frowned. "How did you know?" He may have said he was going out, but he knew for certain he'd never mentioned to Ryan that it had been anything to do with Stacey. It was a petty thing, but it perplexed him.

Ryan seemed unconcerned. Picking up the bottle, he took another swig. “No, you’re right, you did try to hide that dirty little secret! I think Todd mentioned it.”

Luke sat back down on the floor with his back to the bed and took the bottle. It kind of made sense.

"So…come on," Ryan pressed. "What happened?"

“You really don’t want to know!”

“I really do! I can always ask Todd, you know—”

Luke pulled a face, suspecting Todd already knew most of it by now. “If you want to know, I think she fancies me, that’s all.”

“You told me that before.” Ryan grinned. “The girl from Longhorn, right? And you like her?’

“Not really."

“But you did something—why else would her father be on the phone!" Ryan looked evilly gleeful. "Shit, Luke, have you been a bad boy?”

“It was nothing like that. He rang to apologize.”

“He apologize? To you? Man, this gets better! What the hell happened?”

Luke held his head in his hands. In the cold light of day, it seemed totally bizarre. Maybe there had been something in the Coke, but he couldn't help it. He started sniggering.

Ryan looked over his shoulder, and sounded completely bemused. "What?"

Luke was shaking now. "Nothing..."

"So help me God, do I have to beat it out of you?"

“She got the wrong idea. That’s all.”

“About what?”

“She thought I had the hots for her.” Luke was beginning to giggle uncontrollably.

“What’s so funny?” Ryan had started laughing too. “Come on, I don’t get it?”

Luke was totally losing it now. It all just seemed so stupidly hilarious. “My Smarklamp—”

“The plastic thing you have for your circumcision? What about it?”

 “She wanted me to dance with her. I think...well…I think she felt it.” He heaved in giddy breaths.

Ryan’s mouth dropped open. “Oh my God… no…”

Luke was almost crying. “Yes…I’m sure of it…”

 “She thought you’d popped a chub on her?” Ryan squealed as the penny dropped.

“Oh God…it was awful!”

"You're such a..." Ryan stopped, creased. "Shit, I can't say that can I..."

"Say what?"

"Dickhead!"  Ryan fell off the bed and rolled onto the floor, completely wasted.

It took some time to recover, but eventually they got back to the circumcision booklet.

"So, you asked for a high and this one" Ryan indicated one of the images, and then chuckled. "Stacey'll be happy. If you want, I can cut it out and mail it to her!"

"Piss off. I do not fancy Stacey Wyeman!"

"Better still," Ryan said. "Send her that and a picture of the SmartKlamp side by side, with a note, 'spot the difference'"

"Asshole!" Luke stood his ground and remained smug. "You're just jealous! If you've got it, flaunt it!"

"If you’re meaning the pitiful thing you were sporting earlier," Ryan smirked, "then in your dreams!"

Luke winced ever so slightly. It sounded like Ryan really had seen his unfortunate woody after all! He watched as his friend finished the last of the Coke and tossed the bottle at the waste bin.

It missed and Ryan seemed to sober up at last.

"Okay—we need to get down to some work. But—final vote—here's my opinion." Ryan started pointing to the various styles that were laid out on one spread, discarding them one at a time. ""

Luke's unease passed as it seemed Ryan didn't care about his earlier display. Finally Ryan stopped on high and tight.

"That one. That's hot! That's what I would chose. That's what mine's like."

Luke nodded appreciatively, carried away again by the frank conversation. "I know. Yours is pretty sexy—I like it…" It was what he had chosen anyway.

A potent silence descended. Rewinding the conversation, Luke bit his lip, realizing what he'd let slip out. The disquiet continued. A vacuum of nothing filled the room.

Fuck, just start speaking, he commanded himself, as he thought of all the better things he could have said if it were possible to turn the clock back.

Something like ‘Yours is nice…’? No, that didn’t sound right either. What about ‘Yours is done well…’? No, that sounded like a barbequed sausage! What about just saying nothing, and going on with life normally. Yep, that would have been best. Certainly better than ‘Yours is really SEXY. I LIKE it!’

SHIT! What the hell was that? Why didn’t he just come out with it, with something less obvious like, ‘I’d like to touch your dick, Ry!’

Luke studied the empty Coke bottle that had rolled away from the bin and the seconds extended. The bottle offered no answers, so he stared at the booklet, willing for some conversation, desperate for something from Ryan that would indicate that what he had said had meant nothing. Or maybe something!

Finally he could bear it no more. He tried to sound brash, though to him it sounded false.

“Okay, that came out wrong. Fuck…it was even a bit weird…” Luke risked a backwards glance. Ryan was watching him, silent and unreadable. In the background, the plaintive saxophone did nothing to diminish Luke’s sense of disquiet. Ryan reached out his hand and touched his shoulder. It felt tender.

“Luke,” he whispered.

There was something about the voice that felt strange to Luke. As Ryan touched his shoulder, it felt as if time stood still. He was frozen by indecision, and yet the room felt overly warm, even claustrophobic. Resting on the bed just by his shoulder, he could feel Ryan’s presence and hear his breathing.

His mouth went dry, and it was all he could do not to tremble. He swallowed and the fear of making the biggest mistake tore at him. This was horrible.

But what if they really were both the same? Just two ordinary guys who happened to be gay but didn't dare to say, or know the right way to tell each other?

On the other hand, he knew what Simon meant now. It had to be all a stupid daydream, and he was just about to ruin a friendship and become a pariah with everyone that mattered.

But the hand resting gently on his shoulder couldn't be ignored. He was just about to reach up and touch Ryan’s tenuous gesture in recognition of his own feelings, when Ryan whispered again, deep and husky this time.

“Oh babe..." Ryan gasped, though it didn't sound the least bit sexy. "I love it when you talk dirty!” He burst into paroxysms of laughter as Luke turned back and glared at him in shock!


He was caught between outrage, nausea, and huge relief that, by the narrowest of margins, he'd only just avoided total-life disaster. With his heart hammering in his chest, he played out the game, just to make sure he was on the safe side.

“Oh God, Ry—” He squealed in a high falsetto. “I want your babies! Let’s do it…now…right on my bed!” The stupid voice covered his breathless panic. Then he stood up, grabbed a pillow and started beating the crap out of Ryan, who curled up on the bed, almost crying with laughter.

Ryan moaned deliriously. “Shit Luke—you should have seen your face! It was priceless!”

At that moment, there was a shout from the bottom of the stairs. "Luke....are you in?"

Simon was back home.

23. Cookout

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho


"BOYS…? Are you up yet?"

Awakened by her call, Simon heard Grace as she shouted from the hallway. It was a bright day, with light pouring past blinds they’d never closed the night before, and he was thankful that, towards dawn, he’d slipped down onto his own mattress. Neither he nor Toby wanted to risk her finding them curled-up together.

“Morning, Mom!” Above Simon on his own bed, Toby sounded remarkably normal in the circumstances. “We’re just getting up!”

A bleary eyed face popped into view from above and Simon studied the face carefully as the familiar features yawned.

Toby rubbed his eyes. “Do you know what time it is?”

"Looks like it’s gone nine-thirty.” Simon sat up, but he couldn’t help but wonder what was going on behind those toffee-colored eyes that, without their contacts, scrunched up trying to read the bedside clock. Toby scratched his nose as if they were having the most normal conversation in the world.

“It's no good,” Toby announced. “I need a pee!"  He didn’t seem at all self-conscious as he pushed back the sheets and, completely in the buff, climbed over Simon to take his morning woody with him to the bathroom. He put his head around the door to make sure the corridor was clear, then made a dash for it.

Some moments later, there was a tap at the door.

“Toby, are you decent?” It was Grace.


Simon doubted that any of a whole range of things that he and her son had been doing were activities she’d describe as ‘decent’! Pulling the bedclothes tightly around himself, he sidestepped the question.

“It’s just me Mrs. Skerrit. Toby went to the bathroom.”

Her voice filtered back through the panelled wood. "Well, I'm just going food shopping. I’ve left the cereal out for the both of you, and there's bread to make toast if you want it. I’ll be about an hour.”


Moments later, he heard the front door open, but she had one more parting shot. “And remind Toby to open the windows!" With that, the front door closed, and Simon heard the car back out of the driveway before accelerating down the hill. 

Immediately, Toby was back, scurrying across the hall. It didn't appear that his piss had done much to minimize the rampant boner. It made Simon smile as he tried to take stock of the situation. Whatever it was that had gone on between them, he knew he didn’t want it to end—and by the looks of what Toby was blatantly sporting, he wasn't expecting it to, either! That and the look on his face put to bed any immediate doubts that what had happened during the night had been a big mistake.

“Move over!” Toby squeezed onto the small mattress and under Simon’s duvet, clearly without any concerns that they’d been in bed together most of the night, and obviously quite happy to get back there again.

"Don't you need one?" Toby asked, snuggling into him. As their bare skin moved together, Simon got excited pretty quickly

With some renewed confidence, cheekiness returned. "I think I already did it."


“In your mouth."

"I mean a piss, you asshole!" Toby pushed at him.

"So did I!" Simon’s reply turned into squealing laughter.

"Eeewww—that's fucking gross!" Toby beat him with a pillow until, still hiding under the sheets, Simon begged for mercy. Then Toby pulled back the bedding to take a look at what seemed quite ready for attention.

Past Toby’s shoulder Simon saw something move at the window, and he gasped. "Oh my God!" He quickly covered himself with his hand, pushed Toby away, and pulled the edge of the duvet protectively over himself again. Then he saw what it was and swore.

"Bloody hell, Toby—the cat's watching us!"

Toby turned and looked to the window from where, past the open blinds, Gizmo was staring at them. He burst out laughing. "I told you so! Now look—you've turned him gay, flashing your dick an' all!"

Still holding the blankets close, Simon pulled a face. "Get rid of him. And close the blinds. People might see us!"

"It's the backyard, for God's sake!" Sniggering, Toby crossed to the window and banged on it. Startled, Gizmo jumped off and scurried away.

"Come on,” Toby said, partially closing the blinds. “Mom’s gone out. Let's get a shower."

"Together you mean?" Simon swallowed, deliciously horrified. Without answering, Toby strode out, leaving the door open invitingly, and Simon stared at the waiting gap for a few moments. A sly smile broke out on his face. Pushing back the sheets, he hurried after him.

Who would have believed it? Toby Skerrit?

They turned on the shower and then cuddled while it warmed. Right here was everything Simon ever wanted, and he wondered if his dick would ever manage to go down again!

“Move over!” He giggled as, a few minutes later, they jockeyed for position under the refreshing water. Under the shared shower, the two of them bantered and played. Already totally stiff when he’d stepped into the shower alongside Toby, his boyfriend—boyfriend?—who’d then wanted to take time for another full examination! It was fun and completely frank, and washed away most of Simon’s lingering awkwardness.

From behind, Simon felt arms snake around his middle, with Toby clearly relishing the intimate body contact. Simon had to admit, it felt good.

“What’s that for?”

“Just checking you’re not some fairytale dream…” Toby wiggled his fingers, demanding attention. "Put some shampoo on my hands."

“Why?” Simon couldn’t be bothered to wait for an answer and poured anyway, going back to lazily rubbing shampoo through his own locks. A moment later, he started giggling. “What the hell are you doing?”

 “It’s obvious isn’t it? Washing your hair!” Toby’s hands had dropped down to begin shampooing Simon’s curly light-colored bush. “The last I noticed, it was matted with jizz!”

“That was your fault!” Simon giggled. “That tickles!” Then he groaned. “Now what are you doing?” As if he didn’t know!

“Nothing…” Extending the lathering process, Toby kneaded him with his hands and began to work on him. “Like I said, I’m proving you’re not a fairytale dream." He paused as he continued to manipulate Simon through the shampoo.  “Although, if you were, you would have to be Aladdin!”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Toby sniggered, “Well I think you had to rub it a bit before anything came out—the lamp, I mean…!”

Simon hissed softly as he looked to where both hands were working him. Leaning outward as he did, his jaunty stick really did have the appearance of the spout of Aladdin’s legendary lamp. He was also more than happy for Toby to attempt to conjure something forth! He was getting really close, when Toby stopped. Simon turned and grunted in displeasure at being left high and dry. “Awe…come on. You can’t leave me like this.”

“Maybe later.” Toby wasn’t dismissive, but there was a glint of something unyielding in his eye. His tone became conciliatory. “Anyway, Mom will be back soon and the water’s getting cold. We’d better get out.”

The idea that Toby’s mum might return at any moment doused Simon’s excitement like a bucket of cold water, and they quickly got out and dried off.

After the shower, they’d made it back to Toby’s room to dress. Simon looked critically at the pair of white briefs he’d brought, and then started searching under the bed, where he unearthed the red boxers Toby had lent to him the previous evening. He found the jizz-covered green ones, too!

"You can have some clean ones, you know!" Toby said as Simon held up his prize.

"Are you kidding? These are cool. I'll have to bring them back unwashed, though." He flashed a knowing grin. "Mum might get a bit of a shock if they turned up in the basket!" With that he slipped them on, and admired them a moment before pulling on the rest of the clothes he’d brought with him, fresh for that day.

“Do you want tea?” Finally having made it into the kitchen for breakfast, Simon stood by the kettle, waiting for it to boil. Next to him, Toby was lining up two bowls with cereal, ready to add milk.

Toby shook his head. “Just juice.” He stirred the dry cereal in one of the bowls and seemed preoccupied. “Mom will be back soon.”

Simon sighed. "I wish it was just us…" He wondered if Toby was thinking along the same lines as him. “We’ll have to tell people eventually though, won’t we? What about her?”

“Mom?” Toby seemed unconcerned. “She knows.”

Simon’s eyes widened. “Your mum knows?” Suddenly he felt panicky. “Oh my God! About us?”  

“No, just me.” Toby shook his head quickly. “She knows I’m gay.”

“Oh.” Simon found it almost impossible to compute. “She knows your gay?”

Toby’s reply had an edge of irritation. “Of course she does. I just said that!”

“Doesn’t she mind?”

“Why would she mind?” Toby’s reply remained sharp as he went back to the cereal, pouring milk into each. He took a bowl and crossed to park himself on one of the breakfast-bar stools.

“Ummm…” Simon bit his lip. He could think of lots of reasons why most mums would mind that their sons were homosexuals! Yet Toby was claiming Grace already knew. There suddenly seemed a huge amount he didn’t know about the Skerrits.

“I can’t tell mine. I mean I want to, but…” Simon trailed off as he began to take stock of some realities. “You won’t tell your mum about us, though, will you? You mustn’t!” The whole idea made him nervous.

‘Why not?” Toby was spooning cereal into his mouth and seemed unimpressed. "I tell her everything."

“Because she might tell my mum and dad, and I’m not ready for that. They’ll probably say I can’t see you.”

“Oh.” Toby seemed to consider it. “I never thought of that. Okay—no parents. Come on, stop worrying about it. It’ll be fine. Trust me.”

They finished their cereal and for a while Toby seemed happy to cuddle. In his head Simon considered the day in front of them. “What do you want to do today?” he asked.

“What do you think?” Toby sniggered, and it didn’t take much guessing what kinds of things he had in mind. His eyes took on a familiar glint. “You could always stay over tonight, if you wanted.”

Before Simon could respond, Toby blinked and said, “Oh—I completely forgot!” He jumped up, dislodging Simon from a comfortable position.

“Forgot what?”

Animated now, Toby grabbed his hand. “I’ve got something for you! Come with me—there's something I want you to have." Determined, he pulled Simon towards his studio. At the door, they paused.

"I've finished it at last,” Toby said. “I was going to give it to you today anyway." With that, he pushed open the door and Simon followed him in and saw immediately what waited on the easel.

"I hope you’ll like it. Me and mom got it properly framed."

Simon studied it. The frame itself looked new, and the light-colored wood, though simple, was by no means cheap-looking. The painting was of the boy, sailing his boat on a lake.

Him. His boat.

“You finished it!” It looked so real. If anything, the colors had become richer since Simon first saw it, the energy more vital and the passion it exuded for the wind and wave, palpable.

"I picked the frame specifically for your room," Toby rushed with excitable pride. "Do you like it?"

Wordlessly, Simon crossed to the easel and reached out to touch the frame. Even when Toby stood behind him to wrap his arms around him, there were still no words, and none were needed.

It came on him powerfully, unexpectedly. What was in front of him was such a gift; something that probably few people ever received. A gift from someone he knew so well that made it al so much more precious. It burst out of him before he could stop it.

“I love you…”

At once, he winced, cringing at how silly it sounded. He turned fearfully to find that Toby didn’t seem either outraged or amused by his outburst. A satisfied smile reached Toby’s eyes as he murmured. “I so wanted you to say that first!”

Then the front door opened and closed and, reluctantly, they parted. Toby called out. "We're in here, Mom!"

"Give me a hand bringing in the groceries, can you?"

They found her in the kitchen, bringing in two of what turned out to be many bags. “I was showing Si the boat,” Toby said. His mom stopped what she was doing and looked genuinely pleased.

“It’s really fantastic, isn’t it, Mrs. Skerrit?” Simon bubbled.

“Mom helped choose the frame,” Toby said, his face redoubling in pleasure.

Grace smiled. “I’m glad you like it, Simon. Our little gift to say thank you for keeping Toby out of trouble!”

Toby rolled his eyes, and changed the subject.  He seemed to be eyeing the bags. “You’re not feeding an army are you? How many more are there?”

“A few—be a good lad and bring them in for me.”

“I’ll do the dishes,” Simon offered. “Can I make you a coffee Mrs. Skerrit?”

That, young man, would be perfect!”

Finally, all the bags were in. As Grace settled onto one of the breakfast-bar stools to drink her coffee, Toby started nosing through the bags. In one, he found burgers, sausages and chicken. Grace was watching him with a bemused look in her eyes.

“I thought we’d have a barbecue tonight,” she said. “You’re staying I hope, Simon?”

At once Toby seemed suspicious, though Simon jumped in with enthusiasm.

 “A barbecue? Cool…I love barbecues!” Simon knew that their old gas grill rarely saw use, but it still worked well enough and they’d used it a number of times in the past. However, even he could see ttat it was a lot of meat.

Toby continued to glare at his mom with more scepticism and finally seemed to see it. “Mom who’s—”

“I met Marcus in the store today,” Grace interrupted, sipping her drink, observing them over the rim.

“Marcus? Who’s Mar—” Simon stopped and blinked in surprise. “Oh...”

“Marcus Daniels.” She confirmed his uncomfortable guess. “I met him at Publix—he was shopping, too.”

“Our Art teacher?” Simon was incredulous. “Does he shop?”

Grace smiled. “You’ll find everyone shops, dear. Even teachers. He and I were talking about Iron Man.”

Toby snickered. “You’re kidding! Daniels is interested in Iron Man?” It seemed unlikely to Simon as well. "You're telling me that he actually watches movies?" Toby added.

“His name is Marcus, Toby. And yes, even teachers watch movies!” She paused and considered them. “We decided we might go this evening…to go and see the movie. It’s just out and everyone says its dynamite!” It hung there between them, gradually sinking in.

“You’re dating Daniels?” Toby screeched.

She remained calmly aloof. “Marcus," she repeated. "And no, I’m not ‘dating’ him. We’re just going to the movies.”

"There's a difference?"

Simon thought it was a fair point, but Grace ignored her son. “We’re going to the movies, that’s all. Now if you two want to come along, too, I’ll do popcorn, Cokes…the works.”

“That’s blackmail!”

She seemed unmoved by Tony’s outburst and shrugged. “And it’s totally your choice,” she said, going back to sorting the groceries.

Toby glanced at Simon, silently questioning, and Simon shrugged. Both wanted to see Iron Man, and everyone was talking about it. But with Daniels? Toby seemed to come to a decision, and asked. “Do we have to sit with you?”

“Honey, you can sit where you like. Just be nice over dinner.”

Simon’s eyes flicked to the bags and back to her as the penny dropped.

“He’ll be here at four.” Her determined smile left him with no impression other than it was a done deal.

Toby let loose. “Daniels is coming for dinner? YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”

No—Toby didn’t sound too excited either!

“It’s Mr. Daniels, or Marcus, Toby dear,” she replied patiently. “And yes, I invited him for a barbecue. We can go to the movies afterwards.”

She returned to the bags, then paused, adding, “He’ll be bringing his daughter.”

Two chins hit the floor and both he and Toby squeaked in horrified unison. “DANIELS HAS A DAUGHTER??”

Grace couldn’t hold it in and, as they stared at her aghast, she creased up with laughter. Within moments tears were streaming from her eyes. She slapped the table with her hand, trying to get her breath as the two of them watched her, baffled.

“Oh my goodness,” she whooped. “Sorry, I just made that up! You should have seen your faces!” For a few moments, she lost it again, holding her splitting sides. “Oh gosh, that was priceless!”

She looked so hilarious, and it was quite funny and Simon fell to a grin, too, as Toby glared at him accusingly. Simon didn’t blame him. Toby was the one who was going to have to live with it, afterwards!  Eventually, it seemed that even he was going to admit that it was funny and soon they were all laughing.

Before the feel-good factor passed, Toby made his bid. “Can Simon can stay over again tonight?"

Grace didn’t seem particularly bothered. “I don’t see why not. Would you like to stay over, Simon?  You’re welcome to.” Perhaps she felt it was a fair exchange.

It caught him on the hop. “Oh…umm…yes. I mean…no…” OH CRAP! Now he sounded guilty. “I’ll have to check with Mum, but if it’s okay with her, that would be great. Thanks.”

He caught Toby’s eyes. They had that familiar glint again.

After they’d cleared up from breakfast, the first thing Simon wanted to do was to take the framed panting back home and mount it on his wall. So, wrapping it safely in a backpack, they biked down the hill. Once they got in, the downstairs seemed deserted, but noises of squealing laughter were coming from upstairs. It sounded like Luke, and probably Ryan.

He stood on the bottom step and shouted. " that you?"

* * *

Later that same baking hot afternoon, the grills were on overtime at the Alexis home, and delicious smells now wafted across the pool as the mountains of ribeye steak grew. From behind the defensive buffer of a book, Ryan lazed under one of their sun canopies and studied the crowd. There were probably representatives from fifteen or twenty families that day. A big turnout. Children, young and not so young squealed, chattered and splashed in the pool. The beer flowed and juice stained the mouths of little kids.

After they’d been interrupted by Simon and Toby, he and Luke had got down to some study, but the sound of intermittent banging coming from Simon’s room as the pair tried to hang one of Toby’s painting was a pain.

Eventually they had retreated to the back deck and worked there. Over some hastily demolished sandwiches that Lucy had made for them all, it came out that Simon and Toby were planning to go to the mall that evening to see the new Iron Man movie. It seemed a great idea, and he and Luke had quickly decided to do the same. Finally, he’d had to leave for the cookout, and had last seen Luke getting ready to hit the garden again for some more pruning!

He peered out from behind his book again and pulled a face. In an ideal world it was meant to be perfect American pastime, but he hated the monthly regimental officer cookout with a passion.  Not that it made any difference. Years ago, his father had made it abundantly clear that it wasn’t a tradition he had permission to miss.

The regular BBQ for the regimental officer 'elite' and their families was meant to be an informal, team building, social activity.


In truth, if you wanted to get on in your career, God forbid if you didn’t attend regularly. Informal though it was meant to be, it was just another war game, with all the rules of engagement in place. So, obeying orders, he was there, playing the game.

Glancing around at those who had invaded their backyard yet again, he could see most of the usual crowd plus a couple of new additions; young families, whose kids—still new to the game—played shyly to one side. Almost all the officers were family men, though theoretically it wasn’t a requirement. Across the scene, wives flirted shamelessly with younger models of their husbands, or sat together and exchanged army gossip. Several of the men jockeyed for position in a common field of conflict…the grills!

Top dog? The alpha male in this setting?

Without doubt it was always the guy who took control and wielded the tools. And, irrespective of whether he was the highest-ranking officer in play or even if the cookout was hosted at someone else’s house, his father invariably bullied the opposition and took charge of the grills.

Ryan was so tired of it all. All of it was so different from the type of family life he got to see at Luke’s home. Big place they themselves might have, but he’d exchange it all at the drop of a hat!

He’d been around there that morning. They had meant to be studying, but that had got put to one side when it became clear that Luke was keen to talk about other things! Staring at the pages of the circumcision booklet without really seeing the words, he shook his head and smirked.

Holy shit—hadn’t THAT had been surprise!

He’d stayed for lunch and they’d done a bit more cleaning up in the garden before it had come time to get home for the cookout.  Upon hearing that his brother was planning on seeing the Iron Man movie that night, Luke had suggested they make a night of it too. Ryan had jumped at it. It was something to look forward to that balanced the distaste of having to sit through yet another one of these awful afternoons!

From his quieter corner of the pool area, he watched his father as he presided over what he usually deemed to be lesser men, giving them instruction on how to properly cook the thick steaks.

As if nobody else knew how to grill!

Ryan studied his father through lidded eyes.  He was a medium-sized bullish man, full of bile that was usually tempered in these settings. A mean man. Mean and powerful, he liked to see himself as the All American Man. And here Ryan was, too, the son his father required him to be. Ryan Alexis —All American Boy—doing what was expected as he played the game.

From where the twin gas grills sizzled on the patio, his father turned his dark gaze Ryan’s direction. The glower spoke volumes; he expected his son to engage the enemy, not hide behind a book. And, as far as Captain Ethan Alexis was concerned, everyone was the enemy!

Ryan looked away and back to his book. He had on a pair trendy dark swim shorts, but with Fern Blackman in the pool, there was no way he was going in!

He was tired of so many things, not the least of having to listen to his father who, at times like this, frequently bragged about his top class, winner of a child. The truth was, this was the only place—amongst his own army peers—that the bastard seemed to realize he even had a son, let alone recognize any of Ryan’s achievements. He grown up never expecting to be complimented or encouraged other than when it’s only purpose would be for his father to brag to those he saw as his beneath him, declaring that he, Captain Ethan Alexis, was a winner and sired only the best stock.

It was central to the less-than-subtle parental advice he picked up from his father, that mating with an Alexis was a goal for any reasonable woman to aspire to! And he made it rather clear that, the big man that he was, in his time he'd mated with many women other than Ryan's own mom.

Ryan had no doubt that he still did.

Whether it was because they wanted All American Boy sperm or not, Ryan often found himself besieged by girls desperate to date him, or at least get him onto a bed for however long it took to get shafted! Even that very afternoon—yet again—he’d been severely groped by the Blackman girl. At a cookout like this, she liked to play with any kind of meat, and he'd just about escaped with his manhood intact.

Still he played the game.

He spotted his mom.

She was about as manic-depressive as it got, but on a high now, flirting with some of the younger guys at the pool. Though she was well into her forties, she still looked good in the kind of bathing costume his father encouraged her to wear for others to see but not touch. She was a pawn in the game, too.

He guessed she probably knew it.

She would crash later and drink herself into oblivion.

He pitied her for what she'd become, yet despite it all, still loved her. Maybe he should have hated her for being weak, for not standing up to his father, for being unable to protect him, but he couldn't. And the few times when the real mom dared to surface into moments of clarity, he knew she needed him.

Alcohol, shopping and endless therapy were her life, and she could afford the best, bringing plenty of old family money into the marriage. It was that money that also put him through private education—and some indomitable part of her survived to resist putting her family money into her husband's name. He knew it because he'd heard the arguments. He also suspected it was a big reason his father constantly put her down and debased her—angry because he didn't hold all the strings.

Why the hell did they all stay together?

He had no fucking idea! He was just relieved she had already said he could go out for the evening.

So here they all were, basking in the sunshine and playing the game of the All American Family who had everything they could want, living with success and in luxury.

He often wondered what some of the other happy-looking families he watched around the pool were like behind closed doors. For the most part, the officers were old enough that their offspring were teenagers or grown up, although there was a scattering of babies that the girls cooed at. Even most of those came from round two or even round three marriages.

He wished Luke were here, though he knew it would never be allowed in a setting where the strict ‘Army Only’ policy applied. Even then, he'd never subject his friend to this world if he could help it. It wasn’t that the army was a bad idea in itself—no, just some of the people in it who were rotten.

A stentorian voice boomed over the lawn towards him. "RYAN!"

He put down the book and trotted over, the obedient son/slave. Even in swim shorts, he still turned out in front of his father with military precision.

"Yes sir?" He oozed parade ground like attention, putting his ‘All American’ qualities on display, ramrod straight and shoulders back. It was actually quite impressive he knew, and more than a few heads turned to watch him! Just play the game, he told himself. It’ll be over soon and you can disappear again. He watched his father study him, checking for the straight back and attentive demeanour. He seemed to be satisfied.

"What are you reading, Ryan?" The voice came from behind Ryan’s father and he leaned to one side to locate the nearby easy chair and the individual who sat easily in it. Colonel Piper missed little and seemed as hawkish and commanding as ever. Despite himself, Ryan grinned. The Colonel was one of the good guys and, from his father's rants, the reason why Ethan Alexis had never yet managed to advance past captain.

"Hello, Sir.” He relaxed a little. “It's called 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” Luke had mentioned the book enough times that he'd finally stopped off at Waterstones and picked up a copy. It wasn't his normal genre, though he read voraciously. He'd been surprised at how good the book was.

‘Ah…” Piper’s eyes glinted with amusement. “So long, and thanks for all the fish!’”

Ryan chuckled and threw one back. “Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to pick up a piece of paper!”

He wasn’t surprised at the exchange. It was typical of the Colonel that he would think widely enough that he would know a book like ‘Hitchhikers’. His father on the other hand, looked fit to bust a gut. A man whose pastimes flicked between the channels and the bar, he clearly thought the two of them had lost it.

“DON’T PANIC!” The additionally quip came from someone else, and from the glare he got, Ryan could also tell Alexis senior didn’t appreciate not being in the know. It was time to high-tale it!

"You should read more, son,” Alexis declared, full of self-righteous shit.  “It’s a good book!"

Ryan kept his face still, putting aside his irritation at the impression his father tried to give that he’d actually read it. He didn’t read anything except the TV listings! He shrugged.  "Gum for the eyes, I guess. I was about to go in the pool, but can I get anything for you, father?"

His father seemed satisfied with the response. "Can you just go to the fridge and bring out some more beer. The coolers are nearly empty and I'm as dry as week-old camel dung."

"Yes, sir!" Ryan smiled widely, trying to sound appropriately amused at his father's predictably pathetic humor, relieved at the opportunity to escape.

Just play the game.

He about-turned as smart as you like and headed to the wide double garage where the oversized two-door fridge was stashed with slabs of drink.

There was nobody else there and he relaxed. He planned to hang around for a few minutes, killing time before going back outside. He was in the process of lugging a twelve-pack out of the fridge, when a pair of feminine hands snaked around his waist, resting just above the waistband of his shorts, caressing the bare skin over his tight stomach muscles.

He froze. Oh hell, not again!

"I heard that Fern was planning to have you right there in the pool!" crooned a silky voice.

Ryan relaxed, mad with her at first, but unable to hold it long.

"Don't be a tease Mel...and give me a hand with these drinks, will you?" He turned round to face Melissa Piper. "And do me a favor will you? Ride shotgun on me for a bit?" He grinned at an attractive, twenty-one-year old blond bombshell, acknowledging the only other human being on planet earth who knew that he, Ryan Ethan Alexis, preferred guys.

He lugged the twelve-pack onto a nearby table while she reached into the fridge and extracted a second slab, stacked it on top of his, and lifted the two effortlessly. He didn’t bother suggesting helping and had learned a long time ago that—despite the fact she looked young and pretty—there wasn’t a chance in hell of winning an arm wrestle with her! She was formidable! Those lithe, sun-tanned arms carried hidden strength, and God help the guy who got the wrong end of a pistol from her!

Feeling upbeat for the first time that afternoon, he held the door for her and said, “I was talking to your dad, but I didn’t see you earlier? I thought you weren’t coming!”  Damn, was he relieved Mel had turned up. At last, the afternoon might even be bearable. “When did you arrive?”

 “I told Daddy I would make my own way here. What can I say…traffic was bad!” She shrugged. “Rank hath its privileges!” she added, not hiding a smirking grin. He pulled a face, knowing she was probably the only one in the whole set that could get away with it.

Once outside, and after tipping the fresh cooled beer into the cooler, he abandoned his lounger and the pair settled down into a quiet corner of the lawn, where they could talk without being overheard.

They made a cute couple, he knew, though she was quite a few years older. A number of those around the pool were jealous of their easy-going friendship and made assumptions about what was going on between them, though he never saw Mel in that way. She was, however, a stunning good-looker, and more than one of his peers in the army set had challenged him, trying to find out if he was privately bonking her.

But what nobody else but Ryan knew was that, when it came to girlfriends—and Mel in particular—she already had one! How this unlikely partnership between himself and Mel Piper had come about was a long story, but suffice it to say, they both shared secrets and both played the game that was expected of them.

"And how is the delightful Ella?" Ryan winked knowingly, speaking softly and referring to the sparkling redhead that was Mel's love.

Melissa pouted. "Sadly, not here. Out of town all this weekend, I'm afraid."

Was that why Mel had ended up here again, he wondered? Probably not. In fact, he suspected the only reason she regularly came to the officer cookouts with her illustrious parents was to make sure he was okay.

"And have you snagged Luke with your boyish charms, yet?" She teased him playfully and he glanced around with a discreet eye to their surroundings. There was nobody in earshot, but it didn’t do any harm to be cautious. He saw Fern Blackman glaring at them from the other side of the pool; a look somewhere between distaste and frustration. A little obviously, he edged closer to Mel for protection.

They shared a real friendship that had come about in tough times for him. Times when he had gone as low as he’d ever known. Out of those times, he’d found the only friend that he could fully confide in.

A year or so later, he’d gone through a stage with Mel when he’d kept babbling on about Luke Summers. Luke was there, Luke did this, Luke said that, etc, etc. By then she already knew about his sexuality—as he did, hers—and had caught on fast as to what was behind his enthusiasm for the ‘Luke’ in question.

She could be quite persuasive and had cornered him in the pool one day at one of the cookouts. He smiled as he remembered the scene as she’d threatened him with a determined look in her eye; ‘Tell me about Luke, and the truth mind you, or I'm going to rip these trendy swim shorts off you and then call Fern over!’  He knew Mel well enough by then to know she would do it, too! He decided to be honest and had told her all about his feelings for the boy from England.

That had been nearly two years ago.

He shook his head. "Nah...just a dream I guess. Mind you," he added, brightening up and hoping to shock her a little, "he showed me his penis today!"

If she was surprised, she was far too skilled an adversary to let it show, and she just shrugged. "I never really grasped what you guys see in dicks. They seem overrated to me!"

He sniggered. She was good. Very good.

“He was just circumcised, wasn’t he…?” she said. She let it hang there until his eyes went wide and his jaw dropped.

“How did you—”

She smirked. “Ella was there.”

“Oh my God…I don’t believe you!”

Yet, damn her, he did believe her. How else would she have known anything about it? The pieces dropped onto the table and she waited while he arranged them into place. Finally, he figured it out.

“He went to see Doctor Tiberius!” All morning, Luke had never actually said a name. Just 'The Doc'. And Ella’s father, Doctor Tiberius, was a urologist.

Mel smirked, confirming it.

“At the hospital?” he demanded.

She shook her head.

“It must have been at his clinic then?” Ella was a med student and helped out there sometimes. Luke hadn’t mentioned any of this.

She nodded.

“So, Ella was on reception?” He pushed for more details.

“Oh, more…much more…” She leaned close enough to whisper. “My dear sweet Ella was in the operating theatre, assisting with his delicate little noodle!” Her eyes laughed as she floored him.

“Oh my God!!” Ryan groaned and fell back on the grass. Who would have guessed?

‘She took pictures.”

“Funny girl!” They both knew how unlikely that was.

Mel smirked. “She did say he was quite cute, though!”

 “Don’t!” he moaned. “You’re not helping!”

“So he showed it to you then?” At least she had the decency to look surprised now.

“Yep…this morning!” He smirked at the sky with the memory. “He told me all about the op too, so don’t try and make anything up!” He sat up again. “He never said that a girl was in there, though!”


“Did Ella tell you about the procedure?”

Mel shook her head, though it was impossible to tell whether she was leading him by the nose.

“Well, they used some special kind of medical device for it. He explained it all to me.”

“And you were thinking naughty thoughts, I bet!”

He grinned, unabashed. “A few. It looks like something from a science fiction movie...quite sexy though!" It got them both laughing. “He said that it was still quite …errr…sore….”

Mel pounced again. “Ooohhh…Ryan Alexis—let me guess. You offered to make it better!”

“Behave!” Turning a little pink, he told her off, though what he didn’t tell her was that Luke had said ‘sensitive’ not sore, and had pulled a boner—he’d said, because of it. It was too much to hope that that wasn't the real reason!  “I wonder how long it takes to recover from that kind of op?” The question was more rhetorical than anything else.

“Dunno.” Mel had a rather malicious glint in her eye. “Let’s ask Ella.”

“Nooo!” Horrified, he made a grab for the trendy phone she got out of her pocket, but she held him off and hit speed dial.

“Mel!” He pleaded and hoped there would be no answer, but before long, Ella was on the line.

“Hey, babe, it’s me.”

He couldn’t hear the voice, but he saw the broad smile spread over Mel’s face as she listened. In many ways it touched a sensitive nerve seeing the easy-going love between Mel and Ella. How long would he have to wait to get that, he wondered?

“Yep. I’m at the cookout…aha…same old same old. Ryan’s here, though…and he has a question…”

“Oh my God…!” Ryan muttered, looking around to ensure they were still alone.

“No…about Luke.” She grinned. “Yep, I just told him. You should have seen his face. It was priceless!”

Ryan buried his head in his hands.

“I’ve no idea why,” she continued, though her tone suggested otherwise, “but Ryan wanted to know if Luke would still be sore for a while yet?”

He gave up. She was SO bad! Teasing and relentless, yet she seemed to know that he needed this kind of thing. In the midst of living a life of secrets, just the occasional chance to be a lovesick teenager in front of somebody, was a lifesaver.

Mel listened to the voice in her ear. “Mmm…aha…really…” Her eyebrows flicked up and she smirked. Then she pulled a face. “That’s so, is it?” She snickered. “I’d better let him know—he’ll be devastated!”

“WHAT?” Ryan squirmed. It was unbearable not knowing what they had been saying.

 “Well, there’s good news and bad news,” Mel said after she’d put her phone away. “Or maybe it’s bad new and bad news.” She paused, looking thoughtful.

“Come on…what did she say?”

“She said that the first week of wearing a SmartKlamp would be rather delicate for Luke. Then, after it comes off, his problems with sensitivity overload will really start!”

Ryan’s jaw dropped. He groaned and flopped back on the grass. “Please tell me she didn’t say that!” The whole idea of it was completely unbearable!

‘Well, maybe I jazzed it up a bit,” Mel giggled, “but that was the general idea.”

“And the bad news—or whatever’s left?”

Mel affected a pout. “She said that Luke was incredibly cute; that she liked him; he was lots of fun, and had a scorching-hot bod. She also said that when she’d finished with me, she was going to try to pull him!”

It was too much and Ryan was almost crippled with laughter to the point where it got the attention of others. A couple of girls swam over to their side and called for him to come into the pool.

“I’ll be there soon,” he replied. Though nowhere near as ferocious as Fern, those two were another pair into the dating scene, big time!

Mel grinned. “You know your problem, Ryan Alexis? You’re just far too ravishing for all these young ladies to ignore!”

“Oh, give over…don’t start that again!”

He lay on his back and stared at the sky. He knew he kept himself in shape, but it wasn’t for the likes of Fern and her posse!  He tried so hard over the years to hide his real impulses, but always feared that Luke—or any of his friends for that matter—would catch on to him at any time. So, he played the game there too, employing an almost regimented discipline to steer away from anything that could be perceived as gay. The wrong words, careless glances; all carefully controlled to protect his image of ‘All American Boy’, in a world that would crucify him if it guessed any different.

But he’d been weak that morning, and because of it had almost paid the ultimate price.

Since the previous Monday, Luke had never mentioned his procedure again, and Ryan had felt uncomfortable at being seen to be nosey. Then, out of the blue that morning, the whole thing had come up—literally! Once they'd both got over that—and Ryan had spent a lot of time on his stomach on Luke's bed keeping his under wraps—Luke had really opened up and they'd got talking. It had been pretty explicit stuff. Holy cow, Luke even had a booklet with pictures!

Normally, with the dangers that kind of situation represented, Ryan would have made himself scarcer than hen’s teeth—and for good reason—but he’d got carried away and said something stupid. 'That one. That's hot. That's what I would choose. That's what mine's like.'

What the hell was he thinking? Why not just wave a flag? ‘Hey look, I think sexy dicks are hot!’

Luke had said something, but in his own distraction, he'd missed it. Ryan knew he was damn lucky that his friend seemed not to put two and two together, and he’d managed to brush the whole thing over with a joke. That was a friendship he never wanted to mess up. He would be more careful from now on. But he was so frustrated and wearied by the constant deception. And it just never seemed fair!

His friends—even Luke with this girl, Stacey—could lust after some sexy-looking chick without anyone thinking it off-beat. In fact, usually the reverse! But for him to show an interest in some nice-looking guy? You had to be kidding! That would definitely not be okay with his friends when they all went to an ‘all boys’ school!

And with his parents? Well, that just wasn’t even worth thinking about!

"I'm afraid it's just me and me for the foreseeable future!" he said at last. He shrugged and gave Mel a half-hearted smile.

"You know…” Mel looked thoughtful as she gently stroked his leg, "I've always found that when a boy decides to show me his willy, it's usually because he wants something!" She patted the top of his head.

Ryan had to smile. “If only it were that easy.” He suspected that if a guy risked flashing his kit at Mel, he’d lose it!

"Perhaps it is?"

"Maybe, maybe not." He tended to think the latter. “Anyway, thanks for coming this afternoon. Are you doing much, later?”

“Not much.” Mel grimaced and sounded a little morose. "I'm at a loose end. You?”

"I'm out with the guys for a movie tonight. We’re off to see Iron Man."

Her eyes narrowed. "Does 'the guys' include Luke, by any chance?"

He was way ahead of her as he caught the gleam. "Oh no…no way! Not a chance! I'm not letting you anywhere near him!"

Mel settled back on the grass, the gleam growing. It was as if she hadn't heard him. "Yes way! It's definitely high time I met this Luke Summers."

"Mel!" Ryan cringed at the implications.

"Don't worry. I promise not to embarrass you. Look at it this way," she suggested. "Count me as your ‘plus one’." She sat up and straightened her blouse quite provocatively. "I mean, come on…with boobs like these, what better cover could you ask for?"

He couldn't help it, and burst put laughing again. She was incorrigible! He sighed, realizing how much she had been a rock to him over the years, ­and how much he really cared for her.

"Mel…if we’d been born in a different world, and weren't what we are—if you know what I mean—I think I would have easily fallen for you."

She smiled. It was genuine and deep. "And that, coming from you, Ryan Alexis, means a lot!" She reached in and gave him a chaste peck on the cheek.

He grinned with pleasure and then smirked. "I could have fallen for you if you weren't so old, of course!' He discovered again how hard a punch she had, and rubbed his arm and changed the subject. "You're coming to the movies, then?"

"Of course I am—if only to make sure you behave in the back row! Do you want me to pick you up?" They agreed a time and, seeing that Fern had disappeared, both of them slipped into the pool.

Once the last of the guests had left, the house returned to its lonely emptiness.

His father had gone out to the bar and wouldn’t be back until the early hours. His mom had retreated to her own room. She’d be drinking and he wouldn’t see her again to speak to, until the following morning when, still playing happy families, they would all turn out for church. He’d pop his head in later that evening to make sure she was safe. It was fine. He’d long since stopped getting worked up at how fucked-up a house it all was.

Closing and carefully locking his door, he crossed his room and opened the big double doors that led out onto his own, wide balcony. There was well over an hour to kill and he was in no hurry. The afternoon sun was still gloriously warm, flowing directly into his room as he stepped out onto the private space. Though it wasn’t the master bedroom, his room—at least he felt—was the best in the house. It may not have been quiet as big as his parents, but it was more than enough for him, overlooking the pool and grounds and catching the best of the sun.

Some day no doubt it would be all his—his grandparents would see to that, though he didn’t care for it enough to feel thrilled. The patio and grass showed the remains of the party: dirty grills, un-stacked chairs and discarded waste. In the morning the landscapers would come and clear it all up, returning their grounds to a pristine condition. All at the expense of an army slush fund that his father would screw for all it was worth.

Back in his room, he stripped off the swim shorts and added them to the wash basket in the closet. Comfortably nude in the privacy of his own space, he examined himself carefully; it didn’t do any harm to make sure there weren’t any unexpected lumps growing in unusual places. Critically, he appraised himself, and a few provocative rubs made sure that part was working well enough, too. It had been an unusual day all round, and he knew he would enjoy some relaxation, though he held off touching himself more for the moment.

Studying himself in the sunlight, he considered his groin critically and smirked at the memory of his friend’s recent transformation around that same area.

Hell—for a first time under the blades, Luke hadn’t hesitated!

 In comparison, it looked like his own pubes could do with a little attention, so he retrieved the rechargeable trimmer from where it was permanently plugged in, in the bathroom. He'd been trimming for a while, though had been careful not to make it too overt. Nothing that would draw attention as being anything different to any of the others.

With no fears that his balcony was overlooked, he stood at the doorway and tidied himself up, drawing the blades with confidence to return the look he preferred: trimmed back to neatness. He considered himself a few moments.

Damn—if Luke could do it...

He dropped the guard a notch or two down and took quite a bit more away until it was tight to bare at the sides.

Short, but hell, it was sweet!

The long treasure trail reached up towards his navel, and if it had been a piece of art, Toby Skerrit would probably have pointed out that the lines accentuated a sense of length. All he knew was it made him look good in the buff, and if Fern Blackman could see him now, she'd think Christmas had come!

He knew he was known as something of a 'babe magnet' with the likes of Fern Blackman—as Mel often liked to tease him—and he worked out on the equipment in their home gym, and used the pool almost daily. Maybe it would have been different if he had siblings, but being frequently ‘home alone’ there was often not much else to do. He was fit and healthy—in fact the only incongruous element in his whole physique was the size of his dick!

From the earliest time when, like with most guys, he was told that size mattered, he suspected he was undersized. While he wouldn't win a 'schlong of the semester’ competition, he strutted a passable two and three-quarter inches when soft. Not brilliant, but enough, and with a good solid girth, at least he never got sneered at in the lockers. Trimming helped, too, he found, adding that appearance of length.

It was a different story when he was fully erect. He'd seen enough online porn to know that most guys were growers, whilst he was…well, maybe it was kinder just to say he was vertically challenged. To call his three and a half inches measured from the base of his pubes to the tip ‘stubby’, would just be being honest. According to teen ‘average’ measurements that could be found in online fairly easily, he pulled up nearly an inch short of other guys his age.

It had started with puberty, and at first, he counted it as just a temporary delay as the gap between soft and hard took time to develop. But as the years progressed, he remained decidedly stumpy. He told himself he didn’t really care, and he'd certainly had plenty of time to get used to it. Like a mole, or the shape of his nose, it was what it was. A truce between him and his dick existed, though it was an uneasy one at times. He often wondered if his ill-tempered father was put together in the same way and that part of his problem came from the same shortcoming?

But he wasn’t his father, thank God, and the truth was, behind closed doors, he quite liked it; all those intense feelings crammed into one small, nicely-shaped package! Secondly, he had no plans that anyone would see it cheekily erect until it was a ‘somebody’ who was going to be interested in him enough that it really wouldn’t matter; that they would both enjoy it as much as he did.

In the end, it was just another secret, and he was good at those. He’d learned long ago to compartmentalize his life to not let one part affect another. Even then, at times when he felt particularly low, it was another secret that would nibble at his self-worth if he let it.

But today was not one of those days.

Today he was confidant enough in himself and of his privacy from prying eyes, to remain unabashed at returning to the balcony sporting his diminutive wanger. He leaned against the balustrade once more, surveying the property. A beautiful house, but not a home; not a place he loved to be.

It didn't worry him so much these days. He’d survived in it this long, and he knew he could last a little longer. In not many years he’d be going to college. Somewhere far away, he planned. Then his life could really start. He’d meet people. He could be who he really was. Even if his parents found out about his sexuality, he’d be his own man by then, able to do and live how he wanted, and fuck the money if that's what it came to. He'd find somebody, he had no doubt of it.

Just like Mel. And until then, he could wait.

His dick twitched, reminding him that he’d waited long enough.

On of the plus side of his current world was the amount of money in his bank account, provided by his mom and grandparents through a regular and substantial allowance. With it he clothed himself, and bought anything extra he needed for school or for his own personal use. Most of the extra décor in his room had been chosen personally by him, and fitted his style.

His father complained it was way, way too much, but it remained one of those things in which his mom was immovable, and she maintained the large allowance for him direct from her own accounts. It was nice to have the money, but he also knew it was her way of dealing with her own her sense of inadequacy, making up for everything important she'd been unable to offer him.

He knew he’d exchange it in a flash for a family that worked. A family like the Summers, for instance.

To him, money was just money; tit was o be used how it suited him—often on other people. That was something he certainly got from his mom's side. Of course, it also helped if you had plenty!

He spent it on things he liked. Clothing, books, food, friends. With cards and a PayPal account, he could get whatever pleased him. And it pleased him to buy certain items from online retailers that even he couldn't walk into the local stores to purchase over the counter. Alone at home much of the time, discreet delivery had never proven a problem. The things he bought were a distraction and a way to engage in a future that, in a few years time, would become more than just a dream.

His dick twitched again, demanding attention, and his neck was sore. Standing in the sunlight he stretched his neck muscles feeling the tightness there that the army cookout always left him with. Keeping secrets took its toll, but he knew how to deal with it.

Rarely now did he jerk off in the shower. Why would he when the stimulating tube starting with tight lips was quite therapeutic and definitely a lot more fun!

Retrieving the lifelike toy from the carefully disguised stash, he lubed it up with another of his purchases and sat on his bed, coating a part of him that hardly stretched more than a hands breadth, with a slick film.

He studied himself again. It was who he was. He'd seen plenty of ads for pills or pumps that ridiculously claimed to give him 'at least three more inches or your money back', but it never even occurred to him to invest. This reality was a bedrock of his life: that what he was behind closed doors here in this room would have no lies, no secrets, no trying to be what he wasn't. Having this one place of total honesty kept him sane. Though his manhood wasn't much over four inches, it was a yardstick in his life and he no plans to force it to change!

Set against that, he might not have length, but he could unleash copious wads and the soft toy was handy to keep in place what could become—to put it mildly—a huge fucking mess! So, taking his time, he buried the simulated anatomy in a stack of pillows on his bed and raised himself over the mound. Pausing, he reached for his expensive MP3 player and pressed the soft plugs into his ears. He searched the playlists for something he liked before lowering himself. The rich warm evening sunlight, still pouring through the open balcony doors, warmed the browned skin of his back and the music took him to better places as he pushed gently and entered, giving voice to his pleasure at the first feel of the soft vibrations.

Afterwards, relaxed again, he showered, enjoying the use of a proper walk-in wet room, rather than the shower baths that most homes tended to have. The dark granite tiling complimented the silver accessories and cooling tepid water washed away the mixture of perspiration and chlorine. The previous fifteen minutes had been hugely fulfilling, getting rid of the clutter in his head; relaxing and refocusing him. For him it wasn't about a (not so) cheap sex toy, it was a chance to assert who he was, and live his preference—even if only in his head—at a time when his peers were allowed the freedom to live theirs.

He grinned to himself as he towelled dry. Luke with his overly sensitive erecting dick had featured heavily during the past few minutes!

The poor guy! And from what Ella was saying, it sounded as if Luke was in for quite a ride the next few weeks! He wondered whether he'd get to hear about it? Much though he was dying to know, he knew he couldn't afford to ask. That morning had been risky enough! What he did know was that if he ever started dating a guy, it could easily be someone like Luke.

Sadly, love-struck teen that he was, and despite Mel's encouragement, if was only ever wishful thinking that it might be so.

Discarding the towel, he made a mental note to remember to get the borrowed clothes back to Luke. He'd wash them first—particularly the boxers that he'd leaked into. There was still plenty of time to get the tub on before Mel picked him up.

Opening another set of double doors back in his room, he accepted that he was probably a bit over the top when it came to clothes. The walk-in closet was well stocked; some would say, stuffed! He didn't care. There were worse obsessions in life! It was still neatly presented, but even he could see it was time for a cull.

Knowing they were going to the movies, he picked out a few things that worked well together: dark cargos, a designer tee. Then he changed his mind, opting for the jeans and a pair of the up and coming 'Converse' basketball sneakers. The boxer briefs nobody would see, but he chose them with as much care from a neat pile; ones that he would never be seen changing into in the school lockers! They fit well and looked hot. He loved them!

He often did his own washing, but even if not, the regular household laundry was done by a maid—an old one at that. She took no interest in his choice of underwear, and he could hardly remember the last time either of his parents had been in his room, let alone checked his drawers!

Tying off the sneakers, he didn’t really need to check himself in the in the full-length mirror to know he looked good…but he did so anyway. His washing basket was in the corner and he added Luke's borrowed items to be taken with the rest down to the laundry. On the landing, he paused, putting the basket down to follow the deep-piled carpet towards his mom's room.

One of the quirks of the layout was that his parent's private suite of rooms were on the ground floor, taking over a complete corner of the house. However, among several other unused bedrooms upstairs, his mom also had 'her' room—a place she retreated to, and where she often crashed.

He tapped at the door. There was no answer, so he opened it quietly.

"Everything okay, Mom?"

She was watching her TV and the table next to her Lazyboy was strewn with empty stubs and a bottle of vodka. Images flicked across the screen, but there was no sound to give them much meaning. It was a difficult room; a sad room, kept spotless by the cleaners as if even they were trying to wipe away what was left. Yet, alongside his own, it was the only room in the house that meant anything to him.

The glaze of her eyes as she turned to greet him made him suspect that, even now, she wasn't particularly seeing much. A couple more hours and she'd be blasted.

"I'm off to the movies with Luke soon."

He felt saddened; enough that it threatened the wellbeing his earlier private lovemaking had achieved. He pitied her, though couldn't despise her. Were they really so different—one thing in public and another, more fragile person behind closed doors? Both had their coping mechanisms for things that were outside their control.

"Don't be late.” Her voice was distant. “School tomorrow..."

He nodded without the heart to tell her it was only a Saturday. Gently, he pulled the door closed. It was just how it was. They survived by whatever means came to hand.

Leaving her, he carried the basket down the wide stairway and through an expansive hall that displayed the baby grand piano nobody actually played. In the laundry he loaded the washer and set it going. Next he used the phone down there to call Luke to let him know about his ‘plus one’.

He checked his watch. He knew he had another fifteen minutes before Mel came to pick him up and, rather than stay downstairs, he preferred to go back to his room.


24. Iron Man

 An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Iron Man

Luke was fed up with gardens and anything to do with gardening and aching by the time he’d finished the last of the flowerbeds that afternoon. He’d worked hard for that twenty-five bucks! Now he could do with a cold drink, another shower, and some down-time, all in that order before they went out to the movies with Ryan. Retuning to the kitchen, he opened the fridge door to deal with the first one on the list.

“So—are you going to tell me what that was all about?”

He whirled at the sound to find his mum, and spotted her waiting ominously at the kitchen door. ‘What was what about…what do you mean?” He stiffened, reminded of the awkward moment he’d had with Ryan earlier that day.

Her eyes narrowed. “Josh Wyeman is what!”

“Oh…that.” He returned the bottle to the fridge, feeling uncomfortable about that little incident, too. “It was nothing.”.

“Nothing?” She seemed unimpressed as she came in further and leaned against the cooker, arms folded. “What kind of nothing?”

“A mistake, that’s all,” Luke muttered. “Some kid did something, and Stacey's dad seems to have thought it was me at the time. I guess someone told him differently. Can we just leave it?”

She nodded, appearing to accept his explanation.  “And how did it go with Stacey?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“She seems a nice enough girl.”

“And I’m not that interested!” He was getting irritated by this constant thing they all seemed to have for Stacey Wyeman. “Is there a problem with that?”

As he sidestepped her to go upstairs for a shower, she shook her head, looking amused. Her voice followed him. “Not even once you’ve started your junior year?”

Her laughing tone pulled the rug out from under him and he winced, wondering exactly how much of what Stacey Wyeman might have told her father had got passed to his mum! She didn’t sound mad, but he still decided not to wait to find out! Pretending he hadn’t heard, he hurried up the stairs.

After showering and changing, he surfed and read and the time passed quickly. He was thinking about getting ready to leave, when Ryan called to ask if Luke minded him inviting another friend to the movies. Someone he seemed to know pretty well.

A girl.

Putting down the phone, he frowned. Ry had never mentioned anything about a girlfriend before! EVER! Yet now he calls to say he’d be bringing ‘someone’ along that evening. What ‘girl someone’?  He’d not mentioned it earlier, so possibly one of his army friends?

Were they dating? That was unlikely. Luke knew that if it was him that wanted to take a girl out for the evening—and that was unlikely too—he wouldn’t be going with a group, not if it was serious. A ‘safe’ date, then—but one with potential, maybe? Whoever it was, he couldn’t help but wonder who she was and what she would be like.

* * *

Luke was the last one to arrive at the mall where the cinema was located, and the only one on a bike.

He’d hung out for a lift with his dad—his mum was out with the van—but that had fallen through and he’d had to leg it to get there on time. Fortunately, from their place, biking meant he could also take quite a few short cuts. Getting there with no time to spare, he chained up his wheels to the rails, and feeling a bit hot and sweaty, hurried to find the others.

Everyone else was already there. Simon and Toby, Toby’s mum and—his eyes widened as, from a distance, he recognized Marcus Daniels. Daniels? What was THAT all about?

Next to Daniels, and talking politely to him, was Ryan. And standing close to Ry was his friend…the girl. All six were waiting near the main entrance of the cinema, but just then Luke didn't feel like hurrying to meet them.

They spotted him anyway.

"Come on Luke, where have you been?" Simon demanded as Luke finally approached them through the excitable crowds, many of whom appeared to be heading to the same place as themselves. "All the best seats will be gone if we don't shift it!"

He ignored Simon and his eyes flicked around the group. Ry or no Ry, girl or no girl, he knew he had to deal with the bigger elephant in the room first.

"Hello sir...I didn't know you watched movies!"

"That's exactly what I said!" Toby said. He seemed to glare at his mum.

Daniels appeared amused. "Hello there, Luke. Yes, it's a terrible habit, I know!" His eyes glinted and his face lit up with a previously unsuspected ability to smile. He almost appeared to be human! "I have to confess, I shop as well!"

Luke really didn't get that at all, though Simon sniggered.


Daniels didn't seem to feel the need to offer any more explanation as to why he'd gate-crashed their night out, though Luke sure as hell would quiz Si about it later! He nodded to Ryan, and then took his first guarded look at the girl Ry had brought along. In fact, he had to work hard to not let his mouth drop. She was smoking hot!

"Well, now we’re all here, shall we go get tickets?" Daniels took the lead and they all traipsed after him.

Inside the cinema foyer, as they stood to wait in the long ticket line, Luke couldn't help but see that Ry and his girlfriend made quite a couple. Again, he was surprised that, for a girl Ryan was happy to invite to the movies with him, he’d never mentioned her before. Luke looked away and studied the big posters of upcoming films while eavesdropping on a family who were irritated because it was taking their dad far too long to park!

In the midst of his musings, a familiar voice came from nearby. "Hi guys!"

He turned to find Jacko Jackson grinning from ear to ear. Jacko was a kid that was hard not to like. He was in Simon's class, though he and Ryan also knew him through the school’s tennis squad. His real name was Adam. Adam Jackson. In the squad, Ry coached him quite a lot.

Simon greeted the new arrival. "Hi Jacko. Here for the movie, too?" Jacko always preferred his familiar nickname. As far as Luke knew, nobody ever called him Adam.

Jacko beamed and nodded enthusiastically. "Iron Man!"

Ryan grinned at his teammate. "Hey there, Jacko!"

Jacko beamed and then noticed Daniels and looked tongue-tied. They all fitted into the end of the line. Just in front of them, the Jackson parents seemed happy to get into conversation with Daniels and Toby's mum.

Luke studied them. It was suddenly obvious that the rest of the Jackson family were the ones he'd been listening in on. Jacko and his dad had just arrived from the parking lot. He could tell now where Jacko—and the two younger girls that had to be his sisters—got their milky-chocolate skin color, and he recognised the mum now, too. He’d had seen her a couple of times at the school. While the dad was a tall African American, she was fair-skinned. The sisters, he’d never met before.

Keeping his voice low, Jacko asked. "Can I sit with you guys?"

Ryan nodded. "Sure…if you want."

Jacko lifted his voice. "Mom, can I sit with the guys?" His mother turned and Luke felt scrutinized. She would get on well with his own mum, he decided.

Daniels spoke smoothly to fill the gap and add his credibility. "They're with us, Alice—at least the younger two are. If Adam wants to go with the boys why don't the rest of us find a row for ourselves?"

"Somewhere near to the front, sir," Jacko sniggered, getting his cheeky confidence back. "Otherwise Dad can't see!"

Luke smirked. Even the adults burst out laughing. Seeing the rather thick lenses Jacko's father sported, the kid may well have had a point. At least now the ice was broken. Luke looked over to Ryan meaningfully, flicking his eyes towards the girl, and Ryan got the message.

"Guys, this is Mel, a friend of mine. Mel...this is Simon and Toby." He went around and finally came to Luke. "And this is Luke…."

Mel stared at him. Her gaze felt hungry and made him a little uncomfortable. Almost as quickly as it was there, it was gone and she smiled easily. "Hi Luke. Good to meet you."

"Hi." He still felt a little uncomfortable, wondering why he seemed to be the only one she was happy to meet, but still managed to pull an honest smile out of somewhere. He turned to Ryan. "Listen, can you get my ticket?" Reaching into his pocket he extracted a bill. "I'll go and pick up some popcorn."

"I think I'll come with you, Luke," Mel said quickly. "Get ours, too, will you, Ryan." She passed him a twenty.

Ryan seemed to have a rather horrified look on his face.

Luke cringed, uncomfortable with the attention he seemed to be getting. However, he wasn’t able to shake Mel and she followed him as he left the ticket line to join those wanting fresh popcorn from the machine. Whilst he waited, she went off to gather her own supplies from the drinks machine. Shortly, loaded with a couple of super-size plastic cups she re-joined him in the popcorn line.

"You and Ryan are at that school together, I understand? I heard it's a good school," She seemed keenly chatty as they worked their way up to the front.

"The Academy—yes."  He shrugged hoping she'd find somewhere else she preferred to be. "It's okay, I guess."

Mel chuckled. "God, I love it when you speak—you've got such a cute accent!"

He smiled politely. Shit, not that one again! He was tired of it. The term ‘dumb blond’ was adding to his opinion of her!  If Ryan was dating this, he needed to have his head examined!

Then she surprised him. "So, how long did the honeymoon last for you?"

Honeymoon? Marriage? Sex?

"Excuse me?" He tried to remain polite. "You've lost me ..." What the hell was this bimbo gibbering about?

She smiled effortlessly. A deeply intelligent glint that he hadn't seen there before, was suddenly in evidence. "I call it the honeymoon period." She smirked knowingly as she began to explain.

"Going to live in a new country is very different from holidaying there. Having lived in several, I found there's a time at the beginning where it's fun and new...that's the honeymoon period. Fun at first, but then you have to keep living with that country for years after!"

Luke snorted with laughter. He absolutely got what she meant! It was so true!

She wasn't finished. "I lived in Germany for many years. My parents were stationed there."

"No! You lived in Germany?" He was intrigued and beginning to see her in a completely different light. "So, do you speak German?"

"Sure. If you don't speak the language, you don't survive! I lived in the UK for a while, too."


"I learned German, and I even learned to speak English!" She continued in an extremely passable Midlands accent. "And, as you and I both know, that is absolutely NOT the same as American!"

He burst out laughing again. She was really good and he realized he'd completely misjudged her.

She licked her lips meaningfully. "What I really miss is a good bag of fish and chips!"

"With mushy peas!" he added, grinning widely. They both chuckled at the insider joke. A little way in front of them in the line, he noticed some other guys that looked round his age glancing back at them. He could see speculation on their faces. 'How the fuck did he end up with a hot chick like that?' Despite this, he was realizing that this Mel was all right! Ry was a lucky sod. If he were him, he’d be all over her, too!

They reached the serving counter and he ordered three big cartons of popcorn.

"I'll get it," Mel said, cheerfully.

"Really…you don't need to do that." Luke shook his head, chivalrous as always, already digging out his wallet to take the hit. He was surprised when she turned and touched his hand lightly.

"Luke…please allow me. I'm the one that gate-crashed your night out."  She spoke softly. It was gentle, almost caring. "Let me do this one thing for you guys. And next time, perhaps things will be different and you'll be buying...."

He smiled. He didn't really get what she meant, but she was hard to resist. "Okay…and thanks. But next time, definitely my shout!"

“I hope I’ll be able to keep you to it,” she murmured as she stepped up to the counter. To him, it sounded as mysterious as she was. He shrugged it off as they gathered up all popcorn, added the bottles and other stuff and paid the bill. Loaded now, they went back to find the others, who had just finished picking up the tickets.

"What took you?" Ryan asked. A little suspiciously, Luke thought.

"Queuing. What do you think?" he replied. "And before you scoff it all," he added as he eyed Simon beginning to dig into the tub, "Mel paid for it all, so you'd better say thank you!"

"Thanks, Mel!" Simon managed to get it out through volumes of oral popcorn.

Unexpectedly, Toby took the box away from Simon. "Mom's getting ours!"

Luke looked on, bemused as Toby made a point of giving it back to Mel and then turned to study his mum with beady, challenging eyes. "Remember?"

Grace Skerrit raised her eyebrows, a smirk coming as she faced her son in one of their usual attempts to stare each other down. Whatever it was, Luke had been in the car enough times with the pair to recognize the signs of sparring! As if by magic, a bill appeared out of nowhere into Grace's hand. "I thought you'd never ask, sweetheart!"

Luke even caught Daniels smirking as Toby grunted, picked the note delicately from her grip and took Simon with him to the refreshments area. With Mel still at his side, he turned back to Ryan. "Did you get good seats?"

"Yep—six in a row, towards the back,” he replied. “Not right in the center, but not bad." He dealt the numbered seats like cards, putting himself and Mel at one end, Simon and Toby at the other, and Luke with Jacko in the middle.


Finally, armed with overpriced popcorn and outrageously expense Coke that was half full of ice, they settled in to watch the recently released Iron Man movie. On one side of him was Simon sitting next to Toby, and on the other side, squeezed between him and Ryan, was Jacko. Beyond Ry, Mel.

As they waited through endless trailers, he was relieved that everything seemed to be back to normal again between Ryan and himself. It was as if the earlier weird stuff had never happened, though Ryan turning up with a girlfriend in tow had been unexpected. It left him feeling quite out of sorts in the middle of the packed cinema. Even so, he settled in for an evening of rocket-propelled mayhem.

In the middle of the movie, he got an enormous surprise.

He noticed that the chair arm between Simon and Toby was up and they seemed to be snuggled up quite close. It intrigued him so much that, whilst they were both glued to the screen, he made a pretence of picking up something from the floor. Glancing between them as he searched for something that wasn’t there, he could see that Simon's hand was tucked surreptitiously under Toby's backside!

His eyes bugged. Holy Shit!

Quickly sitting back up, he lost track of the movie for a few minutes!

Quietly, he nudged Simon, who turned, a questioning look in his face. He whispered in his ear and nodded at the body contact, smiling encouragingly to let Si know he had noticed and that it was okay. Coy at first, Simon finally beamed. It was obvious how happy he looked.

Settling back into his seat, he glanced the other way to spot Ryan and Mel; the perfect couple, sitting close, too. Alone in the middle, he felt like ‘Billy no-mates’, with only Jacko Jackson for company. Loneliness threatened to engulf him, but he pushed the feelings away and lost himself in a world of souped-up heroes.

The movie was more than good: it was brilliant!

As they walked out through the mall afterwards, the whole group of them were in a good mood and talking animatedly about the plot. Finally, they went their own ways, and the Jackson Five left to go find their car. Daniels was apparently chauffeuring Simon, Toby and Toby’s mum, and they left too.

"What the hell is THAT all about?" he muttered, once Daniels was out of earshot.

"Beats me." Ryan was staring after them too. "Do you think they're dating?"

"I think they could well be!" Under the parking lot lighting, he smirked to himself. Thankfully only he knew he was also thinking about two boys!

He sighed. Maybe Ryan and Mel were dating, too. They certainly seemed close and had that easy banter of friends who’d known each other a long time. He couldn’t help but wonder why Ry had never told him about her before? What other secrets did Ryan have that he knew nothing about?

Ryan shook his head. “Daniels was a bit strange, don’t you think? I mean you would hardly think he was the same person. One thing at school, something different outside!”

They said it simultaneously. “Chameleon!” It had been the title of one of the preview movies, one that Luke had thought looked pretty good. He’d definitely go see THAT particular thriller!

Mel drew up in her pickup, and Ryan waited as Luke turned to unlock his bike. It was a long haul home, and mostly uphill. "I'll be off then," he said.

"I can take you," Mel said.

"I've got my bike Mel—but thanks for the offer..." Frankly, he was quite looking forward to the ride—and for some time alone to think.

"And I've got a pickup truck...we can just throw your bike in the back."

It would have been rude and much too obvious to refuse, so Luke grinned. "Okay, thanks."

Without hesitation, she lifted his bike with surprising ease and lowered it into the back without drawing a breath.

Crikey—she was full of surprises!

There was only one long seat in the cab, with room for the driver and two others, and he ended up between the two of them. Feeling like ‘piggy in the middle’, he smiled, trying to look grateful.

"So how do you two actually know each other?" he asked, trying to make conversation once they'd got out of the parking lot.

"The army," Mel replied as she followed a line of cars out onto the highway.

He smirked. "Honestly, Mel, you don't look like a soldier!" Hell, she looked more like a Miss World contestant.

"Looks can be deceiving," Ryan added, grinning wickedly. "If she gets you in a corner, she can do awful things to you!"

Seeing her lift his bike, Luke could well believe it!

Mel leaned forward and pierced Ry with what, to Luke, seemed a knowing look. "Ryan Alexis, be good or so help me, I'll put you right on the spot!" Then she offered an explanation to Luke’s question. "Both our parents are Army folk. We know each other through that."

"Mel was at today's cookout," Ryan added. "Don't tell her, but she looks great on a bun!" He seemed to be in a giggly mood and snorted with laughter. Luke had to work hard not to join him as Mel reached behind him and Ry got a clip across the ear.

Ry rubbed his ear looking injured. "What?"

She settled back into her seat. "Luke, there's this girl, Fern Blackman. She..."

Ryan seemed horrified. "Okay, okay...I'm sorry!"

What any of this meant, Luke had no idea, other than, again, he had the strong impression they shared something from which he was excluded. He felt even emptier than before, and tried not to think about what kind of things Mel did to Ryan when they were in that corner together!

Their house was on the way to Ryan’s and, fifteen minutes later, they dropped him and his bike at the front door.

"It's been good to meet you at last, Luke." Mel waved through the open window after he’d lifted his bike out of the back of her truck. Thanking them for the lift, he waved as they pulled away.

'At last'? What the hell did that mean?

He stashed his bike into the garage and went indoors. He was halfway up the stairs when his mum called from the lounge.

He paused. “Be there in a minute. I just need to use the loo!” More like he just needed to find Si, who would no doubt be up in his room waiting for him. He stuck his head in the bedroom door, but the light was off and nobody was home. Surprised he came back downstairs.

"How was the movie?"

"Great!" Was that all she wanted? “Mum, where’s Simon? Isn't he back yet?”

She looked up again from her book. “Oh, he’s staying over at the Skerrits again tonight. Didn’t you know?”

The reality of it troubled him as he slowly climbed the stairs again. There’d been no chance to quiz Si over this new thing with Toby at the cinema, and now his brother was staying another night over at the Skerrits. Were he and Toby sharing a room, or in separate ones? If they were in the same room, would they be in the same bed? Would they be up to anything?

That was a difficult idea…

…and crucially, would they be careful? The last thing anyone needed would be for Simon to be frog-marched back home to face their mum and dad if he and Toby got busted.

It didn’t even bare thinking about! Either way, it looked like he would have to wait until tomorrow to get to the bottom of it.

After many hours in the garden he was also tired and achy. He went back downstairs to make a hot drink and then decided on a quick, hot shower again before bed. Ready to call it a day, he went to shut the lid of his Mac to put that to sleep, too, to discover that Damon was there, his profile live on Facebook. On a whim he typed a greeting.

[LUKE] "Hi…still awake?"

[DAMONJ] "Hi Luke! Only just. Sitting watching dirty movies with my pet goldfish. Want me to send you one?”

Luke chuckled. It was hard to know if any of it was true.

[LUKE] "A goldfish? Tempting, but no.”

[DAMONJ] "Oh my God…look at that!”

[LUKE] "Now what?”

[DAMONJ] "I would never have believed a goldfish could do that!”

[LUKE] "You’re really sick, you know!”

[DAMONJ] "I know. I practice a lot! So, what have you been up to today?”

[LUKE] "We just went out to see Iron Man.”

[DAMONJ] "Cool – I saw it days ago! What took you so long?”

[LUKE] "Come on - It’s not been out THAT long.”

[DAMONJ] "I went midweek.”

[LUKE] "On a school night?”

[DAMONJ] "Let me guess—you go to a posh preppy school?”


[LUKE] "And you?”

[DAMONJ] "We have to go through a metal detector every morning on the way in! Anyway, what d’ya think of the movie??”

[LUKE] "Brilliant.”

[DAMONJ] "Best bit?”

Luke already knew the answer to that, but was cautious.

[LUKE] "Dunno…it was all good. I liked the bit when he was building the suit and kept getting toasted.”

[DAMONJ] "Agreed…and when he toasted the cars, too! Nice ending as well.”

Luke nodded to himself. It had been a gripping plot.

[LUKE] "Both of us think there'll be another soon.”

[DAMONJ] "Us? You went with a friend?”

[LUKE] "A group. A friend of mine, Ryan and a few others. He’s okay—you’d like him.”

[DAMONJ] "Really? Hehe—is he gay then? Send me a photo!”

Luke rolled his eyes.

[LUKE] "Lol! I didn’t mean like that. He's pretty open, though. He'd be fine with you."

There was no immediate reply, so he changed the subject

[LUKE] "Busy tomorrow?"

 [DAMONJ] "Why? Do you want me to come around?”

[LUKE] "Funny guy.”

[DAMONJ] "Anyway, sorry to disappoint…can’t make it. Visiting family tomorrow.”

[LUKE] "Nice.”

[DAMONJ] "Not really.”

[LUKE] "Oh…you don’t get on?”

[DAMONJ] "Let’s just say this—it wouldn’t go down well if I started asking for photos of cute guys! No offense, and I don’t expect you to understand, but having to keep pretending to everyone that I’m straight, like you? Frankly it sucks!”

Luke could quite feel the frustrated heaviness.  At the same time, images from a trailer and a word came to his mind.

[LUKE] "Chameleon.”

Living one thing and pretending to everyone else that it was something different. Luke knew he did it all the time these days. From what Damon was saying, so did he. He understood why that could feel so crap.

[DAMONJ] "??”

[LUKE] "Sorry…it was just from one of the movie previews tonight. ‘Chameleon.’ Sounds a bit like you…hiding in plain daylight!”

[DAMONJ] "Chameleon? Nice—thanks for that! Some kind of fat ugly lizard?”

[LUKE] "Hehe! I meant the camouflage!”

[DAMONJ] “Well, I’ll keep that in mind for tomorrow, maybe get the chance to flick out my hot sticky tongue and catch a tasty morsel!”

[LUKE] "Eeewww—gross!”

[DAMONJ] “Okay,  I gotta go give mouth to mouth to my goldfish!”

[LUKE] "Eeewww—more gross! Hope it goes okay tomorrow. Ciao!”

* * *

Luke’s plans to interrogate Simon on Sunday got put back. Probably because they’d had Simon all weekend, his mum and dad then invited the Skerrits out to Sunday lunch with them. At least they took pity on Luke and they all went to Chili’s this time round so he didn't have to see Stacey! During the meal and out of the corner of his eye, he stared constantly at Simon and Toby, wondering what was going on between them. Finally, when he did corner Simon later that day, Si wouldn’t give him a straight answer to any of the most important questions. His brother just smiled sweetly and left him guessing!

Monday dawned, and Luke awoke to a day that would prove to be eventful.

That morning in the shower, he examined the chunk of SmartKlamp plastic that, even in just a week, had become familiar baggage in his underwear. The previous week he might have handled it with more care than the way he now unceremoniously stuffed it inside his boxers as he dressed. Any pain or discomfort at the point where the Klamp gripped the cut edges of his foreskin was long gone. All he could see through the plastic was a healing scar.

He couldn’t wait to get it off at last and get back to normal life, but thankfully, it was now the last day before he would make the long awaited return journey to the urologist to have the device removed. A morning appointment had been made for the Tuesday, and at none-fifteen in the morning his mum would drop him back to the doctor’s office one final time. Assuming all was well—and he already knew there was no reason it wouldn’t—she would take him back to school straight afterwards. It was just so hard to believe that months and months of waiting was finally down to one day!

The morning passed like any other Monday. Nobody in their right mind actually arrived at school wanting to be there, but by mid-morning everyone was beginning to wake up and get over the usual Monday morning blues.

By lunchtime, the school was pretty lively. The weather was warm and jackets got discarded. With English and Computer Studies to come, even the afternoon was a doddle. Most were already thinking of home. Luke was even considering the pool at Ryan's...Klamp or no Klamp. Who cared? Ry certainly wouldn't, not now he knew all about it

Just after lunch, the two of them meandered indoors, killing time before classes restarted. He held the door of one of the restrooms as Ryan followed him in, and Luke parked himself at one of the heads and began the task of easing out the plastic device.

“I called you yesterday, you know.” After lunch on Sunday, the weather had been as good as it was today. He’d probably have gone over and straight in the pool if Ry had answered the phone.

Ryan shrugged. “Did you? Sorry—we went out.”

"I guessed." With summer well on its way, Luke still really wanted to go in for a swim, so made a suggestion as the relieving flow started to splash into one of the individual bowls. "What about I get changed and come over later, after we’ve dropped you off? It's too nice not to go in the pool."

Ryan eyed him speculatively, his eyes flicking briefly below waist level. "I thought you still had that thing on?"

Luke took an accurate stab at what 'thing' was, and grinned. "True, but it comes off tomorrow morning anyway. It’s not going to stop me wearing swim shorts, and it's not like I'm likely to come to any harm now. Just don't start bombing me!"

Ryan smirked. “One more day, eh?”

“I go in tomorrow morning first thing. Not sure how long it will take, so I’ll be a bit late in.” Luke hoped he’d be able to walk straight! If getting poked by Ry on Saturday was anything to go by, he was getting nervous!

Ryan nodded, but then changed the subject.  "Did you manage to hand it in?" He lay down the jacket he’d been carrying alongside one of the sinks and stood at another of the heads to begin to relieve some pressure too.

"The math you mean?" Luke guessed what Ryan was getting at. He felt good about life. It felt good to get back to some kind of proper routine again. However, as he emptied his lizard, he frowned. Math had been a blot on the landscape. "Just. It was a bit ragged, though."

The truth was, he’d been frantically trying to finish the last two problems during homeroom that morning. He knew he should have done it over the weekend, but just never got round to it. On the other hand, NOT handing in a math assignment wasn't really an option at their school!

"When did you do it?" he asked Ryan, though he was fairly sure what the answer would be.

"Last week, you lazy skunk!"

Luke grunted as the last few squirts subsided, and he shook the locked device to try to dislodge the final drops. It was one of his least favourite aspects of the SmarKlamp—not that there were any ‘most favourites’, either! It was damned hard to clean, and with the sensitivity issue, trying to stuff toilet paper up there to wipe anything was a no-go! A good wash-down under a cool shower was the only way of getting rid of stale pee!

Still, one more day and his problems would be over and it would be back to life as normal. He changed the subject. "Are we still all on for next Saturday?"

"The Braves game?" Ryan looked suspicious. "Why? You're not bombing out on us are you?"

"Don't be an asshole. Of course I'm not!" They'd got tickets for the game at Turner Field, with the Braves at home to Cincinnati. Nobody expected the Tomahawks to lose! "Do you know who's going?"

"Other than us and Todd?" Ryan shrugged. "Most of the usuals. Even Landon, I think."

Luke grunted—he’d got that impression, too. Who cared. There were more important things to worry about than Scott Landon…which reminded him. “Mel's really great, by the way. Why didn't you tell me you were dating?" There was no doubt about it, she was nice, and he was being a dork by not telling Ryan that.

But Ryan looked at him in total surprise and then amusement. Finished, he zipped up as Luke continued to let his drip. "For God's sake, Luke, I'm not dating her!"

"Why not? She's gorgeous!" he persisted. To him it seemed that Ryan would be an idiot not to.

Ryan burst out laughing. "So how old do you think she is?" When Luke didn't answer—because he had no idea—Ryan shook his head in bemusement. "It doesn't matter. She's definitely NOT my type, and anyway, she's already with someone. I've known her for years. Honestly, she's just a friend. That's all!"

"Oh...I thought you know—" Luke grinned like a silly kid. The Klamp was in now and he zipped up.

"Whatever 'you know' is, you filthy-minded little skunk, the answer is no!"

Smirking, Luke was deciding not to admit exactly how far his dirty little mind had gone on that one, when they were distracted by the sound of excitable voices coming through from the other side of bathroom door—the sound of scuffling and laughter. The door got banged open as though someone had pushed it, but then swung closed with nobody to be seen.

Moments later, the door suddenly burst open again, hard this time, and from somewhere outside came that rather familiar clarion call.


Through the door stumbled Wingy.

Adam Wingford was flushed, panting, and dishevelled, and by the looks of the streak of grey boxers pulled out of his school pants, had already been a target.

“Oh God...” Luke rolled his eyes and frowned. “Here we go again!”

Now it wasn't like he was against the Wars for any particular reason. In fact, both he and Ryan were usually full-blooded participants and had delivered (and received) no end of extremely tight wedgies over the last year. Ever so often, someone would take it on themselves to start a 'Wedgie War'. They usually lasted no more than a few hours, or perhaps a day. Heaving some poor kid's boxers up his crack was great fun; yanking for as hard and for as long as possible. It could be torturous, and many a pair of boxers had given way under the strain.

So if a War broke'd be wise to watch your backside!

Seeing them, Wingy did an about turn. If he was looking for safe harbor, this probably wasn’t it.

Ryan’s eyes lit up.

“Fucking A!” He started to follow Wingy out of the door. “Hang on to my jacket will you, I’m just going to go have a look!” Grinning like a kid in a sweetshop, he hurtled out the door looking for the source of the action.

Sniggering, Luke called after him “You’ll regret it!”

He shook his head. What a lunatic! Last time around, Ry had got so badly wedged, he confessed that he’d hobbled for days after. You would have thought he would have learned his lesson from that experience, mused Luke, but some guys just couldn’t leave it alone!

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

It's not that I didn't appreciate a good War, it was just that now was a really bad time for me. I had a serious piece of circumcision machinery welded to my dick and an Atomic Wedgie was probably going to be bad news. Aside from that, I'd survived the whole week with my privacy intact. It was down to the last day now, and I'd got no desire to fall at the final fence!

If Ry wanted to go out into the mayhem, then good luck to him. I was staying where I was until it quietened down out there!

* * *

After Ryan had high-tailed it out the door—presumably to see if Wingy needed any more help in getting his underwear around his head—Luke was washing his hands when the door swung open again. Assuming it would be Ryan back and looking either triumphant, or, more likely, dishevelled, he looked up and into the mirror.

It wasn't Ryan.

Instead, Todd, Landon and some guy he couldn't remember the name of from the year above them stole in. The looks on their faces didn’t bode well.  Not wanting to induce any sudden escalation, and hoping they would just pass on by, Luke took time to dry his hands and pretended they weren't there. Behind him, they fanned out and he could see the glint in Todd's eye via the reflection. He returned it with his best 'I'm not in the mood' scowl.

"Hey there, Luke...." Todd sounded amiable, and took a moment to stuff his own shirt back down his pants. The three of them began edging towards Luke like hungry jackals, spreading to left and right, and Todd got down to business. "So, are we doing this the easy way, or the hard way?"

"We're not doing it at all, Todd." Luke rounded on them and gave them another angry scowl. "Not today."

Landon leered. "Seems a good day to me."

Luke weighed up the situation. All three of them—despite the fact that Landon was a prick—were not being particularly malicious in the goal of owning his arse. If you gave, you got. There was nothing personal about a Wedgie War, and from the number of briefs he'd ripped in his time, Luke guessed he had it coming. But right then, he was worried. His eyes flicked to the door, wondering if he could make a bolt for it.

"Going somewhere?" Landon spotted the sign of weakness, and moved to cover the exit.

Luke surveyed the space between the heads, the stalls and the sinks. The good news was the restroom was quite large, giving him plenty of manoeuvring room to keep out of reach. The bad news was that there were three of them, and it would only be a matter of time before the space got closed down on him.

Whilst he hated the idea of sounding like a wuss—especially to Landon—there were bigger things at stake. He didn't relish having to explain anything about his surgery, but receiving a massive wedge around his nads could be dangerous.

"Todd..." Luke cast him an urgent tone, hoping he could somehow minimise how far this would get spread.

"Times up, bud!" It was the third of the trio and the sound of the guy’s voice brought back a name. Travis. That was his name. Travis Lehman.

"Todd!" Luke raised his voice, worried now. No more subtle. "You can't. I've just been—"

Right then, Ryan crashed through the door. Excitably wild, he completely bowled over Landon, who meant flying headlong to the ground, and then Ryan threw himself at Todd and made a grab for his boxers. Todd twisted around to try to dislodge him as Ryan hollered and pulled. Ryan had to be a psychotic whacko, or maybe he didn't realize it would be three against one, but Luke backed away into a corner, glad they'd lost interest in him.

The restroom floor became a war zone as, with the odds stacked against Ryan, a serious battle for the briefs began! With plenty of scuffling and some well-placed insults, they went at each other.

Ry was pretty tough and held his own for a while, but the noise brought reinforcements as Ethan bounded in. Three became four, then five. A pile developed, with Ryan right at the bottom. Luke had been planning to let discretion be the better part of valour and scarper, but paused and grinned as Todd appeared to be getting more than he bargained for.

No harm in just seeing what happened…

"SHIT!" Todd screeched. "Get him off me!" Despite being at the bottom of the melee—where, in fact, the pile around him was protecting his backside—Ryan was adamantly refusing to let go of Todd's underwear.

Poor Todd! You had to feel for him.

Luke smirked at the awkward position Todd had got himself into. Despite all the pushing, shoving and grabbing, Ry had successfully held on to Todd, who'd ended up on top of him in the scrimmage. Ry’s hands were wrapped around Todd's back, and Todd’s legs were flailing helplessly as Ryan began to heave his shorts up his back. By the looks of it, Ry might even get them over Todd's head for a successful Wedgie of Doom!

Had Ryan managed it, it would have probably have all been over, but suddenly the big African-American, Leroy, burst through the door and dropped onto the mass of bodies. Using his bulk, he pushed the pile over and Ryan had to let go. Suddenly he was easy to get at, and many hands reached for his arms and legs. There were a few grunts as Ryan aimed some well-placed jabs, trying to extricate himself from their combined grip.

He almost broke free, but more joined the fray, and the excitement mounted.

"Hold him still!” Ethan cried. “Shit...sit on his legs then!" It sounded like he was picking up a few jabs!

Landon had somehow managed to hang on to an arm, and they gradually forced Ryan downwards onto his back. Ry glared as, finally, and with everyone breathing heavily, he was triumphantly locked down. Keeping his distance just in case they remembered he was there when it was done, Luke couldn't help but stay to enjoy the coup de grace!

With Ryan controlled, Todd took a few moments to pull his boxers out of his crack.

"Ooooh, Ry…you shit!" He winced as he freed his nuts. "You know you're gonna pay for that!" From the amount of underwear he was showing, it looked like Ryan had been ruthless!

Despite his pending doom, a satisfied smirk reached Ryan's mouth. "Pity I didn't have more time to get them up that fat ass of yours!"

Luke grinned. Even in defeat, Ryan was indomitable!

Hot news travels fast, and the word that Ryan Alexis was pinned down on a restroom floor ready to be wedged, was flying! Like bees to honey, boys swarmed around him, and those that couldn’t were happy to stand back and, like Luke, watch the fun. Few wanted to miss the spectacle, and as they held their hapless victim secure, more onlookers broke through the door ready to see the drama unfold. Soon there were a dozen, with more arriving with each passing moment.

Finally, around twenty teens were crowded into the restroom to cheer at Ryan's imminent downfall. Luke could do nothing to help him and skulked at the back, out of the way, edging around the crowd to be nearer to the door to make his escape once it was done. Unfortunately for Ryan, he was a well-known activist in the Wars. From the look on Ryan’s face, Luke could see a reluctant acceptance that he wasn’t going anywhere, and that his antics would reward him with the thin end of the wedge…quite literally! With plenty of eager hands, this was surely going to be a hell of a Wedgie of Doom!

Stupid bozo!

Landon still had hold of an arm and, from where he was standing in the back, Luke was a little troubled to see Cody Mitchell appear at Landon’s side to whisper something in his ear. He could see Landon’s eyes widen and his face looked puzzled, even doubtful. Mitchell whispered something again and a sly smile spread across Landon’s face, who then whispered something back. Mitchell grinned, nodded, and slipped out of the room.

There was no hurry, and they waited till everyone who was there had settled. Through the bobbing heads and cheerful faces, Luke could see Ryan's jacket resting ignored where it had been left as, to gleeful acclaim, the team lifted Ry off the floor, flipping him into position on his front. With a firm grip on every arm and leg, they yanked him out straight.

It became obvious to everyone that the ‘Doom’ was indeed upon him, and it brought an enthusiastic cheer from all those jostling for position to get the best view of Ryan Alexis being given the full works. As a well-known figure in the school community, everyone liked to see the mighty fall!

Ryan struggled, pulling hard against the arms that gripped him.

"Shit guys, come on...that's not a good idea...just pull and be done with it!" It was half-hearted. Even he could tell there was no point in hoping for anything else.

Yeah, right. Luke shook his head in amusement. Did the bozo really think he was going to get away with a simple Grab & Pull at this point!

Ryan's head twisted up and back to see Todd grinning. Luke could see the plea had fallen on deaf ears too! With Todd in the driving seat—and probably still feeling the effects of Ry’s recent assault on his boxers—the outcome on Ryan’s own rear end was pretty much assured.

Luke couldn't help but enjoy the moment. After all, it had been Ry's own lack of judgment to try to tackle them like he did. Then, after dealing out the wedgie that he pulled on Todd…well, he only had himself to blame for what was about to go down. Or in his case…up!! It would be over shortly, and Luke knew they would laugh about it later that afternoon in the pool as Ryan complained how sore his crack was!

On another front, he also wondered what boxers Ryan was wearing that day...and it looked like he was about to see!

First, they dragged Ryan into the middle of the room so everyone could gather round. Then, clearly relishing the moment, Todd kneeled in front of his victim, reached deep down inside the back of Ry’s trousers to grab hold of his briefs.

Which ones they would be?

Todd heaved, and Ryan squirmed as they came into view. They were unexpected.

Though Luke wouldn’t have admitted it until recently, he actually felt he knew most of the pairs of boxers that Ryan wore. It was just one of those things—his eyes would drift in the lockers just to check. Most ofl the time, Ry wore black boxer briefs. If the brand name were anything to go by, they weren't cheap ones, but they were as regulation as his haircut. So, the wide charcoal black band that appeared wasn't unexpected. What intrigued him as the heave continued, was the dark red that followed. Dark red with indistinct, yet striking patterns of a deep orange.

It reminded him of fire. Actually, the deep red quite reminded him of the color of Iron Man’s metal suit! Very nice!

He could also see another red where Ethan was dabbing the end of his nose. It looked like Iron Man had caught him a zinger. It was Ethan's own fault—that's what you got if you played with fire!

Quickly Ryan’s briefs were forced up past his waist!

"Crap, Todd! Give me a break!" Ry groaned, clearly feeling the impact of the pull on his undercarriage. For everyone else, it was no doubt purely business. For Luke, it was somewhat erotic!

"Sure Ry, anything you want!" Todd agreed gleefully, not about to stop. "Flip him, guys!"

This was the normal 'phase two' of the Wedgie of Doom. Pull the back first, and then flip over and pull up the front to loosen things up. Finally, flip again to pull the back right up into the guy’s crack, and hopefully get the waistband over his head. Luke knew they would certainly have a go at that, but it didn't look to him that those boxers would give that much. They seemed quite close fitting, and he suspected they were about to get ripped. Still, it would be quite quick now, and he wondered about edging even nearer to the door, just in case someone had the bright idea of moving directly from Ryan to him!

But then, just after they flipped Ryan onto his back, a voice called out from somewhere deep in the now quite large gathering, loud enough to be pitched just over the top of the party-like atmosphere.

“Hang Him!”

25. The Hang

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

The Hang

“Hang Him…”

Luke scanned the press of students trying to pick out from where—and more to the point—from whom the overture had come. Around him, there was an immediate drop in the lively volume as, like him, apparently nobody could quite believe what they'd heard. The chatter dropped further and heads turned left and right, searching the abrupt drop in volume. Some were already beginning to smile.

"Come on, guys!" The hidden voice was aware it had picked up an audience and stepped it up, barking the challenge this time. "Why are we pissing around with a stupid wedge? Let's give him a Hang!"

This time, Luke located it.

Mitchell! The stupid fucking bastard!

The last he’d seen of that jerk, Mitchell had been leaving the room. It looked like the fuckhead had come back! It was almost laughable, and Luke even wondered if he'd misheard though his brain kept replaying the exchange, and he knew he hadn’t. Hang Ryan Alexis? Yeah, rightlike THAT was going to happen.

So, if it was such a shitty idea, why the hell did it still seem to be suspended in the balance?

Luke knew for a fact that nothing remotely close had been planned, yet he frowned as Mitchell flicked knowing glances to those around him.

What had he missed?

As he studied the faces close to Mitchell, a number seemed to be taking a measure of the idea, and several quick and pitiless grins began to appear amongst a few that should have known better! The silence stretched and it seemed that too many were actually considering the hairbrained scheme! It was true that there hadn't been a Hang for a while, but...shit, even so...Ryan? Come on…

From where he was hemmed in, Luke could see Todd glare towards the source of it, and his narrowed eyes drilled directly to where Mitchell was skulking. From the look on Todd's face, Luke was relieved. It looked like Todd was right on top of it and clearly thought the idea was total crap, too. That would be it...end of!

Then it came again—the same obnoxious demand—but from someone different this time.

“A Hang? FUCK, yeah—why not? Come on then, let’s get him up and make him squirt!” The tone sounded excited and convincing. Luke had no idea who it was, but it's tone left nothing to the imagination.

WHY NOT? Fucking hell! Luke felt he could give quite a few—dozens even—of pretty good reasons why anybody would be scared shitless to be the one pulled up into a Hang themselves. Right in front of him, one younger guy whispered into the ear of another, and got a reply that made the kid’s mouth drop.

Luke ignored them, though it wasn’t hard to guess what was being explained. That had been him asking those kinds of questions about a Hang, once! He turned his gaze back to the thick of it. Come on guys. Be sensible. Not Ry...!

But the spark had lit a brushfire, one that would be difficult to douse unless someone acted quickly. Luke could sense the early crackling of anticipation as the flames began spreading around those who hardly knew Ryan Alexis and didn't care a shit for anything other than the potential of another Hang. Momentum gathered, and with it, a palpable change in mood. No doubt sensing it too, Luke could hear Mitchell keeping it going, stoking up those around him. Gradually more took up the chant, and quickly the multitude turned into a mob. In its frenzy, a decision was quickly reached.

"Come on then, Quince! Fucking get on with it!” A chant began. “Hang...Hang...Hang...HANG!!"

Through the press of bodies, Luke could see enough of the floor to tell that Ryan had already begun to struggle hard against those who held him. They were pressing his head to the floor, but he got his voice.

"FUCK OFF YOU BASTARDS! Don't you FUCKING dare!" The muffled bellow carried uneasily above the clamor.

Around Luke, the room was beginning to hum with an energetic buzz. What did they care that their victim apparently wasn’t up for it? Were any of them, ever?

The room was also becoming cramped as the door kept opening to let in more who'd picked up that there was something bigger in play than a wedge. Bit by bit, Luke got edged further back from any ability to quickly step in. Still, he knew that Ryan had plenty of friends nearer to the action than himself. Friends who could—and no doubt would—call time on it at any moment. Todd would put an end to it, surely? Todd was in charge. Todd was always in charge!

It was Ry, for Christsake!

Peering between heads, Luke could see Todd wasn't buying it, either. Whether because he didn't want it done full stop, or just because he didn't want to be the one to have to do the deed himself, was unclear. Luke hoped the former. Wedgies were fun, and a Wedgie of Doom was for the special guys, but a Hang was something else altogether. Not that they didn't deal them out, but a Hang was personal. And out here? In public? That was nasty! He knew it and everyone else knew it, so surely Todd wasn't going to have any part of it?

With relief, he saw Todd begin to shake his head.

Thank God for that!

Luke decided that, as soon as Todd called it, then SmartKlamp or not, he would barge out there and get stuck in himself—just in case Mitchell tried to make trouble.

“No. It’s not going—” Todd started, but others drowned the words as it looked like Mitchell wasn't going to give up on his scheming so easily.

 "Not up for it, Todd?" Bypassing Todd, Mitchell shifted his focus elsewhere and raised his voice. “Come on then, Scott. If Quince is a fucking chicken, you show us how it’s done!”

Luke was surprised as Landon suddenly rose up. Last he'd seen of him had been when he’d been pinning one of Ryan’s arms, but it looked like that job had been delivered to someone else. If Landon was surprised at suddenly being invited to head the team that would play out a Hang, he didn't show it. All at once, the memory of Mitchell whispering in Landon's ear earlier came back.

The fucking bastards! Somehow, they’d planned it!

Landon shoved Todd to one side, and the crowd, sensing that Todd wasn’t going to deliver what they craved, switched allegiance.

“Lan-don…Lan-don…!” Shouting him their encouragement, it elevated him and demanded action. Landon grinned, invigorated by the moment, and no doubt by the possibility of sticking one to Ryan Alexis, too. Deftly, the lead was snatched from Todd, and Landon took control.

Todd seemed at a loss. At first he’d looked furious at being shoved away, but as the increasing certainty in the voices around him eclipsed his involvement, he in turn began to look less certain. It was a critical turning point and Luke knew he should do something, but felt oddly powerless, trapped against the back wall. As both he and Todd dithered, Landon gestured to somebody he couldn’t see.

"Matt... JJ..." Landon called on two of his friends, and both were already close by. Quite willingly, and possibly relieved not to be part of it, two of the guys who’d been pinning Ryan's arms gave up their positions. Either way, tradition made it Landon's choice who made up a Hang team.

 “Get the hell off me, you idiots! Don’t be stupid!” Ryan’s tone was becoming increasingly tense as fresh hands clamped in his wrists and got a firm grip.

Landon grinned. “What do you think, guys? Should we let him go?” It was met with derisive laughter—nobody for one moment thought he was serious.

Mitchell shouted from the back again, cheerfully decisive. “Stop mucking around, Scott, and get his fucking pants off!” Around Luke, the whole room seemed to buzz with the same determination.

Landon smirked. “Sorry, bud—looks like it’s gonna be your turn for the Pleasure Trip, after all!”

The Pleasure Trip…

Squeezed between two seniors, Luke grimaced at the use of the other, more euphemistic, description for the Hang—a term that was both mean and accurate at the same time!  Unwilling participants were more likely to go with calling it ‘that fucking awful thing!’, and apart from ensuring the deadliest wedge, it went further…much further!

Landon motioned to the floor. “Okay guys…give us a hand to shift him over that way. We don’t want anyone to miss anything now, do we!”

A small army of willing helpers poured over Ryan, and grabbing anything they could get hold of, they began to drag him across the floor nearer to the sinks. Amidst squeals and snickers, the extras streamed around the sides, flowing into the main block. Nobody wanted to stand behind the action during a Hang, and Luke lost sight of Ryan other than the odd flash of his black pants and white shirt.

The clamor increased and guys began pushing and shoving in an attempt to find prime spots. Really worried now, Luke knew he had to do something, but with all the movement of people, he got driven back against the wall and even further from the action. Yet even above the mounting din, Luke could still hear Ryan swearing and spitting in anger. As he was bounced across the cold stone, his muffled voice sounded panicked as he struck out back towards Todd.

"FUCKING HELL, TODD! SHIT! You can't let them...when did I ever do anything like it to you?”

Under their tight grip, Ryan remained trapped, and like everyone else, he had to know where this would lead if allowed to run its course. While Luke couldn’t see Ryan that easily, he could see Todd clearly enough, and he watched Todd shrug as he lifted his hands in a gesture of helplessness.

Standing close to Todd, Kieran didn’t seem prepared to show any mercy, either. An all-too-knowing grin split the lanky African-American’s dark features. "You know how it goes, homie. If you give, you get! Just chill and enjoy the ride—we all wanna see what you got this time!”

Kieran’s stance seemed to swing the balance for Todd, and a smirk finally broke out onto Todd’s face.

"Sorry, bud." Todd grinned more widely and now he seemed ready to let the fun run its natural course. "Just take it like a man!"  

If Ryan was depending on either of the two—who, after Luke himself, were probably Ryan’s closest friends—it looked like it was misplaced, and Luke winced as Ry got delivered into unsafe hands.

It was hard to see what was happening, but even so, Luke knew well enough how this part of a Hang went. With two guys to hold the arms and two on the legs, the latter pair would in turn provide the platform over which to lift their victim. Kneeling and facing away, they’d line up the poor sod, and each leg would be pulled up and over so that the crook of the guy's knee was held over their respective outside shoulders. His dangling lower legs would be gripped firmly in front. And then—

"Come on guys! Get his fucking pants off, then!" someone in the ruck around Ryan demanded. “We haven’t got all day!” Through the press, Luke caught sight of Ryan as, around him, hands were going into overdrive to strip him.

“Then hold his fucking legs still, asshole!" Landon grunted as Ryan twisted like a madman, swearing and squirming beneath them. However, even Luke could tell his struggles weren’t making much difference. There were too many of them, and Ryan wasn’t going anywhere.

Breathing heavily, Landon still kept up his pretence of caring. "I'm really sorry Ry—you know I hate to do this to you. What can I say? Like Todd says, bud, just take it like a man!"

Luke still couldn't see what was happening down on the floor that easily, but he expected that Landon was undoing and removing Ryan's belt. Next he would unsnap Ryan's pants and pull the zip.

Ryan burst into voice again and screeched. "FUCK off, Landon! Don't you DARE!” It was a bit squeaky. "Let go of me you fucking pricks!"

 “Yeah, yeah, bud…we've heard it all before,” Landon chided, leaning over him, smirking and clearly on a roll.

JJ took it up. “And for God’s sake, stop worrying about your prick! We all know we’ll get to that, and you’re gonna get plenty of chance to show us what it can do!"

To hell with this!

Luke knew it had gone on long enough. Todd might be willing to throw Ry to the wolves, but he was fucking well going to do something. He began to surge forward, earning himself angry glares and grunts from those he pushed aside. He elbowed past a few and was near enough to the front in time to see Landon grab hold of Ryan’s black school pants. They were all over him for a few moments and it was hard to see, but then Luke’s view opened up as they got what they were after, and he stared as Landon made a show of pulling Ryan’s pants down.

“Whoa, Ry! Nice shorts!” Landon snorted with amusement with what he found, and Luke caught an eyeful of what he’d only guessed at before as, displayed on Ryan like on some well-bodied mannequin, his hipster briefs were sizzling—and it wasn’t just the red and orange colors! A pair of boxers that looked like they fitted like a glove were topped with a wide black band, and letters were printed in deep red across the front of the band.

"EUROBOY?" Landon continued, reading out the word emblazoned across Ryan's underwear. "Sexy, but not very patriotic, bud!" He stretched out the band for everyone to see. "And fuck, does Summers know you're wearing his slinky jocks?"

EUROBOY? Blinking, it caused Luke to pause. Laughter rippled across the room, and he froze as his name was passed around. In the school community, most knew that he and Simon hailed from England. Unable to help it, he flushed, and those near to where he was standing turned to grin at him. Layered over that was the memory that, not many days ago, Ry actually had been wearing his boxers!

He felt completely vulnerable—as undressed as Ryan—yet for the sake of those studying him, he rolled his eyes with apparent humor.

But what could he do? Sure he felt guilty at leaving Ry to the wolves like this, but it really wasn’t his fault that Ry had run into trouble, was it? If you gave, you got—that was how it was. That was what Todd and Kieran seemed to think, too… Sure, he could jump out there, but what if there was a fight? He was in no condition to get caught up in something like that!

Around about him, the sheer mass of numbers and weight of opinion was against any urge he had to put a stop to it, and it all came together to rip the heart out of any obligation he felt to step into the limelight and show any allegiance to his friend.

What else could he really do? Ashamed by his weakness, he hung his head and slipped back a row.

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

I’d been at the Academy for a while before I got to witness a Hang for myself, always managing to miss the action. When I finally got to be in the right place at the right time, it had come not many weeks after I’d discovered the exquisite feelings that a dick could offer, and I had lots of questions—and  LOTS of interest in what they meant by ‘The Pleasure Trip’!

The name of the poor sod on that particular occasion?

Rogério Carvalho Santos.

Santos was from somewhere like Venezuela—or maybe it was Colombia—anyway, it was someplace like that. He’d only been at the Academy for less than a year.

From what I could figure out, his father was some kind of government trade attaché. Perhaps that meant he was a spy, although I'd seen Santos senior once, and by the looks of his pudgy figure, he was no James Bond! That was about as unlikely as the possibility that his son might start treating those round about him as human beings!

Santos junior was a couple of years above Ry and me. To be honest, I hardly knew the guy other than by his reputation, and few people had anything good to say about him. Coming from a privileged Latino background, Santos seemed to have it all, and had this habit of treating everyone around him like shit. Maybe it worked fine in his own country, but he clearly had a few lessons to learn at The Academy—and the line was growing of those ready to teach.

And he learned.

The HARD way!

There was a Wedgie War on, and the rumor was they'd been after Santos all day. We all had our ears to the ground listening for the jungle drums that would signal what we were waiting for. But he was a slippery customer, always managing to keep out of reach and close within the protective cordon of nearby teaching staff. They, of course, knew jack-shit about what really went on at the Academy!

Santos' luck ran out when some guys spotted him trying to cross the grass from the cafeteria back to the main block. Caught out in the open, he made a run for it and was herded towards the recently finished sports block. He darted in there, maybe hoping to find a room he could lock himself into, but he was out of luck, and they tackled him to the floor in the big locker room where there was plenty of space for everyone to watch. Even I was given the heads up, and when I got there, they were piling all over him on the floor, pinning his arms and legs.

Everyone—especially him—knew what was on the cards.

Like his illustrious and portly parent, he was a bit overweight. Not a lot, but with a medium build, decidedly pudgy. With his family name being sufficient to get what he wanted, he’d probably never had to fight for anything in his life before, and he didn’t carry much muscle, but with the violence of the doomed, he fought them like crazy. It was a hell of a struggle, but by sheer mass of quite willing volunteers, they managed to get his school pants off him—and within a short space of time, triumphantly lifted him up into the full Hang.

Officially, the infamous Hanging Wedgie was just another way to inflict a tight wedge on some guy’s nuts.  Unofficially—and everyone knew it—the Hang was about jerking-off a guy to try to get a boner out of him…with the ultimate goal of getting him to shoot.

It worked like this: once the Hang was performed, a muscle-jarring body stretch became an uncomfortable racking which could be quite subtle in the way it humiliated and broke down resistance. That was followed up with the splits—often quite excruciating depending on who was in the driving seat—and pretty demeaning, too.

Then the wedging began. Done provocatively, it was a manipulation that many found quite difficult to ignore.

It started simply at first, pulling tight up the front in a show of Wedgie-style underwear stretch, but then going round the back and beginning to fold the back of the guy's underwear into a thin tube, to start to embed it into his crack. Repeated again and again. Up at the front and wedged at the back, it was this brazen backwards and forwards shifting of cotton over a guy’s dick that would usually begin to elicit results.

In short, the Hang team wanted you hard.

Shit—let’s be honest—at that point, EVERYBODY wanted you hard! And if you started heading that way, there was usually no stopping it. And for those who boned up, the likelihood that those controlling you would be able to get you to spunk were really quite high! It was usually just a matter of time and the right application of pressure.

And Santos? The rather plump and hapless South American was out of luck from the moment they caught him in the open. In his year at the Academy, they said he'd joined in on a number of Hangs himself, so he knew exactly what the score was! So, once they’d got him, my God did he holler and screech. It was a good job it was being done in the new sports block, and well out of earshot of interfering staff.

The team racked him mercilessly, his own body weight making it easier than usual. Murderous threats turned shortly to howling and frantic begging as, not so tenderly, they pulled him apart—splitting his chubby brown legs uncomfortable wide to the point when he was finally ready to be trained.

Like all traditions, a Hanging Wedgie still had its boundaries…kind of.

The Academy was a boys school, and the unwritten code was that it was bad form to touch another guy’s dick. That was a no-no, and way too gay for most people's liking. At least, when it came to a Hang, that was how it was at the beginning of the journey. On the other hand, that you could use a victim’s underwear to get him excited on the way was quite within the loosely-interpreted guidelines that defined the Hang.

Pretty loose, eh!

Only at the finish, when everybody could see that the guy was riled-up good and ready, was it accepted that the kindest and quickest way to get it over with was to allow for him to be properly and soundly tossed until he squirted. Once most reached that point in the ‘pleasure trip’, they were going to be unloaded whether they liked it or not, anyhow! Those in the driver’s seat usually just took hold and started jerking using plenty of soap if it was to hand, keeping it up until the inevitable happened...all over the tiles!

The Hang. What can I say...? All schools have their hazing rituals and ours was no different, though how that played out in an 'all boys' environment might surprise many. Giving wedgies was a prank, but even that had plenty of underlying sexual overtones. Then there was nudity and stripping.

Maybe more unusual in bi-gender schools, stripping a guy of his fig leaf was surprisingly common in a place like ours. At the Academy, it tended to start in middle school at a time when kids discovered that they had willies—willies, which they soon found out, did things! Research was needed, and at that age, there was plenty of horseplay and fooling around in the showers.

As exploration escalated, it was fairly common for kids to get bushwhacked on their birthdays, and get benched—stretched over a table or a desk by a posse of eager, giggling classmates, to have their wiener popped out of their black school pants for class scrutiny; a birthday present for everybody!

Everyone bar none was interested in what other kids had, and more importantly, whether it could be turned into a stiffy when they encouraged it. Most were nervously on edge when their birthday came around, though some were actually quite brazen about the whole thing. Either way, with a little bit of determined massage once they were over a table, more than a few could be coaxed into getting their twigs to bone up. It hardly ever happened, but if you were brassy or short-fused enough to spunk, then everyone got to see it. No ifs, ands, or buts.

From those formative fumblings, such raunchiness became less overt through high school. We weren't kids anymore, and nobody did any out in the open 'sex stuff'. Yet it still went on under the radar, and the coup de grace of the big boys came together in the humiliating 'Hanging Wedgie'—though we kept our heads firmly stuck in the sand about what we were really doing. After all, someone was still being jerked with the goal of getting them to ejaculate. It was just being done in a way that allowed everyone to suspend the belief that there was anything wrong in it, allowing us to ignore the fact that there was any communal sexual gratification in play.

From time to time, hormones would fire up and the Hang would raise its awkward head. And, when it did, everyone was happy to sign off on it. '’s just a bit of fun,' we would say. 'Nobody gets hurt. We’re just messing!'

For me, back then it was at a time of life that I was still getting used to the whole masturbation thing. The idea that it might be possible to see another guy hard—and maybe even to squirt—was, even then, of massive interest! Mind you, in the packed lockers just after lunch on the day Santos was hung out to dry, I suspect I wasn’t the only one who might have flushed if someone had asked, “And what have you got in your pocketsies, my precious!”  

As I said, his was the first Hang I’d seen, and at the time, it did seem a bit gay to be playing with a guy like that. But everyone else seemed to be into it—even Ry—so I just went along for the ride...and, damn, was I glad I didn't miss it!

There were some pairs of underwear, I eventually figured, that you didn't want to be caught wearing if you got hung. Especially ones with a good wide waistband—something stretchy but tight enough that the band could be snapped just into the right position. It was meant to be the best way to take the beginnings of a woody and encourage it along.

When it came to his snugglers that day, Rogério Carvalho Santos was definitely wearing the wrong ones—medium-sized, grey slips that had a wide black waistband. In fact, they seemed to be mainly waistband, and the rest of the cotton clung inadequately around his bulging bum. His tormentors got to work on him with the wedging, and, after an eye-watering splits, whatever wasn’t waistband seemed to find its way into his crack!

Sadly—at least from what I could see—it didn’t seem to be making much difference around the front. It seemed to me that Santos wasn't ready to play...that was until they wrapped a sock around him. Having never seen it before, I had no idea what to expect, but by the frantic look on the Venezualan's sweaty face when that sock got cinched tight around the base of his dick, just under his balls, he knew exactly what was likely to happen!

‘Banding’ they called it, and I think I was a bit more naive than Santos back then, as I didn't see the point as his underwear went back up, trapping his still-limp wanger half way down his shaft.

Hellfire, was I wrong!

Whatever the sock was doing, it really made a difference—something which I later learned was to do with the way blood flows in and out of the tissues down there. It sped things up, and a guy could be a lot more easily ‘inspired’ to come up stiff!

The threats and swearing in two languages began to multiply as poor Santos found himself responding to the teasing manipulation, and his soft willy rapidly developed into an impressive chub! In fact, it seemed a marvel that he ever managed to keep that weapon safe in such inadequate undies!

And now that it was hard, everyone was keen to know if that spear could be made to jizz. This was the ultimate humiliation of the notorious and fiendishly erotic Hanging Wedgiecoercing a guy to shoot his wad, not to prove his manhood, but milking him out to let it spill onto the ground for everyone to see.

After having been soundly persuaded to put it all on display, crap, did Santos start squealing! Using the wide waistband of his briefs they worked his sweet spot incessantly. He pleaded, swore and cursed, and promised all kinds of shit storms in retribution. None of it did him any good, or slowed the relentless advance.

The truth was, I'd never seen another guy cum before. Back then, I didn't have my own private MacBook or a place where I could browse the web unobserved. So it came as a bit of a shock as it suddenly dawned on me that he was actually going to spurt! Fucking hell! I think I probably turned scarlet at the realization! Thankfully nobody was looking at me.

I suspect the same thing also dawned on Santos as they poured soap over him and took hold of his dick and began to jerk him off. All around me, guys were cheering and really into it—even Ryan—so I figured it was okay, and joined in as we watched the frantic squirming become desperate grunts.

For Rogério Carvalho Santos, after the long wait, his time arrived abruptly. Though it had taken so long for the Latino teen to get there, that I doubt there wasn’t anyone present who wasn’t as hard as either him or me!

He froze and made a sound that came out as part way between a shout and a strangled groan of relief—and was in neither English nor Spanish. It was in a language that every boy in that room who masturbated was familiar with—the language of sex. We all correctly and immediately translated the complex announcement as:


Without missing a step, the slick grip that was wrapped around his dick sped up and jerked him rapidly, pushing him over the edge as he completely unloaded across the tiles with a huge spurt of creamy jizz. The first spurt was followed others until, slack faced and looking totally wasted, Santos had been reduced to a dribble.


Never had I seen ANYTHING like it in my life before! Trust me, I had to really adjust my pants after that! Carefully!

Well, Santos was only with us for the one year. At the end of the summer term, he returned to Venezuela or from wherever he came. But the training of the young Latino had gone well, and after being hung, he’d definitely calmed down a bit; older and wiser and much less of a prat.

He even made a few friends!

Perhaps, when he went back to his home country, they would realize there that he’d come a long way in life. He’d certainly done so across the floor of the new sports block of the Atlanta Academy that fateful afternoon. It's quite hard to live that kind of thing down—especially if you're not allowed to forget it!

After the deed was done that day, I’d scurried away from the place quite wound up. It was one thing to hear about a Hang, but something else to actually see it first hand, and I really wasn’t sure what to think. However, the next day, I quizzed Ry about it in detail. What surprised me was that neither he, nor any of the other guys who I counted as my friends, seemed that freaked by it. It could happen to anyone, Ryan had said, a teasing glint in his eye—but it won’t, he added, and the likelihood that it would ever be either of us was miniscule.

Despite that, you can bet I made it my business to make sure I was NOT to become the next 'anyone'!

But then again, it was never just ‘anyone’ who got targeted. If you gave, you got. That was the unwritten code and why nobody chose to make complaints. If you took part—even if you just stood and cheered—you were already complicit.

So, every three or four months or so, some unsuspecting victim would be utterly dismayed to find himself up-ended. Glaring out in shock into an ecstatic, upside-down crush of eager onlookers, his world would get rearranged! His pants would go and his boxers would end up in his crack. Then, he who had probably taunted plenty of others caught in the same position, would find himself put to the test. He'd squeal and swear and even beg, but pretty much every time, his spunk would end up on the floor with his so-called friends cheering and thoroughly enjoying watching him become the next one in a long list of those taken the full distance!

Whoever had suffered the indignity on that occasion would slink away to lick his wounds. He'd become a celebrity for a few days, but it would soon be forgotten. Sometimes it took a few days longer for the victim to come around, sometimes quite a long time, but that was all part of it.

Then, with almost everybody happy, we'd get back to normal life again. It was like a pressure release valve for the school, and everyone sighed in relief until the pressure built up again. Every time it happened, I became less disturbed by it, and now even looked forward to the next one.

But who it would be next, or when, nobody knew, though we all adamantly believed it could never be us. I was quite happy to stick my head in the sand with the rest of them on that one. Talk about living in denial! We were too popular, too clever, and had too many friends. We'd watch out for them, and they for us…

How many times had I seen those pacts go down the tubes!!

* * *

Just like now…

There had been several ‘incidents’ that school year already, and searching the faces Luke could spot from where he was squeezed in, he noticed at least two…no, three, who’d been there. All were salutary examples of how being handed your dick on a plate was usually ‘arranged’ by people you knew quite well! The nearest, only a couple of paces away, was Xiao 'Joseph' Wong.

Back when Luke and Simon had entered the Academy, it became apparent that they weren't the only foreign kids. In fact, the school drew quite a few international students from families whose parents—usually business executives—were semi-permanently located in the Atlanta area. As long as they paid the fees, they were welcome. Xiao Wong—going by an anglicised Joseph, as most struggled with Chinese pronunciation—was one of those, and had been attending the Academy for a couple of years.

Joe was Asian, and home for him used to be Taiwan. He was a nice enough guy, if rather small and chubby. His English was pretty good and he'd fitted in at the school well enough to be hardly noticed, other than by those who frequented the chess club.

There was nothing particular about the guy that should have singled him out, and he certainly wasn't a wedgie wars devotee. Actually, he was a bit of a swot—though that wasn't a crime—and was captain of the school chess team. Again, Luke didn't particularly feel that that was a sin…though not all were as generous! However, for someone so bright, Joe had been a bit rash. Two people had got hung the week just before Christmas, and he was the first.

It had been three months previously, and during the last week of the semester before the Christmas break. Exams were over, and students were all letting their hair down. One of the sports periods that week brought all four classes together, and was a ‘do-as-you-like’ period. Some played soccer, others stuck to football and basketball or worked out in the gym.

Afterwards, with everyone in a buoyant mood, the atmosphere in the locker room was boisterous. With the lunch recess to come, there was no rush, and towel flicking ran on into a few well-delivered wedgies.

Joe Wong was in as good a mood as any. They'd had the table tennis tables out—a sport he was surprisingly good at—and he was relishing the temporary fame and glory that came with victory.

In the midst of the mayhem of some ‘grab and pulls’, Kieran had got his hands on Brad Powell's boxers. A friend of Joe’s, Brad squirmed and bucked, trying to shake Kieran loose, and not at all happy with having his nuts squeezed. Then, to add insult to injury and completely out of character for him, Joe took it on himself to step in and give Brad a pantsing! The guy's face was a picture as his shorts hit the floor and Kieran leaned over to help the guy’s boxers into his crack!

Now that was actually quite funny, and Joe grinned at his coup, thoroughly enjoying being popular. But what on earth possessed him to then turn on Kieran, pull down his shorts and boxers, to leave Kier’s dick swaying in the breeze, was anyone's guess.

Death wish, or what!?

Realising his error in judgment in Kieran's thunderous expression, Joe tried to leg it, but didn't get far before Kieran floored him, grabbed his briefs from behind, and started yanking pretty hard!

Joe had squealed something in his native tongue that sounded like 'Mi choi shang' (God knows what it meant), so Kier, still smarting from being de-frocked, suggested that, if he really wanted a Hang, they could sort that for him!

Poor Joe.

Kieran was a man on a mission, and at the time, Luke couldn’t help but feel for him. He and Ryan were happy to watch from a distance, because you didn’t have to be in the action to still enjoy the fun. But, unfortunately for Joe, Brad wasn't the only ‘friend’ in his class who stepped up to the plate to assist Kier, as Joe lost his clothes.

Joe had a fairly fat little wanger that was buried in a healthy mound of black pubes. Once they’d stripped him, and despite his natural reserve, he discovered he was up for the ‘pleasure trip’ a lot more readily than he’d expected! It was intriguing for Luke, and was also the first time he realized that he wasn't the only uncut guy on the block. Joe, however, wasn't someone he had much reason to hang-out with, was easy to overlook in the showers, and it had never come on his radar.

With relative ease, they up-ended the guy, and for someone with such prowess at the chessboard, he lost most of his pieces quite quickly. Stripped of everything bar his briefs, he found himself in check early on in the game! He swore like blue murder in several languages, but it fell on deaf ears. If you gave, you got...though to be fair, coming from abroad, Joe had been a bit unlucky with the exchange rate!

They tied him off with a sock and played the usual games, chasing him around the board for a bit, though Kieran wasn't anywhere near as mean as many could be. In a short space of time—and to everyone's enjoyment because in those parts it was quite unusual to see a wanger that actually retracted—Joe enthusiastically unhooded for his audience, exchanging his unremarkable pawn for a healthy bishop! From then on in, the journey was swift.

By the end, Joe only had his King left, and was out of time and appeared ready to forfeit. Fully checked and unable to avoid being mated to the firm grip that Kieran wrapped around him, the game ended up being as short as his fuse and he surrendered his last piece quite suddenly.

One of the unusual traits of the end point for most in Joe’s position was that they tended to be quite...well…a bit noisy. Definitely more rowdy than you would be in the privacy of your own room! Who knows, maybe being upside-down made the squeaking come out more easily. Either way it was always entertaining! Joe didn’t disappoint as he splooged it out where many others had already left their mark in times past, convulsing as he did quite noisily, yelling loudly and incomprehensibly in a language familiar to us all

Luke studied the mildly pudgy and undersized Asian teen, as Joe, in turn, observed it become Ryan's turn to take that particular journey.

Joe’s expression was hard to read. After his downfall, he’d not been a happy puppy at all. He'd left for the Christmas break in a foul mood, and even on his return seemed to be brooding. He’d been the first one to join the Hall of Fame that last week of term—and probably the only reason he didn't completely fly off the handle at his treatment was that the second one ended up being Kieran McElroy himself!

Luke glanced past Joe towards the wall by the door and spotted Kieran now standing near Cody Mitchell. The pair were whispering and Mitchell passed some items to Kieran, who quickly pocketed them. Kier seemed to have a satisfied gleam in his eye!

* * *

Extract from Luke’s notes:

Back in that same week just before the Christmas break, wedging anything that moved, Kieran was becoming a problem. We all agreed he needed reeling in, so we planned the perfect way to sort him out.

Kieran McElroy claimed Irish heritage—as if it actually made a difference! It seemed everybody in America liked the idea of being from somewhere else, with heritage being bartered as if it actually meant something: a quarter Italian, a third German.... Who cared!

What made it funny was Kier didn't have a hint of emerald in his dark African-American skin! He used to tell us that his parents had been horrified when the nurses brought across this unexpected little black baby when he'd been born. Of course his mum and dad were both dyed in the wool African-American too, which kind of made you grin!

You can probably already guess what he was like. Bright, lively, and a popular member of our class as well as a fanatic on the basketball court and a big supporter of the Hawks! Kier was a guy who was always ready for a bit of fun, and into any action that was going. This time, without him knowing, the focus of that was HIM.

We laid a trail that indicated that there was a plot afoot to get Todd seriously wedged—with maybe some ‘undisclosed’ side-line fun—and Kieran was quietly given the heads up in a way that indicated we felt we needed his expertise. Other than that, it was kept under the radar, to be done on the last morning at the end of the final sports period of the year.

Carter, the coach for the session, wasn't particularly creative. Dressed in regulation kit, our class spent a sweaty hour in the gym, moving between cross-presses, steppers, rowing and jogging machines. Back in the locker rooms, we bided our time, not in any rush to get to the showers. In the corner, I could see Kieran grinning like a goat at a garden party in anticipation.

True to form, and more so because it was the last day of term, Carter abandoned us to change in our own time before lunch.

The way it went down began as Ry mock-felled Todd and called for help. Hook, line and sinker, Kier fell for it and threw himself onto the eager pile. With his attention diverted in the scrum, more than enough of us gathered round and grabbed his arms and legs and bodily hauled his sweaty black ass to the showers! He kicked and screeched, but we had a firm grip. Everyone was getting soaked, but who cared? We all liked Kieran enough to want the best for him—and didn't everyone deserve something special for Christmas? So out came the razors and shaving cream we had stashed ready.

Maybe it was a bit heartless, but when someone suggested that, in memory of poor Joe Wong, Kier might appreciate more of a first-hand perspective, who were we to disagree? He only had himself to blame, after all! So Kieran was upended, and the look of surprise on his face was priceless as he found himself hanging upside down, ready to be milked.

I have to be honest, poor Kier didn't take it well! 

Despite it, Christmas arrived early for him as—exactly as it had for Joe—he ended up spunking a healthy distance across the tiles, becoming the next in line to leave his mark on the hallowed floors of the Academy. At the time, everyone knew he was seriously pissed and it was probably a good job it was the last day of term and that he had a few weeks to get over it.

It was true that helping a guy to get over being hung was a delicate matter. And having just splooged for a cheerful audience, first off he'd want to sink into a hole and die.

For God's sake, wouldn’t you?

Then, once he'd tucked his now emptied and deflated wanger out of the way, straightened out his clothes, and got his act together, he'd be seriously pissed with everyone. Scraps were quite common in the immediate aftermath! He'd be boiling mad for a few days, and the truth was, not all friendships survived the ordeal—especially if a close friend had played an active role.

Thankfully, the majority did.

Timing was critical, but good friends wouldn't allow him to stay distantly mad for long. That didn't help anyone.

Give him a day, maybe two max, and they'd come back around him protectively, offering solace and working some delicate diplomacy.

For someone who'd been taken all the way to his climax, they'd let him know that he had nothing to be ashamed about. He wasn't the first and he wouldn't be the last. As far as these things went, they'd say—and he may well have found himself coerced enough to squirt quite enthusiastically—he'd put on a pretty good show.

Eventually, even he would come round enough to hopefully brush it off.

There was also a healthy respect for those that had 'been there, done that', though I can think of a hell of a lot of easier ways to get it! At the same time, those who were closely involved tended to watch their own backsides a little more carefully. As Kieran had personally discovered…if you gave, you got!

Remarkably, when we started back in the New Year, Kier seemed buoyant once more, receiving quite a bit of good-natured teasing with equanimity. Perhaps the break had calmed him down?  Or maybe he was happily just biding his time and looking for the perfect moment to get revenge!

Still, you had to respect the guy. Under the showers the coming weeks, he didn't flinch, even though it took almost two months to grow his bush back!

All of this was the closely guarded tradition of the demonic Hanging Wedgie—a practice we had a complicated love-hate relationship with. It continued unabated, because everyone wanted to see it executed…as long as it was on someone else. We feared it because nobody really knew who would be next…or when.

Odds were, if you ran the numbers, the likelihood that you would ever be targeted was pretty slim.

Ry and I knew it would never be either of us—or so I’d thought until that ghastly day when I ended up doing nothing and completely letting my best friend down as I watched Ry being stripped and lifted up ready for the pleasure trip.

* * *

From behind a group of heads short enough that he could see quite easily now, Luke’s gaze flicked over the scuffle that was still on-going. Despite his belief that nobody with an ounce of sense should be Hanging Ryan Alexis, the evidence that they were getting close to pulling it off was staring Luke in the face.

"Let go, you bastards!" Luke saw Ryan glare angrily at Matt and JJ, heaving on his arms as the pair held him tight.

Matt grinned. "No need to get your knickers in a twist, Ry!"

"Matt's right, bud," JJ snickered. "I think Scott's gonna do that for you!"

Landon? Well, that bastard sure looked like he was enjoying himself!

Ryan continued to put up a real fight as they started to strip him. Luke felt uncomfortable, but stayed where he was. JJ might be an asshole like Landon, but Matt was okay—one of Ryan’s friends. And Matt appeared to have no qualms about getting entangled in the rough melee on the floor. It made it easier for Luke to stay out of the way. Maybe it was enough that he wasn’t directly involved…like Todd and Kieran…

Ryan reacted angrily again as he was stripped.

"FUCK OFF Landon! Don't you dare!' His voice was sounding increasingly desperate, though Luke couldn’t see any way he was getting out of any of it now.

Even so, Ryan put up a real fight. "Let go of me you fucking gay prick!" He twisted and turning in an effort to break loose, but with many hands to keep Ry in check, Landon appeared unimpressed.

"We've heard it all before, Ry. Stop getting excited about your prick, for God's sake." He grinned, relishing his role. "We're gonna give you a good shot at showing us what you can do!"

While he talked, Ry’s pants got pulled completely off, stripping him to his boxers to a chorus of cat whistles.

From then, it went fast, and Luke had seen it enough times before to know how straightforward it was to get some poor panic-stricken bastard up into a Hang. Looking to the left and right, those around Luke were upbeat in anticipation—hell, even Joe was enjoying it, grinning from ear to ear!

It really looked like a guy’s time had come. And if that were so for Ry, then there could be backing out of it—only forward to the inevitable. Heads were straining over shoulders and through gaps so as not to miss the show, and Luke knew what they would be thinking: What a great day this has turned out to be—and prime seats too!  He could also see the other side of it in their expressions—‘Fuck, I’m glad that I’m not THAT poor bastard today!’

Luke shrugged. What was there to say? If you gave, you got, though without doubt, Ry had been set up…then again, wasn’t everyone when it actually came down to it? Across the floor, he saw Mitchell smirking. There would still have to be payback there.

Either way, it appeared that Ry had walked into a Hang, and there was little either of them could do about it now. Surrounded by those out to get him, Ry was sounding increasingly panicked. Luke knew he’d be no different if, God forbid, it should ever be him in that position. Most were like that when realization set in, and they got that they’d been suckered—started on the journey which, in Ryan’s case, would almost certainly end up with him unloading onto the restroom floor!

Right in front of Luke…


Luke swallowed. Okay, he felt a bit guilty that he’d not done much to help save Ryan from his fate, but…well…he could live with it. Afterwards, when it was all done and Ry was done spunking—and experience dictated that it was quite likely he would—they would dump him on the tiles and leave him to lick his wounds.

Luke had no doubt there would be total hell to pay at that point. Ry would be in an absolute foul mood for the rest of the day, and Luke knew he could almost certainly kiss goodbye to going around for a swim. It would be days before Ry came around and saw any sense. Maybe the baseball outing on Saturday would be off, too, though Luke hoped not. Surely Ry would be over it by then?

He chewed his lip. How would it be?

Joe had had a rough ride, but Kieran had got over it quickly enough, hadn't he? It was just one of those things that nobody thought about anymore. He hoped Ry would be the same and that it wouldn't change things between them. He shrugged, telling himself that there wasn’t much he could do about it now, even if he’d wanted to.

And, despite all of it, there was no way he was going to miss any of the show now the clock was running…

Ryan has found himself being ‘upended’ into a Hang and Luke…well, you might be right in thinking that Luke should probably be doing more than just standing watching! Something is bound to hit the fan if you’re interested enough to read the next chapter.

Do drop a review, or if you are reading the story, then let me know you're ready for more in the forum thread

Riley J

26. Broken One

Just to warn you - some bits that are tough to read in this one

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Broken One

Ryan was on the ground, dishevelled and breathing hard as he was held down by plenty of eager, sweaty hands that gripped at his arms and wrists. Others knelt on his legs. He grimaced as he came to terms with what a fucking stupid idiot he’d been! The last time they’d caught and wedged him, it had stung for hours! Luke was going to owe him big time after this—saving his sorry ass because of a piece of dick hardware, though Ryan had to admit, he had been a bit rash rushing the three of them like that.

He'd been holding his own as Todd and the others had tried to get a wedge on him, but in the end there had been too many of them. They’d had to struggle hard to hold him down but they’d managed and he hadn't been able to twist free. He’d taken a breather. He had time, sure that there’d still be plenty of ways to wriggle out of this and avoid a Wedgie of Doom, though—not surprisingly after what he’d dealt out—Todd was looking pretty determined.

No surprise there!

Then, with plenty of others arriving to lend a hand, Ryan had accepted his fate and gritted his teeth—all that was left was for them to just get it over and done with, and he’d grunted in discomfort as Todd had heaved his boxers up his back.

Shit…Todd would get payback before the day was done!

Still, at least this would be quick and he knew Todd wouldn't hang around.

At first, when the call for a Hang had come, he just hadn’t been able to compute it. It made no sense—why would anyone do that to him? He’d recognized Mitchell's voice and had downplayed the threat from the motherfucker. From the look on Todd's face, Ryan could see he wasn't interested in taking any advice from the asshole, either, so he’d brushed it off and gone back to preparing himself to receive a solid wedging.

But then it wouldn’t go away, and the clamour for a Hang escalated, building around him as he lay trapped, helpless to do anything about it. And, finally, Landon had pushed Todd out of the way and had somehow managed to take over.

At that point, Ryan began to get seriously worried.

* * *

Ryan's eyes flicked up into the faces of those bearing over the top of him who were panting with breathless exhilaration. Even with Landon trying to barge in, Ryan was relieved to see little enthusiasm in most at the prospect of turning this into a Hang. Even Ethan seemed sceptical.

Come on guys…leave it be. Just let me up and let's get out of here.

However, before he could turn thought into word, Matt and JJ pushed into the group. They were both heavyset and determined, and Ryan grunted as they kneeled on his chest and strengthened the grips on his arms. Others followed their lead and began pressing down to get better control of him. Landon’s forearm pressed painfully across the back of Ryan’s neck, and Ryan grunted in discomfort.

“Get the hell off me, you idiots! Don’t be stupid!” 

“What do you think, guys? Should we let him go?” Landon goaded.

Ryan twisted his head enough to see Landon leering over him, grinning at the jeering replies that flew around. Let him go? Shit—Ryan could see easily enough in Landon’s gleam that there’d be better odds on Wingy losing weight!

Rattled, he started thinking fast. He had friends. They were his best hope. Todd was right there—and Luke, of course. This would get quashed pretty quick.

“Stop arsing around, Scott, and get his fucking pants off!” Mitchell barked from where he was hiding in the crowd, and his advice was met with another flood of taunting calls.

Landon studied Ryan and snickered. “Sorry bud—looks like it’s gonna be your turn for the Pleasure Trip, after all!”

Ryan swallowed. OH MY GOD! What the FUCK were Todd and Luke waiting for?

But before he had much time to put his thoughts together and fight back, his captors abruptly began to drag him across the floor to make space.

"FUCKING HELL, TODD! SHIT! You can't let them!" His white shirt rode up his back as he scraped across the rough surface. Stunned that it appeared they really intended to pull this off, he screeched back towards Todd in dismay. "When did I ever do anything like it to you?"

Todd seemed uncertain, but Ethan was pumped up now. Hauling on one of his legs, the glint in Ethan’s eye and the fresh blood on the end of his nose didn’t leave much to the imagination. To further seal his fate, as Ryan glared frantically back in Todd’s direction he could see a satisfied grin cross Kieran’s face. Standing next to Todd, Kieran shrugged and folded his arms.

"You know how it goes, homie. If you give, you get! Just chill and enjoy the ride—we all wanna see what you got this time!”

"Sorry, bud…" It was like a kick in the gut as a small, knowing smile broke out onto Todd's face. He called across to Ryan as they continued to drag him further away. "Just take it like a man."

If there was a moment when Ryan felt the rug being pulled from under him, it was then. His stomach lurched. He could hardly believe his ears, shocked at his friend’s blatant treachery.

Oh Christ…the motherfuckers were blowing him off!

More frantically his head spun from left to right, but he could see nothing past the leering grins of the pack who were swarming over him.

Where the fuck was Luke? Had he made a run for it?

He twisted and kicked as they hauled him bodily nearer to the sinks, and Landon quickly appeared at his side.

 "Sorry Ry—you know I hate to do this to you.” Breathless and eager, the bastard couldn’t hide the elation from his voice. “What can I say? Like Todd says, bud, just take it like a man!” A nasty grin was plastered across his face and he moved fast, pulling at the belt buckle, pushing ahead with no one jumping in to stop him.

Ryan got his voice back.

"FUCK off! Don't you DARE!' He was done with sounding reasonable, and bellowed his resentment at the additional flurry of hands that were already trying to pull at his pants and get the zip down.

"Let go of me, you FUCKING PRICKS!" He tried to force his hands down to where he could grab onto his clothing, but Matt and JJ were more than strong enough to hold them away. His heart rate was climbing fast as Landon worked his buckle, opening it and ripping off the belt and tossing it to one side. Even to himself Ryan sounded panicky.

"Yeah, yeah…we've heard it all before.” Landon refused to be baited, and moments later, the scrimmage of hands—many belonging to guys Ryan hardly knew—had his zip down and his pants wrenched part-way off his backside. It was happening too quickly and he had no time to think, let alone do anything to stop it.

 “And for God’s sake, stop worrying about your prick,” JJ chided as he and Matt pulled Ryan’s arms further out of the way so that Ryan couldn’t do a thing to end the ruthless stripping. “We both know we’ll get to that, and you’re gonna get plenty of chance to show it off and what it can do!"

Laughter flowed from the eager melee that surrounded him. Everyone knew what that meant as enthusiastic hands worked to wrestle his clothing down.

They kept going, and Ryan’s shoes soon came off. Frantic now, he looked elsewhere for support, a furious pleading entering his tone. “Ethan! Fucking hell…come on…don’t…”

Ethan pressed down on Ryan's knees to stop him kicking. He was red-faced from exertion and didn’t show any sign of letting up.

“Don’t what?” Ethan smirked. He had revenge in his eyes and a breathless excitement in his voice as he reached up to help the rest of them begin to wrench down Ryan's black school pants. "Just count it as an early birthday pres—"

“Just get his fucking pants off!” interrupted an excitable voice as more tousled-haired heads crouched over Ryan, eager to hurry things along.

"Then hold his legs still, asshole!" someone else screeched. Their voices were filled with the giddy intoxication of guys just grasping that Christmas had come early. Ryan twisted in their grips, his alarm increasing with every passing moment. As he felt his pants being manhandled down onto his legs, his pleading turned to outrage.

Fucking hell…they were actually going to do it!

"Get the FUCK off me, you PRICKS!" he shouted, though his voice sounded dry. Many of his tormentors were from his own class, and their hands were all over him as he bucked and fought the assault. Bodies pressed close, hot and heavy and constantly moving as they grappled to restrain him. An arm covered his face and he lost sight for a moment.

Smothered by a jacket, he swore as they abruptly dragged his pants down to his feet, and he then felt the cold floor on the back of his legs. With his wrists held tightly, there was nothing he could do to stop them; he could only rage as the stripping continued.

With a panting flourish, Landon finally peeled off his pants, and when Ryan next was able to force his head up, all he could see was bare legs. Appreciative cat whistles erupted as he’d finally been brought down to his boxer briefs.

Landon pushed up Ryan’s ruffled shirt, paused, and then laughed.  “Whoa, Ry! Nice shorts!”

Oh fucking shit…

Landon began playing provocatively with the waistband, reading the imprint. "EUROBOY? Sexy, but not very patriotic, bud!"

Glaring impotently, Ryan remained tight-lipped, silenced by the revealing of his underwear. EUROBOY were a style he liked, but he would never openly choose to wear them on a day they were bound for an outing to the locker rooms.

Landon wasn’t finished taking the piss, and his face cracked into a grin. "And fuck, does Summers know you're wearing his slinky jocks?"

Ryan ground his teeth. And where the hell was Luke? He swore, not even able to think about that just now.

"Let go, you BASTARDS!" Outrage returned as he heaved on his arms again.

Close to his head, Matt was snickering with amusement. Now that they’d managed to get Ryan’s pants off him, they were taking a quick breather.

"Ease up, bud,” Matt said, getting his breath. “No need to get your knickers in a twist!"

"Matt's right, Ry.” JJ said, adjusting his grip on Ryan’s wrist and laughing, meanly. “I think Scott's gonna do that for you!"

Ryan glare was withering. Motherfuckers! He’d known Matt Young a long time. How could the bastard piss on him like this? And JJ? That fuck was never going to cut him any slack. The floor felt cold on his legs, but the pause was suddenly over, giving Ryan no further time to think or act, and certainly no opportunity for anyone else to rescue him.

"Are you two up for lifting him?" Landon gestured to Leroy and Jason who were currently using all their weight to help keep Ryan in place. Both the big African-American football jocks looked up, and grinned.

"Fuck, yeah!" Leroy's tone was high-spirited and Jason’s face split with an eager flash of white teeth. Letting go of Ryan, they got themselves ready a couple of meters away and knelt in place, waiting to receive him. Replacing them, impatient hands gripped Ryan's bare legs and he kicked out for all he was worth.

"Don't you FUCKING DARE!" he screeched as the many guys clustered around him worked to cement their hold. He twisted like a berserker, trying to foil their intentions to get him off the floor, until a pair of hard-muscled arms—he didn’t know whose, maybe a senior—snaked around his chest and lifted him with ease.

“Fucking-A! That’s more like it!” someone squealed. It was suddenly a lot easier for those just having to hold his legs and keep his arms held away from his body, and they got him moving.

"YOU BASTARDS!" Ryan hollered for all he was worth, and twisted and wrenched like a possessed madman as he stared past his red boxer trunks towards the backs of the pair waiting for him. He was shocked it had actually gone this far; he was definitely scared now, as he had every right to be. He knew well enough that for them to get his legs onto those shoulders was a point of no return.

But they were in control, and he was powerless to stop them. The room around him swiftly became even more animated, and with squeals of triumph, he was heaved over to where Jason and Leroy were crouched in place.

"We're nearly there, bud!” Landon grunted. “Just a bit more...are you two ready?"

Leroy twisted his head. “Hell, yeah—get it on, honky!”

Holding one of Ryan’s legs and surrounded by an atmosphere of giddy jubilation, Landon urged them forward, giving instructions as they guided Ryan closer.

“GET THE FUCK OFF ME!” Ryan struggled with renewed desperation against the iron lock wrapped around his chest, and tried to kick his legs to get them loose. But there were far too many holding him that were eager to get him where he didn't want to go. And nobody seemed to be listening or care a shit what he thought, anyway!

"Okay...we got him....up a bit...." Breathless, Landon was gleeful as they got him close. "A bit wider...hold his legs tight when he's—"

Ryan bellowed at them as they separated his legs. "Don't you FUCKING—!"

“Come on, bud, you might as well stop struggling!” Matt grunted, riding over the top of Ryan’s cry. He was panting from the exertion as he fought to hold Ryan’s right arm tight, and he sounded determined. “You know you’re fucking well going on there, so stop fucking around and let’s get on with it!”

From then it only took a few moments. They held Ryan’s legs apart and slid him into position, mating him with flagrant ease to the sturdy human frame, and jockeying him into place on it until the backs of his knees were snugly latched over a pair of outside shoulders. Then it was over as he felt Jason and Leroy clamp down on his bare legs with what he knew would be a permanent iron grip. That done, the arms around his chest let go, and he fell back with his shoulders and upper back dropping onto the tiles as his burning-red-colored boxers hung a foot off the floor. Just JJ and Matt remained to lock his wrists.

OH CHRIST!  His heart yammered from exertion and panicky apprehension, appalled that they'd actually succeeded in hitching him into position.

Landon paused, both to take a breath and probably wanting to savour the moment—and maybe sensing that now they'd taken it far enough along that there would be no chance of any last minute reprieve.

"Just the shirt now, bud," Landon snickered. "I mean, we don't want him making a mess over it, do we guys?"

Stunned into silence at last, Ryan’s eyes flicked around for help. Anything. Anyone.

With exaggerated care, Landon slowly and neatly began to roll Ryan's school shirt up his torso until it was tucked in a tight wad under his armpits. Satisfied, he said, “Okay, let’s get him up! You guys ready?”

Leroy and Jason didn’t even bother answering. It had gone so fast—less than a minute since Ryan was dragged across the floor—that he was unable to organize his thoughts.

Then it was too late.

“FUUUCKK…NO…!” He swore in dismay as the two African-Americans surged up onto their feet. Locked over their shoulders, his head bounced painfully over the hard floor, and then he was sprung into the air, rising up at last into the full view of those gathered for the spectacle. He was greeted by hollers of approval.

"YOU SHITS!” He bellowed in anger as the Hang was performed, leaving him swinging off the thick shoulders of the tall football players.

Matt and JJ kept a firm lock on his wrists and yanked him down to straighten him. However, because they had hurried, it was badly coordinated. He saw his chance, wrenching hard at the arms that tried to pull him straight.

If he could only get them to drop him.

If they did, he knew there would be no way it would go any further—his fists would make sure of it! Heaving desperately, he ignored the strain on his stomach as he raised himself up the football player’s backs, pulling Matt and JJ with him. He was so close and he felt Matt losing his grip.

“Come on, Ry!” Out of the crowd, Luke’s voice lifted above the rest.

It sounded encouraging, but it completely distracted Ryan from what he was trying to do.

Luke was here? Still?

Pouncing on his confusion, Leroy steadied them and Matt snatched back Ryan’s wrist and once again locked it down. Ryan blinked as though coming out of a daze. Everything was upside down, though that was the least of what was wrong as he glared into the mass of bodies jostling for position in front of him.

He still tried to hold out against them, refusing to be pulled straight, heaving again to break the wristlocks. They did a cross-over. Reversing positions, Matt and JJ crossed his stretched arms over beyond his head—left arm pulled to the right and vice-versa. Not everyone got that, and it wasn't long before he found out why they said it hurt like fire! They heaved so hard he couldn’t hold his position.

"FUCK!!"  Breathing heavily, he grunted in pain as he got wrenched down. He stayed there, breathing heavily.

 He glared into a space full of people, many of whom he knew really well, others hardly at all. Everything was all the wrong way round—not just physically, but disconnected from what any normal day should be. This seemed a million miles from the easy-going normality of the school cafeteria where he and Luke had just eaten. Many of those friends who'd shared the table with them were scattered around the room. Near the door, he could even see the impassive scrutiny of Toby Skerrit.

His initial shock didn't last, and soon he was overwhelmingly angry to the point where the emotion rode roughshod over everything else.

How the hell had this happened? How could he have ended up in a fucking Hang?

Recollections of others who’d been bushwhacked over the last year flicked through his head. Kieran, Joe, Dan Hilson. If anyone, it should have been Wingy hanging upside-down that afternoon. Not him!

How the hell had he let it happen?

Center-front from where he was swinging, he could see an upside-down Jacko Jackson unable to keep the cheeky smirk from his face. The kid had been at the cinema with them the other day for Christ’s sake, and here he was, sneering with the rest of them and just as expectant. Like him, the eyes of most seemed glued to Ryan’s hipster briefs, more than ready to see the Hang taken to the next stage.

He tried to put out of his mind that thing that they were so juiced up for.

And Luke? Fucking Luke Summers! He couldn’t see him, but he’d heard Luke call out and knew he was close.

What the hell was THAT about?

It was a disgrace, and fucking his fault that Ryan was here in the first place! So why the hell wasn’t Luke doing something about it? That stoked Ryan’s anger, and he knew that when this was over....

When this was over?

He swallowed, reminded again of the hellish intentions that loomed as unconcealed as his boxers—a stretch, the split and some ruthless wedging. And after that he knew exactly what they were going to try to do. He'd happily enjoyed seeing it play out on many others, previously. Then, it was a just a bunch of fun. Now, they'd all decided it was his turn, and far too late, he realized how fucking crap it was to be the one hanging upside-down.

To keep the trepidation at bay, he picked a spot on the ceiling and stared at it, focusing on the idea that despite the evidence, not everyone could be made to shoot. He made a pact with the small blemish in the paintwork above him, convinced there was absolutely NO WAY he would give them what they were all craving.

They’d get nothing from him—he wouldn't even fucking speak!

Landon appeared in his field of view.

"Hey there, Ry!" After all the struggling, Landon looked flushed, but his face was full of his own self-importance. Behind him were a sea of buoyant faces, and Ryan felt a current of satisfaction claim the room as they studied their prize.

"I bet you didn't expect to be here today?" Landon grinned.

"Piss off, you bastard!" Ryan glared and spoke in soft, angry tones, unable to keep his mouth shut as he made his threat clear. "If you value your teeth, you do NOT want to do this!"

"I take that as a no, then?” Landon sighed theatrically and took a few moments to remove his own jacket. "Unfortunately, I hate to rain on your parade, pal, but you'll find we really do want to do this!" He brightened as he checked his watch. "Come on, don’t be mad. We’re not really gonna hurt you are we? Anyway, you had to know that you had this coming.”

“You got it, Scott!” Mitchell screeched from the crowd. “You bet he’ll be cumming, soon enough!”

“First time for everything, Ry,” JJ sniggered, joining the callous laughter. “We just wanna see if you’ve got what it takes to make it to the end!”

“JJ’s right,” Landon continued with a knowing smirk. “It won’t take long, and you never know, bud, you might even enjoy it! You’ll even have time to go get some lunch afterwards…well…if you’re still hungry…”

"So what’s he gonna order?" a lewd voice called out from the crowd. “Spunk sandwiches?”

Adding to the outbreak of mean laughter, another quipped. “What about jizz and chips?”

Landon grinned. "That’s quite good, Danny! Does he get extra mayo with that?”

The room dissolved at Ryan’s expense, but he kept his mouth closed in gritty silence. It wasn’t even funny!  He glared at them to cover his unease as it seemed Landon was ready to get down to business. There must have been some signal that he didn’t see, but he grunted as the first pull came.

He’d seen others racked. He knew what they would do, but he clamped his teeth together, determined not to make a sound. His legs were levered further over the shoulders that carried them as Leroy and Jason bent down and then shuffled him to take up the slack. Against the solid locks that Matt and JJ had on his arms, his captors surged up again, pulling at the muscles in his frame.

The first few were nothing, and it fired up his belief that he would be above it all.

Pathetic bastards! They'd fail and then he'd break some heads.

But he found out that they were only just getting started. Against the solid weight of the two bearing his shoulders to the ground, the next pull was jarring on his upper back and shoulders. His stomach muscles bunched with the tension.


The shock of it was a wake up call.

His arms were really beginning to ache with the twisting strain of the cross-over. He knew all he was doing was just inviting more—and worse—but still stared stolidly outward, refusing to give them any satisfaction. Leroy and Jason levered him even higher, but he kept it together for a third, fourth and fifth.

Landon was amiable as he oversaw the treatment. "We can keep this up all day if you want Ry!" He looked at his watch and shrugged. "We've got plenty of time. But you know we can stop if you want..."

Ryan groaned silently. It didn't sound like the fuck was going to be willing let it go with a few uncomfortable stretches. He was waiting for some begging! Ryan wanted to deny him, but he was wavering. His arms had started to burn and he knew he wouldn’t be able to resist that much more. For the sixth time, they bent down to lever him even higher on their shoulders, and then pulled hard.

SHIT! His teeth remained staunchly gritted, but that had hurt!

"Fucking Christ!" He swore at last, the curse slipping from between his lips before he could stop it. With his arms twisted as they were, it felt like they were being pulled from their sockets!

"Okay...enough already!" He knew even then that he couldn’t take another, and gave up.

Either Landon hadn't heard, or he chose to ignore him, and they gathered again. Even before it came, his mind was begging. He'd had more than enough!  He squeezed his eyes closed as his spine felt the awful jarring torment.

“STOP!” The anger in his voice was being replaced by desperation as the pain pulled at his shoulders. “Just fucking STOP, okay!”

But Landon shook his head. "Sorry bud, I can’t hear you—it’s a bit noisy in here. You’ll have to do better!”

It looked like Landon was about to make them do another, and Ryan could feel JJ tightening his grip in preparation, grinning in anticipation. Matt, however, seemed more human.

“No more, Scott—I think that’s enough.”

Landon sneered. “Oh, come on guys, he—”

"Okay, Scott, you’ve had your fun.” Todd kicked in at last, too. “Enough!”

Ryan surged with relief. It even sounded like Todd was ready to bring an end to the whole thing. And about time! Thank God—fucking reason had prevailed at last.

"If you're too much of a pussy, Todd,” Landon retorted. “You know where the door is!"

Ryan stared into the crowd. Come on... But there was no reply from Todd, though Landon didn’t push it any further, either, and the tension was released from Ryan’s arms and back. And, from the smirk on his face, Matt seemed quite happy to let what was planned run its course as well. A sick dread began to take Ryan as he watched the last line of defence step back, leaving him—quite literally—to hang, and he shut his eyes. His muscles burned. He was angry with his own weakness, but God, that pull had hurt!

Maybe it was a good thing? Aching muscles were the least of his problems. They could stretch and wedge and do whatever… the discomfort of it just made him confidant that that would be all they’d get from him.

“Hey there, squirt!”

Ryan opened his eyes to find Landon crouching down right in front of him to talk. The bastard had the gall to smile as if he cared. Ryan just scowled—angry words would only add to the satisfaction the motherfucker would be enjoying for Ryan’s recent begging. Ryan jerked his head to one side as Landon had the cheek to ruffle his short-cropped hair.

Cum on Ry, it'll be quicker if we don't hang about!" Emphasising the words, Landon chuckled at his own pathetic humor. He continued to crouch in front of Ryan, studying him as the anticipation mounted around them, and he reached up to touch Ryan’s boxers, playing with the band as a sign of things to come.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Ryan hissed as Landon provocatively rested his hand across the front. He knew every eye would now be locked onto the fiery dark red of his boxer briefs. The EUROBOY brand were an amazing fit—low rise and quite short in the leg. They were not too loose and snugged him just right and he enjoyed wearing them. Now, especially hanging as he was, he was uncomfortably aware that the bulge of his package was well defined through the soft cotton.

He tried to ignore it.

“Don’t piss yourself, bud. All in good time!” Landon laughed easily and flicked his head to encompass those filling the room. “They all want to know what you’ve got in there.”

“Fuck off!” Ryan grimaced as Landon patted him gently. Now he was at their mercy, it looked like Landon was going to take his time, and sounds of snickering skittered around the restroom.

He tried to blank them all. Everyone but him seemed so happy to be there. They’d racked him and, like most, he’d been forced to beg. To them it turned him into a mere mortal; he’d been a toy that could be played with—and they were probably looking forward to a few games.

Landon stood and moved into position behind him. Looking upwards Ryan could see him peering down from between his legs.  He may have sounded amusing to everyone else—chummy even—but close up, his eyes were disturbingly cold and cruel as he delivered a ‘friendly’ smack on the backside.

Ryan knew what came next. The fucking sock! He’d seen one wrapped around enough dicks to know what would happen. He waited for one to be pulled off his foot, but Landon seemed to have other things in mind as he paused to scan the room.

A voice shouted over the developing buzz. “Come on Landon, get the fuck on w—“


Heads turned, and Ryan immediately recognized its owner, and he groaned silently. What the hell was Kieran McElroy up to? From his inverted position, he watched as Kier pushed his way out of the crush to come to join them. He lifted a powerful-looking rechargeable shaver from his pocket.

“Christ, Kier!” Matt burst out laughing. “Where the hell did you get that!”

Kieran shrugged. “Dunno—it just kinda fell into my pocket!”

Ryan twisted up his head and his eyes widened. "Oh shit, NO...!" He pulled harder at the restraining hands as he realized what they had in store for him.

"Hey there, Ry!" Kieran waved what he was carrying, a knowing smirk in his face. "I think you know what this is for..."

 Ryan gritted his teeth and knew exactly what Kieran had in mind. And after what Ryan had done to him, he knew he probably wasn’t going to get any breaks.

“I dunno, Kier, it seems a bit radical!” Landon sniggered, adding his own drama as he addressed the congregation. “So, who thinks we should buzz him a few notches first?”

There were a few looks of patent disbelief, but they didn't last long and were replaced with squeals of laughter and overwhelming enthusiasm as the gathering realized that a guy was about to be cut down.

Ryan felt hands on his boxers and he jerked his head up towards Kieran again.

“FUCKING HELL—come on, Kier. Not here! Do you have to?” Maybe he should have been more worried about what came after, but he loathed the prospect of losing his pubes.

The answer came abruptly, as his boxers were pulled right up to his knees. Immediately there were whistles of appreciation from around the room—everyone liked to see the moment a guy got put on show.

“Oh…fuck…” Ryan swore and his face and neck burned. While he guessed that it was going to happen sooner or later, he’d been distracted by what Kier was holding and hadn’t been prepared to be exposed. His shaft was soft, thick, and hung limply, and he knew every eye had to be on it. It was one thing to be in the buff under the showerheads, washing down alongside guys he knew, but done like this—stripped naked in public and put on display…was…indescribably humiliating!

He didn’t stay looking at what most others were for long, and his attention flicked back to what Kieran was carrying.

"Do I have to?" Kieran repeated, grinning as he held up the trimmer and began flicking the switch to test it. It buzzed with the same eager anticipation as everyone else. “Hell, yes—I think so, homie. Don’t you?”


“Looks like you already did some of the heavy lifting!” Kieran sniggered, making Ryan squirm for what he guessed he was about to lose as Kieran brushed his fingers through the hallowed turf of Ryan’s neatly trimmed hairs. “Still, I think we've got us some time for a bit of close pruning!”

Whether Ryan agreed or not was irrelevant. All he could do was watch helplessly as Kieran snapped the guard to its lowest setting.

"Oh you BASTARD…FUCKING HELL...!" Ryan lurched, but it was no good. The energetic razor buzzed into life, and was pushed against his groin. The rechargeable trimmer—and where it came from, Ryan didn't know...probably from the locker of someone who liked to keep facial hair down—seemed efficient enough. Turned at an angle, Kieran marched it across Ryan’s bush like a shovel.

It was ruthless!

“You fuck!” Hungrily, the trimmer ate up Ryan’s dark pubes, and he grimaced as the curls floated down his stomach and across his face. Kieran showed absolutely no mercy as the length of the guards left Ryan with nothing much more than a quarter-centimeter of awkward bristles. He didn't have that much body hair—just over his dick, armpits and lower legs—but Kieran made sure all those places got some attention as, amidst howls of laughter, he drove the trimmer relentlessly.

By the time it was finished, the trimmer—which looked like it had seen a few years—was beginning to struggle. Coming at a point where the excitable chatter had abated, Jacko's voice called out.

"It's running out of juice!"

Ryan's eyes flicked outwards to where just a few feet away, Jacko’s face was alive with humor. Like everyone else, he seemed delighted to be watching Ryan get cut down.

"Juice?” Kieran's face appeared from between Ryan’s legs, and he winked as he brazenly gave Ryan's stubbled groin a rub. He lifted up Ryan’s shaft between two fingers. "I wouldn't worry about that, kiddo. I think we'll soon find he's got plenty of juice left in the bottle!"

The room cracked up, but at the crude humor, Ryan could see Jacko's eyes widen. On the school tennis courts, Ryan had become something of a mentor to the cheeky-faced lad, taking the kid under his wing to help coach his technique and improve his gameplay.  Now the room erupted at the idea that Jacko’s mentor might well be coaching him in a different technique!

God, could it really come to that?

They all seemed to think so, and he scowled at the faces leering at him...all alive with expectation of what they all knew was to come.

Not fucking likely…not if he could tear himself loose!

In fact, as they’d made room for Kier to buzz his legs, Ryan could feel a relaxing in the grip that Jason had clamped over his shins. It was almost loose enough that a sudden twist might just be enough to pull it free. They might end up in a heap, but he’d have a fighting chance to—

"Oh—just one more thing…" Kieran snickered. Back in Ryan’s field of vision again, he apparently hadn't finished as he ran the tips of his fingers around the stubble where Ryan's bush used to be. He shook his head and made an announcement.

"I dunno, guys. It still feels a bit rough to me!" He smirked and drew something out of his pocket.

Ryan’s eyes went wide. “Oh FUCKING HELL… Don’t you d—”

“Dare?” Kieran waved the disposable razor for the benefit of those watching. “What do you think, guys? Should we get him a bit more more…umm…smooth…?”

“Oh my God!” Squealing from the row behind Jacko, Wingy was open mouthed. “No! Really…?”

"Oh you fucking son of a bitch!” Ryan groaned at the implications of what was in Kieran’s hand.

“Christ, Kier!” Someone whooped with laughter from out of sight back in the room. “You’re actually gonna fucking shave him?!”

"Fucking-A we are!" Ethan crowed, appearing at Kieran's side. He lifted one of the soap dispensers and squirted, and Ryan swore at the sudden application of cold watery soap. Ryan twisted dismay as Kieran showed no hesitation in massaging the soapy liquid all over him, taking in both his slightly wrinkled shaft and his nuts, spreading it widely.

Kieran was never one for being reluctant for when it came to getting the job done, and, rules or not, he didn’t balk at grasping Ryan’s shaft.

“The thing is, homie,” Kieran said, chatting amiably as he stretched Ryan’s shaft firmly up towards Ryan knees, “if you give you get. Call this payback!”

Ryan swore as the blade came into contact an inch up his shaft. Shit…there went any hope of getting off easily!

"I wouldn't move if I was you, Ry," Ethan sniggered.

Holding Ryan taut to stretch the skin, Kieran firmly drew the triple-bladed head straight through the thick soap, sweeping all the way up to Ryan’s belly button. A wide furrow of bare skin appeared, and the room went ape-shit!

And there was not a thing Ryan could do about it!

“I gotta warn you, though, Ry,” Kieran snickered as he uncovered another long trench of flesh. “It fucking itches in a few days!”

Kieran was ruthless. Constantly apply fresh soapy water, once he’d shaved everything in one direction, he reversed and scraped back the other way. Then he went side to side. He took it all off, even going down onto Ryan’s upper legs to get them smooth, too. He even risked scraping the blades over Ryan’s nuts. At the same time, Ethan seemed to be in possession of a second razor, and took it on himself to shave the hair from Ryan’s lower legs. Between them they ensured Ryan became totally smooth from the waist down.

All around them guys were splitting their sides while Ryan bore the whole humiliating transformation with gritted teeth, desperately regretting every square inch of hair he’d similarly helped scrape from Kieran not many months previously. It took only a few minutes to complete, although, like Kier, Ryan knew he would bear the humiliation of it for weeks.

The impact was shocking—far worse than a short-lived body stretch—as he was regressed by the blades to the appearance of a middle-school kid with a rather chubby dick! Nothing remained from his belly button to his ankles—not even a 5 o’clock shadow—leaving his pink, freshly shaven skin the center of total ridicule.

"There …now that looks a whole lot better, homie!” Kieran snickered. After having achieved a complete defoliation where it counted, he used paper towels to rub away the excess soap and dry Ryan off.

“You SHIT!”

“Fucking hell, I think he’s got it bad for you, Kier!” Ethan snorted, pointing at a dick that was no longer soft.

With the soap and with Kieran’s constant manipulation as he’d shaved him, Ryan hadn’t been able to help it. Maybe Kier hadn’t done it deliberately, but that didn’t change the outcome, and Ryan had filled out—a soft slug that had been aroused into a determined semi. He could feel it and see it, and everyone else could, too!

Kieran poked at it.

“Look on the bright side, homie…at least if you get a blow job, the chick’s not gonna be picking hairs from her teeth!” He grinned out into faces that looked back with expectant glee. "Okay guys, just remember—be nice afterwards. It's not his fault he's about to spunk over the floor!"

"PISS OFF, YOU SHITHEAD!" Too silent for too long, Ryan’s uncomfortable anger swelled. "It's not going to fucking happen!"

Kieran’s eyes narrowed, and he laughed—a little more meanly this time. “Really? Like Ethan said—it looks like you don’t even need a sock on there, bud!”

Ethan snickered. "I think the last time he looked like this was when we benched him in back in Freeman’s class!”

‘Did he pop one up, then, too?” demanded one of the middle-school kids who was standing near the front. He was grinning in delight as he found his voice.

“I don’t know how the hell you got in here, kiddo,” Landon cackled, leering that direction, “but you’ve got some fucking nerve. Stick around…today he’s gonna show you where jizz comes from! You might even learn something!”

“Sick fucks!” Ryan growled as his dick rapidly deflated. To cover his embarrassment, he spat a threat. “And if you think I’m ever going to forget this, you’re so fucking wrong!”

Who needed friends like this?

"Oh, oh…fighting talk there, homie!” Kieran looked across the heads towards the far corner. "What do you think, Joe?”

Ryan could just see the face of the Asian chess fanatic, who grimaced and colored as he realized he'd been put on the spot. Joe’s dark eyes flashed uncomfortably, maybe wondering ‘what he thought about what’ as he got a few friendly slaps on the back from those round about him.

“Let’s put it this way,” Kieran continued, encouraging a reply. “On a scale of one to ten, how long d'ya think our boy’s gonna last?"

Joe grinned at last and called back in his irregular accent. "I think I give him a three!"

"Three?" Kieran shook his head and even lifted Ryan’s still soft dick in display. "Jeez, you’re tough! I was gonna give him at least a five. What about going to get one of your chess clocks? We could time him to see if he sets a record!"

"No way!" Joe seemed to be enjoying himself now, and had a knowing gleam in his eye. "When you're shaved, I heard it goes a lot faster! By the time I get back here, he's going to be all done!"

All done? To most, this exchange between two veterans of the Hang was priceless, but Ryan wasn’t one of them.

"Maybe Joe's right, homie?" Kieran pulled a face and leered knowingly. "Either way, it's a hell of a journey, and we're all gonna find out soon enough!"

"Come on now, girls!" Ending the interlude, Landon pushed Kieran out of the way, and stepped back up to the plate, clearly keen to get back into the limelight. "With all his pubes gone, the poor guy's going to be getting chilly. Why don't we start a little friction to warm him up?"

Ryan felt a sock being pulled of his foot, and around him there was what felt like a communal licking of the lips.

"Fucking stop RIGHT THERE!" Ryan twisted and heaved as Landon made a great show of looping the sock into a ligature around him. Ryan knew what the sock would do, but his outburst was overshadowed by a chorus of delight as Landon drew the ends until Ryan felt the pressure begin to increase. He couldn't help but grunt as the constriction became increasingly tight and the banding pushed out his freshly shaven nuts.

Oh Christ!

“Feeling nice and snug?” JJ snickered, hanging tight onto Ryan’s arm as Ryan pulled at them again.

“FUCK OFF!” Ryan tried not to let the tight feeling get to him.

Landon seemed satisfied with the banding, and secured it. His eyes glinted. "Time to see what you've got, know what happens next!" With that, he pulled Ryan's boxers back into place, snapping the waistband into place over the top of his shaft.

“Bastards!” Ryan hissed, but he knew he was in trouble.

Trying to ignore the effect of the cuff, he tracked Jacko’s gaze again. Those eyes flicked down from where they'd clearly been locked and they made eye contact. Jacko looked unsettled and broke the contact quickly. It made Ryan feel guilty, even though none of what was happening was his fault in the slightest. He could already feel the effect of the cuff and could feel his dick beginning to swell, and was rattled. It was so damn tight...

By the time I get back here, he's going to be all done—

He knew that Kieran and Joe were right. Almost everyone juiced. And if he did, too, how the fuck would anyone be able to take him seriously again? Unexpectedly, something scraped the base his sockless foot. It was startling, and he squeaked and jerked up and down.

Landon's ruthless leer peered down. "Shit, Ry! I didn't know you were that ticklish!" He was clearly enjoying himself; ringmaster of an act that he probably hoped would be hard to beat— one that would go down in the annals of school history as the day they'd galvanized Ryan Alexis to spurt.

Ryan felt the jolting scrape again and swore as he pulled violently at his bonds. They had no idea how ticklish he actually was. Then his boxers began to move and the torturous advance began, pushing and pulling the material around his groin to try to get him aroused.  Around the front, the waistband rode repeatedly over his sweet spot. On his backside, the material began to work its way into his backside.

Not if I can fucking help it!

He raged at them silently as his jaunty underwear began to be pulled up into his crack, and he squeezed his butt cheeks together to resist the invasion. It did nothing more than to invite the inevitable split. Landon coughed and raised a hand and immediately the crowd hushed for him.

“Guys…give me a bit of space can you? You’re crowding me!” He smirked cheekily and the two African Americans took the cue and began to slowly move away from each other—the impact of the side steps inducing the split. Ryan gritted his teeth as they began to slowly separate him like some obscene upside-down Russian gymnast glued to the parallel bars. There was absolutely nothing he could do as they drew him apart…wider and wider, until…

 "SHIT!" He grunted in discomfort, and around him, faces creased at their sport.  

Again, Landon heaved down on the tortured underwear. With his legs pulled wider, Ryan found it difficult to deny them, and the tight wedge slipped a little deeper into his crack. At the front, the black waistband clamped down tighter, beginning to persecute him.

"I'm sure we can do a bit better than that guys!" Landon appeared like some modern day Sampson as the stood between the two African-Americans. With a hand on each, he physically drove them apart.

"Bloody fucking HELL!" It was a hellish ordeal! Not only did it rack up a shooting pain in his groin, but also his backside opened up a whole lot more. The back panel of his boxers were rolled into a thong and forced even deeper inside his backside.

"FUCK!" He swore again as explosions of anger returned to bolster his sense of worth in response to the obscene treatment.

Landon gasped. “Ryan Alexis! I’m shocked! Such fucking naughty language—and there are kids present, too. I'm gonna have to spank your arse!” With that he gave Ryan a smack across his open cheeks.

And then another.

"WHAT THE FUCK! Piss off, you pervert!” Nobody had EVER been spanked in a Hang before. How FUCKING DARE he!

The multitude went ape-shit at the comedy as Ryan yelped at the demeaning attack on his backside. Even Jacko was creased up as Landon smacked Ryan again.

Ryan howled with impotent rage, but the high-pitched voice didn’t sound like his own, and it just made everyone roar the louder! It seemed that Landon sensed the approval he was getting and he hit Ryan again, harder this time.

“Dear, dear, young man…” came Landon’s matronly tones, “those are naughty words again!” His face was alive with his own cleverness. “You’re going to need a bit more discipline!”

With Ryan's dark red boxers twisted tight and wedged into his crack like a sumo wrestler, Landon had unrestricted access to his backside, and hit him full on. Hard and brutal.

And then again.

And again.



For Ryan, seething with anger up to that point, everything changed.

He shouted with a beating that struck right at the very heart of his being, dragging him back in time in a way that had nothing to do with the physical alterations the razors had brought.

THWACK! Landon hit him again, and Ryan yowled with a pain that threatened to consume him on every level. The images flashed through his head, and he could hear the words as they came back to life from the deepest of black pits.

You will respect me, son! Is that clear?

He’d been at an age when he’d had enough years to learn to hate his father, yet too few to know how, and when, to retreat. Whatever happened, Ryan was always at fault. Nothing was ever good enough. Yet setting himself against his father in a clash of wills was always a battle that ended up across the man’s knee.

A hand at first, it had soon progressed to a belt—always with his pants and underwear down to maximize the humiliation. And when he was too old for the knee, he would have to lean across the top of his parent’s bed while his father beat the crap out of him.

You WILL RESPECT me, son! Are we CLEAR about that?

Each beating ended the same way. His father would stand him up on his two feet and demand, ‘Are we good now?

Good? What the hell was good about any of it? He was given a choice. If he glared and showed the slightest hint of rebellion, it would start all over again.

You WILL respect me, son! ARE WE CLEAR?

Finally, usually in tears and unable to take any more, he would hang his head and nod. ‘We’re good.’ His will would collapse and his father would look satisfied. 

You know it’s only because I love you…” the bastard would say, and Ryan would have to try not to shrink in fear, anger and disgust at the pseudo-hug his father would then give him alongside meaningless words of love that were only another means of control and domination.


Landon hit Ryan again and Ryan cried in pain.

Maybe those observing the treatment could sense the depth of his distress because there was an immediate marked cooling in the mood as it seemed that there were those who were beginning to doubt what Landon was doing. Perhaps Landon sensed it, too, and he quickly withdrew his hand, no doubt wanting to get the audience back on his side. In the hiatus, Ryan felt something scrape his foot again. He jumped and squeaked. He felt his other sock being pulled, and fingers assaulted the balls of both his feet.

All at once, he was writhing. Fingers—he didn’t know whose—reached around from behind him and dug into his ribs. He shrieked, though the underlying tones of it were completely different from the cries forced from him. It was still cruel, but in a different kind of way.

He dissolved into screaming laughter, jerking around in his bonds like some upside-down, demented marionette. And as quickly as it had abated, the side-splitting laughter that surrounded him, re-awoke.

Probably it was Leroy and Jason who were going unmercifully at his feet, because, under the cover of hilarity, Landon spanked Ryan’s backside again.


He squeaked and howled, and in the middle of it, Landon began forcing him to split again. Ryan had lost control of any muscles to resist them, and pain erupted as they opened him wide. Unhindered, and pulling hard on Ryan’s underwear, Landon forced it deep into his backside.


Still it wouldn’t stop. Full on and debilitating, his backside was a mass of fire. The fingers at his waist, now pushed up to his armpits and continued to keep him from getting under control. He was convulsing and shrieking as every single person watching shrieked, too. His father jeered from the souls of every one of them.


He could hardly breathe.

"LUKE!" He begged, though he was unable to turn the words into meaningful sounds. The tears running from his eyes might have been confused with mirth, but they weren’t that. "MAKE THEM STOP!"

Frantically, he swung his head, searching for help. Todd was wiping his eyes, unable to stop roaring. Jacko was almost bent double. Everybody was howling.

In his pain, Ryan almost became too fearful to look further, but before he could close his eyes, a face came into view, peering around somebody’s head.

Crowing at his pain and shame. Luke.

It was the moment that Ryan broke.

Breaking someone’s spirit is an inexact science. Some people are broken accidentally, some by careful management, some even by brute force. Pain is a factor, both physical and emotional and, though humiliation might not be the same as a broken spirit, it can lead to it.

Anger, and the desire for revenge are the usual healthy responses coming from an individual who suffers some humiliation. But, if the circumstances are right and the sense of being crushed is deep enough, then humiliation can give way to personal shame and defeat.

For Ryan Alexis, at that singular moment, his sense of shame multiplied. With the disgrace inflicted on him, he foundered at the loss of support and backup of those he thought he could trust. With the belief that all his friends wanted to see him degraded, his confidence wavered and then shattered.

He broke. And he fled.

Appallingly frightened by the room that had just closed in on him, he shut his eyes to try to block it all out—escaping with the false hope that if he couldn’t see them, they wouldn’t be able to see him. In the blackness, his father chased him, and his screechings became gasp, loud and tormented, and they lasted long after the tickling and swats had finally stopped.

“Oh my God, Ry…” Landon was still roaring with laughter as he stepped back to wipe tears from his eyes. “I think Todd just wet himself!” He hadn’t noticed that he was the only one in the room who was still laughing, a room that had grown unusually quiet.

Ryan hung loosely in their grip, trying to get his breath. He was exhausted, the fight drained from him, but as he tried to get his head back to the present, an incredulous bark ricocheted around the room.

"HOLY SHIT, Alexis. Is that the best you can get?!"

It burst out moments after he had got himself together enough to realize the truth of what they had seen. His underwear had been slowly tightened and pulled away at the front. By now his shaft was been completely exposed. Landon peered between Ryan's legs.

"Christ, Ry! Does that thing actually do anything?" The surprise in his face was genuine, and the contempt in his tone said it all.

Ryan knew why Landon and now some others were mocking, and flushed. The banding sock along with the intense pinch of his boxers had done its job, leaving him almost painfully hard, and a network of angry veins laced a swollen shaft which had the appearance of a stubby banana, curving tightly out of a hairless root. It evidenced what he already knew—he wasn’t a grower. In a world where size mattered, he was as big as he would get, and even though the loss of pubic hair gave the extra appearance of length, his erection was nowhere near enough for them.

And it wasn't just Landon who scorned in disbelief. From every face that Ryan could see, came smirks of derision. He hadn't the courage to look anywhere near where Luke had been standing.

“Anyone got a ruler?” Landon goaded. “I reckon four and a half inches at best!”

"It might be a bit more if you could straighten it out!" someone shrieked.

"Hey…Gillespie!" A voice Ryan couldn't quite put a name to, called out. "Looks like you've got something to aspire to!"

"Hey…asshole…" This time, Ryan recognised the voice of Danny Gillespie, who retorted without hesitation. "I used it last night to shaft your sister!"

Ryan was disturbed by the exchange. He knew Danny Gillespie quite well—the kid was in Simon's class. Did that mean that Simon was out there, too?

"Mother of Mary!" It was Mitchell this time. "My fucking bulldog sprouts a bigger dick than that!"

“So tell us, jerkoff,” Todd immediately shot back in Mitchell's direction. “Did that pooch bite yours off while it was sucking you off, or were you born with that weenie?” Todd's tone as he nailed Mitchell may have sounded more supportive of Ryan, but Todd himself was still grinning.

"Fuck you, Quince!" There was knowing laughter as Mitchell found himself the one with the short straw. Despite it, Ryan couldn’t manage anything more than to somehow attempt to gather his tattered self-belief.

"Fuck you …" he muttered, but it came out as a thin, defeated hiss.

Fuck all of you!

“Come on, bud, we haven’t got all day!” Landon grinned, suddenly all business like again. "Assuming that that thing can actually shoot, it's time to show us what you've got!"

Landon picked up the band of Ryan’s boxers, pulling some slack out of what was seriously wedged, positioning the words that were emblazoned on the waistband right onto the sweet spot behind the head of Ryan’s dick. Over the top of his increasingly sensitive head, the EUROBOY band worked to seduce him. With the right kind of material and the right application of pressure, it was just a matter of time.

In no apparent hurry, Landon continued to draw the waistband of Ryan’s boxers relentlessly over his short shaft, slipping it back and forth across his sweet spot. Ryan twisted and pulled, but Matt and JJ held him firmly, their faces silently crowing, ‘You’re not going anywhere, Alexis. Not till you’re done!

The move heralded the onset of the endgame, though just then, Ryan couldn't generate enough fight to care about what would happen if he was unable to control himself. The longer it continued, the more powerless he became. In the battle of wills, his confidence told him that he’d already lost.

Yes, we're good....

In front of him, the upside-down world of the front row seemed monopolized by younger, smaller guys—a couple even seemed to be kids who’d sneaked in from the lower years, using their size to squeeze through to the front for the best view. It was all he could see now; them and a few heads peering from behind.

Several of those at the front had their hands in their pockets, and they were close enough that Ryan could spot the subtle signs of hands pulling at underwear, trying to get comfortable. Jacko was among them, squeezed in just in front of Wingford. Jacko’s jacket was long, and was drawn together at the front, yet out of sight of those on either side of the younger teen, Ryan could see movement there, too.

It was an accepted quirk of the ritual that was being played out—if you needed to…adjust…yourself, nobody would mind. In the communal memory of that day, all of that would be eradicated. All they would recall would be Ryan’s humiliation—that and the spurts of jizz they confidently expected him to unload.

It was hard to be angry with the younger kids who were secretly jerking off. He’d been there, too, and had ended up doing exactly the same a couple of times when he was their age when at his first Hangs. Ryan’s mood was so dark, however, his defeat so complete, it was difficult to give them even a moment’s thought. He just felt thoroughly degraded, and to be used like that…for somebody else’s gratification, seemed right and proper. It was easy just to blank it out.

As though he had breathed the dentist’s nitrous oxide, his world had become fuzzy, detached, and he began drifting into a place where he could escape the horrendous inevitability of it all.

Maybe he was about to faint and escape into unconsciousness?

It almost felt like it, though he knew he would never be so lucky. He’d hung for so long, his head had filled with blood and buzzed as Landon and those around him kept up an endless stream of provoking chatter. Even that began to blur at the edges, leaving just his purple, swollen helmet and the teasing waistband that rubbed incessantly over it.

 “Come on, Scott.” Mitchell’s hidden voice broke out from somewhere deep inside the waiting crowd. “Get on with it. You can see he’s fucking ready!”

“For Christ’s sake!” agreed another, their tone impatient. “I've got stuff to do! Just get him spermed!”

Other voices rose too, all baying for the same outcome.

Bastards, Ryan thought, unable to rouse himself enough at first to utter it. His biceps strained and he got his voice back. ‘It’s fucking NEVER going to happen!”

Matt and JJ were hardly troubled by Ryan’s attempts to escape, and JJ needled him. “How’s it feeling? Ready to spunk yet, ‘cos—”

"Never going to happen?” Landon interrupted. “If you say so, pal, but you’re fucking leaking, so let’s see!”

Ryan’s jerked his head up to see that Landon was right. Immediately several hands got hold of his red trunks, to loosen them and slip them onto the top of his legs. By now, inflamed and rippled with livid veins, the stumpy curve was smearing pre-cum onto his belly—though if Ryan had cared about such things, he might have even been satisfied to see it had forced another quarter of an inch out of him.

Landon’s mouth creased into a sneer and he grunted, “I mean, how the fuck do you even get hold of this thing?”

Kieran had already broken past the no-touch barrier some time ago, but Landon still hesitated in taking Ryan in his hand. Nearby, Ethan was poised with the bottle of soapy solution which he applied liberally until it dripped down Ryan’s stomach.

‘STOP!’  Ryan screamed as the soap dripped on him, but the word was only in his head. He tensed as Landon finally wrapped his hand in place and the mean grin broadened as the room seemed to give him the green light. Quickly, Landon settled into his task.

Ryan grimaced and swore, though weakly. It must only have been ten minutes, but it seemed like a lifetime since he'd committed to the belief that he would never capitulate. Now, as the sensations started to grow as Landon continued to jerk him, his confidence slipped. Trying to ignore the growing pressure, he closed his eyes to block them all out, determined—if nothing else—to refuse them the satisfaction of his voice as they taunted him.

To distract himself, he looked away, only to find himself seeing what he wished he hadn’t. Maybe it had only started by a need to adjust his pants, but shielded by the drop of Jacko's slightly too-large jacket, there was a flash of boxers past a toffee-brown hand that had slipped down a zip and pushed inside. A hand that was clearly moving.

With no idea he was being observed as he kept perfect pace with the slow, rhythmic movements of Landon’s grip, Jacko was clearly masturbating.

Ryan tried to ignore it. This was not what he wanted. Even so, he couldn’t tear his eyes away completely, and unknown to the boy, stared up towards Jacko’s face. Ryan had always hoped that, sometime in his life, there would be a guy who might want to share some deeply intimate with him; someone special.

But not like this.

The background noise returned to an incomprehensible buzz as he studied the kid becoming increasingly flushed as Jacko began to pick up the pace of his own secret masturbation. Through the open zip, his hand was pushed under the light grey of his underwear, and his mouth opened to facilitate an increased rate of breathing. Mimicking Landon, he was building up speed, becoming flushed with it as if driven so hard, he was losing the ability to care if others around him noticed what he was doing. Ryan could see he was getting close.

Then, quite abruptly, Jacko’s face froze, and only his mouth moved, twisting into a tightly controlled clenching grimace as his own private climax struck. Still glued to Ryan’s groin, Jacko’s eyes took on a glazed, unfocused appearance as his whole frame seemed to shudder in time with each of his hidden contractions. Ryan had no doubt he was jizzing inside his boxers.

After he’d ejaculated, Jacko stood motionless for long moments, frozen in an aftermath of release. He slumped and his eyes closed as his breathing slowed, becoming shallower, and he quietly slipped his hand out from between his zip. Then, a sense of apprehension seemed to exert itself, and his eyes opened and flicked to left and right, showing relief that he appeared to have been unobserved.

Then, that same face looked down and caught Ryan looking directly at him. The younger teen seemed completely horrified at being found out, and his toffee-brown face flushed with the complexities of guilt and shame.

Unable to bear it, Ryan silently cried for him. It was all there. He'd seen all of Jacko's secrets laid bare in that single glance. Coming from a face and a place that could so easily have been his own, he ached for a guy who he knew would only look forward to years of secrets—playing the game, and trying to appear normal.

The terrible destructive guilt of it leaked from Jacko. Much more than just a bit of simple relief, the truth was there to read. That the powerful compulsion of Ryan's uncontrolled arousal had been the complete center of Jacko’s focus…and the kid had been undone by it. The terrified look on his stricken face spoke volumes. 'Oh God...someone knows! Someone has worked out that I'm into guys...that I'm a fucking gay!'

Ryan bore the shame with him, carrying, with everything else, the blame for the agony of fear that being outed was going to bring. Of course, Jacko had no idea he was in safe hands, but that did nothing more than extend Ryan's own self-loathing, knowing he could never tell the lad it was okay, or convince him he was just a normal human who happened to be gay.

Because in the world they lived in, it wasn’t okay.

Jacko broke the eye contact and stared at the floor. He began to back away, slipping to the second row. Nobody else cared about the young up-and-coming tennis player, and they folded around him as he disappeared from sight. Ryan hoped to God the kid wouldn't do anything stupid…

“…SHIT! Look at that! He’s leaking like a freaking tap now!!”

Ryan lurched and twisted his head up, dragged right back into the immediacy of his situation by Ethan’s sneering bark. FUCK! What had he been thinking? He'd been drifting and watching, and now he shuddered as he realized how much he'd let it slip.

Ohhhh…please God…no…

Landon pounced on it. “Get the sock off him, someone…I don’t think he fucking needs it now!” Quickly hands pulled at the synching twists and let Ryan loose. Twisting and reversing his grip, Landon hardly let up as more soap kept Ryan slick.

Ryan immediately spiked.

“Ohhhh…” His legs clenched over the shoulders that held him, and the sudden tightening in his stomach muscles pulled his shoulder away from the floor. Ryan couldn’t help digging his fingers into the forearms of Matt and JJ as they gripped them tightly, and he groaned, “…fuck.”

The keyed-up undertone of Ryan’s expletive was different to any previous outburst, and Matt’s eyes lit up. “Fucking A—here we go!” Matt wasn’t alone. Around about them, hungry grins were plastered on every face as they all spotted the moment that Ryan Alexis was turned.

“Get some more fucking soap on him!” JJ squealed. He licked his lips and his tone was inflamed, joining dozens who broke out of their patient simmer to become fired up with delight.

More lubricant flowed, and Landon looked totally assured as he continued to speed up, setting up a twisting pumping action. “You are so fucking going to blow, bud!”

“Nnnnngg….” Feverish, Ryan stared at the hand that persecuted him. “You bastard…” Any determination not to make any noise, fell by the wayside. “...ahhhh….FUCK!”

“Hey looks like you’re on a short fuse!” Grinning with unsympathetic relish, Matt relayed his findings. “Sorry guys, it doesn’t look like he's gonna make it past a two!”

"Fucking hell, you've got him!"

Who it was, Ryan had no idea. He just knew that the guy was right. Since the moment he’d been dragged across the tiles it had been like a slow climb up the steep part of a fairground Big Dipper; the first carriage of a train grinding relentlessly to the top.  At last he’d reached the peak and his stomach muscles clenched as he pulled against the grips on his arms and tensed. He would last less than two dozen or so strokes, but each of those felt like a lifetime as he had regained enough of himself to battle the inevitable as the train passed the top and gathered speed down the far side.

“Fucking stop…please don’t…” He roiled against the powerful sensations, and the muscles in his abdomen clenched, levering his whole frame upwards. His tongue loosened further. “Ohhhh…God…..."

"Keep jerking him…he's fucking gonna jizz!...”.

Voices came from all sides and he didn’t even know or care who they belonged to as they piled over each other and became a background clutter of pressure.


…come on Ry, let it come! You know you want to…!”


“Fight it, bud!” The tone lowered, but its timbre was still such that Ryan could still hear every word. “You know I’m right—if he fights it, it’s gonna build to be fucking awesome when he creams!”

“…come on Alexis—don’t let it get to you….hang on…you know you can beat it!...”

“Fuck…SCOTT…unngggg …NO…!” Unable to restrain his desperation, Ryan was incapable of keeping the distressed tones out of his voice.

 “…holy fuck, he’s gonna cum…Oh my God, look at that…”

Ryan’s face must have been bright red with exertion as he twisted and bucked in Landon’s grip, but Landon had the tiger by the tale and wasn't about to let go!

"…Christ....stop…STOP!" An expectant hiatus fell, and he found himself to be the only one making any sound, but now that he’d let his tongue loose, he couldn't stop. His tortured mind fixated on the single thought that EVERYTHING depended on not ejaculating and he gave up any control over speech and sound. Was he any different from Kieran or Joe or a dozen others?

He lurched and tried to twist upwards again. His arms bulged as he tried to force a hand to tear at Landon as Landon’s grip shifted. Rhythmic and deep, one hand locked itself under his dickhead, driving up into it like fire, and the other stretched his hard, curving shaft.

All at once, Ryan knew he was going to unload. Somehow Landon had discovered the secret to creating a response that only Ryan had had the keys to up until then. Now someone else was completely in control.

“Ahh…ahh..unnh…unngg…ahhh…” He was becoming a staccato of cries, matched by spasming jerks.

"You’ve got him!"

"Motherfucker! Oh YEAH—he really IS gonna blow!"

Applying pressure back on his arms and shoulders, Matt and JJ forced Ryan down, and held him firmly. He squeezed shut his eyes, batting his head from side to side.

"Ahhhfuuucckkk..." He swore and jerked and writhed and heaved as Landon further speeded up the coercion, closing him to the point where he was about to cum. His head screamed ‘NO!’, as his body got ready to be emptied.

"OH FUCK! You bastard…" Every movement threatened to be the last as Landon’s grip became increasingly tight around him, grinding hard under his head and he jerked over the back of the shoulders like a tortured marionette.

His unrestrained cries were met with pin drop silence.

If he fights it, it makes it better! Instinctively he knew this was going to be true. He had held out too long already.

“Come on, bud…” In Ryan’s ear, Matt goaded him, his tone heavy with raunchy sex. “Push yourself deep into that chick! She wants it so bad!”

"Unh…FUUUCK...NO!" The hand that drove him could have been Landon's, it could have been his own...fuck it could been anyone's. It really didn't matter anymore.

JJ took up the torment from the other side. “Oh fuck…Ry…she’s gonna cum!” He began groaning in a heavily sexualised tone. “Uuhhh....uhhhh… NNNGG..NNNGGG…YES!”

“Oh…” He grunted, almost a cough of surprise. It was almost a relief that it was about over. “Oooohhhhh….” The grunt became a long, drawn out moan as, with it, his shoulders lifted away from the floor as he tensed.

“Ahhhh...UHHHNN…NNNNNGGG..." His expression screwed into a contorted grimace as, in the last moments, everything else went black.

“…Christ…fucking A…here he comes…”

All at once, he unleashed, and the howl that he forced out was uncontrolled. After waiting so long, his whole body was transported into an explosive ecstasy as Landon brought him to the end of the Pleasure Trip with a final series of jerks that forced out the first long, white splashing thread that arched over his head and onto the tiles in front of them. A roar went up around them; whistles and bellows of approval as he convulsed over the shoulders that held him fast.

“Uh.. ...UUUNNNGG…" Immediately, he shot again, continuing to heave, groaning with each contraction. His body froze into a catatonic arch with little hope of stopping the milking of jizz.

“…oh FUCKING HELL, look at that…”

 “Ahhhrgrgg...Uhhhh…Unnngg." A third followed the first two. Squealing and out of control, he continued thrusting blindly into the fist that compelled him.

Landon was ruthless. As each gout cannoned like an uncontainable pressure hose, each spurt forcing outbursts of painful pleasure from Ryan’s lips, he kept jerking Ryan's hard, curved inches. Ryan shook and spasmed with every aftershock until there was nothing left, and still Landon showed no sign of letting up. It became an agony of overstimulation and he thrashed and screeched while they held him fast and bellows of delight flew around the room.

Landon finally let go and his words fell over themselves. “HOLY SHIT! Did you see that? Fucking AWESOME!”


Panting and drained, Ryan flopped back against the human frame that displayed him, and kept his eyes closed as his chest hammered.

 Shrieks of delight were erupting out around him, and Ryan gradually opened his eyes to be greeted by faces that were bright with elation, all revelling in the intensity of the way he'd just been milked dry. The kids on the front row were pointing to the floor where his jizz was spattered in white streaks.

Exhausted, he made no attempt to do anything but hang in slack defeat as the yammering in his chest slowed.


Now that his climax had drawn out, all that was left was a crushing humiliation and the last dribbles of soap and semen that had spilt onto his chest. He closed his eyes trying to black out the memory of his shouts, the heaving, and the burning pleasure as he’d been emptied.


Above him, his still-engorged dick remained an obscene memorial to his undoing, and past that, the red of a pair of boxers were still at his knees. Out of a baby-smooth groin, his dick pointed hard and accusing in the direction of where he’d spurted. Despite his firmest intentions, it had been so easy from them to get him to the end. One minute he’d been assing around having fun, the next he was creaming for them.

Making no attempt to cover him up, Landon jeered, loud and jubilant. "I gotta give it to you Ry." He was alive with the aura of his own power. "That was TOTALLY…FUCKING…. MAGNIFICENT!"

They let go of his arms, but Ryan continued to hang there slackly. He had nothing left to give. Then they dropped him, and he hit the floor and groaned. He put his hands over his still-erect penis and hung his head.

Laughing and juiced-up by what they’d pulled off, they gathered their stuff and left him sitting on the floor. As he pulled his boxers up his legs and onto his backside, he kept his head down. Slowly, people began to leave, some coming over first to smack him on the back with spirited humor in their grinning tones. He kept his head lowered until there seemed to be no more voices and the swinging bang of the door had finally come to a stop.

He looked up. Two people were left, and silently they seemed to be waiting. Todd had recovered his pants and stepped closer to lay them down next to Ryan. He looked awkward and didn't speak. Luke brought the belt, shoes and socks. Stepping back a pace, they watched quietly.

Feeling the multiple pains of his treatment, Ryan stood tenderly. Turning away from those he had thought were his friends, he adjusted his underwear, flinching as he glanced at the impact of the humiliating defoliation.

At least he was soft.

He covered up and kept his back to them, hoping they would get the message and just leave him alone as he painstakingly unrolled his shirt and then gingerly stepped into his school pants.

“Sorry, Ry." A tentative voice came from behind. "I didn’t really plan any of that, bud…you have to know that...”

Ryan’s eyes flicked up briefly into the mirror as he drew up his pants and did the zip. Todd sounded as awkward as he looked. Bending with difficulty to put on a sock, Ryan shook his head and stayed silent, trying to blank the inner turmoil. Todd waited, watching, but had nothing further to add.

The door crashed open, and some kid put his head in. All three of them turned to see who it was. Seeing nobody there but the three of them, the kid sniggered and left, letting the door swish behind him.

“Anyway…I…” Todd didn’t finish, and finally shrugged. Backing away, he, too, left the room.

Ryan remained tender, feeling as much crippled by the shame of his display as by the stabbing pains in his bum and thighs where they’d forced him to do a split. In fact, he hurt everywhere. He caught a glimpse of himself again in the multiple mirrors and grimaced, and began to tuck himself in to look less of a mess.


Ryan’s eyes flicked into the mirror. Luke was still there. Silently he stared at him and then looked away and leaned over the sink, waiting.


“WHAT?” Ryan growled, flicking up his eyes again.

"I…are you okay?"

Was he OK? No…not really.

Ryan suddenly felt more fragile than he could remember. How easy it would be to give in to the need to cry. There were questions he wanted to ask Luke: Why did you stay to watch, and why didn’t you stop them? Yet he knew that if he voiced them right then, he’d be unable to stop breaking down.

Silently, he buckled up his pants and finished straightening his shirt before starting to put on his shoes.

“Do you need any—”

"I'm fine…" But he wasn't fine and his voice sounded broken, too.

Just leave me alone.

"That was really…brutal," Luke muttered, still hanging in the background.


That was one way of describing it. Maybe Luke thought he was helping, but Ryan didn’t want to talk right now. Not to him. Not to anyone.


He picked up his jacket that was still lying, untouched, near one of the sinks.


Ryan flared in anger, whipping his head around to face Luke. “What the FUCK do you actually want?”

Luke flinched and dropped his head.

I fucking thought so.

The anger passed quickly, and Ryan’s voice became dry and raspy as he stared at a point on the floor. “Just fucking leave me alone.”

More would become tears and he couldn’t bear the thought of more weakness. Carefully slipping on the jacket, he picked up his backpack that had been resting on the floor, forgotten until then. Keeping the pain to himself, he slipped away with it through the door.

Walking slowly along a crowded school corridor, the scoop of the Hang was front page news. Fingers pointed, and laughter and derision seemed to be all around him. Many ran by him, laughing and mocking, and several pushed too close in a deliberate attempt to provoke. The noise and many bright faces were like physical blows, and Ryan kept his burning face down, not wanting to see anybody. Finally, he slipped unobserved into one of the smaller restrooms. It was empty, and he locked himself into one of the stalls and sat quietly on the seat, hugging his arms to his chest, nursing the pain of overstrained tendons.



Quite a few came in and out as he sat there alone. Nobody seemed to be looking for him, but plenty mentioned his name with relish. The Hang was on everyone's lips and they were pretty explicit about it. Those who'd been present unpackaged the gory details for those who were kicking themselves for missing it. They sniggered about the spanking and tickling, about his undersized wiener that had been shaved bare, and about those sexy dark-red boxers that got so totally wedged in his backside that it was completely fucking obscene!

And the finale?

One kid was avid, describing it as, “a fucking awesome noisy splooge, that had only just missed me!”


Hanging his head, he flushed at the memory of his uncontrolled spurting that had everyone so animated.

He was such a fucking loser.

On one occasion, someone pulled at the door looking for a stall to use, and he stared at the lock, fearful of discovery. As the minutes passed, he shook his head to dislodge the cloying discomfort.

Come on. Get a grip. Move on. Show some respect for yourself.

A few times he stood—an attempt to try to get back on the horse. Every time, he sat back down, lacking the self-confidence that usually came so naturally.

Others had gone through the same he knew. It wasn't even the 'noisy splooge' that stopped him. He tried to tell himself that he didn't even care what people thought about the size of his dick, though the looks of derision on their faces had hurt deeply. He was even afraid to go out into the corridor, and couldn't see how he could lift up his head again at their school. Not after this.

But there was more. Memories that undermined him.

All the things he carried—an abusive father, an alcoholic mother, secrets and loneliness—they tore at any attempt to gather himself. In his head his father hit him, and he failed to do anything more than drop back down onto the seat, the pain in his frame competing with the feelings of worthlessness.

You will obey me... are we clear?

He fought to stop his feelings overwhelming him, but it was too much, and he buried his head in his arms and started crying.

Time finally ran out, and he eventually had no choice but to move. He tried to sort out his outer appearance, tucking in his shirt properly, straightening his tie and washing his face, putting off the moment when he would have to come out into the light.

The corridors had all but emptied as he passed through them, and he was the last to arrive at their first class of the afternoon.

They were waiting for him—as he knew they would be.

Thanks for reading – and I hope you’re okay! I realize that it was not the easiest of chapters, but I never promised it would be all plain sailing. Do take a moment to say a few words in a review.

Riley J

27. Broken Too

An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA

by Riley Jericho

Broken Too

The door swished and then thudded closed as Ryan slipped out of the washroom. Frowning at the retreating figure, Luke was left alone. Now it was over,

...oh shit…

He turned from the the now-closed door, chewing his lower lip and troubled by his own shortcomings as he tried to decide what to do. It had been pretty rough on Ry—brutal hardly covered it—but there really hadn’t been anything either of them could have done about it…was there?

It could have been anyone…

Luke quickly gathered up his own things: his jacket from where he'd left it by the sink tops and his backpack from the floor. Then he hurried after Ryan, pushing out into a crowded hallway. Scanning both left and right through crowds of students, he could see no immediate sign of his friend.

He turned the most likely direction and hurried through the milling crowds, expecting to catch up with Ryan within moments—though he wasn’t at all sure what he was going to say when he did. However, while there was plenty of banter in the crowded corridor that focused on what had just gone down, there was no sign of the focus of it.

Pausing, Luke debated with himself whether he should just let it go. Ryan clearly hadn't wanted to talk just then—that was pretty obvious—but even with that in mind, he still did an about-face and went in the other direction to check for him, anyway.

Still not finding any trace of his friend that way, either, he cast his net wider and spent most of the remaining fifteen minutes of the lunch recess searching high and low for Ryan. He checked all the likely places they normally hung out: home room, the library, and even back in the cafeteria. Everywhere he went, he discovered the buzz of it all had got there before him. A number of kids, most looking for the inside track on Ryan, confronted him to find out more. Trying to disguise his discomfort, Luke brushed them off and kept searching, yet with every passing minute, his disquiet—and sense of guilt—multiplied.

A fine time to suddenly have a fucking conscience!

While he didn’t find Ryan, it didn’t take too long to run into Todd and Kieran. The rest were there, too—a group of them that were clumped together on the grass, including Ethan, Chris Anderson, Adam Miller and Zach. Even Matt Young—who’d been right in the thick of it back in the restroom—was in the huddle, and was grinning his head off. From a distance, it wasn't difficult to make out what had them all buzzing! Most had their jackets slung over their shoulders in the blazing lunchtime sun, and Adam Miller was holding forth.

“Holy shit!” Luke heard Miller chuckle as he drew closer. “The poor bastard’s never going to live that one down! I mean it was like a fucking fountain!”

"I gotta admit," Todd smirked. "I almost wet myself when he turned out to be that ticklish!"

“Nnnnngggg….. fuucckkk” Ethan took the piss and several burst out laughing. “Did you hear him? I mean I’ve seen my share, but that was impressive! And did you see that dick?”

“Impressive?” Miller snickered, meanly. “Really? His dick? I mean, does—”

“Come on guys, be nice.” Kieran's interruption had a subtle undercurrent of warning to it.

"Kier's right," Todd added. "What the hell, anyway. We're all different—mine's black for fucks sake!"

Kieran snickered sarcastically. "Shit! Really?"

 “Well, I don’t care what anyone thinks,” Matt said. “Who cares the fuck about an inch when you can spew that much jizz! Hell—he almost doused me, and JJ's still wiping it off his jacket!”

Exactly—who the fuck cared? Luke was glad to see a couple of others return reluctant nods of agreement.

“Hey, Luke!” Todd noticed Luke was near and waved him over.

“So where is he?” Like the rest of them, Todd seemed buoyant, and glanced past Luke as if he actually expected Ryan to be ambling up, too. “We assumed he—“

 “So were you there?” Ethan interrupted with a smirk. “It was fucking spectacular!”

Luke couldn’t even look at Ethan, Matt or Kier, and his eyes remained locked on Todd. His tone was tight. “I don't know where he is. Have you seen him—I’ve looked everywhere.”

“No idea.” Todd shrugged and shook his head. He appeared to be getting over any sense of guilt he might have been carrying. “Keeping his head down, probably. It’ll be class soon—I guess we’ll see him soon enough.”

Luke knew Todd was right, but he hurried off to keep looking. Either way, the last thing he wanted to do was hang around to hear any more of what that lot had to say about it all!

But where the hell was Ry?

He felt he had to find him, increasingly feeling the need to do something. Apologize. Explain. Console. Make a plan for revenge, even, if that was what it was going to take. Anything! But Ryan was nowhere in sight and, with nowhere else to look, Luke arrived a couple of minutes early for English, hoping to catch Ry before the lesson started. Most of the rest of them were already there by then, too, clustered in small groups and chatting animatedly. From the frequent grins and party atmosphere that prevailed, Luke held no allusions as to what they were still talking about—or why they'd turned up early.

Faces turned his way as he stepped through the door, but flicking his eyes around the room, Luke could see that Ryan’s wasn’t among them. From their eager expressions, it looked like they were all waiting for Ryan, too. Luke pushed through to his desk and began unpacking as, right behind him, Todd arrived. Todd seemed in even more of a cheerful mood than earlier.

"So, has he forgiven us yet?" Todd smirked as he swung his backpack onto his desk and began getting out some books.

Luke snarled inwardly at the cheap approach Todd seemed to be taking to the demeaning affair.

"I dunno, Todd." His tone was cutting, and Todd quickly looked up. "I haven't seen him since...but what do YOU think?"

Todd held up his hands defensively. "Come on, don't be like that—you know it wasn't my fault!"

"So where the hell is he, then?" Luke continued to scowl. It helped to be angry with someone else. “Nobody’s seen him. Do you think he’s left?"

Todd frowned. “Left? Left school, you mean? Who knows? He’s probably been laying low—I mean who can blame him?”

Luke looked at his watch. Class would be starting soon.

Todd checked his watch, too, and added, "He’s bound to be here in a minute."

Out of the corner of his eye, Luke saw Landon and Mitchell arrive. The bastards looked full of themselves. Immediately, there were whistles and the sounds of acclaim, and Landon raised his arms in an acknowledgement of approval.

Bastards! Wasn’t there anyone who felt bad for Ryan?

Landon strode straight over.

"Okay...where is he?" The scent of triumph marched out of his every pore.

Luke scowled. “Fuck off and crawl back into your hole!"

Landon’s eyes narrowed, but Mitchell joined him and brushed it off.

“What’s up with you, Summers?" Mitchell's tone sounded entirely reasonable. "Come on, we’ve all seen Hangs before. So, it was Ry up this time. So what? We all know he had it coming.”

Landon said nothing, but his face twisted into a nasty grin.

“So where is he?” Mitchell continued. “We thought he was with you?”

“Just leave it guys, okay.” Todd stepped into the exchange. “We don’t know. Give him a break alright.”

" Ahhhh...UHHHNN…NNNNNGGG…” Landon did a vulgar but rather accurate take of Ryan’s final outburst.

“You fucking bastard!” Antagonised, Luke launched forward, and would have swung at him had Todd not stepped in the way and backed him off.

“Hey guys…” If Landon was offended, he played it down, and raised his arms in a gesture of contrition. “I get you’re mad, and I’m sorry for Ry, but it’s not my fault! Everyone wanted it.”

“That’s crap and you know it!” Luke fixed Landon with an angry glare as others gathered around to watch the conflict.

“The hell it is! And anyway, I’m not the one who started it! You’d better ask Todd about that.”

Eyes turned to Todd, who looked uncomfortable.

“Come on, know how it was!” Landon said. “You were the one that set the whole thing up in the first place. It wasn’t my fault that you bottled out!”

“What?” There were murmurs of surprise, and Luke growled at the half-truth.

“That’s a crock of shit, Scott, and you know it!” Todd rarely got angry, but he made an exception this time, and fixed Landon with a glare.

“Oh come on, get off your high horse. You didn't seem to have any problem staying around to watch!" Landon retorted. Then he turned on Luke. "And I seem to fucking remember you skulking around in there, too!"

Keeping it going, Mitchell squealed in a falsetto voice. "Oooohhh Scott…stop it! Go back to spanking me…..pleeeeaaaasse!”

The whole room heard it and the mean laughter spread.

Luke snapped. "You're a fucking bastard, Mitchell!"

“Excuse me, Mr. Summers?”

Luke gritted his teeth as Keynes, their English teacher, bore down on him.

“I will not abide foul language in my classroom! Now what’s this all about?”

“Nothing, sir.”

Keynes shifted his attention. “Mitchell?”

“I have no idea, sir. Luke’s just in a bad mood it seems.”


Landon shrugged. “Honestly sir, it’s nothing. We were just wondering where Ryan was, that's all. He seemed a bit HUNG over today!”

"Hung over?" Keynes spluttered. "Drinking in school is strictly forbidden!"

There were more grins, though nobody risked laughter. Luke glowered as Keynes turned on him again.

“Mr. Summers—be so kind as to join me here, tomorrow lunchtime, for a little detention if you would. I will NOT suffer bad language in my class or my presence...for ANY reason! Is that CLEAR?”

“Yes, sir."

Luke fumed as he took his seat, but there was no point in arguing. It all had some sick sense of injustice to it—try to do good, and you get punished.

Right in the middle of it all, Ryan appeared at the doorway.

Even though Keynes was there, a rowdy cheer burst forth when they all saw him. Many had been at Ryan's downfall themselves, and those who hadn’t had already been given the full story. There was whistling and the banging of desks in appreciation at the great show he'd provided for them.

"ENOUGH!" Keynes bellowed. "Enough of this, or you'll ALL be joining Summers tomorrow!"

Silence descended and Keynes turned on Ryan. "'re late. Now sit, before you regret it!"

An undercurrent of hidden amusement resumed as they watched Ryan shuffle, flushed and head down, towards his desk. He was part-way there when Keynes barked again. "Alexis...come here!

Ryan froze and turned.

"Have you been drinking?"

Ryan looked up and he shook his head. "No, sir." The words were clear, though quiet. Of all the things he looked, drunk wasn't one of them, though Keynes continued to watch him suspiciously as Ryan turned again, continuing on to take his seat.

The lesson began.

It was slow and infinitely more tedious than anything Luke could ever remember. He spent most of the time as Keynes droned endlessly over his interpretations of 'The Tale of Two Cities', glancing frequently in Ryan's direction, who, every time Keynes' back was turned, continued to be a magnet for teasing.

It was inevitable really. Words were whispered, things flicked, lewd gestures made. Some of it was pretty mean. However, most of those who were taking the piss right now, actually had an honest respect for Ryan that would way outlast a Hang. Or at least Luke hoped it would.

Couldn't Ry see that?

Surely the best thing for Ryan—for everyone really—was for him to laugh it off and see it as a minor glitch. He’d been swung up into a Hang, but he’d not faired that much worse than most others. Sure, everyone was talking about it just now, and they all wanted their hour of teasing fun, but Luke doubted anyone wanted it to go on for too long…bar bastards like Landon and Mitchell, that was! Instead, they needed Ryan to stick up two fingers and slap a few heads. After that, hopefully the familiar infectious grin would spread, and that would be it. Everything would be okay once more.

Once again, Luke looked across to his friend, and he studied an expression that still looked...dead in the water.

Perhaps he was expecting too much of Ryan?

Okay, so it might take a couple of days to get back to normal. He could accept that, but something about Ryan’s demeanor still felt wrong. The Ry he knew would be spitting mad, or at least coldly angry and making sure Landon knew that he wouldn't make it out of the parking lot.

Instead, what he was seeing seemed like...none of that.

This Ry seemed lost; beaten and unable to do no more than keep his head down. Luke desperately wanted to whisper some encouragement, but the alphabet kept them apart.

At the end of a lesson that he could remember little of, and as soon as Keynes dismissed them, Ryan suddenly became energized. Grabbing his backpack, he darted for the door. Clearly he was trying to get away first, but Landon must have been anticipating it. Nearer to the exit, he got there first to stand in the doorway, leaning nonchalantly against the doorframe and blocking the escape.

Still trying to gather up his own books, Luke tried to decide if it was a good thing or not. At least now—as soon as Keynes had pissed off—there would be a confrontation, and Ryan would lash out. There would be a fight, but Luke had no doubt who would end up bleeding the most!

However, instead of hurling Landon to one side, or smashing his face in, Ryan appeared to freeze. He looked uncertain as, giving them a bleak look, Keynes strode by the pair. As soon as Keynes had left, others gathered around and Luke had to push to get through.

"What's the hurry, bud?" Landon crowed.

Seemingly unable the respond, Ryan's silence was broken by a mean teasing voice carrying heavily sexualized tones. "Nnnnnngggg....FUUUCK."

Fucking Ethan!

Ryan flinched, colored, and dropped his eyes.

Luke finally made it alongside him. "Enough! Just piss off, Landon."

"What?" Landon smirked as he held up his hands. "I was only trying to make sure he was okay."

Ryan remained woodenly silent as the first of the lively crowd began to push through them heading towards the next lesson. The room began to empty.

Mitchell left too, squealing, "Oooohhh - Scott - spank me again!" With him, a long line of smirking classmates passed through, until only a few were left. Abruptly, Ryan turned and left, too.

Not surprisingly, Landon hurried after him. It was clear to all of them that he didn't feel it should be over yet.

"LANDON!" Luke shouted loud enough to turn heads further up the corridor. Landon stopped trying to chase Ryan down and turned as Luke bore down on him. "Why can't you just fucking leave him alone?"

Landon sneered, shifting the issue. "Don't blame me if you got detention with Keynes! You deserved it. That was a crap thing you said about me earlier!"

"Just ignore him, Luke,” Todd grunted, standing in between them, trying to keep the peace. “He's just being a fucking idiot."

"Oh for fuck's sake guys—give me a break! Don't you think you're overreacting a bit?" Landon’s whine was plaintive. "So…we gave Ryan a Hang. So what?” He looked pointedly at Kieran, who was nearby. “Plenty of others have had the same...isn’t that right Kier? It's no big deal.” 

Kieran's eyes narrowed, though his tone remained neutral. "You've got no idea what you're talking about, Scott."

“And the spanking and tickling?” Luke was furious. ‘What the fuck was that?”

“Oh, come on.” Landon burst out laughing. “You have to admit, that was hysterical. Don’t tell me you didn’t find it funny, too! Todd did!”

Luke ground his teeth. It would be a lie to say he didn’t. At the time, he was grinning like everyone else. Now he was ashamed of it. Landon took his silence as an admission. 

"Exactly. So don’t come at me so high and mighty! If you didn’t like it, you and Todd should have said!"

Luke and Todd continued to glare. The corridor was empty other than the four of them, and perhaps Landon realized things were not going his way...and there was no Mitchell to hide behind.

"Come on guys. It wasn't just me. Kier was in on it, too!"

Kieran continued to be deceptively pleasant. "Yes, I went out to get the clippers. Giving Ry a shave was a little personal payback." He stopped and his eyes glinted. "But I have to be honest Scott…if you'd have pulled a stunt like smacking my ass in the way that you did with him, you'd be picking your teeth up off the floor right now.”

A nasty sneer came on Landon’s face, but Kieran wasn’t finished.

“And you know how it goes Scott. If you give, you get. You might want to get that into that thick skull of yours and begin thinking about what it’s going to be like when we all make it your turn to be taken for a ride!”

The sneer quickly fell from Landon’s face.

“Aww, come on guys—don’t be like that. For fuck’s sake, it wasn’t just me!” He raised his hands to placate them. “Ry is probably my best bud. I’ve known him a lot longer than all of you! Okay, maybe we got a bit carried away, but if you get pulled up, there's nothing you can do about it. I know Ry—he’ll laugh it off soon, and get over it quick enough. Everyone does. Tell you what,  I’ll talk to him in the next class and put it right, I promise. It’ll all be fine by tomorrow. Trust me.”

Nobody—least of all Luke—was much taken in by the idea that Ryan and Landon were such 'best buds', but any hopes Landon might be harboring of making good with his promise came to nothing when Ryan didn’t actually appear for any more classes that afternoon.

There were not many places he could be other than at the medical room—and nobody could get in to check—though most suspected Ry was probably either hiding in some toilets or had scarpered.

Still wondering where the hell he was at the final bell, Luke hurried out to the parking lot once he'd got what he needed from his locker. They'd arranged to give Ryan a lift home that day, so assuming he was still here, then he'd show his face. And if he did, perhaps there would be time to talk before Luke's mum got there with the van.

Luke arrived at their normal pickup point feeling anxious. He was the only one there. It was a couple of minutes later that he saw Simon and Toby ambling along in the distance, deep in discussion. As they came close, the family minivan pulled up. His mum was typically cheery as Simon and Toby clambered into the back.

"Hi boys! Good day?" She didn't get much of an answer, but then became aware that they were one short. She peered through the open door to where Luke still waited on the sidewalk.

"I thought we were taking Ryan home today?"

"We are." Luke looked at his watch and studied the passing crowds for any sign of Ry's arrival. "I'm sure he'll be here in a bit. I'll just go check."

"Well tell him to get a move on!" Her voice followed him as he left his stuff and hurried back into the school. As fast as he could, he searched the lockers and the main spaces.

Nothing. And his last hope that he'd missed Ryan and that his friend would be waiting at the van on his return proved to be misplaced, too. By then, his mum was getting annoyed by the delay, and there was nothing left but to go. Luke hopped into the back and slammed the door.

"So...?" Simon kept his voice down under the sound of the engine.

Luke grimaced. "You were there?"

"Of course I wasn't!" Simon flicked his head. "But Toby told me he saw a bit of it. Marco was there, too."

Luke chewed his lip. "I don't really know how he is…probably not good. He disappeared before we could really talk. Maybe he left...?"

He tailed off, refusing to say any more. The family van was no place to have this talk. Still, he fretted to himself. What should he do now? Call Ryan on the phone? Go round? What would he say if he did? Maybe it was best just to leave it until the next day? Damn Landon!

"I don't get it." It was Toby this time.

"You don't get what!" Luke muttered.

"Why him? Why would they let them do all that? I thought he was a friend?"

Why did you stay? And why didn’t you stop it? It should have been you, not him.

"Shit! I don't know!" Luke exploded as it came to nest. "What's it got to do with you anyway? Just keep your damn nose out and mind your own bloody business!"

"LUKE! That's enough!” His mum's voice was immediate, her tone harsh. “I think you need to apologize!" She pulled over to the side of the road, parked up, and turned to glare at him. "And I mean right now, mister!"

Even Simon was scowling.

Luke flushed at the public reprimand, but he knew she was right. "Sorry, Toby. I apologize. It's been a really bad day."

Toby chewed his lip and nodded.

Despite it, Lucy didn't seem at all ready to continue their journey. "So, will somebody please tell me what's going on? What's wrong with Ryan? Is he ill?”

The other two looked to Luke for guidance, and he shook his head. "Something like that," he muttered, just loud enough for her to hear.

She wasn't getting anything more from him and eventually turned around again, but he could see her narrowed eyes through the rear view mirror as she pondered the three of them. They kept silent, and she shifted back into drive and pulled into the flowing traffic.

Maybe she was hoping for more once they'd got going, but she still didn’t get it, and the silence reigned uncomfortably until they dropped off Toby at his house. Even that only generated a simple ‘bye’ from Simon. Then it was back to an uneasy silence as they drove down the steep hill, across the main road and down into their own subdivision. Luke hardly noticed the journey as he continued to grapple with what he should do.

Once they were upstairs and away from prying ears, Simon marched into Luke's room and scowled at him once more.

“There was no need to have a go at Toby! It wasn’t his fault!” There was a clear emphasis on ‘his’ that made Luke flinch.

Why did you stay? And why didn’t you stop it? It should have been you, not him.

"I know...can you tell him I'm sorry again...I'm just worried for Ry. He's taken it pretty bad."

Simon settled onto the bed. "You say he disappeared?"

"He came for English...they were pretty rotten to him. After that, I don't know where he went."

"If only you'd been'd have been able to do something." Simon frowned, sitting on the bed and chewing his lip. "From what the others are saying, some of the stuff they did was...awful..."

"I..." Luke studied the floor and flushed. "Well there wasn't really...fuck....I wasn't thinking—"

"What...?" Simon stared as Luke flushed. "Oh no...please don't tell me—"

"It wasn't my fault..."

"You were there?"

"Yes, but Todd and Kieran..." Luke shifted uncomfortably as Simon's face filled with shock.

"So you just let them do it?" Simon finally burst out. "To Ryan? Fucking hell! What—"

“I tried! I was stuck right at the back!” Luke growled, anger contending against his mounting guilt. “Before I could get forward, it….” He tailed off and the guilt reasserted itself. "You weren't there—and anyway, I don't have to explain anything to you!"

"For God's sake, what if it had been you...or...or me?"

Luke felt utterly miserable. "It almost was."


He told the full story about being cornered in the restroom, the threat of the wedgie, and the appearance of Ryan.

"Ry knew I still had the SmartKlamp on," he admitted at last. "I'd told him about it. I think he took on Todd to give me a chance to get away."

"So, after all that, you decided to wait around, just to watch him get jerked off?" Simon had listened in tight lipped silence, but now he was relentless.

Luke knew that his face gave it all away and he didn't try to deny it.

"It all got out of hand!" he muttered. God this was such a mess, and now he had the feeling there was something that was badly wrong with Ryan. "What would you do now?"

"Now?" Simon shook his head and burst into an angry retort. "What kind of STUPID FUCKING QUESTION is that? I'd get my sorry ass around there, like hours ago to sort it out! Fuck, Luke! What were you THINKING?!"

From someone who rarely swore, it was like a slap in the face. A slap Luke knew he deserved. He didn't dither any longer. He didn't even bother changing.

"Cover for me if I'm late for dinner, can you?" With that he hurried down to the garage, grabbed his bike, and struck out towards the Alexis place. Fifteen minutes later, he was standing on Ryan's front porch, still trying to decide what he would say. Nothing seemed right.

Finally, he rang the front doorbell. There was no answer so he rapped his knuckles on the expensive maplewood door. Nobody came. Leaving his bike propped against the garage, he walked around the side and tried the high, wooden security gate that led into the backyard. It was unlocked, so in trepidation, he pushed it open and poked his head in, carefully.

He saw Ryan immediately, sitting alone at a small table near the pool. Ry hadn't changed out of his school clothes either, and appeared to be doing nothing more than staring at nothing.

"Hey, Ry..." Luke waved from the gate, trying to sound upbeat. Ryan's emotionless eyes flicked towards him, though if he was surprised Luke was there, it was hard to tell.

“I knocked at the front,” Luke called, closing the gate behind him. He began crossing the space, becoming more cautious as he got closer. “I wasn’t sure you were here.”

As though waking up, Ryan made an attempt at a smile of greeting, though it was brief and went no further than his mouth.

"Oh…hi..." He cleared his throat. "Sorry...I didn't hear you."

Luke followed the path onto the patio. “We were worried about you…you kinda just disappeared…"

Ryan lowered his eyes. "I just wanted to come home. I...I couldn’t really stick Landon anymore.” He shrugged. “I walked a bit to get some fresh air, and then got a taxi.”

“You were lucky there was no roll call taken.” Luke made a stab at how long Ryan had been sitting there. He could see his backpack on the ground and wondered if he’d even been in the house yet. “Are you all right?”

“Why shouldn’t I be?” Something in Ryan’s eyes flared, as if daring Luke to say it.

To Luke, it sounded better than the broken deadness, but he hesitated in speaking out what he really thought. Instead he said, “Look, just forget Mitchell and fucking Landon."

Whether Ryan was listening or not, Luke couldn’t tell. He felt awkward just standing there, and his own miserable shame pounded him. To try to get both of them into a better mood he added, “Listen—do you wanna do something? What about a game of one on one? Or you could come round to our place for a bit?” Anything would be better than this.

Ryan shook his head. “I…I can’t today.” Meaningfully he touched his backpack that was still resting on the floor where he’d dropped it, as though it contained proof of his unavailability. “Stuff to do...and I need to go out....”


“I can get you a drink if you want. Do you want something?"

 A drink?

"I guess..." Luke felt incredibly uncomfortable, and he didn’t really need anything to drink, but what else was there to say?

What the fuck was he actually trying to do here anyway? It already felt like it had been