Tim's course work was done, all that he needed to accomplish academically this year was the completion of his dissertation. My program was a little different, and I would have some seminars continuing all year; I, too, had a dissertation to write.
I was no longer keeping up my archery, but Tim insisted that I needed to keep in shape. Swimming, running, and continuing my weights became my routine. I invested only about half the time that Tim did, as he continued to keep in top form in two sports. Although it was never put to a test, I am convinced that at that point in time the only diver in the world who was better than Tim was Billy. Certainly he outshown all of the divers at Michigan.
IU and Michigan had a dual meet at Ann Arbor that winter. I was pretty sure that Billy would be traveling with the team, so I suggested to the Michigan swim coach that he invite Tim and Billy to demonstrate their tandem diving. He was totally unaware of the concept of tandem diving. I told him about the exhibition that Billy and Tim had put on in Washington, and he was intrigued. He was concerned that an exhibition might take too long and interfere with the meet. I assured him that whatever time limit he thought was appropriate would be strictly adhered to. Both Tim and Billy choreographed their performances so that they ended when they were supposed to end - just like Hal's marathons.
The coach contacted Tim and asked him. Of course, I had already tipped Tim off that the invitation was coming, and he had talked to Billy. Everything was set. Billy came up to Ann Arbor a week ahead of time and they shortened the program from Washington to twenty minutes, limiting it completely to tandem diving.
At that time the Michigan pool did not have twin diving boards designed for what would eventually be called synchronized diving. So it was decided that they would work entirely from the high platform. They developed a program that ran exactly twenty minutes, and included exactly twenty pairs of dives. They got the Michigan Band to play a specially orchestrated piece to go with their diving. From the moment the Band struck the first note and they appeared at the pool everything they did was in tandem - walking in, climbing up to the platform, diving, swimming to the edge of the pool near the platform, climbing out, and heading back to the ladder for the next dive. As in Washington, they did one thing that synchro divers today do not do: When dives involved a twist to the right or left they sometimes each did exactly the same dive, and sometimes did a mirror image of each other. On one dive, a double with a half twist, they did it four times. First they both twisted to the outside (mirror image), then to the right and left (exact copies), and then to the inside (mirror again). They would switch from exact copy to mirror as they came up out of the water, so by watching their legs and arms on the rungs of the ladder you could predict which the next dive would be - if you figured it out.
Their last dive was incredible. It was a simple front dive with a quarter twist. They did it as a mirror image, starting very close together. By the time they had straightened their bodies to drive into the water, they were back to back, touching hands, heads, butts, and feet. They slid into the water as one creature. I couldn't believe it. Nor, it seemed, could the crowd. There was sort of a stunned silence as people realized that the Band had stopped as they entered the water, and the show was over. Then the cheering began. Completely unexpected by Tim or me, the Band started to play the UND fight song, "Fight on Sioux." I don't think there were more than a half dozen people in the crowd that recognized the music, but Billy, Tim, and I did, and it was much appreciated. UND was, in fact, the commonality that Tim and Billy shared and which had produced the incredible diving we had all just witnessed. Tim and I just wished that it was a little better tune.
The Michigan coaches, in planning the event, had been smart. They scheduled the competitive platform diving for the first part of the meet. Then we had sort of an intermission during which Tim and Billy dove. Then the springboard divers began. This way, none of the platform divers had to follow Tim or Billy off the platform. The most common comment that either Billy or Tim received from both the Michigan and Indiana divers that day was something like, "Thank God, you guys don't have any eligibility left."
To which Billy would respond, "See you at Nationals." He would too, and would continue to dominate for some years to come. One of the IU swimmers broke a world record in one of the races, but it was lost in the furor over Billy and Tim's "tandem diving." A new Olympic event was being born, but nobody realized it at the time, including Tim and Billy. But it would be decades into the future.
A few of the Gang came to town to watch the show, but most had seen it in Washington. We found room for them in our house, including some parents who discovered that being full members of the Gang meant being willing to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor with people their kids' age. They accepted it in good spirits. Sara, Billy, Tim and I slept together in our king bed - nothing unexpected there - and neither was there any unexpected chastity during the nights!
There had been good publicity for the event on campus, but without the personal involvement of people like Alice Longworth and Lady Bird Johnson it was not a sellout. The next day, after pictures in the papers and coverage on the nightly sportscasts, a lot of people were kicking themselves that they hadn't gone. With Billy back in Indiana, opportunity did not knock twice - at least in Michigan. They did repeat the show at Bloomington later in the spring. However, since this time everyone knew exactly what to expect, it wasn't the sensation that it had been in Ann Arbor. The sex with Billy and Sara was just as good, though.
Not long after the Michigan show I got a telephone call from Gene Palmer, my old advisor at Rockford. "Charlie, I happened to see a snippet of Tim diving on television; then the picture in Sports Illustrated. It brought to mind my most famous student. I thought I'd give you a call."
It was great to hear from Gene and I told him so. After we chatted a little about Ruth and Tim, and what we had been doing, he said, "Charlie, I'm going to be in Detroit for a professional meeting in about a month. I'd love to see you."
"We're just under an hour from Detroit, you could stay with us if you wanted, or come and visit before or after your meeting."
"I'm presenting a paper, and my way is paid, including the hotel. Ruth will be along and will be staying with me. But it finishes on Saturday afternoon and we'd love to come out and see you on Sunday."
"Come on out to Ann Arbor on Saturday. Wait, we'll pick you up in Detroit, we'll eat at Trader Vic's in the Hilton downtown - Tim and I love it and don't get there very often - and then we'll head out here. Stay till Monday and we'll put you on a plane for home." They were reluctant to accept our hospitality, but I'd have none of that, and they did agree to my proposed plan.
Tim and I picked up Gene and Ruth about 4:00 p.m. that Saturday. They were curious about going over to Canada - their only trips to Canada had been on the North Shore of Lake Superior and at Glacier-Waterton Lakes National Park. The idea of going through the tunnel was intriguing. So that's where we headed. Customs and immigration were a snap. "Where are you going? How long are you staying? Welcome to Canada." Windsor, Ontario, is essentially nothing. The British oriented goods could make for interesting shopping if there was something you wanted: toys, foodstuffs, Wedgewood, etc. They didn't really have any such interests. I said, "We haven't talked about your family yet, but I am pretty sure you have a grandchild who is about eight years old. Sally was pregnant when I spent that Christmas with you."
"You have a pretty good memory. Yes, little Gene just turned eight."
"Does he play with Lego blocks?"
"Yes, I think he does. In fact, he has a pretty good pile of them."
"Then you want to go toy shopping in Canada."
"Why in Canada?"
"Because Lego is marketed completely differently in Europe than in the US, and Canada is part of the European marketing area."
"So, you can buy packages of simple red blocks, roofing blocks, and similar things. These aren't available that way in the US. In the US you have to buy sets. If you want to build a lot of buildings - the thing that Lego blocks are best for - you have to have a lot of plain bricks. To get them from the sets available in the US means getting a lot of blocks you don't want. Trust me; let's hunt for Lego blocks in Canada."
"How do you happen to know this. You don't play with Lego, do you? Did you have them as a kid?"
"I had wooden American Bricks. They come in plastic now, and are much better. But they aren't as nice as Lego. But the sets are basically simple bricks, and in that regard are better than Lego - at least in the US. But Lego dominates the market. They are better blocks."
"So how do you know you can get what you want in Canada?"
"A friend in the law school was hunting them for his son. He found them over here. His family had come over on a weekend trip. When he came into our seminar group on Monday he was so excited, he had to tell us all about finding Lego in Windsor. So let's hunt; he didn't say what store."
We hunted for toys and finally found a good display at a Woolco store on the edge of town. They did have the boxes of red bricks, and Gene stocked up for little Gene, and his younger sister if she got into Lego as she grew. He also got a box of little flags that the clerk said were popular with Americans - they only came singly in a few sets in the US.
We headed back downtown, parked and walked a little in the downtown, and thenheaded back home over the bridge.
"How long were you in Canada?"
"About an hour."
"What did you buy?'
We headed to the Hilton and the Detroit Trader Vic's. I had first encountered the Trader Vic's in Chicago, which other students and I often visited from Rockford. I loved it, and though it was a little more expensive than the average, it was certainly affordable for special occasions - even for a college student. Gene and Ruth didn't do the Chicago routine as often as I had as a student, and had never been to Trader Vic's. We enjoyed taking them. We had a lovely meal, sufficiently exotic that you knew you had been someplace different, but not so different that the average American wasn't going to like it.
It was good to catch up on some of the people I had known at Rockford, and learn about changes on campus. Gene was now a full professor, and Ruth was teaching at a new community college in the area. Both seemed to be doing well. They were eager to hear all about me, Tim, the Gang, diving, gymnastics, the whole nine yards. Gene said, "Charlie, you are simply the most exciting student I ever had. When I think of the life you have lived, and are living, it just bowls me over. I am really glad to have shared four years with you. Coming to your commitment in Minneapolis was a high point in both Ruth's and my life. We would both be simply fascinated if you would give us a blow by blow life story."
We didn't have the time, and we told him so. But we did enjoy telling the highlights. When we talked about life in Washington, Ruth pressed for all kinds of details about the Washington parties we had attended. Gene was really interested in stories about Senator Goldwater. Gene had been a Republican when I was his student - about the only one on the faculty, at least one of the few out of the closet Republicans. But Goldwater's campaign had turned him off and he was now a Democrat. He was intrigued to hear my positive stories about the Senator. Of course, the Senator and I had not very often talked politics. I think we both knew better.
They were both intrigued to hear about the Gang, especially with the idea that most of us might end up living in Grand Forks. "Are you talking about some kind of big commune?" Gene asked.
"No, we'll all be independent, have our own homes and our own lives. But you can bet we'll see a lot of each other."
Ruth said, "I may be venturing into dangerous territory here. But when I saw you all in Minneapolis it appeared to me that there might be more of a sexual relationship than just you and Tim. Was I right?'
"I was pretty sure so. Gene agreed with me."
"Would you like the gory details?" I was hoping that they wouldn't.
"Spare us. I just had to satisfy my curiosity."
Gene said, "I think that has been bugging her for almost eight years. I assured her that I thought her suspicions were right, but that didn't satisfy the curiosity."
"Gene, don't talk so much. Let's just let the subject drop."
We talked on about the Gang, and eventually Gene asked, "You have talked about adding a few to the Gang since the eight that original summer. How big is the Gang now?"
"Forty-five." I said it without thinking, and realized from the reaction I got that we hadn't really prepared them for the idea of a Gang that large.
"Forty-five! That's incredible. How could it possibly have grown that large?"
"We added a few contemporaries - Tim's brother, each of our partners, Tina - but the biggest group has been the parents of the Gang."
"Yes. One of the hallmarks of the Gang has turned out to be open communication with your parents. I don't think there is any member of the original Gang that doesn't talk to his parents about everything. In the process we have all become close friends, and it just seemed natural to consider the parents to be members of the Gang."
"You really sort of keep score of who is a member and who isn't?"
"Yes. It started out in fun. Then we talked about dropping the idea of keeping track of membership. But then we decided that we really wanted to distinguish just who the group considered to be a member. Billy's parents were the last two to become members."
"Billy is your fellow diver?"
"Yes. He and his wife Sara are members, and now so are his parents. They live in Fargo."
Ruth said, "That really adds intrigue to my previous question about relationships within the Gang."
Gene said, "Ruth, do you want to go there?"
Tim said, "Let's just say that no one is into incest."
Gene said, "We'll leave it at that."
We learned that their daughter Sally was still living with her family on the West Coast, with two children Gene and Beth. Jim, their son, was still in Europe, ostensibly still studying, but basically just enjoying himself. He did have a graduate degree of some sort from the Sorbonne, was fluent in French, and supported himself teaching English to those few Parisians that actually wanted to learn another language. He had been home once in eight years, and they had visited him in Paris once. That's all they had seen him since he departed for Europe shortly after he had graduated from college. They were hoping to have him home before too long. His letters were beginning to sound like he might be getting tired of Paris.
Sunday at breakfast Gene asked Tim, "Is there any way we could see you dive. Except for a couple of times on TV, we've never seen you dive. When we came to your commitment ceremony, we missed the swim meet earlier in the weekend."
"Sure. The pool's open. Let's go."
I said, "We can stop at the gym and let him show off his gymnastics as well."
Ruth said, "We'd love that. There is something really sexy about a young man straining all his muscles."
"Well, Gene, there is. At least to a woman. I'll bet its really sexy for Charlie, too."
"Oh, it is. Believe me."
Gene was getting embarrassed. Tim was just grinning. He said, "Speedo swim suits are pretty sexy too, aren't they?"
"They sure are," I said. "But not as much as when you play Ancient Greek Olympics and go naked."
"The gym will be empty. I could do that this morning."
Gene had had about all he could take. "OK. I'd love to watch you dive and...and...and. What is the word for doing gymnastics?"
Tim said, "That is a problem, isn't it. There isn't a verb. I swim. I dive. Charlie shoots. Jim wrestles. But as a gymnast, I don't know what I do. I usually use the word exercise but it really doesn't fit. Even if you combine it with the word gymnastics, it doesn't help. One doesn't do gymnastics or play gymnastics. But I know what you mean. You'd like to watch me dive and exercise. And I think you were going to add, 'with clothes on.'"
"Charlie will be disappointed. Maybe Ruth, too."
When we got to the natatorium we walked into the pool area, which was deserted. Tim had a key, and was allowed to use it as long as he wasn't alone. He walked to a table beside the pool and casually said, "It's too far to walk to the locker room. I'll just change here. He proceeded to take off his shoes, socks, and shirt. Gene and Ruth weren't sure whether to look away or stare. Tim quickly slipped off his pants and exposed his Speedo. "Fooled you," he said, as he grinned.
His performance was the usual Tim. Showy perfection. In situations like this he always found a perfect balance between athlete and circus performer, including clown. But when he finished you knew that you would have to travel pretty far to see his equal off the diving board or platform. Gene and Ruth were both effusive with their praise, and Tim accepted it gracefully.
I said, "Tim and Billy are about equally good. So just imagine the two of them doing dives just like Tim's, exactly in synch with each other. It's amazing."
"I just saw quick clips of two dives on the television. Even that little bit was impressive," was Gene's comment.
I said, "He looks pretty good in the gym, too. Shall we head over there?"
"Oh, please," said Ruth.
Tim said, "Great. I'll just slip on my clothes over my suit and change everything at the gym. No more teasing, I promise."
Tim started on the beam - his favorite show-off apparatus. Before the morning was over he had covered all of the standard six events - ending with floor exercises that were particularly impressive to Gene and Ruth because they were invited to stand right next to the mat and see Tim up close.
As soon as he was finished Gene said, "Let's go to lunch. Where should we go in Ann Arbor? You're going to be our guests."
We recommended Win Scheuler's, a nice steak house on the west side of town. As soon as Tim had showered and changed we were on our way.
We had all pretty much talked ourselves out as far as catching each other up on what we had been doing. So the conversation ranged from politics to why on earth anyone would want to spend their life in North Dakota. Tim responded to that with a little speech:
"I think that Charlie and I can have a significant impact on the University of North Dakota. But a lot more than that, North Dakota has two huge advantages for us: First, it is small enough so that a small group of dedicated people really can bring about change. Second, it is a public university. I know that the private sector, from Harvard to Rockford, tends to be the educational elite in this country. But the public sector is where education really happens - there are vastly more students in public schools (K-12, college, and graduate schools) than in private schools. North Dakota can be an innovator and leader. If we can make that happen, we can greatly influence education for a large part of America. Is that pie in the sky dreaming? Maybe. But it's worth a shot, and if living in one of the coldest places south of Alaska is the cost - so be it."
I wasn't sure that I had ever heard Tim state his personal ambitions quite so clearly. His dreams took your breath away. Then you remembered his seventeen Olympics medals, his straight A average, major endowments at both Michigan and North Dakota, and you realized that if there was anyone who could make dreams like his come true, he was the one. I said that, more or less, to Gene and Ruth. However, I was really speaking to Tim, affirming my support of his dreams. He understood, and reached around the corner of the table and squeezed my hand.
Gene simply said, "Good luck, young man. But you may not need it."
Gene wanted some time in the University Library, and Ruth wanted a nap. I really don't know whether those things were important to them, or whether they were simply trying to give us some freedom in the afternoon. Regardless, we were glad to have a few hours to work at our desks. After great steaks for dinner, we had a fairly simple supper at home, talked for a while, and headed to bed early. The next morning we would have driven them to the Detroit airport, but they insisted that they take the shuttle bus - they had sufficient time. We didn't protest too much, as it saved us two hours of driving, and cost them very little extra time. It had been a most delightful weekend. I was glad to catch up on an old friendship and hear about Rockford. Tim was glad to get to know people from the "before Tim" part of my life.
Jeff and Dick had gotten into the habit of visiting us every month or so. We visited them in Detroit from time to time, but generally they came to Ann Arbor. Our schedules were busier, and it was easier for them to spend the time on the road. And, we had a house and they had an apartment. Not that that made much difference, we both had king size beds and that was where the four of us always slept. Interestingly, very often sleep is just was we did in the bed. We had all tried each other out, in various ways, and we were often quite content to just lie with each other, letting our hands roam some. It sometimes went further, but that was not the norm. We became really quite comfortable with each other.
Dick and Jeff liked the fact that they could be "out" in Ann Arbor. They weren't known, except among our friends, and were able to just be themselves. They were ready for that everywhere, but had wisely decided that they would wait until Dick had graduated from Wayne State before they would be open about living together.
When they visited they pretty much entertained themselves, often watching Tim practice, sometimes swimming while he dove. They liked to wander around Ann Arbor, and certainly were able to keep themselves entertained. We ate breakfasts and dinners together, and usually spent evenings talking, but most of the rest of the time they were on their own, and content to be.
When they visited in February, Jeff took out a piece of paper and handed it to Tim, who handed it to me. Dick started to protest, but realized it was useless. It was his first semester grade sheet. He had gotten all A's, for the first time since he began two and a half years ago. He was certainly pleased, but Jeff was proud as a peacock. I told how my grades at Rockford had gone from a middling B average to straight A's when I fell in love with Tim. There is nothing like love and support for success in this world, in academics as well as athletics. That made Jeff even prouder of his lover's success. For a young man from a small school in the UP - an area of the country where most high school graduates don't go to college - Dick's was a major accomplishment. We encouraged him to keep it up, and get all A's from here on in. He did.
Two days after Nixon's second inauguration Lyndon Johnson died, following a heart attack at his beloved Texas ranch. He was flown to San Antonio for medical care, but died en route. Coming less than a month after Truman's death, it left the nation with no living ex-president. Tim and I called Lady Bird, but were unable to get through; that was understandable in view of all of the preparations needed for the funeral of a former president. We left word with her secretary and she did call back personally the day after Lyndon's death. "Tim and Charlie [we were both on the line] it was so nice of you to call. You know, Lyndon often spoke of you and your Gang, and how much fun it was to have you all at the ranch. If you can come to the funeral I can assure you VIP seating. I am sure that Lyndon would want you there. Please come."
We did. We flew out right away and stayed with Sherm and Thelma. Lyndon was lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda and the lines were long. However, the four of us joined the party of the Chief Justice and avoided having to wait in the line. I couldn't help but think, even in times of death it's who you know that counts. Protocol dictated who sat where at the funeral in the National City Christian Church. Former court clerks didn't count to be in the judiciary delegation, and in fact Sherm didn't rank high enough to get into that pew. But the three pews behind Lady Bird, on the left side of the aisle, were designated for "friends" and Lady Bird had us in that section along with Alice Longworth and Sherm and Thelma. Sherm assured us that he and Thelma would probably not have gotten in the door if they hadn't been hosting us. I am not sure that, even had I stayed in Washington, I would have understood all the ins and outs of Washington protocol and its pecking orders.
We had very little time with Lady Bird, and soon she and the casket were flying off to Texas for the burial. The night of the funeral we took Sherm, Thelma, and Alice to Halversham's. Although Halversham's was part and parcel of the rigid Washington protocol, Mr. Halversham always kept it unspoken and out of sight. It was good to see Mr. Halversham again - we simply couldn't call him Lloyd, even though he had invited us to at our farewell dinner. He seemed delighted to see us, and reprimanded Sherm for not visiting more often. We weren't even given a menu, a rack of lamb materialized at the table at the appropriate moment. After we had been served I remarked that Halversham must either have an incredible memory or a good filing system, to have known that we would like lamb. Alice simply replied, "Both."
Our reputation at Michigan wasn't hurt by the fact that a few of our friends who had watched the funeral on television had seen us in the third row behind Lady Bird. It was kind of fun to answer the question, "How the Hell did you even get in, much less in the fourth row?"
It would have been fun to answer, "That's our little secret," but it was even more fun to tell about our experiences with Alice and Lady Bird. And this way people were prying it out of us, rather than us seeming to be bragging by telling our stories of Washington!
There were six Gang members, former POGs, living fairly close to Ann Arbor: Tom's folks in Detroit; Jim's in Flint; and Andy's in Alma. During our years in Ann Arbor, we visited back and forth with all of them. Again, the emphasis was on visitors coming to Ann Arbor. Not too long after Franklin's correspondence, Walter, Trudi, Curtis and Melanie came down for a weekend. Our assumptions about the activities of the weekend were correct: Walter opened the subject fairly easily. "Well, Tim and Charlie, we don't have any incest issues getting in the way this weekend, is there anything else that might get in the way?"
Tim replied, "Only your inhibitions."
I said, "Tim doesn't have any."
Melanie said, "Well, we do, but we're working on them."
Tim said, "Screw them."
Trudi said, "I think I'd rather screw you. Are you up to it?"
Tim said, "Now we're getting somewhere. Before, during, or after dinner?"
"At the restaurant we'll get down under the table. They have long white tablecloths, and we can have plenty of privacy under there."
"I hope you're kidding."
"There go those inhibitions getting in the way."
I said, "I have a suggestion. There are six of us here; that makes three couples. Let's go on three different romantic dates. Melanie, would you join me for dinner and dancing this evening?"
Tim got right into the spirit of it all. "Walter, I don't think dancing would make a good evening, but how about you and me heading out for dinner, bowling, and who knows what later?"
Trudi said, "Curtis, I think that leaves you and me. I'm not much of a dancer or bowler, but I am sure that we will find a good way to spend the evening."
I said, "OK, Gang, we are going to have three nice romantic dates. They will end up back here. Curtis, you and Trudi get the master bedroom. Tim and I will each take one of the guest rooms. The only problem is cars. We have one, you all came in one, and there are three couples."
Tim said, "No problem. Walter and I will walk over to the campus bus and ride down to main campus. Everything we might want is within walking distance of that. We'll be fine."
We all changed clothes privately, tacitly agreeing that holding off the issue of undressing until after our dates would heighten the romance of the evening. And we were off.
I knew of a nice restaurant in the Detroit suburbs with a good band that played jazz and also good dance music. Melanie and I were off. In the car she said, "I feel like a little kid again. This is going to be fun. And being escorted by a handsome young man, winner of an Olympic gold medal, aspiring young lawyer, and debonair Washington socialite is going to be fabulous. I wish I could meet some friends who could start some rumors! But you must feel put upon to be taking out the old lady. I could be your mother."
"No, no. None of that parent talk. I want to take you to bed later this evening, and I certainly have no intention of taking my mother to bed. I think of you as that grand and mysterious woman from the magical town of Alma, who will entice me down a trail of sin and iniquity, ending in a magical orgy of pleasure that only can be provided by a woman of experience."
"Don't you wish?"
"I certainly do. And I expect you to fulfill all of my wishes. And I am sure you will. Melanie, don't sell yourself short. Go with the flow; be a teenager again, and let's have a fabulous evening."
We did. We got a table next to the restaurant dance floor. We began our evening of indulgence by ordering shrimp cocktail, to be followed by surf and turf - the real thing, filet mignons and lobster tails - and a dessert to be chosen later. I offered Melanie wine, but she declined. "Charlie, I am going to enjoy this evening, and I want every one of my faculties working at its best. No alcohol to diminish the sensations. And my inhibitions don't need further loosening."
"Neither do mine."
The jazz was soft and intricate, intellectual not Louis Armstrong. Just what we both wanted. "Melanie," I asked, "I'm right that you and Curtis have a good marriage, aren't I? Doing this with me and Curtis being out with Trudi, simply builds upon solid trust. Am I right?"
"Yes, Charlie. Curtis and I have had a good marriage. Just ask Andy. There has never been any mistrust, and never any reason for there to be. We've been blessed with a very healthy family life. I think that that is why we have been able to accept Andy's bi-sexuality and his truly unusual living arrangement. Not that both of those didn't take a little getting used to. But after that first discussion of oral sex, I guess we were prepared for almost anything. And the boys certainly loaded it on."
I said, "Let's not talk about the boys. Let's talk about us. We have a wonderful evening before us. And it seems that we both expect it to end in a bed. Do you have something specific in mind?"
"You know, Charlie, you have a perfectly gorgeous body. I want to explore every detail, every nook and cranny. I want to smell your arm pits, taste your genitals, rub my hand through your hair - in a variety of places."
"That sounds positively erotic."
"Oh, I do hope so. Then I intend to invite you to do whatever you would like to me. All I ask is that it end in a wild orgasm of pleasure that is as much fun for you as me. And then, if you are still able to enjoy it, I'll do anything to or for you that you desire. Then we fall into an exhausted sleep."
"Well, the latter part of the evening seems to be planned. How about a dance while we wait for our steaks?"
"I understand that you wowed all the Washington socialites with your dancing skills. Let's see you strut your stuff."
Melanie turned out to be an excellent dancer. The jazz beat was dancable, but shortly after we took to the floor the band took their queue and switched to an easy swing. Two or three other couples joined us on the floor and we danced away, oblivious to our surroundings. Melanie looked around and said, "You know, we are the only ones left on the floor, and all eyes are on us. You're pretty good. We're putting on a show."
"You're good too, and, yes, we are putting on a show. Tim would take this as an opportunity to really show off. Shall we? Are you ready?"
"Lead on, Charlie. I can follow."
We swirled, twisted, dipped, and flowed around the floor. The band leader saw us shift gears, increased the beat, and added some of his own trills to the music - all of which enhanced our dancing and our "show." The band built to a climax and I tossed Melanie in the air, catching her as we bowed to each other with the close of the music. We got an amazing round of applause from the other diners as we returned to our table.
I asked Melanie where she had learned to dance. "The Arthur Murray studio in Flint. For some reason, being a good dancer was important to me as a high school student and I took lessons. In college I actually took classes in ballroom dancing for credit - it's a great way to meet your P.E. requirement. Curtis is a good dancer, and we go out dancing from time to time. But Curtis doesn't hold a candle to you. I don't think I have danced with that good a partner since I danced with my instructors at the Arthur Murray Studio. Well, I guess not since I danced with Arthur Murray himself."
"You did? When? How?"
"My senior year of high school my partner and I won the best dancer contest at the annual Dance Party put on by the Arthur Murray Studio. First prize was a trip to New York and a big party weekend with the winners from all the other studios. My partner was a college student, and was twenty years old. I was only seventeen, and I couldn't go to New York unless one of my parents went with me to chaperone. My way was paid, but Mom had to pay her own way. So Jerry - my partner - Mom, and I were off to New York. At the big Saturday night party in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria there were the Arthur Murray's, dancing with all who were brave enough to ask or cut in. Jerry and I screwed up our courage and walked up to the couple, introduced ourselves as his students from Michigan, and asked if we could dance. The Murray's favorite dance is the waltz, and that is what was playing. Arthur Murray led me out on to the dance floor, followed by Jerry and Mrs. Murray and we danced. I think that both of them were startled at how good Jerry and I were. The four of us glided around the room, almost in a daze, but not so dazed that we didn't mind our footwork. When the music stopped I got a kiss from Mr. Murray as he said, 'My dear, you are a magnificent dancer.' Jerry got a similar compliment from Mrs. Murray. Then as the four of us were standing on the ballroom floor Mr. Murray asked, 'What is your favorite dance?' Jerry and I loved to tango, and we were good at it. The next thing I knew the band was playing a tango and we were the lead couple as about twenty-five other couples joined us on the floor for a tango. And, yes, Charlie we were good. We got more compliments from Mr. Murray. But he had many other guests to satisfy, the winners from other studios to acknowledge. My Cinderella evening had come to an end by 9:30. Jerry and I danced the evening away, returned to our hot el with my mother, flew back to Detroit the next day, and returned to our humdrum lives in Flint and Alma."
"What became of Jerry? Any romantic interest?"
"Oh, God, yes. On my part. I guess on both of our parts. I would have loved to have sex with Jerry, but he insisted that it was inappropriate for a college student to sleep with a high school student. I went to college in the East, and we went separate ways. He became a pilot in the war, flying from England, and was killed when his plane was shot down."
"We weren't lovers, and by then we knew it. But he was a nice kid, strong, handsome, and straight as an arrow - to use a somewhat dated phrase. I guess I could have loved him. Hell, I guess I did love him. But by the time I got word of his death, any romance had passed."
"You're still a good dancer."
"I love it. How on earth did you guess to invite me on a date to go dancing?"
"I'll have to admit it was Curtis' suggestion. I had no idea what I was getting into.
"Good for Curtis."
By this time our lobster and steaks had been consumed, as had numerous glasses of iced tea (Melanie) and Coke (you know who). At that point our waiter, accompanied by the head waiter, arrived pushing a cart with a flaming bowl of cherries jubilee. The head waiter said, "With the compliments of Johnny King our band leader, to the best dancers he's played for in years."
Well, cherries jubilee is spectacular to have served, and this had plenty of brandy to assure a sumptuous flame. To eat it is only so so, but that didn't lessen our pleasure. Of course, all eyes were upon us, and it was clear that we were going to have to earn our dessert.
"Do you tango?" asked Melanie.
"Alas, I don't. I learned to dance in Washington - gay boys don't ballroom dance much, you know. But Alice insisted that we had to learn to dance, and we had a good teacher. But tango isn't a big dance on the Washington social circuit."
Melanie called our waiter over and asked him to tell Johnny King that we would love to waltz. It wasn't long before all eyes were again upon us. I am sure that Melanie could remember her thrilling twirl around the dance floor in the arms of Arthur Murray as we flew around this small Detroit dance floor. It certainly wasn't the Waldorf-Astoria; and I wasn't Arthur Murray. But Melanie insisted that I was just as good, and the crowd in the restaurant dutifully applauded. It certainly didn't hurt my ego.
All good things come to an end, and our dancing adventure did as well. Soon we were driving back to Ann Arbor, each lost in our own little world as we dreamed of what might come next. Melanie squeezed next to me in the front seat - a bench seat - none of these modern day, very unromantic buckets - and said, "Charlie, I feel like a teenager all over again. With that her hand slipped down to my groin and massaged me gently. I am not sure that that is the safest way to drive the interstate, but at least I hadn't been drinking.
I don't really need to give you a blow by blow - pardon the pun - of the evening, do I? Melanie's description of her plans played out exactly. At the end her blow job blew my mind!
At breakfast we compared notes about the previous evening.
Walter had clearly had a delightful time with Tim. They had taken the bus down to main campus and walked to downtown Ann Arbor, stopping in the main library, the UGLI (the UnderGraduate LIbrary, always referrerd to as the UGLI), several shops, and every interesting nook and cranny they could find. Walter was particularly interested in the UGLI. The development of a special library, with its own collection specifically designed to meet the needs of undergraduates, had been a major undertaking for the University of Michigan. Walter had read about it, and was quite interested in seeing it and looking it over. When their walking tour ended they had steaks - Tim reported that Walter's was absolutely huge - at a downtown steakhouse and then made their way to a pool hall rather than a bowling alley. Tim had shot pool only a few times in his life when invited to a house with a pool table, but Walter was a pretty good player. Lessons were in order, and by the time they left - well after midnight - Tim wasn't a bad shot. They figured out a fair handicap and bet on who would do what and to whom that night. Walter lost, but he reported that Tim had not taken unfair advantage of him in bed, and they had had a wonderful night. Except that when they got back to campus the busses had stopped running and they had to call a cab. (Tim had no experience with late night schedules at the University of Michigan.)
Curtis and Trudi had gone to a bar he knew in the Detroit suburbs, about a half hour away. It had a little band on Friday nights, and served decent, simple meals. Conversation revolved around their children and the outrageous Gang that they had become a part of. They relived a lot of stories of their boys growing up, their own childhoods, and what they knew of Camp White Elk. Trudi said, "We had a wonderful time and got to know each other so much better. It was the perfect prelude to the most wonderful extra-marital sex I have ever had. We are going to do it again."
I said, "Not tonight. Curtis and I are on for tonight, and Tim is going to squire you around Trudi."
"He'd better be ready for more than that," said Trudi.
"I'm sure he will be, Trudi," I said. "And Walter and Melanie are going on their first date." They seemed eager.
I told Curtis that Tim and I had tickets for the touring troupe of the musical Company, featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. We had season tickets for a series of touring plays and musicals; Company was the current musical and it was playing in the university theatre. Obviously Tim and I wouldn't be using the tickets and I wondered if Curtis would like to go. He said that he would, and we were off, for dinner, the theatre, and who knew what afterward. It turned out that Curtis knew, quite specifically.
What a bust! Curtis and I sat through the show, each one of us bored to tears by what we both agree was lousy music and no plot. But neither had said it to the other during intermission, or we would have left. Afterwards, when we compared notes, we realized that we had goofed by not talking earlier. Ah, well. A Sondheim musical was supposed to be good, and the critics had loved this. It goes to show you. We did have a good dinner, and we headed back to the same restaurant for dessert afterwards. It was about three miles back to North Campus and we decided to walk it. It gave us time to have a nice talk about nothing in particular. We were the last of the three couples to get home, and we found that the other two had left the king size bed for us! Curtis said, "That's an omen. Are you ready, Charlie."
Indeed I was, and I said so. Curtis said, "I have been told that you wield a mean razor."
"Who told you that?"
"Fred, who else?"
"You want to be shaved?"
"You bet. And then I want to have the life sucked out of me. Then you get whatever your little heart desires."
"Why do you want to be shaved?"
"It sounds like fun."
"What will Melanie think?"
"We've talked about it, she thinks I'll look funny. But maybe sexier. She's eager to see."
"Why didn't she shave you?"
"She would if I asked, but we decided it would be a turn on to have you do it."
"Would she like to watch? She's already home."
"You wouldn't mind?"
"Let's go ask her."
"If we invite her, we are going to have to invite Walter."
"That's OK. Hell, we might as well invite Tim and Trudi, too."
They all came. With great fanfare, I stripped Curtis, lathered him up good, and shaved him from waist to just above his knees. Front and back. Then I led him to the shower, rinsed him off, dried him, and took him back to the bed, signaling the others to head back to their beds. According to instructions, I sucked him hard and ate it all. Then I straddled his shoulders and fucked his mouth. It was rough and he loved it. So did I.
As we lay on the bed, ready to drift off to sleep, I asked, "Curtis, you seemed to know what you were getting into when you asked about being shaved. Have you been shaved there before?"
"Yeah. During my college fraternity Hell Week. On Wednesday night they lined all the pledges up and said, "OK, you're all going to get shaved. If you want your heads shaved, just stand there. If you would rather have your pubes shaved, drop your pants. Most of us dropped our pants. They weren't nearly as thorough as you were. One guy came along and lathered up our pubic hair, a second guy held our dicks, while a third used a Gillette razor to scrape off the pubes. A fourth came along with a sponge and ice water to rinse us off - that was the worst part. The guys that had their heads shaved didn't fare too well. They just shaved a stripe across the top at some odd angle. The guys didn't have much of a choice but to finish the job the next morning. But they looked pretty ridiculous for the rest of the evening. Of course, so did we, because we had to leave our pants down at our ankles for the rest of the evening. I have forgotten what else went on, but it was another hour or so."
"Were there homosexual implications to all of this?" I asked.
"Not really. Fraternity initiations can be pretty stupid. In ours we were made to feel pretty silly, but nobody got hurt and nobody was put at risk. There weren't any other sexual overtones to Hell Week. But we got teased in the gym locker room for the next month or so."
I leaned over, kissed him good night, and we slept.
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