On arriving home from school Sebastian checked the mailbox, removed the slim brown envelope, raced indoors, shut himself in his room and removed his clothes. With a grin of anticipation he tore open the package and extracted a flimsy bit of silky yellowish fabric attached to similar coloured strings. Having worked out which string went between his legs and which around his waist, he tucked his penis over his scrotum and placed the material on top. It was too small! Unless… he tightened the strings and was relieved to discover it stretched to cover everything. Standing back he gazed in awe at his reflection.
'Cool,' he whispered, 'My pouch is the male equivalent of a woman's bra, so there's no reason for anyone to object.' The only thing he didn't like were tufts of black hair sticking out around the edges, so he ran his electric razor over the offending bits. 'You're sleek and svelte,' he told the youth in the mirror. He looked exactly as he'd hoped. Tall, slim and sexy; the pale gold pouch a perfect complement for his olive skin.
Sebastian had given up wondering why he hated wearing clothes. His whole life he'd always been naked at home, simply because it felt good. His mother, who wanted her son to remain innocent for as long as possible, had encouraged him, telling their few visitors that it was not only healthier but there were fewer dirty clothes to wash. Recently, however, he'd begun wondering if it wasn't just an innocent pleasure but something darker. A character fault. Was he an exhibitionist?
But descriptions of exhibitionists in dictionaries and on the internet didn't describe him, because he certainly did not want to shock anyone! Quite the opposite! He just wanted the right to dress or undress as he chose, because it gave him pleasure and hurt no one. It was also an act of rejection, he had decided after delving into a summary of Freudian theory. He was rejecting the habits and behaviour of the people he disliked. Why he didn't like them he had no firm idea, but he didn't. He simply preferred his own company.
What he really wanted and needed was a trusted friend with whom he could share his secret hopes, thoughts and fears. And he certainly wouldn't find that person if he copied the behaviour of people he didn't admire.
After a restless night filled with unsettling dreams, followed by a never-ending day at school, he cycled to a small public swimming pool on the other side of Cairns to avoid running into anyone he knew.
There were few swimmers, but the ten-metre wide grassed area was dotted with half naked, mostly overweight bodies sunbathing, picnicking under trees, or standing around hoping to be admired. Females were scantily clad; males wore bulky shorts from navel to knee. He was going to look like a hummingbird among toads.
The thought buoyed him, but to be on the safe side Sebastian asked the pool guard if it was okay to wear backless togs. The fellow shrugged and pointed at three bare bummed women in thongs, sunbathing while their toddlers played.
'You couldn't look worse than those great fat arses,' he sneered. 'If anyone complains I'll tell them to bugger off.' He looked Sebastian up and down and asked, 'You on your own?'
'We've had a bit of stealing so put your gear behind the door of my office.' He indicated a blue door to the right of the changing rooms.
'Thanks! I owe you! It's a nuisance having to watch stuff all the time.'
'No worries.' The guard moved on.
To prevent chaos, those who wanted to swim lengths were only allowed to use the four lanes in the centre, in one direction, from the diving board to the changing rooms. They then had to get out and walk back to dive or jump in again. Sebastian bravely wandered along the side of the pool, pulses thumping wildly, senses acutely aware of wolf-whistles from a gaggle of girls, stares of incomprehension from teen-aged boys, and the spotlight gaze of dozens of older men and women.
Despite a very audible, 'Fucking exhibitionist!' from somewhere near the middle of the sunbathers, he felt more alive than ever before in his life. Proudly unassuming. Posture perfect. Innocently wholesome. After bouncing unpretentiously a couple of times on the low diving board he dived neatly, swam to the other end and hauled himself out; giving his audience a view of firm bronzed buttocks.
The pool guard was standing in front of the office. He beckoned Sebastian over.
'Have you stuffed that pouch?' he asked with a grin.
Sebastian shook his head nervously, staring at his reflection in the mirror-glass window behind the guard. The pouch had contracted and his genitals looked as if they'd been shrink-wrapped. His heart shifted into his neck where it pounded wildly.
'Is it rude? I don't want to offend anyone.'
'Of course not. There's nothing more pathetic than a guy in a pouch with nothing to fill it. You're making me jealous.'
Sebastian took a quick look at the guard's substantial package barely held in check by a red speedo, and grinned. 'Well, I'm jealous of your physique.'
The guard laughed, flexed his biceps, winked and wandered away.
Against the diamond-wire boundary fence under a gaudy umbrella, a large woman of indeterminate age fixed her eyes on Sebastian as he sauntered a second time to the diving board and did a perfect pike. The next time he walked past she sat up, waved and screeched. 'Sebastian! Sebastian!' making a hundred heads turn first to her and then to the almost naked young man who suddenly wished he was wearing a wet-suit. He recognised her immediately. Massive Martha. Until this year Sebastian had delivered evening papers for her News agency. She screeched again. She'd been his boss for four years so ignoring her wasn't an option and he realised he didn't want to; this was his excuse to get in among the crowd. While picking his way between curious men, mothers, children and sunbathing teenagers, he occasionally looked down and winked at eyes glued to his groin.
Martha, solid and squat in a black bikini that made no attempt to cover everything bikinis were supposed to, was ensconced on an enormous towel, propping her bulk against the wire of the boundary fence. A profusion of solid flesh, straight grey hair hacked off at the level of her earlobes, aggressive mouth and determined jaw gave no inkling of the heart of gold she insisted lay beating in the depths of her beefy bosom. She turned to the elderly hippie beside her.
'Lysander, this handsome young man is Sebastian-he was my best paperboy for years.'
Lysander held out a limp hand. As skeletal and feeble as Martha was robust, his grey hippie ponytail and ridiculous earring made him seem much older than he was, while a sagging faded speedo exaggerated the scrawniness of thighs and buttocks. A warm voice and smile compensated for the wrinkles, so Sebastian took the proffered hand and waggled it about.
'Sit!' Martha ordered, patting the towel between her and Lysander.
Sebastian sat, and immediately wished he hadn't. This was not what he'd come to the pool for.
'Lysander is an anthropologist,' Martha announced proudly.
'Good for him,' Sebastian nodded, having not the faintest notion what an anthropologist was. Deciding to make the most of his situation, he leaned back on his elbows, the better to display his charms.
'I want to congratulate you,' Lysander said in a husky voice, eyes fixed on the well-filled pouch.
Sebastian frowned at the older man. 'What for?' He asked sharply, hoping the fellow was only a voyeur and not expecting to touch the display.
'One of my fields of study is expressions of male sexuality in different cultures. It's an extension of Margaret Meade's work in the Pacific Islands.'
Sebastian nodded in incomprehension.
'Did you know that more than half of all Australian men are more or less impotent, and eighty-two percent feel insecure about their bodies and sexuality?' he asked, reluctantly shifting his gaze to Sebastian's chest.
Sebastian shook his head.
'This insecurity and inability to achieve an erection translates into anger and depression. Most people don't realise how this, and female reactions to the problem makes men feel so frustrated and angry it can lead to wife-beating and rape.'
'Gosh.' Sebastian wondered what this had to do with the present situation.
'Did you know that boys do much better in single-sex schools than in co-educational schools?' Lysander looked up owlishly.
'No,' Sebastian replied, awed that someone had studied such things, still wondering what it had to do with him. 'I go to a single sex school.'
Ignoring the interruption Lysander ploughed on. 'Male-self-image-problems are caused by the American fashion for Bermuda shorts that conceal thighs and the shape of genitals. Most men feel naked wearing anything less than knee-length board shorts! Lethal things that fill with water, prevent boys from learning to swim properly, and cause several drownings a year.' He paused for a much needed breath. Tar-filled lungs being no use to an orator.
'When I was young we went bare-chested all summer, swam in speedos and were proud of the bulges in our groins!' Audible sniggers failed to stop the flow of unwanted information. 'You, Sebastian, are not like those emotionally deprived excuses for men,' he gazed vaguely around. 'You proudly display your manhood and the muscles that allow humans to stand upright.'
He paused as if for applause.
Sebastian was too embarrassed to speak or listen properly. Titters and open laughter from spectators increased his discomfort. If Lysander epitomised sexy manhood in middle-age, then Sebastian hoped he'd die young!
'Thanks,' he said softly. 'But not everyone agrees with you. Someone over there yelled that I was an exhibitionist.'
'Ridiculous!' Lysander snorted. 'Perverts are people who think men should look sexless!' He glowered around. 'The perverted belief that nude is rude is the reason so many men post naked pictures of themselves on the internet. They daren't strip off in public-they aren't brave like you, Sebastian. Those moral retards are too stupid to realise it is their censorship that is creating the demand for pornography!' He glared at a fat young fellow in long orange board-shorts, who gave him the finger.
'Everyone likes the Olympics, but don't realise the Greeks did sport naked!' He coughed again ostentatiously scratching his groin.
'I take wrestling.' Sebastian muttered.
'Naked?' Lysander demanded.
'Of course not.'
'But you'd like to.'
'No. It's only me and the teacher. The other guys prefer karate.'
Their growing audience giggled audibly. Sebastian wanted to dissolve. This was not the sort of attention he was seeking!
'I'm jealous of you,' Martha interrupted. 'I'd love to wander round bare chested, but haven't your courage.'
As she was already exposing at least three times as much flesh as Sebastian, he thought she was being somewhat greedy.
'Be a dear and fix my cushion,' she demanded, leaning forward.
Sebastian got to his knees and adjusted the cushion to better to protect her back from the wires. As Martha lay back he slipped a loose strap of her bra over a hook-shaped wire protruding from the fence.
Desperate for an excuse to leave the unlovely pair, Sebastian noticed a young man in a white speedo beside the diving board. 'I've just seen a friend over there I promised to meet. I've got to go.'
'I feel like a swim too,' Martha announced. 'Pull me up.' She extended her hand.
Sebastian grabbed it and heaved violently. She careered forward, tumbling onto a young couple immediately in front. Her bra remained on the fence.
Pretending not to notice, Sebastian leapt agilely over recumbent bodies to the pool and confronted the young man. 'Please pretend you know me and we're friends,' he pleaded. 'I have to escape those people.'
'Only if you kiss me,' the fellow replied with a grin, dropping a casual arm across Sebastian's shoulders
'No, underwater. Come on.' He dived in.
Sebastian followed and the kiss was brief, but sufficiently crazy to excite him.
They surfaced, breathless.
They swam for a bit then lay on the warm concrete as far from Martha as possible. Sebastian's usual manic desire to communicate soon had Rodney laughing.
'Well, she said she wanted to go topless.'
He was surprised when Rodney asked about his school and showed interest in the athletic sports the following week. Pleasure turned to nervousness when asked if he had a girlfriend.
Sebastian's heart pumped. The world stood still. His throat constricted. Was Rodney a gay basher? They were everywhere. 'No.'
'You're too good looking to be het, are you gay?'
Rodney just laughed and gathered up his things. 'Look for me at the Sports Day, I'll come and cheer you on.'
Sebastian stared after him. Mind a blank. What had that been about?
Gay. The word was meaningless to him. He wasn't ignorant, he'd read magazines, surfed the internet for sexy pictures of guys, knew what the word meant to other people… but it didn't describe him. No single word described him! He was a son and student who loved reading, dancing, singing, acting, sprinting, sunbathing wrestling and swimming. Who hated team sports and individual competitions unless he was sure of winning. He was a bit of a loner and didn't seem to have much in common with most other students. He enjoyed exams and looking after the few plants in their garden-flowers as well as vegetables. He'd enjoyed woodwork. He'd also made himself a pair of shorts on his mother's sewing machine. He didn't object to girls, just never thought about them. He wasn't sexually attracted to any of the boys at school. Well, one, but he'd never told him and they'd done nothing in the four years they'd known each other. Sometimes he wanked when thinking about Mr. Achilles in his Lycra wrestling gear. He shook his head. Gay didn't describe him! He was just a normal seventeen year-old who found a few men sexy.
Some kids used gay as an insult, but they also used Boong, Wog, Nig, egghead and four-eyes as insults. So as Sebastian's neighbours were Indians and he liked them; his best friend was an asocial, super-intelligent eco freak; and the school principal wore glasses to read, he'd always imagined there was no logic in any of the insults. The only girls he saw were usually giggling and whispering on street corners, and none of the girls at the pool today had interested him. Rodney was sexy, and Sebastian wouldn't mind kissing him again. And the guard. He was sort of tough and rough with broad shoulders and a tattoo on his biceps. He was sexier than Rodney.
Sebastian entered the office feeling somehow deflated. The guard was standing staring out the window and Sebastian realised he must have been looking at him.
'Is that guy your boyfriend?'
'No, we've just met.'
'Not as sexy as you,' Sebastian blurted, breaking into a nervous sweat. The guy would probably thump him. One day he'd make a mistake and say something stupid like that to a nutcase with a flick knife that he'd bury in his chest after hacking off his balls. 'Just joking,' he added hastily. 'Great tat.' He added, indicating the seahorse tattoo on the guard's biceps.
'My name's Ari.'
'There's a butterfly on my bum if you wanna see it?' The grin was cheeky.
A swarm of butterflies were flapping in Sebastian's throat and chest.
Ari kicked the door shut, then instead of just pulling down the top of his togs, he pulled them off, tossed them into the corner and twisted to show the tiny butterfly. Sebastian touched it lightly. Ari took his hand and wrapped it round his erection. Sebastian grinned at another wank fantasy coming true. Within seconds his pouch was off and they faced each other, touching, stroking, exploring. With lips locked in a kiss that Sebastian hoped would never end, they lay on the cool tiled floor and brought each other to orgasm.
'Gee, Ari, that was my first time and…and it was just so great I…I…thanks.'
'My pleasure. Come again.' Ari's smile clearly questioned Sebastian' claim to virginity, but he wasn't stupid enough to spoil the moment.
Sebastian was late and Desolé fretted. It was stupid but she couldn't help herself. She knew the only way to keep her son was to leave him free to be his own man. She was well aware that possessiveness was poison, unsought advice was unwelcome, and negative criticism was counter productive. But when her son irritated her it was becoming harder to keep a lid on the stress and her thoughts to herself. Recently she'd been feeling as if she was walking among eggs; the slightest false step on her part and all her plans would come to nought. Despite their seventeen years together she sometimes felt she hardly knew her son.
Her parents had criticised her constantly, never pleased or satisfied, never made her feel even adequate, so when they threatened hellfire and worse when they realised she would be having a child out of wedlock, she did what she should have done years before. She smiled at the poetic justice of her father falling asleep at the wheel as they sailed off the motorway into a quarry. It was an accident due to their advanced age and poor health, the coroner declared. Because it happened around midday no one bothered to check their blood for sleeping pills. The insurance had been very useful.
Desolé worried about everything. When she wasn't worried she worried that she should be worrying. Sebastian never seemed to worry. As he never tired of explaining, he had a sixth sense that told him how people expected him to behave, so he made himself act like that person, then no problems arrived. Most people create their own problems, he reckoned, by failing to consider the reactions of others, and modify behaviour accordingly.
Desolé hadn't argued because it was true. Sebastian was a different person with everyone he met. She knew who he was speaking to on the phone simply by the way he spoke. He could be noisy and tough, soft and gentle, bored and dull, interested and chatty, and everyone imagined this was the real Sebastian. All his teachers in primary school had adored him and said he was popular. In the four years since he started high school his reports had been consistently excellent and his behaviour exemplary. So why did she have no motherly feelings for him? Why did she frequently hope he'd fall on his face?
Her few friends with teenage boys were at their wits end dealing with their behaviour. One mother had even been violently attacked by her son! According to the books, testosterone was raging through Sebastian's veins, turning him into a sex-crazed, aggressive monster. That he wasn't any such thing she put down to the influence of Jack. But did Sebastian need another mature male role model? Tough luck if he did. Desolé's plans required a dependent young man, not a questioning, independent rebel!
She had enjoyed the first years when the little lad was totally dependent, but once he started thinking for himself, asking questions and arguing, she began to wish she'd aborted the foetus. At the age of two he started throwing screaming tantrums whenever Desolé tried to put clothes on him. Doctors found no skin disorder or other physical impediment, so told her to just let him crawl around naked-he'd start wearing clothes eventually. But fifteen years later he was still rejecting unnecessary clothes.
To ensure there were no other mental disorders, Desolé read every book she could lay her hands on about bringing up children. Especially important, she learned, was that her son should have no guilt feelings or embarrassment about sex. She'd read terrible tales about the harm sexual guilt can do. One case study described a deeply religious mother who, when she caught her son masturbating, forced him to put his penis on the table then stabbed a fork through it. Later in life the young man became a psychopath and murdered seven women.
Following the most enlightened ideas on child rearing Desolé had rewarded 'good' behaviour and ignored 'bad'. All humans desire praise and recognition, she read, and children soon learn there's no point in being a little shit if it's ignored. Much better to be a well-behaved, quiet kid who looks before crossing the road if that gets you a hug and an ice-cream. As it was seldom cool in this tropical metropolis, she saw no harm in his running around the house and garden naked. Even to school he refused to wear more than a skimpy pair of shorts. Teachers gave up trying to keep a shirt on him; all agreed he was a beautiful boy and no one complained. As he matured she thought he'd become shy, but he didn't, and had no qualms about telling anyone who objected that they had the problem, not him.
Men had always been a mystery to Desolé. She'd hated her father and grandfather and all her male teachers. The boys at school had teased and tormented her beyond bearing. She had tried to like women, but they turned out to be just as incomprehensible. When she refused to have an abortion, Marion, her live-in girlfriend, threatened to leave because she didn't want to live in a house with snotty nosed kids-especially if it turned out to be a male! Desolé's anger at this betrayal was only mollified when Marion accidentally fell four floors from the balcony onto the concrete driveway. Drunk, according to the coroner.
Sebastian's eleventh birthday had been a triumph, proving her success at raising a child without inhibitions. She'd offered to throw a party but he said he saw the other boys every day at school and didn't want to see them at home as well. In seven years he had never brought a friend home. He said he had friends, but kept them in a separate compartment of his life. Not that he was secretive or sly. Quite the opposite. Sometimes she wished he were a little more reserved.
"Your son is attractive, but maniacally garrulous," one unkind visitor had decreed after Sebastian had bent her ears about tadpoles for half an hour.
Desolé had made a special eleventh birthday cake, and he put on a concert. He was a great little actor. Requiring no costumes, of course, and using only his 'wand', a polished stick in which he had carved symbols, he played every role in a tale about a handsome young prince who battled dragons, wizards, trolls and other weird things, then rescued another young prince and they ruled as joint monarchs. She could still recall the tingle of surprise at how regal her young son looked on his throne. It was indeed magic.
He sang two songs of his own composition, recited a poem, performed a dance he'd made up based on the ballet they'd recently watched on TV, then made her laugh by popping his penis head in and out of his foreskin. She had been delighted by his innocence, especially when he got an erection and demonstrated how he could use it like a catapult, bending it down, placing a little paper ball on it and letting go. The missiles flew several metres.
It embarrassed her to admit it, but her son's penis was the only real one she had seen in her life. Plenty of photographs, of course, but never a real one. Her rapist didn't undress, merely opened his flies and shoved it in. She'd been too shocked to do anything except close her eyes and blank the experience out.
The final act of Sebastian's concert had been a gymnastics display. He stood on his head, did cartwheels and handstands, then lay on his back and held his hips high with his hands, his weight on his shoulders. While straining to maintain the pose he explained that when he did this it felt extra good between his legs. Suddenly he groaned loudly and little spurts of semen sprayed over his chest and onto his face. He collapsed, sat up and looked at his penis in concern.
'Mummy, Willy's got a cold. Look at all the snot!'
Desolé felt privileged to have witnessed her son's first ejaculation, having read that Japanese mothers teach their sons to masturbate, but had not dared to do such a thing herself, having no experience. But of course her clever son had worked it out for himself.
After absorbing her lavish congratulations and a detailed explanation of what had happened and why, he asked in innocent curiosity. 'Is that how I was made? A man pushed his Willy into you and squirted?'
'Who was it?'
'I don't know. It was dark and he hid his face.'
'Did you love him?'
'No. I hated him! It hurt and…' a determination to be brave dissolved. Desolé burst into tears and, as he had been trained to do, Sebastian consoled her.
It was later, as she transferred the video recording of Sebastian's concert and dance to a DVD, that an idea fluttered into her brain, took root and began to grow.
Desolé dragged her thoughts to the present and Sebastian's lateness. The previous afternoon he had seemed excited when she arrived home. He'd finished his homework, mowed the tiny lawn, taken a shower then helped her prepare supper, chatting constantly. Later, when he was sprawled in his chair in front of television she noticed he had shaved his pubic hair. She said it looked very neat and clean-which it did.
'Do you want to know why?' he asked, lazily stroking his groin.
'Only if you want to tell me.' She knew he was going to; he was in that sort of exasperating mood. She was wary, however. There was something about this careless insouciance that was different; a shift in the power balance. Instead of her setting the pace and itinerary, Sebastian was in control. Normally he would have asked before shaving his armpits and groin. She had to re-establish her authority. Another guest was due soon and a self-willed Sebastian might be a problem.
Sebastian went and fetched a tiny yellow pouch, hung it by its strings on his erection, and dangled it in front of her. 'So I can wear this at the public pool.'
Desolé looked at the soft, shiny fabric and shook her head. 'It will never fit.'
'Not when I'm like this, but when I'm normal.' He eyed her cheekily. 'Wanna see it on? I'll have to release the pressure on Willy first.'
It had been two years since Sebastian had masturbated in front of her. She never mentioned it in case he thought she wanted him to-which she certainly didn't! She was privy to all her son's sexual experiments thanks to several tiny video cameras Jack had hidden in her son's bedroom four years previously. She took a deep breath to quell her irritation. Sebastian was trying to provoke her, and she didn't like it! She smiled tightly. At least he hadn't become inhibited, that would really put a spanner in the works. But now wasn't the time to make a fuss so she managed to look interested and not yawn while he stroked, fondled and caressed himself until a gob of cum shot over his shoulder and landed on a satin cushion. Hiding her irritation she congratulated him on an impressive display, fetched a damp cloth and wiped the cushion before tossing the cloth to him to clean himself before donning the minuscule pouch, that she duly admired.
Desolé had not the slightest sexual interest in any man, least of all her own son! Her current desire for him to be free of the usual inhibitions sprang from an entirely different set of ideas; primarily economic. Since the video of Sebastian's eleventh birthday concert, which she had shown to her accountant, Jack Abacus, photographs and videos of her naked son in an interesting variety of poses and activities had earned her many thousands of dollars, thanks to Jack's contacts with foreign magazines and other people - mainly of 'Far Eastern' origin, apparently.
As long as her privacy at home was assured, Desolé did not want to know about that side of the arrangement. She was intellectually aware of her son's physical attractiveness and smooth bronze skin, but it aroused not a skerrick of sexual or other response. She only wished she could have been so self-assured. Men really were different from women. Increasingly, she felt she would have been happier as a man.
To Desolé's relief, Sebastian had never shown an interest in girls. Females were far too clever at ensnaring stupid men-and all heterosexual men became stupid when faced with female wiles, while women never lost sight of the main game - money, power, prestige. The employment agency she managed for Mr Farzdbuk saw a constant flow of silly young things who thought that simply being a woman was enough to demand respect, love, presents, and the fawning admiration of men. None seemed prepared to put themselves out for others-certainly not for their boyfriends or husbands. To listen to their gossip you'd think they despised the young men who took them to parties and bought them presents.
Adult females were no better. Edith, a long-time acquaintance once remarked, 'If I don't know within five minutes of meeting a woman how often her husband wants sex, how good it is and the size of his cock, then she's a lesbian.'
If the men in their lives knew that their spouses and partners betrayed their personal details to the slightest of female acquaintances, they'd probably suicide. Just this afternoon a very ordinary young lass in the waiting room was regaling a dozen complete strangers with intimate details about her husband's tiny penis that she could hardly feel, his difficulty in gaining an erection, the rash he'd developed under his testicles and the size of his haemorrhoids that popped when the piano she'd asked him to move fell on top of him. To everyone it was a great joke and proved the inferiority of men.
Desolé hoped Sebastian would be gay; she wouldn't be able to tolerate another female in the family! One had been enough. She liked the word, Gay. He was usually happy and gay. However, he still never brought anyone home. Went to the pictures and bush walking with a friend on weekends and was always talking about what a great guy his wrestling teacher was, but he wasn't a friend, thank goodness. Friends can be nosey and demanding.
The front door slammed. Desolé relaxed. Sebastian was home. A few seconds later he burst into the room, gave Desolé a wave and ran off to shower.
Over the last few months Sebastian's suspicions that his mother had secrets were confirmed. He was now certain that she wasn't honest with him. He realised there was something very odd about their relationship and the way he'd been brought up. As he'd grown older the similarities between his outlook on life and that of other guys his age had shrunk, and differences grown. Emotionally and socially his peers already seemed like old men-riddled with inhibitions about what they could and couldn't do, say, think, believe. Their futures appeared to be inscribed indelibly on both their and their parents' hearts. Get a steady job, be respectable, marry a suitable girl, breed two or three children, work till sixty-five, retire and die in a nursing home.
They seldom questioned anything political or social, wore whatever was in fashion, got drunk on weekends, and thought it was sissy to enjoy reading, singing, dancing, talking and chatting. Cars, football, cricket and rating the sexiness of girls walking past, were the topics of conversation. They told their parents nothing-for there was nothing to tell. Sebastian told Desolé everything because in the telling he sorted out his ideas, values and hopes, and her reactions gave him an insight into her mind-a mind he was beginning to suspect was not as he had been led to believe.
'I met Massive Martha at the pool,' Sebastian began while they were doing the dishes, 'and…'
He was a great storyteller and they laughed at Martha's debut as a topless bather. Desolé hid her irritation at his meeting a young man who was going to watch Sebastian run at the School Athletic Sports. He hadn't even told her it was on, or that he was likely to win the hundred metres! Her brain drifted off while Sebastian regaled her with an unnecessarily detailed account of his dalliance with the handsome pool-guard.
'Goodness,' Desolé smiled tightly. 'How nice.'
She blew her nose then burst into tears. 'I'm happy, Sebastian. Really, darling. So happy for you. I just hope you know what you're doing; sex with strangers can be dangerous. I know you can tell a person's character in the first nanosecond, whatever that is, I just want you to live a few years longer, that's all.'
Sebastian looked at his mother. She was good, he gave her that. The tears looked real. She wanted him to live longer to look after her, that's what it was all about. But he'd discovered the joys of independence, and independent he would be.
'By the way, darling,' Desolé sniffed while patting her eyes, 'Mr Farzdbuk rang to see if we'd take another guest next Friday. I said if he was as pleasant as the others, there was no problem. He assured me he was. Are you fine with that?'
'Sure, why not?' Sebastian shrugged as if it was of no consequence. This was another thing that had been bugging him lately. All those young homeless guys his mother's boss dumped on them for a few days or a week. Apparently young guys were streaming up from the South to laze on tropical beaches, but when their unemployment cheques stopped they were abused, assaulted, and even abducted. Mr Farzdbuk was a benefactor. If he heard of such a case he'd rescue him, have him repaired and checked for bugs and diseases, bring him to Desolé's to recover his sanity and looks, then when he was presentable and stopped bursting into tears every five minutes, he'd find work for him.
Sebastian did not like Mr Farzdbuk. He was overweight, had too many chins, smiled too much, had clammy hands and, despite a drenching of cologne, smelled sour. The guest's were always potentially good-looking young men a little older than Sebastian. Desolé was well paid for her trouble and the visitors assisted with house cleaning and cooking, which pleased Desolé who hated housework. Complaints about wearing no clothes stopped when they were told they were free to go back on the streets.
Desolé's house was large but had only two bedrooms, one at either end. Sebastian's was huge with a desk, armchairs, and a gigantic four-poster bed. One of a matching pair of doors led to a bathroom and dressing room, the other to the lounge. French doors on the south wall opened onto an attractive patio and garden,
The weekend before the first guest had arrived, Desolé prepared the way by arranging for fifteen year-old Sebastian to meet her accountant, Jack, a youthful looking thirty-one year old who could easily pass for Sebastian's brother. Slightly less than average height, Jack was tough with a muscular, sun dried body, and thinning hair. Fighting had donated a broken nose and prominent ears; features that added interest to an otherwise plain countenance. A beguiling smile assisted in the manipulation of others, but Desolé worried Sebastian would see through his superficial charm and refuse to cooperate.
Having been told to expect Jack to be there when he arrived home from school, Sebastian had peered through the French doors at a man sunbathing by the pool. He felt unaccountably irritated. And why wasn't his mother there? Strangers shouldn't be let in on their own! He studied the fellow, unable to decide if he was angry or interested. He still hadn't decided when he wandered out and introduced himself.
Jack stood and Sebastian was pleased to see he was a few centimetres taller than his visitor, who appeared shy and diffident. Jack's arms, chest, groin and legs were sprinkled with short brown hairs. Not like an animal, though. Muscular definition was clear. The effect was sexy and Sebastian wondered what it would feel like to stroke him.
Normally, Sebastian's knack of putting people at ease meant that within a few minutes whoever was basking in his attention imagined he was the friend they'd been searching for all their lives. For Sebastian, though, it was but a game, a game that wasn't working this time. Jack appeared impervious to Sebastian's chatter and charms, remaining politely impassive. In a last ditch effort to make the muscled runt take a shine to him, Sebastian asked if, seeing he was an accountant, he would help him with his maths homework.
Jack shrugged pleasantly and trailed the young man to the bedroom, gazed vaguely around and asked if the bed was as comfortable as it looked. Sebastian told him to try it. Jack neatly folded the cover down and sprawled over the sheets.
'There's enough room for several people in this bed.'
'You'd never know the other person was there.'
'I would. I like to sleep alone.'
'So you can wank?'
'It's more fun to share.'
'Lying on a bed with someone.'
Jack patted the bed. 'Try it and see.'
Curious, but unwilling to seem like an obedient puppy, Sebastian shook his head.
'Frightened I'll bite?'
Reluctantly, Sebastian lay on the edge of the bed.
Jack bounced up and down, making Sebastian roll towards the centre. Then Sebastian bounced and they ended up lying side by side laughing, thighs touching. Sebastian suddenly didn't like it any more but Jack felt playful and shoved Sebastian off the bed. Sebastian's wrestling skills apparently surprised Jack who found himself on his stomach, one arm up his back, Sebastian astride demanding submission.
At that moment, Desolé, who had been watching everything on secret monitors in a room off her bedroom, came in and plonked herself down in an armchair.
'Oof! It's great to be home. The traffic was horrendous. You've met, I see, that's excellent. Are you staying to dinner, Jack?'
'Yeah, stay,' Sebastian suggested grudgingly. 'You haven't helped me with my maths homework yet.'
During the meal Jack told them about a great spot beside a river a few kilometres inland, and invited Sebastian to go camping with him that weekend. Sebastian failed to hide his pleasure.
A two-man tent was erected, they stripped and sunbathed while Jack talked about the history of the area, then they clambered up a steep rocky escarpment for a view over the plains. The river was almost in flood and they swam in a series of deep holes scoured out between giant granite boulders. A whirlpool dragged Sebastian under. He surfaced and grabbed a lungful of air and water, but the rock was too smooth and slippery to grasp. He sank, surfaced again and took another mouthful of water. As if in a dream he could see the bank and Jack standing with his back to him. Down for a third time. No panic, merely resignation. He was going to drown. The realisation was oddly relaxing and he released the air in passive acceptance of his fate.
Suddenly a strong hand grabbed at his hair, hauled him out and held him upside down. The water gurgled from his throat and he coughed violently. Jack lay him on his side and stroked his head.
'Lucky you've long hair, Seb.'
Sebastian was shivering violently from cold and a sudden fear that seemed to clutch at his belly. Jack placed him gently on the sleeping bags in the tent, lay beside him and wrapped them both in a blanket. After several minutes of gentle massage, stroking and comforting words, the shaking stopped and Jack unwrapped himself.
Sebastian was relieved.
Later, Jack taught Sebastian how to spot dangerous currents, apologised for not warning him, and, courage restored, they swam again and enjoyed the rest of the weekend.
On the way home Jack brought the incident up.
'You Okay after your brush with death?'
'Yeah! Sure. Thanks to you.'
'We don't tell Desolé.'
'No, she'd have kittens.'
'That's right… but it's more important than that. Always bear in mind that it is stupid to tell people about your woes and problems, accidents and fears. Not because you're ashamed of them, but because it gives them ammunition. Some time in the future-you never know when, someone will want to hurt or damage you and they'll use the information you carelessly let slip against you. It's the way of the world. Trust no one, keep your secrets, and you'll not get hurt.'
Sebastian thought for a bit. 'Yeah. I can imagine several kids at school who'd love to sneer at me for nearly drowning and having to be rescued. Thanks. Good advice.'
'Well, here's some more. The young man who's coming to stay with you has suffered far more than you. He was kicked out of home, hitched north, was seriously beaten up, then locked, blindfolded in a room for a week. He was on the verge of madness when Mr. Farzdbuk found him.'
'Why did someone do that?'
'No idea. The point is, what did I do to calm you after your near drowning?'
Sebastian blushed. 'You cuddled and stroked and massaged me.' He blushed and added, 'We were naked and I got a hard on, but you ignored it as if it was normal and that made me feel it was Okay.'
'Why did I do it?'
'To make me feel safe?'
'Right. And believe me, the young man who's coming to stay with you is going to need a great deal of that sort of attention. Can I trust you to give it to him if you think he needs it? No embarrassment; just make him feel safe?'
'As long as he's clean and isn't covered in sores…' Sebastian looked at Jack who wasn't smiling.
'That's very wise. Your own health must always come first. But I assure you he isn't. He's been in hospital for a week where he was checked for diseases, sanity and drugs. He's clean and healthy-but emotionally scarred. He needs a week with someone sane like you before starting work.'
'He's got a job?'
'Yes, Farzdbuk's arranged it.'
'I don't like that man.'
'Well, don't tell him that. He's…'
'Nothing. So, are you going to do the job properly?'
'Yes! I'll look after the guy for you.'
'No. You'll do it because it is the right thing to do.'
Sebastian blushed again. 'Yeah. Okay. I understand.'
Neil had been a little older than Sebastian, leaner, taller, and less self-assured. Not bad looking when he stopped nervously twitching of his nose. Farzdbuk was standing beside him in the entrance hall. Neil was wearing a short towelling dressing gown and looked embarrassed. He had good calves. No sores. Desolé invited Farzdbuk to stay for dinner, but he shook his head brusquely. He turned to go then swung back and held out his hand.
'The gown belongs to the hospital.'
Reluctantly, Neil removed it and handed it over, then held his hands in front of his groin, embarrassed. An upwelling of sympathy for the young man coursed through Sebastian's young veins so he put an arm round Neil's shoulders and led him to the dining room, telling him gently not to be embarrassed, he had a great body and…
Desolé was friendly and relaxed, the meal was tasty, Sebastian chattered constantly about life's banalities, and Neil relaxed sufficiently to fall asleep in front of the TV. Sebastian woke him gently and led him to the bedroom where a second bed had been placed a metre from Sebastian's. He tucked Neil in and settled into his own to read. All was peaceful until the lights went out. Neil sat up shrieking. Sebastian turned on his light and raced over. Neil sat, rigid on the edge of the bed. Shivering.
'Sorry…I…I spent too long in the dark, I…'
Sebastian took the unprotesting guest to his own bed, left the light on and massaged him until he fell asleep. That was the pattern for the first three nights, so the spare bed was removed and Desolé got some fine videos for her collection during the rest of the week.
During the day, Neil spent time with Jack, telling Sebastian it was just boring stuff. Sebastian didn't probe.
That had been 18 months ago. Sebastian let his thoughts drift over the events of the last few days and his suspicions about his mother and the bizarre set-up grew. He didn't believe she didn't know who had raped her, but it was impossible to broach the subject without a screaming tantrum. It remained a festering sore in his heart. He had a right to know who his father was. He had no idea what he would do if faced by the man who had forcibly squirted semen into his mother, but it would be memorable. Kill him? No, too easy. He wasn't jealous of his school friends for their fathers. They seemed cold, irritable and unfriendly. One guy in his economics class often had red welts on his legs thanks to a length of electricity flex wielded by his loving father. When he thought about it, which was increasingly often, he was pleased to have only one parent to irritate him.
He wondered if he'd see Ari the pool guard again. He'd been so proud to be Sebastian's first sexual partner. That little white lie had given pleasure to all nine of the guests who had slept in his bed since Neil. It was strange, though, that although they'd all promised to keep in touch, none had. Desolé said it was normal; that was how humans were. Never to be trusted. But this was yet another mystery that rankled. Another thing that needed explanation.
What had happened to those guys?
3 Messrs. Noall & Achilles
The opinions of Massive Martha's scrawny anthropologist tumbled around in Sebastian's head all weekend.
On Monday he waited till lunchtime and approached the Principal as he wandered the grounds checking for smokers. Mr. Noall was a lean and handsome man of sixty-four, not at all impatient for retirement, being one of those rare people who truly love their work. A distracted frown, brusque manner, and clipped speech preserved his sanity by deterring self-important pettiness, while amusing his few true friends. He was a scrupulously impartial observer of both teachers and pupils and, with the invaluable assistance of his wife's daily spying through binoculars from their verandah, knew more about them than they did themselves.
Mr. Noall was unashamedly human and accepted with equanimity both his and other peoples' faults along with any virtues. Wisely, he seldom put anything in writing and thus managed to avoid failures. Success, on the other hand, was a burden he was always prepared to shoulder.
Mt Hurmese Boys Grammar was one of the few socially successful results of the government's support for private schools. Whereas most of these so-called educational establishments had become examination factories and grooming grounds for organised religion, Mt Hurmese was belligerently secular and broad in outlook. Situated in the heart of the most prestigious of the city's garden suburbs, its astronomically high school fees ensured that only the obscenely wealthy had access to its small classes, cutting edge electronics, science, art and everything else. While other fee-paying schools were touting for pupils overseas and becoming co-educational to increase profits, the extremely well heeled parents of Mt Hurmese did not think it necessary to share their fortune with less favoured families. One hundred and thirty-two pupils was just about right, the School Board of Governors reckoned.
Sebastian had never questioned how his mother, the manager of a small, downtown employment agency, could afford the fees. On the odd occasion when he'd pondered the question he assumed she had inherited money.
The Principal had taken an instant delight in the shirtless and inquisitive thirteen year-old who, unaccompanied by an adult, had registered for classes on the first day. Normal procedures requiring parental presence had been waived on presentation of a brief note from Desolé claiming sickness, and a cheque for her son's first two years' instruction. This colossal amount of money would earn multi bucks for the school's general purposes fund, so was gratefully and unquestioningly accepted.
Sebastian recognised a kindred spirit in the Principal and their relationship quickly became one of familiar, but not overt friendship, which was remarkable because Mr. Noall guarded his personal privacy as assiduously as he ferreted out the secrets of others. Not that he had the slightest objection to teachers becoming friends with pupils-quite the reverse! He deplored any tendency of staff and pupils to consider themselves on opposite sides of the educational fence. It was his opinion that teachers, in their life-long search for knowledge and wisdom, have as much to learn from pupils as pupils have from them, so placing themselves on pedestals is counterproductive.
The respect he enjoyed from both parents and teachers was such that he was trusted to act like a benign dictator, hiring only male teachers who were in agreement with his philosophy.
Mr. Noall watched his protégé approach and bestowed one of his rare smiles.
Sebastian's responding grin enlivened the Principal's day.
'Sir, I was talking to an anthropologist recently who said too much modesty was dangerous for society.'
Sebastian outlined Lysander's arguments.
Mr. Noall considered them and grunted, 'Makes sense.'
'The school pool is private, so why do we have to wear togs to swim?'
'We didn't when I was a student here. It's as your anthropologist acquaintance said, idiotic middle-class morality.' The sneer on the words 'middle-class' was worthy of a great actor-which, like all good teachers, Mr. Noall was. 'Over the years, Principals gave in to parents' increasingly puritanical notions about nudity and sin, so by the time I took the reins it was a fait accompli and everyone unquestioningly wore clothes when swimming. Mad. On the other hand, it will amuse you to know that there's no rule saying students must wear clothes at all at school.'
Sebastian looked his astonishment.
'The parents' association when I first took over, was full of SNAGs, sensitive new-age guys who decided to abolish school uniforms. They were not expert law-writers, so the appropriate school rule simply says, and I quote: "From the date of this meeting, clothing for both pupils and teachers is optional". I realised at the time that it didn't say what they intended, but as a dedicated weekend nudist myself, I happily signed it into the School Rule Book.' His self-satisfied smile made Sebastian laugh.
'Brilliant! So I can swim naked this afternoon?'
'If you want.'
'And I can go to class nude?'
'Except for a few wet, cool days, you have never worn more than skimpy running shorts and sandals in the four years you've graced this establishment. I don't think you even own a proper shirt. Do you really want to plonk your naked bum on seats other boys have been farting into?'
'No thanks! But how about at the sports next week?'
'No, that's a public place on that day, so you have to obey State laws which demand you cover your bits.'
'Pity. But at least I can swim naked. Should I warn Mr. Sprague?'
'Why?' The Principal's smile was sly. 'What time is your swimming class?'
'Damn, I forgot my togs.' Sebastian was searching through his knapsack in the pool changing room. 'To hell with it, I'll swim naked.'
'You wouldn't dare.'
'Wanna bet?' He stripped.
'Fuck! You've shaved your pubes!'
'Like it? The cheeky response got a laugh and no one dared comment further in case someone thought they were queer.
Mr. Sprague stared at the twenty-three young men lined up on the side of the pool and was about to give instructions when he noticed Sebastian.
'Sebastian, where are your togs?'
'Forgot them, Sir.'
'Then you can't swim.'
At that moment the Principal bustled into the pool area, apparently unaware that he'd dropped a folder by the gate.
'Old man Noall's here, Seb,' someone whispered. 'Now you're for it!'
Ignoring the students, the Principal walked briskly up to Mr. Sprague, stopped and rifled irritably through the bundle of papers he was carrying. 'Damnation! Where's that…' He swung round, saw the dropped folder in the gateway, turned to Sebastian and snapped, 'Get that folder and be quick about it!'
Sebastian ran and picked it up, returned at a sprint and handed it to the Principal, who barely nodded before turning back to the swimming teacher.
'Mr. Noall, Sir!' one of the students called. 'Sebastian's naked.'
Mr. Noall turned, studied the fellow and with testy tongue hissed, 'Cruikshank, speak when you're spoken to. And what are those things you're wearing?'
'My swimming togs, Sir.'
'No they're not! They're death traps. Great bags of material that fill with water and would drown you if you fell overboard.' He gazed around venomously. 'The only boys I see who are ready for swimming are Charles and Reginald in their speedos, and Sebastian in his skin. The rest of you look ridiculous and would drown if caught in a rip.'
'I'll prove it. You'll each swim one length in your baggies, and a second length nude. No cheating by deliberately slowing down on the second lap.'
Shocked mutters and no one moved.
'You get changed in front of each other for all sports, the pool is private, what's the matter with you men?'
That was the smart word-men. As 'men' they dared.
Mr. Sprague irritably produced another three stop-watches for Sebastian, Charles and Reginald, and, as Mr. Noall predicted, the lap times when swimming naked were markedly superior. Furthermore, what everyone thought but no one admitted, swimming was not only easier but more fun, and the water felt great flowing past groins and thighs. When the students were told to spend the remaining time swimming lengths because Mr. Noall had to speak to their teacher, no one put on their baggies.
'What did you want?' Mr. Sprague snapped aggressively as they walked towards the office.
'I wanted to tell you that you're a fine teacher, but so bad tempered and unpleasant you're causing stress to both staff and pupils. Therefore, I think it is time for you to find another school.'
'I can. Unless…'
'You're twenty-eight.' Mr. Noall stated apropos of nothing.
If he was surprised by this change of tack the P.E. teacher didn't show it. 'Twenty-six.'
'Bad temper makes you look older. No wife. No Girl friend…'
Mr. Sprague clamped his mouth shut.
As if unaware of the mutiny brewing, the Principal continued blithely. 'Who's the best kid out there?' indicating the pool.
Without hesitation Mr. Sprague snapped, 'Charles!'
'Charles is the pool and gymnasium monitor and you spend a great deal of time alone with him during and after school. It is obvious that you like each other. Furthermore, Charles hangs on your every word and gesture. He wears a speedo exactly like yours and cuts his hair the same way.' Mr. Noall smiled benignly and asked gently, 'Is your relationship sexual?'
'No!' exploded Sprague with such force the swimmers looked up.
'Why on earth not?' Mr. Noall asked as if shocked. 'The lad is seventeen and legal, and you're both obviously crazy about each other.'
'But that would be… Are you telling me I should…?' Sprague spluttered to silence.
'Are you stupid as well as unpleasant? It wouldn't be unusual. I had an affair with my Latin teacher when I was seventeen; she was petite and wore six-inch heels. Quite the best thing that had happened to me until then. Set me on the path to happiness.'
'How do you know these things?'
'I've a third eye.'
'Why don't you mind your own damned business!'
'It is my business to care for staff, pupils and school, so I need to know everything relevant.'
During this altercation, Charles, worried that his mentor might be in trouble, got out of the pool and hovered indecisively as if ready to come to his hero's aid. He was a tall fellow, solidly built, swimmers shoulders, close-cropped light blond hair, blue eyes and a determined mouth. Not handsome, but then neither was Sprague. Youth and fitness were their strengths.
'So here's my ultimatum,' the Principal continued calmly. 'Take Charles to bed and do whatever makes you both happy. If after a few days of this you change from a bad tempered oaf I want to get rid of, to a pleasant young teacher, then you can stay. However, as you obviously realise, the experiment demands absolute discretion. As far as I know I'm the only one who has divined your relationship, and while Charles is a pupil it must remain a secure secret. Agreed?'
Mr. Sprague remained speechless so the Principal beckoned Charles.
'Charles, how much do you like Mr. Sprague?'
Charles' eyes grew round and moist as he gazed in abject fear at the Principal. With his retrousse nose he looked like a sentimental pig.
'Very much, I think,' Mr. Noall said with a gentle smile.
'Yes, Sir,' the lad whispered.
'Well, he has just confessed that he feels exactly the same about you, so after the lesson I want you to wait for Mr. Sprague in his office and he will explain the situation. What he has to say is very personal so I hope you will not be shy?'
The following afternoon, buoyed by the knowledge that, technically speaking, clothes at Mt Hurmese Grammar were optional, Sebastian decided to broach the subject with Mr. Achilles, his wrestling teacher.
When karate classes had taken over the gymnasium, and with it all the other wrestling hopefuls, Achilles and his sole remaining pupil cleared a hundred and twenty years of junk from a surprisingly large room under the main stairs, cleaned the drain of the small washbasin, placed a couple of rubber mats in the centre, put a secure lock on the door, and created a private and perfect space to wrestle-as long as they remembered where the stairs were and didn't bang their heads on standing.
'Mr. Achilles, we're doing Graeco-Roman wrestling, right?'
'They wrestled naked.'
'They also punched, kicked, grabbed hold of their opponents balls, gouged eyes and tried to kill each other.'
'Kill each other?'
'Sometimes. Mainly during intercity games'.
'But... with the boys and young men in the Gymnasium it wasn't like that?'
'And they were naked.'
'All sports were done in the nude.'
'Then so should we.'
'You agree?' Sebastian's surprise showed.
'Your swimming pool escapade is the staffroom gossip topic of the week. Mr. Noall clearly supports you, so why shouldn't I? But first I'd like to know why you like to bare all. You cycle to school in nothing but shorts and sandals, and that's what you wear all day, every day. I've never seen you wear a shirt or long trousers. You now swim naked in the school pool, even at the lunchtime free-for-all today. And a young man who sounds very much like you was swimming at the public pool on the other side of town wearing nothing but a tiny yellow pouch.'
'Who saw me?' Sebastian demanded.
'My cousin is a pool guard there.'
'With a seahorse tattooed on his shoulder and a butterfly on his bum?'
'The seahorse, yes. I've no idea what he's got on his buttock. How do you know?'
Sebastian grinned and changed the subject. 'You wonder why I like being naked. It feels good.'
Not to be deterred, Achilles persisted. 'What did you and Ari do?'
'He has a wife.'
'That's his problem. As for being naked,' Sebastian continued, determined to get off this potentially hazardous topic, 'I think I also want to test people.'
'Yeah. People seem to like me, but will they also like me if I'm doing something most people don't do? Something that is considered weird or rude, like running around naked.'
'So you want people to like you?'
'Not really. After all, I don't like many people so why should they like me? It's just fun doing things to make them like me and then seeing how far I can go before they drop me.'
'Has anyone ever dropped you?'
'No, and that's odd don't you reckon?'
'No. They simply don't see you as competition-you're too… different.'
'As in strange, ugly, deformed, abnormal?'
'As far as looks go you could never be called handsome with that large hooked nose and hooded eyes, one slightly lower than the other. On the plus side you've a strong jaw and an amused mouth. Good thick hair. Slippery eyes.'
'Slippery? What's that supposed to mean?'
'It means you're impossible to pin down. For example at the moment I can't tell if you're serious or having me on. Most people's eyes give them away but you keep people guessing. I think that's part of your charm.'
'So I'm charming?'
'Only in the sense of casting a spell. It has something to do with your energy and enthusiasm; the way you involve people when talking to them… I don't know. Your individual bits are nothing to write home about, but the sum of the parts is a winner. I've watched teachers and kids talking to you. They don't really listen, they just watch you and smile as if mesmerised. And if you haven't put a spell over Mr. Noall then my names not Conias Achilles.'
'Sure; a seventeen year old pupil and a sixty-four year old Principal who let's him do whatever he wants.'
'Having demolished my face, how about the body?'
'You'd never win a bodybuilder competition but you're lean and firm with a permanently tanned smooth skin. You're obviously fit and strong. Good shoulders and slim hips. Excellent legs, tight bum and gigantic balls.'
'I thought you were wearing water wings between your legs in the pool at lunchtime.'
'Does that mean you like me?'
'Do you care?'
'I like you enough to keep wrestling.'
'Would you still like me if you knew I got a sexual thrill thinking about wearing my yellow thing in public, swimming naked at school, and wrestling naked with you?'
'I'd assumed that would be the case. After all, the only things you don't normally expose are your genitals, so it must be a thrill to expose them.'
'It's only thinking and planning that's sexy. While I'm doing something it just feels completely normal. Not sexy at all. I wasn't thinking of having sex with you, by the way, just wrestling.'
Achilles was silent and Sebastian wondered if he was disappointed at not being considered a potential sex partner. Too bad. If he wanted sex then he had to be a bit more like his cousin.
There was, of course, much more to Sebastian's behaviour than he was prepared to divulge, or even realised himself. Apart from school he had led a solitary, lonely life, the only visitors to their house being adult strangers who usually took no interest in him. To compensate for real friends he had devoured books, starting with the Grimm Brothers and advancing swiftly through junior adventure to strong adult stuff, especially quality crime fiction.
Recently, his life had been enhanced by the wondrous manic violence and cutting social commentary of Christopher Brookmyre's first eight novels, and of course the internet where he swapped ideas and dreams with hundreds of people on forums.
When he was twelve he'd asked a teacher about the meaning and purpose in life, so the well-intentioned woman lent him a book on Western Philosophy that Sebastian read with increasing dismay. All the 'wise men' in the book he read based their advice on the assumption that there is a perfect, supernatural being that is in charge of everything, and our sole purpose, apart from staying alive long enough to breed, is to worship the being and unquestioningly do whatever we are told to do by his representatives on earth, who get their instructions via prayer and an old book.
There was quite a bit more to it than that, of course, but the precocious young lad rejected both assertions as silly, and decided to work out for himself how to live, by emulating characters in fictional literature. He read avidly and loved stories in which bad guys who embodied avarice, fear, cruelty and lack of empathy, were defeated by heroes who, despite having been born with the same instincts and faults as everyone else, managed to lift themselves above the common herd and be brave, decent, honest, just, and merciful.
An astute observer of other humans, Sebastian had become increasingly contemptuous of the difference between the behaviour of most people he met, and the fictional characters he admired. Where were honesty, strength, endurance, generosity, and gentleness? Why did so few people take good care of their bodies? Why were most of the people he met overweight, unfit, fearful of difference, terrified of doing anything unusual or giving an honest opinion? They didn't even dare to stick up for themselves, preferring to sacrifice their individuality to be accepted by a group.
Although contemptuous of their fears, he understood that caution and respect for danger is essential, because foolhardy daring often results in disaster. Inevitably, he had developed a healthy scorn for those who believed in super heroes, magical powers, ghosts and all other wishful thinking.
'Do you often have sex with strangers like Ari?' Achilles demanded brusquely, interrupting Sebastian's reverie.
He dragged his thoughts back to the present. 'Sorry, Sir, what was that?'
Achilles repeated the question.
Sebastian's grin was cheeky. 'Only if they're sexy-or it's my duty.'
'Duty! When has it ever been your duty to have sex with strangers?'
Sebastian smiled grimly. He'd deliberately said duty to provoke that response. He'd been itching to tell someone about the 'guests' for a long time, but couldn't just drop it into a conversation. He really needed to know what a decent man thought of it. Con was decent and Sebastian admired him, so this was his chance. Calmly, so as not to sensationalise, he outlined the arrangement he and his mother had with Mr. Farzdbuk. 'So you see, it's a form of therapy for them and they're all nice guys so it's no penance.'
The silence became oppressive so an increasingly worried Sebastian continued.
'Jack, the bloke who brings them, explained it like this. For the first two or three hundred thousand years humans lived in small family tribes. The men would sometimes be away for days or weeks and would sleep with each other. Once you've been fucked or have fucked your friends, you knew they found you worthy and you were bonded. For the women it was the same. Today, it's been declared wrong for men to bond like that so they're going off the rails. These guys who come to us have lost all sense of self worth, so by enjoying intimacy with another man their self-respect is restored to the primeval state and they can move on. Rape, though, is deeply wounding, whereas consensual sex is healing.'
'What about you?'
'It's a bit of an ego trip to know that a strong, healthy person likes you enough to let you kiss, cuddle and so on.'
'What about disease?'
'Mr. Farzdbuk has a private hospital and I get checked every month, and so do the guys who stay. His doctor says I'm the healthiest person he's ever examined. So you've no worries on that score. How about you and your girlfriend? Both infection free? I guess I ought to know before we wrestle naked, just in case.'
Achilles sat back in astonishment. Instead of this seventeen year-old kid being on the back foot after such a confession, it was twenty-seven year-old Achilles who felt like an incompetent old fuddy duddy. The lad was brilliant!
'She's my fiancé, not girlfriend, and I've no idea. I simply assumed she was clean. As far as I know she doesn't sleep around.'
'Not since I gave her a ring six months ago.'
'Did she give you one?'
'No.' Achilles wondered why he suddenly felt cheated.
It was Sebastian's turn to leave a weighty silence that went on so long Achilles felt obliged to break it.
'Why have you been so honest?'
Sebastian grinned. 'Perhaps I'm trying to shock you to see if you still like me.'
'I think it would be impossible for me to dislike you. Do you wear clothes at home?'
'Never. They're constricting. Mum also prefers it. She's only nice to me when I'm naked. Even then she isn't really nice. I'm pretty sure she hates me.' He stopped in surprise. Why had he said that? But it was true, he realised.
'I'm sure she doesn't,' Mr. Achilles said quietly.
'She used to like me, I think. But things changed after I started wanking. She said it was perfectly normal, but somehow the way she behaved with me after that was different.'
'No! Not at all. Quite the opposite. She was always encouraging me to do it. Told me it was the best way to grow strong and healthy and I should do it as often as possible in bed before sleeping. Once I managed seven times, and when I told her she gave me a hundred dollars to do with as I liked. And sometimes when we're going to have special visitors she makes me practise my dance routines and perform for them.'
'Of course. It's not really dance-it's more like gymnastics to music. I have this final sequence when I raise my arms high then bend backwards till my fingers touch the floor, I'm very flexible, then I strain every muscle, especially my abs. This causes an erection, and then I ejaculate. I've practiced in the mirror and can make it spurt straight up like a fountain, that way it doesn't stain the carpet.' Sebastian turned to his teacher, 'Are you shocked yet?'
'Not yet. I guess the audiences like it?'
'Yeah. They keep asking me to perform at their places, but Mum says I should wait till I leave school. But they make videos and pay me for it-a hundred bucks each.'
'Your mother is Okay with that?'
'It was her idea.'
'And you? How do you feel about this? Used? Abused? Victimised?'
Sebastian's laugh was loud and genuine. 'That's what kids who are forced to do these things feel! I love the attention. I love the fact that the fat creeps in the audience wouldn't dare do it, and even if they did they'd look revolting because their bodies are crap. I get a solid kick out of it and feel seriously superior to cretins who have to watch others jerk off to get their thrills.'
Mr. Achilles was silent, wondering if he was also an inferior cretin, because the thought of watching Sebastian dance was most appealing.
Sebastian studied him for several long seconds until his teacher again began to feel uncomfortable.
'Do you still like me?'
'I like you too, that's why I've told you things I've never told anyone before. Don't tell anyone else.'
'Let's wrestle then!'
They stripped, tossing their clothes into a corner as if they'd never need them again.
Conias Achilles was slightly shorter than Sebastian with heavily muscled shoulders and arms. His face, however, was an astonishing contrast; deeply tanned and delicately beautiful rather than handsome, large dark eyes and heavy black eyebrows framed by bristle cut hair that caught the light like flecks of dark gold. A generous mouth and lips were enhanced by a medium sized nose with a bump in the middle where he'd broken it as a youth. Designer stubble decorated his jaw. A bikini line was scarcely visible against tanned skin. Nestled between massive thighs, his genitals looked deceptively normal. To the rear, a lean strong bum.
He stared at Sebastian, wondering if it was such a good idea. The young man seemed wholesome and decent, but just as his smooth slimness hid powerful muscles, so his innocent-seeming eyes concealed a character as calculating and shrewd as any he'd met. He shrugged off his doubts.
'You've shaved your pubic hair! Now I can't get you by the short and curlies.' Achilles attempt at light-hearted nonchalance failed miserably. He was very nervous and stared at Sebastian thoughtfully.
'If you tell anyone about this I will kill you. Understood?' Pale grey eyes glinted coldly. 'Because no one would believe it wasn't my idea and that I wasn't molesting you. I know you're seventeen and legal and more experienced than me in many ways, but as your teacher I'd lose everything and probably serve a jail term for corrupting you. Got it?'
Sebastian didn't doubt the threat was genuine; a chill ran through him. Naked, Mr. Achilles was a totally different person from the genial maths teacher and Lycra-clad wrestling instructor. Removal of the wrestling gear that had until then covered his thighs and most of his abdomen, revealed a chest covered in tight brown curls that continued in a line down to the thick pubic thatch that ran between his legs and spread over his bum, which was as hairy as his thighs. There was something feral; almost savage that reminded Sebastian of a large wild cat he and Reginald had once watched tearing apart a struggling bandicoot in the forest. When they'd tried to intervene, the cat had snarled and bared its teeth with such venom they'd retreated in fear.
Achilles' humourless smile caused Sebastian to wonder why he'd never noticed how sharp his teeth were.
'I'll not tell a soul, and don't you tell about me either.'
'Of course not.' Achilles tousled Sebastian's hair and the atmosphere returned to normal. 'The rules remain the same. No punching or kicking or breaking fingers. Everything above the neck is untouchable and so are the balls. Your king-size eggs would be far too easy to grab.'
'King-size, eh? I like that.'
'Cocks, on the other hand, are reasonably protected between the thighs and usually shrink when you're fighting seriously. If you let your opponent grab it, tough luck. Okay, let's go.'
Achilles prediction proved accurate, but Sebastian still felt incredibly vulnerable. Consequently, although his defensive moves improved, attack suffered and his teacher floored him five times in succession.
Drenched in sweat they sprawled over their towels on the mats to recover.
'You're nervous,' Achilles observed.
'You're... different today.'
'You seem dangerous.'
'Wishing you had your gear on?'
'No way! I never want to wear it again! This is real, just as swimming naked is real.' He grinned. 'I just have to trust you're not going to bash my balls, and not worry I'm going to hurt yours. And you, Sir? Do you prefer wearing gear?'
'No. By the way, my name's Conias, you can call me Con, and stop being so cautious. Attack me with all you've got. I'm not breakable.'
'Have you done this before?'
'You're the first kid who's brought out the ancient Greek in me.'
'Too many questions. Back to work and do your worst.'
'Right on, Con.'
The instant the time clock rang Sebastian dropped, wrapped his arms round Con's knees and heaved up in an attempt to throw him onto his back. Con twisted in the air, landing on all fours. Sebastian fell onto his opponent's back, thighs squeezing his neck, arms wrapped round his loins. Con grabbed Sebastian's ankles and was about to drag them under and flip them both over when Sebastian grabbed a fist full of pubic hair and heaved sideways with all his strength. Con grunted in surprise and was forced to change position enough for Sebastian to finish the move and claim his first point.
'That does it!' Tonight I'm shaving them off. Can't have you doing that again.'
Sebastian threw himself into the next three bouts like a madman, and managed a win, a draw and an honourable loss.
Lying side by side, breathing raggedly, counting their bruises as it had been a particularly rough afternoon, they relaxed. Sebastian could feel his muscles complaining and his bum tingled where Con had pulled his cheeks apart to prevent being floored ignominiously.
Con turned to Sebastian with a grin. 'That's the sort of fighting I like! Rough, tough and rude.'
They splashed each other with water from the washbasin to rinse off the sweat, dressed, shook hands and parted; both uncommonly pleased with the session.
Sebastian arrived home feeling oddly excited. 'Next time he'd…' He smiled to himself at the thought and wondered if Conias Achilles was also planning their next bout.
4 Reginald, Ronnie & Rex
Thursday arrived hot and still, a good omen for Sebastian who ran best in the heat. He was looking forward to winning both the two hundred and one hundred metre sprints. Not that there was any serious competition with only twenty senior students in the entire school. Pleasurable anticipation was spoiled, however, when at breakfast his mother chirped, 'I've decided to come and cheer you on at the athletic sports this afternoon.'
Her son looked up in alarm. 'It isn't necessary for you to come, Mum, it's just a school sports meeting, no big deal and…' He was furious. How dare his mother go to the Sports Day! She'd never gone to his high school before for anything - not even to enrol him! Why now? He had to find a way to stop her.
'That's sweet of you, dear, but I've recently realised I've been a poor mother as far as your schooling goes. I've never even been to a parent meeting in the four and a half years you've been there. It's time for me to be less selfish. I was speaking to Mrs Blackthorn, you know, Reginald's mother…?'
Of course he did! Thinking about his tall, big-boned, sandy haired, hazel-eyed, intellectual eco freak best friend, calmed him down enough to smile. Although Reggie's karate chop could floor an ox, he was a gentle giant who preferred to use a sharp tongue than aggression. Of course there was always one dork who misread the signs. Like the previous Friday interval when a kid flapped a limp wrist and yelled, 'Hey Reg, rumour has it you're queer, are you?'
'Why?' Reginald asked innocently, irritated at being called Reg. 'Do you fancy me?'
Everyone laughed, making the idiot feel foolish enough to prove his manhood. Arms flailing he charged at Reginald yelling, 'Fucking pansy!'
Without any apparent effort, Reginald deflected a punch, leg tripped the guy and cuffed him across the back of the head as he went down. It looked like the sort of harmless slap a mildly irritated parent might give a child, but the side of the hand was hard and travelling at speed. The would-be hero staggered, fell, sat up, looked stupid, then burst into tears; unseen by Reginald who was walking away chatting to Sebastian as if he'd forgotten the incident already.
Reginald's greatest claim to fame among his sexually-guilt-ridden peers was his encyclopaedic knowledge about sex. Many a young man now slept easily because of Reginald's confident assertion that masturbation is essential to masculine health and sanity because the increased flow of blood during erections keeps the penis healthy, and frequent orgasms make a man contented. Therefore it should be practised as often as possible.
Sebastian admired his friend's relaxed, self-confidence and wished he could be as easy himself; but he didn't dare. His apparent confidence was built on very shaky foundations.
'Anyway,' Desolé continued, 'Reginald told his mother that you're the best runner in the school and would certainly win the hundred yards.'
'What's meat got to do with it?'
'It's the hundred metres, not yards. It's over forty years since we went metric, Mum!' Anyway, I'm not a certainty to win and I'll feel stupid if you're watching when I lose.'
'Don't be silly; I'd still be proud of you if you came last. Wave when you see me and make sure I don't miss your race.'
Sebastian ground his teeth in impotent fury. In his first week at high school other kids had seen him in the town with his mother and asked who she was. He'd told them she was his grandmother who liked to pretend she was his mother. She'd recently forced him to go with her to the bank at the centre of town where they'd been seen by some of his classmates. The following day he'd overheard them laughing with other kids about seeing him shirtless in the middle of the city with his ancient scarecrow of a mother. The shame curdled his blood. Could a seventeen-year-old divorce his mother for being embarrassingly old and not telling him who his father was? He couldn't even go north and live with the Uncle he'd never met because he was gaga in a nursing home. Perhaps he could put his mother in a Home? She was as good as dead because she was bulimic and always sickening for something.
Angrily, he shouldered his knapsack and jogged to school.
Rodney was looking forward to the school's Sports Day at his old school, hoping to see the cute guy in the tiny pouch. Sebastian. That was his name. Perhaps they'd…no, probably not. A quick kiss under the water didn't mean anything. Lots of young guys would do it for a laugh. He hadn't admitted he was gay but he was easy company. Rodney was twenty-three, not that big a difference in ages. Lots of young guys preferred older men. Then he remembered he wasn't into relationships. He also wasn't into deep thinking so tossed the thoughts to the back of his handsome head and faced the mirrors. He was in good shape for seduction. If not Sebastian, there were plenty of others who reckoned he was pretty hot. He gazed at his reflection. Lean and mean. No! Lean and not mean.
A recent medical check declared him to be in excellent health, although absence of body fat had the doctor suggesting he put on a few extra kilos. Rodney disagreed. His body may have cost him uncountable hours of exercise, a dull diet and sufficient sleep, but muscles as clearly defined as an anatomical drawing, a handsome face and natural grace of movement were a lucrative meal ticket he had no intention of risking.
He turned slowly between the four full-length mirrors arranged so he could see himself from every angle. Dragging long, sensitive fingers over his loins triggered twinges of arousal and he smiled in anticipation. Usually he would devote at least an hour to his lovemaking, but this morning he was in a hurry; Mt Hurmese Grammar, Sebastian and the world were waiting for him.
He hadn't been back to the old school in seven years. Would his old Maths teacher still be there? More to the point, would he see Jason Boieluv; jerk-off Jason who'd railroaded him out of school? He put on a CD with a strong sexy beat, let his body movements synchronise with the solid pulse, caressed his small but perfectly formed nipples and attained full arousal. With practiced grace he lowered himself to the carpet, planning poses and moves for that night's performance at a widow woman's fiftieth birthday party.
The booking had been made by her son who had been prepared to pay for total nudity, erotic play, and orgasm. If Rodney could entice the fellow's mother to participate in the shenanigans, then there was an extra fifty bucks. If he fucked her in front of the other guests, there was another hundred. Not for the first time he wondered at the bizarre love-hate relationship so many young men have with their mothers. He had learned to ignore such requests and play it by ear, putting on a show that everyone, especially the mother, would enjoy.
Picturing the coming evening's performance, and Sebastian at the pool, increased the pleasure of orgasm and he groaned in relief, relaxing for a minute before showering off sweat, cum and carpet fluff. Making love to his reflections was a daily reward for maintaining his strict dietary and exercise regimen. Unashamedly, he admitted to anyone who asked, that he preferred solo sex because another body not only got in the way, but was never up to the high physical standards he demanded of himself. Imperfection was a turnoff. Your body is your instrument, he lectured all who would listen, and a well tuned instrument is essential to a successful life.
But what did one wear to a High School Athletics afternoon?
Desolé checked her thinning hair, patiently rearranging strands to cover the head evenly. The rinse had turned out more pink than beige and instead of distracting, had drawn attention to the mauve blotches on her scalp. She should have dyed her skin the same colour as her hair! Ah well, a hat would cover it. She plonked on the wide-brimmed straw hat she'd bought for her sister's wedding. The daisies clambering around the brim looked a bit tatty, but no one would notice. Was it really forty years ago? She sighed in resignation at wrinkles that a thick paste of foundation had failed to fill, then stepped back to view the overall impression.
An impertinent shaft of sunlight set her wondering if showing a cleavage wasn't such a good idea. It wasn't clear which of the vertical folds was the cleavage. A swathe of pink chiffon draped over the offending flesh was rather fetching, she thought-not stopping to wonder what it would fetch.
A lifetime of bulimic bouts ensured her figure still looked youthful-as long as it was fully clothed and seen from a distance. Her friends had always admired her courage in choosing clothes, and she thought the apricot skirt and green blouse would cement her reputation. Fortunately, she could still manage six-inch heels, if the ground was firm and flat. She smiled. Her reflection somewhat unkindly reminded her to keep her lips together. It was too late to get false teeth, her dentist had insisted; they'd never stay in place. So she was stuck with the yellowing, chipped originals.
The High School Grandstand had been built when the student population was seven hundred, so even with about fifty parents occupying the front rows, there was plenty of space for the students to spread out and make a picnic of the afternoon. The seniors were expected to run the event with minimum interference from teachers. Mr. Sprague, as Sports Master, was in overall charge and, assisted by Charles, wandered around astonishing everyone with his pleasant chatter while ensuring everything went well.
Sebastian, Reginald and Zoltan were the judges. For the field events they traipsed around from high jump to long jump, from shot put to discus, and then it was time for the running races. For these they stood on temporary steps at the finishing line in front of the V.I.P seats.
Sebastian chose to judge third place because he would be standing on the bottom step where he had an unobstructed view of the crowds on the stands, and their view of him was equally unhindered. Reginald, in skin-tight Lycra stood above and behind, while Zoltan took the top step. Charles and Sprague came to stand beside them for a while and Sebastian nudged Reginald when he saw them touch fingers. Reginald said he wasn't jealous; he had someone else lined up as a future lover.
The high-pitched shriek caused the starter to fire his pistol too early and chaos ensued as the boys began running and had to be called back. There was nowhere to hide. Sebastian was trapped at the finishing line in full view of everyone. He gave a short wave and watched as his mother pushed her way to the front and squeezed with the maximum of fuss into a space beside the Principal.
Irritation is too insignificant a word to describe Mr. Noall's reaction to Desolé's intrusion. However, exasperated indignation at the woman quickly turned to pity for her son when he learned that this odorous, ancient crone was his favourite pupil's mother! Poor Sebastian! How on earth had such a harridan given birth to an intelligent and perfect young gentleman?
Instead of shaking hands and sitting quietly, Desolé grasped the Principal's arm and asked if he recognised her.
'I'm sorry, madam, but I don't recall the pleasure.' He prised off her claws and restrained the urge to wipe his hand.
'I was your secretary for the first month of your appointment as Principal, seventeen years ago.' She smiled winningly, forgetting to keep her lips closed.
Mr. Noall blanched visibly and shrank back in alarm. He remembered now, and dredged up a smile. 'Yes, of course… Destructiva, isn't it?'
The shriek of laughter nearly unmanned him and caused far too many heads to turn. 'Oh you wicked man. It's Desolé.'
'Ah yes,' he muttered. 'Desolé.' What a desolate month that had been for everyone, he thought. If she hadn't left, the entire staff would have gone on strike. She was the main reason not one woman since then had gained employment at Mt Hurmese Grammar in any capacity; temporary or permanent.
'I was so sorry to leave you in the lurch after only a month,' she chattered, 'but I was pregnant with Sebastian.'
'We managed to cope,' was the best Mr. Noall could manage. 'Look, the seniors are lining up for the start of their sprints. There's Sebastian.'
There were no side seams in Sebastian's running shorts. There was precious little material either. Two little flaps of flimsy pale blue nylon, one at the front and one at the back, were joined between the legs. This permitted maximum leg extension while covering the minimum of flesh. Everyone agreed he had a beautiful navel. When standing still the view was tantalising. His legs seemed to go all the way up to his armpits. Private, or in Sebastian's case not-so-private parts were bunched in his new yellow pouch making an attractive bulge at the front, and a centimetre of firm brown cheek escaped below the hem at the rear. When running, the wind lifted the diaphanous material, revealing a pair of perfectly formed gluteus maxima.
As the running track was grass and Sebastian ran in bare feet, his minimalist garb made the other runners in their Lycra or traditional cotton shorts, singlets and running shoes appear somewhat overdressed. Charming modesty combined with the fact that he was obviously completely unaware of how breathtakingly sexy he looked, meant that no one raised the slightest objection. Naturally, he won both his races.
With heavy steps he crossed to his mother.
'Well done, Sebastian,' Mr. Noall said with a smile.
'Oh I'm so proud,' squawked Desolé, sounding as well as looking like a demented parrot.
Mr. Noall turned to Desolé. 'It's been a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Sanspere.' He stood up to go, then relented, turned back to her and added vaguely. 'Perhaps you would like to join the staff and parents for afternoon tea?'
Desolé simpered her acceptance and Sebastian raced away to catch Rodney who he'd seen talking to Mr. Boieluv, the Technical Drawing teacher. As he approached it looked as if they were arguing. Curious, he sauntered over.
Rodney turned and his angry scowl transformed into a knee-melting smile.
'Hi. Saw your races-nearly as brilliant as your shorts! Where'd you get them? Show me round the school.' He draped an arm across Sebastian's shoulders and they sauntered off, leaving Mr. Boieluv to simmer. Sebastian turned back and was shocked at the fury on the teacher's face.
To his chagrin, Desolé trailed Mr. Noall up to the Staff Room for afternoon tea where, desperate to offload his unwelcome guest, he hailed the Economic Studies teacher.
'Peteru Viol, meet Desolé Sanspere.'
Mr. Viol, a swarthy, balding, overweight fellow in a tracksuit, kept his hands in his pockets and looked blank.
'Desolé was the Principal's secretary seventeen years ago, Peteru. You were here then.'
'Don't remember,' the fellow replied insolently, turning away to grab a cream cake as he exited the room.
Mr. Noall shrugged. 'Young teachers today can be as rude as their pupils.'
'He's not young. I remember him clearly,' Desolé said with quiet venom. 'He is thirty-eight and in poor physical condition. He arrived on my fifty-fourth birthday. A young graduate of twenty-two; full of himself and arrogant to boot.'
'Yes. Well, as they say, no one really changes. I'll have to excuse myself I'm afraid, Mrs. Sanspere, but I'm required to circulate. Perhaps we'll meet again.'
Finding no one prepared to talk to her, Desolé tottered back to her car, wondering why she'd come and wishing she hadn't worn such high heels; her bunions were killing her.
Sebastian and Rodney found a quiet spot under a tree and lay on the grass in the shade.
'How come you know Creepy Jason?' Sebastian asked.
'Mr Boieluv. The way he looks at me sometimes gives me the willies. You looked furious as if you were going to hit him.'
'He wasn't always like that. When I was here seven years ago he directed the school play. I was desperate to be in it. After my auditions he said I was too short and looked too young, but he'd give me lessons and then perhaps find me a small part. The lessons were at his place and he reckoned I'd learn to move more naturally if I took off my clothes. I didn't object; I was too keen to get on stage. Then he said an actor had to be prepared to take parts he disliked as well as parts he liked. I said I understood that.
'When teaching me to stand and walk properly he pushed and stroked me on my bum and thighs, which I didn't like, but in a funny way it made me proud to have an adult paying me so much attention. I got an erection and tried to hide it but he told me to be proud of it-it proved I was a man. Then he said there was a kissing scene in the play, so he'd act the girl. I refused to kiss him because his breath smelled like rotten horse shit. He got angry, dropped his tweeds and forced me to suck his cock. Everything went cold. I couldn't think. I…I've never been so scared in my life.' His face turned pale at the memory. 'I still can't talk about it. Sorry.'
Sebastian didn't know what to say. He was horrified. 'Did you get the part?'
'I had three more lessons and had to do it each time, but then he said I wasn't good enough. When I protested he threatened that if I told anyone what he'd done he'd deny it and tell everyone I was a crazy queer who'd made it up because I hadn't got a part in the play.'
A shocked silence.
'I was a mess. I refused to go to school. My parents are Jehovah's Witness so I couldn't tell them or they'd have locked me away, then shamed and blamed me in front of the whole congregation and had them pray for my damned soul. So went to live with an aunt in Brisbane for four years. When I finally got the courage to return, they'd gone to a mission in East Africa, thank goodness. I never want to see them again.' Rodney sat silently as Sebastian digested this.
'And today you confronted him?'
"I told him what a vile pig he was. He started to argue. Said he thought I'd enjoyed it and it was me who'd come on to him! I'm such a wimp! I wanted to strangle him but… Thank goodness you came along.'
Sebastian took Rodney's hand and stroked it, unable to find words of comfort.
'Speak of the devil! He's over there with Mr. Trovert. What the hell's Trovert doing with such a bastard? Lets follow.' He dragged Rodney to his feet.
'I liked Mr. Trovert. He let me hide in the library during sport.' Rodney said listlessly. 'I can't believe they'd be friends.'
'I think they're going to the swimming pool. Come on.'
The pool gate slammed shut as they crept to the rear of the enclosure, out of sight of anyone passing. The clink of bottles and voices made them curious enough to climb onto the roof of the pump room, which served as part of the wall. Peering over they saw Boieluv and Trovert sitting with their backs to the wall directly below.
'What a fucking circus,' Jason Boieluv complained.
'Yes. You said you wanted to talk to me.' Mr. Trovert's voice was impatient. 'What about?'
'Just had a run in with an ex-pupil. Reckons I sexually abused him seven years ago and forced him to leave school without any qualifications.'
'No! Well… perhaps… but not intentionally. It was all a misunderstanding. He wanted to be in the school play, but was a bit of a short-arse. Good looking kid though. I offered to give him tuition and if there was a part for a runt he could have it. He came to my place after school. Randy little bastard; the most beautiful kid I've ever seen… and sexy with it. And what a flirt! I got a hard on whenever he fluttered his eyelashes at me. Wondering what he'd do I said he should try acting naked. Yes, I know, I'm a fuckwit, but I stupidly thought that's what he wanted-he certainly didn't object; dropped his tweeds and pranced around like a priapic young satyr. Had a bloody big cock.' Mr. Boieluv took a swig of beer, burped then continued.
'I used the excuse of teaching him how to move to feel him up. He didn't seem to mind. Kept his hard-on. He was sixteen and I imagined he knew what he was doing. I tried to kiss him. He said my breath stank.'
'It does. You're a smoker. You all smell like incinerators. I can't understand, though, why you thought he knew what he was doing. I sure as hell didn't when I was sixteen. You were the teacher supposed to take care of him, not seduce him.'
'Yeah. I was a total idiot. I've no idea what got into me. I've never done it before or since. I'm not a paedophile. I'm not interested in boys. But some young men are irresistible. I guess testosterone was raging. Then I told him to suck my cock. He didn't want to, I could see that, but I was too far gone to stop. He came twice more for lessons and the same thing happened, but then I got frightened. If anyone found out what I was doing to a pupil I'd be in prison getting raped. So I told him there wasn't a part after all. He raced away crying foul and I never saw him again. It's the truth. He just took off and I've felt rotten and terrified for seven years'
'Terrified? Of what?'
'You see in the papers guys in their forties and fifties suing teachers who fiddled with them thirty years before! For seven years I've broken out in a sweat every time I think about it; imagining I'm going to get a court summons. I tell you it's ruined my life and it's all my fault. I tricked the poor kid and abused his trust.'
'Did you tell him that?'
'No. I was going to, but then thought if I admitted I'd done it he'd sue me. I'm a fucking wimp.'
There was nothing to say, so nothing was said for several minutes.
'I've also had an unwelcome blast from the past today,' Rex Trovert said quietly. 'Did you see that old crone who sat beside the Boss? She was his secretary when I first arrived. Hoity-toity bitch. It was my first teaching post so I tried to make a good impression by offering to drive her home after the first of Noall's long staff meetings. It was raining and she didn't have her car. She invited me in for a thank-you drink, then demanded I screw her!'
'Rather you than me! She looks a hundred now so she must have been ancient then.'
'Fifty-four, she told me.'
'Tell me you're joking.'
'I kid you not! When I refused she threatened to have me fired. Said she'd accuse me of attempted rape and I'd never get another job. I was too innocent to know any different.'
'A bloody dangerous situation. Any man who goes anywhere alone with a woman he doesn't know well, is asking for a lawsuit. They're always believed. So what did you do?'
'I shut my eyes and thought of a Bavarian Gateau. But once wasn't enough. The following week she demanded another. I was on the point of quitting when she disappeared. Suddenly she was gone! I was free and never saw her again-until today. She's got her reward, though. She was a plain Jane then, now she's a really, really ugly old carcass. Luckily, I recognised her and stayed well away. Just looking at her made me feel dirty. Let's go for a swim.'
'The place is surrounded by two metre high concrete walls, the gate's locked and Sebastian Sanspere's been swimming naked all week at lunchtimes with the boss's approval. Did you see his running gear today? Bet that turned you on.'
'Had a hard-on all afternoon watching him. That body! In the pool he's as lithe as a seal, on the track he's a god.'
'You come at lunchtimes to watch?'
'He's certainly a great kid.'
'I'd like to lick him all over.'
'Bet you do it to your lovely wife.'
'Fee is not seventeen and not a male. Come on! Get your gear off.'
They stripped. Jason Boieluv boasted a sickly paunch, unhealthy sagging skin, limp buttocks and a tiny penis. Rodney thought he'd never seen anything more revolting. Rex Trovert was in better shape, but if he didn't take care, budding love-handles would spoil the effect of smooth, naturally dark skin, narrow hips and wide shoulders.
'Well, I'm going for a swim,' Rex sighed, diving cleanly into the water.
Sebastian's face was white from shock. 'That means…' he muttered.
'Wait here,' Rodney whispered, lowering himself down the side wall of the filter room into the enclosure, out of sight of the swimmers. He slithered round to the front, grabbed their clothes, tossed them over the wall, and clambered back himself, joining Sebastian who'd already scrambled down. Gathering everything up they raced back to the main building, dumped their plunder behind the door of the Principal's study, then retreated to the almost deserted car park and Rodney's Mercedes Sports.
'Can I come with you?' Sebastian couldn't face going home to his mother. He had to think seriously about what he'd just heard.
'Where are your bike and clothes?'
'The bike's locked and safe enough. This is all I wore today.'
'You cycled to school and spent the day wearing nothing but those two flimsy flaps of cloth with your bum practically hanging out?'
Sebastian looked confused. 'Yes? Why not?'
'What're you wearing under it?'
Sebastian pulled his shorts down to expose his yellow pouch.
'Very nice. Aren't you worried about getting raped?'
'I ride too fast. Get some good wolf whistles though.'
'I'll bet. Okay, get in.'
At that moment, Reginald ran up.
'Rodney! What're you doing here?'
'Visiting my old school.'
Reginald stared at Sebastian in dismay. 'Are you two…?'
'No, Reginald, we aren't.' Rodney gave a sudden laugh. 'Don't tell me! Sebastian is the guy you're up to the eyeballs in love with!'
Reginald blushed furiously.
Sebastian seemed not to have heard. He just stood staring into space, face creased into a frown.
'Well, you've good taste and we'd love to stay and chat, but we're going back to my place.'
'Can I come with you?'
He looked so sad Rodney let Reginald fold himself into the space behind the two bucket seats. Like an automaton, Sebastian lowered himself into the passenger seat and ten minutes later they pulled into the basement garage of a modern three story block of flats. Upstairs, Sebastian sat in silence in an armchair while Rodney took Reginald into the kitchen and told him what they'd just done while making coffee. Their voices and laughter passed over Sebastian as he pondered the revelation that Rex Trovert was his father. It explained his olive skin, almost black hair and brown eyes, but what else did it mean? He felt happy and nervous and sick. At least his father liked him. And he'd always enjoyed his classes. And he ran the library brilliantly.
The other two returned with their coffees, sat on the sofa and chattered.
Sebastian stared across the city to the sea and wondered what to do.