A BOY WITH THREE NAMES BY “PENUMBRA”
The following short story by “Penumbra” was published in the twenty-first issue and last issue, December 1984, pp. 26-29, of Pan, a magazine about boy-love, published by Spartacus in Amsterdam.
Macklin looked wistfully as the last of the buses and parents’ cars pulled away from the front of the school. He felt tired, drained, sad, as always at the end of term, and more so because it was the end of the round to the gym, there to tidy up a last few things in his office.
Feeling empty, full of melancholy, he wandered into the gymnasium itself, savoured the smell of rope, leather, dusty space, and boy-sweat. Later, he knew, by long tradition, he would go up to the junior dormitories and mope around there too, trying to evoke the boys who had filled the empty beds and spaces with life and laughter ... Macklin knew that all this was morbid, self-pitying nonsense, but he found it a release, a sort of emptying of all the tensions and strains that were attendant on someone who worked hard, strove for excellence, and had to live among the shining beauty of boys and yet not so much as touch one ... Why don’t I do something else with my life? As soon as the thought formed, Macklin felt laughter bubble up inside himself, well up with a sudden rush of tears. He held onto some monkey-bars and let all the tension go, felt cleansed and calm, began to dry his eyes ...
“Oh, Sir, there you are.”
He turned to find Meek gazing at him, his face full of concern. Oh beautiful, how beautiful.
“What’s wrong Sir, has someone died?”
Macklin threw back his head and bayed with laughter, the boy, relieved, joined in.
“So yours is the trunk still lying on the steps.” Macklin smiled.
“Yes, Sir ...” he looked down, suddenly shy, “… my parents, my mother, messed up the dates. I have to catch the train tomorrow.”
Macklin was horrified, conjured up a memory of a small Meek shyly introducing his mink-swathed mother ... long cigarette-holder, the lot . . . a caricature of Cruella de Ville ... Macklin, grinding his teeth, led the way out into the sunlight. How could anyone fail to be counting the minutes until a boy like Meek came home? He remembered asking a class of boys what they wanted to be when they grew up. Meek, with an impish smile on his face, had said that he didn’t have to worry about things like that. Macklin had thought, for one moment, that Meek was going to boast about being heir to one of the richest and most ancient earldoms in the land ... the simple truth, in fact ... but the boy had fluted, in a high pure treble: “For verily it is written that the meek shall inherit the earth.” Gales of laughter and derision from all the others. In fact the boy was the sweetest, most likeable kid, quite happy to wear the nickname “Marmaduke” or “Fauntleroy”, and laugh at the drop-of-a-hat.
As they walked around to the front of the school, Macklin was suddenly struck by a sunburst of an idea. His skin prickled and he made himself breathe more slowly.
“You live at Bishop’s Cross, don’t you?”
“Yes, Sir, near there.”
“Well, I live at Coomwellby.” He looked down at the boy and saw the huge smile spread across his face. “If I can get the Headmaster to let me go today, and your mother agrees ...”
“She will. She will.”
The boy danced up and down. Macklin went to arrange things, his heart in his mouth with excitement, and glowing with gratification at the boy’s reaction. His sense of humour took over, and told him that it was probably his Sunbeam Alpine Series IV that the boy was ecstatic about ...
It was with a feeling of happy unreality that Macklin turned out onto the westward motorway and let the Sunbeam fly, the boy firmly strapped in beside him, smiling, his flaxen hair whipping in the slip-stream, looking like a dream of heaven ...
On a ridge above Henge they stopped and shared a bar of chocolate, then on to Ravenway for lunch. Covertly, John Macklin watched the boy eat, bathed warmly in the smiles when their eyes met. They laughed a lot, were happy ...
“Were you sad because it was end-of-term?” Meek’s eyes were shy, but level.
“Yes. Look, what are you called at home? I mean I can’t keep calling you Meek, Marmaduke, or Fauntleroy, can I?”
The boy laughed, then coloured.
“At home I’m called Lakenheath, but you can call me Gerard, Gerry, if you want.” The boy fiddled with the table-cloth. Eventually, the awkward moment passed. John thought it quite likely that he would intensely dislike Gerard’s parents ... He paid for lunch and they wandered down to the river, hung over the warm stone parapet and watched the trout meandering in the clear water below. Thinking out loud, John said:
“Wouldn’t it be absolutely marvellous if, say, the Sunbeam broke down here?”
There was a perfect stillness between them, then, all hell broke loose as a pink-faced, laughing zany ran up to the hotel with that quite unreasonable energy of the fourteen-year-old. John stood aghast, as Gerard bolted into the public phone-box outside the ancient inn. That’s torn it, he thought, but the boy came out of the box whooping, red-faced, clearly triumphant and ran back down the hill.
“They’ve got a bloody Ball, a Hunt Ball, so I told them that we had broken down, that we’d be there tomorrow, and that you would be staying for a few days.”
“You told them?
“I told them.”
“What did they say?”
“Nothing, just ‘Be good’” the boy grinned, still puffing from the wild run. John smiled, rolled his eyes, laughed, looked out over the watch-meadows.
“D’you want to walk now?”
“If you want to.” The boy’s voice was neutral, “I’m a bit whacked from all that running.”
They walked back up to the inn.
“Bags I the window-bed.” Gerard kicked off his shoes and started to bounce on the bed in its pool of silvery light by the window. Smiling, John set about opening his case and the boy’s trunk to find summer shorts and things. He could hear children playing down by the river and a thrush sang nearby. He put shorts and a cricket shirt with a pair of sandals on the end of Gerard’s bed, and set about changing into something cool and comfortable, then flopped down on the other bed. Gerard, grinning, flushed, impossibly beautiful, was doing a sort of dance-of-the-seven-veils with his school clothes, ending up with only a pair of outgrown, worn-thin briefs that enhanced rather than hid his half-grown manhood and neat little bottom.
The following afternoon, John stood by an ornamental lake watching Gerard duck-dive in the shallows. The boy was teasing him again and John was transfixed every time the small bare bottom rose sensuously above the water and vanished again. Eventually, the pink and gold boy, flecked with the tiny leaves of emerald duck-weed, beached himself on the sandy shore and grinned impishly over his shoulder. At that moment a huge hornet alighted on the perfect peach of the boy’s bottom, drove its sting in with an orgasmic hip-flex. The boy shrieked and John, despite his reflexive concern, collapsed laughing. Gerard thrashed about and swore, really angry with John, the wasp, the world, but his irrepressible humour took over quickly and they lay in the shallows giggling weakly as John carefully pulled the sting out of his bottom.
“Another inch and it would have been rape.”
“You see, you don’t care.”
“Serves you right, you were deliberately teasing me.”
“You didn’t have to look.”
“I did, and you know it …”
John took some sun-tan cream and gently applied it to the injured part. He felt a welling of tender lust that was only restrained by his fear of hurting the boy. Despite that, his middle finger became lost, gently and very carefully slid deep inside the boy.
“Tell me to stop. Call the Guards. Call Christopher Robin …”
The boy writhed, breathed deeply and John looked up at the great house, in the distance - moved to cover the boy.
“That’s not your finger.”
“No ... tell me to stop. I will stop. Tell me …” John whispered.
A sudden gust of wind raced through the willow trees, ruffled the water around their legs.
Very faintly, the boy’s voice, through a bubbling giggle:
Macklin exploded, his eyes dimmed, filled with tears, he felt faint and realised afterwards that he had forgotten to breathe ...
In the great dining room that night:
“And what did you do today, Macklin?” The Earl, distant, shy, but kindly.
“Rode, swam, had a lovely time.” Macklin smiled across at the boy. Gerard smiled wickedly:
“We were … ‘Washed by the rivers, blessed by the sons of home …’ and a bloody great wasp stung my bum.”
Macklin held hard to the table, fought to control his face throughout the frozen silence. Suddenly, the Earl hooted with laughter. The Countess spat:
“Lakenheath. Do not swear, do not insult me with such vile language.”
But even she had to crack and laugh ... the sudden incongruity of the words among dinner jackets, stained glass windows, ancient escutcheons, was too much even for her ...
“Don’t please Gerard …” He laughed weakly, covered his eyes. The boy giggled and moved closer, pulling Macklin’s hands away and gyrating in the sexiest series of pelvic lunges that he had ever seen, the boy’s penis now pushing hard to the waistband of his Y-fronts.
“Oh God …” Macklin moaned, reached and caught the boy. They fell down into the space between the two beds ...
Sometime later, they lay cooling on the window-bed:
“You can have it“ the boy whispered.
“This bed.” They laughed softly.
John found the boy’s lips and they kissed long and deep. Later still a silvery whisper ...
“I think you’ve broken it.” A warm, puffing giggle.
“Give it time. Let’s go and have some dinner.” John took delight in gently dressing the tired boy, savouring the neat, slim loveliness of him.
They dined magnificently, carte-blanche, in the candle-lit dining-room. Gerard had one glass of champagne and was almost asleep when John tucked him into bed:
“When you come up, will you get into my bed?”
“I will, I promise.” John kissed him.
Soon after dawn, John woke to find a freckly nose and a pair of eyes like blue smudge on the pillow next to him. He felt a flood of happiness ... quickly overlaid with laughter when the face spoke:
“It’s okay, you didn't break it …” His hand was guided to a vibrant piece of boy ...
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