This is Part 2 of Chapter 91 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Cruising -- Part 1", the previous section.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, featuring Justin Taylor, Lindsay Peterson, Melanie Marcus, Gus, Earl, Others.
Summary: Brian takes everyone for a boat ride. August 2002.
"THIS is the yacht? This DINGHY is the yacht you rented?" Melanie is staring at my boat like it just shit on her foot.
"It's not a yacht. It's a cabin cruiser," I inform her, coolly. Justin is standing at my side, glaring at Mel.
"It looks more like the boat that Gus plays with in the bathtub! I'm not getting on that thing!"
"Now, Melanie. I'm sure it's quite safe," says Lindsay.
"It is," interjects Justin. "Mr. Finn told Brian he sailed it all over the Great Lakes."
"And what would YOU know about it, Justin?" says Melanie, turning on him. "Since when were YOU in the Merchant Marines?"
I step in between them. "Look, you don't have to get on this boat if you don't want to, Mel, but that's no reason to take cheap shots at Justin. He's only telling you what the man said!"
"And you're going to sleep on this thing?" she adds. "Where?"
"In here," I point to the bunks in the cabin. "Or on the deck. We have air mattresses. And sleeping bags. Either way, it'll be more comfortable than your lumpy fold-out couch."
"Jesus," breathes Mel. "Now I've seen everything! Brian Kinney in a sleeping bag!"
"Justin, why don't you load the coolers and get the other stuff on board," I say, stroking his cheek. I can tell that he's put out by Melanie yelling at him. There's no reason why she has to be such a bitch about the boat, especially when she was griping before about us staying at their cottage! Make up your mind, woman!
"Debbie and Vic get an all-expense-paid trip to Hollywood," bitches Melanie to Lindsay. "Justin gets a month in a luxury hotel in London. And what do WE get, Lindz? The fucking last lifeboat left over from the 'Titanic'!"
"Now, Melanie! Brian gave you that lovely necklace when we all had dinner at Papagano's. And he brought me and Gus out to Los Angeles to visit him. And don't forget Gus' trust fund...."
"Yeah, sure. He's Lord Bountiful. I forgot."
"You know, Mel," I tell her. "I had, what, two days notice to arrange our part of the trip? I was lucky Cynthia was able to find this boat. And it isn't so bad. It's a bit small, but YOU don't have to live on it, so what do you care?"
"And YOU didn't have to butt into OUR vacation at ALL, Brian!"
"I thought Justin and I were invited. And we are staying out of it as much as we can, Mel. So suck on THAT!"
"No thanks, Brian. I hate to follow the crowds," she snipes. But she makes no move to leave and go off to sulk on her own.
"Here's Gus' lifejacket," says Justin, handing it to Lindsay.
"Oh, it's so darling!" gushes Lindz, slipping it around his little shoulders.
"Like this," I say, squatting down to fasten the straps. "You don't want it to fall off him. Gus should wear it the whole time he's on the boat or on the dock. Just in case."
"What about US if this thing sinks? Water wings?" Melanie stands with her hands on her hips.
"There are lifejackets for everyone, Mel. If you need one now, just tell me. Justin, show Melanie where they're stowed."
"Right here," he says, opening the compartment. He steps back from Mel and throws me a smile.
"Sheesh." Melanie climbs onto the 'Colleen' and eases herself into the deck chair. Lindsay hands me Gus and I help her board.
"Isn't this nice, Mel? It's so much cooler here on the water." Lindsay turns to me. "The cottage is a little stuffy."
"That's for damn sure! No fucking air conditioning!"
"You're supposed to be roughing it, Mel," I remind her. "How about a drink? Snapple? Diet Coke?"
"Don't you have a beer, Brian? What's with the soda pop?"
I toss Melanie a can of Rolling Rock. "Here you go. I'm stocking beverages for all tastes these days."
"That means he's on the wagon," adds Justin, setting up another deck chair for Lindsay.
"No fucking way!" says Melanie. "Since when?"
"I thought I'd see what it felt like to be sober for a change. You know me -- always up for a new experience!" Although hanging out with the munchers too much might just drive me right OFF the wagon before this little holiday is over. I've been on the boat with Melanie exactly five minutes and I already long to be dead drunk.
But Lindsay is smiling at me, encouragingly. "I think it's great." She tries to hold Gus on her lap, but he keeps squirming free and racing around the back deck. "That lifejacket was a good idea, Brian."
"It's a necessity if I don't want to be diving into the lake after Gus every five minutes, Lindz, so if everybody would try to keep an eye on him, okay?"
"Hey there, folks," calls another voice. I turn around. A balding man in white pants and a blue golf shirt is standing on the dock.
"What can we do for you?"
"I'm Earl. I'm tied up next door." He points to a much larger cabin cruiser, the 'Dad's Dream.' "You going to be here long?"
"I'm Brian. And we'll be here until Friday or Saturday."
"Where are you out of?"
"Your home port. It doesn't say on your boat." He points to the back of his cabin cruiser. "We're from Fairport Harbor."
"Oh, I get it. Pittsburgh. But the boat is from here. Put-in-Bay."
"Great. Pittsburgh, huh? Go, Steelers, right? Of course, I'm a big Browns fan -- we all are around here, know what I mean?" No one responds to this, so Earl plunges ahead. "So, Brian, do you know the drill?"
I frown at Earl. "I don't understand what you mean."
"You watch my boat and I'll watch yours. That's how we do things. Keep an eye on each other's stuff. Look out for strangers. It's pretty safe up at this end of the island, but lots of weirdos show up on the weekends. They usually stay in town, drinking, but it's always best to be careful. Especially with the lovely ladies on board, right?"
"Right. We'll be careful. And the lovely ladies, too." I look at the girls. Lindsay smiles sweetly, while Melanie rolls her eyes. "Thanks for the heads up, Earl," I say, clueless about this area of boating etiquette. Finn never mentioned anything about nosy neighbors and how much you are expected to interact with them. Am I supposed to invite him on to have a drink?
But Earl beats me to the punch. "Stop over later for a beer, Brian. We'll have the game on. Guys only after the gals go back to the condo, right?" I look over and see a couple more men and a trio of heavily hairsprayed women sitting on Earl's big cabin cruiser.
"Oh, sure," I answer, not certain what game he means. Earl chitchats for a few more minutes. Apparently the arrangement we have -- the guys staying on their boats and the 'gals' in rented cottages or condos -- is a common one. Then Earl retreats to his own boat.
"Looks like you've made a pal for life, Brian," snarks Melanie, knocking back her Rolling Rock.
"I think it's a good idea. People watching each other's boats and everything. Then nothing will get stolen," says Justin, reaching into the cooler for a Snapple. "It's a nice gesture."
"Christ, Justin. You and Lindsay are so into this 'good neighbor' crap!" sighs Mel. "If I have to be 'nice' to one more busybody just because they happen to live two doors down -- or because they tie up their fucking boat next to yours -- I think I'd rather jump into the lake without that lifejacket! And since when are YOU Mr. Hospitality, Brian?"
"Since I don't know what the fuck I'm doing! If these men know their way around a boat, then I'll be nice to them. I might need their help if something goes wrong and I can't get hold of Mr. Finn!"
"Gonna go over and watch 'the game' with the guys, Brian? I mean, after the lovely ladies toddle off to the cottage?" Mel smiles. She's in rare form.
"Maybe I will. A little male bonding never hurt anyone. It's always been my specialty."
"Yeah, just don't forget yourself and go knocking on their door, asking to borrow a cup of lube!"
"Very funny." But I have to smile to myself. Mel never lets anyone get away with anything. Just like me, I guess.
I rev up the engines while Justin climbs back onto the dock. Everything seems to be in working order. I check to make sure the power cord is unplugged from the dock. Then I give Justin the signal and he unties the stern line and then he runs to the front and unties the bow line. Then he jumps back on the boat.
I back the 'Colleen' away from the slip and then move her forward. She goes easily out and into the open lake. The water is like glass. We cruise over the surface.
"This is wonderful!" says Lindsay, coming to stand by me at the steering wheel.
"Want to drive?"
"Oh, no! I'll just be a passenger!" She is smiling broadly.
"Why don't you look at the maps," I say, opening up the compartment where the charts are stored. "See where you want to go."
"Oh, anywhere is fine. I know -- why not around the island? I'd like to see the big monument."
That sounds easy enough. I just circle south and follow the line of the island all the way around. There are a lot of other boats out in the early evening, taking advantage of the waning sun. A speedboat zooms by with a waterskier hanging off the back.
"I want to do THAT!" Justin yells from his perch on the front hatch. He waves at the skier.
"No fucking way!" I yell back. That's all I need is to be dragging him off the back of the boat!
I look behind me. Melanie and Gus are sitting in the deck chairs. Gus looks like the Michelin Man wrapped up in his lifejacket, but it does have the effect of making him a little more stationary. Mel has her beer can in hand and she's smiling, her short dark hair blowing in the breeze.
"It's a lot cooler out here than on shore, isn't it, Melanie?" Lindsay calls. The noise of the engine drowns out a lot of conversation.
"Feels good!" answers Mel, raising her voice over the roar.
"I think renting this boat was a marvelous idea, Brian," Lindsay says. "Are you sure you won't get awfully bored staying up here with us? I mean after all the excitement in London -- and Los Angeles...."
"Excitement is great in its place, but sometimes you need a break. And I plan on using this break to do exactly nothing while Justin and I are up here, Lindz. And I'm going to enjoy it."
"You? Brian the Workaholic?"
"Maybe that's part of my problem, Lindz. I need to know how to relax in ways that don't involve drinking myself senseless or fucking myself into oblivion. I'm willing to try anything at this point."
"Even hanging out with US? Heavens!"
"Listen, I have a heavy schedule of shit coming up this fall. 'The Olympian' coming out, maybe the English film, too, and I'll be running myself ragged doing the publicity and all the other connected crap. I need a little time to 'do nothing' before I have to get out there and get to it. I know everyone thinks I was just screwing around in England, but I was mostly working my tail off. Ask Justin. I only had that last week to relax and even then we were on the go every second!"
"Poor baby must be exhausted!" Lindsay has this way of being sympathetic and condescending at the same time. Especially with me.
"I get tired, just like everyone else. Don't think I don't get fucking worn out just because I hide it well, Lindsay."
"I know you do, Bri. I'm sorry." She pats my hand on the steering wheel.
"There's the ferry," I say. I slow the boat down as the big ship crosses in front of us. Justin is waving at the passengers from the bow of the boat. "He waves at everything, that kid."
"He just likes people," she replies.
"Unlike the 'Misanthrope'?"
"You aren't a misanthrope, Bri. Just a little... selective in your choice of friends. But when you do choose, you have very good taste." She leans in to kiss me on the cheek.
"How are you feeling, Lindz? Not seasick or anything like that?"
"Not at all. Maybe a little queasy this morning, but otherwise I feel great." And she looks great, too. Healthy. I try to see if I can tell that she's pregnant, but Lindsay always has that soft, kind of bouncy look to her. Very different from Mel's hard, spare form. Truthfully, when it comes to females, I'm a lot more attracted to Mel's body type than I've ever been to Lindsay's. Maybe it's because it is more familiar, lean and boyish. If I was into women at all I think I'd fuck Melanie without hesitation -- if only I didn't have to listen to her bitch the whole time.
But, luckily, I don't even have to consider that anymore. I hope. Frankly, if Lindsay came to me AGAIN for a donation, I'd have to beg off. I think I've done my bit for the 'war effect.' Maybe Justin can step in next time -- if it's necessary. Yes, he could shoot into that cup as well as the next guy and be a better father than ninety percent of the hets who knock women up right and left and then go on their merry ways. But I still pray that Lindz has the girl she wants and that will get the whole baby thing out of her system.
"Mel! Will you BEHAVE!" Lindsay's voice rises over the noise of the engine.
I twist around to see what Lindsay is on about and note that Melanie has taken OFF her tank top and is lounging on her deck chair with her tits bare for the world to see!
"Er -- you do know that Justin is sitting up front, don't you?"
"So? He's seen tits before, Brian. Don't worry -- mine won't turn your boytoy straight!" Melanie pulls another can of beer out of the cooler and pops it open.
"I guess you're right about that, Mel. But I don't want the Coast Guard on our asses because you flashed every fucking straight-laced hetero on that ferry!" I watch the big ship approaching its dock, now well beyond us.
"I waited until they went by. Now I want to get a little sun." Mel adjusts her sunglasses. "Take yours off, too, Lindz. I've got plenty of sunscreen."
"I think I'll pass right now, hon," Lindsay replies, gauging my reaction.
"What the fuck," I say. "Strip stark naked, if that's what you two are into. Just cover yourselves before we get back to the dock. I don't want good old Earl to think that my 'lovely ladies' are a bunch of sluts."
"Only ONE person on this boat who qualifies for THAT description, Brian."
I offer Mel one of my fingers in way of a response. But then I think, what the fuck, indeed? I'm wearing a white Indian gauze shirt I bought in London. It's thin and cool, practically transparent, but if Mel is going to take her shirt off, then I will, too. I unbutton it and strip it off, tossing it on the bunk.
"NOW who is going to get sunburned, Brian?" Justin sees me and pops down through the front hatch. He stands in the doorway of the cabin, cocking his head.
"I'm in the shade here. Plus, I'm NOT a fucking little albino!"
"I'm NOT an albino, Brian! Besides, I thought you liked my creamy, pale skin."
"That's the key word, Justin -- pale. Not burned and peeling."
"We have more sunscreen, hon," says Lindsay, offering Mel's bottle to Justin.
"I'm already covered from head to toe -- thanks to Brian." Justin rotates to show the girls where his sunscreen goes. He's wearing his 'First Mate' tee shirt and an impossibly tiny pair of white shorts that he changed into before the girls came over. And he's taken off his boat shoes and has been climbing all over the boat barefoot. He's also staring at Mel's tits.
"I bet you are," comments Mel, narrowing her eyes at the boy. "Thanks to Brian."
"Hey, applying that sunscreen was the most fun I've had all weekend!" I retort.
"If Justin is the First Mate, what are we supposed to be?" asks Mel.
"Well," I answer. "The position of 'Sea Hag' is still open -- if you'd like to apply? And you," I say, turning to Justin. "You've been scrambling all over this boat. I don't want to have to fish YOU out of the lake. Maybe you should put on your lifejacket while we're out on the water."
"I told Mr. Finn I was a good swimmer. And I am! At least, I'm better than you, Brian. Please don't make me look like a dork by forcing me to wear that bright orange thing!"
"All right," I say. The lifejackets aren't exactly fashion statements. "But be careful! I mean it! And put your boat shoes back on. You might slip and fall." Justin grumbles, but he complies.
We pass the Perry Memorial. It sits on a narrow spit of land between the main part of the island and a little spur of land that sticks out to the northeast.
"Can we go to the top? I want to take some pictures from up there." Justin gets out his camera and takes a few snaps from the boat. "I bet you can see all the way to Canada."
"How about tomorrow? You know, there's a Canadian island not that far from here." I point to the chart. "Pelee Island. We could take the boat up there any day this week."
"What about that amusement park, Bri?" says Lindsay. "We want to take Gus for at least one day."
"You pick the day, Lindsay, and we'll go. I can dock the boat there and you won't have to take the car back to the mainland and drive over."
"Jesus. A family outing to the amusement park! What the fuck next? Brian running for president of the PTA?" Melanie grumps. "Hey! Justin! Don't take any photographs of my boobs!" Justin turns his camera away from her, but he gives me a wink.
"Don't flatter yourself, Mel," I mumble.
"But, Mel, that's what we're up here for!" says Lindsay, trapping Gus tightly between her legs. "A real 'family' vacation."
"Yeah, with BRIAN. Swell family."
"I think it is," says Justin, evenly. He looks Mel straight in the eye. "Brian IS Gus' dad and that means something. He takes it seriously. I know. I've seen him..." Justin pauses and looks back at me. "I remember things Brian's done for you guys, even if you don't. Like signing over his parental rights. He didn't HAVE to do it. He didn't WANT to do it. But he did it for Gus. And he also did it for you two. So you'd get back together." Melanie goes silent as Justin speaks. "My memory may not be the greatest anymore... for a lot of things. But I do remember that. And a lot more. Maybe you ought to remember it, too. Especially when Gus gets bigger and doesn't want to hear you say bad things about his father. If you don't want him to feel like he has to choose between the two of you. Because that's not a choice any kid should have to make." And then Justin sits down on the deck next to Gus and pulls him into his lap.
Shit! What can you say to something like that? Justin makes more sense than the supposed 'grown-ups'! Lindsay is looking stunned. And Mel looks like she just lost a big court case that she was certain she had in the bag. The People v. Kinney, probably. What the fuck have I done in my life to deserve to have Justin defend me at every turn? I don't know, but I'm glad of it.
We cruise around the north edge of the island and pass between South Bass and Middle Bass. You can see that the other island is covered with vineyards. After tourism, wine-making is the main industry up here. The harbor at Put-in-Bay is still crowded. People are taking their boats out one last time before they return home at the end of the weekend.
Melanie even slips her tank top back on after noticing a boatload of young guys pointing at her and hooting. "Assholes."
"I thought you were making a political statement, Mel? You know, 'My Tits, Myself'?"
"It's getting cool back here. And I don't want to catch a chill. That's why I put my top back on. What's your excuse, Brian?"
"You know, Mel, some people think I have a body worth looking at. And I don't mean just a few desperate queens at Babylon." Yeah, I think. Wait until she sees those photos from the 'Vanity Fair' shoot! If the proofs that Eugene Majeski showed me were any indication....
Justin hands Gus over to Lindsay and comes to stand by me at the wheel. "Maybe I can drive the boat tomorrow? You could give me a few lessons." He's trailing his hand down my naked back and it's giving me goosebumps. Justin fingers the little curve just above my ass and my dick stands straight up in my jeans.
"I thought I was just learning myself. But I don't mind giving lessons. If you're a fast learner?"
"Oh, I'm a very fast learner." Justin blows a little puff of his hot breath on my left shoulder.
"Hey!" shouts Melanie. "Will you two fucking give it a REST!" This time JUSTIN shoots the finger at her. "Rude, too. He's certainly drinking deeply at the Kinney Fountain of Knowledge."
"If you'd like to get out and swim home, Mel," I say. "Be my guest!" That shuts her up -- for now.
But it's starting to get dark and I steer directly for Oak Point. I don't want to get caught out here at night on my first day. By the time Justin ties us up at the dock, Gus is out like a light and Lindsay is yawning deeply.
"I'm sorry to be such a party pooper, Brian, but that's why we ate early, before we took the ride. I get SO tired. That's a side-effect." Lindsay pats her belly. I can't really see any change there at all, but if Lindsay says it's so, she's the expert. The whole process is a complete mystery to me. "I left some of our leftovers in your little fridge. You need a microwave in here to heat things up."
"Actually, there's a small two-burner stove, which is big enough to boil water for coffee, but not much else. I'll tell Mr. Finn that he needs to remedy that situation." I give Lindz a kiss before she gets into the car. I insisted that they drive over instead of having her walk from the cottage. "What's up for tomorrow?"
"We're taking Gus to the beach. What are you guys doing?"
"Warn Mel -- it's NOT a topless beach. Justin and I will do whatever comes along. I'm not making any specific plans. Except the amusement park."
"For Wednesday? How does that sound?"
"Fine. The weather forecast is for sunny and hot all week. So any day you say, Lindz. I'll see you tomorrow." I slam the door of the car.
"Bye, Justin!" she calls and they drive away.
"Melanie was in a 'great' mood," says Justin as I climb back on the boat. He has the air mattresses out and is pumping them up.
"I'm HER favorite person just like I'm your mother's favorite person, too. They ought to get together and compare notes." I kick my sneakers off.
"It's YOU, Brian. People either worship you -- or they detest you. There's no middle ground. Just imagine what it would be like with the boat full of your admirers? I think you'd hate THAT even more than Melanie's potshots!" He finishes the first mattress and begins pumping up the second one.
"Yes, can you picture Ron and Gerry Milton sitting in those deck chairs, sharing a can of Rolling Rock? Or Dorian taking his shirt off up on the bow? Don't give me any nightmares, Fiend!" I unroll the sleeping bags and zip them together.
"Are you going over to that other guy's boat? To watch the game?"
"What do you want to do, Justin? They probably have a lot of food over there. Chips and dips and shit."
"We've got snacks here, too, Brian. And the hamburgers Lindsay left. We could eat them cold."
"If you're hungry, go ahead. I don't feel like anything." Justin opens a bag of pretzels and offers me some, but I decline. "What game do you think they were talking about, Justin?"
"Not a clue. Is it too early for football? Maybe a baseball game. The Indians?"
"Could be an exhibition football game. But I don't think I'm in the mood for that. It's been a long day and chumming it up with the breeders is not what I have in mind right now." I shake the sleeping bags out and lay them down on top of the air mattresses. Then I toss down a couple of pillows. The back deck suddenly looks very small. But it's still bigger than the little boat's cabin.
I turn on the radio and listen to the weather band for a few minutes. "Sunny and hot for tomorrow, just like I told Lindsay." Then I try to tune in some music. Mostly country stations out here in the heartland. Finally, I find an FM station playing some kind of mellow jazz. It isn't my first choice of mood music, but it isn't too annoying.
Justin flops down on the sleeping bags and rolls over onto his back. "I wish we didn't have to put the canvas up. Look at all the stars! They're so clear!"
I lay down next to him. He's right. Away from any city light pollution and out in the middle of the lake, the stars look close enough to touch. Yeah, it's a cliche, but cliches can be true, too. I'm learning that.
Justin walks his hand across my jeans and plays with the buttons. The top one is already undone. He pops open the next one. And the next. "You do realize, Justin, that anyone can walk right by here and see us quite clearly?"
"It's too dark. And no one is looking this way. Those guys are watching the game, remember?" We can hear the sound of their television and conversation on the next boat. Low male laughter.
"Yeah, but sound carries far across the water. All sorts of sounds," I remind him.
"I wasn't planning on making a lot of noise. Yet." Justin pulls my cock out of my jeans and runs his fingers up and down, barely touching it. But he doesn't need to -- my cock has been hard since before we docked! Since he came over and 'helped' me drive the boat, in fact!
"You better stop that right now -- or there won't be time to put the canvas up."
"Why? What's going to happen?" he whispers.
"We're going to get arrested," I hiss. But I also don't stop him. I don't stop him at all. The air mattresses feel like giant pillows with a lot of bounce to them. I zip the sleeping bags up around us, deciding that a little cover is better than Justin's white ass shining in the darkness like a fucking beacon.
And it is amazing just how quiet you can be when you are getting blown expertly. Justin's mouth around my cock feels like a satin pocket. Just the right amount of tension as he moves up and down. Just the right amount of licking to the right amount of sucking. The pressure of his fingers around the root of my cock. When to squeeze. When to release. Justin seems to time it so perfectly that I let out a loud gasp and shoot into his mouth just as someone on Earl's TV scores a touchdown or homerun or whatever the fuck they are doing in the game. The guys over on the other boat yell with excitement! Justin starts laughing so hard that he practically chokes, the remnants of my come running down the side of his mouth.
"Quietly! Remember?" I get up to get the box of Kleenex. I pull out a tissue and wipe off the corner of his mouth. Then I wipe off my cock. He tries to reach up and do it for me. "Stop! Not just yet."
I set down the tissues and turn the radio off. The boat is rocking gently and I can hear the wash of the lake water around the hull. I slip my jeans off all the way and get back in the sleeping bag. Someone walks down the pier, the wood squeaking under his soft-soled boat shoes. He passes right by without looking over.
"I told you no one can see us," breathes Justin, burying himself against my side.
"That's because we're covered up -- and not doing anything! At least not this minute." I wonder what time it is. It's hard to tell. Time seems to stand still on the water. I wonder when the game will end and if the 'guys' will leave? They would have to walk by our boat. Then maybe....
But Justin is sound asleep. The long day and the hypnotic swaying of the boat and the warmth of the sleeping bag are better than any pill for knocking you out. I watch the moon rising higher in the sky over the water. It's almost full, like in some dream. I catch myself dozing off....
A little while later I hear Earl turn off his TV and then the silence is profound. Something like a perfect moment, if such a thing is allowed. The boat rocks like a cradle and I feel protected and secure, as if everything else is outside and can't reach us across this water. The moon. The stars. The water. Justin. All the elements you need to live. But I know this moment will be over all too soon. And then it really will be nothing more than a dream.
Continue on to "What's the Story, Morning Glory? -- Part 1", the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, September 2002
Pictures of Gale Harold and Randy Harrison from Showtime.
Updated October 2, 2002