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Finding Tim

A Fourth Alternate Reality

by Charlie
With editorial assistance from Dix and John


Tina and Merle were each having success in their careers. Tina had a second novel published, and Merle had paintings in several galleries in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and elsewhere. But they weren't really happy in New York. It wasn't Paris, which they had both loved but grown tired of, and it wasn't filled with friends.

One cold February night in 1982 we got a telephone call from Tina. She told us of their feelings about New York and said that they wanted to visit in North Dakota; maybe it was time to really join the Gang. We told them they should plan to visit and we had just the place for them to stay. We were thinking of Gangland, but they didn't know what that was, so we didn't try to explain.

A visit was set up for the following week, and we told everyone that Gangland would be off limits for a while, since Merle and Tina weren't sexually adventurous and we wanted to honor that. On the other hand, we knew that the pictures in Gangland might actually provide some temptation for the two of them.

They arrived and we took them by The Carl and up to Gangland. Tina looked at the pictures and screamed, "Oh, my God, Tim. These are something else." Then she saw the one of her, with her tit flopping out in the wind and said, "Oh, Tim, I love it. Merle, come look at this."

Merle did, but I don't think he had the same enthusiasm as Tina did. The very prim portrait of Merle was more to his liking, but Tina looked at it and said, "Merle, we need to get a different picture painted of you, your dick doesn't show."

Merle didn't express any enthusiasm for that idea either. We left them to get settled in, suggested a little walk around campus, and told them how to get to Dakota House for dinner. The whole resident Gang would be joining us. It was a great reunion meal, and everyone was enthusiastic about the idea of Merle and Tina coming to live in North Dakota. Sid, in particular, was keen on the idea of having a fellow professional artist in residence, as no one else in the area was as successful at selling paintings as either he or Merle.

Of course, most of the Gang didn't know Tina and Merle all that well. Carl, Carol, Hal and Sue knew them from high school days, as did Tim and Hal's parents. But most of the Gang had only met them at the few Gang gatherings they'd been able to attend.

That evening, after the big dinner with the Gang, Tim and I were chatting about Tina and Merle. I said, "I'll have to admit, the fact that they've declined any kind of sexual involvement has kept them more distant."

Tim said, "Of course I don't feel that, but then Tina and I were pretty close. I still can't believe you weren't jealous. But I understand that our sexual relationships have had a lot to do with the closeness of the Gang, and Tina and Merle have never been a part. Maybe that's an argument for our sexual lifestyle, which we've always been a little uncertain about."

"I've gotten over the uncertainty, but I think you're right in this case. In any case, it's Tina and Merle's decision, and we certainly are going to respect it."

Tina and Merle wanted to have dinner with us alone the next evening, and we invited them back to Dakota House. Tim and I speculated what the reason for the dinner alone with us could be, but we didn't come close in our guessing. Tina and Merle arrived for dinner, but said that they'd like to hold the main discussion till after dinner. Conversation at dinner remained light, as Tim and I continued to speculate on the subject, and Merle and Tina seemed nervous about what was coming.

We went into the living room with dessert and drinks. Coffee for Tina and Merle, Cokes for Tim and me. Merle began. "Look, I know that the two of you are like Tina: you put your cards on the table all at once. Not much working up to a subject. Well here goes:

"We can't have children. The problem is me. I have a zero sperm count, and the doctors offer no hope. The best the medical profession can offer is anonymous donor artificial insemination. Tina isn't happy with the idea of a baby without a father; frankly neither am I. So, to put it squarely on the table, Tina, and I, would like you, Tim, to father our baby."

Tim was speechless, and he wasn't one for being speechless.

I said, "You really have learned from Tina over the years. That's exactly the way I would've expected her to say it."

"She would have. I think she could've figured out how to be even more blunt. But I wanted to make the speech, because you need to know that this comes from me as much as Tina. It's our request, not just hers."

Tim said, "I'm flattered, but why me? Why not Charlie? Why not an anonymous donor? Knowing who the father is could lead to problems. Parental rights; God, I don't know all the complications that could arise; I haven't tried to think of all of them."

I said, "As a lawyer, I would have to say that the legal details could be worked out. But the biological father would have substantial rights, and you might be uncomfortable if he tried to exercise them."

Tina said, "We have absolute and complete faith in Tim-that he'll do what he agrees to do, and will always let the best interests of everyone guide him. Merle and I simply aren't going to waste our time with what-ifs that involve a hypothesis that Tim acts like a little shit. Even if he is a little shit."

"Gotcha," I said.

"Will you consider it?" asked Merle.

"Of course," answered Tim. "Charlie, are you willing to consider it?"

"Of course."

Tina said, "There's no way this is going forward if any one of the four of us has any hesitation. We all have to be fully supportive."

Tim said, "OK, let's assume that Charlie and I are game. You two have said that you are. What're the issues we have to deal with?"

Tina said, "I think a key issue is who would know the story other than the four of us, and when would they be told. Friends, family, the Gang, the child, grandparents? Lots of questions there. When would we tell the child? Would we tell the child?"

"Other issues?" I asked. "There have to be a lot."

Merle said, "Again to be blunt. Artificial insemination or does he fuck her."

Tina said, "Such language!"

"As if you'd never heard, or used, that word. And surely it isn't alien to this house?"

"Interesting question," said Tim, "no matter what word is used. It adds some zest to the conversation."

"Who's name goes on the birth certificate?" I asked.

"When are you talking about doing this?" asked Tim.

"Shit, it all seemed so simple when we talked about it," said Tina. "Get a lawyer in on the act and look what you get."

"One thing a lawyer learns early: a Hell of a lot of problems can be avoided if things are thought out in advance, if the right questions are asked and answered-and everybody agrees on the answers and then later on continues to agree on what the answers were. Usually that means writing them down. Lawyers get paid for doing that."

"In this group, we take each other's word; we don't need contracts," said Tina.

Merle said, "OK, lets deal with your questions. My name goes on the birth certificate. We can place a sealed record with the records office that details the actual facts if they're needed in the future for legal or medical reasons. I researched that, and we can do it."

"He's right," I said.

"Who we tell. We agree now who will know from the beginning. No one else gets told without the agreement of all four of us. The child gets told when Tina and I decide it's time, but it will happen before age eighteen. Once the child's told, he or she decides how widespread the information can be." That was Merle, and he was clearly speaking for the two of them. They'd talked it out pretty thoroughly.

Tim said, "The only people that have to know other than we four, as far as I'm concerned, are my parents. If they're going to have a biological grandchild, they deserve to know it, after the way they've supported Charlie and me. I'm sure that they'd be discreet.

"That's OK with me," said Tina. Merle nodded agreement.

I asked, "What about the rest of the Gang?"

Tina said, "I hate the idea of keeping secrets from the Gang. On the other hand, it's getting to be a pretty big group."

Tim said, "We play it by ear, but we agree up front that if it seems like the right thing to do, any of us can talk to the Gang."

Merle said, "I'm a little reluctant to give carte blanche, but I guess we have to trust each other, or it doesn't work."

I said, "I trust the entire Gang. You have nothing to fear."

Tina said, "As to the mechanics. It has to be done on my most fertile days. We want this to happen as quickly as possible and not be dragged out. My doctor can help with the calendar. As to the mechanics, Merle and I haven't talked about that. Everybody here knows that Tim's fucked me-once. Whether he does it again I think should be up to Merle and Charlie. And I think we should let you talk about that in private."

Merle said, "I don't need to. Tim and Charlie are doing us a grand favor if this happens. I wouldn't consider having an opinion about how, if they're willing. It's up to Charlie and Tim."

Tim said, "Tina, are you comfortable with our having intercourse?"

I said, "God, listen to his language."

Tina said, "I'm with Merle. We're doing the asking here. We'll play your game."

I said, "I seems like it is going to be up to me. I may surprise you here, but I have a strong opinion."

"When has your having a strong opinion surprised anyone?" asked Tim.

"Quiet, you."

"I'll be quiet; you speak up," said Tim.

"Children are created amongst joyous sex. If Merle were able, he and Tina would go upstairs after dinner, or later at night, or in the morning, sometime, and truly enjoy themselves. That's the way humans are made. It had to be fun to encourage people to do it. If it wasn't fun the human race would've died out long ago. Using a syringe isn't fun. Rule it out. Excluding Merle, the social father of the child, would be horrible. Who'd want their baby created when they weren't around? I'm not going to be left out of the fun, after all I'm offering to share one of the key players. So the event must be joyous, involve all four of us, and maximize the possibility of Tina getting pregnant. Sounds to me like Tina and Tim fuck, aided and abetted by Merle and me, at least in the role of cheering section, then we share in the joyous sex-we'll concede that Tim and Tina have to go first!"

"In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd hear that reaction," said Tina.

Merle said, "It doesn't surprise me. And I'll bet it didn't surprise Tim."

Tim said, "No, that's the way Charlie thinks. And I agree with him. There are members of the Grand Forks community that would be shocked at the idea. We simply won't tell them. Tina, I think you had this planned more that you've admitted. When is your hot night? Wait, don't tell me. It's tonight, isn't it?"

Tina just nodded her head up and down, with a rather funny grin.

"I'll be damned," I said. "That did fool me. What made you guess that, Tim?"

"Remember, I knew her exceptionally well in high school. She always planned ahead. Why come to Grand Forks twice if you can do it once?"

Tim paused and then got a very serious look on his face. "Tina and Merle, we have to ask one pretty blunt question. The Gang's been following reports of this thing called The Gay Disease. We're worried, and have agreed to limit our sexual partners. Charlie and I have to ask whether either of you have had any other sexual partners, recently or ever."

Tina said, "I don't blame anyone for being careful. The answer is, only you, Tim."

Merle said, "I remember a few of the Gang jacking me off once! Other than that, just Tina. I've been quite a prude all my life."

Tim said, "I'd almost forgotten that. It was Prom night, wasn't it?"


"Merle told me about that the next day," said Tina. "I think telling me about it was really hard for him, but he made it through. I assured him that I thought it was funny and liked him all the more for both his willingness to let the Gang have their way and for his telling me."

"I couldn't believe her reaction. It wasn't something to be embarrassed about, but to be proud of, as far as Tina was concerned."

With that Tim stood up and started to undress. I joined him, as did Tina, somewhat more slowly than Tim and me. Merle was quite taken aback, and didn't move.

Tim said, "Merle, this is a new adventure for you."

Merle said, "Yes. Tina warned me that this could be tough, and that you guys could be blunt. This is going to take a little getting used to."

Tina said, "Charlie, Tim, help him out. Otherwise we'll be here all night. We've talked, he's agreed, but he needs some help."

By now Tim and I were naked. We walked over to Merle. Tim knelt in front of him and I stood behind Tim. I unbuttoned his shirt while Tim took care of his pants. His penis was obviously hard, and as soon as it was exposed, Tim kissed it. I think Merle almost fainted. Tim and I each worked on a shoe and then a sock, and soon he was naked like us. He started to cover himself with his hand, but Tim pulled it away. Tim took Merle's dick in his hand and pulled him gently across the room. Tina and I followed. Merle was pulled up the stairs to our bedroom, and Tim settled him into a chair. Then he turned to Tina and helped her to the bed. They turned down the sheets and lay down, fully exposed.

Merle's eyes were riveted on the scene before him, as were mine. I was curious just how this gay boy, who had never had unprotected heterosexual sex in his life, was going to do. Merle was more in shock than anything else. Obviously talking about something like this with Tina was different from the real thing. I also don't think that he'd had any idea that he'd end up a witness.

Tim and Tina started mild foreplay, but I stopped them.

"Look, this has to be a joyous occasion, for all of us. Merle isn't ready. Merle, help us help you."

"I don't know what to say. Talk and reality are so different. I'm not sure I'm prepared for this."

I said, "Tim and Tina, clear off the bed. Merle get up there and lie down-on your back."

He did what he was told. I said, "Tina, help him out. Do you ever have oral sex?"


"Does he like it?"

"God, yes," answered Merle.

"Tina, do your thing."

Merle quickly relaxed. Then I gently moved Tina aside and took her place. Merle felt the change even though he had his eyes closed. He seemed prepared to accept the pleasure of a man. Tina and Tim both massaged him, with emphasis on his balls and nipples. Tina kissed him.

I said, "Merle, do you want to come before Tina and Tim fuck, or do you want to be this hot while they're fucking?"

He was barely able to get out, "I'll wait."

We all gently withdrew from Merle and he returned to the chair. I saw his hand move to his dick, and I warned him not to do that, or he'd miss his own fun later. With some difficulty his put his hand on the arm of the chair.

Tina relaxed on the bed and encouraged Merle and me to come and massage her breasts while Tim got on top of her and slid inside her. Later I'd kid him about how experienced he seemed to be, but I didn't want to disturb the moment. I'm sure that they might've enjoyed more unusual positions, but the on-her-back position was the most conducive to Tim's sperm making it to her egg. It was clear to Merle and me that there was still a spark between the two of them, and I wondered if Merle was jealous, and whether I was. Their orgasms were virtually simultaneous, and they lay together with her on the bottom for a long time-again the prescribed procedure for maximizing the chance of impregnation. At last they separated. They both seemed to realize what Merle and I had been thinking, and each hugged their lover. Tim squeezed so hard I thought he might sprain something. He whispered in my ear, "That really wasn't fair to you, was it?"

"Tim, we need to talk about this, but tonight, when we're alone. But trust me, I'm not unhappy."

Tina and Merle were talking softly. Then she said more loudly, "Merle, are you or Charlie next?"

"Charlie's next. I'm still absorbing all of this," replied Merle.

"Charlie," said Tina, "name your poison."

I lay back on the bed and said, "You and Tim do whatever you like. Merle you're welcome as well."

Merle said, "I think I'll sit this one out."

Tina said, "Tim you kiss his mouth and I'll kiss the other end." They did, very thoroughly, and I came as rapidly as they were thorough. I started to get up and clean myself, but they both pushed me down. Tim very gently played with my cum and had me lick it off his fingers. I think Merle was a little disgusted, but I was extremely happy.

Then Tina quietly pulled Merle to the bed. "Merle, do you want just me, or would you like Tim and Charlie to help? It's up to you, but they can be a lot of fun."

"Tina, I've trusted you in all of this, I'll continue to trust you. Stage manage anything you like."

"Guys, come here. I need a little help with Merle. You know what a man likes down below. I'm going to hug him and kiss him while you work. Merle responded to our hands and to Tina's kisses. Soon he was squirting and he hit Tina's back. "Good aim, Merle," she said.

"If anybody aimed it was Charlie, at least I think that it was he that had his hand on my cock."

"Cock?" said Tim. "I haven't heard it called that in a long time. Where I grew up it was nearly always your dick, sometimes a prick."

"Cock, dick. What the Hell. It felt good," said Merle.

We all relaxed and lay on the bed next to each other. Nobody paid much attention to who was beside whom. I decided it was time to broach a difficult subject. "Tina, clearly you still have a spark for Tim, and he returns it. Can you tell us honestly, were you driven to do this by the desire for a baby or a desire to be fucked by Tim?"

Tina began to cry softly. None of us tried to stop her, but Merle got out from between Tim and me and lay down beside her and hugged her while she cried. Finally he said, "Tina, were you surprised by the feelings you had for Tim this evening?"

"Oh, God, yes. I thought I was over him, but I guess I'm not. I'm sorry Merle. And I'm sorry, Charlie and Tim."

Merle continued, "Tina, there's nothing to be sorry for. Your reaction is normal, and so was Tim's. I know you were surprised by the spark between you, it kind of surprised me too, but it shouldn't have. But if you were surprised, then you didn't plan it."

"Merle, thank you, thank you. But how can you be so calm in the face of what just happened between me and Tim?"

"Charlie is sitting there just as calm as could be. Charlie, are you upset? Do you feel threatened? I need help here."

"Tina, I have absolute faith in Tim's love for me. I've never doubted it since that first summer at camp. But I find other people, mostly men, attractive, and he finds other people attractive. He certainly finds you attractive. He always has. He always will. What's wrong with that? In my view the thing that would be wrong would be for him to deny it or try to hide it. Then he'd be living a lie. Tim has never done that."

"But how can you sit there and watch him have sex with me, knowing that it's clearly more than physical?"

"I dreamt of what you all were going to do to me next!"

"Merle, you know that I would've married Tim in a minute if he'd been straight. And I think he would've asked me. How do you deal with that? Don't you think of yourself as number two?"

"Oh no. I'm not number two. Tim had his chance and he blew it." Merle looked up. "Thank you God for making Tim queer. I'm not number two; I'm the second number one. I trust you Tina. You told me long ago that your love for me was deep and lasting. Did tonight change that?"

"No, Merle, no, no."

"Then let's all laugh about our silly response to a natural biological reaction between you and Tim. Now, for the big question, Tina. Did you enjoy having Tim fuck you?"

"You know I did, Merle."

"Good, then we can do it again. I think that I enjoyed having Charlie and Tim work on me, and I'd like to try it again."

Tim reached over and grabbed his dick. "Now?" he asked.

Merle looked tempted, but said, "I think another night. I doubt we'll be so lucky that Tina gets pregnant the first try, and she'll want to try again."

"Maybe that makes getting pregnant on the first try unlucky," I said.

Tim said, "Let's get that baby cooking. But that doesn't have to end the sex. I'd love to go around again. And I'll bet Charlie'd like to fuck Tina. We might like to watch Merle fuck Tina. This could get interesting before it's over."

Tina got up and started for her clothes. "I think it's about time for us to head home," she said.

"Wait a minute, Tina," I said. "Just stand there a minute, I want to drink in the sight of your naked body."

Tim got up and walked around to stand behind her, reaching his hands around and grabbing her tits. "You have a great body, Tina. Merle you're a lucky guy."

Merle got up, pulled Tim off of Tina, stood between me and Tina and said, "I think it's time I claimed my wife. You guys are beginning to drool."

Merle and Tina got dressed and we escorted them to the door. We said good-bye and let them out. Once the door closed we looked at each other's naked bodies and hugged each other tightly. "God, I love you," I said. Tim just squeezed me tighter.

Tina's most fertile days would include the next two or three nights, and we decided that we essentially needed a repeat performance each of those nights to maximize the chance of impregnating her. By the end of the fourth night Tina and Tim had had four glorious fucks, and if anything could insure the future birth of a child that was it. I had a ball watching, and participating. Merle found the whole thing to be a shattering experience. As the evenings passed he realized that everything he'd ever believed about sexuality, sexual mores, and homosexuality, needed to be tossed aside.

I don't want to give the wrong impression of Merle. He had been neither a prude nor a homophobe. He'd lived comfortably with the knowledge of the prior relationship between Tina and Tim, and also with a pretty clear understanding of the ways and beliefs of the Gang, of which he was gladly a member. But. It was all distant, in either space or time. Tim fucking Tina on our huge bed in Dakota House was right here and right now. My being present, watching, cheering was right here and right now. And then his own involvement with Tim and me as well as Tina, was real, immediate, and tactile. And, as I said, it shattered his set of sexual beliefs.

Such an experience could've destroyed Merle and/or his marriage. He understood that, and the last night he said as much to Tim, Tina and me. Having just watched Tim fuck his wife, he'd allowed me to suck him and had even reached the point of sucking me, but not swallowing my cum, an act that seems to be really difficult for many people. Then he'd said, "Let's get dressed and go down to the living room and talk."

Once there, he led off the conversation. "When Tina and I came to Grand Forks with the idea of asking Tim to be the father of our child, because I couldn't be, I was thinking in terms of reproductive options. I wasn't thinking in terms of sexual activities. That's all been turned upside down. I've done things that I couldn't have imagined doing just a week ago. I'm a different person. It's going to take me a while to come to terms with that. I know I'll need Tina's help, and yours and Charlie's as well, Tim."

Tina was almost in tears as she said, "Merle, we all love you, and we love you all the more because of this week. It's been tough for you, and mind-blowing, I'm sure. Now let me sum up our week here in North Dakota. Not only have we tried our best to become parents, we've gained huge new insights into our sexual beings, and we've learned that we could like living in Grand Forks. Now it's time to go home, away from the immediate pressure of the Gang and think about all of this. Then we both need to make some major life decisions. And we need to do that together, away from the Gang."

Merle said, "You're right, Tina. Thank you, Charlie, and thank you, Tim. Tomorrow we head back to New York. If Tina doesn't miss her period, we may be back in a month or two. If she does, we'll let you know, and we'll let you know about our future as we see it." There were kisses all around and a most unusual five days came to and end. Tim and I had meetings all day the next day and had to ask Sid to drive them to the Fargo airport. Sid reported that Merle had sat in the front seat with him and talked the whole way about artistic opportunities in the area. But Sid reported one thing more: about three quarters of the way to Fargo Merle had gotten very quiet. Then he asked Sid, "You're a member of the Gang, right?"


Merle had reached over and put his left hand on Sid's groin, and squeezed just a little. "Am I right that that's acceptable within the Gang?"


The hand was removed. "Thanks, I was just curious." The conversation had returned to art and artists.

Merle's education was continuing.

Six weeks later Tim got a telephone call from Tina. "The rabbit died."

Tim, always the one to be biologically correct, responded, "The rabbit always dies from a pregnancy test, but I assume you're telling me that I succeeded in making you pregnant."

"Yes, dammit. If my doctor can use that phrase, why can't you just go with the flow?"

"Me? Go with the flow? Don't be silly, my dear. But that's wonderful news. I can't wait to tell Charlie. What other news do you have for me?"

"Oh, Tim, a whole bunch. Merle is a changed man. You won't believe it. It's like the flood gates were opened. Oh, I guess that's a bad metaphor to use with someone who lives along the Red River, sorry."

"No problem, but you're right."

"He's sexier, happier, painting more, and talking about winding things up in New York and moving to Grand Forks. The baby should come in November. I think we're going to head to Minneapolis in September and live with my parents till the baby comes. All four grandparents live there and would love to be part of the show. We'll find a place to live in Grand Forks and move shortly after Christmas. Tell the facts of life to your parents, Tim, and we'll include them in things in Minneapolis. If we think Merle's parents can take it, we'll tell them the story; I'll let you know. But if they get the story, we'll just let them assume that it was by artificial insemination-that's what they'll assume and we'll just let that stand."

"That's wonderful, Tina. What about your parents?"

"We've already told them, even the fucking part. After all, they know when and where I lost my virginity. They're happy."

"So am I, Tina. Charlie and I'll tell the Gang you're expecting, but the rest of the story can wait telling. Expect us to come to Minneapolis for the big event."

So 1982 was a big year for Tim and Charlie. Just after Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1982, to be exact, Tim became the (secret) father of a wonderful bouncy baby boy, named Merle Robert Reed, Jr. I don't think either Tina or Tim were wild about the choice of name, but that was what Merle wanted, really very badly. He'd been so absolutely wonderful about the whole thing, the conception, the pregnancy, the birth, the move to Grand Forks, changing sexual mores, that Tina never even hinted that Merle, Jr. wasn't the perfect name. He was big, right from the start, and he quickly became Max, the name he still uses for everything. People that've known him for years are surprised to see "Merle" if they happen to look at his driver's license.

I should note that Amy and someone's baby was born in the middle of December, on the fifteenth to be exact. It was a healthy boy named Sheldon, and Andy was the nominal father, but was no more proud than Jim, or Kara for that matter. He would be called both Shel and Sheldon by everyone.

Ominously, during the summer of 1982 we learned another new name, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS. Along with the name we were learning more about the disease, but, honestly what we were learning boiled down to two things: (1) how little we knew and how much we did not know, and (2) how serious, widespread and dangerous it was. We now knew it wasn't limited to the gay communities of New York and San Francisco, nor was it limited to gays at all-thus the importance of the new name, AIDS, to replace GRID and The Gay Disease.

In North Dakota we felt fairly remote from the AIDS crisis. There'd been no reported cases in either North or South Dakota. However, wise folks among us knew that we weren't exempt from the threat. There was always travel between the Dakotas and the "outside world," and the big bad city of Minneapolis (big and bad from the perspective of Grand Forks) was visited frequently. The Gang kept its rules in place, and we all affirmed that we had, and we would, follow the rules.

Moving on with the story; Lenny walked into Tim's office one day in the early fall of 1982 saying, "I've got the solution to one of your major problems."

"What're you doing in Grand Forks? What problem? What solution?"

"I'm here in Grand Forks to check in at the office, talk to AAA about future needs and plans, and become your ace problem-solver."

"I repeat; what problem?"

"Why, the problem of who's going to run your development program. The problem of who's going to succeed you as Vice-President for Development and let Fred get back to a lazy retirement."

"You have a candidate?"

"Not a candidate, your next VP for Development."

"You sound pretty certain."

"Wait till you meet this young lady."

"Young lady?"

"And a very attractive one, as you will see."

"Who is this wonderful woman."

"Her name's Liddy Lidholtz. She's the founder, producer and often the star of the Western Plains Opera in Minot."

"Opera? How does that relate to the job I'm trying to fill?"

"How does diving and gymnastics relate to the same job?"

"Go on."

"OK, it's 1975. Liddy's a junior at Minot High School. She's just starred in their high school musical, and is looking for more of a challenge. She wants to sing grand opera. Where does one do that in Minot? Simple, one creates an opera company out of whole cloth. She beats the bushes, finds talent, money, a place to perform, and almost single-handedly mounts a good production of Samson and Delilah."

"Not Carmen, Aida, or Butterfly?"

"Nope. Not Liddy. Too ordinary. Out of this the Western Plains Opera is born. Liddy stayed on in Minot to keep her baby going, attending Minot State College. By the time she'd graduated she, and the Westen Plains Opera, had 14 productions under their belt, a budget that would support a full-time manager-Liddy-and wonderful plans for future productions. They're still going strong. This young lady is the Tim of Minot."

"What makes you think she'd like to move to Grand Forks?"

"I don't think she gives a damn about Grand Forks. But she's ready for a new challenge. Besides, the people of Minot are pushing for lighter stuff, and she's ready to let someone else give it to them."

"How do you know all this?"

"It's my job to know everybody and everything in the state of North Dakota."

"Why am I just learning it?"

"Because she didn't give me permission to tell you about her till last week."

"She knows about the job here?"


"She's interested?"

"Why else would I be telling you all of this?"

"Should Charlie and I go to Minot, or should we invite her here?"

"She'll show off better on her own turf. Besides, in Minot you can talk to people about her. Find out just how good she is."

"You want to come along?"

"Nope. You don't need me, and neither does she."

"I'll call her and chat."

"Here's her card. She's expecting a call."

"You're pretty confident."

"If I didn't think you respected my opinion, I wouldn't bother working for you."

"You don't work for me; you work for Fred."


"Scram, so I can make this call in private."

Tim made a few calls to people in Minot, including the President of Minot State College. He figured that if the President didn't know about this girl without having to look her up, then she wasn't what Lenny had been claiming."

What Tim got was, "Liddy? What can I tell you about Liddy? Simply the best student I've ever had to deal with. Smart as a whip. Wonderful voice. A born leader. Do you believe she runs a successful grand opera company in North Dakota? Ask anything you want, the answer will always be, 'Excellent' or some equivalent word."

"Should I hire her as the Vice-President for Development for the University of North Dakota?"

"I'll assume that you weren't listening, or you wouldn't have bothered to ask that question. Hire her for anything you want. If she'll take the job, then you've got the best qualified person."

"I'm kind of overwhelmed by your praise for this woman."

"I once asked Prexy about a kid at UND named Tim. I got about the same kind of response. I didn't have a job for him, if I had Prexy would've killed me. I was just curious to know about this phenom I was reading about in the paper. I got about the same kind of review as I just gave you for Liddy."

"That's about what Lenny said. Oh, I'm sorry, I don't think you know Lenny."

"Everybody in North Dakota knows Lenny. When we ask him what he does for a living he says he spies for you. Never could figure out just what his game is, but whatever it is, he's good at it."

"Well, his descriptions is about as close as you can get."

"Well, Tim, when're you going to visit us guys out in the boondocks?"

"How about day after tomorrow?"

"I'd guess that Liddy's days with us are numbered."

"We'll see. I do think I ought to meet her before I hire her."

"If you insist. It's a waste of time."

"Lunch, day after tomorrow? Charlie will be along."

"Sure, come to my office about quarter of one."

"See you then."

Tim's next call was to Ms. Lidholtz."

"Liddy here."

"Ms. Lidholtz?

"You must be new here. Nobody calls me that. Let's start over. Liddy here."

"Liddy, this is Tim."

"Hi, Tim. Lenny said to expect a call."

"You seem to be a pretty direct lady, so I'll cut to the chase. I understand that you might be interested in the position of Vice-President for Development for the university. Is that right?"

"Absolutely. Lenny's told me a lot about the university, and he makes working for you sound wonderful."

"Good old Lenny. Working for me is wonderful only if you perform. Lenny has no problems in that regard."

"Neither would I."

"I'd like to come visit you in Minot."

"Any time. Tomorrow?"

"OK. Charlie-did Lenny tell you about Charlie?-and I could fly out tomorrow morning and spend the afternoon and evening with you. We'll spend the night in a motel or hotel, talk with some other people the next morning and fly home in the afternoon. Can your schedule handle that?"

"Sure. I'll meet you at the airport. What time?"

"11:30 tomorrow morning."

"I'll be there."

"I'm looking forward to meeting you, Liddy."

"Same here, Tim. I'm hoping that this can be the beginning of a productive partnership."

Tim called me at once and alerted me to the next day's schedule. He also booked one of the two little university planes and a pilot, and the trip was on. At dinner that night he told me, "Charlie, this Liddy is quite a gal. Incredibly self-confident. If she's as good as Lenny says she is, she could be the answer to our problems."

We flew over to Minot the next morning, after Tim had gotten in two hours of diving and about a half an hour in his office making sure there were no fires that needed putting out. All was well and we left with plenty of time to make it to Minot by 11:30. Liddy was parked in her Mustang convertible on the tarmac at the General Aviation hanger area when we arrived. She greeted Tim and me like we were long lost friends, and hustled us into her car. She offered the pilot a ride to wherever he needed to go, but he said he'd stay with the plane while it was refueled and checked out, and would then get a taxi to town and take care of himself. We agreed on a meeting place downtown for three the next afternoon, when we'd head back to the airport for the return trip.

As we drove toward town Liddy said, "Lenny says that you can be bought with good food, so I'm taking you to the best eatery in town."

"Where's that?"

"My home. I'd tell you that I cooked the meal, but I don't think we should start off with a lie. My mother is the best cook in town and she'll have lamb chops ready for us when we get there."

"Lamb chops. For lunch. My favorite food, but its unusual for lunch. How did you guess?"

"A wise Washington hostess once said she never revealed her sources. I always follow that advice."

I was in the back seat listening to this and if I hadn't had a seat belt on I think I would've rolled onto the floor. Tim said, "You've been talking to Lenny. I'm impressed."

"I wanted you to be impressed, but I haven't been talking to Lenny, at least not about lamb chops and Washington hostesses."

That flustered Tim, but not for long. A light bulb lit, and he almost shouted, "You've been talking to Charlie! My God."

Now I really couldn't stop laughing. Liddy had, in fact, called me the previous afternoon and asked for advice about the meal, things to say-exactly the kind of background information that Tim expected to get from Lenny as he moved around the state. But Liddy had wanted ideas that Lenny couldn't provide. We'd had a long talk on the phone. She'd asked me to keep mum, but promised to tell Tim about the conversation at an appropriate time.

"Everybody needs inside information. It's a fundraiser's stock in trade."

I knew we'd go through the motions of a job interview for the next 24 hours, but I also knew, right then, that Liddy had the job. Tim knew a winner when he saw one, and this was clearly a winner.

Lunch was delicious, Liddy's mother was charming but knew to keep in the background during the lunch conversation. The brief tour of Minot was interesting, and Liddy's office at the Western Plains Opera was neat and creative with production posters lining the walls of the outer office and Liddy's collection of opera singers' autographs lining the walls of her personal office.

The conversation there was intense. Tim really only had two questions of importance: Why do you want to leave Minot? What would you do to raise funds for the University of North Dakota?

The first was simple. She'd spent enough time with the Western Plains Opera. They'd mounted a number of good productions. They were financially sound. They had a strong board. They were going to have to stand on their own feet sometime, it might as well be now. Liddy was ready for new challenges.

"Why not continuing challenges in the musical field?"

"I love North Dakota. My family's here. Musical challenges are not. The University of North Dakota is. It's as simple as that. Beside, Lenny really did say that working for you is both a delight and a challenge. He basically told me that I was smart enough to get the job, and certainly not dumb enough to turn it down if offered."

"OK. Let's suppose I hire you. Tell me what you'd do. Take the whole afternoon if you want."

Liddy had done her homework, obviously with the help of Lenny, but she also showed that she'd been listening carefully to everything that I'd said on the telephone the previous day. Her presentation was so well organized, well thought out, detailed, and on the mark that it appeared that she might've had a staff of writers and three weeks to prepare it. We sort of expected a slide projector and visual aids to materialize at any moment. She'd obviously started her preparation before she got the call from Tim, acting on Lenny's assurance that Tim would call.

Her prescription for an effective development officer: Get good advice; think big; never be afraid to ask for money. It sounded like Tim. She would seek advice from all sources, beginning with Tim and Fred (she talked about Fred and others at the university like she knew them, but we knew she didn't), then her colleagues at the university and her counterparts at other universities (but she anticipated Tim's warning that most of them were incapable of thinking big enough). As far as thinking big went, she declined to talk in specific numbers without having much more detailed background information. But she won Tim over with a sort of off-the-cuff remark that the student-led Endowment for Faculty Salary Enhancement probably needed to double its corpus if it was going to continue to make a significant impact on faculty and staff salaries. "I'll need to seek out good student leadership to continue that campaign."

Where had she been clued in about that endowment and Tim's connection to it? It wasn't me, and I didn't think it was Lenny. Only after she had the job did Liddy confess that she'd hunted down the Time issue with Tim on the cover.

We took Liddy to dinner that evening and chatted further over a long dessert. She dropped us off at a motel where she'd made reservations for us. We told her we'd take taxi's in the morning, and meet her after lunch for a final chat and farewell.

Tim and I hadn't spent the night alone together in a motel for a long time. But we were both aware of the evening's tradition, and I was ready. I went to get ice and returned with...a bucket of ice. We drank Cokes, and I think-I hope-Tim was wondering if I'd forgotten the "game." I hadn't. We showered together, and I washed him but avoided arousing him. We dried off and headed to bed. He climbed in bed and I turned out the light. I spooned up behind him and massaged his balls, slipping a little leather sack over them. Then I sat up and slipped the attached leather sheath over his dick. Then I rolled him onto his stomach. By this time he knew something was up, but decided, as I was sure he would, to let me proceed. Very quickly I had two thongs from the bottom of the sack and sheath attached to a belt around his waist, and the whole thing locked in place. I got out of bed, turned on the light, and pointed to his dick and laughed.

"What the Hell is this thing?" he asked, as he shoved at it, trying to push it off.

"The guy who sold it to me called it a chastity belt, but I think of that as something a girl wears. But I don't know a name for the male version. But let me assure you that it guarantees your chastity while it's on. And it only comes off when I decide to unlock it."

"Very funny."

"I think so. Eventually you will. But I doubt it'll be too soon. Let's go to sleep."

"Not till this damn thing comes off."

"That damn thing isn't coming off until I'm ready to have you come. Until then, you can't even get hard."

He tried stroking his dick and quickly found that he couldn't touch it and there wasn't room for it to get hard.

I said, "I think I'll go to sleep now. Good night, Tim."

"Take this damn thing off me."

"I hadn't planned to take it off you until we were back in Grand Forks, and a couple of days had passed. That way you'll be really hot to trot when it comes off."

"You're serious, aren't you?"

"Of course. Come on, Tim. Go to sleep."

He grumbled, but slipped into bed. Eventually he let me spoon up to him and we drifted off to sleep. I got no wiggles.

The next morning he decided to say nothing about the chastity belt, and we showered in relative silence. I did tell him that I'd been told that the thing could be worn in the shower with no problem. "How do I pee?"

"Right through the hole in the end."


"The thing fits well under your underwear and nobody will notice that you have it on."

"Unless I tell them."

"Up to you."


That morning Tim kept appointments with two members of Liddy's Board of Directors and her secretary. We had our lunch with the president of Minot State College. Tim was more interested in what Liddy's secretary had to say than any of the others. Tim realized that how employees got along with the boss was a vital part of any office, and he was delighted to know that Liddy's secretary thought she walked on water.

On the flight home Tim said, "Charlie, she's too good to be true."

"Well, Tim, so are you. But here you are. Give her a break. She could be as good as you are. Don't hold being good against her."

Tim just laughed. "OK, Charlie. Tomorrow morning I'll call and offer her the job. Do you think she'll take it?"

"If she does I'll give you the key you want so badly."

She did, and she was scheduled to come on board the first of January, 1983. She had to finish up the current Great Plains Opera production that she was both producing and starring in. Now she had the additional task of training the next producer. Luckily she had a candidate, a senior music student at Minot State that Liddy had had her eye on. It occurred to both Tim and me that she might not have been so willing to make the move if she hadn't seen a replacement on the horizon.

He got his key about ten in the morning, but couldn't find an opportunity to use it until that night just before dinner. I almost got raped as an appetizer. Exactly the reaction I was hoping for. We could hardly stop laughing long enough to have the sex we both wanted. However, we managed. Tim kept the chastity belt and hid it; I have no idea where. He's threatened to use it on me, but I've assured him it's too small to fit.

His response to that was, "Good, it'll hurt." But he hasn't tried.

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