In high school, Sam Conner is a star quarterback and an artist. He dates a pretty cheerleader and seems to have it all. Behind the scenes of his school life, Sam lives in an unconventional family with two gay fathers, and lately he's been having some thoughts that disturb him. When Sam presents his problem to his fathers, can their advice set Sam on the right path?A short story from our Nibs literary line.
Author: Don Schecter
Publisher: Untreed Reads Publishing
Sam Conner was staring at Pat Stern’s butt in the shower. Practice was over for the afternoon and the two seventeen-year-olds were sloughing off grime from a field softened by a week’s rain, amidst the whole team of laughing, wisecracking, naked boys their age. Suddenly, Sam was showering in silence as the enormity of the thought that had just struck him blocked out all sound. I’m staring at Pat Stern’s butt!
Sam watched the way the water rivulets running down Pat’s cheeks were diverted in their paths by the dimples in his buttocks. He noticed that the smoothness of Pat’s rounded globes was exactly like the statuary he was studying in art class. Pat could have modeled for them.
The noise in the shower room flooded back. What the hell am I thinking? What am I doing? Sam plugged his fingers into his ears and shook his head clear under the shower spray.
“What are we doing tonight, Picasso?” Pat shouted above the din.
“I’m bushed,” Sam yelled back. “Gotta study trig some more. Where are you off to?”
“I’m taking Linda to a flick. Won’t Carolyn miss you?”
“She’s got a paper to write for Mr. Carter. She told me to study trig. You and I both need to study trig.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve got needs in front of that one!” With a big grin on his face, Pat grabbed his crotch and did an Elvis impression.
They moved to the lockers, and dried and dressed rapidly. Sam caught a glimpse of Pat’s bare rear disappearing into his blue jeans. He wondered if he ought to leave his underwear at home from now on. On his way out of the locker room, Sam called to his friend, “Have fun tonight, Romeo.”
“Will do ’er. Get that trig down, so you can teach it to me.” Pat laughed and went back to tying his laces.
At home, Sam found his father browning cubes of pork in a Dutch oven. He opened the refrigerator, poured himself a tall glass of milk, and went over to the stove. Jerry Conner turned his head to his son and they gave each other a peck on the lips.
“How’d it go, son?”
“Practice? Good. Pat and I worked well together. Game tomorrow’s in the bag.” Sam kicked a chair back and sat down with one leg raised on the kitchen table, careful to dangle his shoe off the edge. “Dad, we gotta talk. Got time?”
“Always.” Jerry transferred the browned meat to a paper towel and went about sautéing garlic, onions, and carrots in the pan juices. “What’s up, guy?”
“I was looking at Pat Stern’s butt in the shower this afternoon.” He waited for the information to sink in.
Jerry looked around. “What’s wrong with Pat’s butt?”
“Nothing. Just the fact that I was looking at it.”
“Sam, I’m a little mystified; give me a clue, huh?” Jerry stirred the pot vigorously.
“Dad, I was looking at a guy’s butt!”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“What’s wrong?… Dad, what is wrong with that is that I was seeing it. And…and…I guess I was admiring it. That’s what’s wrong.”
Jerry thought he had defused this conversation years ago. He now realized he’d been optimistic. A gay father living with a lover who was only ten years older than his son had played out this conversation in advance—many times, with many alternative scenarios. Jerry felt himself fully prepared. “And what conclusions are we drawing today, Sam?”
“Dad, I may be gay.”
Without missing a beat, Jerry drained the fat from the pot, replaced the meat, and added broth. He slipped the cover over the stew and put it in the oven before answering.
“How do you suppose Carolyn will take that news?” he asked.
“Carolyn? How the heck should I know? I haven’t told her yet.”
“Do you think she suspects?”
“Hell, no! How could she? When we make out, we get so hot, it...” Sam searched for an apt comparison—“It’s like nuclear meltdown.”
“Q.E.D. You are not gay,” his father said.
“But…but what about Pat?”
“Sam. Good advice from your father. Go out with Carolyn tonight and have a good time.”
“Can’t tonight, Dad. Carolyn’s got a paper to do and I need to get trig down for a test on Monday.”
Jerry thought a moment. “You were going to a picnic with Carolyn on Sunday, weren’t you?”
“Yeah, we planned that a while ago.”
“Here’s a bright idea. Skip the picnic, go out tonight instead.”
“Trig, Dad. You must not have heard me.”
“I heard; now you obey. There’s no way you’re going to concentrate on math when you’ve got something on your mind. Go out with Carolyn tonight, have fun, and hit the books on Sunday.”