The Good Doctor 23
My mother is generally armed and as far
as I’m concerned,
dangerous. Her usual weapons of choice are Lemon Pledge and
Windex, and she’s usually packin both of em.
“Where are you going?” Her
arms are swinging wildly, the Pledge and Windex both out
of their holsters.
I hug my little boy closer to my chest. “Mom, we gotta
go to the gym!” That’s certainly reasonable.
She leans forward at the hips and glares
at me. “Eric,
DO YOU REALIZE, that TOMORROW……………you
are having a commitment ceremony in THIS house?” She’s
pointing the Pledge at the floor.
I know that the correct answer is yes
but I’m sure that
there’s more to this and that I’ve fucked up in
some major way. Right now though I’m mainly interested
in getting to my car.
“Mom, Jase has got an appointment with his personal
trainer and we’re almost late and if we’re late
he just goes on to the next appointment and we have to pay
even if we don’t make it to the appointment.” A
lie. “Mom, we’re gonna be late!” Jase twists
in my arms and gives me a “Huh?” look. I don’t
think that she’d spray me with that crap while I’m
She puts her hands on her hips, her knuckles
white around the Pledge and Windex. “Who………what………….what
are they training a little boy to do?” She throws up
“Aaahhhh, it’s a health thing, Mom. The schools
are making the kids do calisthenics and stuff and sometimes
it’s best if they get some training to do that.” A
lie. “You wouldn’t want Jase to get hurt just to
save a couple of bucks would you?” This stops her.
“He’s only five! And how
come YOU never had to train like that when you were little?”
I hold out my hand and flip it back and
there ya go, Mom. That’s why I have all those muscle
problems.” A lie. I’m backing slowly towards the
door to the garage.
Her arms sag. “Muscle problems?” I
“I don’t like to complain about it.” I wave
it away with my hand. “Anyway, Mom, we don’t want
that for Jase but the thing is…………I
gotta go.” She starts to say something but I’m
already out the door.
As I’m pulling out of the driveway Jase asks from the
back seat. “Dad, what’s that stuff the schools
are gonna make us do?”
they’ll make you take gym class, Jase and then maybe
you’ll have to do calisthenics. And like I told Grandma,
you can’t be too careful.”
“Grandma looked mad.”
“Oh she’s fine, Jase. She’s doing what she
likes to do best.” I’m just glad that I’m
not there to hear it.
“Dad, do I have to stay with the little kids? Why can’t
I come and watch you lift weights?” I had grabbed both
of our gym bags and walked toward the entrance to the club
with Jase’s hand in mine.
“Sorry, Kiddo, thems the rules,
nobody under fifteen in the weight room. Besides you told
me that you like the lady
that watches you guys.”
He sounds resigned. “Yeah, she’s okay. But you
can’t mess around, okay, Dad? You gotta hurry up and
finish and then come right away and get me. Okay? You promise?”
“Okay already! I promise! As soon as I’m
done I come upstairs and get you and then we change into
and swim. I PROMISE! Geez, you sure are bossy for a little
I drop Jase off into Shirley’s care. Shirley? Maybe
it’s Susan. Anyway, I do a quick glance around and it
seems that all the kids are alive and well and if Susan is
into human sacrifice she’s hiding it well.
Sixty sweaty minutes later I crawl back
to pick up Jase who’s
all charged up and rarin to go. “You ready, Buddy?”
“Your shirt is all wet, Dad.”
“I had a good workout.” I take his hand and we
start walking to the locker room. “When you get older
we can workout together and even before that maybe we can start
walking or something. We can ask Pete what would be the best
thing to do. He’ll know.”
In the locker room I take Jase with me
to the shower. He stands at one end away from the water and
the other guys while I quickly
shower off all of the sweat and then pull on my bathing suit.
Then it’s back to my locker where Jase changes into his.
This, changing clothes in front of other guys, was something
that he used to be really shy about and I’d usually end
up changing his clothes with his face buried in thigh. He’s
been through this so often now though that he just doesn’t
pay any attention to it anymore. The other guys at the gym
are really nice to him, actually they’re really nice
to everyone and as far as I know, they’re all straight.
I love doing laps. There’s something rhythmic and relaxing
in a weirdly intense physical way that appeals to me and if
Jase sits on the edge of the pool with his feet in the water
I can keep an eye on him. What am I worried about? Let’s
see, kidnapping, drowning, falling and smashing his head, electrocution,
just the usual dad fears.
When I finish my laps I hold out my hands
to Jase and he half jumps half slides into the water and
his arms go around my
neck. In a little while I’ll let him swim on his own
but this time that I spend with him right now is important
to me and I think to him. I swim backwards slowly, his arms
around my neck and his legs around my waist. We both know that
it’s our time together and we spend it talking about
Jase’s day, what he’s learned, what he likes and
what he hates, how he feels about anything and everything.
Even though Jase probably doesn’t realize it, I know
that it’s these moments that he’ll remember for
the rest of his life, maybe not what we say actually but just
the being together.
Strapping Jase into his car seat he looks
ready to get blasted into outer space.
“I hate this, Dad!” He wiggles
and twists in his car seat.
“I’d rather have you up front too, Kiddo but this
is the safest way and it’s also the law.”
“Are we going home, Dad?”
“Nope. I told Pete that we’d meet him at a furniture
store so that we can buy a new mattress.” This has the
added benefit that Mom will probably have gone home by the
time we get back. Of course it also opened up a whole can of
other worms but I figured that I’d deal with that.
We shoulda bought a new mattress and
box spring right away as soon as Pete moved in. The one we’ve
got is one that I bought for Janet and me and it was nothing
to write home
about at the time.
Anyway the damn thing has been giving
both of us back aches and Pete pretty much, well ordered
would be too strong a word
but certainly insisted, that we get a new set. And I figured “what
the fuck” you walk into the store find one that looks
good and hand the guy your credit card. Wrong!
First of all there’s like a zillion straight couples
shopping for bedding and in walk two gay guys with their little
boy Jase who has decided that he’s taking the place over.
Now I know that this isn’t suppose to bother me that
I’m supposed to be beyond this, that I’m supposed
to be this thoroughly out gay guy. But then suddenly there’s
this……………situation. Jase is running,
literally running across all of the mattresses, bumping into
people, screaming and yelling to Pete and me. Pete, who seems
oblivious to whatever the fuck I’m going through, is
trying out beds and calling me over to try them with him and
all of a sudden I’m paralyzed with embarrassment. Yes!
The sales guy that works in that department
walks over and asks me if we need help and I point to them
and say. “They
want to buy a bed.” Three couples walk between us as
the guy turns to Pete and Jase and I quietly slip into the
recliner department and kick back in a leather one that they’ve
got there in front of a television set. In the bedding department
I can hear bits and pieces of Pete talking to the salesman
and Jase going gonzo.
I gotta get a grip! Why the fuck does this bother me?
There’s a ball game on the television and I stare intently
at it trying to readjust my maleness with some of the abundant
butchness being displayed by the players. Why is this so complicated?
I thought that I was past this! I could slap the shit outta
myself right now! I hear Jase asking Pete where I am. Jase’s
voice is something that I’m not genetically prepared
to ignore and I force myself up and trudge back to the bedding
Pete is lying on his back on a mattress while Jase is using
the other half of it for a trampoline. I catch him in my arms
half way between the top of the mattress and the ceiling.
“Jason!” He knows what that
He turns in my arms and looks at me innocently. “What,
“Don’t what dad me! You know
that we expect you to behave.”
He twists away from me. “Okay,
Dad but Pete needs you to try the bed.”
My beloved is staring up at me with piercing
blue eyes and a slight smile that could mean almost anything.
He pats the
bed. “You gonna try this?” He yawns stretches and
clasps his hands behind his head. He’s still wearing
the white shirt that he had on at work but has changed his
pants to faded jeans that make his crotch a thing of beauty.
The top two buttons of his shirt are open and dark blond hair
is poking out.
I look at him and then look at Jase and
then say. “Aaaahhhhhh.”
Pete twists around and points at a lady
on the other side of the department. He speaks quietly and
a single lady over there that you could try beds with if you’d
I set Jase down onto the floor and then
slump down onto the bed next to Pete. “I………..I don’t
know what happened, it’s just that all of a sudden I
focused on his eyes. “Don’t be mad………..please.
I’m okay now.” I can feel Pete’s fingers
gently rubbing the small of my back. That’s a good sign.
I ask him quietly. “You’re
not mad at me?”
He slowly shakes his head. “Nope.” He rolls to
the left where Jase is reclining languidly amongst the pillows
and wraps his arms around him pulling him toward us while he’s
tickling him and kissing him in the crook of his neck. Jase
is screaming. Everyone is looking and……………..I
don’t care………..fuck em……..they
can think what they like, this is what’s important to
me. Jase ends up lying on Pete’s chest panting from the
tickling, laughing and screaming. Jase turns his head to the
left and snuggles down onto Pete’s chest, the picture
of contentment. Am I jealous that Jase is doing this with Pete
and not me? No, in a way it’s the same thing, Pete, me,
pretty much the same thing. Now THIS is commitment!
“So when does the bed get delivered?”
“Oh God, Rose, are you paying to
have me followed? You know, this is just one more manifestation
of your sick need
to control everything.”
“Eric, sweetie, it’s just that I got a call last
night from the guy that sold you the bed. He told me that there
was a handsome doctor in last night to buy a bed but that he
had a really whiny boyfriend with him. And since he’s
a member of your tribe I figured he’d know and besides
he described you perfectly, scrawny, short, sloppy, you know,
“Yes he’s gay! What? Can’t
a salesman be gay?”
“It’s just that………….he’s
“Eric honey, I guess that I can understand why you might
think that homosexuality was born when you were but the fact
is that it’s been around for a long time. Despite your
efforts to perfect it gay sex was not invented by you.”
God, this woman can be aggravating! “I know that, Rose.
I guess that I never thought about gay guys being older is
all. I mean I know that there are older gay guys but I just
never really met any, at least not in an everyday normal setting.
Well, thank God you had someone to talk to when you were………….many,
many, decades younger.”
“Actually, Eric, oddly enough, you’re not far
from being right. Harry, that’s the guy who sold you
the mattress, was a handsome young stud, at one time.” She
laughed in that dirty way she has. “I won’t tell
you who he’s been sharing his life and bed with for the
last thirty years but you’d be amazed.”
Now I’m intrigued “How amazed? Like, “Oh
him” amazed or flat on my ass amazed?”
“Holy fuck amazed. But my lips are sealed.” Well
that’s a first.
“Not to change the subject but how’s your mom
doing? She is the only one actually doing work to make this
commitment ceremony happen, isn’t she?”
“Rose, I have worked on this! Cleaning and straightening
and setting stuff up, my God, Rose you can’t imagine
all the crap that I’ve had to do. But you’re right,
mom has worked pretty hard on this. Anyway you guys are gonna
be looking at a spread that’s usually only set out for
a Mafia Don’s wedding. She’s been cooking for weeks!”
“How do you know that Pete’s
not gonna get some last minute slacker looking to get a note
written to justify
his staying home from work for the ninth day?”
“He promised, Rose! He’s leaving at four o’clock
no matter who’s waiting! The ceremony isn’t until
half past six so we gotta be safe.”
“Eric, why are you having the ceremony so early? People
are gonna have to come right from work, there’s no time
to run home and change. And for that matter, why not on the
weekend when everyone has time?”
“Rose…………..I just want people
to be relaxed and not be making a big thing outta this, an
early ceremony a great dinner and I can still get Jase to bed
at a normal time. I’m thinking, you know like a bunch
of people getting together to watch the ball game or something,
something casual, friendly.”
She sighed. “That was your idea wasn’t
“Yes!” Finally, someone is giving me credit for
it! “And everyone has fought me on this, they actually
wanted it on Sunday at church for Christ’s sake.” Well
not literally. “I don’t want like a wedding thing,
I want something simpler.”
Another sigh. “Eric, sweetie, you
must have been a constant source of joy to your mother.”
“I know, Rose! So why does the
woman never stop complaining?”
“So now that you’re an old
no so married man I suppose you and studcity are tapering
off the whole sex thing?”
God she’s got a dirty mind! “As a matter of fact,
Rose, that hasn’t changed at all. We’re every bit
we were months ago.”
“Eric, it’s nothing to get upset about everyone
tapers off when they start settling down. A couple of times
a week is normal……………and nothing
to be ashamed of……..just relax.”
“Rose that just isn’t the case! We can’t
get enough of each other!” Not that it’s any of
her fucking business!
She laughed dismissively. “Oh I’m sure, Eric.
Don’t get crazy it’s just what happens, it’s
“Well, Rose, it’s not normal
for us! We fuck like bunnies!”
“It’s to be EXPECTED, Eric! Actually, it’s
probably even healthier………..and certainly
nothing to be embarrassed about.”
“I’m not fucking embarrassed, Rose! We fuck constantly!
My asshole feels like road kill for Christ’s sake!”
“Oh………..oh my. Bloody, furry and dead,
well that’s an image that should follow me through eternity.”
God this woman drives me crazy!