boys like me

Status: Finished

boys like me

Status: Finished

boys like me

Book by: RL

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Genre: Historical Fiction

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Content Summary


Boys like me is an exposé of early 1960s America from a unique POV of Roy, a twelve-year-old gay boy. LGBTQIAP+, A, YA, NA, Historical Fiction approx. 89,965 words 1962 small town Texas, U.S.A.
It’s a year that changed the world, a time of contradictions, protests, racism, and the Atomic bomb. Eleven year-old Roy discovers racism, hate, love, loss, and visions. After a beating, he is
saved by a Dark Angel that changes his life forever. Boys like me: based on the events of gay boy’s quest for truth, and discovers they are closer to home than you think.

 
 

Content Summary


Boys like me is an exposé of early 1960s America from a unique POV of Roy, a twelve-year-old gay boy. LGBTQIAP+, A, YA, NA, Historical Fiction approx. 89,965 words 1962 small town Texas, U.S.A.
It’s a year that changed the world, a time of contradictions, protests, racism, and the Atomic bomb. Eleven year-old Roy discovers racism, hate, love, loss, and visions. After a beating, he is
saved by a Dark Angel that changes his life forever. Boys like me: based on the events of gay boy’s quest for truth, and discovers they are closer to home than you think.

Author Chapter Note


Any and all critiques welcome. Thank you



PLEASE NOTE: contains language and races remarks.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 14, 2022

In-Line Reviews: 2

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 14, 2022

In-Line Reviews: 2

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© Copyright RL Clements

 

 

 

 

 

Bike of Many Colors

 

 

 

Some people see things in others and take advantage. That’s just too close for my comfort, but it’s a fact in my life and I’m not suggesting this is about me. Heck, I took an oath, I’m telling the absolute truth. This mess is not right and there’s plenty of uncivilized behavior. Some very strange things are happening everywhere. It’s big, colossal, I tell you. Perhaps I’m talking about every living soul on earth.

 

I always feel alone, Lilly. Not only by myself, but around everybody and even my family. Do you ever think like that? On your own, I mean. I am always, all the time. This ain’t, isn’t easy for me, and I have to spill my guts. Really shouldn’t, but I must tell someone, and this may be a little about me. 

 

We moved here on my eleventh birthday in ‘61, but that was last year and all the headlines were full of hostilities. I don’t pay attention to those things on TV as usual, but I do notice stuff. Sometimes, I feel like a patient cat analyzing prey, and I see plenty. My stubborn curiosity disturbs me, but I didn’t watch that junk on television. However, I began watching it just before I turned twelve. It’s a year the world changed.

I know I talk a lot, but I’m having trouble telling you this or making it sound right. When I read sometimes, it don’t sound right. I can write stuff no one can read, not even me! I’m rambling, aren’t I? Never mind, I’m not getting my thoughts all tangled up into that. Forgive me, Lilly. 

 

Crazy things are going on all over. The TVs and radios reporting burning buses rioting hundreds of arrests and men in white hoods burning crosses. There’s something strange going on in Cuba. It’s causing turmoil everywhere in the world. Many people around the country are digging up backyards for fallout shelters in fear of a possibility of WWIII. 

Russia starts building a big stupid wall August 13 right down the middle of Berlin splitting it in two. A week later, we moved from our small neighborhood near Dallas to Augsburg, where nothing ever happens. I have plenty of time to play by myself and that’s fine by me. 

People are angry. Trouble’s brewing. I care for none of it. It’s hard to stomach, don’t want to see the ugliness. Leave me alone. I just want to be a kid. Let me grow up slow because terrible scary stuff is happening. You may not like some of what I tell you, but it’s the truth.

 

Saturday, June 2, 1962

I cannibalize my brothers’ old bicycles, working with all their leftovers every day for nearly a whole week. No one’s here to help me make all those parts into a bicycle, nor did anyone assist me in packing the bearings with grease. Not one person lends a hand to put tubes and tires on the wheels nor tighten the loose spokes or true the wheels, something I learn by watching my brothers. 

Considered painting the thing at first. Back when I was three, my cousins and I painted an old hand-me-down peddle-car. Father beat the tar out of us. Only takes little thinking. The answer is no and I can care less if the colors don’t match or it has some small scratches. Purple and white strips on the front fender, a blue frame with cream rings and red rear fender are factory painted. A bicycle of my own, now there’re no limits to where I can go. So what if it’s odd looking and ugly? It’s mine. That’s good enough for me.

My bike isn’t a hand-me-down like most of my clothes. Well, guess it is a hand-me-down, but it’s a kooky looking thing. Kind of reminds me of that Bible tale. You know the one. About Joseph’s cloak of many colors, but don’t think anyone is going to be jealous of this thing. 

The town’s at my handlebars. I’m overjoyed and go where I please. It’s not only the short distance to the square or Rio anymore, there are places to go I’ve never been. It’s not like the tiny neighborhood we came from where it’s just houses and nothing else.

The edges of this small, trivial Texas town isn’t more than two or three square miles, and that includes every building in it. That’s the whole shebang. That is with the exception of Sergeant Gillmor’s Military Surplus Armory a mile or so down a remote county road west of town. 

I spend most days playing at the terminal. I like going to stores on the square or sneaking into the hotel trying to get a ride on the elevator. Mr. James, the elevator operator, he’s old and real nice. He lets me ride now and again all the way to the top floor as long as no one else is around. There’s nothing to do before a movie or after a matinee. So, I sort-of haunt the square, making myself at home or maybe a nuisance. 

Augsburg’s like most any small town. It has a central square with all the usual shops. Most of the town’s stores are on the square, like Stevenson’s Drugs, George’s Barbershop, and A&P is the largest store. Right after that is Crawford’s Furniture, Ben Franklin’s Five & Dime, and a parking area. Past that on the next block is Mueller’s Hardware. On the corner after that is Mrs. Bailey’s Restaurant and Boarding House and Stieglitz Brother’s Clothing. 

Misters Hiram and Abraham Stieglitz are a couple of real characters. These guys are an odd pair of old gentlemen indeed. I always enjoy talking to them. They speak a comical language called Yiddish. At least, that’s what they call it. Sounds funny and so are they, but they’re very nice to me. 

I’ve learned a lot from my parents, but I have realized plenty from Abe and Hiram. How to treat others kindly. Even though some people don’t seem to care for them. They’re a couple of real screwballs managing the men’s clothing store since 1919, but they’re haberdashers. It took a while telling them I couldn’t spell it, but Hiram said not to worry. I asked Abe to write it down so I can look it up in my dictionary. Hiram gave me one of their business cards instead.

Brick’s Hotel, where Mr. James works is the tallest building, takes up one-half of the block. It’s four stories tall, and the only building with an elevator. The ground-floor rooms are all they use anymore and don’t need the top three. People don’t stay in Augsburg, not like they once did. The small café inside Brick’s is open, but only for breakfast and lunch. Lewis’ Music is a teeny-weeny and sandwiched between the Brick and the second tallest structure, Rio Theater. 

There’s just not much to do round here, but go to school, play at the train station, walk around the square, or my favorite place in the whole wide world. Where I spend as much time as I can muster. The magnificent Rio Theater. I like watching movies, all the shows, and almost any picture that’s playing.

 

 

Friday, June 8, coming back from the library on my bike of many colors, a big hole blows in the tube, it’s flat and can’t repair it. I’ve already used all the patches in my Monkey Grip box and no way will it take another. Knew it was old and bad, kept having to add air. 

I cut grass and two of my regulars didn’t have the money they owe today. Have to wait, but next week I’ll get double. I need to find out how much money a new one will cost. Early Saturday morning after yard work, around noon, I walk the entire eight blocks downtown, but don’t have a lot of money and need that tube. 

Always make sure I have enough dough. Thirty-five cents for a movie, and candy. I decide to take in a double feature since the theater is so close. Movies are just as important as the tube. The Poe film starts at one-thirty and I have plenty of enough time to check out the price. 

I’m strolling along, keeping a leisured pace, and killing time before the matinee. I decide to stop off at the soda fountain and step into Stevenson’s Drug Store for a glass of water. I won’t buy soda pop here. Sodas are fifteen cents and way too much. That’s especially true, since they’re a nickel or seven cents with deposit out of a machine or grocery store. I sit for a few minutes looking around at the people here. I think I’ll drink another glass of water.

Crossing the street to Mueller’s on the opposite side of the square to check on the tube, I panic. Oh, drank more than I should have. Make a swift detour toward the Courthouse, it has the only restroom I can use.

Never liked this creepy building, guess because it’s a nineteen twenties oddball, and never go near the place. Haven’t any notion about that weird-looking place, but it always gives me the willies, try to avoid it, and have never stepped foot inside. It’s the only place on the square that has a public restroom. So like Huck Finn said: “alright, then, I’ll go to hell.” I have to take a leak, bad. 

I run up the white limestone steps, studying the oversized solid oak doors, and take a deep breath. Open one of the heavy doors and enter complete silence and utter darkness. As I’m waiting for my eyes to adjust in the dimness, I hear the beat of hard-soled shoes crossing the vast tiled surface. Echoing with a tap, tap, tap like a graceless hoofer on an empty dance floor. I spot a cop going up the stairs on the other side.

I begin realizing the insides chamber is just as disturbing as the outside. There are extra wide stairways on both sides of this cavernous lobby, and bigger than any church I’ve ever been in. Not a person in sight, but the officer. 

I look around, and seeing no one. Begin thinking I’m Fred Astaire and start slow waltzing to unheard music. I suddenly go into a full dance across this immense great-room. The kind of melody that pops up in my head sometimes and keeps me from peeing on myself.

A tall thin man emerges, shouting vulgarities near the opposite side doors, and pounces on another man coming in. They scuffle. The policeman going up is now running downstairs. All at once, four or five other officers come rushing from all corners of the building. I had no idea this little burg had so many cops. 

The officers struggle with the two men and little by little, pull them apart. They wrestle more with the dingy-looking man who started it all, handcuff him. That man’s yelling, shaking, and jerking at the cuffs. 

“Git these dang thins offen me!”

They push one man into a room near the doors at the building’s entrance. One policeman moves to help with that scruffy man while the others go into the room with the other man. They begin patting him down, one cop reports.

“Hey look, looks like I found a knife, Howard.”

“Le‘me go!” 

The man shouts as they yank and begin pulling him across the chamber floor toward me.

“Pretty nice one, too. Think I’ll . . . I’m keeping it, Howard.”

“Le‘me go! Ya damn screws!”

I reduce my pace, going into slow motion, but carry on dancing.

“Why not, sure thing Stanley. He won’t need it.”

 “God damn fuck’en coppers! Le’me go!”

They drag the struggling man across the floor of this monstrous room in my direction, his shrieks echoing throughout the chamber. 

“I says . . . git-these . . . goddam thins . . . offen me!”

I begin inching along with my ballet, ogling the scene. He’s holding his hands high as possible, rattling the chains and with earsplitting screams. He’s cursing something fierce while the cops drag him across the floor, moving closer and nearer to me.

 “Git ’em off, damn it! He dun fuck’en had it cuming! What ‘bout that sum-bitch?” 

He eyes me, giving a hard stare when a ghoulish smile springs across his face. This man scaring me. He begins gnashing his missing and yellow teeth and rattles the chains. I freeze in my tracks, coming to a firm and complete stop, motionless, and just gawking.

“What tha hell ya lookin at . . . boy?” 

Straight away, the building becomes thunderous as closed doors fly open and people flood the antechamber. They stay motionless for a moment on the stairs, ogling this skirmish in the large arena below them. The crowds begin a slow get-together in clumps, aggressive pushing each other. All of them trying to get a good view of the display before hauling him away. 

I’m just standing there like a knothole and feel so stupid. He’s licking his lips, grabs his crotch, and looks directly at me as they drag him by. 

“Ya sees sump’en ya like? Hum? Do Ya? Fuck’en queer.”

The police officer, Howard, points a nightstick at the man and gives him a ruff poking.

“Hey! Leave the kid alone. Move along, kid.”

“Damn it, coppers. Le’ me go! Goddam fuck’en screws! He done . . .”

One cop jerks the man by an arm, the other grapples with the man’s dirty coat, and they continue pulling him off, struggling and hollering. The crowd watching openmouthed as if they have never heard those words before while he kicks, screams and shouts obscenities.

“. . . had it cumin! Tha fuck’en asshole had it . . .” 

One officer gives a hard jerk, the other pushes a bat into his gut and then raising his nightstick into the air.

“Hey, hey Gabby! 

“Damn it git ’em off!”
“Don’t make me use this on you, man . . . ‘cause I will if I have to!”

“Cum on boys, le’me go. Le’me go! He’sta blame . . . not me!”

My eyes shoot to a sign the shape of a hand pointing a finger and hurry toward it. I look back, catching glances of this unpleasant exhibition. The finger points downstairs to the basement below, and a terrific sight. I’m in a bigger hurry and don’t want to piss myself. 

Flying down the extra wide staircase into a very large hallway with offices on one side and all their doors closed. A large sign hangs from the ceiling in the middle of the hall with Platt Rooms A, B, and C written on it. At the bottom of the sign, I finally see a finger pointing the opposite direction and the one word I need, restrooms. 

I tear through the first door to the nearest stall. I’m washing my hands and take notice of two men staring oddly at me, as if I don’t belong. It doesn’t make me afraid, but I kind of feel peculiar. So, I hurry up, dry my hands and leave as quick as I can. 

Step outside looking back a couple of times, coming to an absolute halt standing in the middle of the hall ogling the signs on the front of each door. The far end placard reads WHITE WOMEN ONLY, the middle WHITE MEN ONLY, and the one I just stepped from simply COLOREDS.

 

I’m confused, taking another step or two backward, not all together making a connection of where I am or what this means. Two Negro men come out heading for the stairs and ignore me altogether. I’m standing mid-hall and turn slightly to watch them go up the stairs. As they reach the top step, one of them glances over his shoulder at me and disappears from view. 

I move around, discovering a water fountain in a small recess right below the stair. I look at the other one on the opposite end of the hall with the same signs. That one is cool refrigerated water, but the one below the stair is not. The fountain in the nook beside the stairs states COLORDEDS, the other fountain in the open is marked WHITES ONLY.

 

My brain’s erupts in pictures at supersonic speed and way too fast to pay attention. Crazy stuff, like Khrushchev’s shoe hammering, burning buses, and crosses, riots in the south, Berlin Wall, and all those Atomic bombs. Seen a lot of this disgusting behavior on TV much more on newsreels and in some movies, but never in the flesh. 

 

A putrid feeling grows in the pit of my stomach, churning and gyrating in a rotten heap of bile, blurring my perception. Stunned, it’s never dawned on me and have never considered it, but everyone I know, everyone in my whole life have all been white. 

 

I experience a hard slap of consciousness in a flash, opening my eyes, like Paul on his way to Damascus. 

 

My perception; I’m dense as a post or just plain ignorant, but discovering truth, finding it morbid and humiliating. I feel strange, disconnected, and even more than normal. I don’t understand the meaning of this. I’m neither stupid nor dumb, but cannot comprehend wickedness or grasp the logic behind it.

 

 

Where do I fit into all of this? Odd of me, me of all people, to know nothing beyond my family and very weird not having a grasp on the world outside my front door.
 



 


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