Rainbow BoysbyCal Y. Pygia©
Dean O'Dell's hands were like birds. White, smooth, they soared, fluttered, and dipped when he spoke, reminding friends and foes alike of beautiful, sleek doves.
Those who were, like him, gay, or who are able to sympathize with, or at least tolerate, the gay lifestyle, as some parents, siblings, and straight friends do or may, appreciated, even admired, his lovely hands. Others, especially homophobes, found his perfectly manicured nails, smooth flesh, and long, delicate fingers--and his limp wrists--unpardonable offenses.
More than his slight lisp, his giggly, effeminate manner, his outrageously out clothes, his body piercing and jewelry, and his makeup, his lovely dove-hands tended to invite homophobes' disgust, loathing, insults, and, frequently, violence.
More than a few times during the past year, catching a "queer-hater's" eye as he giggled and whispered, rather girlishly, at a table in a restaurant or over a dainty ladies' drink at the local pub, Dean had returned, early in the morning hours, to his efficiency apartment with a bloody nose, a blackened eye, or worse.
Most recently, in an altercation with a broad-shouldered, broad-faced, mean-eyed blond with a football player's physique and an intelligence quotient just a point or two above that of idiocy, Dean had suffered a split lip and a loosened tooth before his friend, Big Eddie, the bouncer had broken up the one-sided "fight" and evicted Dean's attacker, the blond dolt vowing "to get your little faggot ass." Some night, when the bouncer wasn't there to look out for Dean, the burly bastard had promised, "You'll get what's coming to you, bitch!"
"You have to be more careful," Big Eddie had cautioned Dean, after the blond was gone.
"I didn't do anything," Dean had argued.
"Look at yourself in the mirror the next time you go to the toilet to take a leak," Big Eddie had advised him. "You don't have to dress in lavender satin shirts festooned with lace."
"I like Edwardian dress," Dean had replied. "What's wrong with that?"
"You don't have to wear your hair in a spiked pink-and-purple Mohawk. You don't have to wear all that jewelry. You don't have to wear mascara, blush, and lip gloss, for God's sake."
Dean had shaken his head. "That's who I am."
"I can watch your back in here," Big Eddie had reassured his gay friend, "but, outside, you'll have to watch your own ass."
I remember the exchange of dialogue that Dean and Big Eddie had the night, a week ago, that the big blond boy's fist had loosened one of Dean's teeth because that was the same night I fell in love with Dean, watching him from across the bar.
I never believed in love at first sight until then; now, I know better. I fell for Dean, all right, like a rock through water. Needless to say, I became a regular customer at The Hot Spot that night, when I realized that Dean was a nightly visitor.
Had his run-in with the blond boy not happened as quickly as it had, I would have come to Dean's defense. I'm a big guy, nearly as big as Big Eddie, and I have a mean left jab and a devastating right uppercut. My chin's steel, not glass, and I've been offered chances to go pro. I'm happy to have settled for Golden Gloves, though. Since I discovered I prefer guys to gals, a lot of the fight's gone out of me; I'd rather be a lover than a fighter.
The next night, when Dean left earlier than usual, I followed him. If Big Eddie couldn't watch Dean's ass after he left The Hot Spot, I thought, I sure could. In fact, I'd be glad to accept the task.
Outside, the night, though young, was dark, and there was a bit of a nip in the frosty October air. Thick shadows sprawled at the sides of the cars in the parking lot. Far overhead, the streetlights, in the words of Jim Morrison, "shed their hollow glow."
As he crossed the pavement toward his car, his tight, compact butt swaying seductively inside his taut jeans, the loud blare of jukebox music muted by the closed interior of the brightly lit pub, Dean looked small and vulnerable. I imagined him in my bed, in my arms, my mouth upon his, open, my tongue probing his warm, wet mouth, my cock, thick and stiff, standing upright between my bare belly and his, pressing firmly against his abdomen and his own erect prick. My penis was swollen, hard, inside my own jeans. I wanted to ram it down Dean's throat or up his ass. I would never be physically violent with him, but sexual violence, done playfully and carefully, in a spirit of love, was a different matter entirely. Rough sex wasn't injurious; it was simply sexy.
Imagining myself atop Dean--or, better yet, behind him, delivering my stored load of warm, thick semen doggy style--I was so focused on my fantasy, on my desire, on my need, that I didn't see the blond until he'd launched his fist, like a rocket, as Dean sashayed past him. The bully had stationed himself behind a Buick, lying in wait, so to speak, for Dean to pass his way. He'd ambushed the smaller man, slamming a ham-size fist into the side of Dean's delicate skull.
With a shrill cry of terror and pain, Dean fell as if he'd been shot, and the blond stepped forward, revealing his bulk.
"You little pansy-queer bastard!" the big man snarled, sneering. He hawked up a gob of mucus and spat the snot-wad on Dean. The phlegm and saliva splattered against the side of his impossibly handsome face. "Your faggot friend isn't here to watch your back tonight, is he?"
He meant Big Eddie, of course.
"I'm going to break every bone in your fucking faggot-punk body," Dean's attacker warned.
Raising a heavy leather boot, he drew the toe well back. With sudden force, he delivered a savage kick to his victim's head. Dean uttered a stark, strangled cry.
The blond maniac drew his boot-toe back again, preparing another kick. "When I get through with you, you'll be swallowing your teeth for the next week, not some other faggot's sperm."
"No, he wont," I said, my voice steady and matter of fact as I delivered a brutal right cross to the intimidator's chin.
Between the blond bastard's blow and his second attempted kick to Dean's cranium, I had sprinted across the pavement that lay between Dean's sprawled, bloody body and his menacing attacker to smash the bully's hateful, hate-filled face.
The burly man staggered, and I hit him again, once, twice, thrice, in rapid succession. He crumpled to his knees, a giant felled by a man who, although big himself, was not as massive as he was, nor as muscular, but who knew how to fight, how to punish, and how to do real damage.
As the blond was on his way to his knees, I smashed his face a fourth time. He went down hard, tumbled sideways, and was out, unconscious, on the asphalt.
Now that I saw the son-of-a-bitch's facial features close up, clearly, under the streetlight's illumination, I recognized the burly blond bastard. I'd gone to school with Dean's attacker. His name was Randy Harker, and he'd been the star quarterback at West Falls High. Before his knee got blown out in the last seconds of the last game of his senior year's football schedule, he'd received several scholarships to major universities and a couple of pro teams had scouted him, letting him know that a place on one of their offenses was only a college degree away. One of the scouts had even intimated to him that an offer need not wait four years.
Then, the terrible injury had ruined Randy's future forever; in a few seconds of blinding agony, his life had, if not exactly ended, taken an irrevocable turn for the worse.
Before that unspeakable moment, the quarterback had been satisfied to dismiss "homos" as irrelevant, but he hadn't hunted them, as far as I knew, anyway. He'd been content merely to insult them (except, of course, there wasn't anything "mere" about verbal abuse; in its own way, it could be worse than a black eye, a bloody nose, or a broken bone).
His hatred for "faggots," for "homos," for "pansies," for "punks," for "queers," had emerged later, giving the once-promising athlete a purpose--a sick and perverted and ugly purpose, but a purpose, nevertheless--and a reason--a hateful and despicable reason, but a reason, all the same--for living. The all-state quarterback's bright sports career might have ended on the gridiron, but as a persecutor of gays, he could have--if only in his own imbecilic mind--a long and illustrious career ahead of him.
Had he suspected--had I myself known--that I was one of the those he detested as subhuman creatures with no right to exist, much less live, I might have been on his shit list, too, back in our high school days, or I might not have been. As a jock myself, and a Golden Gloves boxer, at that, he might have afforded me grudging respect. My fighting prowess might have earned me a pass from his acid jibes, his bitter tirades and diatribes, and his vicious physical assaults. In any case, despite his bigger, more muscular physique, I never doubted that I could take him.
Tonight, I'd proven it.
Dean stirred, moaning.
I knelt beside him. "You want me to call an ambulance, Dean?"
The slight man squinted past his pain. "I don't know you," he said, his voice shaky, his tone uncertain. "Do I?"
"Who are you?"
"An admirer. A wannabe lover."
His split lips bowed upward in a bloody smile. "Help me up, hero boy."
"You don't want an ambulance?"
"How about the police?"
As I took his hand in mine, an electric current seemed to shoot through my body, especially my heart and groin. I was attracted to him, all right; if I were any more attracted to him, I'd be electrocuted!
I pulled at his bird-hand, and it flew, drawing him along behind it. Dean was standing beside me, tottering.
"You sure you don't want an ambulance?"
"Just your strong arms." He glared at the unconscious bully. "I wish I knew where he lives or works or goes--when he's not coming here to kill me, I mean."
"I know where he lives," I said. :At least, I know where he used to live."
Dean looked uncertain. He drew away from me. "You know him?"
"I went to high school with him."
I told Dean about Randy Harker, former all-state quarterback. I also told him about my Golden Gloves. Nodding toward a vintage cherry-red Mustang, I said, "That's his car."
Dean beamed. "Really?" Despite his obvious pain, he seemed to perk up. He glanced at Randy. "How long will he be out?"
I shrugged. "Usually, when I knock someone out, he stays out for a while."
"Come on," Dean invited.
"You sure you're up to driving?"
I repressed a smile, pleased to be included in Dean's plans. "Where are we going."
This time, I didn't suppress my smile; I grinned.
"But, first, there's something I want to do. You can help."
My arm around Dean, I helped him across the parking lot.
"That your car?" I asked, nodding toward a Ford Taurus.
"How'd you know I ride a bull?" Dean asked, punning on the name of his automobile's model.
If he was feeling up to making a joke, I thought, he couldn't be hurt too bad, fortunately. "I saw the bumper sticker."
"Oh." He grinned at me, looking as handsome as ever, despite the blood and bruises. "Duh!"
The bumper sticker to which I'd alluded was simple: an inverted triangle that contained colored horizontal stripes, in the following order, from top to bottom: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Above the triangle was the word "PRIDE," and below it the phrase, "Not Prejudice."
"If only everyone agreed with that position," I lamented.
"It's up to us to spread the word," Dean said.
"I suppose so," I agreed.
"Good. Then, you won't mind giving me a hand?"
Dean would be welcome to a hand, my mouth, or my cock, I thought, but not my ass--I wear the pants in my relationships. "Sure. What do you have in mind?"
We'd reached his Taurus. Dean unlocked the automobile, opened the glove compartment, and removed a box. He opened it. Inside were twenty or more of the same rainbow-colored triangle stickers as the one that adorned the rear bumper of his car. He peeled off the backing, exposing the adhesive on the back side of the decal. "Let's decorate the blond bastard's car," Dean suggested.
I grinned as I realized his intention. "You mean put one of those on his rear bumper?"
Dean shrugged. "I'd rather shove it up his ass, but the bumper will do."
We crossed the parking lot to Randy's Mustang.
"Do you want to do the honors?" Dean asked me.
I took the bumper sticker he extended toward me. "My pleasure," I answered, affixing the rainbow-colored triangle to the bumper.
We laughed at decal we'd added to Randy's car.
"He's one of us now," Dean declared.
"Until he realizes what we've done, anyway."
Dean smiled. "By then, the sticker will have done it's job," he predicted. "Once someone's labeled as gay, the label tends to stick. Even if he says someone other than he put the sticker on his car, a lot of people won't be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt."
I lifted the box of bumper stickers. "This is clever," I said, "really clever. I know there was something I liked about you from the start. You're not only a looker, but you're smart as hell, too."
It wasn't quite light enough under the streetlights to see for certain, but it seemed that Dean blushed. "Thanks," he said, "but I can't take credit for the idea. I'm just one of the Rainbow Boys."
"Rainbow Boys?" I hadn't heard of them before.
"I'll tell you later tonight, after we get to my place."
I grinned. "I'm ready!"
Across the parking lot, Randy stirred. We heard him moan.
"Thank God," Dean said. "I was beginning to think you'd killed the homophobic bastard!"
We left Randy in the parking lot, recovering from the series of blows I'd delivered to his head. Although the creep had gotten in a solid punch to Dean's face and a savage kick to the side of his face, Randy had received, by far, the worse from me. Dean might have a spit lip and a bruise or two, but his attacker's face would be a mess of contusions--black eyes, fist-size bruises, bloody lips and nose, maybe a broken tooth. Thanks to me, every time he looked into the mirror, he'd see the results, in this particular case, at least, of his homophobic hatred, and, if Dean was right, he'd also label himself a homosexual. Chances are, in his whipped-dog state, he wouldn't notice the rainbow-colored triangle on his Mustang's bumper, proclaiming him to be one of the kind whom he, for no reason other than his own failures, loathed and persecuted.
With Dean at the wheel, we drove across town, two acquaintances who hoped to become friends--and, from my perspective, at least, more than friends--a whole lot more.
A blaring horn sounded behind us. I looked into the rear-view mirror. A car full of assholes who looked much as Randy had looked a few years ago, in his heyday, wore disgust and hatred on their twisted features, and the two in the front seat jabbed their extended middle fingers at us as their friends in the back seat laughed and jeered.
What the hell? I asked myself. Had they seen Dean's flamboyant dress? His makeup? His hair? I caught a glimpse of his white-dove hands, perfectly manicured--and painted in the French manner, half pink and half purple, due to his choice of the colors. It seemed unlikely to me that the carload of toughs could have seen Dean as anything more than a shadowy figure. In the dim light of the occasional streetlamp and the faint ambient illumination of headlights, neon signs, other exterior lights, and stars, it was doubtful that they'd have been able to see well enough inside his automobile to discern Dean's hairstyle, cosmetics, pierced face and anatomy, body jewelry, painted fingernails, or effeminate Edwardian garb.
Suddenly, the reason for the idiots' reaction hit me like a left jab, quick and hard: the fuckers had seen the rainbow triangle on Dean's bumper: "PRIDE, Not Prejudice," and, apparently, they were intent on demonstrating their opposite point of view. There were four of them, and only one of me. Dean might be a fantastic lover--that remained to be seen--but he sure as hell wasn't a fighter. With my fists, I was good--superb, actually--but four against one might be odds too great even for a Golden Gloves winner, depending on my opponents' own fighting skills.
When no oncoming cars were in sight, the car behind us pulled into the opposite lane. Driving parallel with us, the passenger in front, his window down, called "Faggots!" and flipped us off again. His companions howled.
A plume of foam hung in the air for a moment before a hard thunk sounded against Dean's door. The passenger had hurled an open can of beer at us!
"Fucking queer bastards!" the taunting voice boomed, and the car alongside us shot forward, tires squealing, and leaped into our lane, ahead of us.
I looked at Dean. His white dove-hands remained perched upon the steering wheel, unruffled, and he was smiling.
"Dean?" I asked, uncertainly. "Are you all right?" Maybe he was in shock, I thought. He'd had a hell of a night.
"Get the triangles," he replied.
"The bumper stickers," he explained. "The Rainbow Boys are about to strike again."
"You're not going to do what I think you're going to do, are you?"
"No, we aren't. This is insane."
"They've had their fun," Dean told me. "As far as they're concerned, it's over. They proved what macho men they are. Now, they'll go to another bar and sop up some more suds and have a big laugh at our expense. They'll hit on some women and get rejected and, if they're not too drunk when they get home, they'll masturbate and pass out in their own cum. Tomorrow, they'll be hung over and miserable, and they won't even remember the 'fags' they flipped off the night before. In fact, they'll be lucky to remember anything about tonight. If we follow them at a discreet distance, they won't even know we're here. Except as targets, gays don't exist for assholes like them."
"It's dangerous," I protested.
One of the doves left its perch, lighting softly upon my left thigh, midway between my knee and my groin. "That's why I have you with me, sweetie."
"It's insane," I said.
He smiled. "We Rainbow Boys are nuts, no doubt about it," he joked, "or criminal, unnatural, or perverse. Take your pick."
Dean knew his tormenters well. Just as he'd predicted, their car--a Pontiac GTO--what we'd called a "penis car" in my high school days, because it was designed, we'd said, to show off its driver's virility and machismo, to be, in effect (or so we'd believed), a "chick magnet"--headed to a nearby nightclub, The Cock of the Walk, and parked. Doors opened, four husky guys, right out of high school, by the looks of them, climbed out of the vehicle's low interior, and staggered toward the club's front entrance.
We'd parked at the other end of the lot. Again, as Dean had foretold, none of the homophobes had seen us; they probably hadn't given us a second thought since denouncing us as subhuman "faggots" and "queers."
"They'll never get in," I told Dean. "They're too young, and they're already obviously half drunk."
Dean patted my knee. "They'll get in, all right, sugar. They're rich boys, and rich boys are big tippers when they want to be--or, more to the point, when they have to be. Watch and learn."
As the boys stumbled toward the entrance, Dean slowly drove toward the space in which they'd parked their GTO. We parked in a nearby spot and watched the little drama unfolding before us.
At the door, the bouncer on duty demanded identification, and the would-be patrons fished their wallets out of their back pockets, extracted their driver's licenses, and passed them to the scowling, nonsense doorman. Along with his license, the driver passed something else.