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Justin and Wesley found seats in the bleachers next to Emmy and Barbie and a group of their pals. All the queens had turned out to see Bri Baby play basketball with the Big Men.
"How come Michelle isn't here?" asked Justin, looking around. "Dave's playing tonight." Michelle's jocker was on the second tier team.
"I think Michelle and Dave are on the outs," Emmy confided. "She's just queening out, honey. Don't you worry your little head about her."
"I'm not," said Justin, firmly. "I don't think about Michelle at all."
A couple of Wesley's buddies from the tier, Joey and Stormy, came and sat with the boys. Justin knew them both from their classes, but he hadn't really had much interaction with the other punks in the East Wing. He'd been too afraid at first, but he wasn't afraid anymore.
The other boys smirked at Emmy and the queens. Most of the punks in the Quad looked down on queens, who they thought of as 'real' fags. After all, punks weren't fags. Not in their own minds, at least. But Justin, like his old man, Brian, was a bit of a puzzle. Justin was a little faggy, maybe even a little queeny, too, sometimes, but he was also nice. And so was Brian. Brian wasn't real hard or macho, but he was a regular guy. The punks liked the way Brian treated his kid and the way the pair were so at ease around each other. Most of the punks wished they felt that comfortable with their own jockers.
All the punks had accepted Justin into their ranks without too much problem. He was friendly and not stuck-up, even though he was the smartest guy in their classes. Justin had also promised to help the other kids with their homework, so he was a guy worth cultivating. Many of the punks were trying to pass their High School Equivalency because they knew it would look good on their records and impress the Parole Board.
Two of the C.O's acted as referees for the game and they motioned the two teams to take the court. Justin thought the five guys on their third tier team were all good looking -- and Brian the best of all in his new white wifebeater and a borrowed pair of shorts. Justin made a mental note to ask his mom to send shorts for Brian to wear for basketball. He'd need them now, especially if he was going to be playing with the other jockers regularly.
With his long arms and even longer legs, Brian seemed a bit ungainly at first next to the more practiced players, but he was also proved to be faster and more agile. Justin had been surprised when Brian accepted Al's offer to join the team, but Brian told Justin that he'd played soccer and baseball and also run track in high school, so he was much more athletic than Justin -- or any of the other inmates -- had imagined. And he proved it in the gym.
"Woo hoo! I feel like a cheerleader!" exclaimed Emmy, jumping up and down as the third tier scored. "All I need are some pom poms!"
Wes made a face. "Those queens get on my nerves."
"They aren't so bad," Justin said, feeling the need to defend his friends. "Although I don't think Michelle likes me much."
"Hey! Don't forget to ask her about those comic books!" Wes reminded Justin. Michelle might be a queen, but she always had the latest comics. Her crazy mother sent her a package of them almost every week.
"Justin, you said you'd look over that fucking essay I had to do for Civics," Stormy added. He was Junior's punk and, like Wes, he was in Stanton for boosting cars. The boys had promised to teach Justin how to hot wire a car in return for his homework help.
"I'll look it over tomorrow morning before class, okay?" said Justin, his eyes all on Brian.
"Thanks, Just," said Stormy. "I owe you one."
Brian wasn't the finest player on the third tier team -- that was Joey's jocker, Big John -- but he wasn't the worst, either. Justin was proud to see that Brian more than held his own. During the half-time break, Justin climbed down from the bleachers to give Brian some water and hand him his towel to dry off.
"You're the best one, Brian!" Justin insisted, loyally. He wiped the sweat off Brian's back and arms. The heat rising from Brian's body was making Justin very horny.
"It's always nice to have at least one fan!" Brian laughed.
"More than one," said Justin. He pointed up to Emmy and Barbie and all the girls, waving from the stands. "You have a whole fan club!"
Brian looked at Justin's joyful face and thought about how he had looked lying in the Hospital, his pale body ravaged and his face tear-stained. "But only one who really matters to me, right, kid?"
"Right, Brian. Only one who matters," Justin smiled, suddenly feeling a little shy. He knew that everyone was watching them. Talking about them. But Justin didn't care. Brian was the best. The handsomest. The greatest. And he wanted everyone to know it.
Brian draped his damp towel around Justin's neck. "Take care of this for me, okay?"
"Sure, Brian," Justin replied. "I'll take care of it. I'll take care of everything for you. Always."
And then Justin went back up into the bleachers and watched Brian and the other guys from the third tier whip the asses off the jocks from the second tier.
"You were great, Brian," said Justin as they went back to the cell for final lockdown.
"I was passable -- just barely!" Brian retorted.
"But you were the best to me, and that's all that matters," Justin replied.
"Thanks, punk," said the old man, leaning over to kiss the kid.
After they won the basketball game, the third tier team had celebrated in the Rec Room. They even invited the two C.O.'s who had acted as referees to join in the festivities, such as they were.
"No beer, no food, no music," Brian complained. "It was the kind of party my mother would plan."
Justin laughed. "But it was fun! Emmy says that as long as you have a happy occasion and good company, that's all you need to make a party a success."
"I'll remember to call Emmett the next time I throw a big bash. He can plan the whole non-event." Brian stripped off his sweat-stained wifebeater and the borrowed shorts.
"Give me those. I'll wash them," said Justin. Brian was standing in only a new pair of briefs. "Those, too. Here, let me help you with them."
Justin turned off the lights in the cell, leaving only the glow from the tier. It would be lights out all over the Quad very soon. He eased down Brian's briefs and tossed them on top of the laundry bag. Then Justin ran his hands up and down Brian's long body, touching every inch, his hands drinking in the texture of his skin, the softness of his dark fur, which was especially profuse around Brian's cock.
Brian didn't move. He merely stood and let Justin feel him, memorize him. There was nothing here for Justin to fear. Nothing rejecting or judgmental. Nothing that would ever harm him, and Brian wanted his kid to discover that right now. And Brian wanted to know that for himself as well.
Brian had already spent a third of his life locked in this cage called Stanton Correctional. Some of that time had been agonizing and humiliating. Every day he had only wished to die and be done with it. But he hadn't died, not even when he had desperately wanted to, tried to, begged to. Against all expectations, he had survived. Yes, Baby survived. That much he owed to Ron. That and so much more. And Baby gave back everything he had -- which was himself and not much else -- in return. For 8 long years.
But Ron had returned only grudgingly even the littlest crumb of emotion back to his punk. Ron's motto was 'never give anything away' -- and that included his personal life. No, not even to the one who shared his bunk for the better part of a decade.
Brian often wondered about Ron's wife, Jane. What was it that she got from Ron? Why did she stay married to him, even as he remained in prison year after year? And what was she getting now that Ron was out? Did the man give himself away to her, at last? Or was it the same kind of void for her that Brian had felt for so many years?
In the end, when he looked at Ron's face across the table in the Visitors' Gallery, Brian realized that he felt nothing for this man he thought he'd loved for so many years. There was nothing there at all. It was all as empty as that cookie tin after Justin and Wes had finished rampaging through it. Empty and hollow.
Justin dropped his clothes on the floor and stepped away from them. He rubbed himself against Brian like a cat. Justin's slender body was surprisingly hairy, especially his legs. The blondness of that hair was invisible in the light, but thick and springy as it raked against Brian's own sensitive skin.
Justin was like the mirror opposite of Ron. He gave everything away without hesitation. He was fullness personified, his emotions, all his fears and joys, overflowing. This cell, this prison, this whole universe couldn't contain the passion of this slight, but iron-willed boy. Brian was almost frightened by the ferocity of his passions. Almost. But Brian didn't shrink away from Justin's desire. Instead, he met it full force. Such a meeting might well have the power to rip down all the walls of Brian's prisons, both inside himself and outside. Finally.
The walls of their cell were now papered with Justin's drawings. A horse with a sweeping tail in full gallop. That one was right over Brian's bunk, where he could see it every morning as he awoke. But also pictures of birds and flowers, all drawn from memory. And portraits, drawn from life -- Emmy and Michelle and Barbie and Wesley and Andy and Beemer and Sergeant Tully and Dr. Caputo.
And Brian, of course. Drawing after drawing of Brian. His face, his back, his arm, his feet, his strong, beautiful hands. And tomorrow Justin would draw his cock. Draw his entire body as he slept. Justin would draw it over and over again, like Monet kept painting those water lilies, having found his perfect subject at last.
And now, like the Honor Student he was, Justin studied that subject intently and single-mindedly. First with his hands. With his mouth. His tongue. Then with his cock. And, finally and fully, with his heart and soul. The artist merged with his subject until there was no division between them, only a perfect reflection. A perfect rhythm.
All over the Quad after lights out guys were fucking. Some violently. Some indifferently. Some merely to chase away boredom or loneliness. And some to prove that they were still men, after all, even if they were locked away in a cage like animals.
But in one cell, near the far end of the third tier, two men were making love. There was no other name for it. At least for as long as the two of them could make it last.
"Is this Mr. Rosenblum's residence?"
Jane Rosenblum opened the door to see the attractive blonde standing on her doorstep. "Yes, it is, but this isn't his office. I'm sorry, miss, but..."
"I know that, but... they gave me this address at the Prisoners' Legal Defense office," said the woman. "If Mr. Rosenblum would just see me for a few moments? I'll make a regular appointment for next week at his office. But I NEED to speak with him now! Please?"
Jane bit her lip. It was bad enough that Ron's legal work was still taking up all of his time, even though he was no longer a lawyer -- at least officially. But to have these people come to the door of their home was too much!
Still, the woman was well-dressed and seemed above the usual riffraff Ron ended up defending these days. "What did you say your name was?"
"Taylor. Jennifer Taylor," she answered. "My son, Justin Taylor, is in Stanton Correctional. He's cellmates with a man named Brian Kinney. I really need to talk to your husband about this situation!"
Jane recoiled. Brian Kinney. That name made her shudder. It somehow always came down to that Brian, Jane thought. The infamous Baby. Baby had made her life a nightmare for 8 years -- and now he was back. Obviously making this poor woman's life a nightmare, too.
"Please come in, Mrs. Taylor."
Jane opened the door wide and ushered her inside. Then she went upstairs to tell her husband, Ron, that his old boyfriend's new boyfriend's mother was sitting in their living room, desperate to see him. Yes, that should be a good one. Let's see what the two of them are able to cook up together.
Ron came down the minute he heard Jennifer Taylor's name. She was lovely. Quite lovely and petite. And blonde. Ron preferred petite blondes -- at least when it came to woman. In men, he liked them chestnut-haired. And tall. And lean.
"Mrs. Taylor. Such a pleasure," Ron said, taking her hand gently.
Jennifer clung to that hand. Craig had refused to come with her. He had refused even to consider talking to the people from the PLD. Their own lawyer -- a good friend of Craig's from their country club -- had done a lousy job of defending their son on that drug charge, but Craig didn't seem to care. As far as he was concerned, Justin was guilty and should take his punishment like a man.
But Craig had no idea what was really happening to their child in prison. He had no idea about his relationship with this older man. This convicted murderer who her son was living with. And having sex with! Who Justin thought he was in love with!
But Mr. Rosenblum would understand. Debbie Novotny had encouraged her to contact him. Forget the fact that the man had also had a relationship with this same Brian Kinney. Debbie explained that it was just prison sex. A convenience. That Brian had been Mr. Rosenblum's prison wife. His bitch. But now he was out, back with his true wife, in this lovely home in Squirrel Hill.
But Jennifer knew that for her son -- her beautiful gay son -- this Brian Kinney was more than a convenience. Every day that Justin was locked in that cell with Kinney, he was more and more in love with him. Or so he thought. So he wrote to Jennifer! Asking her to buy things for this man. To do things for this man. Talking about the life they would have together when they both got out of the joint! Justin would not see reason about this. No, not at all.
So Jennifer knew that she must take things into her own hands.
"Mr. Rosenblum, I'm here to see what you can do about getting my son, Justin, out of Stanton as soon as possible. I'm afraid for him there. Very afraid!"
Ron sat back on the sofa and regarded her. "Yes, Mrs. Taylor." Ron leaned forward and put his hand on top of hers, comfortingly. He squeezed it. "Jennifer. Please call me Ron. We'll be working together, so I'm sure we'll be good friends. And there's nothing I want more than to get your son out of that prison as quickly as I can. I plan to make it a top priority."
"Yes, Ron," said Jennifer in relief. Finally she had found someone who understood. This dear, kind man! "Thank you. Thank you so much!"
"Yes," Ron said. "We'll work together. I'll begin reviewing his case tomorrow. We'll get Justin out of there, Jennifer. And then he'll be safe. Safe in his mother's loving arms."
Jennifer began to weep. Ron handed her some tissues from a box on the coffee table.
Yes, the kid will be safe. And out of Stanton. Safely away from Brian. That was the main thing. Brian was getting way too attached to this little punk. Once Justin Taylor was gone, then Brian would need Ron again. Need Ron just like Brian used to need him when they were both inside. Totally. Utterly. Because Baby belonged to him -- and always would.
Yes, Ron would begin working on it immediately.
Posted November 24, 2004.