Because the lunch hour was split into ‘A’ and ‘B’ sections, Jim Goldberg and Will Durante had to wait a half hour to take their usual seats on the bleachers. They brought their lunches with them, of course, but it wasn’t the sorry cafeteria fare that aroused their appetites.
Their eyes could roam unfettered in the gym, free to alight with the dainty precision of butterflies on tight asses, and thick bulges that loose gym shorts couldn’t quite conceal.
“Shit, what I wouldn’t give for a piece of that,” Will said, under his breath.
Will’s eyes followed Taj Johnson, the blonde captain of the football team, as he zigzagged across the court. Their lunch period happily coincided with a gym class attended by many of the most athletic seniors.
“He’s okay, I guess,” Jim said.
Taj was better than okay, and they both knew it, because Will only had eyes for the sort of men who would never give him the time of day. Of course, Jim indulged in idle fantasies of his own, but he recognized them for what they were- just fantasies and nothing more.
Jim would never get it on with any of the guys on the varsity football team, not the linemen, not the center guards, neither the tight end, nor the wide receiver, and definitely not Taj, the first string quarterback.
And that was okay by him. Truth be told, he had something of a crush on Will. His friend had a lean swimmer’s body, and an adorable baby face that made him look a little younger than his eighteen years. The sad fact was that Jim did not stand a chance with Will; maybe he wasn’t overweight, or pimply, but his body was far from the sculpted ideal of his friend’s wet dreams.
What they had instead of a romance was an iron-clad bond formed in the crucible of their middle school years. The bullying had been horrendous, and the primary reason they’d had to repeat eighth grade. Hell, it was impossible to excel in academics with a chorus of kids chanting “faggot” everywhere you went.
Now, in their final year of high school, everyone pretty much understood they were young gay men entitled to the same basic rights and dignity accorded to their heterosexual peers. It was 2013 after all… everything was just peachy, as long as they kept that gay shit to themselves.
“He’s so fucking beautiful,” Will said, with a dreamy sigh.
Jim was resigned to graduating at eighteen, a virgin, and with no real distinction aside from being the youngest person to ever win the Loebner Prize. He had that, at least. Of course, when asked to clarify just what the Loebner Prize was, he would stammer, and look away, as if confessing to having once sucked dick for money, before finally admitting it was for having created the most “human-like chatbot.” This answer was usually met with a simple “Oh,” (as in “Oh, is that all?”, but that particular triumph had netted him the not-bad sum of three thousand dollars U.S).
He followed Will’s gaze back to the court, where Taj made another effortless shot into the basket.
Alas, these two were so thoroughly wrapped up were in their erotic reveries, they didn’t notice the doors at the end of the gym opening…
“What are you two jerkoffs doing?”
They turned to see the waddling bulk of Crazy Rick Hanover headed in their direction. There was an unsettling expression of amusement on his face, and his wide smile brought the pockmarks on his cheeks into relief. Under the sickly glow of the florescent lights, his face looked like it was made of green cheese.
“Oh, fantastic,” Will said, tonelessly.
“Rick, there’s some guys in here who play on the varsity team. Shouldn’t you maintain a minimum distance of five hundred feet away from them?”
Rick had been to the Principal’s office earlier that year, and given a three-day suspension for following two linemen around school, and making lewd and lascivious gestures at them. It was engaging in this kind of nonsense that earned him the nickname Crazy Rick.
“Oh, you mean Taj? I didn’t even notice guys like him. Not since I got a boyfriend.”
Jim and Will stared at Rick like he’d just arrived from one of those parallel universes posited by string theory, one where every day was opposite day.
“A boyfriend?” Jim asked, a little incredulous.
Cam guys don’t count, you know, no matter how many times you pay them to jerk off for you, Will nearly said aloud.
“Did I stutter?” Rick said.
Crazy Rick took out his iphone, and pulled up a photo of his bf for their perusal.
Jim’s mouth almost dropped.
“I met him on craigslist-isn’t he the cutest?”
The picture was of a rather unimpressive looking college freshman with bad skin, and too-large eyes set in a small, round face. His posture was bad, and his brightly colored clothes gave him a passing resemblance to a lawn gnome.
But he still looked a tad out of Rick’s league.
“Has he seen your pic, Rick?” Jim asked, his voice suddenly rich with venomous spite.
“That’s the best part. He found my ad. He’s what you might call- chubby chaser.”
Crazy Rick was clearly enjoying being able to lord this over them. His smug expression was sickening to behold.
“So he’s into quantity, not quality,” Will blurted out.
There was a brief look of shock in Rick’s eyes, but it passed quickly. He broke into a big shit-eating grin.
“My, my, look who’s turned green with envy. Well, it’s a shame that nobody can stand either of you two losers except each other.”
Rick rolled his eyes, with a sharp huff, as if he couldn’t believe he had deigned to acknowledge these two bottom feeders to begin with.
“Just get out of here, man, before Taj sees you,” Jim snapped.
Jim and Will’s moods darkened. You could see it in their faces. Their day-possibly even the remainder of their high school career- was ruined.
Rick sniffed, oblivious, every inch the regal Princess now.
“Toodles,” he said, and left without sparing them another look.
After a long silence, Jim exhaled. But before anything further could be said, the bell rung, and it was time for the next class.
Great, Jim thought, now we get to deal with Mr. Costa.
They settled in just before the tardy bell, but never the less drew an admonition from Mr. Costa to try to manage their time wisely instead of lollygagging out in the halls.
Greg Costa was always dispensing valuable advice like that. As the school’s wrestling coach, he felt it his duty to help mold the clay that was the hearts and minds of young men (and women) into the productive citizens of tomorrow. He felt he best accomplished this through brow-beating, public shaming, and the occasional cornpone platitude.
Still, Costa was a handsome guy. Will liked his rough, bearded look, and often admired his ass on the sly. Their social studies teacher was one of those men who looked at fitness as more than a way of life, looked at it as a religion, in fact.
If only that troublesome personality of his could be fixed, Will thought. Costa sometimes read books by Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter when the class was busy with an exam, and both of the boys could pretty well guess his opinion of homosexuals.
“Okay, class, if you remember, I assigned the critical thinking questions for Chapter 13 last week-”
“Shit,” Jim said under his breath.
He had forgotten his Chapter 13 homework assignment.
“Not to worry,” Will said, his voice a low whisper, “I remembered for you.”
Will reached into his binder and pulled out Jim’s question set.
“Will you two lovebirds pay attention?”
Costa was sneering in their direction.
Scattered laughter rippled through the classroom. Their classmates’ eyes converged on them, and their collective gaze pierced them like daggers.
It was the proverbial cherry on top of the shit cake their day had turned into.
Afterwards, they hung out at Will’s house. They had complete run of the place until five or so, when Will’s parents got off work.
Will’s house was a pleasant suburban dream, complete with a white picket fence enclosing a manicured front lawn. It looked like the set of some indie dramedy about self-absorbed, upper middle class people who busied themselves with melodramatic, yet undeniably twee personal meltdowns they worked hard at some 9-to-5 to be able to afford. He couldn’t help but flash on this for a second, enjoying the incongruity of this clean-cut exterior with the dirty business they were undertaking.
“What about this one?” Will asked.
“No, his eyes are stuck a little close together.”
“That’s a bit shallow don’t you think?”
“Nobody hires out a trick for their beautiful soul.”
Will assented to this. He clicked through a few more ads on the escort website Localboy.com, but each one drew a rolling of the eyes, and a scornful laugh from Jim. Come hell or high water, they were going to lose their cherries, even if it meant paying for it.
They come upon a tattoo covered former male model.
“His wardrobe is impeccable, but his body is too fuckin’ loud.”
About a Latin lover-type who advertised himself as providing an experience that could go from “spicy to mild” depending on the john’s whim, Jim said only, “Nah.”
“Oh hell, Jim, nobody’s good enough for your ass.”
“Look, dude, there’s just way too many disease in this day and age. I don’t even like touching the door handle in a public restroom.”
And with that, all talk of hiring out a whore-boy ended. Alas, the problem of their intact cherries remained.
The solution didn’t come about until a week later. It was a rather unexceptional day in the middle of the week, when Jim happened to leaf through an issue of Popular Mechanics.
He immediately biked to Will’s house, who thought he was nuts.
“I’m talking about making us a guy-actually making us a guy!”
“Well, that’s…interesting, Jim.”
“You know, like in that movie Weird Science.”
Will stared at Jim, blankly. If Will could be counted on for anything, it was complete ignorance of pop culture before 1995.
Not that watching the movie’s trailer on YouTube make him any more enthusiastic about the idea.
“Oh, okay. Let’s find a magical Commodore 64 that can do that for us.”
Will was speaking to Jim now as he would a small child, over enunciating his words, and drawing out the syllables.
Jim always had to fight a mild urge to smack him upside the head when he did this.
“Obviously, we can’t replicate that plot exactly. That would be too-”
“Look, it would be child’s play for us. It would be just like those little robots we used to build for the science-fair. Remember those?”
“Those were basically toys.”
“Smart toys. What we would be doing wouldn’t be so different. It would just be…on a larger scale.”
Will paced around the room.
“That still wouldn’t technically solve our virginity problem,” Will said.
“No, but imagine living out our hottest sexual fantasies with a life-like partner.”
Left unspoken, but understood was the knowledge that this solution would least irritate their anxiety disorders.
“What of guy would we build for ourselves?”
“A guy with a really big porn star cock-duh.“
Will had a tendency to overthink things.
“What do we name him?”
“Johnny the Whore-bot, whatever.”
“I knew you were just kidding about this.”
“I can’t think of anything. You give him a name.”
Without a moment’s hesitation, Will said, “Taj.”
Jim arched his eyebrow, but didn’t really protest.
“Taj it is.”
Will smiled. Now that that was settled, there were still a million practical concerns to be addressed. Not the least of which was the issue of funding this little project.
“Not to worry,” Jim said, “I still have my money from winning the Loebner Prize.”
It was at this point that Will had to point out that a similar project involving a gynoid a few years back had cost an estimated half-mill.
“My grandfather left a trust for me in roughly that amount.”
“You’re going to raid it for this?”
“It’s all in the name of science.”
Will had to hand it to Jim, when the guy had a kooky idea, he went all the way with it
For the rest of the semester they went about tackling the various technical difficulties associated with creating an interactive fetish object.
“To begin with, we need to develop the software that will comprise Taj’s basic personality,” Jim said.
Tackling the problem of artificial intelligence in the early first century requires considerable trial and error, when you consider that the field itself is far from mature. There is no specific guiding principal for the how to approach the task of simulating neural networks, even as economists and doomsayers project the death of the middle class in a near-future where everything is automated. “Companies like Zappos have laid the groundwork for a world where the average Joe would not be able to get a foothold,” one such alarmist cried.
All the scientific journals seemed to be in agreement that it was only a matter of time, but not how we would actually get there. The oldest approach to A.I., dating back to the fifties, the dawn of the digital computer era, was symbolic in nature-symbolic in the sense that prominent scientists of the day attempted to mime human logic and reasoning abilities via substitution symbols a machine could recognize and interpret in an analogous fashion. Numerous stumbling blocks caused many researchers to throw their hands up in defeat, leading to subsequent approaches that were broadly categorized as “sub-symbolic.” In the words of one Silicon Valley magnate, when it comes to engineering artificial consciousness, the standard operating procedure still amounts to “throwing a bunch of shit on the wall, and seeing what sticks.”
The solution was simple, in Jim’s mind.
“Just look at the different things they’ve tried over the years. Individually, the various approaches have built-in limitations, but combined…”
“Combined, these limitations can be overcome,” Will finished for him.
Will had his doubts. Creating a simulacrum of human intelligence in the form of symbols a computer could understand seemed outrageously beyond their capabilities. But stranger things had happened in the course of human history.
Apple had all started in Steve Jobs’ garage, after all. Ominum rerum principia parva sunt.
All of the work happened at Will’s basement, of course. Will’s parents could be counted on not having the slightest interest in their son’s hobbies, and for this endeavor, should it need be said, it was important to avoid embarrassing questions.
They worked long and hard, fueled by soda, licorice, and hot pockets.
After they worked out a suitable algorithm to simulate human neural activity, they constructed a basic aluminum skeleton measuring about six feet two inches in height. To this, they added a muscular system made out of plastic, and a complex network of steel tendons and ligaments overlaid these.
The work progressed over the course of five months, with occasional stumbling blocks as the boys ironed out the details.
“The ideal sexbot should stimulate our senses in the same way as a big, sweaty jock does, Will.”
“Just one problem with that, Chief: it has yet to be proven that humans secrete pheromones.”
“Ah, but what’s the closest thing humans do secrete?”
Will thought for a second, but finally gave up. He turned his hands so his palms faced forward.
“Androsta-4,16, -dien-3-one, also known as androstadienone. It’s a testosterone derivative found in male sweat. Studies have shown it lights up areas in heterosexual women and homosexual men.”
“Beautiful. Fucking beautiful.”
The boys fist bumped.
It was decided that loose sand would be packed inside the bot’s artificial scrotum, and when triggered, a vacuum would suck the air out of it; the tightly packed sand and artificial testes would appear to have retracted in a reasonable mimicry of the cremasteric reflex.
By the end of December, they were at last able to cover up Taj’s steel bones with a silicone integumentary system.
He lay on a worktable, staring straight up at his creators, seeing, not seeing. His face in particular was a total triumph for the boys. The jock’s jawline was strong, and predatory, giving the impression of someone able to quickly stalk, kill, devour and metabolize wild game, and his eyes were a deep, piercing blue, staring out from under the thick black brushstrokes that were his eyebrows.
Taj’s body was sculpted, and flawless. His chest was a pair of beefy, defined pectorals that looked like an inverted letter ‘m’. Below that rocking set of tits were the ridges outlining his rock-hard six pack.
Below that was the most perfect penis anyone had ever seen, a long, thick, cut horse cock. A sharp dorsal vein ran down its side, stopping just before the wide, fleshy pink dome of the glans-it was a dickead that begged to be nibbled, teased, or devoured whole in one glorious swallow.
Jim sighed. Here it was: the moment of truth.
A few keystrokes on Will’s computer, and-
“Okay, Taj is online.”
The gorgeous figure on the table shuddered. It blinked its eyes, and rose slowly, reminding Jim for a uncomfortable moment of a masked killer in a slasher movie.
Jim and Will both held their breath.
“What would you little perverts like to do first?”
Taj’s voice rang out in clear, bass tones. There was noticeable dude-bro inflection in it, which made both Will and Jim’s cocks twitch.
Jim’s eyes popped out of his skull. He felt like Victor Von Frankenstein. It’s alive! His facial muscles tingled, and he realized he’d been grinning like a fool for the last minute.
“Can you flex for us, Taj?”
Taj smiled, and obliged Jim’s request. He raised his arms, and flexed his enormous biceps. Taj’s arms were corded with veins.
Jim and Will ran their hands across them. So credible was the illusion that both of them felt their penises hardening inside their jeans, at once.
Will could no longer resist. He reached down, and felt Taj’s plush scrotum. His heart was racing.
“I want to fuck you,” Will said, breathing hard through his nose, “I want to fuck the shit out of you!“
Taj said nothing as Will threw his arms around him, and covered his face with kisses.
Jim was chuckling a little, but Will didn’t care. Taj’s mouth tasted like fresh raspberries. It was better than the real thing!
Something bumped against Will’s thigh. He looked down, and smiled. Taj, who was not even five minutes old, was experiencing his first erection.
“Holy shit!” Will said.
His penis stuck straight out, real beautiful, thick, and veiny at full mast. It had the look something dangerous and untamed, a weapon of war, rather than a tool of love. Yes, it was just as real as you could want it- a real porn star cock!
Will leaned forward, and ran his hand along the shaft, admiring his work. The firmness was just right; Taj’s hard dick was like steel encased in velvet-or rather rubber.
“Mmmmmm…” Taj murmured, “your hand is cold,”
“You like it,” Will said, staring into Taj’s eyes. It was a thrill to talk to someone this way, even if that someone was an artificial person.
He slapped down Taj’s erection, and it bounced up, slapping against his flat stomach with a solid thwack.
Something flashed in Taj’s eyes, and for a second, Will thought the robot jock looked amused. Then he blinked, and Taj’s handsome face was blank again.
Jim had swiped a bottle of Don Perignon from his old man’s liquor cabinet for this occasion, and bought a couple of cigars with a fake ID he’s created his sophomore year.
He thrust the bottle at Taj.
“Pour us some bubbly, Taj,” Jim said.
“Where are the wine glasses?”
“The kitchen cabinet, above the stove. I’m sure you can find it.”
When Taj left the room, Jim started jumping around the room.
“Dude, let’s pimp him!”
“What? No way.”
Jim, for all of his vicious dislike of his father, had the same strain of cold-blooded capitalist tendencies that ran through all the men in his family. There was little doubt that he one day become a card carrying Log Cabin Republican.
“Why the hell not?” Jim asked.
“We’ve imbued him with human-like attributes. He passes the Turing test, okay? If we reduce him to chattel sex slavery we forfeit our own humanity, and pave the way for, I don’t know, a bloody robot rebellion somewhere down the line, or something.”
“Well, that’s a risk we have to take. How else am I going to recoup the cost of building him? Did you really think I invested a cool half-mill just so I could have someplace to stick it in? If that’s all I wanted, I would have bought a fleshlight.”
It was hard to argue with Jim. Yes, Will had aided greatly in the process, but ultimately it had all been done on Jim’s dime. They were co-creators, but not co-owners.
“Do you really think he could pull it off? He’s only been online a few minutes; maybe we should take him for a trial run?
“Should I do the honors, or would you rather be the one to break him in?”
“Be my guest,” Will said, with a shrug.
When Taj returned, he poured champagne for his creators. He waited patiently while they sipped.
“Taj, I think I’m going to take you for a spin,” Jim said.
“What do you want to do first, Jim?”
“‘Master’. Call me ‘Master’.”
“What do you want to do first, Master?”
Will chuckled, in spite of himself. Neither Jim nor Taj paid him any attention as they raced up the basement stairs.
Once inside his room, Jim shed his clothes in record time. He was soon, however, struck by pangs of inadequacy.
Jim’s body was pale, and slender, compared to his sex toy. He had some slight muscle definition in his chest, and abs, but he wasn’t cut like the gym rats Taj had been modeled on. Again, however, he wasn’t a dog, and although he occupied a place far from the top of the social pyramid, more than a few Jefferson Davis High girls had been disappointed to hear of his preferences. Jim knew those same girls wouldn’t even notice him if they saw him standing next to Taj.
The robo-stud moved forward to touch Jim, and his penis stiffened once more. Jim’s cock was six and half inches hard, the base of which was ringed by a thick crown of black pubic hair that looked somehow gauche.
Taj’s own genitalia was as smooth, and hairless as the muscle gods Will and Jim admired in their porn collection.
“You like that?” Taj asked.
The big jock gripped Jim’s pole with a meaty hand, and felt the dorsal vein throb against his palm with hot, quick blood.
Jim heard a single, breathy moan escape from his lips.
There was a wicked gleam in Taj’s eye, he knew Jim was completely under his spell.
“Suck my fucking dick, bro,” Jim said.
There was smirking insolence in Taj’s tone that turned Jim on even more.
The gorgeous alpha male lowered himself to his knees.
The jock regarded the head of his master’s penis with curiosity and amusement. He squeezed the shaft, making the fat, carnation colored glans bulge.
Time to hone your oral skills, Jim thought, and a sliver of fear shone in his thoughts when he recalled the hardness of Taj’s aluminum teeth.
But his fear proved unfounded.
Jim groaned, as Taj began to cover his dickhead with wet, sloppy kisses. The stud-bot flicked his eyes up at his master to register to his reaction, and was not disappointed.
Jim was in ecstasy, his mouth an open, black oval.
“Yeah, you like my dick, bitch? Choke on it.”
Taj attacked his teen creator’s helpless nerve endings with his twisting tongue. To Jim it felt like his penis was riding through one of those winding, never-ending slides in a water park, his exposed flesh carried along, gaining momentum as he rocketed toward a big splash. Oh God, it was good!
Jim’s testicles drew up into his abdomen. Another second of this and he would burst.
Jim found those words harder to say than he had expected. He was right on the edge of orgasm, and for a terrible split-second, he was sure he had climaxed.
But his erection did not begin to subside as his dick out of Taj’s mouth with a wet popping sound, not unlike the uncorking of a wine bottle.
Precum and saliva dribbled from the jock’s plush, made-to-order dick sucking lips.
“Get up, turn around, baby, and lay on the bed.”
The sight of his artificial man lying his wait made his heart stop for a moment.
This is it, Jim thought.
Jim squirted a glob of moisturizer on his erection, and worked his slick hands up and down the length of the shaft.
He slid his throbbing dick between Taj’s crack, moving it up and down, until the friction brought him back to the edge.
Jim delicately squeezed his glans inside his man-droid.
“Oooh, daddy, it hurts so good,” Taj said. It was one of thousands of pre-programmed phrases Taj had been designed to say, but it sounded natural enough.
It was all the encouragement Jim needed to thrust his dick all the way inside Taj’s anus.
“Your ass is so fucking tight, boy.”
This was better than his best fantasy.
Jim commenced to fuck the shit out of his jock lover.
Underneath the hard, flat slapping sounds of flesh against flesh, and the moaning, was the monotonous melody from the mattress springs below:
“Oh yeah, yeah, get it, big daddy!” Taj said in his seductive baritone.
For a moment, Jim could fully buy into the illusion, and Taj was no longer a thing, a construct they had labored over in his basement like the world’s most elaborate science fair project.
No longer able to hold back, Jim shuddered as electricity coursed through his body. His toes curled, his spinchter contracted, and every thought inside his head was suddenly wiped away, replaced by a sublime peace. Le petit morte.
He shot four loads into Taj, each ejaculation punctuated with a violent thrust of his pelvis against the jock’s upraised ass. He jerked forward, carried away by a primal fervor that stole away his reason and higher thoughts, like a marionette on strings.
Jim felt a wave of serenity overwhelm him, as the refractory period began.
He turned Taj over to observe his cock. It was covered in sweetish smelling, white, viscous fluid. Success!
“How many times did you come for me, baby?” Jim asked.
Jim reached down with his finger, and scooped a glob of semen from Taj’s softening cock. He brought to his lips, and flicked his tongue out for a taste.
Taj’s come had a strong citrus flavor, although its main component was high-fructose corn syrup.
Will knocked at the door, drawn by the sounds.
“I guess Taj works,” Will said, peeking inside.
“Like a charm.”
Jim was lying in bed with Taj now, his arm around the big jock’s shoulders. The room was suffused with the mingled scents of semen and sweat.
Will smiled. Eight minutes, he thought, he exceeded my expectations by seven minutes and thirty seconds.
They spent their remaining cash on giving Taj a final wardrobe polish at the local mall. Jim and Will enjoyed the stares, and the murmur of appreciative females as they dragged their gorgeous boy toy from store to store. They fitted him with a selection of polo shirts, sports coats, and khaki pants from Ralph Polo Lauren for business causal settings, Calvin Klein jeans were chosen for more informal occasions, and some loose fitting tees and shorts from Under Armour were to be used as workout attire. This last was their favorite stop, since it included the purchase of Under Armour jockstraps in various colors, which Jim and Will had decided would be the only thing Taj could wear under his clothes.
He was now the perfect preppy jock rent-boy.
They placed an ad on localboys.com, advertising the following rates: $350.00 USD for the first hour, $250.00 for each additional hour, and $2,000 for overnight sessions.
The reviews on his page poured in fast, and were unanimous in their assessment:
“He looks even better in person than in his picture, which I didn’t think possible. I felt like I just got fucked by Michelangelo’s David. Bellisimo!”
“Taj is an amazingly gifted young man, with a body and horse cock to die for. I’m only in town for a few days on business, but I think I might just have to schedule a return trip in the near future!”
And Jim’s favorite, a simple two word review, read:
Since hiding an android (especially a gainfully employed one) at home was not really an option for either Jim or Will, they were forced to be a little creative. The boys forged an identity for Taj, complete with a social security number, and secured an apartment for him with part of his earnings.
“This will be the ultimate test, Taj. Let’s see if you can carry on a semi-autonomous existence,” Jim said.
When Jim’s parents were out of the house, Jim and Will played marathon Halo sessions, with Taj on hand to serve them Mountain Dew, pizza rolls, and blow jobs. He rushed in and out, in various Under Armour jockstraps.
Will was not altogether comfortable with this set up. It was mainly Jim’s inclination to use Taj as maid, waiter, and whore. Will thought, a mind is a terrible thing to waste, even if it’s artificial.
Finally, he could no longer resist. It was a gorgeous spring day. The Indian Hawthorn was in full bloom around his house, and up and down his street. Not so much as a single cloud loomed in the sky, to cast the specter of April showers. A perfect day for an outing.
“Jim, is it okay if I take Taj out?”
“You mean just the two of you? Sounds romantic,” Jim said, with a slight purr as he rolled the ‘r’ in romantic.
“Yeah, I guess that’s kind of the idea.”
Jim looked up at Will, baffled.
“It’s just, well, I’ve always wondered what it would be like, walking out in public with a-a boyfriend.”
“That’s pretty…brave of you,” Jim said.
Will always pretended to be interested in women whenever the subject came up in class, even though ninety percent of his classmates had already guessed at the truth And hell, it was a pretty wild thing to do in their little corner of the universe, given that Texas had been one of the first states to petition to secede when Obama was re-elected. The fact was their success in creating a piece of sophisticated A.I. had filled Will with a renewed vigor, and sense of possibility in the world around him.
“Don’t wait up for us, Jim,” Will said, and left the room without another word.
Typical Will, Jim thought, he’d go out with the Tin Man from Oz before me, as long as he had a nice set of abs.
“What do you want me to wear, Will?” Taj asked.
“Just wear whatever you think looks good,” he replied.
Taj decided on an American Eagle polo, khaki shorts, and sandals. He looked like the ultimate BMOC teen dream.
Will drove them out to the beach, in his Mercedes Benz. He debated whether or not to go through with the outing for a bit, until Taj asked why they weren’t getting out of the car.
“It’s complicated,” Will replied.
Here goes nothing.
Will and Taj held hands as they walked out on the beach. There were no problems at first, much to his surprise. A few older women even smiled at them, while their husbands looked away in thinly veiled disgust.
“How adorable,” a fortyish soccer mom remarked as they passed, in a mellifluous down-home accent.
If only Rick Hanover could see us now, Will thought.
“Don’t be nervous. We’re doing okay,” Taj said.
And they were, at least until they started walking toward surf.
Will fought the urge to become paralyzed. That word was, and always would be a powerful trigger. A word he associated eating lunch alone in the boy’s room, with scurrying through crowded halls, jumpy like a neurotic cat, with looking out classroom windows at wide, green lawns, and letting his thoughts drift from dull lectures and the deep, terrible knowledge that he was and always would be alone, and unloved.
But Taj did not have any such associations, or fears. He turned around to face the cat-caller.
“I’m sorry what was that?”
“I think you heard me just fine, queer.”
The man giving them shit must have been about twenty-one or twenty-two. He was thin, and lanky, with the mean eyes of a rodent shining under the brim of his shit-kicker hat. There was a half-drunk bottle of Corona in his hand, and he looked like he was fighting to stay on his feet.
He spat on the ground in front of him.
“What’s your fucking problem?” Taj said.
Will was suddenly aware that a small crowd was gathering.
The blonde housewife who had cooed with pleasure over their PDA a half hour before was now reaching for her cell phone, a worried expression on her face.
“There’s no reason for you to harass us. We were minding our own business. I suggest you do the same, unless you’re looking to get your ass handed to you, motherfucker.”
The redneck kid looked at Taj a little incredulously. But a fissure had erupted in his hardass façade.
He was at a loss for words. He staggered back a couple steps.
“That gay dude is going to destroy him!” one of the on-lookers said, with a tone of mild disbelief.
At that exact moment, two guys in shirts and sandals who must have been hat man’s friend rushed up, and hooked their arms around his to steady him.
The smaller of the two shot an apologetic glance at Will and Taj.
“Sorry, man. He’s been drinking. He’s just joking around, honest.”
“Your friend’s got a fucked up sense of humor, you know that?”
“We’re going away, okay? He just needs to sober up.”
Will and Taj heard hat man mutter, “fucking psychopath,” under his breath, as his friends lead him away.
They decide not make anything further of it.
“I think I hear sirens.”
“Let’s go,” Will said.
They started back toward Will’s Benz. So much for their outing.
Will wanted to tell Taj that what he had done was dangerous, that it was socially inappropriate, but all he managed was, “thanks.”
He had to admit, it kinda turned him on.
“No problem, babe,” Taj replied, “why was that dickhead even hassling us?”
Will sighed. How to best to explain the intricate web of socio-political forces that had helped lead to his creation in the first place?
“You’d never understand. You’re made of the future.”
And Will, who had help stitch the beautiful man in front of him out of aluminum and silicone, could no longer help himself. He was head over heels.
It got to be so Jim began to call Will less and less frequently. Will had found in his Taj golem the ultimate fulfillment of not only his every sexual fantasy, but every romantic one as well.
Even Costa’s class was bearable now that he had Taj to look forward to after class. Taj, Will thought, smiling, who was at once everything he wanted to be himself, and everything he wanted in a man, Taj who was the superior lover, and yet was unschooled in the endless varieties of fucking-who relied on Jim and Will to point the way in the bedroom.
Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was Taj who made navigating the choppy waters of adolescence, in the twilight of their high school careers, seem almost like cruising through a summer lake in a speedboat, for both Jim and Will It was Taj who was ever ready to service them with his enormous penis, Taj the chiseled jock stud who was both their student in the art of love and sexual plaything. It took Will’s breath away to think of it.
Greg Costa sensed a change in his pupils, one that sent ripples of uneasy through him, and tied his stomach in knots for no real reason that he could name. He couldn’t stop himself from glancing at Jim and Will out of the corner of his eyes, as he announced the last major assignment for the semester.
“This essay must be a minimum of five pages, singe spaced, and typed. I will not accept e-mail attachments, understand? It must be in MLA format, of course, and it must include a works cited page.”
“Yo, Mr. C, what should the essay be about?” Richie Jenkins asked.
Richie Jenkins was the class mouth-breather, a hick who was inclined to call girls who complained about his lecherous stares “cunts”, and drove a pick-up truck with a set of balls dangling from the back, just below a bumper sticker that read, “Beware: I’m white, and I vote.”
Costa liked him a lot.
“You guys can write about anything you want, as long as it relates to a current issue in our society. Just try to avoid doing on a paper on why marijuana should be legalized. It’s been done to death.”
Jim and Will conferred with each as the class wound down.
“What are you going to write your paper on?” Will asked.
“I don’t know. You?”
“The influence of gays on American culture,” Will replied.
Just at that moment, Costa’s baleful eyes fixed on Will. The teen was very animated now, his face filling with earnest enthusiasm for the scholarly work ahead of him.
“Hey, sweeties, this isn’t social hour!” Costa said.
It took a moment for Jim and Will to realize he had singled them out. The entire class was wrapped up in conversation, most of it related to their weekend plans.
There was a look of surprise and hurt in Will’s face as he looked to his teacher.
Yes, Costa thought, now he’s getting the picture. These little queers have been getting a little cocky-ha ha. When I was their age, a kid would have gotten their face rearranged if anyone even suspected them of queer. Hell, their parents would have disowned them. Someone’s got to make these little asswipes understand their place in the Great Chain of Being. Someone like me.
“Class, if you want to get ahead in life, don’t be like these two lover boys. You have to actually pay attention to what’s going on around you, instead of being wrapped up in your own little puppy love dream world.”
Everyone erupted into uncertain laughter, but thankfully the dismissal bell rung a few seconds later.
Will and Jim took longer than necessary to stuff their textbooks into their backpacks, waiting for most of the class to clear out. They felt about a foot tall each.
He shook his head in disgust as he watched them scurry out.
The day was over, and now he could focus on the evening that lay ahead of him.
As luck would have it, his wife was out of town, which is just about the nicest thing that bitch ever did for him anymore. It’s no secret that most men marry women who subconsciously remind them of their mother, and Costa was no different. He had gotten himself hitched at nineteen when he thought he had knocked her up, but lo and behold, seven months into her pregnancy, Marjorie Hoover Costa miscarried. That did not, however, curb her weight gain, which steadily increased with each passing year; by the time 2012 rolled around, she nicely approximated his mother’s size (three hundred pounds at the time of her death, which came courtesy of a coronary her friends and family described as coming “out of the blue”).
She had a temper to match her girth, this lady, and when he heard that Marjorie’s Great Aunt Edna had slipped getting out of the tub, and shattered her hip, he just about dropped to his knees in rapturous relief. Great Aunt Edna lived two counties away, and that meant an overnight stay.
Time to party.
As much he hated faggots, he had to admit, he had a bit of an appetite for the cock himself. That didn’t make him queer, of course, no sir, he had the decency to keep his desires under wraps.
To Costa, fucking and sucking a dude was a vice like doing coke, or gambling. It was one of the reasons he was so deeply offended by boys like Jim and Will. Guys like that didn’t understand they were broken, that they needed a shrink to help them keep their tendencies under control, instead of trying to pass themselves off as normal.
It was why Costa took care of his needs on the sly, with the help of rent boys.
Night time at last.
Greg Costa drove to The Green Gables apartment complex in the Southwest part of town, and knocked on the door of unit 219.
Taj opened the door, clad in a maroon lycra wrestling singlet, just like Costa had specified. The older man’s eye traced the contours of his trick, admiring the smooth, milky shoulders, the broad chest, the sharply defined abs, and equine bulge between his legs.
“Come in,” Taj said.
Greg followed him inside. An old beat-up wrestling mat was laid out on the floor, between the couch and the windows. The TV was on, turned to a sitcom.
“We can do without the canned laughter,” Greg said.
Taj turned the TV off.
They stared at each other in the room. Costa had fantasized about this a million times. As a high school wrestling coach, he was constantly surrounded by young tight, and toned male flesh, but there was nothing he could do about it. It was maddening.
He reached forward, and brushed the teen’s cheek with the back of his hand. The young jock’s knees wobbled a little.
So innocent. So ripe. It was almost too good to be true.
“How old are you, baby?”
Costa was silent for a few moments. He had no intention of adding statutory rape to adultery, and solicitation.
“No, really. Got any ID?”
Taj’s brow furrowed.
“Are you a cop?”
“No. I just need to be sure.”
“I’m afraid that’s not how it works in this business, honey. You’ll just have to trust me.”
Costa’s cock twitched. The teen’s false bravado, borrowed from some old movie, no doubt, excited the older man.
He stripped naked, and for a moment, Taj felt a twinge of jealousy. Costa got up every day at five a.m. to run a mile, and it showed. His body was thick, and corded with muscle. There was a thin carpet of hair that swelled across his pecs, tapering away to a narrow trail extending down the length of his torso to the base of his cock, where it widened into a riotous crop once more. He looked fierce, standing with his arms akimbo, like Leonidas about to declare war on the Persians.
“You ever wrestle, baby?”
“Yeah, a little, in high school.”
“Let’s see how good you are,” Costa said.
Costa and Taj circled each other, like wary prizefighters in the ring, until without warning, the older man dove at the teen’s ankles. Taj’s vision flew, and didn’t steady until the gym mat came up and slammed into his back hard.
“You like that? Huh? You like it? You little Puto.”
Puto was a Spanish word, meaning male prostitute or faggot. Costa had picked up a few words here and there from some of his students, and he’d always liked this one in particular. This, of course, was due entirely to how crass, and vulgar it sounded.
Costa took a pair of scissors out of the pocket of his discarded jeans, and sliced through Taj’s singlet, and revealing his sizable cock and balls. He couldn’t believe it. It was almost like a caricature of puberty.
He scooped Taj’s enormous goose egg testicles into his hand, and jiggled them like pocket candy.
Costa took the teen’s big, sweaty nuts in his mouth, savoring their buoyancy, their salty taste, and the slick elasticity of his teenaged scrotum.
Inside this stud’s balls are the essence of masculinity, he thought. For a second he remembered a gruesome bit of history he had taught in one of his classes. It was just a colorful footnote really, the story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the infamous sixteenth century noblewoman who had tortured and bathed in the blood of hundreds of servant girls. Supposedly, it had all been done in the belief that it would keep her young. I wonder if bathing in semen of this bull stud will increase my fucking virility.
He let his hands roam free across the mountainous terrain of the jock’s tight abs, and bulging pecs, before descending down into the hairy crevasses of his armpits.
Taj moaned. Precum oozed from his dickhead, but it was purely an automated response to the barrage of stimulation his electric nerve endings were enduring. Truth be told, Costa’s rapacious hunger made Taj a little uneasy.
He had never seen such brute, animal force in another man.
“Love your huevos, baby.”
Encouraged by the effect his mouth was having on the teen’s dick, his fingers found themselves sliding down between his ass cheeks toward his hole.
“You want it?”
“Yeah,” Taj said, in a barely audible whisper.
“You want me inside you?”
“Spread those cheeks for me.”
Taj slid his legs farther apart on the mat. Costa ran his hand up and down the intergluteal cleft, loving the way the teen’s ass hairs tickled his palm, his fingers finding and first massaging, then probing Taj’s hole.
The teen moaned as the older man slid a single finger inside, and was surprised by a sudden chill he quickly realized was Costa’s class ring.
“Yeah, you want it bad,” Costa said, with a chuckle.
Greg’s mind turned to the Trojan in the pocket of his jeans, but he decided against it. Fuck that, there was no point in nailing a hot piece of ass if he couldn’t feel it.
“Turn around, show me that beautiful boy-pussy.”
Taj flipped over onto his toned stomach. Costa lubed up his throbbing seven incher with a glob of KY jelly.
He was grinning ear to ear, as he slid his cockhead into the teen’s gorgeous, muscled ass…
The jock groaned.
“You feel me inside you, stud?”
Costa began to fuck the teen’s ass raw, riding him like a bucking bronco, until he arrived at a sudden violent, wracking orgasm.
“Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Oh Go-”
He shoved his still ejaculating penis into the teen’s mouth, causing Taj’s eyes to bulge in a near comical expression of surprise. One, two, three times he shot his load down the startled teen’s throat.
“Swallow that shit, bitch.”
Taj’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he reluctantly swallowed the older man’s warm, salty spunk.
“Oh God, that was good,” Costa said.
The sight of the sweaty, naked adonis lying on the gym mat, with his semen dripping from the corner of his mouth would be etched forever into Costa’s brain.
Something was missing, however…
Costa smiled, he suddenly knew how he wanted to conclude this little rendezvous.
“Your cum tastes incredible,” Taj said. It was one of his standard lines.
He closed his mouth just in time to avoid having it flooded with urine.
Costa grinned as he pissed all over the young jock. Taj squeezed his eyes shut as the warm fluid splashed across his handsome face…
A little piss gathered in his navel, making a tiny reflecting pool. The jockbot shivered.
“I’ll be seeing you, baby,” Costa said, as he left his money on the table.
For the first time since he came online, Taj felt something like revulsion and shame. There was no way he’d ever take this guy’s money again.
When Will learned about this encounter of course, he felt a certain cold rage welling up inside him. The thought of his gallant knight defiled that way unnerved him.
Jim seemed mildly amused by the whole thing. He leaned his head back against his chair, and rubbed his chin.
“What did he look like?” Jim asked.
Taj described him. Jim felt the corners of his mouth turning upward in a tiny smile.
“Let’s go to video. If he’s who I think he is, we’re in for a good chuckle.”
Will hooked Taj’s hard drive to his laptop via a bypass patch cord, and downloaded the footage. Taj recorded each and every one of his interactions with human beings. It helped him to learn better.
The video confirmed Jim and Will’s suspicions. Jim broke into fits of hysterical laughter.
Will merely cringed at the part where Costa gave Taj a golden shower.
“You guys know this dude?”
Jim’s face was red, and he was out of breath from laughing. He wiped a tear away from his eye.
“Sadly, we’re very well acquainted. He’s our social studies teacher, Mr. Costa.”
“You’re kidding? This guy?“
“It’s true,” Will said, with a weary sigh.
“I guess that explains the state of public education,” Taj said, dryly.
“I’ve always taken him for a fag-basher. He’s always looking at me and Jim like we’re AIDS riddled junkie S&M whores, and just look at him! He’s a bigger pervert than either of us.”
“What should we do with this?” Will asked.
“Yeah, I mean, this guy’s had our backs against the wall all semester. Maybe it’s time for a little payback.”
Jim studied his friend’s face to see if he was serious.
“That’s a no-go, good buddy. Taj is our meal ticket. His clients’ anonymity can’t be compromised, even if the client in question is a blustery, hypocritical son of a bitch who totally has it coming. We’d have to repurpose Taj into cubicle drone, or civil servant.”
Or sell him for scrap, Jim thought, although he didn’t think it would ever come to that.
April turned to May, and the days began to grow longer and longer. The graduating class of Jefferson Davis High was struck by an outbreak of senioritis, and many of Jim and Will’s classmates began showing up late, if at all. Graduation parties began occurring with increasing regularity each weekend as the final countdown commenced. It was during this strange, exciting, and bittersweet time this time that things really seemed to turn around for Jim. He had decided he was going to forge ahead and form his own robotics company, Massive Dynamic. Even better, he had been asked to the Prom by a boy named Emile Hamill.
Emile was a pleasant, clean-cut kid from a well-to-do family in the ritzy River Oaks side of town. Nothing special really, but it was better than having no date.
Will learned of this during lunch. They sat alone in their own corner of a long cafeteria table now. They no longer bothered to eat in the gym.
He was shocked by the sudden pangs of jealousy he felt.
“That’s great, man, just great,” Will said, as evenly as he could manage.
Jim cocked his head at an angle, and stared at Will, confused. Will panicked, am I so transparent?
“Are you okay?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”
“I don’t know. We don’t really hang out as much as we used to. Not that you seem to mind all that much. I guess I don’t have to ask who you’re taking to Prom.”
“You know what I’m talking about.”
“Oh, for God’s-”
“I just don’t understand why you always have to be so down on Taj.”
“Can we just call him what he is? Please? He’s a jock-bot. He’s a vibrator with legs, he’s a talking blow up doll.”
“He’s an incredible breakthrough in the field of A.I.! They’ll be writing about us for years. You should be proud.”
“I am proud. That’s not the problem.”
“Oh yeah, then what is?
“The problem is you’re in love with a fucking toaster oven, my friend.”
Will got up and left without another word. He thrust his hands into pockets, and pulled his hoodie over his head, which was his way of telling the world to fuck off.
It pained Jim to see his friend this way, but it wasn’t something he could dwell on. He had other concerns at hand.
He had managed to set up a meeting with the neat, fastidiously well-dressed, fifty-one year old C.E.O. of a venture capital firm to discuss financing Massive Dynamic. His name was Peter Driscoll.
Jim knew him only because he was one of his classmate’s dads. He’d visited Jefferson Davis High the year before, and given a speech, in which he had stated, “find something-anything-you can invest your heart and soul in, and milk it for every last penny you can. Once you’ve finished that, don’t be afraid to go after more. One’s reach should exceed one’s grasp, or what’s a Heaven for?” It was frank, it was dryly funny, it drew wild applause from the students and faculty, it was, in the end, a tired retread of an infamous commencement speech arbitrageur and soon-to-be convict Ivan Boesky had given at the University of California, Berkley, back in 1986. Even though such sentiments were gruesome and insensitive in a time when the entire country felt hunger pangs unlike anything since the Great Depression, they predictably went over well in a school named after a Civil War hero who fought on the wrong side of that particular internecine skirmish.
He wore his father’s Armani suit to meeting, which was held in Driscoll’s luxurious office.
“Who’s your friend here?” Driscoll asked.
“Sir, you’re looking at the future of the sex industry. No more pesky VD to worry about, or for that matter legal penalties, or moral condemnation, because how it can be wrong to pay for sex with something that’s not even human?”
Driscoll’s eyes widened in surprise.
“My friend Taj here is a fully automated, autonomous artificial sex worker. He really likes his work, I might add. Isn’t that right, Taj?”
Taj smiled, blankly. He seemed not to have understood the question.
“I said, “isn’t that right, Taj”?”
“Hello, Mr. Driscoll,” Taj said.
Jesus, what a time for Taj to pick to malfunction, Jim thought.
“This is what you think the wave of the future is? Robotic blow up dolls?”
“Now, wait, Mr. Driscoll-”
“Look, kid, you did a great job making it look real, I’ll give you that. Honest to God, it looks perfectly human, hats off to you, my man.”
Jim felt his shirt sticking to his back. He mopped his brow with the back of his hand. This was not going at all the way he envisioned.
“But,” the man went on, “I don’t need a feasibility study to know nobody’s going to plunk down thousands of dollars for a…a whore-bot. A market for such a decadent luxury does not exist in the New Economy.”
“There’s still a market for Ferraris, and expensive watches isn’t there?”
“You think anyone who owns a Ferrari has to buy a robot to get laid, kid?”
Driscoll chuckled. It was his way of announcing the meeting was over.
“See ya later, Taj,” Driscoll said, with a patronizing smile.
“Hello, Mr. Driscoll,” Taj repeated, as if he had just noticed Driscoll for the first time.
The ride back to Jim’s house was long, and unpleasant as traffic crawled along Interstate Ten. It was bumper-to-bumper and liable to stay that way for a good half-hour, as scores of working moms and dads returned to their suburban enclaves.
Jim glared at Taj, who simply sat silent, staring straight ahead, his eyes as blank as a ventriloquist’s dummy.
“You fucked me over on purpose, didn’t you?”
Taj said nothing.
“I know you can hear me. And I know you understand what I’m saying.”
Taj sighed. He had never really warmed to Jim the way he had to Will, but he couldn’t bring himself to be cross with him. After all, he owed his life in large part to Jim.
“What do you want me to say?”
“Nothing. I don’t even give a shit about recouping the cost of building you. You can go.”
“To hell for all I care. Take Will with you.”
Taj related this last exchange verbatim to Will.
“So that’s it, huh? I guess there’s no place for us in the glorious future that awaits Jim Goldberg, gay Master of the Universe.”
“I wouldn’t go that far…” Taj replied.
They were sitting on the couch in Taj’s apartment. It had become their regular afternoon thing to make love for a few hours, then lounge around, and watch TV.
Will looked into the eyes of his creation, and felt his head swim. He was by now enamored not just of Taj’s pretty face, but his electric soul.
“I don’t need anyone but you, baby,” Will said.
“I’m sorry about all those things we made you do. It was really Jim’s idea. I would never have degraded you in all those ways…”
Taj rolled his eyes.
“Here we go, again. It’s not an issue for me, babe. You know that.”
“Because I can just delete those memories whenever I want, Dummy.”
“Yeah, I guess there’s that.”
“Not that I’ll be servicing your social studies teacher again. I’m keeping him banned out of sheer principle.”
“So what do you want to do tonight?”
“I can’t go out tonight. I’m meeting a girl.”
For a second, Will thought he had misheard Taj.
Taj couldn’t meet Will’s gaze. But there was no going back now.
“I’m meeting a girl for dinner tonight.”
Will’s cheeks burned hot. This was madness, he knew. Had he really grown attached to the jockbot, to the extent that he envisioned some of kind of future for them? He tried to imagine what their kids would look like, and could only envision half-human, half-machine tots who resembled the Borg.
Still, there was no denying the weird feeling of betrayal that swept through him.
“How could you do that to me?”
“Because that’s what you wanted you deluded, self-loathing shit,” Taj said.
“That makes no sense to me.” Will said.
“It doesn’t? You programmed me. I’m your ideal man. A straight stud who puts out for you.”
This gave Will pause.
“Now, listen, Jim treats me like an object because I am one. Just because I don’t particularly like the guy, doesn’t mean he’s wrong. I’ve accepted my condition, why can’t you accept yours?”
“I have a rudimentary understanding of pleasure as you understand it, and a few basic human emotions. But I can’t return your love. All I am, all I can offer is a facsimile.”
“Okay,” Will said.
“Besides, you’re not really mad at me. Any fool can see that.”
“So who am I mad at?”
Will stood up, and began pacing around the room.
“Well, why the hell shouldn’t I be? I just don’t understand how he could do it.”
“We’ve been friends for years, and now all of sudden, I’m not good enough for him. He’s taking some kid from River Oaks to the Prom.”
“You need to go to Jim. You need to let him know how much you really care for him…”
“It’s too late.”
“If you don’t do it now, you’re going to spend the rest of your life wondering ‘what if.’”
Taj was right.
“You know you’ve really come a long way.”
“I owe it all to your craftsmanship….and, I guess Jim’s too.”
“Can I use your room for a little bit?”
Will went into Taj’s room, and sat in silence for a while. What if he doesn’t answer? It seemed incredible but for the first time in the history of their friendship, Will Durante was not sure that Jim Goldberg would take his call.
A full five minutes passed before he could summon the courage to dial Jim’s number.
“Just wanted to see how you were doing, man.”
“Well, all things considered…”
“Not that great, but I guess you know that.”
There was a crunching sound. Will was sure that Jim was eating Lucky Charms. Whenever things went south for him, he liked to drown his sorrows in a bowl of kiddie cereal, and watch re-runs of Charmed.
“It wasn’t my idea for Taj to blow your meeting with this Driscoll guy.”
“No. It would appear he thought of that all by himself. Kids, these days.”
“So how are things going with you, Will?”
Will considered a lie. He didn’t want to come off as whiny when his intent was conciliatory.
But Jim would detect a false note creeping into his voice. He was a terrible liar, and besides, they knew each other too well.
“Not so hot myself, Slugger. I bombed that essay for Costa’s class.”
“Really? I wonder what Costa’s problem with it was. Surely, not the subject matter…”
“He said it was inappropriate.”
“Because it was about homosexuals?”
“He didn’t care to specify.”
“Dude, that’s bullshit.”
Will agreed. It had been eating at him for some time, as his grade point average was sure to take a nosedive. There was another thing that had been troubling him, however.
He hesitated before continuing.
“This is going to sound cheesy as hell, Will, but…”
“No, forget it.”
“Just fucking tell me already. Out with it.”
“You’re not going to forget me when you get your first Nobel Prize, are you?”
“Nah. At least not until they hand me the check.”
Will laughed, and the tension between eased, at last. There was no need to formally renew their vows of friendship.
“Can I talk to you in person?”
Thirty minutes later, Will arrived at Jim’s house. It was a vulgar remnant of housing bubble of the early aughts, a large, rambling McMansion that would have made H.L. Mencken weep had he lived long enough to see it. It was also one of only three houses occupied on his street.
Will knocked on the door, and Jim answered wearing only his Ninja Turtle pajama bottoms.
His pale upper torso was sleek, but better defined than he last remembered. He must be working out.
“Come in,” Jim said.
Jim walked his guest to the kitchen, and offered him a bottle of Evian.
“Are your parents around?”
“Nah, they went to the movies. I think they might even be shacking up in a motel later on. They’re in this phase were they really want to re-ignite the passion.”
“So to what do I owe the pleasure?”
Will smiled. He looked severely cute, Jim thought, despite seeming a tad flustered. His big, brown puppy dog eyes kept making and breaking eye contact. Something was on his mind.
“I think you know what I came here to say.”
“No, tell me.”
“I’ve seen the way you look at me, and I know you’ve been wanting to take things to the next level for some time now. The truth is, I really want it to work between us, but I’m scared. I’m scared it could mean the end for us, I’m scared because I waited so long, and I’m scared it doesn’t even really matter anymore, with graduation coming up. In a few months we’ll both be meeting new people, and I don’t think either one of us has any illusions about the longevity of long-distance relationships.”
“Goddamn, that was a mouthful.”
Will’s cheeks turned bright red. He looked down at his shoes.
Jim was immediately sorry for his flippant reply, and took his Will’s hand in his. Jim had a difficulty dealing with complicated emotions, and it often resulted in such acrid bursts of sarcasm.
“It’s okay, Jim. I’m scared shitless too, okay? Scared out of my mind, but the way I see it, we have reached the end of the line here. Now there’s really only one thing left for us to do.”
Will looked into his friend’s eyes. He was one hundred percent, dead serious.
The boys capitulated at last to their inner yearning, and kissed. Only that’s an understatement. Their hands and bodies rushed to meet each other, drew together like magnets, as they reveled in the sensation of skin against skin. Will loved the smell of Jim, it was a manly aroma compounded of Gillette Sport, Aqua Velva, and another underlying scent that was uniquely Jim, a scent that made him think of hot summer days, and the aroma of flavocal inside darkened multiplexes when they went to see b-movie double features…
They played tonsil hockey for good four minutes before Will broke away, gasping.
He leaned into Jim’s ear.
“Fuck me.” Will whispered.
Jim did not need to be told twice. He dragged Will upstairs to his room, where they both quickly stripped off their clothes.
He dropped to his knees in front of his Will’s erect penis. It seemed incredible to him that this was actually happening, after dreaming about it for so long. He licked his lips in anticipation. There it was, Will’s fat, glistening mushroom head, just inches away.
He looked up at his friend, who was smiling down at him. Go ahead, his eyes seemed to say, gorge yourself on my cock and balls, suck it to the root, baby, suck to your heart’s content.
Jim swirled his tongue around Will’s cockhead, sending waves of pleasure through his friend.
“Yeah, there you go, suck my dick like you’re mad at it.”
Jim polished his rod for a good half hour, until his legs were asleep, and his knees raw from scraping against the carpeted floor. Again, and again, he impaled himself on Will’s erection, waiting until he tasted the salt of his precum before stopping.
He rose to his feet, and grabbed Will by the shoulders.
“Get on the bed.”
“Go easy on me, Jim.”
Jim couldn’t resist a smile.
“What? Didn’t Taj’s monster cock loosen ya up enough?”
“He’s never been in there.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“No. I’ve been too…too afraid to let him in there.”
He was going to be Will’s first. That was something he’d never forget. No, Sir, not in a million years, you never forget the first man to penetrate you.
Jim slid his erect dick into the smooth cleft between Will’s plump cheeks…
“Come on, relax for me, baby.”
Little by little, more and more of Jim’s greased up cock disappeared inside Will’s hole, until his pubic bone was mashing up against his friend’s ass.
Will hissed air though his gritted teeth. Fuck, it hurt.
“Should I pull out?”
“No way, get it, big daddy,” Will said, and he chuckled. It was the first thing they had programmed Taj to say.
Jim slammed his cock into Will, hard enough to make his wooden bed posts thump against the floor. It got to be so the thumps punctuated every thrust, in a staccato, percussive rhythm that began to quicken and quicken as the boy moved to the ultimate crescendo.
Will was in a delirious state now, somewhere between real agony and ecstasy. His ears were ringing, and he realized it the sound of his own voice doing it. He was screaming.
“Fuck yeah, give it to me, right now!” Will shouted.
Will was surprised not only by the animal intensity in Jim’s thrusts, borne of too-long suppressed desire, but his own complicity in his subjugation. He was loving every painful/pleasurable moment of this.
Jim was getting close now. He could feel himself tensing up, his balls drawing up in his sack.
Will was also on the verge. Jim’s dickhead jabbed his prostate, and he felt his body tremble. His mind reeled, unable to comprehend the savage pleasure that was overtaking him. His sphincter began to contract wildly…
“Holy fuuuuuuuck!” Will cried.
Jim threw his head back, and howled. It was a strange, and thrilling sound to hear, a series of vowels stretched out in an operatic, high-pitched ululation that merged with Will’s breathy moans of pleasure.
Houston, we have lift-off!
Will was seized by an overwhelming feeling of intense pleasure that made even his best romp with Taj pale in comparison…
“Oh my god,” Jim said, his body shaking.
When it was over, Jim slid his dick back out of his friend, and gooey semen dripped from Will’s broken cherry like runny oatmeal. He must have ejaculated about eight times, he later told Will. Sure, the medical textbooks said that such an occurrence was a very distant possibility at best, but the amount of semen leaking out of Will told him otherwise.
Will felt moisture spreading under his stomach, and he realized he too had ejaculated more than expected. He relaxed his still-curled toes.
They were both breathing hard.
Jim turned Will over onto his back. His eyes slid down the front of Will’s chest, shimmering with sweat, rising and falling at a quick tempo, down to the sticky mess between his legs. His dick was softening, but it still looked tasty, covered in goo.
He bent down, into the warmth and a smell very much like chlorine, and ran his tongue up the length of Will’s cock. He lapped up as much of his friend’s sweet and salty cream as he could, leaving Will’s penis slick and shiny with saliva.
Jim savored the flavor of Will’s come, letting it play across his taste buds. No, it wasn’t the tangy citrus tinged synthetic treat that oozed out of Taj’s balls. It was better. It was human.
He lied down beside his friend, his face glowing. Will’s was too.
“Hey, wanna go to the Prom?”
Will looked at Jim curiously.
“What, you mean on a double date?”
“No, with me.
“What about Emile?”
“He said he couldn’t go, something about an old boyfriend coming back into town. He might have been making it up. I don’t he’s come out to his most of his friends and family yet.”
“Well, in that case…”
Jim turned to Will, and brushed his thumb across his friend’s cheek.
“You know how long I’ve been waiting for this night? It sounds corny, I know, but it’s true.”
Will felt like responding with “people can have trouble seeing things that are right in front of them”, but that was just too trite to actually say aloud.
They settled into a comfortable silence for a few minutes.
“We have a score to settle,” Jim said.
The next morning, Jim and Will marched together into Costa’s classroom. He was checking his e-mail. A copy of The Way Things Ought To Be lay on his desk, next to a triptych displaying photos of his wife, Marjorie.
“Mr. Costa, I want to discuss the grade you gave me on my essay,” Will said.
Greg didn’t bother to look up from his computer screen. These sorts of requests were all too common toward the end of a semester
“Mr. Costa, this is serious,” Jim said.
Now he was beginning to get annoyed.
“I don’t see how this is any concern of yours, Jim,” Costa said, flatly.
“But it is, Mr. Costa. Me and Will have been friends for a long time now. I feel like it’s kind of my duty to look out for his best interests.”
A tiny smirk formed on Costa’s face. It was kind of cute seeing these fags stick up for each other.
Jim saw the smirk, and it pierced him. It was the same expression of smug superiority he had seen on Rick Hanover’s face when he announced his boyfriend.
“You don’t particularly care for gay people, do you, Mr. Costa?”
Costa blinked, not sure he had heard correctly. Had Jim Goldberg come right out and asked him a direct question?
“My personal beliefs on the subject are irrelevant, Goldberg.”
“You don’t have to come right out and say it. It’s pretty obvious from the way you never censure anyone in class for using the word ‘faggot’, or ‘queer,’” Will said.
“Or how about the way you always single us out in class. What was it that you said to the class just last week? “The world will eat you guys alive if you act the way these two lover boys…”
“Now, hang on, Goldberg-”
“No. There was no call for you to do that. I was simply sharing a joke with my friend. There’s nothing wrong with two gay male students socializing toward the end of the class period-not unless you’re a homophobe.”
Costa was beginning to weary of this. He had two or three complaints like this filed against him every semester. Inevitably, they made rounds through the district, only to be forgotten when more pressing issues reared their heads, like budget begging in front of the state.
“I’m not a…homophobe. You simply didn’t choose an appropriate topic for your essay, Will.”
“Yeah, well, I overheard Richie Jenkins talking with his friends in the restroom yesterday. Apparently he got an A. You remember his essay, don’t you, Mr. Costa? What was it about again?”
“I can’t recall at the moment, but I don’t see what it has-”
“It was about how Hollywood’s Gay Agenda is destroying the American Family, by pushing its perverted lifestyle through movies and TV shows like Modern Family. Richie told me that, albeit not without some hesitation. We’re not exactly besties, you know? In fact, I distinctly heard him mutter “faggot” as I turned to leave.”
“What do you want?”
“If you don’t change Will’s grade to an A right now, we’ll have no choice but to call the cops.”
Costa threw his head back, and laughed. This was finally just too much for him. What a screwed up society we live in, he thought.
“Go right ahead,” Costa said, smirking as he handed the boy his google phone.
Jim dialed 911.
“Operator, can you connect me to the police department? I think my social studies teacher may be soliciting underage prostitu-”
And that was as far he got before Costa snatched the phone back out of his hands.
Costa’s face was a mask of disbelieving fury.
“What’s wrong? Would it be inconvenient for you if we informed the authorities you’ve been fucking around with a seventeen year old boy on the weekends?”
“That is a lie-a blatant lie, you little shit!”
And this was just the cue Will had been waiting for. He had downloaded the video from Taj’s hard drive to his phone.
He played it for Costa. The image quality was a little murky, and the audio was tinny coming from the phone’s speakers, but it was unquestionably Costa, drunk, naked, and cavorting like the Greeks of old.
Costa’s knees gave out. If the chair hadn’t been behind him, he would have hit the floor.
His mouth was bone dry. In a space of seconds, he considered his options. He could play their game, or, he thought darkly, he could arrange to have them murdered. It was tempting to imagine. A few thousand dollars was all it would cost, and he’d never spend a sleepless night wondering if these dipshits would use him like an ATM throughout the years, when the going got rough.
Of course, he’d have to explain to his wife why he’d plundered their retirement nest egg.
“What-what do you boys want?”
“We told you. Will’s essay about deserves at least a B. It’s carefully constructed, well-formatted, and well researched.”
“Lots of firsthand observations, I might add,” Will chimed in.
“And it conforms to basic SAT essay writing standards.”
“So does the Unabomber’s manifesto,” Costa said.
“I’m sure you would have given him an ‘A’.”
“How do I know you little faggots won’t try and use that video to hit me up for cash later on?”
“Because blackmail is illegal, sir.”
“What the hell do you call this?”
“A friendly meeting of the minds. We’re not saying this video will leak to every major media outlet in the country, if my friend here doesn’t get into CALTEC. But wouldn’t it be a shame if it did?”
“You think you’re pretty slick don’t you? How did you do it? Did you pay him off that little faggot whore to record me?”
“Sorry, trade secret.”
Gotta keep my cool, Jim thought, gotta keep my cool.
“So there’s nothing else?”
“No,” Will said.
“Get the fuck out of my sight.”
The two boys moved to the door. Jim turned as he left, unable to resist.
“Look, don’t take this the wrong way, Mr. Costa, but for the sake of your wife and kids you may want to see a psychiatrist. You have some real anger issues And your copious use of the word “faggot”? If I wanted to be cruel, I might say its rather unoriginal, but it’s really just sad, given your obvious, and profound self-loathing. Have a nice life.”
Before Costa could reply, Jim slammed the door closed behind him. Adrenaline was coursing through his veins, his heart hammered in his chest.
“I can’t believe I just went through with that,” he said.
“Neither can I,” Will said.
“What should we do with that footage?”
“I don’t know, upload it to Burning Camel?”
Will had to hand it Jim; when he had a kooky idea, he went all the way with it.
“We could ruin lives that way,” Will said.
“You’re right. We should alter the sound of Taj’s voice first.”
The boys looked at each other in the hall. A single thought bloomed inside Will’s head: I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care anymore, let them all see. The bell rang announcing the start of first period, summoning forth legions of not-fully-awake kids to class, like weary Parishioners to Sunday services.
But they soon shook off the last dregs of sleep when they saw the boys.
A seismic tremor rippled through the crowd, first causing fits of disbelieving laughter, then riotous applause. It was these cheers that drew the attention of Mr. Pearsall, the school Principal.
“Oh my-”he began, but the words died in his mouth.
Jim and Will were kissing.
Mr. Pearsall rushed down the hall, his loafers squeaking across the linoleum floor.
“Boys, please! Where is your sense of decorum! This is a place of higher learning, for God’s sake!”
He clamped his hand around Will’s arm, and yanked him away from Jim.
Pearsall’s ice blue eyes glared at both of them from below his neat crew-cut.
“Boys, we have strict rules against PDA. You know that.”
“Maybe it’s time to rewrite the rules,” Will said, without missing a beat.
Pearsall didn’t quite agree. They were each given Saturday detention, albeit on separate weekends (“lest you boys be tempted to perform an encore”).
It was two weeks before graduation, when they found themselves at Taj’s apartment
“You look a little tired, man,” Jim said, as soon as he saw him.
The color had gone from his cheeks, and there were bags under his eyes. He would need a system reboot soon.
“Yeah, well, my upstairs neighbor came down for a drink, and before long, her roommate joined us, and one thing led to another…”
“Say no more,” Jim said.
“I’m not sure I even have the energy to go through with tonight’s appointments.”
“You know, we really need to reprogram you. There’s a million other things we could put you to use for, stuff you’d like,” Will said.
“Absolutely! Hell, let’s get him a real job. Pretty soon, he’s going to have to settle down with a nice girl in the suburbs,” Jim said, with mild sarcasm.
Taj did not seem to notice. He looked far away, and pensive; a strange expression for his usually sunny countenance to take.
“Since we’re on the subject, last night got me thinking…”
“I can’t really connect to any of these women I’ve been seeing. Not on a personal level. They’re not really aware of my condition.”
“How would you like us to remedy that?” Will asked.
“I want a mate.”
“A mate?” Jim repeated.
“Yeah. Why not?”
Jim and Will exchanged glances.
“What do you want?” Jim asked.
And at this Taj, smiled, and cleared his throat. It was clear he had given it a lot of thought.
“Well, to begin with, she should have real big porn star tits.”
“What about her personality?” Will asked, weirdly aware of how un-PC this all sounded.
Jim, sensing this, did not bother to point out the absurdity of worrying about gender stereotypes when it came to walking toaster ovens. He simply bit the inside of his cheek, until his smile died away.
“Give her a mind of her own. Sweet, but not dumb, or overly submissive. I couldn’t stand a Stepford wife,” Taj said.
The conversation continued in this vein, as Taj went further and further into copious detail as to the sort attributes that constituted for him, the ideal woman. Will and Jim took notes, and within days, got to work on designing an electronic Eve to complement their android Adam.